Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own characters and ideas I put into this fic. I've adopted it from Nia River so the original idea is hers. JKR obviously owns Harry Potter.
– Tues, 30/7/1996 –
Harry sat curled up in a ball in the corner of his bedroom at Privet Drive, gaze focussed intently at the object in his hands. The multiple possibilities were turning over and over in his mind as he once again contemplated the disastrous discussion that had taken place in Dumbledore's office.
A prophecy. A prophecy foretelling that he, Harry James Potter, was the one destined to defeat Voldemort. A prophecy that by all rights he should have already known. A destiny that he should have been trained and prepared for since he was a child. But where had the training been; where was the preparation?
He had instead grown up ignorant of not only his destiny, but also of even the most basic knowledge of his world. Said childhood – if one could call it by such an erroneous title – had in actuality been spent mostly in a small cupboard, learning such useful things as just how long a boy can go without food or sunlight. Learning how to survive unnoticed by those around him. And although Harry was excellent at surviving when all the odds were stacked against him, he did not think that he would be able to defeat, Voldemort.
Yet another thing to blame on Dumbledore, he realised. The old man had been the one to send him there. He had even gone so far and personally delivered him right on the doorstep. And he just knew that his parents would not have wanted that, which brought up the question of their will. Was it simply not up to date, or did they not think to include alternate guardians if Sirius was somehow unable to take him in. Or had the old man simply ignored their wishes in favour of his own.
Added to that, he had even admitted that he knew Harry was mistreated there. But it was for the best, wasn't it? For the greater good. Because Albus-To-Many-Middle-Names-To-Remember-Dumbledore knew better. 'To hell with Dumbledore,' he thought viciously, once again cursing the headmaster's manipulative personality and his obsessive need to control everything and everyone. He wondered why he had never noticed those traits in him before but cast it aside as irrelevant.
Suddenly he sighed wearily and deflated, admitting to himself that despite his actions Dumbledore wasn't an evil man. He was simply a misguided one – very misguided – who was overconfident in himself. He honestly and truly thought he was doing the right thing. The thing that annoyed Harry the most was that he could see exactly why Dumbledore thought that. Everybody looked up to Dumbledore for answers. Whether it was about running the Ministry or the best way of combating Voldemort, everybody looked to Dumbledore for the answers, usually without trying to find some for themselves. And Dumbledore, the ever-forgiving fool that he was, let them. And answered them. But he got so used to being asked for help and giving out answers that he himself forgot to ask for help and look for alternative answers from other people.
That didn't excuse it of course, but it helped to drain some of the anger he directed at his former mentor. Still, Harry doubted he'd ever put as much faith in the old man again. Things could have been so different if Dumbledore had only been honest with him; so very different. But Harry didn't want to think about that now, it still hurt too much.
It had all started with 'the dream', as he had taken to referring to it. More specifically the false dream. The vision that had lured him stupidly to the Ministry of Magic.
The dream was the reason for all of it. The reason the Weasleys all broke down every time their youngest son was mentioned. The reason said son had begged for his life to be ended. The reason a bright bushy haired young witch would never again walk the halls of Hogwarts. The reason he would never see his godfather ever again or hear his voice.
He cursed himself again. If only he had used the mirror; if only he'd listened to Hermione; if only the headmaster had just been honest with him; if only, if only, if only… But 'if onlys' were useless and the damage was done. He'd gone, his friends had followed, and all hell had broken loose.
Neville, Luna and Ginny had fared the best of the lot – after Harry that is. Their injuries were painful certainly, but nothing compared to the fate that had befallen his two best friends.
Ron had been attacked by flying brains – off all things – and had things turned out differently Harry knew they would have laughed at the irony of it. As it was however, Ron had lost his mind. Or to be more accurate he had gain several minds; minds of some of Wizarding history's worst sociopaths. To make matter worse Ron was still in there but was not the dominant personality.
Harry let a tear fall, remembering the hateful words his once best mate would spew at the friends and family he once loved. The redhead was now kept in a secure hospital room and would likely never be released. Worse still was the one time when Ron had actually managed to overpower the personalities whilst Harry was alone with him.
"Harry," a voice rasped and a dark head shot up.
"R-Ron, is it really you?"
"Yeah. Mate you got to," he paused as though struggling within himself – which he likely was, "You gotta end it. End me. P-please."
"End it?" he repeated in shock, "What? No! No Ron you just have to keep fighting. They'll figure out a way to make you bett-"
"No! Just coz I can't talk Harry, doesn't mean I can't hear," Harry's heart fell at the hopelessness in his friend's voice, "The healers said that there was no way- no way."
The redhead groaned in frustration before an evil smirk settled over his features. Harry took a deep breath and sure enough insults and curses began spewing from his friends too-pale lips as another personality took over.
Ron wasn't the only one forever changed. Hermione, usually so lively and energetic was now but a shadow of herself. She was caught across the front with a dark version of the cutting curse. She still had the scar, purple, ugly and ropy looking. Due to the nature of the curse it had yet to properly heal and probably never would.
She was constantly in pain – especially when trying to walk around – and would be for the rest of her life. She needed help with most everyday tasks when the pain got too bad, and she now spent most of her time in the magical version of a wheelchair.
As if the blow to her pride wasn't enough, the death eater had then thrown a dark confundus-style curse at her. She was now permanently unable to focus and think clearly at all, thus destroying what she valued most in herself and that which most defined her – her intelligence. She was utterly devastated.
Then there was Sirius. And Remus. He stifled a sob. Harry wasn't sure which hurt ran deepest – having to see the shadows of themselves that his friends had become, or the thought of never seeing his godfather or pseudo godfather again. Sirius had fallen through The Veil, and Remus, well it was a known fact that werewolves were highly allergic to silver. It was just too bad that the Death Eaters knew that as well. Out of the two of them it was easy to say that Remus had the most painful death, but that was really because nobody actually knew what happened when a person crossed through The Veil. Well, other than they died of course.
The thing that really got to Harry the most though was the fact that the rest of the Weasley family wouldn't look him in the eye. None of them wanted anything to do with him any more. Harry couldn't find it in himself to blame them though. It had been him, after all, who had led his friends to the Department of Mysteries. Neville and Luna disagreed with him when he had brought it up. They'd said that they had all known the risks involved and chosen to go with Harry anyway and that they had gone because they had wanted to, not because Harry had forced them too.
It didn't really matter though, Harry thought as he wiped away his tears. It didn't matter because the might be a way – a way to change it all.
Harry focussed his eyes back of the object in his hand. A Time-Turner. He'd found it a few hours ago in the pocket of a school robe whilst going through his trunk. He could only assume that it had somehow slipped in during the fighting in the Time Room at the Department of Mysteries. His first thought was to go back and stop himself from going to the Ministry. Until that is, he took a closer look at the device.
It was different from the one he remembered Hermione had used – which had been small, silver and suspended on a chain. This was an even smaller hourglass, only about the length of his little finger and was an odd metallic purple colour with golden sand. Said sand seemed to constantly float up and down the glass regardless of gravity and so he had a feeling that it was activated somewhat differently than being tipped end over end.
There were also odd symbols on the ends of planets and stars which reminded him of a wizard-style watch. In a flash of inspiration he realised that was just what it was. No doubt it needed to be set according to sun, moon and star positions rather than just turned over for every hour. He also had a feeling that the silver button in the centre of the symbols was used to activate the device.
As he considered that an unbelievable idea occurred to him. If this really worked the way he thought, then theoretically it meant that he could go back even further in time. Perhaps – just perhaps – he could even go back far enough to warn his parents about Pettigrew.
'I could have the childhood I always wanted,' he thought excitedly, 'a childhood with my parents. I could save my friends.'
A look of determination etched itself across his face as he stored the time-turner under the loose floorboard and stood up.
The most obvious complication was that unauthorised time-travel was highly illegal in the eyes of the Ministry. The best thing to do would be to form a false identity, he decided. He also needed to decide just how far back he needed to travel to give himself time to achieve all his goals. First things first, he would need to pull out his Astronomy books and perform all the necessary calculations for his destination settings. Then he would need to pack all his belongings for the trip. Lastly he needed to decide what to do once he got there.
Now he just had to make it happen.