Harry looked around the battlefield, taking in the carnage. He had finally defeated Voldemort, but at a terrible cost. His friends lay dead around him. Ron had died fighting Fenrir Greyback, attempting to avenge his brother. Ginny had been hit by a stray Killing Curse trying to save him. Moody, Lupin, Tonks, and the twins Fred and George had all died fighting the Death Eaters. McGonagall and Flitwick had been seriously wounded, and Madam Pomfrey said that it was unlikely they would live through the night. Slughorn had fled at the first sign of battle, and the bodies of Harry's friends lay scattered around him. Hermione's death had hit him the worst. She had pulled him out of the way of a Cutting Hex, taking a Killing Curse from Lucius Malfoy in the back in the process. She had died in his arms.
Harry had defeated Voldemort through a trick. He had fired a high-powered Blasting Hex at the castle and dropped the entire Gryffindor Tower on Voldemort. His last words had been "Avada- oh, bugger me," and then a revolting splat.
Harry moved slowly through the battlefield, finding the bodies of his friends. Their faces seemed to stare at him, angry at their own deaths and blaming him from beyond the grave. Oliver Wood. He had died fighting Lucius Malfoy. Dean Thomas. Seamus Finnigan. Luna Lovegood. Ginny Weasley. Her death didn't seem to bother Harry nearly as much as the others. Neville Longbottom had fallen while fighting Bellatrix. His eyes were still open and fixed straight ahead. Harry moved to close them gently, but Neville's hand snapped up and grabbed him by the wrist. The boy groaned in pain and clutched at the gaping belly wound Bellatrix had given him before he had killed her.
"Harry….I'm not going….to live, am I?" the mortally wounded boy managed to grunt out.
"You're going to be just fine." Harry responded, a bit too quickly.
"Bull. I'm dying, and I know it….I just wish I could have told Luna…..that I love her...Harry, did you beat him?" Harry nodded slowly.
"Yeah, I got him."
"Good….Harry, if there ever was….a chance to change all this…..then take it….." The boy trailed off, his eyes glazing over, and a quiet rattle escaping his lips.
Harry leaned back his head and roared in pain and anguish, the tears falling freely. He pulled Neville over his shoulder, carrying his body back to the castle. Laying him near the corpses of the other people who had fallen in battle against the Death Eaters, Harry went up to the Hospital Wing.
Harry saw McGonagall and Flitwick lying in the two beds farthest from the door, McGonagall even more deathly pale than usual, and Flitwick writhing in pain. His old Transfiguration teacher had been hit with a blood loss curse by Macnair, and Flitwick had taken a modified form of the Cruciatus Curse, that continued to cause pain on a lesser scale even if the caster was killed. Yaxley had been just finished casting it when Kingsley hit him in the neck with a cutting curse, beheading him. Feeling drawn to them, Harry sat between his former teachers. He spoke quietly to McGonagall.
"Professor, it's over, but I don't know if it was worth it. Everyone I knew and cared is dead or dying. Hermione, Ron, Neville, Remus, Sirius, Dumbledore…" He trailed off. "If there was a way to go back, and change what has happened…" McGonagall looked at him sadly, and shook her head.
"Harry, I'm sorry to say that I do not know of any way to go back far enough in time to stop this from happening. A Time-Turner wouldn't take you back far enough." A groan sounded from behind Harry, and he turned to Flitwick.
"There's a way, Potter," Flitwick grunted out. "But it'd be risky. You'd be risking your own death at worst, and losing a good portion of your power at best. Most likely, we'd die in the process," Flitwick dissolved into more groans of pain for a few moments, and then continued, "but we're dying anyway. My question is, Harry," he continued slowly, "are you willing to take the risk?" Harry didn't hesitate, remembering Neville's final words.
"Yes. There's nothing left for me here."
"Then let's do it. It'll take both Minerva and myself, and a good portion of your power, to fling you back in time far enough."
The three of them stood in a line abreast, Harry facing straight ahead, Flitwick and McGonagall facing Harry from either side. The two professors began twirling their wands, muttering in Latin, their wands flashing.
Harry began gathering up a large amount of his power, forcing it out through his wand without any spell to go with it. The raw magic gathered over him, joining with the directed magic from Flitwick and McGonagall. It began streaming down, forming a shell around Harry's body. When the shell closed around Harry, it began glowing brighter and brighter, eventually flashing, and then disappearing, taking Harry with it. The two teachers collapsed, dead. However, their timeline instantly vanished, replaced by a new one.
A warm, soft light surrounded Harry. He looked around. Wherever he was, it was not the Dursleys house, where he should have ended up. Instead, it looked oddly like…well, what one would imagine Limbo to look like. It looked like the lobby of an office building. He was at the door. To his left, there was a desk. To his right, there were two elevators, each with dials indicating the floors they were on. The left had it's dial pointing to the top floor. The right, to the bottom floor. Harry gulped. If this is what I think it is, I'm in royally deep shit. The elevators dinged, and the doors opened, each disgorging one person. From the right came a fit, tall black man wearing black jeans, a dark green t-shirt, and a black leather motorcycle jacket. A cigarette dangled off his lip. From the left came a tall, buxom redheaded woman, wearing a pair of tight jeans and a white blouse with the top two buttons undone, which was revealing some enticing cleavage. He heard a throat being cleared behind him, and turned to face the receptionist's desk and jumped back several feet. It was Dumbledore. Wearing a suit.
"You've caused us an awful lot of trouble, you know that?" Dumbledore said. "I mean, I'm not going to say I wasn't without fault. But seriously, did you have to let the entire seventh year class of Hogwarts, excluding the Slytherins, be killed off?" Harry shrugged.
"It's not like I intended for that to happen. That's why I came back to change it." The black man gave a barklike laugh and Harry turned to face him.
"If that's true, why did you commit suicide?" Harry's eyes widened. "Yeah, that's right, kid, you committed suicide. Interesting ritual, but the thing is, there's really no way to tell if it worked or not, so they can't tell if the thing works. Really, all it does is surround you in magic and shoot you into oblivion. Since you're a special case, we decided that we'd meet you here, instead of having Gramps here send you up or down."
"Down?" The man began to answer, but the woman cut in.
"Yes Harry. You've had quite a few sins on your record, mainly lust, sloth, and profanity."
"Lust? Excuse me? Baking powder?" The man snorted.
"The name Ginny Weasley ring a bell?" Harry nodded.
"That 'scaly monster' in your chest? That was lust. More accurately, it was a potion she was dosing you with to make you want her." Harry shook his head, trying to clear it.
"Wait, what? Potion? Lust? Ginny? What?" The man rolled his eyes.
"She was dosing you with a low-power love potion, boy. You aren't meant to be with her."
"Then how did I leave her after Dumbledore died?"
"Remember? You didn't eat in between leaving with Dumbledore and dumping Ginny. She never had a chance to dose you. That was a good thing, seeing as she was planning to get you to marry her right then." Seeing the look of horror on Harry's face, the woman cut in again.
"Anyway, you've also got several counts of sloth, although that also can be blamed on the Weasley family. Ron was one hell of a bad influence." Harry held up a hand.
"These are all reasons why I came back. To change all this. Or is that not an option?" The woman shrugged.
"It's theoretically possible, its just nobody's ever tried it with good intentions." The woman grinned. "However, even if we send you back, the timeline will repeat itself. Oooh, the Fates are going to LOVE this one." At Harry's quizzical look, she explained that Harry had become the Fate's favorite and loved to change their minds. Or in this case, entire sections of history. She finished with a "so if we send you back we'll have to give you all sorts of things to help you out!" The man had somehow procured a chair and a mug of beer during her spiel and was slowly sipping the froth off the top of the mug.
"So, what'cha say, kid?" Harry made a show of considering it. For about three seconds.
"Send me back." The man dropped his beer, which disappeared before it hit the floor, and took Harry by the arm, leading him to the up elevator. The woman followed with Dumbledore, and the elevator's doors closed, reopening a moment later to reveal…a beach scene? Harry looked around. It looked like something he had seen in one of Dudley's magazines, but at the time, he had been more focused on the nude model in the foreground. This, however, was perfect. The sunlight was just bright enough, there was a cool breeze, and the water was clear. Harry turned around and stumbled back. Behind him, there was a massive tunnel, brightly lit, with what looked oddly like a giant slingshot pointing down.
The man took him by the arm again and led him towards the tunnel, turning just before entering the tunnel and taking him into a brightly lit storage room. With a smooth motion, he relieved Harry of his wand and handed him a mug of a purple drink that was glowing and fizzing slightly.
"We're going to upgrade your wand's core, since Fawkes is getting on in his age. It'll be the same feather, so you'll still have the brother cores, for all the good that did you, but it'll be more powerful. Should balance out, seeing as you lost a good portion of your power in the jump." Harry opened his mouth to object, but the man kept talking.
"We're also going to give you a higher power level, seeing as you absolutely sucked at magic in your first and second years. That drink also will improve your Occlumency shields. That should give you more of a shot. Try not to stand out too much in class. You'll break Hermione's heart and probably tip off the wrong people."
"Me, for instance," A wheezing voice said. Harry turned as Dumbledore continued. "I admit that I was blinded. In my quest to protect 'the Greater Good', I forgot about the individual. Telling me about what's happened and what is to come would be a bad idea." Harry nodded. "However, feel free to make me run in circles trying to find out what is going on." Harry grinned.
"Sure thing, Gramps. Now, anything else, or should we go for a swim?" The man laughed again.
"Yeah, kid. One more thing. We're going to give you a few other items that we can't exactly send you back with. They'll be in the Shrieking Shack when you need them. As for the beach, I'm not sure if it's a good idea. I wouldn't mind, and I know Jane here wouldn't, but I'm not sure if we should let Dumbles in." Dumbledore looked hurt.
"I promise not to wear a…what is it the Muggles call it? A spee-doo?" Harry shook his head.
"No, it's probably best if I get going…as much as I want to see Jane in a swimsuit, I had better go. Otherwise I might not leave at all."
Ten minutes later, Harry was regretting ever leaving his timeline. He had been dressed up in a black bodysuit made of some plastic-like material and loaded nose-first into the barrel of the slingshot. He had been given a smooth, streamlined helmet and all the items he had been carrying had been taken away.
"Well, good luck, we'll look in from time to time, and watch out for Dumbledore and Snape." Dumbledore nodded, and Harry braced and closed his eyes. The man, who had introduced himself as John, pulled on a massive lever. It ground about two inches and stuck. Harry rolled his eyes. Even in Heaven, nothing works. John grunted, pulled, and the lever broke free. Harry heard a hissing sound and then a felt massive kick behind him, and he was suddenly shooting towards the earth at a blurring rate of speed.
Harry tried to draw breath and found he was screaming and tried to stop. Then he started again when he realized he was not wearing a parachute. He saw a Muggle neighborhood below him and closed his eyes, hoping he wouldn't make too much of a mess when he landed. The earth came up and Harry snapped up, nearly hitting his head on the underside of the stairs. He was back in the cupboard. It had worked. He head footsteps thumping down the stairs, and his whale of a cousin yelling at him to get up.