Author's Note: A different sort of time-travel fic.

As may be evident, I never read The Cursed Child. This is probably a good thing. (Apparently the Time Turner was only supposed to work for five minutes in the past? For the sake of this fic, pretend it was slightly longer.)

Bashing of Albus Severus and The Cursed Child's plotline.


Harry was minding his own business when the two boys jumped him. Before he knew what was happening, he found himself thrown into a deserted classroom and bound to a chair with ropes. "I've told you, I didn't put my name in the Goblet!" he protested, knowing deep in his gut it would make no difference. He'd learned from much Harry-hunting that rationales didn't matter at all - only the joy of torture.

"Oh, we don't care about that," one boy sneered. He looked uncannily like Harry without glasses. "Not everything's about you."

Harry looked down at the ropes binding him, then raised an eyebrow. "You could see how I could get that impression."

"Look," the other boy, who looked uncannily like a nicer Malfoy, said, spreading his hands. "We're not going to bother you for long."

"Yeah, you never spend time with me anyway," the first muttered. Harry stared at him.

"I've never seen you before in my life."

"Well, of course you haven't yet!" The boy placed his fists on his hips and leaned over Harry. "I haven't even been born!"

"What?"

"Oh, yes, you'd never guess," the boy sneered. "After all, I'm not anything like you, am I?"

Except in looks. On the other hand, perhaps he'd gotten his personality from Harry's mother's side of the family... no offense to his mother, but... "Are you some sort of cousin?" Harry guessed vaguely, wondering if his mother had another sibling Aunt Petunia didn't talk about. A few moments later, he recalled the events of last year - "You - you're here because of a Time Turner? But wait, they only go back an hour-"

"Yeah, you're just so much smarter than me," the boy carped. "It's a special prototype, if you just have to know. Isn't it amazing that there's something that wasn't better back in your day-"

"We've here to save Cedric Diggory," the other boy said hastily. "You can't let him win."

Harry began to wonder if he were having a bizarre dream. A boy he hadn't met who wasn't actually born hated his guts with a passion equaling Snape, and his friend who looked like a carbon copy of Malfoy was the sane one. Well... it was better than dreaming about Voldemort murdering someone. Might as well play along for now. "Save him? From what? Winning?"

"Because he'll die, and you don't care at all," the first boy snapped. "Isn't that just like you? Everything's about Harry Potter! Everything! You can't even let me have one friend-"

"But, Albus, he hasn't done that yet-"

"I don't care, Scorpius! He's horrible! I've told you, he said he didn't even want me as his son!"

"Didn't you say you told him you wished you weren't his son fir-"

"So what! He knows the pain it causes me! What have I done to him? I mean, except be a disappointment."

Harry followed the back-and-forth with round eyes. "You're my son?" he blurted out.

Albus - if that was indeed the boy's name - turned to him angrily. "I know, you just can't imagine anyone as imperfect as me could ever be Your Highness's son."

Harry ought to have told him that wasn't true. After enduring his personality for a minute, though...

"I can't imagine anyone being my son," Harry managed. "I'm... I'm fourteen. I... I'm guessing you're about that, aren't you?" Albus and Scorpius nodded. "I... Can you blame me for being - being a little surprised I've got a son my age?"

Albus looked as though he certainly wanted to, but shook his head. Scorpius smiled at him awkwardly.

"Sorry that we got off to a bad start," the presumed Malfoy said. "What was your question? Why we had to save him?" Harry nodded. "Well, you see, he and you both end up winning the Tournament."

"Both?" Harry's face scrunched up. "How's that work?"

The boys looked to each other for an answer. "So... we both might have slacked off in History of Magic..." Scorpius said, scratching his cheek.

"It's all right," said Harry, "I think we all sometimes forget there's a class there and not just a midday scheduled nap."

"Oh, you had Professor Binns too?" asked Albus.

Harry grimaced. Hearing that students fifteen years in the future - more, unless he became a teen parent this year - were still snoring through Binns's class made him a little concerned. "Who else is still there?" he asked. Taking a stab at things under the principle that 'only the good died young', he hazarded, "Still suffering through Snape?"

"Suffering?" Albus's brow wrinkled. "You mean, Severus Snape?" Harry nodded. "He's - he's a national hero! You named me after him!"

WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD?

Harry dug his nails into his palm, trying desperately to wake up from his dream. It had to be a dream. There was no way, not in a thousand years, that he would ever name a child of his after Snape. Had he been under the Imperius? That would explain it. Or Confunded - yes, Snape had made up that story about him only vouching for Sirius because he was Confunded, right? Well, it must take one to know one. He must have been hexed out of his bloody mind...

"And now he's even disappointed in my name," Albus complained to Scorpius. "He's the one who gave it to me!"

"I am so sorry," Harry said with the utmost sincerity. That only seemed to anger Albus more; deciding it was best to change the subject before matters became even worse, Harry turned to Scorpius. "Er... where were you in the story? So, Cedric and I won the Tournament..."

"...and it turned out the Dark L- er, You-Know-Who was waiting," Scorpius said, gesturing vaguely with his hands. "I'm not sure how - er, Albus -"

"Don't look at me, you're the smart one."

"All right, well - I don't know how, all right? Something about a booby-trapped... something." Scorpius threw up his hands. "A Portkey? I don't know. Anyway, Diggory died, You-Know-Who was resurrected, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth." He waved a hand through the air. "I'm not sure... I think one of my textbooks mentioned it as an example of a Priori Incantem effect..."

"I thought it was Prior Incanto?" Harry said, furrowing his brow as he tried to remember the spell he had only heard once.

"No, no, totally different. I'm talking about the special case with brother wands-" Scorpius gave up. "Oh, you can just look it up. Should be in OWL-level Charms textbooks or so. Maybe the NEWT-level ones. Not your case, though, that obviously hasn't happened yet."

"Already reading those?" Albus snorted. "Nerd."

"Well, they're interesting-"

For a horrible second, Harry wondered if Scorpius's mother was Hermione. Sanity returned a moment later. On the other hand... Snape, the national hero? Perhaps sanity had no place in the future...

"Do you know anything else?" Harry said, trying to pull himself away from the horrid image of Hermione married to Malfoy. "I mean - that's not a lot for me to go on. Was Cedric being targeted specifically?"

The boys shook their heads. "No," Scorpius said.

"His dad's completely broken," Albus added. "Poor old man. His niece takes care of him, but you can tell it's a strain. Cedric's death must've completely broken him." He looked very sad, then annoyed. "Must be nice to have a dad that really cares about you, eh?"

"Forgive me for not being more affectionate when I probably haven't even met your mum yet," Harry said with more than a touch of asperity. Albus's resentment disappeared in favor of surprise.

"Sure you have. Ginny Weasley?"

Now it was Harry's turn to have his face wiped blank by shock. "You know? Mum - I mean, Ginny?" Albus repeated. "Look, I know you hardly see her these days, what with your jobs and all, but she says you two were always meant for each other. You saved her life back in first year and everything?"

"Her first year," Harry corrected, but he was feeling faint. Ginny? What? Sure, she seemed nice enough, but - what? They'd hardly talked to each other since the Chamber incident! Meant for each other? Since when? She had a crush, but...

Come to think of it, that was obviously where Albus got his personality - he seemed to have all of Ron's worst traits, except even more so, and none of the best. Inwardly grimacing, Harry resolved not to marry into the Weasleys. Clearly mixing the genes that produced Ron's lowest moments and Aunt Petunia's entire personality was a very bad idea.

Fearing the worst, he asked Scorpius, "Er - and who's your mum?"

"She was - Well, right now she'd be called Astoria Greengrass." Harry could have wept from relief. "If you don't know her, she'd - I think she was a year or two down from you?"

"Never met her," Harry said cheerfully, though he thought there might be a Greengrass in his year. Older sister? "Sorry. You'd have to ask your dad."

A strange look stole over Scorpius's face. "So he's definitely my dad, right?"

They were talking about Draco Malfoy, weren't they? "Who else's would you be?" Harry asked with a frown. Unless this Astoria was a Malfoy cousin or something, he couldn't fathom Scorpius's being anyone else's son, especially if he was a contemporary of Harry's own son.

"Oh, er..." Scorpius looked down at his shoes. "There's this rumor - I don't know, I guess it's absurd - I mean, Albus says so, but-"

"Well, come on, spit it out..."

"That - uh - I'm actually You-Know-Who's son-"

Harry burst into uproarious laughter. After everything he'd hear, he definitely needed that; if this was a dream, it was an amazing one. He ought to write it down after he woke up and present it in Divination class - Trelawney would be in awe. Even she couldn't come up with anything this mental. Struggling to stop laughing long enough to breathe, he gasped, "What, did he supposedly turn your dad into a girl and get him pregnant?"

Scorpius's face was a sight to behold. "Oh, Merlin, no."

"You look just like your dad," Harry told him. "Not like Voldemort -" The two flinched at the name - "-you look nothing like him. Reckon your personality's a whole lot better, though - er, no offense."

"You really think I'm the son of Draco Malfoy?" Scorpius said hopefully.

"You're his spitting image," Harry told him. It was a bit uncanny, actually. Well... he looked like his own father - maybe that was just the way it was for wizards. "Nothing like - the other one. Don't worry. Reporters spread a lot of stupid rumors." That seemed to cheer Scorpius up.

Voldemort's son, though... Maybe something had gotten into the water supply. The Wizarding world he knew was barmy, but nothing like that.

"So... er... any other revelations?" Harry said, wondering at what new and ridiculous claims they would offer up to him next. Dudley turning out to be a wizard? Hagrid attempting to crossbreed Aragog and the Giant Squid? (No, that was too plausible. He ought to purge it from his mind, lest he blurt it out sometime and give Hagrid ideas.) A torrid secret romance between Dumbledore and - what was the name of that Dark wizard he'd defeated? Grindelwald? "Just curious."

Scorpius gave a start. "Oh, right." He looked frazzled. "Um - you've got to make sure to make Ronald Weasley jealous of Hermione Granger."

They wanted him to make Ron more jealous than he actually was? What would they ask for next? To make Hermione more obsessively studious, himself more tired of the world's rubbish, or Hagrid more indulgent towards ghastly man-eating creatures? "Er - why, if I may ask?"

"We... may have screwed up last time," Albus said, grimacing. There had been a "last time"?

"Apparently Hermione was supposed to go to the Yule Ball with Krum, but she went with Ronald instead because she didn't like Krum, because we dressed ourselves up as Durmstrang students when we sabotaged Diggory in the First Task," Scorpius said awkwardly, "and so..."

"See, Uncle Ron got jealous of Aunt Hermione when she went with Krum," Albus recited, "and that's how he got feelings for her and they ended up married. Originally, anyway."

"And so because he wasn't jealous of her, I... suppose he got jealous of Padma Patil instead?" Scorpius said, pulling a face. "So he married her, and she - Hermione, I mean - ended up as a bitter old professor rather than the Minister of Magic..."

Harry sincerely wanted to know how his subconscious had come up with all of this rubbish. If he only had this sort of mad creativity in waking life, he could have a fantastic career as an author. Or, judging by journalistic standards in the Wizarding world, a reporter.

"Are you really sure you don't have it backwards?" Harry said dubiously. "Ron falling for whoever makes him the most jealous? That seems... odd." Did that mean that, if he'd been a girl, Ron would have fallen for him the moment that his name came out of the Goblet? He was suddenly devoutly thankful he was male.

"He's your friend, not mine," Albus snapped. "Don't ask us to look inside his head. We're just telling you what happened."

Harry tried to imagine Ron with Hermione for a moment. As his mind filled with bickering, insults, and enormous rows over the most trivial details, Harry decided that the two boys might have done both of them a favor. Hermione's fate bothered him greatly, but he couldn't imagine it was just because she hadn't gotten with Ron. Something more must have happened there.

"I'll... see what I can do," he hedged. The boys seemed pleased enough with that.

"Think we've done enough?" Scorpius asked Albus.

"Can it be worse than last time?" Albus replied.

"I reckon-"

But what Scorpius reckoned, Harry would never learn, for there was a sudden rippling in the air and they were gone.

As were the ropes binding Harry. He got up from the chair, rubbing his arms, and looked at the space the boys had been. Could this all have been some odd prank by the Weasley twins? Or a hallucination brought on by too much stress? Or perhaps this was still just a dream, and he'd wake up any moment to find himself in his bed in Gryffindor Tower.

He pinched himself and looked around hopefully. No, he was still in the deserted classroom. That wasn't a good sign.


"Madam, do you have any books about how to protect yourself from the Confundus Charm?"

Pince peered at him suspiciously down her long nose. "Occlumency? Go down three sections, take a left, right at the fourth bookcase, and duck under the book that tries to take a swing at you." Ah, Wizarding literature. One of the few places where Harry thought the Muggles had a better deal. "Bottom shelf. We should have two copies of Mental Exercises For Beginners, three more on loan. Once you've completed that, we'll discuss how you go about getting approval for further training."

He thanked her and turned around. She cleared her throat. "I can't say I approve of you entering the Tournament," Pince said, "but it's good to see you finally taking self-study seriously, boy. I'd make the whole lot enlist if it gave them a better respect for books."

Harry nodded and fled. He had absolutely no doubt she meant that seriously.

Perhaps he ought to warn people if the Tournament was held again next year. Richly deserved as it would be, half the school's population's names coming out of the Goblet would be cruel to spring on them out of the blue...


"What did you want to talk with me about, Harry?"

Harry took a deep breath. He and Hermione were standing in the Gryffindor Common Room; everyone else had long since gone to bed. "Look - this is going to sound really stupid," he said. "I had this awful dream a couple of nights ago..."

When he didn't continue, Hermione prompted, "About what?"

"Oh - Ron... Ron did something - he pushed you away, and it really - it really got to you. It's like - it made you think you were all alone, like nobody liked you or would ever like you - it doesn't make sense, I'm just saying what was in the dream. And then it flashed forward and you ended up as this horribly unhappy person who was always bitter and threw herself into her work because she didn't have anything else." Hermione made a small sound of pain, and her eyes closed. Harry hurried on, "I just wanted to say - it's rot. It's rot, all right? That's why I'm telling you this. I don't know why I'd dream such a thing, but in case there's some, I don't know, deep and subconscious meaning - listen to me, I should have done like you did and dropped Divination when I had the chance - I'm telling you, in case you need to hear it, that it's absolute balderdash."

On impulse, he stepped forward and hugged her. She froze for a moment in surprise, then hugged him back, so tightly that it almost hurt. "I'll always be your friend, Hermione," he said next to her ear. "It doesn't matter if you ever have a falling-out with Ron. I'll always be here for you. I promise."

When they separated, her eyes were wet. Harry hastily looked away and pretended not to see it. "Thank you, Harry," she said, her voice choked up. "That - that means more than you know."

He squeezed her shoulder. "Well - that's all I wanted to say. Just - just so you know." Not being an expert in emotional matters, he paused awkwardly for several more seconds, then ventured, "So - reckon we should get off to bed, then?"

She gave him a teary-eyed smile. "Let's."


POTTER SECRETLY CONFESSES FEELINGS TO GRANGER IN TORRID MIDNIGHT MEETING

Says she's the woman of his dreams

As Harry systematically ripped that day's Daily Prophet into neat little piles of square-shaped pieces, he wondered if any jury would convict him if he... No, no, had to control the temper, his Occlumency text said that was essential to achieving strength of mind... Kill the ego... Kill the reporter... No, that wasn't quite the instruction, now was it...

How the hell had Rita Skeeter even overheard that conversation, anyway?


DARK LORD'S SECRET PLOT TO IMPREGNATE MALFOY HEIR!

His goal was to get people talking about something other than him, and it appeared to have worked. It was a mark of Malfoy's sheer unpopularity (sycophants aside) that Quibbler circulation among the student body had undergone a spike this week. Who knew? Maybe it would last. The crackpot newspaper had about the same quality of reporting as the mainstream one, after all.

Next to Harry, Ron had his face buried in the Daily Prophet as he goggled at this week's featured article. Harry felt a little bad about it; Ron had absolutely no idea what he was getting into. On the other hand, Harry had reckoned Ron owed him for the entire 'tantrum over the Tournament' stunt...

RONALD WEASLEY: MAN OF MYSTERY

Who is the enigmatic figure at Potter's right hand? (Turn to p5 to find out)

Technically, the anonymous tipster had never lied. But, as Harry had discovered from analyzing Prophet articles while planning his retaliation, one could do an amazing amount just by asking leading questions and including vague details. If one believed everything one read, one might get the impression Ron was the secret savior behind all of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts. After all, he'd been at the scene (or close enough to it) every time, and by repeating that it was "unknown" how much his actions contributed to Harry's survival, the unstoppable human desire for secret knowledge caused the suggestible to suspect that "unknown" contribution must have been very great indeed.

Well, so be it. Harry had found fame to be more a curse than a blessing, and if he could shunt some of it off on Ron, his only discomfort was over throwing a friend to the wolves. Ron seemed to like it, though, to tell from the way he was rereading the article for the seventh time, eyes round as saucers. Let him, then. One man's trash was another man's treasure, and all that. If Ron basked in the fame Harry loathed, then this way both of them could be happy.

Hermione was rereading the article, too, but with an expression more of incredulity than awe. Well... perhaps he could explain the situation to her when he got her alone, provided that she swore not to tell Ron who had sent in the "anonymous tips" that formed the backbone of the article. No use ruining Ron's fun, after all. And provided they could evade Rita Skeeter's surveillance...

Harry shook his head as he turned back to his own paper, which was at least honest about being a load of insane balderdash. Now, if only he could figure out why they were so obsessed with him being a "Peverell", whatever that was... and why were they calling him "the Master of Death"?


"Well? What are you waiting for, Harry? I told you to take it."

Harry stared at the Triwizard Cup as though it might bite him. "Harry?" Cedric Diggory repeated. "I said, you deserve it-"

"Don't touch that thing," Harry said quietly. Cedric frowned.

"I just got through telling you I'm not about to. I told you-"

"No. It's not that." Feeling as though he had been doused in icewater, Harry backed away from the pedestal that held the Cup. "Cedric," he said, "you're going to think I'm insane." He gave a shaky laugh. "I'm wondering, too. But-"

"What is it?"

Harry took a short breath. "A few months ago, I had an odd meeting with - a rogue Seer," he said, figuring that was the best explanation. "He told me I'd be in a situation where both you and I could win the Triwizard Tournament. I thought he was absolutely mad. How could both of us win?" He rubbed his arms in a half-conscious gesture, though that did nothing to curb the chill. "He also said that - he wouldn't give me specifics - the thing was rigged. When - when, not if - we both won, there would be - some sort of booby-trap. Dark wizards tampered with the whole thing somehow. When I pressed, he hazarded something about a Portkey." Harry shook his head. "He said you'd be sacrificed and I'd - I'd be witness to Voldemort's return."

Cedric flinched, though it might have been at the "prophecy" rather than the name. "Harry - Harry, that's insane."

"Yeah," Harry said, chuckling hollowly. "Absolutely mental. But he was convinced. And I swear it happened. I gave Trelawney a sealed envelope soon after - she's to open it upon my request, or if anything goes wrong with the end of the Tournament. On the off chance things came to pass as he predicted, I knew people would never believe me otherwise."

Cedric could only stare at him, then at the Cup, and then at him again. "Can you describe him? Did he tell you his name?"

Albus Severus Potter, the son I desperately hope never to have. "I didn't get his name, sorry," Harry lied. "Shadowy, hooded sort. Met him in Hogsmeade and he scarpered immediately after - I tried to chase him, but he was gone."

"If anything you're saying is true - and you don't strike me as the pathologically lying sort, which you'd have to be to come up with this, even after I told you to just take it already - I think that was no Seer, Harry," Cedric said darkly. "That sounds to me like one of the conspirators got cold feet and decided to snitch on the others. Just enough of a paper-thin excuse for plausible deniability, vague yet dropping oddly specific details, desperate to conceal his identity..." He shook his head.

"But how would he know we'd both end up in a position to win?" Harry insisted, much as he ought to have just let it lie and gone along with Cedric's explanation. "That's what makes me think it's all real - no one could have known in advance that was even possible!"

"People who were organizing the Tournament would've," Cedric said, gaze boring into the Cup. It sat there, innocuous as a Treacle Tart, and yet more poisonous than any snake. "Krum took out Fleur, had me on the ground, and bolted when you showed up. If he'd wanted me dead, he could have killed me rather than Cruciating me. He certainly could have handled you before I was in any shape to grab my wand again." He turned to Harry, his face grim. "It's entirely possible that was his plan all along - take out Fleur, delay me, and take the fall if you encountered him. His Headmaster's Karkaroff, after all. Perhaps you're right and this entire Tournament was a set-up."

Karkaroff? But Karkaroff had been the harshest objector to Harry's presence in the Tournament... which would be exactly how he would act if he was doing his utmost to throw off anyone looking for the culprit... "He was a Death Eater," Harry said, the light dawning. "Karkaroff, I mean."

"Yeah," said Cedric. "My dad tells me Muggle-baiting incidents have been rising both in frequency and severity over the past year, and there's been a lot of activity in the old Death Eater social circles - something's emboldening them." He gazed up at the sky, as though expecting to find a Dark Mark. "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's return is a remote possibility - but it might fit what's been going on. It might even be that the one who confronted you had been fed a cover story to secure his cooperation, and the reality's more mundane - just regular, everyday human sacrifice."

Harry swallowed. While he knew Cedric was wrong about Harry's side of the story, the rest of the sketched scenario was far too plausible. "What do we do? Can we just leave it here?"

"It's evidence, and I'm not sure we'd be allowed to exit without it," Cedric said grimly.

"But we can't touch-"

Cedric conjured a ten-foot pole, then levitated it through one of the Triwizard Cup's handles. As it floated off the pedestal, he turned to Harry and shrugged. "Constant vigilance."

Harry's mouth twitched at the reminder of the Defense professor. If there's one thing I hate, it's a Death Eater who walked free... Oh, he'd have a field day with this one...

It was a long and quiet walk out through the maze. Every so often, Harry turned back to check the Cup was still there, and hurried up if he judged it was bobbing a bit too close to him. He and Cedric exchanged not a word; the tension was too great. It seemed as though the walk would go on forever...

When they exited the maze, Bagman made an incoherent sound of consternation. "I say - Mr. Potter, Mr. Diggory - what is going on here?" he asked once he found his voice. "Have you - You haven't both decided to give up, have you?"

"No, we have the Cup," Cedric said, gesturing with his wand; the Cup-on-a-stick came into view behind them as they walked toward the judges' table. "But we need to talk to the judges. We suspect interference, and we refuse to touch it until confirmed otherwise."

"What is this nonsense?" Karkaroff complained as they approached. "Dumbledore, this is most irregular! What are your Champions playing at?"

"An interesting question, sir," Cedric said coldly. "If you're so certain we're acting oddly, why don't you touch the Cup?"

"I - that's impossible! The one who takes the Cup will be deemed the victor of the Tournament!"

"Oh, but we took the Cup," Cedric said. "We have it right here. I know it's dark out, but you can see that, can't you?"

"Of course - but - what is -"

"Ees zees some Eengleesh custom of wheech I am unaware?" Madame Maxime asked, enormous brow furrowed. "What ees ze meaning of zis?"

"Cup's rigged," Harry said shortly. "Dark wizards. Booby-trapped."

"That is a serious accusation, Harry," Dumbledore said, stroking his beard. "Only those who helped organize the Tournament would have had access to the Cup ahead of time."

"Yes, I know. Funny about that, isn't it?" Cedric said, eyeing Karkaroff. The man, normally so cold, looked about to explode.

"I would never tarnish the Tournament by tampering with it in any way!" he fumed. "At Durmstrang, we do not offend against deep and powerful magics which are beyond mortal ability to fully comprehend!" He looked pensive for a moment. "In the interests of full honesty, of course, the occasional fool does. He does not survive to graduation." His fury returned. "I would say I'm a bit more than a postgraduate, wouldn't you?"

"We're not touching it," Cedric said firmly. For a moment, though, he waved and mouthed at Harry, I hope you're right.

Harry nodded. I'm certain of it.

"This is a farce, it is lunacy, it..."

"Igor, let us calm down and attempt to reason with them, shall we?" Dumbledore asked, massaging his temples. "Mr. Diggory, Mr. Potter, would you care to explain your reasons for believing this?

So they did, in a way: Krum's treachery, the freakish happenstance of the end, and the oddities of which Cedric was aware. Karkaroff looked livid by the end, Maxime dubious, Bagman incredulous, and Dumbledore thoughtful. "Allow me a moment," Dumbledore said, standing and drawing his wand. "Expecto Patronum!"

A phoenix erupted from the end of his wand, and Harry watched as it sped off into the stands. Dumbledore turned to the others. "And now," he said, keeping his wand at the ready, "we wait."

"Potter is out of his damned-"

"I said, Igor, we wait."

After several anxious minutes, Harry heard a voice call from near the hedges, "What's wrong?" Moody sounded flustered ."What're Potter and Diggory doing clear of the maze?"

"Alastor, I believe you should come over, too," Dumbledore said. "We find ourselves in an odd situation."

Moody hobbled over, and, despite his questions, Dumbledore insisted that they only wait. Several more minutes passed: finally, a figure came running out of the night. "The envelope," gasped Professor Trelawney, handing it to Dumbledore, and promptly collapsed against the judges' table, wheezing. Harry thought he heard her mutter, "The service of a common errand-girl... is not... befitting... of a Seer..."

Dumbledore waved his wand, and the envelope peeled open and exposed its contents. His gaze scanned over them quickly, and his expression hardened as he did. "I see. This is indeed most curious, Mr. Potter, and the charms upon this prediction-slip verify its date of authorship as several months ago, as claimed."

"What's going on?" Moody asked again, and Dumbledore turned a benign smile upon him.

"Nothing, Alastor. Simply an inconvenient situation which, given the circumstances, I believe I ought to handle personally. Keep an eye on Igor while I step out, will you?"

"The ICW will hear of this," Karkaroff spat. Harry had to give him credit; he really acted as though he were an innocent unjustly subjected to an absurd situation. If all the evidence didn't point to him, Harry might even believe him.

"Perhaps," Dumbledore said mildly. "In light of events, I would like to petition for we judges to formally name Mr. Diggory and Mr. Potter as the joint victors of the Triwizard Tournament; though they technically have not fulfilled the letter of the requirement specified at the start of the Third Task, they have fulfilled the spirit, and there are extenuating circumstances. Igor, will you agree as a sign of goodwill?"

"If it means this whole thing can be over," Karkaroff spat. With the Triwizard Cup present, and Fleur and Krum absent, the other judges soon followed suit.

"It isn't over until Potter - and Diggory - touch the Cup, though," Moody pointed out. "That's the way it works."

Dumbledore lifted an eyebrow. "Not quite the case, Alastor. We have declared a victor - two victors, excuse me. That requirement is completed. Now someone must touch the Cup - and I believe a certain someone is expected."

Without further ado, he conjured a full-length mirror and smiled at them. "You know," he said, raising his wand, "I have loved many fields of study, but Transfiguration has always been my greatest passion..."

Before Harry's eyes, a stunning and rapid transformation took place; at the end, the mirror was Vanished, and Harry found himself staring at his identical twin. Dumbledore had imitated him perfectly, down to the shape and size of each and every smudge of dirt on his robes. Even Polyjuice couldn't do that. "And now," the other Harry said with a most un-Harry-ish wink as he reached for the Cup, "I fear I must leave you. I do hope to be back shortly."

The moment his fingers closed around it, there was a blue flash, and he was gone. Cedric let the pole drop and stared at the place where the transformed Dumbledore had been. There was a sharp inhalation of breath from the judges; Madame Maxime rumbled, "Oui, c'est vrai. That ees - eet deed not return heem to us, as eet should, wheech means-"

Strong hands closed on Harry from behind, and he whipped his head around to stare into the animalistic face of Mad-Eye Moody. A wand-tip pressed to his throat, and -

He hit the ground as hard as he had in any Quidditch practice, his ears still ringing. There was a painful line on his neck where he thought the wand had been forced against the skin before it snapped in two, and his shoulder hurt in a way that meant it would have a livid bruise by morning. Above it, a patch of his robe had been ripped clean off.

He had it easy. The maddened Moody lay in a heap several feet away, unmoving; when he stirred, another spell hit him, and the sound he made told Harry he wished he'd stayed down. Harry shuddered.

Rolling over and pushing himself to his feet, Harry stared up at an unexpected sight: Igor Karkaroff, face contorted in fury, stood with wand outstretched and smoking.

"I want an apology," he said in a voice colder than the night around them. "Immediately. Without reservation. And with more than sweet, meaningless words." His fingers tightened around his wand. "I would say I am owed one."


The end of the Triwizard Tournament was formally deemed inconclusive due to extensive interference by unauthorized parties.

Several minutes after Karkaroff's announcement, the false Harry had flashed in, clutching Fawkes's leg and carrying an unconscious Peter Pettigrew and an unknown bundle, just long enough to announce that the school was to be on lockdown until further notice before vanishing again. They barely managed to inform him of the traitor Moody before he departed.

It turned out that Dumbledore was going immediately to law enforcement with his evidence, and that stirred up quite a commotion indeed. The (abortive) return of the Dark Lord tended to do that to a nation. Fortunately, Harry was able to stay free of affairs this time, and enjoyed the blessed peace of adults handling a matter for once. How utterly unlike his first three years at Hogwarts. He hoped the last three could be so pleasant.

His great regret, under the circumstances, that his tale of a "mysterious Seer" led to a conspiracy theory around "the missing conspirator" that would plague Wizarding politics and public life for decades afterwards. He couldn't exactly come clean with the details - his son from a future that would never exist? - and, by the time he was bothered enough to consider it, no one would have believed him, anyway.

That mistake aside, he had done what he could with his meager knowledge of the future. All was well. As well as it was going to get, anyway, and considering his life? He was at peace with that.

It was certainly better than the alternative.


Author's Note: And, with Voldemort locked up somewhere in the Department of Mysteries, this oneshot ends.

Albus and Scorpius, meanwhile, have this particular event wiped from their personal timestreams because neither exists in the corresponding future: Harry marries a woman not named "Ginny Weasley", and Pansy, never having become a pariah for calling for handing Harry over to Voldemort, stays with Draco. Thus they continue to bumble on through the plot of Cursed Child without a hitch (though perhaps with a niggling feeling that something odd happened between their First-Task attempt and their Second-Task attempt).

Hope readers enjoyed.