A/N - That thing you thought would never happen ... it's happening, I am updating this long dormant story. Again (I cannot stress this enough) please don't think about the time travel aspect of things too much… It took me ages to get everything I wanted to happen to happen in the plot line of this story while still getting it to make sense and without creating a paradox (in my own slightly insane version of what does and does not create a paradox). The outline is now finally complete so hopefully updates will occur regularly from now on. Also, don't be too sure about anything happening until it actually happens… there will be some near misses and a few (hopefully unexpected) nods to the first Balm of Time story for you to enjoy.
"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." The Doctor
Chapter 3 - A Question of Priorities
Harry paced the length of the library his thoughts whirling at a million miles an hour, trying desperately to come up with a plan that didn't involve endangering his daughter. His daughter that was not even born yet but somehow was only a few years younger than he was himself. He was also trying not to stare at her.
She was such a perfect combination of himself and Hermione, she had Hermione's eyes and cute little nose but she had his jet black hair and (he thought) his smile.
She was a beautiful girl and had obviously inherited her mother's brains along with a good dose of his own recklessness. Bringing a person into the future in order to save their life was the sort of thing he would do himself, Hermione would have thought of a better plan.
She'd been watching him pace the library for the last few minutes, her lovely cinnamon eyes following him as he went. Hermione would be disappointed to learn that their daughter didn't inherit her father's eyes (she often said they were his best feature) but Harry was glad. He'd only seen his wife that morning and already he missed her painfully.
Harry started talking abruptly to try to stave off thoughts of how he would have coped in her place had their situations been reversed.
`We'll be able to get through the wards to get her without any trouble, but we're going to need to interrogate her. She won't tell us anything without a fight.'
`How do we do that?' Rosalind asked from her place on the camp bed, her head swivelling as she watched Harry (her dad, she reminded herself) pace the length of the room.
Harry didn't respond right away, he could only think of two methods and neither of them was going to be easy.
`Well,' he began slowly, his pacing stopped and he stared off into space thinking, `You don't happen to have any dragon blood and spine of lionfish around here, do you?'
Rosalind just looked at him in confusion, `Um, no… which potion is that for?'
`Veritaserum, it's super tricky to brew but I still prefer it to the alternative.'
Rosalind just looked at him for a moment and Harry could see Hermione staring out at him with that gaze.
`Well?' she asked somewhat snappishly (reminding Harry still more of his darling wife), `what's the alternative?'
`The alternative is to use the Imperius curse on her… but I've never cast it before and could just turn her brain into soup.'
Rosalind snorted, `yes, we want to avoid turning her brain into soup until after we've interrogated her.'
`Right, so we're going to need potion ingredients. I assume you have Belladonna and Puffer-fish eyes?'
Rosalind nodded, `but how are we going to get dragon blood and spine of lionfish? It's not like we can just walk into an apothecary store and buy them.'
Rosalind glared at him, `because we'd be captured by Death Eaters within seconds if we tried that.'
Harry frowned, `would they recognise you? I got the impression you'd pretty much never left this library.'
Rosalind blushed and looked down at her feet and Harry felt like smacking himself in the head. She was his daughter, of course she'd left the library. Probably she was running armed assaults on Diagon Alley on a regular basis while wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed "I am Harry Potter's daughter!!"
`Sorry, of course you've left the library… I hope Her- your mum wasn't too hard on you?'
A small grin lifted one corner of Rosalind's mouth, `What makes you think she knew?'
Now it was Harry's turn to grin, `she knew alright! So she never said anything to you about it then? I suppose she figured it was par for the course, being my daughter and all.'
`We never spoke about it, I always figured she didn't realise. Anyway I didn't do anything that bad, I wasn't firing spells from the top of the tallest tower while screaming out "I am Rosalind Potter, I will have vengeance" I just picked off a few death eaters when they were alone and vulnerable, sometimes it was just to steal groceries from the local Muggle supermarket and save mum the trouble… I mostly stayed under your invisibility cloak, but I was seen a few times. Besides, Sabine Lupine knows exactly what I look like and I daresay she hasn't kept it to herself.'
`I guess your mum figured you were smart enough to not act quite as stupidly as your dad would.'
Neither of them knew what to say to this, Harry looked about trying not to let a wave of grief overpower him, the life they both must have led shut up here in this library. It was a nice room but not the best place to raise a child. After everything they'd done, he still hadn't lived to raise his first child and she'd grown up here, in one room without Hogwarts or house quidditch or anything. As tears threatened Harry turned away from his daughter to face the fireplace. There were no photos in frames on the mantle as there should have been, he supposed that there hadn't been many happy memories to commemorate or that with so much going on taking photos and putting them in frames was a luxury they simply didn't have.
Only one moving image sat on the mantle over the fire place, it was the photo of Hermione on her clock hand.
It should be on that clock still, Harry thought fiercely, blinking back tears. He sucked in a deep breath, there was no time to get sentimental he had a war to wage.
`You mentioned that your mum (he was still having trouble referring to Hermione that way) wasn't sure if the spy was Ron or Sabine, does that mean Ron is still alive?'
Rosalind frowned, `I doubt it, everyone knew he was on our side, I think Sabine probably only kept him alive as long as she did so that there was someone else to suspect. Now that Mum is gone he wouldn't be needed any more.'
`Right, so even if he is alive he can't move about any more freely than we can.' Harry groaned, `What about Polyjuice potion, do you have the ingredients for that?'
`Nope, I've really only got the basics. I had more before but they were ingredients for the balm of time… I think it was Mum's plan all along, to go back in time, once she found out who was responsible.'
Harry started pacing again, `So, we need potion ingredients but we can't be seen while getting them and we can't disguise ourselves, or send someone else to buy them, so we'll just have to go in invisible and steal them.'
Rosalind let out a startled laugh, `Mum was right, you are a bit crazy.'
Harry wasn't sure he liked that Hermione had apparently called him crazy but he let it slide, `can you think of a better solution?' he asked instead.
`No, but how are we going to get through Diagon Alley? There will be dark wizards everywhere.'
`On a broomstick of course, it'll be easy, I've done something like this before.' Harry stated confidently remembering his break in to Gringotts when he'd travelled back in time and his numerous stints at surveillance since he'd become an Auror, `you do have a broom, don't you?'
Rosalind snorted, `Yeah, your old firebolt is still in the cupboard, Mum used to use it to sweep the floors.'
`Very funny, she would never do that to my firebolt, is that the only broom you've got?'
Rosalind nodded and Harry was unable to hide his disappointment, `I guess I'll be doing this on my own then.'
`You would have been anyway, I never learnt how to fly so I wouldn't be much good to you.'
Harry sputtered and coughed incoherently for a second before being able to form an intelligible sentence, `You never learned to fly?' he asked, outraged.
`No, there isn't really the room in here and I only went out for important missions, not for frivolous pursuits.'
Harry spluttered again, `frivolous pursuits? Frivolous pursuits! That's your mum talking I bet… what did Ron have to say about that, surely he wanted to teach you to fly?'
Rosalind shrugged, `He mentioned it a few times but he was always so busy and Mum always said it was a waste of time so I never pushed it.'
`Well, we'll have to do something about that!' was Harrys indignant response, `While I'm out I'll steal the ingrediants for polyjuice potion as well then we can disguise ourselves and go out for a bit and I'll teach you to fly! No daughter of mine won't know how to fly.'
Rosalind didn't say anything, she just smiled a little wistfully. This wasn't really the response Harry had expected (though truthfully he couldn't say what his expectations had been).
`What's the matter?' Harry asked, his tone more gentle than it had been a moment ago, `Don't you want to learn? I won't make you if that's the case.'
`It's not that, it's just that… it's not like it'll make that much difference either way. Even if we do destroy Voldemort and get revenge on Sabine and all the other death eaters, what sort of world are we going to be left with? What sort of life could I possibly have? I'll probably just re-locate to Australia and live out the rest of my life as a muggle anyway.'
Harry's eyes softened as he regarded his daughter, `If that's what you thought then why did you even try to save me, to save this world?'
Tears started to well up in Rosalind's eyes, `I don't know really, I guess it was grief and shock… it was what Mum wanted me to do, so I did it… like I pretty much always did, but now I just don't see the point. Everything worth saving has already been destroyed.'
Harry thought about that for a moment before responding, `How much did your Mum tell you about that potion?'
Rosalind shrugged, `she told me it was there, and that we had the ingredients… I suppose she thought I'd figure out the rest on my own.'
`The thing is, I've used that potion before and I know a bit about how it works. You're right, if I destroy Voldemort now then the world will still be a pretty shitty, er, I mean awful place to live. But I don't have to destroy Voldemort now. What I need to do is find out how he was brought back so I can prevent it from happening in the first place.'
`Ok…' Rosalind sounded uncertain, so Harry elaborated.
`I don't know if Hermione told you, but I grew up with my Aunt and Uncle because my parents died when I was only a year old.'
`What! Grandma Lily and Grandpa James died at your 21st birthday party, everyone knows that.'
`Only because I went back in time and prevented their deaths.'
`But I tried that already, I couldn't stop you from dying.'
`Yes you did, I'm alive now,' Harry rushed to continue, `this world needs more than that though, I need to go back in time and prevent Voldemort from being resurrected to prevent any of this nightmare from ever happening. The thing is, if I take you with me when you come back to this time you'll still have all your memories of a life that no longer happened. It'll be like your living someone else's life.'
Rosalind shook her head, `That doesn't make any sense.'
`I know,' Harry admitted, `but that's how it works, I guess the balm of time can take you back and forth in time but it can't implant memories in your head. I grew up with my Aunt and Uncle, but after your mum and I travelled to the past and saved my parent's lives when I returned to the time I'd left my parents were still alive and had raised me and there was a pensive full of memories in my room of a life I hadn't lived. We both remembered the world we came from but the world we returned too was very different.'
Rosalind opened her mouth, possibly to ask a question, but Harry hurried on eager to get to the point he was trying to make, `But when we left, we left Ron behind to guard the potion and when we returned he had no idea that my parents had ever died… as far as he was concerned the new reality we returned to was the only one he'd ever known… because he'd lived it, not apparated into it, as your mother and I did.'
`So you're saying that if I stay here, and let you go off on your own, it'll be like none of this ever happened.'
`That's it exactly.'
`So it'll be like I never existed.'
`NO, you'll still be you… no-one ever really saw any particularly striking difference between me and the person who'd grown up with two loving parents. I was still me, and you will still be you… you'll just have a better life, you'll go to Hogwarts and get sorted into a house, and cause trouble and play pranks and maybe even end up on your house quidditch team.'
Rosalind seemed lost in thought, so Harry pushed his point as gently as he could, `How old are you now, Rosalind?'
`I'm eighteen,' she replied.
`So if I don't do it this way, you'll never get to attend a class in Hogwarts…. I could always give you a penseive, like my parents did for me, but seeing the memories isn't the same as living them.'
`I don't want to let you go on your own though,' she replied, her voice trembling.
`I know, and believe me, I don't want to leave you. Anything worth having is worth fighting for though, don't you think?'
`We'll have some time together though, before I go, the Veritaserum takes a full lunar cycle to brew, so we'll make the most of that time.' The words "just in case" were left unsaid.
Rosalind nodded, `and you'll teach me to fly?' she asked.
`I would be honoured to.' Harry replied.
`Ok then,' she straightened up and Harry could almost see her spine stiffening, `Should I go get your broom, do you want to get those ingredients now and get started?'
At that moment Harry's stomach let out a loud rumble, and he grinned sheepishly `Actually, I don't suppose there is anything to eat, is there?'
Rosalind laughed, `there is actually… I made dinner while you were recovering, sausages and mash followed by treacle tart. Mum said those were your favourites.'
Harry groaned, `that sounds fantastic, thank you Rosalind.'
She blushed prettily, `it was no trouble.'
`I'm not just talking about the dinner, you've saved my life… hopefully, you're actions have saved hundreds of lives.'
She looked even more abashed at those words but managed to meet his eyes, `Well, I am my father's daughter.'
Harry smiled, `You certainly are.'Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7