Road to Madness
"…You search the eyes of those who fear the law, Darkness and Light we all must keep the balance strong, One day a king will rise with the sun, the moon, and the stars, And you are he and you must die, to be born again, come again, once more be again the king…"
"Deliverance" – Queensryche
Harry James Potter was dying.
After seven years of battling and surviving Voldemort it was finally ending. Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived was dying, much to the Wizarding World's dismay. For you see Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who had been haunting Great Britain for years, was still very much alive. During one of the last confrontations Voldemort had cursed Harry, using a spell so ancient it was unknown where it came from or what its true propose was. But, the curse slowly and painfully ate away at the victim's magic and physical body. No one knew how to save The-Boy-Who-Lived.
He had been hospitalized at St. Mungo's until it was found out that nothing could be done to save him. Once he had found that out, he had appealed to Dumbledore to allow him to stay at Hogwarts, the only home he had ever known, until he died. Sorrowfully, Dumbledore had agreed and Harry was transferred to the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts.
Harry smiled softly as he climbed from the hospital bed and slowly made his way out of the Hospital Wing. He knew what had to be done to save the future of the Wizarding World, but if anyone found out what he was about to do, not only would he be stopped, but he'd probably be arrested too since it was forbidden. His smile, tired as it was, grew. He never was one to follow the rules. Although he always did the right thing, what everyone expected from Dumbledore's Golden Boy. A frown marred his hollowed features at that thought and he was disgusted with himself for what he had become, nothing more than a pawn in someone else's game for power. And now here he was with nothing. He was a dying icon that had never even lived.
A seizure gripped his already weakened body causing him to fall to the stone floor. The black book he had been holding slipped from his nerveless hands as his entire body shuddered with pain. Through the pain he heard someone calling his name and small but firm hands holding him down. As the seizures that racked his body slowly faded he blinked dull green eyes and offered Hermione a tired smile. He laid on the cold floor willing feeling back into his limbs as a worried Hermione sat stroking his long unruly hair.
Hermione, she was one of the few people Harry trusted completely. She was his confidant, keeping his deepest secrets and his darkest fears and his hidden dreams. When everyone else had abandoned him she had stayed by his side. She had willingly gone into battle right beside him, she took hits meant for him, and she was injured protecting him. He raised a trembling hand and cupped her left cheek brushing his thumb over her left eyelid. The eye had once been a honey-gold color, but now it was a cloudy white and blind.
"Don't Harry," Hermione whispered softly, removing Harry's hand from her face and holding it within her own. "Even knowing that this would happen, I wouldn't do anything differently."
Harry sighed and closed his eyes briefly. He knew that she meant more than just her blind eye she meant everything that had happened, from Ron's cowardly betrayal to her own miscarriage, to the endless lies that surrounded them. "You amaze me," he murmured his voice weary and scratchy. "There are so many things that I would change, that I'd do differently if given the chance."
Hermione smiled sadly and whispered, "Draco."
Harry nodded and his eyes drifted back to the black book he had dropped. Shakily he reached for it, but Hermione quickly leaned over and grabbed the book for him. He wrapped his right hand around the book and held it against his chest. The book, a journal really, was Draco Malfoy's, Harry's schoolboy rival. The two had fought bitterly over the years, but during the last two years the two had grudgingly earned each other's respect. Draco Malfoy, a proud Aristocrat, had gone against everything he had been taught and had followed his own path becoming a spy for the side of Light. He had died as he had lived with pride and dignity.
The journal was Draco's parting shot at Harry. The book had been spelled so that if Draco died it would go straight to Harry and only Harry would be able to read the book's contents. It was within those pages that Harry realized that Draco Malfoy had died without anyone knowing him. It was only in death and through the means of a journal that Draco Malfoy had let down his guard and allowed someone to see the real him. The journal held all of Draco's secrets and inmost thoughts; his deepest desires and guarded dreams.
Harry had cried for hours after he had read Draco's journal the first time. There had been so much wasted time and useless hate between them. And it was far too late to change any of it. In despair he had told Hermione a little bit of what he had found out in the journal. And Hermione did what she usually did, comforted him and demand he tell her everything. So night after night he read from the journal. It was during this time that Harry realized he knew what he had to do to save everyone. He was also honest enough with himself to know that what he had planned wasn't completely for the good of the Wizarding World. No, the real reason was pure selfishness. The Boy-Who-Lived was finally going to do something just for himself.
"'Mione, I need you to help me," Harry whispered as he struggled to stand up. Hermione quickly helped him to his feet and let him lean his slight weight against her taller sturdier frame.
"Of course Harry, what is it you need me to do?"
"I need you to help me get to the Dursley's," Harry said weakly.
Hermione frowned as she helped Harry walk down the hallway towards the school's entrance. "Why do you want to go there, Harry?"
Harry smiled a smile that Hermione hadn't seen in a long time. It was one of his carefree, rule breaking smiles. "We're going to do something illegal aren't we?" Hermione said.
Harry laughed softly but it quickly turned into a cough. "Yeah, we're going to break a really big rule," he replied.
"Harry James Potter, you better start spilling," she scolded playfully as the two walked down the front steps of Hogwarts and head for the gate where they could apparate to the Dursley's.
Briefly Harry described what he was going to do. When he finished Hermione had a frown on her face. "Are you sure you want to do this, Harry? I mean…" Hermione started but Harry cut her off.
"Yes, Hermione, I'm sure."
Hermione sighed. "Ok, let's do this."
Harry gave a shy friendly smile. "You're the best 'Mione."
As soon as the two left the anti-apparation wards of Hogwarts they apparated to the Dursley's house. The two were in luck, for although it was the middle of the afternoon, the Dursleys weren't at home. They made their way into the house and Harry headed straight for the cupboard under the stairs. He opened the door, but Hermione stopped him before he could enter the small space.
"Are you sure?" she asked softly.
Harry nodded, his faded green eyes focused intently on Hermione. "I don't have anything to lose, 'Mione," he said honestly.
"But everything to gain," she murmured finishing the saying.
Harry smiled sadly. "You're going to have to stay out here, Hermione."
She nodded her understanding. "Hopefully this will work," she whispered, more to herself than to Harry. But, Harry heard her none the less and gave a harsh laugh.
"Whether or not this works, we'll never know."
Those were the last words Hermione heard Harry say before the cupboard door closed. Sighing she sat with her back against the wall, staring at the cupboard door. With another sigh she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Silently she began to pray that everything would work out, for once.
Once the door shut Harry was thrust into darkness. He didn't bother with a light for he knew the cupboard well. He sat on the floor in the confined space, he placed the book he still carried on his lap and then placed his hands palm down on the floor. He began the spell, an ancient one like the one that had been used against him. But instead of sapping magic and energy, this spell called up the raw untapped magic of the earth and gave it to the caster. Harry had been using the spell to keep himself alive, although it had been losing effect lately, but now he was using the spell for an entirely different reason. Now, he was going to use the raw magic of the earth to send himself back to the past, to where it had all began for him.
He could feel the raw energy from the earth seep into his frail body, soothing the constant burning he had felt since being cursed. But he quickly began to shape the magic flowing in him and around him, telling the magic what he wanted. Happily, pleased to be of assistance, the magic did as it was asked. The raw energy came faster once it had a purpose. The small cupboard was filled with the energy, sparkling lights of blue, white, and green. He felt the magic seethe and a sickening sense of vertigo took hold, forcing him to close his eyes.
When he opened his eyes the cupboard had changed. There was a soft yellow glow from a small lamp, casting the space in shadows. An old rickety bookshelf sat on the wall opposite the door and held Dudley's old clothing and some broken toys. The small cot-like bed sat towards the back of the stairs, furthest away from the door and in front of Harry. Sitting with wide bright green eyes and a bruised cheek was his ten-year-old self.
The two sat there staring at each other in silence, not so much as a gasp escaped either's lips. The older Harry, who was expecting the appearance of his younger self, was still surprised. Seeing yourself tended to do that. But the main reason for his surprise was he had forgotten what he had looked like at the age of ten. Harry gave a small sigh. Now that he was here with his past-self blinking large green eyes at him, he didn't know what to say. Really, how do you tell your younger-self about a future that was so bleak?
"Are you me?" whispered ten-year-old Harry.
Seventeen-year-old Harry nodded. "Yes," he said just as quietly. He wasn't surprised by the other's remark. He knew that he had always handled strange things fairly serenely.
"Are you dead?" asked younger Harry
It was only then that Harry realized he was transparent, wispy looking, like Nearly Headless Nick. But he could still feel his body and he could feel the hard-wood flooring under him, plus, he didn't feel dead. In fact he could still feel the curse burning through his body, only it felt fainter. Which would stand to reason since he was seven years in the past, the curse was working over a long distance of time. "No, I'm not dead, at least, not yet. I'm not sure why I look like this," he said holding a ghostly hand in front of his face. "If 'Mione was here, I'm sure she'd be able to tell us."
Harry smiled gently at the thought of his friend. "Her full name is Hermione, she's a friend of mine…will be yours…ours," he faltered
"You're from the future?"
Harry nodded. "As crazy as it sounds, yes."
Younger-Harry blinked rapidly. "And what about this scenario do you find normal?" He shook his head, "Never mind. Don't answer that. What…why are you here?"
"I'm here to change things," started Harry, "Well; actually, I'm here to help you change things."
"Me? Change…Change what? I'm just…" blathered younger-Harry, but he was stopped by a raised hand.
Harry sighed lowering his hand. "There's so much that you haven't been told…We've been lied to so many times…Manipulated…I don't even know where to start."
Younger-Harry shifted on the bed getting more comfortable. "The beginning is always a good place," he whispered.