Harry Potter, at 25 years old, was arguably the most well known wizard of the last 1000 years, only surpassed by the founders of Hogwarts, Merlin and Albus Dumbledore. When he was little more than a year old, Tom Riddle, or as he preferred to be called, Lord Voldemort, attacked him with the intention of killing him. James, Harry’s father, had fought Voldemort, allowing his mother, Lily, to run upstairs and try to hide. Sadly though, both of them had died in the confrontation. What Voldemort did not know, however, is that by sacrificing her life for her son, Lily ensured that Voldemort would not be able to harm him, without doing even worse harm to himself. He learned this fact, however, when he turned to kill Harry, only to have his killing curse rebound on himself, ripping him from his body.
Harry was then sent to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin, the Dursleys. Unlike James, Lily and Harry, the Dursleys were not magical, and hated Harry for it. Petunia, his aunt, blamed magic for Lily’s death, as well as their falling out, and took her anger out on Harry. As soon as he was able, Harry became their personal slave, doing the cooking, cleaning, and virtually everything else around the house, though receiving little more than enough to keep him alive in the way of food and shelter. You see, Harry was made to live in a small cupboard under their stairwell, while his cousin Dudley, a very large boy, took both of the bedrooms upstairs for himself and his things.
Everything changed, though, when Harry turned 11 years old, and found out his true heritage. Over the course of the next 9 years, Harry would attend Hogwarts, learning magic and how to finally defeat Voldemort. Naturally, as Harry had learned early on that his life was nearly ended by an evil wizard, he took to the subject of Defense Against the Dark Arts quite well, and by the time he left school, was a dab hand at it. Over his time there, he also made some very close friends, Ron, his sister Ginny, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. Harry treasured them as much as anything in his life, having had no friends growing up, and a family that hated him. Ron and Hermione were right beside him after leaving school, while he hunted for the horcruxes Voldemort was using to prevent his death.
A horcrux, while a very vile and evil thing, is a term used for any object used to house a piece of one’s soul. Voldemort, who had learned murder splits your soul, began hiding pieces of his soul as soon as he could, eventually creating 7 horcruxes, although he didn’t know about one of them. Harry, having studied directly under his headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, during his sixth year, knew that two of these were destroyed before he began his lessons. In his second year, after learning that the diary Ginny was writing in was actually causing her to open the Chamber of Secrets, setting a basilisk on the students, he destroyed it with a fang from the dead serpent. Professor Dumbledore, who had been trying to find the horcruxes for some time, finally located one as well, in the form of an old ring, and destroyed it.
Harry then learned that Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, a goblet which had been Helga Hufflepuff’s, a diadem that was once Rowena Ravenclaw’s, and a locket which had been Salazar Slytherin’s, were also horcruxes. After destroying these, he was finally told that he himself was also a horcrux. When the killing curse rebounded on Voldemort in 1981, a fragment of soul was blasted from Voldemort, and attached to Harry. This not only gave Voldemort another link to life, but also gave Harry the ability to speak to snakes, and a very disconcerting window into Voldemort’s thoughts and emotions. After spending time training in a parallel dimension, which allowed himself, Ron, Hermione and Ginny to gain five years of training in only five days, Harry had walked directly into the battle, only to be immediately hit with a killing curse from Voldemort himself.
Harry, who had bound his soul to Ginny while they were in the other dimension, fell to the ground, apparently dead, but as he fell, so did Voldemort. This drew the action to a stand still, as no one knew what had happened, and some minutes later, both men stirred. Once either side knew their leader was alive, and had moved them to safety until they were up again, the battle resumed, and sadly, claimed many lives. Harry began to wake up while this was going on, only to watch as death eaters killed Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Luna, and Neville. Remus Lupin, who had been a friend of his parents, barely escaped death, but was forced to watch as his new bride was killed, and went berserk. Harry then watched as Remus began taking down one after another of the death eaters, and turned his focus to Voldemort.
As in Harry’s fourth year, when he was unwillingly sent to a graveyard to take part in a ritual to give Voldemort a body, both of them fired their spells at the same time. This time, however, the dome did not appear, but the spells simply collided, sending Voldemort’s killing curse back upon him again, killing him once and for all this time, but leaving Harry to begin burying everyone else. Over the next months, as Harry slowly cleared the wreckage that had been the Burrow and Number 4 Privet Drive, his only two homes since 1981, he began to remember his life. He and Ginny had begun to date in his sixth year, only to have their relationship bloom during their training. She admitted having a crush on him when she was younger, even making jokes about it eventually, as she had finally caught him, which made both of them blush. Ron and Hermione, despite having fought like badgers most of the time, had also begun dating, and were married just before the final showdown.
Harry cursed Voldemort with nearly every breath he took, often punching something or lighting fires accidentally as he did, until he finally collapsed in his study at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the house he had inherited from his Godfather, Sirius. Harry then noticed all of the books in the study, merely glancing at the titles here and there at first, but finally beginning to read them, if only to have something to do at first, but eventually seeing the two words that lit a fire underneath him, time travel. What possibilities this held for him, he could save so many lives, or fail miserably and make things worse. These two distinct possibilities, as polar opposite as they were, served to give him a drive he had not known since he set out to find the horcuxes all those years ago.
Harry, from his experiences with a time turner in his third year at school, knew the basic rules and laws concerning time travel. He could not be seen, or at least he could not be found out as a time traveler, as it could do immense harm to the timeline. He also knew that whatever changes he decided to make, they must be small, or at least not huge, as those could backfire horribly, and that was not what he wanted. Slowly, as if studying for a test, or else planning some immense ball, Harry began to prepare, knowing he must speak to someone before doing this, but that person would want to be sure Harry was prepared, so he began a list.
Changes to make
Save Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Minerva, Arthur, Fred, George, Percy, Bill, Charlie, Fleur, Cedric, and the others.
Prevent Voldemort from gaining as much power after his rebirth as possible, even if it means confronting him much earlier than planned.
Collect and destroy the horcruxes by the time I meet Voldemort in the graveyard.
Research possible ways to remove the bit of his soul from myself before meeting him, celtic or druidic perhaps.
Get Sirius out of Azkaban as early as possible, officially, so he won’t have to hide.
Visit Mum’s and Dad’s graves with him and Remus.
Harry looked over the list, satisfied that it proved his only reasons for wanting to travel though time were to save lives, which was, in his mind, the only reason anyone should travel through time. Harry collected his notes and lists, making sure to bring all of the books as well, and moved to the kitchen, where he threw a pinch of powder into the fire and shouted for the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts, then thrust his head into the green flames.
“Oh, Harry, it’s you, Merlin you gave me a fright, what’s wrong?” Kingsley Shacklebolt asked, noticing Harry’s expression.
“I still can’t believe you took the job, Kingsley, you said you’d never take a desk job.” Harry laughed for a moment, then remembered his reason for calling. “I need to speak to Albus, can I come through?”
“Sure, Harry, I have to go to the ministry, so I’ll be in London for a while, and you’ll have the place to yourself.” Kingsley smiled as Harry pulled his head from the fire, then emerged from the grate.
“You can stay at Number 12 tonight, if you’re out late, you know.” Harry smiled as Kingsley just nodded then sat.
Nearly 15 minutes later, Kingsley had finished collecting his papers and such, and stepped into the grate, and having accepted Harry’s invitation to stay at Number 12, promised Harry he would buy breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron the next day.
‘If this works, tomorrow won’t happen, and I’ll buy breakfast for the entire country’ Harry thought, the turned to face the man he wanted to see most of all. “Good evening Albus, all OK here?” Harry tried to remain calm as he asked, knowing that even though it was a portrait, the charm had given it all of Dumbledore’s knowledge and memories up to the moment it was completed.
“As well as can be expected, dear boy, and how are you?” Dumbledore asked, smiling as he looked over his glasses at Harry.
“Not well, Professor, not well.” Harry sighed, knowing he had to tell Dumbledore what had happened since the battle. “Since the last battle, when,” Harry paused, blinking back tears, “everyone fell, I just haven’t been able to function. So many people dying, right in front of me.”
“Harry, you have not called me Professor for some time, now what is on your mind.” Dumbledore smiled as Harry did, knowing he had hid the nerve he wanted to.
Harry slowly began to unroll his plans and desires, showing Dumbledore the list, as well as talking about how he would make those changes subtly, not boldly. As Harry expected, Dumbledore was not easy to convince. Harry argued and debated well into the night with him, until he finally saw Dumbledore fall silent at the mention of Minerva’s name again. Harry hated doing it, as he knew they were more than co-workers and friends, or at least had been, but he knew he must do all he could to save them, and if it meant playing on emotions, so be it.
Dumbledore began explaining the different texts Harry had brought. Each of them pointed to different spells which could be cast prior to the time travel spell, or portal spell, which was the same for all of them. When Dumbledore mentioned the spell to bring knowledge back with him, Harry knew what he must do. The portal spell would carry the traveler’s soul back in time, where they merged with their past self. The spell, however, did not carry all of their knowledge, and Harry knew he must have that too, and began working on both spells with Dumbledore, until he finally had all he needed, and stood to leave.
“Professor, I am sorry I had to use Minerva to get you to talk, but I have to do this.” Harry avoided Dumbledore’s eyes, then left the room, never hearing the aged man wish him luck, and thank him for being willing to try.
As Harry stepped from the grate at the Leaky Cauldron, suddenly thankful that wizarding pubs did not have hours of operation, but were always open, he realized that he had decided to travel nearly 15 years into the past, and sighed as the task before him seemed to weigh him down. He was almost 26 years old, and would be reliving some of the most painful times of his life soon, although he also would relive the best times as well, and hopefully stop the worst event in his memory from happening. He knew he couldn’t prevent his parents’ death, as he was little more than a year old, and could not do anything but watch, which was not a pleasant prospect at all, and settled that he would save those he could, and say good-bye to those he could not save.
Harry knew that there was every possibility that either of the spells could kill him, or at the least, leave him in the same state as Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, and he couldn’t let that happen without at least trying to explain. With this in mind, he did meet Kingsley for breakfast, then made one last trip to Grimmauld Place, where he wrote two letters.
By the time you are able to open this letter, I will either be dead, catatonic, or will have succeeded and you won’t ever get this. I know you would try to stop me, but I have to try to save them, and the only way is to go back to before all of this started. I’ve transferred ownership of Number 12 to you, and Kingsley does need a new D.A.D.A. teacher, so he will probably call soon after you get back. Take care of Hedwig for me, she will probably be upset when I’m not around, but she’ll be OK, I know it.
After sealing the letter, and placing a charm on it so no one could open it for 24 hours, he pulled another piece of parchment toward himself and began to write.
I hope you are able to read this one day, and I also hope you never do. I just can’t live like this any more, but I have found a way to go back. I can go back to before any of this was even thought about, when we still had hope to win, and I am going to. If this works, you won’t ever get this letter, but if it doesn’t, then I’m with Ginny right now, or laying beside you, Frank and Alice, and it really won’t matter then, will it. I talked to Albus for a long time, and I know the entire theory, as Hermione would say, so I’m doing it. You’ve been like a mother to me since we met after my first year, and I always wanted to say how much that meant to me. If this works, you really will become my Mum, just in law.
Harry sat back after charming the second envelope, then, after a few minutes, picked up his back and left the house for the last time. Harry moved to the small courtyard across from the house, where he put on his invisibility cloak, then touched the portkey he had created, reappearing a few moments later in the ruins of Number 4 Privet Drive. The house, he remembered, had been burned to the ground less than an hour after he left, and the charm keeping it hidden had broken. The Dursleys had been on holiday, and from the newspaper article, had demonized him greatly for the damage. Less than a week later, however, as he remembered, the death eaters had found them, and had tortured Dudley and his Uncle Vernon to death within hours, but kept his Aunt Petunia alive until just before the final battle, torturing and raping her daily. At first they had been looking for him, but eventually had decided she didn’t know anything, and just kept her alive for fun, or so it seemed.
Harry didn’t like his relatives, in fact he had often wished them a lifetime of pain for their treatment of him, and their lies, but never like that. Even the three people who made his childhood a literal living hell didn’t deserve that, and if this worked, he would save them too. He walked through the ash and soot for nearly an hour, picking up spare bits of wood and other items that he recognized, laughing as he saw the only item to survive the fire had been the frying pan he cooked in, and had been hit with on a few occasions. After finding a few more things, mostly just useless junk that was even more useless now, Harry set to his task, knowing that the longer he delayed, the more chance he would be found out, and stopped, which could not happen.
After casting a disillusionment charm around where his cupboard used to be, Harry checked to see that no one was around to hear him. He knew he was near his 26th birthday, and therefore set to travel 16 years into the past. After first drinking the potion, then reciting the charm to ensure he would retain all of his knowledge, memories, abilities and power, he took out four candles. Red for fire, blue for water, green for earth and white for wind, the four sacred elements which were part of all life. Harry placed them very carefully, then lit each one, noticing that as he lit the wind candle, everything around him went very still and quiet, but began the incantation to activate the portal.
After the third recitation of the spell, Harry felt himself being pulled from all directions, as if he had been attached to the candles and they were moving away from him. Oddly, this did not cause pain, nor did it worry him, rather he seemed quite at ease with this new development, and simply waited for what was next. Harry saw the world around him begin to shimmer and vibrate rapidly, marveling at how beautiful such ordinary things as grass and trees could be made to appear, then as suddenly as everything began, it stopped, and Harry found himself looking at the perfect walls of his cupboard, and down on himself as he slept.
Suddenly, Harry realized what he was seeing, and as a wave of panic threatened to overtake him, he heard the younger Harry below begin to mutter in his sleep. Harry froze, listening as his younger self began to talk more clearly, finally realizing he was having a nightmare. He instantly knew that the dream was either of the night his parents died or something to do with Dudley and his gang beating him up. Harry had gotten in trouble not long before going to Hogwarts for apparating, although he didn’t know what it was at the time, while being chased by Dudley’s gang. He had been running, but suddenly appeared on top of the school, simply sitting on a chimney stack, where he could not possibly have climbed.
As if he forgot that he was, in fact, floating above his younger self, and non-corporeal at the time, Harry stooped to comfort the sleeping child. But as he tried to wipe away a tear, his hand went through the child’s head, and before he drew back, he heard the younger boy mutter something that sounded like Ginny, and he remembered. Professor Dumbledore had told him about the spell to remember everything, and then the portal spell. Normally the portal spell would simply replace the past Harry with the future Harry, but as he had cast the extra spell, he must merge with his past self, thereby ensuring that his future self travelled without being changed, then he would still remember everything. As if waking from a dream himself, the future Harry dove as if into a swimming pool, instantly merging with the younger Harry. The child stirred for a moment, but soon drifted back to sleep, only to fall back to sleep until awoken by a banging on the door to his cupboard.
“YOU BOY! Get up and start breakfast!” Vernon Dursley yelled, shaking Harry awake.
Harry began to stir, reaching for his glasses, but as he did, he froze. What had happened last night. He vividly remembered London, and a castle office, but it seemed fuzzy beyond that. As he lay there, silent, he began to remember more. He had travelled back from 2006, after so many of his friends and loved ones had died. Again he thought of Ginny, her hair when the light hit it just right and the smell of flowers and cinamon that seemed to follow her everywhere. Before he could lose himself in the daydream, however, his uncle’s voice bellowed for him again, and he slowly made his way to the kitchen.
Somehow he had to find out the date, he had to know if it had worked the way he wanted or not. Harry, knowing he had to bide his time to ensure he didn’t mess things up and end up in an asylum, cooked the bacon and sausages, then moved the plates to the table, where his uncle already sat reading the paper. Harry glanced at it very quickly, noticing that the date read July 31, but before he could get the year, his uncle snapped the paper closed and began eating, and Harry did not push his luck at this point. The letter was due to arrive today, so he had something to look forward to.
Not long after breakfast began, Harry heard the post arrive, and was told to go and get it as he always was. Harry almost ran to the door, wanting to make sure his Hogwart’s letter didn’t get stolen this time, but as he began sorting through the small stack of mail, he didn’t see it, and slowly returned to the table, wondering where it could be.
“It should be here, it’s my birthday after all. Where is the bloody thing?” Harry muttered as he set the letters by his uncle’s plate then began to clear the table.
“Just because you’re ten years old doesn’t mean you get mail now, boy!” Uncle Vernon said, almost laughing at him as he did.
“TEN! I’M ONLY TEN YEARS OLD?” Harry yelled, utterly confused at how he could have overshot his 11th birthday.
“I have told you, BOY, not to yell in my house!” Uncle Vernon spat at him.
Suddenly, Harry felt a large object collide with his shoulder, knocking him to the ground, and then he felt his head suddenly warm and wet. Harry’s hand shot to his temple, where he felt blood and saw that his uncle had knocked him into the corner of the small bar. Before Harry could react, his uncle was screaming about his bad manners and ordering him to get out. Harry, not one to press his luck, knew an opportunity to escape the house, even if for a bit, and ran for the back yard, doing his best not to look excited, if this didn’t work, he was in for a year of living hell.
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