"Where is he?" Tom shouted.
"I do not know. I cannot scent him. But none of the entrances have been opened," Nahass was distressed. Her master's mate had vanished and he was furious.
"Fawkes!" Tom yelled and the phoenix appeared, "This was Dumbledore, wasn't it? You led him here. You betrayed us!"
Tom drew his wand, his eyes glowing red.
"This wasn't Albus, this is the work of something much greater than that. Fate has been far too active in your lover's life."
"What is that supposed to mean? And don't lie to me. I know a spell that could kill even you and I'm not feeling patient," his voice held a dreadful calm.
"Do you know where Jason is from?"
"An orphanage, we grew up there together."
"And before that?"
"I don't know. Why would it matter?"
"Because Jason is not from this time. He's been returned to his proper time period, he won't be able to come back."
"He's gone?" Tom's wand fell with a clatter, his knees gave and he fell to the damp stone floor.
"I'm so sorry," Fawkes said with a sad croon before disappearing again.
Tom couldn't believe it. Jason – who he had just held, who had been so full of life, who had been like a part of Tom himself – could not have vanished. But he had. Just as quickly as he had entered Tom's life, he left. Love was supposed to last eternity. His hasn't even lasted a lifetime. All Tom got was fifteen fleeting years. Nothing in a wizard's life span. Worst of all, he hadn't even known his time was limited. Perhaps if he had—he could hardly bear to think about it.
He felt tears burn his eyes as he reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small jewelry box. Inside sat small silver ring with an emerald set in it. The gem couldn't compare with the brightness of Jason's eyes, but it would have suited him beautifully. Today was meant to be the day. He was finally ready to tie the knot, but too late. Jason was now gone – forever. Sobs wracked his body and he just knelt and cried for the first time in his life. He was furious with the cruel world he lived in. He vowed to rebuild it in memory of the only person who meant anything. He would go on to make seven Horcruxes and his oath would not stop him, proving that Jason, wherever he'd vanished to, was as good as dead. Tom Marvolo Riddle died with him. Dark Lord Voldemort left the chamber and Tom would not return until after Harry Potter's death years later, when he would cry for the second and last time.
In a distant time, Jason woke in a place he barely remembered But the instant he saw the tiny, cramped space it all rushed back to him. His cupboard. He was surprised to still fit inside, it hadn't been particularly large when he was seven and he had grown a lot since then. Or not, he thought, looking himself over. He definitely wasn't twenty, nor was he seven again, somewhere in between. Still underage, he realized with a frown. Any magic he performed would be detected by the Ministry, though that didn't mean he was willing to let his relatives abuse him anymore. Minor wandless spells would just register as ordinary accidental magic and the Ministry couldn't bother to examine the specific spell.
He opened the cupboard. Strangely, it was unlocked. Or perhaps not so strange. There probably hadn't been anyone to lock in for a while. He went to fetch the mail. On top was the newspaper, it was July 1st 1991, shortly before his eleventh birthday. The front page article warned about a "Big Business Scam, Exposed!", he pushed it aside and was about to leave when he noticed it. His Hogwarts letter, addressed to Harry J. Potter. That was him. But how strange, he had almost forgotten his birth name. It had been so long since someone had called him that. In his mind he was still Jason Evans and he always would be. He would need to attend school if he didn't want the Ministry to send someone after him. While the Ministry wouldn't pose him much of a threat, he didn't want to stay with the Dursley's either. Going to Hogwarts would give him the chance to stay in the wizarding world and return to the school—his only real home.
His thoughts were interrupted by a shriek and he turned to see Petunia.
"I'm back, aren't you glad to see me?" he asked.
"Where have you been?" she demanded.
"Off learning magic," he smiled at her flinch.
"You can't have, Lily didn't get her invitation to attend that freak school until she was eleven. That's when they start," she said, not bothering to deny magic's existence. So she must have known his mother was a muggleborn, as Jason had learnt from an ancestry spell. She'd known and kept it from him.
"Don't call me a freak. That might make me mad, you wouldn't like to see that," Jason raised his hands.
"You can't use magic in here! That man promised!" his aunt shook with terror, as though she doubted her own words.
"When did you speak to him?"
"I didn't. There was a note. When he left you here."
"Dumbledore left me here? As a baby? Why?"
"When that Lord Voldemort killed Lily—and your father—he just dropped you off here. In the middle of the night, like some kind of criminal."
"That serial killer. He's dead. Dumbledore promised that much in his note, else I wouldn't have taken you in. Not with some madman after you."
"Oh Tom," Jason sighed heading towards the window, "What happened to you?"
He looked outside and was suddenly blinded. Wards! And not just the standard Ministry grey ones, though those were there. There were two extras which glowed with the blindingly shine of Light magic. He squinted carefully at them to make out the details. One had a distinctive signature he would never forget. The yellow-cream of Dumbledore's magic. The ward was meant to track and report any magic Jason performed. It was lucky he'd stopped before he cast wandless magic on Petunia. Dumbledore's sensitive wards would notice it. And Dumbledore wouldn't ignore it like a random Ministry worker would, not when he'd gone through the trouble of creating these wards.
Underneath was another ward, a pale green protection. It felt comforting in a way Light magic had never been for him. It was also vaguely familiar, as if he had seen it a long time ago. It must have belonged to one of his parent. Probably his mother. He knew from some of Petunia's old insults that he'd inherited his mother's green eyes. Maybe he'd also gotten his green magic from her. The ward was ritual based, and very rare. It required a sacrifice of the caster's life, but would protect against anything except another, equally powered, ritual. If it was his mother's it was probably linked to him by blood and strengthened by proximity to Petunia.
His life as Harry Potter seemed to be getting more and more unusual! He would need to go to school now, at least to investigate.
He turned to Petunia, "Did you tell Dumbledore when I disappeared?"
"No," she said, staring strangely at his eyes.
"What?" he snapped.
"Oh," while Tom's eyes went red when he was emotional, Jason's turned an unnaturally bright green. Avada Kedavra green, Tom would say.
Since none of the wards were intended to physically track him and Petunia hadn't told Dumbledore, the man wouldn't even know he was gone. How foolish of him.
"Good," he told his aunt, "We'll keep it our little secret. I'll be leaving for Hogwarts soon and you can behave just like you did when I was gone."
Jason responded to his Hogwarts letter carefully. What would a muggleborn say? Probably that while he wanted to go to Hogwarts, he did not know how to buy supplies or get to the school. He wondered why he hadn't gotten a teacher to explain things the same way he and Tom had as children. He found the delivery owl still in the garden and gave it the letter he had addressed to Deputy Headmistress McGonagall. He remembered that name, Dumbledore's old transfiguration apprentice.
The next day there was a loud knock on the door. Petunia opened it, took one look at the man standing on her doorstep and immediately called for Jason. He came to the door and recognized Rubeus Hagrid, the half-giant he and Tom had accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets. As if that oaf could be Slytherin's heir.
"Hello, are you from Hogwarts?" Jason said in what he hoped was a believably shy voice. He was quickly falling back on his old, now slightly rusty, acting skills.
"Yeah, the name's Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Are you going to take me to get supplies?"
"O' course. Come on 'Arry, we'll be headed to Diagon Alley."
"But I don't have any money."
"Don't worry about that, d'yeh think yer parents didn't leave yeh anything?"
"In Gringotts, the wizard's bank."
"Wizards have banks?"
"Just the one. Gringotts. Run by goblins. Come along now, Harry, we're going to Diagon Alley."
Hagrid brought him to the train station, marvelling at all sorts of ordinary muggle inventions. They took the train to London, then went to the Leakey Cauldron. Once they were there Jason was mobbed by a bunch of witches and wizards who praised him for saving them from the Dark Lord. He hated it. He tried to deal with them gracefully but they refused to leave until Hagrid arrived.
"Must get on—lots ter buy. Come on Harry," he said. They went towards the wall which disguised Diagon Alley and he took out his umbrella, tapping the bricks which would open it.
"Welcome to Diagon Alley," he said proudly, leading Jason down the street towards Gringotts. It loomed up above them, white marble walls and bronze doors as intimidating as ever. They went through the two sets of doors.
"Yeh'd be mad ter try an' rob it," Hagrid said with a nod towards the goblin's poem which warned against theft. Jason knew goblin protections were no laughing matter, but a skilled and careful wizard, like himself or Tom, could still sneak in. They reached the counter and Hagrid walked up to a free goblin, "Morning. We've come ter take some money outta Mr. Harry Potter's safe."
"Do you have his key, sir?" The goblin asked what Jason had been wondering. He or his guardian should have it, but he didn't and he doubted the Dursley's did either. Perhaps the goblins would simply have to do a blood test to confirm he was the valid heir.
"Got it here somewhere," said Hagrid. Apparently not. The key must be from Dumbledore. But where had he gotten it? And what might he have taken out of the vault? Jason's emotions whirled but he carefully concealed his anger, making sure his eyes did not begin to glow. If Hagrid reported that to Dumbledore, his cover as ordinary Harry Potter would be blown.
After emptying what seemed like his every possession Hagrid reached the key, "Got it."
"That seems to be in order," the goblin said after a few moments of staring. It seemed he was also suspicious but, recognizing Harry Potter, he would leave it alone.
"An' I've also got a letter here from Dumbledore. It's about the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen," well this trip simply got more and more interesting. He wondered why Dumbledore had sent him with Hagrid on the same day as some secretive errand. Knowing the old man, it wasn't coincidence. He wanted Jason—or rather the innocent saviour Harry who he believed him to be—to become interested in whatever was hidden in the vault.
"Very well," said the goblin, "I will have someone take you down to both vaults. Griphook!"
Another goblin arrived and took them down to Harry's vault, the journey seemed to make Hagrid sick. The half giant exited the cart with a green tinge and a trembling legs. When Griphook opened the vault and Jason saw the sheer amount of money, he gasped. He was ridiculously rich! Growing up an out-of-time orphan the first time he'd had no family vault, he and Tom had relied on the Hogwarts scholarships and then their jobs, as well as extreme frugalness, in order to live comfortably. With the money in here he wouldn't need to work another day in his life. He gathered some money into a pouch then they headed toward vault seven hundred and thirteen. It was deep beneath Gringotts, through many of it's extra protection spells. Jason wondered what could be so important to be placed there, where vaults cost a fortune. When they arrived Griphook opened the door with a finger and Hagrid entered to pull out a small package. Even through it's wrapping, it shone with a near-blinding golden light to Jason's enhanced vision. Alchemy, and very strong at that. Jason wondered what it was. He was getting an idea, but it couldn't be. That would be with Nicolas Flamel. Unless Dumbledore has managed to persuade his old friend to move it.
Jason tuned out the rest of the shopping expedition, lost in thought, until they reached Ollivander's for his wand. When they reached the shop Hagrid left, unable to enter the small building. Jason then entered the store, "Garrick!" he called.
"Ah, Jason. I knew I'd be seeing you soon," the man appeared from behind a stack of boxes, "How are you?"
"All right, I suppose, but I miss Tom horribly. And I've heard all these things about a Dark Lord, what happened to him? All I know is that he's not really dead. I can sense his soul out there somewhere, presumably because of his Horcruxes."
"Yes, when he was killed he simply became a bodiless spirit. The problems began after you left. He went mad with grief. He made six Horcruxes—"
"No! How could he?"
"People do terrible things when they're distraught. And Tom never listened to anyone but you. I did try to stop him. A few Horcruxes in was when he really became a Dark Lord, that level of soul damage is almost irreparable. And, did you know, you're a Horcrux? Ever since you defeated him as an infant. That may be why you traveled through time to him."
"I'm a Horcrux?"
"Yes, I believe unintentionally. If he performed the ritual before his 'death' the shard would simply move to the nearest host. It's definitely there. I can sense it on you."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?" Jason growled.
"I never saw it until now. I believe Fate blocked my Sight on that matter. But you must leave before it becomes suspicious, here's your wand," he held out Jason's holly and phoenix feather wand. A twin to Tom's, "Tom brought it here when you vanished, like you had asked him, I've kept it for you."
"Bye Garrick. And thanks" Jason said.
"You're welcome son. I wish you good luck in this life," he gave a small, pained smile to Jason's retreating back.