After spending half his life trying to rid the world of Voldemort, Harry Potter finally succeeds. However, the price has been high. Too high. Unfortunately, when Harry risks his life to go back and 'do things right', something goes wrong.
I would like to thank…
S'TarKan – It was his story that gave me the idea for this story's starting point. Also, if anyone wants to know what kind of Harry Potter my main character is (they've had similar experiences, losses etc), or just want to read a good Harry Potter fanfic, then read S'TarKan's "Harry Potter & the Nightmares of Futures Past".
The creators of QUANTUM LEAP and SLIDERS – Anyone who's seen either of these shows might recognise elements of both shows central ideas in this story. The situation my Harry gets himself into was indeed partially inspired by the central features of both of these shows.
This website – For providing a forum where people like me can write stuff that people will actually get to see.
J.K. Rowling – They are her characters after all.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – Rose.
"Go away, Dudley!" the young red-head yelled.
The girl's porky cousin and his friends just laughed. "What're you gonna do, Rose? Run and tell teacher like a little sneak?" Dudley taunted, earning several laughs from his friends.
"Just leave me alone, meanies!" the girl retorted.
"You can't make us!" said Piers Polkiss. "You're just a girl."
"Yeah," chorused Dennis, Malcolm and Gordon.
"What is going on here?" an angry voice suddenly asked.
"Nothing, Miss Crawford," the five boys responded.
The young teacher's eyes narrowed slightly. Taking the subtle hint, the five boys apologised to the girl and left, snickering to themselves as they went. However, Miss Anne Crawford didn't hear them as she turned her attention to a very upset looking Rose Potter.
XxXxXxXxXxX"After we took you in and give you a roof over your head, this is how you repay us?"
Harry stood there, hoping his aunt and uncle would stop yelling at him soon and just send him to his cupboard. He had just tried to run away, but had been caught and returned to the Dursleys by two strange looking men who seemed to know who he was. They had taken him back, no matter how hard he tried to get away from them or tell them not to take him back to them – they didn't listen. Now he was back at Number 4 Privet Drive being told how ungrateful he had been for trying to run away 'after everything they had done for him'. Every time someone said this, he wanted to just yell at them and give them a telling off, instead of it being the other way around as always. But he couldn't – that would have been as close to suicide as he could get without actually dying.
It just wasn't fair.
Five minutes later, Harry was alone in the dark cupboard, his hand clutched against his throbbing cheek, thinking about how much he hated the Dursleys. For as long as he could remember, his aunt, uncle and cousin had all been nasty to him at every possible opportunity. Also, everyone at school avoided him because they knew that Dudley and his friends didn't like him. Even the teachers regarded him with some suspicion because of what they had been told about his parents, though Harry didn't know this. All he knew was that he had been looking forward to starting school and being away from Number 4 for at least a few hours a day, but once he got to school, he had found that no one wanted to be his friend. No one would talk to him unless they absolutely had to, and even then, they kept their words to a minimum. Also, between Dudley's gang and everyone else blaming him for everything, Harry often found himself in the Headmistress's office, always ending up with some punishment for something he hadn't even done. Even his teacher, Miss Crawford, always treated him with a degree of suspicion.
It just wasn't fair.
Harry's stomach growled slightly. He was hungry, but he knew he would have to wait until everyone had gone to bed before going to get something to eat. "It's not fair." He mumbled to himself. Dudley always got whatever he wanted but Harry never got anything. One of Dudley's snacks was usually more than Harry got for a whole meal. Dudley was a stupid, mean bully yet he got nothing but praise while anything Harry did was met with pure scorn. No matter what he did, he would always receive insults in return. Then there was the stuff that he didn't do. Anything remotely strange or unusual that happened was always blamed on him, even though he couldn't possibly have anything to do with it.
It just wasn't fair.
Right now, all Harry wanted to do was cry. He hated everything. The Dursleys, school, his classmates, the teachers, the cupboard he was in, his life, everything. But he wouldn't cry, ever. No matter what they anyone did to him, he would allow himself to cry, ever. However, young Harry knew that that was a promise he might not be able to keep. Not that it mattered anyway – no one would care anyway…
It just wasn't fair.
Sometimes his uncle would tell him to be grateful that they hadn't dumped him in an orphanage. Whenever his uncle said this, Harry always found himself wondering why they didn't do just that – they didn't want him, so why didn't they just get rid of him? Why did they keep him if they hated him so much? Surely they would prefer it if he just wasn't around anymore…
Harry Potter, aged five and a quarter, hated his life – it just wasn't fair.
Harry woke with a start when he heard a train roar past. Looking around, he saw that he was sitting against a tree just over the fence from a railway line – an electric railway line.
"Where the hell am I now?" Harry wondered out loud as he got to his feet. By now, his 'destinations' were becoming more unpredictable and varied – in the last reality, he had ended up meeting another young Tom Riddle near Saint Mary's Orphanage in London and the reality before he had come across Remus Lupin before Fenrir Greyback could. Each time, Harry had spent a while trying to figure out where he was. This time, it wasn't quite so hard as, after ten minutes of walking along the railway line and onto the nearest road, he had come across a heavily vandalised street sign.
"Orchard Road Avenue?" mumbled Harry. Glancing up slightly, he saw the treetops of the orchard sticking out over the wall, which didn't seem as tall as it had when he was younger…
There was a fairly loud squelching sound as Rose Potter fell flat in the mud. Her cousin and his friends all stood ther laughing at the red-haired girl as she struggled to get back to her feet, only to slip in the mud again.
"Leave her alone!" yelled another girl who had seen this.
"What're you gonna do, Natalie?" taunted Piers. "We're not in school now so you can't tell Miss Crawford. And you can't tell us to do anything either, so there!"
"I'll tell the Police," retorted Natalie. "Then they'll put you in prison with all the other bad people!"
"They can't put kids in jail, stupid!" was the reply from Dudley. "They won't do anything to help the ginger freak anyway."
"Yeah, so go away," added Dennis, pushing the girl away as he said this. Unfortunately, the girl fell over, her hand landing on the broken glass on the pavement. There was an awkward pause as Natalie began crying, clutching a nasty cut on the palm of her hand. Before the five boys could do anything, Natalie was up and running as fast as she could back to her house. The boys were so badly shaken by what Dennis had inadvertently done that they didn't notice Rose get up and run in the opposite direction, tears streaming down her face.
Having finished his third apple and pocketed another two, Harry landed back on the other side of the orchard wall. There was something very satisfying about scrumping from the Orchard Road Avenue orchard without having to worry about being locked in the cupboard under the stairs without dinner, though that usually happened with the Dursleys anyway, whether they found out or not.
Well, I suppose I'd better get going, thought Harry as he began walking through the familiar streets of Little Whinging. Though he had been here two or three times already since his 'journey' had begun, Harry still couldn't quite believe how pristine and undamaged everything was compared to when he had left his own reality. Once again, he found himself hoping that this reality wouldn't turn out like his – apart from the Dursleys of course. In his reality, despite everything they had put him through, he had still tried to get them away from Privet Drive, to a safehouse where they would be safe from any Death-Eater attacks, but they wouldn't listen. All of his letters were ignored and he only ever got as far as 'hello' on the phone before his uncle hung up. Eventually, Harry gave up trying to help his last remaining relatives and left them to their fates, which came soon enough. On the 17th of May 2006, Vernon and Petunia Dursley were killed in a Death-Eater attack on Little Whinging. Dudley died just over two months later in a similar attack in a place in Kent called Grooseham, where he had moved into a flat two weeks before the attack on Little Whinging. Harry had been informed of their deaths within hours of the incidents, Dudley's death coming just three days before his twentieth birthday.
Harry didn't attend the funerals.
After ten minutes of walking, he heard crying from a nearby bus stop. Deciding to investigate, Harry moved closer to the bus stop and saw a little girl of no more than five or six years old huddled in the corner, covered in mud and crying. For a second, the red-haired girl reminded Harry of Ginny. Harry shook his head slightly, driving the comparison to the back of his mind and entered the bus shelter.
"What's wrong?" he asked in a voice that he hoped was calm and unintimidating.
The girl looked up, her brown eyes full of tears. Just like Gi… shut up, Harry! Concentrate on the matter at hand. She tried to move further backwards, but found she couldn't.
"It's okay," said Harry, crouching down to her level. "I'm not gonna hurt you."
"P-promise?" the girl stammered nervously.
Harry smiled and nodded. "I promise."
The girl looked at him uncertainly. Her cousin had broken many promises, but this long- haired stranger seemed okay. Still, he was a stranger…
"Miss Crawford told us not to talk to strangers," she said hesitantly.
Miss Crawford? Oh Christ, don't tell me she's just had the 'Stranger Danger' lesson, thought Harry, trying not to smirk at the memory of Dudley making a fool of himself all those years ago. "Well, I suppose she has a point – they don't really come much stranger than me," he quipped, getting a slight giggle in response. "And if your teacher's Miss Crawford, then I'm guessing you're about five, right?"
"Five and a quarter," corrected the girl.
Ah, to be young and so precise about your age, thought Harry. "What's your name?" he asked.
"Rose," the girl said in a voice no louder than a whisper.
Rose? thought Harry. I don't remember any Roses around here, especially since I should be in school around about now seeing as Miss Crawford didn't become Mrs Danielson until I was ten… "My name's Daniel Hall," replied Harry. "Do you live around here?"
"I'm not going back," mumbled Rose. "You can't make me."
Harry blinked slightly when she said this – that was exactly what he had said the first time he had tried to run away from the Dursleys. Could it possibly be… "Who are you talking about?"
"My-my aunt and uncle…" stammered Rose. "They keep letting Dudley be mean to me even though I've done nothing to him…"
Oh my god! thought Harry as he listened to the girl as a fresh batch of tears began to well in her eyes. Rose Potter? Hold on, if she's this reality's equivalent of me, then where's… He stopped as he caught a glimpse of something just above one of her ears. Though it was partially obscured by her hair and was at a different angle, there was no mistaking the scar that adorned Harry's forehead. Somehow, however, Rose hadn't noticed his yet.
"… I mean, it wouldn't be so horrible if Dudley would just leave me alone, but even when Aunt Petunia tells him to stop it, he doesn't…"
What? Harry exclaimed mentally. Aunt Petunia telling Dudley to stop bullying a Potter? Why on earth would…
"… and then Dennis pushed Natalie and she cut her hand on some glass and…"
Natalie? Natalie Bedford? But she always avoided me. They all did. What's so different about Rose? Is it because she's a girl? What about all that bullshit the Dursleys always told everyone about my parents… He stopped in mid-thought and looked at the five and a quarter year old for a few seconds. Dad's eyes, thought Harry when he saw her brown eyes again. I don't believe it – 'spitting image of her mother, but has her father's eyes'. Harry tried not to laugh. All those times everyone had told him he was so much like his father, but had his mother's eyes, yet here was a Potter who was the other way around. Then it hit him. She probably reminds Aunt Petunia of Mum…
"What about your aunt and uncle? How do they treat you?" Harry asked once Rose had finished her very fast and pauseless description of Dudley and his gang's behaviour.
"Uncle Vernon doesn't like me," mumbled Rose. "He calls me a freak when he thinks I can't hear him. That's why Dudley started calling me 'ginger freak'."
"At least he doesn't say it to your face," replied Harry. "I was forced to live with my aunt and uncle after my parents were murdered and neither liked me. My uncle called me 'freak' too. My aunt wasn't much better and this 'Dudley' sounds a lot like my cousin. He used to go around bullying people, especially me, all the time and not only did his parents not do anything about it, but they encouraged it."
By this time, Rose was no longer crying. Instead, she sat and listened, wide-eyed as Harry told her of his life with his aunt and uncle. He told her of how he used to get hardly any food, of how he was forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs despite there being a spare bedroom, of how he was constantly given chores while his cousin never had to do a thin, of how he was ostracised (though she wasn't entirely sure what that word meant until Harry elaborated for her) at school and of how he was always lived in fear of being punished for things that had nothing to do with him.
As she watched Daniel telling her of his relatives, she couldn't help but wonder how he managed to cope. He looks so sad, even when he smiles, she thought. She was also wondering about that strange scar at the top of his forehead, mostly hidden by his long hair. Did they do that to him too? However, Rose didn't ask about it – after all, it would have been very rude and he was being so nice to her, listening to her and talking to her about his own experiences. By the time Daniel had finished speaking, she could tell she was crying again. How could anyone be so cruel to such a nice person? Her cousin may have been making her life miserable and her uncle may not like her for some reason, but at least Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon didn't starve her or lock her in a cupboard like the one under the stairs…
All of a sudden, she hugged Harry. Though this took him by surprise, he realised why she was doing it. "Don't worry about it," he said as he returned the hug. "We should get you home, it's starting to get dark. Wouldn't want you getting in trouble now, would we?"
Rose nodded silently, no doubt worried about what everyone would say once they found out she'd tried to run away. "C'mon, I'll give you a piggy-back ride," she heard 'Daniel' say. Rose looked up with surprise. A piggy-back ride? She'd seen some of her friends get piggy-back rides before but had never got one herself.
Harry knew what she was thinking as she got on his back – though it didn't sound like she was treated as badly as he had been, he knew that she'd probably never received a piggy-back ride, and would probably never receive another once he left this reality – but at least she would get at least one.
As he walked along the pavement with the little girl clinging to his shoulders, he marvelled slightly at how light she was. Was it because of malnutrition or were all five year olds this light? He hoped it was the latter as he began to cut across the park when he was stopped by an urgent voice.
"Stop! Stay where you are!"
Harry stopped moving and turned around slowly. Facing him, wands drawn, were the same two wizards that had returned him to the Dursleys the first time he had tried to run away
"Who are you, and where are you taking her?" one of them barked.
Harry glowered at the two. "I'm taking her home," he growled irritably. "Unless you want to take her somewhere else, which I already know isn't the case."
The two wizards kept their wands trained on Harry, who wondered why Rose wasn't reacting to all this. Glancing over his shoulder, he realised that the little girl had fallen asleep. Good, thought Harry. At least this way you'll hopefully never have to meet these two boneheads. He had never really forgiven the two men before him for what the Dursleys had put him through after being returned to them and the current situation wasn't doing much to ease any ill-feeling he had towards them
"Who are…" one of them began loudly.
"Will you be quiet!" Harry hissed. "Look, she's had a really rough day and she deserves a bit of rest, okay?" The men looked at him curiously, probably trying to figure out whether he was a threat to the Girl-Who-Lived or not. "Look," Harry continued. "If Dumbledore asks, just tell him that a passing traveller found young Rose and took her home, okay?"
The two men gaped at him incredulously, one of them almost dropping his wand before the two Apparated away immediately. Hopefully they're just going to tell Dumbledore rather than calling for reinforcements, thought Harry as he quickened his pace. I just wish I knew how everyone seems to know about me just from 'passing traveller'. He stopped suddenly. Bloody hell, Harry, are you a wizard or not?
Checking first to make sure that Rose was still asleep, Harry Apparated from the park to Privet Drive.
Harry walked up the garden path, Rose still asleep on his back, and flicked his finger slightly at the doorbell. He heard it ring before hearing someone coming very quickly. The door opened to reveal a very worried looking Petunia Dursley.
"Mind if I come in?" Harry asked, trying to push all his memories of Number 4 Privet Drive to the back of his mind.
Petunia was about to say something when she saw the sleeping girl's head resting on the stranger's shoulder. "C-come in," she managed to stutter, her eyes fixed on Rose.
Harry stepped inside the house. "Where's her bedroom?" he asked, hoping that Petunia wouldn't hesitate before telling him.
"Upstairs," answered Petunia with a quiet voice, one without the slightest hint of hesitation. "First on the right."
Thank god, Harry thought to himself as he nodded and made his way upstairs. He entered the smallest bedroom of the four-bedroom house and paused slightly – it was definitely her room and not Dudley's second bedroom for all the stuff he couldn't fit in his main bedroom. He eased Rose down onto her bed, knocking a Teddy Bear off the bed as he did so. Definitely a girl's bedroom, mused Harry, noting the My Little Pony bedcovers and the soft pink wallpaper that adorned the walls. It was an interesting contrast to the rather plain room Harry had once slept in every summer while at Hogwarts.
Harry took one last look at his female equivalent before going back downstairs, where he found himself being hugged by his Aunt Petunia – something that had never happened in his reality.
"Thank you," Petunia sobbed as she hugged Harry. "I was so worried something had happened to her…"
"It's okay," replied Harry. "Don't worry about it."
Petunia let go and composed herself. "I'm sorry, I just… I'm just worried, that's all. First we get a letter from the school about Dudley, then Rose goes missing, then Dudley and his friends get taken to the Police station…"
"Yes, I had a feeling you might say something like that," said Harry, though he was really very surprised at the idea of Dudley being in major trouble, simply because it hadn't happened much in his reality. "Rose mentioned something about her friend cutting her hand on some glass because of Dennis Mitchell," Harry elaborated.
"Oh," was all that Petunia said in response.
"I should probably go now," said Harry.
"Wait!" exclaimed Petunia, holding her hand out to stop him. "Tell me what happened. Please. I just need to know…"
"I found her crying at the bus stop across the road from Marigold Drive," explained Harry. "We talked and I gave her a piggy-back ride back. She fell asleep on the way, just before a couple of wizards showed up and tried to interrogate me. I mean, seriously, who on earth is stupid enough to threaten a person carrying a child on his back?"
"W-wizards?" squeaked Petunia. "They… they didn't hurt her…"
"No. They'd just come to bring her home, but I beat them to it," interrupted Harry.
"And you? You're a wizard?" said Petunia, he words sounding more like a genuine question than the accusation Harry expected. "But… who are you? I don't think we've ever met you before, have we?"
Hold on… She's just realised I must be a wizard and yet she hasn't shrieked or tried to throw me out of the house? thought Harry incredulously. This reality is different. "Well, I told her my name's Daniel, so if she asks, you'll know who she's talking about."
"What do you mean you 'told her' your name was Daniel?" Petunia asked suspiciously. However, she froze as she noticed two things about 'Daniel'. First, there was the scar shaped like a lightning bolt, just like Rose's scar, except this one was on the top of his forehead, just below his hairline. Petunia knew exactly how her niece had got the scar above her ear, and she knew that it was unique. Then there was his eyes.
They were green – just like her little sister's.
Harry smirked slightly when he noticed the look on Petunia Dursley's face. "My name's Harry Potter," he said. "But I don't exist in this reality. Rose does. Tell Dumbledore that if he or anyone else comes here tonight." He turned and walked towards the door before pausing for a second and facing a still shocked Petunia. "Take care of her Aunt Petunia. And take care of yourself too," were his final words before stepping out the door, not seeing his aunt's silent nod.
As Harry rounded the corner and left Privet Drive, his thoughts continued to dwell on the little girl he had just left behind in the house in which he had suffered so much, yet was nowhere near as bad for her. Harry Potter, the spitting image of his father but with his mother's eyes, had been treated like something on the same level as scum, whereas Rose Potter, the spitting image of her mother but with her father's eyes, was at least treated like a human being in that house. For some reason, Rose Potter was worthy of such treatment and Harry Potter wasn't.
It just wasn't fair.
Since his 'journey' had begun, he had found out that his parents didn't have to die for him to become the Boy-Who-Lived. Then he found out that, in that reality at least, his grandfather may have played a part in the creation of the persona of Lord Voldemort. Now, he had just seen an Aunt Petunia that didn't treat the child of her sister like dirt.
Harry sighed heavily as he continued to walk along the pavement while the sky grew dark. He knew he should be glad that Rose's version of the Dursleys weren't as heartless as his had been, but he didn't. He was trying not to remember all the terrible things that had happened under the roof of Number 4. All the times he'd tried to run away from them, only to be returned by either the Police or by a wizard. All the times he'd watched Dudley's birthday being celebrated while his wasn't even acknowledged. All the Christmases where he had merely sat huddled in the corner while the Dursleys exchanged presents. All the times he had been beaten up by Dudley and his friends. All the times he'd been blamed for anything that couldn't be explained. All the times he'd wished he was dead. Even the two or three times he had come so close to ending it all…
Harry closed his eyes and breathed deeply. It was all ancient history now. It had been thirteen years, nearly half his life, since he'd left the Dursleys for the last time, but the emotional scars of his life with them still remained. Nothing would ever make him forget, not even the horrors of the Second War and the memories of all the atrocities committed by Voldemort's forces – at least he had shared much of it with his friends before they died. The Dursleys were a different matter. He had never told anyone about everything he had gone through before the age of eleven, especially not the contemplations of suicide. The thought of someone trying to commit suicide at the age of eight, as he had been the first time, would have been incomprehensible to them, so he hadn't told them. None of his friends had ever known. Not even Dumbledore had ever known. He could never bring himself to talk about any of it, ever, and he hated himself for it. He hated everything. Overall, his entire life had been one long miserable story.
It just wasn't fair.
Harry took another deep breath, this time to calm himself down. Clear your mind of all thoughts, Harry told himself. There is no emotion, only control. For a few minutes, Harry stood there on the corner of Old Market Road before opening his eyes again, now completely calm. Once he'd done that, the blue light pulsed through Harry's body and lit up the surrounding street for a few moments, leaving nothing for those who looked through their curtains to see after it disappeared.