A/N- Here it is. The final installment of ROE. I know I've been holding out on you, but for good reason. I have barely made it through this first year of college and I could not, in god sconscience, waste work I had put my heart into during a time of pain and turmoil. I hope you appreciate this last chapter. As always, enjoy!
"Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro..."
-The Cold Heaven by W.B. Yeats
Return of Emerald
Chapter 43: Loved Crossed AKA The Time Loop
Chapter 42, ROE:
"IT CAN'T BE!" Voldemort screamed, finger pointed at the man shaking violently. "I KILLED YOU!" The pull of so many of his soul shards left Hasan and Voldemort almost paralyzed, but Voldemort was not to be stopped by mere shock. And shock it was for everyone, for Severus and Lucius and Albus Dumbledore, when the man sprinted inhumanely fast towards the veil...
Panic constricted the Dark Lord's heart. No. NONONONONONO!
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" he screeched, wand pointed perfectly at his target.
The green beam of light hit the man in the back...the horcruxes flew from his grip...and then he was gone. Just like that. The ghostlike curtains fluttering as the horcruxes disappeared as well.
Altair Castell stared at himself in the mirror one last time. Then he set it down. Lucius should have been gone by now, he thought, and so it was time for him to get a move on too.
Walking to one's own death was a very peculiar feeling. He had known it was going to happen. Had seen it even, but...
What choice did he have? Slowly, Altair made his way to his bedchambers and opened his closet. There, behind a false panel, was a pouch. In it, the items he had stowed away, the items of his nightmares. He shakily reached out for the pouch and sat heavily on his bed.
He dumped the contents of it into his shaking palms. There, a tarnished gold ring, and then a brilliantly bright golden hourglass...
"Portus," Altair whispered, touching his wand to the ring. Objects didn't ordinarily have auras, or if they did, they were weak, easily ignored. But now the ring he had just touched pulsed with golden light even as he shoved it in his cloak pocket.
He walked silently to his book shelf and took down the items one by one: an ordinary cup, a heavy stone ring, an intricate locket, and a beautiful diadem. He put these in a separate pocket.
Just before he apparated to the Ministry of Magic, for he could sense with his Magical Sight, if he tried hard enough (which he did because what was strain when it was the very last thing he would do?) the falling of the apparation wards around the Department of Mysteries, he put the time turner around his neck on a long golden chain.
The night was windy. Store shutters that were not properly tethered and locked slammed against the buildings like the beating of a drum. But the drum roll was faint, for he was within the annex, safely ensconced within the dark marble walls. The potions vial clanked against the ring in his pocket.
As he walked onward, the sounds of battle came louder and fiercer, the drum beats of the wind's poor instruments weaker and weaker.
When Voldemort shouted the Avada Kedavra, Altair had to hand it to himself. He was a bloody genius. The time turner activated at that moment, whisking him and only him away to a time long past. The horcruxes continued on their trajectory through the veil though, which was kind of an interesting thing to ponder, if he had any time left to ponder. Would the soul shards simply...die? Were they even considered alive? Or were they...just denatured like a protein, unable to function properly.
Silly muggle science, his brain wandered. He allowed it.
Time zipped by him in a tunnel of bright rainbow light. Maybe it was different for people who couldn't see auras, but to Altair, it was breathtakingly beautiful. His breath was forced from his lungs as the tunnel pushed around his ribs. All too soon, time began to slow. The tunnel faded, and he was dumped, oomph! onto the cold floor of the potion's room.
Altair smirked, patting himself on the back for having such a good memory. And reflexes, mind you. It wasn't every day that he could duel himself.
Altair stood up straight, no longer shaking with fear though his imminent demise was upon him. Staring at him. He looked down at his former self, surveyed the younger's bloodshot eyes and purple under-eye bags, and by Merlin, his skinnier waist!
"Altair, I take it," the elder said, smiling down on the younger now frozen. "You don't have to nod, I know you can't, but please, just take it from me. This isn't a trick."
Merlin! What had he told himself this long ago? What if he messed up the speech and shot a bloody hole through time and space? He couldn't think about that now. It was hard enough to ignore the vibrant auras of this other time period without listening to his own increasing doubts. "If memory serves correctly, we have approximately fifteen minutes before the Dark Lord comes crashing in through that door, wondering what on earth is going on here, but we will be done before that, rest assured. Now, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Altair Castell. I am from the future."
It took a while to get the entire story of his life out in front of him, but he managed to do so- vomit up his history- within five minutes. Such a valuable, rich life, condensed in such a short amount of time. Altair could hardly understand it. Or stand it. It seemed so bloody unfair. He told the past him everything, mostly, about one day seeing a brilliant aura and following it, and knowing what to do with the memories and everything else too. And strategically planting the tiniest of hopes that he would one day see Lucius Malfoy again too. Altair winced as he said that one, knowing it was a lie, or a stretching of the truth at best. Lucius and he would never be what they once were, what this younger version of him just recently had, before reaping Lucius' memories just moments before deciding to snoop in Snape's potions lab.
"I am going to un-stun you now, okay? And I know it is a lot to take in, but believe me, you can do it…I have." Altair's eyes misted over, but he stubbornly blinked to clear them. Time was running out...
Abruptly, Altair turned towards the large painting of a snake in a bathtub hanging opposite the table full of potions. Past Altair looked very puzzled as his future self didn't even bother to look at him after unfreezing him.
"Melusine Pressyne, I know you have been listening," Altair said in a perfectly serious tone to the painting.
Past Altair cocked his head in confusion. "That's a painting, you know..."
"You know my name?" Melusine hissed, slithering to the edge of the frame. "Who are you?"
"I'm a- We're parselmouths?" Past Altair exclaimed, mouth agape.
"No, we're speaking English," Future Altair replied without sparing him a glance.
"I'm not really a snake, silly human," Melusine hissed. "What is it you want from me, Altair of the Future? I can sense your question."
Altair bowed his head. "I have a proposition for you. I have heard that you have acquired Merlin's tears from a travelling merchant."
"You have heard correctly, but what is in it for me?"
"I will free you from your confines."
Past Altair was attempting to pick his jaw up from the floor. Melusine flushed in pleasure. This was getting interesting.
"Why do we- I need those?" Past Altair asked as his future self shoved an envelope into his hands.
"Hold your questions and applause till the end please," Future Altair said, getting worried now. They had four minutes left. "Now strip."
Meanwhile, Future Altair was applying some heavy duty mind magic to the picture frame. His memory really was blurry. How had he freed that blasted snake again? Nonverbally he was sure...Oh Salazar, three minutes! He pushed his magic out with all his might and hoped Wish Magic would do the rest. Damndamndamndamndamn!
"Now get into my clothes!" Future Altair ordered, pleased to note that the snake was slithering down the wall from her frame. Oh, thank Merlin that worked out.
As Future Altair finished pulling up his Past's pants (It took some effort. Had he really gained that much weight?), he began sweeping potions off the table left and right.
"What are you-?"
"NO TIME!" Future Altair shouted, throwing the potion's vial in his own pocket to his younger self. "Drink this. See Severus in a month. Oh, and here's a portkey. Make yourself a nice little home wherever you land. Instructions for Gringott's are in the letter!"
Then, he slashed his wand over the snake and his younger self both, shoving them into the corner and disillusioning them so that they appeared to be invisible.
The angry red aura was getting nearer. Suffocating him with its wasplike magic, always attacking, always darkening. Then the scarlet aura was before him, almost blotting out the image of the very real person it emanated from.
"Altair Castell..." the Dark Lord hissed, once-handsome face obscured and marred by a flattened nose, slit red eyes, and ashy white skin. Voldemort took one look at the desecrated potions table, full of Severus' latest experiments, and saw red. Literally.
This time, when Altair heard the curse, he did not smile to himself. He did not congratulate himself on a job well done or pull a miraculous escape with a time turner. Instead, his pale blue eyes darted to where his younger self hid, shivering, if he remembered correctly, and whispered the word to activate his younger self's portkey.
A/N: PLEASE REVIEW! Thanks for 1124 reviews! You guys warm my heart!
For those of you who were wondering what happened with Altair Castell, here it is. I tried to leave hints along the way, but I hope I was clever enough to keep some of you still guessing.
So just in case there was any confusion with what the hell happened to Altair, here is the condensed version:
Altair made a portkey before he went to the Department of Mysteries.
As he runs towards the veil, he turns the Time-Turner so it appears that he ran through the veil, but really only the horcruxes did.
He goes back in time to give the portkey to the past him. He informs the Past Altair that he will meet a boy named Hasan in the future and he is the most precious thing to him. He explains about the memory ritual and everything.
He, Future Altair, then turns to the painting of Melusine and makes a deal. He will free her from her painting if she gives him the vials of Merlin tears she had not used up in a potion previously used to turn her into a snake. She agrees.
Then Future Altair tells Past Altair that he will need to get Severus to make him a potion to mute the problems caused by drinking this (hands him the potion that causes him to see auras), promptly smashes all the potions on the table (sorry Sev) and tells Past Altair to activate the portkey.
Past portkeys away with instructions to screw up the Malfoy vaults and then the Future gets hit by Voldemort's Avada Kedavra.