Melinda screamed as the hideous ghost spudded green ooze all over everything while muttering the words of the killing curse, but nothing really happened to her except it felt nasty, stuck to her skin and pigtails and gave off a slightly pungent odor. She finally let go of her right hand.
"I will not be late for class," Voldemort read what was written in blood on the back of her hand.
Melinda was still terrified by the ghost's horrific appearance, but the rational part of her brain began to realize how powerless he really was, so she decided to take her chances. She raced straight through him causing a change in the air flow that knocked Voldemort out of her way, though she still screamed some more as she ran away.
Once Harry purchased his candy, he made his way over to Three Broomsticks. He was still nervous realizing Ginny wouldn't remember the promise she made to him that they would always be together, but he didn't let that stop him. He marched right in feeling the pride of Gryffindor bravery. He wondered if he was still a Gryffindor. Who knows? Maybe in the new timeline, he didn't object when the sorting hat's original choice was to put him in Slytherin. No, that had no connection to Voldemort, did it? He had so many questions. He figured Ginny would be the one he could confide in. This could become a secret they shared; one they could bond over.
Then he paid attention to his clothes in hopes that he wore his school robes that would clearly identify which house he was in but alas no such luck. He noticed his clothes seemed nicer, probably pricier and fit much better than anything he received during his time at the Dursleys.
Of course, he noticed the fiery redhead occupying a booth in the middle of the place as if she were the beautiful centerpiece. Cho Chang stood up next to her table. Cho once had power over him and a special place in his heart. He even briefly courted her, but now as it stood, it was Ginny he wanted. Harry got close enough to hear their conversation. "You will just have to get me the owner. I am finding the service here subpar," Ginny told Cho with a smirk.
'Does Cho work here now?' Harry wondered to himself.
"Yeah, that won't be happening," Cho snapped at Ginny. "I know what you are up to."
"I am just ordering a few drinks and waiting for my…" Ginny began to say.
"Sucker who is going to pay for all your drinks well you just use him to…" Cho began to say.
"You should really learn to mind your own business," Ginny spat interrupting her.
"Yeah, that is not happening either. I will be sure to let Harry know that when he arrives," Cho declared having no idea how close by Harry really was.
"Let me know what?" Harry asked loud enough for both girls to hear him. He began to wonder if Cho was still his girlfriend and she was just going to tell him about Ginny trying to use Dean to make him jealous. He originally broke up with Cho because of her revealing Dumbledore's Army. Who knows? Maybe without Voldemort, Dumbledore's army never happened?
"That she is just.." Cho began to say as she whipped out her wand.
"Don't you dare!" Ginny screamed, then brandished her own wand.
"Protego Duo," Cho called out as Ginny began to use the Bat-Bogey Hex. A green light encircled Cho which successfully deflected Ginny's spell right back at her.
Bats flew from Ginny's nostrils and their wings smacked her face as they flew out. Several more flew out. "Awww," Ginny whaled as she held her own face and scoffed from the pain.
"I am so sorry," Cho said with the same pained voice she used when she turned him down for a date to the Yule Ball. "She is just using you… Just trying to make my boyfriend jealous."
"Your boyfriend?" Harry repeated. He realized he was wrong on the idea that Cho might be his girlfriend, which came as a relief on some level. Then he turned to Ginny with real heart break in his voice. "T-tell me i-it is-isn't so." His voice cracked.
"Cho is lying." Ginny only briefly uncovered her face, which appeared very red from getting smacked in the face by her own spell.
A familiar person came out from the back room, a voice Harry recognized. "Ginny, you don't have to use Harry to try to make me jealous," Cedric said as he slid into the seat across from her.
"Oh," Harry mumbled quietly to himself. Then he remembered Cedric died on the night Voldemort returned. Since Voldemort didn't return, that too never happened, so Cho and Cedric never broke up, but what does that have to do with Ginny?
Ginny's smile went wide. "I don't!" She expressed gleefully. Then she gave Cedric a seductive look. "All that is left is for you to dump the bimbo."
"What!" Harry felt like he just got a knife in the back. All he felt was sorrow and anger.
"That is never going to happen!" Cedric glared at Ginny with a nod. "Last night, after a very romantic dinner, I asked Cho to marry me."
"And I said yes!" Cho squealed in delight almost immediately. She pointed out the sparkly diamond ring on her finger.
"So, you see, it won't make any difference. Harry is my friend. If you use him, or any other guy for that matter, just to try to make me jealous, it won't work. All I will feel is pity for whatever guy you pick," Cedric said. "And another thing, if you ever call my fiancée a bimbo again, you are no longer welcome here. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes," Ginny pouted. Then she got up and walked toward Harry. "Harry?"
"Pay for your own drinks," Harry declared, then he stormed out slamming the door behind him. The full gravity of what just happened hit him like his heart had been ripped out and put in a blender. Without his boy that lived fame, now Harry was just like Dean Thomas to Ginny.
He wasn't sure where Hermione and Ron were, so next he thought he would wander the other way, to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Maybe he could talk to Fred and George. Hopefully, no matter how things were altered, they would be able to help him. Surely, they were still his friends, he hoped. He didn't expect them to take his side over Ginny, but if he never even brought that up just maybe he could get their help in figuring out what else changed in this timeline.
When he finally got there, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes didn't exist. Instead of looking like the colorful, cool store front Fred and George created it was a lifeless, colorless abandoned warehouse. This can't be right. Didn't he loan Fred and George the money to get started from when he won the Triwizard Tournament? Then he realized where Cedric was still alive, the tournament went very differently, obviously. He probably wasn't in it, and hopefully, he didn't have access to his inheritance because his parents were still alive and well, which means unfortunately, Fred and George had not yet realized their dream of a successful joke shop. He sat down on the steps and let out a deep sigh.
Then he heard another familiar voice. "I knew I would find you here. Although, I am not quite sure why you chose here," Daphne said. She sat down next to him. "Sorry, I was right about Ginny," she said sympathetically.
"Why did you tell me to go for it with her?" He collapsed his head into his knees without so much as looking at her.
"What? I warned you not to go with her. Like I told you before, she would just use you, while trying to make Cedric jealous. Ever since he won the Triwizard Tournament," Daphne started on a rant.
"Cedric won the Triwizard tournament?" Harry questioned with a farrow of his brow. "I mean, yeah, of course he did."
Daphne nodded. "Yeah, ever since then Ginny has been his obsessed fan girl." She patted Harry on the back. "It is her loss. She is passing up a really great guy."
Harry felt he needed to get his hearing checked. She couldn't possibly have said what he thought he heard. He looked at her, and really noticed the intense sparkle of her deep sapphire blue eyes.
Then she closed her eyes. "Daphne," Harry said.
"Shhh," Daphne shushed him. She concentrated as he had seen her do when she clasped the badge at her grandfather's house. A vision flashed in her head of Harry and another spirit suddenly appearing out of nowhere in the Gryffindor tower, where one of the spirits rejoined Harry's body at Honeydukes. "Weird!"
"What did you see?" Harry asked.
"I don't know how to explain it," Daphne said. "If I didn't know better, I would say you were possessed by a ghost, one that looked almost exactly like you. Maybe a little bit thinner and less muscular."
"Not quite." Harry took a deep breath. Then he explained to Daphne how he went back in time, changed something significant and returned to this altered present. "I have no idea how much the timeline actually changed."
She gave a skeptical look. "Who was the other ghost? You know, the really ugly one?"
"Voldemort. I think I successfully wiped out his existence in this timeline. And it made a big difference. Cedric didn't win the Triwizard tournament." Harry paused and swallowed hard. "He died. I think I might have prevented the first wizarding war."
"What wizarding war?" Daphne asked.
"So, I am right. There wasn't one!" Harry smiled for the first time since he left Ginny at Three Broomsticks. "Are my parents still alive?"
"Of course," Daphne nodded with a smile that soon faded as she realized what that question actually meant.
"That is great!" Harry smiled. "Am I still friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact you are. They both had detention, so that is why they didn't join you this Hogsmeade weekend," Daphne explained.
"Ron having detention, not too surprising, but Hermione? She is usually an exemplary student, or at least she was…" Harry questioned. He hoped his change in the timeline didn't change Hermione too much.
"Oh, no," Daphne assured Harry. "She is still an exceptional student, but she does tend to annoy some of the teachers."
Harry figured it was probably Professor Snape who gave Hermione the detention. He was going to ask, but Daphne kept talking.
"Not as much as Jasmine does though," Daphne said.
"Yeah, she rubbed me the wrong way too, when she said that she wished Ginny would drop off the face of the earth, but after careful reconsideration…" Harry bit his tongue before admitting he was starting to agree with her.
Daphne chuckled in an immediate understanding. "I understand completely! Jasmine and I both agreed on that one. You deserve far better than Ginny."
"Thanks. That reminds me. There was one thing you wanted too, and I was wondering?"
"What is that?" Daphne asked.
"Did you get to know your father this time around?" Harry asked.
"Yes," Daphne scoffed at that.
"That is wonderful!" Harry exclaimed. "You did say you wished you could have gotten to know him."
"Yeah, well, be careful what you wish for." Daphne bit her lip.
"Ah, what is the problem?" Harry asked with a note of genuine concern in his voice.
"I don't want to bore you with my problems," Daphne said. "Instead let me try to help you."
"No, please. I really want to know," Harry insisted.
"For the first time in forever, my father is considering remarrying and I think he couldn't possibly have chosen a worse person," Daphne explained. "I can't stand that woman."
"Maybe your grandfather could talk some sense into him," Harry suggested.
"I wish. Father says grandpa is dead to him, and if I want to stay in his good graces, dead to me as well," Daphne let out a deep sigh.
Voldemort slumped his shoulders down and made his way over to the department of mysteries. He took advantage of the fact that he was a ghost and went right through walls as if they weren't even there and had no trouble getting past all levels of security. He found what he wanted, the time turners. His only chance to fix this was to go back in time. He tried to touch the time turner, but his hands simply passed through it as if it wasn't even there.
If Voldemort wanted to fix what Harry had done, he needed to find someone to go back in time and do that on his behalf, but of course he realized even his most loyal followers no longer knew he existed. He knew this was going to be difficult.
I would like to thank everyone who favorited, followed, reviewed, and-or added this story to their community. As always much appreciated. I would also like to thank CSGT for his help with this story.
This is a shout out to Brockster550, who successfully called out exactly what I had in mind for Harry and Ginny in his review to my second chapter. Spot on!