A/N: Sorry, I'm feeling really angsty right now, and that reflects in this chapter. I promise happier words soon.
Harry found that hanging out with eleven year olds was rather irritating. He tried really hard to spend time with his dorm mates, but often times he found himself more annoyed than anything else. He liked quidditch as much as the next guy, but how many times could they talk about the statistics of every player who ever lived. Then there was the exploding snap, the wizards chess, and the giggling over newly discovered dirty words, which Ron excelled at due to him having five older brothers.
Harry often wondered if he was ever like that, or about how it was that he managed to be friends with these boys the first time around. They were just so… immature.
Since he could only stand to hang around the common room for an hour or so a day, he often found himself in the library reading material that most seventh years weren't even reading. He chose mostly material that he figured would have been good to know the first time around like healing spells, concealment charms, advanced transfiguration, etc.
Most nights he would put a silencing charm on his bed curtains and practice the spells he had read about that day in an attempt to better prepare for the battle that he knew was going to happen.
Nights when he was too tired for magic he would stay up and try to come up with ideas for how to save wizard kind. He knew that he would need the diadem from the room of requirement, but he would first need his invisibility cloak. He knew that at the beginning of the next year Ginny would get the diary in her cauldron, which he would need to steal. The rest was a bit harder. He was still an underage wizard, and many of the horcruxes required magic to not only obtain, but also to destroy.
Then there was the Sirius question. He wanted to clear Sirius' name, but first he needed to figure out how to force Peter out of his rat form, and there seemed to be no books in the school library about animagus. It was probably so that students (like the Marauders) couldn't take them out and try to turn themselves into animals, but it was just one kink in the plan. He also needed a story to explain how he miraculously knew that his friend's pet rat was actually a supposedly dead man.
One day a notice was pinned up in the Gryffindor common room. The first years were going to be starting flying lessons on Thursday with the Slytherins. Most of the Gryffindors groaned. They hated the Slytherins, just like they had before, only now it all seemed so trivial to Harry. The first year Slytherins were just as irritating as the first year Gryffindors to him. In the battle for Hogwarts there had been Slytherins who had fought on the Order's side, and there had been ex-Gryffindors who had fought against them. When he was an auror he had locked away equal numbers of all three houses (Hufflepuffs never seemed to get into trouble, even after school). If Slytherins were evil, Gryffindors were arrogant pricks, Ravenclaws were pretentious know-it-alls, and Hufflepuffs were senseless pansies.
Thursday morning came quickly. At breakfast Hermione was trying to teach everyone what she had gathered about flying from reading "Quidditch Throughout the Ages", even though the only one who was really listening was Neville who, despite being born into a magical family had never touched a broom before. That morning Neville also received his rememberall.
As Neville examined the object, trying to remember what it is that he had forgotten, Malfoy came up to the table. Malfoy had been more tolerable since he had become something comparable to friends with Harry. This morning though, he seemed to want to cause trouble. He snatched the rememberall from Neville. Ron jumped to his feet, ready for a fight.
"Oh, sit down Ron," Harry said, "And Malfoy, give it back. If you want one so bad then get your father to buy you one."
Malfoy scowled and tossed the object back at Neville who had great difficulty catching it, "I don't want one anyway. Only losers use rememberalls."
And with that the blond boy skulked away. Conflict averted.
"You know that really isn't all that useful, it doesn't tell you what it is you've forgotten," Harry said.
"I know, but my gran thinks it'll help me," Neville looked at the little orb.
"But if you don't think it'll help, then there's no point in starring at it, trying to remember what it is you've forgotten." he said to Neville.
"I guess," Neville put it down on the table, "I might just try making a list."
"That sounds like a good idea," Harry smiled at Neville encouragingly.
At the end of breakfast the first years packed up their things. Neville, having packed up, went to leave, ironically forgetting the rememberall.
Harry spotted it and picked it up, "Oi! Neville, you're rememberall!"
Neville turned, "It looks like you need it Harry."
Harry looked at the ball in his hand which was glowing red.
"What am I forgetting?"
"I dunno," Neville shrugged, "Maybe you should make a list too."
Harry didn't have time to give it much fault, because soon enough the first years were waiting for their first flying lesson to begin.
Madam Hooch stood in front of them.
"Stick out your right hand over your broom and say 'Up!'" she called out.
"Up!" chorused the first years.
Harry's broom jumped up into his hand. It had been too long since he had flown, he felt a wonderful excitement bubble up in him.
They all mounted their brooms, and stood waiting for direction.
"Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard," said Madam Hooch, "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come strait back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle- three- two-"
Neville panicked and jumped. His broom began to rise quickly. Harry suddenly remembered what it was he had forgotten. He drew his wand as Neville slipped sideways off the broom and began to fall.
"Aresto Momentum" he said, aiming his wand at Neville, who slowed and stopped only a foot or two from the ground. He slowly lowered Neville onto the ground.
Everyone in the class watched him, a little shocked, including Madam Hooch, who went over to inspect Neville, who was shaken, but otherwise completely unharmed.
Neville looked up at Harry, "You saved my life."
"You would have done the same for me," Harry said, knowing it was true.
Madam Hooch helped Neville to his feet. She turned to Harry, "That was quick thinking, Potter. Twenty points to Gryffindor."
"Thank you, ma'am." Harry said, feeling a little awkward with everyone still looking at him, "Can we try flying again?"
The lesson continued without any further drama, and it wasn't until Harry was walking back to the castle with Ron and Neville that he realized that it had been on the day of his first flying lesson that he had made the Gryffindor quidditch team. By saving Neville he had blown his chance at being the youngest house player in a century. He had blown his chance at the one thing he was really looking forward to.
That night he didn't really feel like eating dinner. He wandered around the castle, quite honestly sulking. He felt as though he was trapped. He was trapped. He was trapped in an eleven year old body, in a world on the precipice of disaster, surrounded by the child versions of his friends, and no matter how hard he seemed to look, he couldn't find any answers as to why. He had no idea how he was going to destroy the horcruxes he knew existed, or how he was going to explain how he knew they existed. He wanted to talk to Dumbledore, but he had no idea what to say. He wanted to save Sirius, but he had no idea how. He wanted to see Ginny, but not the child Ginny that was in this world, but the lovely grown-up Ginny he loved, and the grown-up Ron, and Hermione, and Neville, and Luna, and… everyone. He wanted to go to work again, and come home to his house. He wanted to see Teddy and take him to the zoo, because Teddy would like that, and his hair would go the most wonderful colours. He wanted his life back.
He just wanted to be alone, and to wallow in his own sadness, so he went into one of the unused classrooms so he could sulk in peace. What he saw amazed him. The mirror of erased. He had forgotten that it was here. It was just what he needed, something he could sit and sulk with.
He went and stood before the mirror. He saw himself, as he was at twenty, before he went back. He was smiling and holding a grinning Ginny in his arms. It looked oddly reminiscent of what he saw the first time he looked in the mirror. He hadn't realized how much he and Ginny looked like his parents. Then it donned on him, he was the same age as his parents had been…
He sat there for a long time looking at the past, which at the moment was also the future.
Would he be able to fall in love with this Ginny now? This Ginny was so much younger than his Ginny, and so much younger than him.
Maybe he and Ginny were something that only existed in another time and place…
That night he didn't practice any spells, or plan any great victories. He just went to bed, and slept like a man who never wanted to wake up, because he feared he never would wake up.