A/N: Oh my god, sooo much work to do this year! I have to create TWO creative writing portfolios – one for work and one for university applications. Is there anybody out there who has such a portfolio who can offer me some advice? Lol.
Chapter 12! Enjoy!
I do not own Harry Potter or anything related to the world in which he resides.
Harry endured the white noise once again with less difficulty this time. His cheek still felt oddly warm where Dumbledore had touched it, and this was distracting him from the blur of shifting time.
The look that the man had given him was now burned into his memory. It scared him, but he felt… Harry touched his cheek absentmindedly… He felt like he wanted… No, he needed to see it again.
Suddenly, the time-turner stopped, and so did the blurs.
Harry got up awkwardly from his seat and made his way down the small curved staircase. He looked up at the portrait of Dumbledore.
He was there, and he was staring at Harry with yet another unrecognisable expression.
Harry bit his lip, then moved towards it.
The sound of shuffling around him made him stop to look at the some of the other portraits, which were not empty. They were looking between Dumbledore and Harry awkwardly.
Harry felt his cheeks go pink.
He took a breath and looked down at the floor, allowing his thoughts to organise themselves.
He couldn't deal with this now. He had a job to do. He had students to teach.
"Oh, crap," he muttered, suddenly looking at his watch. James had probably been waiting in his office for ages, and he needed to stock up on more Content potions before his next few classes.
He bolted out of the round office, leaving the portrait of Dumbledore looking mightily satisfied.
Harry bustled into his office, tucking a recently emptied Content bottle into his robes long with a few full ones, and found James slouched in one of the seats opposite his desk.
"Dad," he said when he noticed Harry's arrival, "Why did you have to be so cold last night? We had it sorted out!"
"James," said Harry sternly, "You know that jinxing fellow students is against the school rules. Nobody is in exception to those rules."
"What about the guys who stuck their noses into our private life?"
Harry sighed and sat down heavily in his chair.
"Unfortunately, they weren't breaking any school rules, so I can't punish them."
James looked appalled.
"I can't show any favouritism towards any member of my family," Harry continued, "During school hours, I am your teacher. So I will treat you like a student. Is that clear?"
James sat back in his chair, his arms firmly crossed over his chest.
"Why did you get so… Depressing?" he said huffily.
"I'm not depressing!" said Harry, taken aback.
Harry's heart sank. He knew that once James spoke that word, the conversation was, in his son's mind, over.
But James hadn't spoken to him this much since the separation between him and Ginny, and Harry wasn't going to give that up easily.
"What is bothering you, son?"
James looked at him as though he had grown six heads.
"You mean you don't know?"
Harry suddenly felt a little uncomfortable.
"How can I know what's wrong if you don't tell me?" he asked evenly.
James avoided his eyes, but took a deep breath and began to talk.
"You just up and left us! One day, we were perfectly fine, the next, you and Mum announced that you were separating and then you left us the next day! I mean…" he gestured wildly, opening and closing his mouth, "I mean, who does that?"
Harry leant forward in his seat, looking grave.
"James… Your mother and I are good friends. We love each other, but we're not in love with each other. Not anymore. When we stay in the vicinity of each other for too long, we are not nice people to be around. We separated as much for your sake as we did for our own."
James still didn't look convinced.
"I fight with Lily all the time, but you'd be pretty steamed if I went to the Ministry and declared her to be not my sister anymore."
"Oh James, you know that's not the same thing…" said Harry groggily, leaning back in his chair again.
"James… Lily is your sister. Ginny is my friend…" Harry trailed off, thinking through his argument carefully.
"I hope that when you get married, you'll never have to second guess the declaration you make. The thing is… Lily is your sister. We both know the authenticity of that declaration. Ginny on the other hand… I don't love her enough to be a good husband to her. She deserves much more than I can offer her."
James shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"So James… Are you talking to me again?"
"Just one more thing…"
"Are you… Are you gay?"
Harry's eyebrows shot up past his hairline.
"Wh-what made you ask me that?"
Harry almost laughed, before he became aware of the hourglass that hung heavily against his chest. He felt his face begin to fall, before he caught himself and gave a sharp laugh and shook his head roughly.
"No. No! Seriously, where did you get an idea like that, James?"
James shook his head.
"Just something Lily said."
With that, the bell rang, and James stood up and left to take his seat in the classroom next door, leaving Harry sitting behind his desk looking rather gormless.
When the bell rang after his final class of the day, Harry was glad to follow the rest of the students to the Great Hall for a much needed dinner.
He had been distracted nicely from the encounter he had had with Dumbledore – past and present - but was unkindly reminded of it when Jed engaged him in conversation about the book.
"I think we have all of the material we need now, Harry. We just need to string it all together, put in capital letters, full stops and we'll be done."
Harry swallowed his mouthful of steak pie.
"Why don't you interview the others who were involved? Maybe having different versions of the story would be of use to you too?"
Jed inclined his head.
"True, but this book is about your story. I may write another more general take on the war some other time."
Harry nodded distractedly. As much as he wasn't entirely pleased by Jed's response, he was beyond caring.
He was thinking about the portrait in his quarters and how he couldn't decide whether he was dreading or looking forward to seeing it once he had finished his dinner.
"It must be put in chronological order. Think of it as your diary, Harry. Harry?"
Harry looked round. Jed was looking at his lap. He had missed his mouth a few times and now had steak and gravy all over his robes. With a "tut," Harry pulled out his wand and cleaned the mess.
"Tired?" said Jed, concerned.
"A bit," replied Harry.
"Maybe you should turn in?"
"Yeah…" Then the thought of Dumbledore invaded his mind and his heart seemed to leap and sink at the same time.
"No!" He said suddenly, making Jed look even more concerned.
"No… Er… Pudding…" Harry said feebly, finishing the remains of his pie and waiting on the arrival of some treacle tart.
Harry walked slowly towards his quarters; with each step he questioned whether or not to take another.
At some point on his journey between the Great Hall and the corridor which held the tapestry, Harry decided that he would not stop to talk to the portrait. He would go straight to bed. He was, after all, very tired indeed.
When he walked through the wall into his quarters, he found himself doing neither. He sat down at his desk and began to piece together his notes into chronological order for Jed.
The fire began to dim. The candles got gradually lower in their holders.
Harry gave a huge yawn after finishing the last sentence. How had he stayed alert for so long?
"You should be asleep," came a familiar voice from the fireplace.
Harry smirked slightly, ignoring the somersault of his lungs, and turned to the portrait.
It was blank.
Harry instead looked down into the fireplace and saw Jed's head suspended in the flames.
"I saw you at your desk when I took a stroll outside, and thought I'd come to tell you off," he said playfully.
Harry stretched in his chair and stood to lean on the back of the sofa.
"So you've taken up the role as my nanny now?"
"Yes. I'll be getting you a bib to catch any food which misses your mouth when you are distracted."
Harry smiled tiredly, then picked up his finished notes and held them up to Jed.
"I have these notes finished if you want them. If there's anything you think I've missed, just let me know."
Harry picked up the fire tongs and put the parchment in them and then in the flames, which swallowed the paper and Jed in a flash of green.
Harry sighed and looked up, he jumped back when he saw Dumbledore looking at him contentedly.
"Geeze Professor, are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
The portrait chuckled, and Harry sat back heavily on the sofa.
"I suppose you want to talk about this morning?"
Dumbledore said nothing.
Of course, you can't talk about it can you? You can't, in case you say something which I shouldn't know yet."
"That's right Harry."
"Can you at least tell me how long I'll be gone for?"
"You won't ever be gone longer than a few seconds. You will jump back in time, but be returned to exactly the same time when you left. Only you will be in the same place you were at when the time turner sends you back forwards. I believe my past self made a point of demonstrating that to you. He took you upstairs, did he not?"
"Will I age?"
Dumbledore was silent again.
Harry looked up questioningly.
"To that Harry… You'll have to wait and see."
Harry sighed and surveyed Dumbledore closely. He couldn't help but see this man as a different person now. This man, who looked at Harry like… He didn't know. It was just different.
"What are you planning, Dumbledore?"
The professor looked thoroughly taken aback.
"Me? Oh no, Harry… We. We have both had to do a lot of planning."
"Yes, being at the mercy of time means that we have had to develop the special talent of planning behind, as well as planning forward."
Harry felt his eyes droop. He couldn't be bothered getting up to go to his bed, so he decided to sleep right there on the sofa. He lifted his legs up and settled down, finding himself unusually comfortable under the gaze of his old mentor.
A/N: Admittedly, the last paragraph mostly reflected my feelings at this point in time.
This story is going to be a bitch to get right, since I won't have the luxury of dealing in chronological order – kind of like our leading characters, lol. So, with that in mind, I apologise in advance for any inconsistencies!
Anyway, please review! Thank you for your support!