NOTE: This is a translation of a Chinese HP Fanfiction by 墨玉绿
BETA: the brilliant and wonderful Osmodion
January 13, 2001
Harry decided it was best to leave while Tom was still in school, when the boy was distracted.
It was necessary for him to go back to his time. Before he came here, he had made a promise with Hermione to return to the future once every seven days. He needed to check in with her so she could examine the physical long-term effects of time-traveling, for his own safety. Once every seven days. So...seven days in 2001 equalled two years and ten months in the past.
No matter how many times he time-skipped, Harry felt that it was a sensation that he would never get used to.
The endless din of banging metal, the kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting images in his head, the disorienting feeling of weightlessness—experienced all together— time-travel felt bloody awful. Harry felt like his body has been taken apart and hastily reassembled. The price for defying time was physical pain, pain so sharp and visceral that Harry wished he was unconscious.
But he persisted. Finally, the time-skipper stopped spinning.
His ears were still ringing; his eyes blinded by dark spots. His temple throbbed. The nausea bubbled up, and Harry kneeled over, retching on the floor.
Dressed in a white lab coat, Hermione ran toward him. She helped him up and examined his face carefully. She stared at his pained expression, frustrated by her helplessness as she did the only thing she could— gently pat his back.
Shakily, Harry gathered his strength. He turned and gave her his best dazzling smile. Even on his unhealthily pale face, his sincerity warmed her heart.
Harry's smile was as bright as ever. "Hermione, long time no see."
"You are getting worse, aren't you?" Hermione asked bluntly, eyebrows furrowing.
Yes, he was definitely getting worse. The nausea turned into full-blown migraine, excruciating pain grinding in his mind.
Outwardly, Harry continued to smile nonchalantly. He leaned against the wall and casted a heating charm on himself. Hermione sighed deeply, but she didn't argue with him. She watched him in silent disapproval, and couldn't help but reach out to button up his jacket. He must be freezing, wearing so little in the dead of winter.
"Come on, you need rest," Hermione said sternly. She helped him up and steadied him with an arm around his shoulder.
Harry shook his head quickly. His feet refused to budge. "No. We should start working... I need to go back within 24 hours."
Hermione frowned again. She glared at him with razor sharp scrutiny, and, for some reason, her stern expression reminded him of Tom.
"Hermione, you said, return once every seven days, then I can —" Harry's voice trailed off. Hermione's scrutiny made him feel guilty, but his resolute will remained strong. He must return, because he made a promise to a child. Five months... and the boy is waiting for him.
Still, Hermione glared at him, with stern eyes that reminded him of Professor McGonagall. Harry met her gaze with his own steely resolute.
"Okay, fine," she finally sighed and her bossy demeanour fell away. "Harry, you need to be aware of the fact that... everything you do has a consequence. If you choose to live twenty years of your life in the past, then your life — later— will be shortened by twenty years or maybe a lot more. And that's not all— "
Hermione set him down a sofa. Her intelligent eyes were troubled as she examined his conditions, once again feeling helpless against Harry's stubbornness.
She sat down across from him. "All this time you spent in the past is putting constant stress on your body. It's dangerous! Even if Fate couldn't erase your presence there, it could still make you pay a steep price for your defiance."
Harry lay back in the couch. He said nothing, because... she was right.
"Look, Harry. Give up please... We already know that your plan has failed! Because Voldemort is still Voldemort, right here— right now — he was never changed by your kindness! "Hermione squeezed the words out through gritted teeth, her voice almost pitying.
She felt guilty as Harry turned pale... but it had to be said.
Her statement rammed through Harry's heart like a sword.
Oh yes... How he hoped to see a different 2001 waiting for him when he returned. But reality was cruel, and fate unalterable. Once again, the truthfulness of her words scattered the illusion of his hopes.
Tom hadn't changed at all.
The higher the expectations, the harder the fall... Despair always follows hope.
"Harry, is it worth it?" Hermione asked, quietly.
Unexpected tears welled in his eyes. Harry opened his mouth, then closed it. Finally, he admitted shakily,
"I... I don't know."
It was true, Harry didn't know... Is it worth it to throw away twenty years of his life, suffering constant pain and unknown danger, in exchange for a chance to change the Dark Lord who cannot be changed? The future was unknown, the end was unknown. No one had ever changed the past, no one had even tried...Was it worth risking everything?
Harry's head rested on the sofa. He squinted toward the light.
"I don't know if it's worth it... But I feel that I need to do this—" Harry replied, calmly.
Yes... Harry owned it to Tom to at least try... to try to give him a childhood, to try to give to him guidance, to try to change him.
Hermione watched her friend with concerned eyes. Three years in the past had not altered his appearance. He was still young, deathly pale, and so thin that his collarbones were almost visible. But compared to their last meeting, he looked much happier. His smile was almost as bright as it once was, in his youth; and for a moment, it almost made her heart flutter like a school girl's. (Of course, Hermione only thought of Harry as a brother, but even she had to admit that he is a very good-looking young man.)
"Fine," she nodded with resignation. "Harry, don't interfere too much... then maybe Fate won't be so harsh to you. Take care of yourself, okay?"
They smiled at each other, as old friends finally reaching an understanding. Hermione was determined to aide Harry— regardless of what he's planning. She swore that, for as long she lived, she wouldn't let any harm come to him.
With Hermione's agreement, Harry's shoulders slumped in relief. He took a bundle of miniaturized documents out of his pocket, then cancelled his shrinking charm.
"Hermione, I've completed our recruiting plans."
Hermione accepted the thick bundle, looking rather impressed.
Then, Harry reproduced the Slytherin's locket from his inner beast pocket. He held it toward Hermione, who regarded the dangling object with suspicion.
"Open it," Harry urged her.
Hermione looked at him sharply. She hesitated, then flipped it open.
Hermione gasped. The horcrux... it was destroyed?
"Yep, the horcrux is gone. I didn't do anything, no Gryffindor's sword, no basilisk's fang, nothing. It was just gone, "Harry explained calmly. "Hmm... It happened when I first saw Tom — I mean, Voldemort— "
Hermione pondered the information carefully. She had some theories about horcruxes, but... She narrowed her eyes as she remembered something.
"My guess... is that no two of the same soul can exist at the same time," she replied slowly, voice uncertain. "Since this horcrux overlapped with a piece of Voldemort's soul, and since there can't be two Voldemorts... when they came together, Fate must've destroyed the extra one. Fate must keep history on its track... and thus, I think it's the most likely culprit."
"Hey, if that's true, do you think Fate will destroy my wand?" Harry asked, suddenly remembering the two brother wands that remained in Ollivander's shop.
"I hate Fate," Harry mumbled, sinking further into the sofa.
"Yes, but at least it helped us destroy the horcux," Hermione pointed out.
Suddenly, Harry's expression turned grim. "One more thing, Hermione — I can't... I can't understand parseltongue anymore."
Harry pursed his lips, remembering the days he spent outside Tom's room, listening to the boy hissing unknown, obscene words. It was the first time he heard snake-speak but couldn't understand, and the low-thrumming hisses made the hairs on his neck bristle. He didn't know the content of Tom's words, but that sound... it was rather alarming.
Hermione's brows furrowed deeply.
No one knew why Harry was a parselmouth... When Harry was in second year, Dumbledore had hinted, vaguely, at the possibility that a part of Voldemort's powers had transferred to him that night.
But it was a vague hint, with no explanation as to how or what or why.
The news of Harry's vanished ability unnerved Hermione greatly. She hated not knowing. People may fear tangible threats or mistakes, but the unknown, creeping out of unseen darkness, was always the thing that terrifies them the most.
"Hermione, don't be afraid," Harry soothed. Sensing her distress, he wrapped a gentle arm around his friend.
Hermione stared at the trusting smile on the dark-haired young man. The familiar sight reassured her, calmed her and gave her confidence in the future. She felt a warmth spreading in her chest.
Her lips twitched, "Shouldn't you be the one who's afraid?"
Harry grinned. He didn't like making Hermione worried about him, but, in a way, it was a refreshing change. Her concern was touching. It's nice to know someone cares.
Finally, she cracked a smile. Her eyes softened. He is their last hope... if he gives up, then their hope of winning the war gives up with him.
Best of luck, my friend, you'll need it, she thought.
"Harry, see you in seven days." Hermione stood near-by, waving good-bye with a smile on her face.
"Actually, I plan to stay a little bit longer this time," Harry informed her. "Give Ron and Ginny my love."
Next second, Harry was squeezed through the awful feeling of time-travel again.
But this time, Harry felt happy.
Happy... because he knew that he had friends here, on this side of the timeline, who care about and support him. And because he knew that he had someone there too. On the other side, there was a little boy waiting for him to return home.
1) I want to point out the new BETA— Osmodion — and to thank her and to show my appreciation for her help. Thank you! And good luck on your exams.
2) Might I urge you guys to go to leave a comment for the original author, Emerald Ink. I put up a tutorial on AO3 on how to leave a comment using the Chinese site. Go check out that page (it's in Chapter 17 End-of-Chapter's note) if you need instructions.
To leave a comment on the Chinese site:
- Go to: Replace () with .
www () jjwxc () net/ onebook () php?novelid=1888544&chapterid=2
-Scroll to the bottom, fill in the user name, fill in the text box, and press submit. No sign-up necessary. It may take half an hour for the comment to show up.