To Change the Past
Disclaimer: Assuming that time travel is a possibility, I could have been taken by someone in the future to the past where I gave JKR ideas for HP. So I would technically own this, then wouldn't I? Go me.
Bits of this are taken directly from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling. Pretty much anything you recognise.
Albus Dumbledore couldn't remember getting into bed. In fact, after hearing Hermione and Ron tell him exactly what had happened, his memory was a blur. Only one thing stood out with any detail: Black's... Sirius' cold, soulless eyes.
He'd been too late. After Buckbeak's execution, he'd followed Hagrid into Hogsmeade to comfort him, and to make sure he didn't do anything he shouldn't. By the time they returned, Fudge had already arrived and ordered Bl—Sirius Kissed. He was ashamed to think that he had been glad to hear that, before he heard from Hermione.
He still hadn't been able to bring himself to see Harry.
Through her tears, Hermione had explained how they had tried to fight off the Dementors, before falling. It was fortunate that they were not all Kissed.
Sybill's prediction rang in his ears as he sat up in his bed. Voldemort would return. And without Harry to stand up against him, he would very likely win.
Dumbledore walked to his desk, stirring Fawkes from his sleep. He let out a cry, raising Dumbledore's feelings for a moment, clearing away the fog of depression a bit. There is no use, he thought, dwelling on what can't be affected. One can't change the past.
But one could, his thoughts reminded him. The Time Turner was sitting innocently on his desk, almost begging to be used. You could save Harry. Sirius. The world, he thought. He couldn't say he hadn't been tempted more than once. But could he? Such terrible things had happened to wizards who tried to change time. Was it worth the risk?
Even worse than Hermione's tears were Ron's, who was trying and failing to hold them back. They poured down the front of him, as if a waterfall of sorrow. He probably didn't even notice the bite on his shoulder, or that this was his last full moon as a human.
Albus Dumbledore picked up his hat and walked toward the door. He didn't make it.
"Stupefy!" he heard his own voice say, but he was quite certain he wasn't saying it. That was his last conscious thought for some time as he fell to the floor. If his eyes had still been open, he probably would have noticed himself carrying himself to his bed.
First thing was first. Hagrid was expecting him. After that, he would... think of something to do before doing it, hopefully.
He left his office, after making sure to cover his other self in case anyone came around. Already, things appeared different. People he'd passed in the hall before came a few seconds later, and he nearly collided with Percy Weasley, who turned a sharp corner without warning.
When he arrived at the door, Fudge, the Committee member and Macnair were waiting for him. The first gave a nervous and apologetic smile, while the last seemed anxious to leave.
They didn't speak on the short stroll to the cabin, but Dumbledore's thoughts were racing. He still didn't know what he planned to do, but he knew that he'd have to figure something out quickly. He didn't know in how many ways his presence might have already affected his present. His new present.
He knocked on the door, and heard frantic whispering. Hagrid shooing his young friends away, if Dumbledore recalled correctly. A few seconds later, the door opened, and Hagrid appeared. The poor man looked as if he'd been through hell. Tears didn't come, but he was shaking with barely repressed sorrow.
Before Dumbledore could even say hello, Macnair spat, "Where's the beast?"
"Out—outside," Hagrid croaked. Macnair pushed his way past Hagrid and looked out the window, glaring at Buckbeak.
"We—er—have to read you the official notice of execution, Hagrid. I'll make it quick," Fudge said. Dumbledore would have pitied his tone of voice, if not for the fact that Hagrid was so miserable. "And then you and Macnair need to sign it. Macnair, you're supposed to listen too, that's the procedure—"
Macnair turned and sneered, fingering his axe impatiently. "Right," he said. Dumbledore spared a brief glance out the window Macnair had been looking through and saw a brief flash of movement. Buckbeak was kneeling. But why?
"It is the decision of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures that the hippogriff Buckbeak, hereafter called the condemned, shall be exectued on the sixth of June at sundown. The condemned is sentenced to execution by beheading, to be carried out by the Committee's appointed executioner, Walden Macnair, and noted as witnessed below. Hagrid, you sign here," Fudge indicated a line, where Hagrid put his shaky signature.
"Well, let's get this over with," said the Committee member. He gave Hagrid a sympathetic look. "Hagrid, perhaps it will be better if you stay inside—"
"No," Hagrid said, his voice strained from the cries of sorrow he was holding back, "I—I wan' ter be with him... I don' wan' him ter be alone—"
Macnair led the way to the back door of Hagrid's cabin when Dumbledore noticed something that hadn't happened before. Or rather, had happened. "One moment, please, Macnair," he said politely. "You need to sign too."
Macnair growled quietly and walked back to the paper, scribbling his name quickly. He then returned to the back door and swung it open. It hit the wall of Hagrid's cabin with a loud bang and bounced back slightly. No one said anything for a moment, until the Committee member said rather stupidly, "Where is it? Where is the beast?"
"It was tied here!" Macnair roared. "I saw it! Just here!"
"How extraordinary," Dumbledore said, not only of the escape, but the look on Macnair's face.
"Beaky!" Hagrid said huskily. He gave a happy howl as Macnair gave an anguished cry and swung his axe at an innocent fence post. "Gone!" he yelled to whoever could hear. "Gone! Bless his little beak, he's gone! Must pulled himself free! Beaky, yeh clever boy!"
Macnair snarled at Hagrid's exclamation. "Someone untied him! We should search the ground, the forest—"
Dumbledore shook his head and smiled at Macnair's outrage. "Macnair, if Buckbeak has indeed been stolen, do you really think the thief will have led him away on foot? Search the skies, if you will... Hagrid, I could do with a cup of tea. Or a large brandy."
"O'—o' course, Professor," said the giant, weak with joy. "Come in, come in."
After the tea, Macnair insisted that they at least go to the castle and make sure Hagrid hadn't Buckbeak in there, somehow. Dumbledore thanked Hagrid for the tea and led the party back to the castle. On the way up the stairs, they ran into Lupin, who, Dumbledore hoped, had remembered to take his potion in this changed timeline. As it was, he couldn't get away from Fudge, Macnair and the Committee member, who were insisting that Dumbledore lead them here and there to find such Buckbeak.
He intentionally stayed to one side of the castle, looking out the windows occasionally to see if anything had happened yet. The Dementors didn't seem any more agitated than usual. No movement, aside from the breeze.
"Dumbledore!" Macnair bellowed. Dumbledore sighed. "Come and open this door."
Dumbledore approached the door indicated by Macnair and inspected it. "It's not a door," he decided.
"Yes it is. Look. Doorknob. Hinges. It's a door."
"No, it's a bit of wall that thinks it's a door. The castle has a sense of humour." Despite the situation, Dumbledore allowed himself a smile.
A smile that soon faded when he heard a piercing scream from outside. He rushed to the window, but he couldn't see its source. However, he did see that the Dementors—at least a hundred of them—were rushing to one spot.
He ran downstairs, barely acknowledging the others behind him. But they had wandered farther than Dumbledore had thought, and it was a couple of minutes before they reached the ground floor.
Though he hadn't known what to expect, the sight he met was still a surprise. Snape was walking back towards the castle, with four stretchers floating around him. The Dementors were nowhere in sight.
"Severus!" Dumbledore cried. He looked a bit bruised and bloody, but otherwise fine. No bites, no scars. "What happened?"
"Potter, Weasley, and Granger were in the Shrieking Shack with Black. They attacked me. Black must have put a Confundus Charm on them." Dumbledore knew better, but didn't say anything. "When I woke up, all four of them were out cold."
"But what about the Demen—good Lord, is that Sirius Black?" Fudge said. Dumbledore hadn't noticed his arrival.
"Yes, it's Sirius Black. As for the Dementors..." he trailed off. "I have no idea."
"It had to be you. There are only so many people who can produce a Patronus," Fudge insisted.
"Minister, I was not conscious, let alone wand-worthy. I assure you, it was not me."
"Well who else could it have been?"
And in Dumbledore's mind, something clicked.
He went to talk to Sirius for a moment, and after hearing his story, said only one thing: "Don't give up hope."
He then headed for the hospital wing. Upon opening the door, he was assaulted by Harry—Harry!—trying to speak around a mouthful of chocolate. After swallowing, Harry said, "Professor Dumbledore, Sirius Black—"
"For heaven's sake!" Poppy Pomfrey exclaimed. "Is this a hospital wing or not? Headmaster, I must insist—"
"My apologies, Poppy," Dumbledore said calmly, "but I need a word with Mr. Potter and Miss Granger. I have just been talking to Sirius Black—"
Snape interrupted him. "I suppose he's told you the same fairy tale he's planted in Potter's mind? Something about a rat, and Pettigrew being alive—"
"That, indeed, is Black's story."
"And does my evidence count for nothing? Peter Pettigrew was not in the Shrieking Shack, nor did I see any sign of him on the grounds."
Hermione interrupted this time. "That's because you were knocked out, Professor! You didn't arrive in time to hear—"
"Miss Granger, HOLD YOUR TONGUE!" Snape exploded.
The Minister looked quite shocked at Snape's outburst. "Now, Snape, the young lady is disturbed in her mind, we must make allowances—"
Enough of this, there's only so much time, Dumbledore thought. "Cornelius, Severus, Poppy—please leave us." The nurse tried to object, but Dumbledore insisted, "This cannot wait. I must insist."
Cornelius left, muttering about the Dementors—More time! he thought—but Severus stayed for a moment. "You surely don't believe a word of Black's story?" Snape whispered, his eyes fixed on Dumbledore's face.
"I wish to speak to Harry and Hermione alone."
"Sirius Black," Snape went on, "showed he was capable of murder at the age of sixteen. You haven't forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven't forgotten that he once tried to kill me?"
"My memory is as good as it ever was," Dumbledore said solemnly.
Snape stormed out and Fudge shut the door behind them. Hermione and Harry both tried to say the same thing at the same time, but Dumbledore quieted them. "It is your turn to listen, and I beg you not interrupt me, because there is very little time," he said quietly. He quickly explained the circumstances, ending by telling them, "What we need is more time." Hermione stared blankly for a moment, but caught on. "Now, pay attention." He told them where to find Sirius, and reminded Hermione not to be seen."
He rose and walked to the door. "I'm going to lock you in. It is... five minutes to midnight." He did some quick math in his head. Had all this happened in only three hours? "Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck."
He closed and locked the door, and heard footsteps rushing toward him. With a large smile, he turned and said, "Well?"
They'd done it. Snape was furious.
His one last problem was the fact that he, in a different sense, was still sleeping in his office. And short of waking him up to tell him exactly what to do, he couldn't think of a solution. If only he could put his memories in his other self.
A flash of silvery light caught his eyes as his Pensieve glittered at him. Perhaps he could.
Albus Dumbledore couldn't remember getting into bed...