Disclaimer: JK Rowlings world, ah'm just playin'.
A/N: This is a pre-quel, or side-story to Harry Potter's Second Chance & Second Chance Take Two. Takes place after the disastrous Tri-Wizard Tournament, except, after Voldemort was brought back, the Final Battle was fought. Two main characters that lost their lives were Sirius and Tonks. Remus now walks with a limp.
Below is the journal of Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. It was discovered by Professor Severus Snape on the day that Potter de-aged himself to the age of six.
As Snape read the journal, he began to make his own notations. It surprised him that much of the journal was actually addressed to him.
Two days into summer at the Dursleys:
Harry Potter stood in his small bedroom on #4 Privet Drive and half-listened as his Uncle and Aunt argued outside his closed door.
"I'm tired of it, Vernon! Do you hear me?"
How could the man not hear that awful, shrill voice?
"I will not spend my precious summer coddling..."
"Please, Pet, it's the boy's godfather..." came Vernon's exasperated voice.
There was a sharp crack, that of a bony hand against a fleshy cheek. Harry wondered when Aunt Petunia had begun hitting Uncle Vernon. He also wondered why the large, beefy man didn't hit her back. He'd easily squash her like a bug.
That image had Harry laughing with slight hysteria. He stopped abruptly as his door slammed open and his Aunt's hand connected with the back of his head. He didn't react, other than to turn around and face his Aunt. She then took something, a letter nearly torn in half, and threw it at him.
"'Be sympathetic!' How dare that Headmaster of yours tell me to be 'kind during your time of grief'?! Good riddance to that awful murderer, I say! At least I know you can't threaten me with your stupid godfather anymore, you Freak!"
Harry just stared at his aunt, glassy-eyed. Sirius Black was dead and it was his fault as surely as if it had been he that had pushed him in front of Bellatrix Lestrange's wand.
Petunia's hand cracked viciously across his cheek and her manicured fingernails carved bloody scores into the tender flesh. Harry only flinched slightly. If she'd had her iron skillet in her hand, he would not have fought her one bit as she beat him to death with it.
"You can forget eating tonight!" she snapped. "I'm far too angry to take pity on you so you might as well sleep. You're going to be very busy tomorrow!" Petunia slammed the door shut and was soon far and away down the stairs.
Uncle Vernon hadn't locked his trunk away, yet, so he took out those things he might need the most and tucked them under the loose floorboard. He then picked up the leather-bound journal Hermione had slipped to him before they left Hogwarts.
"It's nice," Harry said mechanically as he looked with dull eyes down at the gift.
Hermione put a hand over Harry's, her face filled with worry and concern. He sighed. "Harry, I can't begin to tell you how to deal with everything, I just... it's only a suggestion but maybe if you could write your thoughts down?" She shrugged helplessly and then hugged him in an embrace that he perfunctorily reciprocated.
Harry grabbed a quill and a bottle of ink (it was green - Slytherin green, if anyone was interested) and went to sit over on his bed. He began writing.
July 3, 1995
I think the first time I really noticed Hermione was a real girl was at the Yule Ball during the Tri-Wizard tournament. When I saw her on the stairs in her pale blue gown with her hair done up so nicely, yet kind of neatly messy, I was really happy Ron was being such a dense prat. It was when Hermione and I had that short dance that I think I first wanted to kiss her.
I wish now that I had kissed her.
(Drawing of Hermione, head and shoulders only.)
Ron was (word scratched out several times) IS jealous of me. He apologised but it hasn't felt quite right between us since then.
I thought he knew I'd never want to be in that stupid tournament! The idiot prat never thought and just jumped down my throat. And Dumbledore... couldn't he have done something?!?!?! I swear, I looked over at Snape when Dumbledore and Crouch and Fudge were arguing over what happened. Snape had this appalled, murderous look on his face. Not for me! Can you believe it? I think he wanted to throw a bad spell like that scary hex that killed Bella at the Cemetery...
What was that spell? I've never seen a spell that surrounded the caster. It sparkled, red, beautiful... I felt something... safety... trust? I don't know. Maybe I ought to ask Hermione about it. Snape would just beat me to death with his wand if I asked him about it.
--I don't recall the spell I used to kill that... mad witch. I do recall the red glow. Potter, it was around you, as well.--
Snape saved me.
--That I did, Potter.--
He killed Bella.
How many times did he save me?
--I've lost count, Potter.--
Uncle Vernon's been trying to keep me out of the way of Aunt Petunia. He's sent Dudley away for the summer. Dud's was really upset about leaving, but Aunt Petunia's really scary this summer. I'm not sure, but I think Uncle Vernon's reached his breaking point. Know what else? There's no beer in the house.
Did Uncle Vernon stop drinking?
July 8 - Night
Sirius you stupid idiot?!
Why did you have to go and die?!
I keep seeing him flying from the impact of Bella's spell. I imagine I hear his spine breaking, but I wasn't that close. I did hear his screams when that bitch hit him with a Cruciatus.
Sirius' screams. Voldemort's laughter. Peter Pettigrew's laughter. Mum's screams.
--You remembered your mother's death, Potter? This is a memory you won't lose, and I'm sorry for that.--
Over and over again.
But, I know how to make it stop. I found THE potion and I can brew it. It's complicated. Maybe more than Polyjuice Potion was. I know I can do it though. I can brew it at night. Some of the ingredients are in my potions kit. I'm going to have to break into the cupboard...
Maybe I can ask Uncle Vernon to let me at my trunk. Just to get some books out?
Uncle Vernon's been bringing me sandwiches outside during the day.
Aunt Petunia's arguing with him a lot. It's good my cousin isn't here. He'd have probably broken a few of my ribs by now.
--When did this abuse start, Potter? Did it begin after you were six? Why six years of age?--
I wish I could stop dreaming... (blotches of tears blurring text)...
Mum! I just wish someone (more tear stains)... hug me, care for me...
Remus hasn't replied to my letters. I know he's grieving, too, but honestly!!! what about me????
--Lupin is selfish.--
--It seems.... I do.--
I ought to write to Dumbledore. He said he'd get me away from here. I don't know what's going on there, I mean, in the wizarding world. Sometimes, especially when I wake up from my nightmares, I really think it's all been a dream.
(A crude sketch of a figure that's clearly Snape has his wand out and is casting the mysterious spell that saved Harry. It's a very good sketch.)
--I have to research this. Maybe Albus knows.--
I got my potions kit out. Uncle Vernon let me into my trunk. Aunt Petunia hit him with the handle of the broom. He's at the ER now. Aunt Petunia got me a few times with the broom handle, but stopped suddenly. Her eyes were bugging out of her head and she was pointing at me and screeching. I saw this faint red, pulsing glow around my hands.
I just noticed now, when Aunt Petunia was smacking me with the broom, the blows didn't hit me. I'm not hurt.
Gotta remember to ask Hermione again. It makes me think of that glow around Snape.
(Drawing of Sirius Black changing into his Animagus form of a big black dog. Smaller sketches of Ron, Hermione, Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, and even Snape. Snape has a red ink aura around his silhouette like form. Tears blur the face of a screaming woman with green eyes and blood red hair.)
--Why does he draw me? Potter's rather good. Crude, yes, but good.--
--Lily. You shouldn't have such a memory of your mother. She was so very alive. Did Lupin or Black ever tell you about Lily? Were they able to? I will tell you. Another promise I make on these pages of tears...--
July 15 - I keep forgetting to put dates. I kind of don't care anymore. This is the last date I'll put down.
It's raining today. This potion is really complicated. I still need some ingredients before starting it.
I'm going to forget everything. Part of me wishes I wouldn't. I love Ron and Hermione and it hurts a lot that I'll forget the good times we had.
How can I separate all the memories that hurt, though, that haunt my dreams, from the good ones? I did look through a lot of memory spell books, but they didn't help.
I wish I knew how to modify potions like Snape does.
(Entry scratched out viciously and is unreadable. Paper has a hole about halfway down.)
I'M A BLOODY SELFISH TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
--Why? Because you've de-aged yourself? Because you want a normal childhood?--
It doesn't matter what anyone says. I know it's my fault. Mum and dad, Sirius, Cedric, Tonks.
They're all dead because of me. I really wish Voldemort had killed me when I was a baby. I know someone else could have killed him. I wasn't needed. He was so nuts and his followers were, too. Anyone as smart as.... well, Snape's the smartest one I know. He could kill the bastard. I know everyone thinks Dumbledore is smart, but I don't think he's got it in him to kill anymore. See, Snape knows that evil people have to be killed. You can see it in his face. Maybe it's kind of broken him? Or maybe that's how he stayed alive for so long? I just think Snape's got a more realistic view of this whole war and Death Eaters, and Voldy, and all.
--At least you see that, Potter. Am I broken? I think I have been for a long time.--
I'm brewing the potion at night. It doesn't give me much time to sleep since Aunt Petunia is really giving me a lot of chores to do.
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia have been arguing a lot this summer. I can't ever remember them arguing. Uncle Vernon just caves in to Aunt Petunia, usually.
Why couldn't he have gotten some backbone when I was younger? He could have done more to stop Aunt Petunia from smacking me so much. I am glad he did what he could, but (thought not finished.)
(Written on the side of this page are notes on ingredients that have been gathered for the potion.)
Aunt Petunia almost found my brewing!!
I've been storing everything in the closet during the day. She came into my room and just started screaming at me and she tripped on the loose floorboard and hit the closet door. I had to push her away.
She went really crazy, screaming about how it's all my fault. I knew she was going to kick me and hit me, but Uncle Vernon picked her up and locked her in their bedroom. He then came back and looked at me for awhile.
He told me to try and stay away from my aunt. He then said she wasn't going to feed me anymore. I began to shout at my Uncle and I was sure he'd hit me this time, but he just shut my door.
I've always known IT's all my fault, but what IT is it? I don't know what I did this time. I've been really good about my chores and I haven't complained. Not once.
I'm not going to get anything to eat for three days.
Are scarab carapaces something you can eat? You know? For protein?
--The body of the scarab is a better protein, Potter.--
LATER... Uncle Vernon brought me a sandwich and chips.
They argued most of the night and I just kept brewing.
Much later... damn dreams!
(A drawing of Voldemort killing Harry's parents, Cedric, Sirius, and Tonks.)
(Various horrific drawings illustrating nightmares take up the next few pages. In between the drawings are either notes on the potion, or speculation on what an image in a nightmare might mean.)
(Last drawing - Snape again. This one is of Snape at his desk, bent over a parchment, quill in hand. Various colours of inks have been used to fill in a background of eerily illuminated jars of questionable ingredients.)
--Potter, you were in my office once and I was yelling at you and your erstwhile compatriot, Weasley. Why have you drawn me this way?--
I listened to Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon talking/arguing all morning. My aunt was screeching and yelling a lot. Uncle Vernon was trying to stay calm. He's still bringing me sandwiches. My aunt doesn't want to see me at all now. She told Vernon to nail my door shut.
I think I had a panic attack.
It felt really hard to breathe and my throat felt tight and my heart... it was going so fast that I was sure it was going to burst.
Aunt Petunia's been outside my door - she wants to kill me.
I want my wand.
Uncle Vernon took me out for a ride. He really didn't say much and it seemed like he wanted to, but didn't know what to say. When we got back to the house, he just said...
(Tears smudge a paragraph.)
Hermione would kill me. She'd be nice about it, though.
I once had a dream
I think it was during my third year...
I dreamt of being normal. Mum and dad were alive, though. I had the biggest crush on Hermione. She and I were going to have kids. Lots of them. Our kids would need trees to climb, maybe a dog, or a cat, since Hermione likes cats.
Hermione wrote to me today. I don't know what to write back. I wish I were a brave enough Gryffindor to tell her how I felt, but then, I know I can't tell her.
I'm not just broken. I'm shattered. There's pieces of me that fell so far away from me, I can't ever find them.
--Potter, I... --
Sometimes I look around my room and I feel myself tearing apart right in the middle of the room. It's so strange. I get so numb and I feel like I'm sleeping, but I know I'm not.
--Your owl is safe, Potter.--
I have to say goodbye. I can't write to Hermione and Ron, but they have to know there isn't any other way to fix me. If I don't do this, they'll lose me permanently. I brewed a poison. It's a fast acting one.
I don't think Ron and Hermione would really understand. Maybe Hermione might. She's really clever, that one. Ron's going to be really mad. I just (thought not finished.)
--I don't know why you did this either, Potter. Or, perhaps I do. If you'd said something to us. To Albus, and yes, even to me. We could have fixed you, Potter.
--I went to watch you sleep, Potter. Your de-aged self. I had the odd feeling, though, that the child asleep in the infirmary cot wasn't you. What have you done, Potter? What have I done in becoming your guardian? No, in becoming your father. That frightens me.
--I wonder at my wisdom in writing these notes in your journal since I fully intend to allow you to read it someday. Do I really wish you to know my thoughts? Especially since it has only been a few days since I rescued you from the Dursleys.--
(More drawings. These are scenes from days at Hogwarts. Classes, meals in the Great Hall. There is a troll menacing Hermione. And a basilisk dying upon Godric Gryffindor's sword. There's an amusing drawing of Dumbledore trying to pull a sword from a stone. On the next page is a grimmer drawing of Potter himself weeping by the stone that has a sword in it. Behind him is a terrifyingly understanding Voldemort with his hand on Potter's shoulder.)
Nearly finished brewing.
(Drawing of Potter himself brewing the potion in his bedroom.)
I tried to write letters to Ron and Hermione. I didn't know what I could say to apologise to them. I love them, both, a lot and I know this is going to hurt them both. I don't want to hurt them, but I can't sleep anymore. It's been four nights since I slept. I was going to brew a potion to keep me awake, but I don't need to. I'm so very tired, but it's impossible to sleep.
I think my Uncle's worried, but he's got some real problems with my Aunt. I try to ignore them now. The concentration I have needs to go into my brewing. Snape would be so pissed at me if I messed this up.
What was that spell you hit Bellatrix with?
Last night as I set my cauldron to simmering, I thought I was hallucinating at first. I mean, I'm not sleeping so it's kind of expected. This is what I saw:
(Drawing of a detailed hand, a bit too thin. Red ink surrounds the hand.)
--Potter. Are we connected in some manner? I really must speak to Albus!--
Did Snape really hate me?
--No, Potter, I do not. In a way, I regret that you, the boy that wrote this journal, will never know that.--
If I hadn't Voldemort to deal with, I think I might have been good at Potions.
Professor, did you know I was almost sorted into Slytherin? What if I had been? Would that have been bad?
--My House, Potter?!--
The Hat said I'd be great in Slytherin. I probably wouldn't have had Ron as a friend, but maybe Hermione would still have liked me.
Malfoy. Draco. I might have been friends with Draco. Dudley's stupid friend, Piers... he could be a junior Death Eater. He is evil. Somehow... Draco's a snobby git, but I don't think he's evil. Boy, I hope Ron never reads this. He'd just go spare.
What would you have been like, Professor?
--A very good question, Potter. I would have known about your circumstances at home. I might have had more freedom to treat you as I should have treated you. I regret that. Deeply. I worry, now, that someday, as you grow older again, you'll hear stories about the way you were treated by me. Furthermore, even if you might have lost the friendship of Mr. Weasley, you would have had, not just allies, but friends, as well, in Slytherin.--
I wonder... if I grow up again and go to Hogwarts again, will I still be a Gryffindor? I think I'd rather not be.
My potion is ready.
I think I'm a bit hysterical giggly.
I hope my Aunt Petunia doesn't kill me.
I'm going to try and sleep.
(A very detailed drawing of Lily Evans takes up the rest of the page. It's beautiful, except for the fact that Voldemort stands behind her, his arm around her waist.)
I knew I shouldn't have gone to sleep!!!
--I never expected anyone else to share the nightmares I have. Why I feel sorry that you've had such images in your head, I cannot really explain. Empathy, possibly. No one, Potter, not even I, should have our minds torn apart by such dreadful images.
--I promise you now, Potter, that the child you've become will not have to suffer such nightmares. If Harry should have nightmares, I will be by his side. You'll not be afraid, ever again.--
I wasn't going to write anymore in this journal, but I have to write some important things, just in case.
If someone finds this, and Aunt Petunia hasn't burned all my things, can someone give Ron my Firebolt? Ron knows Sirius gave it to me and he knows what it means to me. He also deserves a really good broom.
Can you then give all my books to Hermione? It's kind of odd, but I think she'd like my old textbooks, so make sure she gets those, too.
I don't care about my clothes.
The invisibility cloak. A part of me wants to give it to another mischief maker, but to be downright honest it was nothing but trouble to me. I know it can't be burned. I tried a few nights ago to burn it. If whoever finds this finds the cloak, you ought to put it in my Gringott's vault.
(small envelope attached with gold key inside.)
My wand. I wish I could give it to Dumbledore, but he's dying and I think he's forgotten about me. I don't blame you, Professor Dumbledore. You've got so much to do. Hermione wrote to me and said it's just a massive shake up with Fudge being a Death Eater and all. I just hope when you do remember me that you give me, since I'll be de-aged by then, to someone really nice. Someone that can truly love me. I'd like that, sir.
To whomever finds my stuff, if you find a folded piece of parchment, give it to Remus.
--I have the parchment, Potter. I recognise it. It's that parchment that had the nerve to insult me. If you don't mind, I'm not going to give it to the werewolf right away.--
(A drawing of Hedwig. There is writing beneath the drawing.)
Hedwig, I think, disappeared after bringing me the last of the ingredients. Can someone find her and take care of her? I don't know if she's going to want me after I've taken the potion.
--A familiar is for life, Potter. I'm certain your owl is in the Owlery. I will find her, so do not worry any longer.--
Professor Snape, you'll probably be angry with me, but I still hope a tiny part of you, that part that Dumbledore trusts, is kind of impressed with this potion. So you don't have to look, it's called Second Chance. The book says there isn't anything to reverse it. I know you probably are thinking this is the stupidest thing I've ever done, but I want a second chance, even if my Aunt finally follows through with her threat to get rid of me.
--No, Potter. I don't think what you've done is stupid. Believe me, I do understand.--
Professor, I know you were helping me with the tournament. Thanks for doing that and keeping me alive. Call me a dunderhead Gryffindor if you want, but I think you don't totally hate me since you always saved my hide. I wonder, now, if I should have just let the Sorting Hat put me in Slytherin.
--You're welcome, Potter.--