Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co. belong to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: This story was not originally mine; it was Aya Macchiato's. I'm writing a story with her ideas in mind, at least in the beginning.
A dark haired young woman stood seemingly in the middle of nowhere and stared off into the distance, observing an event unseen by the mortal eye. The area surrounding her glowed faintly, a contrast to the white nothingness of the setting. Her beautiful face was marred only by the presence of a frown. Abruptly, she broke the silence which had hung thick and impenetrable.
"Curses! My unfortunate servant has attracted the ire of the Moirae… Something must be done." So she peered into the depths of her mind, in pursuit of a thought that could bring resolve to the dilemma presented. She would attempt to remedy the situation, she decided. The boy had delivered to her the 10th essence of Tom Marvolo Riddle, leaving only one more to be harvested. However, that last piece was unlikely to be hers, thanks to the games of the Moirae, the weavers of fate. She craved the whole, final 11th essence; Riddle would rue the day he had decided to snub her. Eventually, she was ready to put a plan in motion.
Harry Potter materialized. He wore tattered black robes, beneath which a blue T-shirt and dark jeans could be spotted. His face was flushed, left cheek and jet black hair matted with dirt and sweat, famous emerald eyes closed and wire frame glasses askew. Within moments however, there was a flutter of eyelashes. Morrighan watched as his face scrunched up in a sort of grimace and he pulled himself up into a sitting position.
It was easy for her to read his thoughts; Morrighan had just witnessed his tragic demise and could understand his frustration. She decided to make her presence known as he began to glance around in confusion.
"It is quite sad, isn't it?" She commented in reference to the events that had landed Harry in her realm. She watched, amused, as he attempted to visually pin point her.
"Who's there?" Harry called, ignoring a pang of fear. Viridian eyes feverishly raked the area in hopes of finding the speaker. Morrighan shifted into a form that she found comfortable and allowed him to see her; Harry recoiled slightly in shock.
"Uh… hello?" he hesitantly asked. Harry hadn't expected to see a crow standing a mere few feet away from him, its head cocked to the side, beady eyes examining his every move.
"Hello, Harry Potter." The 'crow' replied.
"Er… Who are you?" he asked cautiously.
"I am often called the Phantom Queen, the Death Queen, and occasionally called a goddess of war, death, and prophecy. You may call me Queen Morrighan."
"Ok-ay," Harry replied slowly. Maybe he hadn't been hit by the killing curse? Maybe he was fine and was having a strange potion induced dream… "Um… where am I?"
"Location is irrelevant. Such mortal judgments of space and time do not hold true in my home."
"Am I dead?" he asked, bewilderment giving way to exhaustion. It seemed that there was no respite from his adventures.
"You are for now."
"For now?What does that mean?"
"As I stated earlier, your end was rather unfortunate. You were on the cusp of freedom yet the Fates robbed you of it with an unworthy killing curse. Disappointing, really."
The Boy-Who-Lived let out a bitter laugh, looking at the inscrutable crow with sardonic amusement. "Well, I can't argue with you there…"
"I have deemed you worthy of a new beginning," Queen Morrighan stated bluntly.
"Meaning what, exactly?" Harry wasn't interested in accepting any deal from a goddess without major clarification. Hermione had told him tales of gods who played with mortal lives for their own amusement. He knew what sort of shit they pulled— the goddess of prophecy especially, considering his life.
"The world you left behind shall move on. The Dark Wizard Voldemort has perished there, thanks to your efforts. His followers will fall apart without him. Those who survived shall build a worthy world in your honor. They shall mourn you but live on. You fulfilled your destiny; you saved the world."
"But here I am." Harry muttered, surveying his surroundings with distaste.
"Indeed. You are dead and at such a young age… What I have to offer you is a second chance. You will be a child in another world. The world that you would go to is a world devoid of your essence. It's Boy-Who-Lived died at the age of five."
"Huh? Wait, how?" Harry asked, flabbergasted.
"He was pushed down a flight of stairs and broke his neck."
Harry frowned before anger overcame his features. "Dudley." He growled, eyes narrowing.
"Correct." Morrighan felt slightly sorry for that. However, she understood it had been for the best; the boy had begun to grow vengeful… to an extent that was eerily similar to Riddle. And the last thing she wanted was another dark one tarnishing the reputation of her realm.
"So…" Harry began tentatively, "You want me to take his place?"
"Yes. No one in that world is capable of destroying the essence of Voldemort. If you are willing to go and complete your destiny again, you will have the opportunity to live a second life. Ideally, this one will last much, much longer. Also, you will have the advantage of retaining all of your knowledge, experience, and magical strength."
Harry was engrossed in thought. "I suppose it would be a lot easier the second time around. I actually know what the hell I'm doing now. I can stop things from happening…. Save people from dying…. Stop Quirrell in my first year…"
The goddess mentally sighed. Apparently this boy did not understand the idea of an alternative universe. "There are more differences in this world than just your death."
Harry's attention immediately snapped back on her. "What sort of differences?" he asked suspiciously.
"All sorts." supplied the Queen cryptically.
"Can you give me a specific example?" wheedled the ever persistent boy-who-lived.
"The defense position is not jinxed in this world."
"It's not? What does that mean?" Harry questioned. He was met with silence. "Okay... well, the reason the defense position was jinxed was because Tom Riddle applied for the job and Dumbledore turned him down…. Wait, so if the job isn't jinxed, that means Voldemort never applied for it, right?"
The Queen deemed him worthy of a nod.
"If he never applied for the job... wait, that means that the diadem isn't in the Room of Requirement!" exclaimed Harry in realization.
"Great," Harry grumbled, rolling his eyes. "So I'm assuming that Quirrell won't be the defense teacher my first year then because the position isn't jinxed."
"Well at least I won't have to deal with Lockhart… bloody annoying, that man was… if Quirrell isn't the Defense teacher, does that mean he won't be the one possessed? Will there be anyone possessed? Is the Philosopher's Stone even at Hogwarts my first year?" Silence.
Harry sighed, running his hand through his messy hair. "I guess I see how some little things can have more significant repercussions."
He sighed again, closing his eyes. Suddenly he wished Hermione was with him. She would have been able to understand this much better. He opened his eyes again and observed the crow warily. Why did strange things happen to him? He couldn't even die the normal way.
"Am I taking the place of the five-year old that got pushed down the stairs?" Harry repeated, hoping to receive as much clarification as possible before he committed himself to anything. He really was not looking forward to being a 5 year old with the Dursleys again, particularly since these Dursleys had actually managed to kill him.
"No," the Queen answered.
"No?" Harry echoed in surprise.
"You will be going back at the age of ten, the summer before your first year."
Harry's eyebrows were scrunched as he tried to wrap his mind around this surprising revelation. "Will I just appear out of nowhere at the Dursley's place? I don't imagine that going over too well."
"I suspect you are correct."
"How's this going to go then?" Harry prompted impatiently.
"I cannot concoct a past for you."
"You mean I don't have to go there as Harry Potter?" Harry questioned, eyebrows shooting up as he realized the implications of the Phantom Queen's statement.
"Harry Potter is dead in this world."
"I don't have to be the Boy-Who-Lived," Harry whispered under his breath, feeling ecstatic for the first time since his 'death' as he thought of all the staring and whispering that had been his constant companion since he had first entered the wizarding world. Being able to avoid all that and maintain some semblance of normality was enticing.
He would need to invent a plausible past. That wouldn't be so hard, would it?
"The acceptance letters from Hogwarts are sent out magically," he began slowly. "They're addressed automatically. The names of magical children are added to the book by some big crazy advanced charm. Won't my name just suddenly show up as Harry Potter?"
"You're name will be yours to choose; I will arrange that."
"But what about money? I mean... I guess I can go in under the scholarship program for my tuition but that's not going to leave me any spending cash."
"The goblins answer to no one." Morrighan stated. Harry stared at her in confusion. "By blood you will still be Harry Potter. Blood is all you need to gain access to the frozen Potter vaults."
"You're suggesting I go to the goblins as Harry Potter and get the trust money? But... do I play the orphan card, or muggleborn, or—"
"The choice is yours."
He heaved a long slow sigh, wondering if he was insane for even contemplating this. "What happens if I turn this down?"
She smirked slightly; he would not turn this down, not if she had any say. But knowing her servant well, he would be unwilling to do anything unless he saw it as a product of his own will. He had come a long way from the young boy of 15 who had let a prophecy dictate his entire life. So she settled on a less than honest response— he wouldn't know the difference anyway.
"You move on. The next great adventure awaits you," She paused artfully. "However, this world will suffer greatly without your aid."
"Oh, great. Just pull the guilt card on me. Thanks," Harry grumbled sarcastically. He huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Am I still going to look like me? Because everyone always remarked on how much I looked like my dad. And the scar is a dead giveaway... oh crap; what about the Horcrux in my head? Is that going to come back?"
Morrighan was pleased with his questioning; he was already thinking ahead, having dismissed the possibility of not going.
"The piece of Tom Riddle's soul that was split off and implanted into this world's Harry Potter passed on when this Harry Potter died. You've rid yourself of Tom Riddle's soul."
"That's a relief! But what about the whole appearance thing?" He asked, gesturing at his face.
"You live in a world of magic, figure something out. I can only return you to your ten-year-old body."
Harry grumbled under his breath before moving on. "Fine, I can work with that. I've gotten pretty good at glamours and human transfiguration the last few years..."
"You accept my offer?"
Harry was about to answer in affirmative before he heard a voice in his head, (remarkably Hermione like) asking him to question the Queen's motives. After all, how often did goddesses make offers to mortals without a definite motive?
"I want to know why you're doing this. Why do you care about Voldemort? Or me, for that matter. Lots of people have suffered during the war; there've been plenty of sad deaths. Why am I receiving this offer?"
"You are prophesied to kill Voldemort. Without you all those people in the other world will be doomed."
Harry snorted. "Why would you care— you're the goddess of death! Why don't you kill Voldemort yourself?"
"I cannot interfere with the fate written by the Moirae to that extent." Morrighan responded grudgingly, no doubt upset that her power was not absolute.
"If it's fated for Voldemort to win in that world, sending me there would be interfering…"
"This is different! You can lose. Besides, the prophecy I made said that you could only be killed at the hands of the other. It was ignored by the Moirae. For that, I must send you back. I will not let my power be overlooked!" Pride in her power was perhaps not the best way to appeal to the war veteran in front of her. Sighing softly, Morrighan continued, hoping to appeal to his sense of morality, "Do you not wish for those people to be saved?"
"Why should I care about them? I've already saved my world." Harry didn't honestly believe this was sound reasoning, but he knew that he had to play it cool to get more information. It was something he had done with the Dursley's quite a few times when he had been younger. Pretend like you don't like gardening as a way to get them to send you outside to do it… away from them.
"Those people are part of the same person. There are eleven worlds, eleven essences, as all souls are represented through an essence in each world. What you saved was an eleventh of the whole soul. The last essence of Voldemort is in the world I am sending you to. Once that is killed, then all of Voldemort is truly defeated. The prophecy is complete."
"He lived, I died; isn't that it?"
"No, as your soul is not wholly put together yet. The other essences of you have defeated him. Only four out of eleven of your essences are here. If Voldemort remains victorious, then he will eventually be reborn in the other worlds. And since time passes, you will age, die and be reborn to battle him once more. One of you must be completely killed in all of the worlds to fulfill the prophecy. I would much rather have him be here then you. Enough questions. I will ask you once more: Do you accept my offer?"
Harry wondered if he was going to regret this. But then, if this would kill Voldemort once and for all, why not? Plus he would have a chance to save people who he had not been able to save before and according to what the goddess had just explained, the Voldemort he had just killed in his world would be reborn after enough time passed...Which meant that all he had done was bring the wizarding world a limited time of peace. After a moment he nodded. Curse his hero complex!
"Excellent. When you wake, you will have twenty-four hours to decide upon your new name. It will be marked down in the school's roster and when the acceptance letters are sent, you shall receive yours by that name. You will have no Ministry Trace upon your body to detect or punish under-aged magic; however, you will not have your wand either. Best of luck to you, Harry Potter. The fate of this world rests on your able shoulders."
Suddenly, Harry felt as if he were falling, and the white misty abyss that surrounded him grew dark and cloudy. A swirling pitch black vortex encased him and he fell and fell and fell...