~~~~~ FUTURE LOST ~~~~~
16 Sep 2016 00:07:53 GMT
Bright, shiny, filled with happy, smiling people.
Everything’s fine and everyone’s great.
Sure it is.
Right load of bullshit, that.
Trust me, I know. I’m there. Here. Whatever.
And I’ve been where you are, in the not so distant past, all happy and snug in that little house of yours. Enjoy it while you can. Suck it up, mate, ‘cause it’s all going away a lot sooner than you think.
Sorry to rain on your parade, really I am. Of course there’s nothing you can do, even if you happen to believe me. Because even if you did believe me, no one would sure as shite believe you. Just the way of it, sweets. This isn’t some cranked out Muggle time travel film. No heroes valiantly saving the day by killing the bad guy in the past. Or future. Or whatever the fuck. Nothing but the here and now. Course, you’ve got yours and I’ve got mine, and never the twain shall meet.
Sort of like that waxing poetic thing.
No, people can’t freely move about in time, the handful of remaining Time-Turners not withstanding. But things can. Objects. Constructs. Right smart little robots, really. That’s how you’re seeing this holo-vid. Sodding expensive little buggers, the ‘bots. Harder than boomslang skin to get, too. And they don’t last. You can see what’s left of them after the transition.
Just know that there are lots of new gadgets in the future. Some good, some not so good. Muggles can do astounding things if they put their minds to it. That’s how you‘re getting all this. Simple little recording device with a minor alteration. Then, I adjust my standard Legilimency spell, and there it is. The ‘corder archives everything I see, hear, and think. And you get a front row seat. Sort of.
It takes a bit of getting used to, though. You’ll see what I see, hear what I hear, but you’ll also hear my thoughts in between it all. Isn’t technology grand? Until it swaggers up and bites you on the arse, that is.
But I digress.
So I’m in London, by the way. Not that you could tell. All the old cities look the same. Blasted. Ruined. Destroyed, but not dead. Oh no, they still live. Shrivelled burned husks of their former selves, but they go on, after a fashion.
I usually stay away from the big cities. Much safer out in the wilder areas. Most of us, witches and wizards I mean, did okay. Most of us survived. We’d always kept to ourselves; it had been our way for centuries. Even so, there was no way we could escape the apocalypse the Muggles loosed upon themselves.
And we always thought that Riddle was the greatest threat to our world, the beast. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that it was really us all along.
The Ministry saw it coming, of course. That moron Scrimgeour could’ve intervened. A dozen well-cast Imperios and a handful of Confundus Charms would have done the trick, but our intrepid Minister of Magic refused to interfere.
Some of us tried, you should know. We tried and we failed. Stopped by our own, convicted and imprisoned.
I wish I could have seen Scrimgeour’s face when that mushroom cloud blossomed over London…oh, yeah, the city’s still mostly intact. The Bomb just took out the people. I wasn’t there, of course, but I saw the news footage, both Muggle and ours, right after I’d escaped from Azkaban. It almost seemed like the cruellest of hoaxes, a demented fabrication, but it wasn’t.
Because I’d seen the survivors by then. What the Bomb did to them. And not all at once, mind. Real slow it was, not very pretty at all. Never would have thought that flesh could just slough off like that…
But life goes on. Some semblance of it, anyway. We wizarding types keep on, as do they. I’m not sure who’s more pathetic, really.
Anyway, so here I am back in London, skulking about after midnight, barely a few blocks from where The Leaky Cauldron once stood. Rather barren in the old neighbourhood these days.
I’m huddling in an alley, my hood up, hands stuffed deep into the pockets of my jeans. It’s raining. Of course it is. It always is. Never stops around here. Barely enough sun to dry up the puddles. And it’s cold. Nuclear winter, don’t you know. I usually don’t make it up this far north. Way too dreary and bleak. Even down in St. Kitts it barely gets above eighty degrees in high summer.
Besides, it takes me forever to Apparate way the hell up here.
Okay, enough of the weather forecast.
An old double-decker rattles past, belching acrid smoke. It lurches to a stop at the nearby corner, disgorging a rather large, hooded form. The bus nearly stalls, gears grinding as it rattles away down the trash-strewn street. The shadow looks about, getting its bearings.
Then it moves towards me, hunched over, dragging one leg in a loping limp.
How he found it, and then me, is sort of a fucking mystery. Sure, it’s not exactly a secret that our kind covets these things, and I am who I am, so there it is. Still, I’ve never been one to look a gift thestral in the mouth. He had a holo of the merchandise, and it looked authentic enough.
The fact that the guy sent the package by owl was quite impressive.
Oh, right. Here in the future, we wizards aren’t so secretive anymore. One good thing about the Apocalypse: most of the old barriers fell. That, and about four billion inhabitants of good old planet Earth.
Cue the cockroaches.
My ‘friend’ approaches, his head darting back and forth, as though there might actually be someone else out strolling about in this stinking, acid rain.
“Hey!” I call out loudly.
He jumps so that he nearly falls over into the gutter.
I chuckle, stepping out onto the sidewalk. He whirls about, pausing a moment. I see his hand reach inside his jacket. I’m faster, whipping my wand out in a flash.
Thunder roils and grumbles across the sky.
He freezes, slowly raising his hands above his head.
Lightning flashes again, momentarily blinding me, but leaving me with a lovely image of his scarred face seared into my vision.
“Hey! It’s me!” he croaks, nodding enthusiastically.
I approach him, my wand at arm’s length, until the tip touches his extremely active Adam’s apple.
“One wrong move,” I hiss.
Hey, what can I say? I love a little drama.
He gasps, his breath rattling deeply within his chest. Poor bastard. Probably has the Hacks. Delayed reaction, that little bug. Nothing for it.
"Well? Prove it," I sneer. I attempt to look the slightest bit loony. It works. His watery eyes go wide. "Let's hear it!" I growl, poking his throat mercilessly.
"Cannons in The Cup!" he splutters, his eyes bulging. "The Cannons in The Cup!"
I was pretty sure that he was my contact; now I'm certain. I pull my wand back slightly.
He nods his shaggy head vigourously. “Put that stick 'o yours down, mate!” he wheezes. “I’ve got what you want! Right here in me pocket! Jes’ let me show ya!”
I hold my wand to his throat a bit longer than I have to.
Yeah, so I’ve become sort of an arsehole. Shit happens, mate.
Suppressing a chuckle, I withdraw my wand. “Let me see it. No funny stuff!”
Good thing it’s rather dark, or the slimer might see my barely hidden grin.
He nods once more, slowly moving one hand down and inside his jacket.
I flick my wand at him, and if he didn’t piss his pants right then, I’d be surprised. Must need the money really badly to go through all this trouble. So many other commodities to deal with than magical artefacts.
You know, like food. Water. Boring things like that.
The rain lets up slightly and I step closer to him. I reflexively cast a Lumos and the guy nearly jumps out of his skin. I’d almost forgotten how the Muggle media blamed all the shite that went down on the Wizarding world. Made us out to be the villains of the piece, the cause of all the ill will in the world, the real catalyst for the apocalypse. As if we’d really care about the price of petroleum products on the open market.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like Muggles, but they can be totally idiotic sometimes.
He pauses a moment longer, and I flick my wand impatiently. Okay, not my wand.
Lost mine right after the apocalypse deal.
Anyway, my ‘friend’ is slowly pulling his hand out of his cloak. He smiles crookedly, offering up his prize for me to see.
Even in the gloom, in the rain, I can tell it’s what I’ve been looking for.
And it’s my turn to gasp.
The ebony box shines in the illumination of my wand and the nearby streetlamp. And it’s one of the big ones, holding at least six vials. The droplets of rain bead and quickly run off of its richly varnished surface. I can barely contain my glee at how perfectly preserved the box is.
At least I didn’t waste a trip.
“Give it to me,” I snarl menacingly. Sometimes I can’t believe the things I do.
He nods, shoving the box toward me. I take it, at once feeling its aura. Oh yeah, it’s the real thing. Warm, powerful. I can sense that the seal hasn’t been breeched. I move the box closer to my face, straining to make out the labelling. I kick up the wand light a few notches…
The Ministry crest is there, as is the ID tag: RBW/30-07-07/mom:327/334/897:6
My heart nearly leaps out of my mouth. More lightning flashes, more thunder, and before I know it, I clutch the box to my chest.
Hey, give me a break. Just because the nob had sent me a holo-vid of what I wanted didn’t mean that he’d actually have the thing.
That’s right. I’ve become a right bloody cynic, too. Just wait…you’ll see.
When I look up, he’s smiling at me. A big, shite eating grin. I raise my wand again, pointing the tip at his nose. His grin evaporates instantly.
“Wot? S’okay, ain’t it? Just likes I said it t’was, innit? You saw the holo!”
“Yeah,” I reply, slowly dropping my wand to my side. “Where’d you get it?” I ask roughly.
He blinks at me, his mouth moving up and down but no sound coming out. I roll my eyes and sigh. He gulps twice.
“Small village. St. Ottery something. Nothing much left of it. An old barn, it was, I think.”
I raise my wand swiftly and jab his chest. “You think?”
I just love being a bastard…
“Wot I been told,” he spluttered. “Wasn’t there meself, jes’ got it from a friend, really!”
I knew he was telling the truth. But I fucked with him anyway. So sue me.
“How do I know it’s real?” I lean in closely, nearly gagging at his smell of gin and vomit. “These can be faked, you know.”
He shakes his head again. “You can see it’s real. I don’t screw about with fakes…” He swallowed hard, sparing me a glance. “And I’d never fuck with you, laddie.”
I hold my expression for what seems like an eternity.
He shifts about nervously, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was ready to explode.
“Fine,” I hiss. “Get the fuck out of here.”
He hesitates a moment, frowning. I raise my eyebrows menacingly, prodding him with my wand. Again.
“I wont me money,” he replies softly.
I had to hand it to him; he had balls. Points that. Otherwise, he was getting on my nerves. I conjured the pouch of galleons, slamming it into his upturned paw.
His eyes goggle at the pouch and he fumbles with the ties, dumping the contents into his palm. He licks his lips as he pokes through the singed gold, tiny giggles squeaking out of him.
It’s all I can do to suppress sniggers of my own. I mean really, how creepy can this guy get? I slip the box into my jacket pocket while he’s busy counting the galleons. “It’s all there,” I offer blandly.
He nods, another coughing fit wracking his body. He hacks up something and spits, wiping his quivering lips with the back of his hand.
“Yeh, it is,” he manages, struggling to clear his throat.
“Right then,” I return, slowly backing away. I’m still gripping my wand, but I’ve let my arm drop to my side. “Well, it’s been a slice, and I’d love to hang about, but you know how it is. If you ever run across another item like this, be sure to let me know.”
He just leers at me.
Shite eating grin, version two.
Fuck. I’m really not in the mood.
“Sure laddie, next time,” he rasps thickly and rams the coins into his pocket. He smiles widely. “Or not!”
I barely have time to swear before I feel the cold muzzle of some sort of weapon press against the back of my neck. Gun, tazer, blaster. All the same. Bloody Muggle crudity all the way around.
“Awww, c’mon,” I sigh. “You were doing so well.”
He puts out his hand and flicks his fingers at me. “Let’s have it, you rat bastard mutant!”
Yeah, that’s what the Muggles took to calling us when all hell broke lose. Lovely, isn't it?
Arsehole number two roughly jabs the muzzle of whatever it is into my skin. I feel a hand clamp on my shoulder. Just then, it starts to rain again. Hard. And it’s cold, too.
Shite! Why does everything have to be done the hard way? I slowly move to pull the box from my pocket. “Let’s not do this,” I say evenly. “I really don’t want to kill you.”
I just love talking that way.
He laughs at me, and I’m treated to a few more jabs to my neck.
“No chance o’ that, laddie,” he replies, taking a step closer. “One o’ us ain’t leavin’ this sidewalk, and it ain’t gonna be me!”
Circe’s Tits, here we go.
I hear the tiny click next to my right ear, then the telltale little whine of the blaster powering up. I know I only have about three seconds…
Lightning flashes and I stab out with my Legilimency. It’s enough to stun both of my ‘friends’ for an instant, but that’s all the time we need. Thunder rolls as a flash of green erupts behind me. I whip my wand up as something heavy falls at my feet. I advance a step, the wand tip pressed to the Muggle’s chest. His eyes are wide. He knows what we’re capable of. He tries to back away but loses his balance on the curb, landing on his arse in the trash-strewn gutter. He frantically pulls the galleons from his pocket, holding them up to me. Several of the coins slip from his fingers and disappear into the puddles of water.
“Oy! Fair play!” he gasps, his hand shaking. “Jes’ take yer gold and the box and be gone! Ya got me, mate, ya got me!”
I hear heavy foot steps running up behind me. I smile my most frightening smile. It works. He drops more galleons as he tries to crawl away.
“Jes’ take it an’ go!” he wails miserably. “I’ll never bother ya again, my honest oath!”
At this point, I just wish he’d shut up. Oh, and I think you know what I’m going to do. As he said, fair play.
“Get up!” I spit out.
He complies, slowly turning toward me with his hands up.
“Sweet Jesus,” he splutters, closing his eyes.
“What're you waiting for?” I sneer.
His eyes pop open almost as if I’d pressed a button. “Wot?”
I flick my wand up the street. He pauses a moment before dropping his arms. A slight grin spreads across his face. He nods and starts to slowly back away.
“Harry!” Seamus calls out a bit too loudly. “Are you right?”
I nod tersely as Seamus skids to a stop at my side. He’s a great bloke, but he can really drive me up a wall at times.
“You’re lettin’ him go?” Seamus asks incredulously.
My contact snorts loudly, his shite eating grin on full display. “Next time, ‘arry!” he drawls.
If there was a way to twist the slimer’s head off with my bare hands, I’d be doing it right this instant. Fucking rat bastard!
“Oy!” I call out. “Didn’t get yours.”
He laughs. “Fergus, laddie. Catch you next time.”
“You’re not…” Seamus began.
I snort loudly, raising my wand again. “No, love, I’m not.” I smile as old Fergus’ eyes nearly pop out of his skull. “Later, fuckwad!”
He turns to run, and I let him get maybe twenty feet before I scream the incantation.
Fergus falls in a tangled heap, galleons spilling into the filthy street. I jog over to his body and start picking the coins up. No point in letting them go to waste. Seamus clomps up to me, clearly impatient to get out of the rain. He starts tapping the toe of one of his battered Doc Martens against the cobblestones.
“Wot in bloody ‘ell are ya doin? Not the time to skive for change in the street, is it.”
I grab a few more galleons, slipping them into my pocket as I stand and turn around.
“Waste not, want not,” I reply with more than a bit of cheek. Seamus rolls those incredibly gorgeous hazel eyes at me. Sorry mate, but he’s gone, and a bloke’s got to move on.
I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.
“Well?” Seamus queries roughly. “Was it legit?”
I nod, pulling the end of the box from my pocket. Seamus casts a Lumos to gain a better view.
“Merlin! A sixer!” He nods, blowing on the tip of his wand as it goes dark. “Great. Now let’s get the 'ell out of here. It’s too fucking cold.” He smiles that smile at me, the one that says ‘the only reason I’m doing this is because I love you and I expect a right good shag once we’re back home.’
Hey, works for me.
I nod silently in response, stepping toward him and sliding my hands inside his jacket and under his t-shirt. He presses against me, and I can feel his thick cock pressing against mine. We kiss, the cold rain drenching us to the bone. His tongue slides through my teeth, claiming my mouth. I love it when he does that, and I grind my hips into his in response, his rumbling moan all the thanks I need. The cold rain fades away, and all I can feel is Seamus' probing hands on my arse, his hot lips on mine, and his erection grinding into me.
He pulls away first. He always does.
“Shite. Let’s go,” Seamus says, running a hand across my bulging crotch.
Well, yeah I’m excited things went according to plan, but I’m only human, after all.
I throw my arm about his waist, hooking my thumb into one of his belt loops. We walk through the rain to the Apparation point. I know he’s a romantic at heart, but I don’t dare mention it. Hell hath no fury like an Irishman annoyed.
We reach the entrance to the ruined Tube station. I make to pick my way down the rubble strewn steps, but Seamus reaches out and stops me. I look up, and he’s staring at me with those eyes. You’ve seen them, I know. I look back at him, immediately sorry that I’m such an obsessive arse.
“Hey,” he says.
“No worries, love,” I manage, turning away.
“How many more?” he asks.
Like I know.
Does it fucking matter?
“As many as there are,” I respond cryptically. I take another step down into the darkness. “You don’t have to come along,” I say, already knowing his response.
He steps next to me, encircling me with his arms. His breath is amazingly hot against the cool, damp skin of my neck.
“Yeah, I do, Harry,” he murmurs, the slightest hint of sadness in his voice. “Wherever you go, I go. I made a promise, and that’s that.”
He hugs me tightly then, and I clasp my hand to his.
And I know what you’re thinking, but believe it.
You’re going to be shagging Seamus Finnigan. And you’re going to like it.
Okay, nothing much more to hear from now on, so I’m going to turn off the audio…
~~~* mute *~~~
~~~* mute off *~~~
Bloody hell! Sodding Muggle junk! They create ‘bots that can travel through time, devise bombs that melt flesh, but they can’t make a decent, long-lasting battery! Merlin on a crutch! Well, not sure how much time’s left, so we’ll just pause for now…nothing much happening right here, anyway.
~~~* stop *~~~
~~~* rec *~~~
So here we are arriving in Dakar. Ridiculous place for a permanent Apparation point, isn’t it? Can’t be too picky these days. And it gets us to where we want to go. Only Apparation point to South America, linking directly to Georgetown in Guyana. Sure, it’s a woefully long jump, and I’m nearly ready to yak up my guts as we arrive, but there’s nothing for it.
Okay, not much going on here, except that we’re waiting in the departure queue. Doesn’t Seamus have the most delectable arse? Of course you think so.
I’m certain you’ve recognised the vials by now. A bit larger than you might have seen, but basically the same thing. Filled with memories. The last hope of our world.
Or so they said. Pompous arseholes!
The Ministry issued this decree, in those last months, that every wizard and witch should extract memories and submit them for archiving. You know, so that our history might survive should worst come to worst. Well, some memories were deemed more important than others. Not everyone’s recollections were to survive, despite what The Daily Prophet said.
So not everyone’s memories ended up in the Central Files. Some of them were returned to their owners. Most of the unwanted memories were tossed out with the trash. Oh, it was never publicized, mind, but that’s what happened. That’s why Ron’s memories are scattered to hell and back.
I still get right torqued off when I think of it. Here he was, a member of one of the oldest Pure Blood families in Britain, a Senior Healer and Dark Curse Specialist at St. Mungo’s, and they decide that his memories aren’t relevant. Or suitable. Or necessary. So they chuck ‘em in the dustbin, without even telling him. Without having the courtesy to even owl him that they had plenty of his memories, don’t need anymore, thanks so very much and fuck off.
Sodding homophobes. No, they just let him keep at it. Good thing he never knew…
And that’s why I’m slogging about in the middle of the night, wheeling and dealing with the scum of the earth, risking life and limb to get his back. Least I can do, right? I loved him, well, you love him, yeah? You’d do anything for him. So it’s only natural that I’d need to get all of his memories back. Just can’t stand the idea of them out there, separated, abused, viewed by anyone that has a pensieve. I don’t think he’d want just anyone to see his deepest, most private memories.
You know how he is.
No, I need to try to get them all back. And tonight was a really good haul. Six vials from March of 2007, months before The Fall.
I can’t wait to crack open those seals and plunge into his memories.
Oh, check this out. We’re waiting in Guyana for the next departure. Still quite a few of us left, as you can see, but then again, this is the only Apparation point left on the continent. Watch, now! See that? Seamus always flirts with that painfully straight clerk at the turnstile. Merlin, he’s shameless! But a right good bloke. Nothing he wouldn’t do for a mate.
Time for truth.
You couldn’t have prevented it.
No one could’ve. Just one of those things, as they say. He was evacuating St. Mungo’s when the bomb hit, but he was one of the lucky ones to, um…oh, shite.
Sorry, mate, it’s still fucking hard to say, even after all this time.
Just watch for a bit, and I’ll be back in a few…
* mute *
* mute off *
Right, I’m back.
As you can see, the line moves very slowly down here.
So, as I was saying, you lose Ron.
Just like that. Not to be morbid, but…well, no easy way to say it.
At least it was quick. Precious little comfort, that.
So he was one of many, no different than the other million or so inhabitants of London, wizard or Muggle, that were unlucky enough to be where they were that day, at that moment.
They were there one instant and gone the next.
It was the same story all over. New York. Washington. Tokyo. Sydney. Rio.
Without a trace.
And they were the lucky ones. They didn’t suffer.
Not like the millions outside ground zero. The ones that sort of melted away.
Doesn’t make it any easier to take, though, I can tell you.
I often wonder what he was thinking then.
Was I in there anywhere? I’d like to think so.
I’d like to think that he was thinking of me before his brain was dissolved, before he became nothing.
Before his rendezvous with Oblivion.
Nice thought. Full of shite, though.
He was worrying over his charges, thinking of nothing but them, never of himself.
But that was my Ron. Our Ron.
My love. My lost boy.
Fuck, fuck, FUCK!
. . .
So you see why I have to do this. Why I have to get them all back. His memories.
Little snippets of him. They’re all that’s left.
All I have.
And I need to get them all.
Thank Merlin for Seamus. And George. They’re the best, really.
Next time out it’s me and George. Somewhere in Ohio, of all places. A squib with three vials, supposedly. Small time artefacts dealer, not too shady. Probably completely legitimate. But you never know. And if he does have some vials, there’s no guarantee that they’re Ron’s. That’s what he says, of course, but you know how some people are.
George handles himself really well. Quite the smooth-talker. He could probably charm an entire clutch of eggs right out from under a Swedish Shortsnout without batting an eye.
And sometimes, not very often, when I see him huddled over his workbench, he sort of looks like him. Sometimes it’s that wicked grin, or the way his eyes gleam with mischief. And sometimes George just flat-out sounds like Ron, especially the way he moans and whispers my name.
Yeah, it’s just the three of us now. Everyone else we knew is gone. Either literally or figuratively, it amounts to the same thing.
Not a bad life, considering. Never thought I’d be the sort to have more than one lover, but it works.
It’s comfortable, easy, quiet. You’ll see.
Hold on, here we go, jumping to Basseterre.
Oy! Bloody stomach of mine is a real pain in the arse. Seamus says it’s most likely an ulcer or some such. Probably. A few shots of rum and I’m fine, though.
Not a bad little place.
George does a great job of keeping it up. He’s amazing with the garden. Well, you can see for yourself. Sturdy little hovel, if I do say so myself. Constructed to withstand the frequent tropical storms. Solar powered. Self-contained recycling and reclamation unit. George and Seamus insisted on the lurid lavender paint. In keeping with local tradition, so they say. Bloody awful, but that’s what they wanted..
And I make sure they get whatever they want. Always. My mates deserve it.
Never thought I’d enjoy palm trees and beaches, but I’ve grown accustomed to it. Just like everything else: adapt or die.
Going to fast forward here for a bit…hang on.
Yeah, these are good memories from London. All six are complete and intact. Well worth the risk.
Have a look about. I’ve got quite a collection. Our Ronnie was incredibly prolific. Near as I can tell, I’ve found over seventy percent of his output. I know many of his memories were destroyed or defiled, but there are more than a few out there still. Besides, what else do I have to do?
And I hear Ohio is rather nice in September…right!
Oh, I nearly forgot. You haven’t really seen me yet, have you? Well, let’s have a look, shall we? Not much different, really. It’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Can’t remember where the line comes from, but I like it.
Yeah, I did get rid of that fucking scar. Picked up a few more through the years, though. And the hair is much easier to fuss with short like this. Still wear the glasses. Sort of like them.
So now you’re wondering why I’ve gone to the trouble. Why I’ve sent you this, um, this missive from the future.
First, I have to say don’t try to change anything.
It won’t work.
Time has a mind of its own, a will, so to speak. It’s a wild river, filled with eddies and currents and backwash, unable to be tamed. You can make small adjustments, but the final outcome will always be the same.
The universe is a bitch. Don’t mess with her.
I’ll even tell you when it happens, when you lose him. The twenty-fourth of January, 2008, at about eleven forty-three in the morning. And it will be raining.
No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, nothing can change what happens that day.
Except in your dreams, your memories.
Even a Time-Turner won’t make a difference. I know. I’ve tried.
And yeah, I’ve even been to St. Mungo’s just before it all went to hell. As though I could Apparate him away from his destiny.
Hours. Minutes. Seconds. Don’t even try. No one will believe you. Not even him.
Really, do you believe me right now? Honestly?
So that’s precisely why I’ve sent you this recording. That’s why I showed you everything, so you’d see. So you’d know what was coming. So perhaps you just might believe me. Maybe you’ll think of something. Maybe there's something you can do from your end of oblivion. All I know is that I'm out of ideas. Sorry to mess up your life like this, but hey, it’s really my life too, so I have a right, yeah?
But mostly I did it exactly for you. So you could squeeze what happiness you could out of the time left. That’s why I sent along the ‘enclosure’. It’s a simple pensieve memory; just dump it into the nearest bowl and plunge right into it. You’ve had your head into enough memories to know an authentic one from a fake.
Just watch. See how happy he was. Know it was because of you.
And make the most of the time you’ve got before Fate asserts herself. Cherish every fucking second you have with him, ‘cause it'll all be gone. And don’t tell him anything. It’ll only make things worse. Yeah, I tried that once, too. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many times I went back to try to save him. Bloody Time-Turner. Not too many of them left, and the one I have is damaged. It still works, after a fashion, but Dumbledore was right: nasty shit happens to wizards who fuck with time.
No matter how careful I was, something I did in the past always reverberated into the present. Sometimes the details were so small no one would notice or care. Other times, the changes were rather large. As far as I can tell, I’m the only one that recalls a city named Manchester. I finally stopped going back after one of my journeys altered things just enough so that Fred isn’t here right now.
So just love him.
Tell him how bloody much he means to you, how he’s the very light, the very air you breathe.
And tell him every day, while you’ve the chance.
That’s it, I suppose. Nothing fancy, really. Just do it, okay? Seems like a whole lot of bother for such a simple message, right?
Well, it seems I’m out of time. Sorry ‘bout that. Cliché, I know, but I couldn’t resist.
And be nice to Seamus. He really loves you. A lot. So does George.
And give Ron a big hug for me, yeah?
16Sep 2016 09:13:13 GMT
* Batt: VERY LOW *
14 May, 2004
Harry stared at the fuzzy, three-dimensional display of himself, mesmerized by the pattern of fuzz and snow that played across paused image of his future self‘s features. He poked at the charred sphere on his desk, the ‘bot, apparently, his mind a blur. It was so much to take in, so fantastical, so bizarre.
But there was no denying the fact that whatever it was, the bludger-sized orb had appeared in their study not a foot away from him, despite the wards. He’d first noticed the heat of it, as if he’d scooted to close to a fire. Then the soft crackling and popping, and he’d turned around just in time to see the very air ripple and wave. He’d jumped out of his chair, backing away as the disturbance increased in intensity.
Bright bolts of arcing energy spat out, and the tiny glowing orb had materialized with a deafening boom which seemed to shake the room, if not the entire house. Books toppled from shelves, lamps fell over. And then it was over, the blackened, sizzling ball of metal searing its way into the carpet.
And it was clearly a Muggle thing, totally non-magical. In all his years he’d never seen an Apparation even close to the violent appearance of the object now smouldering in his study.
It had taken him many minutes to discover what appeared to be a recessed button, that once depressed, split the ‘bot in half.
All he’d found inside was a small vial containing a swirling, silvery liquid and what looked like a simple metal disc about four inches in diameter. But it turned out to be nothing of the sort.
He’d been running his fingers over the cool surface of the disc when it suddenly beeped shrilly. It dropped to his desk with a clatter, almost instantly projecting an image into thin air.
At first he thought it was a hoax, a puerile joke, but the more he watched, the more he couldn’t deny what he was seeing. His mind rebelled against the images, logic and reason battling his senses for supremacy. But when his future self walked in front of a mirror and smiled weakly back at him.
And then there was the vial.
Of course they had a pensieve; it had been Dumbledore’s. He’d dumped the roiling contents of the vial into the large stone bowl, hesitating only a second before diving into it. And it was clearly an extracted memory.
Except that it hadn’t happened yet.
He and Ron were celebrating. It started out with them sitting on the carpet in the parlour, snuggled together in front of the fire, toasting Ron’s new position as Head of the Department of Dark Curses.
As far as he knew, Ron wasn’t even up for the job.
In the memory, they’d chatted and giggled, chaste kisses slowly morphing into frenzied explorations. Clothing disappeared, and he watched as Ron took his future self, both quickly reaching release and curling up in each others arms, naked and sated before the crackling fire.
The memory ended abruptly, and Harry found himself shaky and sweating, nearly unable to stand. He’d stumbled through the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of Oban and heading back into the study. He’d just completed watching the hologram a second time.
“Merlin,” he breathed to himself as he drank down another glass of the potent liquor.
Less than three years.
What could he do? What should he do? He recalled enough from his Hogwarts years to know that fooling about with temporal variables was not only rightfully discouraged but extremely risky. His future self was completely correct: one tiny mistake while in the past could completely alter the delicate filigree of the future.
And who could he turn to for help? Who would believe him when he wasn’t sure if he believed it himself?
Harry was jolted out of his reverie as the clock in the hall struck eleven; Ron would be home soon, and he didn’t want his love to see the house in such a state. Future Harry had been emphatic that Ron couldn’t know.
He’d just completed setting things in order when he heard the unmistakable sound of Ron stepping from the fireplace.
“Harry! I’m home,” Ron called out.
Harry took a deep breath, schooling his features as best he could. Ron was standing before the hearth, brushing off the Floo residue as Gandalf threaded about his ankles. The small, grey feline purred loudly as Ron bent down to scratch behind his ears.
“Hey,” Harry offered, his voice more that a bit thick and heavy.
Ron looked at him quizzically. “You okay, love? You look a bit, well, upset.”
Harry waved a hand, attempting another smile. “I’m fine. Just watched some sappy Muggle film on the telly.” He shrugged and rolled his eyes.
Ron chuckled, stepping across the room and pulling Harry into a tight embrace.
“You and your movies,” he said against Harry’s cheek. “Good day? How was practice?”
Harry held Ron tightly, breathing in his lover’s wonderful scent: brindle soap and musk with just a hint of that all-to familiar antiseptic hospital odour.
“Oh, same as usual,” he replied, burying his head into Ron’s chest. “You know Wood. Always full of new ideas. He thinks we need different broomsticks. Dead set on the new Cleansweeps.” He pressed against his redhead, gently rocking his hips into Ron.
Ron snorted softly. “Cleansweeps? Not too sure ‘bout that. Sounds like our Wood, though.” He pulled back and lifted Harry’s chin. “Sure you’re okay, love? Seem a bit down.”
Harry gazed up at Ron, forcing another smile to his lips. Sweet Merlin! Ron was so bloody gorgeous, and he didn’t even realize it. His bright blue eyes, the spray of freckles across his cheeks, the easy way his mouth curved into a smile…the very thought of what might happen…would happen…was nearly overwhelming.
Feeling his composure beginning to crumble, he crashed his lips into Ron’s, hungrily pushing his tongue past Ron’s lips. He slid his hands under Ron’s cloak, frantically untucking his shirt and running his fingers over the silky smoothness of Ron’s sides and torso. He was quickly becoming hard, and his hips pressed against his lover with increased fervour.
Ron responded instantly to his amorous onslaught, Ron’s cry of surprise smothered by his hot mouth. Ron devoured him eagerly, swirling his tongue possessively while Ron's big, freckled hands actrively mapped the contours of his arse.
They continued their kiss for many moments before Ron pulled free, grinning from ear to ear.
“Someone’s randy tonight,” he rumbled deeply. “Been into the Oban’s too, eh?”
Harry felt himself blush. “Guilty on both counts.”
Ron caressed Harry’s cheek. “I’m not complaining here, love,” he replied with a wink. “Just let me get out of this cloak and tie.” He gave Harry a quick peck on the forehead before sweeping past toward the kitchen. “I’m a bit peckish; is there any of that stilton left in the cold box?” He shrugged out of his cloak, carelessly flinging it over an armchair.
“Yeah, second shelf,” Harry answered evenly.
Ron nodded. “I’m going to grab me a glass too and join ya in a bit of Oban. Got something to toast.” He grinned widely, turning about and heading toward the doorway.
Harry felt his chest tighten. “A toast? For what?” He knew he sounded the slightest bit frantic, but couldn’t help it.
Ron stopped in the doorway, only turning half-way about. He was smiling so widely it made Harry’s heart ache.
“Well, let’s just say that old bastard Upton finally gave me the job.” He paused a moment before continuing. “Just found out tonight. You’re lookin’ at the new head of the Department of Dark Curses at St. Mungo’s! Brilliant, yeah?” He pointed at Harry. “Meet me in the parlour, and I’ll tell you all about it!” He sniggered and disappeared down the hallway.
Harry felt the floor tilt as all the air left the room. He stumbled forward on shaky legs, plopping down heavily on the arm of a chair.
Gods, no. Please, no!
“Harry?” Ron called from the kitchen.
“How about a nice fire? And where are those wheat crackers?”
“Same place as always. Cupboard over the cold box.”
There was a slight pause, and he heard the cupboard door open and close.
“Right. Got ‘em. Harry?”
Harry could barely breathe. “Yeah, Ron?”
“Me too,” he called back, hoisting himself off of the chair. He shambled down the hall toward the parlour, detouring into their study. He walked over to his desk, murmuring an incantation. There was a small click, and the top drawer popped open slightly. Harry opened it slowly, extracting the parchments and folders stored there. He tapped the bottom of the drawer three times and it disappeared.
He reached down, carefully picking up the Time-Turner with shaky fingers.
“You feel like a sandwich?” Ron’s voice echoed from the kitchen.
“Okay,” he replied, never taking his eyes from the delicate device.
Was the life of one man worth risking millions? Was the love of one justification enough to jeopardize the very fabric of existence? How much was he willing to destroy to save the very center of his universe? Was there an answer? Did it matter?
Harry held the Time-Turner between his thumb and forefinger, giving it a gentle flick. It spun easily, ready, waiting.
“You ready, Harry?” Ron called from the parlour.
Harry stopped the Time-Turner, quickly replacing it in the secret compartment.
“Yeah, I am,” he replied as he closed and warded the drawer. “I’m ready.”
~~~ fin ~~~
Author's Chapter Notes:
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, never will be. All HP characters belong to JKR and Warner Brothers, etc, etc, etc. Everything else, mistakes included, belong to me. There are so many sources that are drawn upon as the basis for this fic that it would be impossible to list them all. Needless to say, hours of Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, The Butterfly Effect and the like have all contributed elements. I’m deeply grateful to Evil Auntie Snape for her undying support, encouragement and initial beta, and to my dearest Thevina for her spot on and amazing final beta. Without you both, I’m nothing. For Kosh... Written August 2006. This story has been honoured by being TWICE selected as a featured story at THE QUIDDITCH PITCH. I can't even begin to say how awesome that is...