Lil' Sphinx: I added a small scene of what's happening in the future timeline.
"For now I'm standing here, I'm awaiting this grand transition,
The future is but the past forgotten, on the road to Madness…"
"Road to Madness" –Queensryche
"Well, first off," Harry started, "Our parents didn't die in a car crash."
Younger-Harry gasped, "It was a lie?"
Harry nodded and gave a twisted smile. "And that's just the first. There are so many more and they just keep multiplying," he gave a snort and shook his head. "Anyway our parents were murdered by a dark wizard named Voldemort."
"Murdered? Wait, Wizard?" asked younger Harry.
"Yes," Harry sighed. "I suppose this is where things get complicated. You see, there's a whole world of magic that exists all around us, it's just simply hidden from view, unless you know where to look of course. But it is real; witches, wizards, hags, goblins, imps, black dogs, dragons, you name it, they're all real. They exist."
Younger-Harry nodded, "Okay, but why did this dark wizard guy kill our parents?"
"Our parents were a witch and a wizard and they had defied him on numerous accounts. But the real reason, which I didn't find out about until I was fifteen, was because he wanted me…you…us dead. The scar on our forehead is from a powerful curse that should have killed us."
"But…why try to kill us? We couldn't have been very old at the time and not much of a threat," said younger-Harry. "Wait, if our parents were a witch and a wizard wouldn't that make us one?"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Your future self is sitting in front of you and you're questioning whether or not you're a wizard? Honesty, how do you think I got here? Not to mention that time you grew your hair back after Aunt Petunia sheered you nearly bald, or that time she tried to put you in that horrible sweater and it kept shrinking until it couldn't fit a doll. Or that time you ended up on the roof of the school kitchens, or when you set a…wait a minute I don't think that's happened yet."
Younger-Harry gave a sheepish laugh. "Yeah, I guess it was a pretty stupid question. And if you're referring to when I set a Boa Constrictor on Dudley and Piers at the Zoo on Dudley's birthday that happened awhile ago."
"So, that's already happened, meaning the letter should be coming soon," Harry muttered more to himself than to younger-Harry.
Harry gave another sigh and ran a hand through his wild hair. "Let me finish telling you about Voldemort, then we can talk about other things, 'kay?"
Younger-Harry nodded eagerly. "Kay," he agreed.
"There's a prophecy that says; 'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born as to those who have thrice defied him, Born as the seventh month dies…And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, But he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…' That's our prophecy and it's only ours because Voldemort tried to kill us. He marked us as his equal," Harry said brushing his fingertips over the lightning bolt scar.
Younger-Harry sat blinking rapidly. Every now and then he opened his mouth as if to say something but closed it as though he really wasn't sure what to say. But the look in his eyes clearly said that there had to be some kind of mistake.
"I know it's a lot to take in. But it's something that you have to know and deal with and the earlier you hear it and understand the better off you'll be," said Harry. "And don't say anything about this being a mistake or how it couldn't possibly be you or anything else along those lines, because it is you and nothings going to change that. I've spent a lot of time saying that it had to be some kinda mistake, that they had to have confused me with someone else, that it couldn't possibly be me, but if I could have dealt with it, accepted that it was me then I wouldn't have had so many problems. Don't make the same mistakes I did by convincing yourself that it's not you."
Younger-Harry nodded. "Okay. Okay, I can handle this," he whispered. "Now, let me see if I have this right. A dark wizard named Voldemort, who was really out to kill us, all because of a prophecy, killed our parents and in trying to kill us set the prophecy into motion that wouldn't have been if he hadn't tried to kill us. Have I got it right?"
"Yup, that's about it in a nutshell."
Younger-Harry frowned. "But there's something I don't get. If he knew about the prophecy then why try to kill us himself, why not send someone else to do it? That way, he couldn't have marked us as an equal and brought about his own downfall."
"Voldemort hadn't heard the entire prophecy; he had only heard the first part about the one to vanquish him would be born at the end of July to people who had defied him. He didn't know that by coming after us would mark us as equal. And I don't know why he came after us himself, maybe he just liked killing, or it was personal or maybe he just wanted to make sure it was done right." Harry gave a one shoulder shrug.
Younger-Harry looked away his bright green eyes narrowed in concentration. "You said you came back to change things," he whispered.
Harry nodded although his past self wasn't looking at him and therefore couldn't see it.
"Were…were things really that bad that you would sacrifice everything, risk all that you know just to see if you could change things?" asked younger-Harry.
"Yes," Harry said without the slightest bit of hesitation. "The future I come from is already lost, there's nothing there to protect, nothing to fight for." In saying those words Harry finally realized why Voldemort had gained the upper hand. It wasn't the curse that enabled him to do so; it was because Harry had lost his will to fight. His determination came from his need to protect the people close to him, but without those people to protect he didn't have a reason to fight.
"There are quite a few things I want to change, but I also want you to have a life. It's safe to say we didn't have much of one in my time. Every time we found a little bit of happiness it was taken away, people we thought would always be by our side weren't, and every time we thought we had finally gained some control over our life we realized we were still nothing more than a pawn left in the dark." Harry gave a short bitter laugh.
"But it's going to be different this time," younger-Harry said offering Harry a shy smile. "We're going to make sure that it's different."
"Right. And like I said, I want you to experience life. I don't want you to know everything that's going to happen, so I'm only going to tell you about the things that need to be changed and only when the event is about to occur."
"I understand. I can't say that I don't want to know, because I do. I want to know everything, but I also don't want to know." Younger-Harry shrugged and gave another sheepish smile. "I'm glad you won't be telling me everything, 'cause life is about the unexpected."
"It's late, you should be going to bed," said Harry.
"What about the letter?"
"We'll talk about it later, for now go to sleep," Harry replied.
"Will you be here when I wake up?" asked younger-Harry as he crawled under the covers.
"Yes, I plan on sticking around for a while."
"We'll have to think of a name for you," said younger-Harry.
Harry frowned. "Why?"
Younger-Harry pushed himself up so that he was able to see his older self. "I know you're me or I'm you, however you wanna look at it. But I feel kinda stupid referring to you as Harry; it's like talking to myself, which I guess I am, but not really…"
Harry raised a hand stopping younger-Harry's rambling. "You're right, we are the same person, but we're also not. And it would get confusing, so you're Harry since this is your timeline and you can call me…Hart."
"You'll understand eventually. Now, go to sleep."
"Kay, 'night Hart," said Harry as he snuggled beneath the covers.
In the world that "Hart" left behind Hermione sat outside that very cupboard. For a brief moment the world around her seemed to flicker out of existence. She smiled for she knew that Harry had accomplished what he set out to do, he made it to the past. She disapparated from the Dursley's house and back to Hogwarts where she slipped silently into the castle not wanting to be seen. Using the shortcuts that she had learned from her years at Hogwarts she made it to the Gryffindor tower without being seen. She climbed the spiral steps to her room and collapsed on to the bed. She smiled in the dark and let sleep take her for she knew that Harry would make things better.
Her breathing slowed and then stopped as time stood still. And it wasn't just Hermione who was frozen within time, but everyone. All around things simply stopped moving, stop being. The moving portraits for once appeared like any other portrait, just paint on canvas. Even the moving staircases were frozen in place, some even looked as though some crazed architect came along and built stairways to nowhere. Madam Pomfrey who had just realized that Harry was gone from the hospital was frozen in mid stride with one hand on the door leading into the hallway. Professor Snape loomed over a bubbling cauldron looking for the entire world like a wax figurine of a mad scientist. And in the Headmaster's office all the moving whirling and steaming objects stopped and smoke hung suspended in air and in the corner of the office Fawkes the phoenix was frozen in fire. The Headmaster himself was turned towards the window with a look of disbelief in his pale blue eyes as though he knew what had happened and what was going to happen before time reached out its hand and stopped everything.
Time was waiting. It could neither move forward nor backward, so it simply waited until it could do one or the other.
Harry woke up to Aunt Petunia banging on the cupboard door shrieking at him to get up. It wasn't the most pleasant of wake-up calls and to be honest he could have done without it.
"God, I had forgotten how horrible that woman sounds first thing in the morning."
Harry sat up quickly, a little too quickly and ended up bashing his head on the underside of the stairs. But the stinging pain didn't stop him from searching the interior of the cupboard for the owner of the voice. His eyes landed on the transparent form of his future self.
"You're really here. It wasn't a dream," whispered Harry.
"A dream? 'Fraid not," Hart said shifting to sit in a more comfortable position.
"So, so it was all true about Mum and Dad being a witch and a wizard and that Voldemort character and me being a wizard? And…and all of it…it was true?"
"Yup," said Hart, "It was all true." He stood up, slightly hunched over and walked out of the cupboard going straight through the door without opening it. He poked his head back in and smiled at the shocked look on Harry's face. "You might wanna get out here before that woman comes back to scream at you."
Harry scrambled from bed and quickly dressed in a pair of Dudley's old jeans that were about four sizes too big and held up with a bit of rope and a pale gray t-shirt, which had also been Dudley's. He followed Hart from the cupboard, although he opened the door instead of walking through it. There was a horrible smell coming from the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen he traced the smell to a huge pot of what appeared to be soaking rags swimming in gray water in the kitchen sink.
"Don't ask you don't wanna know," said Hart.
Harry turned at the sound of Hart's voice and found him sitting on the countertop holding a small black book and swinging his legs back and forth. Harry found it strange that although Hart was transparent he was still in color, not white like how he would imagine a ghost to be. He could see that Hart's shoulder-length unruly hair was black, that his eyes were green, although not as near as bright as his own, and that Hart was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans with a dark green sweater. Hart looked just like anyone else, only see-through.
"Well don't just stand there boy, bring me my coffee," Vernon Dursley said as he entered the kitchen. He made a face at the smell but said nothing. He sat at the table and opened the newspaper, which did nothing to hide his massive bulk. Dudley followed in his father's wake and waddled over to the table taking up nearly one whole side of it. He banged his Smelting stick, which he had taken to carrying everywhere, on to the table and yelled for breakfast.
Harry quickly did as he was told and went to fix Uncle Vernon a cup of coffee. He kept casting glances at Hart as he went about fixing breakfast and serving the Dursleys.
"Relax, they can't see me or hear me. I tested it this morning to make sure. I'm kinda under the impression that only you can see me."
Harry made sure his back was towards the Dursleys and he kept his voice pitched low so that only Hart would be able to hear. "Why do you think that?"
"Well, it could be that only someone with strong magical ability would be able to see me, which would stand to reason why the Dursleys wouldn't be able to. They don't have a magical bone in their bodies. But I'm thinking you're the only one who can see me because technically I don't exist in this time. I cannot exist in this time, because I'm not the same person I used to be. I cannot be that person anymore. So, it would stand to reason that the only person who can see me would be me. Also, I didn't time travel, as cliché as that sounds, in the normal means. See most wizards' use what is called a Time Turner to travel through time and usually only a couple hours back. But Time Turners are strictly monitored by the Ministry and the use of them to go back into the past to change an event is forbidden."
Hart shrugged. "Not that it really matters; I didn't use a Time Turner. I used an ancient spell that used the raw untapped power of the earth and willed it to do what I wanted. I basically forced myself back into the past. The spell wasn't made to be used that way and in my typical fashion I didn't do all the research before diving right in. So, I don't know…I don't know why I'm transparent or why you can see me and the Dursleys cannot." Hart gave another shrug. "I have no clue. And I have no way of finding out the answers until…until you start Hogwarts."
The click of the mail slot and the sound of letters falling to the floor kept Harry from asking what Hogwarts was.
"Dudley, get the mail," said Uncle Vernon from behind the newspaper as he reached for his cup of coffee.
"Make Harry get it," whined Dudley.
Harry was about to retort but was stopped by Hart.
"Trust me, you'll want to get this," Hart said as he hopped down from the counter and left the kitchen.
Harry followed without a word to the Dursleys and went to get the mail. There was a postcard from Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, who was on vacation on the Isle of Wight. There was a brown envelope that looked like a bill and a letter for Harry. Harry blinked at the letter, he never got mail but it was clearly addressed to him. He turned the thick yellowish envelope over and on the back was a wax seal. The seal was purple with a coat of arms; a lion, a badger, an eagle and a snake surrounding a large letter H.
"This is the letter you were talking about," said Harry in a tone of voice that implied that he was asking not stating a fact.
"Yes, that's your Hogwarts letter. Uncle Vernon takes it away from you when you go back into the kitchen. It took me weeks to find out what was in the letter."
Harry gave a mischievous smile and withdrew the letter from the stack. "Well, let's find out what happens if he doesn't," he replied as he slipped the letter into his back pocket and made sure it was covered by his baggy shirt.
"Hurry up, boy!" yelled Uncle Vernon from the kitchen.
Harry turned and moved back towards the kitchen.
"Wait!" cried Hart.
Harry turned around with a small frown. "You said you came back to changes things."
"Yes, I did. But I'm here to change certain events not everything. This letter may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but by not letting Uncle Vernon take it, it could change things so drastically that we won't be able to change the things that need to be changed because I won't know when they happen," stressed Hart.
"Who's to say that we haven't already changed things drastically?" questioned Harry as he turned and entered the kitchen.
Hart stood in the hallway blinking at the swinging kitchen door. His past-self was right; they could have already changed things. Didn't he change things just by being in the past? Or telling his past-self things that would have taken years for him to learn on his own; didn't that change things? Hart sighed and racked a hand through his hair in frustration. What had seemed like an easy thing to do was starting to get complicated.
Harry said nothing throughout the rest of breakfast not wanting to draw attention to himself. After breakfast he cleaned up and left the house as quickly as he could. He wandered down the street making a zigzagging path to the park looking over his shoulder from time to time to make sure that Dudley hadn't followed him. Once he was at the park he withdrew the letter from his pocket and sat on one of the swings. Hart, who had been silent on the walk, took the other swing. He was still holding the black book and had it resting on his legs as he slowly rocked the swing back and forth.
Harry started at the dark green ink that spelled his name before finally opening the letter. He pulled out a couple pieces of paper that were the same thick yellowish parchment as the envelope. Unfolding them he saw the same dark green ink and began to read.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on Sept. 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
The second sheet of parchment held a list of school supplies that was needed for the coming school year. He read over the list quickly and then returned to the acceptance letter. Reading the letter made everything his future-self had told him seem…real. It wasn't a brief lapse of sanity or a made-up story to fool him, it was real.
He sighed softly before refolding the letter and placing it back into the envelope. Holding the letter and the swing's chains in his hands he pushed off the ground setting the swing into motion. "Are you mad at me?" he asked softly.
Hart sighed and shook his head. "No. And you're probably right; we could have already changed things. I just wonder what's going to happen now."
"What happened last time?" asked Harry, letting the swing's momentum slow down.
"Well…last time I walked into the kitchen and Dudley pointed out that I had something, Uncle Vernon jerked it out of my hands. Then me and Dudley were kicked out of the kitchen while Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon whispered about the letter. After that I was moved from the cupboard to Dudley's second bedroom. More letters came but Uncle Vernon was always there to take them. After about four days Uncle Vernon took us on a trip, but no matter where we went the letters always showed up. We finally ended up in a lighthouse out in the middle of nowhere and that's where Hagrid came and got me and I was able to read the letter for the first time. That's where I found out that Mum and Dad didn't die in a car accident and that I was a wizard and famous to boot."
"We're…fam…famous?" Harry stuttered. "For…for what?"
"For being the Boy-Who-Lived," Hart said bitterly. "We're the only ones to have survived the killing curse. Also, Voldemort disappeared afterwards."
"Famous," Harry whispered looking down at the pebbles beneath the slowly swaying swing. "I…I don't want to be famous."
"I know. That's something that has never sat well with us," Hart replied softly. "But there's nothing to be done about it, you're just going to have to learn to ignore it. That's what I did."
"So there's nothing," murmured Harry. "Wait! You said this Hagrid guy comes to get us right?"
"Well, he did last time and although we changed things by taking the letter I'm still sure that Dumbledore would send Hagrid to collect us and take us to Diagon Alley."
"Then couldn't we tell Hagrid that we don't want anyone to know who we are, that we wanna be someone else, you know, like an alias. And only the professors at Hogwarts would know who we really are but all the students would just see us as another student, nobody special."
"You could ask, but I don't know if they'd go for it."
"Well," Harry said hopping off the swing. "It can't hurt to ask."
Hart stood up and carefully slipped the black book into his back pocket. "It won't hurt to ask, but don't get your hopes up."
"Speaking of asking," started Harry. "I've been meaning to ask you about that book you carry around all the time. What's in it?"
Hart looked away from his past-self. Those wide innocent curious green eyes of Harry's made Hart want to tell the younger boy everything. Hermione had always told him that his eyes were his most lethal weapon. He had never believed her. He had in fact always rolled his eyes at the notion of it and shrugged it off as a "female thing". But now, face to face with them he finally knew what she meant. And, she had been right. Laith made a mental note to never ever tell his younger-self how lethal his eyes were. That was one thing that didn't need to be exploited.
"It's a journal that I couldn't seem to leave behind," answered Hart. He gave a soft mocking laugh. "I could leave behind everything but a book, how pathetic is that?"
Harry opened his mouth to say something to comfort his future-self, but was stopped by a sharp "don't".
"Don't say anything. I don't wanna talk about this anymore," Hart said as he walked from the park. "Let's go back it's getting late."
Harry said nothing on the way back to the Dursley's he was thinking of all the things that had happened. Harry was also worried about Hart; he had looked so sad when talking about the journal that Harry wanted to help him but couldn't think of any way to do it. He thought about it the rest of the day and into the night but could think of nothing.
There were no letters the next day nor the day after or the day after that. Hart had become silent and had taken to sitting in the backyard reading the journal. Harry had taken to plotting over everything that had happened and the few things Hart had told him of what had happened the first time. The first time Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had taken the letter and had kept him from getting any of the other letters. But this time he had gotten the letter and no other letters came so it would stand to reason that the school knew he had received and read the letter. The first time the school had sent Hagrid to collect him because they knew that he hadn't received the letters, but would Hagrid be sent this time?
Harry sighed. He wanted more answers, but Hart didn't seem to want to talk and there was no one else to ask. Wait…that wasn't true, there was one other person in the house that Harry could ask. Aunt Petunia. She was his mum's sister; she had to know some things about Hogwarts or at least about witches and wizards. He just wanted some answers.
The next day after Uncle Vernon went to work and Dudley left the house to go bully kids out of their money with his friends, Harry decided to talk to Aunt Petunia. He entered the kitchen where Aunt Petunia was drinking tea at the kitchen table and spotted Laith sitting in the greenhouse with his back towards the dinning room/kitchen. The greenhouse doors were open so that the two rooms flowed seamlessly together.
"Aunt Petunia," Harry said, "I think we need to talk."
Hart was out of the chair he had been sitting in and across the dinning room in a matter of seconds. "What are you doing?"
Harry ignored him and waited for Aunt Petunia's attention.
Aunt Petunia looked over her shoulder with a frown. "What could you possibly need to talk about? I'm not in the mood for any of your stupid questions," she said harshly turning back to her tea.
Harry pulled out the Hogwarts letter and sat it down next to Aunt Petunia's tea cup. He took the seat next to Aunt Petunia's and said again, "I think we need to talk."
Lil' Sphinx: First off, thanks to everyone who reviewed, I so love reviews. Second, I did this chapter at like 3 in the morning so hopefully everythings okay. Thirdly, hopefully not to many people will get all pissy at me for changing Harry's name, but there was just too many Harrys floating around and I was starting to get confused.
Kenaki Storm - You're so sweet, thank you.
Miz - As you can see future-Harry isn't reliving the past, he's just helping his past-self to make a whole bunch of new mistakes. And as for Hermione, it'll be explained later.
Geminidragon - Older Harry will be sticking around for awhile, but for how long? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.