SIYE Time:14:22 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: 11360; Chapter Total: 743

Author's Notes:
Well, the months kind of got away from me there. One moment it's August and suddenly December was here. Sorry about that. ANYWAYS! I wanted the previous chapter to continue all the way until Harry arrived at Hogwarts, but I felt as if I was able to end it in a really good spot and make this chapter end closer to the arrival. Also just as a heads up, most of year one we'll see in letters between Harry and Ginny, the exceptions will be the Troll, a small part and Christmas and the end of the year with Quirrell. Here we also get to read the first memory of Harry's past. Finally, this will be where the R rating I give the story first comes into major play as before now it's been fairly mild. Apologies again and please review! Thank you all!


Chapter 4: Hogwarts Express

Harry had dozed off quickly, all of the physical and magical training that he participated in on top of his relatively sleepless nights affecting him more than he wanted to anyone to see. Unfortunately, the daytime did not exempt him from the nightmares that plagued his sleep and this day was no different.

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He found himself running down an alleyway. Shouts, spotlights and even some gunfire were heard from the street behind him. Running in front of him was a small group of magical families that had been trying to find shelter from the muggle governments that were actively hunting anything and everything magical. Rounding the corner of a building, Harry quickly placed a magical trap that would impede any pursuers from following. At every few paces he would place another trap. The magical refugees ahead were still heading deeper into the alleyways of the city of Lisbon in Portugal, one of many last pockets of known magical populations left in Western Europe.

After fifteen more minutes of placing traps, the sounds of their pursuers had faded into the night. Leaning back against the wall, Harry, now nearing his twentieth year, wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his left hand, breathing heavily from their escape. Looking around at the others, the light from his wand illuminating the alleyway they currently hid in, he saw the members of his group still had hope in their eyes, something he himself was beginning to lose. The Statute of Secrecy has fallen through when Voldemort and Riddle each had separately and openly invaded the European continent, causing many of the muggle governments to hunt down any magical person, regardless of allegiance. While the two self proclaimed dark lords had each steamrolled over the continent separately, the western continents muggle governments were more open to the revelation of magic existing and had opened their borders to the fleeing magical populations.

Harry’s thoughts moved on to the others of his group of refugee rescuers. Albus had wanted to gather as many people as possible, on the chance that many would want to fight back against the dark lords. Nicolas and Remus were working in the city of Peniche to the north, while Albus and Gellert were conducting the refugees on where to go once they had arrived to their destination. Of the two group helping refugees escape, his, Ron’s and Hagrid’s were believed to be the easiest with the sprawling city instead of a small peninsula like city that the other two had. However, luck was never on Harry’s side, as they found out upon entering the city that the Portuguese muggle government had moved a battle weary battalion for rest into the town just the day before.

Movement at the opposite end of the alleyway had him pointing his wand in that direction. Many refugees moved back into the shadows up against the buildings, preparing to flee at the first sign of danger. Harry could just make out the outline of someone hunched over in the darkness beyond his wand light. The figure was breathing heavily and murmuring to itself. As Harry prepared to cast a spell, a small chirp came from the direction of the silhouette. Slightly lowering his wand and giving the counter-call, the hoot of an owl, the young man warily watched as the figure entered the light cast from the wand.

“Blimey Harry, putting the scare on me.” Ron Weasley, nearly sweating as much as Harry was looked at him with a questioning gaze. “Aren’t you a bit far west of your portkey?”

“Had a er, platoon I think? Chased me off the course.” Harry looked back in the direction they had come from, wiping more sweat from his brow. “We’re trying to make it to your portkey, as mine will go off long before we get to it.”

Looking down at his watch, Ron shook his head. “Bloody hell mate. Sent my people off about five minutes ago.” Cursing loudly, his wand spun on the palm of his hand before eventually pointing north. “D’you think we could make it to Hagrid? We’ve got fifteen minutes and we’re nearly there.” Harry motioned for Ron to lead. “Right then.”

With the tall red head in the lead, Harry at the rear, the group once more progressed further into the city's alleyways. Being pressed for time, the group moved very quickly and foregoing any stealth. As they neared within a block of their destination, they heard a shout followed by gunfire from up ahead.

Ron stopped, holding his hand out at the edge of the light from the streetlight at the end of the alleyway they were about to exit. Harry quickly moved up the group, wand ready if needed. Looking at each other, the taller man began speaking just loudly enough to be heard over the gunfire. “What d’you reckon?”

Looking down both ways of the street, he spotted what appeared to be a squad of soldiers, half at each intersection, keeping watch. Harry, noticing the goggles each man wore quickly came up with a plan. “Alright, I’d rather avoid killing. They’ve got those night goggles we learned about. You send sparks at the group to our left, I’ll get the other. Then we move forward, find Hagrid and get us and these people out of here.”

The other man’s eyes shined in determination, nodding as he raised his wand at his target. Harry tapped him on the arm and both silently cast their spells, then waved the group forward. Over the gunfire, the two groups shouted in pain as the bright light blinded them. As Harry allowed the others to pass, he took up the rear once more. Winding their way once more in the alleyways the came across their destination, filled with more magical refugee’s, some sporting gruesome injuries. Some were weakly holding wands at the newcomers, while others were concentrated at other entrances casting spells into the darkness.

“Hagrid!” Harry called out, unable to see the half-giant. Moving forward toward one of the defended points he spotted Ron already instructing those that were injured and unable to fight to gather around the portkey that was in the center of the clearing. Tapping a short, balding man on the shoulder to get his attention, he asked. “Where’s Hagrid?”

The man turned to look at him, one of his eyes was hanging out of it’s socket and blood was oozing slowly out of the wound. Harry flinched slightly, swallowing the bile that was threatening to force its way out of his stomach. The man, in answer to Harry’s question, pointed with an arm dripping blood from multiple open bullet wounds down the other alleyway that was being defended. “Setting trap. Ele um filho da puta louco!”

Harry nodded before moving toward the specified direction. The group at the other entrance weren’t casting spells, but merely waiting. The young man walked past them, nodding as he did so, and continued on into the dark of night. Cautiously, he peeking around the corner, seeing nothing up ahead and moved forward. As he neared the next, a giant mass flew around the corner, throwing him to the ground as all the air in his lungs were expunged. Even more gunfire had followed as Harry shook his head, struggling to catch his breath.

“Ruddy ‘ell! Told those louts ter… Harry! What the blazes are yeh doin here?” The voice boomed over the muggle weapons and the young man felt himself being picked up by oversized hands. “No sense in dawdlin’. To the portkey lad, I got’cha now.” Dazed the young man merely nodded, focusing on trying to breath. The giant barrelled back towards the portkey location, and as they neared he shouted out warning of his arrival. The defenders pulled back as they passed through.

“Weasley! This is whole things a bloody mess.” The giant looked at the travel weary members that came with the younger two men as he set the dark haired young man down who shook his head as he gathered himself.. “This all yeh’ve go’ left?”

“Got mine sent off, but heard gunfire moving in my direction and decided check it out. This is what’s left of Harry’s group.” Ron had gathered many of the wounded near enough to touch the portkey, a large careworn picnic table that clearly did not belong. On his hip was a small child who had her face buried into his shoulder and her arms clung tightly.

Harry checked his watch. “We’ve got less than two minutes before the portkey goes off. Let’s get the rest gathered around here.”

Nodding, the giant cupped his hands around his mouth. “ONE MINUTE! LET’S MOVE!” The refugee’s that had been covering the two entrances quickly moved to the portkey. With fifteen seconds left, a gunshot fired, grazing Harry’s cheek and burrowing into the shoulder of Ron. Blood fell onto Harry’s face and glasses, blinding him as a Hagrid shouted. The giant could be heard running off, bellowing at the top of his lungs. After wiping off his glasses, the metallic smell of blood overwhelming him, he grabbed the red head and ripped his shirt open where the wound was bleeding heavily. Whispering the spell he was able to close the wound enough for now, it would still need someone with more experience once they arrived. As the two stood up, they heard another gunshot, a cry from Hagrid followed by a piercing scream.

Harry turned, his eyes widening as he saw Hagrid kneeling over a man laying on the ground, one of his arms had been ripped clean off at the shoulder. The giant was clutching at his chest and another man was waving behind him, ushering soldiers towards the clearing. Harry moved to help his friend when a few arms grabbed him. “The portkey’s got five seconds. We can’t!” Someone shouted in his ear, but it sounded hollow and far off. Another hand forced his onto the table, but Harry couldn’t take his eyes away from his friend. The soldier behind Hagrid placed his pistol at the back of the kind and gentle giant’s head. The enormous man’s beetle black eyes met Harry’s, and in them was the unspoken apology the young man always feared. The last sound of a gunshot rang out over shouting of soldiers as the portkey activated, and Harry had the second member of his family taken from him.

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Wit h a start, he woke up. His glasses had fallen off while he slept, as the compartment was blurry. He’d have to place this memory back into the pensieve for a bit, or it would continue to crop up in his nightmares. Harry could just make out the blurry figure sitting on the seat across from him. Finding his glasses on the seat next to him, he placed them on to see an eleven year old Ronald Weasley, looking at him nervously.

“Er… Sorry for intruding, it’s just that everywhere else was full.” The red head’s hands were fidgeting as he looked everywhere in the compartment besides the other occupant. Harry’s eyes were sizing him up, discerning him when the boy spoke once more. The boy had yet to put on his school robes, donning a brown jumper and tan trousers. “You usually have bad dreams?”

Shrugging, Harry began to look at the boy’s belongings. Most were shabby, looking as though they had been used for years. His wand had a few chips in it and some silver hair could be seen sticking out near the handle. “Usually, just never that bad.” His eyes landed on the rat that was sleeping on Ron’s thigh. It was unusually large, and there was missing fur in several small patches. Harry frowned, he didn’t remember Ron having a rat previously. At least one he ever mentioned, as they hadn’t met until they were sixteen years of age. He felt uncomfortable about the pet, there was just something about it that unsettled him. Realising he had been staring at the rat for too long he looked back up at the boy. “So, what’s your name?”

Ron jumped a bit at the question, not expecting the boy to continue the conversation. He spoke quickly and seemed rather eager to talk. “Ron Weasley, just starting my first year at Hogwarts. Are you er… My brother’s said you were Harry Potter. Only reason I’m asking is they like to joke and prank, and I want to make sure.” Before he could respond the door to their compartment opened. In the opening stood three young boys, the two larger boys with black hair, than the one in the middle with blond.

“So is it true? It’s said throughout the train that Harry Potter is in this compartment.” The blond boy said in a drawling voice while looking directly at Harry. Dismissing the smaller boy, he watched as the other two tried to look as menacing as possible. Unfortunately for them, this seemed to have only made them look even less smart than his first opinion of them.

Ignoring the question and turning back to Ron, while watching the new additions carefully from the corner of his eye, Harry said. “It’s like people don’t understand privacy around here. Your brothers are twins right? Fred and George I believe they said?” Harry waited for Ron to nod before continuing. “Right, they helped me out with bringing my luggage into the compartment.” While he knew it was irrational to try and hide who he was for long, messing with intruders was a possible way to relieve the stress from his earlier nightmare. Of the three, the smaller one was showing clear signs of losing what composure he came in with. To Harry, it meant he grew up in an environment where he expected others to wait on his whims. The other two appeared completely unaffected and were most likely too dim witted to have followed anything being said around them.

Before the redhead could respond, the one who interrupted them earlier spoke up, his voice trying and failing to project authority. “Excuse me, I believe-” He was however cut off mid sentence by Ron, surprising Harry.

“Oi mate, the door was closed, you didn’t knock and you just barged in here like a git asking questions.” Glancing back at Harry, his cheeks flamed a bit as if he just remembered who the other boy was.

“Look here..” The blond looked at Ron for the first time, sizing him up. “Weasley, I would guess. I wasn’t talking to you, nor would I if you were the only one in the room.” The boy spoke sardonically while he looked at the boy across from Harry. The bespectacled boy frowned. “Listen, Potter. If you want real friends you wouldn’t hang out with tagalongs like him.” He indicated the now red faced boy with a nod of his head, as he held out his hand for Harry to take.

Keeping eye contact with whoever the hell this kid thought he was, he stood up. Instead of taking his hand however, he slipped his wand from the concealed holster strapped onto his thigh, hiding it behind his hand. ‘Bloody forgot how backwards the magical community could be here in Britain.’ he thought angrily. While he had a very good idea on who the boy was, Harry felt that it would rankle him further if he pretended ignorance. “Friend, I don’t remember getting your name.”

The blond smirked. “It’s Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, and these two are Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.” His hand was still held out. Ron smirked at the name, while Harry felt his blood boil. While he never had met the boy in the previous timeline, he had ‘met’ his father on a few occasions, eventually killing him during his escape from captivity with Voldemort.

He paused for a moment, thinking before taking a step forward. He was shorter than the blond boy, and the two behind were massive in comparison but Harry knew if things became physical he should be able to handle it. His hand moved as if to take the one offered. “As usual with pure bloods, they have to make everyone believe lesser of themselves so they can feel better.” Harry’s hand pushed Malfoy’s out of the way, then he pressed lightly onto the blonds’ chest to push him away. Their eyes connected, youthful grey meeting hardened green. “I think I’m more qualified to choose my own friends then you are.”

The moment dragged on for a few moments before the grey eyes looked away, the boy’s cheeks tinged pink. Harry took a step back, his eyes now watching the two other intruders. Malfoy, with a scowl, brushed past the two hulking boys on his way out. They looked at each other, confused for a moment before following.

As the door closed, Harry once again sat down. Looking over at Ron, he reached his hand out. The redhead eyed the offering for a moment before smiling and reaching out to shake.

The compartment door opened once again, however this time there was a bushy haired girl poking her head in. Behind her, a boy with a round face was looking down at the ground.

“Have either of you seen a toad? Neville lost his.”

Harry looked perplexed for a moment. Who owned toads anymore? He looked at Ron when his friend spoke.

“Told him already that I have not”

He was, however, ignored by the girl who was now staring at Harry’s forehead and her eyes had widened as if in recognition. “It’s… you’re…”

“Harry Potter, yes.” he growled out. While he had been warned and was expecting it to happen, the reality of it before his eyes was becoming more than he could take. He found himself missing when he attended Ilvermorney, where very few could recognize him but they never would take it further.

The bushy haired girl sat down on the seat next to Harry. “I’m sorry, it’s just I’ve read all about you. My parents aren’t magical, so I read any book I could to learn about the magical world, including the ones assigned us for the year. I’ve read everything I could about you, though no one knows how you survived that night. Oh, do you think I should have read next years books as well, I’m probably so far behind everyone else that grew up around magic.” She spoke very fast that Harry wondered if she had breathed. He glanced at Ron, who was now staring at the girl as if she were some horrific creature, then at the boy, Neville, who was blushing.

“Er…” The redhead articulated. The girl was about to continue before Harry interrupted her.

“Who are you?”

“Oh! I’m so terribly sorry. I’m Hermione Granger.” Harry froze, was fate actually trying to be on his side for once? While he went out of his way to meet the Weasley’s, this girl had just fallen, figuratively, into his lap. He remembered hearing early at his first year of school that this girl had been killed by a troll. Harry remembered asking Ron about it, who said it was his fault as he had been rude to her that day and she didn’t know it had been let loose in the school. The girl continued while Harry listened with half an ear as he studied Neville. “What’s your name?”

Ron appeared to be imitating a fish, before shaking his head. “Er… Ron Weasley.”

“I see, you should probably get changed into your robes soon. We should be arriving soon.” Hermione stood up and moved to the door, pulling Neville along with her. As she opened the door she turned back to Ron. “You have dirt on your nose, by the way.” Smiling at Harry, she waved and closed the door behind her.

“Mental, that one is.” Ron said. Harry raised an eyebrow.

“She seems eager. A bit too eager but who wouldn’t be when they just found out about magic?” The redhead looked slightly shameful for a moment before looking out the window and standing up.

“It is getting late. Suppose I should get ready.” He opened his trunk, pulling out some robes that looked well used. “Hey Harry, what house do you think you’ll be in? I’ll probably be Gryffindor as my whole family has been.”

The bespectacled boy thought about that as he looked out the window into the darkening sky. This was something he and Dumbledore had gone over on multiple occasions. The Sorting Hat was another anomaly in their plans. When he had first tried it on, the hat had merely said that Harry would have to wait for his sorting, no matter how much Dumbledore had pushed.

“I’m not entirely sure. Just have to wait and see I guess, but knowing my luck it won’t be what I like.”

“You think you might be in Slytherin?” The other boy asked, his voice muffled as he pulled his robe over his head. Harry didn’t answer as he continued watching the scenery fly by and the train began to slow.
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