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Fanfic / Backward With Purpose

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Harry, Ron, and Ginny are the only ones left after Harry finally beats Voldemort. They decide to use the Tears of Merlin to travel back in time to 1991 and save their friends and family.

A Harry Potter fanfic written by Deadwoodpecker. Read Part I: Always and Always here and Part II: The Book of Albus here. The final installment is Part III: The Refuge of Hope and was originally found here, but has since been merged into book 2.


This work provides examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: The Dark Lord. Trying to take over the world with genocide and torture, twice, will do that.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Snape is a much more outwardly heroic figure in this timeline, thanks in large part due to Harry showing him what became of his previous self. Seeing how he was consumed by bitterness over his childhood, he decides that he doesn't like who he became and strives to be better.
    • Percy in canon was much more insensitive and haughty. Thanks to Harry, Ron, and Ginny treating him with respect and care once they return, his icy personality begins to thaw significantly until he's actually the only Weasley who stays friendly with them despite their Hero with Bad Publicity status.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Zigzagged with most of the Weasleys. While they are certainly ruder to Harry than they were in canon and end up effectively disowning Ron and Ginny, Harry points out that they're still the same people that they were before, it's just that they now have reason to believe that Harry is a threat and not a friend. After Harry shows them his memories in the Pensieve, their relationship is never quite the same but their personalities slowly revert back to their canon personalities.
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  • Arc Words: The frequently dropped title. It begins as part of Harry and Ginny's wedding vows in the original timeline and is held as a promise when they travel back in time with Ron. Towards the end, a character says "I understand what always and always means now[.] I mean... I really understand it," to which Harry replies, "I keep finding that always and always means a hell of a lot more than I thought."
  • Bad Future:
    • The original future where Voldemort is defeated, but Harry, Ron, and Ginny are the only survivors; it is said that the flower of a generation was lost. When explaining why they chose to come back in time, they tell others that the price was too high.
    • A couple of the futures Al makes in the sequel, such as Snape being disfigured by cursed fire and the Weasleys permanently hating Harry, Ron, and Ginny. It takes him a long time and much pain to figure out what he can and cannot do to change the future.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: The first interlude features Snape capturing Percy, bringing him to Voldemort, and Percy being executed. The next chapter reveals that "Percy" was actually Draco under the influence of Polyjuice Potion, and the real Percy is just in hiding.
  • Batman Gambit: Harry and crew are using their knowledge of the previous timeline to predict what Voldemort will do, as well as when and how. With a couple of exceptions, he plays right into their hands.
  • Berserk Button: Do not do anything remotely sexual with Ginny or the rest of the Weasleys will kill you. This is justified since she is physically 12 at the time and her family do not know about the time travel.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Luna gets pushed over the edge after her father's death and murders Umbridge, then has a lovely conversation with Harry like nothing just happened. Harry actually has a hard time looking her in the eyes after this.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Al tries to be the butterfly and not the hurricane, with mixed results. He first goes charging into the past for selfish reasons and tries to make a major change, but in the end he sabotages some of the good future that could have been brought about. During subsequent trips he generally aims for smaller changes, but these can still have large negative consequences which he can't ever take back.
  • The Chessmaster: Harry, Ron, Dumbledore... basically Voldemort is playing into the hands of the good guys the whole time.
  • The Chosen One: Harry, only everyone knows it this time around thanks to an article written when he was 7 which revealed some of the prophecy. In the Book of Albus, it is revealed that even though the prophecy could have referred to Neville initially, Harry being the Chosen One is a Cornerstone of Fate which cannot be changed.
  • Darker and Edgier: There's fighting, revenge, torture, true love... Also explicit cursing, explicit sex, and—lower body count notwithstanding—more violence than the original.
  • Determinator: Most characters are this to some extent, but special mention goes to Harry, Ron, and Ginny. These three are absolutely relentless when it comes to preventing the Bad Future they're returning from and are willing to do whatever it takes, even if the entire Wizarding World hates them for it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Book I: This is what Harry, Ron, and Ginny were doing in the Bad Future when they decided to go back in time. Harry does it again after he gets kicked out of the Burrow.
    • Book II: Al Potter does this when he fails his mission during his first trip into the past. He then starts blabbing about various secrets in a crowded pub and it gets a lot worse. Afterwards, he learns from the experience and writes one of his guidelines on time travel:
      Don't get drunk. Just don't do it. It may not cause 'Pain Unto Death' (even a hangover is not that bad compared to the spanking the universe gives you if you're naughty), but it's just not a smart idea.
  • Easy Amnesia:
    • Lockhart obliviates Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, causing him to forget why he is there and interfering with his memory of the previous timeline. Although it doesn't matter too much later, it leaves Harry with a lifelong dislike of memory charms.
    • Luna has repeated contact with Merlin but is given a Forget-For-Now potion after each encounter, though she can remember enough to pass on key messages without knowing. This infuriates the others since they cannot gain any further information from her, and what's worse is that she is perfectly happy with the holes in her memory — she figures there must be a good reason.
  • Foreshadowing: Subverted when it comes to Harry's flashes of a spotlessly clean King's Cross Station. When Harry dies in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he goes to this place, but in Always and Always he ends up in his parents' old house and the visions of the station are never explained.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Harry, Ginny, and Ron come up with a plan to out Pettigrew by faking an attack in Harry and Ron's dormitory.
  • Friendship Moment: While this fic is full of them, two stand out:
    • After Voldemort is defeated once and for all, Sirius and Lupin sit Severus down and officially make him one of the Marauders, complete with a name of his own: Blackhart.
    • It turns out that Sirius naming his child Elvendork was one of these: James bet Sirius that if he ever became best friends with Snape, he would name his child Elvendork. Convinced that this was impossible, Sirius agreed, meaning that when he named his child, he was calling Snape his best friend.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The trio travelling back in time to save everyone; Harry sacrificing himself; and Al going back to save his dad. In each case, there was no other choice if they wanted to succeed.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Harry, especially by third year. By fifth year, Harry is an outright criminal in the world's eyes, but after Voldemort's return is revealed, he manages to earn his reputation back.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Sirius and Snape, famously bitter against each other and carrying grudges down generations, when they tell Harry that he's letting bitterness consume him.
  • Identical Grandson: Comes in handy for Albus Potter, who repeatedly works to make people believe he is his father. When he actually meets his father, his father wonders if he has gone mad and is seeing himself.
  • Idiot Ball: Some people consider having Ginny use the diary again to get the Sword of Gryffindor this. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, the plan actually goes off without a hitch.
  • Killed Off for Real: In a series where strange interactions of magic and time travel means most central characters don't really die, the deaths of Moody and Neville stand out. Both were killed in action and the latter did not regret going down fighting.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Obliviation, usually; it wipes out as much of the recent past as the caster wishes. Even Snape and Dumbledore can't stop it.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Umbridge is killed in this manner after being Taken for Granite.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Merlin is this for the Order. While Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Dumbledore are the ones giving out the orders, Merlin, as another time traveller from the future, is aware of all the plans and works behind the scenes to save their lives. Luna is the only person to ever meet him, but she lets her memories be wiped after every encounter.
  • Mental Time Travel: The Tears of Merlin method, unique among the others outlined in Memories Unbound. note  The change in Ron and Ginny's personalities when their adult selves inhabit their child bodies is immediately noticed by their parents, who think it is Harry having a dark influence on them.
  • Mischief for Punishment: Harry and Ron throw dungbombs at Snape during their first lesson so that they can get up to Dumbledore's office without suspicion.
  • The Mole: Snape takes this three levels deep, again, as a good guy pretending to be a bad guy pretending to be a good guy. Voldemort doesn't figure it out until the end. Thanks to the original timeline, Harry, Ron, and Ginny know that Snape is good from the start and tell him about the time travel.
  • Non-Linear Character: Al, who makes several time jumps into various points of the past, some of which were thought to be impossible.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Dumbledore and others do this when they have to pretend that they don't trust Harry.
  • Odd Friendship: Of all people, Snape and Sirius end up becoming best friends by the end of the story. Harry mentions that it takes very specific moments for him to remember just how much these two hated each other in the original timeline.
  • Original Flavor: Many consider Deadwoodpecker's writing similar to the original, albeit with more mature content (language, sex, etc.).
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Ahem. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to Ginny. And Mrs. Weasley at Number Twelve, depending on how you view it.
  • Punny Name: The Wise Asp (a pun on "wiseass" or "Wise Ape", depending on whether you think favorably of them).
  • The Prophecy: Same as last time, only with a couple additions: "bent for always and always" (thanks to the time travel) and now the power the Dark Lord knows not is "terrible" (thanks to Al's drunk blabbering in a crowded pub).
  • Reality Ensues: When Ron and Ginny return to the past, their parents immediately notice something's different about them. Despite their best efforts to act like their old selves, they're 20-year-olds trying to act like they're 11, so it was inevitable that they would notice something was wrong.
  • The Reveal: There's one of these for pretty much everyone who finds out about the time travel, usually explained via Pensieve. People react differently. The most major reaction is from the Weasleys, since Harry deliberately puts painful memories in the basin. This leads to a long year of estrangement even though they now understand his situation, and he thinks he will never get back the family he once had.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Played with in The Book of Albus. Every time Al arrives back after changing history, he remembers the previous timelines as well as the current one. This is understandably disorienting.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Percy supposedly dies, Harry, Neville, Mr Weasley, and others go to Azkaban and murder the inmates brutally. When Percy tells them he is alive, they do question the morality of their actions.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The whole point of the story is Harry, Ginny, and Ron creating a better future than the original one in which everyone dies.
  • Something Only They Would Say: To convince Sirius that he really had died and seen his father, Harry informs Sirius that his father expects him to uphold a bet they made years ago. Since no one else ever knew about it, James was the only person who could've told him.
  • Taken for Granite: Luna hits Umbridge with a spell that has this effect, quickly combined with Literally Shattered Lives.
  • Temporal Paradox: Averted. The universe has safeguards against this and attempting to get around them will cause Pain Unto Death.
  • Temporal Sickness: Two methods of time travel lead to this: Tempus Luminas, which ages the body so much that a traveller will only be able to do anything on their first day in the past, and Foci Memoria, which knocks the traveller out for a month in the present while they spend a month in the past and causes a lot of pain both going and coming.
  • The Unreveal: Whoever wrote the article is never actually discovered. The Order spends most of the story believing it to be Umbridge, but this is later revealed to not be the case. Voldemort and his followers believe that Snape wrote it thanks to some quick thinking on Harry's part, but not only are they incorrect, none of them ever take credit for it.
    • Later subverted: it turns out Albus wrote it in an attempt to foster just enough mistrust amongst the Weasleys that they wouldn't be killed for their closeness to Harry.
  • Trigger Phrase: These are used with the Forget-For-Now potion — memories will return when the phrase is uttered.
    • Al/Merlin contacts Luna several times but gives her this potion, with her consent, after each time. She decides that she wants the trigger phrase to be "I'm in love with a heliopath" so that she won't remember before he wants her to.
    • After talking with Percy Weasley in the past, Al uses the potion with the trigger phrase "I'm in Slytherin" so that Percy's memories will return shortly after Al goes to Hogwarts. This means that he can have an understanding ally.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Albus Potter learns this the hard way. Fate will enforce certain rules and cause you Pain Unto Death if you try to get around them.

Alternative Title(s): Backwards With Purpose


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