A/N: Neither the Characters or World of Harry Potter are owned by me. They belong to the rich lady, and she's rented out rights to a couple of Warner boys. Not even the basic concept of the story is mine. The Lone Traveler was the creation of The Professional. I stole it. Well borrowed it. Umm, well anyway ...
I recommend reading Harry Potter: The Lone Traveler, and The Professional's other related story.
The desire to write this was actually my impetus into writing fan fiction. I wrote this first, although unpublished - I had been waiting for some reply from The Professional cause I sent a message askng permission. I think he's away right now.
I couldn't get into writing the sequel to This is Your Reward yet. And didn't want to start something else. So I decided to go ahead and publish and work on this one. Cause it really appeals to me. Here is The Professional's summary which I have stolen .. er .. borrowed .. as well:
After spending half his life trying to rid the world of Voldemort, Harry Potter finally succeeds. However, the price has been high. Too high. Unfortunately, when Harry risks his life to go back and 'do things right', something goes wrong.
Harry woke up with a start, to find himself on a messy room. He looked around wondering where he now. The dirty room looked very familiar.
His last 'jump' had landed him in a different time in Diagon Alley than he was used to. He thought back to the advice he had for the teenager who had been moping over a girl. The 15-year old kid with the messy black hair, wire-rim glasses and brown eyes had been sitting at the ice-cream shop, despondent about his inability to attract the attention of his red-haired, green-eyed classmate who wouldn't give him a chance. He had also been making plans to further humiliate another classmate, his would-be crush's friend, who was in another school house.
"Why would you want to humiliate him?" he had asked.
"He's a greasy git. He always works to humiliate my friends. I want to get him first! Besides, he's not worth Lily's time. He's a stinkin' SNAKE! He is bound to be evil! If I can make her see that, then maybe she would give me a chance."
"How long has she known him?" asked Harry. "How long has she been his friend?"
"What does that matter? If he's evil, he's EVIL!" the messy-hair teen had exclaimed.
"So, you want her to accept your position; you want her to believe what you think. Do you even RESPECT her at all?"
"Of course I respect her! I want what's best for her! I just have to show her that he's not worth her time."
Harry shook his head, wondering once again how he had ever been concieved. "So, you are telling her, not only with your words, but with your actions, that her judgement of people has no value. That she can't even decide for herself who is good and who is evil. And that not only is she wrong, but her judgement isn't important at all. If she has such bad judgement and such questionable tastes, why do you even want to go out with her?"
The teenager had jumped up and yelled at the man in the leather jacket, "She's the best person I ever met! She is good to everyone around her! She helps anybody who asks for her help in school! She's PERFECT!!"
Harry had pointedly asked at that juncture, "So how do you know that her friend, who she has picked, and has stayed loyal to, is evil? If she's so good, then maybe there's something that you don't know which allows her to stay friend's with such a greasy git. Maybe you should look into that. Have you ever sat down and talked to him?"
James sat down at that point mumbling, "... but he's a snake ... she should ... I'll never get a chance ..."
Harry decided to take pity on him. "Look, I know you're over the moon about this girl. There's nothing wrong with that. And I think with a little work you could get her to notice you. I think you just have to come up with a different approach. Recently, in my travels, I came accross a saying which might bear some consideration for you. 'Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.'"
James looked startled at the thought. He admitted, "Well .. everyone says that I might be a little crazy ...."
Harry laughed out loud. "Yeah, well, we all have a little crazy don't we?" He settled down and said a little more seriously, "Look, if you want to to get on her good side, you're gonna have to show her that you respect her. And part of that is that you respect her friends. Maybe at some point he will do something that makes her change her mind. But do you really want to be the cause of breaking her heart if he does end up doing something wrong? Give him a chance, and talk to him. See if you can find out what she sees in him which makes her stay his friend. And, didn't you say that you like a good prank?" Harry asks James with a small smirk.
"Oh YEAH!" James smiles. "Me and my mates are the school champions at pranks! We're the best pranksters in the history of Hogwarts!"
"You ever prank each other?" Harry asked innocently.
James smirked. "Yeah. End of last year, I transfigured their underwear to girls unmentionables. They almost got caught in the shower-room by some fifth years wearing bras and panties when they found out. As long as any major prank is just between us, as long as we show a united front to everyone else, and no one is hurt, it's anything goes."
"Well, how good is her slimey friend at potions?"
"I have to admit, he's the top boy of our year," the kid replied, looking at him oddly.
"How about you get him to help you prank your friends? And maybe her help too? As long as she's in on it, I'm sure he won't do anything to spoil the prank; he won't want to look bad. And maybe if you do something to show her that you can at least respect her friends, maybe she will give you a chance." Harry hoped that this idea wouldn't backfire. He knew the Maurader's hatred of Slytherins was epic, but if Snape could be prevented from being almost killed, humiliated in front of the whole school and being made to be totally alone, maybe, just maybe, he could prevent his parents from being killed when a certain greasy-haired spy overheard a prophecy in a few years.
James looked intrigued. He always loved a good prank. And Peter, Sirius and Remus would never expect James and Snivil .. er .. Snape ... to work together to prank them.
"Maybe you can get them to the Alley tomorrow. Makes some plans ...." Harry trailed off as he saw the mischevious smile on James's face.
"Will you be around tomorrow?" James asked Harry.
"Maybe. I never know when I will be .. called away. If I'm around, maybe I can help convince them. If not, it was a pleasure to meet you, James Harold Potter."
Harry watched James walk away. He waited to see if he would jump again. He had been jumping from reality to reality for so long, that he sometimes wondered if it would ever end. He had helped .. well, himself ... countless times. Sometimes it was somewhat related: A young Tom Riddle, Albus Dumbledore in his war with Grindenwald, his twin brother, his female counterpart, a complete stranger. He took some small satisfaction that when he could make a difference. But he still missed his Ginny. And his friends Ron and Hermoine. The Weasleys. Sirius. Everone whom he had lost over the years.
He had tried to send himself back to an earlier point in his life, to fix all of his mistakes. Finally, he had thought he had gotten it, and had Avada Kadavra'd himself, thinking it would be the first step to his plan. But instead of finding himself in his own life, he had found himself in alternate realities. Over time, he found out that he had become a legend of the Wizarding World: The Lone Traveler. Not as Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. Not the Man-Who-Conquered. Not the Defeater-of-Dark-Lords. But as a nameless man, who had lost everything, and who appeared to those that needed a little push to get them moving to a better life. Sometimes it was a deed that could be done. He remembered when he had destroyed the Special Services Plaque which in that particular reality held the curse on the DADA Professor position at Hogwarts.
Sometimes he found himself helping more than one person. A chain of actions was sometimes needed. He once again vowed to himself to do what he could so that his family, his friends, all of those that he loved and trusted could have a better life. It was his penance for all the mistakes he had made over the years. This is what he told himself. It's what kept him going.
Having decided that he wasn't going to be moved on, he made his way to the Leaky Cauldron. He sat at the bar and waved the barman over.
"Hello, sir. How can I help you?"
"A butterbeer, Tom. And a room for the night."
Tom looked at the man, noticing his clothes, and his eyes widened a little. "Here you go, sir. Can I ask your name?"
"I'm just a traveler, who needs a kip." Harry looked over the other patrons at the bar, watching for signs of danger. After all, Voldemort was still gathering followers at this time. And although he wasn't as dangerous to the random person as he would be in a few short years, he and his followers still were oppurtunists at this point in history, looking for anything that would help in his quest for power, money and influence.
"Of course, sir. Can I show you to a room now? And maybe you would like a bit of supper?" Tom kept his face neutral. He wanted a private word, but didn't want to do it in view of the whole pub.
"Here, sir, is your supper. I wonder if I can have a word with you for a moment."
Harry looked over the table in the room at Tom and said, "Of course. Would you like a seat?"
"I have a question, sir." Tom said, sitting down. "Are you known as the Lone Traveler?"
Harry looked at Tom, a bit surprised. "I have been called that in the past."
Tom replied, "I have a story to tell. 250 years ago, my family came to Diagon Alley. After buying this pub, my great-great-grandfather was being robbed by some wizards when a man appeared, dressed in some strange muggle clothing and stopped the robbers. When the aurors were called, this man helped negotiate the deal which has kept my family from being attacked since. As long as no interference is made by the ministry in the operation of the pub, the ministry could put the permanent entrance to Diagon Alley from the muggle world in the back of the pub. Since that time, through every Dark Lord and through every war since, the pub has been unmolested by either side.
"My family has always been on the side of the light. But we have never had to worry about being attacked, even when the ministry had gone corrupt at various times. We have maintained the support of the light, with overtly neutral actions since. The man who helped to create this only said that he was a lone traveler. Since that time, written into the records of the pub, there has been a description of this traveler. My family has never disclosed this to anyone. But written into the records and deed is a promise that whenever this traveler appeared that he would be accorded every courtesy."
Harry looked surprised. He sometimes wondered if he was the only "Harry Potter" who was doomed to be moved from place to place and from reality to reality. If he was, then he obviously had been to many times which he hadn't visited yet to be worked into the legends of the Wizarding World. He was of two minds about this. If he was the only one, then he obviously had a long life ahead of him, making up for the mistakes of his past. If he wasn't, then more than he himself had lost everything and maybe the Harry Potter luck was more cursed than he knew.
Tom stood up. "If you ever need anything that I can help with, all you have to say is 'I am a Lone Traveler in the night' and I or any of my family will help you in any way we can. There will be no charge for your room or supper. Good night, sir."
Well, at least he didn't have to use his gold.
The next day, Harry went down to wait in the pub for James to show up. Around 11:00, he flooed into the pub and noticed Harry sitting there.
"Well, I got owls back. Snape and Lily will show up around 12:00," James said nervously. "They don't know it was me who sent the owls, they only know that someone will meet them at noon for an 'oppurtunity' at the Leaky Cauldron."
"Why don't you ask for a private dining room from Tom. Offer to buy them lunch." Harry smiled at James' sweaty face. "Just no pranks until you get back to school." James face fell a little, but he looked determined to do this right.
Harry and James sat talking for about 45 minutes until James went to set up the private room.
At about 11:50, Lily and Severus walked into the Leaky Cauldron, looking for who had owled them. They saw the man in the odd leather jacket, but didn't pay him any mind. Tom looked over to them and motioned them over to the bar. "Your party will be in Private Dining Room number 3 in 10 minutes."
Lily excused herself to go to the loo. Severus looked around to see the man in the muggle clothes motioning him over. He approached the man and started sneering when he saw the hair so very much like his nemisis Potter.
"Please Mr. Snape, have a seat for a moment," Harry said.
Harry saw the look on Severus's face and decided to give tell him who he was. He knew that even at age 15, Snape could keep a secret.
"Well, Mr. Snape, I am not your enemy, so please do not curl your lips in disgust. It would be much more Slytherin to wait until you get information that might help you before making assumptions," Harry said lightly.
Snape set his face into a mask, seething inside at being corrected by what looked to be an older version of his nemises.
"I know of what you have been invited to here today. I have a story to tell you."
Severus Snape considered the man he had just met. The man, who was apparently from some alternate universe was the son of his best friend from childhood and his arch-rival. He could have disbelieved him, but one look in the man's haunted eyes had convinced him of the truth of it. He had been given a choice: Continue his current path and lose Lily in every way forever, or willingly give her up so she could be happy.
While Snape was the consumate Slytherin, there was little he would not do to at least keep some part of Lily Evans life. He would hate it, he would curse it in the dead of night, he would live with regret for the rest of his life; he would not, now that he knew, willingly become a part of her death and the loss of her happiness.
Besides, he smirked to himself, if the child of his friend was as intelligent as the man seemed to be, he could mentor the brat in his subject in a few years. And that, in the end, might be sufficient for him: To hold the complete respect of the scion of his childhood nemesis regardless of what that idiot got that he didn't and to hone the child's Slytherin side.
Severus Snape decided that if he couldn't have Lily, ultimate revenge was quite pleasant to contemplate. He decided he could live with that. Even as he walked into Private Room 3, he never saw the bright blue flash that flared behind him.