It's Bloody Better: Harry Snape and the Time Paradox by VerityGrahams
Summary: The Battle of Hogwarts is over, and the dust begins to settle. The trio are haunted and not just from the battle. Harry wants to do something about that, something that Hermione doesn’t agree with at all.
Categories: Parental Snape > Biological Father Snape, Parental Snape > Biological Father Snape > Severitus Challenge Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Draco, Dumbledore, Hermione, Lily, Neville, Remus, Ron
Snape Flavour: Canon Snape, Comforting Snape
Genres: Action/Adventure
Tags: Alternate Universe, Deaged!Harry, Deaging, Time Travel
Takes Place: 1st Year
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 7272 Read: 1711 Published: 24 May 2021 Updated: 09 Jun 2021
Thirtieth August 1943
by VerityGrahams
Author's Notes:
Last time:

Harry, Ron and Hermione were traumatised by the war, and as the dust settled, Harry made the startling choice to use a Time-Turner. While Ron decided to go along with Harry, Hermione no longer recognised her friend, but she grabbed Harry’s arm to stop him, pulling her along anyway.

Beta Readers: Lun, x Hemlock x,
Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood cemented for an eternity, watching the world flash past. The room devolved backwards through time, streaks of colour blurring Harry’s vision, so he no longer knew when he was. The experience was like the Floo Network, Portkeys, and Apparition rolled into one nauseating experience.

They were slowing down. Fuzzy shapes and colours moved, and the sturdier Harry felt, the crisper the colours became. Soon the room came into focus. Devices and Artifacts covered large oak tables, though there was only one time-related experiment on display. It showed mice, running through a tunnelled cage, ageing and de-ageing as they went. However, Hermione’s fury was far more pressing.

Hermione paced before the white-washed walls, glaring at the Time-Turner, yanking it from Harry’s hands. ‘It doesn't go back in hours. Look at the date!’

Thirtieth, August 1943.

‘I know,’ said Harry, rubbing his arm where Hermione had left angry half-moons indented into his skin.

She began marching and mumbling to herself again, tugging on a stray lock of frizzy black hair.

'1943,' Harry whispered to himself.

He closed his eyes and crouched on the floor, leaning against the hard wooden leg of one of the tables, drumming his fingers against the soft carpet.

‘What happened in 1943?’ Harry asked, looking up at Ron.

‘Harry, we can’t change anything,’ Hermione said before Ron could answer. Her words were a whine, high-pitched and annoying as if she knew what his mind was grasping for.

Ron wasn’t backing him up either. He hadn’t moved an inch as though still fixed to the floor.

‘Be quiet, Hermione. I’m thinking.’ Harry clasped his hands over his ears, his fingers catching hold of his hair and pulling hard.

‘No,’ she shouted, kneeling before Harry and prising his hands from his ears. ‘Don’t even think about it. I’m drawing a line; this isn’t something I can sit back and ignore—’

He pulled away from her. ‘But you didn’t ignore us, did you? You decided to shred my arm and come along.’

‘I didn’t want to come!’ Hermione was something to behold. Masses of black hair seemed to expand, and her eyes narrowed. ‘As usual, you leapt into action without a thought for the consequences. You’re crossing a line, Harry. If you go through with this, I’m not sure I’ll know who you are anymore.’ Hermione reached for him again, her hands trembling even as she clasped his.

Harry stood and backed away. ‘You don’t understand.’

‘Messing with time on this scale is ludicrous. It’s insane. It could change the entire course of history.’

‘And? Our history isn’t that great, Hermione.’

He tried to summon the anxiety that should have been bubbling over like an out of control potion, but it wouldn’t come. There was only hope.

She looked at him a moment, then turned her back. Soon, she was pacing once more, her fingers combing through her wilder than usual hair.

‘I’ll figure out what to change to make things better,’ Harry said. ‘Better for everyone.’

‘It's not like anyone will find out,’ said Ron’s sickly green pallor revealed the lack of confidence in his words. ‘And let’s face it, things always work out. Eventually. Hermione,’ he continued, ‘last time you said that people lost it when they saw themselves. It’ll be fine, r-right? W-we're not going to run into ourselves in 1943.’

‘What if Harry accidentally murders his great-grandma Betty? He isn’t even a foetus, Ron. He’ll never be born. And what if someone mistakes you for one of your relatives? What if we get caught? And then there’s Grindelwald. We don’t know what to do, Ron.'

The words tickled the edge of Harry’s mind. There was a hint so close to the answer he was searching for.

Ron pulled Hermione into his arms while he trembled. He rubbed her back, and her shrieks decreased. ‘Don’t worry.’

‘Don’t worry! Really, Ron?’ Hermione said, the banshee-like screams coming back with a vengeance. She descended into mumbled rants about contaminating timelines, paradoxes, and Harry’s ridiculous plan to change reality in its entirety.

‘Hermione’s broken,’ Ron said, turning to face Harry. ‘I get that we travelled decades back in time, and Grindelwald is likely ruling the world while Tom Riddle sits in the Chamber of Secrets taking notes, but I think Hermione is our more pressing concern. I would really appreciate it if you got up off the floor and helped.’

Harry ignored Ron and sprang to his feet, grinning.

’That gives me an idea,’ he said.

He walked over to Hermione, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, and smiled at her, his back abnormally straight and his head high. ’I say we get a little help. Hermione, can you come with us? You wouldn’t want anyone to see us. That would break your precious rules.’

‘Harry, you’re being a bit of a git now.’ Ron’s eyebrow was twitching. ‘Given we’re in the forties, I think she has a point.’

‘Sorry. We don’t have loads of time, though. We need help, right, Hermione?’

‘Of course. Harry’s right, Ron.’ Hermione’s tense shoulders relaxed. ‘We need help. Should we go to a library?’

Harry grinned at Ron. ‘If a secluded library is what will help you think, that’s where we should go, right?’

‘Right.’ Hermione beamed at Harry. ‘Where will we find a secluded library?’



When they had left Hogwarts, the sky had been gloomy and overcast, the castle burnt and crumbled, but now it stood majestic and whole under pinpricks of starlight which lit their way.

They crossed over the bridge that Seamus Finnegan and Neville Longbottom had blown to smithereens, walking through a landscape of comparisons and absences. Harry kept glancing at the empty spot where the Whomping Willow would stand guard in a few decades.

They followed the familiar path right up to the familiar oak doors.

Their footsteps echoed on the cold, stone floor of the deserted castle. Suits of armour gleamed, portraits slept, and precious stones filled the upper globes of the house hourglasses while the bottoms were empty. It was bittersweet, reminding Harry of the first time he had passed through these doors.

‘What are we going to do if Professor Dumbledore isn’t here?’ Hermione asked, breaking the loud silence. ‘Term starts tomorrow, and it will be far too busy then.’

‘Well, it’s not going to make me change my mind. I’ll go to the Room of Requirement and wait.’ Harry strode through the entrance hall towards the marble staircase.

Hermione and Ron ran after him. ‘He’s not going to agree to your ridiculous plan. He can’t,’ she said, pulling Harry back, but he was always one step ahead. ‘I just hope he’s able to send us back to where we belong.’

‘We had a deal, Hermione. Dumbledore decides. If he wants to send us home, then that’s what we’ll do,’ said Harry. ‘If he agrees to my plan, then we’re doing it!’

‘Can you two stop bickering? Someone’ll hear.’ Ron stepped into the empty Great Hall.

Everything was still and orderly. The smell of polish greeted them, wafting up from the four house tables, and there was only a glimmer of light from the magical ceiling. The candles were all extinguished, just like they had been when they had left their very own Hogwarts the day before.

Ron stood in the shadow of the door, peering into the dark corners of the vast room, but it was as empty as it seemed.

‘Ron’s right. There could be teachers anywhere.’ Hermione’s lips thinned, and she looked at Harry. Despite his being a step or two above her, she still managed to look down her nose at him.

Harry glanced up at the main staircase that led to the headmaster’s office, and it swang to the left, heading in an altogether different direction. He remembered Professor Dumbledore was not the headmaster yet.

’Hermione, what subject did Professor Dumbledore teach before he became Headmaster?’ Harry asked.

Hermione stood there silent, her arms tense at her sides and her fists balled. She looked away, blowing her anger out through her nose.

’If you want him to send us back to our own time, we still need to find him. If you don’t spill, I’ll walk around shouting his name.’

She studied the wooden bannister, feeling the smooth polished grain under her fingertips.

Harry said, ‘I know I’m baiting you, and I’m sorry. You said it yourself once, I have a “saving people thing”, and this could save a lot of people.’

She turned around, looking Harry in the eye.

‘We both know it’s not about that, Harry,’ she said. ‘If it were, I wouldn’t be so angry. You want your own way, to bend and break the rules to get everything Voldemort stole from you. It has nothing to do with saving people.’

‘Hermione—’ Ron began.

‘Maybe you’re right,’ said Harry, ‘but we can’t stay here. Either way, we need Dumbledore’s help.’

Hermione crossed her arms, and her jaw stiffened. ‘Transfiguration. He was also Head of Gryffindor, so probably Professor McGonagall's office.’

Ron pulled them down a corridor. ‘This way’s quieter. That’d be better, right, Hermione?’

She nodded and followed, barely picking up her feet.

The corridors felt familiar, timeless. They walked down the third-floor hallway, and the same tapestry was in place. They snuck out of an alcove, and there was the door that they needed: “Prof. Dumbledore Dumbledore—Transfiguration."

Ron was the only one brave enough to knock.

‘Come in,’ a voice called from within.

Harry pushed open the door.

The office was different without Professor McGonagall’s familiar touches. He recognised many of the trinkets on the shelves, though, and remembered breaking a few of them after Sirius’s death.

The man behind the desk would have been unrecognisable but for his bright blue eyes.

‘Professor?’ Ron asked.

‘It's him,’ Harry whispered.

Professor Dumbledore was much younger. He had a short ginger beard and cropped hair with copper tones glinting in the candlelight. He still wore bright, plum, figure-fitting robes, and the lining was as decadent as you would expect. There was an air of style that was unfamiliar to their old professor.

Hermione had her head in her hands. ‘Harry, just ask him to help us get home. Please.’

The auburn-haired professor watched, and a faint smile was the only reaction to their unexpected appearance.

‘We said we would let Professor Dumbledore decide.’ Harry looked up at the professor.

‘Maybe if you thought about it, we wouldn’t have to ask him to decide.’

‘I know my students,’ Dumbledore replied with a beaming smile. ‘You have never been to Hogwarts. Are you from another school?’

‘No, we're from another time.’ Harry strode to the professor’s desk. ‘I’m here trying to finish a job you gave me.’

‘Harry.’ Hermione marched after him.

Dumbledore suppressed a smile, but what he found so funny, Harry couldn’t tell.

‘That isn’t true,’ Hermione continued. ‘He never asked us to mess with that Time-Turner,’

‘He did once,’ Harry replied.

Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘He only meant that one time.’

‘I don’t think this is any different. Who’s to say that Dumbledore wouldn’t have wanted us to do this too?’

‘The Time-Turner from third-year couldn’t create an alternate timeline, and it couldn’t create a paradox. It just created more time within a specific reality. What you are suggesting is something entirely different and recklessly irresponsible.’

Harry threw his arms up. ‘You don’t understand—’

‘I understand perfectly, thank you very much. I think it’s you that doesn’t understand the gravity of what you’re doing.’

‘Excuse me.’ Dumbledore walked around to sit on the front edge of his desk, crossing his legs at the ankle.

He studied Harry’s eyes. ‘I am convinced you are telling the truth,’ he said. ’You want to change history, which would create an alternate reality and somewhere peaceful for you to live your life. You’—he pointed at Hermione—‘just want to go home. You believe this rule is too big to break.’

‘Yes. I mean, I would love to, but it's against the law. It's irresponsible. We are from so far ahead in time. Even the slightest change would drastically alter reality.'

‘That's kind of the point,’ said Harry

‘You may never be born.’

‘I don't care. I would rather not exist than leave things as they are.’

The words were echoing off the walls. The only sound was Harry’s ragged breathing, his chest heaving with each gasp. All eyes were on him, and Hermione reached out before her hand dropped at her side.

‘I will decide. That does seem to be your original agreement, does it not?’ Dumbledore spoke with the same measured tone that they remembered. He had complete control of what they knew was uncontrollable.

‘He’s definitely Professor Dumbledore.’ Ron grinned at Harry and threw himself in a chair.

Hermione took Harry’s arm and pulled him into a seat beside her and Ron. They were calmer now, but for the first time, Harry realised he was entirely dependent on the headmaster siding with his plan. Dumbledore always had his own agenda, though.

‘Harry, you will tell me your story from the beginning, no embellishments, no details missed.’ He waved his wand, conjuring a teapot and mugs. He summoned tea bags, and soon the smell of earl grey filled the room.

For hours they sat in the office, and Harry told the story of Tom Riddle and The Boy Who Lived. Dumbledore was an attentive listener, even when Ron or Hermione would interrupt with added detail. No aspect of the war was missed, from the first Horcrux to the final battle.

Dumbledore sat in silence when they finished. His fingertips steepled before him, and his expression distant and pensive.

‘I can see why you are against changes of this magnitude. We could do a lot of damage. However, I believe that I can do this brilliantly.’ Dumbledore’s eyes were twinkling.

‘Wicked, sir,’ said Ron.

‘We have to go back to our own time first,’ Hermione said, her shoulders slumped. ‘We can’t just live here. We have no identity, no qualifications, no family. We can’t just start attending Hogwarts.’

Dumbledore frowned. ‘Of course, you have to go back, but I don’t see why you have to go to your timeline. I just need the help of a colleague. Wait here.’ Dumbledore got up and glided out of the office.

They were alone for some time, waiting. Harry walked about the office, fiddling with various instruments. With a slight smile, he picked up a delicate silver ornament that puffed smoke. He remembered throwing it in a heartbroken rage. Maybe this time, it would survive.

Hermione was just as impatient, scouring shelves, but she swapped books every minute. Whereas Ron was still reclining in his chair, playing with his Deluminator, the oil lamp on Dumbledore’s desk flickering on and off until Harry and Hermione’s irritated glares got so intense that he pocketed the device.

Dumbledore returned with a very young-looking Horace Slughorn. His straw-like, almost ginger hair framed a much leaner face, complete with a full ginger moustache and the same watery green eyes.

‘This is a bad idea,’ Hermione said, scolding Dumbledore. ‘If he knows too much...’

‘I will Obliviate him myself. In fact, Horace has already agreed to it,’ said Dumbledore. ‘He is going to concoct a potion that will allow you to appreciate the changes. These are the students.’

Horace fiddled with the brass buttons on his dinner jacket, straightening the collar incessantly. His eyes darted around the room, but he never looked at Ron, Harry, or Hermione.

For the first time that evening, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were on the same page. How they would taking a potion give them an appreciation for the absence of Voldemort.

‘Dumbledore, I would rather have less for you to Obliviate. I only just finished my lesson plans for the entire first term.’ Horace fumbled with an ornate pocket watch, his lips pursed.

‘Not to worry, Horace. I will Obliviate you once the potion is complete.’

‘I still don’t want to know why I’m brewing a de-ageing potion. I presume this has something to do with Grindelwald, but I’ve told you before, I’m staying out of it. I will need an assistant, though. Are any of these three good at potions?’

‘I’ll go,' said Hermione. 'This can’t get any more out of hand.’

‘I'll be eleven?’ Harry asked. It seemed as though every worry or stress line on his face faded.

‘In every conceivable way. Emotionally, physically, intellectually, completely eleven,’ Dumbledore said. ‘The potion does play with the chemistry in the brain to make it a truly authentic transformation. Based on your story, I think you can handle the side effects.’

‘Side effects?’ asked Hermione, her face resting in her palm, her fingertips rubbing anxious circles into her cheeks.

‘Nothing in comparison to what you have already dealt with. I have no concerns at all.’

Harry suddenly got lost, daydreaming about what his family life could be like. ‘What will it be like?’

‘What we are doing is highly theoretical, and technically, it will be your subconscious that travels forwards in time. You will pick the date, and when you wake up on that date, you will remember the experiences from your past life and the life you will have enjoyed within this new timeline we will have created. You will never completely forget what happened, Harry, not unless I Obliviate you,’ he explained.

‘I know you don’t want this, Hermione,’ Harry said. ‘But…’

‘This is better for everyone,’ said Ron. ‘There’s no way we can make life worse by dealing with Tom Riddle now. He killed hundreds of witches, wizards, and Muggles. It’s a risk we should take.’

‘I still think that this is wrong—selfish even,’ Hermione said.

‘You’re the only one that hasn’t lost anything. You go home, and you can find your parents, their memories easily brought back. You made a deal, “Dumbledore decides.” You not liking the result doesn’t change things.’

‘It’s just, this is a big deal, just for me?’ Harry said, fidgetting with the edge of his frayed shirt. Everything he had ever wanted was so close, but that meant there was now so much more to lose than ever.

‘Mate, if you think this is about you, you're more self-centred than I gave you credit for.’ Ron frowned. ‘This is for everyone.’

‘Then we are all in agreement.’ Dumbledore looked over to Horace. ‘You have everything you need for the potions, Horace?’

‘No, we aren’t,’ said Hermione. ‘Clearly, you’ll have to know something to stop Tom Riddle, but you can’t just know everything you know now. You would be able to interfere with the timeline too much. The only way I agree is if I Obliviate you.’

The man nodded, and without another word, he stumbled out of the room, bashing his shoulder on the door frame. Hermione held her head high and clutched her handbag close to her chest as she followed him from the room.

‘We need to plan how we're going to stop Tom Riddle.’ Harry leaned forward, his fingers interlaced in front of him, and the ball of his foot bounced beneath his chair. ‘How are we going to give you instructions once Hermione has Obliviated you?’

‘What if you were a student, and you knew what was going to happen. You would tell the professor, right?’ Ron said.

‘I’m not a student, Ron. We can’t stay here until things start to happen. Hermione would never agree to it.’

‘No, of course not. We would write a letter to Professor Dumbledore. It would have everything he needed to look closer at Tom when kids start getting petrified. Once Tom gets caught sending a mad snake around the castle, he’ll get at least some time in Azkaban. If he still manages to murder Myrtle, he might even get the Kiss.’

Harry looked at Ron with a cocked eyebrow. ‘But they’d need to know how to open the Chamber, which means sharing the word in Parseltongue. We’d have to tell them where it is, about the diary, everything. How do we make that believable?’

‘We write that Tom shared the details or that this student overheard. Even if Dumbledore doesn’t check it out right away, once students start getting petrified, he would.’

‘Simple, yet effective.’ Dumbledore pulled out a long violet quill and a roll of parchment.

They worked through many drafts before they had something that covered all the basics but didn’t sound suspicious, which seemed to be a particular concern for Dumbledore. When Hermione and Slughorn arrived back with the potion, crumpled and discarded parchment littered the desk.

‘Hermione, do you have a fresh piece of parchment?’ Harry asked. ‘We ran out. We need to write this letter so Professor Dumbledore can stop Tom.’

Hermione breathed out slowly through her nose, and the glare she had worn all day didn’t relent. She dug around her small but unending bag and placed a single roll on the desk.

‘I'm sorry, Hermione. I know you don't want this to happen.’ Harry looked up at her, and the stern expression softened.

‘We made a deal.’ Hermione rolled her shoulders. ‘It's okay. I-I know it would be a better world, most likely.’

‘But if I changed my mind, that’s what you would prefer?’

‘Of course.’ She laughed.

Horace stood awkwardly in the background, holding three vials. Dumbledore took them and nodded at the professor. ‘Are you ready, Horace?’

The job now being complete had not settled Horace at all. He continued to fidget, and a thin sheen of sweat covered his face. ‘Yes, just be careful.’

‘Obliviate,’ Dumbledore spoke calmly.

A dazed expression came over Slughorn's face, and all signs of fidgeting stopped. His eyes glazed, and a serene smile appeared on his face.

‘I will take Horace back to his office. Finish the letter, and we will have you home before you know it.’ Dumbledore then guided Horace Slughorn from the office.

Harry finished the letter, placed it in an envelope and wrote ‘Albus Dumbledore’ on the front before setting it in front of his chair on the dark, oak desk. When Dumbledore arrived, he took a small instrument from his shelves and pulled the Time-Turner towards him.

‘I am going to make three Portkeys, special Portkeys.’

He looked at the Deluminator with interest, holding his hand out to Ron, who handed it over.

‘Once we send you back through time, they will activate, but they will take you “home ” wherever that may be for you in that time. Even if you don't know where it is.’ With that, Dumbledore muttered and waved his wand over each object, all of them glowing in turn. ‘Now, Miss Granger, you just need to Obliviate me.’

Hermione stood in front of the professor, and her eyes softened. ‘Thank you, Professor. Obliviate.’

The same dazed expression came over Dumbledore’s face, and Harry and Ron settled him into his seat.

They each picked up an object, and Harry set the Time-Turner to the appropriate date: 31st July 1991. His birthday.

‘I guess this is bottoms up?’ Ron said, holding up his vial.

‘Cheers,’ said Harry and Hermione.

They clinked the vials together, and then they were down in one.

Ice-like liquid slid down Harry’s throat, and it spread, creeping to every part of his body. His heart hammered, and he trembled with the bitter cold that filled his insides. Finally, it seemed to read his mind, which throbbed like the worlds worst brain freeze.

‘Everyone, hold on,’ Harry said, and the swirl of colours began.

Much like last time, they were frozen, solid, and time passed through them. The only improvement was Hermione’s nails not digging into his arm for an eternity.

There was the familiar tug behind the belly button when they stopped, dragging each of them to some unknown location. Harry panicked as Ron and Hermione’s hands were pulled from his, and for a moment, he was alone.

He fell with a thump on a soft bed, the Time-Turner still in his hand. It was huge now, or maybe it just seemed that way in his now much smaller hand.

Harry was just about to turn eleven.

As Harry hid the Time-Turner under his bed, he noticed the large bedroom. It was all painted blue, and the stars swirled on his ceiling. At the end of his bed was a trunk spewing out a mess of toys, brooms, and clothes. He had piles around his room, stacks of books, comics, a lush green dressing gown, and there was a desk on the opposite wall. He had Quidditch posters on his wall, along with Gryffindor house banners. Everything was as Harry would have imagined it, except the addition of a Slytherin banner above his bed.

It was late, and he didn’t want to anger his parents the first day he met them, so he curled up in his duvet and tried to get some sleep. But soon, a slither of light invaded his room.

‘Harry,’ a man whispered, having opened the door. ‘I heard a bang.’ The voice sounded concerned, and Harry’s heart swelled. ‘Are you ok?’

‘I’m fine, Dad.’ He yawned as footsteps drew closer, and then soft lips pressed against his forehead.

‘I'll see you in the morning, birthday boy.’

Harry thought he recognised the voice, but maybe he was just happy to hear someone talk to him that way—the way a father speaks to a son.
To be continued...

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