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Chapter 20 : Race Against Time
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It's my seventeenth birthday and I want to give you a gift instead! I rewrote this whole chapter so I could get it up today and I got my goal of 3 pages! I hope you enjoy and I'll get you those chapter questions in the next chapter likely. Or, if I'm in a good mood, I'll post them here at a later time. Happy Memorial Day!
Harry felt his heart struggle to start up again. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. It couldn't be...
"Sirius?" Harry slowly turned around. There, standing in front of him in the flesh, was Sirius Black.
"How've you been, Prongs Jr?" he had a big grin on his face. Sirius looked slightly different than he remembered. His beard had been shaved cleanly and he was wearing clean Wizarding robes. Harry blinked; absorbing the sight, then turned around and tried to look around for anything that looked normal that he could focus onto to stop this episode.
"Not there..." Harry muttered under his breath, closing his eyes tight, feeling his eyes water.
"I don't know whether to be insulted or proud," Sirius said, evenly, and he could feel him walk to his side.
"Shut up, just shut up!" Harry plugged his eyes tighter and viciously turned away.
"Insulted it is, then," his voice seemed pained, "Harry, look at me!" He swung him around by his shoulders and Harry looked up at him, startled. "I'm real, I'm here."
"You're - no, you can't..." Harry choked, feeling his throat close and tears release from his eyes. "Go away!"
"Harry you need to quiet down!" he whispered. "Someone will hear you!" The room began to fade slightly, and the two of them were in a dark room with many white pillars masked in the shadows, and a billowing curtain whipping in the non-existent wind. Tormenting whispers issues from the veil, and Harry stopped fighting against Sirius to stare frozen at it, lip quivering. "What is it? Harry, what...?" There was no Sirius in sight, but the weight of his hand on his shoulder let him know.
"The veil... Sirius, you're real!" Harry looked back at him, eyes wide.
"Thank Merlin, I was beginning to doubt myself," he chuckled, but then quieted. "I'm sorry; I don't think I'm one to talk."
"But this can't be - how...?"
"Are you having one of your vision things these barmy old dokors keep calling them?"
"Yes, I see the veil," he muttered, as the voices grew louder.
"Don't you have any techniques? I thought I heard Lily talk about them when I got word you had revived."
"I focus on things - things that are normal in non-magic land."
"Focus on me, then," said Sirius, helpfully, "Unless you still have doubts..."
But Harry wasn't listening; he was already concentrating solely on the pressure on his shoulder. His haze seemed to disperse slowly and the pillars turned to his canopy-styled bead posts, and the veil into his fluttering window curtains. Even Sirius's arm became visible in the corner of his eye, but he refused to look right away. This was too good to be true. All of his life, he had grown used to the good things in life, only to have them taken away. If Sirius didn't understand that it was hard, then nobody could because he went through almost just as much pain as himself.
"Prongslet?" he asked, quietly.
"How - I don't understand...?" Harry slowly looked him in the eye, and replays of that terrible scene in the Department of Mysteries filled his mind.
"Not sure my self, to tell you the truth," he said, calmly and he let himself sit on Harry's bed. Harry had to admit, he'd never seen Sirius looking so alive before. His hair was neat and held back by a ponytail, but Harry could tell that it was recently cut by the ends. He wore a casual, yet stylish outfit that made him look younger than he was, and the torment that used to fill his eyes had completely vanished. Even his chin was free of stubble. "I'm guessing you have a few questions."
"Understatement of the year - no, sorry, decade," Harry blew breath out his lips and sat next to Sirius, afraid to believe.
"Well, if it helps any," Sirius grunted and seemed to pat each of his pockets until Harry heard a familiar clanged as he pulled out a shiny golf coin and held it out for him. Harry hesitated, already knowing what it was, but then held out his palm flat and in it dropped a galleon. He could feel it in his hand, the texture, the weight - it was all the same. A simple coin made him doubt everything that has happened to him. The doctors, the medication - all to keep him thinking he was insane.
"Everything... I'm not insane, am I, Sirius?" Harry whispered, in awe.
"Partly, no," Sirius sighed.
"Which means it's partly yes," Harry muttered, his shoulders slumping.
"You're still getting visions from the other world - our world. That shouldn't be happening. I doubt you could control your magic here. I doubt you even have magic here. I'm sorry, kiddo."
Harry was silent for a few moments, and then asked, "Why are you here?"
"I have my theories, but one can't be too sure."
"What are they?"
"Well... there is one I am holding most of my bets on, and I talked to Arabella Figg, who's a renowned genius with this kind of stuff. Oh, sorry, she's a Muggleborn witch here, which helps a lot with the theories. We've been working together for a few weeks now. Anyway, we think that this is a world almost completely opposite of our own. Whoever resides in this world is the opposite in the other world. Take Arabella herself for example, in the other world she is a squib. From a pureblooded family with no magic at all. This is reversed here, where she is a Muggleborn with extraordinary magical talents. Then there is Lily, she is a Muggleborn witch in ours, but in here, she's an ordinary muggle. Bella also has theories that there are two more worlds that coincide with this one, but we won't delve into that right now. I think that Voldemort, who, by the way, doesn't exist in this world, somehow switched the two of you up. It must have been advanced and extraordinarily dark magic. According to our theory, you are not supposed to be here."
"Well if Voldemort -"
"Voldemort is messing with fate, which can be an extremely detrimental to the Order."
"The Order of the Phoenix is here?" Harry's ears perked up. "Even without Dumble-"
"I'm sorry, I'm forgetting with my old age," Sirius told him, "Bella calls the balance between worlds the Order. Anyway, you're not supposed to be here, which is why we have to get you back to your world pronto. If not, well, I'm afraid about what will happen."
"What will happen, exactly?"
"There will be no hope for the Wizarding world, because if we're right, Harold is in our world. He's inexperienced and without powers, I'm guessing. If Voldemort gets to him, there will be nobody to switch places with."
Harry's breath became rapid. "Sirius, I have to go back!"
"I know that! We need to get to the Department of Mysteries and get you through that veil. It's quite risky, and I've been trying to contact you since I found out you were here. It was a coincidence, mind, I was actually following Lily, but -"
"Go on, Sirius!" Harry ushered. "What do we have to do?"
"We need to first get you out of this joint and out of that institution's radar. They'll come looking for you and murder charges were enough for me and I would rather not have kidnapping on my plate as well. Skeeter's going to cause us a problem as well for a while. She's going to have to go through meetings and check ups with this for a few weeks, which will probably call the attention of the authorities. Then, make our way to the Wizarding world; somehow get into the Department of Mysteries. It might prove difficult. Yvonne Polkiss, the Mistress of Magic, is extremely paranoid and has every place of importance under excruciating surveillance. Even then, the outcome might be difficult. We have to make sure you get where you have to be and not into any of the other planes."
Harry looked at him in mock horror, "So you do have a brain after all!"
"I'm not just a pretty face," Sirius let his hand run his hand over his tied back hair with a superior attitude. Harry began snickering, which turned to roaring laughter. Pretty soon there were tears in his eyes as he fell of the bed and coughed.
"Harry, what in Merlin's name...?" Sirius looked confused and scared at the same time. "Should I get help -" Harry laughed louder, "-it wasn't that funny... Harry!"
"It's so good to have you back, Sirius," Harry wheezed as his mirth subsided. It turned to horror when the clomping of stairs could be heard and footsteps making their way to his room. Sirius was one step ahead of him and was sitting ramrod straight on his bed in his dog form, staring at the door expectantly. The door squeaked open and the torso of James Potter could be seen.
"What's going on up here?" he asked, quizzically.
"Oh, uh... Sirius was... um.. chasing his tail, and...er..." Harry lied.
"Sirius?" James asked. "I thought you named him Padfoot."
"Oh... Sirius is his nickname."
"Um... alright, then. He doesn't look serious..." James went on with a very confused voice. The dog suddenly coughed as if he was chocking on something, and James stared at him. "Well, if everything is alright..." Harry nodded enthusiastically. "I'll go then. Oh, and your mother expects you down for dinner in ten minutes."
"Okay, thanks Dad," Harry smiled and James brightened as he shut the door behind them. Harry and Sirius remained quiet until they were sure he was gone. Sirius's chocking subsided and as he transformed, said, "Good Ol' James. That was always one of our favorite jokes."
"My name and serious the word. Always a classic."
"Oh," Harry said with a lopsided grin.
"There is a little bit of Prongs in him," Sirius sighed happily. "I'll always miss Prongs, but at least I have a part of him back. And Lils. She's a woman that will never change. Just as determined as always."
"When do we suggest going?"
"A week, at least. It's going to be hard and it would be easier if we had some help, but -"
"So why don't we?"
"Why don't we what?"
"Oh, Harry, I don't know..." he looked worried at the thought.ĒIt might be dangerous."
"Letís get Dad to help!" Harry grew excited. "You can get to know each other like the old days! He seems like a nice enough bloke, and -"
"Arabella won't like this..."
"Do you do everything Arabella tells you? Come on, Sirius!"
"We need more time to think about this! We can't have any rash decisions! Besides, he's not likely to take well to being told, at such a perfectly mature age, that magic is real."
"How do you think Muggleborn parents feel?" Harry glared at him, bringing back bad memories of the rash decisions that happened in the past.
"Harry, that's different!"
"No it's not! I'm a wizard!"
"You were a wizard," Sirius sadly muttered.
"But I know so much about it!"
"And they know just as much about psychological things. Harry, they'll think you're mad!"
"They already think I'm mad!" Harry pointed out, exasperated.
"That's what I'm saying! They'll drug you up on medication and we'll never get anywhere!"
"But if we recruit my dad, we could get out of here sooner! The increasing of my medication is just a chance we'll have to take!"
"It sounds as if you already made your decision," he said, sadly.
"I have," Harry said, defiantly.
"It'll be dangerous."
"You might get sent back with the dokors."
"Doctors, Sirius, doctors."
"We'll have to risk it."
"You don't want to get to know your dad a little better first?"
"Sirius, don't go there."
"What? I'm stating a fact!" he sighed. "It hurts me just as much as it does you, and if I were you I'd want this chance."
"We'll bring him with."
"He has nobody to switch with, we won't be able to."
"I was a special case. I'll explain later."
"Is risking the lives of thousands of people worth a few days of getting to know them and then having to leave them again better?"
"That'd be selfish of me!"
"Everyone's entitled to be a little selfish at times, especially you."
"We don't have the time, Sirius! If I don't get back before Voldemort has a chance to have a go at the other Harry, I'll never get back and he'll reign forever!"
"You really think that's the best option?"
"Then we will. We'll tell him tonight."
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