|SIYE Time:11:47 on 21st August 2017|
A Little Bit of Hope
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Category: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny, James Potter, Lily Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, General
Story is Complete
Summary: At the height of the first wizarding war, Albus Dumbledore seeks out a mythical artefact to help bring hope to those he believes will be affected by the prophecy.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3572; Chapter Total: 474
Awards: View Trophy Room
Sorry I am a little late in posting. Severe headache meant I was unable to look at a computer screen to post this.
Thank you to Arnel for her brilliant help!
June 1st 1997…
Despite the early hour, no one could fail to notice the wide smiles on the faces of the couple who had just walked into the Great Hall for breakfast. For a brief second, the chatter in the hall lowered as many heads turned to watch Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. Neither noticed the noise drop or the looks they were receiving as they were too wrapped up in each other to do so. The noise only regained its previous level when the couple took seats at the Gryffindor table, next to each other and as close as they physically could be to one another without the need for Ginny to be sitting in Harry’s lap.
Harry served up a selection of breakfast foods to their plates as Ginny poured them each a fresh glass of pumpkin juice. As they tucked into their breakfasts, the couple kept their heads close together and quietly talked to one another. With their exams, more specifically, Ginny’s O.W.Ls, due to begin the following Monday, every precious moment they had to spare they would spend together. Breakfast happened to be one of those times.
“Mr Potter, Miss Weasley,” Professor McGonagall called out to them as she approached as they were getting ready to leave for their first lessons of the day. “Professor Dumbledore would like to see you both in his office as soon as possible, please.”
Harry and Ginny looked confused at the unexpected request.
“You are to go immediately, though, I’d advise you take your bags back to your dorms and change into some everyday clothes,” their head of house explained. “I have been told you are to be excused from your lessons for the day. I believe the Headmaster has a special task for the two of you, which will take most of the day.”
“Oh, ok,” Harry replied before turning to Hermione.
“Yes, I’ll take notes for you, Harry,” his best friend responded before Harry could even ask.
“The password is the same as it was for your previous lesson, Mr Potter,” Professor McGonagall quietly told him before she swept past the couple and out of the hall.
“Well, then, we’ll see you later,” Harry said to Ron and Hermione as he clasped Ginny’s hand and led her out of the Great Hall and back up to the Gryffindor Tower to drop their bags off and get changed.
“Enter,” the voice of their Headmaster came before either Harry or Ginny had the chance to knock on the door to the office. The couple just exchanged an amused glance as they both wondered how Dumbledore always seemed to know when someone was at his door.
“Ah, Mr Potter, Miss Weasley, thank you for coming so quickly,” Professor Dumbledore said as the couple entered the room and took a seat in front of the desk. “I know you must be wondering why I have asked you both to meet with me and miss classes for today. Even with exams beginning next Monday, this was something I felt could not wait as there may be not be time at the end of term for you do what I am about to request of you.”
Harry and Ginny sat in silence, confused at what the Headmaster could possibly need them to do for him. Despite having been told by Professor McGonagall that there was a special task for them to complete, neither Harry nor Ginny could comprehend what it was that would require them to need to take the entire day off classes. Neither of them was a member of the Order of the Phoenix as they were currently underage and even if they could join, Ginny’s mother would probably deny them the opportunity to do so. Harry did not think it had to do with the private lessons he’d had with Professor Dumbledore up until recently as Ginny was ignorant to what he had learnt. However, she had fully understood that he could not inform her about what he had been taught, knowing it was important information that required the bare minimum people knew of it.
“Please do not worry,” the Headmaster said upon seeing their confusion. “It is nothing of concern, nor is it dangerous. It is, in fact, an opportunity that I would be wrong to deny the pair of you.”
“An opportunity, sir?” Harry queried with a quick glance at Ginny. “You are not talking about…”
Harry trailed off, fearful that Dumbledore was suggesting they bring Ginny along with them to search for the next Horcrux.
“No, Harry, my dear boy,” Dumbledore replied in understanding. “This is something different. It is a chance to discover what lies in the future without affecting your present.”
Dumbledore currently removed the package that had been safely stored in his desk for a little over year for this very moment and placed it in front of him in full view of the young couple.
“The opportunity I am offering you has to do with what lies inside this package,” he explained, noting their curiosity. “Inside, there is a very rare magical artefact, something that is the only one of its kind and has long been considered to be a myth. However, an acquaintance of mine, on my request, tracked it down for me. Now, despite it being in my possession, I have never used it myself, but, there are people close to yourself, Harry, who have.”
“My parents?” Harry guessed with a look of awe in his eyes.
“Yes, you would be correct. Sirius and Remus also used this artefact last year. I offered the chance to your parents to help them to decide whether they wished to go into hiding, whereas, I gave Sirius and Remus the chance at a time when I knew you were struggling and they were at a loss at how to help you,” Dumbledore explained to the young wizard, knowing Harry would be delighted to learn something new about his parents, his godfather and his friend. “The artefact they used is known as The Hopeful Heart and it gives each individual one chance to travel to the future for a period of twenty-four hours.”
Ginny gazed at the Headmaster for a moment as the words he had used previously registered in her brain. “What is the catch, Professor?”
“Ah, I am not surprised you caught on to that, Ginevra.”
Ginny bristled at the use of her actual given name.
“While you shall be able to experience the future, you will not be able to remember it,” Dumbledore said in answer to Ginny’s question. “The spells that have been used to create this Time-Turner are complex, but I have been able to discover that the magic includes a very powerful memory charm.”
“How, then, would we know if we have not used it before?” Harry asked inquisitively.
The headmaster could not help but smile at how observant the pair sat in front of him were.
“Like I said, the spells used were and are complex. They have been, unfortunately, lost to history, though the story passed from owner to owner does tell us how it works. I believe, therefore, that the Time-Turner has a specific charm that allows it to register the magic of the user so it can recognise it if the wizard or the witch attempts to use it again.”
Harry and Ginny nodded their acceptance of the explanation. They were both intrigued by the information and the potential opportunity. However, there was a need to understand just why it was being offered to them and no one else.
“Why us, though? Why use it at all?” Harry asked on both of their behalves. “What is the purpose of using this if we cannot remember what we experience?”
“The answer to your question is in the name of the artefact itself,” the Headmaster calmly explained. “The Hopeful Heart allows to user to experience the future, but only if there is a future to look forward to, a future which the user is hoping for. If there is and the user gets to experience it, then on their return, their memories of their time are wiped, but the hope for the future they saw is not.”
“Therefore, with the war intensifying and with Harry being at the heart of it, if we are to return from the future with hope that it can be ours, then that hope can give us an even bigger reason to win and survive,” Ginny concluded.
“Exactly, my child,” Dumbledore exclaimed in delight. “Like I said before, it is about the future you as
individuals hope for. The magic of the Time-Timer, I believe, can tap into your emotions and pick up whatever small piece of hope you have for the future and that is how it knows whether it can take you through time.”
Harry mulled this over for a moment, knowing there was a real risk of him not surviving this war, especially as he had a prophecy looming over his head.
“So, even if my future involved me dying during this war,” Harry tentatively mused, “I would still be able to travel forward in time as my biggest hope for the future is for us to win this war and secure the peaceful world we deserve.”
Ginny looked at Harry in shock, her heart feeling like it was beginning to break in two at the prospect of losing him. Yes, she shared the same hope for future of the wizarding world, but not at the expense of him giving his own life. However, she knew she had to push her own personal feelings aside for the moment as she knew Harry had a bigger role to play and the possibility of him dying was very real. Harry may not have informed her of what the prophecy had said, but she would be an idiot not to realise that it had been made about him being the person who could defeat Voldemort.
“You would be correct, Harry,” the Headmaster said, feeling delighted that Harry and Ginny had fully understood what he had explained to them about the Hopeful Heart. “Now, before we move to the next part of my explanation, I need to know if you wish to take this opportunity. If you don’t, then I am afraid I shall have to Obliviate you to keep this artefact secret.”
Harry reached over and took Ginny’s hand in his, locking eyes with her as he did so. Neither one had to say a word as they made their decision together. Both feared losing the other, not that either of them had vocalised it during the few weeks they had been together. The relationship, in their opinion, was still too new for such declarations to be made.
“Yes, please,” Harry answered for them both without breaking eye contact with Ginny.
“Just as I hoped you would,” Dumbledore smiled in response. “Now, before I show you the Time-Turner and explain how you make it function, I need to tell you what I hope is going to happen. When you arrive, you shall be in this very room, on the same date, except for the year. I suggest you travel to 2010, like your parents, Sirius and Remus did. I shall be leaving a letter for whomever the head of the school is in that time, so they should be expecting you. I am hoping you will be able to meet your future selves as I feel they would be the best people to inform you of past events and to explain where they are in their lives at that point in time.”
“Wouldn’t that cause an issue, sir?” Harry asked as he remembered his first experience with a Time-Turner back in his third year. “Hermione told me we could not be seen by anyone when we used her Time-Turner.”
“Essentially, she would be correct, Harry. However, that would only be if you were travelling to the past where there is potential to change our original actions,” Dumbledore explained. “As you are travelling to the future and will not remember what you have experienced when you return to the present, the chances of changing the course of history are negligible.”
Once Harry had confirmed he understood what he had been told, Professor Dumbledore explained how to make the Hopeful Heart function to travel forward to 2010 and what they would need to do to be able to return to their present.
“Remember, you shall be there for exactly twenty-four hours,” the Headmaster reminded the couple. “You have been excused from classes for the rest of the week. If your friends enquire to your whereabouts while you are away, I shall provide an excuse of which I shall inform you when you return. It will be a plausible excuse and something you will believe you have truly spent time doing.”
The young couple nodded their agreement.
“Well, then, I believe there is no reason to delay your journey any longer,” Dumbledore said as he began to unwrap the package. “Just remember to follow the instructions I have given you and you’ll have no problems.”
Harry took the offered Time-Turner from the hands of the Headmaster and carefully wrapped the long chain around his and Ginny’s necks. Following the instructions that they had been given, they both placed a finger to the gold ring as Harry also placed the tip of his wand to the ruby heart.
“I truly hope the future is what you hope it to be,” Dumbledore said just before Harry clearly stated the year, with the young couple’s hopes firmly placed in their hearts and minds.
The couple’s fingers suddenly felt like they had become glued to the ring as a wind whipped up around them. Then, with no warning, they felt a tug, like what they had previously experienced when travelling by Portkey, as the Time-Turner whisked them away to the future.
June 1st 2010…
The Time-Turner dropped Harry and Ginny in the same spot in which they had stood just seconds before. Both stumbled slightly on landing, but they managed to remain on the feet for once.
“Welcome, Mr Potter, Miss Weasley,” a familiar voice said before either Harry or Ginny could take in any changes that had been made to the office.
The couple turned in the direction from which the voice had come and discovered their current Head of House behind the desk with a rare, warm smile on her face.
“Please, take a seat,” she politely asked as she indicated to the two empty chairs.
Harry and Ginny glanced at one another before they took the seats as requested.
“Hello, Professor,” Harry managed to say as a sweeping realisation came over him that Professor
Dumbledore must have died if Professor McGonagall was now sitting in his place. Remembering the headmaster’s words about leaving a letter for the current head, Harry suspected that he had known he would not be the head of the school in the year they had selected.
“I would say it is good to see you, but, as I am in regular contact with your counterparts here, it would mean very little for all of us.”
Harry’s eyes widened as her words registered in his brain, barely feeling the squeeze of the hand Ginny gave him. They had both realised what this meant for them, but neither had been willing to believe it was possible when they had activated the Time-Turner.
“I… I survive?” Harry choked out in shock as elation began to fill his heart.
Professor McGonagall smiled wider than either of them had ever seen her do so.
“You do, indeed, survive, Mr Potter,” she told him proudly before turning solemn. “However, the war was not without further losses for yourself.”
Harry dropped his head in despair on hearing he would suffer further losses in his life. He was not surprised, however, knowing that there would be. As much as he hoped there would be no more deaths, he knew that they were at war. More loss of life, therefore, was inevitable, no matter how hard he or anyone tried to prevent it.
“Can I ask who?” Ginny asked, much to Professor McGonagall’s surprise.
Harry and Ginny watched as the headmistress’ gaze flittered for the moment to the portraits. Following it, they both immediately spotted the sleeping portrait of Dumbledore they had neglected to notice when they first arrived.
“How much longer does the war last?” Harry asked forcefully, no longer wanting to know just how many people he knew died. The one thing he knew for certain, it did not matter if it was himself named in the prophecy as the one who would defeat Voldemort as with the loss of Dumbledore, Voldemort would be in a better position to take control of the world.
“Exactly eleven months,” the Headmistress replied as she watched Harry piece together the possibilities made possible as the result of the death of Dumbledore. “You would be correct to assume that Voldemort took control of the Ministry and Hogwarts. He was never seen in public, though, not at least until the final battle that took place here at the school.”
The office remained silent, except for the snores of the sleeping portraits, as Harry and Ginny processed the implications of what they had been told about the final few months of the war. It was hard for either of them to comprehend to know that this was something they would have to endure when they returned to their own time.
“I think I am not the best person to be explaining this to you,” Professor McGonagall eventually said as to break the stifling silence. “I think, perhaps, that the story of the final year of the war would be best to be told by yourselves. They have arranged for you to stay at their house for the duration of your time here.”
“Are we married?”
Harry and Ginny asked their questions simultaneously, much to the amusement of the Headmistress.
“Are you actually that surprised?” she asked in exasperation.
The two teens could only nod as they both began to blush.
“I, honestly, do not believe you should be,” she continued. “It was obvious to all those present at the school when you first began dating that your relationship would be for keeps and go the distance.”
She stood and approached the fireplace. Taking the pot of Floo powder to hold out to the couple, she told them, “Potter Cottage is the name you need to use to go to their house. Harry and Ginny shall be waiting for you.”
Harry heard a chuckle of laughter as he stumbled out of the Floo and tripped over his feet, falling flat on his face.
“If it helps, you do get better at using the Floo,” the voice said as he continued to chuckle. “Eventually.”
Harry lifted his head from the floor at the same moment Ginny gracefully stepped out of the fireplace. Both couldn’t help the gasp that escaped them when their eyes met the sight of an older Harry, who was waiting for them to arrive.
“Leave him alone, or need I remind you, Harry, of just how often you still manage to stumble out of the Floo yourself?”
The younger couple’s attention was pulled in the direction of the female voice to find an older Ginny entering the room. She stopped on seeing them and smiled softly as Harry finally clambered off the floor and back onto his feet.
“If it helps,” Older Ginny said as she noticed the young couple’s awkwardness at being in the same room as their older selves, “we knew you were coming, but I don’t think anything could prepare us for seeing our younger selves standing in our house.”
The two teens visibly relaxed, knowing this was just as awkward for their older selves as it was for them. Much to the two teens’ surprise, Older Ginny, then came over to them and hugged each of them. Older Harry followed his wife’s actions, but chose to shake his younger self’s hand and kiss the cheek of the younger Ginny.
“I know you must have many questions for us,” Older Harry told them with a comforting smile, “and we will try our best to answer them, but I must warn you, now, that you may not like some of what we tell you. It was, for everyone involved, an awful year and we lost many good people to the war, but as I am repeatedly reminded, it was worth it in the end.”
Younger Harry looked at his older self as he spoke and realised that, while there was a smile on his face and happiness shining from his eyes, it was obvious he was still haunted by the events of his past.
“How about we take a seat outside in the garden?” Older Ginny suggested as she decided she needed to find a way for their younger selves to feel more comfortable and relaxed. “It’s a beautiful day, today, and I believe I have some Butterbeer in the cold cupboard.”
“So, where do you want to begin?” Older Harry asked once the group had settled down at the garden table with cold Butterbeers in their hands. “Do you want the good or the bad news first?”
The younger Harry and Ginny turned to look at each other and had a silent conversation to decide where it be best to start.
“I see it now,” Older Ginny whispered into her husband’s ear.
“See, what?” Harry replied as he continued to watch the two teens.
“Why it was everyone could tell our relationship was for keeps once we began dating,” Older Ginny replied, her breath tickling her husband’s ear. “Just looking at them, I can see that, even at fifteen and sixteen, we had a strong connection to one another, to the point of understanding each other without the need for words.”
Older Harry did not respond to his wife’s observation as his mind, instead, drifted back to the day of Dumbledore’s funeral and remembered how just one look between them had told him that Ginny would understand his reasons for needing to push her away and protect her from potential harm while he did what he needed to do.
“I think we should begin with the good news,” Younger Ginny eventually answered, pulling the older Harry from his thoughts. “It might be best to know what we have to look forward to before you tell us all about what happened over that final year of the war.”
The older couple exchanged a knowing smile. This information, about their futures, would be what they needed to feel hopeful that the war could be won, no matter how dark things became.
“Well, as you are already aware, we are married,” Older Harry started as he reached out for his wife’s hand. “We will be celebrating ten years of marriage in just a couple of weeks’ time.”
“We have three beautiful children as well: James, Albus and Lily,” Older Ginny told them, causing the younger couple to blush at the thought of what was involved to produce three children.
“Where are they?” Younger Ginny asked in response when she realised she had not seen a hint of a child at the house since they had arrived. Then again, they had neglected to have a look at the photos that covered the walls of the home.
“We decided to send them to spend the night at Molly and Arthur’s,” Older Harry explained. “They are still quite young at six, four and two. We felt it would confuse them if they were here at the same time as our younger selves and us.”
“I can understand that,” Younger Harry replied, remembering how he had used a time-turner at the end of his third year. “Hermione told me that bad things have happened to those who have messed with time. However, Professor Dumbledore said that would not be possible due to the method we have used to travel here. I have to admit it was weird seeing myself when I travelled back, so I can understand it would be confusing for three young children.”
“What about the rest of our family?” Ginny asked eagerly, wanting to know who had gotten married and how many nieces and nephews she had. “Do Hermione and Ron finally get together?”
The older couple had their own silent conversation upon hearing Ginny’s first question. They both knew that if they were to answer it, then, questions would be asked to why Fred had not married and had children and why it was George who had been the one to marry Angelina.
“I think it might be best at this point if we tell you what happened in the final year of the war,” the older Harry said solemnly, guilt swimming through his eyes.
“Which one of my brothers was it?” Ginny responded, recognising Harry’s need to avoid the question she’d asked. She could tell from the way they had changed the subject, from that of her family to the war, that one of her brothers must have died at some point in the final few months.
Younger Harry grabbed his girlfriend’s hand, having immediately understood what was not being said, while also knowing that whichever one of her brother’s it was who had died, she’d be devastated.
“Fred,” Older Ginny simply stated.
“For us to answer that, we really should tell you of the events from the end of my sixth year to the end of the war,” Older Harry explained. “I would prefer to only go through this story once and in order of the events.”
Ginny could only watch through tear-filled eyes as her boyfriend walked away from the table in shock towards the rear of the property. She understood why he needed to walk away and take time for himself to process what they had just been told about what was to come when they returned to their own. With everything they had discovered he, Harry, would personally go through, she would have needed that time as well. To be honest, she needed time to process the very fact one of her brothers would die during the final battle, but at the same time, she desperately wanted to follow Harry and comfort him. However, before she could make the move to do so, a handkerchief appeared in front of her, moving her attention from her boyfriend to his older self.
“I don’t understand how you even managed to move past all of this,” Ginny said as she gratefully took the handkerchief from him and wiped her eyes. “You were a wreck after the deaths of Cedric and Sirius. All of this, everything you just told us, it should have been enough to break you.”
“It nearly did,” Older Harry confessed.
Ginny looked up at Older Harry confused as to how he didn’t completely fall apart in the days, weeks and months following the final battle they had been informed of. Harry smiled softly at the younger girl as though he was trying to make understand without the use of words before his eyes drifted towards where his wife had now followed his younger self. Ginny quietly gasped as the realisation hit her of what he was trying to say to her.
“You are and will be the reason that I don’t completely fall apart,” he honestly told Younger Ginny as he turned his gaze back to her. “Now, that’s not to say I didn’t struggle with everything, because I did and I still do. You were and still are the best source of comfort I could ask for. Your Harry will realise and understand that in the days following Dumbledore’s death and he will remember that in the immediate days following the end of the war.”
Younger Ginny didn’t find what Harry had told her about being his best source of comfort hard to believe. They may have only been a couple for only a few weeks, but they had both found it incredibly easy to confide in one another. She also now knew what it was that Professor Dumbledore had been teaching Harry during their private lessons and she could understand why he had kept it secret from her and had only shared it with Ron and Hermione. The break up, however, she was still confused over.
“Why do you decide to break up with me?” she asked, knowing Older Harry was the only one who could fully explain it to her. “You brushed over that in your explanation, but I felt like there was far more to it than what you actually said, more than this need to keep me safe.”
“I brushed over a fair few things when it comes to you and I did so for a good reason,” Older Harry answered honestly, knowing this would be an explanation that only she could be told and would be one that would help solidify that hope for the future. “The reason I brushed over it was because, right now, my sixteen-year-old self is still struggling to understand just how much you mean to him. He is unable to comprehend just how deep his feelings run when it comes to you. He does know, however, that he has fallen for you beyond anything he has ever experienced with anyone. It takes being away from you, over the course of that year for it all to begin make sense for him, especially, when he stands in front of Voldemort and thinks explicitly of you as the Killing Curse is sent his way.”
Younger Ginny’s jaw dropped in shock at the discovery of being Younger Harry’s final thought before what he believed would be his actual death. She knew she would not remember being told this, but to know that he loved her that deeply left her in awe.
“That is the same face you had when I told you about it when we reunited after the battle,” Older Harry said with a chuckle. “Anyway, you need to understand that you represent hope to him. Falling for you gave him a new outlook on life, a reason to win and to survive the war. However, that only applies if you survive, therefore…”
“He pushes me away to keep me safe physically and for his own peace of mind,” Younger Ginny concluded for Older Harry. “Plus, if I am not with him, he will not be worrying about me as much. He will believe I am safe if there is nothing to prove him otherwise. He needs me to survive as much as I need him to survive.”
“Exactly,” Older Harry replied with a smile.
Younger Ginny turned her head towards where she could now see her future-self talking to her boyfriend, finally feeling reassured and relaxed in the knowledge that he would be coming back to her once the war was over. As she thought about his decision to end their relationship, she realised she would not fight him over it as she knew he needed to end what Voldemort had started all those years ago, and he wouldn’t allow himself to be truly happy until he had defeated him. It was one of the reasons she loved him.
“I am guessing I have probably already told you what I am about to say,” Ginny said as she turned her gaze back to the Older Harry.
“More than likely,” he chuckled.
“I knew it had to be you in the end, that it had to be you who finished off Tom once and for all,” she confessed, unsurprised when Older Harry did not react. “It wasn’t hard to figure it out, not after we had discovered the prophecy with your name on it, alongside Voldemort’s. So, even though I will not remember this conversation, it won’t be too hard to let you go when the time comes, because I have always known this what you would need to do, what you were destined to do.”
Older Harry chuckled as he remembered having the same conversation with his wife not too long after the final battle. “It helps that you understand him… me better than I know myself at times. Better than anyone else knows me, in fact. Your faith in me is one of the things I love most about you.”
“I could never not have faith in you. You saved me from Tom’s clutches when you were just twelve years old, when I was only Ron’s little sister to you. It helped me to believe that you would always do everything in your power to rescue or save anyone you could, no matter the consequences for yourself. It made me realise, also, that it is probably why you always take every death so hard, because there was nothing you had been able to do to stop it, no matter how hard you had tried to prevent it from happening. The fact that, of all people, it is me you purposefully go out of your way to keep safe lets me know you… he is already in love with me, even if it doesn’t realise it himself yet.”
“Oh, trust me, he is,” Older Harry replied with a knowing smile. “He has been for a very long time.”
Younger Ginny could only smile in response as she continued to watch her boyfriend as he and her future-self spoke, knowing the hope she would return with would be the hope that Harry would do everything in his power to return to her following the end of the war.
Younger Harry stood from his seat and walked away from the table towards the back of the garden. His mind was a swirl of emotions as he attempted to process everything their older selves had told him and Ginny. He knew there was nothing he could do to change the future on his return. The Time-Turner they had used was an old relic, which meant the magic was old and powerful, something Dumbledore had reminded him of time and time again. Instead, he needed to find a way to understand, or how would he even return to his time with hope in his heart for the future he had seen?
His thoughts, though, kept coming back to three specific things they had been told. Firstly, the sheer number of people who would die over the course of the final few months of the war, especially, during the final battle. How was he supposed to accept that so many people would die and there was nothing he could do to stop it? All he could do, from what he had understood from his older self, was concentrate on the task at hand, the one left to him by Dumbledore, and work towards finally defeating Voldemort.
Secondly, the very fact he was willing to push away the one bright light in his life, Ginny. While he was still not able to label what it was he felt for his girlfriend, he did know that he had fallen for her and fallen hard. Every moment spent with her was always a happy moment and he knew he wanted to feel and live in that happiness once the war was over. He could tell the full reason for him choosing to push Ginny away had not been revealed to him. Maybe they felt he would not understand the reasons and would refuse to believe it, he wasn’t certain. He did know that keeping her safe from harm made sense to him. What confused him most was the fact that Ginny had not fought him on the matter. He had tried the year previously to stop her from coming to the Ministry to rescue Sirius, but she had shot him down and listed valid reasons why he was wrong to refuse. For some reason, though, he knew if anyone had to remain safe and survive this war, it had to be Ginny.
Third, and finally, he was the accidental Horcrux, the one Voldemort had never meant and never knew he had made. He would not be told until the lull in the battle and at a point where he would be unable to walk away from what would be asked of him. He just didn’t understand how he would find the strength to willingly walk to what he would believe would be his own death. He had long accepted that he may not survive the war, but to go so willingly, to stand there without defending himself, was not an easy concept to accept. It didn’t matter there was living proof that he would survive, thanks to a mistake Voldemort overlooked, it was just knowing he would have to take that walk that was so hard for him to comprehend.
“You would never have accepted the idea you would have to walk to your own death had you known ahead of time,” a voice said from behind him. “You would have done everything in your power to try find another
way to remove the piece of his soul from you if it meant not needing to walk to your own death.”
Younger Harry remained where he was for the moment as he let the words register in his mind. If he was struggling with the idea now, he knew he would struggle with it had Dumbledore told him over the course of this past year.
“I suppose you are right,” he finally said as he turned to see Older Ginny standing there with a compassionate look on her face. “I guess it is easier to accept what needs to happen in the heat of the moment, rather than fighting against it right up until the moment it happens.”
Older Ginny smiled at Younger Harry, grateful he would not need to have it explained to him.
“What I don’t understand, though, is why you just accept my decision to break up with you?” Younger Harry continued, not waiting for a response to his previous comments. “You fought against me when I refused to allow you to come to the Ministry with me. You won that argument easily, but why just accept me ending our relationship?”
“It was easy to accept because I knew it was what you needed,” Older Ginny simply replied.
Younger Harry said nothing in response as he tried to understand what it was she was telling him and what she was not saying. He could sense there was more to it than that, but she was holding back and he realised it was because he was not ready to understand it just yet as he, having already realised, was not ready to understand the full extent of his feelings for the younger version of the woman standing in front of him.
“I would tell you exactly what it is you will tell my younger self, but I think we both know you are not ready to hear it, because you are still figuring out the full extent of your feelings.”
“Yet, I can see clearly, in front of me, that I will fall in love with her and marry her someday.”
“That maybe so, but we have not even told you what happened in the aftermath of the war, when it is we resumed our relationship or how we even get to the point of wanting to marry one another. Even though we know you will not remember what happened while you were here and what you were told, your heart will still remember your feelings and if you figure it out before you are supposed to, we risk changing the future in ways we cannot understand or know.”
Younger Harry opened and closed his mouth several times to respond. Why would Dumbledore not warn him of this potential risk?
“What was it that you hoped for when you activated the Hopeful Heart?” Older Ginny asked, much to Harry’s surprise.
“I hoped to see a world that was at peace, a world where Voldemort is merely a memory, a part of the history books,” Younger Harry replied honestly.
Ginny glared at him, knowing there was more to it than what he had already admitted.
Younger Harry sighed, knowing he could never lie to Ginny, whichever moment in time she was from. “I also hoped that you would survive to live a life of happiness.”
“I can guarantee you, because it was what I hoped for throughout the war, that my younger self was hoping to find a future in which you had survived the war, a future in which you had realised your own dreams and had found happiness. It wouldn’t have mattered if you had married someone else or if she had died, because all she has ever wanted for you was to survive the war and have the normal life she knows you desperately crave.”
“What is your point?” Harry asked, wondering why she had admitted that to him if she did not want to risk changing the future.
“You don’t need to understand why things happen the way they do, or what it is you feel for my younger self. They are not the reasons why Dumbledore sent you here,” Older Ginny calmly explained. “What you need to understand is there is a life for you after the war, after the heartache and the grief. It doesn’t matter how dark the final months of the war become, because there is a flicker of light at the end of it, a glimmer of hope. That is what he wanted you to understand, what he wants you to consume and fill your heart with.”
“You never did tell us what happened to my brothers,” Ginny said as she placed her knife and fork, having finished the delicious dinner older Harry had cooked for them. “Who is married? How many nieces and nephews do we have?”
Both Harrys laughed as Older Ginny began clearing the table.
“Well, you obviously know Bill and Fleur get married,” Older Ginny stated as she shot a glare at her husband for laughing at the question. “They have three children, Victoire, Dominique and Louis. Victoire was born on the second anniversary of the final battle. While it is still a tough day for all of us, celebrating her birthday stops us from becoming sad and depressed.”
“Also, it helps us to escape attending any memorials the Ministry or the school chooses to hold,” Older Harry stated. “Anyway, Charlie has chosen to remain a bachelor till his dying day. He loves his dragons too much to get married.”
“That does not surprise me, at all,” Younger Ginny said with a laugh. “I am guessing Mum is still trying her best to marry him off?”
“Obviously,” Older Ginny replied. “Dad has tried to make her stop, but, it has been to no avail. Charlie just sits through the lecture she gives him every time he comes home.”
Everyone laughed at the remark, knowing it was hard to stop Molly Weasley once she started ranting or lecturing.
“Percy married a lovely girl, Audrey, and they have two girls, Molly and Lucy,” older Ginny continued. “George married Angelina Johnson…”
“Didn’t she date Fred at one point?” Younger Harry asked as he remembered Fred taking Angelina to the Yule Ball during the Triwizard Tournament.
“Yes, but Angelina helped George through his grief, just like Ginny helped me,” Older Harry confirmed. “It brought them closer and by the first Christmas after the war, they were dating. Now, they have two children together, Roxanne and Fred.”
Younger Ginny smiled sadly at hearing her brother had named his son for his dead twin brother. However, if she really thought about it, Fred would have done the same thing had it been the other way around.
“That, then, brings us to Ron,” Older Ginny said with a twinkle in her eye, knowing the younger couple would love what they were about to hear.
“Oh, please, tell me Ron and Hermione finally get together,” Younger Harry pleaded with them. “I am not sure how much more I can take of their denial of their feelings for one another!”
The older couple exchanged amused looks before they burst into laughter.
“Oh, trust me, they are together, married with children,” Ginny managed to choke out through her laughter. “You are just going to have to wait another year before they come to their senses!”
The younger couple looked at each other in confusion, wondering what could be so funny about Ron and Hermione finally getting their acts together, even if Harry did have to suffer yet another year of them dancing around each other.
“How did it happen?” Younger Ginny pushed as she began to get frustrated with her future-self.
“Well, being Ron and Hermione, it happened at the most inappropriate time,” Older Harry sniggered as the memory began to replay in his head. “To be honest, I cannot remember the exact wording as it was in the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts. I just know there was something said about house-elves and then, Hermione threw herself at him.”
The younger couple burst into laughter. It honestly didn’t surprise them that it had taken so long to admit their feelings, nor that it came at one of the most ridiculous moments for them.
Younger Harry paused at the bedroom door to look back at the bed in which he had slept. There, much to his disbelief, was his girlfriend. Their older selves had been more than happy to allow them to share a bed for one night, stating no one would ever know. While nothing had happened physically between them, Harry had appreciated being able to curl up, in bed, with Ginny in his arms. After everything they had learned the previous day about the year to come, they had both needed the closeness and comfort. It just saddened him that they would not remember the first time they fell asleep in one another’s arms.
Leaving his girlfriend sleeping peacefully, Younger Harry quietly exited the bedroom and headed downstairs. Walking into the kitchen, he wasn’t surprised to find his older-self there, making breakfast for everyone.
“Good morning,” his older self said when he spotted Younger Harry take a seat at the table. “Did you sleep well?”
Younger Harry couldn’t help but blush at the question. Sleeping with Ginny in his arms had given him the best night sleep he’d had in a long time. “Yes, thank you.”
“Don’t worry, I felt the same way the first time, well, at least the first time I remember, I shared a bed with Gin,” his older self chuckled in response to the blush that had spread across Younger Harry’s cheeks.
The two Harrys remained in silence for a few minutes with only the fizzle and crackles of the food being cooked heard throughout the kitchen.
“How did you manage it?” Younger Harry asked his older self.
“What do you mean?”
“How did you manage to survive the aftermath of the war?” Younger Harry asked, desperate to understand how he would find a way to cope with everything he went through and everyone he lost. “How did you deal with the losses, the grief, the guilt?”
Nothing was said in response, leaving Younger Harry to watch as his older self paused for the moment before he halted what he had been doing to turn to face Harry.
“I am not going to lie to you,” his older self admitted, “and tell you I moved past everything that happened with ease. I struggled, but then again, everyone did. So much happened in that final year of the war that I highly doubt anyone came out of it unscathed.”
His older self paused for the moment, casting charms on the food to keep it warm and from burning before taking a seat across the table from Harry.
“In the past, as you know, we have always been sent back to Privet Drive,” Older Harry continued. “It didn’t do us any good as it left us to wallow in our own self-pity as we struggled to come terms with whatever had happened. With the end of the war, though, I didn’t need to return there, I was finally free to decide where I wanted to go, where I wanted to be.”
“You returned to The Burrow,” Younger Harry stated, knowing this would be the choice he would make.
“Where else could I go? Grimmauld Place held too many bad memories, I couldn’t remain at the school and I wasn’t quite ready to live by myself. The Burrow was the obvious choice, plus, Molly wouldn’t let me go anywhere but home with her and the rest of the Weasleys.”
Younger Harry couldn’t help but laugh at the comment about Mrs Weasley, knowing, how, every summer she wanted Harry to come straight home with them, rather than back to Privet Drive with the Dursleys.
“It was the first time she didn’t have to put up a fight to get me home with them,” Older Harry said as he remembered the day the family finally left Hogwarts for The Burrow. “Anyway, it was being there that helped me. I had nightmares, I still managed to find time to brood and I am not going to lie, but there were a fair few tears as well. However, being around the family, Ron, Hermione and Ginny helped me slowly work through everything I had been through. Kreacher even helped when I started the Aurors and moved out, making sure I was well looked after.”
Younger Harry could see his older self was being evasive with just how he coped after the war, but, remembering the conversation with Older Ginny the previous day, made him realise that it was not something he needed to understand. It was the fact he had fought his way out of the grief and the guilt to be able to create a happy life for himself. However, he could not forget the partially haunted look in his older self’s eyes he had seen when he had arrived the day before.
“You still struggle, though?”
“Of course, I do,” his older self admitted, a sad smile crossing his face. “What we have experienced, what you are still to experience, is not something that is easily forgotten. The sheer number of people we have lost, though, is the worst part of it. I still see their faces in my dreams or my nightmares, more so around the anniversary of the final battle.”
“You’re happy, though? I am going to be happy?” Younger Harry asked, needing to hear it from his older self, despite being able to see it for himself.
“Yes, absolutely. Everything we went through, everyone we lost, as much as it hurts, it was worth it to finally be free and happy.”
“Tell me, honestly,” Younger Ginny said to her older self as the two red-heads walked downstairs together, “just how bad is Harry in the aftermath of the war?”
The Older Ginny grasped the wrist of her younger-self to stop her from continuing down the stairs.
“I know you know how Harry can be in the aftermath of any traumatic event,” she calmly told the younger girl. “However, you can also see that Harry has come through everything and found the happiness he has desperately longed for, even if those events still haunt him.”
Younger Ginny could not disagree with any of what she had been told as she hadn’t failed to notice the haunted look that would occasionally cross Older Harry’s face.
“He is going to struggle and, yes, he is going to brood,” Older Ginny continued. “With what we told you, about who will die in the coming months, it will be a tough few months for everyone. Harry is going to rely on you in the same way you will come to rely on him. The aftermath was hard on everyone, but, for Harry, it is the anniversaries that are always the worst for him as he always struggles with the idea of just how many people died and whether he could have saved them.”
Younger Ginny opened and closed her mouth several times to respond, but she just didn’t know what to say to her older self. It certainly explained the haunted look in his eyes she had seen when he told them of the final year of the war. It just seemed incomprehensible for him to be happy if he was still struggling with those deaths.
“I know you spoke to my husband about the real reason he broke up with me,” her older self said after a couple of minutes of silence between them. “I highly doubt he told you the exact words he said to me, though, the words that made it so easy for me to wait for him.”
Ginny shook her head.
“He told me that being with me had been like something out of someone’s else life. I knew what he had meant, that he had been able to experience some normality in his life for once. Something that made him truly happy. It’s the same reason he can go on with his life, despite the guilt he still harbours. We make them happy, we give them everything they have ever wanted and needed, we love them deeply and for just him, Harry. That’s the reason he has not fallen apart and has managed to live his life.”
Younger Ginny knew her older self was right. Many people had told her they had never seen Harry so happy as he had been since they had begun dating. Ron had even told her that Harry had been sleeping better. She hadn’t failed to notice how he held his temper better or had even ignored the gossip and rumours surrounding him. She couldn’t help but wonder what positive effects he had on her.
There was a slight awkwardness as the two couples gathered by the fireplace as the younger couple prepared to return to Hogwarts and then to their own time-period. All of them knew what they would be returning to, even if they would not remember what they had been told. They could only take solace in the fact they would remain hopeful of a future where they could happy, free and together.
“Will you regain the memories of our visit here?” Younger Harry asked, knowing he had not been eloquent in his phrasing, but knowing their older selves would understand.
“Dumbledore believes we will,” Older Harry answered his younger self. “Unfortunately, even in the information passed to him, there was nothing to confirm either way. We can only wait and see if they do return to us.”
“I hope they do,” Younger Ginny responded. “It would be nice to be able to remember the first time we actually shared a bed.”
To neither Ginnys’ surprise, both Harrys blushed at the remark.
“Well, thank you for having us,” Younger Harry politely said, pushing his embarrassment aside for the moment. “Thank you, also, for the information and the advice you gave us.”
“It is a shame we’ll not be able to remember what you told us,” Younger Ginny continued. “It would be helpful to remember what we have to look forward to, but it’s enough to keep me hopeful.”
Older Ginny moved forward and wrapped the younger girl in a hug. “That would be the point of taking this trip to your future. Just keep that hope of what you wanted to see when you arrived here in your heart over the next few months and all will be well.”
Harry had barely stumbled out of the Floo when he picked himself up and walked over to where Professor Dumbledore’s portrait was located. He hadn’t originally planned to speak to his Headmaster, sensing his older self had probably already thanked the Professor for everything he had done to help him fulfil his destiny. However, he realised he would never be able to thank him for the opportunity he had been given and the strong sense of hope it had given him just to see that he and Ginny would survive the war.
“Hello, sir,” he quietly stated, recognising the usual signs of a painted portrait feigning sleep.
Professor Dumbledore’s eyes fluttered opened to reveal to the usual twinkle that Harry had long come to expect when he met with his Headmaster.
“Hello, my dear boy,” he greeted the younger version of Harry. “I can only assume that this trip has been worth what you have discovered. I was never able to ask you on your return, unfortunately.”
“It was certainly illuminating, sir,” Harry replied with a slight blush to his cheeks as he thought about the idea of marrying Ginny in the future. “I have to ask, though, how did you know? Why did you decide to send me and Ginny together?”
Dumbledore smiled at the young couple as Ginny came to stand next to her boyfriend.
“I could not have possibly known what was to come for either of you in the future. The only clues I had were the hopeful expressions on the faces of your parents, Sirius and Remus when they returned to their time-periods. However, while you may not be aware, it is obvious to all those who have seen the two of you together that your relationship is one that is forever, not one that is a simple childhood crush.”
The two teens glanced at one another and smiled at the idea of people already knowing they would have a future together.
“I just wanted to say thank you, sir,” Harry stated. “I know I will not be given the chance to say this when I return, but thank you for everything you did for me, for believing in me.”
“You are very welcome, my dear boy.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr Potter,” Professor McGonagall spoke up with an apologetic look on her face. “I am afraid you only have a few more minutes before your Time-Turner is due to return to your time.”
Harry and Ginny made their goodbyes to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, despite knowing they would see them shortly in their own time. They stood in a clear area of the office and took the necessary steps to be ready for the Hopeful Heart to return them to June 1997.
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