Resolution – By Slytherin's Dragon
A/N: Time Travel Story!
Premise: Harry and Blaise, in their thirties, are at the low points of their lives. After their Auror shifts on New Year's Eve, the pair find themselves drinking their woes away, and somehow end up back in fourth year. They are given the unique opportunity to redo the past with the hopes of a better future for themselves.
Will feature wiser/powerful through hard work/experienced Harry, Death Eater buttkicking, redemption, a dash of romance, humor, and really, everything you'd expect in a general fic.
NO SLASH! (not in this one, sorry)
Chapter 1: When and Where
A man in the black robes of an Auror walked on the streets of Hogsmeade, his hands clenched into fists in the pockets of his robes. It was a harsh and windy New Year's Eve night, but the man was too deep in thought to bother with warming or wind-blocking Charms or the festive connotation of the date.
Somehow, he wandered into the Three Broomsticks, and found himself sitting down at an empty seat at the bar, sitting amongst a sea of rowdy and partying wizards and witches who were eagerly awaiting midnight. He remembered asking for a shot of the strongest Firewhiskey, his fingers which were trembling from the cold automatically picked up the glass and he gulped a mouthful, the fiery liquid burning down his throat.
His life was in bloody shambles.
Sure, well-respected Auror, on track to becoming Department Head within a few years, receiver of the Order of Merlin, First Class for the eradication of the Wizarding World's biggest nuisance, and a well-known Spells inventor whose contributions have popped up here and there in various textbooks.
But the dreams... increasing in vividness with each year gone by. Flashes of green light, maniacal laughter and the faces of the Dead, starting from Cedric Diggory and ending with those killed by the remainder of Voldemort's minions after his final Fall.
Therapy had been of no use, and Ginny had broken up with him because he was unable to move on.
Move on from the bloody past.
Dreamless Sleep Potion had turned out to be his best friend...
And his worst enemy.
It suppressed his dreams, but it was addictive as hell with physiological consequences he had no wish to contemplate.
He lifted the glass to his lips again, and felt the cold burn.
"Merlin, Harry, why the hell are you drinking alone on New Years?"
Harry slowly turned around to face the speaker.
It was Blaise Zabini, one of the Department of Law Enforcement's newer recruits. It had been a shock, Harry reflected, when he saw Blaise's name on the list of applicants.
That had been three years ago.
"May I sit?" Blaise gestured to the empty stool beside Harry.
"I can't stop you." Harry waved to the bartender, indicating that another glass was needed.
The bartender, a petite blonde, decanted the alcohol and set it in front of Blaise before scurrying away.
"You really shouldn't be drinking in your Auror gear." Blaise looked disapprovingly at his senior.
"And you?" Harry pointedly gazed at Blaise's choice of costume.
Blaise emptied some of the Firewhiskey, before replying back. "Touché."
"So, what brings you here?" Harry stared at his glass, rather than the darker man sitting beside him.
Blaise laughed bitterly, "You know me. I have nothing to go home to. My mother's off somewhere with another rich bloke, my wife... dead."
"Is that the reason you became an Auror? I've always wanted to ask."
"Partly..." Blaise looked thoughtful, "They never caught the murderer, but my money is currently on Rookwood."
"Ah." Harry remembered the round-up of DE after Tom's demise. Not all were accounted for, and several were still at large, or living quiet lives in another country under aliases.
"He wanted revenge from all the purebloods that chose to remain neutral..." Blaise said, taking a larger drink. "Merlin, now I really need to get smashed."
After going through one drink, Harry immediately ordered a second for both himself and Blaise.
"So, you never answered my initial question." Blaise remembered but vaguely. The Golden Boy was a slippery character in his prime. He should have been a Slytherin.
"You know my sob story too." Harry chuckled. But the laughter was rather bitter. "Ginny broke up with me."
"I know that." Blaise sighed, "It was all over the blasted Prophet."
"I have the worst nightmares. I see the faces of each and every one of Voldemort's victims, starting from his second rise."
"Sounds pleasant," Blaise muttered before taking another sip.
"They haunt me. Every night I don't take Dreamless Sleep." Harry stated dryly, "Imagine that, the saviour of the Wizarding World brought to his knees by a putrid brown liquid."
"Do you have an addiction?" Blaise asked, seriously.
Harry clenched at his glass. "Yes. Since we are spilling everything tonight like the pathetic people we are – shame Skeeter isn't here. She's really missing out."
"So, what's your New Year's Resolution?" Blaise changed the topic.
Harry sighed, "Never thought of one for the new year. I see a long fall from grace."
"I just want to be happy." Blaise said, miserably, slamming his glass down with more force than necessary.
"I don't even know what happiness feels like, anymore." Harry admitted, "Maybe it's that sensation I feel when I see Teddy every week. But then again, his father and mother's faces visit me at night. I've been trying to go cold turkey these days, anyhow."
"Explains your chipper demeanour at work," Blaise mused humorously, "But seriously, you are good at hiding your problems."
"The worst is when I see Sirius." Harry continued on, "I was incredibly depressed in my fifth year – not because of Hem-hem."
Blaise laughed, "So that's what you called her! That toady bitch!"
"If I remember, you were part of her 'squad'."
"It was part of the 'stay out of trouble mantra' that we Slytherins had in our handbook."
"Aha! I knew you guys had one!" Harry pointed at Blaise.
"And I've already broken Rule #1: Don't tell Gryffindors about it."
"The hat wanted to put me in Slytherin." Harry laughed.
Blaise quirked an eyebrow, "Merlin, am I not surprised."
"So, how about round three?" Harry looked at Blaise's second empty glass.
Before the fellow Auror could say anything, Harry already ordered for him.
"You know what I want? I want to fix this mess. I can't live life like this anymore." Harry exclaimed when the third round arrived in front, "Ron and Hermione are absorbed in their own happy lives. I don't understand why I can't have... that..."
"Any louder, and I am sure the people outside this fine establishment can hear you." Blaise joked, "But seriously, don't do anything Gryffindor and noble. You are too far gone for 'noble'."
Blaise and Harry sat quietly as the minutes ticked down till midnight, taking the occasional sip.
"But seriously. If I could – I want to change this shit." Harry said solemnly, "I feel..."
And then, it all went dark.
When Harry found himself come to, he was vaguely aware that he was in a moving vehicle. Something soft was under his cheek, and he blinked. He experimentally moved his appendages, to ensure he wasn't a hostage or something like that.
Years as an Auror would do that to you. Harry understood that all of Mad-Eye-Moody's paranoia was well-founded after his years of training.
And his head hurt. He hardly remembered anything that had happened the night before. Maybe a drink or two and...
He sat up. And he swore.
He remembered the compartments of the Hogwarts Express. But what he didn't understand was why it was running at New Years.
His hangover was clearly gone, now, in light of this new problem.
And then, a more fundamental question: Why was he on it?
His eyes caught a glimpse of a figure slumped on the long seat across from the seat he had got up. The person looked familiar. But definitely younger than when he had last saw him.
"Bloody hell, Blaise, get up!"
"One more minute..." The boy muttered sleepily.
"Now!" Harry dragged the boy up to a sitting position.
Blaise took a minute to squint at the sunlight that shone through the glass that served as the windows and to observe his surroundings with the practiced eye that even hungover Aurors were capable of.
"Is this a sodding joke? You look like you've lost fifteen years!" Blaise looked at his fellow Auror, "Well, you don't quite look like the boy-who-lived back then. You've got more of a tan, muscles, no scar, no glasses..."
Harry conjured a mirror, and both of them stared disbelievingly at it.
"What happened last night?" Harry asked.
"No fucking clue." Blaise mused, "Well, we clearly aren't Aurors anymore."
"Nope," Harry answered, "So I guess..."
"Hey, we have trunks!" Blaise looked down at the seats and pulled out what was presumably his. "Felix Wedgewood."
"Wonderful, our new identities have already been picked out for us." Harry said sarcastically as he bent down to look at his, "Evander Murphy."
"Well, Evander, you certainly look familiar." Blaise laughed.
"You do too, Felix. I just can't place... where... or when..."
They both laughed heartily.
"Merlin, you know what that means?" Harry mused.
"That there might be another Harry and Blaise running around..."
"Oh, bloody hell."
"Hey, look!" Harry dug through his trunk. There were crestless Hogwarts robes, some casual wear, a broomstick, an expanded bag full of money, and a stack of textbooks. Harry triumphantly pulled out The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 4).
"Fourth year?" Blaise gawked and went ballistic, "No! I don't want to have to live through the last four years of Hogwarts – again!"
"Triwizard Tournament, Not-Moody but a DE in disguise, the Yule ball..." Harry listed, "Deep breaths, Blai-I mean Felix, deep breaths."
"Cedric..." Blaise continued ignoring Harry, "We have a mission. Damn it Harry! This is your fault! I just remembered what you said before New Years."
"Evander, remember?" Harry grinned, remembering the exact wording he had used, "Well, I guess, this is my New Year's resolution, indeed."
"Damn." Blaise-now-Felix sat down, "Why doesn't anything normal happen to us?"
"This is normal." Evander sighed loudly, "And there's nothing we can do about it."