SIYE Time:14:30 on 22nd February 2019

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: 50
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: 11368; Chapter Total: 1083

Author's Notes:
Here we are, the next chapter. In regards to Dumbledore's musing at the beginning, I felt that he always suspected Riddle to have used Horcruxes, but never found proof until Harry brought in and described what the Diary did. I, personally feel that Riddle put too much of himself into the Diary horcrux that causes it to try and gain a body, something the Locket never even attempted when it was around other people. This won't be a story where Dumbledore isn't manipulative at all, because he was a master at it, but he and Harry do have closer to a father, son relationship. Again thanks for all the reads and reviews!


Chapter 2: The Planning Phase

Harry exited the tube-like feeling of apparition to find the grounds of Hogwarts blanketed in a cloudy, night sky. Gathering in his surroundings, he began to walk towards the gate, reflexively waving his hand at it. The gate, however, did not budge, nor was his legs able to hold him up. Falling to his hands and knees, his breathing hastened as if he had just ran for miles, Harry felt his strength disappear as he fell into unconsciousness.

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Albus walked out of the Dursley household and into the night after reviving Vernon quietly seething in anger. Anger at himself for the abuse he allowed a child to receive by placing Harry here. Anger at the Dursleys for not rising up and being better people. Even some anger at Harry, though it wasn’t much. Even though his tone was harsh with him earlier, Albus couldn’t help but be in awe of the way the young man had handled himself with all of the heartache he had been through. His anger was more directed at mainly one choice he had made that the boy would probably want to be kept quiet, and how the young wizard had left the Dursleys without a second thought.

The white haired robed man had asked Hagrid to return to Hogwarts in case Harry appeared, but Albus needed some time to walk and think on all of the things he had seen in the young man’s memories, for he was only physically a boy. He was troubled by almost everything he had seen, though the few exceptions did warm his heart in seeing that despite everything, Harry had grown into a strong and brave person.

The first bit of news that Voldemort had used one of his professors, the memories never indicated which one, to gain the Philosopher’s Stone and bring the dark wizard back at full strength. What would cause Nicolas to ask him to hide the Stone when it was perfectly safe with Albus’ mentor. A few ideas came to mind but none of them would cement into his mind as something Tom Riddle would do. This would have to be something that needed to wait until the moment it happened and nothing could be prepared beforehand.

He knew that Voldemort would return, it was only a matter of when and no amount of foolish hope would make him believe otherwise. It was the next year in Harry’s memories where the Chamber of Secrets was reopened, not killing a student until one Ginevra Weasley was taken into the Chamber itself, forcing the school to close for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t for a few years that the full repercussions of that fateful year come to fruition. A young Tom Riddle sets forth and not only begins secret attacks against Wizarding Britain, but also sets himself against his older self.

Albus had long suspected the dark wizard to have done something to prevent himself from dying, but he had never found any proof. This revelation, however, forced him to scrap all theories. He would have to find more information in the forbidden books that had been found in Gellert’s hidden fortress during the man’s reign of terror.

His musings and thoughts continued like this for a few minutes, deliberating possible dark magics that would prevent Tom Riddle from dying. Horcruxes had always been the biggest possibility, but how he had ever come across the knowledge stumped him. Horace, while denying ever telling the boy anything of the sort, was suspect, as he had been close to the boy while he attended Hogwarts. Yet the news in the memories of a younger version of the man went against every bit of lore about Horcruxes.

Albus’ mind wandered to the last thing Shadow had said before Harry was sent back in time. ‘Ginevra will be the beginning. He, Harry, would be the end.’ The wizened man concluded that the two Nephalem knew exactly what Voldemort had done, and while proclaiming to help them refused to do so completely and openly. He had no doubt that they would return, and when it did he would have to make the attempt to gain as much knowledge from them as possible. Whatever the two men had done with Albus’ other self had lead to his death, something the wizard found disturbing to have seen happen to oneself even if it was from another timeline.

He was interrupted from his musings by a silvery tabby cat that appeared before him. In the darkened night of Little Whinging, Albus had no doubt this was unnoticed, but habit forced him to look about quickly for muggles who could have possibly been wandering by. The cat, for it was Minerva’s Patronus, spoke to him quietly in her voice.

“We have Harry in the Hospital Wing.” Vanishing after giving its report, the glow remained burned into the old wizard’s sight. What could have caused Harry to have needed to be admitted? He would gain no answers here, and with a twist and a small pop, he too disapparated from Little Whinging, Surrey.

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Harry was warm, something that he wasn’t used to being when he woke up. His instincts were screaming at him to move. Yet he found that his body refused to do so, and instead focused on discerning his surroundings. He opened his eyes to a dark room and after turning his head to the side he could see through the haze from his lack of glasses, other beds like the one he currently laid in. Just as he decided to try and move again he heard someone speaking coming closer.

“... Would assume it to be magical exhaustion, but I can’t discern how such a young child would use so much, Albus.” The speaker was female, clearly addressing at least one person, their soft footsteps were too muffled to reveal exactly how many there were. As they neared the door, Harry feigned sleep, hoping to gain more information on where he was. The doors opened and the light shined onto his face. He heard the newcomers shuffle into the room.

“There was a… disturbance near his home. I cannot tell you any more without Mr. Potter’s permission.” So it was Albus, or at least an imposter she spoke to. He would have tried to quickly take a look at them but their footsteps stopped beside his bed. “Was there anything else unusual with your diagnosis, Poppy?”

The other voice hesitated before answering. “My diagnosis detected unusual brainwave activity for someone his age. It was more closely to that of an adult. As well as a magical residue from apparition. If he came from London, as you said, then this couldn’t have been accidental magic he performed.” The voice, an elderly woman, was filled with concern. Harry was thinking of possibly showing he was conscious when someone new made their presence known.

“Surely there can be something you can say that will enlighten us on this predicament, Albus. A child with that kind of power is dangerous.” The new voice was also an elderly female, though her voice was strict and held a no nonsense tone. Harry heard Dumbledore sigh before he answered.

“I cannot explain everything, Minerva. I can say that he will not act like a child his age, but more as an adult. As for his magical power, I believe that was more due to the magic that was released in the area than his own, as shortly after he left it all vanished. Let us continue this in my office. We are, after all, in a school and there may be students who prowl about in search of excitement. Fred and George Weasley come into mind, haven’t seen a pair like that since James and Sirius.” He chuckled as the group made their way out of the room.

When Harry opened his eyes he found his bed surrounded by curtains. Thinking over their words, though the conversation around him was short, he came to the conclusion that he was at Hogwarts. He began to really relax for the first time since finding himself back in his 9 year old self. His mind turned to what was said about his brainwave activity. Harry understood that though his mind may be fully developed, his body was once again a growing child. It may cause an issue, and would probably need to be watched over carefully by someone with medical knowledge. Though that would mean someone he did not know very well knowing his situation, he found that he was oddly comfortable about it.

Though he had only been awake for maybe a half hour, his eyes began to droop. Instead of fighting it, Harry allowed himself to fall back asleep.

When he next woke, Harry felt completely reenergized, if not a little hungry. Jumping out of the bed, he moved past the curtain surrounding it and promptly fell to his hands and began doing his press ups routine. What he didn’t take into effect, however, was that his body was nowhere near the fitness he had before, causing him to collapse after only a measly 10. As the young man lay panting, he mentally chided himself. His body wasn’t even close to the condition he was used to. As he continued to lay on the cool, marble floor, two young men snuck into the room and made their way to him.

“Well Fred, look what we’ve got here.” One of the boys said to the other quietly to avoid attention from the matron. Harry moved his head to get a look at the two boys, recognition slowly dawning on his face.

“This must be some new form of human that likes to sleep on hard, cold floors, George. That or he’s a few broomsticks short in the head.” The other said. Though they were identical, Harry had in his short time knowing them learned to tell them apart. Slowly, on shaking arms the dark haired boy rose to his feet, then brushed himself off. Having made a decision on what to do, he quickly cut off the banter of the two red headed boys.

“I know this might be the most fascinating topic you’ve ever had the chance to talk about, but are you going to take me to Dumbledore’s office? Unless you’re not who he said would take me there.” Harry paused for a moment, inwardly smiling at the two boys’ pretend outraged looks at being interrupted. “You two are Fred and George Weasley, right?”

They responded in the comical fashion he expected, both standing at attention, Fred winking, George saluting. They then parade marched out of the room, Harry following with a genuine smile on his face for the first time in what felt like years. As they began to climb stairs, he stated he wanted to go directly to the headmaster’s office, stating ‘no unnecessary shortcuts!’ They fell into a comfortable silence, passing no one. At one point Harry saw George pull out a paper, tap it with his wand muttering something, then almost trip over himself. He looked back at their escortee, failing to be discreet, then showed his brother something on the paper. Fred’s eyes widened, but gave nothing else away as he continued along the passageway.

“You never did say who you were exactly,” he stated. Harry sighed, hoping he would have gotten through this without anyone finding out.

“Nope.” He knew he was being rude, but his fame had always bothered him. The two boys had been nothing but cordial. However, the twins continued along as though he gave them the answer they asked. Just as Harry began to take in the decor of the hallways, from the suits of armour to the portraits, the redheads stopped before a stone gargoyle.

“Here’s our stop. Hope you have a pleasant day, Mr. Nope!” Fred said.The two again saluted before bounding down the hallway in the direction they had come. Harry watched them, perplexed. He had only met them twice before, briefly before their deaths, the two were definitely more jovial now before shit hit the fan.

Turning back to the gargoyle, he began to think of possible passwords to get by. He knew Albus appreciated candies almost to the point of fanaticism, the only question was which one would be the current one to his office.

“Well, lets just go down a list of his favorites then. Acid Pops!” He waited for a second to see if the statue would move before trying again. “Er, Fizzing Whizbee. Sherbet Lemon, Toffee Eclairs. Bloody hell, Cockroach Clusters!” Before he could continue, he heard some movement coming from around the corner. Moving quickly, he hid behind the gargoyle. Peering out from behind the gargoyle, he watched as two figures made their way down the hallway. He recognized both, the first was Dumbledore, in his usual purple robes. The other, however was an oddity, as he was someone who had saved his life, but never knew his name. Yet the man was a Death Eater and Harry believed he would never trust him.

“The matter is most important, Severus. Do not reveal anything to the other professors, merely prepare in the way you think best and notify me on any progress.” The older man clearly trusted this ‘Severus,’ and though Harry highly valued Dumbledore’s opinions, he knew that his mentor could sometimes be shortsighted. The greasy black haired man nodded curtly before turning back the way he came. Dumbledore stood there, looking after the departed man had left until his echoing footsteps dissipated before finally turning towards his office.

“You may come out now, Harry. I believe you said we had some planning to do and I find myself unusually free for the next few hours.” While the older man’s voice and face were gentle, his usually twinkling blue eyes held a cold, steely grace about them. Harry sighed, then stepped out from behind the statue.

“You have anything to eat? I don’t know how long I was out and I doubt I’ve had anything to eat since coming back to this time.”

“I shall call a house elf to prepare a meal for you, in the meantime we must proceed. Exploding BonBon’s” The statue jumped to life and moved aside for the two to enter. Stepping on the moving platform that would take them up to Dumbledore’s office, Harry glanced sideways up at the other man.

“Didn’t know you liked those. I remember you being absolutely disgusted by them. We er, transfigured an Acid Pop once. You can blame that one on Sirius though, completely his idea.” Dumbledore looked down, confusion on his face before his eyes widened with realization.

“Ah, yes well, I don’t but I ran out of passwords and they were the first to come to mind. A couple of students are rather good at guessing my passwords and I’ve had to change it more times than I planned.” They both chuckled, Harry guessed the unnamed students were the two who led him here. Once they reached the door, the headmaster opened it, allowing Harry to enter before closing it behind them. Taking their respective seats at the desk, the headmaster called an elf and asked them to prepare a sandwich, where a few moments later a plate with the requested item and a glass of pumpkin juice appeared. While Harry ate, Dumbledore reviewed a sheet of parchment on his desk. The companionable silence continued until the boy finished his meal, when the older man looked up.

“My first question, Harry, is how much we should trust this ‘Shadow’ when he reappears. I reviewed your memories regarding him extensively, and while he did seem to act accordingly to our goals, there were some… discrepancies.” The old man mused for a moment before continuing on. “He seemed to have foreknowledge of what would happen, he would help only if the results would move in a direction he would benefit from, and failed to appear when his presence would have helped you out the most. Every one of his actions were most fortuitous for him.” Dumbledore once more turned his piercing blue gaze at the boy before him.

“I feel that we shouldn’t trust him, but still use his aid and knowledge. I told him I would only agree to this time travel business if both you and Ron came with me. We saw how that went, Ron sacrificed himself and you were resting five feet away fr-”

“That man was dead, Harry. He passed shortly after you returned back with Lars. Wherever they took him must have been horrible.” Harry looked up at Albus, shock on his face. “So, your plan to come back with help did not come to fruition. However, we will have to make due with just you and your knowledge. My second question, is how do you plan to deal with the Philosopher’s Stone? Nicolas has already requested to place it into my care and I have already asked certain professors to prepare suitable protection. Do you know who took the Stone in your timeline?”

Harry sat, racking his brain for any mention, but he was drawing a blank. Instead he focused on making a plan. Shaking his head, he responded. “No, but this time I’ll be attending Hogwarts. I’ll be able move around, unsuspecting to whoever it is. Maybe I can even help in defending it.” He paused there to look up at his old mentor, who nodded. “I’m sorry that I can’t remember who stole it, but I doubt it was ever mentioned to me as I was only eleven at the time.”

Dumbledore sighed, rubbing his long white beard with one hand while the other held a quill and was writing down something on the parchment he was viewing earlier. “What you cannot remember, or never knew, cannot be helped. I can agree with you helping in the defense of the Stone, but that will have to be completely secret from everyone besides you and I. Also, I agree in you attending here instead of at Ilvermorny in the other timeline. You have had the training the magical arts to take down Voldemort, though you will have to re-train your core. We must also bring you back up in physique.” A small pause as the old wizard looked thoughtfully at the young man. “Is there anything more regarding the Stone that I have missed?”

Harry shook his head, taking a drink of his juice before speaking. “No, I think that should cover it for now. Let’s move to the next year.” The older man nodded, his eyes perusing his parchment for a few moments before looking up at boy before him.

“How do you plan on preventing Miss Weasley from being taken into the Chamber?” Dumbledore watched Harry stiffen up at the question, his face for a mere instant showed anger before collapsing back into a flat look.

“I’ll keep an eye on her Albus, but it would be easier to find the Chamber itself. Then we can watch the entrance to see who is the one opening it and stop the whole thing from happening, but that’s just wishful thinking.” The bearded man once again nodded, jotting down more notes. The minutes passed with only the scratching of the quill breaking the silence. Harry’s mind however, was racing through hundreds of possibilities.

Dumbledore’s quill stopped as he looked up, studying the boy before him once more. “Well, my final question is who you would be comfortable with knowing about your past besides myself and Rubeus? I would recommend someone with a medical background, like Poppy, the school nurse here, in case there are any… unforeseen issues due to the ritual.”

“As long as it’s someone I can trust, then I really don’t care who. Whoever we agree upon, will also have to help with my physical growth as well. The Dursley’s never fed me well so I may be a bit malnourished.” Another nod from the headmaster. “I also think, once we resolve the Chamber issue, that since we will most likely going onward blind at that point, gathering allies should be our main goal. Nicolas would benefit us the most if you can convince him.”

“I am sure that once I explain your situation he won’t need much more to convince him, the ritual itself is intriguing enough. For now, I believe you can stay at my home. You’ll be able to take care of yourself while I am here at the school, and it will cover your use of magic until we can break the underage trace that will be placed upon you after you receive your wand. You’ll be able to use the floo to get there, it’s Insanus Domum Senis. I’ll be along tomorrow with Poppy so we may explain the situation to her. We’ll have a busy year to get your ready.”

Recognizing the subtle dismissal, Harry stood and walked to the fireplace. Grabbing the powder, he turned back to Dumbledore. “Hmm, never realized you called it ‘crazy old man’s home.’ You really like playing that trope.” He then stepped into the fireplace, said the designating words and disappeared in a flash of green flame.
The old man behind the desk chuckled, his blue eyes once more twinkling. “Yes my dear boy, it’s very beneficial if everyone believes me to be an barmy old codger.” Pulling out his wand, he summoned a book that he had been enjoying the night before and began to read.
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