Chapter 2 : 26 Turns
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1976? That would mean that–
“You’re sending us to Harry’s parents’ time?” Ginny asked incredulously.
Harry could sense her getting frustrated with Kingsley and, before he could respond, she went on, “After everything we have been through, you still want Harry to go through the pain of seeing his parents alive and healthy?”
Harry couldn’t speak. Ever since he had heard that he was going to the past to stop Xenon, he had hoped that he would somehow, miraculously, meet his parents. He knew why Ginny was objecting but, this time, he was not going to listen to her. Harry knew that Kingsley had manipulated him to such an extent that now, even knowing the era that was their destination, Harry was desperate to go on this mission. He yearned to see his parents: to see how they had lived; how they had smiled and laughed and how they had spent time in Hogwarts, the first place he, their son, had called home.
Kingsley had listened to Ginny quietly and patiently. He seemed to have expected her response; he let her diatribe draw to a close before raising his hand to silence her and looking directly at Harry, his eyes piercing.
“I know what you are thinking, Harry,” he said, “I know that you think that I have used and manipulated you. And maybe I have, to a certain degree, but you have to understand that this is the only way to stop The Muggle. Quite frankly, you are the only one who is suitable and enough to stop him and, even though I have manipulated you, I still have your best interests at heart and want you to know that if I thought that this mission would pose any threat to either of you, I would not have sent you on it. I need you to trust me.”
Harry looked up at him. He was in a dilemma – on one hand, he really wanted to meet his parents and stop Xenon. On the other, he knew that if he fell for this ruse, he would have real difficulty to get back up and save himself from his own needs.
He looked at Ginny. Her eyes clearly conveyed her thoughts: Don’t do it, Harry. Don’t. You won’t be able to come back. You will ruin your past, your present and your future. Don’t do it, please.
“Can we talk?” he asked her quietly.
She nodded, her eyes inquisitive.
Kingsley did not stop them as they both got up and left his office to converse outside his door.
“You really want to go, don’t you?” she asked.
“Yes. I really want to go.” He took her hands in his. “Think about it, Ginny, just for one minute; I finally have a chance to meet my parents and spend time with them. This is what I have always wanted. Plus, we have already agreed to the mission, seeing as we can’t kill Xenon.”
Ginny looked away.
“I wish I could say something to stop you from doing this, Harry. However, I know you and I know that once your mind is made up, nothing stops you. So I’ll go with you and I will help you stop Xenon. I just hope that it’s not at the expense of our lives.”
“It won’t be. I promise,” he assured her.
Kingsley smiled as they went in.
“Thank you,” he said to Ginny.
“Now let’s get to work. Firstly, following protocol I have to tell you that, Harry, you are the Auror on this mission and, according to Ministry rules and regulations, you are to be accompanied by a Healer on all your missions. Ginny here, will be your Healer for this one. Ginny, I expect you to be at Harry’s side whenever he leaves Hogwarts and prove your worth whenever and wherever you are accompanying him. As you will know the entire details of the mission, I also expect you to help Harry wherever he needs it.
You are going to 1976; your parents’ sixth year, to be exact. Be warned, Harry, you are not allowed to talk about their future in front of them. You will not try and let them know in any way that you are their son or that you even know them. You will get introduced to them as outsiders and total strangers and I expect you to act normally around them.
This being said, I have to tell you that as you are going into a different time of which you know nothing of, I would recommend you staying at Hogwarts under the protection of Dumbledore. Now, you are allowed to tell Dumbledore that you are from the future and that you have a mission to complete but you will under no circumstances impart any details of the mission or Xenon. Harry, you already know the temporary address of Xenon. It used to be his permanent home address when he was a Muggle so you should have no problem finding him. Also, seeing as you are not going to be near him, you will have to keep a constant eye on him. You obviously know the methods of that due to your training. He is a viciously cunning Muggle as well so do not follow him around too much; that will make him suspicious.
Next, we come to the time and place of his conversion. He stumbled upon the energy in the forest where we held the Quidditch World Cup final. There was a huge clearing buzzing with the energy that went into Xenon. I have no idea what he was doing there, alone, at midnight but I am assuming that you will find that out in the past. His date of conversion is May 13, 1977.”
“1977?” asked Harry. “I thought we were going into 1976.”
“You are, indeed, going into 1976. Let me first explain how you will be going. You are going to use a timeturner.”
With that, he got up and moved towards his door. Harry and Ginny both followed him out of his office, down the lifts and then into the Department of Mysteries. Throughout the small trip, all three of them remained silent.
Kingsley led them into the circular room of doors and then through one of the doors that opened up into the room that stored timeturners. Harry had known that this room existed and that the Ministry had replenished its stock of timeturners since Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville and Luna had visited the Ministry in his fifth year but he hadn’t expected to see the room ever again. The time, the timeturners were placed on three expansive metallic shelves. Moving closer, Harry could see that the turners were not actually sitting on the shelves, but seemed to be hovering about a millimetre above the metallic surface and were extremely still. The shelves each featured a brazen plate labelling its contents. The first said ‘Hourturners’; the second ‘Dayturners’ and the third ‘Yearturners’.
The Minister stopped in front of the third shelf.
“You are going to be using the Yearturner. This means that you will turn the timeturner the exact number of years that you have to jump and it will transport you that respective number of years back. As you did not exist in that time, you can choose to start from a place of your choice: in this case, it will be in Hogsmeade.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt delicately lifted a Yearturner from its perch and gently placed it onto Ginny’s palm. She looked at it in awe, her annoyance at Kingsley clearly forgotten. They began making their way back to the Minister’s office as Kingsley continued with their briefing.
“You will turn the turner precisely two days later. This gives you plenty of time to prepare for your journey. The date the day after tomorrow is August 30, 2002. Perfect timing for you; you will land exactly on August 30, 1976 after 26 turns exactly. Remember, Harry, 26 turns. You have to be extremely careful while turning; no more and no less. 26 turns exactly.”
He opened the door to his office and they resumed their places in the chairs they had recently vacated.
“You will meet Dumbledore the next day and start school at the first of September as usual. I could have sent you in as teachers but that would have given you less time to focus on yourselves. So you will be students in the 6th year along with your parents, Harry.
Now, remember that Xenon converts on May 30, 1977 and you arrive in August 1976. I am afraid to tell you that you will have to spend the time in between those dates studying as sixth years. There is no other way as I cannot allow you to use two timeturners in a time that is not your own. It will confuse you and may damage your brain.
Moreover, as you are posing as students, you will have to have your appearance changed. Ginny, your red hair makes it more than obvious that you are a Prewett and a Weasley,” – Ginny looked away at the mention of her last name – “and Harry you look awfully like your father. I will send you to Mr. Wright, our newly hired disguise expert and he will alter your appearances so you can work peacefully.”
“Why can’t we just take Polyjuice Potion?” asked Ginny.
It was Harry who answered her query. “The Polyjuice Potion is too outdated. The Ministry has recently discovered a new method of changing appearances with wand magic for an indefinite amount of time and most Aurors needing disguises now resort to that technique. It’s a much more feasible option on the whole now.” He smiled at Ginny knowing that she was impressed to hear an insight to the Auror’s life.
“Precisely,” said Kingsley. He seemed to be in an uncharacteristically good mood. He pointed at the timeturner Ginny was still clutching in her hand. “You might want to put that around your neck, Weasley.”
She looked at it and then slowly put it around her neck, letting it dangle against her chest. Harry was transfixed to see it rest there, the ring inside slightly turning.
“Harry?” Kingsley’s voice seemed to come from far away.
Harry looked up, suddenly abashed for no reason at all.
“I suggest that both of you go home early today to rest and wrap your head around what I have told you. Tomorrow, you will have your appearances changed and then I will give you a day to get used to them. The day after tomorrow, you will leave.”
Harry nodded, only half listening. He hardly knew what was happening to him. He was acutely aware of Ginny’s presence beside him all of a sudden and desperately wanted to be alone with her.
“Thank you, Minister,” said Ginny. “We will see you tomorrow.”
She got up and Harry left the office behind her. Catching up with her, he took her hand in his with surprising ease just as she slowed to a stop right there in the corridor leading up to the Minister’s office. She raised their entwined hands up to eye level and wordlessly stared at them. Harry did not move. He stood there with her, both staring at their hands, oblivious to the world. Harry could sense her breathing getting rough and could feel his own pulse quickening as he raised his finger up to her chin and turned her face towards his. Her eyes locked on his, the desire clouding his emerald irises reflected in hers. Before he knew it, his lips were on hers, the passion searing through their veins like burning acid. Their bodies moulded together; her hands in his hair, pulling him closer and his arms wrapped around her, holding her close, telling her that he was there to protect her and keep her safe. They stood there, lost in each other for immeasurable moments; nothing mattering but the body each was twined around and nothing more important than the souls that were now connected through time and space.
“Level two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services.”
The cool female voice, that Harry gotten so used to, rang in his ears. They had just reached the floor where they were going to meet Kevin Wright, the disguise expert. Harry led the way down the floor to the far end, which had once housed Arthur Weasley and Perkin’s office. Now, it was occupied by Wright.
“Wright?” Harry called, standing in the doorway.
“Potter!” A voice boomed from behind a huge mirror. “I was wondering when I’d be seeing you!”
Harry laughed. It always felt good to see his friend, Wright. Harry had worked with him on only two occasions but had found the man to be extremely jovial and talented. He was the life of the floor and the Auror Headquarters had never been the same ever since he had stepped in as the Appearance Alterations head-wizard. He was possibly the bulkiest man Harry had seen after Horace Slughorn. His belly hung outwards; his eyes twinkled like a mischievous toddler’s all the time and his small and pudgy hands seemed warm and comforting when shaken. All in all, he was a really friendly yet intimidating personality.
“Wright, this is my girlfriend and Healer for the mission, Ginny Weasley,” said Harry, introducing them; somehow, the word ‘girlfriend’ no longer seemed as a good enough way to define their relationship. He wanted to step ahead but this was not the time to think about it, “and Ginny, this is my very close friend Wright. He will be the one altering our apearances.”
“Hello! Nice to meet you, Ginny!” exclaimed Wright. He never talked; he exclaimed. Ginny laughed in response and waved at him. “Actually, I am under orders from the Minister to only change your eyes and hair, Harry, and to change Miss Weasley’s hair. Also, I’ll just tweak your eyesight a bit so that you can forgo the glasses, making you even less like your father. And the last part is where I have to make you look like you are sixteen and not twenty-one. Ready?” Wright instantly got to business.
Harry and Ginny nodded.
Wright rolled up his sleeves, grabbed his wand and gave it a huge swish. Harry felt a wave of nausea pass over him but it was gone as soon as it had come. He suddenly couldn’t see properly; his vision was blurred. He took off his glasses to rub his eyes when, all of a sudden, his vision cleared and everything became crystal clear. He could see without glasses! He laughed out loud. He looked around at Ginny and gasped.
Ginny was back like she had been at sixteen. Only, her hair was not red; it was rich, dark chocolate brown. It fell around her visage, making her look even more beautiful than she had already been. She was fingering it, staring at the ends in wonder as it was slightly longer now; touching her waist rather than her elbows, and slightly wavy rather than poker straight. She looked up at him and smiled. Apparently, he looked different too.
“Yes!” Wright exclaimed. “I like work that’s done well!”
Harry moved in front of the mirror to look at himself. His eyes met a stranger’s; a better looking stranger. His hair was shorter, standing up in spikes; his eyes were no longer the literal image of his mothers’; they were light brown, exactly like Ginny’s. He looked extremely different than his own self and the lines that had appeared on his face with maturity and battle weariness were now nonexistent. He was sixteen again and he could feel it in his veins; his muscles were full of adrenaline; his veins pumping blood faster. He was back in his teens and he was going back to Hogwarts. Life couldn’t have been better! He turned around, ecstatic now, and grinned at Ginny. She grinned back at him.
“Thanks so much, Kevin,” said Harry, “I owe you this one.”
“No problem, sixteen-year-old Harry!” Kevin Wright smirked. “It was my job, not a favour.” He winked. “Though, I have to issue you some warnings. Firstly, I would advise you not to try and tamper with your appearance yourself, it could go seriously wrong. Also, try not to get injuries on your faces as when they will be healed your old skin will come back. Lastly, this is only temporary appearance, so do not get used to it as I will change you back once you return.”
Harry and Ginny, now feeling and looking younger, left Wright in his office and went back to the Minister’s office where they had spent the remaining hours of the morning.
“Harry! Ginny!” Kingsley looked immensely pleased to see them. “I barely recognised you. You look good; younger and definitely different.”
“We feel different; just like we felt when we were actually sixteen,” said Ginny, grinning at the Minister.
“Yes, but remember that this is only temporary. Let’s get back to your mission. You are almost ready, except for the fact that you need new surnames. I have decided those myself, saving you the trouble if I may say so. Harry, you will be Harry Jackson and Ginny, you are Ginny Watson. Keep your first names but I’m afraid that you will have to forget your current surnames and get used to being called by the new ones. Tell Dumbledore your alias’ name, not your real names. Do not tell him that you have changed appearances. However, given Dumbledore’s genius, I won’t put it past him to guess who you are, Harry. Under the circumstance that he does, you have to be extremely careful about telling him what you should. In any case, do not reveal anything about the future to anyone. Dumbledore will not ask but I would still warn you to be on your guard. Constant vigilance, as Mad-Eye would have said.”
“Yes, Minister,” Harry and Ginny echoed.
“That is all for your briefing. You may pack your belongings. I suggest that you buy most things when you get there. Keep your luggage to a minimum. I will meet you in Hogsmeade tomorrow morning at eleven. You may go now,” he said, dismissing them without further delay.
The next day dawned peaceful and beautiful. Harry woke up feeling euphoric. His sentiments were those of someone who was about to be reunited with his family and friends after a long absence. Not given a second thought had been given to the whole idea of going to the past. He had now even planned a way of giving the ring to Ginny. All they had to do was be on their way.
The previous night he had prepared all his belongings, putting them in a small bag, the size of his wallet, on which he had put an Undetectable Extension Charm and had put most of his clothes and necessary belongings in it. He had not forgotten to keep the items he had bought from Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes; he had had a feeling that he would need them. He had spent too much time debating the fact whether he should take his Invisibility Cloak or not. His father would have the same one and Harry was afraid that if it was discovered his identity would not be difficult to guess. However, in the end, he decided that he would need it when following Xenon and he was also aware of the fact that he could not survive in Hogwarts without the Cloak, especially during the Marauders’ time; he would keep it in his bag and as he would never let his bag out of his sight; the Cloak would remain safe in it unless he left it lying around.
Ginny had spent the night at The Burrow, like most nights recently, and had most probably packed all her stuff just like he had. It was an obligatory part of training Auror’s and those Healer who chose to assist them to learn how to pack, quickly and efficiently, at a moment’s notice. In fact, Harry had packed the very same bag numerous times before, doing and undoing the Extension Charm on it repeatedly.
Harry closed his main door behind him as he made his way to the usual spot where he Apparated from. He had made it a rule not to Apparate or Disapparate wihin his flat; many people had asked the reason for the establishment of this rule but he had been unable to give them an answer. He had only recently admitted the truth to himself; he was just too protective of his domain to let anybody, even himself, enter it without consent.
Concentrating with all his might, he felt the same sensation of his chest being crushed by a huge pressure and then, suddenly, his breath came out normally. He opened his eyes and saw himself standing in front of The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. He could see Ginny and Kingsley sitting in there through the pub’s window. Making his way in, he sat down with them, Madam Rosmerta already bringing him a Butterbeer.
“All set?” Kingsley asked. He was wearing expensive robes of silk that made him even more conspicuous as the Minister. Ginny was dressed up in her ‘mission attire’, as Harry had heard her describe the ensemble the first she had worn it in front of him – black jumper and multi-pocketed cargo pants under plain black robes. She looked anticipatory, yet serene – completely at ease with the world at that moment – and was sipping her Butterbeer slowly, gazing steadily at Kingsley.
“Yes, all set,” replied Harry.
“Good. We’ll sit here another five minutes then, before you go up to The Shack and turn.” The Shrieking Shack, now rechristened simply The Shack, was now the resident hotel of Hogsmeade. After the Battle of Hogwarts, the villagers of Hogsmeade had gradually let go of their fear of the place and had turned the once-terrible, ramshackle building into a comfortable inn for visitors to stay at. Over the fireplace in the reception hung a portrait of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, in honour of the man the shack had been originally constructed for and acknowledging his and his wife’s contribution to the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry was glad they were turning from there; however, he knew that this place hadn’t been converted into an inn in the time they would be going to and turning up at the haunted house could be dangerous if it was a full moon.
“Don’t you think we should turn from somewhere else?” Harry asked. “Somewhere more secluded; seeing as the inn does not exist in the past and that is actually the werewolf-conversion hideout for Remus?”
“You’re right!” Kingsley had suddenly realised that Harry was absolutely correct. “How did I over see that? I am sorry, Harry. You can turn at the end of this street. There are rarely any people on that side so you will have enough privacy to leave and to emerge in another time.”
Kingsley got up followed by Ginny and Harry. They paid for their Butterbeers, the Minister insisting on paying rather than accepting it free of charge from Madam Rosmerta, and made their way to the corner of the street. Kingsley had been right; there was nobody to be seen. Harry hoped the same was true in the past; the mysterious materialization of two people on a road at a time when Voldemort was at the the peak of his prowess would most definitely be inadvisable.
Ginny took the timeturner out from under her shirt and put it around Harry’s neck too. Harry put his hands around her waist, closing the gap between them, the timeturner now dangling at their sides. Ginny lifted it up, moving backwards slightly and turning to Kingsley for assent to proceed. At his nod, she turned the silver hourglass, carefully calculating the turning. Harry looked up at Kingsley’s fading form too. The Minister of Magic was smiling encouragingly up at them but something seemed off about his smile. Ginny’s head suddenly whipped towards Harry as Kingsley vanished in a whirl of moving colours. Harry looked down at her, realisation making his stomach drop. Ginny was still counting the turns, unable to say anything, and so they stood there, clutching each other and travelling on the clouds of time, horrified at their sudden realisation.
“26.” Ginny’s voice came to Harry just as he felt his feet touch solid ground. He immediately lost his balance and both of them stumbled onto the ground, Ginny falling on top of Harry. She raised slowly her head from his chest and their eyes locked; both pairs of brown eyes expressing the same emotions. Dread; horror; disbelief and a deep sense of betrayal.
A/N: Okay here it is, the second chapter. Did anybody actually know what the significance of 1976 was? Can anybody guess what Kingsley is up to? What did Harry and Ginny realise? You'll find out in the next chapter but guessing would be fun, right? So you're most welcome to guess and wirte me a review! =)
Now I know that there aren't many readers for this story but I'm full of hope. =D For those who actually take out the time to read; thank you! Plus, it would be really knid of you all to drop a review to criticise, help, advise or appreciate the story. Enjoy! And please please review. Every author requires those!
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