I do apologize for the four month wait. Things came up and I simply couldn't find the time to sit and finish this. Thanks for being patient with me. I feel like this chapter is pretty weak, but I do hope you enjoy what you can of it. Thanks again.
He was wrong.
Oh Merlin, was he ever wrong. If Hermione were here, she'd be lecturing his ears off, reminding him of why he was wrong and how he should have realized this. How the hell did he let this happen? He's been through the war, he's defeated the Dark Lord twice before, he was known for quick thinking, how did he make such an absent minded mistake?
Harry snarled at himself, bucking his body against the chair's frame. The thick ropes binding him didn't budge, even the chair was stuck to the floor. With a heavy sigh, Harry dropped his head over the back of the chair. He was stuck.
No. He wasn't just stuck, he was stuck without a chance of escape for once. He was on his own, alone and powerless. Sure, he was a powerful wizard...but he didn't have his wand. Sure, he excelled at wandless magic...but not when there were wards against his specific magical signature. Sure, he was physically fit...but even he couldn't rip through rope.
He wasn't even sure how long he'd been there. Going to the ministry was a mistake. He should have seen it coming. Yes, Umbridge had the necklace when he'd gone to retrieve it, but she wouldn't have it now. Thinking it over, Kreacher should still have it. He'd have to shoot to Grimmauld Place. There was also no doubt that Voldemort knew Harry was the one who had killed Bellatrix. He'd be able to plainly see why if he went looking. Surely, if he were smart enough, Voldemort would be planning some type of preventative measure for his horcruxes.
Then again, he was defeated by an infant.
Harry had triggered a small trap in Umbridge's office. Even with all his training, there was always something that just didn't click, a small trip string in this case. She'd been back at the ministry for roughly three weeks now that Dumbledore was back at Hogwarts. It was more than enough time to set up new protections. The trap hadn't been there before, so how would he had known about it? It was so stupid. He was in such a rush to get the horcruxes and defeat Voldemort that he didn't even think the locations might be different. Harry Potter and "thinking things through" just didn't belong together in a sentence.
The moment he opened he left bottom door, barbed rope flung out and coiled around his upper body, trapping his arms across his chest. The twine had thorns laced with a dreamless sleep potion. It didn't take long for his already exhausted body to surrender. He had moments of in and out of consciousness. There were quick movements, shadowed figures, but nothing clear on what was going on before everything was dark once more. The next thing he knew was the searing pain of being dosed with salt water. It were as if the droplets sealed themselves into every single little puncture and healing wound. It was quick to see that one, he wasn't going to be escaping anytime soon. Two, Umbridge was definitely in ties with the Death Eaters considering how many were scattered about the small room leering over his agony. And three, he'd have some interesting new scars if he ever made it out.
"I want to ask how, but I'm honestly not curious enough." A woman's voice cut through his thoughts. Sucking in a deep breath, Harry lifted his head and glared at the putrid woman in pink. She was dressed in the same damned pink blazer and matching pink tweed skirt, her hair spelled into some kind of brown cloud around her head and small pink heels irritatingly clacking across the floor. A tight smile flickered over her face as twisted humor shone in her eyes. Waving her hand, she dismissed the small group of Death Eaters. Harry watched as they filed out the door in a single line.
"I seem to be more enthusiastic that you're sitting here, trapped and ready for delivery. All you need is a bow." Umbridge sneered. Harry clenched his hands, dying to be free. This wasn't going to end while by any means. There was no doubt that Voldemort knew of Bellatrix's death by now and that he would be furious. If he also knew that Harry was hunting his horcruxes, well, then he was a bit screwed. His only hope was that she didn't inform the Dark Lord of his presences yet, that she was waiting to make a dramatic announcement, then he'd be royally screwed because bad old Tom was one hell of an entertainer.
Heavy foot steps sounded from down the hall. Two bulky figures stepped into the room in dark robes and easily recognizable Death Eater masks. Harry didn't know whether to ask what took so long or scream in delight. Instead, he clamped down on his bottom lip hard enough to break skin and stared. He watched her lips turn upward in an ugly snarl. Twirling herself about face, she slid the wand out from her sleeve and gripped it. With a simple flick and smile, the spell fell free, easy as greeting an old friend.
"Crucio." Harry's entire body went ramrod straight, bracing his back against the chair and planting his feet firmly on the floor. Blood leaked from his lip into his mouth, pooling under his tongue as he clenched his teeth in an effort to stay quiet. He had faced worse. He could sit through a few cruciatus curses. Apparently, Umbridge wasn't interested in his silence. Turning on her heels, she released the curse, marched up to his chair, and leaned over him. She came face to face with him, hands clutching the chair arms.
"I would have thought your last punishment would have been enough to stop your trouble making, but I suppose I was wrong. It seems you've gone for more extravagant trouble. You're meddling in the wrong pool, Potter." Her breath washed over his face. He bit his tongue, not wanting to say anything to set her off. She didn't have the necklace...yet, at least. She wasn't worth the time. Harry knew he needed to get out. It was only a matter of time before Voldemort was here and he didn't have anything to save him from the killing curse this time. Harry swallowed audibly.
Umbridge extracted herself from his personal bubble and walked away. With muttered words to the cloaked Death Eaters by the door, the horrendous woman in pink was gone. An inaudible sigh fell from his lips. He kept himself in a tight line in case his memory was wrong. He couldn't make a mistake involving another person. The man on the right sauntered up first, circling him once before settling into a hawk-like position behind him. A large hand suddenly smacked the back of his head.
"You fool. Why in Merlin's name would you go to Umbridge? Didn't you get enough of her games when you were fifteen?" The voice hissed. A small smile spread over the young savior's lips. Yep, it was his favorite professor all right. Tilting his head back, he rolled his eyes.
"Don't you think I've already gone over this in my head? I know where I need to be. I need to go now. I can't give them any time. I can't let this take any longer than it has already." The man behind him stared down, sadness tugging his grin at seeing the teen alive into a deep frown behind his mask. He raised his hand and gestured for his friend to come over.
"We'll take you to the Manor and get you on your way. If you would, Lucius?" The other man brought his hand out from underneath his cloak, presenting his cane. Severus easily did away with the binds. The second Harry was free, he shot to his feet and laid his hand over the cane's head. The potions master did the same. In an instant, the dark and dreary dungeon-like room was gone. Instead, it was replaced by walls lined with deep walnut shelving bursting at the seams with books and small trinkets. Expensive furniture spotted the room in matching wooden frames and rich, silk coverings. In the corner, a body bolted to its feet, snapping the book he had shut.
"Father?" The taller and broader of the two men turned to the younger teen, nodding.
"Draco, grab a pair of your uncle's jeans and a cotton shirt from the spare room. And please bring your black, hooded cloak." Lucius quickly ordered his son. Without hesitating, the blond teen was out of the room. Harry had moved in the opposite direction, his back facing them as he stretched.
"How long were you in there?" Severus asked, removing his mask and throwing his cloak on the back of the sofa. Malfoy did the same, moving across the room to fill three glasses with fire whiskey. Harry turned, but kept his head down.
"A day or two. Maybe. I'm not sure entirely. How long have I been gone?" Harry asked. Severs waltzed up to him and stop about a foot away. He dug around in the inner pocket of his robes for something. Thankfully, the dark haired man produced a thin line of wood. Harry gratefully took his wand back, grasping it firmly in his hands.
"Three weeks, more precisely, a week more than what your promised the mutt and the wolf." The man answered softly, fonder than any tone he'd ever heard before. A heavy breath left Harry's and finally glanced up at his once professor. Severus could barely keep his jaw from dropping. He managed to hide it with a tight sneer of disgust at the damage. While his face was relatively unscathed, the weeks without proper care had definitely taken a tool. Dark bags hung under his eyes, their color dulled. The gray pallor of his complexion was not healthy in any way. The dark growth of stubble spreading over his jaw only made the teen look worse for wear. His body on the other hand had small, inflamed puncture marks. While they had begun to heal, it was clear that a minor infection wasn't allowing them to seal properly, only soft scabbing that didn't protect the under flesh. There were three even slash marks across his abdomen, perfectly parallel. They were recent, but shallow. The clotting of the blood made it clear that it hadn't had the time to allow for infection yet. There was bruising, odd scratches, burns, and tears of clothing, but nothing life threatening. No doubt, to be left to the Dark Lord.
"Three weeks." He repeated, unable to hide the tremor in his voice. It took one week to hunt down Bellatrix. He needed her to get into Gringotts, but when he found the goblet at Lestrange manor, that didn't matter any more. A day later, he was trekking back to Diagon Alley on foot. The less magic he used, the better. And now, Severus was telling him he'd been away for three weeks? That meant he had spent the last week and a half in her hands, in a state of confusion and loss. What had he missed?
"Has anything happened in the last week?" Harry asked, turning away once more. The raven haired teen faked interest at a group of books, scanning the hard covers and tracing the gold scripted titles. Severus stared at his back, watching the slim shoulders fall in defeat, already expecting the worst, to hear about attacks and deaths.
"The Dark Lord is aware of your actions. He is planning an event for you, but we have not been informed of what it shall be. The Order has been alerted of this change and are planning their own defenses around what information we are given. Other than that, nothing has happened. The Dark Lord is still coming to his own skin after his recent resurrection. He is still weak." That seemed to please the teen. He turned on his heels with a small smile, but then downcast his eyes.
"I need to get back. I need him, Sev, but I need to finish this first. I can't let it go on. I can't lose everyone again. Not Sirius, not Remus, not you." Mentioning made his chest constrict painfully. He gasped slightly at the unexpected pain. It faded quickly. This was how it started. In about a week, it would be enough to leave him reeling on the ground. Considering he didn't know if it was a two-sided pain, he need to get back quickly.
"I'm going to fetch some healing salves so you can clean yourself up. Draco will be back in a moment with clothing." Severus explained, then removed himself from the room. It was becoming hard to be away from the teen. He couldn't handle it at the moment. Not the desire to stay and find out what their friendship built on. Not the want to have someone understand him. Not the absolute need to no longer feel alone. The amount of emotion behind Harry's words nearly floored Severus. The teen wasn't lying. There was no way Harry could possibly feel that way unless they had become friends. Potter as a friend, anyone else would think him hysterical. But at the same time, it was comforting in the least to know someone wanted him around. But they both had responsibilities to fulfill first. Harry watched him go with a frown before turning to the elder Malfoy.
"How is your family, Mr. Malfoy?" Thrown by the casualness of the question, Lucius didn't answer. Instead, he tossed back his own question.
"It's true then. You are from the future? Sent back in time?" Harry nodded to him, green eyes calm. The blond man waved his hand for Harry to be seated.
"Can you talk about the future?" He asked. Harry nodded once more.
"Yes. The time line I'm from no longer exists. The moment Ronald Weasley woke me that morning was the moment my time line stopped and took over this one. It's not unlike a parallel universe, except that the Harry here and myself were one in the same. His life was moving the same speed as mine, but at different times. What do you want to know?" He replied. Lucius kept his face expressionless, simply moving back in the chair to cross his legs.
"What happens to my family after this year?" Harry couldn't say he didn't expect that. Quite frankly, anything else would have surprised him.
"During my sixth year, Voldemort marks your son. He doesn't want to be a Death Eater, nor do you, but you're aware of the consequences of leaving now and can imagine refusing to let him mark your son. The guilt that follows him after being marked is enormous. While we were in school, Draco and I were never friends. We still weren't friends after, but we could stand each other and definitely respected one another. Your son will become a good man, Mr. Malfoy. You and your wife escape during the raid on Hogwarts that happens year and a half after graduation. You all leave the country, in fact. I don't know much after that, if you ever returned or anything, because I wasn't there long enough. I imagine you all had a peaceful life from then on." The elder Malfoy seemed relieved and nodded his thanks. With all his scheming and misdeeds, Lucius Malfoy could never be accused of neglecting his family. It was small, but he loved his wife and son dearly. The door opened to reveal Severus and Draco. Draco dropped the clothes on the sofa next to Harry, who stood immediately. He tugged off his shirt, turning to Snape. The professor stuck his fingers in the goop and spread a thin layer over the various marks on his body. When he moved to Harry's back, he grabbed the teen's shoulder. Across his back were scars in resemblence of claws. They stretched from his left shoulder to the middle of his back. It had healed naturally from the pucker of slightly raised skin running down the marks.
"Greyback. He grabbed me, but I was taken out of the way. I didn't know of them until recently. Just finish so I can go. I need all the time I can get. I still have to go back to Hogwarts." Applying a small amount over the last of the thorn punctures, Severus moved away and let him dress in peace. Harry pulled the black cotton t-shirt over his head and tugged over the other pair of jeans. He made sure to grab his belt from his own jeans, the borrowed ones a tad bit wide in the hips. He jumped back into his dragon hide boots. Sliding effortlessly into the dark cloak, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Opening them, his eyes shone with determination. He slipped his wand up the sleeve of the cloak and grinned at the other three in the room.
"Thank you. If you don't mind, may I use your floo?" Malfoy carelessly motioned with his hand to where the fireplace was on the opposite wall. Before Harry grabbed a fistful of powder, he turned back to the room and smiled.
"Don't fret, Mr. Malfoy. Your family will still be safe and Draco will never be a Death Eater. He will not be marked. You and Severus will not be serving for much longer. And do me a favor, do keep a close eye on Tom. We can't be too careful." Harry tipped his head in farewell and stepped backwards into the fireplace. Throwing down the floo powder, he called out a location close enough to Grimmauld to appear in without drawing too much attention. Hopefully, Kreacher wouldn't be too hard to barter with.
Harry leaned heavily on the door as it opened, careful to keep the door from squeaking. He then slipped in and waved his hand to shut the door behind him softly. Keeping his body against the wall, Harry moved through the foyer and into the living area, peeking around every corner to check for Order members. He knew the moment that the Order told Dumbledore, then Sirius and Remus would know. Then he'd have to deal with the both of them coming along. He did his best to ignore the stabbing pain in his chest.
At the sound of foot steps, he forced his body into a corner and cast a notice-me-not charm. Through the archway came Hermione and Ron, followed by Mrs. Weasley. The two teens were laughing about something while the Matriarch frowned at their delight, obviously not an appropriate joke had been passed. The three were out quickly, all filing out of the door. With a sigh, he moved into the kitchen and called for the old house elf.
"Kreacher." With a pop, the house elf staggered over to him, disgust clear on his heavily wrinkled face.
"What do you want?" It asked. Harry decided not to comment. Even the Kreacher in his time had been snarkish, but more polite at least.
"The locket." The house elf bristled, stepping away slightly.
"Kreacher knows nothing of a locket." Kreacher's eyes darted around the room quickly, a sign of avoidance. Harry shifted his weight to one leg.
"I know you have it. The locket from the cave, Kreacher. The one Regulus asked you to destroyed as he died after you fed him the poison." Kreacher began to tremble. He backed himself up into the wall and cowered.
"Kreacher tried to destroy it. Nothing worked. Regulus will not be happy with Kreacher. Kreacher must be punished." The house elf moved to grabbed the antique vase from the table.
"No, no Kreacher. Master Regulus would be very happy with Kreacher. You tried, but he asked of an impossible task from you. You do still have it, don't you?" The old elf nodded hesitantly.
"I need it. I can destroy it." The elf still didn't move.
"Will you let me have it, Kreacher? I only want to complete what Regulus was doing. I want to help him rest in peace." Harry explained, nearly pleading. Kreacher finally straightened himself and nodded.
"Kreacher will get locket." In a flash, he was gone. Harry scrubbed his face with his hand. Krecher appeared before him, hand tightly clenching something in his fist.
"For Master Regulus." Kreacher stretched out his hand and offer the locket. Harry stared down at it for only a second before reaching out to grab it. It's golden, octagon shape glimmered just like he remembered. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small, red beaded drawstring bag. Opening it, he dropped the necklace inside.
"Thank you, Kreacher. Master Regulus would be very happy with you." The house elf brightened at those words, but withdrew himself from the room. Upon hearing footsteps thumping down the stairs, he shoved the bag into his jean pocket and ducked into the pantry. When the passing person went out the back door, Harry bolted to the front door and around the corner into the alley way hwere he apparated to the closest place near Godric's Hollow that came to mind, which happened to be Hog's Head. The moment his feet touched the ground, his entire world tilted. Everything hurt. His back from where the Death Eaters 'accidentally' dropped him a few times, the bruises that clung to his skin felt as if they bone deep, and every scratch burned like miniature fires lighting across his flesh.
"Haven't we been through this before, Harry?" A voice asked. Harry rolled his head on his neck, straining to see the person talking to him. A mop of dark curls caught his attention.
"Adam?" The time traveller stepped closer, grabbing Harry under his arms to help him up.
"How many times do we have to go through this? You might be the great and mighty savior, but even you need to rest. I heard about Umbridge. Did you really think she'd have it? Now, really Harry? Even I'm not as dense to think everything is the same in each time." He leaned Harry back against the wall and watched him for a short moment.
"How did you hear about Umbridge? You don't talk with Severus in this time, do you?" Harry asked. Adam shook his head.
"No, but I was on good terms with Dumbledore here." It suddenly clicked in Harry's mind.
"That's how he knew I was going to be here. You told him." Adam nodded, pulling a pack of cigarettes from his back pocket.
"Yeah. I told him you'd be showing up, but nothing more. Nothing about what you'd been through. Nothing about what you had become. Nothing about anything. Only that you'd be dumped here. Boy, was he surprised when he saw you. I didn't even tell him what time you came from. When you said 1999, oh Merlin, he was confused. He expected it to end in 1997, you know, right before you graduated so that he could step into the light. He knew you had to die for the Dark Lord to die." Adam laughed, lighting up his cigarette and taking a long draw from it.
"I'd say those things will kill you, but we both know that's a mute point." Harry said. Adam rolled his eyes.
"Take it up with Fate, all right? I've got an eternity to quit." Adam said, taking another drag.
"Or to get worse. Just you watch, you'll be a chain smoker by the time I'm thirty." Harry replied. Adam chuckled, glancing over the teen once more.
"You all right?" He asked. Harry waved him off.
"I'm fine. Just a little worn. I haven't eaten and desperately need sleep." Adam cocked his head.
"You mean you didn't get enough with Umbridge?" Harry smirked, resisting the urge to smack the other man.
"There's a difference between sleeping and being unconscious, Adam." Said man finished his cigarette and snubbed the butt out on the brick wall.
"Let's get some food in you and then we'll worry about sleep." Harry automatically agreed, nodding eagerly. They stepped into Hog's Head and made their way to a booth in the back. Harry sat with his back facing the door, not wanting to be recognized and trusting Adam enough to warn him of anything lethal.
"What were you doing over here anyways?" Harry asked, looking down at the raggedy menu, trying to make out names of dishes. Adam pushed his own menu away and looked up.
"There's been some Death Eater activity. Nothing has actually gone down, but I overheard a few in my shop talking about a meet up tonight. I was going to go and take a look around for you, but then I remember Snape already has a free pass and I like my face right where it is. Then I felt your magic. My 'Harry did something reckless' sense started tingling.
"You and muggle comics." The teen muttered. Adam flashed him a grin.
"They're the only constant, Harry. They're timeless." He jabbed. Harry snorted his amusement.
"So's your hair." Harry said. Adam's eyes went wide as his hands shove themselves into his mess of curls.
"Oi, what's wrong with my hair?" He pure concern for his hair was ridiculus. Harry let out a hearty laugh as Adam recognized the joke.
"Oh ha ha. I'll have you know that the cut of those jeans went out a year ago." The young savior raised a brow.
"Trust you to be given the ability to travel at will and keep track of fashion. These jeans aren't even mine. You checked out my ass enough to know the cut of my jeans by now." Adam flushed, but kept his ground.
"I can admire, thank you! I keep track of other things too!" He shot back. Harry cocked his head.
"What, music? What boy band is popular three years from now?" Harry asked.
"Boyzone with two number one singles." He answered without thinking. Harry couldn't contain his smug smile. Adam's eyes bulged for a second before he slapped his forehead.
"Oh, fuck you, Potter." They both laughed as a waitress approached them. He ordered some type of pasta dish and they both ate with minimal conversation. Once they were done, they both dropped a few bills on the table and made their way out.
"Where were you going?" Adam asked. Harry looked up at the dark sky.
"Godric's Hollow. I apparated there after I retrieved Hufflepuff's Goblet. I left it there. I didn't want to take it with me. I was going to grab it and head to Hogwarts." Adam nodded.
"It's late, how about we head back to my flat and we'll go for it in the morning. Then, you can head to Hogwarts. You look like you could do with a good night's rest." Harry agreed. Adam took him by the elbow and performed a side-along apparition.
"Sirius, what is it?" Remus asked, bolting up from his chair, newspaper flying off to the side as he rushed to his friend. Sirius was leaning over the side of the sofa, hands clenching the fabric in a white knuckled grip. He was gasping out and all color from his complexion had drained. Remus pulled Sirius against him, hands firmly grasping his right shoulder and left bicep. The tawny haired man led him around the sofa and pushed him down to sit.
"Sirius, what's wrong? Are you in pain? What happened?" Remus asked, beyond terrified at his friend's condition. Sirius leaned back and closed his eyes, sucking in deep breaths in an effort o ease his discomfort. It finally passed after about ten minutes.
"I was only thinking about when Harry would get back, going...to lunch and such. And suddenly, my chest seized up. Everything got tight, my lungs felt like they wanted to close. It felt like stick on fire was stabbing my heart." Sirius explained, still not quite sure what happened.
"Let's get you to Poppy. I think this might be what Harry was talking about." Sirius clenched his jaw as a wave of residual pain swept over him. Remus threw himself down before his fireplace and called for Poppy. Once he let her know they were stepping through, he tugged Sirius to his feet and pushed him into the fire. The animagus stumbled out, paled faced and sweating. Madame Pomfrey immediately directed him to a bed and had him sit while she took record of his vitals. When asked, Sirius described the situation once more. When he was done, she simply patted his knee and smiled.
"You have a soul mate, Mr. Black. It's no doubt due to your animagus being a canine. They're very loyal and tend to stick in packs. Your pack would consist of yourself, Mr. Lupin, and, of course, Mr. Potter. It is more often than not that they will find a mate within the pack. He just so happened to pick Mr. Potter as his mate. You need to have him around. While I've been explained very small portions of the situation, I believe your animagus is acting up because Mr. Potter is no longer a child and your animal half is more than aware, Mr. Black. I reckon that his sudden, prolonged absence is causing the pain in your chest. It's essentially a distress signal. It is also a two-sided road and occurs when a mate feels the absence of his other half for longer than necessary. It has been heard of that bonded soul mates can go years apart, but you and Mr. Potter are not as such. I have no doubt that he is feeling the absence as well." She explained slowly, trying her best to keep the two men on her train of thought. Remus nodded along, remembering his own lecture about mates and things of the like. He simply hadn't found his yet.
"Yes, I recall Harry telling us of the pain he felt in his own time. To think the both of you are being affected, I would think he should be making his return soon." Remus exclaimed, joyous at the thought of his pup returning. However, Sirius shook his head.
"Harry's felt the pain before. He's lived with it for...we don't know how long until he was thrown back here." He said. The werewolf made an erratic gesture with his hands.
"Yes, but he must know that you'll feel it too. He would never let you suffer because of him." Remus replied. Sirius groaned as another wave washed through his system.
"We can only hope that he knows. I'm not sure if I can last through this." The animagus admitted, pulling at his shirt. Remus reached out to pat his friend's knee.
"He'll be back soon, Sirius. I know he will."
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.