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Tied Up With String

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The backlash from Voldemort’s death: the release of the magicks tied to him; the Dark Marks on the Death Eaters; the various curses and taboos; all the magic he’d been draining off his followers to aid him in the Final Battle, the bonds holding it all together disintegrated. It ripped through anyone with the slightest connection to him, scorching them from the inside out - many of the Death Eaters left the battle suffering from severe magical backlash burns on their arms. But it was Harry who was hit the worst, the soul fragment may have perished with the Killing Curse Voldemort had cast at him, but it had left its mark on Harry’s own soul. Traces far more powerful than the lingering touch of the Dark Lord’s magic that was woven into the Dark Marks; it created an irresistible beacon for mercantile remnants of Voldemort’s influence. Wormtail was, perhaps, the next most affected. He was found during the clean up with the right half of his body blasted to pieces after the magical constructs holding his silver hand together dissolved, and the newly unchained power imploded.

Magic doesn’t follow logic, or any other discernable set of rules or guides. Sometimes it seems to almost be sapient: working better to the benefit of some more than others. Harry Potter, with the lingering effects of the crossroads cloaking him like a veil and mingling with the beaconing remnants of Voldemort’s soul fragment, was the epicentre of such an event. It has puzzled wizards since Merlin’s time: the apparent favouring of a single entity, seemingly by magic itself but every so often a magical being finds themselves in an untenable situation. But when all seems lost, a new path arises out of the darkness, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. All the conflicting factions of magic fought with each other, raging towards another magical explosion. This outburst was caught and directed; threads of transportation magic from the crossroads; and that of new souls from the soul fragment, all of it bound together by a fervent wish for things to finally be over .

The result was an accidental magical transportation ritual that pitched Harry Potter backwards through time, back to the day that marked the end of Voldemort’s classification as a self-sustaining fully souled being.

Harry didn’t land on Hogwarts grounds, or indeed, even in Britain. Like many other ‘Dark’ things, Death and the magicks tied to its image are tricksy. Harry Potter found himself falling to his knees on a Tokyo sidewalk, at dawn, in 1965. Harry had walked into the forest knowing he was going to his death. He’d prepared for it, but in that preparation he hadn’t even vaguely considered what would happen after. There wasn’t any reason to think he’d need to worry over it. After watching the warm white light explode out of Voldemort’s corpse, well, even Moody’s favoured ‘constant vigilance’ couldn’t ever reasonably have predicted something like that. The light shot up and split out into thousands of small comets racing out into the night. When one of them starting toward him, he had only felt resigned: in accordance to the usual Potter Luck, trouble came straight at him.

Going from seeing Hogwarts, blackened by stray spellfire by still comfortingly standing; to an unfamiliar city street warranted a little wariness. Especially since all the, helpfully neon, signage was in a complex looking set of characters that resembled English not one wit. Despite having technically died that night, Harry only had a few small scrapes and some minor bruising. His dark robes and the technicolour pre-dawn gloom masked the blood splatter and spell damage left from the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry stood there stock still for a while, just watching the shadows shift as the sun started to peek its way over the horizon. He doesn’t know where he is, and doesn’t know a spell to find out. Point-me is only useful when it has a focal point to work from. Still, he sets an image of Hogwarts in his mind and murmurs the incantation, letting his wand whirl in his hand, but it just keeps on spinning this way and that.

He’s either too far away, or Hogwarts doesn’t exist here. Wherever here is. Somehow Harry isn’t shocked by the thought he’s ended up in another world, or dimension. After being introduced to a society secreted away alongside the rest of humanity at age eleven, the thought of parallel universes becomes less unthinkable and more, undiscovered. Harry wanders for a while, watching this strange city come alive. Shops opening up, people yawning over hot coffees and frantically checking wristwatches as they race towards an unknown destination. He finds an out of the way doorstep and settles in to people watch. There’s nothing he needs to do, and he’s content to watch the world go by for awhile. So he watches and listens, starts to recognise the rhythm of the street, the ebb and flow of people. The waves of harried businessmen in suits, the carefree teenagers in school uniforms, the housewives that stop to gossip while the keeping half an eye on the youngsters that play near their feet. Harry catalogues snippets of conversation in a language he doesn’t know.

“早く、早く、遅れちゃうよ。”

“あんパン!メロンパン!肉まん!”

“数学の宿題仕上げたんだ?。”

He listens to the music that spills briefly out of shop fronts, gets up and walks around aimlessly when the sun reaches it zenith. He’s walking through what feels like a university, late afternoon, when his stomach starts to growl. Rubbing at it absently, he heads towards a water fountain, that will have to do for the moment, he has no money, let alone the muggle currency. His body’s gotten used to abuse, after his childhood and the more recent stint on the run - as much as Hermione tried, the three of them hadn’t eaten very well when they were camping out and hunting down Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Once he’s drunk his fill, he flops down onto a nearby green, the weather is chilly, but pleasant, and the last of the afternoon sun is making him sleepy. He pillows his head on his balled up robes: he might as well take a nap.

“Oi, Ooooiiii!”

Harry grumbles, curling up tighter against the invasion of the comfortable quiet.

“これでねないで。”

“Whaa…” Harry yawns, rubbing the grit out his eyes with one hand while the other pats around for his glasses. When the familiar frames are tapped against the back of his hand, he flips his hand palm up and unfolds the frame with a deft flick, sliding them neatly onto his face .

“Thanks.” He says, looking up at the person who woke him up, but at least had the decency to give him back his glasses.

“え。英語?”

“Huh? I- Uh, I don’t know the language you’re speaking. Sorry.” Harry says with a sheepish expression, shifting to sit cross-legged on the green. The world is starting to glow gold with the oncoming sunset, he must have slept for several hours.

“English. Yes? You speaking this.” The person speaking halting, heavily accented English is definitely Asian. His short black hair is neatly combed to one side and he’s wearing a white button down tucked into black pants.

“Yeah. I’m speaking English.” Harry says.

“Ah. You can not sleep here.” Again the words a faltering, and the man has a furrow between his brows.

“Oh. Sorry, right. I just fell asleep in the sun. I can go now…?” Harry grabs for his robes and is about to swing them around his shoulders when his stomach grumbles again, embarrassingly loud.

The man is laughing, shoulders shaking with it.

“Sorry, sorry. Your face. Come. I get you food, yes?”

The man’s name is Katsuragi Junichi, he learns over a bowl of noodles.

Harry looks sadly down at the last piece of spring onion in the bottom of his bowl and scrapes it up the side to his waiting mouth. The chopsticks are something that will take getting used to, but he can manage them well enough to messily slurp up the noodles.

“Come, another?” Katsuragi is laughing again.

“Please.” Harry gives his most pitiful look, nothing he’s ever eaten before has tasted so good. Maybe it’s the aftermath of dying.

“Of course. Miso?”

“Sure. Is that the same as this bowl, or different?”

“Different. Last was shio - salt.”

“Mm.” Katsuragi’s laughing again, but soon enough there’s another bowl in front of him, so Harry can’t care.

“So, what are you doing here? In Japan?”

“I’m uh-” Harry stumbles to a halt, watching the noodles slump back into the bowl, he doesn’t have a convenient excuse for his presence here. He didn’t know where he was until Katsuragi mentioned it, not that it does any good because Harry knows basically nothing about Japan. He takes in a fortifying breath and spits out, “I don’t know.”

“You, don’t know?”

“I woke up here, early this morning, don’t know how I got here. What I’m supposed to do here. I’m very lost.” Harry explains more to his bowl of soup than to Katsuragi.

In the end, Katsuragi had taken pity on Harry for more than just dinner. He took him back to his small apartment and let him borrow a change of clothes. Harry didn’t sleep at all that night, caught up in fretting over how he’d ended up here - Tokyo; Japan; 1965. He could feel his magic buzzing in his veins, but there was a strange echo. A vast emptiness greeted him when he stretched his senses out, Harry had a sinking feeling that magic wasn’t here like it was back home. Home might be a lot further than Harry really wanted to contemplate on too few hours of sleep in an unfamiliar country and an unfamiliar time.

He ends up staying with Katsuragi. Sharing the cramped apartment, learning how not to trip over one another at night and in the morning. He learns the language, starts carving out a life for himself. Harry never stops carrying his wand everywhere with him, tucked away in a concealed holster on his forearm beneath his sleeve, but he does slowly stop looking over his shoulder and startled at loud noises and quick movements in his periphery.