A/N: This is an offshoot of "Stories of the Lone Traveller", which I borrowed from The Professional on ff(dot)net.
Harry, having lost everything, attempts to go back in time to fix things, only to find himself moved from Alternate Reality to Alternate Reality.
He arrives, he makes a difference and then he gets moved on by the forces of the megaverse (I just made that up -- just now).
I decided that I liked this particular story very much (I tend to be an HHr shipper) and that I could write a story as to the resolution of the story line.
This chapter is taken from "A Different Universe" from my Stories title. It will set up what is to come. I recommend reading both that story (number 5751435) as well as The Professional's original story (number 2673584).
Thanks to my readers who have encouraged me, The Professional whom I stol … er, borrowed … the story idea from, JK Rowling for providing the characters, the producers of Quantum Leap which also gave inspiration to The Professional and myself; I don't really own anything; I'm just happy to play in the universes.
Harry Potter was incensed. He had just been dumped back to his demented relatives again.
Just days ago he had seen his godfather enter the Veil courtesy of Bellatrix Lestrange. He had been given a prophesy which basically said it was him or Voldyshorts. The vaunted Order of the Fried Chicken had then goaded his uncle under the guise of 'warning him'. And then he had Hedwig taken from him and he was made incommunicado and guarded from outside contact on the orders of one Albus Dumbledore. Could his life get any worse?
When he got back to Privit Drive, his Uncle Vernon took him aside. "Boy, I will not be threatened by freaks! My sister is coming to visit and I expect certain things to be taken care of. You will take care of them or you will be in a permanent coma ward in the hospital. I have friends who are judges and no one will touch me for it. Do you understand, boy?" Vernon's face was turning purple. Harry nodded his head.
Once they were inside the house, Vernon punched him in the left kidney. "That is a reminder! Now put your freaky things away; you have work to do in the garden."
An older Harry arrived in a blue light. He looked around and recognized the park he was in. He had spent many a day running from his cousin and his friends in this area. He wondered why he was here.
He decided to disillusion himself and inspect the neighborhood.
As he was walking down Privit, he saw a younger version of himself outside in the hot sun, working on the flowerbeds at the front of the house. He paused and watched.
He was confused. If the signs that he observed were correct, he was somewhere around the end of fifth year. He himself, at that time, was holed up in his room for 4 weeks, grieving over the loss of his godfather. Why was his younger version working in the hot sun?
He espied Vernon Dursley come and yell out some instructions, mentioning his sister's impending visit. His sister hadn't visited that summer.
He looked around and saw the slight shimmering of a disillusioned Order member across the street from his own position, watching the abuse casually.
There was something wrong here. He would have to watch and figure out what to do.
After spending several hours watching the scene around his old home, Harry had caught on to a few things. This reality's Order was not very concerned apparently with his younger version's health and happiness. His legilimency had picked up the stray thoughts of the guard watching the boy. They never saw his disillusioned form; with the power he apparently had, it was too much for the lower level users to apprehend.
Apparently, in this reality, Dumbledore's orders were much more stringent and harsh than his own. Then again, he had never tested the scope of the guard when he was in the same point in his life; he had been too caught up in grief and his relatives had been cowed sufficiently that they had left him alone. Such was not the case here.
The orders were apparently much more Machiavellian; he was to be kept under watch and there was to be no interference from the Order as regards the treatment of one Harry James Potter at the hands of his relatives. Should he attempt to leave the area, efforts were to be made to put him back in the house and memory charms were authorized to prevent any "unfortunate decisions" that he should make.
This scene would require a much more cunning approach than he had imagined.
Harry looked around. All day he had the feeling that he was being watched. Unlike earlier feelings like it, there was no dislike or even indifference. If he was familiar with the feeling, he would have said it was as though he was being watched by … family.
The traveler apparated to the Burrow. He could have apparated through whatever wards were present, thereby destroying them, but he wanted to inspect the differences he had seen in this reality.
After a few moments of inspecting the wards that he found there, he concentrated on coming through them with the least amount of disruption he could. He was hoping that the Harry in this reality was keyed in enough and he was similar enough so that there would be no disturbance.
After pausing to make sure he hadn't been noticed, he crept toward the ramshackle building. He peered through the window and saw a sight that both warmed him and alarmed him.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were sitting at the kitchen table with Ron, Ginny and Percy. They seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely talking about whatever they were talking about. It warmed him to see the family so close. It alarmed him because there seemed to be … an almost vicious humor apparent.
Ron apparently was regaling them with some anecdote or another with Ginny interjecting comments. Ginny pantomimed clutching her chest in pain and fainting and the others laughed. Wait a moment. The only person who was hurt like that in this time was … Hermione.
Why would these five be speaking about this with such humor? He remembered the incident from the end of his fifth year. In his reality there would be no such humor at Hermione's expense.
Suddenly the floo in the room flared and the Weasleys took on a more reserved look, almost as though they had put on masks.
Stepping into the room was a man he admired beyond reproach in his own life. Dumbledore appeared in one of his garish purple robes with stars and moons embroidered in whites and yellows. The masks came off again as they discussed something, with the humor apparently coming back. The figure of Albus Dumbledore looked at the clock in the room and made a comment; the masks were put back on.
The floo flared again and the images of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks appeared in the room through the fire.
The almost lugubrious expressions were apparent on the audience of Weasleys as the three new arrivals spoke. Harry narrowed his eyes. Something was feeling VERY wrong. He remembered the almost indifferent thoughts he had sensed around those watching Harry Potter. He started getting very nervous.
With an emotion of worry, he decided he had to spend more time learning the differences between this reality and his own. His anger flared for a moment, and the Dumbledore in the room widened his eyes briefly. He distractedly sent off Remus and Tonks and then made a comment to the Weasleys, which caused them to being searching the room and windows nervously.
Harry moved quietly toward the edge of the wards before he was caught by a closer inspection. Once he passed the edges of the wards, he apparated away. He had some people and things to check on.
Harry thought about what he had seen and sensed as he watched the moderately attractive house of his other teenage best friend. There was no indication of the Order watching the house, nor any death eaters.
He spied the parents coming back from their day. His other friend had appeared and greeted them, her wand surreptitiously held until some conversation on the porch had concluded. His other friend had a look of worry and pain apparent, well apparent to him really. He was certain that if one who hadn't spend every day of Hogwarts with that person would be watching, she would seem perfectly calm and serene. The parents hadn't reacted to the subtle expressions. Hermione was hiding things from them.
He watched them all get into the car and drive away.
He would have to work hard to help the Harry in this reality. There were things happening behind the scenes that he was certain that his younger self was not aware of. What was the best course? He apparated off to the Leaky Cauldron. He needed to eat and to get some rest so that he could plan his next move.
He came into the Cauldron and moved to Tom. "Hello, Tom," he began quietly. "I'm a lone traveler in the night. Do you have a room?" Tom's eyes widened momentarily as he took in the traveler's appearance and then he nodded. "If you have some time tonight, I could use some information on the state of things as well."
"Of course, sir; I will have some time after supper around 9:00. Is that satisfactory?" Harry nodded as he followed Tom up to a room that he could use to gather information and make some plans.
Old Tom and Harry were having a chat after supper.
"I haven't seen young Mr. Potter in the Alley, other than the period he was staying after he blew up his Aunt." Harry chuckled to himself; he remembered blowing up Marge. And although it had been quite worrisome at the time, afterward he could see the humor. "However, the rumors this last year didn't match up to young man I met then. Kept to himself fairly; not much of an 'attention-seeking nutter' if you ask me. The thing that struck me is that the professors from the school and his friend's mother that I have seen haven't said much when they've heard the comments floating around the bar when they were here. And that's the odd thing; Molly Weasley is incapable of being quiet when she has opinion. Arthur, the one or two times I have seen him here, is always quick to speak in his defense."
The traveler mulled this over. He agreed with Tom; that didn't sound like the Molly Weasley he knew. "Her twin boys have been in more recently since they got the shop. They are also very vocal when it comes to Mr. Potter's defense. All she would say is 'he's from a wealthy family; the well-off, they're eccentric'."
All of that seemed to match up to his own universe – except the part about Molly Weasley.
Harry decided to mull over what he knew and get a good kip in.
The next day Harry decided to visit Gringott's. He was going to check the policies on information; he himself had never gotten a statement when he was underage. Then again, Gringott's was more of a 'private lock-box' type institution versus the muggle type that deposited and disbursed against a recorded balance.
He learned that notices had been sent out for the will reading of Sirius Black. This was normal policy; all of those named in a will were apprised of the reading, whether they were of age or not. He remembered when he had inherited things in his own universe.
In his own universe, the information on inheritance had come from the Ministry. He remembered the Minister of Magic having come and seen him after Albus Dumbledore's will had been read. In that world, the will was probated through wizards. Not so here.
Here, the will was probated by goblins, and they took on their job of proper procedure very seriously. He had to tell of his unique history to get any information from the goblins and, after taking an oath not to pass on the information beyond his younger version, had learned that the goblins were concerned that there had been no visit to be apprised of the legacy of his family. This was compounded when the notice of the will reading had been answered by the magical guardian, Albus Dumbledore, rather than the client himself. They had even noted that another minor, one Ms. Hermione Granger, had also not answered personally. Other minors, Mr. Ronald Weasley and Ms. Ginerva Weasley had answered personally.
As the old muggle playwright had written centuries before: Something was rotten in the State of Denmark.
He apparated away to the well off muggle neighborhood he had been to the day before. In his jacket pocket, he had the notice for the will reading scheduled two days from then.
He watched for a bit to ensure that there was no signs that there were any watchers. When 30 minutes had passed with no indications, he moved to the front door and pressed the buzzer. After a few moments, the door opened to show a young woman with bushy hair and a polite expression. He noted that her hand was on the door and the other was beside her, apparently holding something away from view but still with easy access.
"Can I help you?"
"I have a notice here for one Hermione Jane Granger. Is she available?" The girl tensed.
"I am she." The traveler could see her become prepared to react. "Can you say whom the notice is from?"
"Gringott's." With that word, Harry saw her wand come more into view. "Yes, I'm a wizard, and no, I mean you no harm. I am delivering this on the request of Gringott's Bank and to ask you a few things that would help me and possibly you."
Hermione looked at the features of the man. He was an attractive man who reminded her so much of her unrequited love-interest; she decided to allow him in, though she kept her wand ready. Constant vigilance and all that. "Please come in." She backed away giving him space but kept herself ready. "If you would like to take a seat ..." she added, pointing with her non-wand hand toward a couch in the nearby sitting area.
"Thank you." Harry moved to the couch and allowed her to control the movements; it was her house. After he was seated, he looked at her and continued, "After some information gathering at the bank, I was asked to deliver this by hand when I mentioned wanting to come and ask you some questions."
"What questions? And why do you look so much like my friend, but older? Are you related?"
"As to why I look like your friend but older, the explanation will take some time. Suffice it to say, I am a somewhat older version of your friend. My name is Harry Potter and I come from an alternate reality."
After the explanations had eaten up a bit of time and Hermione had offered him some tea and scones, the two sat and talked of what was happening with Harry Potter.
"I was informed by Professor Dumbledore that I couldn't contact him for security reasons. I never personally received the notice of the will reading. All of these things just don't add up!" Hermione was agitated to learn of what Harry had seen the day before when he had watched his younger self. Hermione had wanted to go off and try to visit regardless of instructions when she had listened to the story.
Harry had stopped her. He had a plan. "Have you ever considered inviting Harry to stay over at your house?" Hermione blushed and admitted that she had, although she was nervous to ask. "Well, if I extended an invitation after setting up a few wards here, would you be able to work out the details?"
Hermione thought about it. "Well, I have to get my parents permission first, of course. But that shouldn't be an issue. My only concern is what to do about hiding the fact that Harry is here."
"Work it out with them, and I will do the wards. I think you will like it." Hermione's parents were due home for lunch shortly.
After Hermione and the traveler had explained things to the Grangers, he was given permission to erect some wards. Although he wasn't an expert, he had learned well from his Hermione from the time of the camping trip. He was much more selective than he would be if he was trying to hide the property completely.
He set up wizard notice-me-not charms to make the property less than obvious to anyone watching. They would know it was there, but they wouldn't pay attention to what happened on the property; it would be unimportant. He also set up wizard repelling wards. Anyone not keyed in would not feel comfortable about visiting and feel a desire to rush off to handle something else.
It wasn't a Fidelius Charm by any stretch of imagination, but the wards were sufficiently strong that any magical man or woman wouldn't feel the need to inspect the property. It would not do to try to hide the property completely as he didn't want any indication that there was anything out of the ordinary.
After Harry had cast the charms and wards, he took Hermione's letter for his younger self with him.
After watching the young Harry for a bit, the older one noticed that the person watching was Mundungus Fletcher. He wouldn't have seen it had the man not fallen in a slumber in the quiet neighborhood and the edge of his foot not become uncovered when he shifted. The elder Harry could sense the Muggle-Notice-Me-Not charm on him, so he was in little danger of violating the statute of secrecy. He was apparently mostly hiding from young Harry Potter.
Said teenager was apparently working without supervision. His Uncle's car was not there and his Aunt Petunia, though strict and disagreeable, was not one to interrupt Harry when he was gardening. It was counter-productive to the nicely manicured flower garden which was the pride of her gossip group. She even tried to distract Vernon on occasion. Not for the boy's sake of course, but for the sake of her pride and superiority in her circle of neighbors.
Ahhh, there was the horse-faced woman now. She apparently was going to go and gossip at the current queen gossip's house. After a scathing comment to the freak, she walked down the block toward said house.
Harry looked to Mundungus. Apparently he was too drunk to awaken from the small amount of noise.
He made his way over to the younger version of himself. He appeared to be almost finished. He hit his younger version with a non-verbal Muffliato before quietly saying to the teenager, "It's a friend, don't do anything differently. Finish up and make your way to your room. I have a letter from Hermione." The teenager looked around and noticed the faint shimmering of a disillusioned person near him.
He was so desperate for contact that he decided to trust that whoever had spoken to him really was a friend.
He finished the last bit of weeding and made great show of putting away the tools before opening the front door and looking about, allowing the disillusioned wizard to go in first.
The traveler moved inside and then undid the disillusionment. The teenager looked at the older version of himself with a bit of shock and some suspicion.
"I know. I look like you. Suffice it to say I can explain. Let's move it to your room and I have a couple letters for you."
Harry spent the next bit explaining himself to his teenage version, who was obviously shocked by the revelations. When he got to the part about Gringott's and Hermione, he passed the notice of the will reading and Hermione's letter to him.
The teenager looked through the letters and finally exploded with annoyance. "And what am I supposed to do? I apparently am prevented from leaving by the Order of the Fried Chicken. My owl Hedwig is being cared for by Hagrid at Dumbledore's orders. I can't do magic or I'll get another notice. So what am I supposed to do?"
"Well, I have a plan. First, who can you trust completely to never betray you?" Harry thought about it for a minute.
"Hermione. Lupin maybe. I'm not sure."
"How about non-wizards? Possibly a magical creature?" Harry the older asked slyly.
Harry the younger's eyes widened. "Dobby!"
Suddenly, said house-elf popped in front of Harry. "Oh, Mister Harry Potter Sir has called Dobby! How can Dobby help Mr. Harry Sir?"
The younger Harry began laughing as he greeted Dobby. Dobby was excited. He was shocked when he espied the older version of his friend. "Hello, Dobby. I am a friend as well. I was about to advise your friend here to hire you. What you say to that?"
Dobby bounced excitedly. "I would love that. Mr. Harry Potter, do you want to hire Dobby?"
The younger looked to the older and the older nodded at him. "Sure, Dobby. Wages like you get at Hogwarts. How is Winky doing?"
Dobby's ears went down. "Winky is still drinking butterbeer. I is trying to take care of her but she misses her family."
The traveler looked at Harry. "Maybe you could help Winky if Dobby here helps you. I think you could use the extra help from what I learned at Gringott's."
Harry nodded. "Dobby, can you take letters for me and help me get to where I have to go? Can you keep my secrets and not tell anyone I don't ask you to?"
Dobby bounced up and down and nodded his head vigorously. "Dobby can do that!"
"I would like to have you take a reply to Hermione Granger for me. She sent a letter and my owl is at Hogwarts. Two days from now, I would like you to take me to Diagon Alley and then afterward take me to Hermione's house. Can you do that?"
After Dobby and Harry had worked out what would happen, Dobby popped off with the response to Hermione's letter and the letter to Gringott's advising them that confidentially speaking, he would like to appear at the will reading and he would arrive early to discuss matters.
When all was said and done, young Harry thanked the traveler for his assistance.
"Look. I know what it's like to be kept in the dark. Maybe in my reality, I could count on others more, but still many things were kept from me. Your Hermione seems to be much more interested in you than mine was. Just because another Hermione wasn't right for a different Harry, that doesn't mean things wouldn't work out for you. My advise to you is to live your life, damn those that want to keep you in the dark. Your happiness IS worth something."
The teenager thanked him again. "What do I say to the 'responsible adults' when they ask how I got this information?"
Harry looked at his younger self. "Just tell them you were helped by a Lone Traveler."
Harry disappeared in a blue pulsing light while the teenager looked on. Thanks to his alternate self, he had options and a plan. He WOULD live his life. And Hermione being interested in him "that way" was something that he felt he could learn to live with, he said to himself with a grin.