A/N: Here it is! The first chapter of the rewrite. I'm not quite happy with it, but well, I never am really! Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own it. Some spoilers for DH. AU - obviously.
Harry Potter and the Unraveling of Time
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost
A Hollow Victory
Harry always thought that when the war was finally over - when he had finally killed the man who had singlehandedly killed everyone Harry had ever loved - that he would be awarded some sort of peace. But for Harry Potter, dubbed by the wizarding world as first The Boy-Who-Lived and then The Man-Who-Triumphed, peace was elusive.
While Hermione and Ron were exploring their newfound relationship and the wizarding world was beginning the long process of rebuilding, Harry spent every moment he could with Mrs. Tonks and Teddy; even though some moments his chest ached with loss whenever he saw the smiling baby who - like himself - would grow up without his parents. If only... if only... Harry's thoughts now all revolved around if only's.
If only Harry had been better...
If only Harry had been faster...
If only Dumbledore hadn't died...
If only he hadn't been stupid enough to be tricked by Voldemort...
If only Sirius hadn't gone to the Department of Ministry...
If only his parents hadn't died...
If only, if only, if only.
Dumbledore had once said that it was Harry's choices that made him different from Tom Riddle. Harry thought that was rubbish, he truly did, but perhaps it wasn't. After all, how many things could have been different if only one - one - thing was changed. An alteration of only one choice and everything - everything - could have been different. It was both a comforting and disturbing thought.
It was the day before Harry's eighteenth birthday when the idea hit him. If he could somehow go back, maybe he could save them - any of them, all of them, he wasn't very particular!
"Hermione?" asked Harry, carefully. They were gathered at the Burrow for his birthday, although it was a gloomy celebration to be sure. The death of Fred still weighed heavily in the family. "What do you know of time travel?"
Hermione turned inquiring eyes on her friend. "Time isn't to be meddled with," she stated in a no-nonsense tone.
"Of course," Harry said, somewhat soothingly. "But - is it possible?"
Hermione gave him a withering look. "Well, theoretically," she began. At this, Ron groaned loudly and stifled a yawn.
"Blimey, Hermione, nothing good ever began with the word theoretically!" he said.
But Hermione was having none of it. She continued on as if Ron hadn't said a word. "It's... possible, but by no means advisable, Harry. Not only are all of the spells that are said to facilitate time travel extremely dark, they are also extremely dangerous to cast. They require an immense amount of power, and the consequences of using the spells are steep, to be sure."
"The sort of power one might find in an unstoppable wand?" asked Harry, slowly.
Both Hermione and Ron whipped their heads around at that.
"I thought you were going to put that in Dumbledore's tomb," Ron said, his eyes narrowed slightly.
"I decided against it. I don't want it to get into the wrong hands," replied Harry. It was the truth - partially, at least. He couldn't very well tell them that he felt compelled to keep it, now could he?
Hermione studied him for a long moment. "Do you really think that wise?" she asked him, her voice taking on the pitying tone she sometimes used now when talking to him.
Harry shrugged. "Don't know, really. I never thought about it, but I suppose it's probably not. Not that that's ever stopped me before," replied Harry honestly, giving her a wry smile.
Hermione didn't look the least bit amused, but Mrs. Weasley came in and bustled them out into the yard, so Harry was able to avoid what was sure to be an epic length lecture. He'd never loved Mrs. Weasley more.
They didn't have a chance to speak alone for the rest of the day, but Hermione kept giving him these long, searching looks whenever she thought he wasn't looking, so Harry felt assured that all was certainly not forgotten.
That evening when he apparated back to Grimmauld Place, he had a newfound purpose: time travel. He was going to go back in time and stop Voldemort before he had a chance to kill his anyone that he loved, consequences be damned. He already knew the locations of the horcruxes. There was nothing stopping him from completing the prophecy again. He was fairly certain he would be able to do it again - he'd done it once, after all - and if he went before the prophecy was given, then Voldemort would be none the wiser as to his mortality. It was an utterly selfish move, he thought, but was surprised to not feel the least bit guilty. How often, after all, had he placed his own desires second? How often had he done what was needed and not what he wanted to do? He had done his duty. Sacrificing even himself for the wizarding world - it was time he did something for himself. Consequence be damned.
It took another four months to catch a break in his research. The book that contained the spell, not surprisingly, was as dark as Hermione said. More so, really. There were no results listed, in fact. Much like the entries he'd found concerning horcruxes, he found only a warning.
Unless you be desperate beyond measure, attempt this not.
Well, in the grand scheme of things, what sort of warning was that, really? Many of the other spells had listed - in graphic detail - exactly what would happen if he attempted the spells. And besides, wasn't he desperate - truly and utterly desperate? He had his friends, yes. And Teddy, of course. But if he could go back and make their - and his - lives better, he would do it. George wouldn't be without his twin, and little Teddy wouldn't have to know what it was like to grow up without parents.
There was only one tiny problem.
There didn't seem to be a return spell. So, he could go back in the past, but he couldn't return - at least by way of magic. No, from all accounts, he figured he would have to return the normal way, one day at a time.
So, if he went back into the past, he would be stuck there. He wasn't sure how that even worked. Would he still be born if he was already there? He didn't know, but there was nothing doing. He'd simply have to risk it.
Once Harry obtained the spell, it took another three months to finish the preparations. He had become adept at hiding things from his friends, but he felt fairly certain that Hermione was on to him. He expected nothing less, though, honestly, from the brightest witch of the age. She had taken to popping in unexpectedly, hoping - he assumed - to catch him unawares. She hadn't thought she had come dangerously close on more than one occasion.
Finally, though, it was all done. He had emptied his vaults of all the monies contained within. He had purchased a small trunk. Clothing would have to wait, for the most part, until he arrived. He didn't want to draw too much attention by standing out. He carried only the clothes on his back plus a change of muggle clothing. The clothing, the money - kept safely within a goblin-insured bottomless money pouch - his original wand, the resurrection stone, and the invisibility cloak were all packed inside the small trunk. The trunk was then shrunken and placed inside the broken locket. Harry wasn't even sure why he'd kept the locket. Much like keeping the wand, he'd felt compelled to do so. He could only assume that it would help him.
In his pocket was his identification. It was amazing what galleons can purchase - if one has the right connections in Gringotts which luckily enough for Harry, he did. He was to be called Aeon Black, the bastard son of Alphard Black. Alphard had been estranged from the family prior to his death in 1977. There would be no one to refute his claim. Besides, he had to use the last name Black. If not for any other reason than to explain his looks.
His appearance was, of course, the part of Harry's plan that had taken the majority of the time. He wanted - desperately - to keep his true appearance, but he knew that wasn't wise. Not when he was nearly a carbon copy of his father. He'd decided, then, to use elements of Sirius, his mother, and his father. What he needed was a way to change his appearance, permanently. Or... enough so that only he would be able to enable himself to avert back to his proper form.
Harry thought it was fate that ihe spell - a glamour, of sorts - came from the same book that contained the time traveling spell. Well, considering that both spells were dark and almost suicidal in nature, perhaps it wasn't fate.
At any rate, all Harry need do was perform a ritual involving the spilling of copious amounts of blood - his own, at least - and endure a bit (... well, maybe more than a bit if the arching back and the crazed look on the illustration were any indication) of pain, and he would not look like a Potter at all. He would keep his father's hair and the shape of his mother's eyes though sadly the color would be changed to the gray so common place in the pureblood world. He would change his face to the more aristocratic shape that Sirius' once held. The Sirius in Snape's pensieve at least. Sirius, as Harry had known him, was but a shadow of his former self.
He spent one last night at the Burrow, though he was the only one who knew it was the last. He allowed Mrs. Weasley fuss over him and his deplorable thinness without complaint. It was all he could do to remain dry-eyed for the duration of the night. This was the last night he would be Harry Potter. The stuff for the ritual was already in place. He was wearing the locket and the papers were firmly in his pocket. He was ready - at least as ready as he would ever be.
The ritual was as painful as he expected. It was like the Cruciatus, worse in fact. He thought he would go mad with the pain of it - even welcomed it. Or, at least, welcomed the release from pain that the madness would bring. Then, it was over, as quickly as it had begin. The pain was gone, though the memory of it remained and his body tensed as if waiting for the return of it. He managed to stumble to the bathroom to look into the mirror. The face that stared back at him was familiar yet not. How odd it was. Gray eyes blinked owlishly behind his glasses. He let out a shuddering breath before leaving the room and heading down stairs into the parlor. The Elder Wand in his pocket felt heavier than ever before.
Once he arrived in the parlor, he took one last deep breath before pulling the Elder Wand out and moving through the motions he'd memorized as he intoned the Latin. Soon, he would set everything to rights.
"Extrico Temporis Redintegro Erratum."
Harry's entire world exploded in s bright white light. The last thing he remembered before the darkness overcame him was Hermione and Ron's surprised faces as they burst into the room just in time to see him disappear.