Title: Alternates
Author: Amireal
Rating: R (for now, I guess)
Antilitigation charm: Not mine. But I'm playing with them anyway.
Summary: There are a thousand possibilities... and for each one. A universe.

Author's note: I did not forget pledges. I'm just so burnt out (the show is OVER thank god, and
my sinus infection is gone, weeee!) I had to let my mind play. This one won't show up as often. I
want to concentrate on Pledges and finish it off.

He fell to the floor with a loud grunt. Stone dug into his side as he rolled over, attempting to right
himself. Harry distinctly remembered it not hurting as much the first time. But then, he had been a
lot younger.

"Harry?" A voice called.

"Yeah." He answered slowly getting to his feet.

"Harry?" A different voice, it sounded familiar. He finally righted himself and brushed his hair out
of his eyes. Hermione. A young, healthy, Hermione.

"What happened to you?" The first voice said.

He looked. Ron. Alive. He forgot all the differences. Ten years of a different world and he wasn't
ready. He found his voice, "A lot."

They stared at each other for a moment until a third voice interrupted. "Mr. Potter."

His head jerked in its general direction. Severus. Oh god. Alive. "I need to see To-" He cut
himself off. Not the same, things weren't the same. "The Headmaster. I need to speak with the

Severus eyed him carefully, "What days are the lessons?"

The lessons? He remembered, barely, they had agreed on lessons. But never gone, hadn't had the
chance... When? He thought hard. "Sunday... Tuesday... and Thursday." He thought.

Severus gave a sharp nod. He turned and began walking, "Follow me. All of you."

They went to his office, a spell was uttered and there were flames in the fireplace. "Albus."

A shock of fear went through him. Albus. Oh no. Not yet.

A smiling face appeared in the flames, "Yes Severus, were you successful?"

There was a pause, "Of a sort."

Bushy eyebrows rose, "Severus?"

"Headmaster, I and my guests request admittance to your office."

There was a pause, then, "Of course." Severus turned to him and gestured that he should go first.

He carefully took a pinch of floo powder, threw it and said, "Headmaster's Office."

He was thrown out of the floo with its usual force, he straightened himself up and looked right
into the wandpoint of Albus Dumbledore. Adrenalin rushed through him as he instinctually
reached for his wand.

"I wouldn't, young man."

He stopped mid-motion.

"Better, please, have a seat."

Harry moved to sit just as another arrival exited the floo. Dumbledore didn't take his eyes from
him. He laid trembling hands at his sides and remained still.

"Severus?" Dumbledore's eyes remained trained on him as he spoke, "Thank you for the

"A pleasure. I have brought Verituserum. Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley will be along shortly to
help us with the more... intrusive questions." Severus answered.

Harry couldn't move, couldn't look away. Dumbledore hadn't moved his wand.

"Please administer it, Severus."

Severus moved forward opening the bottle.

Still not taking his eyes off Dumbledore, "You..." His voice was a bit high, he tried again, "You
have to use 5 drops. I'm immune to it otherwise."

There was a tense silence, Dumbledore looked surprised. Then slowly he nodded his head. "Do as
he says, Severus."

Harry opened his mouth obediently waiting for potion to be administered. It was always the same,
he felt his own power fighting it with the first drop. But by the 5th the potion had overpowered

Severus nodded to Dumbledore when he was done.

Dumbledore looked at him, "Now young man, what is your name?"

He stared at Dumbledore's wand and answered, "Harry James Potter."


"How is that possible?" Dumbledore pressed.

"I-I-" He stuttered, "I'm not sure."

"Elaborate." Snape snapped.

Harry jerked his head in Snape's direction and then immediately back to Dumbledore. "I... I got
sucked into... an a-alternate universe... things were... different there." Harry's eyes flicked around
the room, "and I guess, time was... as well."

Dumbledore nodded, "Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, please ask him a question."

Ron's tentative voice spoke up, "Who was my first?"

Harry's eyes narrowed in concentration. "I thought... Its been a long time... but there hasn't been

A quick look at Ron showed the read head flushed scarlet, but nodding his approval.

Hermione spoke up, "Who was mine?"

Harry looked at her and desperately tried to separate memories from two different worlds. He
was about to answer when he stopped and asked, "In front of Ron?"

She gave a sigh, "Might as well."

He nodded, "Ginny."

There was an unmistakable squeak that had to be Ron.

"Later Ron." Hermione answered him. Then turned to Dumbledore, "I'm satisfied."


"A moment, Headmaster." Severus walked up to him, "Mr. Potter, approximately 3 days ago we
had a private conversation, please relate to me any part of it."

Harry closed his eyes and swallowed, this was his best preserved memory, "I tripped over you and
you helped me up and then told me it would a shame to hurt myself before the world could see
how well practiced I was in defense. It would also look a bit silly." That hadn't been the whole
conversation by far, but it was enough specifics, he hoped.

Severus, again, gave a sharp nod, "It's him."

Dumbledore's wand finally lowered.

Harry relaxed, marginally.

"I believe you as well, Harry."

He almost flinched.

"Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, you may return to your dorms." Dumbledore continued, "I will
arrange for you to meet with him later." He said, cutting off their protests.

They nodded and reluctantly left.

"Severus, you may go as well." Dumbledore went on.

The sentence had barely been completed when he yelled, "No!"

Both Dumbledore and Severus looked at him in surprise. He looked back, slightly panicked, it
wasn't battle, he couldn't act, do what he wanted. "Don't go. Just. Don't ask. Just don't go."

Severus examined him closely and nodded.

Dumbledore examined him as well. "On second thought, you look as if you need some rest.
Severus, please take him to a guest suite."


Once they were out of the office he took a deep breath, relaxing minutely.

"This way, Potter." Severus said and began stalking down a corridor.

He followed behind him, not catching up so that he wouldn't have to guard his reactions for a

They arrived in front of a door and Severus turned to him, "I trust you remember how to set your
own password?"

He nodded mutely.

Severus turned to leave.


A raised eyebrow.

"I just- I don't want- you're the closest-" He stopped himself and collected his thoughts. "You're
the only one who's the same." He finished lamely.

"The same, Mr. Potter?"

"Between here and there. You didn't really change, Ron, Hermione, D- Dumbledore were all
different in the end, but you aren't."

The eyebrow raised further.

"I just need something stable. For a few minutes?"

Severus considered it for a moment before answering. "All right Mr. Potter."

They walked in. The room was large and nicely furnished. It was neutral, rich wood tones and
varying browns and beige scattered the room. It was... warm. Secure.

"Are you going to stand there all day, or was there a point to inviting me in?" A sharp voice
interrupted his introspection.

"Harry." He said without thinking.

"Excuse me?"

"Its been... years... since you've called me Mr. Potter." He shrugged in apology, still not looking
at his companion, "Sorry, its just strange."

"Strange, you say. How ironic." A small silence. "Considering that you are obviously no longer a
student and have not been for many years, I will agree to call you Harry. In private."

He relaxed a bit further. "Thank you, Se- Severus." He had almost changed his mind. But he'd
never be able to remember any other name.

Another tense silence, then, "Fine."

"Please, have a seat." He said, still not looking in Severus' direction. He heard the shifting of
cloth and the creaking of furniture.

More silence, then, "How long were you there?"

The question surprised him. Of course he would be curious. "10 years. To the day actually."

Severus made a noncommital noise. Then asked, "How was it?"

He choked on a laugh. He should have known. "Interesting. Eventful."

"Was it better than here?"

How to answer that. What was he really asking? "You mean, was there a Voldemort?"

"I suppose."

Harry thought about it for a moment. "Voldemort did not exist." he heard a sharp intake of break
from across the room. He continued. "But there was a Dark Lord."

"I don't understand." Severus said.

He had to be really surprised to admit that. "Its that simple. Voldemort, as such, did not exist. But
there was... someone else."

"So you did not escape anything by living there for 10 years."

He finally turned around and faced him, "No, I guess I didn't, but then how many people get the
chance to really see what Albus Dumbledore can do?"

His pronouncement was greeted with a startled silence.


Don't kill me.