A/N - Sorry for the lengthy delay, I won't bore you with my problems but suffice it to say that inspiration dried up for a time. None of this has been BETA read, and Chapter 1 has been altered ever so slightly, so a re-read is probably in order. Again try not to think too hard about how the time travel aspect of it works, it's all just for fun
Chapter 2 - Dead Man Stalking
Harry slowly regained consciousness in a semi-darkened room that smelled more like a library than a hospital wing. He'd been pretty badly beaten up when he'd been rescued, so he'd expected to wake up in a hospital wing, but his long experience with waking up in hospital's was more than enough to tell him that's not where he was now.
`Hermione?' he called out, his voice raspy and strained.
`Oh, you're awake. Don't move, I'll come and give you something to drink, I expect you're rather parched.'
He recognised the woman's voice, though he couldn't place from where, but it certainly wasn't Hermione. He tried to sit up but was being restrained somehow, so he tried again, a little louder this time.
`Hermione?' his voice still came out as barely a croak.
`Sshh, it's ok. Here, drink this.'
His head was lifted into a soft lap and a cool glass was pressed against his lips, but he refused to drink. Mad-Eye had taught him better than that and he wasn't about to forget those lessons now, he'd already been caught off-guard once today and it had nearly cost him his life.
`Come on now, it'll make you feel better, I swear it.'
Harry only grunted in response and pressed his lips together more tightly. The Imperius Curse made you feel pretty good too, that didn't mean that you should just let someone cast it on you though.
`Ok, what'll it take? What do I have to do to convince you this won't hurt you?'
He glared at the fuzzy apparition above him there was nothing she could do; the only thing that would convince him he was safe right now would be for him to see Hermione.
`I can't get her for you,' the young woman said impatiently, she appeared to think for a moment then Harry saw movement. A second later felt his glasses being pressed into his hand and his invisible bonds gave way.
`Maybe if you can see where you are, then you'll trust me.'
Harry didn't see how knowing where he was would help but he wasn't about to let go of the opportunity to get his vision back. He hurriedly shoved the glasses onto his face and sighed in relief as the world of vision was restored to him.
He still felt a vague sense of recognition with the young girl who was sitting with his head in her lap, but at that moment it was easier to recognise his location than his captor. The knowledge of where he was only confused him more; he was lying in a bed in what looked like Hermione's library. He looked at the room more closely and, despite the superficial differences of extra furniture (including what looked like a little kitchenette in one corner), he became convinced that it was in fact Hermione's library.
Harry's gaze returned to the young girl, in whose lap his head still rested, and frowned.
`Now will you please drink this?' she asked, again pressing the glass against his lips.
Harry thought about all of the intricate protections he'd placed on this room less than a month ago, there was no way this girl could be in here unless she was implicitly trusted by either himself or Hermione, or was one of their direct descendents. Screwing up his Gryffindor courage, he took a big gulp of the offered potion. The soothing balm slipped over his tongue and down his throat spreading a cooling, numbing sensation as it went. He was surprised by how pleasant it tasted and how much better he felt.
`Do you want to sit up?' the girl asked him.
Harry didn't respond verbally, but just pushed himself into a sitting position. It appeared that she'd saved his life but that didn't make it appropriate for him to lay about with his head in her lap for any longer than absolutely necessary.
The girl remained silent, just watching as Harry looked around the room again, his keen eye taking in more detail this time around. The air had liberal air-freshening charms but still smelled slightly musty, it had also (clearly) seen heavy use but, despite that, a film of dust coated most things. The bed, the kitchen, the cauldron full of an eerily familiar potion, and the grandfather clock in the corner that had two hands on in it, but neither was Hermione's, led Harry to an inevitable (and horrifying) conclusion.
His gaze returned to the other occupant of the room a question unasked on his lips.
`Mum told me that your thoughts were always written plainly on your face, I never really understood what she meant until now.'
Everything she said, and didn't say, washed over Harry like a tidal wave.
`Where is Hermione?' Harry asked dreading the answer.
`She died about two months ago,' the girl looked away and Harry realised that she had her mother's eyes, `it took me a while to figure out what to do next, and even longer to brew that potion.'
Harry reeled, Hermione was dead.
The girl could see the shock on his face but she just kept talking, laying it all on him. In the confused swirl of his mind he managed to understand the pertinent details, he had died at Voldemort's hand. Then Voldemort and his death eaters had descended on Harry's 21st birthday party and killed everyone in attendance. In one fell swoop Voldemort had managed to take out 98% of the people who would have opposed him, before they even realised that he was back and needed to be opposed.
At first they thought that the only people lucky enough to have survived were the one's who'd happened to be running late that day, and so weren't there when the massacre took place, but it became clear pretty quickly that there was a traitor amongst them as their remaining allies were picked off one at a time in places where they should have been safe.
`Finally Mum decided that she needed to flush out the traitor, she said I would know what to do if it all went wrong,' the girl sniffed, clearly still upset by the events that she was relating, `she told me that she was proud of me, and that she loved me, but she had to find out who the traitor was. She said you'd need to know.'
Harry's green eye's met his daughters luminous brown, he swallowed the lump in his throat and forced himself to speak calmly.
`Did she find out who it was?'
She nodded, `a few seconds before her hand dropped off the clock her patronus arrived here'
`What did it say?'
`Lupin?' Harry asked, incredulous.
The girl, his daughter, nodded, `We thought she was working from within the ministry to try and destabilise the regime, but by the end only she and Uncle Ron were left; aside from Mum and me. Mum was almost certain that Uncle Ron wasn't the traitor, but she said she didn't know Sabine as well as she should, and that Uncle Ron had done some things when you were younger that made her doubt him.'
Harry nodded, `Yeah, he hasn't always been the most reliable friend in the world... but still, I can't believe he would do all this.'
`Mum said that too, but every betrayal could have come from him, and she wanted to be sure. I think she knew that the attempt would end badly, but I also think she knew that if it did I'd find a way to save you.'
Harry swallowed the lump that had risen in his throat again, `I...' he faltered, a pained look spreading over his handsome features, `I don't know what your name is,' he said finally, `we hadn't decided on a girl's name yet,' he added apologetically.
She gave him a tentative smile, `Its Rosalind, Mum said that she chose it because it was a Shakespearean name like hers but also a flower name, like your Mums.'
Harry smiled at her, `She chose well, it's a beautiful name.'
Rosalind just blinked at him, he could see the tears starting to well up in her eyes so he pulled her into a hug. He'd long since outgrown his discomfort with crying women, he'd never have survived Hermione's pregnancy if he hadn't, so he just held his daughter close and let her cry all of her frustration, grief, and loneliness into his shoulder. He couldn't fathom how much she'd been through, from the sounds of it she'd been raised inside this library and missed out on so much. She'd never attended Hogwarts, or played Quidditch; his own childhood (awful though it was in many ways) was nothing on what she'd had to endure.
`We'll fix this,' he whispered, `we will, I promise.'
`How?' she demanded, pulling back out of his embrace and glaring at him angrily, `YOU think YOU can fix this?' she was on her feet and screaming at him now, `YOU were the first one to die! YOU DIED 20 years ago! What do you think YOU can possibly achieve.'
Harry barely had a chance to blink and she was collapsed back onto the bed beside him and clutching at his arms again, crying and apologising, `I'm sorry, Dad, please don't be angry... I ... I didn't mean it.'
He put his arms around her again, more tentatively this time, `Do you have any calming draft?'
She nodded morosely and went to one of the kitchen cabinets, after she'd had a sip of the potion she sat back down again next to Harry.
`I'm sorry about all that,' she mumbled apologetically.
`You've got no reason to be,' he reassured her, `I can't even imagine how difficult this has been for you, and I know you've got no reason to think that I'll do anything but get myself killed, again, and leave you alone, again. I can promise that won't happen, but I know you've got no reason to believe it. They caught me by surprise before... It was supposed to be a milk-run. I was deliberately avoiding anything that looked even remotely dangerous for your Mum's sake, so I wasn't expecting to run into a whole swag of Death Eaters... let alone Voldemort himself.'
`I know, I saw how badly you were outnumbered.'
Harry grinned at her, `I don't mind being outnumbered so much, but I prefer to have the element of surprise on my side.'
Rosalind returned his smile, `Well you've got that this time, everyone thinks you've been dead for the past 18 years.'
`Everyone except Voldemort,' Harry corrected her, `I think he would have modified everyone else's memory so they don't know I escaped him again, especially as the years went by and I never turned up, but he won't have forgotten that I didn't die.'
Rosalind nodded, she had forgotten that, `right, so he'll be prepared for you to show up at any time.'
`Exactly, but it's unlikely that any-one else will be.' Harry stood up and began to pace up and down the library, his brow furrowed as he thought furiously, `The thing with surprise is, you only have one shot at it. Once I'm known to be back they'll all be on full alert, so we have to use this chance wisely.'
Rosalind nodded, `right, so who do we target?'
`We target Sabine, she must have been in on this since the beginning. In hindsight it makes sense, she was one of our researchers at the Auror department, she sent me out on the so-called "milk-run" that got me bloody killed. She wasn't at my 21st when it was attacked, even though she should have been.'
`She must have been a traitor right from the start,' Rosalind agreed, horrified.
`Exactly, she'll have the information we need.'
Now Rosalind was confused, `What information do we need?'
Harry looked at her as though it should be obvious and after a second it clicked into place in her mind.
`Of course,' Rosalind whispered, surprised she hadn't realised sooner, `We need to know how he was brought back.'
`That's right, and she would know all the details. The only thing we need to know is where she is now.'
Rosalind swallowed, suddenly afraid; all the stories she'd ever been told about her father charging into dangerous situations with his wand blazing began to fill her mind.
`I know you know, Rosalind, you may as well tell me.'
`She's the minister of magic, she was elected a week after Mum was killed... I still get the Wizarding Wireless.'
Harry's face split into a devilish grin, `so all we need to do is break into the Ministry of Magic, get into the Ministers office, ambush the Minister of Magic, and get her to answer a few questions, without anyone finding out about it. Nothing could be easier.'
Rosalind didn't like the sound of this, and her scepticism must have shown on her face.
`Come on Rosie, have a little faith in your old man, you do realise that in your possession lies a potion that allows us to get through any ward, or protection charm ever created, don't you?'
`No, I didn't know that.'
Harry laughed, `Why do you think I had this library so heavily protected? It was certainly not because I ever anticipated it being used as some kind of safe house during the third rise of Voldemort.'
Rosalind shrugged, `Mum said it was to protect the potion recipe, but I thought that was just because you didn't want people messing about with time.'
`It was that,' Harry agreed, `partly, but it was also because I know that there are no wards that can keep you out if you're travelling through time as well as space.'
`Ok,' Rosalind nodded, `so what is the plan then?'
Harry grinned, it was actually kind of fun to be planning a mission with his daughter, `OK, the first thing we'll need is a hip flask.'
A/N -I don't normally do this but, please leave a review on your way out... I realised the other day that this story has been favourited more times than it has been reviewed and I'd really like the number of reviews to be a bit more representative of how many people have enjoyed the story so far.