Disclaimer: I do not own nor do I make money off of Harry Potter
Dedicated to njferrel, as usual, with an honorary mention for craftybookworm25, without whom, the conclusion would have never been posted
What would have happened?
I felt bad about leaving this hanging where it was for years, even if I didn't like the story anymore, or my characterization of the poor boys, or how dark the story was meant to become, and decided to release the train-of-thought, unedited summation of what would have happened had the story continued:
This year, Pansy Parkinson has Tom Riddle's diary. What, no! Didn't the boys have it? Well, remember when Starwa misplaced the boys on an energy high? Remember how the diary was on a shelf in the Hufflepuff hidden tower? Remember how Draco commented on there being space for a shelf in the closet Starwa "misplaced" them into? Well. All of these points you don't recall conspire to get Pansy's handsies on the diary. When they get back from their closet adventure, Pansy is already sitting in Draco's bed with a book to escape the snoring (Tracey's, not Millicent's, surprisingly enough) but what they don't know is that the diary made its sneakeh sneakeh way into Draco's unmentioned but obviously there bookbag while they were trapped in a closet, and out again to the floor while they're sleeping. When Pansy leaves the next morning, she takes her book with her – or does she? She accidentally grabs the diary when she leaves. Later, they explore Slytherin's chamber (Pansy, Hermione, Draco, and Harry – see the last few chapters) and kill the basilisk. But, doesn't this mean the diary is harmless now? No basilisk to set on the students!
But wait- that's not the primary purpose of the diarycrux is it? No, its main goal is bringing Riddle back to life like a psychic vampire zombie. As Pansy opens the diary, a glow of silver light briefly illuminates her curious expression before she begins to write.
So, the boys, Hermione, and Pansy have bonded over the Slytherin chamber exploration, and the boys decide to show them Hufflepuff tower and introduce them to Starwa. The girls are immediately taken with the castle's persona and spend a lot of time writing in her journal to speak with her. Hermione and Pansy enlist Theo in a protean charm research project, surreptitiously applying their findings to the journal and creating, you guessed it, diary-sized personal connections with Hogwarts/Starwa they tote around everywhere. So, no one really notices when Pansy begins writing more intensely in a different journal. Normally, Hermione or Theo, whom are both beginning to show signs of a crush on Pansy, would notice her withdrawing her attention from one of them, but because they're peripherally aware of their own crush-begun rivalry, they begin to focus more on one-upping each other rather than on Pansy, herself. Draco and Harry are distracted by Starwa's revelation of a shared Founders' chamber, where the last group portraits, un-magicked, of the Founders might be. She had it hidden from her by the Founders when Slytherin left, but thinks it might be a good project for the boys in addition to a slow confirmation of the Room of Requirement as the entrance to Ravenclaw's secret addition to the castle.
Meanwhile, Theo jokes, Hermione studies, Draco and Harry poke at the boundaries of the Room of Requirement, Ron and Ernie make nuisances of themselves, and Pansy gets weaker, and weaker.
Finally, Draco and Harry realize the diary is missing when a flash of silver light from the window briefly draws their attention to the bookshelf. Starwa can't remember moving it or seeing anyone move it, and the boys confront the girls, but Pansy is missing. Harry remembers the diary wanted the boys to walk into Slytherin's chamber and thinks maybe it doesn't know they've been there, killed the basilisk, got the t-shirt. Hermione and Harry run to check it out, while Draco goes to tell Snape that Pansy can't be found and might be in the grasp of an old, enchanted diary belonging to a T.M. Riddle. Snape pales, and calls Dumbledore in, as well as the other Heads of House. Dismissing Draco without explaining a thing, Draco runs off to join Harry and Hermione, only to bump into them on their way back from the chamber. There was a message left in blood, and a few strands of blond hair, detailing Riddle's farewell and thanks that they discovered such a handy exit from the castle, unmonitored by the staff. The teachers are informed, and the chamber, as well as Hufflepuff tower, revealed. Dumbledore is less than pleased, explaining how disappointed he is that the two of them would keep such dangerous secrets, though Sprout, surprisingly, comes to their defense, since they did reveal the chambers' existence when a friend was in danger. Though the dead basilisk they find when examining Slytherin's chamber makes her visibly reevaluate their sensibility.
Dumbledore identifies the blood as Ms. Parkinson's, just as a deep, mournful bell rings from somewhere deep within Hogwarts along with a flash of silver light. The bell hasn't been heard since 50 years ago, when Myrtle was killed in the girls' bathroom, and indicates the passing of a current Hogwarts student. The light, however, goes unexplained.
The boys and friends are in shock, but soon enough fights break out amongst the group, especially between Hermione and Theo, who learns too late of the explorations the four were up to. After a particularly explosive bout of the blame game and a flash of silver light, however, Hermione and Theo were seen to be holding one another's hands and sobbing, to the consternation of the Slytherin common room. As the anger and the blame-finding passed, the friends found themselves bound tighter in their grief, though Starwa continues to be ignored, and Hermione keeps both her and Pansy's private connections to her at the bottom of her trunk, despite knowing it wasn't her fault. Draco and Harry's closeness suffers a blow as neither feel they have the right to be happy when Pansy is dead.
That summer, Voldemort returns, Sirius dies behind bars, and the Malfoys break ties with Harry Potter. Draco, after attempting to flee, is kept in a bare room under lock and key, the items allowing him to contact Harry stripped from him as he is repeatedly warned that if he does not keep everything he knows about Lord Voldemort from Harry that year, he will be signing his family's death warrants, and that their deaths will be neither quick nor painless. Draco, against his better judgement, begs his father to go to Dumbledore for asylum, but his father merely cracks him one across the face for the very suggestion.
Meanwhile, Harry's been noticing more and more frequent flashes of silver light in the corners of his eye, and this, combined with the cold turkey cutoff of communication with Draco, as well as Hermione and Theo's despondency, begins to send him spiraling into a paranoid mess of guilt and anxiety. Petunia and her actions, particularly, seem to set off the little flashes, and eventually, Harry mentions it to her. She seems thoughtful, rather than dismissive, and says she's been noticing it, too. Ever since the mirror Lily once gave her broke before Harry's first year. Harry feels a chill pass over him at the mention, asking to see it with an urgency that concerns Petunia, but doesn't stop her from obliging. She kept the pieces in the hopes that she might be able to put it back together someday, due to its sentimental nature (see Shake My Hand: Rewritten). Harry can see there's some serious runework along the edges of the mirror, but he doesn't know enough about runes to even decipher a single meaning, so he tells Petunia his teachers at school may be able to fix it, getting her permission to bring it with him.
Lots of angst occurs as Draco avoids Harry and Harry tries to get a teacher to take him seriously, and Hermione and Theo end up pseudo-dating, bonding more over their lost chances with Pansy than actual attraction to each other, but resulting in an affection and understanding that helps them both. Ernie Ron dial down their murder attempts as Cedric turns his grief at the loss of such a young student into strict supervision and brings the Hufflepuff house plus Ron into some semblance of order. The two were, however, slightly shaken at the actual emdeath /emof someone they disliked, and might have left the others alone that year on their own. Neville, meanwhile, has retreated entirely back into his shell, spending all of his time outside or in the greenhouses, even skipping classes on occasion.
Outside the castle, war has rekindled, and the Wizarding World is getting lost in the fires. Hermione's parents are caught up in a raid, the Bones family, bar Susan, is practically wiped off the face of the earth, and Azkaban has become more of a time-out than an actual jail for Death Eaters.
Remus was meant to teach Defense that year, and might have humored Harry's concerns about his muggle Aunt's mirror, but with Sirius's death, even assumed guilty, he declined Dumbledore's offer at the last moment, leaving Dumbledore to the mostly DE-controlled ministry's mercy, which appoints Alecto Carrow, newly "pardoned" as the defense professor. While the Wizengamot is still populated with vaguely decent people, however, bribery and other inside agents have basically turned or killed the entire Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement. This means the laws are mostly the same, but the enforcing is widely off the mark, letting purebloods slide for increasingly ridiculous actions and arresting lower classes for insignificant infractions. Carrow, thus, has more freedom than he should, and makes Harry's mirror quest that much more stressful. Yet, he also intentionally becomes a source of new information about the mirror.
As Halloween approaches, Harry's flashes of silver grow stronger and stronger, and Draco, noticing the same thing, approaches Harry with a mix of reluctance and relief. Harry accepts the aid with the same mixed feelings, explaining that he thinks it's tied to the mirror, and doesn't quite know how it's affecting everyone else, but he's noticed that when Carrow is around, it almost seems to make the man pass over him for a moment before Carrow refocuses. Everyone else seems to get hit with a flash and change what they're doing in some way that makes Harry bump into Draco or make his life just a little easier – passing him something he didn't ask for, or talking coincidentally about the answer to a problem he's working on – but Carrow redirects. Draco says he's noticed bumping into Harry when things flash, and adds that no one else seems to see the light, with the possible exception of Dumbledore and Snape, who seem exceptionally ruffled this year.
At Halloween, with Draco's reluctant backing, they finally approach Dumbledore, who immediately recognizes the mirror. It's a Might Have Been mirror, an object used to trap a djinn, or a super-powered, malicious version of a genie, that was meant to be used to show what might have been had one made a certain choice in life. With the djinn released, Dumbledore hypothesizes that rather than showing the retroactive consequences of a decision, it has actually manipulated events in the direction of the wishes of the last magical being to own it, one Lily Potter, but with an ill-willed twist on her original intent. Looking at the boys, he tells them that if they will work with him, it's possible to summon the djinn and find out what it has changed. They agree, unaware of Carrow lurking in the stairwell. Dumbledore does his thang, and the djinn appears within the spell circle, a hulking, ominous figure, hazy as if being seen through fog or smoke, and glowing gently with an inner, silvery light. He is bound by Dumbledore to answer their questions, and explains that Lily had wanted her family to be happy when she bought the mirror (see SMH: Rewritten again). Harry is incredulous, as he isn't exactly happy right now, but the djinn shakes his head and explains that this is the best path to Harry's ultimate happiness, producing an image of an older Harry and Draco in an obviously foreign country, laughing together with marriage bands on their fingers, though each smile has a trace of sadness. It's Draco that breaks from the daze the image has produced first, asking suspiciously, "And what's the catch?" The djinn then displays images of Britain in ruins, Europe cowering at the threat of Lord Voldemort, graves of their friends, Hogwarts as rubble- images of death and fire and blood – all with a twisted, happy smile.
"No," Harry states, more firm than frightened, "Can we fix this?"
Dumbledore considers them thoughtfully, notes how Draco is standing by Harry's side despite the decision Harry's unilaterally made for them both, and whispers that they are not as alike to himself and Gellert as he might have thought. Abruptly, his visage firms and he nods, concocting a plan. He peppers the djinn with questions neither Harry nor Draco fully understand, and the answers are similarly bewildering. When it's done, his eyes are sad, but the steel has not left them.
"The divergence between the devastation you've seen and the original track this world was on appears to be the two of you," Dumbledore looks between them weighingly, "Your friendship. Your… future relationship."
"So, we'd… have to stop being friends from now on?" Harry suggests, looking torn, now.
Dumbledore shakes his head, "Worse, I'm afraid. The djinn is still linked to the moment of divergence, in a way, it is that moment, and in order to change the future you've seen, you would need to go back to that moment and change your past."
"We'd have never been friends," Draco concludes, voice tight and his hand gripping Harry's for the first time in months.
"Would it be better?" Harry asks, and the djinn turns to him, a calculating gleam in its eye.
"You would never be as happy as you could be in this future," it tells him, but Harry shakes his head.
"I couldn't be all that happy with everyone dead, anyway," he decides, but doesn't let go of Draco's hand, "Almost everyone."
"What would the world look like if we weren't friends?" Draco steps forward, "Show us."
And the djinn, a look of distaste on its face, does. This time it is Draco's parents in another country, laughing, with only a thin veil of grief over their actions; then Pansy and Theo slipping rings onto one another's fingers, beaming; Harry, Hermione, and Ron with their arms over each other's shoulders, dirty and disheveled adn weary, but triumphant; Draco holding Astoria Greengrass's hand; a memorial for heroes of a Second War with Cedric's name in a prominent place; and finally a tumultuous celebration, full of their friends' smiling faces, and even some they'd thought of as enemies (cough – Ron – cough) with a banner commemorating the anniversary of the fall of Lord Voldemort.
Draco is clutching Harry's hand for dear life now, has been since the image of Pansy alive, and the two look at each other helplessly, knowing what they will do even if it is the last thing they thought they would.
"There is hope," Dumbledore says, uncertainly, carefully, as if he hadn't known he would say it until that moment, "The timeline's divergence only extends to your seventh years here, from what I've gleaned of our discussion," he nods at the djinn, who scowls back, "After that point, these images are, shall we say, set in stone." When the two don't seem to catch on, Dumbledore looks at them over his glasses, "Regardless of the relationship you two may or may not have. The problem is, you likely won't remember this timeline at all after you've fixed the divergence. You might not… exist as you once were."
"That's nothing," Draco finally says, bravado up and running after an initial falter, "We can make it happen."
With that little bit of hope, they begin preparations for the ritual that will allow Dumbledore to push the two boys back through the djinn to the moment of divergence, however, just as the boys are meant to step through, Carrow reveals himself. Big, dramatic fight scene occurs, and ends when Dumbledore takes him down, but not before one last killing curse is sent Harry's way. It looks like the end, and Harry hopes Draco will still step through with him gone, but instead, Draco steps in front of him, taking the curse and dying on the threshold of the spell circle. Harry screams his name, tries to fall to his knees beside him, but Dumbledore grabs him by the shoulders and keeps his gaze, reminding him that when he steps through, Draco will still be alive, that only Harry can save him, and Pansy, and all their other friends, now. Harry's determination wavers, but he asks Dumbledore to let him say goodbye in a quiet, broken voice, and Dumbledore lets him go. Harry kneels beside Draco's body and takes his hand, leaning in and whispering something Dumbledore doesn't catch before standing again and wiping his eyes. He looks to Dumbledore and nods to him in acknowledgement of his help before stepping into the spell circle and the djinn's arms. The two of them fall for what feels like forever before Harry is standing just outside his Aunt's room at the Dursley's. He glances inside and notices the intact mirror wobbling at the edge of her make-up table. Darting in the room, he catches the mirror before it can fall, and his Aunt shrieks at him, drawing Vernon from the other room, who demands to know what he's doing there.
Harry looks from the mirror to his Aunt, then his Uncle, with honest confusion.
"I don't know," he says.
That would have been the last chapter, but eventually an epilogue with the potential for a sequel (that now will never be written, unless someone wants to adopt it or spin off on their own adventures with these ideas) shoved its way in there:
Every Halloween, Harry always felt a little off. He'd noticed it ever since he came to Hogwarts – how he'd start to smile at Parkinson, or scowl at Ron, or find himself following a certain blond Slytherin with his eyes. He didn't think it was anything malicious, since the first time it had happened, it had made him leap up at the very notion of Hermione being in trouble – saving her life and securing a close friendship that ended up being key to Lord Voldemort's destruction – so he couldn't really think too poorly of it. It was simply another oddity on Harry's list. At least, he hadn't thought too much about it until the Halloween after Voldemort's defeat. Harry woke up a little before midnight, the clock ticking loudly in his ears, and noticed a sort of silvery fog about the edges of his vision. As the grandfather clock in the hall struck midnight, his vision fogged over completely, a headache to end all headaches slamming into his skull and prompting a pained cry from the teen as memories and feeling and thoughts crammed into his head of another lifetime – of his lifetime – one after another until he'd finally recalled all he'd forgotten, lying prone and gasping on his mattress and staring at the ceiling as if he'd never seen it before.
"What have you done, this year, Harry?" Harry asked himself, sitting up and stretching as he rifled through his own memories for what amnesiac-Harry was doing all year, confident in the amnesiac-Harry's selective memory glossing over the oddities of this day as it always had. As it always would. Today was the day Harry could check on his friends, on the people who had mattered before… Before it all changed. And he had a lot to do if he wanted to get through everyone. They weren't all bundled up at Hogwarts like they usually were. In fact, Harry thought with a little edge of bitterness, our seventh year is up. It didn't matter. Draco hadn't come through with him. He was gone. Even if Harry could set things up to make amnesiac-Harry seem friendly to this Draco – who had likely fled the country by now - it wouldn't stick. Amnesiac-Harry and this Draco fought like cats and dogs, and look at what a glorious victory it had led amnesiac-Harry to.
The first Halloween, he'd had hope. He'd tried to catch Draco's eye, see if he remembered, see if- see if he'd made it, against all odds. But there was no recognition, nothing but a slighted boy, full of resentment and anger and entitlement. Nothing that didn't hurt to see.
But Harry couldn't stop looking. Every Halloween. Every time he was in charge of himself once again.
He was already on his way to do it again.
Surreptitiously, of course; no need to let the Malfoys know he'd tagged Draco with a tracking spell back in their fifth year. They might take it off! He was surprised it had survived their flight from Britain. They were in just in Ireland right now, just on the edge of the waters separating it from the mainland, and Harry twisted on his heel, Apparating blindly nearby.
His job was done, after all, though he hadn't known it was his, at first. What was the problem with a little risk, when he wasn't needed anymore? Amnesiac-Harry didn't feel far from the same.
Harry survived the jump, which he'd mostly expected, but he hadn't expected Draco to be sitting alone in an empty field on a nearby boulder, looking for all the world as if he'd been waiting for him. The petrificus totalus was similarly a surprise.
"Alright, Har- Potter," Draco said, standing and looming over the petrified Potter, "Who's Starwa, and what the hell'd you do to my head?" His words were harsh, but his tone uncertain, and Harry, frantically, desperately, tore the petrification apart from the inside, making no move to flee once he had, but instead taking an urgent step closer and searching this-Draco's eyes more closely. There; there it was; it was- it was- Draco.
Draco uncomfortably took a step back as Harry's laughter graced Halloween for the first time in nearly a decade.
"We've got a lot to talk about."