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Was written as a play on words to poke fun at a story called Harry Potter and Merlin's Reaper or something. It got away from me and became a fluffy, pointless little oneshot. At this point, it looks like it's going to form the prologue of a post-fifth year AU. Still, it stands well enough on it's own.


It had been three years since the battle at the Department of Mysteries. Three years since he had been hit in the back with a stunner and fallen head-first into an oversized, stylised hourglass.

Three years since he had found himself on the outskirts of a large field of wheat, in what turned out to be some time long before Harry was used to.

He didn't know the exact date. He didn't really care, either. Not any more.

He had stumbled through the fields, lost and confused and desperately worried about Ron and Hermione and the others back at the Ministry, He had eventually come to a homestead, and stumbled right into the dining room, covered in mud and dirt and bleeding from various small cuts. He tried to get across the urgency of the situation by waving his arms around with a certain amount of near-incoherent shouting, when one of the larger farmhands, with diligence and care and great presence of mind, clocked him across the back of the head.

He woke up three days later with his cuts treated and his head bandaged, in a crude but clean bedroom. The residents of the homestead had apparently decided that he was a runaway that had gotten turned about in the woods, and set upon by some fell creature. Wolves were the classic example, but when there wasn't much to do in Winter but sit around a fire and tell stories, the local woods took on a whole menagerie of fantastic creatures.

He had played along, and claimed no memories of his previous life, supported by the bump on his noggin. He was immediately adopted by the three resident mothers - the collection of buildings housed three separate families, as well as seasonal farmhands - and mercilessly pampered. They spent countless hours discussing between themselves what hardships could make such a sweet boy flee with nought but the clothes on his back, and resolved to pamper him all the more to make up for it.

It took him a while to realise exactly where, or specifically when he was. Well, that wasn't true; the clues had started mounting up pretty much immediately - no electricity, horse and cart the final word in long-distance transportation - but it finally sunk in when someone mentioned Merlin as landowner of every bit of farmland for a goodly distance in any given direction.

His first instinct was to seek out Merlin, and request help getting back to his own time. But, he figured, it could wait a day or two, surely? He was getting a taste of the loving family Voldemort had denied him, in triplicate. The husbands of his adopted mothers had taken to pulling him aside at spare moments and explaining bits and pieces of how to properly tend the land. He had a sometimes bewildering array of adopted siblings, cousins, half-cousins and cousins removed multiple times, the majority of which treated him with respect bordering on awe after a few of his mothers' more wild theories had managed to spread. And apparently literacy and numeracy was something of a treat in these times, because when it came time to figure out exactly how well the harvest had been and how much they owed to Merlin as their tithe, his mothers' husbands had been almost ridiculously grateful when he had revealed he could do it for them faster than they could.

Then the blacksmith in the village along the way had offered to waive the usual cost of repairing wear and tear to the farm's metal tools if Harry would teach his daughter beyond the rough principals of literacy the smith himself knew, and Harry decided, well, it's not like the future was going anywhere. The fact that girl in question, a year Harry's junior with raven hair and deep blue eyes, blushed so cutely when he praised her progress... well, that had nothing to do with it, of course.

A year later, Harry had finished teaching the girl all he knew of writing, but they still met regularly for lessons - a fiction that fooled no-one, but no-one saw reason to point this out, either. Harry had finished growing and developed the kind of physique you could only get from toiling your arse off in a field for hours every day. Harry found tending the fields to be incredibly satisfying, creating and nurturing new life to feed his friends and family.

Three seasons on, he found himself gifted with a small corner of the family's farmlands to tend to himself, with the hinting of more depending how he fared. Come the harvest, his small piece of land was awash with a sea of barley, somewhat to the surprise of the more experienced farmhands. It was a rather common practice to give promising young lads a small piece of land to get all their screw-ups out of the way where it wouldn't do too much damage.

And now here he was, three years after the Department of Mysteries, staring out over fields he had once stumbled blindly through and now knew as intimately as the back of his own hand, surrounded by his family, with further writing lessons with a certain student of his planned for later that day. He hadn't used his wand in near two years now, but worked magic every day, turning a bit of dirt and water and tender care into enough food to support him and his.

Sometimes he felt guilty about leaving his friends behind in the future, but he rationalized to himself; well, he's just taking the scenic route, isn't he? He'll get back there eventually, after all.

Just a matter of time.