The Sugar Quill
Author: Evelyn Dreamtrot  Story: The Time-Turner  Chapter: And the Clock Unwinds
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Chapter Two: And the Clock Unwinds

Chapter Two: And the Clock Unwinds


            And curiouser¼

            If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

            This is truly a ridiculous question and properly conveys the nature of most philosophers.

            But what if a forest was empty? If there were no insects to feel the vibrations, no squirrels who were innocently sitting in their homes when the ground suddenly began coming at them at an outrageous speed?

            If the forest was entirely empty the tree still makes a sound, of course. It makes sense. Because the tree has to be there to hear it.

            And if this made any sense to you, it would explain why this story will now revert to the vantage point of one of those who not only viewed it, but felt it, and lived it.

            Harry Potter is shaking uncontrollably as he enters the Great Hall.

            And sees his father at the long Gryffindor table. Sees his father, and almost thinks he's looking at the back of his own head, because it has the same untidy hair. As his two friends lead him forward, Harry notices also that his father is not paying attention to his breakfast, but to a girl sitting across from him, who is laughing.

            Harry nearly swallows his heart in surprise. She is so beautiful.




            James hadn’t noticed her before.

            That is to say, he had noticed her. She was actually a good friend of his. But before just recently, he hadn’t seen her like he was seeing her now. He was starting to enjoy the animation of her lips and eyes as she spoke, and the high-pitched sound of her laugh. He’d act so stupid to make her laugh, just so he could see her smile again.


            Harry felt his brain go numb as Hermione and Ron slowly took him closer to the Gryffindor table. His mother was sitting not two feet from him, and alive. Hermione caught his hand before he could reach out and touch Lily's hair. She shook her head, pity in her eyes. He turned away from her before he could let the look sink into him. He shut his eyes and opened them again.

            Lily was still there. She turned to talk to someone a few seats down and was looking through Harry. He had to bite his fist.

            Her eyes were so green.


            The eggs on James' fork stopped halfway to his mouth. The morning sun coming in the windows of the Great Hall had caught her hair so that it was at its reddest, and this had dragged his eyes, kicking and screaming, to where she sat a few seats down and across from him. She was giggling at something her best friend, a tall, lanky, and round-faced girl, had said.

            “I’ll never get this right,” sighed Mary Sue over-dramatically, trying to get a spoon to stay on her nose.

            “You’re right, you never will,” sighed Sirius, equally as dramatic from James’ side.


Harry glanced with surprise at the young, energetic Sirius Black. For the first time he really realized the change that had overcome him in Azkaban.

            "Wow. Look at him," whispered Ron with a little laugh.


            She glared at Sirius and scooped up some oatmeal as he continued. “Maybe you’re nose is too long. Not fit out for-”

                        Mary Sue pulled the spoon back and let it go, sending a glob of oatmeal rush-owl delivery into Sirius’ face. The table burst out laughing, and she covered her mouth in mock surprise. Not pausing to wipe the oatmeal off his face and glaring, he plucked the spoon out of her hand, scooped up a heaping pile of oats and placed it on her nose, bowl down.

            “There you go. Now it’ll stick.”

            James reverted his attention back to Lily, who seemed to have gone into a fit of giggles with the rest of the table. When Mary Sue retaliated by pouring the rest of the oatmeal into Sirius’ lap, Lily burst into peals of laughter that went silent with mirth. She thought this was so funny, in fact, that she accidentally sent herself off the bench, falling backwards onto the floor.


            Harry instinctively held his arms out to catch her, but Hermione, wincing, pulled him back just in time. He wanted so badly to help her up…


            James was the first to act. Without thinking, he catapulted over the table, upset the pumpkin juice and several other plates, and landed at her side. She was still laughing, but now at her fall, and with short coughing gulps. He knelt down beside her, not noticing the other people who had come to help her up.


            All three of them dodged backwards to avoid the other students who began to form a crowd around his mother and father. Harry sighed.

            "Shhh," said Hermione, smiling. "Watch."


            “Are you okay?” James asked, trying not to sound too serious but feeling it. “Quick. How many fingers am I holding up?”

            “What fingers?” she asked, and at first he thought she was dazed from her fall. But she was looking past his fingers and had turned her bright green eyes on him. And he, in turn, looked at her, and everyone else was forgotten.

            Until a spoon went flying through the air and struck him on the head, that is.

            “Help her up, you dolt!” shouted Remus, but Sirius had thrown the spoon.

            “Some gentleman you are!” he scoffed as James gave Lily his hand and hefted her back to her feet. He turned back to survey the damage he’d done on the table and grinned wickedly.




            Hermione and Ron were tugged across the Great Hall by Harry, whose face was twisted and unreadable.

            "You don't want to go back already, do you, Harry?" asked Ron as Harry pulled them into a broom closet and tugged off the Invisibility Cloak.

            But instead of answering Ron, Harry backed into the wall and slid down it slowly, taking off his glasses. Sitting, he looked down and grabbed the hair on the back of his head, his shoulders shaking slightly. Ron realized with vague horror that Harry was either crying or trying very hard not to.

            "Harry¼" began Hermione, kneeling in front of him while Ron stood watching numbly. "Do you want to go back home?"

            "No¼ no. I'm fine. I didn't¼" Harry was unable to mask the tears in his voice, no matter how he muffled it. "I didn't think it would feel like that. Seeing them."

            "I should have known it would affect you like this¼ I'm sorry," whispered Hermione, nervously patting Harry's shoulder.

            "No." Harry looked up. "Don't be sorry. I don't want you to¼ This isn't a bad thing." He replaced his glasses. "I¼" He looked down again and ran a hand through his hair in frustration as a new wave of tears flowed past the rim of his glasses, which were fogging. He was blushing. Embarrassed to have noticed, Ron averted his gaze. He hated seeing Harry like this. Not that he had ever seen him cry before, at least not for a long time. He hated seeing Harry unable to hide emotions that he really wanted to. Ron found himself blinking his own eyes to clear them of tears.

            The dull roar of chattering students exiting the Great Hall was a welcome distraction within the dark broom cupboard. They all turned their heads to watch the door wearily. The light coming under the door shuddered and flashed as feet trundled through the corridor.

            “Hermione,” Harry hissed, his voice still slightly thick. “Get the Time-Turner ready, in case someone opens that door.”

            “Why can’t we just lock the door?” Ron stepped forward, wand up to do so, but Hermione, from her place on the floor, stuck her arm out and stopped him from moving any further.

            “That could change time too much. Don’t you see? Something that small¼ whoever tries to open the door might have to go get keys, or pause to do something else, and then everything could¼” She gestured vaguely, the little light in the room lacing the edge of her features.

            “Oh, and seeing us disappear when you turn over that stupid egg-timer isn’t going to change things! It could¼ scar someone¼ emotionally!” said Ron. He could just see her glare up at him.

            “Shut it, you two. I’m sick of having to keep you from strangling each other!” Harry said it very suddenly and probably louder than he meant to. Ron felt his ears burn. Hermione was very suddenly interested in the collar of her shirt. “Now come closer so I can get the Cloak around us.”

            Ron started to do so when Hermione gasped and started frantically feeling her neck. “It’s¼. it’s gone!” Panicking, she stuck her hand down her shirt, groping for something. Much to his chagrin, Ron’s ears began to burn again, and he vaguely wondered when he’d have control over his body again. It seemed to have a mind of its own.

            “What’s gone, Hermione?” Harry asked, leaning forward.

            “Oh no. Oh no¼” She knelt and began feeling on the floor. In her flustered state she began to reach up to open the door, even though they could still hear the footsteps of students outside. Ron caught her just in time, grabbing her wrist. She yanked her hand back and clutched her face distractedly.

            “What?” Ron demanded.

            “Not the¼” Harry began.

            “Yes! I’ve¼ the Time-Turner’s gone! If¼ if¼.” She wrung her hands and leaned against the wall as Harry had done.

            “We have to get it back,” said Ron, and it was his turn to reach for the doorknob. He got it open a crack before Harry jumped up and slammed it.

            “We’re going to have to wait until the hall empties, Ron. Calm down, Hermione, we’ll find it,” said Harry, glancing down to where Hermione was fretting.

            “Harry¼ if it’s out there¼ we’ll find it in pieces.”

            A horrible silence filled the small closet, the bustle of the last students echoing outside as it sunk in what this would mean. They’d be stuck here, in 1970-something. Forever.

            “We’d¼ find Dumbledore¼ he’d¼ listen to us and¼ help us get back,” said Harry quietly, but even his voice sounded doubtful.

            Ron bit his lip. He knew this had been a bad idea. He had Intuition about these kinds of things, but did they ever listen? He didn’t want to deny Harry the chance to see his parents, that’s why he’d relented, even though his gut was telling him to stay in his own bloody decade.

            “I think¼” Harry had his ear against the wooden door. “I think it’s empty.”

            Just as he spoke they heard a lone pair of footsteps echo against the stone, and as it receded hurriedly, Harry tried the doorknob.

            “It’s¼ locked,” he said slowly, shock apparent in his voice.

            “Oh, come on, Harry, are you a wizard or aren’t you? Alohamora,” said Ron, getting annoyed, mostly because he was anxious to find the Time-Turner.

            Harry opened the door, and it swung on its hinges with a very audible whine. “The coast is clear.” He ushered them outside. Hermione began to scan the floor frantically, skittering about the Entrance Hall biting her lip and muttering to herself about when she’d seen the small egg-timer last.

            It was Ron that spotted it, hanging from the post at the base of the banister that lined the grand main stairs. It was hung by the long gold chain, quite casually and quite in one piece. He yelled out and pointed, and Harry, who was closest, grabbed it off of the banister. Hermione ran over to them where they stood examining it. She snatched it from Harry’s hand.

            “Let me see! Let me¼ Oh, this is not good¼

            “What do you mean, it’s not good?” demanded Ron. “We found it and it’s not been smashed to bits! How can that be not good?”

            “Because, Ron, it’s been hung here, so it’s been handled! Someone may have used it!” said Hermione, her eyes searching the Time-Turner.


            “Quick,” said Harry. “Has anything changed around us? That should be a clue¼

            The three of them glanced around. Harry returned to the cupboard and grabbed the Invisibility Cloak, but Hermione, not following her own careful advice, rushed into the Great Hall, which was empty now.

            “Oh no,” she groaned.

            Harry slid to her side, and Ron banged into him as he rushed over to where they stood, staring into the empty Hall.

            “Er¼ what?” asked Harry, but Ron noticed it.



            “Slytherin’s in the lead now. For House Points,” said Ron.

            “Well, yes, it’s a shame, but¼

            “Harry, when we got here, Gryffindor was in the lead. It’s only been a few minutes, they couldn’t be that far ahead between then and now,” said Hermione, and she shuddered. “Someone has used this. Let me… Let me think.”

            She bit her thumbnail while she glared at the Time-Turner, muttering again and rocking back on her heels.

            “Harry, what’s that spell¼” Ron said slowly. “What’s the spell that made Cedric¼ and them¼ all come out of You-Know-Who’s wand¼?”

            Priori Incantatem!” said Hermione, and groped for her wand. “Put the Cloak over us, Harry. If I modify the spell a bit¼ I mean it might work for this, just different. It may transport us somewhere. Hold onto me,” she said finally, having said this all very fast. Harry did what she said and grabbed her arm, Ron grabbed her arm as well, and she shot him a withering look for no good reason. He glared back. If she wanted to be in that sort of mood, he was sure going to play along.

            “Okay, now I’m going to- Harry!” Hermione yelped.

            “What? What?” Harry jumped.

            “Your eyes! Ron, look at his eyes!”

            Ron looked, and gasped as Hermione had. Behind his glasses Harry’s eyes had turned very noticeably from green to brown.

            “They’re¼ brown, Harry.”

            “Brown¼ they’ve¼ what?”

            “And the shape’s changed a bit, too. Oh, Harry, I think time may have changed a lot more than we thought¼

            Dispicio,” said Ron, using a spell he’d learned from seeing his mother and sister do it so often, to check how they looked. Harry looked into the circle of mirror glass that had appeared by them and shook his head.

            “This is not good¼” he said.

            “To say the least!” exclaimed Ron. “Hurry up and get us to where that was used last, Hermione. We’ve got to fix this.”

            “Well, ‘last’ is an iffy word to use with a Time-Turner, Ron. I mean, considering they could have gone backward or forward in time-”

            “Just do it, Hermione!” hissed Ron, pulling the Cloak over the rest of his shoulder. Hermione made an annoyed noise and went back to examining the Time-Turner. She held her wand to the glass.

            Priori Actus!”

            Ron felt the world swirl around him and clung tightly to Hermione’s arm as time stretched before them.



To be continued¼



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