Author: Silverhair Theory
Disclaimer: I nothing. JKRowling owns everything. If you prosecute me all you're likely to get is my sweet stash and my teddy bear, so I wouldn't advise it.
THE GIFT OF A SECOND CHANCE
"HARRY! HARRY HELP ME! HARRY! HA..." The scream split the night and Harry whirled around just in time to see Lucius Malfoy shoot a flash of burning green light at Hermione's chest.
"HERMIONE! NOOOO!" Harry yelled and sprinted towards them.
Around him the battle raged. It was almost too much to take in. The field around him was strewn with bodies, some in Death Eater cloaks, others in Hogwarts robes. He passed Dean Thomas' body, broken and crushed by the Death Eater's corpse sprawled over the top of him, his round glasses shattered and his half-open eyes unseeing. His hair was in a fan around his head and it was tipped with red as he lay in a pool of his own blood.
Harry turned his head away. His eyes caught sight of Bellatrix Lestrange, cowering not ten metres away from him, shielding her eyes from the wand pointed at her by Neville Longbottom. The round-faced boy, who was usually stuttering and shy, had a cold, hard look on his face and no mercy in his clear blue eyes.
"This is for you, mum and dad." He said. "Avada Kedavra!" Bellatrix's eyes looked at the person behind Neville as the light sped towards her, and died with a smirk on her face.
"Avada Kedavra!" Harry and the Death Eater standing behind Neville shouted as one. The jets of green light both found their target, Neville slumping over with a small tired smile on his face, and his assassin dropped also. As the person hit the floor their mask fell off and underneath Harry saw the unmistakable features of Vincent Crabbe.
Harry leapt over the fallen boy and raced onwards to where Lucius Malfoy was now engaged in a furious battle with Remus Lupin.
"Here, werewolf, I'll make it so you never have to transform again." Lucius said, and Remus' face showed barely a flicker of emotion
"No, Malfoy, I'm afraid you're incorrect." He talked like he was correcting Lucius for an wrong answer in class. "I am going to kill you."
"Argentius." Lucius said, and a jet of silver light hit Lupin over the heart. The werewolf dropped to the ground, writhing and screaming as the blood in his veins turned to molten silver.
"Avada Kedavra!" A voice shouted and Lucius staggered forwards from the force of the spell that had hit him in the back. He fell face down into a patch of sludge, mud and blood mixed together to make a foul paste which coated his ice blonde hair. Behind him stood Draco Malfoy.
Malfoy's hair was blowing around his head in a golden halo, and though he was in Death Eater robes, he looked, for a minute second, like an angel standing over the body of a fallen demon. Then he looked down in surprise as the thin point of a blade erupted thorugh his chest. Seeming to stare at it unseeingly, he touched the blood-covered blade lightly with one hand, almost stroking it.
"Thankyou...Mother..." He said, in a faint whisper. He choked, and a small trail of blood trickled out of his mouth and down his chin to his neck, where it settled at the base of his throat. He looked up and saw Harry standing there, mouth open in horror. "Potter...Harry..." He choked again, and brought his hand up to his mouth. When he took it away, there was blood running down his fingers. "Hermione...where..." Harry gestured vaguely to where Hermione's body lay, her mouth still open, screaming Harry's name.
"Her...Herm...Granger..." Malfoy fell to his hands and knees, crawling like an animal to his girlfriend's corpse. He collapsed on top of her, panting and spraying flecks of blood on the trampled grass. His hands, fingering Hermione's hair, twitched slightly, then fell still.
"My son...My boy..." A sobbing, wretched cry came from where Draco had been standing. There, crouched on the grass, resplendent in her Malfoy family robes, with tears running down her beautiful face, was Narcissa Malfoy. In one hand she held the rapier which she had stuck through her son's body. In the other hand was a piece of crumpled up paper. "So ends the Malfoy line..." She gasped, and plunged the already blood-stained sword through her own chest. She did not make a sound as she fell, shuddering on the floor, but her fists clenched around the paper she held in her hand and it tore as her long nails, painted black, ripped into it.
Harry stared at the family. The father lying in filth next to his now whimpering schoolmate. The son holding his love in a deathly embrace, with his hands in her hair. The mother with her own weapon through her chest, even in death reaching for her husband and son.
He shook his head and went over to Lupin. The werewolf had barely enough strength to whimper now, and was curled in on himself, silver running from his mouth like drool and eyes shining and glistening as silver tears flowed from his eyes, which were squinted in pain. He seemed to see Harry.
"Harry...The weapon...you must get it...you must..." His pupil's contracted, and he breathed out in a last sigh, his shaking body going still at last.
Harry knelt with tears trickling silently down his cheeks as he bade his mentor and good friend goodbye without words. The bodies of his friends and enemies lay around him and he knelt and wept for them.
"Harry? Harry, god mate, you look terrible...oh..." Ron's voice approached him from behind, and slowed as the red-head noticed the bodies and who they belonged to. He heard a thump as Ron fell to his knees also, and turned around to see his best friend staring with wide, unbelieving eyes at Hermione.
"'Mi...'Mione?" His small voice was barely a whisper. "No...no...it's not true, it can't be true." He looked over at Harry with tears and the last of his fighting spirit in his eyes. "Harry...we've gotta...we must be able to do something..."
"Harry...The weapon...you must get it...you must..." Remus' voice echoed in his head, and he scrambled over to Hermione's corpse and started undoing her robes.
"Harry? Harry, what the hell are you doing?" Ron asked, the horror evident in his voice as Harry nudged Draco aside to feel down the back of her robes. About halfway down her back, he felt a small lump, and, biting his own tongue to keep the nausea and shame from welling up in his throat, he tore the small object from his friend's cooling skin. He took the small bloodstained object out and looked at it.
The small black box, like a ring case, brought a flash of memory back from the deep recesses of his mind, of the last time Professor McGonagall had spoken to them before she went off on that fateful mission to her scottish home to see if she could find one of the remaining Horcruxes, or any news about it, from her friend who had worked in an antiques shop. A platoon of Death Eaters ambushed her and her friend at the shop, killing them both, but not before they had taken out a sizeable chunk of the small army.
"Harry, you must always be very careful with this. I'm giving it to Hermione because I trust her to be where she needs to be, and do what she needs to do. She is also a girl, and as such there will be less chance of it being noticed. I'm not going to tell you what's inside the box, that is a secret even I don't know. All I was told to tell you is that if you should ever be at your last hope, with all around you dead or done for, then, and only then must you open this box and use what is inside. Do you understand?"
"Yes Professor." He had said, and she had nodded and left the room, leaving headquarters only a few minutes later.
"Harry, will that help her? Will that help Hermione?" Ron's voice was desperate and high-pitched, grating on the edge of outright panic.
"No...no Ron, we can't use it. Not yet. Not until we are at our last hope, with everyone around us dead or done for, can we use this. He slipped the object into the pocket of robes and was just rising when he heard a cold sneer behind him that made his blood go cold and his hands shake with anger, fear and tension.
"What are you snivelling for, Potter. It's only a mudblood." Slowly, very, very slowly, Harry turned around, Ron doing the same, and came face to face with a most unpleasant sight.
There, standing in all his unholy glory, was Voldemort. He was grinning and his eyes had an unearthly glow. His black robes seemed to suck in the light, but here and there Harry saw the shine of the moonlight on blood, the bottom of his robes were covered in the stuff. His nostrils were dilated as if taking in the scent of death and blood that hung heavy in the air, and in his hands he held his wand and a clump of red hair.
Attatched to the red hair was Ginny. She was limp, her eyes wide and unseeing, with only the barest hint of the bright green hue Harry was used to. Instead they seemed grey, or perhaps even verging on red, certainly red flecks of colour were interspersed with the green and the grey. Her mouth was hanging slightly open, her face slack and the only thing holding her head up was Voldemort's grip on her long red hair in his pale hand.
Harry felt Ron go stiff next to him as they stared at Ginny. She was obviously unconscious, but something about her glazed eyes reminded Harry of a curse he'd seen in another's eyes, Fred Weasley's as he slaughtered his mother, father, Bill, Charlie and Fleur at a family gathering, before George had leapt at his twin and knocked his head so hard against the floor that he was immediately unconscious, dying of brain damage a couple of days later. George had wasted away without his brother, and eventually volunteered to go on a suicide mission to destroy what McGonagall had believed to be the fourth Horcrux, hidden inside Rowena Ravenclaw's quill, which had been secreted behind a stone in the lowest dungeons of Azkaban.
A few days later the empty shell of George Weasley's body was discovered on a beach on the edge of the lake of Azkaban. Hidden inside his shirt was a small scrap of cloth with three barely legible words scrawled on it in hurried, messy handwriting.
I did it
The same look that had been in Fred Weasley's maddedned eyes came back to haunt them as they looked at Ginny, and Harry knew what they'd done to her, knew she couldn't possibly have resisted, not considering how close she had been to being taken over by the Dark Lord before.
"She's under the Imperius." Harry said. It was a statement, not a question, and Harry felt Ron do a double take and then sag slightly with relief that his sister wasn't dead.
"Indeed. She's more useful to me like this. This way, she's a hostage. You can't hold a corpse hostage, nor an empty shell." As Voldemort spoke, the rustles of grass could be heard from behind him and all around his Death Eaters began to congregate. All were spattered with mud, blood and other things which Harry didn't want to know about. Several had their robes torn or burnt and Harry felt a brief flicker of pride for those who had inflicted the damage, then a far grater swoop of guilt as he realised that every one of those brave people had to be dead by now.
"So. Harry Potter. What will you give me for the life of Ginny Weasley?" Voldemort said. His eyes flickered in sick amusement as Harry's fists clenched and Ron gave him a panicked glance. He knew that Ginny's fate was entirely in Harry's hands.
"It does't matter." Harry said through clenched teeth. "Whatever I say, you'll kill her just the same afterwards." Voldemort laughed his high, shrill laugh. It was nothing like Ginny's laugh. Ginny's laugh was sweet as honey, like music playing softly or sparkling water in a mountain stream. Voldemort's laugh was like the screech of fingernails on gravestones or the shriek of a kinfe blade across bone.
"You know me too well Harry." He said, and threw Ginny down on the floor, releasing her hair. Her eyes fluttered and cleared and she looked up to see Harry's and Ron's faces, reaching out to them with one hand, like a child, blood encrusted under her fingernails. Her eyes sought Harry's and she opened her mouth, her perfect lips forming the first shape of Harry's name, but cut off by Voldemort's cry. "Avada Kedavra!"
Ginny's body seemed motionless for a few seconds, then her hand fell with a small thump onto the grass and she sagged, her eyes somehow still fixed on Harry even as the light behind them left.
"GINNY!" Ron screamed, and leapt forward...right into Nagini. The snake reared up, hissing and spitting and wound itself around Ron, squeezing and snapping. Harry raised his wand but couldn't shoot because he was afraid of killing Ron. Voldemort had crossed his arms casually and seemed to be almost enjoying the display. Suddenly Nagini lunged and caught Ron's neck in a powerful bite which caused him to spasm wildy, tearing at his own neck in his efforts to get away, screaming all the while. When Nagini pulled away there were two holes over Ron's jugular, small, round and leaking a greenish black fluid which oozed rather than trickled. The poison was obviously fast-working because within a few moments the colour spread from Ron's neck down below his neckline, and up over his mouth. His hands, poking out of the ends of his robes turned the same colour as the poison and Ron yelled all the more, trying to tear of his own skin. The dark colours engulfed his body, up across his face and further, turning his red hair a horrible shade of deepest green. Harry wanted to shut his eyes to stop himself seeing Ron's pain, shut his ears from hearing Ron's agony-filled screams, but found his eyes locked with his friend's, as he sank into the ground, his strength leaving him until all he could do was lie there motionless, his eyes wide and his mouth open in an endless silent scream which went on and on and on.
"Avada Kedavra!" Harry shouted, unable to take it any more. Several of the Death Eaters surrounding them jolted at the spell and raised their wands but the green jet of light had not been directed at their master. Tears running helplessly down his face, Harry lowered his wand from Ron's body, which was now blissfully still, and Harry knew that he had done the right thing, ending his best friend's life to stop the pain.
"Well Harry, this is it." Voldemort said, one hand resting on Nagini's scaly head, caressing it. "This is the hour that I will finally have my revenge." He started to walk in a circle around Harry, like a hungry vulture. Harry turned to keep him in sight. "I am going to kill you, Harry. I am going to take away your wand and leave you to crawl away like a pitiful child." He kept turning, Nagini slithering after him like some demented dog. Voldemort's voice became very low, making Harry's spine crawl. "Harry...I'm going to look deep into your eyes as I press my wand against your forehead, and watch as your pupil's contract in fear and then clear as the light leaves the space behind them." Harry now had his back to the hordes of Death Eaters, and too late he realised his mistake.
"Expelliarmus." The voice came from behind him, and his wand flew away into the darkness, away from Harry's reach, away from the circle of Death Eaters. "Incarcerous." The same voice sounded and Harry fell backwards into the sludge as he was bound by strong ropes.
"You see?" Voldemort said, stepping closer. "I finally gave dear Wormtail a chance to do what he's been longing to do for a long time." He loomed above Harry and smiled a terrible smile, sending shivers through Harry's entire body. Harry cursed his body for being so weak, and tried to move his hands. He felt them knock against something in his pocket and realised that what he had felt was the secret weapon that he had taken from Hermione's corpse.
Voldemort, who was leaning down now, face only a few inches from his own, must have mistaken the flicker in his eyes for fear, for he laughed softly. "Yes Harry, fear me. You are utterly helpless now, and I am going to kill you. How does it feel, to know you are going to die? I don't imagine it's a very nice feeling. Don't worry. You won't have to feel it for long." He grinned again, and got up, turning to face the Death Eaters.
"Here we are, friends. This night, I will finally destroy Harry Potter, and when the very last traces of his body are nothing but dust on the wind, we will set forth on our conquest to rid the world of the putrid muggle and mudblood scum that have infested it." Voldemort carried on speaking, but Harry wasn't paying any attention. With one hand, he was gradually levering the lid of the box open, and also trying to crane his head down to see without making any sound or strangling himself with his own ropes.
Slowly, he managed to open the case. What he saw inside made his heart almost stop and his mind go wild with questions and possibilities about what the significance of the item was. Slowly, carefully, he removed the object from its case with one hand, then placed the box back in his pocket, clutching the small precious object in his fingers.
Voldemort finished his speech and turned back to Harry. "Well, Harry Potter, I can't say I've enjoyed knowing you. I think this one act will make up for the rest of the inconvenience you have made me go through." He knelt down and the Death Eaters closed in around them, forming a circle around them.
Voldemort leaned in, his wand pointed at Harry's forehead, his red eyes staring into Harry's own. His whole face was not more than an inch away from Harry's own, and the pale, pale lips opened and a voice, low and hissing, subtly different to normal speech making Harry realise that Voldemort was speaking in Parseltongue.
Goodbye, Harry Potter.
Harry's heart sped up, and he moved his finger over the thing concealed in his palm. He opened his mouth, and hissed back.
Voldemort's eyes glittered, and Harry moved, flicking his finger and spinning the time-turner which he had been hiding in his palm. Voldemort's pale, pale face dissolved, and Harry felt the vaguely familiar feeling of rushing backwards into the slipstream of time.
Last time he'd been like this, Hermione had been at his side, banging against him and holding the time turner around their necks. Now Hermione was dead in a field somewhere, sometime and Harry was rushing back in time to an unknown time, with only the knowledge that it had to be better than where he'd left.
It surprised him how long he had been in the rushing time stream. From what he remembered of time travelling in their third year, the experience had only been a few seconds long, and they had travelled back a few hours. If you assumed that the longer he stayed in the time stream, the faster he went and the further back he travelled, he realized he must be going back months, even years.
Then, as a sudden cold shock, he landed on hard cold ground, with grass underneath his back, instead of the slime of the battlefield, and he hit his head so hard on this new ground that for a few moments he lay dazed, eyes closed as his head spun and his body pumped with adrenaline from another time.
A voice broke through his subconsciousness. It was calling, calling to him. There was somebody kneeling next to him, over him, they had their hand on his shoulder, they were shaking him slightly, talking to him.
"Hey you, are you alright? Merlin, look at the state of you, you look like you've been dragged through a ditch! Hello, can you hear me? Do you want me to fetch the headmaster?"
The headmaster... "Mmm...Dumbledore..." Harry moaned, his throat feeling dry. His eyes seemed reluctant to open, but he managed eventually, and stared up at the figure above him as they rearranged back into focus.
What he saw shocked him so much he yelled, scrambling away on his elbows, crawling desperately back from the man who had been kneeling over him and was now giving him a puzzled look.
"Dumbledore? Well, you can see him if you want, but he isn't the headmaster, and that's who I'd see. It's Headmaster Dippet you want."
Harry couldn't answer, couldn't do anything except stare at the youth in front of him, open mouthed. Everything about him was horribly familiar. From the black, nearly straight hair, meticulously combed, to the pale, handsome features, to the pale, spiderlike hands which Harry had all seen before, but not in real life. It had been in a memory, Albus Dumbledore's memory.
Harry only had to look into the eyes to be absolutely certain. Although the eyes were not red nor lidless like they would one day become, they were only too familiar and Harry couldn't stop his body from taking another desperate scrabble away from the figure in front of him, who was now holding out his hand in what Harry hated his mind for describing as a friendly manner.
"What's your name? Mine's Tom Marvolo Riddle."
Author's Notes: Okay! So, how'd you like the prologue? For those of you who were dumb and didn't read the summary, yes, this is a Harry/Tom pairing, and feel free to flame me as I thought ahead and bought a fire-proof trenchcoat. Hah, you can't get me. Harry/Tom lovers, read on!