Harry tries to escape his fate and his friends in death but finds even that relief denied him, but where has he wound up? Or should the question be when? Yes, this is my take on a TimeTravel!Harr...
Chapter Two: Where it all Begins Again
It was an incredible sense of freedom. He stepped away from the wall and the wind whistled in his ears and he plunged downward. It was like flying without a broom. He spread his arms wide, like wings. It was truly glorious. The sensation lasted only for the briefest of times however and Harry looked down at the darkened sod rushing up to meet him. Then the world was consumed in a bright flash of light.
While sitting in yet another boring staff meeting, listening to Albus drone on about his yearly struggle to find someone to take the position of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Lily Potter suddenly sat up as if someone had stuck a needle in her bum. She glanced over at her husband to see that he was having the same feeling.
Minerva immediately noticed the actions of two of her fellow staff members and asked, "Is something wrong, Lily?"
James answered brusquely, "Someone has just broken through the wards at Godric's Hollow."
Minerva McGonagall, as well as several other staff members, winced at this. The Potters had not been to Godric's Hollow since that Halloween night almost fifteen years ago, when the Dark Lord came to their home and murdered their only child.
"Are you quite certain?" asked a concerned Albus Dumbledore.
"Yes," answered Lily, "but I have no idea why?"
"We need to find out though," James said.
Lily looked at him uncertainly. They hadn't been back since that night. The cottage was a ruin. In her nightmares she could still smell the burning timbers and see the destruction, the small swaddled lump that, mere heartbeats before, had been her baby.
"You don't need to go, but I have to. If someone has broken through the wards we need to know who and why," James said with obviously more confidence than he felt.
"Then I'm going with you," she answered not wanting him to go alone, and not wanting to be left alone if he somehow didn't return.
"I think several of us should go," said Albus calmly, trying to take charge of the scene.
"No, Albus, I think it should just be the two of us, after all, we are the only ones permitted through the wards," said James, not wanting anyone else to witness their reactions to seeing again the site of their heartbreak. "If you don't hear from us in an hour, call out the Order." He rose and his wife followed. They quickly left the comfort of the staff room to head out towards the front gates of the school where they could safely Apparate to their former home.
There was a decidedly painful sounding 'Phumph' as Harry belly flopped onto the grass and all the air was forced out of his lungs. For a moment, he felt as if his lungs had opted to follow the air as nothing seemed to respond to his body's cry for oxygen. Finally, he managed to roll over onto his back and his aching body rewarded him by spasming in a coughing fit. At least his lungs were still working after all. If this was what dying felt like, perhaps he had made a mistake in trying it, he thought ironically. He struggled to his feet and tried to gauge his surroundings for it was obvious that he was no longer at Hogwarts.
He was in the front garden of a small burned out cottage. It seemed familiar but somehow strangely different. It came to him suddenly that he was back in Godric's Hollow. His magic must have kicked in during the fall and he automatically Apparated to some familiar location. You weren't supposed to be able to Apparate on Hogwarts grounds but little things like that had never stopped him before. Still, things did look slightly different. The ruins of the cottage weren't this burned out the last time he was here. He recalled clearly searching through the rubble when the three of them, Ron, Hermione, and he had first come here over four years ago. He had searched for some small thing, something, anything that could be a token, a talisman of the time when he was nothing more than a normal baby. Of course he had found nothing, because there was nothing there to be found. And he had never been a normal anything so it was fitting. Still the differences between the scene that met his eyes now and the one from his memory were too great to be put down to the simple passing of a few years. There, over on the east side, had been the remains of two walls, joining at a corner, when he had last been here, and now the only thing taller than his eyes was the stub of the chimney poking up from some scorched timbers. Yes, that was it. It seemed that this house had been burned more extensively than in his memory. Could it be that there had been another fire since then? Had someone, some Death Eaters, come to further desecrate the resting place of his family?
Harry's thoughts were interrupted by two sharp cracks signaling two people Apparating nearby. Not seeking any company Harry attempted to hide among the timbers. Cries of "Halt! Come out with your hands held high!" told him he had been unsuccessful. Not bothering to look at his pursuers, Harry bolted out the shattered rear of the house and sprinted towards the line of trees that marked the edge of the property. Bright red streaks of stunning spells whizzed by his head as he ducked low. He was coming up to the spot where his parents were buried but didn't have time to consider it. He vaulted a single tombstone and vanished into the trees. Thinking he needed to get to a place where he could rest and consider his situation, Harry Apparated to 12 Grimmauld Place.
The two cloaked figures gave chase to the trees. The leader reached the edge before stopping.
"It's no use," James said with disgust. "Whoever it was has already Apparated away."
He turned back to see his wife standing before the lone tombstone, her head bowed in grief. James joined her there, looking down at the simple marble slab that read: Harry James Potter, born July 31, 1980, died Oct 31 1981. He could hear his wife's tear-choked whisper, "my sweet baby", as he took her hand and guided her away.
Harry appeared in the street right in front of Number twelve. He glanced quickly to either side to make sure no one had noticed his sudden arrival but saw nothing. He walked up to the door and grasped the knob. A sharp shock jolted his arm and knocked him back a step.
"What the bloody hell?" he muttered as he grabbed at the serpent shaped knob again only to be jolted this time by a shock great enough to knock him back off the porch and onto his rear in the grass. "What's going on here?"
Thinking that something had gone wrong with the wards on the place, or perhaps Hermione had modified them and not had a chance to key him into them yet... No, that couldn't be it. Hermione hadn't been back to the Black house since Voldemort's defeat. In fact, she and Ron had been specifically avoiding him at all costs since that day at the Burrow when Ginny had told him she was marrying Neville. Enraged by his own train of thought Harry kicked at a rubbish bin on the street and sent it careening across the tarmac. A piece of newspaper blew up in front of him and he snatched it out of the air.
"These people ought to clean house a bit more often," he said to himself as he glanced at the date on the paper. It read July 15th, but it was already mid-August. But then Harry looked again and stopped dead in the center of the street. The date on the paper read July 15, 1996! Thinking it had to be a fluke Harry tossed the paper aside and ran to the next rubbish bin he could spot. He dug through it until he found another newspaper. It was crumbled and a bit tattered but the paper looked fairly new. Trembling he looked at the date and then collapsed in the street. He had gone back in time!
That explained why he couldn't get into Number 12! At this time the last time, Dumbledore had already collected him from the Dursley's and brought him to the Burrow! He hadn't returned to Grimmauld Place at all until after Dumbledore died and that wouldn't happen for almost a year now! He still had a chance! He could change things.
His mind a whirl, Harry sat there on the curb and tried to work out how to fix things. He obviously had to stop Draco this time so that the Death Eaters wouldn't get into the school. And Snape! Oh, he had plans for the exalted spy and they would be quite pleasant. At least for Harry. But first he needed some money and a place to stay. A place where he wouldn't be spotted. It wouldn't do to have people seeing two completely different Harry Potters strolling around Diagon Alley, no. That meant hiding in the Muggle world and that meant he needed Muggle money. And he knew just where to get that. With a soft pop he disappeared once again.
At least nothing ever changes here on Privet Drive, Harry thought to himself as he strolled up the drive of Number 4. He ran his fingers along the simulated wood of the vinyl siding until he reached the simulated wood of the vinyl door. He raised his hand and knocked sharply. He was going to enjoy this.
A few moments later the door cracked open to reveal the bloated face of the homeowner, Vernon Dursley. "Here now, what do you want?" he said imperiously. "I'll tell you right now that we're not interested in whatever you're selling, so just go away!"
"Oh come now, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied sweetly, "you couldn't have forgotten me already."
"Now see here, I have no idea who you think you are but I have no intention of falling for whatever scheme it is you're trying to pull."
Harry knew he had changed over the last four years but he didn't think it was so bad that he wouldn't be recognized. Sure, he still had the streaks of grey in his hair from his final confrontation with Voldemort, he somehow knew that like his scar, he would have them until the day he died, but everyone who looked at him immediately recognized him.
"Why do you insist on calling me 'Uncle'? Marge doesn't have any children and Petunia is an only..." His voice trailed off as a faint look of recognition came over his eyes.
He watched his uncle's face change slightly and smirked.
"Ah," Harry said glibly, "now we're getting somewhere. I know you thought you'd never see me again but things change, now don't they, Uncle?"
"You're one of them, aren't you?" he sputtered. "What are you doing here? We want nothing to do with you freaks. Now leave us ALONE!" Vernon tried to slam the door closed but Harry stopped it with a slight wave of his wand. Vernon stumbled backwards and Harry followed him into the house.
"Now is that any way to talk to your dear nephew?" Harry asked sweetly.
He strolled into the lounge and glanced around at the many pictures of Dudley that dotted every surface in the room. He plopped himself down in his uncle's favorite chair and waited for the rest of the family to join him. As the sound of thunder echoed through the house, Harry glanced at the stairs to watch Dudley pound down them. He noticed something obliquely. It niggled at the edge of his mind. The door to the cupboard under the stairs was different. It lacked the latch that Aunt Petunia used to lock him in at night, and the brass vent that gave his space it's only light. It didn't seem strange that they would change the door to remove any sign of his existence; that he half-expected. It was the fact that the door didn't look new. It appeared as if it had always been that way. He wondered idly if they had taken as much care in replacing the door to Dudley's second bedroom; after all, how do you explain the presence of six locks and a catflap to a visiting neighbor? He was shaken from his musings by Aunt Petunia finally joining them from the kitchen. She was still as homely and horse-faced as ever but Harry had to admit that there seemed to be fewer frown lines creasing her face. His absence must agree with her, he thought with distain. He pointed to the sofa and they all sat.
Petunia sat silently for a moment before she spoke. "Who are you?" she asked shakily. "You look like him but you have her eyes. And you're too young. Who are you and what do you want with us?"
Harry considered her questions and wondered if perhaps Dumbledore had come back and modified their memories after he had left. No, that couldn't have happened because he returned to the Dursleys after his death. Something was going on here, and suddenly he wasn't so sure he wanted to know what it was.
"What I want with you is nothing," he said with a voice cold with finality. Petunia breathed slightly in relief. "What you should be asking is what I want from you."
Petunia paled and Vernon spoke in a shaky voice. "All right then, what do you want from us?"
Harry nodded, maybe he could get what he needed quickly and be out of this place. It was oddly unsettling to be back at Privet Drive even if he no longer was subject to the whims of the owners. He spoke simply.
"I need money."
At this Uncle Vernon's bluster returned in full vigor. "Why, the gall! I'll have you know that I've no intention of giving you one pence! Now get out of here before I call the police."
Harry's calm smile broadened. "Oh, please, be my guest." With a casual wave of his wand the phone drifted onto the table in front of the sputtering Vernon. His hand reached for the phone but was brought up short by Harry's next statement. "I'm sure they will be very interested in what you keep locked up in that strongbox of yours." Vernon sat back onto the sofa and remained quiet. "I'm also sure that they'll be quite grateful for all the carefully detailed records you've kept over the years. It will be most helpful in their prosecution."
It sometimes had its advantages, being thought of as invisible. The Dursleys often simply forgot that he could hear as well. Or forgot him completely. Quite often, while locked in his cupboard, he had overheard the conversations that they had thought were private. He had overheard Dudley talking with his mates, planning their next vandalizing escapade, or which kid at school was like to have the most lunch money they could steal. He had overheard Aunt Petunia gossiping with the neighbors about which local housewife was getting a special discount from the local deliverymen in exchange for certain favors of her own. But most importantly now, he had overheard Uncle Vernon counting the money he had skimmed from the various kickbacks he had run while selling Grunnings Drills. He had carefully noted in the records he kept how much he had taken from whom. Petunia knew nothing of this money, however, as he had also overheard Vernon muttering about how much more he would need to escape 'the frigid cow' once and for all.
Petunia sat there in stunned silence. Dudley was totally unable to grasp the situation that was happening around him. He just stared at the phone still hovering several inches over the coffee table. Uncle Vernon, however, was turning an interesting shade of puce. He started to sputter something when Harry silenced him by raising his wand again.
"Accio Strongbox!" he intoned and held out his hands expectantly. A shiny aluminum case, about the size of a salesman's catalog case, came sailing into the room and Harry caught it easily.
"Business must be good," Harry said, impressed with the size and heft of the case. Vernon must have had a good couple of years. He opened the case with a rap of his wand and was mildly shocked at the sheer number of bundles it contained. All of them 50 pound notes, Harry noticed. He took out the ledger and flipped it to the latest entry. It was easily more than he needed. Business must be very good.
Vernon was still mumbling how Harry had no right but Harry ignored him. Petunia was in shock at the very existence of this obviously tainted money. She turned to stare at Vernon but couldn't speak. Harry could.
"Oh, you seem surprised by all this, Auntie. Didn't Vernon tell you about his little 'Mad Money' stash?" Petunia mutely shook her head. "Oh, well that does make sense, I suppose. After all, he plans to use it to run away to New Zealand when he gets enough. First class ticket, one way, for one only, thank you very much." He closed the case again and, as he flicked the latches closed, glanced over at his relatives. Petunia's face held a kaleidoscope of emotions running from shock through fear, outrage, and betrayal. Vernon face was a mask of simple fury, but then he always did have the emotional depth of a teaspoon. Harry grinned for a second at his own pun and the memories it carried of Ron and Hermione's frequent spats, but then these thoughts led in turn to more recent memories of the pair and how they truly thought of him. The grin was replaced by a scowl and Harry firmly locked the case again.
"You know, Vernon," he said coldly, "I was only going to take what I needed from this, but seeing how much trouble leaving any behind would cause between the members of my dear family, I think it best if I just take it all. Good bye." And with this said, he rose and left number 4 Privet Drive without another sound. Though it wasn't like, with all the shouting that followed his departure, the normal quiet of the neighborhood would be restored any time soon.