47 Days to Change (a translation)
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Harry Potter/Tom Riddle, Harry Potter/Voldemort
Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are enemies, born adversaries, prophesied leaders of opposite factions.
2001 to 1932, forty-seven days to change the fate of the Dark Lord.
This is a 'Harry travels back in time to raise Tom' story. An unfortunate tale of one man's failed attempt to mold young Tom into a decent, law-abiding citizen. Instead, as Fate will have it, young Tom grows up to become the same twisted psychopath, who is hell-bent on winning the love of his adoptive father. Harry's consent be damned.
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December 27, 1942
The young dark lord's plan to take a life while in Hogwarts was a great risk, of that there was no doubt.
Dumbledore's presence would have been enough of a problem, but with Harry around too, Tom's plan had to be watertight.
A good Slytherin must be able to calculate carefully, unlike the other houses whose members could be mischievously cunning. The truly cunning students knew the greatest schemes were done with careful calculation. And the best scheme wears the appearance of coincidence.
The entire Hogwarts Slytherin house consisted of puppets all tied together, and if you pull the thread, say the right thing, the chess board would change as they danced along.
"You're a joke, Charlov, you should just resign now." Karkaroff sneered, a malicious and hideous expression that made his crooked nose more prominent. "You've already shamed yourself on the First Task. What could you possibly expect to do now? "
Charlov grit his teeth in fury and rose from the bed, his wand pointing at Karkaroff.
"If you say another word, I will make sure you're far more humiliated than I."
The other Durmstrang boys eagerly watched on, eyeing Karkaroff as he mocked the other boy derisively.
They thought he would back off but to their surprise Karkaroff laughed off the threat.
"Do you think everyone is shamed as easily as you? I assure you, it's a feeling reserved for disgraced lugs."
Those words incensed Charlov, who said in a wild grim tone, "There's a spell to make you do anything I say, no matter how humiliating or ridiculous: Imperio!"
The Imperius Curse was one of the notorious Unforgivable Curses, but what did that matter? The average German wizard wouldn't care, not while the need to punish the weak filled the Wizarding World in Germany. Only strength mattered, the stronger the person the better they were.
As Karkaroff was forced to commit one embarrassing thing after another, the Durmstrang boys laughed, enjoying the schadenfreude.
A Slytherin finds the best opportunity. Hidden behind the curtain, the villain declined to show himself as he watched the farce unfold with a smile.
Mylene Lance died.
Very suddenly, without any sign of a struggle, she fell in the bathroom. The sink was still running when she was found.
Harry stood pale among the whispering crowd, smothered in the middle of it all. Two days ago, that same girl had taken his arm, happily chatting him up. He could still feel her phantom touch as if she had left residue on his skin.
And now, the same girl was lying on the cold wet floor with skin like marble, gray and bleak, dead. The richness of life would never shine through her skin again.
It wasn't the first time Harry had faced another's death, not the first time he felt the gap between life and death. Two faces he had seen go to cold silence, their lives and deaths again and again flashing in his mind. There he could see Cedric and Sirius bearing that same cold stiffness.
First Cedric, then Sirius, and now Mylene. Another ghost to weigh on his conscience. Her face would forever be ingrained in his mind; the expression left on her as if something terrible, like the devil himself, had come to take her soul and swallow it down. Harry grabbed at his hair, pulling painfully on his scalp, wanting to wake up.
Joan had immediately reacted to the scene and swiftly sent the Ministry a signal. Aurors quickly arrived at Hogwarts to launch an official investigation into the death.
"I died from the Killing Curse."
No matter what method of test was used, the same result appeared.
The professors watched on, expressions frozen as the truth became clear. A killer was in the school.
But who in the school could use such a cruel curse against the girl? Was it a student or someone on the staff?
Headmaster Armando Dippet was bewildered by the turn of events but after a quiet discussion with Dumbledore seemed to agree to a plan. Dumbledore turned to the professors and immediately commanded, "Gather all the students to the Great Hall."
The order was calm and decisive: an edict to protect the other students and also find the murderer.
"Headmaster Dippet, I think the Aurors should have the right to investigate further." Joan said seriously and without even pausing ordered, "You ask the portraits and ghosts nearby, Alphonse. Harry shall come with me to the Great Hall. I think it's necessary to check the children's wands. "
Harry's face remained pale, even as he hurried along with Joan, a few drops of cold sweat forming. His skin appeared paler than Mylene's.
All the students were gathered in the hall. They didn't know what had happened, didn't know what had transpired in the past few hours. Those who noticed the girl was gone thought she was merely out of sight.
Harry feared he'd suffocate, so clearly were the boundaries of life and death before him.
He worked behind Joan, appeasing the fearful children, organizing them into lines, and testing their wands. The detection method they used was a very simple but very effective reverse spell. Once a spell was cast it could not be revoked. There were no ways to eliminate the irreversible consequences caused by a spell in a wand.
The children dutifully handed over their wands to the Aurors, believing in their authority, as they worried over the need for the inspection.
"Hand your wand to me."
After several castings, nothing unusual appeared. Did he really want to find anything unusual? Harry didn't want to see any green light coming from a child's wand. Children were the measure of an era. So what was a country when the children had muddy souls? What did it say of the time?
Harry handed the wand back to the restless first-year standing in front of him. He rubbed the child's hair, as he used to rub Tom's.
"Everything will be all right." Words he said to every child but in truth he didn't know who the murderer was or that they wouldn't cause further harm. Really, he was just spouting nonsense.
In 2001, he was helpless and pained in the face of death, and it seemed even in 1942 he couldn't change that. He could only continue to be weak, ignorant, and powerless.
"Harry, what happened?" Someone came up to him, not to hand over their wand, but to tug on his clothes, concerned, "You look ill."
Harry looked up into the shiny black eyes of Tom and a terrible thought struck him through the heart. There was no time to stop and think on it; already the idea left Harry reeling as though he crashed through an icehouse.
And who was to blame for the deaths of both Cedric and Sirius? Wasn't it this seemingly harmless child? Had he caused the death of Mylene, too?
"Give me your wand." Harry felt the words come out like they were scraping on gravel, the sound causing a prickling feeling down his back. He didn't answer Tom's question and Tom, stiff and obedient, handed Harry his wand. Their hands briefly touched, the warmth lingering behind.
Harry couldn't bring himself to cast the spell. He couldn't control what would happen if he did. He may have been from 2001 but for all the memories he had of Riddle from the Pensieve as both a lonely child and perfect student, it seemed he knew nothing about him.
Harry didn't want to doubt Tom but the thought wouldn't leave him. He had spent so much time with the child that he wanted to believe in him but the future, and all that he knew, put him on edge.
"Prior Incantato." The first spell out was harmless, and the second, and the third. He kept going but the curse never appeared. Harry let it go on and on until he felt confident enough to end it with relief.
There was no connection between Tom and Mylene's murder.
Harry repeated that over and over, trying to convince himself of the conclusion, fighting his old instincts that screamed danger.
Finally, Harry dared to meet Tom's eyes. "Tom… be careful."
The boy gave him a bright smile and nodded, lovingly.
"Please give me your wand." Harry waved the next child forward, giving him a warm smile. With the previous worry nearly removed from his mind he was better able to face the situation calmly.
The child who stopped before him was very thin, shy like Neville used to be, but had a Slytherin badge on his robe.
"Mr. Potter, I-" The boy's eyes flashed, and he licked his chapped lips, hesitant and afraid of something. The boy seemed to think of something, rather abruptly shivering. Harry could even see goosebumps spread from the neck down.
"Don't worry, there's nothing to be afraid of." Harry said comfortingly, knowing how frightening this abrupt investigation must be.
The boy looked up at Harry, brown eyes searching his desperately, trying to convey something with just a look. Words spilled out low and fast, nervous, "I'm Ovidius Parkinson, Riddle's former roommate." The boy abruptly swallowed.
He and Tom were in the same year? Harry studied the slight child, frowning.
Seeing Harry's skeptical look, Ovidius couldn't help but grab the man's robes, eager to make him understand. Looking up at him, Ovidius could see why the evil boy would obsess over his gentle and handsome father.
Ovidius had always been dependent on others, cowardly, and evasive of responsibility. But now, in his weak attempt to reach out to another, he felt as though he had been given a torch.
"Mr. Potter, Riddle he –" The words were too dirty for him to say. He struggled to get the words out when he felt as though two icicles had mercilessly nailed his body. It was as if a snake had bitten him in the neck and sent a chilly poison down to his tailbone, sending his internal organs into frozen spasms.
Tom Riddle stood watching in the distance, smiling at him. Ovidius took a step back.
Ovidius choked on a repressed scream, a look of terror on his face.
An image of Billy flashed to Tom's mind. It was vaguely the same face that boy had made so long ago: the same fear, the same panic, the same understanding that Tom had every intention to kill him.
Tom walked up with his hands in his pockets, still smiling at the faint boy. He looked to Harry and said, "Harry, this is Ovidius. Abraxas and I have been looking everywhere for him. If you're done with him, do you mind if he joins us?"
Harry watched the show in front of him but couldn't quite see it right, blinded as he was by Tom's brightness. He couldn't understand how the events developed before him and could only look on puzzled and disturbed. The two left him with his heart pounding and his intuition sounding the alarm.
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