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Chapter 10 : Chapter 10: Pont (English translation: Bridge)
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Pont (English translation: Bridge)
Time felt like it was crawling as Lily waited at Potter Manor for the others to return. Shortly after everyone left her, she got on the telephone and called her mother, asking her to come and spend the night with her children. She wasn't sure if they'd be leaving to go anywhere, but the last thing that she wanted to worry about was if her younger four were fed and safe.
Her mother had sold the family home in England and moved into a small house in Portree after her father's death a little over a year ago. She knew her mother's actions had enraged her sister, Petunia, but the reality was that their mother wasn't ever invited to the Dursley home. If Rose Evans saw Petunia, Vernon and Dudley it was because Rose invited them to her home or some event or a dinner out. James or Lily were more than willing to Apparate her anywhere that she wanted to go if would facilitate her living closer to them. She had chuckled when her mother told her that she and Rhosyn Hodgson were also staying at Fair Garden this summer while her children were there. She couldn't help but think that her mother was treating it as some sort of summer camp and the grandmothers were going to act as counselors.
It took about twenty minutes for Rose to drive from her small cottage to the Manor house, and never was Lily so happy as when she saw her Mum driving up the drive. She flung the door open and greeted her mother with excitement.
“The look on your face says that something good has happened?” Rose asked her daughter as she got out of her car and then reached into the backseat for her small satchel.
“We think so,” Lily told her, “Anwen thinks that she's figured something out.”
“Well, that doesn't surprise me. The girl is a pretty smart one. Harry's illness has been a rather tricky one,” Rose said, waiting for more information. Neither her daughter nor son in law had been very forthcoming about the nature of Harry's illness. Lily looked away from her Mum, and Rose wasn't sure that she was going to get more information out of her.
“Mum, I want to tell you everything, but it's very complicated and the magics involved make it more so,” Lily told her.
“I hope that one day you'll try to explain, but if that isn't today then it's fine,” Rose said in resignation. She'd learned when James was the Assistant Minister of Magic that there were magical things that couldn't be discussed with Muggles. “So, where are my little angels?”
“The girls are all upstairs in Lilyan's room playing with dolls. I don't know how Brynne and Eva-Claire convinced her, but that's where they are. Evan is out in the yard on his broom. I've put a roast into the oven for supper, if we're not here you're just going to need to pull it out.”
“Lily sweetheart, I am more than capable of feeding my grandchildren,” Rose joked and Lily nodded, realizing that she was strung tighter than a violin string. “I want to see Harry,” she said as she moved toward the door. “I knitted him a new pair of socks. Maybe he'll like them so much that he'll thank me.”
“Maybe Mum,” Lily said genuinely touched by her mother's actions. “He always is excited when he gets a new pair from you.”
They entered the house and Rose climbed the stairs to see her eldest grandchild while Lily went back into James’ office to wait for their friends. As she sat down on the leather-covered loveseat she noticed that James had a book she didn't recognize open on the stand next to his lounger. The stand allowed him to review a book or parchment, work with his wand and write notes if need be. He used to levitate the books, but unfortunately with his aging eyes, the book didn't always stay in the spot where he could read it easily, hence the use of the stand. He did much of his initial product development here, away from prying eyes.
The book appeared very, very old, the pages warped and yellowed with age. It was a huge book as well, at least eighteen inches in length and a foot wide and four or five inches thick. Lily got up to look at the tome, flipping it over to review the title. The Troubles with Time by Abernathy Augustus, III. Lily was surprised at this, not knowing that her husband had been researching time travel magic. For the life of her she couldn't figure out why her husband would want to do any more time magic – it's what had gotten them into this situation in the first place. She looked over to his desk and saw two more equally old books. She touched the book and felt it send a mild shock through her system. Pulling her hand away and uttering a swear word quietly, she once again cursed the stupidity of some witches and wizards regarding blood status. It was a damned enchanted book that only certain bloodlines could touch. Before she could investigate further, sounds from the Floo in the hall alerted her that someone had returned.
James had returned home, a small velvet satchel in his hands. “They were right where I thought they were,” he explained as he kissed her forhead. “Ednegh had left for the day, so I asked for the goblin that handles Anwen and Sirius' accounts. Targnof found it amusing that he was assessing the second set of enchanted rings today.”
“And they are indeed enchanted? A marriage made with these rings would have been a magical one?”
“Completely and irrevocably,” he answered quietly, wondering what other revelations were awaiting them today. Lily watched her husband's face as he flitted through too many emotions to name.
“Jamie, sweetheart, why are you researching time travel?” Lily asked, the books from his office weighing on her.
“One night last week I couldn't sleep, so I was in the den watching television. Star Trek was on and the episode was about the crew having to re-live the same day over and over, it always ended with the ship being blown apart, then the crew would be forced to start the process over. It wasn't until they did something different that they were finally able to break free from the repetition.”
“Was it the one from when we were kids?” Lily asked and James looked at her strangely.
“There was one from when we were kids? Huh,” he said sounding surprised. He had no idea, but now that he thought about it, the name made much more sense. “No, this is the one that went off the air a few years ago,” he explained.
“Ah, the one with the handsome Englishman,” Lily got a glint in her eye and James cocked his eyebrow at her. “Oh, please, I can look, but I'd never touch, Jamie. You are the only Englishman for me.”
“But Lil, I'm a Scot,” he reminded her.
“Okay, fine, I promise that should I ever come across the actor, I will not touch. Anyway, what's up with the time travel books?”
“Okay, the Enterprise was stuck in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over until they did something different to get themselves out of it. It started me thinking that unfortunately it might be the only way to fix what's going on with Harry is to go back into time and make some sort of change. I started researching time travel the next morning, and it was confirmed that often mistakes with time travel will often require more time travel to correct them. That's actually Augustus' third law of time travel. The first two are don't do it and if you do play with time, don't make changes you're not prepared for the consequences of. We all sort of made a bloody mess of the first two,” he added with sadness. Lily nodded in agreement.
“I've read his books twice through, as well as getting the Greek books that Harry had told us he found in the first timeline, when he came back, so that I could reference the spell he used. By the way, we're burying that book so deep in the Black family vault when we're done that no one will ever find it. The spell Harry used, I don't know how he pulled it off without getting himself and Ginny killed. I'd never attempt something like that, and I'm a charms and spellcraft expert. Those issues don't even take into account the havoc he sowed to the timeline. We're lucky we're not in a bigger mess.”
“So, you really think it might be necessary?”
“I do, and Anwen and Remus agree with me,” James said as he steeled himself for his wife's response when he saw the pain flash across her eyes.
“Why didn't you talk with me about any of this? Why did you go to them?” Lily was obviously hurt by his lack of confidence to confide in her.
“I always planned to, love, but you've been so wrapped up in Harry and Ginny's conditions, I didn't want to add to your stress,” he explained while wrapping his arms around her. Lily relaxed into his hold, wrapping her arms around him. “Please forgive me?”
“You know I do,” she answered. “Mum's upstairs,” Lily explained as she extracted herself from her husband's embrace. “I thought it might be good to have someone here in case we had to leave and go elsewhere. I would hate to have to worry about the younger kids while we're trying to help Harry and Ginny.”
“I think that's wise.” The couple was headed back into James’ office when they heard the Floo again. This time a small parade was coming through. First was Sirius, who held his hand out to help Minerva McGonagall and then his wife through. She was followed by Eva Lupin and finally Remus.
“I can't believe that it might come down to their marriage from that first life,” Eva said, “how could you not find out if it was magical or not? Heck both sets of you were married magically!” Her tone wasn't appreciated by her best friends in the least. It was Lily who spoke up first.
“Be careful sitting on that high of a horse, Eva, you wouldn't want to fall off,” she quipped coldly. Eva held her hands up in front of her.
“I'm sorry. That didn't come out the way that I wanted it to,” she backpedaled. “It just seems like such a basic thing to have checked, and yet...”
“Mrs. Lupin,” Minerva spoke up in her recognizable stern, Headmistress voice, “in our defense, we were all taking orders from Albus at the time. We all moved forward under his directions. I had assumed that he had spoken with Harry about it. It would seem that was an incorrect assumption on my part.”
“Let us put past assumptions aside and figure out how we need to proceed,” James suggested. “Why don't we go into the sitting room and everyone can tell what they know and then we can create a plan of attack together. Is there someone with your children?” He asked Remus and Eva.
“They're good,” Remus spoke up in response, “Hermione Granger was over when Sirius showed up and volunteered to sit with the children. She's applied for an internship in the Department of Mysteries, in the Knowledge room. She needs to take a basic Defensive Magic examination and time trial Defensive skill test and I was helping her prepare. She didn't need the help, but her nerves and ego required some support. The twins like her as well, which means the house might still be standing when we arrive back there. She's been quite worried about Harry since he left school, seeing as she's dating one of his best friends.”
“Well, that's good,” Anwen chirped up as the group moved into the sitting room. “It would appear that all of our children are in capable hands.”
“Anwen, were you able to explain what you saw when you were in Ginny's memories?” James enquired.
“I told Minerva some of what I'd seen, but Sirius had gone down to the Lupin's house and I didn't see them until they Flooed into Hogwarts. We came right here once we were all together.”
“Let's start there then,” he suggested and Anwen nodded.
“Somehow Ginny had managed to save her memories, which was impressive since she wasn't supposed to be able to do that. Everything was neat and orderly and locked quite tightly. I only got in because she let me get in. Harry—old time Harry--had explained to her that he'd been given the rings by Sirius while he was on Christmas holiday in his fifth year. James, you had given them to Sirius on the day of Harry's baptism, fearful that you and Lils wouldn't be alive when he needed them. In that life Sirius was killed only six months later. Apparently, Harry carried them in his trunk, in some compartment that you'd charmed for him,” Anwen said looking at Remus.
“The ceremony was performed by you,” her gaze shifted to Minerva, “after you'd explained the Society to them. From the memory I watched, Molly had told Ginny nothing and was nearly hostile to the idea of the organization. You'd explained to them that your numbers had been severely depleted during the first war. The strange thing was that Remus and his wife there had used a charmed set of rings, ones that had belonged to your wife's grandmother.”
“Why are you talking about me that way?” Eva asked, Anwen hesitated.
“Because, he wasn't married to you.”
“Who was I married to there?” Remus asked and Anwen and Sirius looked at each other.
“Er, you were married to my cousin, Dora Tonks,” Sirius explained. Remus looked perplexed and bemused. “Ginny had mentioned it when she first woke up. She was surprised to find you with Eva in this life. There must be a story there, since Andromeda had been banished from the family, or at least according to my Dad. Perhaps Auntie Druella was softer on her than we'd expected.” He was musing aloud, beginning to think that he'd never understand his family.
“That is unexpected,” Remus finally muttered. “Okay, so I was married with these enchanted rings. Go on.”
“You warned Harry and Ginny that your emotions are heightened by the wearing of them, including making you more...amorous,” Anwen sniggered. “The young pair was quite excited about that part.”
“I bet they were,” James laughed and they all joined in.
“Mr. Potter,” Minerva scolded him.
“Moving ahead,” Anwen continued, “you married them with a Rite that I didn't quite recognize. It was similar to our magical ceremony but much closer to the one that James and Lily had.”
“That would make sense, Anwen. You and Sirius were married with the full Circle together, blessings given from most of the Elder points. James and Lily were only blessed by Julia. The solo rite is an abbreviated form of the longer ceremony that was used with you. I never did understand why you weren't married with the full rite,” she said to James.
“I didn't want it,” he told her. “With her parents being Muggles, I didn't want them to think that there our marriage wasn't something that they couldn't be a part of. Having Mum do the blessing inside the house after the legal ceremony allowed her parents to be part of it.”
“Ah, how very thoughtful of you,” Minerva complimented him.
“So exactly what enchantments were on the rings?” Remus asked. “Also, does the ceremony carry any enchantments?”
“Yes, it does. The ceremony allows for the sharing of magics, the creation of a deeper emotional connection, and the inability to raise your wand in anger and direct a spell against your spouse.”
“That last one, it's something that Sirius should be ever so thankful for,” Anwen teased.
“I'm not that bad,” Sirius whined back.
“No, but there have been days you should thank your lucky stars that I couldn't curse you.”
“I am, love, I am,” he answered, leaning over to kiss her gently, and everyone else started to laugh at the pair.
“What about the rings?” Remus asked, trying to bring the discussion back to the pressing matter.
“The enchantments on the rings are two-fold,” Minerva answered. “First, they keep the gifter from betraying the wearer. There are some limitations on this, forcefully being taken by another, rape, does not cause the magic to activate. Also, if you say something not to hurt or anger but instead to protect the wearer – say lying about the depth of your emotions, the enchantments won't kick in.”
“Why would it be written that way?” Eva asked and it was Anwen who spoke up.
“Death Eaters often made sport of attacking families, raping the women and causing the husbands to watch. However, if they could be lead to believe that there were no emotional attachments between spouses, that the marriage was arranged and devoid of deep connection, it removed some of value for the Death Eaters. It's cold and despicable to think about, but we all know that those were very dark times for us all. Sometimes you did what you had to do. That particular enchantment was important for the husbands who were working on the inside of Voldemort's circle of friends, while their wives were part of the resistance. They were able to say things in meetings that kept their wives safe and deflected attention.”
There was universal head shaking in the room, disgusted by the depravity of the men that Voldemort had attracted. Lily broke them all away from their disturbing thoughts with a question.
“So, if that was the first enchantment, there must have been others?”
“Yes,” Minerva confirmed. “There is the amorousness, but it goes even deeper than that. The rite makes couples closer, their bond having grown deeper, but it can, in some cases, cause couples to build a unique connection, a bridge if you will, where they can cross to their mate for a moment. I have never actually heard of this happening, however.”
“Oh, it happens,” Sirius said with a sly smile and Anwen looked at him with her eyes wide open and a blush that crept up from her neck to her cheeks.
“Definitely, but only at, err, select moments,” James added, eliciting a similar response from Lily.
“Really?” Minerva said surprised. “And what moment would that be, Mr. Potter.” She asked with such earnestness that it had the two men convinced that she honestly didn't know. Neither of them wanted to speak, so they looked away from everyone and chose that moment to simultaneously inspect the cracks of the plaster on the ceiling. Anwen exhaled in a disgusted way at their childish behavior.
“Mimi, when we're intimate and nearing the moment of...release,” Anwen said, trying to put this as delicately as possible. “It is not uncommon for Sirius and me to see and feel things from each others perspective.”
“Oh,” was all that the Headmistress said, causing the group to have a genuine laugh. “Well then, that's...” and with that she began fussing with her hair, her physical tell that she was uncomfortable.
“I didn't know it happened for you, too. Why did you ever talk to me about it?” Lily asked and Anwen looked at her incredulously.
“And how exactly was I supposed to bring that up? That's not a dinner party conversation that I want to be part of. 'Lil, sweetie, have you ever passed into James body just as you're about to...” with that she waved her arms in an explosion type movement. “It took every last ounce of courage I had to ask Iris Lovegood about it when she was at my grandmother's house helping me brew my healing potions. Talking to you, knowing it was James...no, thank you.” The room erupted in laughter and it helped with the tension of what they were working on. Anwen stopped and furrowed her brow. “I wonder?” she muttered.
“What, love?” Sirius asked quietly, not wanting to draw attention to her concern. She shook her head at him, subtly letting him know whatever she was contemplating wasn't fully formed yet. Sirius had learned long ago that this was how Anwen worked.
“Okay, so we know that there was an enchanted marriage, and it would seem that the key enchantment here is the betrayal one. Targnof told me that the curse is supposed to happen immediately, physical and mental pain are inflicted. I don't understand why it was so slow?” James went on.
“May I hypothesize?” Remus asked.
“You're better at it than most of us,” James urged him on.
“Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the betrayal occurred before the date they were actually married in the original timeline. I'm thinking that because of this, they only had to deal with the time and space aspect of a magical marriage, rather than an actual betrayal of the marriage.”
“I believe you're right, Professor Lupin. If I could give you house points, I would,” Minerva teased and supported him.
“What I don't understand,” Lily said, “why do the enchantments last through time?”
“For the same reason as the other enchantments,” Anwen piped up. “It wasn't all that long ago that arranged marriages were given up, there are still families that make them. Often times large amounts of money, land, estates, companies changed hands at marriages. A girl with a large dowry was highly sought after because she could ensure her husband’s family financial stability. Because wizards can travel through time with relative ease, there's nothing stopping a thwarted suitor from going forward or back in time to take what he wanted. There were spells that fathers could put on their daughters to protect them during their engagement period. Then, once the marriage had taken place, then it couldn't be broken, regardless of what someone else might try to do. It inhibited those with all but murderous intent.”
“How did we make it out of all that unscathed?” Lily asked and both Sirius and Remus wrapped an arm around their respective wives, knowing that neither would consider themselves unscathed by the Great War. The death of Eva's father and Anwen's injuries still haunted them.
“Because Harry is good and upright man and did what few witches and wizards would ever have thought about, much less attempted,” Minerva added with sadness. There was a minute of contemplation, the realization that many of them owed their lives to the young man whom they were now trying to help wove its way through the room like the wind-whipped tendrils of petals that fall from the trees when their spring bloom is coming to an end. Beautiful to look at, but also demarcating a significant change for the tree. “Well, we now have a reason young Harry is in the state he is in, now the more difficult problem; what are we going to do to fix it?”
“Remus, Anwen and I have been discussing that,” James said, “and the only viable plan that we came up with was someone going back in time and telling us that we need to let them keep the memories of their past life. Obviously there will be gaps in what they know, so we'll have to get them up to speed on their current lives, but a crash course on their siblings and cousins seems easier than going through this again.”
“But, won't we risk contaminating the timeline even further?” Sirius asked.
“Perhaps, but if we send one of us back for only a very short amount of time to speak with their doppelganger, then the contamination should be limited. It's a small switch that we're talking about here,” Anwen said.
“Well, that will fix the problem with Harry's one set of memories attacking the other,” Eva said, “but it won't stop the enchantments on the rings from activating. Harry is liable to have 'sewn his wild oats' anyway.”
“So, we tell whoever it is that we're talking to that Harry shouldn't date in his seventh year,” Sirius suggested and Anwen cocked her eyebrow at him.
“Really, you think that it's possible to keep a seventeen-year-old boy from dating?”
“If it's for his own good...”
“Mr. Black,” Minerva spoke up, “I seem to remember a young man who was caught in many a broom closet his seventh year, and few of the young women who went with you were repeat offenders. Can you think of ANYTHING that could have been said to you that would have stopped that behavior?” Sirius reluctantly shook his head.
“What about Ginny's back?” Lily piped up. “If we're going to change things, can't we do something to just stop the accident? If there isn't an accident, then they won't break up, then he won't behave so brazenly and the rite shouldn't be activated.” Several people took in deep breaths, contemplating how this could occur.
“Sure, we tell whomever to keep Harry off the bike that day.”
“But he went without any adults knowing, that was the problem.”
“Have him be grounded.”
Anwen had her eyes closed, concentrating on something. She started shaking her head, not knowing who was speaking, but realizing that all of the ideas were far too specific, and there was a chance that it would make things worse.
“Love, what's the matter?” Sirius finally asked her.
“You do realize that even if we stop the accident, it might not mean that Ginny won't be injured, right?”
Everyone was stunned by her statement. “Why do you say that?” Remus asked.
“Because, if her back injury is supposed to happen, it will happen. Or, at least according to one camp on the whole pre-destination/free-will debate believes that.” The friends all looked confused, the only one who didn't was Minerva, and she had a sly smile on her face.
“Ah, I should have predicted that you would know, my dear. Would you like to explain it, or shall I?” She asked.
“I can,” Anwen returned the smile. “This has been something that's been debated since humans have been thinking, and the debates aren't limited to wizarding kind. You ever want a fun dinner party, invite a Presbyterian and a Methodist to dinner and let them go at it over this.” Anwen and Minerva tittered, slightly, at her own inference, no one else did.
“Fine,” Anwen huffed at their lack of getting her joke. “There are three rather well formed camps on this idea. The first is that everything that happens in life is free will. Whatever happens to you in the course of a day, a month, your lifetime is caused by your own free will or the free will of others, the exception being things like the weather that you can't control, but you do have free will on how you react to it. The second camp is the idea that things in life are preordained or predestined. In this case, there are certain events that are written into the fabric of life – the same way your eye color or your height are – and while you might be able to stop one particular way for an event happening, you can't stop it from becoming reality all together. If you're to murder someone, you will murder. The third camp is an amalgam of the two, that there are some things which can be controlled and some which cannot.”
“Where do you fall?” Remus asked her.
“I think that it's a combination of the two,” she explained. “My Ma was a Methodist, my Da was an Anglican. I think both their ideas rubbed off on me. This isn't something that only Christianity has dealt with. Faith systems all over the world discuss these issues, and there are volumes written on it from a secular point of view, wizard and Muggle.”
“So you think that Ginny's back is something that was predestined?” Eva inquired.
“That I'm not so sure about,” Anwen confessed. “The thing is, she was fine when she came back in time. If it was inevitable that she'd break her back at that stage in her life, she wouldn't have been walking when she was our friend. But that wasn't the case, hence, I don't think that it was predestined.”
“So, we could reverse it?” Lily asked in hopeful tones.
“Theoretically. However, being specific about a date and time of the accident doesn't mean we will stop it. Plus, it doesn't even bring up the issue of time line contamination. No, if we're going to make stopping the accident part of our trip back, then it needs to be much simpler. One small action that won't raise any eyebrows as to why we're asking for it,” Anwen answered.
“Tell me not to buy the bikes. No bike, no accident,” Sirius suggested.
“No, it would stop the accident, but you love the time you've spent working on them with the boys. Plus, I don't think I could keep you from a '67 Triumph Bonneville if I wanted to,” she gently rebuked him.
“I suppose your right,” he sighed, knowing his wife knew him better than he did some days. There was quiet contemplation about the room when James finally spoke.
“What if you were told to lock the garage better?” he suggested.
“It would keep Harry off the bikes, probably would stop Draco's accident when he broke his wrist when he was nine as well,” Sirius hypothesized.
“It's never a bad thing to keep the garage better locked, and if Sirius pressed for more information, the answer could be to keep the kids safe. Even if he's told this in 1980, it won't come as a surprise that at some point in the future we'd have children. We talked about it the day we married, both agreeing that if we were alive in a couple of years, we wanted to have children. Never could have guessed we'd have two within a year. Anyway, yes, locking the garage is certainly generic enough and while there could, maybe, be negative connotations, none are readily popping to mind,” Anwen postulated.
“Great,” Lily said with unabashed enthusiasm, “who are we sending back?”
“There are a few things that we have to do before we can realistically send someone back in time, Lil. First, we've got to find Harry or his memories or whatever is going on there. If we correct time and he's not conscious of his surroundings and awake, he might be lost forever,” Anwen explained, setting her head in her hands, elbows on her knees. Sirius reached over and gently rubbed between her shoulder blades.
“I still think that Ginny is the key here,” James said. “She refuses to take her eyes off him up there.”
“Love,” Sirius asked and Anwen responded by tilting her head toward him, her green eyes clouded with concern. “What if we had Sitara come over? She could at least give us a read on his emotions. That might help.” Anwen smiled at him and leaned up to kiss him gently.
“You are bloody brilliant,” she complimented. “Go on, go get her and bring her over.” Sirius nodded and got up, leaving the room to Floo to Fair Garden.
“Aren't you asking a bit much of a six year old, Anwen?” Eva asked, her innate nature as a counselor taking over.
“She's not a normal six year old,” Lily responded instead. “She helped me one day, it was remarkable.”
“I know it's unconventional, and if she'd been with us since birth I would have bound her powers until we had a chance to teach her how to use them, but we didn't get that opportunity. She came knowing how to help people’s feelings. Hell she can manipulate them if she wants to, although we rarely let her do so. We're doing the best we can within the scope of what she considers normal. It's too soon for us to go making too many changes,” Anwen explained.
Sirius returned with Sitara and Anwen gently explained to her what they wanted her to do. The little girl smiled brightly at her mother and together they held hands and climbed the stairs up to Harry's room. Sirius lifted the little girl onto his godson’s bed and Sitara took his hand and held it for a moment. She then looked up at her mother.
“Anwen, I don't feel anything. It's like he's empty,” she explained. Lily sobbed at the statement and James quickly curled her into his chest, not wanting to frighten the already nervous little girl. Anwen and Sirius tried very hard not to let their faces show their concern.
“What do you mean, sweetie?” Anwen asked.
“I mean there's nothing there,” she said plainly. She then cocked her little head and closed her eyes and put her hands out in front of her. They moved in a straight line over Harry and she got up on her knees and turned herself around so that she was facing away from Harry's face. Sirius kept his arms almost touching her, ready to catch his child should she lose her balance. She stopped, opened her eyes and smiled at her Mum.
“There are too many people in Miss Ginny, Anwen. I can feel Mister Harry there. He's so scared,” her little features contorting to a frightened face to make her point. “There's a...I don't know what it is, but I can feel it. It runs along Mister Harry and then points to Miss Ginny.”
“Sitara, sweetie, are you saying that Harry is with Ginny. Inside of her?”
“Yes, Anwen. That's what I mean,” she answered, clapping that she made herself understood.
“I don't believe it. Talk about a bridge...” Anwen muttered. “Sitara honey, you did SO well,” she said as she hugged her. “Can you go with Daddy now?”
“Come here, Sunshine,” Sirius opened his arms and she flung herself into them. “You are the bravest little sunbeam that I've ever met,” he praised her as he hugged her close.
Anwen said nothing more before she pulled a chair over and sat in front of Ginny. She took a few steadying breaths and then closed her eyes, lifted her palms upward and began the incantation to both pass into Ginny's mind and project what she was seeing.
“Anwen,” Remus spoke, “we can see the Burrow in the distance.”
“Good, that's what her mind looks like. Okay… here goes,” she whispered as she moved closer to the likeness of the Weasley family home.
Anwen opened the front gate to the yard and walked toward the door. Nothing had changed from when she was inside earlier, which was good, and she made a bee-line to Ginny's bedroom.
Before going into the trunk, Anwen took a good look around the room, noting where different pictures, posters, knick-knacks and such were located. Everything was in order. It wasn't until directed her vision toward the window that she was in for a shock. There was something huge just beyond the trees that backed up to the Burrow.
“What is that?” she heard James whisper. “That can't be.” Anwen walked closer to the window and leaned her hands onto the sill, focusing her eyes on the immense structure that was connected to the Burrow by an elaborate bridge. This was the only time that anyone would be able to stand at the Burrow in England and see the Hogwarts Quidditch Pitch in Scotland right next door.
“Oh. My. Goddess,” was all that Anwen could say. “Ginny, Ginny honey, can you show yourself to me? Can you let me talk with you?”
The silent young woman sitting across nodded her head and a moment later a misty form of the girl came to stand before Anwen in her bedroom.
“Ginny, has he been with you all this time?”
“No, at first I didn't know where he was, but then he started talking to me. At the beginning I could only hear him, then I could see him, too. Now I can touch him and hold him,” the girl explained.
“I don't know how you two did this, but it's remarkable. The thing is, we think we know what's causing the problems with him, and we think we can fix it. Before we try though, I need Harry to go back into his own body,” Anwen explained.
“Oh, Anwen,” Ginny cried, her face bursting with happiness and a smile that traversed the width of her face and a cascade of what could only be called 'happy tears' down her cheeks. “As good as that is, I don't know if we can get him to go back. He's so frightened of it.”
“I know he is, and I know that it's hard for him, but we need to make him go back. If he isn't there when we do the spell...Please, we all want both of you back.”
“I don't know if we can get him to go, I haven't been able to, but maybe you'll have more luck. Let me go get him for you,” Ginny told her before she faded away. It felt like forever that Anwen stood there waiting for the girl to come back. Meanwhile, Sirius was keeping a close watch on Anwen's body. He knew that both projecting her astral form as she was and making the things she was seeing and doing inside Ginny's mind visible for the rest were incredibly draining on her magic. When she swooned while sitting, he knew that she needed him.
“Sunshine, can you let Mrs. Eva hold you for a minute? Daddy needs to help Mummy,” he told her gently. Sitara nodded and he handed the little girl off to her auntie with a kiss on her forehead. He went to stand behind his wife, his hands on her shoulders. He could immediately feel Anwen pulling on his magic to give her more strength. It wasn't something she did often, and the feeling was very unsettling.
Ginny finally returned, a very haggard looking Harry in tow. Before he'd even reached the room fully he had begun to apologize.
“Winnie, I am so sorry...”
“Harry, you haven't done anything wrong. In fact, the lengths you went to for self-preservation are beyond impressive. It was ingenious protection, but we need you to go back into your own body,” she explained. As soon as the words had left her mouth he started to violently shake his head.
“Too much pain. No!”
“Harry, it will only be for a little while. We've figured out what happened and why you're in so much pain. We want to fix things, but you have to be in your body for that to happen.” Anwen went on to explain what they'd learned about the magics involved with the rings and the Rite by which they were wed. She explained that they'd be sending one of them back in time to speak with their younger selves. The only changes that they would be making were to tell that self that he and Ginny should hold onto the memories of their first life, and to lock the garage at Fair Garden up better in hopes of thwarting the accident.
“You mean I might walk?” Ginny asked excitedly.
“There is that chance, but there an equal chance that you could have hurt your back in another way. We don't know, but it does seem that the accident and the aftermath of it are the root of the problem. It's the best that we can do,” the woman told them.
“Are you going to use the spell I did, because I have to tell you, it wasn't all that easy and the trip was rather awful,” Harry confessed.
“No, Harry, I have a Time-Turner. They're standard issue when you're a prosecutor. I am technically still employed by the ICW, though not working with Dumbledore. We're going to use it. Far more reliable in terms of timing and location,” Anwen teased. “We are going to discuss that magic, though. I'm impressed that you could do it.”
“I'd never do it again,” Harry confessed.
“So, you'll go back into your body?” Harry drew in a deep breath and nodded.
“Okay, let’s get everything settled and decide who will do it and when we're going to send them to, and then I'll come and help you back. It's going to be okay, you two. I really do believe that,” she told them, and then with Herculean effort, was able to make her astral self hug the young pair. She withdrew rapidly from Harry's brain, panting as she relaxed against the back of the chair and her husband’s chest.
“Okay, who do we send?” Anwen asked aloud as she still worked to catch her breath.
“You and I are out, we're both in critical condition after the battle,” Sirius said, indicating he and his wife.
“I don't think my head is settled either, given that I just gave birth,” Lily added.
“I had been called into service at Wizengamot,” Minerva explained. “There was significant house-cleaning that needed to be done. Death Eaters and supporters were being rounded up and detained. I was helping with the hearings.”
“Right after Harry was born, they called me in as well. Those first few months I don't think that I slept at all,” James said.
“Then it would appear that it needs to be me, since you were still in hiding my dear,” Remus said to his wife. “I'll go back and tell myself that the kids need to hold onto the memories of this life and that I need to convince Sirius to lock up his garage better, right?”
“That would be it,” James confirmed.
“You're going to want proof from yourself,” Anwen said, “I know you too well. Your skeptical nature is bound to come out. Is there something you alone know that you can tell yourself to prove it's you?” Remus solemnly nodded.
“There are aspects of my nature, when I was still turning that I hid from everyone. Trust me, I can convince myself.” Anwen nodded at her friend, and Eva laid her head on his chest, comforting him as best she could with the small girl in her arms.
“Here, hold onto it for the time being,” Anwen said, lifting her Time-Turner from within her blouse and handing it to him. “Mimi when we're ready, can you help him set it. I need to stay with Harry while all this is going on.”
“Of course, dear,” she answered.
“We also need to set a protective circle. Sirius, it should be a salt one, anchored with Bramble Leaf and the runes: Thurisaz, Eihwaz, Algiz and Sowilo,” Anwen explained. “We'll all need to be inside it so that we remember what we're doing. This way, if we don't succeed, we'll know not to try this again.”
“Very interesting Charms work my dear, are you sure that you're not the one who's teaching the subject?” Minerva asked. Anwen shook her head, exhaustedly.
“She's been researching protective spells for weeks, attempting to figure out what Harry might have done to himself. She never came close to guessing this,” Sirius explained as he moved his hand from Harry to Ginny.
“I think the circle should be in the outer room there, I want to stay with Harry until I must leave,” Anwen suggested and the others nodded.
“What about our other children?” Lily asked and Anwen sighed.
“I don't know,” she answered. “If this goes correctly, everything that's happened in the last few months will be rewritten anyway. If it doesn't go correctly, it won't matter. I think we should leave it, see what happens and what they know when we're done and then go from there. I know that we have to tell Draco and Bas something, I'm just not sure what that could be. There should be few changes to the rest of our lives.”
It was then that Sitara started to wiggle in Eva's arms. Lily suggested that she go down the hall and play with the girls and the little girl cheerfully did so. She missed her best friend going ashen faced, but no one else in the room did. Her husband was immediately looking at her face on.
“Winnie, sweetheart, what's wrong?” Anwen didn't answer, but instead made everyone move away from Harry and Ginny to talk. When they were all in the outer room, Anwen started to speak with tears in her eyes.
“Sirius, we could lose her. I tried to think of everything that has happened for the last six months, and I couldn't see how having Harry and Ginny happy would have affected it. But, if Harry's okay, then there is no reason for me to go to India, and then we'd never have met and she wouldn't be here with us...” Sirius pulled his wife into his arms and held her, even as he got misty eyed. It had only been a few weeks, but he was just as attached to the child as she.
“Anwen, Sirius, we can't ask you to make that sacrifice...” James started to speak. “We'll have to find another way.”
“James, you know as well as I there isn't,” Anwen told him, and he nodded. This really was the only viable plan they had.
“What?” Lily yelled. “We're going to get this close to getting my son back to me and we're just going to stop?”
“Lil, we can't ask them to sacrifice their daughter...” James interrupted her.
“She's not even theirs. The adoption hasn't gone through,” Lily blurted out and everyone was shocked by her statement. Anwen laughed in a befuddled way.
“I don't believe you, after what that little girl just did...” she shook her head at her best friend. “I'm going to chock that statement up to your being exhausted and overwhelmed and that it was a slip of the tongue. However, make no mistake, that little girl is as much my daughter as any of the others. I have never made a distinction between how any of my babies made it home to us.” Anwen hissed through her clenched teeth. “We'll just have to put her in the protection spell with us. Is there a time shield charm of some sort?” She asked her husband.
“I think so; let me work on that while we get everything else taken care of, alright? And love, even if something happens and we lose her, we know where she is. We will go and get her and bring her back home,” he promised and she nodded. There was one last hurt look between Anwen and Lily before the first went back to sit with Harry and Ginny and explain what they were going to do.
James and Sirius went down to his office to review some Charming texts while Lily and Eva went to Lily’s in-house potions lab to get the items they would need for the protection circle. Remus got a quick course in Time-Turner usage from Minerva.
Once everything was set, Anwen ushered Harry back into his body and gave him a pain-killing potion to help him survive the next few minutes. Ginny moved herself to sit beside him again, their hands entwined. She began to tell him stories of their old life together, hoping it would bring him comfort.
They all moved inside the circle, Remus excepted and Sirius brought Sitara back from her playtime and had her sit with Anwen. He placed a special amulet around her neck and kissed her forehead and promised he loved her very much. He knelt down and wrapped his arms around his wife and daughter and every eye in the room was on Remus as he set the Time-Turner in motion.
Then he was gone.
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