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Regalo Del James - James's Gift
It was a drizzly, cold, grey morning, around six o'clock. Nothing stirred in the common room save the curtains, rippling gently in the breeze, and the flames in the grate, spluttering and dancing, casting long, spidery shadows up the walls. Nothing else moved.
Through the window, you could see all the way down to the gates, where a single cloaked and hooded figure stood, waiting, against the fence. A tiny flash of ginger hair could be seen, even at this distance.
Just then, the door to the boys' dormitories opened, but nothing came out. The corner of a rug lifted slightly, there was a dull bang, a table moved, and then there was a quiet moan and a curse.
'Shhh!' said a boy's voice. 'We have to get there, or he's going to leave!'
'It's your fault you didn't get up,' said another boy's voice, sounding as though the owner was gritting his teeth in pain. 'I was trying to wake you for ten minutes...'
The portrait slowly opened. The Fat Lady awoke with a start, and squawked, ' Who's there? Show yourself!!' But nothing, and no one, appeared in the corridor. There was only the sound of extremely light footsteps.
Soon, the doors to the Entrance Hall opened with a creak and moan, and there were the sounds of two people running down the steps, then the grass flattening in four shoe-shaped places. At the eaves of the Forbidden Forest, two boys suddenly appeared, the shortest one shoving an Invisibility Cloak back into his bag. This boy had messy black hair, a rather long nose, hazel eyes, and a pale face. He looked to be seventeen, which was proved with the 'Head Boy' badge pinned to his robes.
His companion was about two inches taller, also seventeen, and everything about him seemed to be dark - he had darker skin, dark hair falling into his dark eyes. He looked around.
'No one here,' he said. 'Are you still trying to get that Cloak in your bag, Prongs?'
James Potter was trying; in his haste, it kept slithering back out, because it was of such silky material. Sirius Black took it off him, lifted it above the open bag and dropped it in. James shrugged.
'I was going to do that,' he said defensively. Sirius only laughed, leaning against a tree until James said something else.
'Right, c'mon,' James muttered, trudging along beside the Forest trees, keeping well in the shadows.
'So where is our bloke?' asked Sirius, walking along beside him, looking around casually.
'Down by the gates,' said James. 'Yeah, there he is.'
He pointed up to where the fence curved around after it had skirted the edge of the Forest. Leaning on the column was the cloaked figure that could be observed from the Gryffindor common room. James and Sirius made their way up to him.
'Finally,' the man muttered. 'I woz beginnin' to fink yeh weren' comin', boys.'
James and Sirius both scoffed.
'Course we were coming,' said Sirius. 'It was you I was thinking wouldn't come.'
The man looked at him out of slightly sunken brown eyes. Then he turned his gaze away as though Sirius hurt his eyes.
'So,' said James quickly. 'You got it then?'
'Wha'?' said the man thickly. 'Oh, yeh, I got it.' He rummaged around in his cloak and brought out a grubby, squashed package. 'There yeh go.'
James took it, and turned it over, eyes narrowed.
'You haven't damaged it at all, have you, Dung?' he asked suspiciously. The man shook his head quickly.
'Course not!' he said, sounding scandalised. 'I jus' had ter get it 'ere quickly, or I would've bin caught! I kinda fell ova, but I managed ter give people the slip.'
Sirius shook his head, his dark hair shivering.
'Honestly,' he said, 'you're only a year out of Hogwarts and you're already a crook!'
'Well,' said the man defensively. 'I have ter make a livin, I hav ter earn money fer food, eh, Padfoot! Las' week I woz livin' under a bridge livin on scraps! Week before that, I woz in a cave, eatin rats! D'yer hav any idea wat that's like?'
'Nah,' said Sirius. 'Oh, well.' He paused, looking the other man up and down. ''Mundungus Fletcher, the great conman of his time!'
'Don't,' said Mundungus. 'Well, you guys, it's bin a pleasure seein yer, I'll jus' --- actually, could yeh get me some food outta the Great 'All? I'm really 'ungry.'
James and Sirius looked at each other and sighed. 'All right, then,' said James. 'We'll get you stuff in thanks for getting us our order. But if we find out it's damaged, we're gonna find you and hex you, got that?'
Mundungus nodded. James and Sirius turned, walked back into the shadow of the Forest and disappeared from view under the Cloak again. Mundungus slid down the fence, and tightened his cloak around him for warmth.
'Padfoo' and Prongs, the great marauders o' their time,' he murmured, watching the grass flatten as the two youths made their invisible way back to the castle.
* * * *
Harry Potter awoke on a Saturday morning, warm and sunny. The sunlight filtered through the window right onto his bed. Moaning, he twisted round and saw Ron lying on his back on bed eating sweets.
'I was wondering whether you were going to wake up,' he said thickly, his mouth full of Chocolate Frog. 'Hermione's in the common room doing homework.' He made a face. 'Honestly, just cause she's Head Girl doesn't mean she has to work every second of every day!'
Harry grimaced. 'You know what she'll say,' he pulled a face and put on a high-pitched voice that sounded uncannily like Hermione, '"I've got to set a good example to the first-years!"'
Ron laughed, but a female voice carried across the dormitory, one that did not sound amused.
'Yes, Harry, I do,' said Hermione, striding into the dormitory. Harry sat up. 'It'd be a fine sight for the Head Girl to neglect her work, wouldn't it?'
'You?' said Ron. 'Neglect work? Like that'll ever happen!'
Hermione scowled at him, and sat down on Seamus's empty bed. The owner, Dean and Neville were out.
'Speaking of neglecting work,' she said sternly. 'You two are way behind. If you want to become Aurors you have to know how to keep on top of your workload.'
'Has Professor McGonagall died or something, Hermione?' Ron interrupted.
'Not that I know of,' said Hermione, narrowing her eyes suspiciously. 'Why?'
'Because it seems you're channelling her spirit,' said Ron, and Harry snorted with laughter as he swung himself out of bed.
'Well, you can't go covering it up with jokes and laughs, the fact is, you're really behind on ho--' Hermione began, unfazed.
'Yeah, yeah, Hermione,' said Harry, collecting together his clothes so he could get dressed into them straight after Hermione had left. He found one sock but couldn't see the other. He rummaged around, looking for it.
'What're you looking for?' asked Ron, yawning and stretching his arms, therefore almost punching Hermione in the face as she stood up to help in the search. 'Oooops, sorry, Hermione...'
'I can't find my other sock,' muttered Harry, his head halfway under his bed.
'Is that it?' asked Hermione.
Harry backed out from under the bed, lifted his head, it collided with the wood, he cursed and then saw where Hermione was pointing.
There was a rolled up black sock lying in the little alcove between the drawer and the bottom of his bedside table. It was dusty down there - he had never put anything in that space in all of the seven years he had been in this school.
'Oh, thanks, Hermione,' said Harry. 'Dunno how it got there...'
He bent down again, reached further into the alcove and found his sock. But as he put pressure on the wood of the bottom of the bedside cabinet, it fell away with a smooth sliding sound. Looking at Ron and Hermione in a puzzled way, Harry felt around in there. Soon his fingers touched something medium-sized and a little bit squashed, but he could tell it was something hard.
Pulling it out, he saw that it was a badly-wrapped package, a little bent but obviously intact, with the initials J.P and S.B scrawled hastily on it.
'What's that?' asked Ron, quietly and intrigued. He slid off his bed to get a closer look.
'Dunno,' said Harry, turning the package in his hands. 'It looks like it's been unwrapped and then wrapped up again - in a rush. And there's writing on it...'
His voice trailed off as he stared at the initials.
'What's the matter?' asked Hermione, who was standing behind him.
'J.P and S.B,' he said slowly. 'James Potter and Sirius Black...'
Ron let out a gasp. 'Open it!' he said quickly. Harry ripped open the thick brown paper, to find another package inside. But a piece of paper fluttered gracefully to the floor. He picked it up and saw that it was in an unfamiliar hand; quite messy, but thin and spidery. The note read:
In this package you will find a Time Turner that Mundungus Fletcher acquired for myself and Padfoot (Sirius) three years ago.
Hopefully when you are older, in your prime days at Hogwarts, you will acquire it. I cannot be there to give it you - I am in grave danger - all three of us are. Your mother and myself would do anything to save you, you know that. If you're there reading this without us, know that we died to keep you alive. The ultimate sacrifice a parent can give to their child!
You are probably wondering how this has been kept safe from prying eyes? Well, when I knew how much danger we were in, I gave this to Dumbledore to put in the bottom of the cabinet next to the bed that you will one day sleep in! He fitted a sliding compartment in it and charmed it so only a Potter can remove the slide and receive the package within.
I hope you use this to your advantage. Just don't do anything to change history. It's the sort of thing I'd've done! But don't ...
Well, if you're reading this, I'll know Dumbledore and me did everything fine. You're safe. That's all that matters.
Take care, son,
Will love you always,
Harry sat there staring at the letter from his father. This was his father's handwriting, his paper, his ink ... he and Sirius had kept the Time Turner within. They wanted him to use it to his advantages. He couldn't think of any advantages right now - all he thought of, was that he had a present.
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