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Chapter Twenty-Nine
Summer of Woes

The summer started off fairly well, all things considered.  As soon as the four time travellers had finished seeing off their friends at the station, they headed back up to the castle to get ready for their own departure.  As Hogwarts would be deserted in the summer, leaving them with nothing to do, they had all decided that moving to Domus Corvus Corax would be the best thing to do.  It was close to the Order, so they would be available for meetings, as well as having heavy wards and almost limitless resources.   They would always have something to do, whether it was practicing their skills, planning strategies, or doing research in the library.

The one thing they would have to be careful of was who got to see them.  The spell they had placed on most of the Order and Hogwarts population had several conditions.  The time delay had allowed those affected to get out of range of the four before it became active, preventing any mishaps.  The reversal of the spell was keyed into their current appearance, and when they showed up in their own time, people would remember what had really happened in the year they had been there.  They had to be very specific in the spell, as they couldn't have people like Severus and Remus remembering them when they were teaching them in their earlier years.  Harry hadn't thought of this when he first thought up the spell, but luckily for all of them Hermione was thorough in her planning.  The only thing they had to worry about now was being seen by anyone they had cast the spell on.  If they were seen, the effects would be nullified, and recasting wasn't an option.  It was a one time charm, so they had to get it right.  This meant that when they went to Order meetings, they would remain invisible and not announce their presence.  The only ones who still retained their full memories of the events were James, Lily, Eustace, the elves, Dumbledore and Voldemort.  They had cast the spell on the rest of the Hogwarts staff before leaving the school.  While a few of the Death Eaters had seen them at attacks, they didn't know enough about them for it to be a real issue.

The only problem remaining was the ghosts.  The spell wouldn't work on them, for obvious reasons, but it was imperative that they didn't slip up when the time travellers' eleven year old selves came to Hogwarts.  It could be a disaster if they forgot, and mentioned any of the things that had happened to their younger selves.  This was why Harry found himself hanging back when the other three were ready to leave via the fireplace in Harry's room.  Telling them to go on ahead to Corvus Corax, he contacted the two ghosts and waited for them to arrive.  It was time, he felt, to tie up as many loose ends as possible before he left for the summer.  There were still some issues that were unresolved, but he already had plans for how to fix them.  As Peeves and Gallatea floated through the wall, chatting amiably in Anglo-Saxon, Harry cleared his throat to get their attention before taking a seat on one of the chairs in front of his fireplace.

“ Peeves, `Tea, I need to talk to you about some things.”

“ What like, Harry?” Gallatea asked.

“ Well, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and I believe that the next time jump we make will probably take us home.  We have already had three trips, and we are getting very close to our own time as it is, so it is highly likely we will be going home at the end of the summer.”

Harry sat in silence for a few moments to allow this to sink in before continuing.

“ The reason I asked you here was to discuss security with you.”

“ You want to make sure we don't tell,” Peeves guessed.

“ Yes.  We have cast a spell on nearly everybody, making them forget any specifics of our identities until we return to the nineties.  The problem is, it won't work on you.  Not that I don't trust you both, but we know how disastrous it would be if anything got out.  Especially at this point in time.  On our previous jaunts, it wasn't really an issue, as the events we have tried so hard to preserve were years and years away.  This time, though, things are imminent.  In five short years, their whole world will change, and we need that to happen the way it is supposed to.  Can I count on you both to be discreet until such a time as it is safe to talk about it?”

“ Of course, Harry.  You know you can count on me,” Gallatea assured him.

“ And me,” Peeves agreed.

“ I'm glad.  Thank you.”

“ No problem, Harry.  Anyway, I must be off, I have some pranks to plan for when the ikkle firsties turn up in September.  See you in a couple of months.”

“ Bye, Peeves,” Harry said as the ghost floated through the ceiling.  Silence descended as Harry furiously thought about how to start the conversation he had wanted to have with his ex-girlfriend since the night before.

“ Um… `Tea, can I talk to you about something?”

Gallatea gave him a curious look, before a smile spread over her face.

“ Is this about last night?”

“ Yes.  I need to talk to you about Ginny…”

Gallatea floated over and placed a freezing hand on Harry's arm.  Although the contact wasn't real, and the Ravenclaw ghost couldn't really feel the warm flesh under her palm, the gesture brought a measure of comfort to Harry.

“ Harry, I love you, and I always will, but I knew one day you would move on with your life.  I dare say that if I had lived, I would have eventually done the same.  I have said since you arrived in 1943 that I don't mind you moving on.  I am actually pleased that you chose Ginny, though.  She is a wonderful girl, and I can see in her eyes that she loves you a lot.  And I know for a fact that you care a great deal about her.  Be happy, that's all I want.”

“ Thank you so much, `Tea,” Harry said with tears in his eyes, “ I knew I couldn't move on properly without your blessing.  I love you, and I always will.  You are my first love, and will always have a special place in my heart.  But you're right; it's time for me to move on.  I don't know how long I'll live once I get home, but I want to spend what time I do have as happily as possible.”

“ I understand that Harry.  I really do.  Just promise me one thing.”

“ Anything.”

“ Promise you will always be my friend, no matter what happens.”

“ For as long as I live.”

“ Thank you.”

“ `Tea, can I ask you something?”

“ Of course.”

Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly.  He had been wanting to question Gallatea on this matter for the last two years, but the time for an in depth discussion had never arisen.

“ What was Glenadade like?  I mean, you've told me the basics, like that you saw him at quidditch matches, and that he grew up and had a family.  But I need to know more.  Gallatea, please tell me about my son.  I need to know.”

Gallatea gave him a rather startled look at this strange request, but soon pulled herself together.

“ There's not much I can tell you.  Just what I saw and heard from the quidditch pitch.  He joined the team early on, and was a magnificent flyer, just like his father.  A watched him at every game and practice he went to.  Except in his seventh year.  For some reason, he must have given up quidditch then, as I never saw him after the end of his sixth year until years later, when he was already grown up.  He might have been too busy at that time, as he had to learn extra defence.”

“ What?!  Why?” Harry asked, startled at this revelation.

“ Well, from what I could gather, he was involved in the war against Lucifina.”

“ Who?”

“ Lady Lucifina, the Dark Witch who took Lord Slytherin's place as our time's ultimate evil.  She was Salazar's apprentice and lover, intending to rule the wizarding world at his side when he finally took over.  Fortunately, you interfered with their plans, and allowed Lord Gryffindor to defeat him.  If you hadn't, they most likely would have won, and taken over.  When she saw what happened to Slytherin, she was furious, especially after she had his child and found out it was a squib.  She could marginally accept Salazar, because he had once been a wizard, and still had a lot of skills to offer, such as his potion making.  He also had a lot of knowledge she needed to take over now that he could not.  The child was given to a Muggle family who could not conceive, as at least there the family name could live on, and one day a wizard may once again be born into the Slytherin line.”

“ Voldemort,” Harry whispered.

“ Exactly.  Ever since the forties, I have been doing research, with the help of Peeves, into the Slytherin line.  What happened to the child and his heirs, for example.  Tom Riddle, a Muggle and the last remaining heir of Salazar Slytherin, married a witch, who bore a magical child.  A son, named after the father, went on to become the new scourge of the wizarding world.”

It took a moment for all of this to sink in, and Harry covered his face with his hands as he tried to process all of this.

“ So, you're telling me that Voldemort got his Slytherin blood from his Muggle father, and not from his mother?”

“ Yes, that's right.”

“ But he hated his Muggle father, just for being a Muggle.  Surely he wouldn't hate Muggles if he knew his father was where his bloodline came from.”

“ I agree.  From what I know of him, he would not be pleased by such news.”

Harry nodded his head slowly, filing the information away for later use.  Then he drew the conversation back to its original purpose.

“ So, what happened with Lucifina?  And why was Glenadade involved in the war?”

“ Well, the Dark Queen used the knowledge she gained from her lover and master to advance herself in the Ministry for Magic, until she became powerful enough to overrule even the Minister himself.  She almost took over.  One of her goals, though, was to kill our son.”

“ What!?  Why would she want to do that?”

“ Because he was your son.  You were the one who allowed Gryffindor to bring down her beloved mentor, and take his power from him, thus delaying their plans considerably.  As you were no longer around to take revenge upon, she decided to punish our son for it.”

“ Why did you never tell me any of this, Gallatea?”

“ Because you would have felt guilty for making the right decision.  Glen was fine.  In fact, it was he who finally ended the whole thing.  It wasn't your fault, Harry, and Glenadade got to live a full and happy life.  He never held it against you.”

Harry sat in silence for a few minutes until it all sank in.  He had done the right thing.  Defeating Slytherin saved lives both then, and in the future.  But in the process, his own child had been put in unnecessary danger.  Dark thoughts began to swirl through his mind, but he was sharply pulled out of them by a strong tingling in his scar.  With a heavy sigh, he stood and looked over to Gallatea.

“ Thank you for telling me, `Tea.  I'm glad to know.  But I'm afraid that duty calls.  I have to go to work.  The Order is calling.”


That meeting was the first of many over the course of the summer.  It seemed that since the end of the Hogwarts school year, the Dark Lord had stepped up the number of attacks carried out by his Death Eaters.  Ron had reasoned that it was probably because of the seventh years.  All of those leaving Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang who supported the evil wizard would have been free to devote their lives to fighting for him in his ranks.  The sudden influx of new Death Eaters would make the increased number of attacks possible.  The headmaster had agreed with this, pointing out that the same thing had happened over the last few years.  Until the numbers were reduced slightly through kills and captures, the attacks would continue well into the next school year.  

For the four time travellers, the summer of 1976 was the worst they had ever endured.  They had seen a lot of atrocities over the years, both in the wizarding attacks they had been involved in, as well as in the Muggle world in the forties.  However, this surpassed everything they had seen before.  There were at least three or four attacks a week, each on a large scale, and sometimes simultaneously.  When the latter occurred, the four had to split their efforts, each going to different attacks.  This made them less effective overall, as they worked best as a team.  When they were split up, they were still better than many in the Order, but they could not cause as much damage to the enemy.  Especially if the enemy happened to bring such creatures as Dementors or werewolves.  The time travellers would then tackle the biggest threat, leaving the Order members to face the Death Eaters alone.  

Some of the things that happened that summer went down in the wizarding record books as some of the worst in history.  The years before and after were bad, but none lived up to 1976.  It was as if Voldemort knew the Order was stronger than it would ever be again, and was trying to eliminate the threat, or at least work it down to a manageable size.  People on the Light side, Aurors in particular, were slaughtered mercilessly, and every day the death toll was rising by the hundred.  Muggle attacks were now greater in number than attacks on wizarding locations.  The Order's numbers were dwindling, and even the members who had previously been dedicated only to research found themselves fighting in the battles.  The Hogwarts students who had been recruited were being fiercely trained for combat so that they could enter the battles as soon as possible.  Intense recruitment was taking place, with flyers pinned up in public places like Diagon Alley and Platform 9¾.   

The problem the time travellers faced was that they couldn't get involved as much as they liked.  When the attacks happened, Dumbledore sent them to the places they were needed the most, and they did the best they could.  However, they had to spend the whole time invisible, so as not to be seen by the other Order members.  The spell was getting irritating, especially when they had to remain hidden during meetings, and they were starting to wish they had waited until just before they left before casting the spell on those they saw on a regular basis.  The only ones they could talk to were Harry's parents, who they didn't see very often, as they were undergoing training; Dumbledore, who was always busy; the Potters, who spent most of their time training the younger members; and the elves, Gaerwyn and Lolide, who had become a permanent feature at Domus Corvus Corax.  They had turned up at the start of the summer to help as much as they could, and were staying in the old castle as it was the best place for them to remain hidden from the rest of the wizarding world.  It wasn't the right time for the existence of the elves to be revealed to the general population, and the pair worked very hard to retain their anonymity.  Gaerwyn and Lolide hadn't been present when the spells were cast on the Order, and Harry had decided they wouldn't bother with bespelling them, as they spent most of their time in the elven world anyway.  As soon as the attacks started to dwindle at the start of the new school year, they would be returning to Falaryth to be with the rest of their family.  While they liked to visit the human world, they were a lot more comfortable in the elven world, and tried to cut their time at Corvus Corax short if possible.

One of the issues Harry was frantically trying to resolve before his departure was the situation with his aunt.  Heather Evans was still a prisoner of the Dark Lord, and while Dumbledore believed she was doing the Order the most good where she was, Harry couldn't help but fight him on the issue.  The elderly headmaster treated her as a casualty of war, and took advantage of the situation she had found herself in without thinking about what it was doing to her.  For Dumbledore, she was a convenient way of feeding the Dark Lord false information.  For Voldemort, she was nothing but a concubine and spy in the ranks of the Light.  For Harry, though, she was family.  Family he had never had the chance to get to know properly.  He couldn't leave her where she was, but the opportunity to rescue her never arose.  That left only one option for him.  He would have to do it without Dumbledore's permission, the consequences be damned.  He didn't care if he lost the headmaster's respect, or made him angry.  He was going to save his aunt from the persecution she was suffering, and he was going to do it as soon as possible.

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