A/N: This idea came into my head and I've started writing it to clear my mind so I can finish Premonition but now yet another idea has entered into my head and I've started writing it too. Hopefully I'll get the last chapter of Premonition done soon and move on to this and my other story more regularly. As always, Reviews are welcome and appreciated.
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right all right, all right
Eleven year old Harry Potter walked into the Leaky Cauldron behind Hagrid. He was still trying to come to grips with being told he was a wizard and was now about to get his first glimpse at the world he was now a part of. 'Then again, perhaps not,' he thought to himself as he looked around the room he'd just been led into. The room was dark as the only light was provided by candles. It was a dingy pub not unlike any of the ones he'd seen in the non-magical world the only difference being that everyone was dressed like characters out of a movie he'd gotten to watch part of before the Dursleys had caught him and locked him in the cupboard for a week with almost no food or water. It was about some bloke named Scrooge that hated Christmas. He'd always wondered if he'd been raised by people like his aunt and uncle. If so, he understood why he hated the holiday, if his own experiences were anything to go by, there wasn't much to like about it. As they made their way across the room, the bartender called out a greeting but not to him. It was Hagrid he was talking to.
"The usual Hagrid?" he asked in a friendly manner while picking up a glass.
"Can't, Tom, I'm on Hogwarts business," said Hagrid, clapping his great
hand on Harry's shoulder and making Harry's knees buckle.
"Good Lord," said the bartender, peering at Harry, "is this -- can this
The Leaky Cauldron had suddenly gone completely still and silent.
"Bless my soul," whispered the old bartender, "Harry Potter... what an
He hurried out from behind the bar, rushed toward Harry and seized his
hand, tears in his eyes.
"Welcome back, Mr. Potter, welcome back." He said excitedly
Harry didn't know what to say. Everyone was looking at him. An old
woman with a pipe was puffing on it without realizing it had gone out.
Hagrid was beaming. Then there was a great scraping of chairs and the next moment, Harry found himself shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron. All around him, he heard voices thanking him and saying how happy they were to get to meet him. One woman kept going to the back of the line and he lost track of how many times she shook his hand. It got to the point he that he just stuck his hand out automatically knowing it would be grasped tightly as the owner of the hand would talk to him like he was royalty. He started tuning out the voices next as they all seemed to say the same thing and had long since started running together in his mind.
He was feeling quite overwhelmed with it all as an ancient looking man hobbled toward him with the help of a cane. He was wearing a black cloak that covered his body except for the hand that held onto the cane. The hood of the cloak was pulled up over his head. He was bent over his head turned down watching the floor as he walked so Harry couldn't see his face. The crowd cleared him a path out of respect and quieted as he approached Harry. When he reached him he turned his head up slightly but seemed unable to straighten up so Harry still didn't get a good look at his face. He was able to see a white beard and mustache below a slightly misshapen nose. His hair was white as well and was at least shoulder length but could have hung farther down his back. With the cloak on he couldn't tell. Harry held out his hand out of habit expecting the old man to grab it and start speaking to him as all the others had but, instead of grabbing his hand, the old man pushed a package into it.
"It's an honor to meet you at last Mr. Potter," he wheezed. "I wanted to give you this gift. I think you'll find it very useful now that you've returned to the wizarding world. Don't open it right away though, wait until you get home. I know you must be feeling over whelmed about now but don't worry. I'm sure you'll make us all proud."
"Thank you sir," Harry responded
He grabbed the large package with both hands expecting it to be heavy but found it to be feather light. He wasn't sure how something so big could be so light but he chalked it up as yet another bizarre thing in what had long ago become the most bizarre day of his life. The man then craned his head a little more with what looked like great effort to look at Hagrid.
"It's good to see you again Hagrid," he said even wheezier than before. "I miss the talks we used to have over tea. I even miss your rock cakes and fudge. Will you make sure he doesn't lose his package for me?"
"Certainly sir," Hagrid assured the old man. "It's his birthday after all. It wouldn't do if he lost one of his gifts before he had a chance to open it. I'll see to it he gets home safely with it. I'll be buyin' him a gift myself while he's getting his school supplies."
"His birthday!?" He said surprised. "Well then let me wish you a very happy birthday Mr. Potter and wish you many more happy birthdays in the years to come. Thank you for humoring an old man, if only for a few minutes, and brightening up my day. I know you have pressing business to attend to so I'll leave you to it."
With that, the old man turned with great effort and left the way he came. The other patrons soon crowded back in and he lost sight of the old man. His attention was drawn away from the resurging crowd by the sound of Hagrid speaking to someone else.
"Professor Quirrell!" said Hagrid. "Harry, Professor Quirrell will be
one of your teachers at Hogwarts."
"P-P-Potter," stammered Professor Quirrell, grasping Harry's hand,
"c-can't t-tell you how p- pleased I am to meet you."
"What sort of magic do you teach, Professor Quirrell?"
"D-Defense Against the D-D-Dark Arts," muttered Professor Quirrell, as
though he'd rather not think about it. "N-not that you n-need it, eh,
P-P-Potter?" He laughed nervously. "You'll be g-getting all your
equipment, I suppose? I've g-got to p-pick up a new b-book on vampires,
m-myself." He looked terrified at the very thought.
But the others wouldn't let Professor Quirrell keep Harry to himself. It
took almost ten minutes to get away from them all. At last, Hagrid
managed to make himself heard over the babble.
"Must get on -- lots ter buy. Come on, Harry." He said finally and led Harry out of the room.
The old man had slipped an invisibility cloak over himself as soon as he was back in the shadows and out of sight. He was standing straight up now, the cane held in his hand and above the floor unneeded. He watched the crowd surround the boy again and wondered how it hadn't made him claustrophobic but, if being locked in a cupboard his entire childhood hadn't done it, then being swarmed by a crowd of admirers wouldn't have either. When he saw Quirrell with his back to him, he instinctively reached for his forehead expecting to be hit with a searing pain before catching himself. That piece of Voldemorts soul was no longer there so it couldn't hurt him anymore. He brushed some hair out of his eyes and then fingered his scar out of habit. Age had caused his forehead to wrinkle to the point that it was now virtually impossible to see and almost as hard to locate by touch but he knew right where it was. He also had the urge to walk up to the possessed professor, cut himself and touch him to preemptively stop him from going after the stone but knew that that would raise too many questions and affect too many events that still needed to transpire for his plan to work.
He found it ironic that, with his penchant for saving people, he was now forced to rely on an eleven year old boy. That the boy was his younger self was of little comfort to him because he still had to hope that the boy would be able to do what he had failed so miserably to do himself. He needed the boy to save him. Strictly speaking, that wasn't true. If his only reason for doing this was to save himself, then he never would have done it. He wasn't that selfish. No, he came back for her. That he would be saved in the bargain was merely an added benefit not why he was here. An image of someone he'd thought was a friend but now knew that he never was came into his mind. He'd come to save her from what that 'friend' would do to her. What they would all do to her. If the boy followed the plan, they'd never get the chance this time.
He was pulled from his thoughts when he heard Hagrid speak and watched him lead his younger self to the back. Careful to avoid the patrons who were returning to their tables, he made his way to the small courtyard he knew they were headed to. He watched as Hagrid tapped several bricks on the wall with his umbrella. The bricks started to move and he watched as young Harry got his first glimpse of Diagon Alley. Despite his age and the deep seated disillusionment he felt in his soul, he still felt a small thrill as he looked upon Diagon Alley again as he had the first time. He saw the awe in his younger self and knew exactly how he felt. He thought then as he knew this boy did now that once he left for school, he would never have to return to his relatives but that was not to be. At least with the normal turn of events had he not come back but part of his plan included rectifying that situation sooner rather than later.
After giving his younger charge a moment to take it all in, Hagrid lead him into the ally. Harry watched them go wishing he could follow them. It felt good to be here again. It was here that he was still innocent thinking the wizarding world was the answer to all his prayers. Where he came from there were no answers just missed opportunities and bitter disappointments. His greatest accomplishment; defeating Voldemort was by far overshadowed by his greatest failure and it was the boy, who was starting to disappear as the bricks moved back into place, that would have to keep it from happening again. Soon the bricks were back in place and he was once again cut off from Diagon Alley. He checked to make sure no one was coming then took off the cloak, folded it up and put it inside his robe. He then stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out the portkey that was stored there. He took one more look back into the pub to make sure no one was coming then whispered "mischief managed" and disappeared.
He reappeared in the living room of a house. A sudden weakness hit him and he had to lean against a wall for support. He'd completed his mission and returned to his own time but it had exhausted his magical core. Under normal conditions, his core would recover in a few days but he knew he didn't have that much time. He was 150 yrs old and, without his magic to sustain him, his body was weakening quickly as he began to feel his age the way a muggle would. He knew it was the price he would have to pay and he was okay with it.
There was one more thing he wanted to do in the time he had left and pushed away from the wall and headed for the back door of the house. He used the cane for real this time as he walked while pulling a vial out of another pocket with his other hand. He'd had the foresight to include a couple vials of pepper up potion among the things he'd decided to carry with him on his last, and in his mind, most important mission. He popped the lid off with his thumb and drank down the contents quickly. He felt a surge of energy as he walked through the door and headed towards the back of the property.
He got halfway to where he was going when the potion wore off. He leaned against a tree while downing another potion then took off again. The second potion wore off as he got to where he was going. As weakness hit again, he fell to his knees in front of two tombstones that sat near a tree at the back of the property. Facing the one on the left he spoke through labored breathing.
"Well, I did it," he said while trying to catch his breath. "I know you probably don't approve but I had to do something. I guess all that stuff you always told me about messing with time was true. Nothing changed unless I created an alternate timeline. If that's the case, then there will be at least one timeline where hopefully you'll be safe."
His eyes filled with tears and he paused while he removed his glasses and wiped his eyes to clear his vision.
"I hope you don't mind my grave being next to yours but I figure it's the closest I'll ever be to you again. I don't expect you to forgive me and I will never forgive myself for letting you down so I'll understand if you refuse to speak to me if I make it to heaven not that I expect to make it there, after all, failures like me don't deserve eternal happiness."
He felt his strength start to wane and knew his time was just about up. He reached out with all the strength he had left and fingered the letters on the stone he'd been talking to as fresh tears escaped his eyes.
"I love you," he said his voice shaking. "I wish I'd been able to tell you while you were still here. I wish I wouldn't have been so blind to what was going on around me. Hopefully, the boy I just left won't be so blind and will truly make his world a better place. I've done all I could and now it's time for me to leave this world to its fate and they're welcome to it."
He crawled shakily to the other tombstone and lay down in front of it. He reached into his robe and pulled out a stone with a rune carved into it. It started glowing as did a similar rune on the tombstone. He crossed his arms over his chest holding the stone over his heart. A minute later he breathed his last and the runes glowed brighter as they were activated and transported the body into the casket that was already buried beneath it and also had a similar rune carved into the lid. The tombstones now looked like they had before he'd come there except that his tombstone now had a date of death on it.
No one would ever know what happened to Harry Potter. He would have simply disappeared off the face of the earth never to be seen again. Stories that would be written about where he might have gone or what might have happened to him would be high on sensationalism but low on facts just as the disappearance of Hermione Granger had been over a century before. No one would ever know that they were buried next to each other behind a house on an unplottable piece of land in the English countryside. They would rest for all time as close to each other as this world had ever allowed them to be.
He woke up in what seemed to be the same place he ended up after Voldemort hit him with a killing curse in the forbidden forest. All around him was darkness. He was lying on the floor of wherever he was. The floor was solid but it was neither hard nor soft. Out of memory he wished for clothes and soon found himself dressed. He stood up expecting the shadows to morph into kings cross again but nothing happened until a voice spoke behind him.
"Harry," the voice said happily.
It was a voice he'd never expected to hear again. He turned quickly and found himself looking into the most beautiful brown eyes he'd ever seen. Expecting to see anger and contempt in those eyes, he was shocked to see joy and Love in them instead. He covered his face in shame as tears welled up in his eyes and turned back around.
"No," he said to himself. "I'm in heaven. That's not right, I don't deserve it. I should be in the other place. I fail-"
He was interrupted as a hand softly touched his shoulder and turned him back around. His hands were pulled away from his face and replaced by softer ones that gently turned his face back up until he met those eyes again.
"You didn't fail me Harry," Hermione said comfortingly. "You didn't know. If you had, you would have saved me. I don't blame you. You were a victim too. But we're safe now. They're all in the other place so they can't hurt us anymore."
Harry reached out and caressed her face. She smiled in response and he smiled back. He'd dreamt of being with her for so long it was hard to believe she was really there. After a few moments, he couldn't contain himself anymore and pulled her into a tight hug never wanting to let her go. He heard her giggle and felt her hug him just as tightly.
"I love you Hermione," he said his face nuzzled in her hair.
"I love you too," she responded pulling back just far enough to kiss him.
They held each other for a few minutes until he felt her pull away. When she turned around like she was leaving, he grabbed her again a sudden fear gripping him.
"No!" He yelled panicking. "I can't lose you again! Please don't leave me!?"
The last words were said in pure desperation. He was suddenly afraid he was in the other place after all and was only being given this brief moment with her before she was taken away from him for all eternity as fate's final act of cruelty to him. He was determined to hold on to her with everything he had. He wouldn't lose her again without a fight. Then her voice brought him back to reality.
"I'm not leaving you Harry!" She said reassuringly her voice slightly muffled as he held her head against his chest.
He loosened his grip and she pulled back far enough to meet his eyes then reached up and caressed his face her expression deadly serious.
"I'll never leave you again," she said her eyes filling with tears. Then her expression softened as a smile returned to her face. "I'm taking you with me."
"Where?" He asked returning her smile.
"Well," she answered him. "You haven't seen your parents in almost a hundred and fifty years. I thought it was high time you paid them a visit."
He felt a surge of excitement at the thought of seeing them.
"Where are they?" He responded enthusiastically.
"There," she said pointing in the direction she'd come from.
He looked and saw a bright light that seemed to be beckoning him towards it. Feeling peaceful at the thought, he nodded his head and together they walked into it. As the light touched him, he felt all the anger and sorrow that had filled his heart for most of his life leave him only to be replaced by love and joy until that was all that was in it. As he disappeared into the light, he realized he was heading on to the next great adventure at long last where he was always meant to be; with Hermione.
The end of one reality ….. The beginning of another.