Posted: 16 April, 2012
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story that is recognisable from the Harry Potter books, movies, etc. Everything else however (eg. story plot, original characters, etc.) stems from my own imagination and belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended and I am not profiting financially from this story in any way.
Summary: An unexpected find in the attic of Grimmauld Place changes the course of Harry's life. Except not, because it's not this Harry who'll be affected. Rather, everything is about to change for another Harry, from long ago and far away.
01: Blatant Plot Device
"You have got to be kidding me."
"No joke kid. Now, if you'd get on with it that'd be much appreciated. Oh and the name's Bob, by the way."
"Bob? And you're a—"
"One hundred percent, real-deal, wish-granting genie." The being, Bob apparently, bowed mockingly at him. "At your service, and all that. But seriously, I don't have all day. Or well, I do, but I'd much rather be back in my lamp, sleeping it away."
Harry stared. How did he get himself into these situations? He'd just been cleaning up Grimmauld Place a bit, going through some of the old bits and bobs in the dusty reaches of the attic, when he spotted a lamp he was sure hadn't been there yesterday. It was an oil lamp to be precise, one of those old fashioned things that made you think of—well, of genies really. One second he'd absently swiped the dust from the lamp, and the next a gaseous being poured out of it in a flashy display of golden sparks and purple fog.
"You don't look much like a genie."
Bob huffed. "Yeah, yeah, everyone's a critic. What, you want me to wear one of those cliché traditional numbers?" He batted his eyelashes in a mocking, sickeningly sweet way, sneering all the while. "Those billowing, see-through Persian pants? A flimsy bikini top and tacky golden accessories? Maybe even a gauzy veil to titillate with you my coquettishness?"
Harry gave a visible shudder, his face momentarily horrified as his mind provided a mental image of what that would look like. He had to fight the urge to gag. Bob was nothing like you might expect a genie to be. He wasn't attractive or exotic or ethereal in any way. He was overweight with three chins, balding hair and beady eyes. He wore a musty suit that looked to have old food stains, and sweat beaded at his brow and stained the neck and underarm areas of his attire. The idea of him in a woman's harem type of outfit was—it was very, very disturbing.
"No," he said firmly, "that won't be necessary." He sighed, frustrated with the whole situation. Wasn't life meant to be idyllically normal and uneventful for him now that Voldemort was no more? "So, explain exactly what situation I've gotten myself into now."
"It's pretty simple kid, I think even you'll be able to follow." He paused and gave Harry a sceptical look. "Probably. Basically, I'm a genie and that there's my lamp you found. You rubbed it, poof I appeared, and now you're the master of the lamp. Three wishes, that's the deal, with all the usual safeguards."
"No wishing for more wishes is the big one. And I'm bound by the basic limits of magic, same as any other magic being. Can't create true love, or properly raise the dead, or make gold from thin air, or real life. Y'know, those things." He shrugged. "Other than that, I'm also a bit of a specialist. My wish-granting abilities are of the benefit-specific-temporal-dimensional sort."
"What does that mean?"
"Simply put, for you less intellectual sorts, your wishes have to be ones that benefit you directly, so none of that selfless 'helping and/or saving others makes me happy' crap. Also, they've got to affect the past. Catch is though, once they're made it won't be your past anymore. Can't really change what's done, so it'll create an alternate timeline, another dimension. Means this you'll never actually benefit from whatever you wish for. Instead, it'll be another version of you who reaps the rewards, as it were."
"Let me see if I've got this right. I make three wishes to happen in the past, and they'll create a sort of what-if type of alternate timeline. But there'll be no effect on this timeline, so if I want I can then go about the rest of my hopefully normal life, pretending this whole genie affair never happened."
"That's the size of it. Oh, except one other thing. You got three minutes from the moment I pop out to make your wishes, otherwise you drop dead."
"I drop—" Harry choked off, looking wildly about for a clock. "How long—"
"About a minute twenty to go. Better make it snappy kid."
Harry panicked and his mind blanked, then he realised now was possibly the very worst time ever to develop a deer-in-the-headlights reaction to life threatening situations, and his mind started whirring. Think, think, think, he told himself. If he could change something in his past, something to do with him personally, to hopefully make for a better life, what would it be? His first thoughts were to save his parents or Sirius, so that he'd grow up with them, but Bob had specifically said that 'saving others makes me happy' wasn't a direct enough impact. That sucked, because he could really have used some parental guidance in his childhood. He'd even found benefit in it as a young adult really, he thought, as he absentmindedly traced a certain ring on his finger. He froze, staring at the gold ring and black stone. Could he? But it'd be too dangerous unless—yes, that was a thought. If Bob could do it, that is, and possibly get rid of the one inside his younger self too.
"One minute," the genie said, tapping pointedly at his wrist.
"Can you get rid of all Voldemort's Horcruxes?" he asked quickly.
"Nope, no can do. Each would count separately, and you've only got three wishes."
"Damn." He hurriedly changed his idea. "What about removing all harmful magic from a Horcrux, would that work or would the soul piece and any hexes all count separately too?"
"Hmm," Bob hummed then nodded. "Yeah, that could count for one." Harry grinned in triumph till the genie added, "And you're down to fifty seconds."
His heart lurched, realising time was running out. "I want you to strip all harmful magic, including Voldemort's Horcrux, from the resurrection stone. I want you to remove the piece of Voldemort's soul from my younger self as well, and without killing him. And then, I want my younger self to be granted mastery of the resurrection stone—including the whole hidden aspect it has." Harry blurted out hurriedly.
Harry's held his breath, adrenaline pumping, as he waited to see if he'd made three acceptable wishes in time. Bob stared at him blankly for a moment which seemed to last an eternity. Then he grinned, a mischievous sort of grin which Harry had only ever seen on Fred and George and most frighteningly Peeves, and nodded.
"Wishes granted. Good job kid."
And then Bob faded into purple smoke, which funnelled rapidly back into the oil lamp through its spout. The lamp gave a thrumming sort of sound that echoed around the room, and flashed with a golden light so bright as to be blinding. When Harry blinked back the spots from his vision, Bob's lamp was gone as if it had never been.
He stared around him, wondering if he could have imagined it all, but it had been too vivid for a daydream. He sighed. At least he was still alive, that was something. And maybe, somewhere out in the multiverse, there would be little Harry Potter who would grow up knowing his parents, and who would never have to offer himself up as a martyr. The idea of that warmed him. The only worry he had was that troublemaking grin of Bob's, and suddenly Harry remembered that saying to 'be careful what you wish for'.
Did he make a mistake, he wondered, or leave some sort of loophole for trouble? Then it hit him. He'd forgotten to specify an age! All he'd said was younger, so who knew when Bob would pick. He hoped to Merlin the genie didn't choose right before he went off to let Voldemort kill him as the time to remove the Horcrux. If that happened, would he have died for good in the forest that night? A feeling of dread tried to settle over him but he pushed it away. What was done was done, and the genie was gone now. He'd just hope that it all worked out for the best, and get back to enjoying his own nice, normal, uneventful post-Voldemort life.
Bob grinned, rather pleased with the prospect of fulfilling his latest master's wishes. The kid hadn't really had time to think it all through and word it perfectly, and that left Bob with an opening to cause a certain amount of chaos. Specifically, some chaos against those two old bastards Dumbledore and Riddle, who he still had a grudge against for two separate and unrelated incidents long ago, where they each tracked his lamp down and tried to force him to grant their wishes. It didn't work that way of course. Genies were ultimately the servants of Fate and Whim, and could only be mastered by those who were supposed to master them, and so Dumbledore and Riddle both had failed. It still pissed Bob off though that they'd tried, not to mention some of the spells they used in their attempts had been nasty, and hurt like the devil. Well, he'd have some revenge now.
He materialised in a derelict, sorry excuse for a house, and deftly side-stepped hexes and traps. In a hidden nook he spied a ring and, with a mere thought, the dark spells and curses, and the foul fragment of soul, were all ripped away from it, unravelling and dissipating like they'd never been. He plucked up the ring and disappeared. He reappeared again in a house entirely opposite of the previous. It could be best described as depressingly dull and ordinary, but immaculately clean. He pressed through the door to the cupboard under the stairs as if it were insubstantial and looked down at the scrawny child inside. It would be the work of a moment to strip away this other Horcrux, but for some reason he hesitated—another loophole had caught his attention.
The kid had asked for the Horcrux to be removed from the ring, but for the soul piece to be removed from his mini-self. Now, to the unenlightened that was the same thing, but there was actually a very small difference. A Horcrux was a fractured-off piece of soul, and magic. He wondered if the kid would appreciate what he was considering. It would mean an extra power kick, as without that Dark Lord's soul tainting it, the mini-kid's magic would absorb the extra into itself. But there were some abilities associated with it that might cause him some trouble. After a moments consideration Bob decided 'to hell with it', because the potential confusion it would cause amused him. He stripped away the soul piece, leaving the magic behind. The mini-kid seemed to sigh and relax into deeper sleep as the scar on his brow visibly faded. A feeling of vicious satisfaction filled Bob to know the damage he'd just done to that damned Riddle.
He then glanced at the ring in his hand. He felt for the power in it, and traced back the connections, and then, with a smirk, he rested a ghostly hand on the kid's head. The resurrection stone disengaged from the gold ring setting Bob held and hovered in mid-air, joined soon by a silvery cloak and aged wand which faded into view. The three objects pressed close and, quietly and without fanfare, as if nothing of note was happening, merged together into one item which faded out and back in on the kid's finger. Bob's smirk widened, just imagining the drama this would be causing for Dumbledore when his all-powerful wand disappeared, along with the invaluable Potter heirloom he was supposed to be safeguarding. Bless the kid for adding the 'hidden aspect' comment to his wish. He was probably just making sure no one would notice the ring and take it from his mini-self, and hadn't a clue that said aspect had only been granted to the resurrection stone when all three Hallows merged under a single master.
Wish granted, chaos caused, and two old men inflicted with a nice bit of misery to make up for that they caused him. Bob sighed with satisfaction at a job well done, even as he felt himself tugged back to the original universe, to his proper time, where his lamp waited. He opened his eyes to the familiar walls of his eternal home and got up to take a peek outside and see where he found himself this time. Ah, nice, he thought, a junk shop. He'd landed in one of those before and it had been ages before his new master happened upon him. As much fun as granting wishes could be, he much preferred the lazy life of the lamp-bound, snoozing away the passing of time.
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