Title: The Magical Way of Life, Writ Large.
Author: [insanejournal.com profile] eaivalefay
Pairing(s): Voldmort/Harry
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Harry and Voldemort are magically thrown together as they get sent from one time to another. Will they ever end up back where they started and finally be rid of each other?
Warnings: Possibly filled with a little crack. Okay, definitely.
Word Count: 15,800 words
Disclaimer: This is based on characters and situations owned by J.K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: This fic was written for [insanejournal.com profile] riddle_gifts, with the two prompts:
81. Riddle-Voldemort takes a dose of Felix Felicis. Gen, slash, or het.
148. Something goes terribly wrong at the final battle, and Voldemort and Harry are both hurled into a Quantum Leap-like state. They hop around recent wizard history trying to change events so they can break the curse... only they can't agree on which way things should be changed. Voldemort/Harry (while wearing other characters' bodies), with a slow-building relationship.

Huge hugs and thank-yous and milkshakes to my beta, [insanejournal.com profile] pixystick, who managed to help me out in more ways than I can count, and who had complete confidence in me even when I didn't.


The Magical Way of Life, Writ Large.


Prologue: The End

"Are you sure it works that way?"

"Positive."

"How could this go wrong, mate?"

Harry gave Ron his best "Do you really want to test that theory?" look. He had it perfected after eight years of schemes gone wrong.

"It's coming from Hermione, Harry," Ron shrugged the look off. "I don't think she knows how to be wrong."

"Yeah..." Harry agreed. He glanced at Hermione out of the corner of his eye as he pretended to look out across the rather bleak landscape. "You're sure, Hermione?"

Ron huffed. Hermione just smiled, much to Harry's relief--she was scary when she was angry.

"I'm sure, Harry." She told him. "The only way is if... But that would never happen, I'm sure."

"If what?" Harry asked suspiciously.

"Trust me, Harry. You know I would never put your life at risk."

"Hermione..."

"Harry!" Ron said.

"You have to do something for a little extra protection, Harry." Hermione pointed out.

"I know, I know. It just seems impossible that it could work that way. There's always drawbacks to these things," Harry said.

"The only way it wouldn't work is if Voldemort took it too, in which case he would show up here somehow. At that point both your and his dose of the potion would cancel out, obviously." Hermione said.

"Obviously." Harry and Ron chorused, rolling their eyes.

"Honestly, the odds of that ever happening are astronomical."

The three looked around uneasily as Hermione's words sank in. Harry tended to attract impossible situations.

"What it comes down to is," Ron finally spoke, "we have to go in one way or the other. Are we going to go in with a little luck or without?"

Harry sighed. "There's only enough for one, so I'm going in alone."

"Harry--"

"You know I'm right. We can hardly do this without the potion, you've been saying as much yourselves. That last horcrux almost killed all of us, and this is the last one. Probably the worst one." They looked toward the crumbling house.

"Harry--"

"Give me the potion, Hermione."

Hermione glanced at Ron, holding an entire conversation with him in one second of eye contact. She handed the small crystal bottle to Harry.

Harry looked over the gold potion. It sparkled in the sunlight. Flipping the top off, he downed the small amount of liquid.

*******


Voldemort glared at the blonde seated across from him. "How do you know that?"

"A trusted source, my lord." Narcissa winced. That answer would never go over well.

Voldemort leaned forward. "You do not feel you can confide who your source is to me, Narcissa?"

Narcissa tried to quell the brief thought of--

"Severus?" Voldemort positively purred the name. "He's been branded a traitor, Narcissa, but you are protecting him? From me?"

"My lord," Narcissa tried desperately to think of a way to logically defend Severus. Unfortunately, there wasn't one. "He's not a traitor, my lord. I know he isn't."

"How is that? Did he tell you so?"

The amusement in the powerful wizard's voice was not comforting. What Voldemort found funny most other people didn't. Except for Macnair and Nott, which was why Severus killed them and was currently on the run from the dark lord. That, and the... little fire he'd started. Narcissa sighed inaudibly.

"He didn't say, my lord, but I know." Narcissa dared to meet Voldemort's ruby red eyes. "You can go through all of my memories, if it pleases you. I am sure."

Voldemort accepted her offer. Two hours later, sprawled limply against her seat from the exhaustion of having him sort through her memories of the last three months, she still wasn't sure he believed her. She wasn't sure she would believe herself in his place.

"You trust your half-blood Auror niece as well, Narcissa?"

"Yes." She muttered, pulling herself up slowly to lean against the wooden table. She was beginning to doubt that this had been a good idea.

"And your plan is for me to take Felix Felicis?"

Perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel after all. Narcissa hoped. "It is good luck, my lord. Even if my trust in them is wrong, it will do you no harm to take it."

"You of course think Severus has not poisoned the dose you're currently carrying in your pocket."

"You could check." Narcissa insisted. "You're a master with potions, my lord. Severus learned half of what he knows from you."

"I dislike the Felicis potion." Voldemort said casually.

"But--"

"Give me the bottle."

Narcissa did. She wondered what he would do with it.

*******


Harry began the final lines of the spell that would destroy Voldemort's last Horcrux. He stood in the middle of the dining room of the Riddle mansion. An elaborate golden frame holding a portrait of Voldemort's father and grandparents, once hanging above the dining room's fireplace, lay on the floor before him. Harry knew the frame used to sit around a portrait of Rowena Ravenclaw and her children.

Harry could feel the power building in the room, concentrating around him and the frame. The spell was almost complete, only needing a few more minutes.

There was a rustling of cloth and the creak of a floorboard. Ron and Hermione promised they would wait for him outside! Harry cursed as his concentration broke, the magic slipping away from him.

At the same moment he heard a voice begin to speak,

"Conmoratus su--"

Later Harry couldn't say whether he dropped to the ground in self-defense against the uncontrolled magic or the curse being cast in his direction. All he knew was that he was suddenly on the floor, belly crawling toward the door opposite the interloper.

And of course the interloper was bloody Voldemort himself, Harry griped silently. Why couldn't things ever go smoothly for once? Not even that, why couldn't his plans ever go only slightly awry, instead of speeding eagerly toward utter disaster?

The magic set loose by Harry rushed through the room, acting like a storm. The furniture shook and clattered under the force. The heat of wild magic pressed into his body. A crack filled the air, followed by a disturbing thump just in front of him. Harry dared to look up. Maybe his luck was changing for the better, he thought as he watched in horrified fascination as Voldemort's body fell down from the wall to hit the floor. There was a sickening crack as he landed. Harry knew from experience that at least one bone was broken.

Perhaps he's dead, Harry thought. Hope flooded him. It was crushed a moment later.

An arm shifted unerringly toward him, wand clutched tightly in hand. Red eyes slit open.

Harry hurriedly grabbed for his own wand, shouting the first curse that came to mind.

"Delirus demens."

"Vanesco!"

Harry wasn't sure if he'd managed to hit his intended target. He wasn't sure if Voldemort had either. The sudden dizziness that swam behind his eyes did nothing to comfort him.

*******



Chapter 1: Reviving Prosperity

The queasy feeling subsided and Harry looked down to see what had happened. He found he was holding... "What am I supposed to do with these?!" A vague sense of worry washed over him only to be replaced by a spike of alarm as he heard the one voice he had hoped he wouldn't be hearing ever again.

"You? What am I supposed to do with these?"

Harry looked up. Professor Trelawney was staring in horror down at her chest, gripping her breasts as if they were wild monsters that needed to be restrained. But that couldn't be possible, Harry thought. The voice he had heard was... Not Trelawney. Not even female! He stared as another image slowly became superimposed over Trelawney's form. Harry's stomach sank. That couldn't possibly be good.

Trelawney--or Voldemort, Harry acknowledged with a fresh pang of worry--finally pulled her eyes from her chest, looking up to glare at him. "What fool thing have you done now, wretch?"

"--me!" Harry gaped, then fumed. "Wretch this, you corpse--"

"Albus!"

"You damn near killed me!"

"I?" Voldemort groped for his wand. "You are the one who could not control a simple spell, while I was the one tossed against a wall--"

"Maybe if you didn't go around trying to murder innocent--"

"Albus Dumbledore, Sybill Trelawney, BE SILENT!"

The furious voice shot straight through to the core of his brain and Harry reacted on the instinct of seven years' experience. "Professor, I can explain!" was out of his mouth before it occurred to him she hadn't used his name.

Voldemort appeared to have a similar reaction. He turned to stare at McGonagall in surprise. "Minerva?"

McGonagall ignored him, or rather her, glaring at Harry instead. "I've come to expect this from Sybill, but you, Albus? This is a staff meeting, Headmaster. Playacting should be left out of the matter!"

Harry looked around at the various expressions of the teachers surrounding their spectacle. Then McGonagall's words hit him for a second time. "Albus?" He muttered weakly, looking down at himself. He no longer concentrated on the intricately carved nunchucks in his hands but noted the long white beard with an auburn strand sticking out here and there. His vision slowly slid past the blinding white mass to the hideously patterned robes beneath it. He never would have guessed Dumbledore's style of dress had improved over the decades. Harry realized dazedly he could see the outline of half-moon shaped spectacles out of the corners of his eyes. Juggling the nunchucks into one hand, he patted at his head. Yes, there was even a pointy hat. "Fuck me." Even his voice sounded like Dumbledore's.

McGonagall didn't seem impressed by his display.

"It is bad enough you are acting a buffoon without letting your tongue run loose." She informed him. "I believe you should leave. Both of you."

"I'm not leaving with him!" Harry objected flat out.

Voldemort snorted in disdain.

Minerva's eyes narrowed. "Immediately. Out. Do not come back until you have both stopped your foolish games, or do not come back at all."

A wave of magic nudged both of them toward the door. Voldemort didn't fight it, striding out of the room with an air of haughtiness that looked ridiculous on Trelawney. Harry gave up the struggle after a minute and followed him out.

Voldemort was already out of sight. Harry briefly wondered if he should be left alone, or if Harry should track him down. He decided to go to Dumbledore's office instead. If there was any place to start looking for answers, it was probably there.

*******


Voldemort slipped into a secret corridor halfway down the hall. It was clear something was going on, and he wanted to get away from the damn Potter boy so he could work the matter out. Preferably before Potter did, which admittedly wouldn't be that difficult.

He contemplated attacking Potter, but he currently looked like Dumbledore. Others thought he was Dumbledore. And he himself looked like... Voldemort cringed in distaste. Trelawney of all people?

Voldemort rushed down a flight of stairs to the dungeons, lost in thought. He could tell his magic was affected. He felt weaker. That was the second reason he didn't bother with killing Potter. Presumably his magic levels were on par with Trelawney's, which meant Potter's currently matched Dumbledore's. It was a small blessing Potter would never figure that out.

"Professor Trelawney!"

Voldemort scowled. He did not like being identified as that damn woman. "What?"

The student looked surprised to see Trelawney down here.

"Well?"

"I... You hate the dungeons!" The boy seemed flabbergasted.

"I am following a vision." It was all he could do to keep from rolling his eyes. "What's that in your hand?"

"Er, this?" The boy looked down. "It's just today's newspaper, professor."

"Give it to me." He ordered. The boy handed it over, confusion written across his face. Voldemort ignored him, giving his attention to the paper. His first thought was that it simply wasn't possible, but he dismissed the disbelief as trite and moved on. The date on the newspaper indicated that he and Potter had somehow time traveled.

The headlines indicated the same thing. "Minister Millicent Bagnold to run for third term?" He muttered.

"Yes, professor. Mum thinks she's a washout."

Voldemort glared at the boy over the paper. "Go away." The student squeaked and edged out of Voldemort's view. "Bloody kids."

If he and Potter had time traveled... Voldemort frowned thoughtfully. Yet they were in different bodies. Trelawney's and Dumbledore's, to be precise. A Trelawney and Dumbledore of twenty years ago. What had Potter cast at him in the Riddle mansion? He had cast a madness curse, which clearly had not worked. Unless it had. . ?

No, this isn't madness, Voldemort thought to himself.

Voldemort sighed. But he would inevitably need Potter to get out of whatever the boy had gotten them into. Magic wasn't easily undone without the original caster. He braced himself and went to find the boy. It wouldn't be easy to temporarily make amends, but one did what one had to.

*******


"Why are you telling me all this?" Harry demanded.

"I told you, because we need each other to fix this, boy." Voldemort said.

"You could be lying. You might have done all this as another ridiculous plot to kill me."

"Potter, my plans are better than this."

"Usually not, actually."

"Boy--" Voldemort was losing his temper. How could Potter be constantly irritating?

"We're in the past then?" Harry muttered for the sixth time as they walked down the halls of Hogwarts, heading to Dumbledore's office. It did make sense, but time travel made Harry more than a little edgy. He'd had enough experiences dealing with it.

"As far as I can surmise, yes." Voldemort sighed, tired of going through the same conversation.

"And we're in Dumbledore's and Trelawney's bodies."

"Yes."

"Where have they gone then?" Harry asked worriedly.

"Why should I care? My survival is more important than theirs." Voldemort said.

Harry glared.

"They are still in these bodies, along with us." Voldemort sneered, "How you cannot feel their presence is unfathomable, unless you're truly that simple."

Harry ignored the jibe. He had ignored far worse from Snape. And honestly, what did it say about Voldemort that a school teacher was more scathing than him? "They're with us? Can they see what we're doing? How come they're not the ones in control?"

Voldemort sighed, "Your education is severely lacking, boy. They do not necessarily supersede us simply because they are the original owners of these bodies. Nor are they aware; you may think of them as sleeping."

"This isn't permanent, is it?"

"How should I know?" Voldemort snapped. "Why bother asking at all, boy? You cannot trust me!"

Harry smiled at him. "As far as I can see, we may want to kill each other, but we're in this together. So long as we're stuck here, who else can we depend on?"

"I cannot depend on you." Voldemort said flatly.

Harry ignored him. "Anyway, you should know if it's permanent. You've possessed people and things lots of times." He looked thoughtful, "Though since you're not possessing them anymore, I guess this possession stuff isn't permanent, huh?"

"Imbecile."

"Harry."

"What?"

"Or Potter, if you prefer." Harry smiled.

"What are you on about?"

"Aren't you supposed to be a genius?" Voldemort's eye twitched. Or was that Trelawney's eye? Harry frowned.

"Boy--"

"Harry. Harry bloody Potter. It's not that difficult. I'm not "boy" or "wretch" or "imbecile," Tom." Harry said.

Voldemort stared at him. "If you wish to be technical, you are currently Albus Dumbledore."

It was Harry's turn to stare. "Damn. We have to play along, don't we?"

"What did you think we would have to do, boy?"

"It didn't occur to me, arse!" Harry scowled. "I can't believe we have to work together."

"What makes you so sure we must?"

"Everything I've read that's even remotely like this... There wasn't much, but it was all along the lines of, we got into this together, we can only get out of this together." Harry told him.

"This was all conveniently found in Dumbledore's office?" Voldemort asked, sounding more than a little disbelieving.

Harry just shook his head. "No, not in his office, in his library." At the surprised look he grudgingly admitted, "I didn't know he had one either. It just appeared out of no where when I was in his office earlier."

"Delightful."

"Look--"

"Shut up, Potter."

Harry ground his teeth. At least the bastard was using his name.

"We are going to have to improve your language, Potter. You are entirely too crude." Voldemort said.

Harry started. "Hey, get out of my head!"

"I'm not in it."

Harry glared.

"It isn't my fault your thought processes are obvious, Potter." Voldemort waited impatiently for Harry to open the passageway to the office. He hurried up the stairs as soon as the gargoyle moved aside.

"I'm not obvious," Harry informed him, following him up, "I'm crazy. This is all crazy. But look--"

"I want to look at those books. Where is the library?"

"Look--"

"Potter, I have work to do, so kindly shut up and show me the library." Voldemort said coldly.

Reminded of the hostile lifestyle they would be returning to, Harry gave in. After showing Voldemort the library and specific books he had perused, Harry settled back with a cup of tea to watch the wizard. He tried to organize his thoughts, as Hermione was always trying to urge him to do.

How was this... partnership ever going to work? Harry wasn't even sure he wanted it to work.

*******


A few hours later a knock roused Harry from his drowsy contemplation. He realized it wasn't coming from the library door, but from out in the main office. Glancing at Voldemort to see the man was still fully entrenched in his pile of books, Harry left to see who it was.

It was McGonagall, still looking unimpressed with Harry. Or rather, Albus.

"Don't bother arguing with me, Albus." She told him.

"...what?"

"I know we've discussed this, and you "put your foot down," but this is not an opportunity you can choose to ignore. We are going."

"McGonagall--"

Minerva gave him a peculiar look, but interrupted him before he could say anything more. "No, Albus. I know you hate the woman. I do too, when it comes down to it, but you have to do what is best for the school."

"And of course he will, Minerva."

"I will?" Harry asked. He turned around to glare at Voldemort, who was standing in the doorway of the library, looking entirely innocent and overly bugged-eyed as Trelawney.

"Sybill?" McGonagall looked surprised. She glanced at Harry in question.

"Er, yes." Harry turned red. "Vo--Tr-- Sybill is researching a small matter. What I mean to say is, I am assisting Sybill with some research."

"For her..."

"Small matter." Voldemort and Harry chorused. Voldemort sent Harry a disgusted look.

McGonagall had that peculiar expression on her face once again, Harry noticed.

"Yes, fine. As long as you're attending the meeting with the minister, Albus, I am happy."

"We." Harry said abruptly as McGonagall turned to go.

She turned back. "Pardon?"

"We, Minerva." Harry said more confidently then he felt. "As in, Trelawney and I. We shall both be attending the meeting with the minister."

"I, but Albus!" McGonagall stared.

"Brat!" Voldemort snapped at the same moment.

Harry beamed at Voldemort over his shoulder.

"Albus, you have been acting most unusually lately." McGonagall said. "Are you sure you're feeling quite right?"

"Never better, Minerva." Harry said. "Never better. Now, I am sure you have some duties to attend to? Good, good. We'll see you at dinner then." He ushered her out the door, closing it quickly behind her. Leaning against it, a strange feeling washed over him. Had he really just. . ?

"Potter."

"What, Tom?" Harry looked up to see the expression on Voldemort's face. "What?"

Voldemort shook his head, "You were acting just like that barmy, old coot."

Harry started, "I was, wasn't I?"

They shared an equally concerned look. It had to be the first time they felt like partners facing the same problem.

"Potter," Voldemort paused for a minute. "If I start acting like the featherbrain I am currently inhabiting, kill me. Death would be a better fate."

Harry snorted, "If I had known that is all it would take for you to bite the dust--"

"Shut up, boy."

"Now who's being crude?"

Voldemort glared before whirling back into the library. He called over his shoulder, "If we're going to some meeting with a fool minister, you better figure out when it is, Potter."

Harry groaned. "Right." He glanced over at Dumbledore's desk. It seemed the logical place to start. If he was lucky, Dumbledore kept a schedule book.

*******


"Do you know, I don't even know what year it is," Harry said as they strolled through the main building of the Ministry of Magic.

Voldemort sneered. "It is 1982, Potter."

"What?" Harry frowned, "How do you know that?"

"Because I, unlike you, know how to pick up a newspaper, twit." Voldemort said. "It is the ninth of March, 1982."

"Oh. Then I must be with my relatives already? And you're... And Sirius!" Harry bit his lip. "It's good that we're seeing the minister then--ow! Hey!"

Voldemort dragged Harry into a closet. Harry briefly wondered what an odd picture that had to be for passersby: Dumbledore being dragged into a closet by the frail-looking Trelawney.

"What are you doing, Tom?" Harry bit back his smirk as Voldemort's eye twitched at his name.

"Boy, whatever stupid thing you want to do, don't. Quell the urge." Voldemort snapped, still gripping Harry's arm firmly.

"Why? Because you're an evil arse who enjoys seeing people suffer?"

"Because if you mess around with matters you will change the future!"

"That's sort of the idea."

"It's a bad idea."

"You're a--"

"You cannot go around altering timelines, brat." Voldemort said patiently. "Even I won't risk what that could do."

"Even if you could keep from dying the first time around?" Harry asked, wanting to prove a point and curious despite himself.

"No." Voldemort said.

"Liar."

"It does not change the fact that you should not change the future."

"You can't stop me, Tom." Harry said. "I can make things better."

"For you."

"Yes!"

"People call me selfish?" Voldemort snorted.

"What--"

"Even if things improve for you, have you considered what you would end up changing for everyone else?"

"One small thing--"

"Everything is one small thing to start with, Potter. Small things grow." Voldemort said. "My diary, for example. It was small thing to slip it into that girl's belongings, but by the end it caused a year of mayhem."

"That's different." Harry said.

"How so?"

"That was with evil intent!"

"What of Dumbledore hiring Quirrel? That was with good intent. Intent means nothing in matters such as these."

Harry glared at him. "We're running late."

"We're not going if you cannot promise to keep your big mouth shut, Potter."

"Excuse me--"

"I mean it."

Harry stared. He grinned a minute later, "This is ridiculous."

"Your word, boy."

Harry sighed, "Fine. You have my word."

"Good. Start hustling, boy. We're late."

Harry huffed.

*******


"Well?" McGonagall glared at them both over the tops of her glasses.

"It went smoothly, Minerva." Voldemort said.

"How smoothly?" Minerva asked. She moved aside as Harry and Voldemort walked up the steps to the castle doors.

"Very." Harry smiled. "There seems little point in going now, when all we could have done was given her a list of demands."

McGonagall raised an eyebrow. "She didn't sound nearly so flexible in her letters."

"Yeah, I thought so too." Harry said.

"When we showed we were willing to accommodate her, she proved to be more than willing to meet us halfway."

"More than halfway." Harry objected.

"That was lucky.” McGonagall commented.

“Very lucky.” Harry said, ignoring the odd look Voldemort sent him.

“Why don't the two of you tell me all that was agreed upon?" McGonagall said. "I have tea set up in your office, Albus."

"Excellent, Minerva." Harry beamed, leading the way into the castle.

It was easy enough to explain. In return for Hogwarts--particularly Albus'--endorsement during the next election, Minister Millicent Bagnold was willing to help Hogwarts get certain test projects off of the ground. Along with several new optional classes, projects to increase the efficiency of the school were going to be implemented. Harry was particularly interested in the Muggle-to-magical tour that was now going to be offered to Muggleborn children and their parents. Voldemort, Harry noticed, seemed pleased about the new attention being paid to abused children. Remembering his past, Harry found he wasn't surprised.

*******


Harry set the letter he was working on to the side, leaning back into the comfortable chair Dumbledore employed behind his desk. Sighing and picking up the letter once more, he looked over the words for what he was sure was the hundredth time. But this is important, he reminded himself. A minute later, Harry's head thumped against the desk. He crumpled the letter.

Was Voldemort right? He wondered vaguely. Dumbledore and Hermione had both warned him about the dangers of playing with time at one point or another. He sat up straight, pulling a fresh piece of parchment toward him. No, they had to be wrong. He was sure of it. He began again,

"Headmaster Dumbledore,

This is going to be somewhat confusing, I think. It confuses me completely. I'm you, but I'm someone else too.

I had to warn you, you must look into Sirius Black's conviction..."

Harry groaned and crumpled the letter up. He grabbed another piece of parchment. He wrote one line: "Look after Sirius Black. His godson needs him."

"Merlin, that's going to have to do." Harry said to himself. "Please, figure it out, Dumbledore. I'm counting on your genius." He folded the piece of paper and slid it under Dumbledore's bag of lemon drops, untouched since he'd fallen into the Headmaster's body.

"Time to go see if dear Tom is sick of his books yet." Harry doubted he was.

Sure enough, when he entered the library he spotted Tom slouched over some book, nose only centimeters from the page.

"Aren't you tired of that yet?" He asked.

"Aren't you the least be interested in finding a way out of this yet?" Voldemort returned.

"'Course I am, but you're better at this research thing than I am."

"You are placing a lot of trust in me, Potter."

Harry shrugged, unwilling to admit he had been up to his own tricks over the last few hours. "Find anything?"

"I think I may have." Voldemort stood, picking up a book as he stepped away from the table. "We need to cause something to happen."

"What, you mean change the future?" Harry asked innocently.

Voldemort frowned, "I mean bring about something that would not have happened without our presence here. For all either of us know, what we do causes the future to remain on track."

"Any idea what that something is?"

"I would have thought it was the meeting with the minister." Voldemort said.

"That's right!" Harry brightened. "Dumbledore didn't want to go to that meeting for some reason. So when do we go home then?"

Voldemort rolled his eyes, "Idiot, if that had been the 'something,' we would be back in our time now. It should be near instantaneous.”

“But if that wasn’t the thing...”

“Yes, I’m aware: then what is? According to these notes, we should have been brought to the general time the incident we are supposed to affect happens.”

“We couldn’t have missed it.”

“No.”

“Oh.” Harry looked around the room, feeling a little dizzy. “Perhaps the meeting was one of the incidents?” He groped for a chair. “What if we’re meant to do two things?”

“Potter, what have you done now?”

Harry frowned, “I haven’t done--”

*******



Chapter 2: P is for Playmate

“--anything.” Harry looked around. Why was Dumbledore’s office suddenly filled with grass?

It may have been filled with grass because it wasn’t Dumbledore’s office anymore. It was a park. “...Tom? Um, Trelawney?” Harry called. Then he heard his own voice. He looked down at himself. Or herself, if the powder-pink shirt, matching shoes, and denim skirt was anything to go by. Then there were the two candy bracelets he was wearing, and--he patted his head--and the long, curly hair. “Oh, crap.”

It was odd to hear cussing coming from a girl that couldn’t be more than nine or ten.

“Potter, have you no sense of decorum?”

Harry looked toward where the young voice came from. A blonde girl of eight was looking at him reproachfully. It was Voldemort. Harry almost felt relief. “You’ve got pigtails, Tom.”

Voldemort’s expression turned into a glare. It would have been scarier if he wasn’t a four-and-something foot girl wearing a tie-dye shirt and grass-stained skirt.

Harry started, “Luna?”

Voldemort stared. “What?”

“You’re in Luna!”

“Luna?”

“Lovegood. A friend of mine from Hogwarts. She married George Weasley. Or Fred. No one is quite sure which.”

“Of course. How foolish of me to not notice.” Voldemort said dryly.

“Luna? Where are you? You promised you wouldn’t run off this time.” The feminine voice was calling from behind a row of trees.

“What should we do?” Harry asked.

Voldemort raised an eyebrow, “We are currently residing in two children who do not have enough years between them to make an adult. Stay here if you like, but I’m going to go look for that voice.”

“Why aren’t be back in our own bloody bodies?” Harry followed as Voldemort headed for the trees. He paused to look at his traveling companion. For some reason he saw the young Luna more than the form of Voldemort. That worried him. Was this becoming permanent? “Tom, you said we would end up back home when we did whatever we had to do!”

“Then logic tells us what, Potter?”

“That we should be home, but we’re not, so you’re wrong.” Harry scowled.

“No. It tells us that we have not done everything we are supposed to.” Voldemort gave an impatient sigh. Harry made a rude gesture at his back. “Stop acting your current age, Potter.”

“Hey, how did you...” Harry ran to catch up. “All right, Tom, can you see me or the girl I’m residing in?”

“Both.”

Harry looked around for the woman as he said. “Well, I see a little girl more often than not. What if it means we’re starting to get stuck like this?”

Voldemort gave him a surprised look. “That’s almost intelligent of you, boy.”

“Harry.”

“Boy.”

“Arse.”

“Hermione, language!” A shocked voice said.

They turned around to see two worried women. One was a blonde who was clearly Luna’s mother, if the dreamy eyes and carrot earrings were anything to go by. The second woman was a slightly younger brunette, wearing Muggle clothing meant for a casual outing. She had to be the second girl’s mother.

“Oh. Hermione?” Harry asked weakly.

The brunette frowned in disappointment at him. “You know better than to curse like that, Hermione.”

“Sorry.” He muttered. He glanced at Voldemort. “Luna, you think...”

“No.” Voldemort said curtly. “Ah... can Hermione and I, er, play for a bit longer?”

The pair of mothers exchanged looks. “I’m not sure,” Hermione’s mother said slowly, eyeing her daughter reproachfully.

“Oh, let them, Helen.” Luna’s mother smiled. “They get to meet so rarely, and this is Luna’s birthday.”

“It is? Her eighth?” Harry muttered. Tom grabbed his hand and dragged him away before either woman could comment.

“You must be the most idiotic--”

“Why’d you want to play with me then?” Harry said, not really paying attention. He was too preoccupied with something he couldn’t put his finger on.

“Potter!”

Harry looked up. “What?”

Voldemort actually looked uncomfortable. Harry supposed it wasn’t difficult to do with a kid’s face. “I do not...” He scowled. “Children are not my area of expertise.”

“So?” Harry frowned. “You are a child, you’re not studying one.”

“Don’t be an idiot, Potter. I’m telling you I do not know how to act like one!”

“Again, so?”

“What do I do?” Voldemort asked.

Harry stared at him. “I don’t know. Every time I picture you acting like a kid I get the urge to giggle. Look, were you saying earlier that we might actually get stuck here?”

“What? No. Now, we are talking about me now, boy.” Voldemort snapped. “I am fairly positive I cannot giggle.”

Harry giggled. “Please don’t try. I won’t be able to recover from it.”

“Hermione, Luna, it’s time to go!” Helen called from a bench she and Luna’s mother were sitting on. Luna’s mother appeared to be working a piece of metal wire with a pair of pliers.

“Look...” Harry said, heading toward the bench. “Just, um, wing it? How are we going to figure out what we have to do here, Tom?”

Voldemort looked put out. “Wing it, Potter.”

Harry sighed.

*******


“We’re spending the night?” Harry asked in surprise.

“You’re spending the weekend, honey.” Helen corrected. “But you’ve known that all week. It’s all you’ve been able to talk about.” She ran a hand over her daughter’s forehead. “You’re sure you are feeling well, Hermione?”

“Yes, mum.” Harry said quickly. “I was kidding!” Helen gave Harry a studious look. Harry finally understood where Hermione got it from. “I promise, mum.”

“Good.” She pulled Harry into a hug. “I’ll see you Monday afternoon, dear.”

Harry hugged back, “I love you, mum.”

“I love you too, Hermione.”

As Helen drove down the dirt road, heading away from Luna’s house, Tom turned to Harry, shooting him a dirty look. “Clearly a person must be of low intelligence to be able to act like a child.”

“You’re just upset I can do something better than you, Tom.”

“Are you two playing a new game?” Luna’s father walked out onto the porch, a plate of cookies balanced in one hand and two glasses of milk in the other. He nodded at the food and winked, “Just don’t tell your mother.”

“Thanks, dad.” Tom looked distinctly uncomfortable. Harry tried not to snigger.

Mr. Lovegood patted his daughter on the head. “Dinner in a few hours, kids. Now, Hermione, “Tom,” don’t get into too much trouble around the house. Angela is working on her secret project again.”

Harry frowned, “Secret project, Mr. Lovegood?”

“Call me Calib, Hermione.” Mr. Lovegood beamed at him. “Luna--oh, I’m sorry, I mean Tom’s mum is always creating new spells. It’s to help unlock the hidden secrets of magic. She is a firm believer that we could all see kubble sneck walkers if we only had the right spell for it.” He headed back into the house.

“...Kubble sneck walkers?” Tom asked. He looked more than a little disoriented.

“Oh, you get used to that.” Harry once again had the niggling feeling he should be remembering something. “Luna’s like that too. Tom, is this her eighth birthday or her ninth?”

“How the hell should I know, Potter?” Tom demanded.

“You’re the one in her body. Can’t you tell?”

“I suppose you know how old Hermione is?”

“Ah, you’re playing a game of body snatchers!” Mr. Lovegood said excitedly.

“Yes, dad.” Tom said hurriedly.

At the same time Harry said, “Er. Yes, Mr--Calib.” They both grinned and hoped he bought it.

They really didn’t have anything to worry about. “This sounds like fun. For the rest of the night I am not Calib Lovegood. I am Richie Walker from the planet Bozar.”

Harry blinked. Tom stared at his cookies.

“Mr--Richie.” Harry nudged Tom, “we’re both, um, playing body snatchers all week, if you want to play too.”

“Splendid! Angela will love this game too. Now, I came out to see how chicken sounded for dinner.” Calib beamed down at them.

“Sounds great!” Tom smiled up at Calib. “Thanks, dad!”

Calib nodded, “and by the way, Tom, ah...” He glanced at Harry.

“It’s Harry.” Harry grinned.

“Ah, yes, Tom and Harry. Hermione is ten now, and Luna has just turned nine.” Calib smiled. “Call when you’re done with your snack.”

After he had gone Harry looked over at Tom. “You smiled! It was very convincing.”

Tom waved him off, “Calib knows, Potter.”

“He doesn’t know exactly.”

“You gave him your bloody name.”

“He thinks it’s a game!”

Tom huffed, “Why are our bodies’ ages so important it was worth revealing us for?”

“I don’t know.” Harry said.

What?”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t. There’s something about Luna and the age nine... I feel like I’m not remembering something I should.”

“Well, try not to reveal everything else about us while you try to recall it.” Tom snapped, standing.

“Where are you--”

“None of your bloody business!”

“Arse.”

“Twit.”

*******


“Good morning, my little body snatchers!” Calib called from the bottom of the stairs. “Time to rise and shine.”

“I wish he would stop waking us that way.” Voldemort hissed from under his daisy covered comforter.

“Better than the ground shaking and little bits of plaster falling on your head.” Harry offered from his side of the bed.

“...it’s too early for your random bits of idiocy, Potter.” Voldemort informed him.

“Just saying.”

“Come on, the both of you! We must celebrate Luna’s fourth day of being nine!” Calib called. “There is toast! Bacon! Eggs! Freshly squeezed juice!”

“It better not be squash juice again.” Voldemort kicked off the covers.

“You look ridiculous as a little girl.” Harry said.

Voldemort paused in what Harry was learning was his morning ritual of testiness to stare at Harry in disbelief. “Idiot.”

“Harry.”

“Idiot Harry.”

“It’s an improvement at least.” Harry sat up.

A loud rumble filled the air and a moment later the house shook gently.

“Angela does get an early start, doesn’t she.” Voldemort said waspishly.

Harry frowned. “Tom... I think I remember what I’d forgotten.”

Potter.”

Harry jumped out of bed, yanking on his purple bathrobe. “Sorry! I meant, I remember what I’d forgotten about Luna’s mum! We have to get upstairs!” He grabbed Voldemort’s arm, yanking him toward the door.

Voldemort dug his heels in. “What exactly do you remember?”

“Tom--” Harry stopped himself. The longer they argued, the longer it would take to get moving. “Luna’s mother died when she was little; when she was nine. We must be here to stop that from happening!”

“A likely assumption.” Tom frowned. “Though why that is such an important event--”

“Does your lack of interest in human life matter this instance?” Harry demanded.

“One, we have no idea when she dies. Two, we have no idea how, do we?”

“You said yourself that we should be arriving around the general time of when something occurs, and she dies in an experiment gone wrong. An explosion.” Harry said impatiently.

Voldemort frowned, “I still do not know what we did to get transported out of the last experience, so I can’t say--”

“Shut up and come on. Or stay. I’m going up.” Harry snapped, dashing out of the room.

Voldemort sighed and followed. If Harry had been paying the least attention he would have heard the wizard muttering about being dragged into “do-gooder affairs.”

“She won’t answer the door.” Harry said when Voldemort arrived on the scene. He pounded on the wood once more. “Mrs. Lovegood, please open the door!”

“For the love of--stand aside, would you?” Voldemort ordered.

Harry, much to his surprise, found he did without a thought.

Voldemort pointed his hand at the door, “Alohomora!” The door flung itself open, slamming into the wall with a bang.

“...did I know you could do that?” Harry asked.

“Wandless magic is not that difficult.” Voldemort said, stalking past him into the room. Harry rushed in after him. “Mrs. Loveg--mum, we need to go outside right now.”

“Luna, go downstairs and eat your breakfast. This is no place--Hermione, let go of my arm!” Angela looked at the children in shock.

“Harry,” Voldemort nodded toward the cauldron that was smoking and throwing off sparks. “I believe we should leave.”

“Yes, you should!” Angela sounded exasperated. “I have work I would like to finish before lunch.”

“Tom,” Harry found himself pleading as he dragged on Mrs. Lovegood’s arm. There was definitely a downside to being ten years old.

“Er, mum, I need to show you something in my room. Right away. It doesn’t look at all right.” Voldemort said, pulling on Mrs. Lovegood’s other arm. After a long minute he added, “Please?”

“You’ll both let me get back to work if I go look at this thing?”

“YES!” They chorused.

Angela gave in, heading to the door briskly. Harry stumbled. Voldemort glanced at the cauldron that was now bubbling so harshly it was slopping over onto the countertop. He moved faster.

They were halfway down the hall when the attic potions lab exploded. The force slammed into them from behind. All three of them went flying.

“You know, I’m beginning to think I could actually like you.” Harry groaned ten minutes later from where he was sprawled on the floor. Plaster rained gently down on him. “And that’s what I meant about waking to plaster.”

*******


Part Two
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eaivalefay

dreaming memories

What you can do with your life has little to do with what's going on in the world and everything to do with what you see as possible.

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