April recovered everything; in the season of Spring and rain, the air held the scent of moist grass.
It was a season of an endless life, but Harry decided that, for now, he'd call April his second most-hated month. First place undoubtedly belonged to the cold February.
His bones began to ache in protest again, as if something was stuck between the swollen joints, causing long and unbearable pain. This pain wasn't like an exterior injury, visible in appearance, instead, it felt like ants gnawing into him, sending pain like sharp rivulets in all directions of his body.
And it seemed that this was true for Professor Merrythought as well, ("Oh dear! My bones feel discomfort similar to being immersed in water!"), which resulted in her passing a majority of the recent classes to Harry.
Harry also began to think it strange; this kind of pain felt deep in his core, should've… Only been felt during the Winter.
It's time to take a trip to the medical wing, Harry thought. He packed up his lesson plans and walked towards his classroom, where on the way, he met a few Ravenclaw girls who dropped by to ask a few questions. Harry promptly forgot about his self imposed trip to the infirmary.
This weekend, Harry planned on visiting Diagon Alley. He'd at least stop by the Leaky Cauldron for a glass of piss poor-quality beer, for the sole feeling of the trailing liquid fire burning his throat to soothe the aches all over his body.
As for the other professors' high-end mead, Sorghum liquor; Harry could probably knock out a few shots before managing to feel its effects. Voldemort probably never would've thought that as long as he poured the Saviour three or four pints of spirits, he'd have a decent shot at becoming 'the one of two who'd survive'.
Of course, one of the more important reasons for going to Diagon Alley dealt with Hagrid.
Perhaps it was because Harry saw Tom as his own child - mistakes made by the children would lend to parental guilt. Harry didn't even know how to face Hagrid. It was indeed because of his protection over Tom that made the innocent half-giant leave the classrooms. Remembering Hagrid's care and concern towards him, Harry felt ashamed.
So when the half-giant hesitated before holding out the broken wand from his pocket, asking Harry for a silent favor, he had agreed without thinking.
Was it violating the rules? Of course, but what's one more, really? Considering his track record, Harry's already used to it!
In the future that held Diagon Alley, even George and Fred's joke shop have closed its iron rolling door, and the whole street was empty and depressing. As for the current Diagon Alley, it was noisy the moment Harry stepped out. It was the weekend, and people seemed to have simultaneously agreed to walk the streets, making it too crowded to breathe; but Harry didn't hate the ambience.
Harry walked forwards leisurely, carried by the crowd, only to feel his back get squeezed a little; someone had pushed away the crowd and started walking behind him. Just when Harry was about to turn sideways and allow the person to go first, they patted on his shoulder.
"Good morning Harry, would you mind if I joined you?" A well-mannered question.
Harry didn't even have to turn his head to know who it was.
Sure enough, Harry saw Tom, still neatly dressed even on weekends. To his surprise, following beside him was a beautiful girl.
Harry vaguely recognised her; a seventh-year Slytherin, and a "goddess" in every school boy's mind. Though this statement was obviously said in exaggeration, Harry couldn't help but find it an apt description in showing how high in regard she was held at school.
Tom smiled and glanced at the girl indifferently.
"Good morning, Professor Potter. I just remembered that I've something to do, so I won't bother troubling you," the girl politely greeted; then she simply left, her pace hasty, before quickly disappearing into the crowd. It was almost like she was… Running away.
Harry raised both brows and asked curiously, "Is she your girlfriend?"
Tom glanced at Harry with a grin, not bothering to skirt around this topic. "She doesn't like me," he responded briefly. "Anyways, Harry, what have you come to buy?"
Since he didn't want to answer, Harry could only attempt to swallow down the questions stuck in his throat. But Tom made a more embarrassing and awkward inquiry.
"Ah, to repair someone's wand." It didn't sound like a question. It was a statement. "Hagrid's." Between the two, Hagrid seemed to be a deliberately forgotten rift; they were both aware, but pretended not to know so they could maintain a calm charade. Once mentioned, their exchange would fall into dead silence.
Tom didn't speak, and Harry didn't know what to say. What could he say? The note Ovi haphazardly pushed into his hands still resided on Harry's desk, the seemingly small note-taking up more room than it should. The sentence that was almost carved through the paper startled Harry, making him cycle through his speculation repeatedly like a broken record.
Don't trust T, don't trust… Tom.
He tried telling himself countless times that T didn't necessarily represent Tom; it could stand for Theodore or Timothy, or something else, but Harry couldn't even find enough plausible reason to fool himself.
He knew better than anyone how Tom would end up in the future, better than even Tom himself, so how could he not understand what 'don't believe in his facade' meant? It's just… believing in it would make it real. It would make Tom's actions crystal-clear, which would then leave the familiar acrid taste of failure in Harry's mouth.
Harry refused to believe it.
The two didn't speak the entire way until they reached the entrance of Ollivander's.
It was still the same old shop, a simple font spelled, 'Ollivander' engraved on the wooden board. Yet no matter how mundane the sign was, it couldn't hide the quality. Reputation couldn't possibly hope to be conveyed through glamorous signs.
Harry held onto Hagrid's wand and opened the door to Ollivander's; the bell on top of the door rang crisply.
He expected he'd hear, 'Holly wood stick, phoenix feather core…" but instead, what greeted him was the old man's rather annoyed expression.
"Excuse me, sir, may I ask what your name is?"
Harry froze, looking in disbelief at the not-yet gray-haired Ollivander, and stumbled when replying with his name. "I'm Harry Potter."
"Oh, Tom, you're here too." The old man's expression noticeably relaxed after seeing Tom Riddle.
Harry felt a little out of his mind. How could Ollivander not remember his name? This was Ollivander, the man who remembered every wand he'd ever sold!
"Good sir, if you don't mind my asking… What happened to you?"
Ollivander frowned, his weathered voice somewhat hoarse and very distressed, "Last year, a few children had just gotten their wand and - who knows who taught them - obliviated me."
Harry kept his mouth shut, afraid that if he opened his mouth he'd laugh out loud and enrage the old man by mistake.
Casting a Memory Charm on Ollivander, who had always been proud of his memory? Was it that family's kid, who did something not even George and Fred dared to do?
To be able to do this, they must be a Gryffindor? They just got their wand last year… Probably a first-year.
Harry decided to go back and pay more attention, and only heard Ollivander say, "Fortunately, Tom was here."
Harry raised his eyebrows and glanced at Tom from the corner of his eye. The Slytherin smiled. "Last summer, I served here as an apprentice for a month."
"Thankfully you were here to help me count all the wands sold during that period…" Ollivander couldn't help but praise Tom.
The Slytherin smiled indifferently, but his eyes were as dark as the deepest trenches whilst he played a role of humility. "It was nothing, it's what apprentices are for." Oh, he really didn't do much; just found a few partners who were good friends with the Malfoy family, and taught them how to use the Memory Charm.
Ollivander babbled on about how troublesome it was to have lost his memory and repeatedly emphasised how helpful Tom was. His child was being praised; as a parent, no matter how proud he was, he had to feign humility, so Harry tucked his smile behind his ear. "I'm glad Tom didn't cause you any trouble."
Ollivander paused for two seconds. "You and Tom are…?"
"Oh, he's my son." Harry didn't like the term 'adopted child' too much, as it sounded as if a difference in blood meant they couldn't be as intimate with each other as a real family.
Ollivander shifted his sights to Tom's face and, after seeing Tom's nod of confirmation, looked back at Harry with some doubt. "You're so young. Oh, back to business, do you want to buy a new wand?"
In any matter related to Tom, even if Harry knew the future developments he often couldn't guess how certain events took course and evolved; especially when Tom Riddle dealt with the evidence so perfectly.
Harry would probably never know that the individuals who cast the Memory Charm weren't a group of Gryffindors that were like newborn calves unafraid of tigers (1).
And the amnesiac Ollivander would certainly never know that the Tom Riddle he was praising was the one who taught his fellow minions how to use the Memory Charm.
Ovi carved it on the paper before he left: Don't trust T.
History was so also clear in this: it was very hypocritical in its cyclical, unchangeable events.
(1) 'Newborn calves unafraid of tigers' - A Chinese idiom used to describe young people who have no fear; daring to do anything.