Disclaimers: Harry Potter isn't mine *flings self off cliff*
Pairing/s: Tom Riddle/Harry (aka, Harrison Evans) Potter, possibly others.
Warnings: Adult themes, violence, dubious consent, and language, slash, and…anything else my mind can come up with :}
Summary: Prequel (of sorts) to TSaHL. 'Forgive me for failing you.' Perhaps there was a way to stop that from ever happening. It was possible, but only one person would be able to do it. Only one person could fix all the damage he had done. "Harry, will you forgive an old man for his mistakes?" TimeTraval HP/TR
Notes: So, I love Dumbledore. But when I was reading Halfblood Prince, I really couldn't help but think that Tom Riddle might have turned out differently if Dumbledore hadn't been so quick to pass judgment on him. Of course for the sake of the series, we needed Tom to become Voldermort. But just think; people aren't innately bad or evil, and with Tom's obviously harsh upbringing, there is no way he could have come out shitting rainbows and pissing starlight. Tom and Harry really did have a similar upbringing, but what saved Harry, was love. So how differently would things have been if Tom had been given the gift of love too?
There was nothing worse than an old fool. Foolishness was a luxury only affordable to the young. They knew no better, and would continue to lack the type of knowledge that came from maturity until they grew up. Until experiences, mistakes, and life in general caught up with them. Such things were always the best teachers. Unfortunately, some people did not live long enough to gain such wisdom. But he had. Which made his biggest mistake even more intolerable.
Of course back then he was young and didn't fully understand what his actions (or in this particular case, his lack thereof) would do. The effect they would have on a person, and how they would shape him into a monster. There were many things he wished he could redo, but failing his student was his only regret. And as he looked across his desk at a pair of green eyes that held to much hurt, and had seen too many of the horrors the world had to offer; he knew he had failed yet another.
As a Professor he wasn't supposed to have favorites amongst his students. But with Harry it seemed all rules were meant to be broken. There was simply something extraordinary about the boy, and it was to his own shame that he had failed him so.
He knew about what went on in his household. The verbal and sometimes physical abuse that he had endured during his childhood was something that could not be missed. But as long as he was safe from mortal danger and protected by the enchantment his mother's sacrifice had left; it was something that had to be done. For the greater good. He could have grown into a bitter and resentful person. But Harry didn't.
At Hogwarts, he allowed the boy to take on the challenges and obstacles that even grown men would have cowered down to. Harry never did.
Within the last two years after all the death and personal losses the boy endured, it wouldn't have come as a surprise to him if Harry had simply…given up. After all one can only take so much before they fracture, and eventually break. But, here Harry was. In front of him, with the same trust and admiration in his tired eyes. He, of all people, did not deserve that look.
A long time ago he remembered a pair of eyes that had gazed up at him with the same admiration. But over time those eyes hardened, and nothing but distrust and hate was in his gaze. And he knew- Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore knew he was the one to blame.
'Forgive me for failing you.'
But perhaps there was a way to stop that from ever happening. It was possible, but only one person would be able to do it. Only one person could fix all the damage he had done.
"Harry, will you forgive an old man for his mistakes?"
'Forgive me for leaving you with your family. Forgive me for allowing you to risk your life over and over again. Forgive me for not keeping you safe. Forgive me for allowing you to sacrifice everything for others, when I should have been protecting you. Forgive me for taking your childhood away. Forgive me for being dishonest with you, when you above all people deserved the truth. But most importantly Harry, could you forgive me for placing yet another burden on your shoulders.'
"I have made many mistakes," he plowed on before Harry could respond. "Some of which, taught me a most delightful lesson. But there are some that I did not. One should never get to my age and make the same mistakes again. The world has no tolerance for old fools," he chuckled.
"You're not a fool Professor." There was conviction in Harry's soft voice.
Dumbledore smiled. "We all must take the turn, playing the fool. It happens to us all. I only wish I had worn foolery with better style." He saw Harry grin. No doubt thinking about all those memories he had shown him. His sense of style back then had indeed been, very colorful.
'Remember Harry, all those things I showed you. And all those things you felt. Your empathy could save us all.'
"We will be going on a trip," he announced. "I promised you that the next trip I took, you would be allowed to accompany me. The offer remains, if you so choose to accept it." Harry nodded.
"Very well then." With care he stood up from his desk, and saw Harry wince at the sight of his charred forearm. Dumbledore merely smiled and strode over to his cabinet and plucked out a letter, and a folder. The letter was addressed to Professor McGonagall. She would need to know what had transpired, for it would be her to take up his mantel in the chance he did not make it back.
And he did not expect to make it back.
The curse of the ring had not only taken its toll on his physical health, but his magical essence as well. With each passing day he could feel himself before magically weaker as the curse fed on him like a parasite. It wouldn't be long before the limits of his being were extinguished, and he went to greet Death.
But before he could do that, there was one thing left he had to do.
"You must listen to me Harry. Is that understood? Should anything happen, I must have your promise that you will do as you're told." Again, Harry nodded.
He placed the letter on his desk, but kept the folder in his good hand. "If you would be so kind Harry, as to take hold of my arm. We must Disapperate to our destination." Ever obedient, his student gingerly took his arm, and looked at him for further instruction.
"Now, close your eyes, clear your mind, and away we shall go."
The Professor seemed to be acting strange…even by his standards. Their pragmatic conversation had left Harry a little bit…nervous. What on earth could he have been talking about? And why on earth were they now standing in front of a plain office building? Harry looked around for something recognizable, but found nothing. He had never been there he was sure. But it still felt familiar.
"Professor, where exactly are we?" He couldn't imagine Voldemort leaving one of his precious Horcruxes in a Muggle office.
"We are where it all began."
Where what had begun? He felt like an idiot for not being able to remember. But as he scanned his mind yet again for anything that might tell him about the place he was standing in front of, his mind drew a blank.
There was a chuckle beside him. "No need to fret. It looks very different then what it used to be. Had I not already done my researcher, I probably never would have known either."
Harry sincerely doubted that, but was thankful nonetheless for the understanding his Professor showed.
"This is where Tom Riddle grew up. That was a very long time ago of course. As you can see it has changed considerably."
It really had. Although it was dark outside, the building looked much more pleasant then the grim orphanage he has seen in the memory.
"But Professor, I thought you said Voldemort wouldn't have left a Horcrux here?" He remembered that part.
"Correct you are Harry; he wouldn't have. But we aren't here too find a Horcrux." Dumbledore paused before continuing. And as he spoke, Harry couldn't help feel that he sounded much older and much more tired than he ever remembered him sounding before.
"We are here, because this is where your new journey must start."
What new journey? Ok, Harry was officially spooked. But he trusted Dumbledore. Whatever was going to happen next, Dumbledore wouldn't have him do something he didn't really think Harry was capable of…right?
"I have made a grave and dangerous mistake Harry. And although the crime was committed in my younger years, I will not use age as an excuse." Dumbledore had his full attention
"Tom Riddle grew up in this orphanage, and it was here that shaped him. Much like you Harry, Tom's guardians were not the best or most welcoming people. Tom suffered Harry. Much like I let you suffer by your Aunt and Uncle. And I am, so sorry for that. More than you will ever know," Dumbledore said with such sadness in his eyes.
At this point, Harry didn't even care about his relatives. He had turned out quite ok as far as he was concerned. He just wanted to hear his Professor reassure him, and see that twinkle in his eyes.
"I met a young yet already bitter boy here many years ago. And instead of doing what I should have, I let myself judge him, and I fear my actions from then on only fueled his anger and resentment. Too worried was I about his lineage and who his ancestors were, I neglected to see who he was. And do you know who he was Harry?"
Of course Harry didn't.
"He was…just another little boy who needed someone. Just as you were once a little boy who was in need of someone."
Instantly Harry's mind thought of a red-headed, freckly face that sat across from him on the train to Hogwarts. He thought of a bushy haired girl with big teeth crying in the girl's bathroom. A smile couldn't help but spread across his face. Yes, he found them; the family and love that he had never received while in the confines of his 'home.' But, he still didn't really see what that had to do with Tom Rid-
All of a sudden, Harry was hit by something. Something he couldn't see, but felt throughout his whole body. It didn't hurt per say, but the pressure was strange. He couldn't move and found himself feeling sleepy. Sleepy like he would never wake up again.
'Maybe I'm dying,' was the last coherent thought he had before slipping out of consciousness.
Dumbledore watched as Harry's eyes closed, and knew the transformation had begun.
At first it seemed as if Harry was simply…disappearing. But he wasn't. He was simply getting smaller; in body, and in age. The long limbs were shortened, the hair receding, and the face distorting as a once sixteen year old Harry James Potter, was returned to his younger state.
The whole process only took about fifteen minutes, and by the time it was over the only thing that remained from the old Harry, were his old worn out clothes. And in the crook of Dumbledore's good arm, was a young sleeping child, no more than two by the looks of him.
Once again Dumbledore was filled with a love for this child; his favorite student. He had not done right by Harry and he regretted that he couldn't make amends. For indeed he could never have forgiven himself for the burdens he had placed on Harry. But this last gift; this gift of a new and hopefully better life was the only thing he had to offer.
"I failed Tom, and I failed you Harry. But perhaps I can make some things right," he whispered into the downy jet black hair.
Grasped tightly in his cursed hand, there was a time turner. It was the only one of its kind. Supposedly the most powerful time tuner that was capable of taking travelers a century back in time. Dumbledore suspected it was since he had yet find another of the same caliber. But then again, his dear old friend Nikolas Flamel had played a key part in its creation.
The time had been set weeks ago when he decided on this new course of action. Planting himself firmly on the ground, and reassuring himself of his grip on the sleeping Harry, Dumbledore pushed the gold knob with his thumb.
Closing his eyes, he began to count slowly. By the time he had reached thirty, there was a heat on his face accompanied by a great white light that not even his closed eyelids could keep out. The portal was ready.
Without any hesitation he stepped in.
Traveling by time tuner was much better than Disapperating. Much smoother.
It was still dark outside, but the surroundings had changed. Instead of a Muggle office building, there was a grim looking and gated orphanage. Again, that since of blistering ignorance shot through his core. How could he have not foreseen how such a place would affect a magical child, such as Tom? Well, there was no time to dwell on the past. No, not when there was a future that was in need of saving. And so throwing the remaining bit of his strength into this last task, Albus Dumbledore approached the door.
Gingerly, he rocked the babe in his arm, making sure he was still warm and tucked securely before placing him gently on the stone stoop in front of him. As he arranged him yet again, Albus was struck with the sense of someone watching him. Doing a quick mental scan; he could find no one…until his focus was once again shifted back to the infant.
Blazing green eyes were looking up at him. No…no not merely looking; they were…watching him. Watching and taking in his actions with an understanding that did not belong on the face of a two year old.
Albus could do nothing but hold the gaze, mesmerized by the young man he saw behind the emerald eyes of the infant. There was a little of the old Harry still there. But even has he thought it, Albus could see the understanding dim as the spell ran its final course, and the child's eyes closed in slumber once more. It would be like Harry had been wiped clean. A new slate. A new life.
"I wish, there had been more sense in this old man, Harry. Perhaps then things would have unraveled differently, and you could have had the life you deserve," he whispered with love. "But all I have to give is one last opportunity, and hope that your happiness will reach others, and that it will be enough to change…everything."
There was almost a sense of déjà vu. This was the second time he would find himself leaving Harry on a doorstoop. And the last. This thought brightened him up considerably, despite the soon to be outcome of his venture.
With a final twinkle in his eye for his favorite student, the Headmaster of Hogwarts gave a soft kiss to the fringe of black hair that covered the lightning bolt scar. It was to be the only connection to the life he was leaving behind. Such things as a cursed scar transcended everything, including time.
In the distance, he could make out a dark shadow looming near a tree. Ahhh, it would seem that his good friend Death was ready for their departure. They had a long withstanding engagement, the two of them, and it was finally time to embark on their promised journey.
'Farewell Harry Potter, and hello, Harrison Evans.'
And with that last thought, Albus Dumbledore turned around, walking out the gates and away from the slumbering form of his beloved student.
Hehehe, so I know some people said they didn't want a prequel fic, buuuuuttttttttt…I had kinda already had it written ;/ and I don't wanna waste a story.
And I bet you guys didn't think it was gonna be time travel fic huh? Its ok, you can tell ole Peacock that she tricked ya good!
Ok, I'm finished now lol. Please read&review! I love hearing what you all have to say; yes…even the negative is wanted. Good criticism can only help me as a writer.