Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Far Too Many Time Travelers

Chapter 5 - The Secret Ingredient is Time

by Jeram 1 review

Someone has a daring plan to go back in time and fix everything. No wait, not him, I meant the other... how many people have time traveled anyway? Poor Harry seems to be the only normal one left.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Humor - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Neville,Ron - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2015-07-26 - 9207 words

The timeline shivered and spun, splintering as a single soul screamed in terror. Realities collapsed and possibilities ended, but the permutations continued unending. And through each and every version, the same name was heard to echo through history as the one that muddled everything up. For good or bad, for death or life, for greed or revenge, just one name started this whole mess.

But honestly, who can blame him? By the end, you'd do the same.


Chapter 5 - The Secret Ingredient is Time

(The Third Conflux, Part 2)


The next day passed seemingly normally for Harry, although his time traveling pals were conspicuously missing except for meals. Harry considered asking them what was going on, but there was the strong possibility they'd respond in a way he couldn't understand and he'd had quite enough of that lately.

Parvati had an extremely suspicious grin on her face since he had seen her at breakfast. With a huge, obvious (at least to Harry) wink she seemed to be saying "Harry, that super awesome secret of yours is safe with me. And boy, you clearly understand the whole mess just like you were a time traveler yourself but without the crazy". Perhaps he was reaching a bit, but he felt he could trust Parvati.

During their next break, they continued wildly speculating about who the next time travelers might be and why they had decided to break the laws of space and time to do it.

"I know it sounds crazy," said Harry. "But what if Snape's been a time traveler the whole time!"

"No, no," said Parvati with a shake of her head. "I really think Dumbledore will be next."

"He said he wasn't one already," Harry pointed out. "Remember?"

Parvati rolled her eyes. "Don't be a prat, Harry. I mean that he'll be replaced by himself from the future. Who else is smart enough? You said it yourself that his portrait helped Ron back in time. And Hermione... well, okay, she's enough of a crazed brain to figure it out."

"You have a point," said Harry. "But I bet it's Hagrid. Oh no, wait! What if it's Ollivander? And he only does it so he knows which wands to pair up with people, and he does it just to be sneaky and never change anything else."

Parvati shivered. "Mister Ollivander gave me the creeps, to be honest. Weird guy, sneaking up on us. None of us noticed! Not even Padma, and she noticeseverything."

"How is she?" Harry asked. "Have you told her about the time travelers?"

"Harry!" Parvati looked at him aghast. "You know I said I wouldn't tell anyone."

"Oh, true. But she's your sister."

"So you're okay with me telling her about it?"

Harry tapped his chin and thought about it for a moment. "Nah, let's at least wait until things are a bit more settled. You don't know who might be listening in, right? But anyway, after Solstice the Headmaster said we'd probably get someone else. Who that may be even he didn't know."

"I mean it's really anyone's guess," said Parvati. "I never would've expected Neville to be so cool, but I guess he's a super brilliant actor. And Malfoy?" She grimaced. "I'm not happy about that. Are you sure he's not secretly evil?"

"He might be," said Harry. "But Snape and Dumbledore are keeping an eye on him just in case."

Parvati laughed. "That's good. I bet he won't like that!"

Harry chuckled a bit in return. "I bet you're right."

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and Harry was content to just sit back and pretend things were normal again. He even spent more time than usual on his homework, feeling motivated and a bit chipper.

And then he was interrupted.

"Harry, got a minute?"

Harry looked up to see Neville standing over him.

"What is it?" Harry asked, worrying about the answer.

"Nothing serious," the other boy said. "Just letting you know that Dumbledore doesn't want us staying in the rooms with you because he thinks it's inappropriate. Different mental ages, I suppose. Nothing to me either way, although I'm not happy because I can't protect you as easily. I pushed back on that mark, but Dumbledore insisted." He scowled. "I'll try and convince him later."

"Do you really think I need to be protected?" Harry asked in alarm.

"Well." Neville paused and then sighed. "I suppose you're not in any immediate danger. Quirrell and therefore Voldemort are safe in the Infirmary under an arseload of protective charms, and I don't expect anyone else. I mean Lockhart was an idiot, the basilisk is not a concern right now, Lupin is an ally, but then there's Crouch."

He frowned. "Hmm, I almost forgot about him. Hard to remember everyone. He was dead before the war started, so I didn't think about him. I'll bring him up to Albus."

"I don't know who any of those people are," Harry said in an angry hiss.

"Oh, balls!" Neville winced. "You're right, Harry. I was really just planning out loud. I'll explain all those people soon, I promise. In the mean time, just tell people we're being quarantined."


"Kept away from the other students because of suspected illness," explained Neville. "And say that Professor Quirrell is also being locked up. I had to wait to tell you until I could sneak away." He grinned. "Their locks aren't as good as they think. But I also had to wait until nobody was listening in."

He leaned closer. "Someone was following you earlier," he whispered. "They're trying to listen right now, but I muffled our voices with a spell."

"Then why are you whispering?" Harry asked.

"To confuse her," said Neville. "She doesn't mean any harm, but I don't like people being nosy like that. It's none of her business."

"Whose business?"

"Older Gryffindor girl. Forget her name, but you wouldn't know her," said Neville. "It doesn't matter, she's a nothing. But I think she might know something. This is why I wish I knew how to Obliviate someone subtly. But all I can do is totally screw up someone's memory, and that wouldn't be fair to a random idiot, even an eavesdropping one."

"And what does Obliviate mean again?" Harry asked. Normally he'd be a bit annoyed, but he got the feeling Neville wasn't trying to be a jerk about knowing things.

"Merlin's balls, Harry, I'm an idiot," said Neville with a grumble. "I keep forgetting you're a first year. Obliviation is a spell to modify someone's memory. The Ministry uses it to convince Muggles they didn't see any magic when they did. Standard procedure for them."

"Ah, that makes sense," said Harry, realizing this answered a question he hadn't even thought of.

"And they use it like a fine chisel, but I'm more like a giant boulder," Neville continued. "So... yeah."

He grinned, slapped Harry a bit hard on the shoulder and disappeared suddenly.

Harry couldn't help but laugh. Neville seemed to be kind of awesome.


Everything changed the next day, but Harry didn't even realize it until breakfast.

He had slept in just a bit, feeling like he deserved the break after a Quidditch victory and an absolutely mad revelation about time travelers. So the Hall was mostly full when Harry made his way down to have breakfast. But everyone was in uproar, students chattering loudly and running between tables waving newspapers at each other.

As he walked towards the Gryffindor table, feeling utterly confused, Parvati ran over to him.

"I didn't say anything, Harry! I don't know how it got out!" She was close to tears, it seemed.

"What happened?" Harry asked, and then he realized the entire Hall was staring at him, although they continued to talk louder than before.

Without saying a word, Parvati handed over a copy of The Daily Prophet, which Harry recalled was the wizarding newspaper.

His jaw dropped when he saw the headline.


Dumbledore's Secret Plan Revealed

The Prophet has learned through reliable sources, told to Senior Mysteries reporter Berthas Crumble, that several time travelers have appeared at Hogwarts! These children are a mix of muggleborn and pureblood wizards and witches, each with a secret mission to save Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived.

"Oh no," said Harry with a moan.

Parvati looked miserably back at him.

Our sources have revealed that Dumbledore has been working with at least five time travelers, but possibly more, to track down Death Eaters and Dark wizards that are incensed at the Boy-Who-Lived for defeating You-Know-Who, the worst Dark Lord in centuries. Apparently in a terrifying future, Dumbledore had a secret plan to send back grown wizards and witches to the time when they were mere children if he died. Sadly in this future, the wise but elderly Headmaster was murdered by the vampire king of the giants, so these brave children were sent back to save the Wizarding world!

"Wait a minute," said Harry. "This isn't right. It wasn't Dumbledore's plan at all. And the vampire king? I don't even know who that is. Do you?"

"Well, no," said Parvati. "I didn't read the whole article. Let me see!" She looked over Harry's shoulder and read up to the same point. She frowned and said, "I'm confused Harry. They have some of the details exactly right, but a lot of it seems like it's utter tosh!"

"Uh oh," said Harry. "It says to 'turn to page 14 for the names of the time travelers'. Do we dare?"

"Everyone else will have, so we'd better," said Parvati sensibly.

Harry nodded and turned to the right page. The names listed were the ones he expected. Ron, Hermione, Draco, Neville, and Oliver Wood.

Looking around the Hall, it seemed that many people had also read the article. Draco had clearly already fled, being nowhere to be found, and Ron seemed to be enjoying answering questions. Neville and Hermione were refusing to say anything, which seemed to be good.

Harry looked over to see how Wood was handling it.

From the looks of it, it wasn't well.

"Shut up already!" Oliver yelled at some Ravenclaw. "The Headmaster told me not to talk about how I traveled in time, so I'm not telling you just becauseyou've always wanted to know how."

"Yeah, let the idiot alone!" Fred shouted, blocking Oliver from view. George quickly moved to help.

"Making him miserable is our job," said George with a grin. "And only about Quidditch, which is a good cause."

Hermione walked over to Harry, looking very shaken. "Harry, I'm not sure what happened, but everyone knows we traveled in time! The Prophet is laughably wrong about the details, but it's got a lot right. Did you tell anyone?"

"Only Parvati and she didn't tell anyone."

"I doubt that!" Hermione said with an angry glare at the other girl.

"Oh boil your head Granger!" Parvati said with a matching glare. "I didn't bloody tell anyone! It might've been you, you blasted nutter, and you probably didn't even realize it you're so mental!"

Hermione's eyes narrowed. "You'd better watch your mouth, Patil."

And then a sudden, ludicrously loud shot rang out and the room fell silent.

The Headmaster stood, looking over the students. "I believe that is enough excitement for one morning. I should like to address a few important items of immediate concern. There are clearly those spreading conversations that were private, and regrettably this has led to many misunderstandings. In short, I will tell you the truth as I know it and what I believe you can handle. It is a difficult thing to discuss, that is true." He took off his glasses and wiped them with a handkerchief. "You have all have been lucky, wonderfully so, but lucky nonetheless."

He put back on his spectacles and gestured at the other professors. "Each of us that teaches you has experienced the horrors of war. For some of us, more than once. I myself lived through a time when all seem lost not once, but twice in my own, admittedly lengthy lifetime. It is hard to imagine, I know, when all you know is peace and war is mere stories your parents use to scare and bore you in turn.

"War is not glorious," the Headmaster said. "It is terrible. Our country suffered greatly. Those of you with magical parents know of at least a few lost in this century's wars. And those of you with Muggle heritage had your own losses in your own great war. This... is not something I ever wanted to explain." He took a deep breath and looked from table to table.

"Take everything you know, your friends and family, your possessions, your safety and security. Now imagine all of that is at risk of being lost at a moment's notice. This is beginning to approach how it was for us all during the wars. But I am afraid it gets worse. Each of the time travelers that sit among you has experienced a war in their own future, and each has lost nearly everything. Can you imagine that horrid possibility, that all has already been lost? That everything is hopeless?"

His voice nearly broke there, and Harry was shocked to discover tears in his own eyes. Suddenly each and every horrific story of the time travelers crystallized in his mind. The thought of losing everything, all he knew, was terrifying, and he had only known real friends for a few months. Harry could barely imagine how it must be for those that had lost years of friendship and family.

Looking around, he saw quite a few students similarly affected.

The Headmaster cleared his throat. "I can barely grasp it myself. These young men and women, scarcely old enough to graduate Hogwarts, somehow pulled together an unbelievable amount of courage and will. They each attempted dangerous, improbable magic and risked everything to try again. Each one knew that they would lose their future and their past anew by replacing their past selves."

"Albus," said Professor McGonagall softly.

Dumbledore held up a hand. "Please, Minerva, allow me to finish. The Prophet did accurately state the names of these courageous time travelers, who have lost their futures to try and assist our present. Everything they knew and everything they had is gone except their minds and memories. They gave all else up for the sake of us all. A terrible sacrifice, one that none should ever have to make.

"If you feel you must ask questions, please do not ask them to these travelers out of time. Instead, I request you address such things to myself or your Head of House. Respect their courage and their sacrifice, and respect their privacy. We have already asked these young travelers to live apart from the rest of you, although sharing meals seemed a reasonable compromise. It was not my plan to send these children through time, that I can assure you." His eyes flashed slightly. "In that, I am afraid the Prophet had it quite wrong indeed. Now then, I believe that is all for now. As I said, please address any additional questions to your Head of House. Thank you."

The low hum of hushed conversations instantly filled the rooms and Harry sighed. Hopefully this wouldn't go that badly.

"I didn't tell anyone," said Parvati softly to him. "I promise."

"I believe you," said Harry sincerely. "Really. Someone must've overheard us. Neville did say someone was following me around."

"Who?" Hermione whirled and shouted, "Neville!"

Neville jumped over the table and walked over to them. "What's up, Hermione?"

"How did you do that?" Hermione seemed to be distracted by the show of athleticism. "I mean, no offense, but you don't seem to be in the best of shape."

Neville laughed. "Oh, Hermione, never change! Always trying to figure things out."

"Very true," said Hermione. "But... how did you do it?"

"He's not going to tell you," Harry told her.

"Harry's got it right," said Neville, pointing at the other boy. "But I might tell him at some point."

"Really?" Harry asked in surprise.

"Really?" Hermione and Parvati asked at the same time, and then glared at each other and didn't say anything for a minute.

"Oh, whatever!" Hermione threw up her arms. "I'll figure it eventually. Mark my words, Longbottom!" With that, she walked away.

Neville rolled his eyes. "Sorry, just thought that'd distract her from those pesky questions."

"You heard?" Parvati asked, sounding surprised.

"Yeah," said Neville with a nod. "I'm good at listening. And your conversation seemed important, especially considering Hermione was about to hex you. Didn't want that to happen."

"I can handle her!" Parvati said with indignation.

"No you can't," said Neville. "In fairness, I'm not entirely sure I can either unless I cheat. I caught her by surprise last time, but she knows a frightening amount of scary magic."

"You're making me very worried!" Parvati clasped her hands together and looked nervous. "Neville, do you think she's... mad? I mean for real?"

Neville blinked and then after a long moment, he sighed. "To be honest, I don't know how you could avoid being a little mad after traveling through time, finding yourself in a very different and yet familiar place. Dumbledore gets it, of course, that's why it makes him so sad."

"I almost cried when he gave his speech," said Parvati softly.

Harry nodded, but didn't want to admit to the same thing out loud.

"He wasn't faking those emotions," said Neville. "The man is a genius, so he put it together quick. I came from a pretty awful future, and I know Ron and Hermione did too. Supposedly Malfoy also did, but if I were him, I'd be telling everyone the truth. He won't, of course."

"What do you mean 'the truth'?" Harry asked.

"The truth is that our dear Slytherin friend clearly comes from a future where Voldemort" - he paused for Parvati to shudder - "rules the day and is probably as awful as anyone of us could imagine. Expect it'd be rough for everyone, even for the purebloods. Truth is, ol' Riddle hates everyone, muggles, muggleborns, purebloods, even himself I'd wager."

"Riddle is Voldemort's real name," said Harry to Parvati, glad he could explain something for once.

"Oh, that makes sense," said Parvati. "I guess that other name couldn't be his real one."

Neville nodded. "Yeah, but I bet Malfoy will lie and say Riddle sent him back to help him get resurrected. That'll put him in quite a pickle, as I'm sure he doesn't really want to help at all but may get pressured into it. Although if he actually does try to set Quirrell free, I'm not going to be so easy on him."

Harry suddenly felt drained and not very hungry. "This is all quite annoying, even more than normal."

"Look at the bright side Harry," said Parvati. "At least now there are other people everyone will gossip about." She smiled. "Looks like Ron at the least will be happy to chat to people about it."

"Hey," said Harry and he smiled. "I think you've got a point. Maybe I'll have some breakfast after all."

Neville laughed. "I really missed you, Harry. But don't go turning into Ron on me. I like the bloke, but one is quite enough."

Parvati giggled. "If that."


The days passed quickly and without much drama for quite a while. Harry continued to attend classes, albeit without any of the his time traveling friends. He heard rumors about a few reporters trying to get interviews with him and the travelers, but apparently Dumbledore had put a stop to it. Hermione later confided to him that he wasn't letting them leave the school, which she wasn't very happy about, but was willing to abide by for the time being.

Although he saw Hermione and Ron every day at meals and Draco never at all (the rumor was that he refused to leave his room), he never saw any of them in the Gryffindor Tower as per the Headmaster's instructions. Except for Neville, of course, who had become almost blatant in sneaking in to the Tower.

"Hermione could do it too, I'm sure," he told Harry and Parvati, who was the only other one Harry had begun to confide in. "The idea probably hadn't even occurred to her. Ron isn't a total idiot, but I think he's more like a talented adult wizard, which the Hogwarts folk could far more easily outmatch."

Parvati had only slightly softened her views on Hermione and Ron since the discovery of their time travel, but still didn't like them much. Harry suspected that it helped that they didn't share classes any longer. As for Neville, who had only treated him with respect, Parvati seemed to like him despite his time travelling history.

And before Harry realized it, the term was coming to an end, with the winter holidays coming in fast. The Solstice was nearly on them, so Harry was invited to a meeting with the time travelers and the professors in the Headmaster's office.

Draco was slumped in his chair when Harry walked into the room, but when the Slytherin spotted him, Draco gave him a nod. "Potter, you're still you, right?"

"I sure hope so," said Harry.

"At least someone bloody is," Malfoy muttered almost too softly to hear.

"Speak up Draco," said Ron with a grin on his face.

Snape sneered. "I suppose that even an apocalyptic future isn't enough to make a Weasley polite. I'm not sure why I even bother trying."

Ron laughed. "You know, you're beginning to grow on me Snape."

"Like a fungus, I'd imagine," said Snape, but this only made Ron laugh harder. The Professor didn't look too happy with this reaction.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Infants, the both of you." She turned to Dumbledore. "Sir, have you had a chance to look at my proposal for the shift net?"

The Headmaster nodded with a proud smile on his face. "I have indeed. It was close to my own thoughts in the matter, I must say."

Hermione beamed.

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. "For those us not as versed with temporal mechanics, Albus, perhaps a short explanation may be in order?"

"Oh, it's not that complicated," said Flitwick and he rubbed his hands together in excitement. "I read the proposal as well," he said to Hermione.

She shrugged. "I suppose more minds can only help."

"I did not understand it," said McGonagall. "And I do not believe Severus did either, although I am sure he'll pretend he didn't even read it."

"Why would I read such drivel?" Snape replied.

"As I said," said McGonagall. "You're only convincing yourself, Severus, if that."

"I have a question," said Neville. "As someone who won't get it anyway, do I really need to be here?"

"It is best we are all on the 'same page', as it were," said Dumbledore. "It is easy enough to explain. We have devised a spell that will pay attention to changes in how long the memories are of everyone in the castle. A high level, overarching sort of process. We will instantly be able to discover any anomalies or time traveling persons."

"And if we do?" Neville asked.

"We find and question them," said the Headmaster. "We have been lucky thus far, with none of our brave travelers arriving with nefarious intent."

Malfoy made a nearly incoherent rude noise.

"Nobody's going to tell about you outside this room," Hermione said with exasperation. "Your precious reputation will be intact."

"The story about time traveling got out, didn't it?" Malfoy said with a sneer. "So sorry if I don't just trust your Gryffindor word on it."

"Oh, shut up, will you?" Hermione huffed and folded her arms together.

Ron looked at her with admiration. "Time travel has sure made you cool, Hermione."

"Don't you start," said Hermione, although her face had coloured slightly.

"In any event," said Flitwick with a large smile. "Miss Granger's proposal is sound. It will be an exciting new charm, and that is unusual indeed!"

"Ravenclaws," said Snape with a mutter.

"Who do you think it'll be?" Harry asked, trying to simultaneously stay an active part of the proceedings and also push forward to actually doing something.

"It really is impossible to say," said the Headmaster. "Other than I doubt it will be one of the ones that have already traveled through time."

Hermione gasped. "I didn't even think of that! How could I not think of that?"

"I really do not believe it will be a concern," the Headmaster told her in a calm voice. "The reciprocating nature of the retroactivity inherent in a multiple feedback loop would lend itself to instability and eventual loop corruption."

Flitwick snorted. "That's theoretical at best."

"No, I think he's right," said Hermione, visibly calming down. "Based on my own research, concurrent loops would cause a cascading failure in the feedback."

"Which means what exactly?" McGonagall asked, and Harry was relieved that an adult had raised the question.

"Any further attempts in overwriting an overwritten mind would fail," said Dumbledore. "Due to the nature of how mental energy is transfered back in time."

"Which we don't really need to get into," said Flitwick quickly.

"You most certainly do not," Snape said dryly. "If we have our plan then, I suppose we should get started?"

"What will I do?" Harry asked excitedly. He wasn't happy with the answer.

So Harry just waited impatiently in the Common Room, unable to fall asleep or focus on his homework.

"'Just wait for our updates, Harry'" said Harry in a mimicked tone. "Like I'm useless." He sighed. "I guess I basically am for all I try." He looked at his watch and groaned. "It's a million hours until midnight!" Harry picked up a school book and tried to read just to pass the time.

As the stroke of midnight drew closer and closer, he kept checking the time obsessively. But then the hour came and went and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. No one had come by. Perhaps nobody would travel this time after all? Suddenly Harry felt tired after all, and he decided to rest his eyes. Just for a minute.

At some point later, Harry felt himself shakened awake.

Hermione stood in front of him. "Harry, get up!"

"I'm awake," said Harry in irritation. "What time is it?"

"About four in the morning," said Hermione. "The capture net worked. We caught some people traveling through time!"

Harry sat up, rubbing his eyes. "So where are they?"

"They've got them," said Hermione, and she had a very odd look on her face. "One is Cho Chang. She's in a magical coma of some sort, apparently something went wrong with her trip."

"I don't think I know her," said Harry, scratching his chin and trying to place the name.

"You wouldn't, not yet anyway," Hermione said and then she frowned. "But the other one... that's the real serious one. He's fine, but-" she paused and then looked to be steeling herself. "It's Fred. Fred Weasley."

"Oh?" Harry thought about this and then the terrible realization came screeching to his head. "Oh no."

Hermione nodded, looking close to tears. "How are we going to tell George?"

Harry scowled. "Time travel really sucks sometimes, have I mentioned that?"


"Well, isn't this a fine how's your father?" Fred laughed and scratched his head, a nervous look on his face.

"Not your father," muttered George.

Ron leaned forward in his chair to take a better look at Fred. "You do seem a bit... off, I guess."

"That's because you're a traveler of time, Ronnie," said Fred. "As am I."

Percy held his head and groaned. "I don't know how I'm getting to break the news to Mum and Dad. I don't think they're too pleased about Ron already, but two in the family?"

"You sure you're not a time jumper, Perce?" Fred peered at his older brother. "You seem awfully not all buggered in the arse."

"Fred!" Hermione gasped. "Will you please watch your language? There are young people here you haven't yet corrupted."

Fred laughed. "You don't mean you, of course."

"I mean Harry," said Hermione. "I'm not saying you're immature or anything," she told Harry quickly. "Just that you don't need to hear Fred's profanity.

Harry leaned against the wall as he considered. The Room of Requirement, which originally seemed a great idea to clear the air with all concerned, was suddenly feeling a bit cramped.

"Don't hold back on my account," he said finally.

"Nicely said, Harry," said Fred.

"Oh, would you come off it!" George said angrily. "Who do you think you're fooling anyway?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Fred retorted back. "Girly Georgie can't take a joke?"

"Well now I'm offended," said Hermione and she stood next to Fred, glaring up at him. "You think a girl can't handle herself as well as a boy?"

Fred smiled sadly. "Hardly, Hermione. I know you from my own future. Brilliant then, brilliant now, obviously. Smartest person in the room, male, female, or otherwise."

Hermione huffed, but she seemed a bit pleased at the comment.

Ron's eyes narrowed. "What happened in your future anyway, Fred? Why did you come back?"

"Oh, the usual reasons, I'd expect," said Fred with a shrug. "Lost most everyone after the war. Thought about the idea of fixing things the second time around."

"No matter the consequences, is that it?" George asked, his voice getting louder with each word.

Fred winced. "I will admit I was a bit pissed when I activated the Black Door." He paused. "That said, I don't regret it. Not now that I'm here. I couldn't take that, not again."

Hermione gave the out of time twin a thoughtful look. "Were you the only one left?"

"No," said Fred. "You were alive, as was Harry."

"I'd guessed as much," said Hermione. "And your family... I don't think I have to guess on that front, do I?"

Fred looked down at the floor. "As I said, you always were the smartest room in the room."

George got up suddenly and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

"I don't get it," said Ron. "Are you saying... none of us survived?"

"Was it any better in yours?" Fred asked.

Ron shook his head. "It was worse. Much worse. You-Know-Who had won. Hermione had a similar sort of situation."

"Bloody hell," said Fred. "Now I feel like a prat for complaining. At least Harry had defeated You-Know-Who in mine."

"Really?" Harry perked up. Finally, a future where he wasn't horribly killed. That was progress!

"Yeah, you were a great friend, you and Hermione." Fred gave the girl a meaningful look. "Best friends a bloke could have after what I'd lost."

"You haven't lost them here," said Hermione softly. "But I've learned... we've learned, I should clarify, that it's not as simple as just fitting into the past like nothing happened. You're different, we're different. Everyone else is the same."

"Yeah, I've started to pick up on that." Fred sighed and looked sad. "Especially with how George left like that. I have a pretty good idea why he's mad, but what can I say? He's right."

"Right about what?" Harry asked.

Percy crossed his arms. "I have a fair notion, Mister Potter, but I am not sure you should be privy to such family matters."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Percy, that's ridiculous."

"Harry's basically family, at least he was in my future," said Ron angrily.

"Mine too," said Fred with a nod.

For his part, Harry was very surprised to hear this bit of news. He had a strange emotion at it, but he couldn't figure out what precisely he was feeling.

"George is mad because of something very simple," Fred said softly. "I'm not the Fred he knows, not exactly. We lived our entire lives together and then..." He clapped his hands together. "Suddenly we're not sharing the same memories anymore. I should've been more sensitive."

He sighed. "In my future, I lost my George and it destroyed me. Now I've nearly done the same thing."

"You can't say that," said Hermione. "Some of your memories are the same, correct? It's not like you're... you know."

Fred smiled at her but he seemed sad. "Smart and beautiful, eh?"

Hermione huffed. "Oh please!" She said, looking embarrassed but a little pleased.

"Stop hitting on an eleven year old girl, Fred," Ron said with a touch of anger. "Even if you are both mentally adults."

"It doesn't matter," said Fred and he suddenly looked much older. "With everyone else time traveled here, I'm superfluous. Which means I effectively killed this version of Fred for no bloody good reason. No wonder George hates me."

Before anyone could say anything, Fred got up and left the room.

Percy sighed. "Mother isn't going to like hearing about this."


The next few days were terribly tense, with Fred attempting several times to speak to his twin but getting ignored every single try. For his part, George stalked the halls in a foul mood and didn't speak at all.

In the evenings, he would sit alone in the Gryffindor Common Room staring at the fire and nothing else. As the time travelers were not allowed in the Common Rooms, this made it easier for him to avoid any questions. But every time Harry passed by, he felt sad and wished he could do or say something to help George.

He wanted to ask Neville for advice, but the other boy had left on some sort of mission for Dumbledore. "I'll send back messages when it's safe," he had said, but so far Neville hadn't managed any. And Harry didn't really feel comfortable talking to Parvati about it, and he certainly didn't want to talk about it with any of the other time travelers.

Finally Harry decided he had to do something for his own peace of mind. One night, very late, after everyone else had gone to bed, he sat on a chair next to George and pulled out a book. "You don't mind if I share the fire?" He asked without looking directly at the twin.

George looked over at Harry and sighed. "Do what you like, but I don't want to talk."

"Neither do I," said Harry, and he meant it. For the moment, he hoped just being there might help George feel less awful. Eventually Harry fell asleep and when he woke up in the morning, he found that someone had put a blanket around him. Since Neville was still gone, this was progress.

A week passed of Harry doing the same thing, just sitting studying or reading near George without saying a word until Harry fell asleep. Both Ron and Hermione had asked about George, but Harry didn't want to say anything. It seemed like breaking a confidence in a way.

As for Percy, he acted like he already knew everything, so Harry didn't bother talking to him.

When Harry sat down to read the next night, he smiled slightly, feeling oddly comfortable just being there. But he nearly fell out his chair when he heard George talk.

"Harry," the Weasley twin said softly. "Just wanted to say thanks for not trying to cheer me up."

"Yeah, no worries," said Harry. "I'm here for you if you need it."

George made an amused sound. "You sound a little too mature for your age. Sure you ain't a bloody time traveler too?"

"Of course not," Harry said, a bit offended despite himself. "But I've always been mature for my age, if I'm honest. I'm not big into the whole talking about stuff thing either, so I get it."

"Right," said George with a snort. "I believe you, as it turns out." He sighed. "I just don't know how to handle this whole... mess. The Fred I grew up with was replaced by this ... imposter."

Harry nodded, trying not to say anything.

"I know he understands," said George, and his face was pained. "But that doesn't mean I can forgive him. Is that awful of me?"

This was not the kind of question Harry was ready to answer, but he decided to give it his best try.

"Fred gets why you feel like that," he said. "It's different for me. I came to Hogwarts without knowing a single person, so meeting versions of Ron or Hermione or whoever that may not be the original ones wasn't a big change for me." He shrugged. "Plus, I didn't have any friends growing up, and my relatives kind of were... well let's just say I wouldn't mind if they were replaced by different people."

George shook his head. "If you're trying to make me feel worse, it's working." He looked down at his hands. "I've lived my whole bloody life nearly joined at the hip with that git, and now the Fred I know... is just gone. Yeah, this one is still Fred, but not the one I know."

He sighed deeply and then groaned. "I know he had a good reason, but I dunno, Harry. I get it up here." George pointed to his head. "But not here." He gestured to his heart. "Does that make any sense?"

Harry didn't say anything for a little while, thinking carefully about it. "I wish I knew what to say," he replied with a slow, soft tone. "It's not something I really ever felt, not really. Since I've come to Hogwarts, I've made real friends. But the closest I came to growing up with someone is my cousin, and we didn't get along. I never had a twin like you. I never even had a brother."

He coughed to clear his throat which had suddenly felt a bit stuffed. "George," he said. "You're lucky that you have a family that you care about and that cares about you."

George looked at the younger boy with wide eyes. "Bloody hell, Harry. Where did that come from?"

"Oh, I don't even know," said Harry and he made a dismissive sound. "But hey, have you tried actually talking to him about how you feel?"

The older Gryffindor said nothing for a few seconds, just looking at Harry in shock. Then George began to laugh. "Damn, Harry, out of the mouths of babes!" He then grinned. "Or something like that."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Very funny."

"I thought so," said George with a smile. "If Fred was..." He stopped smiling. "Well there it is, isn't it? I suppose you're right, Harry. It'll be tough as Dumbledore's pants, but I'll give it a blast, eh?" He got up and then patted Harry on the head. "Thanks, kid."

Harry glared at the taller boy. "Next time I'm just going to tell you to punch each other until you stop being idiots."

George laughed and left the Common Room, leaving Harry alone.


Something had happened between the Weasley twins after that, something positive. Although the conversations between George and Fred still seemed tense, they were actually happening. Harry felt glad about that, feeling that he had actually made a difference in a small, but real way.

When he saw, days later, George laugh at something Fred had said, Harry felt a knot of tension release he didn't realize he had. It was weird to him that he cared so much about people he had known for such a short time. Perhaps it was all the reasonableness he never got from the Dursleys all running together at once.

After lunch one day, Hermione confronted him about it.

"Harry, do you know how Fred and George made up?" The lack of understanding something seemed to be causing her physical distress as her eye twitched a bit. "Fred has been in a far better mood lately as well."

"I couldn't say," Harry lied. "But I would guess they just talked it over. They're still brothers after all, right?"

Hermione gave him a curious look. "Well, I can see you aren't telling me everything, but that's alright. I suppose I'm happy they're getting past these difficulties, even if Ron... well, now, I guess I can have my own secrets too?" She gave Harry a small smile.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Sure, Hermione," he said. But after that, he tried to pay attention a bit more to Ron's behavior.

At first Harry wasn't sure, but soon he began to notice a change. Ron seemed to be talking less and less, sometimes picking at his food instead of shoveling it down. There was almost a sadness around him, but he never showed anything overt. Harry almost wanted to say something to help, but he had no idea what to do.

So he did the same thing he had done with George: Just be there. The days slipped past, and soon Harry began to concern himself with the same sorts of things. Doing homework with Parvati, asking Hermione for help secretly so Parvati didn't know about it, and practicing Quidditch without Oliver Wood. All of the games had been suspended, but Harry was okay with this, as he had quite enough excitement already.

A few weeks later at breakfast, Dumbledore stood in front of everyone. "I have an announcement," he said with a smile. "As most of you already know, our own Gryffindor Oliver Wood was one of the time travelers, although he did not come from a particularly terrible place. However, due to his advanced skills and knowledge, it was decided it was unfair for him to continue playing for his team."

McGonagall made a sort of annoyed sound at this remark, while Snape had a smug expression on his face.

"Thankfully," continued the Headmaster. "We have came up with a compromise. Effective the end of this year, Mister Wood will take over the position of Quidditch instructor from Professor Hooch. Rolanda has been meaning to retire for a few years now, but we have never had a decent replacement candidate. With Mister Wood, we have one. Oliver?"

Oliver Wood stood from his seat at the Gryffindor table and Harry started to applaud. Quickly the rest of the team, then the table picked it up. The Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws also clapped for him, although the Slytherins stayed quite silent.

The older boy looked around, clearly moved by the response. He sat back down in a hurry leading to a chorus of laughter.

Afterwards, Oliver went over to Harry. "Listen Harry," he whispered. "I know I'm not technically allowed to play on the team anymore or captain it. And I know for now there won't be any more games this year. But we should talk over the summer so I can prepare you to be the next captain of the team."

Harry's eyes widened. "I can't be the captain! I'm only a first year!"

Oliver scoffed. "Don't be an idiot, Harry. You were a captain in like your fifth or sixth year, or both, I don't recall. I don't see why you can't get a bit of head start on it. If you really want to whinge about it, I can make you co-captains with Angelina if we must. She's capable, I suppose, but she doesn't have your raw talent."

"You're kinda embarrassing me," Harry hissed, hoping no one had heard this conversation.

"You need to learn to take a compliment, Potter," said Oliver with a laugh. "Anyway, don't worry about it for now. We'll talk more on the summer hols." He clapped Harry on the back and walked away.

Harry just shook his head and decided to worry about it later. After all, summer was months away, and a more pressing concern would soon be upon them: the Equinox. The night of the vernal Equinox came with Harry staying up late once more, incredibly stressed and worried, hoping nobody he knew would be replaced by a stranger from the future. But against all the odds, nothing happened.

"If there has been an incident," Dumbledore told them. "It was not at Hogwarts. We can at the very least be certain of that." He later mentioned to Harry that he had been having a few people keeping an eye out for time travelers out in the magical world, but there were so many possible travelers, it was nearly impossible to be sure about it.

So that was that.

Neville had finally sent a few letters about his secret adventures, which were filled with allusions and teasing sentences that Harry and Parvati puzzled over. Harry had originally proposed the idea of asking one of the other time travelers for help figuring out what Neville was up to, but Parvati had been vehemently opposed to the idea.

"Can't we have something that's just ours for once?" She had made a pleading face and then exaggerated it to become so ridiculous Harry couldn't help but laugh and give in to her demands.

Occasionally a new issue of the Prophet would arrive with new crazy ideas about the future, The Secret Plan to Save Harry Potter and similar nonsense, but it seemed that most people in the school were just getting used to having time travelers around. For Harry, it helped that he didn't know them much or at all beforehand, so it was easier for him to manage.

And suddenly, the term was over, exams were completed, and Harry realized he didn't know what was coming next. The thought of returning to the Dursleys was absolutely abhorrent, but he didn't have any place else to go. He didn't mention his concerns to anyone else, although he could tell Hermione and Ron already knew what he was thinking, the gits. Although they were respectful enough not to bother him about it, the gits.

Harry was just beginning to be in a foul mood constantly when he was saved by a note from an owl.

I'll be back tomorrow. Got some plans for the summer for us.


The first and only other person he showed the note was Parvati, as per usual.

"What do think he's planning?" Parvati asked, squealing in excitement. "Maybe he's going to take you on an adventure?"

"I'm not that lucky," said Harry sadly but he couldn't help but feel a bit of hopeful anticipation.

The next day, Neville showed up at breakfast, looking in much better shape than he had when he had left. Hermione seemed utterly shocked at the transformation, but Ron was actually happy for a change. He clapped Neville on the back and said, "It's good to see you looking so much more like I bloody remember you, even if you're still a shrimp."

Neville laughed and then met Harry's eyes. He mouthed "the Room" and Harry nodded back.

As soon people dispersed from their meal, Harry raced to the secret Room of Requirement to wait for Neville. The other Gryffindor showed up, a big grin on his face.

"You figure out any of my messages?"

Harry shook his head. "No, we tried, but... no."

Neville nodded. "Had to keep things muddled for security reasons. Dumbledore wanted me to look for evidence of other time travelers, work with some of his old friends, stuff like that."

"Did you find anything? Anyone?"

"Nah," said Neville. "Looked hard, but nothing! I figure I'll look more this summer. And that leads me to my question." He gave Harry a thoughtful look. "Interested in coming along?"

Harry felt his heart jump and he nearly shouted "Of course" but then reality came slamming back and he felt terribly sad. "I can't," he said, hanging his head low. "I gotta go back to my relatives."

Neville scowled. "The hell you do! I didn't know if you were planning to live with Sirius Black, but your magic-hating relatives aren't an option."

"Sirius Black?" Harry looked up, but he was confused by the mention of the man. "I know he's my godfather, but isn't he still like in jail or something?"

"Oh, I don't know," said Neville dismissively. "Ask Dumbledore about that. Anyway, if you want to come, you should come. Ask Dumbledore about that too if you're worried about it. He'll approve it, trust me."

"Really?" Harry thought about it for a bit. "I mean, yeah. Yeah, of course I want to go!" He smiled. "You really think the Professor will be okay with it?"

Neville nodded. "Yup. He trusts me to keep you safe."

Harry considered this, as it was an excellent point. But there was only one possible problem. "I'll have to talk it over with Parvati first," he said. "We've been going over your notes and all. She should at least know about it."

"Hell, she can come too if that's what you want," said Neville. "I'm not worried about her either. She's a good person, and I know you two are friends. Dumbledore has plans for your time traveling friends, but I'm sure Parvati was just planning to have a boring summer holiday. If she wants to come, I'm okay with it."

"But... will her parents be okay with it?"

"I honestly do not care," said Neville with a laugh. "I care what you think, and Dumbledore too now that I think on it. But the worries of the Patil parents are nothing to me."

Harry nodded and slowly began to feel happy. All he needed now to do was convince the Headmaster to let him go off with Neville and Parvati unsupervised for an entire summer. Simple enough.


It seemed far too quiet outside of Dumbledore's office, but Harry tried to practice exactly what he was going to say.

Perhaps a blatant lie. "I'll be off to the Dursleys. See you next year!"

Or an even more obvious lie. "I'll be staying here for the summer, don't mind me or look for me!"

Another possibility was to trick him by suggesting something worse. "I've been thinking about traveling the world by myself. What's that, have Neville along for protection? Well sir, if you insist."

The only problem was that Dumbledore wasn't an idiot so he wouldn't fall for any of that.

So Harry sighed and walked up to the Headmaster's office.

Dumbledore seemed happy to see him. "Harry, please come in, have a seat! What is on your mind?"

"Sir, I had a serious question for you. It's about the summer."

"Go on," said the Professor, a twinkle in his eye.

"Why do I really need to go back to the Dursleys? Can't I stay with someone else? Maybe that Sirius Black I keep hearing about?"

Dumbledore sighed. "I am afraid Sirius is still in no condition to keep you safe. There is a very strong protection against Voldemort and his servants at your relatives. Unfortunately, I am at a loss as to where else you could live safely, even if Quirrell is currently contained."

"What if I wasn't anywhere in particular?"

The Headmaster raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

Harry took a deep breath. "Neville invited me to come along with him on his summer adventures. He said you'd be okay with it."

Dumbledore seemed surprised for a moment, but then he laughed. "In point of fact, it is an excellent idea. Mister Longbottom is more than capable of keeping an eye on things. He is probably the only one among all of our various time traveling friends I would even trust for such a thing."

"Really? What about Hermione? Or Ron? Or even Fred?"

"Fred does not come from a world at war," explained the Professor. "And Ronald is too out of practice. As for Miss Granger, she is knowledgeable and competent, this is true. But although I would trust her to carry out a few dangerous tasks, which I will be doing, I worry that she may not entirely remember that you are not as capable as she."

"So." Harry smiled. "So I can go? I can go with Neville?"

Dumbledore nodded. "I will have a short talk with Mister Longbottom about some specific items he will need to be aware of, but I believe you will be safe with him."

"I sorta wanted to invite Parvati with me," said Harry before he lost the nerve. "We've become decent friends and Neville said it'd be okay. But I dunno about her parents."

"A valid concern," Dumbledore said. "I highly doubt that they would be okay with their daughter off with two boys gallivanting about the world, despite how supremely capable Mister Longbottom may be. I cannot give you permission to invite her along, but if it happens... well, as long as I do not know about it for absolute certainty. Then I suppose if they do ask me, I can only reply that I have no idea."

Harry laughed. "Okay, sir. First I have to ask her though."

When he brought it up later to Parvati, her face widened in utter shock.

"Parvati, are you okay?" Harry waved a hand in front of her face.

The girl smacked his hand out of the way and giggled. "Prat. I'm just surprised about your idea. Is Neville okay with it?"

"He is," said Neville, appearing out of nowhere and causing the other two to jump back in shock. "You both will have to get a bit tougher while we're out saving the world or whatever."

"Right," Parvati said quickly, getting her wits back. "Neville, I have to say," and she bit her lip, "I really really do want to go. My summer holiday will be utter nothing. But my parents will never allow it."

"You can always ask," said Harry. "And if they say no…"

"We'll break you out," Neville said. "Easy enough."

Parvati looked taken aback. "But… they'll be worried sick!"

"Leave them a note then, it's not like you wouldn't have said what you're doing," said Neville and he groaned. "Do I have to think of everything?"

"There's still something else," said Parvati slowly. "I can't just abandon my sister. Padma would never forgive me for leaving her behind."

"Merlin!" Neville threw up his hands. "Bring her along too then! Why not? Bring your parents also!"

Parvati laughed. "I don't think that's going to happen. But maybe… maybe Padma will be okay with coming?"

Harry shrugged. "I don't really know her, but I'm sure she'll be great fun. She's your sister after all."

"That's sweet, Harry," said the girl. "But I'm actually the fun twin." She grinned.

"Well, if we're breaking you out," said Neville and he smiled back. "I don't see why we can't break Padma out too."

Parvati nodded and ran off to find her sister.

"So what do you have planned for the summer anyway?" Harry asked.

Neville laughed. "Well now Harry, I don't want to ruin the surprise. Besides, a bit of danger is just good fun."

Harry chuckled nervously but reminded himself that a summer of danger with a few friends was better than the doldrums with the Dursleys. In fact, when he put it that way, he couldn't wait to get going.

"So how are we going to break the girls out?"

The other Gryffindor gave Harry an evil smile. "Thought you'd never ask."
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