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Chapter 24 : Sayng Goodbye
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She smiled to herself as she thought about those four boys. It seems so strange that for the past five years, she has always looked upon them as the enemy. Now that she has taken the time to get to know them, they don’t seem so bad. Especially James Potter, he is actually a nice person when he tries to be one.
The owl that flew down from its roost had nipped at her hand. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she had ignored the owl.
“Sorry, I had some things on my mind,” she said to the bird. “Take this to Professor James. I don’t know if you understand me, but make sure no one is around when he gets it. All right?”
The owl hooted and fluffed its feathers, but gave her a look as if it understood her. With two quick flaps of it wings, it took flight.
Lily watched it as it flew out over the grounds of Hogwarts. It was beautiful mid-June day. She had completed her last final yesterday. In two days, she would be returning home, and she may never see Professor James and Ray again. They both told her that they will be returning home after the school year. She had to write a note to him, and let him know how much he meant to her this year.
She learned so much more from him than any book could convey. The way he carried himself he seemed nobler than his Patronus. It didn’t surprise her in the least that his Patronus was a stag. It actually seemed to fit perfectly to his personality.
“Where are you going,” she said to the owl. It had flown out over the grounds of Hogwarts, but instead of turning towards the castle it banked the other direction out over forbidden forest.
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Ray and Harry were standing in the cave high above Hogsmeade. They had been coming up here every couple of days to check to see if Teddy would suddenly appear. They doubted it, but when dealing with something as uncertain as time travel, one can never tell. They were also sorting through the belongings to get ready to return to the future in only a couple of days.
“How precise will we need to be with the weight?” he asked Ray.
“Not that close, a half of a stone would make a difference, but below that it won’t change the calculation.”
“So it would be safe to take my hair back,” joked Harry.
“Only if you wear it and your beard at the next Auror meeting,” laughed Ray. “Have you grown attached to the hair?”
“A little, but I am sure Ginny will have something to say about it.”
“What about the beard?”
“I tried growing one once,” he said leaving the statement unfinished.
“And what, it is obvious there is more.”
“She told me if I want to touch her, I had to get rid of the beard.”
The memories of her telling him that and what happened when he shaved the beard off made him ache for Ginny. He had been able to keep from thinking of her like that for months, but that passionate memory was enough to make him want to return to the future right now.
He looked up and Ray was smiling while sorting out items to be taken with them. It was obvious she could read his thoughts.
“Are you done over there?”
She looked up at him. “Yeah, I could find a few more things to do, but I think we are set to return.”
“Four days, until we can go back,” he stated happily. He noticed Ray didn’t seem to share his enthusiasm. “How about you? Do you want to stay here?”
She stopped moving and stared at him open mouthed. “I couldn’t do that. I could change everything.”
“I know, but do you want to stay here. I know one of the Marauders would be happy if you did.”
Harry had seen the way Sirius had watched Ray and easily recognized it as an infatuation.
She gave him a look of disapproval. “He is way too old for me. It is just…,” she stopped talking a seemed to be searching for words.
“Yes, it is just. Just what?”
“Are we going to be able to tell anyone about this mission?”
The statement had caught Harry by surprise. He had to think about it. “It will be kept secret, but we will need to report it, so others are aware of what Gordon Ridgebit and the NDEs did.”
“Who would we trust with this information?”
“The same people who know about what I did to defeat Tom.”
Ray looked at him a little strangely before she realized what he meant. “There are other things beside what was published in the Ministry records?”
“Those were public Ministry records, Ray. Yes, there are other things that are being kept secret. If you are interested in hearing them, I will tell you, since you know about this mission. Right now, let’s go back to the castle. I need to grade some more papers.”
“Yes, yes, sir, Harry,” stuttered Ray.
They quickly organized everything in the cave, before walking outside and casting Notice-me-not Charms on the entrance. They started walking back to the castle in silence. He realized that telling Ray he would be willing to share his secrets with her, must have overwhelmed her. During this time, he had discovered that he was a major influence in her life. However, that wasn’t the reason he decided to tell her. She had impressed him with her personality and ability to think in non-routine situations.
His thoughts were interrupted by an owl swooping out of the sky and landing on his shoulder. It had a letter tied to its leg. It hooted impatiently at him to remove the letter. He was sure if the owl could talk it would be calling him a dunderhead at this moment. He untied the letter and the owl fly away without even waiting for any treats.
“Must be a Ministry or School Owl,” said Ray.
Harry looked down at the handwriting and recognized it as his mothers. “I was a school owl. It’s a letter from my mum,” he said softly.
He stood there and stared at the letter. Why would she be writing to him? She could just hand him a letter in the school. He looked up to see Ray had continued to walk towards the town. She seemed to notice him looking at her, because she turned to talk to him.
“Go ahead and read it, Harry. I will wait for you at The Three Broomsticks,”
He watched her walk away. His then focused his gaze on the letter in his hand. He wanted to tear it open and read it, but a part of him wanted to just hold it. Maybe it was note about her exam that she had taken yesterday. He still had not graded it yet. Realizing he was being daft, he opened the letter and sat down on a fallen log to read it.
Dear Professor James,
I would like to take the time to thank you for all you have done for me this year. I realize that you felt it was your duty to protect me from the pureblood extremists, but you have done so much more for me.
When I think back to the person I was only last year, I find myself being slightly ashamed of myself. I had judged people unfairly because of my prejudices towards their actions. I always thought myself better than those who chose to fight. I was raised by a father who had seen war and the effects it had on people. I always believed that violence only happened to those who initiated it. That was one reason why I didn’t plan to take Defense Against the Dark Arts. I assumed people in that class were people looking for a fight. I was so wrong.
Now I realize that is not true, and one must fight at times for their right to live the way they see fit. I realize that if I want to live my life the way I want to, than I must fight for that right.
In other words, thank you for making me a true Gryffindor.
I wish you could stay for another year. I imagine you can’t wait to get back to your family. It must be so difficult to keep a marriage strong when you go on these heroic missions. Your wife must be special woman. I am glad you found her.
I remember you telling me that the pureblood extremists were after me because I will be like the North Star in the dark sky to Muggleborns. I still can’t imagine being like that to anyone, because you are the only person I have ever met that would earn that distinction. You are my guiding star now. After meeting you, I hope I can be half as noble and brave as you are.
Do you remember me telling you that I often thought of you like an uncle? I have decided that if I ever have a baby boy, I will name him after you. You will always be a part of my life and my family.
Harry wiped at his eyes. The tears were falling freely down his face. Folding up the letter, he walked down the path to The Three Broomsticks.
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Harry sat at the head table on the last day of the school year. He looked out over the students. It was slightly depressing to think about all pain they would be going through over the next twenty-one years and how many of them would die. It made him feel as if he had failed them. As an Auror wasn’t he supposed to protect them from danger, and yet in doing so, he would change the future.
Harry took a deep breath and exhaled to make him stop this argument with himself. For nearly a year, he has lived in this time period and it seemed at least once a day he had these feelings of guilt. The only thing that kept him from changing the future was his family. He would most likely lose them if he changed anything. He wasn’t willing to chance that happening.
He smiled as he watched his mum sitting with the Marauders. She wouldn’t sit beside his dad, but she was always there. Serving that detention together made a huge impact on her, it might also have been that they had help to save her from the Slytherins.
Harry looked over to that table and found that greasy-haired git, Severus Snape. Harry had admired him for helping bring down Voldemort, but seeing him at this age tarnished what he thought of Professor Snape. He was vile. He stood by while other Slytherins attacked the love of his life. Why would he do that if he loved her so? There is probably some type of Slytherin logic to his actions, but it didn’t make any sense to him.
“I have heard that the Students did well on their OWLs and NEWTs this year,” said Professor McGonagall. “The scores are among the best for the last fifty years for Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
Harry snapped out of his thoughts and answered his future head of house. “I am glad. They were all good students.”
“All?” asked Professor McGonagall inquistively.
“There were some less adept than others, but mostly they were good students.”
Professor McGonagall chuckled at his comment. “Even though you cost my house the house cup this year. I thought you handled discipline well. You were very even handed about detentions and house points.”
“I suppose the fact that Slytherin house was a distant fourth helped ease the sting of losing the cup,” teased Harry.
Professor McGonagall smiled at him. “Well they have won two of the last four years.”
“At least Ravenclaw won it after a decade,” said Harry. He looked out and saw all the banners flying bronze and yellow around the great hall.
“Yes, we did,” cheered the diminutive Professor Flitwick.
The rest of the Professors talked about the school year, but Harry tuned them out. He was watching the students slowly filter out of the hall. They were returning to their dorms and then down to Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Express.
After his parents left, he stood up to leave. He noticed many of the Professors were leaving too. He wondered if they were planning on going back to their rooms and packing up their belongings. They would be going to their homes, but he would be traveling forward in time.
According to Ray’s calculations, they needed to leave tomorrow night at exactly 10:45. They were going to leave from the cave above Hogsmeade, but a different location in the cave then Teddy. If all calculations were correct they would arrive one hour before they left from their time period. This would give them time to get down to the town and contact Ron and Drake. They just needed to make sure no one saw them too soon.
Harry’s mind was filled with these thoughts as he walked throught the halls of the castle. He reached the door to his living quarters before he noticed the faint sound of silk rubbing on stone. He could almost feel the presence of his father right behind him.
He opened the door to his living quarters to see Ray sitting at his desk smiling at him. She had the Marauders Map on the desk. He pushed the door open even further to make room for his father to come in.
“Well, hurry up, we haven’t got all day,” he said softly to his father. He heard the whisper of sound as the silky fabric slid over the stone floor. After Ray nodded to him, Harry closed the door.
“How did you know?” asked his father as he took the cloak off him.
“I heard the sound of the fabric brushing along the stones. I have used that cloak so much I have all the sounds memorized, Dad.”
There was a brief moment as they both stared at each other. After today they would never see each other alive again.
“Are you ready to go back to the future?” his dad asked.
“Yes, we have everything ready. We just need to wait for the exact time. Are you ready to be nice to mum?”
“Hey, I’ll have you know that I am very nice to her. I always have been. She just didn’t realize I was doing it. That was the problem,” answered James Potter indignantly.
Harry smiled at his father then pulled him into a hug. They held each other tight for a second or two before pulling apart. Harry’s emotional state was all over the place. He didn’t know if he should be having this conversation. Maybe he should Obliviate his father to ensure that the future was safe and unchanged. His father spoke and broke his train of thoughts.
“I have been wondering who gave you the map and the cloak. If I am not around,” he choked out. “Was it one of the Marauders?”
“Professor Dumbledore gave me the cloak my first year at Hogwarts.”
Both Ray and James stared at him in shock.
“Why would he do that?”
“I received it for Christmas that year. He had attached a note to it stating that this was my fathers and I might have a use for it.”
“Does he take it off me next year?”
“No, you were in hiding towards the end. He becomes extremely interestested in it because…,” Harry hesitated.Should he tell his father about the Deathly Hallows? He had stopped talking as he debated this. James and Ray both were staring at him. “Your cloak is a family heirloom, handed down from generation to generation.”
“Yes, I know that, but what does have to do with anything?”
“Do you know of any other Invisibility Cloaks that last that many years?” His father started thinking about it. Harry didn’t wait for him. “No Dad, other cloaks don’t last that long. We have the cloak from the tale of The Three Brothers.”
His dad stared at him. He must have known what that meant. “One of the Deathly Hallows?”
“Yes, to destroy Voldemort, I gain control of all three of the Deathly Hallows.”
His dad again started to think about it. Harry could see him going through the list of Hallows. “If you have the Stone then you can see me again.”
“Yes, we meet again after you die. Once before I defeat him, and I bring all of you back during my wedding, because I want you there. You and Mum spend most of the night on the dance floor.”
A roguish smile crossed his father’s lips. “I like the sound of that afterlife.”
“It does seem rather nice by what you and everyone says,” stated Harry.
“We said that?”
“Sirius and Remus said it was like falling asleep, only permanent. Don’t you need to catch a train?” asked Harry.
“I have plenty of time. What about the map?”
“I get it from my brother-in-laws, my third year. They nick it from Filch’s office during one of their detentions.”
“Filch has the map?” asked his dad in shock. “I have been outsmarting that prat since second year.”
“That is where they find it,” said Harry.
“Blimey, how will I set that up so that no expects anything?” asked James. “This creates quite a problem, but you do need it.”
“You need to catch that train,” said Harry looking at the clock on the wall.
His dad gave him one last hug. “Take care of those grandchildren, son,” ordered James before throwing the cloak over him.
Harry held the door open for his dad. Ray had checked the hallway on the map and no one was out there, but he did it anyway. So many questions about his father’s character were answered on this mission. At the beginning of the year, his father was an overbearing git. A loud obnoxious attention seeker and yet he also had some good qualities about him. If he had been at school with his father, he wouldn’t be sure he would have liked him at the beginning of the year. However, he matured quickly as the gravity of their situation was revealed to him. It was almost a complete transformation within a day’s time. I guess learning you marry the woman of your dreams only to die shortly after can cause a person to change their ways.
Harry closed the door to his living quarters. He saw Ray was standing at the desk with her arms folded across her chest staring at him.
“Deathly Hallows? The Tale of the Three Brothers?” she asked.
“You don’t know about the tale do you. Well there were these three brothers….”
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Harry knocked on the door to the Headmasters office. He was having his last meeting with him before returning to the future in a few hours. Yesterday went well. All the students boarded the train and went home to their families. He had been questioned by Ray and the Headmaster about seeing off his mum and father. He didn’t want to do that. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. It was quite the opposite. He couldn’t let his mum know. He couldn’t trust himself under those circumstances.
“Enter,” said the Headmaster from the other side of the door.
Harry pushed the heavy oak door open and stepped inside. The Headmaster was standing staring out of one of the windows in his office. His hands were clasped behind his back and he stared out into the setting sun. The sight haunted Harry. It was almost exactly the same pose he took before they went to the cave to find the fake Horcrux.
The entire feeling to the room was morbid, or it felt that way to Harry. It almost felt like he was attending a funeral. He looked around the room to see what else was different about it. It was then he saw a cabinet that wasn’t there earlier in the year. It was the cabinet that Professor Dumbledore stored the Pensieve.
“Have a seat Harry,” said the Headmaster, gesturing to the chair in front of the desk. The Headmaster took the seat behind the desk.
“I assume all the preparations have been made for your journey tonight,” he asked Harry.
“Yes, all we need to do is arrive at the cave in time to step onto the Time Turner,” said Harry. “We do intend to arrive early in case any animals have made their homes on it.”
Albus Dumbledore laughed at his comment. “That would be wise. Have you read today’s edition of the Daily Prophet?”
“No, haven’t really thought about it. Why?”
“It has been reported that the department of Mysteries has been able to Time Travel. It is only to be used under the strictest of security and only for a few hours at a time.” The Professor Dumbledore smiled at him. “I think it is interestingly ironic that the news would break today.”
“I have tried to not change the future, Headmaster,” stated Harry. “We have done everything we could except Obliviate the lot of you.”
The Headmaster held up his hand to stop Harry. “I am not accusing you of deliberately changing the future. You appearing here must have done something for the future. The fact this year’s NEWTs and OWLs appear to have the highest marks in Defense for many a year is something.”
The Headmaster stopped talking and looked up at the portraits for several minutes before continuing. “I love this school and all that it stands for. The banner of equality and fairness that you have taken up is a heavy weight to carry. Yet, after seeing you and getting to know you I feel the future is in good hands. I hope that nothing changes in the future, Harry. From what you say it is all that I have ever dreamed about. You could say Dumbledore’s Dream.”
Harry smiled at the Headmaster. He used the name of the fountain in the Ministry Atrium. Harry had told Kingsley to name it Dumbledore’s Dream the year after the war. He looked over to the cabinet that probably held the Pensieve and unless Harry missed his guess vials of memories.
“Until we meet again, Professor, which I won’t remember any of this because this never happened in my time period,” said Harry.
Professor Dumbledore stood a little straighter and smiled at him his blue eyes sparkling over his half-moon glasses. “Yes, until we meet again, Harry. It has been an honor and a privilege.”
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Harry and Ray moved quietly into the cave where the Time Turner sat waiting for them. They both went and triple checked that everything was set and ready to go. The hourglass had been turned the exact number of rotations. The compartment around it filled with the appropriate Potion. They had picked up every bit of evidence that they were ever in this cave. They worked quickly and efficiently, but neither one had spoken a word.
Double checking the time, Harry looked at Ray. She nodded and stepped onto the grate of the Time Turner. Harry stepped on across from her. They had three minutes to activate it. They stood there silent. Harry had wondered if Ray actually wanted to remain in this time period. It was her personal obsession before they traveled back in time. Yet, when he asked her, she denied wanting to stay.
It was time to activate the hourglass. Tapping the silver dome of the Time Turner with his wand, Harry activated it. They stood silently as the hourglass clicked preparing them to move forward through time.
“Do you think we were successful?” asked Ray.
“We captured the NDEs and I am still here, so yes. It was a successful trip, unless these things fail returning us to the right time.”
“I meant in not changing the future.”
Harry smiled at her. “I am sure we changed the future.”
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