Where the Answer May Lay

Summary: Harry is faced with a decision. Is going back in time to save all the lives lost in the war the right thing?

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: All I own is a camera, a fuzzy pair of socks, and a pencil.

If Harry Potter had a chance to change every mistake, would he? If he was given that chance, would he take it? Would he reverse every bad thing that had ever happened in his life? The Prophecy, his parents' deaths, the Dursleys, his friends' deaths, his mistakes that hurt people, his own flaws that he had not been aware of until now…

The answer lay in said Harry Potter's palm.

Harry stared down at the object in his hand. It had no name that he knew of, but he knew it could change his life.

His shoulders were tense, and his arms were stiff. He had to restrain himself from grasping the gadget too tightly. It was already hot from being in his hand for the two hours he had spent there. He sat on rubble, for the entire house was nothing but. The rusty item in his hand was old, but had withstood the destruction that had happened a year before.

Dumbledore had written Harry a note that told him to come here that he had written three years ago. Dumbledore knew that the war was not going to end without casualties and sacrifices, so he had written Harry. He had told him to go to his childhood home, although he despised it. Go and find this item that Harry now clutched. Harry was to be the judge as to whether it was wise to use it.

Petunia Dursley had kept it safe. Up until her dying day, she had kept it. Petunia Dursley was not a kind woman, nor compassionate or sweet. She was bitter. But, through this bitter skin, she had still held a candle of loyalty for her sister Lily Evans. The flame that had been lit on that candle flickered from time to time, and maybe it wasn't very bright, but it had still burned. Yes, she hated her sister, and she had been insanely jealous when she got to go to Hogwarts, but she had kept the object. For her one and only deceased sister.

Harry stared at the object through his crooked glasses. He had defeated Voldemort, but his friends had died. The only Weasley member left was Charlie, and that was because he had been in Romania at the time of the war and final battle. Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny, Seamus, Dean, Colin, Flitwick, Lupin, Tonks, Kingsley, Mad-Eye… all gone. Even Draco Malfoy was dead, who had fought for the light during his last few moments. The Dursleys had been attacked while Harry was away hunting for Horcruxes. All of them perished. Snape was still alive, but Harry couldn't bring himself to care much about that. McGonagall survived, and Harry was glad that the strict teacher had made it through. But it was still too high a price to sacrifice for the war.

The object that he held could change all that. His friends could still be alive. He could still have parents. Countless lives could be saved…

Was it worth it? Yes. Was it right? Harry didn't know.

The gadget could force a being from his body and transport him to the past to his younger body. The older mind would be combined with the younger mind. They would know about what happened in the future. Harry could change the world with this object.

Yet… He didn't want to make too hasty of actions by choosing to use it. So that is why he sat on the pile of rubble, in his old childhood kitchen, staring at an old heirloom of the Wizarding World.

Harry wanted to use it so badly, he wanted to save innocent people from dying… so why couldn't he reach down with his other hand and rotate the knob to activate it…?

It wasn't that Harry was scared. He doubted he'd ever be scared again. It was just that he had an uneasy feeling when he looked at the odd runes lining the instrument, that it kept him from touching the dial. And then he thought about seeing Ron and Hermione and Ginny and everyone again, and he changed his mind and wanted to go.

Harry sighed, reaching over to turn the dial, but, when his hand was a hair away, he pulled it back. He couldn't see them again. It would be too heartbreaking. And what if he wouldn't be able to change anything…? What if he was so different that they wouldn't befriend him, and he could never do anything to save them…? What if…?

And then the reason he couldn't turn the tiny, rusted knob came to him. It was a sad revelation, but a true one. If he went back, he would have to forget everything that all those people did. If he changed their lives, they might never get the chance to do those things… all their mistakes… their memories… their accomplishments… their pain… it would have meant nothing. The world Harry had lived in would disappear, and Harry would be the reason it did.

Even if his world wasn't a perfect one, it was his. If he changed it, all of his memories of Ginny and Luna and Ron and Hermione and Neville and Sirius and Lupin and Dumbledore… they would mean nothing. The dead Hermione would not be his Hermione in the new world. The dead Ron would not be his Ron.

If he went back, he would be dishonoring their memories and lives and what they have done. He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that.

The fight with the Troll in first year would have meant absolutely nothing if he went back… it probably would never happen…he would never have obtained such a good relationship with Hermione if that never happened…

If he never slacked off with Ron when Hermione had wanted them to do homework they would have never had the late-night study sessions that left them entirely exhausted the next day…

If he never flew that flying car with Ron… if Ron never told Malfoy to eat slugs… if Harry and Ron and Hermione never got to solve the yearly mysteries of Hogwarts… if he never got his first birthday cake from Hagrid on that rocky island… if he never met Sirius… if he never was entered in the Tri-Wizard tournament… if he never had a crush on Cho… if he never had those dreams of Voldemort… if there was never the DA…if he never took divination… if he never used that time-turner with Hermione… if he never got to have such good and loyal friends… if he never had Ginny… if he never experienced life fully…

Harry let silent tears leak out as he thought of all that had happened in his life. He missed the good old days when he was a first year at Hogwarts… it had been so simple back then. He had been happy. Now… now, reflecting back, Harry realized he had always been happy. He had had a good life. And, although his friends were gone, Harry was still happy, remembering their memories together. He didn't want to forget that.

Him and the world had to move on, honoring and remembering their friends and family fondly that had passed on. If Harry didn't go on, he wouldn't be as strong as his friends once thought he was. He had to prove them that they were right all along. Harry was strong. He was living for everyone that had died. Now the world could be at peace. Harry would still be happy.

Finally, standing up, Harry sniffed once before pulling his wand out of his back pocket, chuckling slightly when he remembered Mad-Eye told him he'd lose his buttock if he kept his wand there.

Harry pointed his wand at the rusted instrument and firmly said, "Reducto!" The locket shattered into a million pieces, landing among the dust and dirt around Harry.

Harry pulled out Dumbledore's note, reading it once through. He flipped it over, finding the same loopy script, but finding words that he hadn't seen before.

I know you will do the right thing.

A/N: So after reading countless stories where Harry goes back in time to change the past, I made my own story to counter those stories. I like those kind of stories and all, but I always wondered if that's really what should be going on. So I analyzed it and out popped this. Please review to tell me what you thought of the story :D