'HP: Dolen Amser'
- Bags and Cats -
A/N: I don't own squat, save for the plot.
Yes this has been a while in coming. I've been going back and forth between my three Potter stories, writing. The other two stories should be updated relatively soon.
October 31, 1990
"H – Ha – Harry?" Tonks stuttered through a wisp of breath.
She knows! Harry turned away, throwing his standard morph up with stark white hair. "Shite!"
It would've been an interesting scene, had anyone came across the pair. Wouldn't happen from the various notice-me-nots that Tonks had placed around the area, though. She rarely had such a gobsmacked expression, and Jim was absolutely still… something completely unheard of for the fidgety person.
Harry's reaction was his default that he'd tried so hard to eradicate over the years. His arms were locked to his chest, wrists crossed and under his chin, with his knees drawn up to make him as small as possible. True, he wasn't in any danger of being beaten, but that didn't matter because it wasn't rational.
Blinking rapidly, Tonks had no clue what to say. Seeing Harry curled into a ball with white hair floored her, though. White hair for her usually meant terror or fright of some sort, but being all balled up like that reminded her of Terri Ambrose. She was a fourth year now, but her first week of her first year proved to be too much for the poor girl. And, Harry was reacting just like she did, whenever someone yelled or shouted in anger. As it turned out, her father was the worst drunk imaginable. Oh, Merlin.
Kneeling down next to him, Tonks' suspicions were somewhat confirmed when Harry flinched at her touch. "Harry," she whispered, "Harry, I'm not going to hurt you. I promise."
As for Harry, he was lost in his own mind. Vernon's purple bellowing and Petunia's screeching wails that he was worthless were the main focus. The rest were images of being stared at when everyone thought he was the Heir of Slytherin, or the cheat everyone thought he was when his name flew out of the Goblet; Cedric dying in front of him; Sirius vanishing through the veil; Hermione being struck down with a dark cutting curse.
It was his own personal hell.
Throughout that entire miasma of images and emotions, he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Harry," Tonks whispered, "Harry, I'm not going to hurt you. I promise."
Peeking up through slitted eyes, Harry saw Tonks leaning over him with tears streaming down her face. "Isn't this the point where you hate me now?" he whispered. "I mean, I did lie to you."
"If it turns out you're ten years old, then we're going to have a problem," Tonks said just as quietly. "What did you lie about?"
"Waitangi, my name, and…" His eyed darted around, searching. "Well, that's pretty much it, I guess. I am sixteen, though."
Hearing that caused Tonks to hug him tighter. "Not mad, then. I mean, I just heard you tell your parents that you love me, so I'd be a real bitch if I hated you now." That statement caused him to exhale rather forcibly, and his hair changed to his regular shoulder length black as he relaxed. "How'd you end up here though?"
"A spectacular accident," Harry whispered. He slowly uncurled from his ball, and drew his arms around her, planting his face in the hollow of her neck. He wasn't sure what to feel, but even though he was a Puff now, his thoughts went to his standard: Gryffindor's Charge. "Can we talk about this inside? I know a place where we won't be overheard."
Nodding at his hushed request, Tonks pulled back a bit for them to stand, giving him a quick peck on the lips as she did so. Not wanting to be separated, she snaked her arm around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder as they walked. His arm around her back was comforting, and they didn't say anything while they walked back to the castle. That didn't mean there were hundreds of questions running through her head, though.
Neither of them noticed the various students they passed, either looking at them fondly or with exasperation. Both views depended solely on how their method of jokes were taken, really. Some were still freaked out over their McGonagall Snape snog session in the Great Hall.
The questions she had in her head had another added to them when they got to the seventh floor. Jim … Harry, she amended to herself, was walking back and forth in the hall. Her look of confusion changed to surprise when a door appeared in the wall. "Bloody hell. What is this place?"
"The Room of Requirement," Harry said. "The House Elves call it the Come and Go Room, or the Hall of Lost Things." He opened the door and ushered her inside. He grinned slightly at the look of shock on her face as she entered. "Yeah, that's the usual reaction."
Looking about, Tonks was confused to the nines. The room was a cross between the Hufflepuff and what she assumed was the Gryffindor common rooms – split down the middle with Badger Yellow on the right, and Lion Red on the left. "Wha?" was all she could get out.
"The room configures itself to whatever the initial user specifies," Harry explained. Leading her to the 'red side', he had her sit in a comfy chair that was opposite a matching yellow one. Sitting across from her, he had a pensive expression on his face. "Not sure how to go about this, exactly," he eventually said.
"At the start would be good," Tonks said with a wry grin.
Rubbing his chin, he looked up at her from under his brow. "Assuming that Andy taught you the same as me, is it safe to say that you're familiar with occlumency?"
Nodding, her grin didn't fade. "Had to be. Can't exactly hold a form without it."
"Reason I ask, is that Snape and Dumbledore scan student's minds on a regular basis," Harry said. "Just had to be sure."
Tonks grin faded into a scowl. "Is there a punch line anywhere?"
Harry shook his head. "No."
Standing abruptly, Tonks started pacing the floor muttering obscenities with blood red hair. None of it was understandable. Coming to a halt, she turned to look at him. "How in the name of Merlin has no one found this out?" she shouted. She started slightly, when she realized that Harry had dropped to his base form. She followed his example after a second.
"Would anyone believe that the 'Leader of the Light' and the 'Defeater of Grindewald' would do such a thing?" Harry deadpanned. "The same 'Light Lord' defends his pet death eater for any offence, hence why I don't trust the old bastard."
Blinking once, Tonks sat back down and grabbed his hands. "Tell me everything," she demanded.
His stare at her was a bit uncomfortable to look at. That was mainly due to the outright haunted look he had. It got worse with his next statement and question. "This will change everything you thought you knew about the magical world," he whispered. "Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"No," she admitted quietly after a moment, "but I just got you back, so I'm not going to run away screamin' or anything."
Harry tilted his head. "Back? What're you on about?"
She fidgeted in her seat. "Mum and Dad used to take me to Potter Manor. Don't rightly know the whys or anything, other than Lily was a friend of Mum's, but I used to play with you before you could walk." Her face pinked as she turned her eyes to 'study' the fireplace. "Made them laugh when their six year old shifty colour haired daughter announced that she was going to marry the boy she was holding in her arms."
Harry's snicker drew her eyes back to him. "So, you were precocious even that far back?" Her rueful grin had him smirking. "Right." Harry paused, then tilted his head the other way. "I accept."
Tonks blinked, completely nonplussed. "Pardon?"
"That was a proposal, wasn't it?" Harry asked with a brow up.
It felt like her heart both stopped and exploded all at the same time. "Ap…" she stuttered, blinking owlishly. Then she gave him a shrewd look. "Nice distraction there, and we'll talk about that later. Now on with the explaining. I want to know why you're sixteen when you're supposed to be ten, and why no one seems to know, and your whole Danger Mouse / Secret Squirrel thing."
Harry swallowed and focussed on their clasped hands. "My ten year old self is still where he's supposed to be. I'm just here as well. Next year is going to be pretty rough avoiding him and letting things happen like they did when I was a firstie."
He looked up and saw her gaping at him. "What sort of magic sends you back in time?" she asked, completely incredulous.
"The accidental kind," Harry said. "Apparently, it's something that happens every now and again, because the Department of Mysteries has a way of tracking people who pop up 'when' they're not supposed to."
"Blimey," Tonks said under her breath. "I suppose they found you?"
"Yeah," Harry said with a sigh. "Woke up in their infirmary."
"What caused it?" she asked.
Sighing heavier, Harry looked up at the ceiling. "This is the part that will turn your world upside down." He paused, then looked back down to her eyes. "It was a combination of spells that ruptured a block on my magical core."
"Not quite the life altering statement I was expecting," Tonks deadpanned.
His head tilted back and forth. "It revolves around who I was duelling with."
"Which was?" she prodded, getting annoyed.
Looking back at their clasped hands again, he let himself still a bit. "His name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, which is the real name of the self appointed Dark Lord. Most call him You-Know-Who, or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I call him The Dark Wanker, Dork Lord, Moldyshorts, and a slew of other things that'd piss him off, but his chosen name is Voldemort."
Tonks became more and more pale with each pseudonym, and was short of breath. Harry's names were amusing, but it didn't make her feel any better. When he actually said the dreaded name, she didn't gasp or flinch, even though her hair was stark white at this point. Instead, tears dribbled out in droves. "He's n-not d-dead?" she eventually got out.
When he shook his head no, she let go of his hands and launched herself at him. Arms around his neck, face buried in the same, she ended up straddling his lap as she came completely unglued. Loud and rather obnoxious sobs came out of her as her heart simply shattered. She had been nearly seven years old when she was told what happened to the Potters, and that she wasn't going to see her tiny playmate again.
Now she had him back, and that Dark Bastard came with him. It was horrendous. It was appalling. It was the most wonderful and horrid day of her life. And it was only after her crying subsided to light hiccuping, that she noticed that Harry was rocking and rubbing her back. He wasn't saying anything, exactly, but there was a rather soothing bit of humming.
"How?" she sniffled.
Harry frowned. "Not sure. Dumbledore said he had a theory, but nothing solid. Then again, the man never answers a question directly. The more succinct an answer you need, the more ambiguous he gets till you can't remember the original question. Another reason I hate him so much. If he'd answered me in my first year, or told me before fifth, Sirius wouldn't have died."
Tonks pulled back enough to look at him without going cross-eyed. "Uncle Sirius?"
Nodding, Harry laid a bombshell. "Sirius Black is my Magically Bonded Godfather."
"Then that would mean…" she said loudly, before catching herself and lowering her voice. "That would mean he could never betray you or your parents without dying. He's innocent?"
"Peter Pettigrew framed him brilliantly," Harry said with a completely disgusted voice.
At her expression of horror, Harry explained in detail what happened on the night of October 31st, 1981. Some of it was truly gruesome, as he was able to actually remember what happened that night from his own point of view – one of the true drawbacks of learning the art of occlumency. Then he explained what happened after Sirius left Godric's Hollow, and how Peter was able to frame him with a shout and a severed finger.
She was understandably appalled and rather vocal about the entire thing.
Skimming over the decade of Durzkaban, Harry then explained his first year and the Philosopher Stone Fiasco; second year's Diary and the Madness of the Heir of Slytherin; third year's Dementor Crisis with Sirius's Escape and the Time Turner Trials; fourth year's Tournament of Nightmares; and then fifth year's Tyranny of the Toad.
While Tonks noticed the very brief mention of where Harry was staying before his admittance into Hogwarts, and intended to interrogate him thoroughly on that later, she was most disturbed over the escalation that each year seemed to bring. The fact that the youngest male Weasley was one of his best friends was rather fitting in a way. However, she hid the fact that her hackles were up when he talked about Hermione.
Through it all, there was a question left standing in her mind: Why did the staff of Hogwarts allow this to happen, and didn't help them when they truly needed it? When he truly needed it? It simply didn't make any sense whatsoever.
Then it hit her like a bludger in the face: It had to happen that way, because that was how Harry remembered it. Since he was here now, that meant that those five years were etched in stone. This was something that made her grateful for her father's obsession with a time travelling Time Lord, otherwise none of it would have hit her solidly like what she just realized. Any deviations from that could literally unmake him.
That thought made her blood freeze.
"Harry?" she said in the barest of whispers. "I think you need to trust Dumbledore." She held her hand up to his lips when he started to reply, rather scathingly if his glare was any indication. "You said that things happened and you didn't get much help from the professors, right?" She waited for his nod before continuing. "What if they didn't help at those times because they couldn't?"
Confused now, Harry was a bit belligerent. "Why in the nine hells would they not help?" he said in a half shout. "I mean, come on! Kids aren't supposed to deal with that sort of thing! McGonagall even turned us away when we knew the stone was going to be stolen! And she left it to a trio of firsties to defend the damned thing! Not to mention the fact that its quite odd that we were able to get through those obstacles at all. It's like we were meant…"
Hearing him trail off with a thoughtful expression on his face, Tonks nodded. "You're here, and you know what the first five years of your education are going to be like."
A rather pained expression went over Harry's face. The hat was right. Dumbledore wasn't to blame for any of it. And by extension, McGonagall, Remus, and the others weren't either. He could see it so plainly now. Depending on how things were handled, the Headmaster could use that 'all knowing' rubbish that he hated so much to bamboozle the faculty, and eventually the Order.
Even though he could think more clearly in general, now that his magic was unbound and that bloody horcrux was out of his head, epiphanies like this reminded him of the stabbing pain he used to get with his scar. Only this time it went throughout his entire brain.
Everything he went through at Hogwarts was his own damned fault.
Groaning in frustration, Harry looked to the side. "Ohhh… BOLLOCKS!"
A small hemming squeak of sympathy came out of Tonks, and she pulled him into as close a hug as she could. Which was interesting, considering how they were positioned on the chair. Smirking, she knew how to get him out of this funk. "Why Mr. Potter, is that a wand in your pocket, or am I one hell of a lucky girl?"
Feeling her squirm in his lap rather nicely, her question struck him as hilarious. Laughing a bit hysterically, it changed into choking sobs of his own. Holding her tight, his whisper was directly in her ear. "I can't do this alone. I thought I could, but…"
"You'll never have to, Harry," she said just as quietly. "I love you." Pulling back just enough, dragging her cheek over his minor afternoon stubble, she snogged him thoroughly with everything she had.
It was a bit over ten minutes later when he replied in kind. "Love you too." She wiped his face, while he did the same for her. "Thank you. You have no idea how much this mmph."
He never finished that sentence, because she interrupted him with another lengthy snog session, which turned into a small case of light groping for both of them. They were teenagers after all.