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SIYE Time:6:53 on 20th August 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: 41
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: 7403; Chapter Total: 296





Author's Notes:
Here it is, the moment, the time, the place, to SING! Wait no thatís wrong, this isnít a songfic! (Angry exclaiming from thousands) I know, I know, but what can one do. The real moment isÖ THE SORTING! Gotta say, most of the fics with time travel like this kind of get to me with the sorting. What is the number 1 reason for Hogwarts? For learning! Iíll let you come to your own conclusions with that. (Or you can read the chapter >=D) Besides, what good is a story if everything goes according to plan? Also, last bit, I donít plan on this story to be big on bashing people, also I hate fanfics of bashing for bashingís sake. As a warning for this story, there will be some on Ron, though it will be related to story events and wonít be a main focus.

P.S. The words spoken by McGonagall (besides a small adjustment) before the Sorting are taken directly from page 105 of Sorcerers Stone. I donít own the British version, as I am American, and if the words are different, let me know and Iíll change them. I am trying to keep this book as British as possible, something that is fairly hard without guidance

P.P.S. To go with the disclaimer (read below) I had a smashing inspiration to write while at work. So here's this chapter earlier than I expected!




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Chapter 5: The Sorting

The station in Hogsmeade was overflowing with students leaving the Hogwarts Express. Even with the unadulterated chaos, the flow of students were making their general way over to horseless carriages that would lead them up to the school. At least for most they would be horseless. For one Harry Potter, he could clearly see the thestrals strapped to the vehicles and would diligently pull them when asked.

Over the crowd, he could hear Hagrid’s voice calling for first years to join him down by the docks. Ah yes, the famous boat ride for all newcomers, Harry thought. A slight smile crossed his lips, he had always wanted to ride them. Unfortunately, Voldemort had complete control over the school when he had first arrived back in Britain. During the early part of the war, they had tried to take the school back, but the dark wizard had too strong a defense and all of the secret entrances had been closed off.

Someone tapped Harry on his shoulder, pulling him out of his reverie. Ron had tried to get his attention.

“Are you sure it was a good idea to leave our stuff on the train?”

Harry pointed at the older students around them. “Don’t see them taking their stuff.” Shrugging, Ron continued to follow the half-giants voice with Harry right behind. Making their way through the crowd, Harry once again returned to his thoughts. The plan for the year was for Harry to blend in with the students, find out which Professor was trying to steal the Stone and stop him. Now, however, he was adding other things to the list. He had a feeling that Hermione could be useful, and hopefully the troll incident wouldn’t happen at all.

“Blood hell!” Ron ahead of him had stopped, staring up in awe at Hagrid. Upon hearing the exclamation, the giant looked down at the two of them, looking uncharacteristically shrewd at the redhead.

“Harry, already making friends, I see. Come along then, and we’ll get yeh settled in the boats as we wait fer the rest of the firs years.” He pointed down at the boats lined up along the docks edge. The two climbed into an empty one and were soon followed by Hermione and Neville. Harry shared a smile with the two, though Ron scowled at the bushy haired witch.
Ignoring the redhead, Harry began a conversation with Neville as the other first years filled into boats. Though the conversation was brief, Harry was able to glean enough from the round faced boy to learned that he grew up with his grandmother and his family believed him to be a squib. Due to their belief, the boy clearly didn’t have much confidence in himself and it left Harry thinking of ways he could help with what little time he would have for the year. After all, he would need every available witch and wizard to take down Voldemort.

“Everyone all set?” The giant called out, and after a few murmurs from the group, he tapped his pink umbrella to his boat and off they sailed. For the most part the first years made the journey in silence. At one point Harry and Hermione had to pull Neville back, who had leaned over the edge of the boat to look down into the depths of the water, though fortunately nothing unexpected happened. “Th’castle is just ‘round the bend here.” The majestic castle appeared once they rounded the bend, followed by a series of oohs and ahs. Harry did have to admit that Hogwarts was rather impressive when it wasn’t covered in clothed tatters with the Dark Mark on it.

Once they had disembarked at the dock, Hagrid led them through the dungeons and into the entrance hall by a passageway to the side. Telling them to stay, he disappeared through the doorway leading into the Great Hall. After a few moments, some of the others struck up conversations, mostly about how they were to be sorted. Harry listened with half an ear, mostly he was trying to prepare himself being sorted to any of the houses. Gryffindor would obviously be the easiest, he would be closest to Ron. (he definitely agreed that the boy would most likely end there) Hufflepuff would be the second best option, due to them being the closest with the other houses. Ravenclaw would be the most neutral, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing and Slytherin would most likely be too much of a challenge. He could possibly try and work it into his favor in some way but without getting a feel for the house and the internal politics between the pureblood families that most likely controlled the power, Harry couldn’t make too many changes to his plan.

His thoughts shattered as he heard Ron’s statement on how he thought they would be sorted. “Fight a troll?” The redhead sheepishly shrugged his shoulders after a moment, mumbling something about Fred and George. “You do realize how big one is right? We’re also here for our magical education and I highly doubt the professors would go out of their way to put us in danger.”

Giving Harry a strange look, Ron turned to talk to one of the other boys with sandy hair. Harry began to listen to the other students around him. The conversation Hermione was having with nobody in particular was interesting, if you were someone who sought out knowledge as a main hobby. In just the short amount of time he’d known her, Harry did recognize that the girl had a brilliant mind, she just needed something to give her a focus.

The hall quieted as a woman with her hair pulled up into a tight bun and square glasses on the bridge of her nose and a stern face walked out of the doors Hagrid had left from. Her eyes passed over the first years, settling on Harry where she gave a slight nod.

“Welcome to Hogwarts.” Professor McGonagall said. “The start of term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your Houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your House will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your House, sleep in your House dormitory, and spend free time in your House common room.

“The four Houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each House has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your House points, while any rule-breaking will lose House points. At the end of the year, the House with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever House becomes yours.

“The Sorting ceremony will take place in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as much as you can before we enter the Great Hall.” She glanced once more over the students, before motioning them to follow her through the doors.

Upon entering the Great Hall, Harry’s first thoughts were on the hundreds of students that lined the four tables. All of them were looking at the group as they made their way through the Hall towards the stool where the Sorting Hat had been placed. His second thought was on said hat, and Harry found himself trying to flay the thing with his eyes. So much rested on the whims of this magical creation.

The Hall had burst into applause, causing Harry to jump slightly. The hat must have already finished his yearly song. Berating himself for not paying attention to his surroundings, he looked up at the table where the professors sat. In the very center sat Dumbledore, who was watching him, and once the elderly man noticed the boy was looking raised an eyebrow in question. Harry shook his head, and he shifted his attention to the other seats at the head table as the first student (Hannah Abbott) was placing the hat on her head to be sorted.

The sorting progressed as Harry religiously studied the reactions of each professor, except Hagrid and the Heads of each House. They had been filled in on his situation a few weeks before the start of term, all placed under Unbreakable Vows to not speak of the events to anyone who did not know Harry’s past. The main suspect was Quirrell, even though the man had taught at the school before, he had gone abroad for a year, returning completely changed and expected to gain the Defense Against the Dark Arts job. From what Dumbledore had said, the man’s tale of his journey the past didn’t completely add up, on top of volunteering to defend the Stone.

The other suspects were mostly there just as another option. The Muggle Studies professor, a Herald Handsworth, was a relatively old man who relied more on student aids to help teach the subject. He had replaced Quirrell when the man had left, and had been considered by many of the students to be cold and disinterested in the subject he taught.

The last, was the Arithmancy Professor. Septima Vector had held the position for the past five years, and during that time she had nearly matched McGonagall’s legend on being strict. The Heads of each House had claimed the woman avoided getting close with any of the other professors, and even Dumbledore said apart from what he gleaned during his interview for the position the witch now held had learned nothing new.

“Potter, Harry!”

Had they really gone that far into the Sorting already? He looked up at McGonagall to see her normally stern face show a shadow of a smile. Harry, however, grimaced. The four Heads had a small lottery on whose House he would be in, though Snape’s portion had been noticeably smaller than the other three. In fact, Harry wouldn’t have doubted if Dumbledore had added a few galleons.

Taking a small breath, he began to walk towards the stool. Harry could feel the eyes of everyone in the Hall upon him, burning him in their intensity. In his mind, he imagined his and Dumbledore’s plan being shattered, and all it would take is one word from this magically created talking specimen! He still couldn’t believe that Dumbledore had talked him into this, the most important part of keeping Harry ‘incognito’ relied upon such a wildcard. Obviously the older man had his reservations, but this was still the most sound way for them to make this work. Harry had wanted to shred this hat to pieces due to all the worry and strain it had caused them in their plans this past year.

Stopping before the stool, he looked up once more at McGonagall. Raising an eyebrow, she merely nodded at the hat then gave him a ‘no nonsense’ look. Grimacing, Harry stooped down, picking up the Hat, turned to face the four House tables, then placing the Hat upon his head as he settled onto the stool. Here it was, and he was more terrified than he had been since he had been captured by Voldemort during his twentieth year. Pathetic.

“Ah, I was hoping to see you again Mr. Potter. Yes, and now you are finally ready to be Sorted.” The Hat whispered into his ear, causing Harry to jump. He needed to calm down, or his nerves would make things even worse. It also seemed the Hat was excited to see him. “Hmm… this will be a tricky one, really. You have the perfect qualifications for every House here. But which… Wait. What is this!? Well I’ll be, but it seems Shadow is still kicking. Indeed that creature wouldn’t know to die if he was stabbed straight through his hearts! But of course that’s already happened, or so he’s told me.” The Hat gave a small chuckle and Harry was able to gather himself enough to think straight again.

“You know Shadow? Since when do yo-”

“Enough of that now Mr. Potter, I can’t reveal too much on that. He did make me promise and I am nothing without my word.” The Hat chortled slightly before continuing. “Oh but we must press on to business. The Sorting is my job after all. Yes, well then, let’s see… Hmm, I shouldn’t be surprised really, since he was involved, but unfortunately he isn’t around to command me to do what is deemed necessary this time. It is rather unfortunate Mr. Potter, but the school is a place of gaining magical knowledge and you seem to have already surpassed the need for that.” Harry stood abruptly, trying to pull the damned Hat off, but it was stuck as if someone had charmed it there. The next word that echoed from the hat filled the Great Hall so loudly that many students had to cover their ears. “HEADMASTER!”

Harry struggled with the Hat for a second more before his entire body froze. He would have suspected one of the professors to have petrified him, but a quick feel of the magic that was surrounding him, Harry deduced that it was coming from the creation that stuck to his head. Of course the Hat could hold some sort of power over those it sat upon. It was a creation meant to read into the deepest recesses of the human mind.

The Hall had fallen completely silent. Compared to when he first sat down, he felt as if he were actually in the vacuum of space. Not even the flames of the candles that floated overhead made a noise. After what felt a millenium, Harry heard one of the chairs behind him scrape across the stone floor. The footsteps made their way up to Harry’s side, he could just make out the purple robes of Dumbledore. The man placed a hand on the frozen boys shoulder and his deep voice sounded next to Harry’s ear in a whisper.

“Is there a problem?”

“Indeed, Headmaster. You want me to sort Mr. Potter here and yet he doesn’t need the education. I cannot, in good conscience, sort the boy to any of the Houses. It would be a disservice to the school.”

“What about Shadow? You said he could convince you.” Harry spoke quickly, he body wasn’t in a very comfortable position and he wanted this over with.

“Oh, that would work but unless you found a way to make him appear at your every whim then I doubt he’s an option. The man will not appear unless he wants to, and there is nothing in this universe… well besides Marovan… that will convince him otherwise.” The Hat had a very snobbish and condescending way of saying this, almost as if what he was saying was common knowledge and Harry was from some backwater village.

Dumbledore was silent for a moment. No doubt he was fixing this conversation into memory for later viewing. The Hat had, possibly unknowingly, revealed a few things about Shadow that they could use when the man reappeared. “So there is nothing that will change your mind. This… is an inconvenience, but we will have to manage. Now if you could release Harry, I would like to speak with him in private.”

After an exaggerated sigh, Harry stumbled forward as the magic holding him retreated. He pulled the hat off his head and placed it onto the stool. The older wizard, his hand still on the younger’s shoulder began to lead him towards the door near the back of the Hall. Stopping by Flitwick with a word to continue with the feast after the Sorting should he not return, they left the Hall. Conjuring two chairs, Dumbledore motioned Harry to sit, taking the other for himself. Silence filled the void between the two, before Harry could take it no longer.

“Well… what the fuck do we do now?” Looking up at the older man, Harry found that for the first time, he really saw Dumbledore as an old man. The lines of his face were creased in worry, his eyes unfocused and lacked their usual twinkle. Sighing, he moved until their eyes met.

“I don’t know, Harry. For once… I just don’t know.”
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