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Chapter 18: Feeling Weak
“I think I got this mixed right,” said Ray. She handed Harry a glass of warm tea mixture that he had requested.
He took the half-full glass of drink and lifted it to his lips. It seemed to take all of his energy to perform this simple act. After sipping it, he savored the sweet concoction. It seemed to give him a little more energy. His hand steadied and the glass stopped shaking. He drank from the glass again before trying to talk.
“Yes, this is good. Thank you, Ray,” said Harry. His voice was barely above a whisper.
“It seems to be helping you. I’ll make some more,” Ray said over her shoulder as she left the room.
Harry laid his head back against the chair. He was wrapped in several blankets, and yet he was still cold. Ray had found him crawling down the stairs from the top of the astronomy tower last night. Madam Pomfrey has already given him three doses of Pepperup Potion. The first dose didn’t even create any steam from his ears. After the third dose, he was able to talk.
The nurse and the Headmaster helped him to his living quarters and told him to get some rest. He had slept all night, but his strength hadn’t returned. He had Ray make him a tea mixture that he had taken a long time ago when his magical core had been depleted.
Monique had made it for him while he was stuck in the Pyrennes with her. It is a bit ironic that during that time period he found himself high in the frozen mountian tops missing Ginny. Last night he was standing on top of the astronomy tower in the bitter cold missing her.The biggest difference now was he hadn’t left her when she needed him. That was one thing he always regretted about his life more than even leaving her behind to hunt for Horcruxes. Why she ever forgave him he will never know, but she did.
His thoughts were interrupted by Ray entering the room with another glass of warm sweet tea. He looked at her and realized why he always liked her.
“You remind me of my first Auror partner,” he told her.
She looked at him with a puzzled expression. “I remind you of Ron Weasley?”
“No, he was never my Auror partner,” laughed Harry. “After the war, he worked in his brothers joke shop for over a year. My first partner was a French woman, by the name of Monique or Carmen.”
“She had an alias?” asked Ray.
“Yea, she was born a Basque and the French ministry didn’t like her nationality. She changed her name to Carmen to get accepted into Beauxbatons.”
“That is why I remind you of her?” asked Ray with a little indignation in her voice.
“You both seem to be hiding from your past. She was also very beautiful, and very smart.” Harry smiled at Ray blushing at his comment. “The main differences were your choice of clothing and your attitude towards confrontations. She dressed like a Spanish shepherd and you don’t. She hated dueling and fighting and again you don’t.”
Ray seemed to find humor in his comment about her not hating fighting. “What happened to her? Did she return to France?”
“She was killed by a corrupt French diplomat in England,” said Harry. The painful memories of her, Blythe’s, and Kreachers death came back to haunt him.
A knock on his door interrupted the conversation and broke his painful thoughts. He could tell that Ray wanted to ask more questions about his first partner, but walked to the door instead. She opened the door and allowed Teddy and Professor Dumbledore to enter, before closing it again.
The Headmaster walked over and stared at Harry. He stood there for several seconds without saying anything. He eventually waved his wand to create a squashy overstuffed chair. He made one for Teddy also.
“You are looking better today,” stated the Headmaster.
“Really, I must have been quite the sight last night,” replied Harry.
“You almost looked like an Inferi. You were so pale.”
Teddy laughed at the Headmaster’s comment. Harry didn’t find it funny. He was sure he was going to die on top of the astronomy tower. “I have never felt anything like that before,” said Harry. “I have nearly been kissed by a Dementor. The feeling I had last night was similar. Have there been any reports of rogue Dementors, Headmaster?”
Harry was pressing the Headmaster to see if there was a possibility of a Dementor being on school grounds last night.
“No Harry, there were no Dementors on school grounds. What caused your sudden loss of powers and what must happen for you to get them back? I have a theory that Mr. Lefevre will highlight.”
Teddy stared at the Headmaster and didn’t say anything for several seconds.
“Right, last night your dad appeared in the common room with a large handprint on the side of his face. Your mum appeared after her rounds with a sore hand. It appears that for some reason your parents had an intense row,” stated Teddy.
Harry looked at Professor Dumbledore. “You think my existence is in jeopardy because of the fight that my parents had last night?”
“Yes, Harry, I do,” stated Albus gravely. “Whatever happened last night was unusual. Over the years, your father would annoy Miss Evans, but she would just verbally rebuff him. Whatever he said or did last night made her react unlike any other time before. What happened last night, Harry? Did you see Miss Evans or Mr. Potter?”
“I spoke with my mum,” replied Harry.
“Were you alone with her?” questioned the Headmaster.
“Yes, I was on top of the astronomy tower. She seemed to know I was there and she came up to see me,” stated Harry. He didn’t like the Headmasters attitude towards him. He didn’t do anything wrong.
“Harry, you have been specifically told to stay away from the females of Hogwarts, particularly Miss Evans,” said the Headmaster accusingly.
“We did nothing wrong,” shouted Harry as loud as he could. His voice sounded like a harsh whisper. His energy levels dropped as he slumped in his chair. Ray went to his side pushing past the Headmaster. She helped him take another drink of his tea mixture.
“I believe that you do not have any intentions of a romantic relationship with Miss Evans, but how does she feel about you?”
“She thinks of him like an uncle, not a boyfriend,” shouted Ray to the Headmaster. “She told me earlier when she saw me in the dungeon trying to analyze Zonko’s love Potion’s.”
Harry smiled at Ray. He appreciated her support. “My mum told me the same thing last night. She has been trying to talk to me ever since Halloween, but I have been forbidden to talk to her in private.”
“The problem isn’t with the relationship between you and your mum. The problem is with your dad, Harry,” interjected Teddy. “He is jealous of you. He actually thinks you have something going on with your mum. None of his friends have seen him like this before. I guess in the past he always laughed off anyone trying to chat up your mum. You however send him into a rage of jealousy.”
“Do you think your dad has given up on your mum?” asked Ray.
“I never thought he would. Why now after nearly five years of rejection? Whatever happened we will have to fix somehow. I am just afraid that we will only make things even worse.”
“I agree, but if you are going to keep the future the same, then something must be done,” stated Professor Dumbledore. “I need to go and attend to matters of the school. The students going home for Christmas holidays will be leaving shortly. Teddy, you must come along also.”
“There is one more thing you need to know,” said Teddy, before Professor Dumbledore made him leave.
“What would that be?” answered Harry.
“I think your dad made the Marauders Map,” stated Teddy.
Harry stared at him. “Do you think he knew we were up on top of the astronomy tower together?”
“Wait!” interrupted Ray. “If he has finally made the map then he would know that your name was Harry Potter.”
Everyone stared at each other. What Ray said was true. It still didn’t solve the problem of Harry’s sudden weakness. He had wondered if it was because of the time travel, but the other two haven’t been affected the same way. Maybe the Headmaster was correct, and his parents’ future relationship was in jeopardy because of something that happened last night.
“Are you going to be able to help watch your parents tonight and tomorrow?” asked Professor Dumbledore.
“It will be the only thing that I will be able to do,” retorted Harry. “I can’t fight.”
“I will Apparate him to his mum’s watch location,” stated Ray. “It is a house across the street from her home isn’t it, Headmaster?”
“Yes, it is. Will you be able to Apparate him all the way there?”
“Not a problem we needed to Apparate a cow across Scotland to pass the Aurors’ Apparation test.” Ray plucked herself up a little taller and smiled. “I passed it.”
“A cow?” questioned the Headmaster.
“A large nonmagical object,” said Harry. “We figured if you could do that, you could Apparate one or two unconscious people.”
“Very well, Harry and Ray, Teddy will be meeting you tonight after he follows your mum home from the train,” stated Professor Dumbledore.
“Yes, Harry, I need your Cloak before I leave. I have a broom from the school,” Teddy said as he pulled a broom handle partly from one of his pockets. He released it and it fell back in without any bulge showing in his robes.
“It is over there; third drawer down in the desk.” Harry pointed briefly at the desk. The effort seemed to drain him.
Teddy walked over to the desk and pulled out the drawer and removed the silky Cloak. He nodded at Harry as he left the room with the Headmaster on his heels.
Harry slumped back into his chair and pulled the blankets around him again. He was exhausted. If he had done something to jeopardize the future, then he will have to fix it before he can return. His already complicated mission had just become even more complicated.
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The countryside slowly changed from the pristine fresh snow covering the hills around Hogsmeade to the present icy looking skeletons of deciduous trees and the heavy boughs of the evergreens. The snow that coated the ground and stuck to every branch and twig on all the trees in Hogsmeade was now that depressing grey wintery mix.
Lily had hoped for a white Christmas when she got home, but it looks like a wet and cold beginning to the Christmas hols. The further south the Hogwarts Express traveled the greyer and more depressing the landscape looked. It was starting to match her mood.
Lily was walking along the hallway of the train ensuring the students were not doing anything too dangerous. She didn’t actually need to be walking the hallways. Normally, this was the safest trip on the train. Everyone was either too anxious to get home or waiting to get home to cause any trouble. Prefects are rarely needed to keep the peace. She was here walking the halls, because she was miserable and didn’t care to talk to anyone.
She knew what everyone was going to ask her. What was actually going on between her and Professor James?
Why did everyone seem to think that she and the Professor were having some type of a physical relationship?
All they have ever been was courteous and polite to each other. She did kiss him on the cheek last night, but no one knew that and no would remember the reason she did it. It wasn’t anything that she should be ashamed of. It was a thank you kiss for someone saving her life. Even after she kissed him, she didn’t get any urge to kiss him on the lips. She just didn’t have any feelings towards him like that.
After Potter confronted her at the bottom of the stairs, she was sure that all the students in Hogwarts were going to be gossiping about her. So far no one has mentioned anything to her about Professor James.
It bothered her not to see him at the breakfast table, but it wasn’t an official school day, maybe he was having a lie in. Professor Ray had accompanied the students to the train station in Hogsmeade, but Professor James wasn’t present.
Did Professor James think she was physically attracted to him? He seemed to believe her last night, but maybe he misinterpreted what she said later. She hoped that the reason he wasn’t there was he got sacked because of her. She would never forgive herself if that had happened.
She looked away from the sullen countryside and saw Remus Lupin staring at her. “Hello Remus,” she answered him.
“I see you are enjoying the lovely English countryside,” said Remus sardonically.
“I was looking for an inspirational sight,” she laughed.
Remus laughed at her joke. “The only inspiration that I could get from that sight is that summer is quickly approaching.”
“Why so dour, Remus? Certainly there is beauty in the ice sculptures passing by the windows.” When Remus didn’t respond Lily looked at him. His expression indicated he had something on his mind. “Did you come out her to talk to me?”
“Yes, I saw you walk past our compartment three different times. What happened last night between you and James?”
“I am sure he told all about it,” she sniffed haughtily. “I saw the four of you huddled together in your corner.”
“We were making plans for the hols. Did you give him the handprint on the side of his face?”
Lily looked at him in shock. Evidently, Potter didn’t say anything to his friends. “Yes, I did. I am not proud that I lost control like that, but he deserved it.”
“What did he do to you?” Remus’ voice was strangled with fear.
“It wasn’t what he did it was what he said. He practically accused me of snogging Professor James, so I slapped him.”
Remus chuckled at her statement. “Yes you did, and it was a good one. Lily, none of us can figure James out. He seems obsessed about you and Professor James. I’ve tried to tell him that you would never do anything like that, but he just has it in his mind that the Professor is stalking you. We have never seen James jealous before.”
“Jealous?” questioned Lily. “We are not a couple. We have never been, and if he thinks that little of me, then we will never be a couple.”
Remus stood there and smiled at her. “You sound like there might have actually been a possibility….”
“No! Never! Not with that arrogant toe-rag.”
“You should actually give him a chance. He is actually rather nice and a great friend.”
“I don’t want to talk about him anymore. Happy Christmas, Remus.”
“Happy Christmas to you too,” he responded before leaving with the knowing smile on his face.
Lily was even in a worse mood now than before he had stopped by. She didn’t have feelings for Potter, not now or ever in the past, and if had once she considered giving him a chance that was ruined by what he said to her.
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James Potter sat in the compartment and stared at the frozen scenery as it passed by the window. He knew he was distant and moody today, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t get the thoughts of Lily and Professor James out of his head. It didn’t seem to matter to him that both denied any type of a relationship beyond teacher/student, he still couldn’t stop thinking about them as a couple.
The compartment door slid open and closed again, followed by a soft thump of Lupin flopping down on the seat cushions. He could tell without looking that his three friends were exchanging looks with each other.
“You want to play a game of Exploding Snap?” asked Sirius.
“No, you three go ahead. I don’t feel much like playing.”
“You don’t feel much like doing anything anymore, mate,” stated Sirius.
“Except accusing Evans of snogging Professor James,” stated Remus.
James reached for his wand and glared at his friend. “You talked to her didn’t you.”
“Yeah, I figured that handprint last night was from her. She told me that you accused her…,”
“She said it was nothing, but…,” James was cut off by Sirius grabbing his shoulder.
“Mate, James, Prongs, you need to get over her. Bloody hell, nearly five years of professing your love to her and now this, you are the most pathetic person I have ever seen at asking a bird out for a snog,” laughed Sirius.
Peter openly laughed at Sirius’ comment and Remus smiled gently too. James stared at his friends and pulled his arm away from Sirius.
“You wouldn’t understand,” James huffed.
“Try us, let us know what is going on in that head of yours,” replied Sirius. “Because, I have never seen you so worked up over Evans before.
“James, why can’t you believe us when we tell you that she has a platonic relationship with Professor James?” questioned Remus.
James looked at his three best friends. He had never held anything back from them before, but this was different. He knew how they would react to his statement. At least he was pretty sure; they would all call him barmy. He decided to watch the passing scenery as he told them his inner most feelings.
“When I used to see Lily, I could see the two of us together. It seemed just so natural. It would be her and I married and raising a family. I could never see her with Snivellus, or any of the other blokes that tried to chat her up. It was always going to be her and me. It just seemed natural and so right.
“However, when I see her standing and talking to Professor James, they look like they belong together. It bothers me, because she was always supposed to be mine, until he showed up. I can tell he is more important to her than I could ever be.”
James felt Sirius’ hand grab his shoulder.
“James, that was just so sweet,” said Sirius. “You have been reading too many of your mother’s Witch Weekly’s. Haven’t you! You are a bloke! Blokes don’t talk like that, only birds talk about those things. You are James Potter aren’t you! Quick guys I think we have someone here posing as James.”
James turned to look his best mates just before they pounced on him. They were holding him down as they pulled his shoes off and started tickling his feet. They knew that was his ticklish spot. He started laughing hysterically as either Remus or Peter held his legs and the other tickled his feet. Sirius was large enough to hold his arms down and prevent him from rolling away.
After ten minutes of noisy laughter, they let him go. They had completely disrobed him leaving him in nothing but his pants. He looked up and luckily the privacy blinds had been pulled.
“Give me my clothes now, you wankers,” shouted James.
“We were checking to see if you had any Polyjuice on you, because you sure aren’t acting like James Potter the Marauder extraordinaire.”
“Look there was nothing wrong with what I said about Lily and I and that git Professor James.”
“You are a bloke…,” Sirius cut him off.
“Yes I am, but I still can think like that. Are you telling me you never thought about looking for that one special person?”
Sirius let out his bark like laugh. “Every night, every bloody night, and there doesn’t even need to be a second night. That is how a bloke is supposed to think. Not about whom you are supposed to spend the rest of your life together with.”
“Yeah, well, this bloke thinks with the head on his shoulders not in his pants,” retorted James. The entire compartment exploded with laughter.
“Like I said you are not thinking like a bloke,” chuckled Sirius. “I supposed you are going to start sitting around with bunches of fresh flowers sniffing them and reading poetic ramblings about love next.”
“Only if it annoys the hell out of you. Now give me my robes,” shouted James.
“He doesn’t appear to have any Polyjuice on him,” said Peter.
“There is only one place he could be keeping a vial of it,” said Sirius roguishly. James squeezed himself back into the corner of the seat and the outside wall of the train. “If he is willing to put a vial that has been there to his lips, more power to him.”
Remus, Sirius, and Peter laughed riotously at Sirius’ comment. James almost smiled, but he was so chuffed at the moment that he didn’t want to give them the pleasure of knowing he was furious at them. He grabbed his clothes and quickly put them on.
He sat down and stared at his friends. “When did you plan on disrobing me?”
“We didn’t,” laughed Peter.
“Yeah mate, it was totally unplanned, but brilliant. If I do say so myself,” chuckled Sirius.
“Yeah, really bloody brilliant,” snorted James. He stared out the window trying to ignore his friends. They think he was mental about saying Lily and Professor James look good together. It was more than that. They looked as if they belonged together.
Where does that leave him?
The countryside turned to suburbs, then to cityscape. In almost no time at all, the train was stopping at Kings Cross station. James methodically stood up and joined the rest of his friends as they jostled through the throng of students. It took almost ten minutes to reach the platform. He walked behind Remus and Peter and in front of Sirius as they weaved through the crowd. As they reached the edge of the mass of students Remus stopped walking and turned to Peter, who stopped and turned to James. Soon they were standing in a small circle.
“Are all of you coming to my parent’s house on the twenty-seventh?” asked James.
“I’d be there sooner if I could,” laughed Sirius.
“I’ll be there,” said Remus.
“You know I will come and stay until after the New Year,” said Peter excitedly.
“All right, everyone have a Happy Christmas,” shouted James over the din of the crowd.
They shook each other’s hands before heading for the barrier. James was casually walking through the crowd when he was bumped into by someone he spends most of the time thinking about. Lily Evans stepped back from him like he was something loathsome.
“Happy Christmas, Lily,” shouted James. He could see the hurt in her eye, and it made him twist up inside. It was his fault for the pain she was feeling. “I am sorry,” he shouted to her.
She appeared to be surprised at his comment. “Are you?” she asked flatly.
“Yeah I really am. It’s just…,” he stopped talking he didn’t want to tell her what he felt about her and Professor James.
“Just what?” she snapped angrily. “I am so low that I would engage with an illegal and immoral relationship with Professor James.”
“No, Lily you are not. Look, it is very complicated and I can’t explain it here.”
“Very well, Happy Christmas, Potter,” she said and turned to walk away from him.
“It was only two months ago that you called me James and thanked me,” he shouted.
Lily didn’t even turn around, but she hesitated and turned her head slightly. James must have hit a nerve with her. He assumed she remembered the battle in Hogsmeade on Halloween, but he was never sure. He was even surer, now.