Welcome, one and all, to my first fanfiction! This idea has actually been floating around on my head for a while, and I just now got around to posting it!
Prologue: The Uphill River
Harry grinned as she chased after her young goddaughter. Rose Weasley was by far the most energetic child she'd encountered, and the surprises didn't stop there - the girl was supercharged with magic, and had a brain like her mother's. No obstacle was too big once she got going...which was why the six-year-old was leading the Girl-Who-Lived on a fruitless chase through the rolling hills surrounding Ron and Hermione's new home. She had just been playing in the fenced-in yard, accompanied by her much younger, laid-back baby brother, Hugo, when she got it into her mind to fiddle with the lock on the gate. Of course, she managed to get it open, and when she did, the chase was on as she spotted a thicket of emerald-leafed trees not too terribly far away. Harry, being the responsible guardian she was while her best friends were away, took off after the child, but only after stowing four-year-old Hugo safely in the house.
She might have had longer legs and great stamina due to being an Auror, but Rose had youth and energy on her side. The young girl was giggling loudly the entire time as she drew closer to the forest, and all that time Harry couldn't even gain an inch on her. Rose paused at the edge of the forest, looking back and forth, and then over her shoulder at Harry. The Auror stopped beside the girl, panting as she dropped down to kneel in front of her.
"Rose, why did you-" she was cut off abruptly - and rather strangely - when Rose put a hand over her mouth. The witch looked almost exactly like her mother did when she pointed into the trees.
"Somethin' there." She stated, dropping her other hand back to her side. "I c'n feel it."
Harry's eyebrows drew together as she stood, leaning forward to peer between the thickly-layered branches. She didn't know too much about magic-sensing, being raised by muggles in an area that was magic-free, but she did know that all wizard children had it until they used magic for the first time. A survival instinct, maybe, until they could protect themselves. In any case, Rose most certainly hadn't used magic yet, and she wasn't that great of a liar, anyway. Harry drew her wand slowly, not wanting to alarm the girl, and nudged her back towards the house.
"Rose, I want you to go back to the house. Got it? Go back, get inside, and stay there. If you even poke your nose out the front door, I'll know and I'll tell your parents."
Rose's eyes went almost comically wide as she nodded hurriedly, not even hesitating as she dashed back to the two-story house she'd only just gotten free of. Harry inched forward, sliding in among the trees, wand held aloft. She glanced from side to side warily, and then stopped. The air in front of her didn't feel like air - it was like a wall of warm water that shivered when she touched it. Carefully, cautiously, she reached out a hand and put it against the barrier. The air distorted, stretching out from where she touched it, like plastic wrap, and then a startled yelp escaped her: the barrier had opened up and was pulling her in, starting with her hand.
She turned, trying to run and find backup, but the magic that had been placed in the woods for whatever reason was strong, strong and ancient. So old that her own didn't know what to do to fight it. She could feel the panicked rising of her magic, trying to burst out and attack the force that had gotten a hold of her, but it was beaten back and smothered by the immeasurable power of the water-wall. She managed a short yell before she was pulled in completely, the wards shivering once more for a short moment before finally going still, invisible as the wind.
On the other side of it, Harry was unceremoniously thrown on the ground, rolling several feet before stopping. Her eyes clenched firmly shut as a wave of inexplicable exhaustion rolled over her. The air was so laden with magic...if she had to take a guess, she would say that she had just stumbled upon the most magical place on Earth. Head spinning, she sat up and slowly pried her eyes open to get a look at what the wards had been protecting.
It was just another area of trees. True, they were ancient, and now that she looked at them were unlike anything she'd ever seen before, but they were still just trees. Grass grew unhindered around them, each blade at least five feet tall, and large, bright flowers dotted the entire scene. There was the rush of quickly moving water nearby, however, and that was what confused Harry. She wasn't aware of any streams around the house she practically shared with her best friends. Caught between curiosity and cautiousness, she got to her feet and slowly made her way through the grass. Not long after, she saw the most bizarre sight.
It was a stream, clearly, but it ran in a circle. Even more confusingly, half of that circle was uphill - steeply uphill. Harry gaped at it for a moment, watching the swirling current traveling in its never ending path. She became aware of the ground loosening beneath her feet just a moment too late, and fell face-first into the water. She gasped as she broke the surface, paddling madly for dry land, but the water was moving faster than ever now, and the current pulled her under. The last thing she'd seen was a clump of rosemary on the riverbank, and then a rock had conked her on the head and she passed out.
When she came to, her mind was a muddled mess. She couldn't think clearly, couldn't remember what she was doing the moment before, couldn't even move - the one thing she was terribly certain of was that she was facedown in a patch of rosemary. The scent of crushed leaves filled her senses, and made her want to stay there forever. She smiled and sniffed the plant deeply, the scent seeming to confuse her thoughts even more. Feeling the sudden urge to stretch, she did so and rolled over. This time, when she sniffed the air, it was to find that she had sniffed water instead. Snorting it out of her nose, she jerked back and pushed herself up.
Memories came flooding back like a river from a burst dam: Rose escaping, finding the barrier in the woods, falling into the clearly enchanted river, and then...nothing. She assumed that the current had tossed her up on the bank just like it had pulled her under, but she couldn't shake the feeling that she'd forgotten something...something big. Mind still whirring, she staggered away from the river and the rosemary, towards the wards. She had to get out and back to the house...contact the Ministry with the news of the river...and hopefully find out what was giving her that awful, nagging feeling that she'd forgotten something!
She passed through the wards effortlessly that time, the water-wall opening to let her past instead of throwing her into a tree, and was at the edge of the forest when her legs suddenly gave out and she was on the ground, left staring at the sky as her vision slowly blacked out.
"Hey! I think she's coming around!"
"Harry, can you hear us? Are you okay?"
Harry groaned in response and tried to roll over. Her thoughts came easier now, and the first one was, "Let me sleep!" She burrowed her head into the pillow of her bed when she'd finally flopped onto her side, and then froze. Pillow? Bed? She'd passed out on the ground, just outside of the thicket of trees! How...
"Miss Potter, I would rather that you didn't do that. The Healers have given strict instructions as to what you are allowed to do." The stern, strict, but still relieved voice of her old Head of House was what roused Harry in the end.
"Professor! Where am I..."
"St Mungo's," it wasn't McGonagall who answered, but Hermione. The brightest witch of her age was sitting beside the bed, from the sound of her voice. "We found you on the edge of the trees near the house, passed out, and...oh, Harry, where've you been for the last year?!"
Harry's eyes flashed open. "Year? I couldn't have been gone more than-"
"Yeah, mate," now Ron was speaking. He sounded a bit dumbstruck, and not all that concerned that he'd just interrupted her. "We'd just about called off the official search." After an awkward pause, the wizard's voice returned. "So...who's the father?"
"Ron, I don't know what you're talking about." Harry was starting to get a sinking feeling in her gut. It seemed that she was about to find out what she'd forgotten...or a part of it, at least. "Would you mind being a little clearer?"
"Harry...do you honestly not know?" After Harry's answer ("No."), Hermione leaned forward and lightly touched the witch's shoulder. "You're pregnant."
Harry sat straight up faster than the eye could see, her own eyes impossibly wide with shock and disbelief. "What?!"
Yep. That's the idea I had. It's a bit short, but hopefully the chapters will get longer. But, even better...Harry doesn't remember a bit of it, and I don't know who the father is, either! So, I've got a poll up, and if you've got time, stop by and vote! Until next chapter!