A/N: I don't own Harry Potter and wouldn't particularly care to. I would like a rental agreement with option to buy for Hermione Granger. A short term contract with Nyphadora Tonks wouldn't be turned down. A Long-term agreement with Luna Lovegood would probably be a whole lot of fun. Any time Padma Patil wants to open negotiations, call me and oh for a weekend with Fleur. Oddly Lavender and Padma's sister (despite being her twin) Parvati do nothing for me…
A/N2: The 'Do Over' story is a bedrock sub-genre of Harry Potter fan fiction (and possibly all fan fiction) It's been done to death, both really good stories, and the kind I tell. There have been stories that had Harry go back and take over the body of his younger self, to fix what once went wrong, stories where Hermione or Ron or Luna or Neville or someone else go back and take over or meld with the minds/personalities of their younger selves to fix what once went wrong, there have been stories where any and all of the above go back in time independent of their younger selves. I've enjoyed stories (generally one shots) where the baddies (chiefly Draco) come back in time to prevent Harry from becoming an even worse murdering ass than Voldemort ever dreamed of being. I'm sure out there somewhere there are stories of Tommy Riddle himself coming back in time to stop himself from winning… Never read any of those though… If they exist, they would probably be slash.
To my mind the key to an unexpected story is to take what everyone expects and do the opposite… So, rather than a Do-Over, I present a sort of Un-Do.
Harry Potter and YASMWTS
(Yet Another Someone's Messing With Time Story)
The last of the Death Eaters fell to his Lover's blasting curse. Harry shot Padma a quick smile while moving to intercept the curse that shot from the shrouded doorway of the dilapidated shack with a metallic shield charm. The shield stopped the curse, but shattered from the force it dissipated. Harry reached up and pulled the woman down into his prepared defensive position.
21 year old Padma Patil was a most delightful foxhole companion. Far better than any of the others who had shared Harry's DPs over the course of this war.
"Harry" the Indian Witch said giggling, "I appreciate the gesture, but this is hardly the time or place is it?"
"It's always a good time to have my cuddly Padma on top of me. Besides, you need to get out of his line of fire. Old Tom may be on his last legs, but he's still a powerful spell caster. I'm not winning this stupid war just to lose you."
Hermione slid into the hole to Harry's right. "I think this is all that's left. Is he in there?" she asked nodding toward the ramshackle shack.
"Yeah, I can feel him." Harry said sitting up while keeping Padma on his lap. "He's in there all right. Malevolent bastard's hurtin' something awful. Good job on researching those spells ladies. Where's Neville? Is he all right?"
"He's coming Harry. He found Bellatrix and they had what he called a 'meaningful conversation'. That's over, he stated his position rather pointedly, but he needs to heal up a bit before he can get up here."
"It seems that you aren't the only Gryffindor who can summon Godric's sword."
Ginny Weasley dove into the same hole as the others. "Madam Pomfrey's working on Ron." She gasped out, winded from her run. "It looks bad, but she thinks she might be able to save his legs."
"And Malfoy's father?" Harry asked.
"That particular family is no longer a problem, Ron saw to that." Ginny said with more than a little dark satisfaction as she pulled several revitalizing potions from her belt pouch and handed them around to the fighters. Early in the war Ginny had found that fighting with her brothers and fighting in a war were very different things. After that disastrous time in the Ministry Ginny had thrown herself into the Healing arts. She was the reason so many on the side of the Light were still among the breathing. "Harry." She said in a threatening tone staring at the vial in his hand.
"All right, all right." Potter unstoppered the vial and tipped the contents back making a face at the vile taste. "Pushy Witch."
"Potter!" the communications mirror clipped to Harry's arm spoke with a tinny voice.
"Go ahead Nev."
"All the fingers and toes are working again. I'm about fifteen meters to your rear. Got any room for me in there with you?"
"That's a no Nev. This hidey hole is pretty full as it is with me and three witches… I've never been one to share."
"If one of those three is my wife, she had better not be smiling too much when she crawls out of there, or I might get jealous. WHOA! I stuck my head up for a look around and your buddy Tom just about took it off for me. It looks like he's the only one left. By my figures we've got another twenty minutes on the Anti-Transport wards."
"Right. Give me about ten minutes to finish giving Hermione that smile, and then I'll deal with the light stuff in the shack."
"So how are you planning on giving me a smile Harry?" Hermione growled dangerously.
"By giving you one last chance to drill me on that time spell you found."
Agony laced throughout the entire left side of Tom Riddle's body. Despite his affectation of the nom de guerre of Lord Voldemort, in his own mind he was, and always would be Tom Riddle.
The pain that threatened to consume him came from his latest confrontation with the Potter boy. The entire situation was insane. Riddle had fifty years of experience on the boy, yet ever time they faced one another the boy had become stronger with a larger inventory of magic and seemingly endless supply of the most damnable luck.
This morning acting on a tip supplied by Lucius' son Riddle and his Death Eaters had come to lay a trap for Potter, only to find that they were the ones that had become trapped. His first indication of failure was when the odd neon orange curse arced through the air hitting his left arm. This curse caused the arm itself to explode and Riddle's entire left side to burst into flames. Then Anti-Apparation and Anti-Portkey wards bloomed.
Riddle's 'loyal' Death Eaters quickly learned that these were not the normal garden variety wards. These wards didn't prevent apparition, no not at all. What they did was splinch anyone who tried to apparate into nine pieces, pieces that resisted the normal healer reconnection techniques. The wards did prevent Portkey travel, but they had an unexpected added feature. Any Portkey activated within the ward boundaries exploded, mangling those attempting to use the devices. Fully half of his Death Eaters were lost to these new wards in the first seconds of the battle.
Riddle had finally doused the flames, but none of his available battlefield healing potions or charms affected his charred flesh in the slightest. Another curse hit him full in the face, slicing to the bone, costing him his right eye and ear. Riddle stumbled into the cover offered by the tumbledown shack as his Death Eaters were destroyed by an Army made up of children barely out of school.
It had been Potter who had hurt him so badly. It was always Potter.
It was over. The grim realization of his certain death hit him like a physical blow. Over the last four years Riddle had felt the destruction of his precious Horcruxes, one at a time until only Nagini remained. The Dark Lord knew that he didn't dare attempt splitting his soul yet again, to do so would be immediately fatal. So he kept Nagini close to himself at all times.
Until she too disappeared one night, and he was awakened by the pain of his last Horcrux dying. This was when he knew it was over. That he was going to die. That was when he resolved to bring down as much of the magical world as he could before someone got lucky and ended his life.
His left arm was completely gone; blood soaked what remained of his robes on his right side. Potter was coming. The thrice damned boy would be thinking that Riddle would be an easy kill after tagging him so easily twice. A coughing fit wracked Riddle's body. But Potter was in for a surprise. Riddle had been saving a special spell. Casting it would probably kill him, but he would take Potter into death with him.
"Ok, I've got it." Harry grinned at the three women who shared the hole with him. This should do it. It's all over today."
"Be careful Harry." The three women all said at once, as if they had rehearsed it.
"I swear to Merlin Harry Potter." Padma continued. "If you get yourself killed, I will learn Necromancy, raise you from the dead, and yell at you for the rest of my life. I'll get married and teach my children to yell at your resurrected corpse and you will be on the receiving end for the rest of your death."
Harry pulled the beautiful witch closer and nuzzled at her neck. "I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of one of your lectures Padma, I'll be careful." He tapped the mirror with his wand. "Longbottom"
"I'm here Harry."
"Well it took a while, but your wife is finally satisfied."
"Oh Harry!" Hermione huffed.
"Hermione, how could you?"
"Very funny Neville. I see we will be speaking about your sense of humor later."
"Neville, now that you're in trouble with your Mrs., I'm ready for Riddle. Nev, I need to be ready to take the bastard out if he gets past me. He's in a lot of pain, and the damage isn't healable without the counters Padma, Hermione and Lovely Luna came up with."
Over the mirror a most un-Neville like giggle came through. "Thank you Harry… But we wouldn't want to make Padma jealous would we? There are few things worse than a Ravenclaw witch looking to exact revenge."
Reflecting that Luna Lovegood must be in Neville's DP, Harry continued. "I'm going to get everyone still standing to nail the shack with a blasting curse, then back off so that I can deal with him."
"What if blasting the shack kills Voldemort?" Luna asked.
"Then we all go to a bar and I'm buying." Harry said simply. "Then, after I'm good and drunk, I'll go to Hogwarts and kick Trelawney in the ass for putting me through all this by giving a bullshit prophecy that turned out to be utterly wrong." He tapped his wand to the mirror again "Everyone."
Harry paused to allow his mirror to connect to the mirrors of all the DA members. "This is it folks, the big one, what we've been training for."
"Harry" Alicia Spinnet's voice came over the mirrors. "If you don't stop channeling Ollie and kill the bastard so we can all go home, I'm going to hex you myself."
"Ok, ok. Sheesh. Try and inspire a sense of occasion…"
"Ron, you're hurt. Stay where you are." Ginny said.
"Harry…" Ron's voice was weak. "Kick his ass."
"Everyone." Harry said again, trying not to think about his injured friend. "On 3, everyone hit that shack with blasting curses. Ready? One… Two… Three!"
From Riddle's perspective, the universe exploded. The shack was almost instantly reduced to splinters and Riddle found himself air born, crashing painfully to Earth. Something was wrong with his right leg, he struggled to stand.
"That looked like it hurt a bit Tom."
Riddle made it to his knees. "Don't call me by my filthy Muggle Father's name."
"You're not really in a position to make demands Tom. Are you ready for the next great adventure?"
"Not going to take me prisoner Potter? No trial?"
"No, I don't think so. After what you've done, I'm taking no chances with you. You've killed too many, destroyed too much. You're beaten now, but your magic will heal you eventually. I don't trust any prison to hold you long. No, it ends today."
"How is this possible? How can you possibly be winning?"
"The explanation is really pretty simple Tom. Where you surrounded yourself with vicious psychopaths who kissed the hem of your robes out of fear of you, I surrounded myself with brilliant witches and brave wizards who routinely tell me I'm an idiot out of love for me. There was never any doubt that I was going to kill you."
"You can't kill me! I am immortal. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Potter blinked, and then grinned widely. "The Dark Lord Voldemort has seen a Muggle Movie?" Harry could see the look of disappointment on what was left of the wounded wizards face. "Hey, Muggle raised, remember? You quote one of the most famous movies in the world and you're surprised that I recognize the line? Is that where you get all your speeches Tom? From adventure movies? Will you 'Be Bak'?"
"Damn you Potter."
"Good bye Tom." Harry raised his wand. "Tempus Progressio!"
Riddle saw his last chance to survive; he raised his own, wand "Verso Adjectamentum!"
From Hermione Longbottom's vantage point, she could see that something had gone very wrong. Harry had executed the Tempus perfectly. The spell that left Harry's wand was the proper color, a golden torrent of magic that was designed to age its target two centuries, but that torrent had been intercepted by the purple of whatever spell that Riddle had cast. Between the two men a swirling maelstrom of magic pulsed in silvers and grays and blacks and reds.
She had no idea what it might be. It couldn't be their wands reacting to each other; neither of the men used their phoenix cored wands any longer. She could see that both of the combatants were trying to stop what was happening, but seemingly neither could stop the spells. The sphere of wild magic was growing larger with every second. She watched opened mouthed as the sphere engulfed Riddle, and still it grew. She tapped the mirror on her arm with her wand. "Everyone."
"Everyone back out of here. We don't want to be swept up in that. Everyone backup at least 500 meters, and be ready for more if we have to." She broke the connection on the mirror and looked to Ginny. The two friends saw that Padma wasn't going to leave. "Padma, Harry wouldn't want you here. Come on." Hermione and Ginny half pulled, half led Padma to a safer location. They turned around just in time to see Harry swallowed up by the magical tempest.
Over the next three minutes the sphere doubled its size, and then suddenly vanished without warning. In its place what had been ground ripped up by spell fire was now a pristine meadow. Where there had been a destroyed shack stood what appeared to be a newly constructed hunter's cabin. Where the two most powerful wizards in the world had stood, there were now two small forms huddled together on among the grass and wildflowers.
Hermione and Neville shared a glance, until they noticed that Padma was running toward the magically repaired land and they, along with most of the survivors of the DA chased after the Indian Witch.
Harry Potter opened his eyes. Where was he? How had he gotten here? The last thing he remembered was being thrown into his cupboard by his angry uncle, and then suddenly he was in this… field.
Sitting among the tall grass and flowers was another boy. Harry didn't recognize him, but he seemed to be crying. Harry hesitantly took a step toward the other boy, and then he realized that he was naked. Harry immediately knelt down in the grass. He could see that the other boy was also naked.
The other boy looked up with tears in his eyes. "Where are they?"
"The big boys." He wiped at his eyes. "They were hitting me and then they weren't." He looked around. "Where are we? In a park?"
"I don't know. One minute I was in my cupboard, and then I was here with you. Why are we naked?"
"I don't know." The boy looked down again. "They'll be back."
"Well, someone found you." Tom said looking toward the adults running toward them. "The one that's yelling is pretty. She looks foreign though."
"You can see that far?"
Minerva McGonagall entered the Hospital wing of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at a run that belied her age.
"Hello Professor. Sorry about dropping in on you like this, but Poppy said she needed more that her field hospital had to offer."
The older woman nodded. The school was empty for the summer months; even most of the staff was gone. She looked to the first bed. "Is that really Harry?"
"Yes. He's six years old."
"How is that possible?"
"I don't know. The other boy is Tom Riddle."
Hermione's eyes flicked to the sleeping pair. Her silencing charms had held. "Tom is also six years old. As far as he knows he was at the orphanage this morning, receiving a beating from some of the older boys, then he was naked in a park with Harry."
"You brought Lord Bloody Voldemort into my school?"
"No, I brought six year old Tom Riddle into your school Headmistress." Hermione continued to stare at her oldest friend. "Harry cast a spell that was supposed to age Voldemort two hundred years. Voldemort responded with a spell that I didn't hear, but part of it was 'Verso'. It was intended to reflect what Harry did. Somehow, the two spells combined and created a sphere with a radius of approximately two hundred feet. When the spell affect terminated, everything within the spell affect was deaged. A destroyed shack was returned to its original condition, the ground around the shack was all torn up with prepared positions and generalize spell damage, after the affect it was a pristine meadow in the middle of a battlefield."
"And you know for certain that they are both six years old? Really six?"
"When Voldemort was attacking Harry through their link, Headmaster Dumbledore directed Professor Snape to teach Harry Occlumency, which of course the bastard just couldn't bring himself to do, preferring to mind rape Harry instead."
"Yes, I know."
"What is less known is that I tracked down books on the subject and Harry and I learned together that following summer. Harry was interested in defending his mind and when he could he discontinued the study. I on the other hand found the subject fascinating, and continued on with it. The natural extension of Occlumency is Legilimency. I've been a Legilimens for two years."
Hermione turned to face her former teacher. "I'll probably never reach the level of proficiency that Professor Dumbledore employed, or even that of Snape, but I can enter the mind of someone who has no defenses. It was useful against the Death Eaters, and I've looked into the minds of both these little boys." Tears started flowing down her cheeks. "The Harry Potter I knew is gone Minerva. That little boy sleeping in that bed is Harry Potter as of his sixth birthday, when he was punished for asking why he didn't get a birthday present like his cousin Dudley did. The memories of the next 15 years aren't repressed, they just aren't there. That other little boy isn't the Dark Lord; his latest memories are of HIS sixth birthday when he was beaten by older boys in the orphanage to that they could take the chocolate bar that the orphanage gave to each child on their birthdays. He has no memories of anything past that date. He doesn't know about magic. He's just a little boy."
Minerva McGonagall turned her attention to the two sleeping children. "Chippy?" she called.
There was a small pop and a House Elf appeared at McGonagall's side. "Yes Headmistress?"
"Chippy, I need the Book. Could you get it for me please?"
"Yes Headmistress, right away." The elf popped away, only to return scant seconds later laden with a large leather bound book.
"Thank you Chippy." Minerva opened the book. "Oh my."
"What is it Minerva?" Hermione asked.
"Two new names appeared in the book today. Harry James Potter and Tom Marvolo Riddle. They are both scheduled to begin Hogwarts on September first 2006."
"No one can know."
The two women turned to face the new speaker. Hermione reached out and pulled Padma into a hug. Padma continued, "The idiots in the Ministry would do everything wrong. They'll try to put Harry on a pedestal and profit from association with him. They would try to punish Riddle for what his older self did."
"Far too many people were there Miss Patil." Minerva said gently.
"People who followed Harry." Hermione said. "We'll talk to them. They'll understand why Harry has to have died today."
"We need to tell them now." Padma insisted. "We have to get everyone telling the right story now."
It had taken most of an hour to explain to the surviving members of the DA what had happened and what they needed to do to protect Harry. Most were readily accepting of the new reality, but some were resistant to the idea of Tom Riddle still being alive. In the end, the DA agreed to what needed to be done, binding their silence via a magical vow by unanimous consent.
After the bulk of the DA had left to join the celebrations of the (final?) fall of Voldemort, McGonagall, Flitwick, Madam Pomfrey, the Longbottoms, Ginny and Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood and Padma Patil remained, having an impromptu meeting over dinner.
"I don't know how to explain it." Poppy Pomfrey was summing up her report of the physical condition of her two patients. "By every detectable indication they are both six years old. This isn't a deaging like what some potions can do, that is easily detectable. From the bones of their hands to how the plates of their skulls are fusing together, medically, they are six years old."
Ron Weasley shifted uncomfortably in his chair, he was still weak from his injuries and he knew that if Poppy had her way she would be in a bed next to the two little boys under discussion, but he was too stubborn to admit that she was right. "What about magically?"
"Magically, their magical cores are at the normal point of development for a child their age." Poppy answered. "Given who they are, the levels are on the extreme high end of 'normal' but they are normal." She hesitated, and then carried on. "What is possibly the single most significant thing I've found in my examinations is that Harry's scar is no longer a curse scar, rather just a simple scar that is healed nicely and barely visible. Just like any other four year old scar obtained by a young child."
That got everyone's attention. "What does that mean?" Luna Lovegood asked.
"I don't know." Poppy admitted.
"We have to protect Harry, no matter what. Imagine if the Ministry got hold of him." Hermione said quietly. Those around the table shuddered at the thought.
"I understand protecting Harry." Ginny broke in. "But Riddle? We should have him locked up in Azkaban for what he did."
"That's the problem Ginny." Luna said. "Little Tom up in the Hospital Wing hasn't done anything."
"Of course he did…" Ginny almost screamed. "Back in our first year he…"
"No Ginny." The blond shook her head. "Harry destroyed Voldemort today. Voldemort was the one who did that to you and did other things to so many others. Whatever Harry did destroyed Voldemort and left behind little Tom. An innocent who never was Voldemort and should not be punished for the crimes that monster committed."
"Harry was also destroyed today." Everyone at the table looked to Padma as she blinked back tears. "The little boy upstairs isn't my Harry and probably never will be."
"Someone will need to speak with the Brethren." Filius Flitwick said. It took a moment until he realized that everyone was staring at him. "Oh, sorry. Someone will need to speak with the Goblins to verify Mr. Potter's status. We will have to find his will, as the Goblins will only speak with whomever he assigned as executors."
"I have a copy of the will." Padma said quietly. "The executors are Hermione and me."
Hermione nodded. "We'll have to speak with them tomorrow or the next day. The only way we can protect the pair of them is to have them vanish into the dozens of magical orphans that the war has produced the last few years."
"Hermione and I want to adopt Harry." Neville spoke up. "That would change his name in almost all the records." The big man smiled. "It's a bit sooner than we wanted kids, but…"
"We will have to find a couple willing to take Tom." Luna said. "We can't just cast him into another orphanage, not even a magical one without chancing a repeat of history."
"We can't lie to whoever is willing to take him." Ron pointed out. "They need to know who he is… was… might have grown up to be." The redhead struggled with the concepts of time displacement. "You know what I mean."
"And they need to know what has happened to them." Padma said firmly. "Neither of them are stupid, both will notice the changes of the dates around them, especially Tom."
"I'll speak with them." Hermione said.
"We'll speak with them." Padma corrected.
Harry woke and immediately wondered where he was. Sitting up he looked about attempting to figure out just where he was.
"Good morning Harry."
Harry felt a flush of relief upon recognizing the voice of the boy he had met in the field. "Good Morning Tom. Where are we?"
"Dunno. It's nice though. A lot nicer than the orphanage."
"You're an orphan? So am I. My Mum and Dad died in a car crash."
"I dunno about my Dad, but my Mum died when I was born." His face clouded. "I don't remember her."
"Me neither." Harry admitted. "I live with my Aunt and Uncle and cousin. But they don't like me much."
There was a pop and a small… something was suddenly at the foot of their beds.
"Good morning young Masters." The creature said cheerfully. "Would you be wanting breakfast?"
The two boys goggled at the creature with the floppy ears and the huge eyes.
"Wha… What are you?" Tom asked summoning all of his courage to speak to the… person.
"Kinny is Kinny." The elf explained. "Kinny is good elf, Kinny works for Hoggywart school for Wizzy folk. Kinny clean Hospital, and feed sicky Wizzy folk. You be wanting breakfast?"
"Yes please. Thank you." Harry said still trying to believe what was happening.
"Kinny be back." And the little creature disappeared with a pop.
"What was that?" Tom asked.
"Kinny I guess." Harry offered. "I guess this is some kind of Hospital." The boy paled. "What if we're in a loony bin? What if we imagined that?"
Tom thought for a moment. "I don't think two people can imagine the same thing."
"How do we know we saw the same thing? What if I'm imagining you?"
"Well, if you're imagining me, quit it and start imagining your Mum. That's what I'm going to try." Tom said closing his eyes tightly and concentrating.
Harry considered the other boy's words for a moment and shrugged. He also closed his eyes and concentrated on seeing his mum.
The return of Kinny Elf was heralded by another pop. Kinny was surprised to see that the two young masters had their eyes closed and their faces all scrunched up. "Did young Masters not want breakfast anymore?"
Harry opened his eyes. Nothing had changed, except Kinny (whatever he/she/it was) was back. "Yes. I guess breakfast would be nice." He said hoping for but not really expecting something filling.
Harry and Tom were both amazed at the trays that hovered over their beds, both by the act of hovering and by the amount of food being offered them.
"Oh, thank you Kinny!" Tom exclaimed as he dug into the eggs and bacon on his plate.
"Yef. Thk oo." Harry agreed with his mouth full.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Neville looked his wife in the eye.
"I need to do it Nev." The bushy haired woman peered once again through the scrying mirror into the hospital ward watching the two boys starting to play together. "This is Harry. He went through hell for us."
"I can do it alone Hermione."
"Padma, it's got to be worse for you." Hermione Longbottom squared her shoulders. "Neville, I think you should wait out here."
"All right. But I'll be watching, we all owe Harry so much…"
"Neville… There are two boys in there."
"I know. Be careful."
The opening door caught the two boy's attention, the two women who had run up to them in the field they had found themselves in the day before entered. Harry and Tom exchanged looks before they both sat down at the table they had been trying to move to a better spot in the room.
"Good Morning." The pretty dark skinned woman said. "We never really introduced ourselves yesterday. My name is Padma."
The two boys nodded wide eyed.
"And my name is Hermione." The woman with the wild hair said. She continued. "And you two are Harry and Tom. You're probably wondering what's going on."
"My uncle is going to be really mad that I didn't come home last night." Harry said. "Can you explain to him what happened?"
"And the Matron has probably told the Bill that I ran away." Tom added. "I'm going to be in trouble."
"You don't need to worry about your uncle Harry. The Matron hasn't called the police Tom. Neither of you have to worry about that." The brunette hesitated for a moment. "I've got a lot to explain to the two of you. I warn you that it will be hard to believe, but I think you both need to know. First of all, what year is it?"
"1933." Tom said confidently.
"1986." Harry said.
The two boys looked at each other. "1933."
"No, 1986. Teacher writes it on the board every day."
"That's dumb. I'd be fifty nine in 1986."
"I was born in 1980."
"Boys. Today is July 19th 2001."
"What?" Tom said incredulously.
"That would make me…" Harry counted on his fingers. "Almost 21."
"And I'd be almost seventy five."
"What did you think of Kinny?" Padma asked.
"What happened to him?" Tom asked.
"Nothing happened to him. That's the way he and his people are."
"But he didn't look… human." Harry said. "Uncle Vernon would call him…"
"Vernon Dursley would call him a 'freak'. He called you a freak as well didn't he Harry?"
"Yes." The boy hung his head in shame.
"You're not a freak." Tom said. "You're goofy, but not a freak."
"Neither of you are freaks." Padma said gently. She drew her wand from the sleeve of her robe and levitated a drinking glass from one of the shelves that lined the room. Both the boys watched in wide eyed amazement. As soon as the glass settled on the table top Padma murmured an incantation and the glass flowed into the form of a silver thimble.
"How did you do that?" Harry asked while Tom looked on in shock.
The woman smiled. "Magic."
"Uncle Vernon said that there was no such thing as magic."
"Vernon Dursley is an ignorant ass Harry." The woman who called herself Hermione said. "Padma and I are Witches. Our magic is part of us. Using our magic we can do things that other people can't do. The two of you have that magic as well. You are Wizards."
"I can't do magic." The two boys chorused.
"Not yet." Hermione said. "But you will. You will be two of the most powerful Wizards the world has ever known."
"How do you know that?" Tom Riddle asked. "Does it have something to do with that whole date being wrong thing?"
"Just tell them Hermione. Just tell them."
The bushy haired woman looked to her friend, and then turned back to the boys. "Let me tell you a story. There was a woman named Merope Gaunt. Merope was a witch, but not a very skilled one. She came from a family that had once been very wealthy but that had squandered all their money, so there was no way to pay for Merope's education. Merope fell in love with a man with no magic, who didn't know she was alive. In order to have the man she loved she dosed him with a love potion, and they ran off together to live in London. After they were together for about a year, Merope became pregnant. She loved her baby and her husband so much that she couldn't bring herself to keep dosing him with the love potion. When the potion finally cleared from his system, the man abandoned Merope and returned to his family's home." The two boys listened to the story with rapt attention. "Heartbroken at the loss of the man she loved, Merope became very ill. Desperate for help she stumbled into an orphanage just as she began to give birth to her son. Merope's son was born as healthy as can be, but poor Merope died soon after, but not before she named her son for his father and her own. Tom Marvolo Riddle."
"Me? Merope was my mum?"
"Yes she was. Tom grew up in the orphanage, where life was hard. The older children picked on him, and the staff was not as supportive as they might have been. Over time Tom became very angry. He found he could do things."
"What kind of things?" the dark eyed boy asked.
"He hurt people in ways they didn't understand. He stole trinkets from the other children; he found that he could make things happen. He was discovering his magic. When Tom was eleven years old, he had a visitor who told Tom that he was a Wizard. The visitor offered Tom an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on a scholarship. Tom leaped at the chance to be with others like himself, and he attended the school to learn his magic. But every summer he had to return to the orphanage, where he hated being because it made him feel weak." Hermione conjured a glass of water and took a sip. "Tom hated feeling weak, so he went about using magic to make himself stronger. After he left school he even took a new name, a name he created by rearranging the letters of his birth name. Tom Marvolo Riddle transposed to form 'I am Lord Voldemort.'"
"In order to feel safe Lord Voldemort decided that he needed power. To have power he needed followers, so he decided to use the Magical worlds own prejudices against it."
"What are prejudices?" Harry asked.
"That's judging people without knowing them. There are people in the world that would look at the color of Padma's skin and think that they are better than she is. There are people who would look at Padma and me and decide that we aren't as good as they are simply because we are women."
"Oh." Harry said, though he really didn't understand.
Some in the Magical world see five types of people. There are Muggles, they are people without magic, there are Muggle Born, and those are people with magic whose parents weren't magical. I'm a Muggle Born. There are Pure Bloods, they are people whose families have had magic for a long time. Padma is a Pure Blood. And there are Squibs, they are children of Pure Blood families who have no magic."
"That's four." Tom noted quietly. "You said there were five kinds."
"Yes she did." Padma interjected. "The fifth kind is the Half Blood, that's a person who has a parent who is Pure Blood and a parent who is either Muggle or Muggle Born. Tom, you are a Half Blood, and so is Harry. Tom's mother was a Pure Blood Witch, and his father a Muggle. Harry's father was a Pure Blood Wizard, and his mother a Muggle Born Witch."
"Some Pure Bloods" Hermione continued, "But not all, or even most, believe that being a Pure Blood makes you better than anyone else. It was with these people that Lord Voldemort found his followers."
"But that doesn't make any sense." Tom interrupted. "Lord… I mean, if I'm a Half Blood, why would the Pure Bloods follow me?"
"They followed Lord Voldemort Tom, not you. We'll get to that in a minute. Lord Voldemort was one of the most powerful wizards to ever live. The Pure Bloods that followed him saw his power and believed him to be a Pure Blood like themselves. Lord Voldemort was doing horrible things to himself to make himself even more powerful until he was hardly human any more. He and his followers started a war here in Britain, looking to put Voldemort in power over everyone. Then there was a prophecy."
"A prophecy?" Harry asked.
"What's a prophecy?" Tom echoed.
"A prophecy is a way of telling the future. The prophecy said that a child was to be born who could defeat Lord Voldemort. Voldemort heard this prophecy and found that the child that could defeat him was named Harry James Potter."
"Me?" Harry squeaked.
"Yes Harry. You." Padma said picking up the tale. "Lord Voldemort attacked Harry's home when Harry was a little more than a year old, and in the fight Harry's Mother and Father were killed."
"But Uncle Vernon said that they died in a car crash because they were drunk!"
"Vernon Dursley is a liar as well as many other bad things Harry. After Lord Voldemort killed the grownups, he tried to kill you, Harry. This is when something happened."
"What?" Tom asked. Padma was surprised to see tears in the boy's eyes. Hermione was right about this child.
"When Lord Voldemort tried to kill Harry his Magical Curse was reflected back, and Lord Voldemort's body was destroyed."
"He… died?" Harry asked.
"No, his body was destroyed. His soul and his mind survived. Lord Voldemort was condemned to travel the world looking for a way to regain his power and his body."
"Harry was taken to his only living relatives." Hermione said picking up the story.
"The Dursleys." Harry said.
"Yes." Hermione nodded. "The Dursleys. They didn't want Harry and punished him for every imagined misbehavior. Harry grew up in these conditions, always punished, always unhappy and so very lonely. Then when Harry was eleven years old, he had a visitor who told Harry that he was a Wizard. The visitor told Harry of his place at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry and I met on the train on the way to school on September first 1991."
"And Harry and I met when we were waiting to be sorted before the welcoming feast." Padma interjected. "This was when the dark Lord Voldemort started attacking Harry, in revenge for Harry destroying the dark Lord's body as a toddler. Harry and Voldemort fought many times both before and after Voldemort regained his body. For almost ten years they kept ending up in one battle after another, until yesterday."
"Yesterday." Tom repeated.
"When we showed up here somehow." Harry nodded.
Padma nodded. "There was a huge battle, lots of people died. Harry and Voldemort were the last fighting, and something very odd happened… Harry cast a spell, and Voldemort interfered with it, and it just absorbed them both. When the magic cleared, you two were in their place."
"Tom, you are not the dark Lord Voldemort." Hermione noted. "You are someone completely different. Harry, you are not the Harry Potter I followed in to Battle yesterday, you are someone completely different. There are people, stupid people, who would punish Tom for what Voldemort did, and who would idolize Harry for what the adult Harry did. What we want to do is protect you both. We will find a good magical family to take you in Tom, so that you can grow up safe. Harry, my husband Neville and I would like to adopt you."
The sudden talk of adoption shocked both the boys. Tom had lived his whole life wishing for someone to take him away from the orphanage. Harry had spent all of his wishing that some relative would come and rescue him from the Dursleys.
A family. Harry thought. Someone who wanted him, but… He looked to Tom.
"Ms. Hermione?" He asked.
"Yes Harry?" She had a pretty smile.
"Thank you, but I think I'd like to stay with Tom."
"Don't be a dummy Harry."
"I'm not a dummy Tom. Voldysnort probably got that way because he was lonely. They said that Old Harry was unhappy and lonely until he started school. You and me, we're the only kids with old guy names. If we stay together, then neither of us will be lonely."
There was silence in the ward for a moment, and then Hermione stood up from the table with tears in her eyes. "I guess we'll need to make other plans then. If you boys need anything, just call for Kinny. Kinny is an elf and she will help you with whatever you need."
The two boys sat quietly as the women exited the room.
"You dummy. You don't give up a chance for a family like that!" Tom said furiously as he smacked Harry in the arm.
"I'm not leaving my only friend Tom." Harry pouted rubbing his arm.
"We've only known each other a couple of hours, Dummy!"
"So?" Harry said smacking Tom back. "How long does it take to make friends anyhow?"
The two sat staring at each other for a moment. "You know, I think that Padma lady was your girlfriend."
"I bet you kissed and everything." Tom said teasingly.
"I am NEVER doing that!" Harry thought for a moment. "You are my friend aren't you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Only a friend is mean to you about a girl."
Neville Longbottom continued to watch the pair of boys through the scrying mirror as he comforted his wife. He could only recall Hermione being this emotional one time before that being the evening he had proposed. A six year old Harry, who acted just like the Harry Neville knew. More worried about a friend who was little more than a casual acquaintance than about himself. It reminded Neville of a slightly older boy who had mounted and flown on a broom stick for the very first time to retrieve the rememberall of a boy with whom he had exchanged perhaps a dozen words.
Harry had been Neville's friend when everyone else was calling the scion of the Longbottom clan a near squib. Harry had encouraged Neville to ask Hermione out, had gotten Neville drunk enough to ask Hermione if she would marry him. Harry had stood by Neville when Hermione came down the aisle of the Muggle Church in that beautiful dress and kept him from collapsing in a dead faint.
Neville leaned down and kissed his wife on the forehead. "Would you excuse me for a moment?"
Once again the boys looked up when the door opened, and the watched as the large blond man approached.
"Good morning boys. My name is Neville Longbottom."
"Good morning sir." Harry said.
"Good morning Mr. Longbottom." Tom added.
"Hermione, the lady in here with Padma a few minutes ago is my wife."
"I didn't mean to make her cry sir." Harry said in a worried manner.
"Don't worry Harry; No one is angry with you. I was watching and listening to your conversation with Hermione and Padma. I understand why you turned down Hermione's offer Harry, and I respect you for it. I believe I have a solution for the problem
Outside the hospital wing Hermione and Padma were watching the exchange.
"What is he doing?" Hermione asked.
"Relating at their level." Padma answered. "It's a Wizard thing."
"What would you two say if I offered to adopt you both?"
The two boys exchanged a look. "Seriously?" Harry asked.
"Seriously." Neville nodded.
"What about Mrs. Longbottom?" Tom asked.
"This is one of those things that infuriates Hermione so much about the magical world. I am the head of the house of Longbottom. Hermione doesn't get a vote."
Harry and Tom shared a look. Tom nodded.
"Thank you Mr. Longbottom." Harry said.
"Are you sure?" Tom asked.
Neville chuckled a bit. "I'm usually the hesitant one Tom. Yes, I'm sure." From his belt pouch Neville drew a silver knife, which both boys eyed suspiciously. "The adoption ritual requires the mixing of blood." He explained.
"Like being a 'blood brother'?" Tom asked.
"I'm not familiar with that term, but after the ritual, you and Harry will share blood and be brothers."
Neville carefully made light cuts into the palms of both boy's right hands, then a deeper cut into his own.
"I, Neville Franklyn of the house of Longbottom offer this blood, to you Harry James and to you Tom Marvolo. Two lost Souls." Neville dropped a few drops of blood from his palm into the cuts on each of the boy's hands. "I claim you both as my blood, as my heirs, as my sons. I say now that you need not forsake the blood that came before. You are added to the family roles as of this day, by my word and magic. Once made, this bond can never be broken, even by death, forever binding your magic, body and mind to this blood. All that came before will remain and be added to sum that is the house of Longbottom. Tom, do you accept the offer of the blood rites of the house of Longbottom?"
Tom looked into Neville's eyes unable to believe what has happening. "I… I do. I do."
Neville touched his wand to the boy's open hand, the tip of the wand pulsed with a silver light, and then Tom was looking at his clean uncut hand in amazement.
Harry, do you accept the offer of the blood rites of the house of Longbottom?"
Harry didn't need to think about it. "Yes, I do."
Neville touched his wand to Harry's hand, the tip of the wand pulsed with a silver light, and Harry was also healed. Neville then touched his wand to his own hand healing the cut.
"What do we call you?" Tom asked.
"You can call me Neville, or Uncle Neville, or dad if you like." The big man answered wondering how Hermione was going to react to what he had done. "Just do me a favor, wait until I'm at least thirty before you start calling me 'the old man', ok?"
Neville paused, then reached out and shook Harry's hand, then Tom's. "I guess I should say 'Happy Birthday' to the pair of you. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, today is your birthday, and you two are twins."
Tom bumped Harry's shoulder. "Ha! I'm the oldest."
Harry blew a raspberry at his new brother. But Tom wasn't finished.
'Mr. Long… Dad… Was Miss Padma grown up Harry's girl friend?"
"Yes, yes she was. How did you know?"
"The way she kept looking at him like she wanted to cry. Did they kiss a lot?"
Neville smiled realizing what Tom was up to. "Quite a lot actually. It was sometimes quite embarrassing."
"Ew! I did not!"
In her office, Minerva McGonagall was starting at the Book, wondering how she was going to protect the two children who had once been two of the most famous and dangerous Wizards alive.
As she watched, the two newest entries in the Book changed. Tom Marvolo Riddle became Tom Marvolo Longbottom and Harry James Potter morphed to Harry James Longbottom.