Here is a summary of what you need to remember from prev chapters, if you don't need it skip to after the lined sentences:
Harry falls into the AU world during an order meeting at Godricks Hollow. McGonagall took him to where he -after a horrible nightmare- caused an MPD. Dumbledore after much much research, realizes Harry is from an AU. Harry is now in Hogwarts, he had a talk with a Centaur and a close run-in with his mother (ter) . Lily suspects something is up and cannot take her mind of the boy that fell into her living room. So far it has been revealed both she and Dumbledore have dreamt of cannon Harry's past. Dumbledore finally told the truth to Harry being from a different world and convinced him to attend Hogwarts for his seventh year, also said he will allow Harry time to decide to meet his parents.
On with the story,previews for the next chapter and excuses for the late update at the end.
Silence descended, and all conversation stopped the moment Harry walked into the Great Hall the next morning. Of the four participants, three simply stared at him -mouths agape, eyes wide. Harry briefly considered turning around and walking out. After all, he hadn't really been in his right mind when he'd agreed to this in the first place.
He didn't look at his surrounding, focusing instead on berating himself for the hundredth time that morning for actually agreeing to be put through school. Even if the school was Hogwarts.
"Good morning Harry!" Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling as though he knew what had run through Harry mind just moments ago. Harry wearily approached the huddle the four professors had made in the center of the Great Hall. "Fellow colleagues, I introduce Harry James Potter" Harry frowned at Dumbledore use of dramatization. He fidgeted nervously as the 'fellow colleagues' stared shamelessly.
He felt as though it was first year all over again.
He turned to look at each professor individually as they were in turn introduced, McGonagall still had the same strict bun and square glasses, Flitwick was still tiny with a shock of white hair, and Sprout with her earthy robes and patched hat had not changed a bit. They all looked exactly the same as he remembered. For a moment Harry let himself imagine he was still just a student who'd walked into the Great Hall in that forbidden early hour when only the professors resided.
They spoke all at once, and the fantasy shattered.
"Goodness he looks just like his father!" McGonagall breathed.
"Except for the eyes! He's got Lily's eyes!" Flitwick piped up.
"Switch green for hazel and its 1977 all over again!" Sprout exclaimed.
With a stab Harry realized that he was a stranger to these people, they had never taught him, never before given him tons homework and, in McGonagall case, detentions.
The reverse was also true. They were all strangers to him as well.
Strangers with Familiar faces
The line seemed to fit his situation perfectly. With another pang Harry realized he did not even know what had happened to the professor counter-parts in his world, didn't even knew if they had survived. Maybe they hadn't.
'And some nutter actually claimed that whatever you don't know, can't hurt you.'
Harry- for once - agreed wholeheartedly with his snide inner voice. Not knowing the fate of his friends in the other world hurt. Badly.
And in the center of it all stood Dumbledore, "Now that you have all been introduced- some for the second time," he smiled sympathetically at Harry, "lets get down to business shall we." He gestured to their surroundings and for the first time since walking in that morning Harry realized the House tables had been pushed up against the wall. Each was stacked with so many pounds and piles of books and materials, that Harry began to seriously doubt his ability to get into any NEWT classes.
He turned back as Dumbledore spoke again, " We have set up a schedule for you Harry, designed to review as much information as possible in the smallest time. That is to say for the next 2 days you will have a crash course of sixth year before the exams on Friday."
Friday? The panic must have shown on his face. Why else would McGonagall put a comforting arm around his shoulder and smile down at him?
"Its really not as hard as Albus makes it out to sound, you've already learned everything it'll simply be summary of it all," she said.
Harry turned to stare aghast at the arm,. He didn't know which out of character action to analyze first.
The body contact, the comforting words- or the smile.
He settled for blinking owlishly at her, and realized when McGonagall gave his shoulder another squeeze, he must have looked as though he was freaking out over the crash course test.
Strangers with Familiar faces
Differences were good, he tried to convince himself. If Harry could focus on all the differences he would remember his place, that this was not his world, and that he didn't belong here.
Dumbledore continued, "We have decided to allow each course 2 hours, and each professor will be reviewing two courses with you. That way, you'll have at least four hours of review for each course."
"With professor McGonagall you will be reviewing Transfiguration and Arithmacy ... "
Said professor beamed at him in a way reminiscent of Molly Weasley, "It's good to see you recovered and healthy, gave us all quite a shock"
" With professor Flitwick you will be taking Charms -of course- and Ancient Runes, with Professor Sprout it will be Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. And finally for Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts, you will be reviewing with the Professor Snape. "
At the name Harry stilled, so Snape was still a professor here as well? Harry wondered how that was still possible. If his parents never died in this world, but he did, then why would Dumbledore still hire him?
It literally hurt his head to think of Snape's role in his past, and so Harry focused instead on how he felt about the man himself. He repeated the name in his head, 'Snape'
It invoked no feeling, nothing. He simply felt nothing. As if his pity for the man balanced his loathing, and his anger balanced the little respect he'd gained for him near the end.
Of course he still hated was something Harry new would never change. But it was an acknowledged sort of hatred, brought on by years of mistreatment, akin to how he felt of the Dursley's. No longer though, did it carry the flag of fury behind it. Anger so raw and deep he could almost taste it, and so profound his mouth foamed and hands fisted simply at the mention of the name.
No, now it was only an acknowledged anger, comparable to that of a child's anger at vegetables.
"Well, he seems oddly
absent at the moment" McGonagall said, lips tightening in an all too familiar way.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't show up at all" Sprout added and Flitwick seemed to bob is little head in silent agreement.
As though he heard the challenge, the Great Hall doors swept open and Harry stiffened as he heard the familiar Click- Whoosh of the approaching Professor. Click of the heel, and the whoosh of the cloak as it followed behind.
The sound was foreboding, and Harry, his back facing the front doors- found himself having an internal pep talk.
'Strangers with Familiar faces, they are all Strangers with Familiar faces.
The approach stopped and by his right ear Harry heard the cool familiar voice of Professor Snape "I apologize for the delay, I ran into Peeves who insisted on a welcome back present."
Steeling himself to meet the usual dark mocking gaze of the Potions Professor, Harry spun on his feet to face the Snape of this world.
'Differences, look for differences
The first thing he noticed was the gruesome looking scar that ran from Snape's left eye, across his cheek and down to turn the corner of his mouth into a grotesque permanent half smirk.
'Well... that's certainly different
"No worries Severus, I just finished explaining the schedule we agreed upon for the next few days to Harry here, and to state the obvious, " Dumbledore voice stayed pleasant, but Harry detected a slight bit of steel as he said the next word, " This is Harry Potter"
There was a a hush as Snape turned his head and gave a slight nod in Harry general direction. " We've heard quite a bit about you. Nice to put a name to face"
Not that Harry had been expecting another gush of how he looked like his father, but he also hadn't been expecting - dare he say - pleasant words, albeit in a neutral tone from the Potions professor.
There was irony in his words however, as Snape seemed to be looking anywhere but
Harrys face. Currently his black eyes were focused on a location somewhere past his left shoulder.
Which could, perhaps, count as a blessing as Harry couldn't seem to take his eyes off the scar on Snapes face.
In that case, I shall take my leave The headmaster's statement was what broke Harry's open gawking at the Potions Professor.
"You're leaving?" He winced at the panicked tone in his voice.
Dumbledore paused, "Ah yes! I almost forgot" he reached into the folds of his robe and pulled out a long wooden object. "As I am certain you can do some wandless magic, you will need a this " He laid the object on his open palm for Harry to take.
"My wand!" Harry exclaimed. "Where did you fi-
"No Harry, " Dumbledore interrupted, voice weary all of the sudden, "your wand is still in demolished pieces. This I recently purchased from Olivanders."
Harry lifted the wand and felt the familiar jolt run through him, 11 inches, made of holly with one phoenix feather. It lay comfortably in the nook between his fingers and his thumb as though it had been there for years. Because, Harry realized, it had. This was his
wand, but it didn't belong to him.
"I'm sorry Harry," Dumbledore said softly, and Harry lifted his eyes from the wand to hold the headmasters gaze. He wasn't simply apologizing for the wand.
Harry froze as the truth hit him, hard. Dumbledore didn't know how to send him home, had no clue where to start, for neither of them had any idea how he had managed to land in an alternate world in the first place. The older wizard held his gaze, blue eyes pleading with him to understand.
Harry looked away first, no longer able to hide the yearning for anything, anyone
familiar, in his eyes.
"Do your best Harry... as will I" He understood the double meaning and nodded as he clutched the new -old- wand tightly in his hand. Harry swallowed to form some words of gratitude for all Dumbledore had done, but he could not seem to speak around the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat.
Dumbledore smiled in understanding, then gestured behind Harry. Turning, Harry realized the professors had all gone to their prospective tables and began to set up, in order to give them privacy as they spoke. " I'll let you get started then."
With a final smile the Headmaster of Hogwarts turned in a flurry of sea blue robes and disappeared out the door. It closed behind him with an ominous click.
Bracing himself for the next 8 hours, Harry turned around.
Transfiguration was first, McGonagall practically growled at all the other professors as she dragged him away with a steel grip on his arm. She let it go only when they reached her table, instead she stood beaming with a wide smile across her lips and an expectant look in her eyes.
Harry felt obligated to tell her he hadn't inherited his Fathers particular gift with transfiguration.
He'd had to say the same thing to Flitwick about his non-existent gift with charms as well. Not surprisingly, both professors enthusiasm fell dramatically by the end of each hour.
Dinner was called as Dumbledore reentered the hall. And not a moment to soon, as Harry was glad to escape the runes problem he was reviewing with Flitwick.
A table had been placed in the center of the hall, where they had all been standing just that morning. The house elves had set up the chairs and food unnoticed by Harry.
He was seated near the front of the table next to Dumbledore, who sat at the head. Beside him McGonagall, but Harry couldn't keep the surprise out of his face when Snape took the seat directly across from him and to the left of Dumbledore.
Harry was content to listen as the professor discussed everything from the Quiditch world games (who knew Flitwick was a Tornadoes fan?), to the upcoming school year. But he was pulled into the conversation suddenly when professor McGonagall grabbed his hands, (as they were reached for the bread basket), and covered them with hers.
Bewildered, Harry turned to face her as she spoke.
"I don't think you understand how much of a miracle it is to have you sitting next to us here today." her eyes shown bright behind her glasses.
Harry felt his face grow hot, more still as Flitwick spoke from the other end of the table.
"You are absolutely correct Minerva, and I for one count it a true- true blessing to have met you Harry"
His mortification however, was complete when Sprout raised her goblet in the air and pronounced, "A toast! To Harry Potter!"
"To Harry" repeated Dumbledore, amusement evident in his voice.
He glanced at Snape, more thankful than ever, that the potions professor had maintained a perfect polished empty mask as he only tipped his glass.
McGonagall had let go of his hands during the toast, and Harry took the opportunity to shove them under the table lest she make another grab for them. Professor Sprout launched into a story about his father and Sirius during their school days.
They had apparently tried growing a particular plant in her class, which upon burning, sent the entire class to the Infirmary with glazed eyes, as all the students seemed to find everything and anything amusing, stumbled around, or sat for hours staring at the same thing, and saw 'pretty colors'.
Harry found himself laughing aloud at the thought of James and Sirius getting half their year high, then not caring about any detention or punishment as they thought Sprout was Mother Nature.
A stunned silence filled the room, even Snape had paused in his eating to stare. It took a moment before Harry to realize this was the first time he'd laughed- actually laughed - since he'd woken from his coma.
"You may look like James Harry, but I'm finding your more and more like your mother," McGonagall said smiling.
Harry looked at Snape to try and catch his eye, but the Potions professor had looked back down. McGonagall followed his gaze, and leaning back slightly on her chair said.
"Do you not think so as well Severus? We have yet to hear your opinion on this entire matter." She was no longer smiling.
When Snape said nothing, Flitwick came to his rescue "I'm sure Severus thinks it is a miracle as well, do you not?" the tiny voice inquired.
Snape nodded with a cool sort of detachment belayed only by the clenching of his fist around his fork.
' Harry noted.
The surprises continued after dinner had wrapped up, his first hour with Sprout had gone as expected. She'd graded him acceptable and looked pleased with his handling of the Recure root. He managed to repot it without dying horribly of its poisons or butchering its paper- like roots.
But at the end of the 2nd hour she suddenly pulled Harry into a bear hug, much to his shock. At least McGonagall hadn't done that
Well, not in this world.
"What... what was that for?" he asked when she'd finally released him. The Herbology Professor paused in the process of piling up her teachers notes.
"You looked like you needed one".
She'd said it as though that explained everything, then beaming at Harry's expression (it was a cross between bewilderment and embarrassment) flounced out of the Great Hall.
Yes, honest to Merlin, flounced
. The entire day was beginning to border on ridiculous.
But the biggest bewilderment was yet to come, his lessons with Snape went nothing
as he'd imagined. Not even remotely close to any of his encounters with the Potion Professor's counterpart.
At first, Snape has asked Harry to produce a recipe list for a potion already mixed. Harry had been extra careful, but still manages to fumble on some of the ingredients.
Snape had said nothing.
When he'd expected to get yelled at for confusing the newt eyes for the frogs he'd gotten " Common mistake. The trick is to notice that newt eyes are slightly yellow tinged while the frogs are pink."
When he'd expected a scorning when stirring in the wrong direction at first before correcting himself, he'd gotten "It's a good trick to stir in the opposite direction at first to get the ingredients reacting before stirring in the correct one.
The kicker had been when Harry produced reddish pink substance instead of a light pink, and Snape had determined the mixture to be adequate
That might as well have meant outstanding coming from Snape. Harry never got an adequate. Hermione
got adequate's, and she was nearly always perfect.
The strangeness continued, by the second hour Harry deliberately blundered wand movements he could do in his sleep. He asked question after question "Is there a stealth spell that can get past a Stealth Sensoring curse? Why is the pepper breath spell considered defensive if it gives the target fiery breath? Is the Permanent Sticking Charm really permanent? Can a messenger spell be used on owls? What would happed if 2 Bogart's faced each other? How do Dementors spawn?"
Anything and everything he tried, just to get more that a monotone response, simply to see some sort of reaction or feelings. He was butchering Defense Against the Dark Arts, which was not only his favorite subject, but Snape's as well. Yet the man didn't even get angry.
What was worse, was that Snape had yet to look at him in the eye. When he spoke, it was either to the books, or the cauldron, or the notes or -his most familiar place - above Harry's left shoulder.
In the end, Harry gave up. He'd come to the conclusion that this world was insane. Nothing, nothing
he could think of could change Snape to be almost...
He couldn't think of a word. Nice-
did not work entirely. Pleasant
was a bit of a stretch and normal was the bastard he was back in Harry world.
Harry suppressed a shudder, this nice
version of Snape put him on edge more that his counterpart. He was not disheartened when their lessons came to a close.
"Last thing I want you to do today " Snape said to his notes "Show me one defense move spell or conjure that your most comfortable in-"
Harry didn't even have to think about it, it was as easy as breathing to him at this point. The moment his Patronus shot from his wand however, Snape's eyes widened and his normally sallow complexion turned even paler, causing his scar to stand out unpleasantly.
It didn't last long, Snape quickly gathered his composure and began packing all his notes, "Good work, we'll pick up where we left off tomorrow", and before he knew it Harry was left alone in the Great Hall.
'Good work? Good Work?
"This world is mad isn't it?" He asked his Patronus, the stag nodded in agreement before disappearing into white mist.
Hours later found Harry in his room, pouring through book after book and writing essay after essay. And though he'd always been an alright student, he was currently bordering on excessive. It was not that he enjoyed the review the professor had given him to finish for tomorrow. It was simply that, trying to figure out how the Lycanthropy curse connected to the properties of Monkwood was much simpler than the alternative - thinking about his parents.
And when he gave himself breaks between each hour, he brainstormed all the many, many ways Snape might have gotten his scar. The best theory so far had been that the professor had stood in front of an enchanted mirror, which in turn committed suicide by shattering outwards in protest.
For hours, all he did was contemplate, pour over, speculate and review. All to keep the nudging thought at the edge of his mind from slipping out.
He put aside another pile of notes. He was making good progress, but for some reason everything seemed to be easier now than before. Now that he thought back to his sixth year he remembered it being more difficult, but then again, he was just repeating what he had already learned.
He also had to factor in that he hadn't had to do final exams the last time around. They where cancelled- because of Dumbledore's funeral. Dumbledore who was now alive.
The thought burst out - your parents are alive
Angrily, Harry slammed his book shut. The thought had been interrupting - poking, nagging
- at him all day, and he was sick of it.
What did he need parents for? He had done fine without them for 16 years. He was of age now, what could they possibly do for him?
He tried to mute the counter-arguments, but one still managed to escape:
His anger drained as fast as it had approached; bone weary exhaustion settled over him, and Harry spoke to the empty room.
"Who ever said that they would?"
Minerva stared out of the window in her office watching as the sky slowly brightened with the approaching sun. She knew it would be a few more hours before the other castle occupants began to stir. The cup of tea in her hand grew cold as it lay untouched in her hands.
She'd gone to sleep happy, she was sure of it. She had even been smiling, which Albus tells her she doesn't do enough. She had had a good day. Her summer had been the usual but she had certainly not expected to be told she would teach a boy who had not existed days ago. And when he had, had been horribly injured.
She had been happy, full of hope for the world and new faith in life. She had not fallen asleep with conflicted thoughts, had not rested with anything but course schedules and the upcoming school year on her mind. She had not eaten anything funny, or drank anything before going to bed either.
Then what had happened?
"Minerva?" It was a soft voice, yet it still startled the Transfiguration professor. She turned to see the headmaster at the door. "The door was open" he explained.
For a moment she wondered what he was doing up so early, but another look at the window showed her the sun has already risen. She blinked. When had it done that?
"Deep in thought?"
Minerva smiled guiltily and gestured for Albus to come in.
"Thinking about Harry?" he asked when he sat down across from her.
"You could say that, " she paused, thinking for a moment. She'd always been able to confide anything and everything to Albus, why was she hesitating now?
Because she was scared.
Her hands shook slightly as she rested the tea cup back onto her desk, spilling a few cold drops on her hand.
Albus said nothing, did not comment, simply waited for her to regain her composure.
Taking another deep breath she began "I had a dream last night...
She saw the Death Eater approach the crouched boy from behind, all around her the battle waged and yet she knew she had to intervene "Impedimenta!" she yelled, watching with slight satisfaction as the Death Eater blew meters away.
She ran towards the boy, why was he on the ground? as she drew nearer she saw him lay the body he was cradling moments ago, gently onto the floor.
She saw the blood first, so much blood then the red hair, then the face. She drew back, staggered and gagged as she stared down at her pupil, the youngest of the Weasely's.
"Is she-" her eyes filled and her vision grew blurry. Minerva blinked back the tears, now was not the time. "Is she-" her mouth couldn't form the word.
The boy didn't respond, he calmly crossed the girls arms over her chest.
Minerva felt as though she had been hit by 4 stunners again. She was dead.
So much blood , with snap she straightened her backbone, turning away. The boy was staring up at the sky, the sun was beginning to set. She called his name.
"Potter! Potter! Harry!" he tilted his head in her direction to look at her. No, not at her through her. His face oddly devoid of any emotion, he looked down at the body once more.
Minerva fought the urge to force his head back to her direction, instead she spoke in fierce commanding voice, "Finish it Harry! You have to finish it! It has to be over tonight! Harry!" she was practically screaming to be heard over the sounds in the background.
A whiz was heard, a green light passed inches away from her face. The Death Eater was back, and the look on his face said he wanted revenge. She didn't have much time.
He stood slowly, still staring down at Ginny, blank look still in place. Minerva refused to look down she fought back another stab of pain.
She was growing desperate "Harry! You have to go after him, listen to me Harry. HARRY!"
Whoosh this time, another spell, closer. She turned to find it had hit a house elf that had been armed with only a spatula. The elf crumbled to the floor, its large eyes wide with shock pain, Minerva looked away.
Harry had seen as well, emerald eyes met hers at last but Minerva was not prepared. She literally stepped back at their cold determined intensity. His fingers clutched tightly around a gold chain in his hand.
"I'll finish it" his mummer was heard clearly in the deadly quiet, as the battle lapsed for 2 heartbeats.
Minerva couldn't respond, Dawlish was upon her.
"How did you feel in the dream? Where were you? Watching on the side as this all happened?" Albus asked softly after a few minutes.
Minerva was shaking her head before he finished the question, "No, that's the thing, you see. I wasn't watching, I was in it. The entire thing felt more like..." she pursed her lips and continued, "During the dream I kept remembering all these other little thing, such as getting hit by four stunners in front of Hagrid's hut. It was like a memory within another memory, the entire thing just felt so...so -"
"Real?" Dumbledore supplied, Minerva looked up to him frowning deeply.
Instantly, she felt foolish for making such a big fuss about a meaningless nightmare. "But it wasn't real, and I'm sorry I brought it up at all"
She straightened her spine and vanished her tea cup, "Tell me, how is Harry settling in?"
Albus stared at her for a long moment, and Minerva could see he wanted to press the subject. Then with a smile, he replied, "Well enough, considering the circumstances."
"I think it was a wonderful idea for you to enrol him in Hogwarts, Albus, alternate universe or not he cannot get behind on his education. I'm sure the McGonagall in his world would agree."
Albus chuckled lightly, "I'm sure as well"
"He'll be in Gryffindor correct?" When Dumbledore hesitated, Minerva sat up, "Albus, you said he used to be in Gryffindor, you cannot re-sort him!" She seemed indignant at the thought of Harry placed in any house but her own.
"While I would love to place him under your care Minerva, in the end it is his decision. I've yet to know if her wants to meet Lily and James."
Minerva's eyes widened, "Whether he wants to meet them or not, Albus the boy will be at Hogwarts. His existence cannot be kept a secret; both Roseline and Daisy also attend, unless - will you be changing his name? Appearance?"
"We will have to see Minerva, " Albus looked suddenly tired, "We will have to wait and see"
Harry awoke to find it was morning once again. The dream faded instantly but he remembered most of it. There was the mirror, and his parents, then it cracked and suddenly it was a regular mirror with just his reflection, by himself, alone.
And if he hadn't gotten the point, the mirror proceeded to write the words 'ALONE!ALONE!ALONE!'
Cursing as he untangled his legs from where they'd twisted in the sheets, Harry paused to yell at his subconscious. "If you want me to meet my parents so badly, stop with the stupid symbolic dreams and just say it outright!"
'okay...we want you to meet your parents... and to stop being so scared.'
Harry took offense, "I'm not scared! I'm being cautious- I heard that!" his inner voice had let out a cough that sounded strangle like 'wimp!'
"Of course! You're mad! That explains everything!" said a voice , Harry snapped his head up to see the Great Lady Kathryn floating serenely directly above him. " And here I thought I was loosing my charm. The mad ones never understand me"
Harry didn't bother explaining why he was talking to himself, "What are you doing in here?"
He could barely make out the edges of her ghostly form. She looked next to invisible with the morning sunlight shining through her. Not nearly invisible enough however as the glee spread across her features was clear.
"Have you already forgotten? Poor dear
! THIS- IS-MY-ROOM" she gestured around and spoke in a slow loud voice, enunciating each word as though talking to a child, " I -AM - LA-DY- KATH-ER-"
"I know who you are!" he snapped, "And I'm not mad!"
Smiling widely, she nodded in an exaggerating motion "of course
you're not dear"
Was there anyway to kill a ghost? Harry wondered. Banish them? Lock them up in a tiny box for all eternity?
At this point, he would even settle for sending flowers to the person that had killed her in the first place. A fruit basket to their decedents, or even a card that read 'thank you'
He moved to leave the bed, when he realized that he had not bothered to put on any pajamas the night before and was still in his boxers. He shut his eyes for a second, not looking forward to the impending conversation.
"Can I have some privacy, so that I can change?" he asked in an overly polite tone, hoping his uncontrollable sarcasm went unheard.
"Of course dear, you won't here a peep from me" she made a zip with her lips, but didn't make any move towards the door.
Harry slowly counted to 10 in his head. He'd forgotten basics like subtly and sarcasm went (literally) through Kathryn, "Could you leave
She waved her hand in dismissal "Oh don't worry! This won't be the first time I've seen a naked man in this bedroom-
"Why it was on that bed that I became a wom-
Many things happened at once.
Harry screamed, honest to Merlin screamed, flung a pillow at the ghost, who in turn shrieked and dove out of the room.
Then he screamed again and jumped off the bed shuddering convulsively- he would never
sleep on it again.
"- exploded right in their faces; Leo says they had to clean each cabin by hand for the rest of the summer, but it was worth it!" Sirius narrated with a proud grin on his face.
James wiped the brimming tears in his eyes and grinned back. "That's brilliant! Why didn't we ever think of that? That's just brilliant!"
"By the way," Sirius said after they'd both settled down, "I forgot to ask, but what was that with the mirror a few days ago?" He and James had kept the mirrors of their childhood in case either needed to be contacted at a moments notice.
The last time Prongs had used it though was when Lily was in labor with Daisy, for Sirius hadn't been in the country at the time to fire-call.
James brows furrowed lightly, "Oh yeah, what did you want?"
Sirius frowned as well, "What did I want? Your the one that bloody woke me up for no reason."
"I did that? All I remember is picking up the mirror and you turning it off on your end - cussing at me the entire time, mind you."
"Because you woke me up in the middle of the bloody night!" Was he the only one following the conversation?
James shrugged, "I don't really remember, I might have called you first." His face turned sour, "I wasn't having a good dream"
Sirius froze with his cup halfway to his mouth, he remembered that look. James always had a certain look whenever he was thinking about something particularly painful.
"You have something face" He said.
James choked a little on the coffee he was sipping, "I do not."
"Do too." he ducked as James through a plastic fork at him. About to throw it back, he paused. James was frowning lightly into his cup.
Sirius sobered, "Do you want to talk about it?"
For a few seconds he thought James wouldn't respond, then, "Not much to talk about"
He was staring into his cup again, Sirius waited. "It was that night again, and this time I was dueling Vo- him. Obviously I didn't last that long, but there was this sense, like I knew I was failing, but was comforted - I don't know - by the thought that Lily wouldn't have to mourn me, as I was sure he was going to kill her to. So I thought 'Sirius is going to kill me' -
"Damn right, I would."
James let out a dry chuckle, "It was weird, " He continued, "It all felt so real, from the moment the killing curse left his wand, everything went into slow motion. A part of my brain was saying 'I'm not going to have time to duck', and another part was all 'We're going to die!' And all these thoughts and feelings ran through me and then the spell hit. I felt cold, darkness then... nothing. I woke up.
Blinking, Sirius could think of nothing to say, and so he stayed silent.
"What's even weirder, is Lily woke up a bit later and...I think she was having the same dream"
"The same dream?" Sirius repeated, "How do you figure?"
"Well not the exact same, but I think she was dreaming of the same night, she was upstairs remember? And she was muttering things, like 'Not Harry, please not Harry'." He paused, lost in thought for a few moments before cleaning his thoughts and continuing, "And when I woke her up, she asked me if I ever thought of how that night would have turned out if Snape hadn't been there"
"What did you say?"
"No; which is quite funny, as I seem to be only thinking of that now." He looked up finally and Sirius noticed his eyes were bright behind his glasses. "Sorry to dump this all on you, Padfoot."
Sirius sipped his coffee - though it had gone cold. "Damn right you should, I just asked you about the bloody mirror." He waited until James grinned before adding, "Honestly though, you should have told me sooner if something was bothering you. In fact, next time, just pick up the bloody mirror again."
"Well, Lily was waking up, and I think even she would find it weird if I was whispering to you in the middle of the night."
This time, Sirius did throw the fork back.
James shoved his hands under the pile of plastic forks, intending to send more than a handful flying in his direction when a bald black head poked through, "Potter! Black! Briefing. My office."
Sirius exchanged a look with James as they both stood to follow their chief. Kingsley only spoke clipped words when he was agitated.
There where already 2 other pairs in the office when they got there, they exchanged quick nods with Alice and Frank Longbottom, but Sirius frowned lightly as he caught sight of his niece and her partner.
What was his name again?
James noticed them as well "Tonks. Williamson." That was it. He usually called him the Auror with the hair, because of the man's long hair that he pulled into a ponytail. Much to the mans dislike.
"What are you two doing here?" Sirius asked.
"They, are the reason we are having this briefing." Kingsley answered, handing a pile of reports to pass out to them. "Two weeks ago, Tonks approached me with an idea her and her partner came up with. She would go undercover and disguise herself as the perfect victim; we think she has finally gained the attention of our perp-
"Now wait, wait, wait just a minute, " Sirius waved the report with his hand, "We're talking about Lestrange here; ever since his spilt with Bellatrix he's been unpredictable, with a grudge the size of this compound. He targets middle age women with black hair who look similar to Bella, and when he finds them -"
"We know, Sirius. That's why I want to get this guy off the streets, because he's already killed three witches that fit that memo. And there's not really a shortage of black-haired witches."
"So where does it factor in that it's a good idea to involve a 24 year old new Auror with such a case?" Sirius realized he was overreacting slightly, and towing a thin line between disrespecting his chief, but he had made Andy a promise to watch over her daughter when she'd stubbornly entered the Auror academy.
Tonks crossed her arms, her hair turning a dark red as she glared at her uncle. Kingsley calmly raised an eyebrow, "Firstly, Auror Tonks is 25, and perfectly capable of doing her job. Not only that, but she is a Metamorphmagus, and I can and will use that skill to our advantage, "
Tonks beamed a this. "That doesn't mean she can protect herself -" her face fell."-Lestrange has been dealing with the dark arts for much longer, and so that is where you guys come in. Midnight last night, our senses detected someone watching outside the apartment we set up for her. We think he's targeted her to be his next victim and we'll catch him in the act. Potter, Black, you're on stake-out duty till midnight, that's when, Longbottoms, you'll take over the second shift. You'll switch again at dawn." He turned back to Sirius, "Satisfied Black?"
Embarrassed at having to be put in his place, Sirius mumbled out an appropriate response sheepishly, ignoring his nieces triumphant look, her partners glare (what was his name again?
) and James' light snort beside him.
"I want a new bed." were the first words Harry greeted him with.
"Good morning to you as well Harry."
"Professor, I need
a new bed, no wait - a new room. Preferably one on the other side of the Castle, far, far
away from the one I have now."
"Lady Kathryn, I presume?"
Dumbledore decided to go easy on the boy; after all, he'd dealt surprisingly with her for longer that he'd thought. Even Peeves could not stand the ghost. "I will look into it."
Harry let out a relieved sigh, his shoulders visibly relaxing. Dumbledore smiled lightly as he turned back to stare through the front doors of the Castle. It overlooked the field between the castle and the Forbidden Forest.
He had been trying to picture the areas as Minerva must have seen in her dreams - a battlefield. It was quite difficult to do so, as Hogwarts was famed for being the safest place in the world. (Though it was, if he did say so, due in large part to himself). The largest feud to take place had been between Godric Gryfindor and Salazar Slytherin.
This wouldn't do. Albus felt himself frown; he would need to see the dream himself. He would have to be patient; Minerva was still shaken, though she tried not to show it, and would not feel comfortable, nor be subject to reason about it at this time. Yes, he had a better chance of convincing her at a later date.
Remembering his company, Dumbledore turned to find Harry was also staring off into the distance, his face tight with suppressed emotion.
He had a sudden thought, "Harry," He waited until said boy turned his gaze to him, "How did you sleep last night? Any dreams?"
The question was passed casually, but he watched carefully as the younger boy went from surprise, to hesitancy, to consideration, and finally resolve.
He really was terrible at hiding his emotions.
"Actually, I did." he picked at his shirt nervously, "It was abou-"
"Professor Dumbledore! " A large voice boomed excitedly in the distance, "Professor Dumbledore!"
Albus turned to see Hagrid running towards him and couldn't help but smile from the grin stretched across his game-keeper's face. "Looks like we'll have to continue this another time." he said.
Harry felt a wide grin cross his face at the sight of the panting giant, not even hearing what Dumbledore had just said.
"Dumble -huff dore, you should see -huff- how well Oz is doin' -huff- in the -huff- garden, Sprout made for -" he paused, his panting lessening, as he squinted down at Harry "An' who do we 'ave here?"
Even the mention of yet another person asking him his name couldn't dim Harry's grin, but only served to widen it. Dumbledore blinked at him, pausing slightly before saying "Ah yes...this is Harry. He will be new student attending Hogwarts this year."
"Is tha' so? Well good for you, yer lucky bugger. Hogwarts School of Witchcraf' and Wizardry is the best magic school in the world led by the greatest headmas'er!" The words were almost identical to those he had told Harry on his 11th birthday.
"Thank you Hagrid." Dumbledore said.
"Hagrid." Harry repeated softly.
The said giant stood to his full height and puffed out his chest, "Tha's me, Hogwarts Game Keeper, the Keeper of Ke- oh! Well, it's nice to meet you too!"
Harry had launched himself around Hagrid's middle, happy beyond words that the larger man was acting normal. Other than Dumbledore, he had yet to meet anyone who was, but he knew if there was someone who would never really change, it would be Hagrid.
He would always be just...
"Hagrid" Harry repeated squeezing his arms.
When he finally managed to detach himself, Dumbledore asked "What did you wish to tell me again, Hagrid?"
The giant was still bashfully red at Harry's sudden show of affection, "I could jus' show ya later. S'pose I jus wanted you to see how Oz is doin."
"Then I'll come by with Sprout later this afternoon." They said their goodbye's, Hagrid turning down their invitation to join them for breakfast.
An awkward silence descended as they watched Hagrid walk back to his house. Dumbledore turned to Harry with an amused twinkle in his eye, saying nothing.
Harry felt heat creep up his neck at the scrutiny, "What? I was happy to see him." the older man simply raised his eyebrow, "And I just felt like hugging him!" Harry explained, growing pinker.
"Understandable," Dumbledore said, adding "However, I ask that you warn me, should the same urge arise in my company."
"I'll try and control myself." Harry muttered, red faced, and turned to walk towards the Great Hall. The headmaster chuckling heartily behind him.
His laughter subsided by the time they reached the entrance, a still smiling Dumbledore turned to Harry. "What were you about to say before we were interrupted..." he paused. "Ah, yes about your dream."
Harry stopped just inside the doors of the Great Hall, face resolved once more. "Right-
"Did I just hear dream?" This time he was cut off by the head of the Hufflepuff house. "Oh, I simply must tell you of the one I had last night - lets sit down first." She steered Harry into the table in the center of the hall. He managed to keep from growling at her, and sullenly took his seat, once again next to McGonagall and across from Snape.
At this rate, he would never be able to tell Dumbledore of his decision. Who knew if he would change his mind as the day went on?
McGonagall gave him a weak smile as she passed the basket of crumpets, and Harry noticed the dark bags under her eyes.
"It was most exciting!" Sprout gushed as she accepted the basket from Harry.
"What was?" McGonagall asked.
"My dream!" Beside him he felt McGonagall suddenly stiffen, and across from him, Snape gave a barely noticeable tightening of the fork in his hand.
Harry raised an eyebrow. Interesting.
"I dreamt I took part in protecting the Philosopher's Stone, that we had to protect in Hogwarts. All the Professors had to come up with an obstacle, and I was growing a room full of Devil's Snare for the project. There was a moment where a vine got a hold of my forearm and squeezed so tightly, I actually looked for marks this morning!"
She held her hand up to enhance her point, and Harry frowned lightly.
Why would Sprout be dreaming of something that had happened in his world? Unless his a first theory was right all along and everyone had somehow lost their memory.
But no, Harry took a quick peep at Dumbledore, that still would not explain how he was still alive.
Or his parents.
"There was once one where I woke up in my dream knowing I had to fight a battle in Hogwarts," the entire table - but for Flitwick and Harry - paused in what they were doing.
"What happened?" Snape asked in a soft voice, much to Harry surprise. He'd never involved himself with their discussion of inane topics.
Professor Sprout seemed startled as well, for she gave an embarrassed little giggle and said, "Nothing much, we had to postpone it because I didn't have on my best shoes." A sort of tension seemed to break at Sprout's words, "Though that was quite a while ago and nothing like last night's! If only all dreams were as real!" Sprout was saying.
"Be careful what you wish for, " McGonagall muttered, she briefly turned to look his way.
Harry brushed the dream off as a coincidence. After all, the alternate dimension theory seemed to be the only one that made the most sense.
Plus, he would know for certain when he met his parents.
The decision to do so had not been as hard as he'd originally expected. He'd seen no other alternative, for two reasons. Firstly, to shut up his inner voice of reason, which had oddly taken up the voice of Hermione, (becoming that
much harder to ignore). Secondly, because the dream this morning had left him walking around with an odd empty feeling in his chest, stupid though it was.
But mostly, because deep down, he still felt like the 11 year old boy who longed for nothing more than a family.
The Professors, minus McGonagall and Snape, were still on the topic of dreams (who'd chosen to continue eating quietly with pensive looks on their faces), "Goblins simply do not dream, I have never met once who could." Flitwick was saying animatedly, "Understandable as our brain patterns are different -"
The Great Hall doors flew open and standing there was a thin figure, wind billowing her shawl, head tilted at an angle to make her glasses reflect the enchanted ceiling.
Harry had to give her points on her - as usual - dramatic entrance.
"Sibyll!" Dumbledore said, surprise evident in his voice. "What brings you down to join us today?"
She threw her shawl over shoulder and glided into the room. "I sensed that we had a visitor." she intoned, swinging her head dramatically to turn her enormous eyes to him. Harry immediately looked down.
Trelawney and he just didn't mesh, and when she wasn't making predictions that affected his life, she was finding new and interesting ways to predict his death.
"Does your sense happen to be three feet tall with the name Tippy?" McGonagall asked dryly.
Nice to see some things didn't change.
"My inner eye informed me that we would have a guest," Trelawney defended, rather primly.
"Goodness Sibyll, it's about a few days late, I do believe you may need to polish your inner eye."
Trelawney ignored the dig, and, quick as lightning, reached over for Harry's hands, and grabbed them tightly in her own bony ones.
'What was with the female Professors and their need to touch him?' Harry wondered in bafflement. 'Did he somehow bring out all their maternal instincts, as if he walked around wearing a t-shirt that read 'Mother Me'?'
Whatever the case, Harry found himself stiffening under Trelawney's gaze, waiting for the doom prediction, until she said "You have a strong life line; you will lead a happy, peaceful life."
'What, in Azkaban?
If he expected more, he was wrong, for Trelawney released his hands and leaned back. Harry couldn't help himself.
Trelawney blinked, "What's it dear?" She replied airily.
"No predictions of death and doom? My life line isn't near invisible? You don't see any grey and black clouds in my aura? No Grim in my pumpkin juice?"
There was a stunned silence, broken only when McGonagall suddenly broke into a fit of coughs which sounded strangely like laughter. Looking around Harry saw that Sprout was pressing her fingers to her mouth to block a smile, Flitwick was clearing his throat rapidly, and even Snape seemed to be smirking in amusement.
Trelawney drew herself up regally, her voice a good deal less misty that before, ,I don't believe I will be joining you for breakfast after all; I suddenly remember I have a previous engagement."
Harry winced as she slammed the doors after her exit, he hadn't tried to be funny, he had been serious. He felt a stab of guilt as he realized he must have hurt Professor Trelawney.
"I didn't mean to -" he began before McGonagall cut him off.
"Quite alight Harry, she's a bit sensitive."
"But still..." he didn't want Trelawney to think he had been making fun of her to her face.
He only did that behind her back.
"You can write her an apology letter Harry, I am certain that will you both feel better." Dumbledore added.
"Right, I'll..." Write a letter, of course, a note. It was perfect, and he wished he'd thought of it sooner.
Lost in thought, he missed as McGonagall said "I'm certain she will already see that you will write her an apology note." He stood to excuse himself from the table.
"I'll be right back."
Sprout blinked, "He didn't mean now."
Harry ran out of the Great Hall before they could question him further, then stopped in the hall leading back to it. "Fawkes?" he said loudly, holding his breath.
With a trill and a burst, Dumbledore's phoenix appeared moments later. He smiled as the exotic bird landed on his shoulder and nuzzled his hand. "I need you to take this to Dumbledore, " He quickly jotted down one sentence, short, quick and to point with the extra bit of parchment and quill in his pocket. "But not until after
I get back, okay?"
Fawkes gave a musical cry and seemed to nod at him. Harry petted the phoenix for another minute in thanks, before heading back to the Great Hall. He brushed off all the question from McGonagall and Sprout (the mother-me thing again) and began to eat.
A few bites in, Fawkes appeared in flame, with a soft pop and glided over to Dumbledore, where it transferred Harry's message from its leg to its beak before offering it to the headmaster.
Dumbledore unfolded the message and read it slowly before banishing it with a simple hand gesture. He didn't look up at Harry until halfway through the meal when the professors had gotten into a debate about the best form of detention (even Snape put in his 2 sickles this time).
He didn't say anything, simply peered over his half-moon glasses to look at him, giving Harry the familiar feeling of being X-rayed. 'Are you sure?'
the gaze seemed to ask.
Harry nodded, meeting the Professors eyes for the second time in two days, 'I'm sure...
This chapter ended up having to be split, and so chapter 11 was technically chapter 10 part 2. I was trying so hard to put in the meeting between Harry and his parents I really lost sight of the pace for my story. Some might think its slow but the reason I began my story was because all the other 'Harry to AU' had him meeting them so quickly!
answers the elusive question, who is Leo? (...okay only one person asked)
REMUS! he's finally in, for all those who wanted to see him.
I hope you'll leave a review, it doesn't have to be about this chapter. I'm running out of people for Harry to meet (lol). Any ideas would be forthcoming. Anything you guys wish to particularly see?