Originally written for Severus/Harry Big Bang. This story is complete and will have 16 chapters, updated semi-weekly.
Content/Warning(s): Chan - Severus and Harry are both 17 when they first bond; male slash sexual situations but not graphic; time travel; Veela inheritance; language; some violence; canon torture (Hermione while at Malfoy Manor); angst - but I promise it has a happy ending!
Structures in Adversity
Part One: Foundations in Time and Space
Harry was called up to the Headmaster's study once again on the premise of more lessons, but he knew they were going to do something different tonight. He was feeling more and more anxious with each passing day, whether from the coming Horcrux hunt or Voldemort's increasing attacks or the continuous churning of dark thoughts in his own mind all year he could not say. Or maybe it was the yearning and restlessness he felt thinking about his old potions text. Harry had been forced - wrongly in his opinion - into hiding the Half-Blood Prince's one away. To avoid temptation, they said. And maybe they were right, for each day without it his body grew more tense and edgy, as if in a state of withdrawal. He was almost to the point of saying, "Sod it," and retrieving the book back from its hiding place just to find some release. According to Hermione, however, that would compound his sin from the Sectumsempra spell, so he reined in his libido and left the textbook alone. Besides, he had a job to do.
Stepping into the Headmaster's suite late in the day, Harry saw Dumbledore busy arranging items to take with them on their mission. Several vials of different coloured liquids sat waiting next to two well-worn spell books. "I'm ready, sir," Harry told him, feeling much like those potions, waiting, expectant.
"Ah, yes, very good, Harry. There are a few last items I need to retrieve from my stores before we can leave. Make yourself a pot of tea while you wait." The Headmaster left in a flurry of purple fabric. Harry shook his head to dispel the sight.
He ordered tea from the house-elves and took in the state of the Headmaster's rooms. Knick-knacks covered every inch of unused space upon the shelves, sometimes three or four rows deep. Most of them were metal and about half of them moved in some fashion. Then one caught his eye, an unusual ivory stone piece tucked away out of sight behind some small books. Harry took it down and examined it. There were reliefs all the way around depicting ancient casting scenes in very fine detail, such that he had to squint his eyes to focus on the minute images. He turned the figurine once, then twice, taking in the stories of lust and greed and envy.
As he went to place the item back, not having any use for it, a twisting, pulling sensation caught him, not unlike a Portkey but without the nauseating falling. It was very brief, and when it stopped, he hadn't moved at all. Looking about the room, it appeared everything was still in order. Trinkets were there. Fawkes still sat on his perch, asleep. The sun was in the same position even. Did he just imagine it? Was it some magic that was supposed to affect him but didn't? The obelisk looked archaic. Could its magic have expired? Was such a thing even possible? Harry didn't know, and rather than risk another magical attack, he replaced the item behind the books.
At that moment, Dumbledore walked in, deep in thought and shaking his head at something. The man didn't notice Harry standing by his shelves, instead fiddling with some spinning device on his desk, a desk with conspicuously missing potions and tomes.
Harry stammered out, "Pro-professor?"
Dumbledore swirled around to stare at his young protege, his blue eyes piercing, questioning, as if he'd never set eyes on him before. Harry thought his blue robes really brought out the colour of his eyes. Wait a minute. Weren't his robes some putrescent shade of purple before? Maybe he had changed into something with more magical protections woven into it.
"James? What are you doing in my - no, you're not James. Who are you?" the Headmaster demanded. His expression changed from mild surprise to wary confusion.
Bewildered, Harry said, "I-it's me, Professor. Harry. Is something wrong?"
Dumbledore looked as confused as ever. "Perhaps, my boy." He paused but didn't elaborate. "Last name, if you please."
Harry gave out a little huff and formed a funny little half-smirk in sudden nervousness. "Potter, sir. I'm Harry Potter." He was wondering if the old wizard had finally gone 'round the twist. It wouldn't be surprising. The wizard was well over 100 years old; maybe the war had finally addled his brain.
"Harry Potter," mumbled Dumbledore, whose expression took in Harry more thoroughly, lingering on his hair and face and wide green eyes. "And what happened a moment ago, young Harry? Anything unusual?" The old man was polite, but there was a slight edge to his voice, something unbelieving, even condescending.
"Well, sir, I noticed this stone statue on your shelves, right here," said Harry and pointed to the very object. "I wanted a better look, so I picked it up. It didn't look unusual. Then there was this Portkey pulling sensation. Then just as fast again, it was gone."
"Which object, this one?" asked Dumbledore as he waved his wand and levitated the trinket in question.
He examined the reliefs from all sides, noting the stories told through carvings. A series of low incantations issued from his mouth, and the object glowed a faint green then orange in the testing. "Most irregular," he said, more to himself than Harry. Quite infuriating, that. "Did you turn the object, and if so, how many times?" he finally asked.
Harry stuttered in confusion. "I don't know, at least, uhm, twice I think." He didn't know what the old man could be on about.
"And what date do you think it is today?" the Headmaster asked with a piercing gaze.
Harry felt as if he was back in Transfiguration with McGonagall watching him intently. "Why, it's Monday, June 1st, sir." An unease began in his belly. "We were going to have our normal lessons, but you said there was something special we were going to do …" Harry trailed off at the look of bafflement on the old man's face. "Don't you remember?" and that's when he noticed it, the shock nearly blowing him off his feet, for the hand and arm that had been blackened and useless all year was fully healed, not a blemish on it.
"Something wrong?" Dumbledore asked. "You are suddenly white and look about to faint. Shall I call Poppy?"
Harry's eyes flew up to met his. "Um, n-no, it's nothing." He could feel Dumbledore's mind trying to pry his, and although he tried to block him out, Harry wasn't any good at Occlumency, and he could tell when Dumbledore viewed his surface thoughts.
"Highly unfortunate, that," he said after retreating from Harry's mind. "Well, today is November 16, 1976. Welcome to the past, Harry."
Harry was dumbstruck. Two decades! "You think that thing transported me here? For how long? How do I get back?"
"One question at a time, young Harry. Yes, this statue is a Timekey, and I've had it here in my possession for many decades, thinking it might prove useful someday. But as its time cycle appears in decades, I'm afraid it's not very precise for correcting minor errors, and major errors have not really occurred, or else not that I can see. Besides, the future looks more interesting."
Harry gulped. "Does it work like a Time-Turner? Will I have to live out two decades?" He shuddered in revulsion, hoping not to have to live hidden away from the world for twenty years.
Dumbledore's gaze, if possible, sharpened further. "Where did you hear about Time-Turners?"
He wasn't sure how to answer, what information he could give without screwing up something in the timeline. Hermione had lectured him on the importance of not messing with time. "From you, actually. So, does it?"
The Headmaster looked thoughtful for a moment. "No. It doesn't. The magic in it will only keep you here for a short amount of time, but it is uncertain when that will be. Less than a year, I should think."
Harry sighed in exasperation. "Great," he muttered under his breath.
"I take it you are a current student at Hogwarts," he said.
"Yeah." Harry nodded. "I was just at the end of my sixth year."
"Ah, yes, June you said. Well, we can continue your education for now. Wouldn't want you to miss anything. Have you turned seventeen yet?"
Harry shook his head. "I'm one of the youngest in my class."
"Well, then, we will keep you with the sixth years. What House would you like to be in?"
"I'm a Gryffindor, sir," not really sure he should be telling him this.
"Hmm, but perhaps not the best place for you here in this time. There will be questions of course, but the less attention you receive, the better. I would keep that scar covered as well as it's a little too distinct a facial feature. Someone might recognise you in the future. Slytherin House is probably out of the question, so any preference between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff?"
Harry knew from interactions with his fellow classmates that Ravenclaws were smart and he never felt up to their level of wits. "I probably wouldn't fit in with the Eagles, but the Badgers would have me. They take everyone, right? I'd blend in there."
"Very wise, my boy. So shall it be. You will need clothes and books, quills and parchment, and other essentials. I'll send an owl with a post order. In the meantime, have you eaten?"
"Yes, I'm fine."
"Good. Let me call Professor Sprout and I'll introduce you as a transfer student. She'll get you settled. Now, what name will you go by? I'm not sure Potter will do."
Harry bit his lip, unsure of anything. He shrugged. "I don't know."
Dumbledore had a knowing twinkle in his eyes. "You do look a bit like James, so a distant family name perhaps."
Harry's eyes widened at that. Shit! His mum and dad were here, weren't they? The Headmaster was therefore correct to keep him out of Gryffindor, however much he would miss living in the tower. But it was only for a little while, yes?
"What about Peverell?"
The words brought Harry back to reality; he shrugged again. "Seems okay. I don't know much about my family's history." He looked away, not wanting the Headmaster to see the sadness in his soul at never knowing his loved ones or their stories. Even in his own time people who knew his parents and Sirius never talked about them much and definitely didn't talk about his grandparents or other relatives and ancestors. Harry felt so cut off from everyone. And now here he was in their time, and it would probably be unsafe to talk to them. Harry had never felt so disheartened.
"Under the circumstances," Dumbledore continued, "I do believe it would be best for you not to talk about where and when you came from. Keep conversation to a minimum and don't gossip about recent history unless it is something for Professor Binns' class."
At that moment, a knock sounded on the office door. "Ah, here we go. Come in!"
The door creaked open and in walked Pomona Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff House. She was a bit younger-looking than Harry remembered her, hair a little bit neater, a stone or two thinner, but she still had that cheery smile on her face and beaming, happy eyes. "You called, Headmaster?"
"Yes, Professor Sprout, we have a new transfer student from the Maryland International School of Magic in the United States, and I would appreciate it if Hufflepuff House would take him in. May I introduce you to Harry Peverell. He'll be in sixth year." Dumbledore beckoned Harry over to stand in front of the professor. "Harry, this is Professor Sprout."
Harry bobbed his head a few times, not sure how to address for the first time someone he already knew, albeit not much outside of Herbology classes.
Professor Sprout didn't seem to notice the awkwardness. She just beamed up at him. "Oh, that sounds lovely, dear. We'll make you feel right at home. Have you turned seventeen yet?"
"No, not yet. Still have two months to go," he said.
"I ask because all of the sixth year beds are taken up, but we do have one vacancy in the seventh years and one in the fifth years and wondered which you would be closest to. It sounds like the seventh years, then, but you'll still attend classes with the other sixth years. Wonderful! We'll have the house-elves bring your things down to the dormitories, and in the meantime I'll give you a quick tour, shall I?" She beamed with pride.
Dumbledore chuckled. "I think that would be a lovely idea. Thank you, Professor. As his transfer was a bit sudden, all his things have not yet arrived, but they should be here by tomorrow evening. Until then, he can borrow a few items from the visiting stores."
"Oh, of course," she said, a little mystified no doubt as to why a child would have no trunk with them. "Will you need a wand as well? Should we send for Ollivander?"
"Oh, no. I have my wand," Harry said, pulling his out from his back pocket.
"Ah, good. That's one less worry, then. Come on. Time for that tour!" She was entirely too cheerful, but at least she was good-natured about it, unlike Umbridge, whose saccharine-sweetness was full of evil, twisted thoughts.
Harry felt very odd walking out of the Headmaster's office, following his new Head of House around the familiar school (yet hearing new tales about it) and down into unknown territory.
A/N: So there's the start! What do you all think?