Turning Time

Letter Universe

Harry waited fifteen minutes until he was sure Ginny wouldn't return. He put on his cloak, then Apparated to Diagon Alley. The crack from his Apparition resounded in the early morning quiet of the street.

The street was deserted. A few months ago, homeless witches and wizards would've shivered in the winter weather, but with the Ministry back on its feet and under new order, many centers were provided for those displaced by the Second Wizarding War.

Harry, under the cover of the invisibility cloak, spun the Time-Turner to September 17th, 1981. The street was dim, and many shops were closed. An old woman sat nearby, holding a sign that read, "Squib. Lost Everything in the War & have no Family. Please Help." Harry reached into his pocket, then stopped. His influence had to be controlled, limited. As much as it clawed at his insides, he could only interfere in the minimal way he planned.

The Leaky Cauldron was dimly lit, outside and in. The bar was empty at the time (four in the morning) except for the bartender, whose head rested on the counter. Harry, expecting something to be wrong, quickly approached, until a snore signaled that the man was alive. Harry set one of the two letters in his pocket down on the counter, then sat down in the back and began to wait.

An hour and twenty-one minutes later, a cloaked figure hurried down the stairs, rousing Harry from his doze. He stood, still invisible. The woman noticed the bartender and like Harry, checked to see if he was all right. Then she noticed the letter, reading the print on the front: "Raven Faralyn."

Harry watched as she looked around, stowed the envelope in her cloak, and hurried out the door. After a couple minutes, Harry left the Leaky Cauldron, then Apparated to the Shrieking Shack. He traveled nearly ten years in the future to the first of September, 1991, at six in the evening.

He went through the tunnel, out beneath the Whomping Willow, across the grounds, and to the front entrance of the school.

The first years had reached the shore, where they gathered before Hagrid. Harry got out of their way, searching the faces for—there he was. A young Harry Potter, nervous and excited.

Hagrid knocked on the towering doors before them. Professor McGonagall opened them, then led the first years inside. Harry slipped in last. He cast the Muffling Charm on himself before hurrying up the stairs to the Gryffindor Common Room. He could only remember the password to the common room because the first day at Hogwarts was so important to him.

"Caput Draconis!"

"Who's there?" The Fat Lady asked, peering around. But she had already swung open.

Harry went up to the boys' first year dorms and left the letter on the proper bed.

Harry's return to Hogsmeade lasted forever, it seemed, as his greatest worries found a way of snaking into his mind. He set his expectations for improvement extremely low, so he wouldn't be disappointed if this new future didn't work out. He Apparated on the edge of the town and spun the Time-Turner to eight at night on 2 July, 1998.

Harry pulled his wand out from his pocket and pointed it so it grazed the invisibility cloak. Hogsmeade looked as it had when he first visited in his third year, but when he peered into the Hog's Head, he saw himself, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, all around his own age, sitting at a table. Ginny was flipping through a journal.

Harry stepped to the side of the Inn and stowed the invisibility cloak in Hermione's purse. "Accio journal!"

The journal crashed through the window and flew at Harry. As soon as he caught it, he Apparated into the Shrieking Shack.

Harry cast a Cushioning Charm on the floorboards and sat down.

"Lumos!" He opened the journal and two letters fell out. He unfolded the first and read,

Dear Raven,

Go to Hogwarts right away. If you don't, you will die within a couple of hours—I can't tell you how. In order to save yourself, go to Dumbledore and ask for the post of History of Magic. You can do good again by replacing Professor Binns and properly teaching Hogwarts students about the past. This way, they can make positive changes, just as you have.

Hogwarts is the only place you will be safe.


An Old Friend

Harry had found out a little about Raven when he'd read Regulus' journal. For one, she had been sorted into Hufflepuff. That surprised him, at first, but it made sense; he considered her most prominent traits to be loyalty, honesty, and tolerance, her bravery not as outward as Lily's had been. Raven still went into the Dark Arts, only she became friends with Regulus instead of Severus, as Harry would've guessed. She rejected the Dark Arts in her sixth year, after Regulus got his Dark Mark. She was forced to distance herself from Regulus, but they talked in secret whenever possible.

After Voldemort's treatment of Kreacher led Regulus to betray his Dark Lord, he visited Raven, who ran a home for runaway families, students, and adults in Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park, away from the center of the War, had been her home since Hogwarts, and nearly forty people lived around the property. Raven, aided by those old and well enough to travel, would help Mudbloods and blood traitors escape and move to the refuge.

Raven and Regulus lived together for a couple weeks before he had to leave. Regulus didn't tell her that he was trying to destroy the locket. Instead he left her instructions that, due to a charm, would only make sense if she knew about Voldemort's Horcruxes.

Harry had dug through his boxes of newspaper clippings and letters to find out what happened to Raven after Regulus was killed. The Daily Prophet, in an attempt to reconcile the public, published heroic and heartwarming stories about witches and wizards in the War. Someone who lived in Raven's refuge submitted a story about her. Through this, Harry found out that after Voldemort was presumably killed, Death Eaters went after her. Ever since she left the Slytherins in her sixth year, she must've been on their List.

September 17th, 1981 was the day Raven would've been killed by Death Eaters. Harry needed a a way for her safety to be guaranteed without having to continue to live in hiding, while also living a better life. Harry knew she'd had an interest in History of Magic, and would no doubt teach with a Hermione-esque consideration of how the Wizarding community ought to consider history's connection to the present.

The letter matched what he'd written in content but not form. Harry had charmed the letter to have different handwriting than his own, but the letter was in his own scrawl. It was on the same paper, as far as he could tell, so what'd happened? Had his other self discovered that he had written the letter?

The pace of Harry's heart increased. He unfolded the letter he'd given his first-year self and saw it was once again in his own handwriting.

Dear Harry Potter,

There is something you have to know in order to improve the life of possibly the bravest man I've ever known.

You saw him at supper, sitting at the staff table next to Professor Quirrell. He had a hooked nose, black hair, and you might already know he has a reputation for loving the Dark Arts. His name is Severus Snape. Your scar hurt when your eyes met, and you might misinterpret the look he gave you for hatred. But he doesn't hate you, or at least eventually won't; he actually vowed to protect you.

I should start from the beginning. Professor Snape was born to a witch, Eileen Prince, and a Muggle, Tobias Snape, making him a Half-Blood, like you. Severus' father was an alcoholic, and abused both Severus and Eileen. Severus' parents were very poor and couldn't properly care for him. He didn't have friends. As a result, he started learning the Dark Arts (the kind of magic Voldemort uses). You might wonder why Severus chose this path when you had a similar childhood and turned out fine. There are a few differences: Severus' abuse went to a more severe respect. His parents didn't feel inclined to keep things clean. His mother prostituted herself at one point, his father worked for little pay at factory. While you and Severus were both an only child, you didn't know you were a wizard. Severus always knew he would one day have power over the society that had wronged him.

Amidst this all, when they were both nine years old, he met Lily Evans—your mother. The two became best friends, and although Severus was sorted into Slytherin and Lily into Gryffindor, they remained close. Meanwhile, your father James and Severus grew to hate each other. James was madly in love with Lily, but Lily didn't return his feelings, primarily because James and his friends bullied and pranked many students at the school, especially Severus. They hated each other for their abundance or lack of looks and confidence, respectively. Severus hated that James always harassed Lily and still had a better chance of ending up with her, while James hated that Lily was closer to Severus, despite being on his way to becoming a Death Eater (a follower of Voldemort).

Severus was increasingly miserable because of James' bullying. Later in school, Sirius Black (your father's best friend) almost killed Severus, but James saved him. This only intensified Severus' hatred, because he hated being indebted to his worst enemy.

Severus was also miserable because his efforts to impress Lily with the Dark Arts weren't working. He was in love with Lily. He had fancied her for years, probably since they met.

I understand that's strange to find out, especially from a stranger, but it explains how he will feel about you. He'll dislike you because your dad won in the end. The tension between Severus and Lily culminated, to the point that he called her a Mudblood (an insult meaning dirty blood, since Lily had Muggle parents), and they were no longer friends. Although he regretted it, Severus had made his choice. Lily was seeing James by seventh year. They married, and had you.

Severus no longer had any ties to the good side, and joined Voldemort's forces. He overheard a prophecy that he delivered to Voldemort, concerning Voldemort's one threat—you. Only, he didn't know it was you (and therefore Lily and James) who was the subject of the prophecy, until after relaying the message. He begged Voldemort to spare your mother's life. Then he begged Dumbledore to protect your mother at the cost of his allegiance to Voldemort. In the end, Lily got in the way, and was killed. Severus' allegiance was sealed. He vowed to protect you, the last trace of your mother.

From then on, Severus has been a double agent against Voldemort. Only Dumbledore knows that Severus' loyalty is certain because of his love for your mother, and his resulting realization of the horrible power of the Dark Arts. All of this happened, mind you, well before he was twenty-two.

His purpose in life now is to protect the Wizarding World and in larger part, you, in Lily's name. In a sense, he's alive because you are. And he wants Voldemort dead for what he's done—if there's a chance of him being alive, of course.

I am telling you this so that you don't waste time and hatred by assuming that Severus is working for Voldemort. Dumbledore promised Severus he wouldn't tell you (or anyone) why Severus is good, just that you should trust his word.

Professor Snape has grown to be closed off, cruel, and unfeeling. While you see emotions as an advantage, he sees them as a disadvantage, as they can be exploited by Voldemort and only lead to pain. Expect him to treat you unfairly. He wants to hate you, but before long he won't, not really, even if it seems like he does. And he might seem to hate everyone, but that's because he, in part due to self-hatred and years of abuse, has no motivation to express kindness and compassion.

In short, trust Snape. If you can do that, his life will not end as pointlessly.

You probably want to keep this quiet, but you can trust your best friends. Use the journal I gave you to keep track of your school years, then bring it with you to meet me on August 2nd, 1998, at the Hog's Head.


Anonymous. Harry Potter?

"Anonymous" had been crossed out, with "Harry Potter?" written in its place, and in Harry's own handwriting. So he had found out. There was nothing to do except read the journal…

4 September, 1991

I don't know what I should write. I told Ron, and he still thinks Snape is rotten. I don't know what to think, especially after Double Potions. I said nothing to Snape, which confused him, I think—he was trying to start something with me. I want to ask Dumbledore about the prophecy, to make sure it's true, and so he can clarify some things.

And yesterday the Daily Prophet reported that the same vault (number 713) Hagrid had emptied on my birthday had been broken into. What use would anyone have for the grubby little package that had been inside? Hagrid is keeping quiet about it…

8 September, 1991

Harry had written something about Raven:

…History of Magic used to be taught by a ghost, Professor Binns, whom nobody liked, as he was incredibly dull. Professor Faralyn is much different; I never considered how long the Wizarding World has existed and how many problems it has. Mainly because of her I think it'll be one of my favorite classes.

Hermione, a sort of know-it-all in my year, has been nearly late to classes on multiple occasions because she stays behind to talk to Faralyn…

Harry stopped at a line about Quirrell. He had briefly described him as "suspicious." In the original timeline, Harry considered Quirrell to be strange, but harmless; certainly not suspicious. There was a definite shift in time now. Still, at first, the events continued to occur as they had before:

1 November, 1991

On Halloween, there was a troll in the dungeons. We heard that Hermione was in the girls' bathroom after we upset her (she'd overheard Ron making fun of how much time she spends with Professor Faralyn). Ron and I came just in time to stop the troll. Snape, Quirrell, and McGonagall showed up, and we would've been in big trouble if Hermione hadn't lied to cover us. I suppose it's natural that we're friends now…

5 November, 1991

I happened upon Snape and Filch; they were trying to fix up Snape's leg. If I hadn't read the letter, maybe I would've assumed that he had tried to get past the three-headed dog. But it couldn't be him, and Hermione agrees (I showed her the letter). She suggested we show Dumbledore (she and Ron then bickered over this for a time) and eventually we did.

You were telling the truth. Dumbledore seemed shocked when I showed it to him, but he confirmed its truth. Dumbledore made us swear to not tell a soul, especially not Snape.

12 November, 1991

First Quidditch game

I lost control of my broom halfway through the game. Hermione saw that Quirrell and Snape were muttering something and staring at me—

Harry's heart thudded. What would spotting Quirrell change?

Hermione was brilliant, she set his cloak on fire; then I was able to catch the Snitch. We told Hagrid, who couldn't think of much of a defense for Quirrell. He let it slip that he got the dog (Fluffy) off an unidentified Greek man, and that the dog is guarding something. Hagrid also mentioned that Nicholas Flamel is involved. Ron's brothers, Fred and George, who are Beaters for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, now have it out for Professor Quirrell…

Without worrying if Snape would catch them, it seemed the trio was more free to search for Flamel. There was another thing—

Hermione asked Professor Faralyn about Nicholas Flamel—apparently all she would say was that he was an alchemist, which reminded Hermione that she'd read a book on alchemy that mentioned him.

Now we know the Sorcerer's Stone is what Quirrell is after.

12 January, 1992

So much has happened since I've last written; I haven't had the time to write it all down.

Here's what happened: After the Quidditch game, I overheard Snape talking to Quirrell, threatening him. After Snape left, I followed Quirrell; he had gone in the other direction. It was hard to see in the dark, but Quirrell took off his turban and spoke to himself. I thought I heard another voice and movement on the back of his head.

I flew back to the castle and told Ron and Hermione. We didn't know where, when, or how to investigate until, for Christmas, I received an invisibility cloak. We fit underneath the cloak and snuck off to Quirrell's quarters. There, he revealed Voldemort, who had been living under his turban. Voldemort/Quirrell tried to kill us, but—and this happened very quickly—when Quirrell touched me, he burned. After he touched me I blacked out and didn't wake up until a week later.

Everything was bound to diverge now. Harry read through the rest of the year, and mentally compiled everything that had changed. Due to his trust in Snape, the trio had dealt with the Stone and Quirrell much sooner. This meant that their relationship was different—less built on working together, solving mysteries, but more on normalcy. Harry did better in school, and was able to help Gryffindor win the House Cup. His relationship with Dumbledore was stronger, brought together by Harry's outing of Quirrell and the letter he'd received.

Harry wondered, as he often had before, whether all this was an improvement. He continued on to his second year.

3 July, 1992

Tomorrow I leave the Dursley's for the rest of the summer. They argued about me going, in private, of course, but ultimately decided if I were gone they could go on tour around Europe and not worry about a babysitter.

15 July, 1992

The Burrow is fantastic, and so are the Weasleys.

Harry skimmed through the pages about his stay at the Burrow. During his stay, he grew close to everyone, especially Fred and George. Ginny, too, spent enough time with Harry to start to lose her nervousness around him.

Harry continued on to read about the initial events of the school year, which seemed familiar—hearing voices in the wall, being suspected by students and annoyed by Lockhart. When Colin Creevey was petrified, Harry wrote about suspecting Malfoy until Hermione brought it up with Professor Faralyn, who told her a little about the Chamber of Secrets and that Malfoy's bloodline did not connect with Salazar Slytherin. She didn't know anyone who'd be an heir.

In the original timeline, Harry only occasionally noticed that Ginny was acting strange, but he regarded the instances as disconnected, and didn't care to find out the reason behind them. Perhaps now that he'd spent the summer with the Weasley's, he cared more:

…also wonder if Ginny is okay. She isn't really approachable, and I don't know if it's my place to ask, but since coming back to school she seems to be acting strange…

Harry's desire to skip to the end grew constantly, but he persevered.

20 December, 1992

Professor Faralyn also received a letter; from the same person, too.

When Hermione was having tea with her, Faralyn sifted through her things to find a particular document. A letter fell out of one of her books.

Hermione saw that the letter was familiar and told her about my letter. Faralyn asked to see me immediately, so Hermione sent me to her office.

The Professor told me some of her story. She came to Hogwarts after receiving a letter that told her she would be killed if she didn't go. The handwriting matched the one in mine.

She told me she knew Snape better than most Professors. She had been sorted into Hufflepuff, but spent more time studying the Dark Arts with the Slytherins. They were mere acquaintances then; she was closest to Regulus Black, who was apparently the brother of my father's best friend, Sirius Black. That made me wonder why I lived with the Dursleys instead of my dad's best friend. Professor Faralyn appeared uncomfortable at this; she told me he was imprisoned, but wouldn't say what for.

She didn't seem to want to talk about my dad, either. All she would say that he was a bully until later in school, when my mum started seeing him.

My letter, overall though, upset the Professor. She expressed more emotion than other professors at Hogwarts, but never weakness. It was awkward seeing someone cry that I don't really know, especially a teacher, because I didn't know what to do. She told me she'd guessed about the abuse, even his infatuation with Lily, but didn't realize how the effects of both had lasted.

When Professor Faralyn recovered, she looked at the letter again and realized something. "Look at the writing. The letters, specifically. They look too similar." No one could write their letters the same way over and over again, she figured.

There was a knock on the door. We noticed then that it was after curfew. The invisibility cloak was in the pocket of my robes. Faralyn answered the door; it was Snape. Behind him was a nervous and uncomfortable Hermione. She'd stayed in the Tower to work on homework, and he'd caught her on her way back to Faralyn's office.

"Did you ask to see Ms. Granger after hours?" Then Snape noticed the streaks of tears on Professor Faralyn's face. "What happened?" And he spotted me. "What is Potter doing here?"

I went to the door, not knowing whether Professor Faralyn would have a good lie. "We needed help with our essay."

Snape raised an eyebrow, then looked at the table where the papers were laid out. He stepped forward, but Faralyn stopped him. This affirmed Snape's suspicion that they were lying and he strode past them.

"Accio letters!" Faralyn said, and before he could pick the papers up, they shot to her.

But Snape had recognized the letter addressed to her. "Isn't that the letter you were sent before you came here? What's the other one? Why are you showing Potter?"

"Sir, the Headmaster didn't want you to read it." I realized too late that what I said would guarantee that Snape would read it.

Snape froze, betrayed. His face red with fury, he approached us and snatched the letter from Professor Faralyn.

Hermione and I began to inch out into the corridor, but Snape ordered us to sit down, so we reluctantly went and sat at Faralyn's desk.

When Snape finished the letter, he looked up at me, then strode out of the room. Professor Faralyn told us to go back to our dorms, leaving in pursuit of Snape.

3 January, 1993

It's been two weeks and I still don't know what happened. I've caught Professor Faralyn and Snape staring at me; it's starting to make me anxious. At the same time, they don't want to talk to me, or look me in the eyes when I talk to them…

6 January, 1993

What's the point in writing anymore? Why bother writing to myself? I don't understand why you, or I, would tell me what you did. Are we the same person, or is this another lie? Either way, I'm going to keep writing, but I'm not going to meet myself at Hog's Head.

Professor Faralyn met with Ron, Hermione, and I. She had a lot to say, but not enough to make sense of what she discovered.

Snape decided to talk to Dumbledore; he didn't want me to know about his past, and was at least mad at Dumbledore for not telling him about the letter. Faralyn showed them what she'd noticed about the handwriting, and with some tinkering, they discovered that beneath the handwriting charm was…me. I wrote the letters. They don't know—or at least Faralyn didn't say—how this is possible. How could I know what happened in the past, and why was I writing as if I knew the future?

I asked if she knew if Snape would keep ignoring me. I felt more comfortable when he acted as though he hated me.

"It was easier for him to assume you're like your dad. Severus uses Occlumency to close himself off. I've used it before; you have to separate yourself from emotion, and part of that is simplifying a situation that favors how you 'need' to feel. This whole letter thing made that harder to do. I don't know when he'll come round, and I don't know everything he's feeling. You might have more luck asking the Headmaster." The professor sounded sort of bitter at this, but she recovered.

I asked what I should do. Professor Faralyn told me to stay out of his way, but "if he doesn't confront you by the end of the year, then you should talk to him."

She had another reason to call us to her office. She was concerned about Ginny. "I don't know if she's always been so reserved, but she doesn't seem to have any friends, and she appears to be sick most days, but if I ask she says she's just tired. She's having trouble completing assignments."

Ron looked at me, and shrugged. "Who knows with girls. She fancies Harry, I think that's why she's so crazy."

Professor Faralyn sighed. "I don't think that's the reason. I'd appreciate it if one of you asked her what's going on."

Hermione offered to help. When we got back to the common room, Ron and I went up to our dorm, leaving Hermione to go up to the girls' form. At the time, we weren't worried about what was wrong with Ginny. When it was time for dinner, we looked for Hermione. A third year girl told us she'd seen them leave together shortly after Hermione went upstairs. We found out later that Ginny had been in the dorm, writing in her diary. She was under Tom Riddle's influence and used some sort of curse to force Hermione to leave with her.

Ron and I didn't know where to look. As we walked by the unused girls' bathroom on our way to dinner, we were about to stop worrying—but we heard noises, so we investigated. Inside, we met Moaning Myrtle, a ghost who saw the two go into the Chamber of Secrets. She also revealed she'd been killed when the Chamber was last open, by a giant snake. I somehow knew how to open the Chamber—I spoke in Parseltongue.

The Chamber was cold, wet, dark, and littered with bones. We found Hermione and Ginny, but they were unconscious. Hermione's head was bleeding.

Harry skimmed quickly through—Riddle went through the same spiel, the Basilisk attacked, Fawkes flew in with the Sorting Hat. Harry killed the snake, stabbed the diary—

Except he stabbed the diary with Godric Gryffindor's sword (which had absorbed the Basilisk venom), and not with the Basilisk fang. Regardless of this change, Riddle vanished.

All this happened and it was only January. Because Harry hadn't wasted time assuming Draco was to blame and because Raven had paid attention to Ginny, time had been spared.

The rest of the year consisted of little dramas, seemingly insignificant compared to fighting a Basilisk. Perhaps because her crush on Harry had made her vulnerable to Voldemort, Ginny gave Harry space, and acted more normal when they were around each other. Harry once again spent more time on his studies and more time with Ron and Hermione.

14 June, 1993

I knocked on Professor Snape's office door. There was no response.

"I'm afraid Severus is not willing to see you, Harry." It was Dumbledore.

"Why not?" I was angry; the least Snape could do was acknowledge me, even if it were to turn me away.

Harry was familiar with how Severus was acting. When problems were complicated, as when Harry revealed his true identity, Severus shut himself down. The only way he could keep his head was to ignore the cause of his emotion, whether it had been Harry, James, Lily…

"Let's take a walk." Dumbledore explained that Snape was cold to me partly for my own protection, that if he were seen being kind to me, word would somehow make its way to 'the wrong people.'

"But isn't Voldemort dead?"

Dumbledore paused. "His diary was proof that he is still a threat." He recommended that I only talk to Snape outside of the classroom when necessary, or in front of those who knew of his true loyalty, to be safe.

7 August, 1993

I was watching the news when I saw a newscast about Sirius Black. It could've been any Black, just a coincidence, but when I asked Aunt Petunia if they'd said what his first name is, she told me it was Sirius.

"I know him," I said.

Everyone stopped to look at me. "You know him?"

"Not personally, no. He's a wizard, like me." I didn't want them to know he had been my dad's best friend. I ignored their uproars at my using of the word "wizard" as I wondered what he'd done.

If he'd made the Muggle news, could he come here?

Aunt Marge (whom I loathe) stayed over and taunted me incessantly, but I was too caught up in my thoughts to pay attention to her.

Harry was too preoccupied to pay attention to Aunt Marge? Before, Harry had become so mad he inflated her and ran away from home. What would change because of this?

9 August, 1993

I was at peace without Aunt Marge around, and by knowing that in a week I'd be staying at the Leaky Cauldron (Dumbledore suggested I go there, I could use some time away).

I snuck food to feed a stray dog that showed up after Aunt Marge left—he was nearly starved, and sort of creepy (black, and one of the biggest dogs I've ever seen, with these almost humanlike eyes)…

16 August, 1993

My first night at the Leaky Cauldron and I can't sleep, because Sirius Black found me.

I was taking out the trash a few nights ago and noticed someone in the backyard. "What are you doing here?"

He started, turning to face me. I recognized him and took a step back.

"So you know who I am, then?"

My hand went to my pocket, and I found I wasn't carrying my wand. "I know you're Sirius Black, and I know you were my dad's best friend, and that you escaped from prison."

Black smiled, and I saw that he was missing some teeth. I wanted to escape, but not enough to stop my curiosity; also, he was a direct connection to my dad. "Why were you in prison?"

He looked around, then gestured for me to come closer. I shook my head.

Black shrugged, then grinned, madly happy that he could finally tell his side of the story."I was framed. On the night your parents died, I discovered that one of James' former friends, Peter Pettigrew, had given their location to Voldemort. I went out to avenge their death, only to have Peter kill twelve people and blame me for them, and for the murder of James and Lily!"

I told him to lower his voice, unless he wanted to get caught. I was still suspicious. "How did you escape? Why did you?"

He stepped closer. "Part of Peter's plan was to fake his death. I saw him in the papers. See, we were sort of a gang; your dad, Peter, Remus Lupin, and I…and very good at magic. We became Animagi."

"What are Animagi?"

"We could turn into animals at will—well, a particular animal for each person. It's a very difficult process. Anyhow, Peter became a rat. Fitting, as it happens. I saw him in the Daily Prophet, he's the pet rat of a boy at Hogwarts…"

My stomach flipped. "Does this boy have red hair? They were in Egypt?"

"Yeah. You saw it?"

"Ron's my best mate. His rat's name is Scabbers."

"Let me ask you this—does Scabbers have a missing toe?"

"How'd you know that?"

"He cut off his finger to make it seem like he exploded. How long has this so-called Scabbers lived with…Ron?"

"They've had him for…twelve years."

"Rats only live for three, and your parents died twelve years ago."

It still seemed far-fetched, but I couldn't see a loophole in his story, except—"How did you escape?"

Black hesitated, then transformed into the same black dog I'd fed the day before. He then transformed back, though it appeared take a toll on his energy. If he was telling the truth about the animal thing, then could he be telling the truth about everything?"You have to register to be an Animagus. The four of us had done it in secret, so the Ministry has no idea. I became thin enough to slip through the bars of the cell in my dog form. The guards can't see real well."

A dog started to bark hysterically a few houses over, so we moved farther in the backyard. Anger coursed through me. "How could Peter have betrayed his friends? People who trusted him?"

"He's a coward, that's why. He wanted to join the winning side."

"Why not run away, why live life as a pet? And why didn't he kill me when he had the chance?"

"To keep an ear out for news, I'd think. He'd only act under Voldemort's orders, and if he knew there was something in it for him…"

"Then what do we do? I'm going to see Scabbers when I see Ron, what then?"

"Bring him to me. I'll make him suffer."

"But then you'll still be suspected for murder!"

"It'll be worth it, knowing he's paid the price. He killed your parents, Harry, surely—"

"No, we can't stoop to his level. The only way for good to come out of this would be your innocence proven."

"How do you suggest doing that?"

We stood in silence, thinking. I knew we'd have to make sure Pettigrew couldn't escape, and that he would be proven guilty for certain. "I have an idea. In the Ministry, is there a law enforcement department?"

"The Department of Magical Law Enforcement, yeah."

"Ron's dad works in the Ministry, and I've never been."

"So, you're saying, you could take him with you to visit, and maybe you pretend to know about Ministry secrets in front of Peter—"

"…And we'll show up there, report that he didn't register as an Animagus—"

"And he'll be exposed and I'll be proven innocent."

Now that I've had a few days to reflect, I don't know if the plan will work. I sent an owl to Ron asking him if we could visit the Ministry, and although I could tell he was surprised, he said his dad wouldn't mind, just that I should be prepared for a lot of questions about the Muggle world.

There was something Sirius hadn't yet told me; he was my godfather. "James would've preferred you to live with me rather than this lot."

"Where are you going to go now?"

"Remus, I imagine, believes I'm guilty. I'm going to find him and set things right."

1 September, 1993

"Black Innocent, Pettigrew Guilty."

I picked up a copy of the Daily Prophet yesterday, and that's what was on the front page. After days in court, the Wizemagot ruled in Sirius' favor. For his services to bring Pettigrew to justice, he got off with only a fine for being an unregistered Animagus. Apparently he's rich (he bought me a Firebolt after he was released!), so it shouldn't matter much.

The evidence against Pettigrew was enough for him to get a life sentence in Azkaban: old witnesses were unsure of what they saw; Sirius doesn't have a Dark Mark, but Pettigrew does; Pettigrew in Animagus form and human form was missing a finger…if he was involved with Voldemort, according to his Dark Mark, then why had he not stepped forward to provide testimony for those in the trial process? What finally did Pettigrew in, however, were other Death Eaters who were angry at his cowardice. Nearly a dozen provided testimony against him.

I met Remus Lupin at one of the trials. He wasn't allowed to testify, for whatever reason…

…Snape told the court the bare minimum, and maybe this is so he keeps the trust of both sides. Snape's quiet anger, I realized, if he needed to twist the story for the bad side, could be seen as anger at Pettrigrew's weakness. I knew the case was really about the past; Peter betrayed Lily and also aided in bullying Severus, which is why he also has it out for Sirius…

Over the course of third year, Harry's life revolved around simple things—his friends, his new relationship with Remus and Sirius; as well as the small dramas that arose from them. At first, the dramas seemed small, until he reached November:

…something between Faralyn and Lupin, Peeves caught them snogging, apparently…

Harry's heart raced. Until then, there hadn't been any changes that negatively affected anyone he cared about. If Raven was with Remus, then what about Tonks? Harry couldn't say that Raven was more or not as fitting for Remus, not when Remus and Tonks had a child together in his time.

In May, Harry had a dream about Voldemort, similar to what he dreamt over the summer before fourth year in the original timeline, except Peter wasn't in it, instead, a man with blond hair.

…"Yes, Albus?" Snape looked at me, but I couldn't read his expression.

"Mr. Potter had a dream about Voldemort. Care to explain, Harry? And please be as descriptive as possible."

I recalled as much of the dream as I could. Snape asked me to describe the man who was helping Voldemort…after I did, he identified the man as Barty Crouch Jr., who was apparently he presumed dead. Dumbledore told me to come directly to his office if I have another dream…

14 June, 1993

Voldemort has returned.

I was in Hogsmeade when I crossed paths with an old woman who was struggling to pick up her bag. Ron and Hermione happened to not be with me. I picked the bag up, not knowing it was a Portkey that would transport me to the graveyard of Tom Riddle Sr.

A man named Barty Crouch Jr. had been helping bring Voldemort back to life. He needed my blood—I still don't fully understand why—and used it to create a new adult form. He then tried to kill me, but I stopped him. The streams of our wands connected, and reacted (because our wand cores are the same?) and I saw my parents, as well as others he killed. They distracted him as I got back to the Portkey.

Nobody believes that Voldemort's back, except Ron and the other Weasleys, Hermione, and the staff. There was really no evidence; just Snape's Dark Mark and the cut on my arm, and my word.

Dumbledore notified the Ministry, but they refused to believe him. "Next year might be…different from what you're used to at Hogwarts," Dumbledore told me.

I asked him last week if I could stay with Sirius over the summer, but he told me I'd be staying with the Dursleys. A load of rubbish, this is…

Over the summer, the dementors attacked, and Harry learned about the Order, like he had before. Harry was as close to Hermione and Ron and he would've been when this all happened before his fifth year. Ron and Hermione, however, seemed closer to each other. They'd had fewer fights over the years, it seemed, and there hadn't been (or wouldn't be) a fight over Viktor Krum or Scabbers. The new Harry was already contemplating their relationship in his journal.

At Hogwarts, Harry had to deal with the Ministry and the distrust of others in a similar way, but without the jealousy of Hermione and Ron being appointed prefects or the haunting memory of Cedric's death. He paid no mind to Cho, who was invested with Cedric, but not to Ginny, either, as she was not yet on the Quidditch team. He started Dumbledore's Army, with spell recommendations from Sirius and Raven.

After dreaming about the attack of Arthur Weasley, Harry began Occlumency lessons with Severus.

I was nervous, for some reason. Or uncomfortable. I couldn't tell, being alone with Snape, if he was pretending I knew nothing about him, or if he was pretending to hate me.

"You must learn to control your emotions. It takes discipline, which you no doubt lack—"

"Why are you doing this?" I knew I'd probably crossed a line, but I didn't care at the time.

"Potter, do not interrupt me when—"

"I understand you have to act as though you hate me in front of others, but why now? How can you expect me to want to learn?"

Snape leaned in, voice a low hiss. "The Dark Lord can still access your mind. He cannot know any of this. Perhaps once you master Occlumency…" He paused, then was back to his old self. "Please address me as 'sir' or 'Professor.'"

Voldemort apparently has a connection with me that I must prevent, even though it's been helpful. If I allow the connection to continue, the Dark Lord may control me.

"Occlumency is extremely difficult to master. It requires a magical ability much, much more advanced than yours. I am going to enter your mind, and you have to force me out. Expel all emotion."

I nodded, and felt the spell hit me. Memories flashed by, of the Dursleys, the Burrow, feeding Sirius' Animagus, talking to Lupin about his relationship with Faralyn…then I forced Snape out.

Two months later, after weeks of training, Harry had nearly perfected Occlumency.

…"Once more," Snape said. I felt a tug on my mind, but by now I was able to recognize it and stop it.

"Good. You're ready." Snape crossed his arms. "I will inform the Headmaster."…

At the end of the year, Harry felt a tug on his mind in his sleep, and stopped it. He informed Dumbledore, who, aware of what Voldemort wanted, alerted the Ministry. They found that the Ministry had been broken into, and the Order of the Phoenix Apparated into the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort was sighted, and now the Ministry knew he was back.

And Sirius was still alive.

Harry flipped the page, trying not to get his hopes up, when he saw a chunk of pages was missing. Instead, Hermione had written:

In case you steal the diary, we ripped out the ending. If you want to read the rest, come into the Hog's Head as you promised.

Panic rushed through Harry. His fingers found the Time-Turner, but was hesitant to turn it. Should he seal the universe? He knew for sure that he, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were alive, but no one else. There had to be a way to find out what had happened other than from himself—

The Daily Prophet.

It was late, but Harry was bound to be able to find a copy of the Prophet somewhere in Hogsmeade.

He hurried out of the Shrieking Shack and into Hogsmeade. Under the safety of the invisibility cloak, he walked down the middle of the street, eyes moving quickly to spot a copy of the paper.

There one was, across from the Hog's Head. Harry ducked next to a nearby store and whispered, "Accio Daily Prophet!" The paper landed at his feet, and he bent to pick it up.

"Got you!" Someone pulled off his cloak. It was Raven.

Harry stood and put his hands up, noticing the wand she had pointed at him. They both glanced at the Hog's Head.

"I shouldn't come in contact with the other Harry."

Raven pushed her hood back, eyebrow raised. Wand still raised, she motioned for him to come further out of sight. "How do I know you're Harry Potter? Tell me something you know that he," she gestured into the Hog's Head, "wouldn't."

Harry fidgeted, thinking quickly. "Oh! You don't, or at least didn't, think we should have houses at Hogwarts."

Her wand lowered slightly.

"What else?"

"You like to draw, er, your parents were disappointed that you weren't sorted into Slytherin, you knew Regulus and Sirius Black when you were younger…" He stopped listing because she had lowered her wand, covering her mouth with her other hand.

Harry cut through her shock. "I need you to tell me who died in the past two years."

Raven blinked and lowered her hand. "I can't tell you, Harry's supposed to tell you."

"If you don't, I'll Apparate and find out some other way."

She considered him, then gave in. "Alright. Death Eaters, too?"

"I suppose—how about Lucius Malfoy and Peter Pettigrew?"

"Dead. I mean, Peter Pettigrew is. Lucius is alive."

Harry exhaled. "Alright, go on."

"Well, there's Voldemort, he's dead, I don't know if that's a shock for you. And, look, before I continue, at least tell me what's going on."

Harry leaned against the side of the wall behind them. "The short of it is I used Dumbledore's Time-Turner to travel back to 1971, when you were starting school, thinking I could, I dunno, get closure on things. This was after the Second War ended, and Voldemort was killed. I thought I could make Severus' life better. I felt guilty, and that kind of changed over time into us being friends. You and I were best friends, too. I went to school with you, in disguise, for five years, so. It didn't work out, because he and Lily, they…well, if they got together instead of Lily and James, I wouldn't've been born."

He paused. Raven was chewing her lip, but said nothing, so he continued.

"This was me trying again. I left a letter for you and myself, hoping to save you and also make his—Severus'—life better. But I can't make everything permanent until I know that things are better."

Raven leaned up against the wall next to him. "What could've happened to make your War worse than this one was?"

"We destroyed all the Horcruxes and Voldemort died, but a lot of people died that I cared about. Remus, for starters."

Raven turned to Harry. "Remus is alive."

"Tonks, then, do you know her? Is she…?"

Raven smiled. "Yeah, she's alive. They're together, you know."

Harry glanced at her, careful not to appear too elated, in case it was still a sensitive subject. "You don't still…?"

"No. Oh, Merlin, no, we're fine. And how do you know, was that in your journal?" Raven chuckled, then looked at Harry. "He should be with her. I was too conflicted, and didn't want to start something too serious if I wasn't ready. You must know how that would hurt him."

Harry nodded.

Raven cleared her throat. "More casualties. Albus…died. I'm so sorry. He was killed by Voldemort."

Harry swallowed, blinking rapidly. He had expected that to be the case once again, but one of his hopes was put out. "He died in my time, too. Er, how, exactly…?"

"Two summers ago, before you were in sixth year, Albus went to destroy Gaunt's Ring. It was a set up, it turns out. See, by then his diary, diadem, and locket had been destroyed, so he suspected Albus. Who else could it have been? We think Albus couldn't keep up with Voldemort because the Horcrux attacked him, somehow. But he still destroyed it."

"How were the locket and the diadem destroyed?"

"Albus theorized about the Horcruxes, and knew after the diary about their potential. You took it upon yourself to find the diadem, somehow figuring out that it was in the school. When I learned about the Horcruxes, Albus helped to interpret the instructions Regulus left me before he died in that cave."

Harry nodded. "When did Voldemort die?"

"Over a year ago. November 2nd. You were in your sixth year."

Harry was silent for a while. Finally, he asked, "How is that possible?"

Raven crossed her arms; the temperature was dropping. "You were on the run. You destroyed all of the Horcruxes, then battled Voldemort outside of Malfoy Manor. You had let yourself be captured."

"Did I know, then?"

"Know what?"

"That I was a Horcrux."

Raven nodded. Harry noticed her eyes shift to the Hog's Head. "I suppose I should start from your fifth year…You had destroyed the diadem and the locket. At the end of the year, Albus gave you the Elder Wand." She waited for an indication that he knew what she was talking about, then continued, "We think he knew he might be killed while destroying the ring, so it became yours instead of Voldemort's. You had to go into hiding, because he wanted you dead, and he wanted the wand.

"Severus sent Fawkes to find you and deliver a letter to you after you killed Nagini. It tried to kill you, but you had Gryffindor's sword. I believe Hermione beheaded it. Anyhow, the letter was to set up a meeting. Severus felt too pressured to directly meet, so he sent me instead."

"Were you on the run, since you were on the List?"

"Not until I knew the Death Eaters were taking over Hogwarts. When I found out you had to die, I admit I lost faith. Severus had only found out before Dumbledore was killed, and he, I believe—" she stopped to compose herself, "…wanted to die."

"Did he die?" Harry had dreaded the answer to this question since he picked up the journal.

He waited for Raven, who was unresponsive, to reply, and was about to repeat the question when she said,

"Yes. Well, he's…" her voice was quiet. "He's missing."

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