Chapter 1: Regrets, Fear, and Time
Regret. It had become such an enormously powerful force in the world of Draco Malfoy. Regret about the choices he had made over the years. Regret about the choices his father had made over the years. Regret about the unfortunate circumstances that had forced his family to cower to the whims of a lunatic almost constantly. Regret over circumstances that had led him to living in fear in his own home.
Fear. Fear of pain, mostly. It was probably the biggest driving force behind all of his regrets, if he were honest with himself. But remorse and guilt also drove some of them; although he would desperately deny it to any who would dare accuse him of it. He was a Slytherin. Slytherin's weren't supposed to feel remorse or guilt for their actions. They were proud of their actions; or they hid them and denied them while secretly reveling in them.
For a Slytherin to change their stance on an issue because of pain was acceptable. That was self preservation, A trait that Slytherin's were well known for. A good Slytherin could thrive in the toughest of environments and make the most of it; claw their way to the top no matter the challenges that they were faced with. And Malfoys weren't just good Slytherins, they were great. Or at least, they had been. Now they seemed to have been reduced to little better than house elves. His father's substantial wealth was actually draining with horrifying speed for the sake of bankrolling the Dark Lord's bid for world domination, while he and his family cowered in terror and groveled at their master's feet, as if hoping for scraps of approval; desperate to their honor, and place of esteem in the world of wizards. At this point however, Draco would be utterly shocked if any of them lived beyond the end of the next year. The Dark Lord was winning. The man was a power-hungry monstrosity that fed off of the pain and suffering of others as if it were his life blood.
After his father's failure in the Ministry, it had been expected that Draco take the Mark and fill his father's vacant spot in the Dark Lord's ranks. He hadn't had a choice in the matter; it was do it, or die. Simple as that. And so Draco had bowed his head, called the hideous serpentine creature his Master and gritted his teeth as his left forearm was flooded with pain that he had never before experienced as he was branded a slave. 'A Malfoy bows to no man.' He snorted bitterly in his mind, recalling the words his father had said to him numerous times during his youth.
While his Marking had been the most painful thing he'd experienced in his pampered little life up until that moment, it was certainly not the most painful thing he experienced after it. The Dark Lord seemed to get his jollies off by torturing his followers, and since Lucius was still locked away in Azkaban; no doubt enjoying the vacation since the Dementors were no longer there (and being absent from the mercies of his Master); Draco was left to the whims of the Dark Lord and all of his deep, furious ire in regards to Lucius's failure.
Draco had been taught to cast the Cruciatus curse, although he'd never quite managed to summon up enough true hate to pull it off very well, but he had never been on the receiving end of the curse until the Dark Lord turned his wand upon Draco and absently sneered the spell as if he could only barely be bothered with it. Draco had no idea what he could have possibly done at that time to earn the curse. He later realized that nothing had to be done at all for the Dark Lord to turn his wand on his followers. He just did it sometimes. He supposed the man was bored. Needless to say, the summer between his fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was the most painful summer he had ever experienced.
But even the knowledge that he would be returning to Hogwarts could not give him reprieve or relief. Because the Dark Lord had given him a task. An impossible task. It was a task intended to fail, Draco knew that. He was no fool. The Dark Lord had absolutely no expectations that Draco could possibly pull of what had been assigned to him, although he was damned well going to try because if...when he failed, he would be at the Dark Lord's mercy once again, and he knew it was at that point his life would meet it's end. The task in question was to kill Dumbledore of all people. Dumbledore! It was utterly ridiculous! The Dark Lord himself could not kill the man! Of course there was another aspect to his task. One that was slightly more possible, although still proving to be remarkably difficult; he was supposed to find a way to get a group of Death Eaters into the school so that they could mount an attack from the inside.
The very idea made Draco ill. The idea of exposing his fellow school mates to the whims of his Aunt Bella, or Fenrir Greyback... They had tried to assuage his fears by pointing out that none of the Slytherins would be harmed in the attack (they would be warned to stay down in the dungeons and Severus would make sure that they stayed put) but that didn't make Draco feel even the slightest bit better. He had come to realize that no matter how hard he had tried over the years to be just as cold and heartless as his father had trained him to be, he had still been coddled by his mother, and found that he really did not have the stomach for all this death and blood. He could be a fine politician someday, assuming of course that he could ever hope to live that long, but watching people that he had attended school with for five years die before his very eyes...because of his actions...he just...didn't think he could stand it. And so he found himself feeling utterly torn and conflicted as he spent every minute of time not in classes or rushing through his classwork desperately trying to find some solution to his tasks, while trying very very hard not to think about the consequences of success.
It was during these desperate efforts to try and find some solution to his imminent doom, that he stumbled across a box. It was in the cluttered mess of a room that he'd moved the broken Vanishing Cabinet into in order to work on fixing it. The room had been used by Potter the previous year for that damned defense group that Draco had jealously wanted to attend, but would have never ever earned an invite to. Instead he'd ended up on Umbridge's stupid little Inquisitorial Squad. But it was because of that that he'd learned about the room. Umbridge has used some of Snape's Veritaserum on one of the Ravenclaws in the defense club and gotten all of the details about the room out of her. Most specifically the fact that it was called The Room of Requirment and that you could make it into whatever you needed as long as you asked for it properly.
When Draco had requested a room where he could hide something and walked in to discover a cavernous cathedral-type room filled to the brim with mountains upon mountains of junk... well, it had been a bit startling and overwhelming. But he had mostly ignored the mess of junk and focused his limited time and effort towards addressing the Vanishing Cabinet. But sometime after Halloween while Draco had been failing to make any progress at all on his task, he had bumped into something-or-another and knocked a blood stained rug off a broken table to reveal an ornately carved wooden box underneath it that seemed to call to him.
Generally speaking, Draco knew better than to approach any magical object that seemed to call to him. His rather impressive skill in Occlumency usually prevented him from being affected by such magics as well, but at this particular moment, he couldn't quite stop himself from bending over and picking the wooden box up. He found his way over to a table that wasn't broken, cleared it of the rubbish littering the top of it, and set the box down gently. He stared down at it feeling bewildered by what he was experiencing. For some reason, he felt absolutely convinced that the solution to all of his problems lay within this box. And that knowledge seemed to have sparked life into a long dead, abandoned seed of hope, deep in his heart. But why he felt this way, he couldn't say. Hesitantly, he unlatched the small, black, weathered catch holding the box shut, and opened the lid. Inside he found a piece of folded parchment and a book. That note and book would change his life drastically. Far more-so than he ever would have guessed. However, he would come to determine that the changes were decidedly for the best.
Time. It was relative. It was mostly a matter of perceptions as well; not that Draco had ever really given time much thought before. He was aware, on some level, that time was not nearly as perfect and measurable as some would insist. Time could pass so quickly when he was enjoying himself, but it would drag on forever when he was waiting for something, (or when he was suffering under the torturous pain of the Dark Lord's Cruciatus curse). And as such, it was very easy for Draco to accept the fact that time was not nearly as cut and dry as many people believed. But Draco had been raised a pureblood from an old magical family and there were certain 'truths' about magic that had been drilled into him since his youth, one of those truths being you don't mess with time.
Tampering with time was even more forbidden than the Unforgivables. Anyone that the Ministry discovered dicking around in Time Magic without proper authorization, got themselves a one-way ticket to Azkaban, for life. But when the voice in the back of Draco's mind reminded him of that fact, his eyes would slide down to his left forearm and see the ugly black tattoo that now tainted his otherwise perfect flesh and remember that he already bore his ticket to Azkaban, or death, which ever came first. And so he pressed on, because the more he had thought about what he had discovered inside the box, the more tempting the possibilities became. Because Draco Malfoy had a lot of regrets. A lot of things that, looking back, he would do differently. And what would things look like today, if certain other things had gone differently?
He had come to realize that he would give just about anything if it meant the end of the Dark Lord. The thing was, he really didn't know how to do that. Harry Potter was being heralded as the Chosen One, and if what he'd learned of the Prophecy that had landed his father in Azkaban was true... The Dark Lord had only ever learned the first three lines of the Prophecy. Not many people were privy to that information, but Draco was one of them. His father had told his mother the previous Yule holidays while the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters were quite desperately trying to find a way to acquire the damned thing from the Ministry. Draco had long ago taken up the habit of spying on the goings on in the manor whenever he was there. Malfoy Manor had passages between all of the walls that the house elves used to move things, or to hid in the shadows so that they would be ready at a moments notice when one of their wizard masters needed something. As a young boy, Draco had taken to playing in the tiny tunnels, and discovered that the old silencing wards on them had degraded over the years and his parents had not realized. He'd learned quite a lot of interesting, and occasionally disturbing, information that way. Especially since the Dark Lord had taken up residence in his family's home. He'd learned that Sirius Black had never been a Death Eater, and reports that he'd betrayed the Potters were greatly exaggerated. The man had been a member of the Order, and he had apparently died during the debacle at the Ministry at the hands of his mad aunt Bella.
He'd learned that Peter Pettigrew was called 'Wormtail' because he was an animagus who turned into a rather fat, ugly looking rat that had apparently been Weasley's pet rat, which he had to admit he found very amusing. He'd learned that the insanity that happened in his second year at Hogwarts with the Chamber of Secrets had something to do with a Diary that the Dark Lord had left in his father's care during the first war, and that his father had not had permission to let the book out of his hands, and that somehow at the end of Draco's second year, Potter had managed to destroy the book. That had absolutely infuriated the Dark Lord. But despite the things that he did know, he still realized that he really had no idea how to go about saving his family from a fate he considered worth than simple death. Servitude, groveling, and pain, at the feet of a psychotic masochist.
He did know that it was Pettigrew that had found the Dark Lord's disembodied spirit and helped him regain a body. So if he could somehow prevent that... well, the man had just been a stupid little rat, right? So, he would kill Wormtail while he was still Weasley's pet rat, and there would be one crisis averted. But he realized that he wanted to go back... well, to first year, if he were being honest with himself, and if what he found in The Box was true, he could.
Going back to first year would also mean going back to the year that Quirrell was at Hogwarts with the Dark Lord hidden beneath his smelly turban. Potter and his friends had somehow stopped the Dark Lord at the end of their first year, and something Potter had done had banished the Dark Lord to whatever dark forest Pettigrew had later found him hiding in. So if Draco went all the way back to first year, he either had to make sure he didn't mess with time so badly that Potter failed at stopping the Dark Lord, or he would have to personally make sure that Potter succeeded at it again, and seeing as how he really didn't know many of the details about that whole ordeal, the chances for that were slim to none.
Sure there were loads of rumors at the end of his first year, but it was hard to know what to believe and what to not. He was fairly sure that the rumor that Dumbledore had been hiding the Philosipher's Stone in the school was actually true, because that was just the sort of barmy thing the old coot would do, not to mention, it was one of the few magical artifacts that the Dark Lord would actually risk exposing himself over. But still, Draco just didn't know. He would be leaving a lot of things undecided and unplanned, which never sat well with him. For once in his life, Draco was willing to just take a chance and leap into things head first. Quite simply, his current situation was so miserably dire that just about anything would be better, and he was willing to take the chances and deal with things as he was faced with them. It was a disgustingly Gryffindor approach, but Draco was desperate. And desperate times call for desperate measures. Thus, Draco found himself rushing with only one day left before the Yule Holidays would begin and he would have to return to a Malfoy Manor filled with Death Eaters, and one very horrible Dark Lord, in hopes of completing his preparations, arithmancy calculations, and the last of the series of potions he would need to take in order to perform the complex ritual described in the book and letter he'd found within The Box.
He was going to send his memories, knowledge, and magic back in time to his previous self. He was going to change the past, and hopefully make a much better future for his family and his self. His father would not approve of what few plans Draco had made, but in the long run it would benefit them far more than the poor choices Lucius Malfoy had been making, and the miserable path it had led them all down. Draco was willing to take his younger father's disapproval in the short term if it saved them all in the long run. If Harry Potter was the Chosen One, then Draco was going to make sure that Potter would be as prepared as possible to fulfill his destiny and rid the world of the horrific monstrosity that was the Dark Lord. He would befriend Harry Potter at all costs and he would get his family on the side of the Light, whether they liked it or not. Hopefully, he wouldn't get disowned for it before they realized it was all for the best.
Pain. Confusion. Disorientation. His head exploded with pressure, and a maelstrom of confusing images, memories, emotions and sensations filled him, coursed through him, and a moment later, caused him to black out completely.
Draco Malfoy woke up in the center of his bedroom, sprawled out on the plush carpet floor to the sight of a pair of large, terrified-looking eyes and enormous floppy bat ears starting down at him, and a pair of long-fingered and wrinkled hands wringing nervously, over top of him. He screamed in shock and pushed himself back and into a sitting position before scrabbling to the wrist holder he'd taken to wearing on his left arm that had the dual benefit of making his wand easily accessible and covering the damned bloody tattoo on his arm, but the holster wasn't there. Neither was his wand anywhere on his person. For that matter, his scream had been shockingly high pitched. Nearly as high pitched as the terrified shriek that had emitted from the house elf as it too jumped back in shock. The elf in question then began to beat its own head in with the nearest blunt object as it berated itself for scaring the young master. Draco just gaped and watched the familiar elf punish itself for a moment as he attempted to sort through and make sense of the garbled mess in his mind. Clarity increased with each passing second and finally he seemed to collect enough of himself to order the elf to stop hitting itself and tell him the date. The elf promptly stopped hitting himself and informed Draco that it was the young master's eleventh birthday – June 5th, 1991. It had worked.