AN: Yes, I know...this idea has been done to death. But I've been dying to try one of these myself, and part of that lies with my increasing discontent with the books. And the characters. I may go into detail about this later. I've rated it T for now...that may change as we get deeper into the story. We'll see.
If you liked Shadows of His Mind there's a good chance you'll like this one as well, I think. As we hit later chapters we'll start to get some of that Gray direction here...if the story goes the way I want it to. And speaking of Shadows...I've been bouncing around a second part for it. Just a wrap up...but we'll see.
I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I wrote the first chapters several months ago. I have four completed chapters, and one in progress. I'm actually throwing this up to see how it's received. I haven't ever really posted a chaptered fic. If there's interest than I'll keep going. I have a lot of ideas that I'm itching to get into, especially if we ever hit the later years. I'm going to try to keep college out of the way...but I don't know how successful I'll be. There's your warning...updates may be unconsistant. This isn't Beta'd. I don't know if I'm taking offers for Beta-readers right now.
Standard disclaimer that works for the rest of the fic: I don't own Harry Potter, any other characters or any locations therein. I might like to but I don't. That honor belongs with J.K.R. and anyone else with enough money to buy in.
To Save a Past
Chapter One: A Second Chance
After a while, exhausted and drained, Harry found himself sitting on a bench beside Luna.
"I'd want some peace and quiet, if it were me," she said.
"I'd love some," he replied.
"I'll distract them all," she said. "Use your cloak."
And before he could say a word, she had cried, "Oooh, look, a Blibbering Humdinger!" and pointed out the window. Everyone who heard looked round, and Harry slid the Cloak up over himself, and got to his feet.
Now he could move through the Hall without interference. But as he did so, the noise died down. At first so gradually that Harry didn't notice, but all at once, the Hall fell silent.
Harry froze, his eyes clenched tight. The Hall was a still as death itself. He feared opening them, because if he was terrified of what he would find when he did so. But he knew he couldn't stand there forever, trying to escape reality.
He opened one slowly, followed by the other. The Hall was silent, and still. People were frozen in their celebrations; Luna was still gesturing wildly out the window. It appeared that he was the only one that could still move.
He walked back over towards Luna, and gingerly laid a hand on her shoulder, but there was no response. Harry shivered, but gritted his teeth. He was tired, but there was no overcoming this. Whatever had happened, he'd have to fix.
But as he walked towards the Hall doors, a rumbling started. Moving up the foundation, the vibrations were quickly shaking Hogwarts itself. Harry fumbled for his wand, but it slipped from his fingers, and rolled across the floor. Harry lunged for it, his fingers found the polished length, and then all went black.
Harry bolted upright, chest heaving, and covered in sweat. He was still partially wrapped in his Cloak, and was gripping the Elder Wand tightly. It was total darkness.
Shaking slightly, he raised his wand and muttered, "Lumos." The Elder Wand flickered, spat out a few (motes) of light and then died.
Something in the darkness chuckled. "That will not work here, child. This is my domain, and it is only susceptible to my magic."
Harry raised the wand and shouted, "Who are you? What have you done?!"
The voice only laughed again. "Done? I have done nothing. However, if you would like me to do something, I am perfectly willing to acquiesce to your request."
And the moment it finished speaking, Harry felt something lash out. Something fiery slapped his wrist, and startled and in pain, Harry dropped his wand. The attack didn't subside, and something fairly thick and heavy struck him in the stomach. Harry rolled away, coughing and gasping. He called the Elder Wand back to him, and managed to return to a standing position.
"Are you Voldemort?" Harry snarled.
"Of course not." The voice replied, chuckling again. "Foolish child, I am All and Nothing."
"What do you want?" Harry spat.
"What I want really matters not. I am here to offer you a choice."
Harry was silent, but he drew his Cloak tighter around himself.
"You have seen the past. You have felt the losses."
"What do you want?" Harry growled again.
"This is your future, as all is now."
Suddenly, in the total darkness, there was a light. Harry stumbled towards it, but stopped, gasping in astonishment. For there, wreathed but the light, was himself, yet older. It looked as though the older Harry was at Platform 9 ¾.
"It won't be long, and you'll be going too," the Older Harry was saying.
The vision was blurry, and it sounded as though it was coming through a long tunnel.
There were children there, that Harry could tell, and it sounded as though one of them was crying. A girl, small and red-haired.
"I won't!" Someone was saying.
There were two boys, one who looked remarkably like Harry himself, and then….Ginny.
Harry smiled. The Older Harry repeated the gesture. Ginny was still beautiful, Harry thought. But he continued to stare at the fuzzy, grainy image.
"You'll write to me…"
"We'll find them."
There were Hermione and Ron, and what must be their children standing besides them. Harry saw Malfoy, who appeared to be growing bald. Harry couldn't help snorting slightly. And there, by his side, was a boy who was the spitting image of Draco, as he was almost seven years ago.
"Little Scorpius, make sure you bea…"
"Teddy's back…snogging Victoire…"
"Comes round for dinner…invite…live…"
"Don't forget to give Neville our love!"
"Mum!...can't give a professor…"
"Worry you, I'm extremely…"
Older Harry reached up, and idly brushed his scar.
And as quickly as it had appeared, the image faded away, leaving Harry standing in the darkness again.
"That is your future now. That will be the unchanged reality. You will have love, and a family. You have won, and it remains so. But all those lost stay that way."
"So," Harry choked, getting angry. "That's always how it is. Those who are gone are gone. They can't come back. And those who are left behind can only move forward."
The voice only continued. "There is happiness there. Yet also sadness. There are orphans, and rebuilding that still needs to be done."
"So?!" Harry snapped. "That is life. I've learned to live with it! What the hell do you want, and what do you have to do with any of this?"
"Reality can be changed by those who desire it enough. Lives can be saved, tragedies averted, and the past can be redone. But those who wish to save the past, must give up their future, and forge a brand new one.
Perhaps you never get married. Your children may never be born. Do you wish to trade? Do you have the will to trade?"
"I never said I wanted too!" Harry snarled.
The voice chuckled. "If you didn't want to, you would not be here. Imagine…all those who fell could stand beside you…perhaps on that very platform, saying goodbye, waving goodbye to your pride and joy. To the next generation."
Harry hesitated. Of course this was tempting! To be able to save Sirius, to erase the deaths of Tonks and Lupin. To keep the Weasley family whole, to let Hedwig fly peacefully for the rest of her days. To receive socks once more from Dobby, to see Dumbledore's eyes twinkle one more time. To redo every mistake, every year at Hogwarts. To destroy the Horcruxes before Voldemort even had a chance. To remove that Diary before it took the innocence of a first-year.
"Think hard, Child. And make your choice."
Harry thought about it once more. He could lose a future he had almost no attachment to, to regain, save the past he lost. "Save a past that's lost..." He murmured.
"Yes. And open a new door to an untouched future. A second chance, if you will."
Harry hesitated, but then whispered. "I'll do it."
"Yes. I figured you would. Accept this choice fully, accept yourself fully, accept your past fully and all will go well."
There was a quiet noise, one that Harry had never heard before, followed a ripping with very little pain. And half of Harry was gone.
The other half was left behind with the voice. "Call it my 'processing' fee, if you will, child. You shall see when you get there. Good Luck." And then the presence settled down to consume Harry's body, now nothing more than a naked shell.
AN: Right. There's the first chapter. There are excerpts from the last bits of DH in there (You can probably tell). I don't own those of course. Please let me know what you think. Gently if possible. If you catch a mistake, like a typo or something, you're welcome point it out. I may get the 2nd chapter up in the next couple of days...depending on the reaction. Now for a teaser...
Next Chapter: A Solution Not So Simple
Harry was spiraling downwards, first through eternal blackness, and then through never-dieing light. It seemed to him that he fell forever. He clutched his wand helplessly, and the Invisibility Cloak fluttered, abandoned, behind him. Neither would provide the aid he desperately craved, desperately sought.
Harry was terrified. He felt he had never felt fear like this. He wished he could go back to that Dark Place, and make another decision, one that provided him with a secure future. He should have realized that this solution wasn't simple. That there was a price to be paid.
It was presented to him as his future for the past. An exchange. A chance to get one more try at everything messed up.
As Harry rushed downwards, he wondered how great of a mistake he'd made. If this was really a chance to do things over.
And then he blacked out.
Harry woke. He was somewhere cramped but warm. Somewhere familiar and comfortable. He sat up. It was dark, hot, and musty. And he wasn't alone. Someone else was breathing.