Chapter 2 : The Department of Mysteries
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Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JKR, not me.
Harry Potter had very few complaints with his life. He had a wonderful job as the Head of the Auror Department. He had the two best friends anyone could ask for, and he felt even more apart of the Weasley family than he had as a boy. Though the fame and name recognition could get frustrating, he did appreciate the financial steadiness that being Harry Potter had brought him.
Most of all, Harry had a wonderful family of his own. He loved Ginny, James, Al, and Lily like nothing else. They were the lights in the dark after a hard day at work and the steady ground beneath his feet whenever being Harry Potter was the most stressful. If anyone had ever told him as a teenager that he would be this happy, he would have scoffed, but there it was. Harry James Potter loved his life.
Still, Harry sometimes felt an ache that he simply couldn’t fill. There were times where he looked at James, Albus, and Lily and found himself desperately wishing that their namesakes had gotten the chance to know them. As grateful as he was to the Weasley family, nothing could take away the pain of losing his parents so young.
Luckily, Harry now had an ally that he had not had when he was younger. The ally was was none other than Teddy Lupin, Remus and Tonks’s orphaned son. Being the godfather to a fellow orphan put things into perspective for him. Whenever he found himself most missing his own parents, he would transfer these feelings by reaching out to Teddy. It always made him feel better to know that Teddy would know more about his parents than Harry had.
Harry adored his godson. Though the last thing he wanted was to replace his former mentor as Teddy’s father, Harry considered Teddy his first child. It didn’t matter that Teddy didn’t permanently live with him or that Harry now had three children of his own. He loved Teddy just as much as he loved his own sons.
On this particular day, Harry had gone to Andromeda’s to pick Teddy up for dinner. It was shortly after Hogwarts had gotten out for the summer, and though Teddy had had dinner with the Potters’ earlier that week, Harry had yet to catch up with his godson alone. As he glanced around the sitting room, it seemed impossible to believe that he had once rested on the very same couch after the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Andromeda greeted him warmly with no trace of the haughtiness he had experienced upon their first meeting, after he’d spotted the similarities between her and her late sister. “Harry,” she said, hugging him. “It’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you too, Andromeda,” Harry said. After spending so much time with Teddy, he had come to think of Andromeda as a surrogate grandmother of sorts. “Is Teddy ready?”
Andromeda’s face darkened. “Yes, about that. I think it’s fair to warn you that Teddy’s been a little distant ever since he returned home. ”
Harry was unsurprised by this news. He had thought that Teddy’s letters had been vaguer than normal. Though he’d been fine with the kids during their dinner together, he had also avoided answering Harry’s and Ginny’s questions with much detail.
“Yes, I thought something was bothering him,” Harry said. “Do you know what might be wrong?”
Andromeda sighed. “I’m afraid I don’t know. I’ve tried to coax him out, but he’s been shutting himself out in his room, reading Merlin knows what. He hasn’t written much to his friends, either.”
“I’ll see if I can talk to him,” Harry said. “I wouldn’t worry, though. I remember how I was the summer between my fourth and fifth years of Hogwarts. Fifteen was a hard year for sure.”
“Well, it certainly would be less hard if he opened up more,” Andromeda said. “From the little I knew of Remus, he also seemed to shut down whenever something was bothering him. Teddy must have inherited it from him, because Nymphadora never-”
She stopped abruptly as the staircase creaked, and the boy-in-question emerged from upstairs. Harry was surprised by his appearance. Teddy was a dressed in ripped jeans and a drab grey t-shirt, and his hair was his natural sandy color instead of his typical turquoise. Teddy was more conservative than his mother about his appearance, but Harry couldn’t remember the last time he had seen Teddy without morphed hair.
“Hey there, Ted,” Harry said, trying not to let his concern show. “Are you ready?”
Teddy shrugged. “I guess.”
“I was thinking we could try a new place that’s opened up in Diagon Alley,” Harry said. “Then we can shop around at Flourish and Blotts or Quality Quidditch Supplies and maybe finish off with an ice-cream.”
“That sounds fine.”
Ted moved to the fireplace, already eager to floo, but Andromeda stopped him by putting her hands on his shoulders. “Now you be good to your Uncle Harry, you hear?” she said sternly. “I know how much he likes to spoil you, but I won’t be pleased if I find out he’s done something foolish, like bought you too many books or a new broom.”
Teddy rolled his eyes. “I know, Gran. I know. Now geroff.”
He turned to Harry. “Can I just floo to the Leaky Cauldron and then we’ll walk to wherever we’re going?”
“That sounds fine,” said Harry. “But listen, Teddy-”
Teddy turned around and scowled at him. Harry was startled by the intensity of his godson’s gaze. “What is it now?”
“Nothing,” said Harry, exchanging a quick look with Andromeda. “We’ll talk later.”
Albus in the Alley, or simply "Albus's," was a small restaurant, designed to honour the legendary Hogwarts headmaster. The walls of the restaurant were a bright purple, and the matching curtains seemed to resemble Dumbledore’s robes. Harry chuckled when he looked at the menu and saw the sherbet lemon special offered for dessert. “I should take Al here,” he said. “He’d get a kick out of learning more about his namesake.”
He didn’t miss the shadow that passed over Teddy’s face.
Over dinner of butterbeer and fish and chips (the latter was apparently Dumbledore’s favorite muggle dish), Harry attempted to engage Teddy in conversation. He asked about his friends and how Gryffindor had done in Quidditch that season (Teddy did not play Quidditch himself, although he was a decent flyer). Teddy responded in non-committed grunts, answering but rarely elaborating.
It was after he noticed the way Teddy had begun move his food around his plate that Harry decided to confront his godson. “Ted, I don’t mean to pry, but is something wrong? You’ve been very quiet lately.”
“I’m fine,” Teddy muttered, avoiding his gaze.
Harry sighed. “Teddy, listen. Believe it or not, I was once fifteen too, and I can remember all too well how a difficult a year it was. I had just watched Voldemort return and Cedric die, and I didn’t feel that anyone understood what I had been through. But what I learned was, I needed to give people a chance. I couldn’t take out my anger at people who were only trying to help. As a matter of fact, that’s part of what made me notice your aunt Ginny; she wasn’t willing to take my crap.”
When he looked up, Teddy’s grey eyes were surprisingly fiery. “And I suppose, because that’s how it was for you, it’s the same for me, right? Because I’m exactly the same thing as you were at fifteen, what with us both being orphans and the like.”
“Teddy-” Harry started.
“Look, Uncle Harry, I don’t want to hear about what you were like at fifteen!” Teddy said. His hair had gone fiery red as it always did when he was unable to control his anger. “I know perfectly well how much your life sucked when you were my age. But the thing is, I’m really not in the mood to hear about it right now! Save it for your own kids when they’re older. I’m sure they’ll be able to relate to you a lot more than I can.”
“Teddy, that’s enough!” Harry said, feeling the various stares from people around them. “Look, I’m sorry you don’t feel like I understand you, but yelling at me in a public place isn’t going to accomplish anything. You’re just as important to me as James and Al and Lily, you hear? You not being my son by blood doesn’t change that.”
Teddy suppressed an eye role. “Sure, Uncle Harry. And Greyback didn’t bite my father.”
“Look, Teddy, I was trying to do something nice for you by taking you out,” Harry retorted. “I’ve missed you a lot during this year. If you aren’t willing to see how much I love you, then that’s your problem, not mine. There’s nothing else I can do for you.”
A wispy, silver Jack Russell Terrier appeared, interrupting this thought. The small dog ran up to Harry. When it opened up its mouth, it spoke in Ron Weasley’s voice. “Harry, you need to come over. The Department of Mysteries has been broken into. We need you for an investigation.”
“Well, that’s it, isn’t it?” Teddy said, as the patronus disappeared. “Harry Potter has more important things to do than being my godfather.”
Anger swarmed in Harry’s chest. He had been planning to tell Teddy to go along home, but the bite of his words stopped him. “Actually, at the moment, I don’t,” he said. “I'll put a few galleons on the table. You’re coming with me.”
Teddy frowned. “But-”
“Yes, I know you’re quite capable of taking floo back home by yourself, but I’ll not have you going home in this state,” Harry said. “You’ve wallowed enough for the time being. You’re coming with me. You need to get out of your own angst and see the kind of things your parents had to deal with firsthand.”
“But this is an emergency,” Teddy said, confused. “I can’t just come with you to investigate something. It’s not allowed.”
“Unfortunately for you, I’m Harry bloody Potter, and the head of the Auror Department. I can take you if I want to,” Harry said tiredly, in no mood to deal with teenage angst on top of the news he had just heard. “You’ve thought about being an auror before; now’s the chance to see an investigation first hand. Now, come on. I’ll side-apparate you there.”
When they arrived outside of the Department of Mysteries, they found Ron Weasley and Minister Shacklebolt already there. Both look exhausted. “Harry, thank Merlin you got here,” Ron said. “I was worried you wouldn’t get my message in time.”
“No, I was in the middle of dinner with Ted when I got it,” Harry said. “Any idea of who they were or how they got in?”
Ron shrugged. “No clue. Apparently, the people involved knocked out a few Unspeakables, stole their wands, and used Polyjuice to disguise themselves as them. We’re thinking the main instigator might have been that rogue who thinks he’s You-Know-Who incarnated or whatever. The Unspeakables supposedly didn’t notice anything missing, but we’re going to investigate just in case.”
“Sounds good,” Harry said. “Speaking of which, do you mind if Teddy’s here? I didn’t feel comfortable sending him home by himself. He’s also very skilled in noticing anything that seems amiss, so I thought he could help.”
Ron shrugged. “Minister?”
“I normally wouldn’t feel comfortable with any Hogwarts student coming here, but under the circumstances, I suppose he can stay,” Kingsley said. “Besides, I’ve seen what you two and your friends got up to; even with his parents being who they are, there’s no way he’ll get into as much trouble as you two did. Just make sure he knows what he’s getting into.”
Teddy recoiled. He hated it whenever people made flip comments about the parents he had never known.
“Right,” said Harry. He turned to his godson. “Teddy, this is a real exception the Minister is making for you, and you don’t want to screw it up. You definitely have the right eyes for the hunt, but I want you to be very careful. The normal protection spells will have been lifted so that we can investigate, but no touching if you can help it, okay? And absolutely no mentioning to anyone what you see here. I’m dead serious about that one, Ted. The Unspeakables are very private, and there’s no knowing what they would do if they knew a mere schoolboy had been examining their things.”
“I got it,” Teddy said. “No touching and absolutely no telling anyone what I see in here. I’ll let you know if I notice anything.”
“Good,” Harry said. “I trust you, Teddy. Please don’t mess this up.”
Without another word, Harry opened the black door.
Teddy had never been in a place quite like the Department of Mysteries before. He walked through the dark corridors, fascinated by the strange rooms and objects surrounding him.
Harry had not been lying about Teddy’s ability to spot missing things. As a child, he had been a whiz at detecting the differences between two pictures in a muggle game Harry had shared with him. Sometimes, Harry would even test him by changing something in Potter Manor-moving a piece or furniture or transfiguring the color of a rug-and seeing if Teddy would notice. He almost always did.
Though he had not been to the Department of Mysteries before and thus could not properly judge, it didn’t appear the intruders had stolen anything. Aside from a few dirty tiles, nothing was broken or disorganized in the least.
His wanderings let him to a long, rectangular room filled with beautiful, dancing light. Clocks of every kind surrounded him. Teddy’s attention, however, was drawn to a glass display case with watches in them. The display case was labeled, “The Time Turner 2.0.”
Teddy had heard about Time Turners. As a young boy, he had asked Harry if time travel was possible, and his godfather had explained about the Time Turners being destroyed at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Still, these looked nothing like the Time Turners Harry had described. Though at first glance the watches looked ordinary, upon closer examination, Teddy noticed that next to the “15” of the clock was the current year and date. He wondered if setting the clock to another date was what made the time travel possible.
Harry’s and Ron’s voices floated in the room. “Weird being back here again,” Ron said. “I’m still half-worried that I’ll have another run in with a brain.”
“I know what you mean,” Harry said. “I’m just hoping not to find another prophecy with my name on it.”
“Bit odd of you to take Teddy, though?” Ron said, and Teddy’s heart quickened at the mention of his own name. “I love the kid, don’t get me wrong, but he’s certainly old enough to floo himself home.”
“If you must know, Teddy and I had a bit of disagreement,” Harry said. “Suffice to say, he’s more like me at fifteen than I’d like. I thought getting a taste of life outside his own angst might be good for him.”
“That wasn’t a bad idea,” Ron said. “Believe me, I’m dreading when Rosie and Hugo become teenagers and start acting like they know everything…though with the way Rosie resembles her mother, she probably really will know everything. Still, it’s a bit funny to have Teddy here, especially given the way his parents came to help save us. Mum and Dad reckon that their shifts helping guard this part was part of what brought Remus and Tonks together. In some ways, Teddy owes his life to this place.”
“Speak a little softer,” Harry said. “Like I said, Teddy’s been in a touchy place lately. He doesn’t seem to have made the connection that his parents were once here yet, and I don’t think it’d be good to remind him.”
Ron’s response was too soft for Teddy to hear.
Teddy forced his heart rate to return to normal. Indeed, he had not thought about how his own parents had fought here. He closed his eyes, trying to picture replicas of the photos he had seen, standing outside of the Department of Mysteries. Harry was right. He really didn’t want to think about that right now.
He glanced at the Time Turner collection again. The watches glittered and glowed, all looking so tempting. He knew he had promised Harry not to touch anything and that using an object before it was released to the general public was dangerous to tamper around with, but he could not help himself. The thought of seeing his parents, even just one time, was just too tempting.
He made the decision in a split second. He lifted open the glass case and put his hand around the first Time Turner he saw. Then, he fasted the watch around his ankle, pulled down his jeans to hide it, and realigned the Time Turner display so nothing looked amiss. The lack of protective charms because of the investigation had ensured that he was able to steal the watch without being detected.
Harry entered the room a few minutes later. Despite their previous argument, he smiled when he saw Teddy. “It’s interesting here, isn’t it? Have you noticed anything out-of-place?”
Teddy shrugged, trying to look as composed as possible. “Not really. This is an interesting collection of Time Turners, though. Do you think it’s possible whoever broke in here wanted to find one? If he’s a Voldemort wannabe like Uncle Ron said, then he’d definitely have a lot to gain from going back in time.”
“You know, I think you might have a good point,” Harry said, turning to examine the Time Turners. Teddy held his breath, but when Harry turned back to him, he was still smiling. “I had no idea anyone was trying to improve the last Time Turner, but if any dark wizard were to hear of it, it would be too tempting to resist, especially as this Time Turner appears to be able to go much farther back in the past. Let me look in the Hall of Prophecies, and then I’ll tell Kingsley your thoughts. If you have a lead, we’ll look into it later.”
Before going to the Hall of Prophecies, he paused to look at his godson. “Teddy, I know you’re still angry at me, but I just wanted to say good work. I think you have a really good theory of the suspect’s motives, and I’m proud of you. It takes strength to put aside your own feelings like you just did.”
Teddy tried to ignore the coldness of the Time Turner against his ankle. “No problem, Uncle Harry. Anytime at all.”
It turned out that there was nothing amiss in the Hall of Prophecies. Ron and Kingsley had not been successful in finding anything else, either. Both seemed impressed by Teddy’s speculation, however, and Kingsley even slapped Teddy across the back. “Your parents would be proud of you,” he said. For the first time, this comment didn’t make Teddy sad. Instead, he felt invigorated, as he imagined meeting his parents for himself.
By the time they returned home, it was quite dark, and Teddy’s grandmother was already asleep. “Teddy, I’m sorry,” Harry said, lowering his voice so Andromeda could not hear. “I know it’s been a hard time for you, but I’m glad we were able to spend some tight together, even if it wasn’t in the capacity I might have liked. I know I’m not the person you want to talk to right now, but I am here whenever you need me.”
“It’s okay,” Teddy muttered. A new question arose, and he could not stop himself from asking. “Uncle Harry? If you had one of those new Time Turners, what would you do with it?”
A crooked smile appeared on Harry’s face. “I guess I’d see my parents again. Either that or try my best to save some of the people who sacrificed their lives for me. But that’s never going to happen. Messing with time can have disastrous consequences. It was more luck than skill that we were able to save Sirius the way we did, and even without the possibility of running into our past selves, going much farther back would be much more dangerous. Besides, I think the past should be left as it is. As much as I’d love to see my parents, I’m not sure I’d risk going to a time with Voldemort still alive.”
Teddy considered Harry’s words in his bedroom later that night. His godfather had a point: messing with time was very dangerous. Still, Harry’s situation was entirely different from his own. Harry would be in severe dangerous by going back to a time where Voldemort existed, especially since, unlike Teddy, he had no easy way to alter his appearance. Besides, he had already met his parents as a result of Priori Incantatem and the Resurrection Stone. He had had more direct contact with his parents than Teddy had had.
Teddy took off the Time Turner and held it in his hand. He was going to meet his parents. It would be dangerous, yes, but he was going to do it. Then he would at least understand what everyone was talking about.
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