The Last Battle has been fought, and Harry Potter has won. The price, however, has been high. Nearly every person Harry cared for is dead, maimed, or otherwise injured. The magical culture of ...
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters, ideas, and situations created by JR Rowling and owned by her and her publishers. I own the orignal elements & characters. No money is being made by me, and no trademark or copyright infringement is intended. The basic idea for this fic arose from Olafr's 'Undo Retry'. Look up his fics in his HP Yahoo group, HP_Olafr. Chapter I Sunday, June 21, 1998
The greatest war in wizarding history was over. Over the previous year, Harry Potter -- aided by his companions Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger -- had searched out the four remaining Horcruxes and destroyed them. Harry had then confronted and killed Voldemort just after midnight that very morning at a battle near Hogwarts.
It was victory.
The cost of victory had been high, just as the costs of the war had been.
Luna Lovegood considered just a few of these costs as she watched over Harry just before dawn broke. Bill and Ginny Weasley had been killed during the attack on Bill's wedding day, as had six other guests late that previous July. Percy Weasley had died defending the Ministry building he had so worshiped in October, as had over a tenth of the other Ministry workers, and over a third had been injured, many severely. Three teachers -- Hagrid, Hooch, and Slughorn -- had been killed on the Hogsmeade visit in December, and almost a fifth of Hogsmeade had been destroyed. Her father had died of wounds sustained in the major attack on Diagon Alley in early January. Ronald had died killing Nagini in April and Neville in the confrontation with Bellatrix Lestrange shortly thereafter, which had at least also resulted in the capture and execution of the Lestranges and Severus Snape. Professors Sprout, Flitwick, and Vector had been killed in the battle the night before, as had over two dozen students and Hermione. About a quarter of the castle was damaged.
She wondered how long it might take the British magical community to recover. Many had speculated that it might not recover at all even before the final battle.
Harry opened his eyes. "Where am I?" he rasped. He allowed Luna to give him some water before his eyes demanded an answer.
"I took you to a private room near the teachers' quarters," Luna said. "We need privacy."
"What for?" Harry asked. It was difficult to engage Harry after all he had seen and been through, but Luna had at least caught his attention.
"Do you believe me honest, Harry?"
"Of course you are."
"Even if I have odd ideas?"
"At least I know you honestly believe them," Harry answered.
Luna managed a tiny smile. "True. Well, believe this. First, both my mother and I possess what Professor Trelawney calls 'the Inner Eye'."
"True," Harry agreed. He had learned to listen to Luna's insights which came from this ability over the past year.
"My mother was also very skilled in charms, both in researching old ones and developing new ones." Harry merely nodded, remembering that this research had also killed Luna's mother.
"The week before my mother . . . died, she sent me a letter which magically arrived on my seventeenth birthday."
"Which was this past Valentine's Day," Harry answered, which made Luna smiled.
"Yes. Harry, my mother did not die in a charms accident, she sacrificed herself."
Harry blinked. "Sacrificed herself? For what?"
"Not for what. For you, and the world."
Harry frowned. "But she didn't know me! Why. . . ?"
"Because it was the right thing to do." Luna leaned a bit closer. "Harry, you know I care about you."
"I do. I care for you, too, even though. . . ."
Luna held up a hand. "I know you aren't in love with me, Harry, although you have great affection for me. That is not the point. Mother foresaw what happened last night. She said in the letter that, although you would win the battle, the costs would be far too high for you. In addition and more importantly, while Voldemort would be gone, you, the side of Light, and the Ministry would be so damaged that much of the Pure Blood agenda would still come into being over time in much of western Europe, especially in Britain."
"I didn't need to know that," Harry growled. The victory had been hollow enough
"My mother disagreed. She worked in the Department of Mysteries, doing research on time. She developed the portable time turner, such as Hermione used. Before then, they were about the size of a desk. She worked out a way to give the world of Light Magic, and you, a chance at a better victory."
"And what chance is that?" Harry asked, intrigued.
"I repeat the ritual my mother did, with some variations. . . ."
"No! You'll die!" Harry's face crumpled. "You're the only friend I have left."
Luna smiled. "Harry, this version of me will not survive in any event. If we don't do this, the surviving Death Eaters will likely track me down and slay me. If we do, then everything starts over. You'll go back to the day my mother died. On the negative side, your current mind will be combined with your ten year-old body."
Harry wrinkled his nose at the thought of the Dursleys.
"On the plus side, your magic along with your memories should travel back with you."
Harry smiled at that, but then frowned again.
"If you're thinking about not having your wand, you have become unusually proficient at wandless magic over the last year," Luna pointed out.
"True," Harry agreed. "However, I was thinking about the underage magic rules."
"Those are fairly lax for children before we enter Hogwarts. The Ministry shouldn't even know. . . ."
"They'll know," Harry said. "I was always more monitored than anyone else. Any stray magic was always blamed on me."
Luna frowned in thought, and then said, "I doubt if they could trace you away from your relatives' house before you had a wand."
"Good point," Harry said after a few moment's thought. "But what about you?"
"The spell and ritual send you back," Luna reminded him. "I should retain no memory of these past eight years or so and the same is true of everyone else. Only you will. My mother's letter said that I had to decide if the price of victory was too high -- it obviously has been. Next time, I hope we shall know that the price was paid a long time before and was not too high."
"There must be a down side," Harry mused. "There always is."
"Well, the odds are you will succeed with less difficulty this next time," Luna pointed out. "However, that is not assured. This time, you won at great cost. You could lose, and even if you win at a lesser cost, you might have to face losing loved ones all over again."
"But not all of them," Harry said in a tired but determined voice. "Not again."
"I hope you are right," Luna agreed.
Harry took Luna's hand. "I promise to try and make friends with you during your first year."
"Thank you, Harry." Luna looked at Harry with her large silver eyes. "You do realize that you will stand out from all children your age much more than you did this time." Harry grimaced at that. "You might not make the same friends that you did this time around."
"I suppose not," Harry agreed. "But they'll be alive, if I can help it." He frowned. "When do I go back to, by the way?"
"To the early morning of the day my mother died, the Twenty-first of June, 1990, eight years ago this very morning."
Harry thought back to that summer and grimaced. Then he nodded.
"So, I may do this?"
"You should," Harry said. "And thank you. You've been a good friend, and more."
Luna's wide eyes again disappeared as she looked shyly down. "Harry . . . may I ask one favor before we do this?"
"Would you kiss me?"
Harry smiled. "I had intended on doing that even before you mentioned this ritual."
Thursday, June 21, 1990
Harry woke up, disoriented and in the dark. He wondered why he felt so weak.
Then he remembered -- he was no longer an athletic nearly eighteen year old, but a scrawny, underfed not-quite ten year old.
Harry felt a moment of panic. Had he ever even been that wizard? Had the last seven or eight years been a dream? What could be worse than waking up in July, 1991, and never getting his Hogwarts letter? Even the hell he thought Luna had sent him back from was not as bad as that.
Harry sat up and pulled on the light cord, lighting up the cupboard under the stairs. He looked around for a moment, and then concentrated on a small broken toy knight. "Accio," Harry whispered.
The little figurine flew into his hand.
Harry smiled, an almost nasty smile. Things were going to be very different this time, for everyone concerned.
Near the village of Ottery St. Catchpole, a small girl with straggly dark blonde hair laid upon her mother's body, crying. "We did it, Mummy," Luna said. "You did it because it was right. I did it because it was right, and because I love him." Then she went quiet.
In an Albanian forest, a Muggle under the possession of Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, collapsed, screaming. Voldemort had been able to absorb very small amounts of magical energy from young, and distant, Harry Potter. That source was now cut off. Voldemort, once he regained what passed for consciousness in his state, would need to start over.
"Well, boy," Petunia said with her usual disapproving sniff, "I'm glad to see you got up and got cooking this morning without being prompted." She looked over the breakfast table. She could find no fault, and so merely called for Vernon and Dudley.
Petunia tossed a few crumbs of bacon on the last slice of unbuttered toast, alone on the crumbly plate, since Vernon had grabbed three slices and Dudley six. "Fold that over and go to Mrs. Figg's," Petunia snapped. "You should already be gone. Couldn't you remember that Vernon is taking Duddikins camping, and we need to outfit him?"
"Sorry, Aunt Petunia," Harry said simply. He had hoped this had been the year Vernon and Dudley had gone camping, but he hadn't been certain if it had been this year or the year before.
"Don't be back before Five or after Six!" Petunia reminded him as he opened the back door.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia." Aunt Petunia would be back, he now remembered, by 5:00, and Vernon and Dudley would be gone until the early morning Sunday. They were supposed to stay longer, but Dudley would not be able to stand being away from the television no longer and had wanted his presents, already a day late. Petunia would buy him a few more presents in consolation, which would be why Dudley's 'present count' would be lower the following year.
Harry figured that would give him enough time to get started on what he needed to do.
Harry finished off the dry bacon half-sandwich. He had never dared take extra food before, but this time his had already eaten four eggs, two slices of toast, and three rashers of bacon, and had drunk a third of the bottle of milk out of the bottle, before Aunt Petunia had made it down the stairs.
He knocked on Mrs. Figg's door, and went in when she called. "Good morning, Mrs. Figg," Harry said, wrinkling his nose just a bit at the smell of cats and cabbage.
"Good morning, Harry," his minder replied. "You look chipper this morning."
"I am," Harry answered. "In part, it's because I made myself an extra good breakfast for the first time."
"You made yourself?" she asked.
"You didn't know I've been making breakfast for the Dursleys most mornings for the last few years, even though they wouldn't let me eat much of it?" Harry asked. "Well," he said to the stunned Squib, "I have been. Usually, of course, Uncle Vernon and Dudley grab all the food and just leave me a few scraps. This morning, I made some extra for myself and ate it before Aunt Petunia came done."
Mrs. Figg managed to blink. "But. . . ?"
"But why didn't Aunt Petunia hear me get out of bed? Well, that's because I don't have a bed," Harry answered. "I sleep on an infant's cot in the cupboard under the stairs."
Mrs. Figg stared. Harry cocked his head and looked back. "Did you know any of this, Mrs. Figg?"
She shook her head. Harry, who had been using a light amount of Legilimency, was satisfied. "Some other interesting things happened last night," Harry said. "May I show you something?"
Mrs. Figg, still in shock, managed a nod. Her shock went into overdrive when Harry levitated her fire poker. "I've thought about it, and I believe you knew I would have this ability sooner or later. There must be someone you report to. Perhaps you should report this?" Harry added a mild compulsion spell to this last suggestion.
Mrs. Figg walked over to the empty fireplace and blinked at it blankly. Harry replaced the poker and with a snap of his fingers started a magical fire just as Hermione had once taught him. Mrs. Figg took down a small urn and tossed in the floo powder. "Albus Dumbledore's office."
A few moments later, Harry took a few steps back as Mrs. Figg pulled back.
"Yes, Arabella?" Dumbledore said, stepping out of the fire. "What can I do for. . . ." Dumbledore stopped short, stunned by seeing Harry in front of the sofa.
"Professor Dumbledore?" Harry said with a smile, which he quickly suppressed. "I have some things I need to tell you." Harry frowned, and he mentally batted away the Legilimency probe. "Please stop whatever it is you're doing Professor."
Dumbledore blinked and then frowned. He was certain he could push past this child's defenses, but the mere fact that there were defenses was shocking.
"Mrs. Figg called you because of this," Harry said, again levitating the poker. "I wanted to tell someone in authority about my life at the Dursleys."
"Then please do so," Dumbledore said, while his mind raced over everything he know about young Harry.
This was not all that much, but he was not really surprised by what Harry was telling him. He was being sent Harry's grades by some very under the table methods, and he had several times had to intervene with memory charms to prevent the Dursleys from being investigated by the Muggle authorities for emotional child abuse. He really wished he could have used magic on the Dursleys to improve Harry's life, but that would have negated the blood protection.
None of that information, especially the comments his teachers had made on his records, added up to Harry's speaking out as he was, especially with the vocabulary he was using.
It was, Dumbledore realized, too adult. He pushed a Legilimency probe yet again.
This time, Dumbledore found himself pushed back three feet onto the smelly sofa with a minor spell. "I asked you NOT to do that," Harry reproved. "It's rather rude."
Dumbledore turned to his hostess. "Thank you, Mrs. Figg." He turned back and glared at Harry while Mrs. Figg took the hint and left.
Before the end of Harry's Fifth year, such a glare would have made him more than merely nervous. This Harry bore up rather well. "Who are you?" Dumbledore demanded.
"I am Harry James Potter." Harry's eyes narrowed. "And you knew about all this abuse, didn't you? Many of the details, I mean, not just the bare facts."
Dumbledore's eyes went wide as he felt a unique blend of a compulsion spell and Legilimency hit him. He was able to resist it, of course, but not without a slight struggle. He opened his mouth, and then closed it, knowing that despite his resistance to the spell, this person, whomever it was, would be able to detect a lie. Dumbledore's eyes made a slight involuntary movement towards the fireplace.
"Running away?" Harry taunted. "Can't you face the boy you abandoned to be abused?"
Dumbledore frowned. Whoever this was, while he did not talk like a child, he sounded even less like a Death Eater or any sort of Pure Blood, since he had not once mentioned being sent to live with Muggles, even without that name.
"You are NOT Harry Potter," Dumbledore said firmly. "No ten year old boy talks the way you do."
Harry shrugged. "Believe whatever you want. There is no Harry Potter except for me." He lifted his fringe, showing the scar. Dumbledore swallowed as he caught the very faintest hint of Voldemort from the scar. The boy was Harry Potter. "Impossible!" Dumbledore breathed.
"It must be magic," Harry smirked. "My uncle and cousin are away until Sunday. You have until Nine Sunday morning to help me. After that, I start figuring out magical ways to make them behave."
"NO!" Dumbledore shouted, standing. To do so would ruin the wards.
"Why?" Harry asked. "What did I do to deserve being abused every DAY that I can remember?"
"It's difficult to explain to someone your. . . ." Dumbledore stopped, stymied by his own actions and deductions conflicting.
"My age?" Harry asked, smiling. "You just accused me of sounding too old for my age. Why don't you test my mental age?"
"Somehow, you've possessed Harry," Dumbledore accused.
"Wrong answer," Harry said hotly. "You're just avoiding dealing with the truth, as always."
Harry cursed himself, and Dumbledore smiled. "I believe it more likely that you have possessed Harry, but if not . . . no, that's not possible either."
Harry gave partly in. "It is," Harry answered. "A remarkable witch by the married name of Lovegood died this morning helping me get here."
Dumbledore knew her, of course, not just for being the Hogwarts student she had been some fifteen years before, but because of her miniaturization of the time-turner.
"So, you claim to be from the future, do you?" The skepticism was evident.
This had not gone as well as Harry had hoped. "Eight years to the day," Harry answered. "I destroyed the sixth of Voldemort's Horcruxes last spring -- well, to me what was last spring -- and killed Voldemort with the sword of Gryffindor last night just after midnight, in the ruins of the great hall."
"Oh, and where was I?" Dumbledore asked.
"In your tomb, down by the lake, where your body had been for the last year."
Dumbledore sat down, stunned. It was possible, unlikely but possible, that if Voldemort were the one somehow possessing Harry despite all the safeguards, he might admit to the Horcruxes. But no one could know that Dumbledore planned on updating his will and asking that he be buried near the lake, an unprecedented request.
Having revealed so much, Harry moved to the attack. "So," Harry said, "I know that stupid Prophecy. You told it to me too late to do any good. I ended up getting someone close to me killed because you played your cards too close to the chest. I know now that you didn't care that I was tortured and abused and twisted, because you claimed I needed to stay with those bastards in the next street to stay alive. Well, here I am now, stuck in a ten-year-old body, but with the mind and magic of an eighteen-year-old who defeated Voldemort three or four times between disembodying him as a baby and killing him as an adult, depending on how you count. This time, things are going to be different. You can help me, or you can stand in my way. Now, you can try and ransack my mind, but I got Occlumency instruction from a master, not that traitorous snake Snape. . . ."
"Professor Snape. . . ."
"Murdered you," Harry snapped. "Yes, he hated, and I am sure he hates in this time, Voldemort, but he killed you before you had given me a tenth of the information you should have, because he cared more for his role than he does for you or Light magic. I and my friends had to work damn hard, and through a lot of luck managed to do in one year what you were unable to do in decades. Don't think I'm turning that information over to you on your terms. Since you're going to be your usual stubborn self, here are your choices. One, send me to the Burrow with the key to my vault. Two, set up a household for myself, Alastor Moody, and Remus Lupin. And my key. Three, Sunday I disappear. I bet that idiot Fudge, not to mention Death Eaters like Malfoy, would love to read about your holding me in an abusive household and a Muggle one at that." Harry paused. "That might work. Maybe Lucius would gain custody of me. I could kill him and Draco again and destroy one of the Horcruxes all at the same time."
Dumbledore looked appalled.
"What?" Harry demanded, exaggerating how dangerous he was more than a bit to shock Dumbledore (and to hopefully prevent his attempting Legilimency again). "Does it sound odd for a ten-year-old 'innocent' to be talking about murdering two people in cold blood? Well, Headmaster, the life you made me lead, both with the Dursleys and after your death, caused by your trusting Snape over EVERYONE'S advice, made me into what I am. Those are your choices. Oh, and I killed Lucius with the knife he was sacrificing two young Muggle-borns with the Halloween before this, and Draco was killed falling sixty feet off his broom while attacking children at play in Hogsmeade. I knocked the little prick off. Now, since I hope I will soon have access to my family vault, could you please ask Mrs. Figg to loan me ten pounds? I intend to have a decent lunch today and tomorrow, since my Aunt will feed me a sardine on an outside lettuce leaf for dinner each night, even if it's slightly off tomorrow."