- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Dark Themes
- Disturbing Imagery
- No Beta
- Dimensional Travel
- Fix It
- Time Travel
Harry woke with a start. Looking around the room, his room, well their room technically, but when he looked over at his wife, Harry felt…odd. When he looked down at his hands, one was wrapped around the Elder Wand, the other around the Resurrection Stone he freaked the fuck out. Those items were supposed to be under heavy wards in custom designed black snake wood boxes lined with mithril and runes carved all along the interior that were supposed to keep them inside. The boxes were supposed to be in the Potter vault in Gringotts.
Looking at Ginny, Harry felt weird. He felt like he was waking-up after a fifteen year dream. He really looked at her for the first time in years and realized, he didn’t love her. He didn’t even really like her. He felt a fondness for her, but there was nothing else there and Harry wasn’t sure what to make of it. Shaking his head, Harry looked around the room again and felt like something was there. Something else was with him in that room and it wasn’t human. It wasn’t a dementor either, he knew what those felt like, smelled like, and how they affected him. Though, they no longer held such terror for him like they had when he was fourteen, they still affected him negatively.
No, this was different, a dark shadow that roiled and twisted upon itself that hovered there waiting, expectant. The thing wanted him to do something, and it had everything to do with the Deathly Hallows. Years later Harry would still puzzle out what it was that made him do what he did, but in the here and now, he didn’t question it. He didn’t question anything he was doing on this very strange night.
As he picked up the wand and the stone a thought popped into his mind. Silently and wandlessly he called forth the invisibility cloak. Harry looked to the thing in the corner, the thing that was waiting for him to decide as it moved in the darkness beckoning Harry to continue. Huffing out a breath, Harry threw the cloak around him and held the wand in his hand, while he slipped the stone in his pocket. This next move he would ponder it for some time, but at the moment he was running on pure instinct, something that had saved him in the past. Harry moved towards the black twisting shadow that contorted unnaturally. The shadow blocked out all light, natural and unnatural. Not even a silent lumos spell worked to lighten even a fraction of that darkness. With the blood racing in his veins, and the pounding of his heart, Harry moved closer and closer. Stark terror ran through him, but the compulsion to move forward was like nothing he had ever felt before.
What do you want? Harry thought as he reached out to try to touch the blackness. This thing stretched and widened, growing bigger and bigger blocking out more of the light around him. Harry was starting to sweat, his body quivered as he felt the thing growing bigger.
He does not belong. Harry heard the words in his head, but it wasn’t his own inner voice. The thing started to slide its inky blackness all around him and Harry had a moment of pure unadulterated terror. The thing was cold and wet. It felt like thick muddy water sliding over him, invading his body and his mind. There was no part of Harry that it didn’t touch, didn’t invade and when he went to scream his voice was cut off. You must take him, he does not belong. Went through his mind once again.
Who? Who doesn’t belong? Left Harry’s thoughts before he realized that he sounded like a nutter even to himself. Harry was rooted to the spot he was standing in as the thing kept enveloping him in it foul unnatural darkness. Not even Voldemort…the thing almost hissed and became agitated at the name that flitted across Harry’s consciousness. It didn’t like that name at all. Before Harry could once again scream he felt himself being shifted away, carried by the thing in imagined arms. Harry was quite sure that nothing had been worse than using a portkey for the first time, but this, this took the bloody fucking cake. By the time he was falling onto the ground, Harry knew this was worse than being portkeyed. He fell to the ground on hands and knees dry heaving till his stomach stopped clenching painfully. The thing had receded from his body and Harry couldn’t shake the horrible feeling of being violated. Slowly he stood on shaky legs and tried to take in his surrounding.
“Bloody buggering hell,” he loudly voiced as he looked around him and saw that he was in the Forbidden Forest. The Resurrection Stone was vibrating in his pocket and slowly Harry took it out. As soon as he did it shot up into the air and hovered there for a moment before it started to move forward at a very fast pace. Harry started to follow, but then realized he was shoeless. Waving the Elder Wand, because of course he forgot his Holly Wand in all of the strangeness, he spelled some shoes on his feet, then started to follow where the stone was going.
As he moved forward, Harry felt the strange black thing following him, urging him on.
“I’m too bloody old for bloody fucking adventures,” Harry groused as he kept moving onward not even knowing what the hell he was doing. He was afraid and not even scared to admit that he was afraid. This was a bone deep primal fear of the unknown. This thing had brought him here for a purpose, Harry just didn’t know what that purpose was. On they walked, which felt like hours. The path was strange and winding pushing deeper and deeper into the forest.
After what felt like days of walking the stone stopped and the cloak moved off of Harry of it’s own accord to hover in front of a small copse of trees. The light glimmered off the cloak and Harry saw a doorway.
“What the fuck?” Harry shook his head as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing. The door was there and not there at the same time, shimmering, flickering in and out of existence. The Elder Wand shot out of Harry’s hand and lodged in the keyhole to the door which made the door solid. Harry could just reach out and touch the doorknob. Fear rushed through him again as he reached a shaking hand to the door wanting and not wanting to open it at the same time. That thing that followed him prodded him closer to the door. Slowly Harry wrapped his hand around the knob and turned. The creaking of the wood sent shivers down his spine, the sound seemingly loud in the quiet of the forest.
Harry didn’t know what compelled him to walk into what some would have said was a trap of some sort. He thought for a moment that this was some elaborate trap set-up by Death Eaters that had gone into hiding. He then laughed at himself for his paranoia. Of course, when you were head Auror and hunting the evil fuckers for the last few years, it stood to reason that those that had slipped justice just might team up to take down the person that had been hunting them. The Harry laughed cynically at himself, those dark twats weren’t smart enough to plan something this elaborate. Besides, the things that slithered around him, the thing that brought him to this place they felt like they didn’t even belong in this world.
Harry silently cast a lumos spell to try to light the very darkness that surrounded him. He moved forward along the corridor he was in, his fingers gliding across one of the walls.
“Ewww. I don’t think I want to know what the hell that was.” The wet, slickness of the walls felt unnatural. Harry didn’t even want to entertain what they were made of. The smell was almost worse. Sickly sweet, damp and earthy, it made Harry gag. He tried to not let it bother him. He thought about casting a bubble charm so that he could breath better, but he wasn’t sure what this place was or what he was supposed to be doing here. He wanted to conserve his energy as he pushed on.
Towards the end of the corridor it branched off in two different directions, the one to the left Harry could almost feel more of those dark, slithering things throb and move and they terrified him. To the right he heard crying. A child crying to be exact.
Go, take him away the voice said in his head again. Sighing, Harry slowly made his way down the right hallway where another door lay at the end of it. When he got there, he slowly opened it and stepped through. He cast a bright lumor charm with his wand and saw a young boy curled up in the corner, crying. Harry carefully approached then kneeled down near the child.
“Are you alright?” Harry asked gently. The boy shook his head but didn’t speak. “Are you hurt? Do you need healing?” Harry knew basic healing spells, he needed to for his work out in the field.
“No,” came the quiet voice.
“I think I was brought here to get you out.”
“You were?” The boy’s head shot up, large dark eyes looked at Harry with such hope. But, when Harry got a look at the boy, he jumped up and flashed his wand dangerously at him. “Are you going to hurt me?” The boy asked with utter fear in his voice.
Harry’s breathing shallowed as his heart beat hard in his chest. He was trying to remember that this was a small child and maybe it was just a strange coincidence that he looked like he did.
“What’s your name?” The hard tone in Harry’s voice had the boy’s lip quivering like he was going to cry again.
“Tom, Tom Riddle. Please, did Professor Dumbledore send you?”
“Oh fuck me.” Harry sank to his knees as he stared at an eleven year old version of his mortal enemy, Voldemort.
Harry didn’t trust anyone at the moment. Except maybe the Goblins. That had been a hard won trust after the war, but Harry valued their opinions greatly. Ragnok was waiting for him and his charge at the bank even though the hour was late. He needed facts, and to make sure that the boy by his side wasn’t some sort of changeling or other dark creature left behind by his enemy.
After Harry had come to terms with the fact that a facsimile, to Harry’s eyes anyway, of Tom Riddle, and that the boy was frightened out of his mind, Harry calmed himself down and gathered the boy in his arms. Once he did, the breach, or whatever the hell dark thing it was, closed up around them and virtually spit them out. Harry knew he couldn’t just pop back home with the boy in his arms, Ginny would ask him a million questions he had absolutely no answers for. So, he used the small telecommunication mirror that Ragnok had given him years prior to used in case Harry had desperate need of him. This was a case where he had desperate need of the Goblin leader.
“Harry, I do not understand.” Ragnok looked several times between man and boy.
“Believe me I am still trying to understand what the hell happened this evening. I don’t think I can explain it in words. Every time I try to think of what to say the memories become obscured. Almost like they didn’t even happen, but obviously they did.”
“Pensieve, maybe?” Ragnok asked as he slowly paced around Harry and the boy. Neither of them wanted to name him, because it was all just too strange.
“I could try.”
Ragnok went to his desk and pressed a button. The face of his assistant appeared.
“Wishrook, I need you to come to the bank immediately. Prepare the large pensieve for use.”
“Sir, right away.” The younger Goblin’s face faded away, then moments later he was popping into Ragnok’s office, the aforementioned pensieve by his side. Quickly it was set-up and Harry was able to pull the memories of his trek through the forest, going into the strange cave, then finding Riddle huddled in the corner. After the four of them witnessed what it was that happened, Ragnok sat heavily in his chair.
“I thought it but a myth,” he mumbled to himself.
“Sir?” Harry asked as he sat down in a conjured chair, Tom next to him.
“There are stories that are stranger and older than Wizards, Harry Potter. Things no longer talked about. Things we Goblin’s thought long gone. Come, let me show you something. You too young Tom, since this concerns you as well.”
“Mr. Harry, why did you bring me here? And why were you afraid of me?” Tom asked as Harry took his hand and followed after Ragnok.
“That is a very long story. But first we need to figure out if you are really who you say you are.”
“But I am, Mr. Harry. I’m Tom and I started at Hogwarts two weeks ago. Professor Dumbledore gave me detention and told me I had to help clean up a part of the Dark Forest.”
Harry frowned and tried to keep an open mind. He also caught that Tom called it the Dark Forest, not the Forbidden Forest. Harry wondered when the name changed.
“We’ll get this all sorted. I promise.” Of course Harry wasn’t sure exactly what he was promising. There were time rituals that he could take the boy back where he came from, but then would there be another Tom? Could he let the same things happen to the boy? Did he have a chance to somehow, undo all of the damage Tom Riddle had done in the Wizarding World? Frankly all of the questions rattling around in Harry’s head were giving him a headache.
“Come, come, both of you.” Ragnok stepped into a ritual circle. Harry had not been paying attention to where they had been going, but he trusted Ragnok and stepped into the circle with very little prompting, pulling young Tom with him.
Ragnok silently cast a spell, then Harry felt himself being portkeyed somewhere. When he looked up again, he saw it was some kind of magical teaching room. All along the walls were large portraits of major events in the world, magical and non-magical.
“All of recorded history lies within these walls. The Goblins have been keeping records of the world for as long as we have been able to cast magic. Only the Chieftain’s of the Horde, plus a select few record keepers are allowed access to this room. The histories of Elf and Dragon, Goblin and Human, Wizards and Muggles, and more reside within these walls. Histories that need preserving and protecting.”
Ragnok waved the staff he was holding and one picture flew off the wall and floated in front of Harry. It was his own history, the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry’s eyes filled as friends and foes alike fell under powerful spells. The battle bloody and terrible. The school in ruins.
“Why do you show me this Ragnok? I already live with this every day of my fucking life.” Harry yelled, anger poured off him in waves, his magic swirled around him dangerously.
“Yes, you do Harry Potter. But I don’t show it for you.” Harry’s eyes had turned blood red, his animagus form was just on the surface, but then he saw Tom’s face, his eyes wide in terror as he looked at the moving, recorded history. He watched as Harry and Voldemort faced off, then Voldemort dying. The Death Eaters fighting sending terrible curses at those that fought them off. The Dark Mark in the sky, slowly fading as Voldemort died on the battlefield.
“That’s me, isn’t it?” Tom asked, his younger self trembling and frightened. “I did this?”
Harry wasn’t going to sugarcoat it. He wasn’t going to let Tom think that he was some good and decent person when everyone knew he was a dark little bastard right from a young age.
“Yes. This was the second war you brought to the Wizarding World. You’re pureblood agenda killed thousands of people between both wars. You killed my parents and tried to kill me.”
The little boy fell to his knees and crossed his arms around his waist, crying. Harry tried not to feel sorry for him, tried to hardened his heart against the pain the boy was feeling, but even he wasn’t that heartless. He knelt down beside the boy and drew him into his arms. When Tom threw his arms around Harry’s neck and cried, Harry felt lost of what to do and how to feel.
“There is more to show you. Something even we Goblins have had no explanation for.”
Harry reluctantly helped Tom to calm down, then he stood after conjuring a handkerchief so Tom could wipe his face.
“I only showed you so you might understand young Tom, why Master Potter feels the way he does. Now, this,” Ragnok put the Battle of Hogwarts back on the wall then chose another one. This one was older, darker and gave off the same feelings that Harry had in the forest.
“This is a history that even we cannot categorize and define. It is strange and dark. A precursor to other things that were dark histories of our world, muggle and magical. Some call it a tear, some a breach, the Goblins call it The Stain Upon the World. No one has been able to stop it, or close it up, though many have tried.
“We lost track of it many generations ago. Harry found it again, but it was not luck, if was one of the creatures from The Stain. I believe I know what may have happened, but it is only a theory, Harry.”
“What is it, Ragnok?”
“Tom, answer me one questions young man. When you went into the Dark Forest, were you compelled into The Stain?”
Tom visibly swallowed as he looked into the eyes of Ragnok.
“Hmm, I believe when you entered, the things that lived there, the dark terrible things separated all of that darkness that lived inside of you and created a copy. You were trapped in a time bubble within The Stain, and that dark double became the monster we knew as Voldemort.”
“But, why?” Tom scrunched up his face as he looked between Harry and Ragnok.
“I think The Stain is pure chaos and evil. It corrupts those who spend time around it and almost every Wizard living today has spent some time in that forest. Some became more corrupt than others.”
“You believe this has been having an effect on the Wizarding World?”
“I do. But I have never been willing to expose my people to The Stain on just a theory.”
“But, it is such a good theory, Master Ragnok.” The four people in the room all turned towards the voice and stared in shock. “I am sorry to just pop in like this, but I felt the pull when the Master of Death breached The Stain and rescued young Riddle from it.”
“Who are you?” Harry frowned at the man who stood before him. He was devilishly handsome, with a well cut suit in a soft heather gray, a light gray shirt, tie and nice shoes with little wings flowing up the sides and laying against his pant legs. Harry wondered at the amount of magic that just seemed to ooze from every pore of him. His eyes sparkled and swirled with magic and Harry was mesmerized.
“Oh, come now Harry, you know exactly who I am. We met briefly before my brother took you away. I shouldn’t have to tell you, or you Master Ragnok.”
“You’re the Lord of Magic, Hermes.”
“And you were always one of my favorites, Harry. But, there is something terribly corrupt with Magic, and I believe you have found the source of where the corruption begins.”
“But, Sir, what are we supposed to do about it? How do we fix it?”
Hermes smiled as he pulled something out of his pocket. It was a kind of watch, but infinitely more complicated than that. It had a lot of dials and hands on it. Hermes held the watch up to Harry and dangled it in front of the man.
“First thing, you will go back in time and stop young Tom here from ever going into the Forest. You will also stop that idiot Dumbledore from being a dark fuck and make him see his errors.”
“That, Harry, you will have to figure out. You won’t be going alone, though. You will have an ally, even if they don’t realize it as of yet.”
Hermes’s eyes twinkled just a little too bright as he snapped his fingers and in drops the second to the last person Harry thought he would see this very strange night.
“Malfoy? You want me to take Malfoy?”
Hermes smiled a wicked smile as he conjured a chair to sit in. Ragnok was looking rather amused by the whole situation and poor young Tom was just lost by everything.
“What in Merlin’s name am I doing here? Potter, explain yourself!” Draco demanded as he stood and glared at the man he had zeroed in on, not even paying attention to the others in the room.
The light, almost musical laugh coming from the being in the overly ornate chair had Draco and Harry turning to glare at him. Twin expressions on their faces had Hermes laughing even more.
“Oh, you two are utter idiots. I don’t know why I favored you from the beginning. You Draco, threw away everything you were given magically by aligning with the Darkness. I wonder…” Hermes stood and hand Draco by the shirt faster than anyone could stop. The Lord of Magic looked deep into Draco’s eyes, almost as if he could see directly into the very soul of the man.
“Mr. Harry, I don’t understand. What is going on?” Tom had tugged on Harry’s pants leg and looked with such confusion and fear in his eye that Harry actually felt some measure of compassion for the boy. He sighed and knelt down so he could look Tom in the eye.
“Tom, that is the Lord of Magic. As to what he is doing, I haven’t the faintest idea. I’m not quite sure what is going on. I’m still trying to understand this whole crazy night myself.”
As Harry stood, Hermes put Draco back on his feet and smiled.
“You have potential, Malfoy.” Hermes grabbed Draco’s arm and held his hand over the Dark Mark that was still there. Dormant, but there nonetheless. Hermes hand glowed brightly and swirled around and through Draco’s arm. The man screamed and tried to pull his arm away, but Hermes had a tight hold on him. Harry watched with fascination as the mark was slowly being undone from Draco’s arm. The whole thing only took moments, and when Draco finally had his arm back to himself he stared in awe.
“Well, if you could do that you wanker, why didn’t you do it a long time ago.” Draco shot darts at Hermes as he rubbed at his reddened arm.
“Because you weren’t ready. I’m giving you both a chance to go back and fix things. But, you have to do them in a certain pattern, or everything, magic, muggles, the world in general, will fall completely apart. Certain events cannot be touched till others are fixed. You will know what you should do as you complete each task. If you don’t, the consequences will be dire.”
“I don’t understand what I’m even doing here.”
“Because, Malfoy, if you hadn’t been a little shit the first time you met Harry, he would have never sided with the Weasley’s and you together could have defeated Voldemort before he gained the power he did. But, you were too invested in pleasing your father and believing in his blood purity bullshite. Get your head out of your ass. You two were fated. Idiots is what you are. But, you will fix it.”
Harry stared at Hermes with shock on his face.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Hermes frowned as he looked between the two men.
“Friends, Harry. You were fated to be friends. But, your parents and your own stupidity cocked it up. Now, I’m giving you a chance, a choice to go back and fix this.”
Draco and Harry looked at each other with raised brows.
“Where do we start?” Draco asked as he finally looked around him.
“Harry knows. The Stain must be closed, that is the ultimate goal. But, you can’t do that as long as Wizards like Dumbledore feed the darkness that comes out of it. Start with the boy, then you will know what to do next.”
Hermes left and Ragnok turned to Harry and Draco, with poor Tom looking on.
“What the fuck is going on?” Draco crossed his arms across his chest and glared at Harry.
“Its a very long story.”
“And obviously I have time. Spill Potter. And why do you have a child who looks just like Riddle?”
“That’s the long story.”