Disclaimer: All characters and settings are © J.K. Rowling, no copyright infringement is intended and I am in no way making money from what I post here.
Pairings: Harry x Hermione
Summary: Unsatisfied with the way the war is turning out and determined to fix everything that has been done wrong, Harry creates a portal back to his tenth birthday, a year before he'd leave for Hogwarts. Upon returning to the past he finds his experience will set many things off from their original course- some things that weren't quite counted for.
Chapter Seven. A Chat with the Founders
The Knight Bus rolled into Hogsmeade with a loud bang, pulling up in front of the Hogwart's front gate. Harry and Sirius clambered off and began walking back up to the castle as the bus rocketed off behind them. After their meal they had proceeded to go shopping and buy Harry his gifts. Along with the four items matching the specifics of his list Sirius had bought him a new wardrobe of clothes and a magical journal that could replace his notebooks. Only the owner could read whatever was written inside, and it would automatically organize everything written in it to be placed in certain sections, despite where it was written in the actual book. Harry hadn't been able to stop thanking his godfather- he had been concerned after an awkward silence at the restaurant that he had done something wrong- but Sirius had quickly snapped out of it and they had continued their day without any further incidents. It was the first time Harry had actually spent time alone with his godfather without some pressing concern being priority in their minds, like Voldemort or dementors. In the first timeline they never had actually gotten time to bond and he was determined to change that.
The two of them reached the castle and Sirius halted, drawing a few tiny bags out of his pocket and waving his wand to un-shrink them before handing them to Harry. The Christmas feast would be starting soon in the Great Hall, Dumbledore's condition on letting him take Harry out being that he was brought back before the day was through. Sirius privately wished the Headmaster would go to hell and let him spend time with his godchild how he saw fit, but technically he wasn't the legal guardian and didn't have a right to be taking him anywhere- and as the saying went, beggars couldn't be choosers. He looked down at his godson for a moment before saying, "Merry Christmas Harry, it was nice seeing you again. Keep in touch, alright?"
"Yeah." Harry nodded, then felt his face burn a little as he looked down at his bags, "Thank you for the trip and gifts-"
Sirius waved him off. The boy hadn't stop thanking him since they had started going out. He hesitated for a moment, but came to a decision and turned to leave. "Don't forget, Professor McGonagall wanted to see you after dinner."
Harry's face fell, and Sirius held back laughter at the expression on his face before leaving. Maybe he could turn into a responsible adult- Moony still seemed to doubt him.
Harry watched as the older man walked away before going inside the castle. He felt that his day had already been the best Christmas he had ever had, and went up to the dormitory to put everything away before going back to the Great Hall. The entire hall was lit up by the candle and trees, and he quickly walked over to join the Gryffindor table. Everybody was already seated and eating, and looking around he saw Dumbledore had glanced at him as he entered before going back to his own food. The rest of the meal passed quietly- or loudly, perhaps, with all of the wizard crackers being pulled- and at the end of the meal he glanced at McGonagall, who gave him the 'meet me in my office' look. Harry sighed and picked up the items he had gotten by pulling the crackers (packs of balloons, a chess set, Grow-Your-Own-Warts kit, along with various hats he would never wear and other un-notable objects) and made his way to the Gryffindors Head's office. He knocked on the door and was received a call in.
Looking around the office he saw the familiar set up and fireplace from the various occasions he'd been there before. She was seated behind her desk, looking at him over her glasses with a serious expression much different than the one she'd been wearing in the Great Hall a few minutes before. "Mister Potter, please sit down. Madam Pomfrey should be with us shortly."
Harry walked over to one of the chairs, trying to look innocent and slightly confused. He hadn't been thinking at his best that morning when he spoke to her, why he had admitted to having nightmares he didn't know, although if he had lied he would have had to explain the silencing charm. Now he was just going to have to try and play it off as though it was nothing important, and for that he already had a vague idea. "Madam Pomfrey, ma'am?"
"Yes," McGonagall said, raising her eyebrows. "You didn't think I could administer some type of action for your situation without her medical opinion, did you?"
"Professor," Harry began, ignoring the slight narrowing of her eyebrows as he tried to explain his way out of the situation. "There's really nothing wrong, I've had trouble sleeping for a long time. I think it's just normal nightmares."
"Be that as it may, Mister Potter, as your head of House I still need to look into this," she replied. "It simply isn't acceptable for one of my students to scream themselves hoarse at night while using silencing charms. If there is a problem then something needs to be done."
"It's not normally so bad." As McGonagall looked at him disbelievingly he continued." Really, most night I don't even need the charm, I lived without it at the Dursley's. Just, once in a while I do scream, or make noise, and I didn't want the other Gryffindors to be-"
At that moment the door clicked open, and the school nurse came inside the office, heading straight for Harry. Pomfrey bent down to look into his eyes, making Harry cringe slightly. Why was it she always made him feel like he'd just had a slab of metal stabbed through him? Honestly, just passing her during rare occasions in the hallways made him start checking for injuries, he needed to start seeing her less.
"So what's the problem here, night terrors?" Pomfrey asked, still peering at him intently. Harry cringed at the way she defined it; hearing 'terrors' come from the school nurse made his argument sound less convincing.
"Yes," McGonagall said, shifting her eyes to the mediwitch. "He was screaming rather badly this morning, and informed me that it happened on a normal basis."
"How long have you had trouble sleeping, if I may ask?" Pomfrey had taken out her wand and began flicking it, making Harry feel even less comfortable than a minute before.
"For as long as I can remember," Harry replied. Looked like he was going to have to go with his 'pitiful child' routine, which he had really been hoping to avoid. He just had to wait for the next question which he knew he'd be asked.
"Would you care to tell me what these dreams are about?" she prompted. And there it was. Harry wondered if he should give any resistance to make it look more believable, but decided against it. If he did he might have to put up with them coming to some other conclusion, and what was the worst that could happen by being direct?
"Well," Harry started, looking away from Madam Pomfrey and landing his gaze on the desk. "It's...I have one dream a lot, although I never remember much of it. There's a lot of green light, some screaming- I think it's a woman, she's begging for something. Then her voice just stops. After that there's a lot of pain, and I normally wake up."
The two grown woman were silent, processing what he had just told them. Harry saw McGonagall's eyes go wide and felt a little guilty, but brushed it off. He could have told her things that were much worse. He waited for what they were going to say next, and when McGonagall did her voice sounded slightly hoarse.
"I see..." she began, then asked haltingly, in a cautious voice, "Do you, know what this dream is about?"
"Not really, ma'am." The two woman glanced at each other. Harry thought for a moment they were just going to let him go. It's not like either of them was going to sit down and explain to him he was apparently hearing his mother being murdered. Unfortunately, Pomfrey seemed to have other ideas.
"Do you ever have any other dreams, things that are different from this?" she asked. The mediwitch waived her wand a few times more, probably running some test on his stress level or something. Harry knew saying anything else would get him into a corner, so he shook his head. Pomfrey was busy looking at her wand movements, and didn't see him. "I'm sorry dear, could you say that again?"
Wondering why on earth she wasn't paying attention to her patient instead of her wand, especially after revealing some potentially traumatic information to the witch, he said, slightly irritated, "No, not really."
Suddenly the tip of Pomfrey's wand lit up red, and Harry jerked his head around to stare at it. Had he just done something wrong? The mediwitch looked up at him with a sad expression. "Would you care to tell me the truth this time, Mister Potter?"
A lie detecting spell. He was just caught lying. Harry glanced at Professor McGonagall, who was looking at Harry with something between a stern and pitying expression. He turned back to the nurse and asked curiously, "Do you always assume students are lying?"
"No, not normally," she replied simply. "But you should realize Mister Potter, most Gryffindor's don't normally reveal their problems so easily. I've dealt with it often enough in the past, for you to simply come out and say this is a little out of character from what I've seen, both from other students and you personally. It made me wonder if you were telling us one thing to avoid telling us another. And don't bother trying to blame it on technicalities, it picks up intentions, not just facts."
Harry sunk back into his chair. That didn't go as planned, at all. To top it off, he didn't have a backup plan ready for if they didn't accept that story. He just revealed he relived his parents deaths, he hadn't expected them to pry any farther than that. His silence seemed to tell the woman something, because they exchanged glances.
"Very well. Minerva, I'll suggest that Mister Potter returns to his dormitory tonight. I'll have some things ready for him to come down to my office tomorrow afternoon, and we can work this out then. At the very least I'll have something for his insomnia." Pomfrey said at last, looking at the professor.
"Alright Poppy. I have a few more things to discuss with Mister Potter before he returns to his dormitory." With that the nurse bid them goodnight and left, leaving Harry to turn to his professor with a numb sense of worry. He was sure he was going to get punished for lying to them, but he was sure they wouldn't be able to do anything to match what he was feeling at the moment. That witch was too bloody trustable. Even after all of Moody's warning's and his own experience with people trying to trick information out of him, he got caught by a lie detecting spell, cast right in bloody front of him. Let McGonagall punish him with whatever detention she wanted, he honestly felt like he might deserve it, just not for the reason it'd be given. His professor looked at him sternly over her glasses. "Mister Potter, this morning's display of magic was quite impressive. Not many first years can cast such a high level charm and have it last an entire night."
Harry sat, dumbstruck. This hadn't been what he was expecting, and responded with a small, "Err, thanks."
Her firm features didn't change. "This wasn't your first instance of knowing spells above your grade. I believe you've been using heating charms for most of the winter on yourself and Miss Granger. May I ask where you've learned them all?"
"I read about them in books," Harry replied. The one thing he had made sure to prepare for was an instance if he accidentally used spells past what grade he was in. It was the reason he had made sure he was seen reading so much, aside from the fact that all the books he read now were far past Hogwarts level and he hoped would help him during the war. This way no one would question his superior spell casting abilities.
McGonagall surveyed him, seemed to debate what she next wanted to say. Finally, she said in a thoughtful tone. "Normally I would not encourage students trying to learn so much on their own. Spells can become very dangerous of they are handled incorrectly, and there have been many occasions where students have gotten hurt trying to go over their heads. However it seems to me that you have already attempted this a number of times and are doing fairly well for yourself. It also seems to me that it is a waste for you to continue your school work the way you are now since it's obvious you are not being challenged. The same goes for a lesser extent to Miss Granger.
"Therefore, I would like to offer you private lessons, that you will have with me after your normal classes on certain days of the week starting next semester." Harry felt his mouth drop open, and the professor continued. "I will extend this offer to Miss Granger if she would like it as well on the day she returns from Christmas break, but I want your answer the day before. Understood, Mister Potter?"
She gave him a piercing look over the top of her spectacles, and Harry nodded, wondering why she wanted him to answer before Hermione was asked. With that she sent him back to his common room, it already being around nine o'clock. When he walked inside he noticed the Weasley twins rush past, holding something in one of their hands, and closely following was Percy, saying something about his prefect badge while trying to get it back. After a moment Harry grinned, remembering the Weasley's antics from his past lifetime and made his way to the stairs leading up to his dormitory.
He crawled onto his bed and pulled the curtains shut, quickly taking out the second invisibility cloak and inspecting it. This would be useful, now when he chose to start wandering around with Hermione they could each have a cloak to wear. Sighing, he quickly got changed into some of the new pajamas Sirius had bought him while they were out and crawled under the covers to his bed. Something was tugging on the back of his mind however, and he frowned as he tried to remember what he might've been missing. Then he recalled what he had done on his first night with the cloak, and wondered if he could still find the Mirror of Erised this time around. He didn't need to, he already knew how to work it to get the Stone from it later if he had to, but it would be interesting to see what his heart's desire had changed to. He had no doubt it had, Harry had been through to much to want something as innocent as his family anymore.
Harry waited until he heard Ron come up and fall asleep before he slipped his robe around him and went back downstairs and out of the common room while passing Ron's bed he glanced at him, and a small smile formed at his plans for the next day. He walked around the halls briefly, heading toward the fourth floor to find the classroom where the mirror was located. He wondered if Dumbledore would be there like before, and pulled out his map as he walked to check. The Headmaster's dot was located in his circular office, far away from the room with the mirror. Harry frowned, wondering when he had first noticed his students walking the halls and discovering the artifact. He put it into his pocket and kept going, passing the suits of armor and portraits silently. He didn't run into Filch of Snape this time around, but kept an eye open for teachers anyway.
Finally he came to the room where the mirror was kept and peered inside. The large object was located the same place it had been before, and the room was empty. Harry slipped inside and walked over to stand in front of it. Suddenly he felt a small fissure in one of his magic shields and whipped around to look at the room. Nothing had changed. Grabbing the map out of his pocket he noticed the dot in Dumbledore's office had stopped moving. Harry felt a grim smirk appear on his face. The Headmaster had set an alarm up on the room so he would know when someone entered and Harry's shields had detected it. He looked around, trying to find a way the professor might be watching him. There was nothing suspicious that caught his eye and Harry let it go, moving to stand in front of the mirror. It wasn't like Dumbledore would be able to see what he saw even if he was watching.
As soon as he was in front of the mirror the room behind him disappeared and another image took its place. It was him. He was different, though, older. He looked more confident and stronger. He looked like someone who would actually be able to win the war. Beside him Harry saw his friends, all members of the Emerald Alliance- the name of his resistance group. Hermione was directly off to his right, smiling at him and looking just as he remembered her before she died. Then there was Luna on his other side, and Draco further off on his left, a little separated. Behind them were Fred and George, and Neville. None of them had been members of his group, but he felt happy at the thought that they might be. Even Ginny was there, standing a little further back. She didn't seem to be pushing her affections on him in the mirror, and Harry felt a pang as he remembered their break up, but was happy to see that his desire recognized he didn't want her to be his one and only, but just his friend. He also saw a few other Hogwarts student who he had gotten to join his cause, Dean Thomas had ended up joining them, Colin Creevy who worked as an inside in the Prophet, Lisa Turpin, a Ravenclaw he hadn't even met until their seventh year but was great at charms work, Anthony Goldstein who was a member of the DA, then Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot from Hufflepuff. He hadn't gotten a lot of members in the first timeline, by the time he started making the EA it was too dangerous to go around asking people to join, so it had stayed a small but successful group. Draco was the only Slytherin there, something which made a few of the other members irritable, but once they found out why he was joining them, they had accepted his membership, if grudgingly so. Past the back row were other familiar faces- people who had been a part of the Order but had sympathized with his decision to leave, and he smiled when he saw they were standing in a lively scene of Diagon Alley before it was destroyed. That was his desire? A peaceful world where his friends were still alive? Harry shook his head, biting back a laugh. Maybe he was still on the innocent side after all.
With that thought he carefully left the room and made his way back to Gryffindor Tower, where he shoved his cloak and map back inside of his pouch and went to bed.
The next day Harry woke up feeling a mixture of nervous, grumpy- remembering he had to go see Pomfrey that afternoon for tests on his sleeping habits- and excited- thinking of the plans he had made before realizing he had to see the witch . He pulled on one of his new robes and made his way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. After eating he went back to his dormitory to work on something that was for that afternoon and before he knew it, it was time for lunch. He quickly ate and made his way to the hospital wing to face Madam Pomfrey and whatever new torture she had created for him. He was more than a little annoyed that he had seen the nurse three times already that year, when the first time around he had yet to see her at all by this point, but shoved it into the back of his mind as he pushed the door open.
He looked around and saw the nurse bustling around her office at the end of the ward. Harry walked forward and tapped on her door to get her attention. Pomfrey looked around, and seeing him made her way to her desk and grabbed a folder before shooing him back into the main part of the wing. She didn't seem to be holding any type of grudge for him lying to her the other night, nor was she pulling out her wand to perform any type of medical evaluation on him.
"Sit down Mister Potter," She said, motioning toward a chair and table that were set up against the wall. Harry sat, feeling oddly like he was being given some sort of exam that he had to pass. The nurse placed a set of papers in front of him, as well as an ink-free quill. His previous feeling increased, and he looked up at the woman in confusion. "Take this, and call me over when you're done. Don't spend too much time on it, you have a few others to do as well."
When he realized she wasn't going to explain anything to him he sighed and picked up the small grey quill, looking at the paper with a bored expression. Wouldn't Hermione be proud, seeing him taking tests over his break. He started filling it out, noticing that the questions seemed to range everywhere from personal information and areas of interest to dates in history. He scribbled his responses, but the moment he tried to 'dumb down' one question that it would have been impossible for him to know the ink stopped appearing from the writing utensil. He shook it, and tried pressing down harder on the paper. Still nothing. He tried it a few times, wondering briefly if the spell on the quill was broken. Harry was about to call Madam Pomfrey over when he suddenly felt the sensation of being watched and stopped. He glanced between the quill and his paper, and carefully moved on to the next question, which he thought it would be safe to answer honestly. The ink came out perfectly fine.
A lie detecting quill? Why hadn't he ever heard of these before? Looked like Madam Pomfrey didn't quite trust him again. Harry bit his lip, trying to figure out what he was suppose to do. What if the question 'are you a time traveler?' actually came up? He'd be thrown in Azkaban! Harry looked at the previous question, the one he couldn't answer. He tried to write 'I don't know', but the ink wouldn't appear. He then tried to write something a bit off topic, to see if he could 'misinterpret' the question, but the ink still didn't show up. He could still feel the gaze on him and he moved on, not wanting to be seen spending too much time trying to lie. Finally he finished the rest of the packet, finding himself become more and more nervous every time a question came up he couldn't lie to. He needed a small break to figure out how to overcome the dilemma, but he knew he wasn't going to get one.
Madam Pomfrey came over to take the test and put a new one in front of him without looking at him. Harry was reminded why she was one of the scariest women he had ever met as he looked at the next paper. He bit down on his lip and kept going, answering the questions as best he could without lying. This went on for two more packets of questions, by the end of which Harry was ready to start hexing people. There hadn't been any extremely dangerous questions to him which he was grateful for, but he had still been forced to show more than he would have liked. Every answer said something, even the ones that had been left blank, and Harry knew that all too well.
"Can I go…?" Harry asked, a hopeful note in his voice when Madam Pomfrey had taken his last packet and the damned quill back.
"Not yet, Mister Potter." The nurse said in a kind, I'm-going-to-find-out-everything-you-don't-want-me-to-know manner. Harry felt his stomach drop a few notches. She looked over all the tests, frowning at points and jotting things down on a piece of parchment she had beside her. At one question she stopped, and her frowned deepened as she looked over the paper at Harry. Unconsciously he flinched- what did he do? She seemed to debate something for a moment before walking into her office. He heard her bustling around, and a minute later she came back out with another packet and handed him back the quill. "Do this one for me, if you would."
He looked at and put it down on his desk. The question didn't seem all too scary, with the exception of a few scattered around it, but it was rather long- taking him the same amount of time to do this one as it took him to do two of the others. It seemed to be much more personal and opinionated, actually. While he worked he could hear her continue to check over the other papers and wondered what had stood out so much that he was given this one. He was trying to make them seem as normal and eleven-year old like as possible. Without lying. Can't forget the anti-lie quill, he thought, gritting his teeth. Finally he passed the last paper and quill back to her, hoping he had done all right on all of them. It was when she was about half way though with his packet that something struck him.
The only paper to ask him about his sleeping patterns had been bits of the first and second. The last three had nothing to do with sleep, or dreams. What was he being tested for?
Finally she put down the papers and peered at Harry closely. "Mister Potter," she said at last. "Please wait here while I call Professor McGonagall."
Harry felt his stomach drop again as he watched her go into her office. He was an idiot. He couldn't even notice when he was being tricked into a test of knowledge and he expected to lead a resistance against one of the most powerful wizards of their century? His throat tightened slightly as he stared at the door to the nurse's office, hoping he hadn't done anything that couldn't be reversed. Making that portal had been a pain, and he wasn't sure if he could do it again just to turn back a few days. Or years, once it was actually done being made.
After what felt like hours the office door opened again and three people stepped out, much to Harry's horror. Madam Pomfrey had been joined by Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore, obviously both flooing over from their own offices. Dumbledore was reading the paper that Harry had just filled out, and didn't bother looking at him for a minute. Finally he asked the nurse, "You're sure about the results, Poppy?"
"I'm positive Headmaster," Pomfrey replied. "Mister Potter took the test with an Anti-Fabrication Quill after all."
The Headmaster nodded and turned his gaze onto Harry for the first time. "This is quite interesting, now isn't it?" The question sounded more rhetorical than literal so Harry didn't bother saying anything. After a moment Dumbledore looked away and said to the two at his side, "We'll need a proper test done of course. As much as I'd like to avoid it, I don't know of anywhere we could have it done but at the Ministry. I'm afraid I don't have the capabilities to judge this myself."
"The Ministry, sir?" Harry couldn't help but blurt out. He felt like things were getting extremely out of control and didn't like it one bit. And no one had said what he'd done wrong.
"Yes, Mister Potter." McGonagall answered for the Headmaster, looking over at him, not completely unkindly. Harry felt a huge surge of relief. She wouldn't be acting nice to him if she knew he was a criminal- since time travel was a criminal offense. She turned back to Dumbledore. "He will need to be registered, won't he?"
Registered? Harry felt all the tension that had just left come straight back into him. Registered for what?
"If it turns out he is, than yes," Dumbledore replied. "I will contact the Fudge this evening, see when we can schedule an appointment for Harry to attend."
Harry sat, frozen, trying to figure out what was going on. Finally he asked, trying not to make his voice seem innocently curious, "Sir, what exactly do I need to go to the Ministry for?"
The three adults looked back over to him. Instead of answering, McGonagall asked, "Mister Potter, what exactly is the subject matter of your dreams? Aside, from what you told us last night?"
Harry didn't say anything, wondering why he was now being asked about that. None of the tests had cared about that. Where was the connection now? Seeing that he wasn't going to reply, Dumbledore picked up a piece of paper from where he'd put it down without Harry noticing before and held it out to him. "Harry, if you would, look down at question twenty-seven."
Harry took the paper and did as he was told. He recognized it as one of the first few tests he'd taken. Q27: The All-Star vs. Quiberon Quafflepunchers match set a record length as the longest Quidditch World Cup held. How long did the match last? A: Five days
Harry looked up, thoroughly bewildered. So he knew a lot about Quidditch, he didn't understand how that implied anything important. His expression must have conveyed his confusion, because Dumbledore went on. "Perhaps it would be easier to ask this: Harry, do you ever have feelings of déjà vu, or feel as if you know what's going to happen before it does?" Harry looked back down at the question. What did he say here that was so wrong? "Harry?" his Headmaster prompted.
"I…don't know sir." Harry avoided looking up. He knew he had his occlumency shields up and that Dumbledore wouldn't be able to look into his mind, but Dumbledore didn't know about that yet, and he preferred to keep it that way. The World Cup that lasted five days, he had never attended it, but he had heard about it from somewhere. And he knew it happened before the cup he saw. He tried to recall what he knew about it…it was a World Cup match that lasted five days obviously, Percy had told him about it, he thought…yeah, he'd first heard about it when he went to see the Ireland vs. Bulgaria World Cup with the Weasleys…Percy was aggravated, because he didn't want the cup he had attended to go on the same length that that one had…he only mentioned it because he said it had happened the year before. The year before Harry's fourth year…which meant…
"Are you aware Harry, that there are some questions on this test that the answers are already known to by a select group of people?" Dumbledore asked. Harry slowly shook his head, and Dumbledore nodded. "The Ministry puts out these tests to various school in case signs of a gifted child ever appears. Harry, you'll be going to the Ministry to find out whether or not you posses the power of a Seer. Judging from you're rather specific answer, I would dare say you do."
Harry fell back onto his bed, finally having escaped the needling of the teachers and the plans to have him attend a Ministry appointment. McGonagall, knowing he had lived with Muggles and assuming that his nervousness had been because he didn't know about what was going on, had sat him down and explained what Seers were and how the Ministry kept lists of them the same way they did with Animagi. He had never realized before that that the Ministry kept a registry for Seers, but thinking back he figured it should have been obvious since they kept records of everything else. He stared at the ceiling wondering how he was going to get himself out of the mess he'd made. Whatever he chose he would have to explain how he knew about the match. Apparently there had been other questions he'd answered in s way that suggested he might have 'the gift', and he doubted he'd be able to wave them all off as a fluke.
Harry frowned. What if he made it look like he was a Seer? A shy, modest Seer who didn't like talking about his Sight? It would explain any flukes he made later in case he said or did something stupid again. Coming to a decision Harry left the dormitory, heading toward the library to do some actual research. He still had a few hours left before his next assignment for the day, and he would need to make sure he didn't mess anything up while taking the evaluation, and to make sure there weren't any strings attached to being registered. He knew the Ministry couldn't rule your life since Professor Trelawney worked at Hogwarts, and during the fifth year she was even looked into by Umbridge for being a fake. Which meant she either hadn't passed the test, or had registered without taking it since her Great-great-grandmother or something had been famous for being a Seer and she was allowed to use that as a byway around it. Harry figured he would look it up when he got to the library.
By the time dinner came Harry had gone through most of the books about Divination and past Seers, as well as checked out some on the Ministry's regulation control. Seeing the time on his wristwatch he closed his books and made his way toward the Great Hall. This was still one thing, while possibly immature or obsessive, that was nagging at him to be gotten done. That was of course, Ron. He didn't want to be overly cruel, but the Troll could have killed Hermione or himself, and the prat needed to learn a lesson not to do it again. Hell, not even Malfoy had done anything that would seriously kill any of them until fifth or sixth year, everything else he did just would have harmed them or gotten them in trouble. Now that Harry wasn't friends with Ron, he wasn't sure if anything like the troll would happen again if he didn't do anything.
Harry entered the Great Hall and looked around. He saw the twins talking animatedly between themselves, and Percy was at another table sitting with a few Prefects who had stayed behind. Ron was sitting a few seats down from the twins, but wasn't included in their conversation. Harry almost felt bad for him, sitting by himself, but not quite. He walked over to the table and sat down at the end, pulling some food toward him and taking a book out of his pocket. He un-shrunk it to reveal a rather thick and old fashioned tome, then he opened it and began reading. It was the same book Hermione had caught him reading during his first night at Hogwarts- The Art of Illusions: Hidden Arts that Wizards have Forgot- and he was eager to try it out.
After fifteen minutes Ron got up and began making his way out of the hall. Harry smiled, pulling a number of small rings out of his pocket and slipping one on each finger. Once he had done that he stood and left the table himself. When he'd gotten outside the room he threw his invisibility cloak around himself and followed the path he knew Ron was taking. Upon catching up with the redhead he drew back, whispering a spell and flicking his fingers.
Ron kept walking, looking ahead of him with a bored expression. He had imagined that staying in the castle for Christmas would be a little more exciting, but none of the other Gryffindor boys had stayed- except bloody Potter, and he wasn't about to hang out with him- and the twins who didn't want to hang around with him. There was no way he was going to be stuck with Percy, so it left him spending most of the holiday vacation alone. A small movement out of the corner of his eye brought him out of his silent musings. At first he just thought a rat had gotten into the castle or escaped from a student and it hadn't been caught yet, but looking at it a little closer he realized he recognized it. "Scabbers?"
The rat, which looked exactly like Ron's lost pet, turned and looked at him, twitching its whiskers before turning back to what it was doing and scrambling down a connecting hallway. Ron began jogging after it. He had been looking for that bloody rat for ages. "Scabbers! Come back here!"
Harry followed silently, making sure to keep himself a little distance behind, but staying close enough to control what was going on. He made the imaginary rat continue running, stopping every once in a while to make sure Ron didn't give up chasing it. Once they had gotten to a certain hallway, far away from any students who might be wondering around and devoid of any teachers, Harry made his rat run down one last 'hall'. He watched as Ron turned in after him, and pulled his wand out, closing and locking the hidden door. He also cast a silencing charm on the room before making his own way through an illusion created wall and into a different room next to where he was standing.
Upon entering his room, Harry cast the same silencing and locking charms on his door he'd cast on Ron's, but these were to keep people from getting in, not out. It was an extra precaution, to anyone passing by, both doors would look like parts of the wall next to them. Considering how many places in Hogwarts moved he didn't think anyone would find it odd for them to be missing on the off chance someone did come close to their spot. Harry walked over to a desk arrangement he had set up earlier in the middle of the room and sat down, pulling off his cloak and shoving it into his pouch. The book he placed beside him, so he would have a reference to look at in case he forgot something. On the desk in front of him was a mirror that let him see into the room Ron was now sealed inside. He had remembered the two-way mirror Sirius had given him before he'd died, and bought a new set for himself. He always felt a little guilty using them, thinking about what happened to his godfather, but he shoved the thoughts aside. Looking inside the mirror now, he saw Ron looking around in a type of irritated confusion.
As soon as Ron had followed Scabbers down the last hallway the rat had disappeared, and Ron had found himself in some type of room without any doors or windows. There was nothing inside the room except two torches on the walls on either side of him. He didn't realize that in front of him was a mirror that had been hidden to match the stones beside it. Ron knew he had been led into some sort of prank, now he wanted his idiot brothers to end it. "Alright, Fred, George, let me out of here!"
"Fred? George? I'm afraid I know no one by that name."
Ron whipped around, looking for the source of the voice. Standing- or more accurately- floating behind him was a ghost, wearing old fashion robes and looking particularly high class; he was bald with a short beard and thin figure. The spirit's eyes were glaring at Ron, who was staring at him in slight confusion. It was an unfamiliar ghost that he'd never seen before in the castle.
"May I ask why exactly you are here?" the ghost asked. "How did you find this room? I wasn't aware it was built to respond to blood-traitors."
Just as Ron was opening his mouth in outrage another voice floated from his right.
"Now now Salazar, there's no need for that." Ron turned to look, and saw a plump woman with ginger colored hair watching him good naturedly. She also looked ancient, as though she was from a long time ago. The name Salazar stuck in Ron's mind, and he felt like he must have been seeing things. The founders hadn't become ghosts, he would have heard of that if it was true. "We welcome all students here at Hogwarts, whether you like it or not."
"Wrongly so, I still say," the man implied as Slytherin shot back. "Just look at this dolt. You think wizards like this should be allowed into our school?"
"Everyone is welcome." Ron jerked his head to his left, where the newest voice was coming from. Another ghost with long dark hair had appeared, and spoke in a soft voice. "Helga is right. Besides, you cannot judge children to be worthy because of their family. It seems to me there are some very bright children from non-magical backgrounds here this year."
"I agree to that statement, Rowena." Looking back to the wall he'd originally been facing Ron saw another man, with a mane of hair and piercing eyes. He was bulkier than the ghost across from him, and was looking at Ron critically. "Why, I know of one excellent example in my own house. A small Muggle born witch, I believe she's beating all of your children in their tests."
"Pah," Slytherin hissed. "Is this witch-" the word was spit out like a curse, as if the girl didn't deserve the title, "- is so extraordinary, why was she almost killed by this boy here?"
"What?" Ron asked, spinning around to face the first ghost. "What are you talking about? I haven't almost killed anybody!"
"No?" Slytherin asked, smirking. "Seems to me you almost did the school a favor by getting rid of that Mudblood with the troll. There's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I'd say the attempt was almost Slytherin worthy. Not quite, you're not that good and most certainly not that well blooded, but the intent was there."
"Yes, this boy did do a lot of damage that night." Ravenclaw looked at Ron in disgust. "Harassing a child just because she has more knowledge than yourself. Brutish and ignorant. Why, in our time this child would have been expelled, and had his magic stripped. I would have seen to it personally."
Ron stared at the ghost in horror. A wizard having his magic stripped was one of the greatest shames that could be given to anyone. The punishment wasn't even around anymore, that's how cruel the modern wizarding society believed it to be.
"Well, Rowena, I don't think his offense was worth a punishment quite that extreme," Hufflepuff defended. "He is still just a child. Perhaps if he was older and behaving that way, but not as a simple eleven year old. Why, look at the poor boy! He's not exactly a genius like any of us here. I'm sure he's just lonely, and struggling through his classes without any friends. I always did wonder why they got rid of the different levels of class difficulty, 'detrimental to the students health' sounds like a lousy excuse to me."
"Examples in your house, Gryffindor?" Slytherin cackled. "What do you think of this one? You go ahead and have the brightest witch, if you have the dimmest wizard it balances itself out. The way your house is going they'll kill each other off before anything becomes of them."
"But I didn't kill anyone!" Ron yelled again, swerving to look at the man. "I didn't even come close- she was fine! Bloody Potter was hurt more than she was, and it was his own fault for getting in the way!"
"Yes, the child who saved her was an excellent example of my house's bravery, something you seem to lack. If he hadn't been there the girl would have surely been killed," Gryffindor sighed, looking at the wall across from him. "I admit, my trusted Sorting Hat does seem to judge students a little prematurely at times."
"I think it judged him fine, what other house would he have gone in?" Slytherin pushed with a twisted smirk. "He's not even close to being cunning enough for my house, a troll is far too rash."
"I don't believe this student would have fit into my house either, Godric," Ravenclaw agreed. "He isn't quite up to par with the expectations of my students."
"He doesn't seem to be very fair in his judgments I'm afraid." Ron turned to look at Hufflepuff, following the founders as they spoke. She looked at him sadly. "Nor is he the hardest worker I've ever seen."
Gryffindor didn't say anything, simply looked at Ron with disdain.
Harry lifted his right index finger, making the 'ghost' of Godric Gryffindor fade out of existence. He then did the same thing with the two fingers controlling Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, finally making Slytherin disappear after letting out one last cackle. The rings he was wearing allowed him to control his illusions like puppets, all he had to do was concentrate on what finger a certain image was attached to and send his magic into it so the figure would do his bidding. He could have done it with a wand, but it was a lot more complicated and required twice the concentration. He hadn't wanted to mess up, plus he was trying to experiment with different types of magical conductors, so he used the rings instead.
Finally he tugged up his left pinky, sending the room into darkness. After removing the illusions he had cast over the door and desks piled against the wall,, and picking up his wand to wave away the locking charm, he lit the room up again, allowing the panicked form of Ron reappear in his vision through the mirror. Seeing his new environment, Ron spun around in confusion before bolting toward the door and pulling it open. Harry could hear him running down the hall past his door and smiled. Satisfied with his work he stood up and stretched before gathering his things together and taking the rings off of his fingers, disabling all the other illusions he had in place. It seemed to him that it had been a job well done.
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who reviewed, favorited, and put this story on their alerts! It means a lot, thank you!
And there's the big conclusion that lets Harry hide his secret for a little bit longer. I had never actually seen a time travel story use that (well, aside from with Luna, but that's different- in the fics I read with her in them she normally is a Seer of some sort) and I liked the idea. Harry's revenge on Ron finally happened in this chapter too. I didn't want Harry to seem too cruel or anything, so I tried to have his revenge double as a lesson for Ron, so he actually got something from it. I figured that being terrorized by the founder's 'ghosts' seemed appropriate for a first year student. Also, Sirius didn't really say anything about the note to Harry in this chapter, but there's a reason for that, I didn't just forget it, don't worry.
Please review! ^^