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Katherine's footsteps echoed through the halls, ricocheting off of the walls and amplifying the silence. She arrived before a rather ugly statue of a gargoyle, which asked for a password.

“Erm... I believe it was 'acid pops'?”

Without another word, the gargoyle swung aside, allowing Katherine to enter a small, elevator-like opening and exit into the headmaster's office. The circular room was full of moving portraits on the walls and intricate silver instruments emitting strange clicking and whirring noises. Fawkes the phoenix sat perched to the side, watching Katherine's entrance with black, unnaturally intelligent eyes. There were four chairs in front of the headmaster's desk. Only one was empty, and Katherine took a seat, nodding courteously at the other three individuals: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. They nodded in return.

“Excellent, we've all arrived!” Professor Dumbledore exclaimed, smiling warmly at the four adolescents. “I apologize for calling you in at this time. I assume I am cutting into your relaxation time, but I believe what we are to discuss is of utmost importance, especially with our time consistently waning.” He fiddled with one of his hands, which was frightfully blackened despite an immaculate ring gleaming on his finger.

“Now, as you've all realized, we are experiencing a great number of attacks coming from Lord Voldemort's followers. I assume you remember our brief conversation about Horcruxes prior to this, yes?"

Ron visibly shuddered and Hermione grimaced. Harry nodded solemnly. “What about them, sir?”

“I have reason to believe Voldemort has gotten wind of our search for them, and he's keeping them very well guarded. As in,” Dumbledore suddenly appeared older and wizened, “on his being, more protected than ever before.”

“Sir, then how will we, erm... get to the Horcruxes if Voldemort is keeping such close guard on them?” Harry asked.

“That is what I've called you in here for. You see... I miscalculated the amount of time we had. It seems Voldemort is growing impatient and leaving his followers to run wild; they seem... almost unstoppable.”

“But Professor,” Hermione began, “if we just find the Horcruxes and destroy them, he'll be rendered mortal once more, won't he? And... and then, well, Harry can...”

“We don't have a place to start searching, Hermione,” Harry said quietly. “We haven't got that kind of time anymore.”

“I'm afraid Mister Potter is right,” Dumbledore said gravely. “Especially with so many of our people fighting, and innocent blood being spilled.” He looked at them, his fiery blue eyes meeting theirs before dropping a final bomb of a statement. “Dedalus Diggle has been taken hostage by a group of Death Eaters as of yesterday.”

The room burst into cries of disbelief.


“... no such thing!”

“... no motives behind...”

“... we've got to rescue him!”

Dumbledore held up a hand to silence them, looking weary once again. “Now, now, we must remain calm. We are working on retrieving Dedalus. However, that is not why I called you here. I beg you will forgive me for concocting such a sensitive plan before announcing it to you.” He turned to Harry. “I must ask that you continue your research of Voldemort's Horcruxes. I will assist you to the best of my ability, but I am afraid I haven't got much time,” Dumbledore said, looking at his blackened hand.

“But sir, we haven't got time either,” Hermione said softly. “If the rumors are true, V-Voldemort is growing stronger rapidly. And Harry's right. We haven't got leads as to what the Horcruxes are, let alone how we can get to them.”

“Precisely, Miss Granger. Ah, time. Time is a fickle thing. But time does continue, regardless of what universe one exists on,” Dumbledore said pleasantly.

“Sorry, D... Professor, but... what?” Ron asked, his bewildered expression reflecting the students' confusion.

“If we were to create a parallel universe, time would continue here as it would there.”

Dumbledore's words hung around them mysteriously. Finally, comprehension dawned on Hermione's features. “S-sir, are you referring to time travel?”

Katherine jerked her head at Dumbledore. He couldn't possibly be agreeing to tampering with time... could he?

“I am afraid so, Miss Granger. If we were to send someone back to prevent the creation of Voldemort's Horcruxes, we would be able to 'buy back' all this time, for lack of a better phrase.”

“None of this would even exist...” Harry murmured.

“But... isn't that dangerous, sir?” Katherine asked, finally speaking. “Time travel, I mean. It's not a very well-known field of study, is it? Anything can go wrong...”

“You are quite right, Miss O'Hara. But we cannot risk Voldemort's rise to power. We must take as many precautions as deemed necessary. The Order is simply not strong enough anymore. Voldemort is gaining followers while our numbers are dwindling. We simply cannot afford to allow such a thing to occur,” Dumbledore said solemnly.

The room filled with a pressing silence that dragged on for a very long few seconds, before Harry's voice broke it. “Well. When should I leave, then, Professor?”

“You're not going alone, Harry,” Ron said, his voice strong. “We're coming with you.” His voice carried an unexpected air of finality as Hermione nodded in agreement.

“No,” Harry answered. “Professor Dumbledore needs you here. If anyone can stop V-”

“Excuse me,” Professor Dumbledore interrupted, looking mildly amused. “That is quite the display of loyalty you three have shown, and I thank you for that. However, I need you three in this time line, with me. It would not be a very smart idea to rid this universe of the boy destined to destroy Voldemort. Not only can you all aid in the finding of Horcruxes, I cannot send three underage students into the past, no matter how able you've proven yourselves to be.”

Ron looked slightly relieved. “Oh. Well then... erm... then who are you sending back in time, Professor?”

The wizened professor at last turned his attention to Katherine, whose eyes widened. “Er... Professor...” She resisted the urge to run very quickly in the opposite direction.

“This is quite a demanding task, and I do sincerely apologize for asking of you something of this magnitude, Miss O'Hara. I would certainly understand if you declined, although I truly do hope you won't. I believe you have the qualities required for this task, and it certainly helps that you are of age,” Dumbledore said, his x-ray vision eyes burning into Katherine's. “What do you say, Miss O'Hara?”

Katherine forced herself to close her mouth, which had dropped open of its own accord. This was definitely not what she had expected when she received word of this meeting. As one of the youngest members of the Order of the Phoenix, she could see why Dumbledore would choose her: she had a small frame, a young face, a loyal heart, and was sharp with a wand; she was a passable Hogwarts student, regardless of the time frame. She was always ready to undertake any task asked of her: she'd enthusiastically accepted Fred and George Weasley's offer to become a member of the Order, seeing as they were close friends and shared many of the same beliefs. Katherine couldn't understand what unnerved her about this task; she'd fought worse things before, thanks to her position in the Order. Still, that had been with the rest of the Order, with her friends around her... but if she left, her absence wouldn't make too large of a difference. She had no family, and she wasn't all that close to her friends, besides the Weasleys. Before her courage evaporated, the words came tumbling out of her mindless mouth: “I'll do it.”

Dumbledore visibly relaxed, smiling largely. “Excellent. I cannot thank you enough, Miss O'Hara. I hope you don't mind; I've taken the liberty of packing a trunk of all that you'll need.”

“Wait!” Katherine half-shouted, interrupting Dumbledore's Summoning of her trunk. She reddened. “I'm, erm... leaving... now?”

“Oh, yes, Miss O'Hara. I apologize for not elaborating further. We need as much time as possible- or, rather, you do- so I naturally assumed you'd want to leave now.”

Katherine stared at him, then at the other three students, who looked at her with expressions of sorrow and mingled pity. “I-I... yes, you're right, Professor, I'm sorry. Do you... have a plan you'd wish for me to follow during my, er, stay in the past?”

“Not explicitly, but I do have an outline of what you are to do, Miss O'Hara. I am sending you back to 1942, where you can hopefully prevent Voldemort from creating his first Horcrux.”

“F-fifty... years, sir?” Hermione spluttered.

Dumbledore nodded. “You will pretend to be a fifteen year old transfer student, Miss O'Hara. From... hm... let's say, Beauxbatons. You learned French at the orphanage, did you not?” Katherine nodded. “Yes, I thought so. I've included a binder of information I believe you will find useful.”

“Professor, how will I prevent Voldemort from creating Horcruxes if I don't even know what they are?” Katherine asked.

“That, Miss O'Hara, is why this task is rather daunting,” said Dumbledore. “I need you to find what they are, and keep Voldemort from using them.”

“But... but what if I'm not successful?”

Dumbledore's eyes bore into hers. “Then you must destroy them.”

Katherine swallowed hard. “Erm... okay. And if everything goes according to plan, when am I to return?”

“I'd say... the end of the school year. And, Miss O'Hara? Please try to find as much information as possible. Even if the first Horcrux is prevented, it doesn't necessarily mean that Voldemort will not create others.”

The plan seemed to hardly be deserving of the name at all; it seemed more like grasping at straws and clinging to hope that things would work out in the end. Even going back in time wouldn't grant them success. Anything could go wrong, Katherine could fail...

“And, Miss O'Hara?”

“Yes, Professor?”

“I wish to remind you to remember what you are there for. Other things may lead you astray, but remember the task at hand. Tom Riddle can be a very persuasive person, and a very convincing actor. Do exercise precaution when dealing with him. In addition to that, you must remember how fragile time lines are: you mustn't tell of your time traveling,” Dumbledore said seriously. “Now,” he continued, his demeanor instantly lightening, “here is your trunk, and this is your time-turner.”

He gave both items to Katherine, who put the time-turner necklace around her neck. A tiny hourglass in a circular orb served as the pendant, and there were dates with knobs to change them under the hourglass. She looked up to find everyone in the room looking right at her. She forced a smile. “Thanks for everything.” Her voice sounded a lot stronger than she felt. “Say goodbye to your family for me, Ron,” she continued, then smiled at Harry and Hermione before turning back to Dumbledore.

Dumbledore smiled encouragingly. “First of September, 1942,” he offered, and Katherine's shaking fingers turned the knobs on the time-turner. It immediately began whirring, and she met Dumbledore's eyes again. He offered a warm smile. The last thing she heard was his voice pleasantly saying, “And do try to enjoy yourself as well, Miss O'Hara,” before she felt her feet leave the ground.
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Hey, guys! New story. Are HP fanfics still cool? haha. Anyway, I'm pretty excited about this because it is unlike anything I personally have ever written. The time travel and Tom Riddle's character... it's all unknown territory for me. Anyway, this was just an introduction to the plot and main character, so the action and characterization will come later. Also, chapters will definitely be longer. Tell me what you think, and thanks for reading! (: