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SIYE Time:3:10 on 24th February 2018


Aether Continuum
By Zaphren

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny, Other
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Rating: R
Reviews: 36
Summary: Two mysterious beings that claim to be Nephalem send Harry's soul back in time to fix the mistakes of the powerful and save his world from more than just Voldemort. This is a change in the Time Travel trope where Harry originally never went to Hogwarts, where events spiraled out of control and Voldemort had risen with the Philosophers Stone and Diary Riddle forced another side to the conflict.
Hitcount: Story Total: 4883; Chapter Total: 132





Author's Notes:
A/N: Well, I know what I said about Harry and Ginny exchanging letters each month, but well… People are strange and things happen I can’t control (except, you know, I can). This chapter leads towards the final showdown between Harry, Quirrell and Voldemort, but we’ve still got some things to finish up! I also am really excited to end this year and introduce you to the epilogue and get to when the story starts to REALLY start. (NERDGASM) I do want to warn everyone that due to my hours changing at work, my writing may slow down. I honestly am not sure how I was able to write at the pace I was before. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t expect to be able to continue that way forever.




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Chapter 9: The Final Stage, Year 1

Harry had become despondent after what he’d seen in the Mirror of Erised on Christmas night. His mood interfered with helping the other first years with their schoolwork, something that many had not missed. He would usually arrive late for meals to avoid his friends and the eyes of the rest of the student body.

His mood swings weren’t enough to drive one student away, and Harry usually found Daphne sitting near him during the classes he aided the professor in teaching. During the last month she had even taken to waiting for him at meals, even if he sat at a different house. The Gryffindor's would glare at the girl when she was at their table, but she would ignore them. When asked why, she shrugged but her eyes seemed to pierce Harry’s skin.

He found that he couldn’t write any letters to Ginny. Each attempt had left him angry at himself followed by such encompassing guilt he nearly couldn’t breathe. There was no doubt in his mind that the girl was worried about him, possibly even thinking that she was the cause for his lack of contact. This in fact turned out to be true when the twins cornered Harry and asked why Ginny contacted them to see if the raven haired boy was alright and that she was upset he hadn’t been able to visit for the Easter holiday. Harry was able to convince them that he was in a rough spot. His excuse of needing to think it through left them looking at him skeptically as nearly five months had passed since his last letter. Knowing that he was being a prat, and while he still felt the guilt, he resolved to write to Ginny in May.

It wasn’t all just bad things in Harry’s thoughts. Nicolas Flamel had started to exchange letters weekly with Dumbledore, as the man had agreed to help them. The aged alchemist did feel that involving himself directly before the issue with the Chamber of Secrets wasn’t the wisest course of action but would help by giving his advice.

Flamel agreed with their current plan in regards to trapping Voldemort with the stone. He believed that, while they probably could not capture whatever form the dark wizard was in, that they could force him to be even more cautious than he was now by finding a way to physically hurt him. In the meantime, the alchemist would research into how Voldemort had survived that night. He believed that a Horcrux might be involved, like Dumbledore had before but said he needed to be entirely sure.

Having just helped Hagrid the night before, who was trying to raise an illegal dragon and transported it to the Dragon Reserve in Romania. Harry was now sitting in the Gryffindor common room after dinner one Saturday on the second of May for his weekly study session with the first years of that House. As usual, Ron and Hermione would sit slightly apart from the rest, and they were conversing quietly with their heads together over a sheet of paper. The latter part made Harry frown, but before he could move, the twins had swooped in and began talking with the pair. At first, Harry thought their conversation was one in good nature, but as he neared he heard the ending to what George was saying.

“It doesn’t mean that you guys have to do anything about it. This is something the professors should handle.”

“Harry’s in the thick of it, and he’s younger than both me and Hermione.” Ron retorted. Their focus on the discussion prevented them from noticing that Harry had moved close enough to hear. He decided to see how the twins would handle it and his eyes moved down to the sheet in his hands, pretending to read what Seamus had for his Transfiguration essay.

“Harry’s also a special case. I’d bet all my Filibuster Fireworks on him in a duel against Quirrell. The point is, you don’t have the training that he’s got and I doubt he’s as involved as you think.” Fred said, backing up his twin. “You guys need to drop this before you get hurt. We all got lucky with the troll on Halloween, and instead of Harry getting hurt, it may have been me or George and then you’d be able to tell us apart.”

“Well we can’t have that! We’d never be able to exchange the sweaters mum makes and trick her.” George shook his head sadly and placed a hand on his chest dramatically. “Oh, it would be unbearable.”

Hermione’s face scrunched up, clearly not buying the twins attempt at changing the subject and opened her mouth to speak. Harry, however was finished with this and decided to make his presence known. Coughing, causing the four to jump, he sat down on the couch next to the twins. He pulled out another sheet he had behind Seamus’.

“I wanted to go over Ron’s essay.” He looked intently at Hermione, daring her to interrupt him. “While I do appreciate what you’ve done for Ron’s scores since you two worked out your differences, I am worried that he’s beginning to rely on you too much.”

“Harry, we know Professor Snape is working with You-Know-Who to get the Stone and you want to talk about schoolwork?” The bushy haired girl spoke very quickly, possibly believing that Harry would interrupt her. The twins gave each other a look, and Ron smiled smugly at Harry.

The raven haired boy placed the sheets of parchment onto his lap, then rubbed his face in frustration. When had they found out about the Stone? He could see why they thought Snape might be after it, with the way the man constantly bullied the Gryffindor’s. “How did you figure out about the Stone and what proof do you have that Snape is the one trying to get it for Voldemort?” The four flinched at the name. “How do you even know he’s involved anyway?” To Harry’s surprise, it was Fred who answered, looking guilty.

“We, er… that is, George and I overheard you and Dumbledore talking in the hallway one day. You mentioned a trap involving him and we told these two, trying to get them to realize exactly how big this whole thing is. Seems it had the opposite effect.”

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked back to Hermione, waiting for her to answer. “Hagrid mentioned Nicolas Flamel, and we tried researching that for a long time until Ron got lucky and read about him on a Chocolate Frog card.” She hesitated for a moment before continuing. “We don’t exactly have any evidence that Professor Snape is the one after it, but it just makes sense. He’s been bullying Professor Quirrell all year and we know he’s helping defend-” Harry cut her off before she could continue.

“Snape is as well. So your proof is that he’s a bully, something he does to everyone? I’m sorry Hermione but that’s just not enough. If you want to do anything with this, you need to look deeper. How long they’ve been here, what motivates them? I may not get along very well with the man but I know that he’s not after it.” Harry placed Ron’s sheet back down on the table in front of the two, then stood up. “I also expect you to try and make Ron’s work look less like you did it Hermione. It’s starting to get noticed by the professors.” He motioned for the twins to follow him, then led them to the other side of the common room that was empty.

Once there, the bespectacled boy ran his hands through his hair in frustration. Sighing deeply, he then regarded the redheads. “Can I continue to trust you two? I’m not saying what you did in letting them know about Voldemort was wrong. You just went about it the wrong way.”

The two dropped their heads slightly, George’s cheeks tinged slightly red in his shame. Fred’s eyes showed resolve, and he let Harry know with his next words. “They deserve to know, we’ve noticed they’re your closest friends. That’s going to make them a target, and I’d rather sh- er… they know what they are getting into.” His twin nodded at the words. “You can absolutely trust us, Harry. We know we may act immature and that we don’t care about anything serious, but if… no when, He comes back, we’re one hundred percent behind you.”

A burning house flashed briefly before Harry’s eyes at the redhead’s final words. He knew it wasn’t a guaranteed outcome but he appreciated what they were saying. “Right, thanks for that. So, and you need to keep this to yourselves, but it’s not Snape after the Stone. We’re completely certain that it’s Quirrell.”

“Bugger, was hoping the bat would get sacked, though I suppose this is bigger than something petty.” George said. “What’s this ‘stone’ you guys have been mentioning?”

Smiling, Harry shook his head. “Sorry, that’s not my place to mention, but I will say that it’s very important that we keep it out of Voldemort’s hands.” He glanced back at Ron and Hermione. The two were back to talking quietly, but instead of doing as he feared, were now going back over Ron’s essay. “Whatever is about to happen is going to in the next few weeks. When it does, I’ll need you two to prevent them from charging off and getting themselves into danger. In the meantime, I think I owe your sister a letter and an apology.”

“About time, Potter.” Fred growled with a smile.

****************************** **************************************** *****************************

Ginny ,

I really can’t apologize enough for not writing you these past few months. I’ve been in a bad spot mentally with something that came up Christmas night. I do want you to know that it didn’t have anything to do with you, exactly and that you haven’t been hard on yourself about it.. I really did appreciate your gift as well as the sweater your mum made for me. I also hope you had a good time in Romania, visiting your brother.

Not much has really changed with Hogwarts since my last letter except that with the end of year exams closing in, the workload on all of the students has increased dramatically. This means I’ve been spending more time working with the first years in preparing them for their exams. Not entirely bad as it’s helped keep the stress off about the item being held here. About that actually…

There’s some bad news, even if it happening would relieve me of some of my stress, but I feel as if the whole situation with the item here is spinning out of control. First, Ron and Hermione found out what it is. Second, they know exactly who’s after it. And third, it seems to have made them want to try and stop him from taking it. The twins have agreed to keep an eye on the two, and will hopefully prevent them from getting involved. I just hope the protections we’ve set up will be enough to stop the person from gaining it. I’ll try to physically stay out of it, but I have a feeling I’ll need to be involved directly.

I know this letter was short, but I can’t find the concentration to think of anything else to say. I am sorry for my behavior towards you these past months and I hope you’ll forgive me.

Your friend, (hopefully still)

Harry


***************** **************************************** **************************************** **

Harry,

I am very upset with you and of course I thought I had done something wrong. Our last interaction, even if it wasn’t by writing or face to face, was gift exchanging on Christmas. Then the next thing I knew was you had stopped writing to me. I can forgive you, but I don’t want it to happen again, or I’ll smack you good.

I want to ask you what it was that put you into your mental state, but I have a feeling that you would have mentioned it. So instead I’ll drop it and let you know that I will listen, or read, about your worries whenever you need. I thought we were friends, Harry and you not writing hurt me deeply. Luna wanted to ask her dad to take her to the school so she could smack you for me, but I talked her out of it.

UGH, of course they would! I would want to do at least something, but you make it sound like they want to get themselves killed. Please, don’t get hurt as well, Harry. You probably have the personality that feels they have to do everything themselves and feel like it would be your fault if something happened to someone else. I would rather be smacking your face when the train arrives at the end of the school year than crying over you lying in a hospital bed hurt. Promise me you won’t do anything.

Still your friend,

Ginny

P.S. I will murder you if you do anything stupid, and I’ll get the twins involved.


************************* **************************************** **********************************

H arry had just left Dumbledore’s office, a plan forming in his mind. It was all going to happen today, a fake letter had arrived from the Ministry asking for the aged wizard’s aid on some stupid policy. Dumbledore had checked with Fudge himself through the floo network, then contacted Harry to meet in headmaster’s office.

It was now lunch time, giving Harry most of the day to prepare. Exams had just finished for the first years, though he had taken the second year exams to continue as a student-aid. As he was making his way down to the Great Hall and meeting with Daphne, who had taken to eating every meal with him, they were stopped just outside by Ron and Hermione.

“Er… Harry, could we talk to you for a second?” Hermione asked, glancing at Daphne.

He continued to look at Hermione, he understood she didn’t want the blonde girl to hear what was being said but he honestly could not bring himself to care. Knowing the rumor mill at the school, whatever happened tonight would be spread across the school before breakfast ended. “Go ahead, Hermione. It’s kind of late for secrets.”

The bushy haired girl hesitated, her mouth open in an “O” shape before she shook herself. “I take it you already know Professor Dumbledore’s gone?” He nodded. “So you know that… whoever is going to take it will do so tonight?” He nodded again. Daphne’s face was scrunched up in confusion and she interrupted Hermione’s next question.

“What are you talking about?”

“No one asked you, snake.” Ron sneered. Harry, looked at him scathingly and placed a hand on Daphne’s shoulder, gaining her attention. He looked around, then silenced the area around him covertly to prevent from being overheard.

“Dumbledore was contacted by Nicolas Flamel. Someone had attempted to steal the Philosopher’s Stone, an object that turns any metal to gold and extends the drinkers life. He originally had it in a vault in Gringotts but that was compromised and nearly stolen over the summer. It’s now here, being protected by numerous enchantments in the third floor corridor that’s forbidden. Unfortunately, the person who wants it is Voldemort, who’s using one of the professors to steal it and that means the enchantments most likely won’t be enough. Today, Dumbledore was contacted with a fake letter from the Ministry, asking for help. That about sum it up Hermione?” The three others merely looked at him, stupefied. The bushy haired girl nodded slowly.

“Great, now each of you are to do nothing! We are talking about the darkest wizard in history, which means a first year won’t be able to do shit about it.” He looked at the two Gryffindor’s, knowing the Slytherin would be smart enough to not get involved. “If I catch any of you anywhere near that corridor, I will personally see you expelled. Enjoy your lunch.” At that, he turned on his heel and swept into the Great Hall.

Guilt at his treatment towards his friends filled him, but he would do anything he could to keep them alive. Once they were older, maybe he could train them to help him in these situations if the need arose but for now, they would be a hindrance. He sought out the twins, informed them what was happening as well, and then left to prepare. It was going to be a long night.
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