Title: Crumbling Pedestal
Warnings: Slash, brief het, time travel, the founders, moderate super!Harry, identity hopping, clichés...
Pairings: Harry/OFC, Harry/Severus
Spoilers: PS-OotP (no HBP)

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Summary: Harry's date with Voldemort at the conclusion of the Triwizard tournament didn't go quite as planned. Fate steps in with a unique opportunity, offering Harry the chance to live and mature in the time of the founders. For a while, anyway.

Edits: Due to the Great Editing Spree of 2007 (02-04 October), all chapters have been modified to correct things like missing words, improper comma usage, choppy sentences, and cardinal sins (i.e. spelling a canon name incorrectly), and then replaced using the handy feature available at this archive. Due to the inability to use blockquote here (and bloody sadistic that is, too), the formatting of applicable sections has been altered (though you can always find the proper format at Grazhir). Any mistakes are entirely my own.

Crumbling Pedestal
— 00: Prologue —

Journal Entry, 25 June 1995

I look back on my life, up until that moment, and can only hang my head. I don't understand anymore, any of it. I don't understand what I did to deserve the things I've suffered. Was there some dark aura that lingered around my body, originating from the scar on my forehead? Something that touched everyone I met and led them down the path of distrust and disbelief?

I know I may die at any moment, so I'm getting it out, getting it down, while I'm still able. Maybe someday they'll read this and know. Most of them won't understand, and I don't expect that they ever would. Certainly not guilt, that would be like a miracle.

Growing up, I was taught I was worthless, a waste of space. I was a freak, an abomination. I was good only for the work I could do, the abuse I could suffer, and the amusement I could provide my cousin. It's a wonder I lived so long. I still don't know why my uncle had not simply strangled me as a baby, or left me to die in some back alley or desolate field.

Maybe the attraction or benefits of a legal slave was too much to give up.

When I found out about the wizarding world I thought I'd gone to heaven. When Hagrid came and stood up for me, I thought it was just some dream, but it was real. I took him seriously when he told me about Voldemort, when he told me that not a witch or wizard gone bad hadn't come from Slytherin.

Malfoy made his impression, too, of a spoiled snob from a privileged family of importance. But still, I thought I finally had a place to belong. My first year wasn't so bad. It was even exciting, despite everything that happened and the risk to my life and that of the friends I'd made.

Snape was a nightmare. How can he hate me so much for something I never did? He'd like to think he never treated me specially, but he did. He treated me worse than any other single person.

I never told anyone but Dumbledore that the sorting hat wanted me in Slytherin. I wonder sometimes what things might have been different had I let it sort me as it wished. Would I have suffered less or more? Would I have been dead before a week was up?

I learned in my second year that fame is definitely not everything, as Snape once said. It was his fault I was revealed as a parselmouth. I think it shocked him as much as anyone else. Either way, it caused me to be subject to distrust and suspicion from everyone but those who believed in me. Me, the Heir of Slytherin?

Still, it backfired spectacularly on him. I wasn't scared in the least. I think everyone at the club could see that, even if they didn't have a clue what was happening. Imagine that—I inadvertently got one over on Snape.

Until Hermione was petrified, many wholeheartedly embraced the notion. But some couldn't bring themselves to believe I would do that to one of my closest friends. Funny that—if I really was dark, that would have been an excellent ploy on my part. What better way to avert suspicion?

Even when I'd faced the memory of Tom Riddle, killed the basilisk, and saved Ginny's life, people were still afraid. You simply cannot win.

I think it was around then that I started to appreciate something that my friends would have found crazy. No matter what happened, the Slytherins, from Snape on down to the youngest student, always treated me the same. They never wavered in their views. Okay, so they were awful, but they were consistent.

My third year was a picnic in comparison, though I still have to think back and wonder if I did the right thing in convincing Sirius and Remus not to kill Peter. Maybe if I'd given in to my rage and pain, Sirius might be free today, and I might not be here writing my last words, waiting for Voldemort to finish the job he set out to do thirteen years ago.

It's done. I can't change the past.

And then this year. The year the visions started. Everyone goes on about how participants in the tournament shouldn't accept outside help. We all know cheating is wrong. Then how come people kept trying so hard to get me to do it? I managed, though.

But at the cost of another betrayal. People I thought were friends, the wizarding community at large. Lucius Malfoy and Rita Skeeter should work the media aspects of political campaigns, they're that good at crucifying the competition.

From Savior and Boy-Who-Lived to the next Dark Lord in training. I was supposedly delusional, psychotic, a liar . . . an attention seeking, insolent, arrogant brat. Everything Snape had ever accused me of being.

What do I owe to a world that would as soon spit on me as adore me? The pedestal they put me on is crumbling from the blows they insist on wielding against it.

I lived because my mother loved me, so they say. I have my doubts. I helped protect the philosopher's stone. I saved the life of a girl and saved an innocent man from the Dementor's Kiss.

But people fear me, even as they expect me to be their Savior. I wouldn't put it past people like Fudge to throw me in Azkaban the moment that happened, too, for fear that I'll take Voldemort's place.

Like I said, you can't win.

But it won't matter, because I'll be dead. I'm not even sure why I'm still alive. He'll be coming for me soon, though, I bet. I just hope it's clean and quick.