A/N: Just a short story that doesn't take itself too seriously. Found myself typing away yesterday, and it seemed to write itself.
A Jaunt Through Time
His little jaunt through time hadn't been expected exactly, but he had been aware of the possibility. His research was experimental, and did tap into the fourth dimension after all. Or so he suspected. How else could the Resurrection Stone call up the dead, he'd theorised, without reaching back through time to tap into their consciousness from when they lived? Still, the odds of his own temporal displacement were tiny, too infinitesimal to count, and yet …
The Harry Potter luck striking again, he supposed.
"Well, first things first," he remarked upon realising his situation. "Best make explanations and get my visa. Wouldn't do to be an illegal time traveller."
A quick string of apparitions to the international Portkey station in Rome—it was, after all, where all roads led to, and thus from—and then he was being transported to a certain group of islands out in the Atlantic. Bermuda, to be more precise. Yes, that Bermuda, of the Devil's Triangle.
Unbeknownst to the Muggles, it wasn't entirely a mystery. The wizards, at least, knew enough to guess at some long ago magic experiment gone horribly wrong. The result was a temporally unstable region of land, but mostly sea. For the most part the Bermuda Magical Ministry kept the strange disappearances and appearances under wraps, but occasionally incidents slipped their net. There'd been enough such slips over the years for Muggles to form their own outlandish theories about the area.
The magical authorities barely blinked an eye at Harry's story. They just confirmed he wasn't a Muggle that needed Obliviating, registered Harry's displacement, and sent him on his way.
Before too long he was back in Britain, feeling more secure in his legal position. He no longer had to fear being kidnapped and dosed to the gills with Veritaserum to extract future intelligence from him. Not by any legal authority at least. Well, not officially by any legal authority. Merlin knew the British Ministry got up to some shady things, but they were also vastly incompetent, so Harry felt cautiously confident in his situation.
"Now, what to do with myself?" he wondered. "Stuck in the past. Not a Knut to my name. I need a job."
He considered approaching the Unspeakables. He had, after all, be one of them not too long ago, relatively speaking. But to be honest, he had been growing bored of that life. It was nine parts paperwork and research, and only one part experiments. Not at all as exciting as advertised. He could probably get onto a professional Quidditch team if he wanted. His flying had only improved over the years. It was a possibility.
But then something more interesting occurred to Harry.
He slammed open the doors of the great hall at Hogwarts, and was casting before the gathered staff and students could do more than jump in shock, or scream shrilly in the case of some of the girls and Draco Malfoy.
"Expelliarmus, Stupefy, Incarcerous," he incanted.
Fancy spells had their place, but sometimes it paid to keep it simple. Sure enough, the body of Mad-Eye Moody was slumped over the head table, face in his plate, gravy soaking into his hair.
"Who are you?" Dumbledore demanded, looking quite intimidating as he stood and pointed his wand in Harry's direction.
"My name," he said with relish, just anticipating the drama that would follow, "is Harry Potter."
Sure enough, the reaction was very entertaining. He caught sight of his younger self over at the Gryffindor table, looking somewhere between flabbergasted and suspicious. Merlin but I was a runty thing back then, wasn't I? Harry thought. A sudden cessation in the chatter made him realise he had spoken aloud. Runty-Harry looked even more taken aback, but also somewhat offended. Probably the runty comment, but really, just look at him.
"Can you prove your claim?" Dumbledore asked.
"Expecto Patronum," Harry said, and his stag Patronus pranced about, backing up his story pretty effectively.
"In that case…" And then Dumbledore cast a few more restraining spells on the Moody-fraud.
"Albus?" McGonagall asked, confused.
"If he is Harry, and I believe he is, then I can only presume he had a very good reason for attacking our Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor."
"He's a Death Eater under Polyjuice," Harry supplied succinctly.
And just like that wands were switching from him to said Death Eater.
"Minerva, if you would contact the DMLE for me? Filius, Pomona, see that the students get off to class despite all this drama. Severus, if you would help me move our prisoner. And Mr Potter—" Dumbledore paused, glancing between Harry and runty-Harry and chuckled. "The elder Mr Potter, if you would join us?"
"Ah yes," Dumbledore said, pausing at the door to look back at the head table. "My apologies Madame Maxine, Highmaster Karkaroff, for the interruption of you and your students' breakfasts. Please, enjoy the remainder of it in relative peace."
And then they were gone, leaving the foreign school heads bewildered and not sure how to react, the students discussing loudly what had occurred, and a runty boy fending of his two friends' questions with a truthful "I haven't a bloody clue!"
"So, you're from the future then my boy," Dumbledore said, peering over steepled fingers at him.
"Not quite a boy anymore," he said, kicking back in a cushy armchair he'd conjured. "But that's about the size of it, yeah."
"And in your time, what had become of Voldemort?"
"Offed him in my seventh year. Or what would have been my seventh year if I'd gone back. Being Britain's most wanted at the time made that impossible though."
"A Hogwarts dropout and a criminal," Snape sneered. "Why am I not surprised?"
Harry ignored him, instead watching how Dumbledore had brighten at his news, then slumped as if something unfortunate had occurred to him
"If only you had been more discreet," he lamented. "I imagine that stunt in the great hall has affected the timeline considerably. Any foreknowledge you possess could be becoming less and less accurate by the second. If you had let things play out then—"
"Wouldn't have worked," Harry interrupted to say, with complete confidence. "If the avatars of Fortune, Misfortune, Chaos and What-The-Fuck got together, and then their kids got together, giving them a mutual grandchild … who was a wizard … well, that child would probably be me. By my age, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'm alternately destiny's golden boy and chew toy. No way would things have just gone smoothly and as expected, even if I tried staying out of it."
"Typical Potter. I can see that the years have done nothing to lessen your sense of self-importance."
"Severus Snape," Harry said grandly, turning to pin his gaze on the other man where he stood guard over not-Moody. "You are just as petty and unpleasant as I remember. I'm suddenly feeling all warm and tingly at having got to see you die."
"Harry, really," Dumbledore said in that 'I am disappointed with you' and 'why can't we all just get along?' way of his.
Severus meanwhile had a vein pulsing at one temple as he snarled, "How dare you, you—"
"I can't believe I named my son after you," Harry interrupted blithely.
He revelled in the sudden, astounded silence. He really did. Not to mention those fish faces as mouths opened and closed but no noise came out. Before either could reboot their brains from that piece of bizarre news, in order to string together two words, McGonagall arrived with Madam Bones and Aurors Tonks and Shacklebolt in tow. And, in a bit of brilliant timing, Moody's form took that moment to bubble sickeningly before transforming into Barty Crouch Jr.
Harry stood back and watched for the most part. Well, until Fudge arrived and started blathering on about the Dementor's Kiss. Harry stepped in to say that was a stupid idea. Fudge demanded to know who he thought he was. He said Harry Potter, from the future. Fudge looked greedy and threated to have him arrested for illegal time travel. Harry presented his visa, then threatened to go to the Prophet with an expose on ministry corruption, incompetence, cover up and anything else that seemed relevant, if Fudge screwed up the Barty Jr situation. Fudge paled. Madam Bones shot Harry an appreciative look for his handling of the buffoon, then took the opportunity to insist that Barty Jr be interrogated to learn how he'd escaped, so that Azkaban security could be tightened to prevent such methods in the future.
Soon enough, the ministry officials were hustling off and the room was empty but for Dumbledore, McGonagall and a Snape who was, amusingly, still stunned and had remained so since before the guests arrived. Oh, there were also the three invisible students who had slipped in behind McGonagall's group of course, but Harry was being kind enough not to point them out. Finally, Snape seemed to snap out of his shock.
"You named your son after me?" he asked in a strangled tone. "A Potter called Severus?"
The house heads snapped their attention to the corner where the shout had come from. Dumbledore just twinkled his eyes merrily, but Harry knew the old man could see through invisibility cloaks—probably with the same enchantment Harry's own glasses sported nowadays—implying the headmaster had known they were there all along as well.
"Show yourselves at once," McGonagall order in her sternest tone. "Or you'll be in detention till you're old and grey."
There was a pause before the cloak pulled back to reveal three sheepish students. Well, sheepish was probably the wrong word. Hermione looked torn between nervousness that she'd get in trouble, and desperate curiosity about the older version of her friend. Ron looked a little green, and touch like someone had kicked his puppy, as he stared between Harry and Snape. And runty-Harry was looking at his counterpart with an 'oh god I'm going to be a crazy person when I grow up, aren't I?' sort of fear clear on his face.
"That's a joke, right?" runty-Harry pleaded. "Tell me that's a joke."
"'Fraid not," Harry said sympathetically.
Snape made a sound like dying cat. "I have to—there are—I'm going to go," he said, and stumbled from the room.
"If it's any consolation," Harry said with a smirk once the man was gone, "I wasn't in my right mind at the time."
"Oh, thank god," his younger self said, looking near to tears, such was his relief.
"Yeah, Gin-Bitch Weasley had been dosing me with Amortentia since summer before sixth year—"
"She didn't!" Hermione cried.
"What did you call my sister?" Ron demanded, face flushing.
"—and while I can throw an Imperius easy," Harry continued undaunted, "a potion's different. It's in your system. Can't fight it off the same way. Still, my subconscious gave it a hell of a try, and it warped itself in the process. Took two year of mind healing, after the potion was discovered and flushed from my system, before my mind was quite right again."
"Ginny did that?" runty-Harry said quietly.
"And earned herself twenty in Azkaban," Harry said cheerfully. "Only good thing to come of our non-consensual relationship and marriage, apart from the sprogs."
"Well, that was another timeline," Dumbledore said, trying to smooth the situation over. "I'm sure that in this world things will be different. Nothing has happened here yet. We cannot hold against this Miss Weasley the actions of her counterpart."
"Actually," Harry said, feeling no guilt at ruining Dumbledore's efforts, "her interrogation revealed that she started planning it back after her first year. So, such a thing has happened here already. Or started to."
"Ginny wouldn't—" Ron started.
"She did. Maybe you should ask her where she got the idea, too. Or just get your mum to tell you about that time she used a love potion on your dad. That'd explain it just as well."
There was a very uncomfortable silence in the room. Harry just grinned, amused by it all. Perhaps future-Hermione was right that the mind healing wasn't entirely effective. Perhaps it had left him a bit … off. Personally, he preferred to think he'd just outgrown his angsting tendencies at long last, and finally found his sense of fun.
"That wasn't Amortentia," Hermione defended earnestly, her gaze on Ron, who looked like he'd been struck by a Bludger. "Mrs Weasley's told me the story. It wasn't anything as insidious as a love potion really. It just caused a brief infatuation. Just enough to get him to notice her. It lasted a half hour at most." She glared at the older form of her friend. "It's not the same at all."
"Alright, you have a point," Harry said, deciding he'd had his fun. "And possibly it wasn't all Ginny's fault either. There was some suspicion that she might have been corrupted from that thing with Riddle's diary. Combine that with her fangirl obsession and everything got out of hand. Might want to get that checked out by a mind healer actually, before any damage becomes permanent and untraceable. If it hasn't already."
McGonagall quickly straightened, looking pale. "I'll just—"
"Contact Molly and Arthur," Dumbledore agreed gravely. "Yes, of course. Tell them the school can be expected to provide medical costs as necessary, since the incident occurred when she was under Hogwarts care."
"And then there were five," Harry sing-songed.
"I won't ask what you three were thinking," Dumbledore said, peering over his spectacles at the three squirming students, "by sneaking into my office under that admirable cloak of yours, young Mr Potter. I think I can guess quite well, that you were curious about our visitor. But you have classes staring very shortly that you need to attend."
"But sir," runty-Harry objected.
"I'll be around kiddo," Harry assured him, waving a dismissive hand. "After all, Hogwarts has just had an opening for a Defence professor, right?"
Dumbledore beamed. "An excellent idea," he declared, clapping his hand together. "Run along now you three."
And so Harry netted himself that interesting job he'd been thinking of, just as planned.
His first class was with the fourth year Gryffindors. The trio arrived early to question him, which surprised Harry not one bit. Hermione ranted a bit about how dangerous what he'd done was, alternating glares between him and his runty self, whose "But I didn't do anything," fell on deaf ears. When she finally stopped to take a breath, he corrected her assumptions, and watched as her momentum screeched to a halt.
"So you haven't come back to avert catastrophe?" Hermione asked, as if unable to comprehend it. "Not to save those who were lost? To fight Voldemort better? Nothing at all?"
"Nope. Total accident. Experiment gone wrong. I thought I'd taken enough precautions but…" He shrugged. "Not even an Unspeakable is perfect."
Hermione lit up. "You were an Unspeakable? You must know all sorts of magic!"
Harry was relieved when the rest of his students arrived and classes started. Merlin but the girl wouldn't shut up, with her never ending stream of questions. Still, it was funny the way she was looking at runty-Harry in a new light, like a potential sacrifice for her god, Knowledge. Harry could just imagine what a nightmare she'd be in the coming weeks, trying to get his former self to live up to his untapped potential.
"Right. All of you sit down, shut up and pay attention!" Probably not the advised way to start a class, but it certainly did the job. "So, that Death Eater imposter had you studying the Unforgivables, I believe."
"Yes, Professor…" Hermione paused in her sycophantic nodding. "Professor Potter," she finished, as if it were the strangest thing she'd ever said. She shook her head, dismissing the strangeness. "I suppose," she said shamefaced, "that we should of suspected what he was, given what he was teaching."
Others were nodding, looking a bit embarrassed at having been so fooled by such a poor show. Harry just scoffed.
"Don't be stupid. The Unforgivables are a brilliant lesson. Just needed to be less about the gruesome demonstrations, and traumatising of young minds, and more about the practicalities. Like, for example … the Killing Curse. Well? Anyone want to tell me how you'd fight that?" They looked at him as though he'd asked a trick question. Finally Hermione raised a tentative hand. "Granger?"
"Well, you can't. Apart from Harry," she said, with an apologetic glance to her runty friend, "which was a strange and still not really understood situation, there's no known counter to the Killing Curse. No shield that'll hold it at bay."
"BZZZZZT!" Harry said loudly and obnoxiously. "Wrong." And now Hermione looked as though he'd slapped her. "There are in fact a number of defences against the Killing Curse. And there's definitely a sort of shield that'll work against it. Anyone? No?" He sighed. "A physical shield. Come on. You levitate or chuck something in the way of the curse, or duck behind something else so it takes the hit. Yeah, your 'shield' will probably only be good for one use, before it shatters or explodes or turns to dust, but it still works."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Hermione was heard to mutter as she scribbled frantic notes.
"Defence number two is to not be there when the curse hits. Dodge, people. Duck, swerve, jump, hell you can pirouette away if you like, so long as you get out the line of fire. The final defence is by far the most effective: run away. Seriously, just get away from the crazy guy shooting off Killing Curses. Run, Apparate, whatever. Avoid that fight."
"But we're Gryffindors," Ron objected. "Only cowards run away."
"Bullshit," Harry said flatly. "There's nothing particularly brave about hanging about and getting killed, alright? Something that took me years too long to learn. Getting killed, or almost killed, when you could be doing otherwise, is not courage. It's stupidity. Dying should only ever be a last resort."
"But what if it's not just you?" runty-Harry spoke up to ask. "I could never just leave my friends behind to die."
"Alright, let's think this through. Let's say you stuck around and took that death blow. What then? What have you accomplished? You're certainly no help to them then. Well, unless they use your corpse as a shield, and watch it turn into a pink mist." He ignored the grimaces, focussing on his young counterpart who looked torn. "And then of course, they're soon as dead as you are."
"But at least I'd die with them, trying to help! And maybe," he added fiercely, "my dying would give them a chance to escape."
"I haven't heard such a load of immature self-centred bullshit since I was an immature self-centred brat myself," Harry said mock-awe.
"That's not fair," Ron said angrily, jumping to his friend's defence.
Hermione was also giving him a disapproving look. It was all very touching, their loyalty to one another. Harry found himself a bit jealous. Things had gotten rather strained between them all in his time, after the Gin-Bitch thing came out.
"Just because it isn't fair doesn't mean it isn't true. Mr Potter, let's say you did die for your friends. Mr Weasley, Miss Granger, is that what you would want? Would you want Mr Potter to die for you?"
"Well, no, but—"
"In fact, such truly loyal friends would probably prefer to have died yourselves then have Mr Potter here get killed in your place. Am I right?" They both avoided his gaze, as well as his younger self's. "Which means, Mr Potter, than your dying wasn't some noble selfless sacrifice. It's not what they want. Not what would be best for them. It's best for you. It's done to protect your feelings from the loss of your friends."
The room was silent as the grave. Harry's younger self and his friends' younger selves all looked miserable. The rest of the room was enthralled, watching the drama. Harry reflected that he'd been pretty harsh, but perhaps it'd nip the boy's self-sacrificing, throwing-himself-into-danger thing in the bud before it got someone killed, like what had happened with Sirius in his own timeline.
"Well, it's not all doom and gloom," Harry assured them. "There's a third option besides 'die selfishly' and 'lose your friends'. I call it 'run away, but take your friends with you'. Or, you know, don't go rushing into danger in the first place. Think things through. I had a dog once. Big black thing. Loved it to bits. Then I went and got it killed by rushing into a situation," he said, giving runty-Harry a meaningful glance that made his eyes go wide with horrified understanding. "And oh, look at the time! Class dismissed. Next lesson we'll be working on your Imperius resistance. Nothing worse than being forced to rape and slaughter your loved ones," he said cheerfully, ignoring the blanched faces at his comment. "I'm sure you all want to work hard to avoid that."
Then he turned on his heel, casting an invisibility spell and a noise spell in quick succession. The students stared in startlement before packing up and leaving.
"But you can't Apparate in Hogwarts," Hermione objected, as if the universe had betrayed her. "It says so in 'Hogwarts, a History'!"
"Forget your bible Hermione, and help me with Harry," Ron said.
The redhead had one of runty-Harry's arms slung over his shoulder, and was helping the weakly swaying boy to the door. Hermione switched immediately to concerned mode, grabbing their three book bags and following after.
"Sirius," the younger Harry whispered in shock. "I—he—I would have gotten him killed."
"Come on Harry," Hermione said gently, and they exited the classroom.
"Well," Harry said to himself, beaming invisibly about the room. "I think that went swell."
The room was dimly lit, but for an eyrie green glow coming from a bubbling cauldron. It was set on an oaken bench, surrounded by beakers and pestles and vials of strange and foreboding substances. A man in a white lab coat, stained with red patches, stood hunched over all this. The glow cast sinister shadows over his features, his hair was wild, and his expression was crazed. He jabbed towards the cauldron and an arc like a thunderbolt, but made of black-light, shot out. The concoction gave a groaning sound and pressure built in the room, up and up and up until … *BOOM!* The madman ducked back just in time to avoid the wave of liquid that exploded upwards, turning from green to blue before being sucked right back into the cauldron where it settled serenely.
"It's alive," he cackled. "Aliiiive! Bwahahahaha—"
Harry jerked his hands to cover his eyes from the sudden light as the room's heavy blackout curtains were all pulled back at once, letting in the bright midday sun. When he could blink without spots in his vision, he turned away from his potion towards the door where Dumbledore now stood, one eyebrow raised in bemusement.
"Ahem," Dumbledore coughed delicately, peering at Harry over his spectacles. "Hello Harry. How are you this evening?"
"Great," he said weakly, shifting self-consciously from foot to foot. "I'm just … great."
"Lovely. And if I may ask, what exactly is it, which is alive?"
"Well, nothing really. Except us of course. And I think there's a spider living in the web up in that corner."
"And the red stains on your … interesting robes?"
"Tmmahss," he mumbled, ducking his head.
Harry sighed. "Tomato sauce," he admitted. "It was for, you know, the theatre of it."
"I see," Dumbledore said, eyes lighting in understanding and approval. "Well, it's always good to enjoy your work. Speaking of, might you fill me in on why the house-elves reported that you've taken over this little tower room for said work?"
"No one was using it, judging by the layer of dust the elves had to clear up first. And I needed some lab space to brew a potion I developed in my time."
"You developed it?"
"I understand your surprise. Snape pretty much destroyed my interest in potions from the first class." He waved off Dumbledore's objections. "Yes, yes he did. It wasn't till I joined the Department of Mysteries and they started training me up, filling in my basic knowledge gaps, that I really got into it. Luna was my potions trainer, and the one who suggested the mad scientist thing might make it more fun. She was right. I turned out to be quite good at both brewing and invention."
"Very impressive, my boy." Dumbledore wandered closer, peering into his cauldron. "And what does this potion do?"
"Defeats dark wizards and takes their Horcruxes with them," Harry said cheerfully.
Dumbledore gasped, before beaming. "Amazing! Has it been tested? You've told me you didn't become an Unspeakable till well after Voldemort's defeat, so you can't have used it then."
"Nope. Did things the old fashioned way with Voldie. The tedious way. And yes, it's been tested. Somehow it slipped out after the war, how Voldemort managed his supposed immortality. Horcruxes became almost common knowledge, unfortunately. A few times the Aurors came to us for help in taking down Dark Wizards that seemed to keep inexplicably surviving. Worked like a charm every time. Doesn't even damage the host items, which is good, because in one instance some bastard stored his soul shard in a unicorn, figuring we wouldn't dare curse ourselves by killing it. It was fine though, potion didn't hurt it. Ah, sir? Are you … crying?"
"Just some dust in my eye," Dumbledore choked out. Harry tactfully didn't mention that the elves had been quite thorough in their cleaning. "I-I'm sure you know about your younger self—his scar—"
"Voldemort's unknown Horcrux," Harry said in understanding.
"Yes, as I feared. I had resigned myself that the only way for Voldemort to be defeated was with the poor boy's death. I am—relieved doesn't seem strong enough a word, but I can think of no better—I am relieved, that young Harry won't have to be sacrificed." He hung his head then, ashamed. "Though what it makes me, that I'd accept the necessity…"
"It's fine," Harry said awkwardly.
"It's kind of you to say, but I don't think it is."
Harry never had been good with tearful moments. Still, proof the old man really cared was nice. He'd wondered occasionally over the years, looking back at certain aspects of their shared history. The Dursleys, the whole 'you must die for the greater good', things like that, they made one doubt. Nice or not though, the sad, shiny eyes were getting très awkward, as the French would say. Or rather as the English, those who can't actually speak proper French at all, would say.
"Hey, want to help me brew a backup?" he suggested, hoping to cheer the man up, or at least distract him. "Always good to have in case something goes wrong with the first. It's a pretty complex recipe, but you're an alchemist, right? Potions should be a cinch."
Happily, Dumbledore brightened. "Yes, I think that would be grand. In fact." He waved his wand, turning his outer robe into a tomato sauce-splattered lab coat, then another to make his hair stick out madly like a certain famous physicist. "There, that's getting into the spirit of things!"
"What's with the hair?"
"Well, to match yours of course. Very 'mad scientist'," he complimented. "How do I look?"
Harry narrowed his eyes. He hadn't done anything to his hair. He reached a hand up to pat his head. The black locks, now touched with silver at the temple, had only gotten messier with the passing of the years. He'd been gelling it down since he returned to Hogwarts, parted to one side for an old-fashioned, professional look, but hadn't bothered that morning since he was in his lab all day. That didn't make it a 'mad scientist' look though. No, if anything it was 'sexily windswept'! That was his story, and he was sticking to it. He pouted.
"You look fine, Albert" he mumbled, and shoved the most disgusting ingredient within reach towards the old man. "Here, disembowel these mucus toads."
"Will that be enough?" Runty-Harry asked, handing over a bag of galleons. "I'm not sure how much de-aging potions cost."
Harry peeked inside. "Should be fine. If not, I do have a little saved from the last few weeks teaching. Now, do you understand your part?"
"Simple. Stay out of sight, don't give you away, don't face a death-defying task, etcetera. Believe you me, I'll do it gladly. You're sure my magic will be fine?"
"Positive. So long as 'Harry Potter' competes in the task, the cup will be appeased."
"And you'll keep up your end of the bargain?"
He rolled his eyes. "You do know the whole plan is to your benefit, right?"
"You promised," he insisted.
"Oh, fine, I won't call you Runty anymore."
He frowned as his younger counterpart nodded and headed off. The cheek of the lad! He didn't remember being so impertinent at that age. Maybe he was rubbing off on the kid? Well, whatever the reason, Harry needed to think of something new to call him. Hmm, bore some thinking.
"What's up, Mini-me?" Harry asked. A sip of his Firewhisky hid the amused smile he sported at the boy's exasperated reaction to his new nickname. "Thought you'd still be partying with the rest of the school."
"Yeah, I'll head back in a minute. It's just—I still don't get it," he said, a broad smile on his face despite his confessed confusion. The smile hadn't left since older Harry announced Voldemort was finally gone for good. "I mean, shouldn't he have changed his plans when he heard of you? Everyone knows you're a time traveller. You knew what he was going to do!"
"Well, he would have," Harry admitted. "Except I cornered Draco one day after class to give him a great big hug."
"You … hugged Malfoy?" Mini-Harry gave his older self a disturbed look. "Good god, why?"
"Because there's no way in hell I would, under normal circumstances. I gave the ferret the impression he and I were great buddies back in my world, ever since our first year. Draco slipped the info to his dad, who told old Voldie, who concluded that I must come from another reality entirely, rather than just further up a similar timeline. I also mentioned how I was surprised Crouch hadn't been caught yet, because in my world Dumbledore caught him out first week of classes. And also, Fudge had him Kissed right away, and we never did figure out what he'd been up to."
"So he thought his plans were still safe," Mini-Harry said in understanding. "Clever. And, you know, took guts. Hugging Malfoy, I mean. Really, talk about taking one for the team."
"I know," Harry agreed gravely. "I took a three hour scalding shower after. Just to be sure I wasn't infected with any inbred stupidity. And to think, another few short years he'll be seventeen and get access to his daddy-deadest's fortune. Draco's not too bright, add some karma to that, and the Malfoy family will be ruined by the time you graduate."
"Lucius Malfoy," Mini-Harry sighed dreamily.
Harry frowned, alarmed. "Have you been drinking the twin's experimental punch? Or do I need to get you to a mind healer?"
"No! Eww. No, just—you reminded me how he's dead. And that reminded me of Snape." The boy's grin widened even further. "While you were off winning the Triwizard Tournament, I was sort of squashed between Ron and Hermione in the spectator's stands, hiding under the invisibility cloak. But the discomfort was so worth it, you know, because I happened to have a clear view of where the professors and officials were all seated."
"Ah," Harry said with understanding. "Front row view of Snape and Karkaroff keeling over dead, huh?"
"Especially Snape. He was on the end of a row," he said gleefully. "He clawed at his chest with this look of agony, and then he accidentally toppled right over the side of the stands."
"Yeah. They're still not sure whether it was the heart attack or the fall that killed him."
"I will treasure the memory forever," the boy said, a bit choked up, which was understandable really. "How did you even convince Dumbledore to go along with it anyway? I'd think for sure he'd object to all the Death Eaters being taken out along with Voldemort."
"He didn't know. Mainly because I didn't know. I knew the potion wouldn't damage the Horcrux host items—"
"Much appreciated," Mini-Harry said, rubbing his forehead.
"No problem. But anyway, I had no idea Voldemort had linked his soul to his servants' through the Dark Marks. Well, not until I force fed the Dork Lord the potion. Once second I'm admiring the view as his heart literally bursts out of his chest, and the black Horcrux cloud thing is expelled from Nagini. All expected. Somewhat less expected though was the bit where all the Death Eaters had simultaneous heart attacks. Gotta say though," he admitted, "I'm not regretting it."
"Amen," the boy agreed solemnly, still smiling.
"Back to the party with you. Oh, and just in case you were curious," Harry added in a knowing tone, "Susan Bones had a massive crush on you all the way from second to sixth year. And she's too sensible to go batshit like Gin-Bitch did."
"Susan Bones?" Mini-Harry's eyes were alight. "You mean…" He made a sort of hand motion over his chest. Yep, the girl had been by far the earliest developer of his age mates, and only would become more … blessed as the next few years passed. "You're sure?"
"Positive. Go ask her to dance or something. She won't care if you step on her toes, that's how bad she's got it. Might even let you get in a grope."
"Wow." His expression was awed at the possibility. "Okay, I'll just—gotta go. Bye!"
Harry smiled as his younger self raced off, pleased to have done his good deed for the day. Well, aside from that whole defeating the Dark Lord thing. But every guy with sense would know that Susan Bones's hotness rated far above Voldie's evilness. Actually, now that he thought about it, her aunt, Amelia Bones, was a bit of all right too. He'd never noticed it much before, since there was such an age gap between the pair of them in his old timeline. But now … well, he thought he'd spied the head of the DMLE by the hors d'oeuvres table. Maybe she'd like to take a twirl around the dance floor? It would be selfish of him not to offer.
Harry hurried off in the same direction his Mini-me had gone.
Sirius was pardoned, care of the dead body of Pettigrew Harry had brought back from Voldemort's resurrection slash defeat. Dumbledore tried to object to Mini-Harry's staying with his godfather on the grounds of unmarked supporters out for revenge, and thus the importance of nurturing the Blood Protection. Harry jumped in with the handy dandy solution, based on the fact that he shared just as much if not more blood relation to Lily as Petunia did. Sirius was happy to provide him a room at Padfoot's Pad, the house he purchased the moment his pardon was signed.
Harry and Amelia had some good times. Some really good times. Seriously, the goodness of the times that were had cannot be overstated. But in the end they split. Amelia said she needed someone more mature, then went and undermined her own words by hooking up with Sirius. Sirius who was no more mature after a decade of Azkaban than he'd been as a cheeky twenty-year old, and would forever remain as such. They even had a son together. James Edgar Black. Good kid that one. Probably Amelia's influence.
Harry didn't mind Sirius stealing Amelia, on account of he drowned his sorrows in Firewhisky at the Three Broomsticks, and there found comfort in the arms of its buxom barmaid Rosmerta. Well … 'drowned his sorrows' or 'didn't really care but just used the excuse to get drunk' … it's all the same right, right? Either way, he got the lovely Rosmerta. Their relationship was tempestuous. She was used to dealing efficiently with rowdy customers, and wasn't afraid to throw Harry out by the ear when he did something stupid. Which was often. Still, somehow they stayed together and, while they never had any kids, Harry claimed his Mini-me's brats as honorary grandchildren.
Mini-me, as he would forever be known to Harry, stayed with Susan all throughout his Hogwarts years and beyond. They got married and Susan became an Auror like her aunty, while mini-Harry went into professional Quidditch. When they decided to start a family, mini-Harry was the one to stay at home. They had a boy and a girl, first Evan James, then Amy Lily. Harry might possibly have corrupted her a little. Maybe even taught her to call her father Mini-Harry, much to the man's consternation. She ended up dating Sirius's son James, at which point Harry's opinion of the boy changed from 'good kid' to 'that foul, loathsome seducer of my adorable, innocent granddaughter'.
Ron married Hermione, and Harry always had déjà vu when he saw their kids. Rose and Hugo were pretty much identical to the godchildren he remembered. Dumbledore died peacefully of old age. As for Ginny, she was never was released from St Mungo's as the mind healers were never able to extract the 'psycho bitch' from her personality. Draco did indeed pauper himself in quick order. Oh, and Fudge slipped in the tub and died, making way for a more competent minister.
All was well.
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