Harry Potter and the Past That Never Was


Story Summary:
Transported back to just before his eleventh birthday, Harry gets the chance to right the wrongs in his life. But, "knowing then, what you know now," isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Your best friends may not be your friend, your enemies may not be your enemy. Even the greatest enemy may be easily dispatched. But evil will remain as long as there is good. Harry discovers changing the past leaves the door open to a future that may be worse than he can imagine. Will our hero prevail?

Chapter 02 - Back in the Cupboard Under the Stairs.

Author's Note:
Big thanks to Jaybird for beta reading my chapters

When Harry awoke the next morning, he did so feeling as if he had not slept so well in ages. He had been feeling some burning pain in his forehead lately, generally happening at night. Several times, he had awoken in the middle of the night, the scar on his forehead feeling as if it were on fire. Most of the time, the burning only lasted a minute or two before subsiding.

Then there were the dreams. One dream in particular caused him to wake up shaking, sometimes screaming. The dream was of a scary, faceless man. Harry reasoned the man must have had a face, but he could not see it because he wore a dark hood. He always did something to cause the door of the room Harry was in to fly off the hinges. His mother and father yelled at the faceless man, telling him they would not give him what he wanted.

"Then you must die," the faceless man says. His voice is high-pitched, but not like a woman. It was as if he were deliberately speaking louder than normal. There is a flash of green light, and Harry watches helplessly because he cannot leave the cage in which he is imprisoned. He watches his father falling to the ground, and hears his mother scream.

"One last chance," says the faceless man. Harry's mother yells at the man, telling him she will die before giving him what he wants.

"It's a pity you feel that way," says the faceless man. Harry can only watch again, when another flash of green light causes his mother to fall.

Then the faceless man is standing very close to Harry. He is holding up a small stick, pointing it at Harry as if it is some sort of weapon. From his cage, Harry looks up but still cannot see the man's face.

"You will not be allowed to challenge me," says the faceless man.

Harry tries to explain to the man he does not wish to challenge him, but he is unable to form the words. "Gahh," is all Harry manages to say. The faceless man appears to take this as a personal affront, because a groan escapes his lips as he pulls the stick back a little. The man then utters something in a language Harry cannot understand.

He sees another flash of green light, this time the light is so brilliant it blinds him. Then his forehead starts to hurt, while a loud shrieking sound makes him try to cover his ears. Harry cannot see the man any more but he does not care because the pain in his forehead is getting stronger. This is always when Harry wakes up, shaking uncontrollably. The burning in his scar is always the most intense when he has this particular dream.

The night before, Harry had a much more pleasant dream. He had friends in his dream, and Dudley did not use him as a punching bag. Harry was still enjoying the delicious feeling of half wakefulness when there was a loud banging on his bedroom door.

"Get up, boy," said Aunt Petunia.

Harry struggled to a sitting position, reaching up to pull the chain on the naked light in the ceiling. He reached for his glasses, pulling them over his ears.

"Coming, Aunt Petunia," said Harry. He stretched his arms out, yawning heavily as he stumbled out of his bed. His bedroom was just off the kitchen; in fact, the same room in Mrs. Figg's house was a broom cupboard. He walked into the kitchen, and saw three faces glaring at him.

"About bloody time," Uncle Vernon said. "We don't need you holding us up today."

"Sorry, Uncle Vernon," said Harry, sliding into his chair at the dining table.

"You have no time for breakfast," said his uncle. "Mrs. Figg is waiting for you. You will not keep her waiting."

"Yes, Uncle Vernon," said Harry. He sighed and began to get up from the table. Breakfast would now have to wait until Mrs. Figg gave him something to eat.

"You'd think the boy would be more grateful," Vernon was saying. "All we do for him, and he decides to have a lie in."

"Go get dressed, boy," said Aunt Petunia.

"Yes, Aunt Petunia," said Harry. He went back to his room and started to change out of his pajamas. He could hear them moving about, getting everything ready for the trip they were about to take. Harry was not going to be going with them, however. When they went on a trip, Harry always had to stay with Mrs. Figg, the strange woman who lived just down the street. On those times Mrs. Figg could not keep Harry, he had to stay with Aunt Marge. Mrs. Figg might be strange, but she was at least nice to Harry. In addition, he always got plenty to eat when he was over there. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, treated him like some sort of disease. In fact, she treated her dogs a lot better than she treated Harry.

Harry was nearly dressed when he started to feel very dizzy. He reached out to steady himself against the wall, causing him to spin with the room instead of it spinning around him. This turned out to be better as it helped the feeling of vertigo pass. It was several seconds before the dizziness passed, allowing Harry to let go of the wall.

"What are you doing in there, boy?" yelled his uncle. "Stop it with all that ruddy noise."

Harry looked around the cupboard, asking himself that very question. What is he doing in there? He quickly opened the door and walked into the kitchen, freezing at what he saw. Petunia was in the middle of packing things inside of a cooler, while Vernon was pouring coffee into a large thermos.

"Didn't we tell you to get dressed, boy?" Vernon bellowed at him. "Hurry up about it, I want to get on the motorway before the traffic is too heavy." They were dressed in camping gear. Harry remembered them going camping once before, six years ago.

Something was definitely wrong with Harry. He felt as if he was fully awake, but he was obviously in the middle of a dream. It had to be a dream, or he would not be seeing his relatives like this. He would not be seeing Dudley as an eleven year old.

"Hold on," said Harry. "What is the date, today?"

"What, boy?" Petunia looked up from her task.

"The date," said Harry, "today's date."

"It's June twenty-fourth," she answered, then continued her packing.

"1997?" asked Harry.

"What are you on about, boy?" asked Vernon. "And why you still standing there half dressed?"

"What year?" asked Harry, his high-pitched voice rising.

"1991," said Dudley, who was looking at Harry as if he were mad.

"It can't be," said Harry, feeling himself shudder. He reached for a teaspoon on the table, and used it as a mirror. The face looking back at him had tape wrapped around the frame of his glasses. "What is wrong with me?"

"I know what is going to be wrong with you if you don't GET DRESSED!" said Vernon, slapping his meaty hand down on the scruff of Harry's neck, pushing him out of the kitchen. Having his uncle manhandle him caused Harry to reach for his wand. However, he was not holding it at that moment. Knowing it was only a matter of moments before his uncle became very irate, Harry quickly dressed in a pair of Dudley's old trousers, and oversized shirt. He grabbed his mangy old trainers and put them on, then left the cupboard once again.

"Right then," said Vernon, seeing Harry was finally dressed, "off you go."

"Er, right," said Harry, as he turned and walked out of the kitchen, and up to his bedroom. When he opened the door to his room, he saw it was full of Dudley's things. In a daze, Harry descended the stairs and left the house through the front door.

Not knowing what was happening, other than he was barking mad, Harry walked toward the Squib's house. He walked slowly, searching his mind for any clue as to what possibly could have happened between the night before and that morning. The only conclusions he could definitely make were in his mind, he was nearly seventeen years old, and his body was as it was just before he turned eleven.

Stranger still was everyone else was as they were six years before. He frowned, as he was rapidly coming to the realization he had been somehow transported back into time. He did not know if such a thing were possible even in the Wizarding world, but he could think of no other way to explain what was happening. That is to say, other than him having gone round the twist.

When he finally made it to Arabella Figg's doorstep, he took a deep breath and rang the bell. The Squib had been waiting for him six years earlier. "Do come in, Harry," said Mrs. Figg, " be careful not to let Mr. Tibbles get out."

Mr. Tibbles was the cat/kneazle cross who watched Harry. It was how Mrs. Figg became alerted to the fact the assigned lookout left his post two summers before. The Squib witnessed the Dementor attack, and was able to help clear Harry of illegally performing magic.

Harry remembered when he opened the door six years earlier; Mr. Tibbles darted past him and into the yard, much to Mrs. Figg's dismay. When he opened the door, Harry made sure he was standing where he would block Mr. Tibbles' exit. Nudging the cat/kneazle back inside the house as he entered. After Harry closed the door, Mr. Tibbles squawked indignantly. Harry looked down, smirking as the cat looked up at him as only a cat can do, as if to say, "you've ruined my plan, you stupid little boy."

"Hello, Harry," said Arabella Figg. "Make yourself at home and I'll knock up a spot of breakfast." She turned and went into her kitchen.

Harry was famished, but he had gotten an idea and was hoping against all hope it would turn out to be true.

"Thank you," said Harry. "But I was wondering if it were possible for you to contact Professor Dumbledore."

"What did you say, boy?" asked Mrs. Figg from inside her kitchen. The sounds of pots and pans suddenly ceased, as she appeared at the doorway. "What did you just ask me?"

"I asked if you could contact Professor Dumbledore," said Harry. "I know you're connected to the Floo, and this is very important."

"What is this nonsense you're on about?" she asked, as if brushing it aside as a joke. However, her expression said otherwise.

"Mrs. Figg," said Harry. "I'm really sorry to put you on the spot, but I have to speak with Professor Dumbledore."

"You're not supposed to know any of this," hissed Arabella Figg. "They told me you were to be kept in the dark until you turn eleven."

"Yes, Ma'am," said Harry. "But I do know, when I should not. Doesn't that tell you something is amiss?"

"It tells me you've probably been spying," said Mrs. Figg. "Keeping your ear against my walls, have you?"

"Please," said Harry, desperately. She stared at him for several seconds before making the decision Harry prayed she would make.

"All right, then," answered Arabella, as she walked to her fireplace.

"Albus Dumbledore," said the Squib, into the fire. A few moments after, the face of Dumbledore appeared.

"Good morning, Arabella," said Dumbledore cheerfully, "to what do I owe this pleasure?"

"Professor, I think there may be a problem," said Figg.

"What sort of problem?" Dumbledore seemed to quickly surmise if this was coming from Arabella Figg, it had to involve Harry Potter, the boy she was entrusted to keep watch over. His expression turned into one of concern.

"Has anything happened to Harry?" asked the Headmaster.

"I'm not sure, really," said Arabella. "He's... asked to speak to you."

"Asked to speak to me," repeated Dumbledore slowly.

"He said it was very important," she added helpfully.

"Is he there with you, now?" he asked.

"I'm here, Professor," said Harry from a few feet away. "Can I please speak with you in person?"

"I dare say you can," said Dumbledore. "But if you would satisfy my curiosity, how do you know who I am?"

"That is why I need to talk to you, Sir," said Harry.

"I see," said Dumbledore, appearing to be deep in thought. "Very well, I'll Apparate there directly." With a pop, Dumbledore vanished from the fire. A moment later, a second pop announced his arrival, just behind him. Harry turned around to greet him.

Dumbledore had his wand out, pointed directly at Harry. He seemed to conclude if Harry knew things he should not know, dark forces were behind it. He did not have his usual benign expression; he looked as if he were ready to do battle.

"Professor," said Harry, "why are you pointing your wand at me?"

"Have you ever heard the expression, there is no fool like an old fool?" Dumbledore asked. "The truth is, one does not get the chance to become old by being a fool. And I am very old."

"What do you think is going on, then?" asked Harry, careful not to move just in case it startled Dumbledore enough to curse him.

"I don't know, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Why don't you tell me why you wished to see me in person?"

"I'll tell you what happened to me and you can hopefully sort it out," said Harry. "But I'd prefer you to point your wand elsewhere."

"I am afraid that is going to prove quite impossible for the moment," said Dumbledore. "You see if by some chance you are an enemy, I should not wish to forfeit my advantage."

"No, that makes sense," said Harry. "Alright, here's what happened."

Harry explained waking up that morning as an almost seventeen year old, but in his eleven year old body. During the tale, Dumbledore listened passively, but his wand remained pointed at him.

"And the first thing you could think to do was contact me?" asked Dumbledore.

"Sorry," said Harry, "but who else would I contact?"

"Ah indeed," said Dumbledore with a little chuckle. "I can think of many people you might choose to contact in such a scenario."

"You don't believe me," said Harry.

"You have managed to hit the proverbial nail directly on the head," said Dumbledore. "I do not believe your story."

"Do you have any Veritaserum with you?" asked Harry.

"No, that is a potion I do not carry around with me on a day to day basis," answered Dumbledore.

"Use Legilimency then," said Harry. "I'm telling you the truth."

"As you wish," said Dumbledore. He flicked his wand at Harry, causing the scar on his forehead to tingle. This was not at all like the sensation Harry felt when Voldemort, and Snape probed his mind. Dumbledore seemed to be browsing, not attempting to attack. After a few moments, the tingling sensation abated. Dumbledore lowered his wand, but he had a strange expression on his face.

"You are telling the truth," said Dumbledore.

"But I don't know how, or why," said Harry, relieved to have Dumbledore believe him. "That's why I wanted to talk to you."

"I'm afraid," said Dumbledore, "I do know how. And it's a good thing you did contact me."

"Do you really?" asked Harry. "Then would you please tell me what is going on?"

"I think we would both be most comfortable if we were to have this conversation at Hogwarts," said Dumbledore. "I trust you know how to use the Floo?"

"Yes, Sir," said Harry. "I just say Hogwarts?"

"No, Hogwarts is not connected to the Floo," said Dumbledore. "Lily pad will be your destination."

"Lily pad," said Harry. Dumbledore nodded as Harry went to the fireplace and took a little Floo Powder. He stepped inside and said "LILY PAD!"

Harry felt the familiar wrenching sensation as he was propelled through the Floo. He found it easiest to close his eyes for the duration, as it helped to ease the violent nature of this type of transportation. Since Harry had absolutely no idea what this lily pad was going to be, he was quite surprised to find himself in a room he had been inside a good number of times.

He looked around as he slowly moved out of the fireplace; it was Dumbledore's office at Hogwarts, much as he remembered it the first time he was sent there by Professor McGonagall. The office was, in a word, cluttered. Dumbledore's many possessions were strewn about here and there. Sitting on his perch, was Dumbledore's gold and red phoenix. The bird regarded Harry with interest, his head tilted sideways.

"Hello, Fawkes," said Harry. The bird answered with a gentle caw, leaning his head forward as if nodding hello. Harry had the eerie feeling one gets when they feel as if they are being watched. A quick glance at the portraits of the former headmasters confirmed this. They were not pretending to be asleep, but were watching Harry's every movement.

"Hello, everyone," said Harry with a smirk, watching all of them suddenly feign sleep.

Just as Harry reached out to stroke the bird's feathers, Dumbledore materialized inside of the fireplace.

"Arabella's memory of the entire morning had to be obliviated, I'm afraid," said Dumbledore. He walked briskly to his desk and sat, peering at Harry over his spectacles.

"I thought you said Hogwarts is not connected to the Floo," said Harry. "And how did you Apparate out of here?"

"It is not," said Dumbledore. "But I sometimes find it an advantage to have my office connected, disguised of course. Also, I was not here in the castle when Arabella called me."

"Can you tell me what is going on?" asked Harry, as he took a seat across from the Headmaster.

"No, I cannot tell you what I do not know," said Dumbledore. "However, I will tell you what I was able to see in your mind."

"Did you find anything in there that was hidden from me?" asked Harry. It might have been a strange question to ask, but Harry did not see it so it very well could have been hidden from him. "I sure wasn't able to figure anything out."

"Not hidden," said Dumbledore, "but I was able to access a memory that had been blurred. That is to say, it was disguised."

"It was enough to make you believe me," said Harry. "It must have meant something to you."

"Oh yes, what I saw meant a great deal to me," said Dumbledore. "Perhaps I should explain what I found, and it's meaning."

"I would appreciate that, Professor," said Harry. "Has someone been fiddling with my mind?"

"In a sense, your mind has been manipulated to a certain degree," said Dumbledore. "Not in any harmful way, however."

"But did you find what caused this to happen?" Harry wanted to know.

"Ah," said Dumbledore, "what I saw, were the words 'Aetis', and 'Insisto'."

"I don't know those two words," said Harry.

"Both are Latin, which is I am sure you know, the language we use to perform our magic," said Dumbledore. "My Latin is a little rusty, but the loose translation of the two words if used together, would be to embark upon a journey to another time."

"Then there is a spell to send someone to another time?" asked Harry.

"Here is where it is going to become complicated, I fear," said Dumbledore. "There is such a spell, but it has never been used. The spell exists only in theory. In fact, only two people know of the spell."

"You're saying someone cast a spell on me that has never been used?" asked Harry.

"By all appearances, it would not be wrong to say the spell was cast upon you," said Dumbledore, nodding slightly.

"This is getting to be more confusing," said Harry. "Why has that spell never been used?"

"It is not an incantation one can utter out of the blue," said Dumbledore. "The spell requires ten years of preparation, and a sacrifice."

"Someone has to die?" asked Harry. Somehow, he knew exactly where this was going. "You are obviously one of the two who know of the spell. Who is the second?"

"The inventor of the spell," said Dumbledore, "Severus Snape."

Harry felt his eyes become misty as tears began to form; having just been told Dumbledore's death was a sacrifice instead of a murder.

"So... so when Snape... killed you," stammered Harry, "it was to send me back in time?"

"Professor Snape, Harry," corrected Dumbledore, gazing at Harry in a strange manner. "But yes, if Severus killed me, that would have been the reason."

"But why would you want to send me back in time?" asked Harry.

"Surely you can work out the answer to that question on your own," said Dumbledore. "But here you sit, with six years of memories. Events which have happened in your past six years, are still in our future."

"You mean, I'll be able to change the past?" asked Harry. When this realization came to him, it was as if several tons of weight had been magically lifted from him.

"Exactly, Harry," said Dumbledore, smiling. "Another thing you need to know before we proceed. We have an agreement stating we will not attempt the spell unless the situation is grave. This is to say, things will have to be going very badly. A last resort, if you will."

"Very badly would be an accurate way to describe it," said Harry.

"If you will forgive me, I have a somewhat morbid curiosity," said Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. "Would you be so kind as to relate the details of my... death?"

Harry spent the next couple of minutes describing to Dumbledore exactly what happened the night he was killed in the Astronomy Tower. Dumbledore for the most part only listened, but asked a question here and there for clarification purposes.

"It is fortunate Draco Malfoy was not able to accomplish his task," commented Dumbledore.

"Hold on," said Harry as a thought suddenly came to him. "You said it takes ten years of preparing."

"That is an estimate," said Dumbledore. "We believe it will take that amount of time."

"That means you've been at it four years," said Harry, "right?"

"Yes, Harry," said Dumbledore, nodding. "But it's been closer to five years. We began once we learned you would definitely be a wizard."

It took Harry a few moments to recall, but when he did he remembered the first bit of strangeness occurred when he was six. Dudley was tormenting him a bit harder than usual; he had pushed Harry to the point where he was angry enough to cause his cousin's trousers to fall down his legs.

"You've been watching me all along," said Harry. "So you would also know how I was being made to live."

"We know your aunt and uncle have not treated you as we would have liked," confirmed Dumbledore.

"I would like to know why no one ever did anything to stop them," said Harry.

"That is a very difficult question to answer, but I shall do my best," answered Dumbledore. "The short answer is we could have stepped in, but had we done so it would have negated the charms in place at number four, Privet Drive."

"Professor," said Harry, "given that, would you agree I could never really call it my home?"

"That is a matter of semantics," said Dumbledore. "Not a loving home, and certainly not one conducive to keeping you healthy and well nourished. But for the purposes of the magic involved, it is your home."

"I have to say," said Harry, "it has not been worth it."

"I fail to understand why you feel as such," said Dumbledore. "It has managed to keep you alive."

"I also managed to survive several encounters with Voldemort away from there," said Harry. "I refuse to believe that was the only way to keep me alive."

"Perhaps it is not the only way," said Dumbledore. "But I feel it is the best way."

"Does the protection also keep Death Eaters away from Privet Drive?" asked Harry. "No, I don't think it does. You would not have gone to Mrs. Figg's house with your wand drawn otherwise."

"No, the protection only prevents Voldemort from getting to you there," said Dumbledore, frowning.

"Until he gets my blood to help him get back his body, he can't touch me at all," said Harry.

"What do you mean, gets your blood?" asked the headmaster.

Harry told him about how Voldemort got his body back, and was able to get past the protection his mother placed there with her own sacrifice.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to spend a lot of time going over your memories," said Dumbledore. "But you are correct, Voldemort cannot touch you no matter where you are."

"Good, because I do not want to go back to Privet Drive ever again," said Harry.

"Where would you go if I were to allow that?" asked Dumbledore.

"Sirius's house, or the Burrow," said Harry. "Or I could live here, in the castle."

"Sirius Black is in Azkaban," said Dumbledore. "You know he betrayed your parents to Voldemort, enabling him to find their house." Harry smiled; knowing what he was about to say was going to shock the Headmaster.

"Peter Pettigrew betrayed my parents," said Harry. "And faked his own murder, framing Sirius in the process."

"I shall be delighted to hear your proof on that matter," said Dumbledore. "I must admit I have my doubts as to Black's guilt. I find it very unlikely he would betray your parents."

"My parents made Pettigrew their Secret-Keeper, because they knew everyone expected it to be Sirius," said Harry. "Only they didn't know Pettigrew was a Death Eater."

"You say he faked his own death," said Dumbledore. "How did he do this?"

"He cut off his finger, and went into hiding," said Harry.

"Yes, yes, his finger was all that was ever found of his body," said Dumbledore. "But the Wizengamot didn't at that time require much hard evidence. In fact, Sirius was never tried for the crime."

"You say I'm going to be allowed to change the past?" asked Harry.

"Not only are you going to be allowed," said Dumbledore, "it is going to be expected."

"Then I want to get Sirius cleared of the crimes he did not commit," said Harry. "You will find the Weasleys have a pet rat named Scabbers. Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus, a rat."

"That should be an easy matter to confirm," said Dumbledore. "Finding Pettigrew alive would surely clear your godfather." Harry's stomach began to growl, and quite loudly. Dumbledore raised his eyebrows when he heard it.

"Perhaps we should see about getting you something to eat," said Dumbledore, chuckling.

"I just remembered I've not eaten all day," said Harry.

"During the holidays, there is always a buffet set up in the Great Hall," said Dumbledore. "You get yourself a good breakfast, and afterward Professor Snape and myself will want to go over some of your memories."

"You're going to tell Sn... err... Professor Snape about this?" asked Harry.

"Of course I'm going to tell him," said Dumbledore. "He would become suspicious if we were to suddenly stop our preparing."

"Why would you stop preparing?" asked Harry.

"For the simple reason the event for which we are preparing has already taken place," said Dumbledore, his lips curled upward.

"Oh, I think I understand," said Harry, but he looked to be confused.

"A dreadfully complicated business, this time travel," said Dumbledore, smiling.