Chapter 17 : A Surprise Before Christmas
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Even with the house and team standings, James Potter was not in a good mood. He had other things on his mind. Some people would never believe that he would think that anything could be more important than Quidditch. To him only one thing was more important than that beautiful game and it was the beautiful Lily Evans.
She was standing across The Three Broomsticks chatting with Professor James. She was technically among the Slug Club and was talking across a table to him while he stood beside Professor Sprout, but she was still talking to him. No one had ever made him jealous until that git showed up.
He was a brilliant Professor for Defense. James cannot deny that. The rest of the Marauders liked him too. He had a sense of humor, which was unusual for a Professor. He had the second nicest head of hair of any man in Hogwarts. Sirius had the best. James thought the Professor’s hair was all right, but all the birds just thought it was gorgeous. He had a nice looking beard that made him seem almost like some Knight from England’s past, like Sir Walter Raleigh. Even his hat, which was basically a wide brimmed wizard’s hat, made him look sophisticated like a French Nobleman. All those were things that James could admire about him, if he hadn’t used them to snatch Lily Evans away from him.
James thought this would be the year that Lily might actually give him a chance. Along came Professor James and that possibility went out the window. If that git hadn’t begged Lily or insisted t Lily take his class, James wouldn’t be so suspicious. If Lily would give him half the attention that she gave Professor James. He would be much happier. It was just so irritating that some swarmy old codger comes in to school and Lily finds him irresistible.
James took a drink from his Butterbeer and slammed it back down onto the table.
“Hey, calm down mate,” ordered Sirius. “You spilt some.”
“Yeah, whatever,” grunted James.
“What is wrong with you mate? I have never seen you like this before,” questioned Sirius. He was sitting across the table from James.
“It’s that Professor letch,” said James as he nodded his head at Professor James.
Sirius snorted at his new nickname for the Professor. “Look mate, he doesn’t go chasing after Lily. She seems to search him out.”
“Oh thank you very much for stating that nice bit of information. What are you going to do for an encore, tell me I am actually you-know-who’s son?”
“James, you are bloody mental,” stated Remus. “Why are you going mental over Lily talking to a Professor? She is probably the most by-the-book person I know. ” Remus laughed and looked at James. “Which has been your greatest obstacle to getting her to like you. She would never have a relationship with a Professor. It just isn’t her. You are imagining things. She has always been friendly with Professors. You never got jealous like this when she was spending time with Professor Slughorn.”
“There’s a bit of difference between them, mate, about sixty years and five stone. Why would Lily be interested in the Slug?”
Everyone at the table snorted with laughter at James’ comment. He looked at Remus waiting for a response. He just sighed in frustration.
“I am going shopping,” said James. He finished his Butterbeer and stood up to leave.
“I’ll go with you,” said Theodore.
James hesitated and looked at him. “I am fine to go shopping on my own, Theofrank.”
“I know that, but I need to do some shopping. I promise to give you some space to buy me the new Cleansweep,” laughed Theodore.
James shook his head. He just waved his hand for Theodore to follow him. He looked over at Lily as he walked out of the pub. She was now talking to other students. Professor James was talking to the other Professors. He started to wonder if he was being overly paranoid about the Defense Professor and Lily. If she didn’t look at him like she did, then he wouldn’t be so worried.
He pushed the door open and stepped out into the howling December winds. The cold cut through his robes like a knife. It was one of the coldest days that he could remember. He was glad that they didn’t play Quidditch today. It would have been a brutal game.
“Hey, James slow down,” shouted Theodore from behind him.
“I can’t. It is too cold out here to slow down,” shouted James over his shoulder. He turned and walked into Gladrags. The warmth of the shop washed over him melting off the bitter cold. The door opened and closed behind him. He silently groaned to himself. Theofrank had followed him in here. He didn’t want to look at him right now.
Walking past a couple of Hufflepuff girls, who turned and smiled at him, he started looking for something nice and warm to give Lily for Christmas. She didn’t seem to have a hat, scarf, or gloves, but it rarely turned this cold before the Christmas hols. He looked through the various selections aware that Theodore was a few feet from him watching him. Grabbing a couple sets of knit hats, scarves, and gloves. He would give one to Lily and one to his mother. James quickly went up to pay for the items.
While he was waiting for the items to be wrapped, he started formulating a plan to escape from Theodore’s watch. Grabbing the packages, he started towards the door. He took an indirect route around some stands of formal robes. As soon as he was on the other side of the tall rack of robes, he pulled out his Invisibilty Cloak. Tossing it over his head, he started towards the door. All he needed to do was step outside and Theodore would never see him.
The strangest thing happened. After taking two steps, his Cloak caught on something and was dragged off him. He had to quickly pull it in and hide it in his robes. He looked around to see if anyone had noticed the Cloak. He was greeted with the smiling face of Theodore. He had a smug expression that made James think he was one step ahead of him. Frustrated at the failure of his plan to escape, James walked towards the door at a fast pace.
Theodore met him there and opened the door for him. He held it open as James walked out onto the street, before stepping out him self. James started to walk quickly back to the pub. He heard Theodore walking behind him. Frustration welled up inside of him; he stopped in the street and turned to wait for Theodore.
“Hey mate, what is the rush,” said Thoedore in his fake French accent.
“I was trying to get away from you,” shouted James. The wind was howling so loud that one had to shout to be heard.
“Oh, you still don’t like moi.”
“Cut the fake accent, Theofrank, or should I call you Teddy,” shouted James. “I still have my memories of the last Hogsmeade weekend.”
Theodore’s expression changed suddenly. He looked around him before pulling his wand. James grabbed his wand and pulled it. He wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Theodore pointed his wand at the ground and started whispering an incantation while moving his wand in a circle in front of him. As he was doing this the sound of the wind quieted down.
“Don’t shout,” ordered Thoedore without his French accent. “The wind can carry your voice out of the circle. You say you have memories of the last Hogsmeade weekend. How much do you remember?”
“I remember seeing you, Professor James, and the waitress take out about thirty Death Eaters like they were first years. You were doing magic far beyond NEWT level, and you lost your French accent. I also remember the waitress saying that she would die to protect me.”
He watched as Theodore took all this information in. He seemed surprised that the waitress said that.
“Yes, I am not a student, and I am here with Professor James and Professor Ray to protect you.”
James smiled at him stressing ‘Professor Ray’. “Why do you feel that I need protection? I am pretty good at taking care of myself.”
Theodore laughed at the comment. “You think you are pretty good at taking care of yourself. You are not. I could have followed you if Ray hadn’t pulled your Cloak off in Gladrags.”
“My Cloak caught on something,” he said defensively. He suddenly felt something jab him in his back, and then a presence on his one side.
“My foot caught on your Cloak,” whispered a female voice. He assumed it was Professor Ray. He looked up and Theodore was smiling at him. The wand point and the presence disappeared again.
“I could have followed you out here in the snow, James.” He looked down to the ground.
James also looked and noticed their footprints in the snow were surrounded by a set of footprints circling them. The prints were forming as he looked at them. He looked back up at Theodore defeated. He was out of his league here, but he still wanted answers.
“Why is someone trying to kill me? Why are they trying to kill Lily also and what does this have to do with Professor James? Finally, what is your name?”
Theodore looked at him for a second. He seemed surprise when he asked about Lily and Professor James.
“My name is Theodore, but everyone calls me Teddy. I work with Professor James and Ray. We are from Australia and have been chasing down the last of the radical pureblood supremest. They have been reading prophecies and have headed this way. We know they are after Lily Evans because of a prophecy. We don’t know why they are after you. We can only assume it is because of a prophecy.”
James could tell he was lying about something, but he wasn’t sure what the lie was. “Why did the person who started the Fiendfyre taunt Professor James with the Lily’s death?” James saw that Teddy was shaken by this statement. “He seemed to want to see the Professor break down or something as Lily died. Why would he do that?”
“I am not sure,” said Teddy in measured tone. “I don’t really know. He may have been taunting Professor James. What does it matter? The only thing you need to do is try not to do anything too stupid that might put yourself in danger.”
James openly laughed at him. If this wanker only knew about their full moon nights, he wouldn‘t bother demanding something so stupid.
“Listen you need our help…,” demanded Teddy, but James cut him off.
“What should it matter if I die to you Australians?” James could almost see steam coming out of Teddy’s ears with the last question.
“I matters,” he growled before taking a deep breath to compose himself. “We don’t fail. We have fought too long to fail now,” he said with venom.
James had hit a nerve and he was going to exploit it. “I know you are lying to me. I don’t believe what you said about Professor James and Lily. Why does he watch her, while you are following me? I will find out what is going on here. I am cleverer than you know,” crowed James.
He turned and walked away from Theodore. He took two steps when the wind sliced through him again. He leaned against it and walked back to The Three Broomsticks. He sat down and ordered another Buttbeer. He noticed that Thoefrank or Teddy didn’t come back in. James smiled to himself, until he noticed Lily smiling and talking to Professor James.
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Laughter echoed through halls of Hogwarts as Harry walked back to his living quarters. He had just met with the Headmaster and Alastor Moody. They had been discussing how to keep a watch on his parents over the Christmas holiday.
They will be leaving tomorrow morning and won’t be back for over a week. It will take him, Teddy, and Ray along with Moody and the Order of Phoenix to keep watch on his parents. He was most concerned about his father. Teddy told Harry about their confrontation on Saturday. If his father finishes making the Marauders Map, then their secret will be out. Harry has no idea what to do if that would happen.
He stopped walking as a young couple nearly ran into him. They were running hand in hand while staring in each other’s eyes. They stopped and looked embarrassed for a second before continuing their pursuit of an empty broom cupboard.
The sight of the happy young couple made his heart clench with loneliness. He missed Ginny so much that he physically hurt at times. With Christmas being only two days away, his longing to be with his family weighed heavily on his heart. He had grown to be quite the everyday boring father and husband. He had had adventures too numerous to count. Now he wanted peace and quiet and boring nights spent with Ginny reading and listening to the wireless. It still amazed him that she seemed to want the same thing too.
Opening the door to his living quarters he saw Ray working on an Arithmancy problem. The scroll she was writing on went across the small table fell to the floor and extended several feet on the floor. She was still scratching out numbers and equations on the scroll, stopping to look at him she smiled then lowered her head and started writing again.
“You could start a new scroll with each solution, Ray,” teased Harry.
“I will when I finish this one,” she said back to him without taking her eyes off the parchment.
Harry looked at the scroll again it was completely filled with numbers, letters, and figures that he had no idea what they meant. He had never excelled in Arithmancy. In fact he didn’t take it while at Hogwarts. He had picked up bits and pieces of it from working with people who were experts, but he never saw an equation this long before.
“How much longer until you are finished?”
Ray stopped writing and stared at him. She didn’t need to say that it was a stupid question, so she said something else. “Whenever I am done, then I will need to check it. This isn’t your normal Arithmancy equation. This is advance Calculus….” She finished talking so low that Harry couldn’t hear her.
He decided not to bother her and walked over to see what Teddy was up to. His godson was checking through various spells to activate or prepare the Time Turner to operate. Harry had been working on these last night, but he had to put them aside to get ready for today.
“Is it ready?” he asked Teddy.
Teddy looked up at him and smiled. “I think so. Do you want to test it?”
Harry smiled at the young Auror. He was ready to try this thing out, but Harry was still a little nervous about testing it. “Do we know how far back it will go if we try only one turn?”
“Miss Sunshine is working on that right now,” stated Teddy. He glanced over at Ray.
“Bite me, you wanker,” shouted Ray from the table. “An equation this long takes time to check to ensure it is correct. What would happen if it sent you back too far, or not far enough? Give me until the day before the hols are over to come up with the exact calculation.”
“You must be close to completing it,” stated Harry.
Ray looked at him with a blank expression. “What do you mean?”
“We will be guarding my parents’ homes over the hols. You may not have much free time.”
“I can’t say that I am surprised by that announcement,” stated Teddy calmly. “Has there been any progress on locating the last two NDE’s?”
“A little,” replied Harry. Both Ray and Teddy stopped what they were working on and stared at him. “We have located an Apothecary wher they bought the reagents. The problem was they were in the Apothecary in the summer and this past Thursday. They have no reason to return for more reagents for several months.”
“Shit, I was hoping we could get them and get a handle on the damage they have done to the future,” grumbled Teddy.
“I understand, Teddy,” said Harry calmly.
“I know. I know. We still need to do this,” replied Teddy dejectedly. “Are we going to be outside the entire time?”
“No, there is a family that has left for the hols on my mother’s street. We will be staying there and watching her home. My father may not be all that bad to watch, if what you said is true, Teddy.”
“What, that Sirius is staying with him over Christmas?”
“I figured the rest of the Marauders would be there with them. We will just need to make sure they don’t leave the home.”
Ray snorted at him. “Yeah that will be so easy with the Marauders. We don’t have a map and Teddy won’t be there to spy on them.”
Harry knew Ray was right. Trying to keep track of his farther and his friends won’t be easy. With his father trying to give them trouble, it could be a difficult.
“We can set wards around my father’s home. We will track incoming and outgoing Apparations and Portkeys. My mother lives in a Muggle neighborhood so we won’t be able to set any wards without the Ministry sensing it. All we can do is wait and be ready for when they come after my parents.”
“Do you really think they will attack over the hols?” asked Teddy.
“It would be when we could protect them the least. They also know that we would be hesitant to cast spells around my mother’s home, because it is a Muggle location. I am guessing they will try something over the hols. Christmas is my guess. We will be the weakest with only the three of us, Moody, and Albus available. After Boxing Day, we will have five more people available to guard their homes.”
“Ah, Christmas on guard duty, reminds me of my training years,” sighed Teddy.
“Then you should be used to it, because that was only two years ago,” replied Harry.
All three of them laughed at Harry’s comments, but Harry had a heavy heart. He has had some terrible Christmases in the past. The ones with Ginny have been the best. He missed the days when the children were young. Christmas was a day of pure joy. The excitement on his children’s faces still danced in his memories. They still enjoyed Christmas, but they don’t have the same bright happy-eyed expressions as when they were all under ten.
Harry looked at Ray. She had already gone back to her roll of parchment scratching out numbers and figures at a furious pace. He looked at Teddy who was staring at the scrolls with the Time Turners construction. He was checking off a hand written list.
“What are you doing,” Harry asked Teddy.
“I am making a list and checking it twice,” replied Teddy.
“Prat,” retorted Harry.
“I am double checking all the physical repairs that were needed to be done to the Time Turner.”
“Good anything still needing to be repaired?”
“No, we only need the potions that filled up the container,” stated Teddy. “The notes indicate two Potions; one for traveling back in time and one for traveling forward. We will need large quantities of the each potion. Here is the scroll with the information about the Potions.”
Harry took the scroll from Teddy. He had looked it over before. Some of the reagents were common, but others he never saw before. The quantities were so large that he wasn’t sure if they made a cauldron large enough. He looked at the Headmaster’s notes that he didn’t even know what the reagents were. If Albus Dumbledore was stumped, then who would know what these reagents were.
“I’ll go to the library and see if I can find what these reagents are,” stated Harry.
He looked at Teddy and Ray busy working on their designated jobs as he left his office. He had no idea where to look in the library. His biggest fear was that these reagents haven’t been discovered by the magical community yet. Even if they had been discovered in the department of Mysteries, the rest of the magical community might not know of them for years.
Two hours later, Harry stood frustrated staring at the library shelves. He had already glanced through all the Potion books listed in the library. He was actually surprised there were so few books on Potion reagents. There were four large reference books on reagents: one dedicated to acceptable potions, one for only dark potions, and one even for legendary potions. The later was rather thin and the reagents seemed rather odd sounding, almost like something you would find in the Quibbler. He had looked through the table of contents for these reagents, but they were not listed. It would take him a day or longer to look at each reagent’s description to see if it has another name. He would do that at another time.
Leaving the library, Harry made his way to the Astronomy Tower. He noticed the halls seemed rather empty. Looking at his watch, he realized that it was after curfew. Everyone should be in their common rooms, except the Prefects patrolling the halls and the adventurers and couples who are hiding about.
He reached the steps that led to the astronomy tower observation level. As he climbed he made a mental bet with himself on how many couples he would find up here having one last snog before going their separate ways for the hols.
Opening the door, he looked around for any couples. He found one. He had guessed that there would be two up here. One was a safe bet, but he figured the observation area is large enough that two could entertain themselves in relative solitude.
“Ahem, are you not afraid of your lips freezing together,” he said loudly to the passionate couple.
They had been so intent on each other’s lips and other parts that they hadn’t even heard him until he spoke. A part of Harry enjoyed watching them jump and the boy squealing louder than the girl at being caught. They stood up and looked at him with fear.
“Go to your common rooms, Mr. Wilkes and Miss Innes,” he told them sternly. They stood there and looked at him then each other before looking back at him. “I will not be giving you detention or taking points. If you get caught in the halls, you are on your own. It is after curfew. Now get along.”
“Thank you Professor, and Happy Christmas,” said Miss Innes.
“Thank you and Happy Christmas to you too,” he replied to them. He almost said his and Ginny old joke, telling people ‘Harpy Christmas’.
He listened as the door closed. The night air was bitter cold. He cast a Warming Charm on his robes and pulled them around him. He was missing his family so much it was difficult to breath. He knew if they were successful then when they get back it would be as if only minutes or seconds had gone by. However, it had already been six months for him; six long and lonely months without Ginny. When Christmas arrives in two days, it will be as if they had missed Christmas with their families.
Fighting back tears, Harry looked up at the starry sky. His memories went back to a night after the war when he and Ginny stared up at the stars over Australia. They had been back a couple of times since then, but that night still lingers in his memories as one of the most special. He learned a little more about her and he also realized from his future in-laws that you can still have fun after children arrive. His tears turned to laughter as he remembered how chuffed Ginny was at finding her parent’s going for a midnight swim.
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Lily Evans was making the rounds tonight with Remus. He had gone one direction and she another. They shouldn’t split up, but being before Christmas she was not concerned. The most she would be finding are couples saying goodbye before leaving tomorrow for home. She had already found Marlene and Sirius snogging in a classroom. She took points off them, and Remus agreed to escort them back to the common room. She didn’t want them wandering to another classroom and getting more points taken off Gryffindor.
Footsteps echoed down the stairwell leading to the observation deck of the astronomy tower. Lily calmly walked up the stairwell. She didn’t want them to try to escape by jumping the railing. She met the couple at the halfway point. It was Fred Wilkes and Maryann Innes and they looked like they had been outside for some time, because they faces were bluish from the cold.
“I see the weather chased you inside,” she told them. “That will be…,”
“We already had points taken off us by Professor James,” interrupted Maryann Innes.
“When did he do that?” asked Lily excitedly.
“Just now up on the observation deck,” said Fred. He pointed up. “He is still up there.”
Lily followed his finger up to the top of the tower. She stared at the stone ceiling as though she could see the Professor through it. A part of her told her that it would cause trouble to go up and see him. Another part of her wanted desperately to talk to him. She wanted to thank him for saving her life back in October.
“Professor James took points off you?” she asked them.
“Yes, yes he did,” they said almost in unison.
She stood there and thought about it for a few seconds. “Very well, get to your common rooms. No stops along the way. Understood?”
“Understood, we will make straight to our common rooms,” they said smiling at her.
Lily didn’t even register their knowing smiles. She was busy thinking about what to say to Professor James. She barely felt them brush past her on the stairs. Ever since Halloween she had been trying to get a private audience with the Professor, now might be her only chance. Taking a deep breath, she started up the stairs to see him.
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Maryann Innes and Fred Wilkes stopped at the bottom of the stairs from the astronomy tower’s observation deck. They had just heard the door shut leading outside. He grabbed her and pulled her in for a passionate snog. After almost a minute, he pulled away.
“That was simply brilliant, Mary,” he exclaimed loudly. “We got caught twice and no detentions or points taken away.”
Maryann smiled at her boyfriend. She enjoyed the praise he lavished in her. “It was easier than I thought it would be. Maybe the rumors about her are true.”
“I don’t know. She has always been a stickler for the rules,” countered Fred.
“Are you saying that was just coincidence? He was up there and she was walking up the stairs as we came down”
Fred laughed. “You are right my love. She certainly became distracted when we told her he was up there.”
“It doesn’t matter if the rumors about them are true. We just got away without losing any points or getting detention,” sniggered Maryann.
“Should we go back to our common rooms?” asked Fred.
Maryann took his hand and smiled at him. “Eventually,” she whispered to him.
They started walking away to another section of Hogwarts. What they didn’t realize was their entire conversation was overheard. James Potter was under his Invisibility Cloak. He had his wand in one hand and a large sheet of parchment in the other.
He had been walking through the halls of Hogwarts casting a spell of his own creation. Each time he cast it, another section of the school would appear on his parchment not only the school but the people walking through the school. He didn’t know who was walking but he knew they were there. He could watch tiny footprints moving in the halls and stairwells.
Frustration was building in him as he watched two pair of footprints on the observation deck. One moving from the doorway and the other was standing still. He knew that Lily was up there with Professor James. He wanted to charge up there and catch them, but he was too afraid of what might happen.
James Potter was no coward. He just didn’t want to march up and confront the Professor and Lily by himself. So he waited.
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Harry was looking for Mars to see if it was brighter now than in the future. He and Ginny would often stare up at the stars when the weather was ideal. They would pick out constellations and even make up a few. They had found a series of stars that looked like a frog and named it Trevor. They had even named one Hedwig.
The door to the observation deck opened. Harry started to pull his wand until he saw it was his mother.
“Miss Evans, why are you up here?”
Harry became even more nervous when she didn’t respond to him, but closed the door and magically sealed it.
“Miss Evans, you know that I am not permitted to meet one on one with any female students. Why are you here?” he asked nervously. Certainly the rumor he heard about her being in love with him was false. It must be false. It had to be false.
She walked over to him and stared up at him with those green eyes. There was a look in her eyes that Harry couldn’t read. He thought it was a look of admiration, but it could also be a look of infatuation.
“I wanted to thank you for saving my life, Professor. Professor Dumbledore explained that there are pureblood fanatics who believe that I am the subject of a prophecy and want to kill me,” she said softly to him.
“You are…,” his statement was interrupted by her kissing him on the cheek above his beard. There was something warm and comforting about the simple act. It was not a lustful kiss, just a kiss of friendship. Yet, to feel his mother’s lips on his face and to be able to remember it made him want to cry. Turning his face away from her, he finished his statement. “… welcome, Miss Evans.”
Harry stood there in silence as his mother stood beside him. He was staring hard at the stars trying to control his emotions. Once again all the doubts about keeping the truth from her welled up in his mind. Why should she have to die? Certainly there could be another way to defeat Voldemort?
“Do you often come up here to stare at the stars?”
“No,” he was barely able to form the words. “I was missing my wife. We have often spent nights like this wrapped in a blanket enjoying the beauty of the heavens.”
“Sounds romantic,” she said dreamily.
“My one brother-in-law thinks we are stupid, because we could sit inside and look out through a window.”
“It is hardly the same,” she said. Her voice quivered as she shook from the bitter cold.
“Are you cold? Cast a Warming Charm on your robes, it will keep you warm, but remember to take it off when you get back inside, or you will be wondering why you are so warm and your face is flushed.”
Harry chuckled as his mum muttered something that sounded like ‘that was obvious’ to herself before casting the Charm. “Are you feeling better now?”
“Yes, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before,” she replied miserably. She reached out and placed a hand on his arm. “There are a couple of things we need to talk about Professor. I am not sure which one to start with.”
He looked at her trying to gauge the seriousness of her face. She was looking at him like a child would look at their parent. Except the eye color, it reminded him of his own Lily.
“Try talking about the one that is the most urgent,” he said bluntly turning his face back to the heavens.
“All right then,” she said breathily. “Everyone thinks I am in love with you. In some ways they are right…,”
Harry snapped his head around and stared at her. What had he done? She seemed taken aback by his actions.
“I love you like an uncle,” she nearly shouted out at him. “I don’t feel the other type of love for you, Professor. I don’t have any uncles or aunts. I also don’t have anyone magical in my family that I can talk to about what I am facing here in the magical world. I have felt so alone for the past couple of years. When I first started school there was a wizard from my neighborhood that was a dear friend. He helped introduce me to the magical world, but he couldn’t understand my world, the Muggle world, and we have since drifted apart.
“I felt all alone this year, until I met you. You talk about the Muggle world. I can understand the things you say and do, because you said you were raised as a Muggle. I also began to realize that I could trust you, and I had hoped that I might even be able to confide in you. You could be the uncle that all the kids go to with their problems for help. That is how I love you, not as a boyfriend, but as a friend and family. Do you understand?”
“In so many ways, yes I understand completely,” he said to her. She was staring at him looking for something in his face and eyes. He was not sure if she was afraid or just having a difficult time reading his expressions. “I feel honored to be considered a part of your family. Can I keep my last name?”
They both laughed at his last question. Harry felt good about himself. It was so strange to realize he was having such an impact on his mother’s life. He remembered feeling so separated from the rest of the magical community when he started at the school. Luckily he met Ron and Hermione; together they helped him feel at home in the magical community.
“Could I ask you a question?” asked Lily.
“You just did,” responded Harry. He used the response that Professor Dumbledore had used on him years in the future. His mum looked confused at first then she smiled at him. “Go on ask me another,” he told her.
“If you don’t have any plans for Christmas dinner, would you like to come to my family’s Christmas dinner?” she asked tentatively.
Harry’s heart skipped a beat. He could actually have dinner with his grandparents. His immediate reaction was to agree to the arrangement, but then the pragmatic side took over. If anyone knew of him going to her house for Christmas dinner, the rumors would force the Headmaster to dismiss him and might even cause his mum to leave school and might result in his parents never marrying. All these thoughts were rushing through his head confusing him, but he knew that he couldn’t accept the invitation.
“I’m sorry but I must say no.”
She let out an audible sigh. “I am sorry you can’t come. Is it because of the rumors that are flying around Hogwarts?”
“Partly, and the fact that it might be considered inappropriate.”
“I was hoping you would agree. My sister is rather foul about magic. She and her fiancé will be there. I was hoping I could show them someone who isn’t a freak. Someone who is both powerful magically and also is able to move about the Muggle world. It might change their minds.”
“I doubt it,” laughed Harry.
“What?” responded Lily? “You sound like you know them.”
Harry realized he made a slip. He had to recover from this error without letting her know exactly who he was. “If they are the types that are positive they are right and everyone else is wrong, then they will never change their mind.”
“Once again, you are correct, Professor,” she sighed.
Lily stood and silently stared up at the stars beside him. He glanced over at her and saw that she was enjoying just standing there staring at the stars. He could even see the reflection of the stars on her eyes.
“It is beautiful,” she said quietly.
“The stars really show up on a cold clear night like this,” he said. “Didn’t you say there were a couple of things you wanted to talk about?”
“Yes, we sort of talked about them both…,” she said cryptically.
“The other thing that has been bothering me is this prophecy. Do you believe in them?”
Harry almost laughed aloud at that question. His life was nearly ruined and her life was taken because of a Prophecy. “It doesn’t matter what we believe. The only thing that matters is; do they believe that the prophecy is true.”
“I agree. It is just – well, how could I ever overthrow the pureblood fanatics. I am not exceptional in dueling. I know many spells, but nothing overly intimidating. I could never defeat them all.”
Harry smiled at his mother. Her comments reminded him of himself after learning about his own prophecy.
“Don’t think of yourself as the person who will walk through Diagon Alley and duel all the Death Eaters to submission.” How could he explain her importance to her? “Think of the increase usage of Dark Arts and the pureblood fanatics as the night coming to overtake the day. Many people, especially; sailors of old used the stars to guide them through the darkness.
“Tell me Miss Evans, what do you see as you stare at the night sky? Let me change that question, what do you see the most of?”
“I see stars, thousands, millions of stars.”
“By that answer, I can tell you are an optimist. I see stars surrounded by vast expanses of dark. I see the reason why you will be so important to the magical community in overthrowing the pureblood fanatics. When darkness envelopes the magical community, it will be people like you who will shine like a star to guide people through to the truth.
“You are a threat to the fanatics, because they insist that Muggleborns will dilute the magical essence of the bloodlines. You prove that a Muggleborn can be magically powerful. You destroy their argument for purity of bloodlines. Without you being such a good student, powerful witch, and good example of the importance of Muggleborn’s magical abilities, their argument gains strength and will be able to sway more people to their beliefs.”
Harry stood there and looked at his mum. She was staring out at the starry sky. She appeared to be thinking the same thing that he thought when he was sixth year and realizing that he was the one to defeat Voldemort. Yet, she, his mum, is actually more important to Voldemort’s defeat than even Harry. It is her actions as a teenager, and a young mother that sets the foundation for Harry to fulfill his destiny.
Even though he cast the final spell that eridicated the blight that was Tom Marvolo Riddle from this world, she was the one that made it all possible. Without her blood sacrifice, he would not have survived that Halloween night. Without Severus Snape falling in love with this beautiful young woman, he would not have become the spy Harry needed. Without Professor Slughorn’s infactuation with her, he would have never convinced Professor Slughorn to give him the correct memory for his research. Without all these things, Voldemort would still be reigning in the future.
“I am not that special, Professor,” she said. Her voice sounded small and scared. “I don’t think I could ever be the things that you said I will be.”
“You already are all of those things, Miss Evans,” he said softly. He had almost called her mum.
“But, to be such an example to everyone, I don’t know if I am ready for that resposibility.”
He gently placed a hand on her shoulder. “All you need to do is follow what your heart tells you. Don’t be afraid to act on your feelings. I have known people who felt the same as you do now. They didn’t believe that they were capable of great things. However, when the moment came for them to do what was right even against what seemed like insurmountable odds, they persevered. They fought darkness with their heart not their mind. Doubt can creap into your thoughts and make you shrink from the moment, but following your heart will push aside the doubts. Love is powerful magic if the user allows it to manifest in them and follows it regardless of what their mind says or what other people tell them can’t be done.”
Harry stared at his mum. She had an expression on her face like she was overwhelmed with what he just told her. She was staring at him, when suddenly she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a tight hug. Her grip was tight and she buried her face into the crook of his neck and shoulder. As suddenly as she had grabbed him, she let him go. Before pulling away completely, she reached up, lifted his hat up, and straining up on her toes, she kissed him on the forehead right on his scar. She pulled his hat back down and stepped away from him.
“My heart told me to do that, Professor. I need to get back to my rounds. I still don’t believe that I am so special, but I will try to do as you say. I will follow my heart. I have always been a bit of a romantic.”
She turned and walked to the door, stopping she looked back over to him. “Thank you! You have come into my life when I needed someone more than probably any other time. When I saw you sitting at the head table that first night, I knew there was something special about you. I wonder if there is a prophecy about a man from a distant land coming to save a young woman in a tower.”
“Sounds like a Muggle bedtime story,” he laughed.
“I don’t know why, but I think you just saved me. Thank you,” she said then stepped through the door and closed it behind her.
Harry watched her go. “Thank you for saving me, Mum,” he said barely above a whisper. He turned back and stared out at the stars. He found Polaris sitting low in the winter sky. “You have always been my guiding star,” he whispered.
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James Potter stood at the bottom of the stairs waiting for Lily to reach him. Anger and jealousy filled him. Remus was wrong there was no other explanantion for what they were doing up on top of the tower, except for snogging. It hurt him more than he could have ever imagined. Maybe, it was the feeling that he was using her. Maybe, it was the fact that she didn’t seem to care.
He heard the door at the top of the stair close. He heard soft footsteps descend the stairs. He finally saw her. She had a different look on her pink face. There were slight beads of sweat on her face also, how could anyone come out of the bitter cold night and look overheated, only if they were doing something rather physical.
She hesitated at the bottom of the stairs. She looked back up at the top of the tower, with that strange thoughtful expression on her face. James could not take it anymore. He shrugged off his Invisibilty Cloak, and stepped up to her.
“Waiting for someone,” he almost shouted. He didn’t want to say it that loud, but his emotions were too raw.
Lily snapped her head around and stared at him. “No, what I do is none of your business, Potter. Besides, it is after curfew and you just cost Gryffindor five points,” she snapped at him.
“Aren’t you a bit of a hypocrite? I know you were spending some alone time with Professor James on top of the tower. From the looks of your face, it must have been a rather heated session…,”
The sound of Lily’s hand colliding with his face echoed off the stone walls. It felt as if his jaw had been dislocated. He tried to work it to apologize. He didn’t know why he said that to her, except to hurt her. From the venomous stare he was receiving. He had hurt her.
“My relationship with Professor James is not like that. For the first time, I have found someone in this castle who understands me, who I can relate to, and all anyone ever thinks is that we are having some lurid affair. I hate you James Potter and everyone who thinks like you.”
She didn’t even give him a chance to apologize. She pushed past him and almost ran down the hall away from him. He had let his emotions get the best of him. He had let all the rumors about Lily and the Professor to manifest in his thoughts, and he may have ruined any chance of getting Lily as his girl.
How he hates that ruddy Professor.
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On top of the Astronomy Tower, Professor James was lying on the stone ground trying to crawl towards the door. He doesn’t know why it happened or how it happened, but he suddenly collapsed. It felt like a Dementor was trying to suck his soul out of him, but there were no Dementors around.
His magic had failed too. The Warming Charm that he had cast on his clothing had broken. The bitter cold of the night was cutting through his robes and further weakening him. He just hoped that he could crawl to the door, before he froze to death.
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