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Regrets Collect Like Old Friends

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Disclaimer: If you know it, I do not own it. If you really know it, it’s out of Deathly Hallows, written by JKR.

History was littered with disasters. People were supposed to learn from mistakes, yet to Draco his current predicament felt like he was repeating, not being wiser and learning from the past. 

It was now clear to Draco, that instead of wanting to be his father, he ought to have learned from his father’s bad choices and not followed in his footsteps.

Draco should have stuck to his gut feelings about becoming a Death Eater, that sick inclination that the Dark Lord was in fact a psychopath. Draco allowed fright to drive him.  

Looking back, his behavior embarrassed him to such a degree he didn’t even want to go on living. He was a Slytherin, so he was supposed to be cunning, sly and ambitious. Draco was to be great, successful and the envy of the entire country. 

He was no better than a House Elf and he was scared out of his mind. The past year had been the worst year of his life. The past two summers were miserable, lived in fear of being cursed, being in pain and unable to stop it. Time slowed down, sped up and seeped around him and people kept dying. 

The Dark Mark on his arm was a memory that he was someone’s slave. That was what he was, forever marked, a slave. The Dark Lord wasn’t merciful, he was not kind and he was not even human as far as Draco could tell. 

Draco was tired of being scared. He was tried of seeing the end. That was all he saw: the end. If the Dark Lord won the stupid battle, his family would be run into the ground by the man’s demands and whims. They had already lost favor because of the failures of his father to get the prophecy, Draco’s inability to kill Dumbledore, and allowing the Golden Trio to escape at Easter. And whatever the trio had stolen from Bellatrix’s family vault had been the last straw. 

Draco wiped the blood from his mouth as he scrambled through a hidden doorway. He’d barely escaped having a few Death Eaters kill him. Finally, someone understood he was on their side and took out the Death Eater. 

Only to later punch him in the jaw. That person sounded ominously like Ron Weasley, though there was no red hair in sight. 

If the other side won, his family would be punished, thrown away to Azkaban for their crimes. There was no way to deny they were Death Eaters. 

It was the end of the Malfoys, something that did not sit well with Draco, along with all his other regrets. It was clear to him now, clear as glass what he should have done, what should be done. He’d known he ought to do it since he’d found the tiny box when he was fixing the cabinet last year, but he’d been too scared. 

The battle raged in the Entrance Hall as more Death Eaters rolled on into the castle. If anything, Draco really didn’t want the Dark Lord to win. 

Time wasn’t something you messed with. It was a black and white law in the magical world. But, Draco Malfoy was going to mess with time. He tore through the halls, dodging battles and duels left and right. He’d lost his mother’s wand in the fire Crabbe had started in the Room of Requirement. Potter had Draco’s actual wand. Oddly, he didn’t care. The end was all he could see. In a few hours from now, this reality wouldn’t exist. He’d make a new one.

All he had to do was swallow the vials, read the paper with the incantation on it and choose a point in time to go back to. The only reason he hadn’t done this as of yet, was for one foolish moment he saw a way to redeem himself and his family from their falling from grace: get whatever Potter was after before Potter got it. It was a crown of some sort.

He’d failed. He’d lost Crabbe. While he didn’t really enjoy Crabbe’s company all that much, he felt almost as if he’d lost some limb he hadn’t been aware he had. 

“You have fought valiantly.” The cold voice ripped through the school, reverberating through the walls and floors. Draco shivered. “Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery.”

Lies. The Dark Lord valued nothing except himself and his means to his own end. Draco pressed himself to the wall. 

“Yet, you have sustained heavy losses. If you continue to resist, you will all die. One by one. I do not wish this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste.”

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Draco shut his eyes as the past year rushed into his mind’s eye. Students were beaten, Muggleborns killed. For no reason at all other than they were different.

Draco understood that now, just hadn’t been brave enough to admit it. Brave enough to down the vials he’d brewed and read the little paper from the box he’d found when he’d been trying to fix the cabinet. The Vanishing Cabinet, how he wished he’d never fixed it. As much as he thought Dumbledore was an idiot and slightly mad in a bad way, the old man could duel and had frightened the Dark Lord. 

If Dumbledore was alive, none of this would be happening. 

“I command my forces to retreat immediately. You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured.”

The Dark Lord when on to threatened Harry Potter directly, blaming him for the deaths and gave him an hour to meet him in the forest.

Harry would give himself up. 

Draco’s eyes popped open. He plunged his hand into the pocket to the left and yanked out one of the vials. He always kept them on his person since he’d brewed them during the summer. He popped the top and downed the first one. It froze his insides. An unnatural silence fell. He had ten minutes before he could drink the next vile. Staggering, Draco retraced his steps. He pushed the tapestry aside and entered the Entrance Hall. As he did, he saw Potter, Granger and Weasley enter, looking around. They looked trouble, none more so than Potter.

He was going to do it. He was going to give himself up.

The Dark Lord was going to win, because he wasn’t going to keep his promise to let anyone live. Anyone against him would be struck down. 

Anyone who stood with him would be struck down. 

Draco lurked around, watching the three enter the Great Hall. He crept down the stairs, his worry getting the best of him. He wanted to know who was dead. 

Potter came to a halt, staggering suddenly backwards. He turned sharply and ran, heading right for Draco. Throwing himself out of Potter’s way, Draco watched Potter run passed clutching something tightly in his hand.

Potter was going to give himself up.

Draco took his place in the doorway, looking at the bodies of the dead lined up. He spotted someone who didn’t belong within the walls of Hogwarts. Draco had been sort of friends with the girl once— a girl sitting at the feet of two of the dead.

It seemed like in another life he’d grudgingly spent time with the American witch. He’d refused to admit to anyone (even himself) he’d enjoyed when she’d force him to play instead of pretend he was a tiny adult. 

She was sitting at the foot of two bodies, a rather blank look on her face. Draco had never seen her look so…dead before. He did not need to look to know who those bodies belonged to: that strange Auror with the pink hair and Remus Lupin— stepmother and birth father of Atlanta Black, his former friend. 

Quickly, Draco turned and followed in Potter’s footsteps. As soon as he reached the top of the staircase, Draco downed the second vial. He had thirty minutes before he had to take the last one. The hour limit would be up by the time it was time to end this. 

“Draco?” asked an out of place American voice. 

He glanced down at his former friend. The one he’d abandoned, left behind and alienated. All for the Dark Lord, for his father. 

He turned away and ran, knowing she was going to follow. He needed to get somewhere she wouldn’t be able to find him. Since she was unfamiliar with Hogwarts, it should have been easy. Of course, like most things, he was wrong. Atlanta easily followed him and caught up with him. She tackled him and he landed with a thud, Atlanta on his back.

“Please! You can change sides! He’s going to kill you!” Atlanta pleaded. “Draco, I know you’re not a killer.”

Dumbledore had said the same thing to him. 

Dumbledore was gone. 

He looked up at Atlanta, who had lost her father, mother, birth parents, and her new stepmother to the Dark Lord. Voldemort had killed her mother, birth parents and stepmother. He’d brainwashed the man she’d called Dad just as he’d brainwashed thousands of others. Altair Black was a powerful ally in America— the Dark Lord had been pleased when he’d “won” the man over. 

Draco had to get away, he needed to be alone when he did what he was going to do. A part of him didn’t want anyone knowing he was about to go off and save people. Who knew Draco Malfoy would save people? That was Potter’s area. Draco usually only wanted to save his own hide.

Pushing himself up, he knocked Atlanta off his back. Without looking backwards, he leaped to his feet and started to press on. Atlanta caught up to him easily and grabbed his forearm, turning Draco to face her. Even though the Mark currently didn’t hurt, he still tried to jerk away with a hiss, but part of having a bit of werewolf in her was having super strength for someone so thin and fragile looking. Her long fingers closed around his arm and jerked him forward, towards her. 

“You don’t believe,” Atlanta said softly.  

“I don’t,” Draco breathed, speaking the truth out loud for the first time

He didn’t dare look up into her eyes. 

“So, come with me,” Atlanta said softly, still not letting go of his arm. 

Draco slid his eyes towards her, taking in her feet. She was wearing sandals and her feet were covered in bits of blood and rubble of the castle. Her legs, bare as she was wearing shorts for some unknown reason, were covered in dirt, scrapes and more blood. His eyes continued to trail upwards, noting her grey appearance due to the dust she was painted with. She had rubble trapped in her raven hair, which was wild and curling aggressively.

When Draco finally met her brilliant, strange amber eyes he found they glittered in the dim candle light with pride Draco had finally accepted he wasn’t his father’s little clone. 

“Why are you dressed like that?” Draco heard himself ask. 

“I bet your mother is worried sick,” Atlanta admonished, ignoring his question. She took in his singed robes, the streaks of dust and grime. She frowned a bit. “Do you have a wand?”

Hers was clutched in her hand.

“I lost it.”

This alarmed her. Draco could feel time slipping, dragging all around him. It was an odd sensation. Things got bright, then dimer. Wider and shorter. Atlanta went in and out of focus, speaking in a super slow Southern accent, then a high pitched, fast one. 

The potion was doing something to him. 

“Draco?” Atlanta asked, seemingly noticing he wasn’t exactly himself. 

Something crashed somewhere in the castle, making Atlanta turn around. Draco took advantage of her distraction to rip his arm out of her hold. 

It was time to go. 

“Goodbye,” he whispered in Atlanta’s ear before he ran down the corridor. 

He could hear her turn and begin to follow him, while the person looking for Atlanta did what he expected: hold Atlanta back. 

“MALFOY!” Atlanta screamed. 

Draco sharply turned the corner. He ran till his legs gave out. Falling to the ground, he reached into is pocket and seized the last vile. He yanked out the paper, pressing himself to the wall in the empty hallway. No footsteps followed him, but he could hear Atlanta fighting with the twins. It sounded very far away. Taking deep breaths, he emptied his mind. The hour had to be up. He opened his eyes and it was almost as if there was an alarm in the last potion to tell him when it was time to take the next dose. The whole world was upside down, yet he was still sitting on the floor. 

Popping the cork out, he drank the last one. He felt nothing, but the world righted itself. Making sure he was indeed alone, he read the incantation out loud, thinking of his eleventh birthday. Eleven was still young enough he could change who he was, change how things turned out. And he wasn’t too young to seem like he was acting too old for his age. 


Draco snapped his eyes open, but didn’t see anyone.

He felt a pull in his head and searing pain. His knees buckled, just as he heard the Dark Lord Voldemort announce to the whole school, “Harry Potter is dead.”

And the world went dark with one last scream of “MALFOY!”

The only thing about time travel Draco knew was that one: what he’d done was illegal. Two: you were not allowed to change time, hence what he was planning wasn’t such a smashing idea.  

The pain in his head was worst than when the Dark Lord put him under the Cruatius curse. He pressed his hands to his head and felt himself sort of drift away. The pain continued, but then he felt nothing at all. He was floating, drifting through nothingness. A maelstrom of visions, images, and thoughts soared into his head, too fast for him to process. It was his life flashing past his life in reverse. 

His life didn’t amount to much, tragically. 

Then it all ended and it was dark. And he couldn’t breathe. There was something heavy on his chest, restricting his breathing. And it kept squirming. 

“Miss Siri, get off of Master Draco!” a thick Southern accent chided somewhere far away. 

Who the hell was Siri? 

“Draaaaaaaco! Get up!” sung another voice, with a slight accent. It wasn’t as thick as the first. 

They were both American accents. Not English. 

Draco’s eyes flew open. 

Atlanta Black was on top of him. She smiled largely when she noticed his eyes open up. Draco found now he couldn’t breathe because she looked so young. He studied her face, taking in her amber eyes, so unlike the usual Black eyes. Her nose was also somewhat strange, as it was an odd combination of Remus Lupin’s nose and the aristocratic Black nose. 

How had he missed that before? It was so clear she was related to Lupin even this young. 

Why did she look so young? Where was he? 

“Miss Siri,” chided the first voice. 

Who was Siri? 

Atlanta suddenly left and the pressure on Draco’s chest let up. Gasping and gulping down air, Draco rolled out of bed (how’d he get in bed?) and fell to the floor with a thud. He looked around, wondering where this Siri person was located and how he had gotten into his bedroom.  

“Draco,” Atlanta drawled slowly. “What’s wrong?”

She sounded funny too. Her voice was too high pitched. 

Draco pushed himself up into a kneeling position. There was only a House Elf and Atlanta in the room. 

“Excuse me?”

Whoa. His voice was a little high. He quelled the urge to scream. 

Dreki, what’s wrong?”

Say what? 

Atlanta knelt down next to him, placing a small hand on his back. Emotions flooded through him, mostly confusion as he had no clue what she’d called him. He knew Atlanta had a flare for languages, but she didn’t usually call him anything other than Draco.  

“Master Draco, you sure yous all right?” 

His eyes went wide as the House Elf stuck its face in Draco’s line of vision, looking rather worried. 


“Ah, good, at least Master remembering who Sookie is,” the house elf said, raising one eyebrow.

Sookie did not like him. Mostly because he was a rude git who treated her like vermin. She was a servant. 

Wait, why was Sookie calling Atlanta Siri? She’d always called her Lanty. 

“Sookie!” Atlanta shirked.

“Miss Siri, I was telling you we shouldn’t be here before nine.”

“It’s three in the morning!” Draco shouted, managing to get to his own feet as he heard a crack.

“Well, I wanted to wake you up,” Atlanta admitted, looking somewhat bashful. She took a few steps away from him. She was still in her night things, her hair rolled in rags to help her waves actually form curls. 

Slowly, Draco lifted his left arm up, pushing back the sleeve. There was no Mark, and yet he clearly remembered there being one. Draco also seemed to be a lot shorter than usual. 

The potion must have worked. He still remembered everything from the past seventeen years. Frowning, Draco realized he also seemed to remember quite a bit of things he was sure never happened before. 

Frowning, Draco stared at Atlanta.

“You came to wish me a happy birthday?”

“Yes, you’re eleven today!” Atlanta exclaimed, throwing her arms out. “You get to go to Hogwarts this year!”

This had not happened. By this point in his life, he’d been pushing his childhood playmate away, preparing for going to Hogwarts— just as his father wanted him to do. His father disliked Atlanta, thinking she wasn’t a proper pureblood, a proper witch or proper Black— due to her being American. In seven years, when he had first heard that her actual father was Remus Lupin, his father was further disgusted the girl had socialized with the family. 

On his eleventh birthday, he’d been woken up by Dobby at the normal hour. Not at three in the morning by Atlanta. 

Draco felt mild panic. Had he traveled back in time or somewhere else all together? 

“Miss Siri, we must be getting back,” Sookie drawled, eyeing Dobby, the Malfoy’s house elf wearily. 

When had Dobby arrived? Dobby was alive! And their House Elf still. 

Draco had no clue why this fact elated him so much. Maybe a side effect of time travel?

“Little Master?” Dobby asked, looking somewhat scared. His large eyes darted all over the room. 

“Well, Dreki. Happy birthday!” Atlanta shouted, setting a wrapped package on his bed. “I’ll leave this here with you. I must go to bed.”

She skipped over to Sookie, smiled and patted Dobby on the head. Sookie grabbed Atlanta’s hand and they were gone with another crack. 

“It worked,” Draco muttered, staring at his small hands. 

Draco took a moment to collect himself while Dobby twisted his hands together. Draco jumped to his feet, running to look out the window. The manor’s grounds were cloaked in darkness, but looked the same. Quickly, Draco began to go through anything on his desk. Being ten, he didn’t keep documents or anything with vital information. Frowning, turned to Dobby.

“Get me the most important Daily Prophets from the past ten years.”

With a crack, Dobby was gone. Draco paced back and forth for twenty minute till Dobby reappeared, holding a stack of old papers. Draco went through them and breathed a sigh of relief. All the important things had happened. Nothing had changed, other than a few of his more personal memories (one being Atlanta called him some sort of gibberish name each time she saw him), but the world was the same. Joy filled Draco and he grabbed the elf and began to shake him. 

“Dobby it worked!”

“Dobby is pleased!” the elf squeaked, not looking pleased in the least. 

Draco let him go and sat down on his bed. 

It worked. Voldemort was a shadow of his former self, Harry Potter was still living with those Muggles and he’d yet to start at Hogwarts. Hell, Harry Potter was alive. Sirius Black was in Azkaban, but he was breathing at least. Bellatrix was also still in jail, along with all those other crazy Death Eaters. 

Oh! Remus Lupin was still alive. Hell, if Draco’s new, somewhat fuzzy memories were anything to go by, Lupin had a better life in this timeline. Circe Hilderbatch, the woman who was currently raising Atlanta as her own, was also still alive. Dumbledore was even still alive and kicking. 

“Brilliant,” Draco breathed.