A/N: Special shout out to Alorkin at for giving me the idea of how to get Harry to do what he's going to do in this chapter.
This chapter varies POV from Harry to Hagrid multiple times with no scene breaks. This might be more common throughout this fic.
And to anyone who's afraid this is TOO similar to NoFP, just wait a few chapters, and I think I'll blow that one out of the water. Furthermore….well, the method of travel described in the prologue will come into play. You'll see what I mean.
Chapter 2: Parting of the Ways
Harry Potter had to fight with himself not to cry when he saw Hagrid's silhouette firmly fixed where the door to the Hut on the Rock had been. It had been several years ago, near the beginning of the war, when Hagrid had died. There was an attempt to reopen Hogwarts the year following the Battle of Grimmauld. Hagrid had held off the Death Eaters long enough for the first years to escape the assaulted express, but his massive body was later discovered amongst the rubble of the once magical train.
Harry tried to shake himself free of such thoughts, now was certainly not the time to reminisce. If his plan was going to work, he needed to be somewhere away from the controlling Dursley clan. He hoped he could appeal to the giant's gentle nature, though getting him to go along with it might be a bit of a tricky task. Still, if Harry thought he knew Hagrid as well as he did, it would be possible to get him to break with Dumbledore just this once. Harry allowed his younger self to become more to the forefront of his countenance with a bit of exaggeration…rather Slytherin of him all things considered.
Hagrid stepped through the entryway, a rather sheepish look on his face, "Sorry 'bout that," he said apologetically, placing the door back on its hinges. He dusted off his hands and looked around, seeing three people cowering away from him, and one little boy with an inquisitive look on his face, as if he recognized him from somewhere. "I'm looking for Harry Potter," Hagrid announced, and the young boy stepped forward.
To Hagrid's mind, the boy was obviously Harry. His face was almost an exact replica of his father's; save for the eyes….he definitely had his mother's eyes.
"I—I'm Harry," he said with trepidation in his voice. Hagrid cocked an eyebrow at the way he kept himself. He was standing, slightly hunched over, one arm holding his other one, with his eyes pointed straight towards the ground, not at all like James would have done. Hagrid thought he might've seen this kind of posture before, but for the life of him couldn't place it. Furthermore, the boy was dreadfully thin. He looked comprised of little more than a mop of black hair, a pair of spectacles, skin and bones. His clothes hung off him like an oversized pair of robes, and seemed to have been taped together in some places.
"Well of course you are!" Hagrid bellowed, putting on a more cheerful face. He patted Harry on the shoulder, but the boy flinched back considerably, and Hagrid paused. He was acting like a wounded animal. Hagrid withdrew his arm, and thought of something to lighten the mood. "Here, I made you something….'fraid I might've crushed it at some point but…" he reached into his coat, fishing around for a large pink box. He handed it to Harry. "Happy birthday."
Harry took the box and opened it, staring at the cake, acting almost as mechanically as he could as he did so. He allowed his eyes to lighten up, caused not entirely by simply acting, as he stared at the simple cake, the simple gesture of caring. "Thank you," he whispered, with a little bit more trepidation in his voice than he would have liked.
Hagrid smiled and took a seat in front of the empty fireplace, ignoring the fact that Vernon Dursley was turning an impressive shade of violet behind him. Hagrid took his umbrella and muttered under his breath "Incendio", igniting the dormant logs that sat in the stone hearth. Harry cocked an eyebrow, remembering the display a bit differently, but said nothing. He moved forward, allowing his 11 year old self to assert more control.
"Excuse me but….who….who are you?" he asked, causing the gentle giant to turn and smile at him. Harry was instantly reminded of Hagrid's beaten and bloodied form, barely recognizable with all the cuts and gashes that had covered his severed head. It was an image he tried to shove out of his mind almost instantly.
"Rubeus Hagrid," he said with a smile, "Game and Groundskeeper at Hogwarts. Of course you've read all about Hogwarts I'd imagine." Harry shook his head, and Hagrid turned his head. "No? Blimey haven't you read any o' those letters."
"No," Harry replied sheepishly, trying desperately to not sound angry, "They…..I haven't read them because…." He stopped, deciding it would be best if assertiveness of any kind could take a back seat at the moment, as overplayed as it might be.
Hagrid seemingly caught on as to the reason, as he glanced back at Vernon, who had gone from a deep shade of purple to a pale shade of white. "I see then. Well…Hogwarts is the school where yer mum and da learned it all…"
Hagrid looked even more taken aback by this than Harry remembered. He finally leaned forward and said proudly, "You're a wizard Harry."
Harry blinked several times, feigning surprise at the revelation. "I'm a…a what?"
"A wizard," Hagrid said smiling, leaning back on the chair in front of the fireplace, "And a dern good on at 'hat I'd wager…once ya get trained up a bit." Hagrid smiled and gently patted Harry on the back. Harry winced at the contact, only partially out of playing up his injuries. "You alright there?" Hagrid asked, turning his head as he saw Harry flinch back. Harry glanced up at Vernon, who was a rather interesting shade of colors at this point, but who had a death glare focused straight at Harry that he remembered all to well, from any time period.
"Yeah," Harry said quietly, looking down at the floor, hoping that this seemingly more perceptive Hagrid would catch on. He didn't know what had caused this slight change in Hagrid's skills of observation. Maybe they had always been there. Maybe it was something to do with this timeline. Regardless, Harry internally cheered when he saw Hagrid seem to steel his resolve after looking back at Vernon.
"Somethin ain't right here," Hagrid said quietly. "Could ya take yer shirt off fer me Harry?" Harry gulped a bit, noticing quickly that Dudley had snaked his way over towards the birthday cake. He ignored the movement for the moment, intently focused on the task at hand. It occurred to him, at least in passing, that if this failed then he'd really be in for it from Vernon. And knowing the state he was currently in, physically at least, he was pretty certain that Vernon could kill him if he wanted to. Gulping, Harry continued to play the act.
"I don't think I should…" Harry meekly replied, slightly cowering away from Hagrid at the insinuation he was making. "Besides…I don't hurt that…." he stopped himself there, and put on as much of a fearful face as he could. He internally mused that the Weasley twins would applaud him for such an awards worthy performance. Harry's eyes darted towards Vernon for a moment, who seemed to have turned a deep crimson color at his "unintended" slip up.
Hagrid had caught on as well, and his face had turned straight towards Vernon and Petunia. "What have ya done ta him!" he yelled straight at them, causing them to cower back like the spineless worms they were. Vernon managed to put on a brave face.
"Nothing he didn't deserve!" he shouted back, glaring at Harry who was currently making a good display of cowering away from the scene. "He's an ungrateful little freeloader! All he ever does is eat of our hard earned pence and never pays anything back in time! And I'll have you know…" Vernon foolishly moved forward, waving his shotgun around in Hagrid's face, who stood there glaring a hole straight through Vernon, "that I will discipline that boy as I see fit. And if you think that for one second I'm going to pay for some….freak...to teach him parlor tricks, then you are sadly mistaken!"
"As if you'd have anything ta say about it you old codfish!" Hagrid replied, grabbing Vernon's shotgun and bending it upwards. He turned towards Harry, looking as gentle as he could, after of course forcefully pushing Vernon against the wall. "It's alright Harry…I'm not going to hurt you." Harry visibly gulped, more out of show than anything, but with a bit of real trepidation in his voice. Silently, he turned around, seeing Dudley continue to munch down on the cake like the pig he was out of the corner of his eye. Taking a deep breath, he lifted his shirt above his head, removing it. He felt the cold salty air sting against the fresh welts on his back. He also heard an audible gasp.
"Sweet Circe," Hagrid muttered under his breath, seeing the scars and bruises that lined Harry's back. Many of them looked fresh, no more than a few hours old if he could guess. Behind them however were several other scars that looked much older. Several points clicked into Hagrid's head at that moment that gave him a startling conclusion. It was one he had already suspected from seeing Harry's demeanor and action, but this was the proof he needed.
Harry had been abused….painfully abused.
How could Professor Dumbledore let this go on, Hagrid asked himself repeatedly. He had always said that this was the safest place for him. Maybe…no, Hagrid told himself. That certainly wouldn't have been good. An unexplained desire arose in him, a defiance he had not known in a good long while. He resolved then and there to rescue Harry…and never send him back to these people again.
Those people….Hagrid turned towards the Dursleys, who were now cowering in the corner themselves at seeing a raging Hagrid staring them down. "You monsters," he spat out, "How could ya do this….to a child no less!" Vernon looked like he would say something, but another look from Hagrid silenced him quickly.
"Gather your things Harry," Hagrid said as softly as he could, his emotions in turmoil at the moment, "We're leaving this place."
Harry gave himself a triumphant mental pat on the back. Replacing his shirt, he stared straight at Hagrid. "Leaving?"
"Yes," Hagrid said firmly, "I'm going to take you away from this place Harry. These people will never hurt you again, I promise you of that." Harry's older conscience breathed a sigh of relief, while his younger self merely stared in disbelief.
"B…but…where am I to go?" Harry asked, trying to withhold the interesting mixture of excitement and relief that was swelling up within him.
"You let me worry about that," Hagrid replied, glancing around the hut on the rock. Harry gathered up what few clothes he had with him, and walked closer to Hagrid. Hagrid seemed to look for Harry's birthday cake, and only then noticed Dudley still chomping away at the delicacy. He glanced over at Vernon momentarily, before grabbing his umbrella and pointing it straight at Dudley. Harry watched in amazement as, this time around, the transfiguration spell was completed properly, and where once his bulbous cousin stood was now a porcine substitute. The pig squealed and began scurrying around on the floor, while Petunia and Vernon let out an ear-shattering scream. Hagrid nodded his head and smiled to himself, ushering Harry out of the Hut on the Rock.
/ - / - / - /
Harry allowed himself to be taken on the ride by Hagrid, not really asking any questions or saying much of anything. His mind was too cluttered with a new problem. To an observant eye and mind, it was clear that there were small, subtle differences already between this time and the one he remembered. He didn't believe he could have been in the timeline long enough to have caused these changes, most notably the more observant, insightful and magically proficient Hagrid. He wandered back to what Seamus had said about simply jumping into a parallel dimension and idly remembered hearing Hermione talk about such a thing once before.
He stopped the moment Hermione entered his mind.
Hagrid and he had stopped at the Leaky Cauldron that evening, simply looking for a place to sty for the night. He was thankful that the pub was virtually deserted that early in the morning. He trudged upstairs after Hagrid, mechanically following the steps that the gentle giant made before they stopped and went into a private room for the night.
"'Ere we are then." Hagrid announced, motioning for Harry to follow him in. Harry looked around seeming to examine the room as if he were looking for something instinctively. Hagrid shrugged it off and pulled over a chair for Harry to sit down at. "We can stay 'ere for the night and tomorrow," he said quietly, pulling up a chair of his own. "You can 'ave the bed Harry. I'll just make myself cozy by the fire."
Harry bit his bottom lip and looked straight at Hagrid. He knew he would need an ally on his side, at least until he could get things in motion to stopping Voldemort once and for all. Truth be told he still didn't have all the particulars of his plan worked out yet, but it would require that he be in a place where he could at least be able to plan things out. Maybe having Hagrid on his side was a start. "Why are you doing this," Harry finally asked, playing on the older man's sympathies for a moment. "Why go through all this trouble for me? I'm not anybody special." He felt a part of him nod in agreement, something which irked him slightly.
"Of course ya are 'arry." Hagrid replied, leaning forward and touching the boy's knee softly. "If ya need a reason, it's because I knew yer mum and dad."
"You knew my parents?" Harry asked, trying to draw out the conversation. "Did you know what they were like…before the car crash I mean."
"A car crash?" Hagrid asked, somewhat stunned, "Is that what those 'orrible muggles told you?"
"Muggles?" the word came out a bit more paranoid than Harry would have liked.
"It's our word for non-magic folk," Hagrid explained, "It's what yer aunt and uncle are." Hagrid looked into the fire, hesitant to continue.
"You know how they really died, don't you?"
"Understand, 'arry," Hagrid continued, hesitant at first, "That what I did tonight is gonna 'ave consequences. But I promise you with every fiber of my bein, that you won't be goin back to them muggles ever again."
"What's that got to do with how my parents died?"
"Your parents were murdered 'arry, by a dark wizard. Man by the name of…." He stopped, obviously hesitant to say the man's name.
"You don't know his name?"
"No….I know it. We just don't say it." Hagrid leaned forward and cringed as he whispered to Harry, "'is name was Voldemort."
"Voldemort?" Harry repeated…causing Hagrid to hush him.
"Yes…by him. Yer mum and dad stood up against 'Ou-Know Who, and were marked for death. They went into 'idin, but they were found by 'Ou-Know-Who. He killed yer da first, then yer mum….and then…'e tried to kill you."
"Yes…that scar on yer forehead ain't no ordinary cut. You only get somethin like that from an evil curse. Professor Dumbledore then sent me to fetch ya when he found out you were alive…and well…put you with yer aunt and uncle."
"Why did he…" Harry began to ask, allowing a little pent up frustration with the old man and his meandering ways come to the forefront for the moment.
"That's probably somethin you should ask 'im," Hagrid explained. Under his breath, he muttered to himself, "I know I intend to."
A/N: You might already start to notice that things will transpire differently. This fic operates on the philosophical principle that for every singular event, there an infinite number of outcomes with each occurring on a different dimensional plane…in layman's terms anyway. This is the reason for Hagrid's slight change in personality that allowed Harry's plan to be successful (thus far.)
From here, we'll go to Diagon Alley, where another of Harry's little ideas comes to the forefront. This little idea will cause the single biggest individual change in a character in terms of their personality and how they act throughout. This will take root here. From there it's off to Hogwarts early, and Dumbledore won't be happy with has transpired, but we'll see how that plays out. Also, Harry may have a confrontation with a certain Potions master while at Hogwarts.
Don't expect consistent updates for this story, as I'm constantly focusing on other works. I apologize for this and will try and update whenever I can.