Title: Life’s Tangents
Author: Anthea Davis
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: ~4,900
Primary Pairings/Characters: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Content/Warnings: Canon level violence, language, dealing with life changing circumstances/injuries
Summary: Harry is about to start his first year teaching at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s his last resort. The rest of his life has gone to shit.
Beta: None. Just a casual spell check. No bitching.
The feeling of bone weary tiredness seemed to be a constant in Harry Potter’s life now that he had lost everything. Even the walk from Hogwarts Gates to the Castle seemed almost too much, the throb in his thigh making every step painful. The trunk that levitated behind him started to sag lower and lower to the gravel path as Harry gradually made his way to the big oak doors of the school.
Just as Harry reached the stairs, the doors opened to reveal the now ageing Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall. The smile she bestowed on Harry had him internally gritting his teeth. Pity had no use in any situation.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts, Mr Potter,” McGonagall said warmly, holding the door open for him.
“Thanks, Professor, err… Headmistress,” Harry corrected himself, a blush covering his face; turns out the woman could still make him feel like a first year.
“Minerva, please,” she insisted, leading Harry into the castle and slowly to her office behind the Statue of a Griffin. She took his hand in hers as they walked, the pace slow for as much her benefit as his.
“How have you been?” Harry asked as he slowly lowered himself into the seat across from her desk, his trunk landing with a thunk behind him.
“Well, Mr Potter, or as much as old age allows,” she smirked as she poured tea for the both of them, “And you?”
“Much the same, as much as the ‘condition’ allows,” Harry replied, a sardonic smirk flashing quickly.
“I’m glad you’ve come back to Hogwarts, Mr Potter.”
“Harry,” McGonagall smiled again, the pity once more visible in her eyes.
“So,” Harry started, not wanting to dwell on the past, “You want me for the Defence Against the Dark Arts position. I bet you never thought you would ask me when I was still a student here.”
“Quite the opposite, I assure you, Harry. Albus and I were quite aware of your ‘Defence Association’, and we were quite proud of you for it. You did a marvellous job preparing the students. In fact, we’d not had such high scores that year in Defence for several years prior to that,” she smiled proudly at him, making him blush again.
“Oh, I suppose you would have known about it, then,” Harry looked aside, slightly embarrassed.
McGonagall laughed, “Harry, that is why I know you will do well. You have a marvellous ability to interact with your peers and help them understand not just how the spell is done, but the logic behind it, how it can be useful, where it might be used. Not to mention your experience with the Aurors, which will stand you in good stead.”
“But what about my condition? There will be days where I’ll be incapable of teaching,” Harry asked bluntly, this was a major issue, if they couldn’t organise something now, then there was no hope of Harry staying to teach at Hogwarts.
“Well, we already had some ideas. We currently have a student studying for his Potions Mastery. As a part of his studies, he will be teaching First through Third years for the next two years, he has already agreed to make the Potion for you. For time off, as you know, Madam Pomfrey is well experienced with those of your condition, and I think would hardly let you leave her Infirmary if you weren’t at least feeling ninety percent,” McGonagall explained.
Harry’s interest was piqued with the Potions student, not knowing how Masteries were earned or awarded. Perhaps one day he could get one in Defence.
“As for the days you will be absent, we had thought perhaps you could use an altered Time Turner to take you back a few days and continue teaching once you were feeling better. The days you were still ill, you would remain in the Infirmary, which means there should be no risk of bumping into yourself.”
McGonagall seemed to observe him for a moment, “Perhaps I should stipulate there ‘should’ be no risk. However, being who you are, Mr Potter, trouble does seem to find you.”
Harry blushed again, it’s not like he could help it, “Everything seems to be already sorted out, then.”
“I’ve tried my best, Harry. We want to take care of you, and this affords us the opportunity for our students to learn from the best,” McGonagall said passionately, the hope shining in her eyes clear.
“I think you’ve answered all my questions, except one,” Harry smiled, “When do I move in?”
It was typical that the Sorting Feast be the day of the Full Moon, leaving Harry to stay in the Shrieking Shack. His acute canine senses meant he could hear the train arrive at the Hogsmeade Station and the constant babble of excited students. It was all over again half an hour later and the night quiet once more.
Getting stiffly to his paws, Harry slowly trotted upstairs to where Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall had fixed up the main bedroom for him.
There were a new bed and linens against the wall, and the room had been repaired and repainted, though the outside of the house still looked ramshackle. Harry knew he wouldn’t be able to stay in this room, though, there were just too many memories. Everywhere he looked there were the remnants of Moony’s stay back in Harry’s Third Year. The Piano was back in the other corner of the room, along with the memories of Remus and Sirius chasing Peter Pettigrew as a rat.
Harry wanted to think of all the ways that night could have gone, had it not been a Full Moon; had Peter not got away; had Snape not been there to save them. There were too many ‘what if’s’ associated with that night. But it was no use thinking about it because none of those scenarios had played out.
This was the way life now was.
Him being a werewolf was now a part of that, too.
Walking further into the new room, Harry grabbed the comforter from the bed gently in his teeth and dragged it downstairs and into the corner by the window. Curling up, Harry slept fitfully, the pain of his injuries from the attack exacerbated again by the transformation
When Harry next woke up, he was in bed in the Infirmary. The sun was shining in through the high windows, and he could hear Madame Pomfrey pottering around in her supply room. He blindly attempted to reach for his glasses on the bedside table, but he immediately pulled his arm back to clutch his side.
The involuntary groan had Madame Pomfrey at his bedside in seconds.
“You haven’t been taking care of yourself very well lately, Mr Potter, have you? Or listening to your specialist.” The Mediwitch said, waving her wand over him to take observations.
“Sorry,” Harry croaked, this throat feeling raw.
“Don’t be saying sorry to me! You should be saying it to yourself!” she said disapprovingly, helping him to sit up and put his glasses on. As soon as he was settled, she was plying him with potions until he felt full of them. It was only when he felt his eyelids dropping that he realised the last of the Potions must have been a Dreamless Sleep. Just before he fell asleep entirely, he vaguely heard Pomfrey sigh, “Go to sleep, dear. You need the rest.”
Harry stayed four days in the Infirmary before Madame Pomfrey would even think about letting him out. Considering it was only the day before that he was able to walk any further than the bathroom and back, he didn’t argue too much. The Headmistress visited him twice in the last few days, sitting with him in the afternoon, keeping him occupied with the discussion of lesson plans. He was very grateful for that distraction, as it was in the days immediately following the Full Moon that depression set in again. It was during those days where he was laid up in bed that he had all the time in the world to think about and be reminded of all that he had lost.
On the fourth day, he was allowed parchment and a quill, so he set to work on a rough term plan for all the classes. When he was released from the Infirmary the next day, the Headmistress came down to meet him.
“It’s good to see you up and about, Harry,” she smiled warmly, the pity carefully hidden.
“It’s good to ‘be’ up,” Harry replied, stretching carefully.
While Madame Pomfrey conducted her final checks, McGonagall explained.
“This is the Time Turner you’ll be using,” the Headmistress said, presenting Harry with the little hour glass suspended inside a circle on a long chain. Where Hermione’s had been silver, this one was gold with a strange luminescent light inside instead of sand like the Muggle hourglass.
“Each 360-degree turn of the hour glass represents a twenty-four hour period. For example, you’ll be needing to go back four days, so you will need to turn it in an anti-clockwise manner four times, end to end. But you had best to it in your rooms otherwise you might meet yourself in the Infirmary,” the Headmistress smiled, handing the Time Turner into Harry’s hands.
Harry turned it over in his hands, surprised at how delicate it was. But he could feel the magic in it, like an aura around it.
“So, I guess there’s nothing else then?” Harry asked, looking to Madame Pomfrey to double check.
“Only stick to the plan that I’ve made for you, Mr Potter. If anything feels wrong of if you’re in pain, fire call me, and I’ll come to see you as soon as I can. I don’t want you running into yourself here in the Infirmary.”
“Will do, Madame Pomfrey,” Harry smiled mischievously, making the nurse finally smile at him.
“Oh, off with you,” she shooed him out with half a laugh.
“You don’t mind if I see you off, do you Harry?” The Headmistress asked as she walked with him out the doors.
“No, that’s fine. I’ll probably have some questions by the time we get to my rooms you could answer.” Harry said, walking slowly. His leg seemed to have stiffened up a little after lying in bed for the last four days.
They walked in silence the two floors that separated Harry’s rooms from the Infirmary, the castle quiet in the early morning light.
Once in his room, Harry took a well-needed seat at the desk chair by the door.
“Are you sure you wish to go back now? You could take some time to sleep if you need it. It would only be a slight adjustment with the Time Turner to go back the appropriate time,” McGonagall said, her tone worried.
“No, it will be fine. Besides, the 2nd was a Saturday, so I’ll still have some time to recover,” Harry said resolutely. He felt like he had wasted enough time as it was.
“Very well, then,” McGonagall sighed, “when you’re ready.”
“So, it’s just one turn for each day?” Harry asked, and the Headmistress nodded.
“What about parts of days?”
“Unfortunately, this kind of Time Turner isn’t as refined as the one that Miss Granger used in her Third year. That one was specialised for use over hours. This one is specifically used for days. I suppose that it could be used for hours, but you would need to be very careful when moving it in increments.”
Harry nodded his understanding, he probably wouldn’t use it for partial days, but it was good to know.
“Alright then,” Harry stood, getting up from the chair and stood in the middle of the room. “Here goes.”
“Good luck, Harry.” The Headmistress smiled.
“Knowing me, I’ll need it.”
Harry took up the little hourglass and placed the chain around his neck. Holding it out in front of him and trying to be as precise as possible, he turned the little knob on the side and turned the Time Turner four times. When he had finished the fourth revolution, he pushed the little knob back in and the Hourglass started spinning. Everything seemed to speed up in reverse. He watched as he and McGonagall walked out of the room a lot faster than they had walked in. The sunlight from the window suddenly disappeared before coming back again. He watched as the House Elves came in each morning to tidy and air the room, even though it hadn’t necessarily needed it.
Time seemed to stop very quickly once the Time Turner stopped spinning in his hands, Time itself returning to normal. Looking around, nothing seemed different or out of place. Casting a charm to check the time, Harry found that it was just before breakfast on September 2nd, the exact time it had been when he left the future. This year the school started on a weekend, so Harry was lucky that he still had two days to finish his lesson plans and make an appearance in the Great Hall. Already he could imagine the students’ confusion and subsequent theories on his absence from the Feast.
Deciding he might as well make a start, Harry left his rooms to gradually make his way to the Great Hall.
The few staircases that were between Harry’s rooms and the Hall were generous today as they all changed to allow him the shortest route and stay put until he had gotten off again. He was met by the Fat Friar from Hufflepuff along the way who cheerfully welcomed him back to the School before disappearing through the wall.
Even though it was still early in the morning on the weekend, there was still a fair amount of eager students in the Great Hall with loaded plates before them, happily chatting about their holidays. When Harry walked in, there was a slight lull in conversation as students noticed who had walked in and how he was leaning on his cane. Harry tried not to be too obvious about his dependence on it, but it couldn’t be helped. Especially not after half a week lying in the Hospital Wing.
Talk quickly resumed as Harry made his way up to the Head Table where Madame Pomfrey, Professor Vector and Headmistress McGonagall were already sitting. Taking a seat next to the Headmistress, Harry couldn’t help sighing in relief as he stretched his sore leg out in front of him.
“Good morning, Harry,” Minerva said as she took a sip of her tea.
“Morning, Professor,” Harry replied, flashing a quick smile.
“Are you feeling any better this morning, Harry?” Madame Pomfrey asked from Minerva’s other side.
“Little stiff, mainly tired, though,” he said, reaching for the toast.
“Well, you let me know if anything doesn’t feel right, Mr Potter. I still remember your time here as a student! There’s no need to soldier on through the pain. You come to me!” the matron said firmly, making Harry blush.
“Good! Now eat up, you need the energy.”
McGonagall just smirked at him as she watched, casually sipping her tea.
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding,” a sarcastic drawl interrupted them, the voice Harry immediately recognising.
“Good morning, Mr Malfoy. You remember Mr Potter?” McGonagall said pleasantly, her tone enforcing civility between the two wizards.
“I’m sure the entire wizarding world remembers the Boy Who Lived,” Malfoy said dismissively, taking a seat at the opposite end of the table.
“Good to see you, too, Malfoy,” Harry couldn’t help snarking back.
McGonagall sent a reproving glare at Harry, “Mr Malfoy is the Potions student who will be making your potion, Harry.”
Judging by Harry’s expression, McGonagall thought she should explain.
“Mr Malfoy will be making it, yes, but he will be overseen by our Potions Master. There is nothing to worry about,” she smiled encouragingly.
Harry wanted to believe her, but he couldn’t help the uneasy feeling.
After breakfast, Harry returned to his rooms and continued to work on his lesson plans. The window was open next to his desk, bringing a warm breeze in. He barely noticed the time pass before the breeze had turned cool and there was an uneaten sandwich at his elbow.
Glancing at the time, Harry packed up the paperwork and got up to take a quick walk to work out the stiff muscles in his back and legs. In hindsight, he really shouldn’t have lost track of time.
He grimaced as he stood, hand white on the head of the cane as he breathed through the pain. He forced himself to move about the room, the stiffness disappearing down to normal levels and he finally caught his breath.
Out in the corridors, he took a slightly longer route to the Great Hall. There were lots of students milling about in the courtyards and walking the corridors. He ended up passing the library which was empty and dark.
Harry made to continue on until a flickering light caught his attention. He took a few steps inside when the light suddenly came a lot closer.
“Can I help you, Potter?” Malfoy suddenly appeared, holding a bag overflowing with books and parchment, a candle held in his other hand being the source of light.
“Just curious to who was in the library, seeing as it seems closed,” Harry said defensively, trying to back out of the way.
“Drawn by bright lights, are you? Is that why you didn’t get out of the way of that werewolf? Moon too bright?” Draco said, a nasty sneer on his face, enjoying Harry’s pain.
“Not quite, Malfoy,” Harry shot back stonily, turning to walk away.
“Not scared of the dark?” Malfoy called to Harry’s retreating back.
“Hardly,” Harry said as he walked out of the library, “Just tired.”
“Good morning class and welcome to Third Year Defence Against the Dark Arts. I’m Professor Potter.”
Harry looked out at his first class as a Professor, third year Gryffindor/Slytherin.
“Who can tell me what you’ve studied so far?”
A sea of hands went up, so Harry chose at random.
“What did you cover first year?” Harry prompted, the young girl blushed.
“We studied *****************************************,”
“Very good, Miss?”
“Ten points to Gryffindor, Miss Thorntail,” Harry smiled, “What did you cover last year?”
This time Harry pointed at a Slytherin boy.
“Martin Goyle, and we covered ****************************************************.”
“Very good, thank you, Mr Goyle. Ten points to Slytherin,” Harry said, mind faintly reminiscing on the other Goyle he had known.
Taking a seat on the front of his desk, Harry began his first lesson.
By the end of the class, both houses were up thirty points, which had left the students happy, yet confused. It was a well-known fact that Harry was a Gryffindor, and yet there was no favouritism. In fact, he’d been very careful to show none at all.
As much respect Harry now belatedly had for Professor Snape, he didn’t want to be likened to him because of favouritism. Like Dumbledore had said, it is our choices which define us. Slytherins were no more evil than any other house. And if he helped house unity while he was here at Hogwarts, then all the better.
Harry spent the day revising with each class what they had previously studied and what the most important details were about each. He had lunch with the rest of the school in the Great Hall. Midway through the afternoon, though, the ache in his thigh came back with force. He barely made it through the last lesson before fire calling after the last student had left.
“Mr Potter, what can I do for you?” Madame Pomfrey asked as soon as the connection was made.
“I was wondering if I could get something for the pain,” Harry asked meekly.
“Of course you can!” the Mediwitch said, her tone practically a reprimand, “How long has it been hurting?”
“Just after lunch,” Harry admitted.
Madame Pomfrey clucked her tongue at that but knew there was nothing she could do.
“Next time, you will take the two minutes between classes to call me,” She glared at Harry before she disappeared from the flames. Only a few moments had passed before the fire flared again allowing the Mediwitch to step out.
“Scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?” she asked as she drew a goblet out of thin air with her wand.
“Seven, I guess,” Harry sighed, perching back on the nearest desk.
Madame Pomfrey only clucked her tongue again, her disproval clear again that he hadn’t come to her sooner. He was just so worried about becoming addicted to the pain potions, even though he understood being in pain tensed the muscles and slowed the healing process.
“Drink this, though you should probably go back to your rooms for dinner. This will make you pretty drowsy.” The matron advised kindly, gently urging him to his feet.
“Thank you, Madame Pomfrey,” Harry said genuinely, his gratitude showing now that the potion was taking over his body.
“Poppy,” she said, leading Harry out the classroom, his arm wrapped in hers as they slowly walked down the crowded corridors to his room.
“Thanks, Poppy,” Harry smiled. He couldn’t believe how fast the potion had taken effect as he could already feel his eyes drooping and his feet dragging. Before he knew it, they were back in his quarters and Poppy was pulling the sheets back on the bed.
Harry only had time to take off his robes and shoes before he was tumbling into bed, out like a light.
“Where’s Potter?” Malfoy asked, trying to hide his snide tone. He was the only Professor missing from the Head Table.
“Unwell, Mr Malfoy,” Madame Pomfrey said shortly, “He will return to his classes in the morning.”
The Headmistress looked up, surprised at not having heard earlier.
“He will be fine, Minerva. He finished his classes and retired to his rooms for dinner. That boy really should be resting that leg more,” the Matron reassured the woman quietly. Malfoy had just snorted and resumed his dinner.
“I wish there was something more we could do for him,” Minerva said sadly, laying her utensils aside.
“Me too, but there are no Potions catering to the werewolf market. And Hellebore is such a rare allergy in the general populace that there has never really been a cause for it,” Madame Pomfrey explained.
“Perhaps I could speak with Professor Hemmindale. He might spare some time to research,” McGonagall mused out loud.
“Perhaps there is someone else we could ask, though ask may be the wrong word to use. It would be good to see them get along,” Madame Pomfrey said quietly, taking a glance at the youngest member of staff at the Table.
“It would be good. Especially for the students. Their bickering could be seen as acceptance of that kind of behaviour,” McGonagall reasoned, a mischievous smile forming.
Harry eventually developed a rhythm at Hogwarts after that first month. He was learning the names of his students, and they were learning quickly the topics he taught them. There were a couple of times he’d had to call Madame Pomfrey, but as long as he took it easy and didn’t strain for anything, then those visits were purely check-ups.
He was starting to feel a little better when he started to feel the pull grow again.
According to his specialist at St. Mungo’s, he would eventually heal, but instead of about 12 weeks to heal without magic, it would take more than 8 months for Harry because the Transformation undid most of the healing that had occurred that month. He had come to dread the coming of the full moon for that simple fact. It felt like he was going back to square one like he had been straight after he had been bitten.
He could feel the day coming up, though, as it pulled at him late at night, the moon rising a little earlier each day. He didn’t have to look at the calendar to know that the full moon was the following night. His senses were already starting to heighten, which is why he heard the fire splutter before Ginny’s head appeared in the fire.
“Hey Harry,” she greeted kindly, a sad smile on her face.
Unfortunately, it was Ginny’s pity more than anyone else’s that annoyed him the most.
“Hey Gin,” Harry replied, setting his quill and marking aside.
“How are you doing?”
“Pretty much the same,” Harry said shortly, the werewolf instincts becoming more prevalent as the full moon drew closer.
“Oh,” Ginny said awkwardly, “Well, at least you’re not getting any worse,” She quipped back, not realising what she’d said until too late.
Harry remained silent.
“Well, um, I actually had a reason I was calling. Um, I’m pregnant,” she blurted out, her cheeks turning redder in the flames.
“Congratulations,” Harry said, trying to be happy for her, “How did Dean take it?”
“Good. He’s very excited,” Ginny said, but Harry could tell there was more to it than that. He just nodded and waited her out.
“We, um… we got a Paternity Potion, just to be sure, and um… It’s yours,” Ginny wouldn’t meet his eyes after that, glancing at him through her fringe.
Harry was struck speechless. He and Ginny had talked about having kids when they were still together. But after he’d been bitten, everything seemed to fall apart. He never thought he would have a chance to be a father now.
“So,” Harry started, but he didn’t know how to continue.
The silence stretched on for another minute before Ginny couldn’t handle anymore.
“I’d better go. Um, it was, ah, good to see you again, Harry,” She said quickly, starting to disappear.
“Wait! Um, what were you going to, um, do?” Harry stuttered, suddenly quite earnest.
“We’re not sure yet. Dean and I are still talking. We’ll keep it, but we haven’t really decided anything beyond that. I’ll speak to Dean about catching up with you,” Ginny sounded hurried, the awkwardness overpowering Harry’s senses even through the flames.
“Alright. Well, take care then, Gin,” Harry replied, wanting Ginny to leave just as much as she obviously wanted to escape.
“You too, Harry.”
Then she was gone.
The sound of broken glass followed in Ginny’s wake, the water that had been inside it soaking into the carpet on the other side of the room.
The werewolf hearing picked up the near silent pop that signalled a house elf arriving to clean up.
Harry never noticed his accelerating breathing or his hand clenched tightly in a fist. All that was running through his mind was the unfairness of it all. This should have been a happy time.
Keyword there being, ‘should’.
Ever since his days spent in the cupboard under the stairs, Harry had dreamed of finally having a family of his own. And he thought he’d had had that with Ginny.
Until the werewolf attack.
There was no way he could sleep tonight
The next day did nothing to promote werewolf rights or their reputation. Harry spent most of the day snapping at those around him and limping the corridors in a barely concealed rage.
Even the students were keeping a wide berth of him, sitting silently in class and taking copious notes.
McGonagall had tried cornering him at lunch time, but Harry did what all wild animals do when pushed into a corner. Harry was just thankful that she had seen him the previous month before the transformation, and therefore knew that this wasn’t his usual behaviour.
He just hoped he wasn’t fired because of it.
When he could, he avoided people at all costs, but he just knew the world was out to get him right now.
“What’s up your arse, Potter? You’ve been in a foul mood all day. You’r- OI!!”
Harry limped straight past Malfoy, not daring to stop or even glance at the Slytherin.
“So the Great Potter is too busy to even acknowledge the mere mortals around him, then?” Malfoy goaded, choosing to trail after Harry.
Harry just tried to limp away faster, but he knew it was a losing battle.
“Nothing to say to defend yourself, then? It’s always been said that you hated the limelight. Perhaps that’s wrong then. Maybe you do like the attention,” Malfoy bated.
Harry could only try to restrain his anger and ignore the blonde. Before he ripped his head off.
“It’s been a while since you defeated Voldemort, hey Potter. Is that why you went for a round with a werewolf?”
The speed with which Harry turned and was in his face surprised Draco, but it was the hard, glinting canine eyes devoid of the famous green that had him stepping back.
“Leave off it, Malfoy,” Harry growled, the sound rolling from deep in his chest. Harry kept the glare focused on the blonde, waiting for his submission. It took a few minutes, but eventually, Malfoy snorted and walked away.
Taking a deep breath, Harry tried to release the tension and rage building in his shoulders.
He tried not to notice the blood he had drawn on the palms of his hands.