Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter universe.
Beta: Ethiliam – thanks for remaining patient over the years and going through this piece several times while I razed through it.
It's About Time
Harry loitered through the corridors of the castle, making his way towards Gryffindor tower after his first lesson from Albus Dumbledore. Before the lesson, Harry had been elated because Dumbledore would teach him. Now, after the lesson, he was resigned. History had its importance, but learning about Voldemort's childhood had been uninteresting and boring. The resemblance to his own upbringing frightened him.
None of that mattered, not anymore.
Harry had accepted he would not be taught how to defeat Voldemort. He needed to teach himself. He needed to make a list of everything he had to learn. Dumbledore's eye-twinkle and his I'm-so-disappointed-in-you-act didn't make the list because Voldemort appeared immune to those. Harry needed books. He needed a training place. Most of all, he needed ... time. Where-oh-where would he find the time to do everything that needed to be done?
A flash of light went off.
Inspiration! That, or Creevey was in the area taking pictures again.
Harry turned around and stalked towards the Room of Requirement. He would find everything there. He increased his velocity while a tiny smile graced his face. Voldemort was going down, he just didn't know it yet. He took a left at the next corner and –
He collided into someone; or, someone collided into him. They both ended up on the floor.
"Potter! Can't you see where you're going? Or do your glasses need –"
Harry stopped listening.
He looked at the person on the floor. Slytherin, if the robes were an indication. Girl, if his analysis of the breast-area was correct. He thoroughly looked over that area, multiple times. By now, he was certain her yelling included several comments about his wandering eyes. He finally reached her face, quite red by now, and noticed she was the rumoured Ice Princess.
Harry frowned. If she kept this up, she would defrost within a minute. Uncaring towards her volatile use of her vocabulary, he eventually did get fed up with her continued assault on his eardrums. He grabbed her robes, pulled her towards him, and kissed her.
Ah, beautiful silence.
Her lips were very soft and sweet. Hmmm ...
They broke apart a moment later. He grinned ear-to-ear while she looked shocked and dazed. Cute. He gave her a quick parting kiss on the lips.
"See you later," Harry said, before continuing his journey to the Room of Requirement.
He arrived there a short time later. A young girl dropped something on the floor, which shattered on impact. Harry made to help her fix it when he heard his name echoing throughout the corridors. The girl in front of him looked terrified and ran off. Weird.
Harry did the normal routine and waited for the door to appear.
He frowned before realising many people now knew the location of the room and someone else must be inside. Drat. That's what he got for helping people and telling them about a magical room. Stupid. He sighed and took up position next to the portrait of the dancing troll. This could end up becoming a long night.
Or not. The door was opening.
Harry remained patient. The door was still opening. He rolled his eyes, grabbed the door, and pulled it open.
Draco Malfoy stood in front of him.
Harry's eyes narrowed. Before Malfoy could react, Harry punched him in the face, grabbed him, and threw him out of the room. Harry stepped inside and closed the door. The gigantic room was filled with junk. Harry marvelled at the storage room while he wondered what Malfoy was doing in here before coming to a horrible realisation. Something Hermione had most likely realised at the start of the year, hence ignoring his unproven arguments concerning the pale boy's actions.
Malfoy was an insignificant, useless bug who hadn't accomplished anything in the previous five years, and thus completely unimportant. The only way Malfoy could get anything done was if Dumbledore himself helped the boy out, and that was damn unlikely ... unless the old man had completely lost his marbles.
"Hmmm," Harry hummed. "What did Malfoy ask for when entering the room?"
A piece of parchment flashed before him. Harry grabbed and read it before reaching the inevitable conclusion.
"Yup. This room is brilliant."
If people hid stuff in here, then it could be taken out again. Perhaps Malfoy wasn't that useless anyway. Harry shrugged his shoulders. Not like it made a difference in Harry's opinion. It was like removing a dent from a total-loss car. Nobody noticed and nobody cared.
"Accio time-devices," Harry cast.
Items flew towards him from all directions. He managed to grab several of them, before the rest slammed into the ground and broke.
"Whoops," he summarised succinctly.
Several of the items he had saved from inevitable destruction – already forgetting he had been the cause of said destruction – were already broken so he tossed them away. Two items remained and one looked remarkably like Hermione's Time-Turner.
Harry quickly put that one on, just in case. He took a closer look at the other item, an old pocket watch. He opened the device and a small piece of parchment fell out. He picked it up and read through it.
This pocket watch alters time for the wearer. Speed is set through turning the knob. Use with greatest care.
The declaration was not meant for the invention, but for the inventor who had managed to write a manual that wasn't thousands of useless pages long.
Harry took a walk around the room and spotted loads of books and various other items he could use. He scratched his chin, before an idea fluttered into his brain.
"Accio bottomless bag."
Harry vaguely remembered Malfoy; not that he wanted to, but Malfoy's book bag started taunting him. That bag was too small to store all his books into, yet Malfoy always had everything with him.
Harry ran towards the exit and opened the door. Malfoy stood there with his bag slung over his shoulder. Harry grinned. That's when he noticed Malfoy on his knees, one hand over his privates and another holding his wand.
"Potter!" Malfoy shouted with a surprisingly high-pitched voice. "You'll pay for this! Sectu –"
Harry punched him in the face again, dazing the boy. Harry grabbed the bag, held it upside down, and started shaking it. Books, quills, inkpot, manicure-set ... all sorts of useless crap fell out. All of which ended up on Malfoy.
Harry re-entered the room, set the bag on the floor, opened it up, and yelled, "Accio books!"
On second thought, using that specific incantation was a bad idea ... a very bad idea. If Hermione had been present, she would have scolded him for being a dim-witted idiot. Summoning books from an extremely large room where students had been hiding their stuff for a thousand years?
A quarter of the room seemed to be flying towards him. The light from the ceiling diminished due to the onslaught of books that was coming his way. Harry had a knack for summarising situations like these. So, he did.
He jumped out of the way and lay on the floor, covering his face. Five minutes passed before the light in the room returned to normal. He turned around carefully and saw most of the books had made their way into the bag. He stood up, dusted himself off, and tossed a few stray books into the bag.
Harry took a peek and noticed the bag still had loads of space for other items. So without jump-starting his brain, he yelled out his next genius incantation. "Accio training stuff!"
He really should have seen this coming. Beyond manuscripts, armours, and other useful and harmless equipment ... there were also swords, flails, and other vicious weapons heading his way. This was the kind of equipment that could chop him into little pieces and thus kill him, unless he got his arse out of the way.
Harry ran the hell out of that room. He opened the door and stepped out of the path of incoming destruction. He made certain the door stayed open to ensure the spell wouldn't break. Only then did he see the people standing in the corridor. Malfoy, looking awfully smug, had fetched Snape.
A suit of armour hit Snape, which caused him to drop his wand.
Snape looked at the 'few items' that missed the open bag and continued their path towards him. His eyes opened in shock. Harry wasn't certain, but he thought he heard Snape whimpering, "Mommy."
A flail hit the armour. Harry winced ... if that armour hadn't been there ...
A club hit Malfoy, who did not have anything protecting him. Harry, out of sheer reaction, winced again and held his free hand in front of his own privates.
By the time the stream of equipment trickled to a halt, Harry felt pity for them. Well, a bit of pity. Not enough to actively help them. He could have closed the door whenever he wanted, but the choice between training and them was ... not really a choice.
He stepped back into the room, grabbed the bag, and stepped outside again.
Harry made to walk away from the scene. After all, running always made you suspicious. He even had the perfect song to whistle while looking the epitome of innocence. However, there was a commotion around the corner. Harry heard a faint voice, one that sounded an awful lot like McGonagall.
She wouldn't be fooled easily.
"What is this ruckus about?" Professor McGonagall demanded before she turned the corner and saw Snape and Malfoy on the ground. She ran towards them and started casting spells at them. A silvery tabby cat shot away. She looked around and saw Harry standing there. "Potter!"
"I didn't do this," he said immediately.
"What happened here?" she asked, nostrils flaring.
"Well ..." Harry remembered when he punched Malfoy. "I –" He remembered the stuff that hit Snape. "I –" He remembered the stuff that hit Malfoy. He smiled. "I – Yeah. I might have done this. Just a teensy bit."
Mount McGonagall looked ready to erupt.
Harry scratched his neck and felt the chain. His eyes widened. He grabbed the Time-Turner and spun the dial fifteen minutes back. He noticed the shocked look from his Head of House. He didn't want to be rude, so he gave her a cheerful wave before he disappeared.
He reappeared in front of Malfoy.
Harry kicked him between the legs, causing Malfoy to fall to his knees, clutching his privates. Harry walked away, humming merrily. When he rounded the corner, he heard the door of the chamber opening and had a sense of déjà-vu. He already knew what happened, or had happened, so he didn't break his stride.
In the distance, he heard someone laughing and someone else shouting.
"– not funny! He kissed me ... ME! No one does that. No one gets away with that. No one, darn it! Stop laughing!"
Harry rounded the corner. The half-melted Ice Princess looked incredibly worked up. The laughing girl, a friend of Icy, stopped laughing when she noticed him standing behind her friend. She slapped her hand in front of her mouth.
Icy stopped shouting at that point. "What?" she asked, before turning around and standing nose-to-nose with Harry.
Harry, logically, recognised that as an invitation. He kissed her again. They broke apart.
"This is fun," Harry said. "Later, Icy."
He skipped away, hearing the other girl laughing hysterically until Icy recovered and screamed.
"Damn you, Potter! Get back here!"
Harry made his way towards the Chamber of Secrets, the only quiet place where no one would disturb him. He passed by the library of Hogwarts and wondered if he could nick the entire contents. His decision was made for him when he heard the two Slytherin girls catching up. He ran towards Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. When he arrived there, the two girls had nearly caught up with him. He opened the secret passageway, jumped in, and closed it.
A sweet scream of rage echoed through the tube while he slid down.
Harry walked to the centre of the chamber and looked over the piece of parchment from the pocket watch again. No further instruction, pretty basic stuff. He turned one of the dials and noticed a counter.
2x. 3x. 4x.
Great. Let's invent something to adjust time and then make the multiplier as annoying as humanly possible.
Ten minutes later, Harry's fingers hurt but the counter had reached 500x. Why did the inventor make this thing so difficult to use anyway? The thought was banished from Harry's mind.
He didn't need Hermione for help. He could do this kind of stuff on his own, thank you very much. He wanted approximately ten years inside the room so he would be around twenty-six when he left. That time should be more than sufficient to learn everything he needed to know. Then, he would be ready to face Voldemort.
In those years, only around a week would pass on the outside. They could manage a week without him. The world wasn't going to end in a single week, right?
Harry hit the red button, which he assumed meant 'activate'. He felt a powerful wave of magic encompass the entire room.
He fixed the room, sorted out some of the equipment, and went to sleep.
The next day, he realised he needed food and called for a house-elf.
No one came.
Harry realised his folly of 'let's run into things without thinking and hope nothing goes to hell while doing it' and knew he needed to learn food conjuration first. He couldn't deactivate the device because there was no telling whether it would work again.
Five years had passed.
Harry finally had enough. Screw all those other books. He was ready to kick Voldemort's arse. If he weren't ready, he'd blame Dumbledore for never training him.
Besides, there were more important things to consider, things of the utmost importance. He was twenty-one, a virgin, and hadn't seen a girl or woman in the past five years. He needed to get out of this dratted room before his libido killed him.
He knew enough anyway. He had found stuff that was so ancient not even Dumbledore would know it.
Harry deactivated the device and felt another magical surge. The device was turned off. The time had come to step outside and show the world what kind of kick-arse Wizard he was. He would show them. He was the Man-Who-Lived now.
He cast all kinds of protection spells on himself and stepped outside ... and saw the sun in the distance. There was no castle anymore. There was nothing left, but a barren and desolate field that stretched as far as the eye could see.
Nothing suggested anything living was around, beside himself.
He started to realise why he involved Hermione before he started stuff like this. He glanced at the pocket watch and whispered, "Please tell me you didn't."
He cast a time-spell and the date confirmed his suspicions. Time had not sped up inside of the room. Time had slowed down inside of the room. He was two thousand five hundred years in the future.
At this time, Harry realised all his training was in vain since there was no Voldemort left to kill.
Worse than that, there was no woman in sight either.
He summarised the situation quite well.
"Son of a –"