Chapter 1 Convincing the Potters
Thanks to alix33, darrelldeam and Winter_Weasley for looking this over. All mistakes are my own.
A sequel to A Brand New Start, you're more than likely going to have to read that one to understand this one. Hydrus goes back and saves his parents, what will that do to change the timeline?
There will be cussing in this story. Hydrus isn't all powerful or super smart. He is going to make mistakes, quite a few actually, or else this would be a very short story.
There will probably be little romance in this story. As we found out in the past; I'm not very good at it. Though, Lily and James will get lovey-dovey from time to time, hence making them a couple in the summary.
Since this is already a pretty long AN, I'd also like to add, since it has been mentioned a few times and in many of my stories, I do know the difference between 'Grandfather and I' and 'me and Grandfather'. I only use it for character. I feel that though Sirius and Hydrus know the correct way to speak, they are casual people and use lazy terms. However, I give thanks to those who try and educate me; it is nice that you took the time to do so.
The first four paragraphs are from the last chapter of the first story.
Update: I just wanted to say that I am revamping this story, the first five chapters are done and being post right after I type this, on this day 3/9/16. Thanks to Winter_Weasley for taking the time out to help me rewrite and move on. If you don't see her name at the top of the page, it hasn't been reposted yet. Hopefully a new chapter will be out soon.
I don't own Harry Potter.
Standing in the empty house on July 31, 2033, Hydrus looked over the homunculus that he created, using his blood and hair. It was the spitting image of him and he had used the Elder Wand to ensure that no one knew it was a fake. Making sure that it would pass inspection, he banished it to the flat he rented when he put the house on the market. He fondly looked around the house that held so many memories and then straightened his shoulders.
Creating the same time warp he used before, he stepped into the near blinding white portal. He felt like he was moving through an electrical storm. He came out the other end, banished the portal and noted the house was empty. He went through the same motions of buying the house, setting up his accounts, getting a car, putting his name in the system and settling down.
A week later, using the taboo, he went about capturing the Death Eaters, this time changing them into lifeless objects and putting them in his pocketspace. He decided they would stay there forever, or he would break them at some point, who knew. The time traveler also hunted down the horcruxes that he could. After having captured and transfigured thirty Death Eaters (including the entire inner circle, barring Snape) and removing the dark curse from the diary and the diadem, (the ring was inert after he came back) he turned his attention to meeting the Potters.
On August 23, 1981, a month before they went into hiding, Hydrus made his way to the house in Godric's Hollow and knocked on the door. He drew in a breath when James Potter answered, he could see Lily holding baby Harry in the background, looking ready to run. He put on his most innocent face and said calmly, "Hi, my name is Hydrus Black. You don't know me, but I have a story you're going to want to hear."
"What?" was the confused response from the man in the doorway. "Who are you? What story could you possibly have to tell us?" James demanded, shaking his head to clear it and holding his wand at the stranger's head. "You said your name is Black. Are you related to Sirius? Why are you here? If you are a Death Eater I will kill you before you hurt my family," He fired off and tilted his head and looked at the man in front of him. He looked like Sirius, but then again, so did most of the other Black males and they were all Dark Wizards. He kept his wand raised, ready to start fighting for the lives of his wife and child.
As James was talking, Lily was inching closer to the stairs, in case this stranger was a Death Eater, though so far he didn't seem to act like one, she wasn't taking the chance. She didn't want to make any sudden moves, so that it wouldn't draw the man's attention. She was at the base of the stairs when he answered one of her husband's questions.
"Related to Sirius? Well, in a way," Hydrus hedged with a small chuckle, rubbing the back of his head. He took a good look at his dad for the first time in his life, the messy hair, the lean body, and the hazel eyes. Then he turned his eyes to his mum, red hair, green eyes, and tone body. He drank in the images and knew he would use this memory for his Patronus, since one of the things he always wanted in this life and the last two was to see his parents. Oh, he had seen the pictures and memories, but it was completely different to see them alive. "I'm not a Death Eater, and I can give you a vow that I mean you no harm, but I truly have a story you need to hear," he offered sincerely.
That made Lily pause, her foot on the bottom stair, still clutching a wiggling Harry, who was fussing at his mum's stress. It was a big thing to give a vow and this man offered it with no qualms. She turned her attention back to what was happening at the door as she rocked Harry to calm him down.
"Alright then, give us your vow," James said, keeping his wand pointed at the unknown man's head. He too was amazed at the casual offer.
"I, Hydrus Williamsford Black, do hereby swear on my life and magic that I am not a Death Eater and I mean no physical harm to anyone with the last name Potter. I also swear that the story I'm about to give is the truth. This I swear on my life and magic, so mote it be," the immortal recited, and a blue light surrounded him, sealing the vow. He knew his account was going to cause mental distress. He gave an innocent smile and a questioning look to the man holding him a wand point, not blaming him; this is a time of war.
"Right, come in then, but be warned if you break your vow, I'll act before your magic does," James threatened, moving away from the door, still leery, but mollified that at least he wasn't out to harm his family. He caught the wording of the vow, but was willing to listen to this stranger's tale.
"Like I said, I have something to tell you and you're not going to believe it at first, but I have a pensieve to prove everything I tell you is true," Hydrus stated as he sat on one of the comfy chairs, his hands in plain sight on the arms and his ankles crossed in front of him, giving off an air of non-intimidation, trying to put the tense couple at ease. He knew these were dark times, that they knew the prophecy, well at least that there was one, and he was very surprised that they let him into the house. He casually looked around the room.
The living room was cosy; one sofa, two chairs and a table in the middle all done in tones of muted brown. The floral rug was a nice touch in tones of green and brown, complementing the furniture. Pictures of the family lined the walls and there were two bookcases crammed with tomes. A large fireplace was on one wall, probably the Floo, a fire burning in it making the room a comfortable temperature. There was a playpen in the corner and a desk on the far wall.
"Is there a danger to our family?" Lily asked as she tentatively sat with baby Harry on the sofa, James joining her.
"That's kinda what I'm trying to prevent," Hydrus said, pulling out the pensieve from his pocketspace, causing the two Potters to gasp, and putting it on the table. "What I'm about to tell you is going to be hard to hear, and when I'm done I'm going to need a vow from you to keep it a secret. I swear I'm only here to help." His tone and eyes were full of good intentions. He only hoped what he was about to do wouldn't cause too much distress. He, however, had no problems wiping the memories of his younger self's parents if it would protect them and him. If they took what he was about to tell badly, he would take the day from them and do everything in his power to save them, even if he had to kidnap them and hide them in his house. He sincerely hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Harry started to fuss, so Lily excused herself to go and put him down for his nap. Hydrus and James simply stared at one another until she returned. Five minutes later, the redhead sat next to her husband and an uncomfortable silence filled the air.
"Right," the time traveler said, shifting in his seat. Now that he was here, he really didn't know where to start. He decided that he was going to be as blunt as possible. "Well, first off I want to tell you that… ummm… well, my birth name is Harry James Potter," he finally blurted out.
Lily gasped, her eyes widened and she looked at the man's face, trying to see if there was anything to prove he was telling the truth, but seeing very little resemblance to her son. This man had long straight black hair that reflected blue, his eyes were grey and his cheekbones were high. He looked like a Black and not a Potter.
Hydrus noted her confusion and then remembered his eyes were covered with his colored contacts. He knew if he took them out that she would see her own eyes reflecting back, but he held off on it for now. He was brought out of his thoughts when the elder Potter jumped from his seat.
"That's bloody impossible!" James yelled, standing and pointing his wand at the man. "How dare you say something like that? What are you trying to pull? There is no way in hell you'll ever get the Potter fortune!" he bellowed, thinking of the first thing that came to his mind.
Harry started crying and Lily ran up the stairs to calm him down, returning a few minutes later. She stood by her husband's side. The two men stared defiantly at one another, one with his wand trained, and the other with his hands still resting on the chair.
"I have my own gold and would never take money away from little Harry. Besides, I can prove it," Hydrus reminded him softly, not moving an inch until the shocked man sat back down. When James flopped back down on the sofa a few minutes later, Lily joining him more slowly, Hydrus removed the memory of the night they died and put it in the pensieve. "Before you watch this, I want to tell you that I am here to prevent this night from happening. It will be hard see and it is alarming, but it is the only memory I have of you two." His thoughts were that this would be the most convincing memory, even if it would be hurtful. He threw up a Muffliato to prevent them from waking Harry again. He had learned his lesson well in the other timeline, when he raised Harry. While he still didn't use magic willy-nilly, silence spells were gold to parents.
The two Potters looked at one another and held a silent conversation with lifting of eyebrows and small gestures. Hydrus simply waited them out, remembering all the times he had done the same thing with Grace. Damn, I miss her, he thought sadly, it had only been a few months to him that his love died. Even coming back to the past didn't dampen that loss.
James broke the silence and said, "I'm going to view that," he pointed at the pensieve, "and Lily is going to keep her wand on you. If this is a trick, then I will kill you myself." Then he dipped his finger in the bowl and was sucked into the memory.
Lily kept her wand trained on the still unknown man. She didn't believe he was from the future, everything she ever studied said it was unmanageable. They waited in silence until a crying James came out of the pensieve.
"Oh, Merlin, it's true. He is… was… I don't know… but he is telling the truth," the emotional man said, very shook-up at hearing his own death and seeing the downfall of his wife. He wasn't exactly sure what happened after. He saw You Know Who fire a Killing Curse at his son, but obviously he didn't die, it was a question for after he convinced Lily.
"What!?" Lily shouted, sitting up straighter and lowering her wand in shock. "That's not possible." She turned her disbelieving gaze to her stunned husband, eyes roaming over his tear-streaked face.
"Look for yourself, but I have to warn you it's traumatizing. Lily, that memory is about the night we died. It's not a fake, I can tell. No, he's telling the truth," her husband said, not really wanting his wife to see that, but if it was the only way she'd believe, he wouldn't stop her.
"How do you know it's not a fake?" Lily asked, not wanting to believe any of this. What about timelines and paradoxes? Wouldn't this man being here destroy the universe? If he was telling the truth, whole world should have imploded when he had looked at Harry and saw himself. How is any of this possible? Those thoughts flitted through her head as she glared at the innocent looking bowl on the table.
"There are no fuzzy edges; the whole memory is crystal clear. No, trust me, it's real," James said, taking her hand. "I was taught by my dad on how to see if a memory is fake. Lily, I don't want you to see that, but if it is the only way, then prepare yourself." His tears dried and his facial expression formed into one of determination. "Besides, his vow makes him recount only what's accurate."
Lily sat and continued mulling over what the stranger said and then looked at her husband, whom she trusted with her life. "No," she sighed, leaning against the man she loved, "I'll take your word for it. I trust you, James." She sat up, squeezed his hand and kissed him on the cheek. Then the two Potters turned to who they now believed was their grown son, mostly.
"Right," Hydrus said, happy that this version of his mum didn't witness her demise, though he felt bad that his dad had and wondered if he should have started off with something less morbid, but couldn't really think of anything that would have had the same impact. "We can do this one of two ways, I can simply tell you my story or you can view more memories."
"I think we're going to need tea," Lily said, getting up from the sofa and making her way to the kitchen.
"I think we are going to need something stronger," James corrected and moved to the liquor cabinet in the dining room.
Hydrus just sat back and let them do whatever it took to calm them down, though he wouldn't turn down a nice cuppa. A short time later, Lily returned with a tray laden with a tea service and flaky pastries. James had already seated himself on the sofa and was downing fire whiskey.
Hydrus was concerned that the man would get too drunk to listen. "James," he said softly, making the drinking man look up, "I really need you sober."
"Right," the messy-haired man said, taking one more shot and thumping his glass on the table. "Let's hear your account first and if that doesn't do it, we'll look at a few of the memories." Lily nodded in agreement and served the tea, handing a cup to Hydrus and taking the bottle away from her husband. They all settled for a long talk.
"Great," Hydrus said, sitting up and sipping his tea. "My tale begins from the moment you just witnessed, James, which was supposed to happen on Halloween this year. It all started with a prophecy…" he continued to tell of most his life as Harry Potter up to the point where Rita had tried to out him as a Dark Wizard, after the war. He told them of Dumbledore leaving him at the Dursleys. The abuse he suffered at their hands. He continued on about his life at Hogwarts, the good times and the bad. His tale of the horcrux hunt and the final battle were told in a monotone voice. His voice was furious at the hardships of the Muggle-born and what little was done for them. He finished with the statement that he had more to tell, but later.
The Potters went through a variety of emotions; anger, sadness, fear, laughter and then rage. They were pissed-off that their sort-of-child had had to live such an awful life. If this man hadn't come back in time, their Harry would suffer the same fate. This led them to be thankful to the time traveler, though Lily still didn't understand why the world hadn´t imploded.
Every time they tried to interrupt, Hydrus would hold them off, stating he would answer their questions when he was done. They did, however, view a few of the memories and were shocked over how Hydrus had suffered as a little boy, yet proud of the way he fought and won every obstacle.
An hour later, after telling the first part of his first life, Hydrus waved his hand indicating he was done for now and they could ask questions.
"Let me get this straight, Harry was to be raised by Petunia?" Lily all but snarled, leaning forward in her seat as if the answer would be better the closer she was to the source.
"Yes, but in Dumbledore's defense, he truly thinks the blood protections would help him," Hydrus said, not wanting them to hate the old man, just be wary of him.
"You said he knew the Dursleys would treat you badly," Lily wasn't buying it. She would do everything in her power to make sure that her Harry didn't suffer the same horrid life.
"He did, but he also knew of the horcrux and felt the wards would prevent possession, it was the lesser of two evils," the immortal said, holding up his hands to the angry woman. He knew that now, but at the time he really hated the old man for making him suffer. It had taken years of therapy to calm those wild emotions.
"Your life was in danger every year you attended Hogwarts," she stated as a rebuttal as she folded her arms and looked sadly at the boy who was once another Lily's son.
"I know, I was there and I am still a bit peeved at Dumbledore for that, but it hasn't happened and my Harry had a very good life in school," Hydrus said calmly.
That made Lily pause, they hadn't gotten to that part of Hydrus´ tale yet, so she sat back, still fuming, and waited.
"Peter betrayed us?" the gobsmacked James asked, not wanting to believe any of the Marauders would do such a thing. He ran his tired hand down his face and took another shot of fire whiskey.
"You and Sirius," Hydrus said firmly. "Remember he framed Sirius and my godfather spent twelve years in Azkaban." The immortal really hated Pettigrew and no amount of counseling would help him get over those feeling. He was glad that Peter was one of the first he captured when coming back, though remembering that little man's fate in the last timeline made him smile vindictively.
"Right, is he a Death Eater now?" the older Potter wanted to know.
"Yes, but, I've already taken care of him," Hydrus said smugly.
"How?" James asked.
"I'm not going to tell you that," the immortal said. "I want to give you plausible deniability," he said with a smirk, using his favorite reason, which was the truth, to keep his secrets. "However, I will let you know that the headlines you've probably read were all true. I'm just not going to tell you who or how."
That caused another silent conversation. Both the Potters had read the newspapers and they were reporting that several prominent people had gone missing. Now, he was telling them that he was somehow involved. Perhaps, it would be better if they didn't know.
"Okay… is he dead?" Lily wondered out loud, hoping this version of her child wasn't a killer.
Hydrus sighed, remembering all the times Remus and Sirius asked that same question in the last timeline. "I will say this now; I am not a ruthless killer. If I can find another way, I will not take a life, but, there are times when drastic measures must be taken." His face got hard and he glared at his younger self's mum.
"Okay," she said slowly, not sure how to take that and exchanged another look with her husband.
It was then that Harry woke up from his nap, his cries muffled by the charm, but heard nonetheless, and she excused herself to go and get her son. Hydrus dropped the silencing spell and waited with James. She re-entered the room a few minutes later with a clean baby, who was cooing at the stranger. Harry held out his little arms and babbled.
"Well, he seems to like you," the mum said in wonder. Harry, though a happy baby, usually took a minute to respond well to people he didn't know. He never liked Peter, and now they knew why.
"I am him, mostly. He took to me in the last timeline too," Hydrus said, tickling the baby under the chin and making him giggle. "He was always a happy child," the immortal reflected.
"Right, I think you need to tell us about that," James stated, taking Harry and setting him in his playpen, so the adults could talk. Lily went to the kitchen to get the one year old a snack to tide him over until they were done. She returned with a teething biscuit and after handing it to the tot, she sat back next to her husband, making sure she kept her baby in sight.
"First let me finish the first timeline. So, after the war the reporter I told you about, from the Triwizard Tournament, Rita Skeeter, decided that the world needed a new Dark Lord and I was it. It all started with an article…" and he went on to tell of the wizarding world turning on him once again, the goblins being their nasty selves, his ex-best male friend believing the rumors, his new best friend in George, Hermione's undying faith, and what he did to destroy that world, while saving the Muggle-born and raised.
Another few hours went by, with a few breaks for the baby and nature, and when he was done the Potters were giving him looks that said they weren't sure whether it was a great prank or whether he was a sadistic man. This of course reminded him, again, of Sirius and Remus from the old timeline and he sighed. "It took years of therapy, but I got over those vengeful feelings," he said, hoping to ease the nervous looks.
"You went to therapy?" a somewhat doubtful Lily asked.
"I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, of course I sought help," Hydrus all but growled.
"Okay, no need to get defensive, I was just wondering, most men don't get professional help," the redhead said, holding up her hands.
"I made Sirius get the same treatment in my last timeline, but that is a tale for another day. It's getting late and I've not received your vows yet. I really need those, so no one can get the story from you. I know you both know Occlumency, Sirius told me you learned it in Hogwarts to hide your mischief, so I don't have to ask about that, but I do need you to swear you'll never tell anyone, unless I agree," Hydrus said, putting down his cup, gathering up the pensieve and looking his parents in the eyes showing he was serious.
"After what you've told me, I see no reason not to give one," James said, giving a vow never to tell Hydrus´ secrets. Lily followed, if only because this man was her son… sort of.
"Thanks for that, now I'm going to leave you with a choice to make. Do you want to go into hiding with me, until the Dork Lord is taken down, or do you want to take your chances on having Sirius as your Secret Keeper? I can tell you that my wards are from the future and there isn't anyone who can penetrate them, not even Dumbledore. My best friend was a genius and she invented some pretty nasty ones, not to mention my other friend who incorporated some really good defenses in them," Hydrus said proudly, thinking of the first timeline's Hermione and George and getting up from his seat. "It's a big decision, so talk it over and I'll be back tomorrow to finish my story."
The Potters rose as well and James shook his hand, "Well, I have to say it's been interesting to meet you, Hydrus Black. I'll talk with Lily tonight and we'll make our choice, but I have to tell you, either way we chose, we will want you in our lives." This was his son, for the most part, and he wanted to know everything about him. What he recounted today was unbelievable, yet there was truth behind his words and the vow went a long way in making the tale solid, not to mention the memories. He did a full body shudder at remembering his death, glad Hydrus came back to prevent it.
"I agree," Lily said, giving the immortal a hug, making the man blink back tears, "no matter what we decide on, you will be part of this family." Her thoughts echoed James's.
"That's all I've ever wanted," Hydrus said, swiping the stupid tears from his eyes. He looked at the two young people and smiled. "Thanks, I'll be back tomorrow." And with that, after giving his younger self a kiss on the forehead, he headed out the door and went home.
Lily looked at James and the couple sat on the sofa. "Well, this has been an eventful day," she deadpanned, glancing at her infant son. She wondered how much of Hydrus she would see in Harry now that the timeline has changed.
"Quite," James agreed just as stoically.
Harry started fussing and the small family went about their nightly routine. James and Lily discussed the story the time traveler told them with fear, anger and a small bit of lingering doubt. After putting the tot to bed they once more sat on the sofa, holding hands and snuggling into one another for comfort.
"What should we do?" Lily asked softly, wishing she had asked Hydrus for that wonderful silencing charm. She vaguely remembered Severus doing the same charm, but it was after they had stopped being friends. She got a bit upset over how her former friend treated Harry's future self, and vowed to make sure that didn't happen again.
James sighed. He was still having a hard time getting over the betrayal of what he thought had been a good friend. His mind had been going over all of his memories of Peter wondering what they could have possibly done to make him turn on them. He got nothing. "I think we should hear the rest of his story before we come up with a final answer, but I also think I'd rather be behind wards that are strong enough to prevent Professor Dumbledore from entering. I mean, I still… well not trust, but respect the man. However, after what Hydrus told us, I'm not sure we can rely on him to protect us." He leaned back and looked at the ceiling, his mind in turmoil.
"I will do anything to protect our son," Lily growled. "Even if it means we never talk to that old goat again."
"I know. I saw the memory of you dying, remember? I will also do anything, but I was wondering if Hydrus could put the wards on this house, that way we don't have to uproot our lives." It was an insightful thought, he loved this house it had many good memories. There was also the fleeting thought of moving back into the manor now that his parents were gone. But he was comfortable in this little cottage, so no, he'd leave the ancestral house for Harry.
"That's actually a good idea," she said with a playful smirk.
"Oi, I have good ideas," James protested, tickling her in the ribs.
"I know you do, sweetheart," she said, swatting his hand away. "Let's let this go for now and go to bed. We'll ask Hydrus in the morning and see what he says." She leaned over and gave her husband a kiss that held promises of taking his mind off all his worries for the night.
James growled and deepened the kiss. Soon enough the two lovebirds were not thinking of anything but each other.
The next morning, Hydrus came after the small family had eaten breakfast. Lily answered the door and waved him in. She then put Harry in the playpen and sat next to James. The immortal settled in the same chair and waited for one of them to speak.
"We talked it over and want to hear the rest of your story, before we give any kind of commitment," James said, breaking the silence.
"Fair enough," Hydrus said with a nod and threw up a Muffliato. "Before the goblins threw me out of their bank, I made them give me an inheritance test. Seems some people left me their vaults, because I was the Boy Who Lived. There were three that weren't family. One was from a man named Stonewall…" he told them of everything he found in the three vaults, the inventions, the time travel theories and the other useful and useless things. He then went on to tell them about how he changed to a Black, because Sirius asked him to, and came back and what he did in the second timeline. How he, Sirius and Remus had created a utopia for Harry. It was with a soft voice that he finished with, that he was the Master of Death.
"You're immortal," a wide-eyed Lily said, of all the things Hydrus told them that was the one that stuck out the most in her mind. She had heard the tale of the Three Brothers, but didn't really know what holding all the Hallows entailed, but the one thing she did know was it made you immortal.
James, having grown-up on Tales of Beedle the Bard, also knew and stared at the other man in wide-eyed wonder.
"Yeah, it was kinda an accident and believe me when I say that, besides saving you, one of my greatest wishes is to be able to die. Death said it was impossible, but I'm looking into it anyway," he answered as casually as he could. He had thought about looking up Grace in this timeline, and then he realized he was mentally over ninety years old, and the whole thing made him feel like a pervert. So no, he wouldn't be doing that, besides it would hurt too much.
"Right," James said, shaking himself out of his shock and mulling over the story about Hydrus' accomplishments. He was a bit in awe at how mature Sirius was in that timeline and wondered if his friend would turn out the same now.
"We were wondering if you could put your wards up here," Lily suggested, changing the subject. It was something that was going to have to be researched.
Hydrus smacked himself on the forehead. "Why didn't I think of that?" he whinged.
"I think you just wanted us away from the house that holds bad memories for you," the female Potter said softly, patting him on the hand.
"I guess so. Kinda selfish of me, but you could be right. Anyway, I can put those wards up and you will be safe. Who you choose to enter them will be up to you. I do recommend that it be as few people as possible, Sirius, Remus and if you must Dumbledore. Do you want to call Sirius and have him as your secret keeper? Or did you want to pick someone else?" Hydrus asked, getting up from his chair and pulling out the Elder Wand. There were other wards to be added besides the Fidelius and he was going to put them up now.
"Well, we were wondering if you would," Lily said, putting her hand on his arm. They had talked it over after their lovemaking and both agreed that no one would think of them using this unknown man, who had given a vow to not hurt them. That did make her wonder why they didn't make Peter take a similar vow in the first timeline.
"Me? But you just met me yesterday?" the immortal said incredulously, falling back into the chair.
"Yes, but you are the older version of my son," she said firmly.
"Ummm, well, I suppose I could," he stuttered out, still mystified at the request, then firmed his resolve and nodded. "Yes, if it will keep you safe, then that's what I'll do."
"Right, let's get to it then," James said, clapping his hands together and getting up from his chair. The three of them went about erecting every ward Hydrus knew, and soon the house was impenetrable. James had Hydrus write two pieces of parchment with the secret and flooed his two remaining friends. He told them to meet him at the pub in Godric's Hollow and gave them the secret. They followed him home impressed with the wards.
When Sirius saw Hydrus, he did a double take. "Who are you? You look like a Black," he said, echoing his past self, unknowingly.