No, not adding a new chapter to this story; it's still completed. However, a reviewer was kind enough to answer my questions on how to go back and fix mistakes without having to delete the entire story. This is my attempt to correctly edit. If I am successful, please say "Woot for Roo!" and move on. You may then ignore all other update notices as I will be editing this chapter by chapter.
If I am not successful, then you'll probably be sitting in front of your computer going "Why on earth does it say this story is updated when it's been completed for months? Roo, you're crazy." And lo there will be weeping and sorrow will blanket the land.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, never will. I am just a poor girl who uses her free time to daydream over two beautiful boys falling in love and going crazy. Draco and Harry are both both, le gasp! So if H/D isn't your thing, close your eyes, cover your ears, and hum Mary Had A Little Lamb while desperately back clicking away from my story and it unsightly plot.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
As he took in the flushed teary eyed girl in front of him, Harry Potter absently repeated the one word to himself over and over. After all, he had won the war. He had defeated Voldemort. He had provided hope to the masses; comfort to those left behind, and was the bloody Savior for God's sake. Didn't he deserve a break?
Deny. Deny. Deny.
In the two years since the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry had struggled and fought against crushing obstacles. Andromeda Tonks, mad with grief over the loss of her daughter Nymphadora, had refused to let Harry or anyone from the Order near her grandson Teddy. No one aside from Hermione and Ron knew Remus wanted Harry as Teddy's godfather, and most, in fact, believed the innocent baby was better off away from the influence of three battle scarred teenagers.
George Weasley could not escape the loss of his twin. Perhaps no one will ever understand the unique bond twins share. One month to the day after the final battle, George quietly apparrated to the Weasley cemetery plot, lay atop his brother's grave, and killed himself. Of course, no one blamed Harry. To his face. All the same, the welcoming warmth was notably absent from Molly's hugs, none from the Weasley clan would meet Harry's eye, and Ron began mumbling half hearted excuses to stay away. Hermione did what she could. She split her time between the burrow and Grimmauld Place without complaint. She never said a word as she practiced her cooking and forced Harry to eat. Never said a word while slipping into his room at night, to smooth his hair and hold him, as he sobbed out his grief and confusion. Never said a word as Draco Malfoy sauntered into the kitchen one night, looking defiant yet nervous and oddly vulnerable as he sat down to dinner. Never said a word as the weeks passed and Draco made no move to leave. Oh God, Draco…
Deny. Deny. Deny.
He never knew what Hermione had said to Draco to get him to come to dinner that night. All he knew was he owed his best friend for his life, such as it was. Narcissa Malfoy had learned from Draco that Harry was living alone, and whisked Harry off to Malfoy Manor before Harry quite realized what was happening. Like Hermione, Narcissa never said a word over the burgeoning relationship between Harry and her son – simply kissed his cheek and welcomed him to her family. She sheltered him from the never ending publicity, encouraged Harry to remember his dreams, reunited the Golden Trio with her grace and dignity, and, ultimately, shared his sorrow and gave him a reason to live once Draco was gone.
As power hungry as Voldemort had been, it should not have come as a surprise that he would consider it the ultimate gift to his faithful Death Eaters to allow them to die should he be overturned. After all, his loyal Death Eaters surely would never be content in a world intermixed with Muggles and Blood Traitors. In fact, it was only after the Inner Circle began falling when the world learned that shortly after Dumbledore's death Voldemort had "blessed" his marking in such a way. Now they were gone, and Harry wanted to die too. But he couldn't. He needed to take care of Narcissa. And now Hermione. Oh God, Ron…
Deny. Deny. Deny.
Harry gazed blankly at Hermione's oddly composed face, watching in fascination as her tears slid in one graceful arc after another over her pale cheeks to drip off her chin. One by one. Drip – drip – drip. Just as no one knew about the Death Eaters, no one thought to question why – nearly five years ago – there had been brains in the Department of Mystery. Dark secrets hoping to be discovered… until one foolish boy followed his best friend on an impulsive rescue mission, and had thoughts so dark they burned carve scars into his flesh. Madame Pomphrey had cleaned the wounds, but some scars never fade. And Harry knew all about cursed scars.
Even dead, Voldemort continued to manipulate his life.
"Harry? Honey, are you listening to me?"
At the strained question Harry snapped out of his bleak reverie and focused on the face of his closest friend. Even pale and ravaged by grief, Hermione Granger-Weasley radiated intelligence and security. She was also, he noted, looking at him as if he held the answer to the most important question in the world. "Sorry Hermione, I kinda drifted there for a minute," he smiled apologetically.
"That's ok, Harry," the witch replied carefully, "just please pay attention. " Fixing him with a penetrating stare, Hermione leaned forward and grasped Harry's hands tightly in her own. "We have to fix this Harry. We're the only one's who can. I have researched until I can't see straight, and I think I know how to change it all. Of course, we would be breaking all kinds of laws and could very well find ourselves in Azkaban if we don't succeed," here she broke off to frown at the wall briefly. "And, of course, that could mean you don't defeat… Well, it will be worth it. Yes," she rubbed his hand briskly, "the potential good far outweighs any lingering doubts."
The whole time she had been talking, Hermione had been using the same tone of voice she used back when they were students at Hogwarts and she explained assignments that made perfect sense to her and her alone. In fact, it was due to this patiently exasperated tone that Harry simply nodded stupidly at her for a few minutes before realizing she had neither completed an entire sentence, nor made one bit of sense. He had just opened his mouth to question her, when a calm and cultured tone drifted over from his left.
"You're going back, aren't you?"
Starting slightly, Harry and Hermione whirled to see Narcissa standing in the doorway, an elf pushing a tea trolley slightly behind her. Harry frowned, equally puzzled by Narcissa's question as Hermione's rant, when he noticed Hermione gazing at Narcissa as though she were the most brilliant woman she had ever seen, and nodding enthusiastically.
"Err…" Harry momentarily regretted his confused offering when both women's attention sharply returned to him. "It's just… sorry, but… err… what?"
Sharing a look of perfect understanding with Hermione, Narcissa swept into the room as thought nothing were amiss and directed the house elf in setting up their afternoon tea before dismissing him with a wave of her hand. Sipping her tea, Narcissa gazed at him a moment before quietly stating, "Harry, you are the most powerful wizard around. If anybody had the ability to manipulate time, and return to their past in order to right a grievous wrong, I believe it is you."
Harry looked at her in shock, blushing slightly from such a strong compliment from the woman he considered his mother. His thoughts were swirling madly in his head. Surely she was not implying what he thought she was? Surely not. Directing his gaze to Hermione, he met her look unflinchingly and muttered the spell before he quite realized what he was doing. Instantly his mind was flooded with images – Hermione weeping in St. Mungo's while an ashen faced Ron gripped her hand like a lifeline, pouring over books, writing and rewriting ancient runes and arithmetic equations, Harry's face as he gazed at Draco's tombstone, more books, runes dancing and whirling – and It clicked. Harry looked at Hermione as if he had never seen her before, not even aware of the sharp look Narcissa was sending him. "You want me to go back in time and stop Voldemort from placing that curse on his Death Eaters."
Surely that wasn't his voice – so cold, so strained, so oddly detached from himself. Hermione flinched slightly even as she squared her shoulders and opened her mouth, only to abruptly shut it as Harry waved his hand in an absent gesture of silence. Go back in time. He could save Draco, Ron, maybe even Fred and Lupin. Harry's head felt heavy; almost absently he raised his right hand to rub his scar. "You said wizards can't play with time. Third year. You told me if wizards saw their counterparts they might even try to kill themselves. How…"
"Harry," Hermione began carefully, "This wouldn't be a simple spell. Not only would we be sent back to shortly before Dumbledore was…" she trailed off briefly before squaring her shoulders resolutely. "We would merge into our bodies and stay there." Harry's head snapped up at this and Hermione continued in a breathless rush. "Whenever time we chose. We would keep our memories and improved abilities from this time, but would have to continue life on from that point. We would have to attend school and…"
"… and I would still have to battle Voldemort." Harry interrupted dully. Half afraid of his reaction, Hermione nodded slowly.
He remembered the fear, the pain, and the sense of isolation and of slowly losing his mind. Could he survive that a second time? Harry became aware of a burning sensation on his face, and turned his head to meet the pale face of Narcissa. For a moment, he simply gazed at her. He noticed the frail body, nearly gaunt from battling the grief of losing both her husband and only son, the beautiful and proud face prematurely wrinkled, the eyes, so like Draco's… eyes that had been dull but were now burning with an almost desperate plea for hope.
And Harry knew he would do it. He would find a way to survive it. Because as much as he could not fathom a future without Draco and his family, he knew he would never be able to live with himself if he was the one to destroy the light in both Narcissa and Hermione's eyes. Standing up, he paced to the window and stared at the garden, frozen in the last frost of winter. Already he could see leaves and buds peeking out, fragile and timid as they rose toward the overcast sky in a bid for warmth. He wondered if Sirius had ever done that. Ever stood outside in the early morning, face tipped up to the sun after having spent so long trapped in the dark. Oh God, Sirius… how he needed…
And with a jolt he knew what he had to do. Turning, he faced the two witches gazing at him anxiously. "If I do this," he started heavily, noticing the tears welling up in Hermione's eyes as she recognized his sentence for the acceptance she prayed for, "We need to go back for Sirius, too."
For a moment there was absolute silence. Then, with a soft clicking noise, Narcissa placed her saucer on the coffee table and smoothed imaginary wrinkled out of her dress. "You know," she said thoughtfully, "had Dolores Umbridge not been placed at Hogwarts, who knows how much quicker you would have succeeded in defeating the Dark Lord." She smiled as Harry and Hermione looked first at each other, then at her. "My dears," she continued, eyes sparkling as the plan whirled through her head, "I think you should go back and have her removed from the equation all together."
Harry snorted angrily, beginning to pace almost absently. "Fat chance there… you remember how stupid Fudge was. Denying Voldemort's return! Saying Dumbledore and I were crazy, attention seeking prats. She made my life Hell! Why don't I just go back to fourth year and stop Voldemort from returning all together." The moment the words left his mouth Harry felt emotions erupt violently inside of him, swirling chaotically as the ramifications of what he had just said slammed into him. He could prevent Voldemort rising again, he could save Cedric…
"No!" Hermione looked at him almost desperately. "Harry, please! I know what you're thinking, but Voldemort needs to come back to a body!" Noticing the way Harry's eyes stormed over with anger, Hermione quickly rose and walked over to stand in front of him. "Harry please," she whispered in a voice hoarse with unshed tears, "you needed to experience that situation. That's where you learned about the horcruxes, that's when you learned how strong you truly were, and that's where Voldemort learned to first fear you." Harry looked away and scowled out the window. "Harry… we can go back to the summer before fifth year, you can prevent Nagini attacking Arthur, you can prevent Sirius…" she hesitated, "you can prevent Sirius," she repeated firmly. "We'll find a way to get rid of Umbridge."
"How," Harry asked bitterly, glaring at the garden.
"You will have me appointed the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Instructor."
Harry and Hermione turned around to gape at Narcissa in unison. She met their gaze unflinchingly, and, if anything, raised her chin even higher. "Think about it," she stated calmly, "who better than the wife of a suspected Death Eater to be in a position of authority around impressionable children." She met their eyes as they processed that statement. "You must simply find a way to contact me and make me understand your plight, and then you will have assistance both inside and outside Hogwarts in finding a way to destroy him."
Hermione gripped Harry's arm in excitement, as the pieces fell into place for her. No Umbridge… they would be able to learn useful spells, Hell, Harry could turn class into an extended DA meeting with Narcissa's help. They could look for Horcruxes on weekends – they already knew where they were! Voldemort would think he was infiltrating Hogwarts, and at the same time they could prevent needless deaths. Harry and Hermione gazed at each other as the plan suddenly became materialistic and real to them. They could defeat Voldemort before they graduated. Their lives would be substantially different.
Harry wanted to protest and scream at the unfairness of the request, but he couldn't. Even as he stared back at Hermione, his vision was blurred by images of the twins playing Quidditch and laughing like loons, flying through a star studded sky with Hermione and Sirius, Ron – risking everything – to help in a fruitless quest. He could see Draco smiling at him, Moony hugging him after teaching him to repel Dementors, Tonks hopefully flicking her wand at a twitching sock in his bedroom at the Dursley's, Colin Creevey grinning at him behind the lens of the camera. Draco is kissing him, Hedwig nipping his ear affectionately, Dobby fighting with Kreacher over who was more of a help to Harry, Moody sitting at the kitchen table while his magical eye spun wildly in a glass of water, Snape inadvertently teaching Harry Expelliarmous.
Could he do this? Could he save them all? Would he be able to hug Snape and thank him for everything he risked to keep him safe? Hug Sirius and Moony, savoring the last link to his parents? Prevent Dumbledore from putting on that cursed ring and exposing himself to death? Harry wasn't aware he was crying, until he felt Narcissa and Hermione enfold him in their arms. They stood there, quiet, reflective, for a long time. Finally, Harry raised his head.
"I want to try."
He released a breath he wasn't aware he had been holding. Hermione shrieked and gripped him tighter, while Narcissa allowed the first tear to slide down her face. Suddenly they were laughing together – a wild, carefree laugh that hadn't been heard in a long time.
Briskly Narcissa stepped back and wiped her face. "Well, then, let's get to work."
It was another two weeks before they were ready to execute the plan. Narcissa made the potion, Hermione tweaked the spell, and Harry developed a way to transport certain items with them. He didn't need to worry about his cloak or map – he had them with his fourteen year old self – but he would need unregistered wands since he couldn't take Draco's or Ron's… they would have them and Hermione wasn't sure if they would vanish or not work when their owner's had the same item. Narcissa had written herself a letter and sealed it with a package, instructing Harry to deliver it to her past self to ensure aid. They had also brainstormed various magical connections to form – alliances, possibly, with elves and goblins and veela, to make their task easier. They were going to hit the ground running when they got there, and uses the entire summer to their advantage.
Now Harry and Hermione were sitting in front of each other while Narcissa stood over them magically linking their wrist together.
"From here to there
Where once went too wrong
Let these two bear
So selfless and strong"
Narcissa waved her wand and ancient runes swirled out to spin gently around the two friends.
Not to switch
But to replace
I cast this wizard and witch
To relieve the wizarding race
In unison Harry and Hermione raised their unclasped hands and drank the vial of potion. Harry shuddered as he felt a jolt spread through his system. He dimly noted that if this didn't work he wouldn't need to worry about Azkaban, as he was fairly certain he had just poisoned himself. As if in defiance to this thought, a strong burst of wind whispered out around the two. Harry raised his eyes and met the burning gaze of Hermione, smiling over the thought that at least he would die with his last and greatest friend.
"Hermione," he whispered frantically, suddenly gripped with an urgent need to know, "what did you say to Draco to get him to come to dinner?"
Hermione gazed blankly at him for a moment before bursting into a brilliant smile. " He told me he had been in love with you since he watched you battling a dragon. I simply told him you loved him too."
Harry desperately wanted to reply, to question her certainty over a fact he hadn't even really been aware of, but the wind was now roaring around the two of them. He distantly made out the sound of Narcissa screaming something when his heart simply burst out of his chest. He was sure he yelled, he could hear Hermione sobbing, when a vibrant purple light seemed to explode in the circle between them. 'Pretty,' he thought vaguely, before everything went black.