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Harry Potter and the Time of Second Chances by Neville James
Chapter 16 : A Night to Forget
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 15


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Chapter 16: A Night to Forget


Harry continued to gape at the approaching figures from where he and Marc were concealed behind a shrub. Everything around him went unearthly quiet, but Harry knew that in a matter of moments the air would be filled with threats and pleas. Marc watched his older roommate with wide and worried eyes as he stared at the newcomers as though they were ghosts, trembling uncontrollably.

He tried to calm him and placed a hand on his shoulder, hoping that he might get a few answers as well. As soon as he had touched Harry he opened his mouth to speak and was abruptly cut off as Harry’s hand flew to his mouth, covering it firmly. Harry lifted a finger to his own mouth signalling his wish for silence, and shook his head vehemently as though it was a matter of life and death.

Marc stared into Harry’s eyes and saw the immense fear that swam there, something unheard of for Harry Potter. Seeing the Boy-who-lived quake with such fear finally told Marc who was standing outside that cottage. He too stumbled back a bit and his eyes widened in fear and shock. His own eyes though, reflected an equal amount of anger as they did fear. He understood why Harry looked so afraid and was now filled with pity for his friend; Harry was not afraid of Lord Voldemort, but he was downright terrified of what he was going to be forced to watch.

Marc set a determined look on his face before reaching into his robes and slowly pulling out his wand. Harry, noticing this, once again jutted his arm out and grabbed Marc’s hand, shaking his head determinedly. Marc couldn’t take it. How could he just sit there and do nothing, knowing that his parents would soon be murdered before his very eyes?

‘What are you doing?’ Marc hissed in barely a whisper. ‘You can save them! Warn them. Tell them to apparate or something.’ He was beginning to sound frantic as Harry simply sat and stared at him.

‘I can’t,’ he finally said. ‘I wish I could, but if that monster sees either of us, do you know what kind of damage could be done? How history could be changed?’

‘Yeah, you would have your parents right now and you wouldn’t be the most famous wizard in the world. Sounds terrible,’ Marc said angrily, as though it was a very simple decision. Harry shook his head again defiantly, tears forming in his eyes.

‘If my mum doesn’t die protecting me, Voldemort won’t fall. What kind of world would we live in then?’ he asked in a shaky voice. ‘Don’t you think I’d rather live with them? Not have to worry about being chased by Death eaters for the rest of my Life? It just wouldn’t work. I’ve played it over and over in my head. If they got away it wouldn’t change anything. He would just keep chasing them until he caught them again, maybe tomorrow or next week. And then we might not be that lucky.’

Marc didn’t like the idea of doing nothing but remained silent now as he and Harry ducked lower, waiting for the inevitable. Not two seconds later, the pair felt the bush move slightly as Voldemort walked quietly passed them and up to the front door. If he had simply turned his head slightly to the left he would have seen the boy he had come for. Harry could see him clearly now from where he crouched, unable to look away. Voldemort raised his wand with grim satisfaction, and with a downward slash and no audible curse, the thick brown door was blown off of its hinges allowing him to step over the threshold.

The next few moments were unbearable for Harry as he heard Voldemort’s voice threaten his father. He had been taken aback at how deep and human his voice had sounded. Apparently when the Dark Lord was first in power he had been much more Tom Riddle than Voldemort.

‘There is really no point, James. I will get what I came for.’

‘You will never lay a finger on my family. You’re just a monster and you’ll never win, not with Dumbledore around!’ Harry heard a loud growl after the last comment. Voldemort had clearly already feared Dumbledore at this time.

‘There are no monsters James, just people who are willing to do anything for power, and those too weak to stop them. I offer you the chance to join me. You would do well as a Death Eater.’ Harry began to shake again and his breathing grew ragged. Not from fear, but rage at the thought of his father ever being associated with Death Eaters.

‘I’ll die before I join you,’ he heard his father shout in utter disgust, and felt that his father had probably said far fewer things with such adamancy.

‘Easily arranged,’ came Voldemort’s response. ‘ Goodbye, Potter. Avada Kedavra!’

Harry tensed at hearing these words spoken and closed his eyes when he saw the bright green light glow from the doorway and momentarily light up the fog that had begun to form around the home. Not a second later he heard the heavy thud of James Potter’s body hitting the floor. Marc looked near shell-schocked as he watched the tears swell in his friends eyes, unable to help or comfort him in any way.

Another minute passed as the boys listened for what they knew would come next, but the pause seemed to go on forever. Harry cautiously lifted himself up and looked carefully into the window. He recoiled the instant he saw his father’s body heaped at the base of the staircase. It was not that he had never seen a dead body before, but the glassy empty look of his father’s eyes cut through him deeply and hurt more than he had anticipated.

Harry landed back next to Marc on the grass and leaned his back on a tree, attempting to get a hold on his breathing and keeping his lids tightly shut. Marc reached out a hand to console his new best friend, but was stopped suddenly by a new set of screams piercing the air. Two adults and one infant.

‘No, not Harry! Please not Harry!’ Lily Potter’s voice carried out onto the street, terrified and full of tears. Harry closed his eyes tighter and tried to block it from his mind. He could hear his younger self’s muffled cries from where he was undoubtedly being held against his mother’s chest.

‘Get out of the way you foolish girl!’ Voldemort’s voice hissed scathingly.

‘No! Not Harry, take me instead!’ Lily screamed as though she thought it might hold him off longer.

‘There is no instead,’ the cold voice said, filled with amusement. ‘Avada Kedavra!’

Harry started to shake again as the scream he had so often heard in his dreams sounded all around him, louder than he could have ever imagined, threatening to pierce his eardrums and shatter the window above him. Just as quickly as it had started, the scream ended, and the boys were once again met with a hollow thud. Marc winced as he pictured the redhead hitting the floor and then heard the clear cries of a baby, now helpless and completely vulnerable to the monster that stood before it.

Marc pulled himself up to sit beside Harry and squeezed his arm as a show of support. He fell back in surprise when Harry flung his eyes open and quickly got to his feet, leaving a gaping Marc to scramble up after him.
‘Are you insane, Harry! Get back here!’ he hissed at the raven-haired boy as he walked out from behind the bush. ‘ I hate to be insensitive, but they’re already gone. You made your decision.’

‘Yeah, but he’s not,’ came Harry’s cold reply, his face now determinedly set as he turned back toward the doorway. ‘And I’m going to watch this. I deserve to see this much,’ he added with such resolve that Marc took pause.

‘You can’t Harry, what about the other Death Eater?’ he tried to reason and stepped out to grab Harry’s arm.

Harry never got the chance to answer though, as an unearthly shriek filled the air followed by the most blinding green light Harry had ever seen. Both he and Marc shut their eyes and threw their hands up to cover their ears. Not a second later, they were both thrown backward into the bush by a thundering explosion that shook the cottage to its core, and they both felt heavy debris landing on and around them. They lay immobile for a few moments, unsure of what to do. Marc was the first to open his eyes and push the large slab of wood off his legs to turn and check on Harry. He too opened his eyes and the sight set before them was one that neither of them would ever forget.

The once welcoming cottage now lay in a smouldering heap of rubble, all but two of the walls having crumbled away helplessly at the explosion. Most of the furniture in the home popped and crackled as they were engulfed in green flames, each bit of fire dancing victoriously as it burned. The bodies of James and Lily Potter remained intact and exactly in the places they had fallen, looking to the rest of the world as though they had fallen to sleep and not been viciously murdered.

What bothered Marc the most, was not the ring of flames burning ominously around the destroyed home, or the immediate threat of Death Eaters around them, or even the sight of his best friend’s parents laying dead and wide-eyed before him. What tugged at his heart was the sight among the wreckage and the sound that met his ears. Where the cottage had once been the focal point in a beautiful valley, a scared and crying infant now drew attention in the middle of chaos and destruction. A lone child with a small lightning shaped cut on his forehead sat crying and bleeding among the remains of his home and family, helpless and confused.

The Dark Lord had been vanquished, but for this child the worst had already been done. Voldemort had made him suffer more than he would ever know. The boy was now alone, without parents, without safety, and without love. He had vanquished the Dark Lord and saved the wizarding world but at great personal cost. He had done a great deed for society without ever trying and would not know it for another ten years. This was the day his suffering began. He was the boy who lived.

Marc turned to Harry to indicate that they should get away quickly before someone saw them, and was shocked to find him moving toward the rubble. Harry walked quickly and meaningfully toward his parents’ bodies, first his father’s and then his mother’s. He sadly reached out a hand and swiftly swept their eyes closed, letting tears drop quietly onto the ground as he did. Then he made his way to his younger self and crouched down low beside the baby. He knew he didn’t have long before Hagrid would appear, and then Sirius.

‘It’s alright, Harry,’ he said quietly, reaching out a hand to console the child. Marc tried to stop him as he watched him remove his wand and point it at him. Harry muttered something quietly and Marc watched as the blood left the infant’s face and in it’s place sat a fresh, red scar. ‘Don’t worry,’ Harry told his younger self in a hushed and caring voice, ‘everything will be alright. One day you’ll know what happened and you’ll be proud.’ He paused for a moment and leaned down to look into his own emerald eyes. ‘And you’ll be loved.’

The infant stopped crying and stared at him in interest before reaching a tiny arm into the air and placing his hand on Harry’s identical scar. ‘I know,’ Harry said sadly before leaning forward and kissing him on the forehead, ‘but it will all be alright, I promise.’

Harry stood up then and turned his back on the child to rush toward a disbelieving Marc. As soon as he was standing next to him he pulled the Time Turner out of his shirt and watched as Marc picked up his invisibility cloak.

‘Let’s get out of here, Harry,’ Marc said pleadingly.

‘Just one more second,’ he said and watched the scene intently from where they stood behind a tree. Not ten seconds passed when Hagrid appeared out of thin air, having travelled by portkey, and quickly took in the scene around him. Harry heard the wracking sobs coming from the half-giant and fought hard to hold back the rest of his own tears. Marc suggested they should leave again but stopped when he heard a loud rumbling above them. Only Marc was surprised to see a giant motorbike fly low in front of them before landing next to Hagrid.

The next few minutes were tense as the boys watched Hagrid and Sirius’s exchange before Hagrid mounted the motorbike with the infant tucked in his arms and flew off into the night. Marc glared venomously at Sirius, but Harry watched him through caring eyes and shared his pain. He felt a sharp pain in his chest at seeing Sirius yell into the night furiously after kneeling next to his best friend’s body. The last thing he saw of his Godfather was him apparating away, and he felt guilty for not preventing his going to Azkaban.

As Marc’s third plea to go home reached his ears, Harry placed the Time Turner around the other boy’s neck and reached down to spin the dial. Marc lifted his wand at the same time to activate their portkey and Harry shouted for him to stop but it was no use. The dial had been spun and the portkey activated. Harry’s eyes widened abruptly as the last thing he saw before the spinning commenced was a familiar face in the woods fifty meters away. Severus Snape.

The travelling was not at all like the last few trips they had taken. If Harry had thought the portkey travel was sickening then this would surely have him sick all over. He felt the sensation of a hook behind his navel pull him up before the colours around him began to swirl and go black as they had done before. Things and people swirled by them once more, but this time at a far faster pace and it was even harder to try and focus as they were being thrown around instead of simply standing.

Finally the swirling stopped and the pair was dropped heavily onto a hard stone floor. Harry took a few deep breaths before opening his eyes and taking in their surroundings. He stood up and saw that they were in fact back at Hogwarts and in the Astronomy tower. Everything looked to be right and the trip had felt as though both devices had worked correctly. He reached a hand out and helped Marc to his feet.

‘Thanks. It’s good to be home,’ he said with a small smile and looked at Harry for any sign of a response. Harry gave a half-hearted smile but said nothing before turning to the door and heading down the steps. Neither of them spoke again until they had reached the third floor.

‘If it’s possible, Marc, I’d really rather if we never-’ he was cut off by his friend nodding adamantly.

‘Ever. You have my word,’ the curly-haired boy said with a solemn expression that conveyed his intentions.

The boys walked along the hallways quietly after that, both understanding without the need for words, that what they had just witnessed was undoubtedly a night to forget. They walked silently to the end of the third floor staircase, casually waving at the many occupants of the portraits they passed, and soon found themselves standing in front of the fat lady.

‘Murtlap Sap,’ Harry said unenthusiastically, and waited for the portrait to swing forward so that he might crawl into his bed and never think of this night again. The portrait didn’t open. ‘I said Murtlap Sap,’ he tried again, this time louder and with annoyance at obviously having been ignored.

‘I’m sorry dear, but that is not the password. If you could just be on your way now,’ the fat lady said and looked away from him again.

‘I will not be on my way. Murtlap sap was the password this morning. If Hermione’s changed it again,’ he went on, his anger now boiling up after the night he had experienced.

‘I’m sorry, but that was never the password dear. Now kindly step away.’

Marc sighed deeply at being kept from his bed this late at night. He really did not feel like sleeping on the cold floor out in the corridors, but he would do that over finding McGonagall at this hour to let them in.

‘You let me in!’ Harry cried now, unable to control his anger, and stepped forward to bang his fists loudly on her frame. ‘Ron! Hermione! Let us in! The wench won’t open up.’

The boys heard the bustling of people on the other side and were relieved when the portrait finally swung open. Unfortunately, Harry was unprepared for what he saw and promptly fainted, unable to handle the shock. The last thing he saw before falling over was the equally shocked face of a sixteen-year-old James Potter.
*
Harry opened his eyes with great effort to look around and find out what he had actually just seen, hoping against all odds that his eyes were playing tricks on him. He was surprised to find that he was no longer outside the Gryffindor common room, but seated in the Headmaster’s office directly across from a staring Dumbledore. He was dismayed as he took in the Headmaster’s younger appearance, the absence of many fine lines and wrinkles and the slivers of light brown still found in his hair and beard. The one thing that remained the same, Harry noticed, was the twinkle in the old man’s blue eyes.

He found that Marc was sitting next to him and looking at the floor, looking extremely culpable and avoiding Dumbledore’s eyes. He looked at the boy next to Marc and nearly fainted again. It was his father. James Potter sat perfectly still, watching his perfect mirror image, save for the eyes, with a shrouded expression.

‘Perhaps I should start,’ Dumbledore said in his regular calm and collected way, no indication of anger. They watched as he lifted a large glass bowl off his desk and held it out toward them with a warm smile. ‘Lemon drop?’ he offered. Both new arrivals shook their heads, but James was quick to reach in and pop one in his mouth.

‘You two are new, are you not?’ Dumbledore then continued and also enjoyed one of the sweets. ‘I have yet to see you within the walls of Hogwarts, therefore I can only assume that you are new. Is this the case?’ he asked with a merry glint in his eyes.

Marc continued to look at the ground, fiercely ignoring the old man and clearly intent on preventing the timeline from changing. Harry looked back to the Headmaster and offered what he felt would be the best explanation, feeling certain that he and Marc would not be able to avoid Dumbledore without telling him something.

‘Yes sir, we are new. Well, new to this school. We just came from Durmstrang, sir,’ he continued and was surprised to see the sudden look of disgust on James’ face at hearing this news. ‘I assumed that you would have spoken to our old Headmaster,’ he continued, trying his best to ignore the glares he and Marc were now receiving. Once done speaking, he gave a sidelong glance at James before giving Dumbledore a meaningful look.

Dumbledore gave the slightest of smiles before continuing.

‘I see, well then I suppose we shall have to have you sorted and you will receive your timetables in the morning,’ he said as though this sort of thing was a daily occurrence at Hogwarts. Harry snorted when he realised that it was.

‘Are you serious, Professor!’ James now said angrily, his chair falling loudly behind him as he stood up, clearly unimpressed. ‘You’re just going to let a couple of strangers join the school? A couple of strangers who claim to come from the dark wizarding school and who just happened to know where Gryffindor tower was?’

Dumbledore simply looked up at the agitated youth, an unfaltering expression on his face. If anything, Harry thought that the gleam in his eyes had brightened, leading him to struggle to suppress a smirk.

‘Yes James, I am. It does seem odd that they knew the location of Gryffindor tower, but I assure you that not all wizards from Durmstrang are evil. Unless of course you consider Professor Vector’s lessons to be questionable.’ The corners of his mouth lifted slightly as he suggested this. ‘And I remind you James, that when you first arrived at Hogwarts for your first year, you too were a stranger.’ The tone Dumbledore used was not harsh or punitive, but it did carry a sense of finality, leading James to cross his arms and lean back in his seat with an indignant sniff from his nostrils.

‘Now James, if you could please go back to your dormitory, I have to welcome our new students to the castle. Do please keep this to yourself until tomorrow morning at breakfast.’

It was clear to all those in the room that this was not a request, so James nodded grudgingly and gave both boys a skeptical glance before heading from the office. As soon as Harry was sure that James was out of hearing distance he perked up significantly and felt better knowing that he did not have to worry about slipping any future secrets.

‘Thank you Professor Dumbledore, I’m so relieved you’ll allow us to be sorted in the morning,’ Harry said, knowing full well that in a matter of minutes he and Marc would be leaving and going back to their own time, making the entire ordeal quite unnecessary.

‘Well, I believe it’s the least I could do for my future students,’ the Headmaster said with a raised eyebrow. ‘Now tell me, how exactly do you intend on getting back to your own time?’ He seemed overly amused by this.

Harry let his jaw drop and Marc’s head flew up at hearing what the old man said. How could he have possibly known they were from the future.

‘I did not give you my name, and yet you already knew it. You also called me Professor. I think it safe to assume that you will one day be students under my direction,’ he smiled at Harry’s shocked face. ‘And then there’s what’s left of that contraption around your neck.’

Now Harry and Marc both looked at the Time Turner that hung low against Harry’s robes, not having been tucked back under upon their arrival, and were disturbed to find a small ball of melted gold.

‘No!’ Marc said loudly, letting his head drop into his hands dramatically with a groan. ‘We’re never going to get out of here now. My mum’s going to kill me... if we ever get home. Not to mention McGonagall!’

Harry took a moment before speaking again, now with a reassuring smile on his face. ‘Don’t worry, Marc. I’m sure the Headmaster will lend us his Time Turner to get home, isn’t that right Professor?’ Dumbledore looked at him curiously, his calm expression still in place.

‘Don’t you get it, Harry?’ Marc shouted at him, ‘Time Turners aren’t readily available outside of the Department of Mysteries for another twelve years. We’re stuck here!’ Harry looked sticken.

Dumbledore continued to look at them curiously as he thought about their predicament. ‘Well, I believe the best I can do is to allow my offer to stand. You shall join the other students in their lessons tomorrow after you have been sorted. There’s no need for you to miss out on your education while I try to find a way to send you home. What year are you two in?’ he added with mild curiosity as he conjured some forms from a shelf high above.

‘I’m from sixth and Marc’s from fifth,’ Harry said casually.

‘Marc is it?’ Dumbledore said with a raised eyebrow, reminding both boys that they had still not introduced themselves.

‘Yes sir, Marcus Evans,’ he said quietly and held out a hand to shake the Headmaster’s.

‘You wouldn’t be son to one Lily Evans, would you?’ he asked, one eyebrow still inclined.

‘No sir,’ he said with the first laugh in hours and a glance at Harry, who also shared the joke. ‘I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong one.’

‘I’m Harry, sir, Harry Potter. And Lily Evans is my mother.’ Dumbledore leaned back in his seat and smiled at this news. His eyes seemed to shine more fiercely than ever before. He was pleased.

‘Very well. I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you not to tell me any more about the future. It is quite enough that you have been seen by your father, Harry. I’ll assume it is safe to say you are both Gryffindors?’

‘Yes, Professor.’ Harry said, and then stole a sidelong glance at the Sorting Hat, peacefully sitting on a high shelf muttering quietly to itself. ‘Is it possible not to be sorted tomorrow, Professor? I’m afraid that if the hat reads my mind it may be catastrophic. Lately it’s been giving the school warnings in the form of songs, and I rather doubt you wish to hear the future spilled about the Great Hall. I take it the students wouldn’t take well to hearing Voldemort’s name sung aloud.’ Dumbledore’s eyes widened at hearing this and then darkened significantly. ‘Sorry professor,’ Harry said quickly, realising that he had just informed the Headmaster and Head of the Order of the Pheonix that the Dark Lord was still around in eighteen years. ‘I won’t mention it again.’

‘Very good, Mister Potter. You and Mr. Evans shall join Gryffindor in the morning and I shall take care of the rest. To the rest of the students you will be exchange wizards from Durmstrang and we will find you suitable names by then. In the mean time, do you wish to join the Gryffindors tonight?’

‘I think it best if we wait. I know of the perfect room, sir,’ he said with a wink at his friend.

‘On the seventh floor perhaps?’ Dumbledore smiled knowingly and Harry nodded with a small grin. ‘Very well, I shall see you both at breakfast before you join your classes,’ he said before dismissing them.

Marc and Harry walked quietly to the seventh floor corridor where Harry knew he would find a hanging of Barnabas the Barmey teaching trolls to do the ballet. They walked past an empty spot on the wall opposite the hanging a few times thinking hard of how badly they would like to get to sleep. Moments later the familiar brass door handle appeared and the pair walked into what looked like their Gryffindor dormitory.

Two four-posters sat in the middle of the room, and at the base of each bed sat their trunks. Harry couldn’t believe how thorough the room could be. He walked over to the window at the back of the room and looked over the grounds. The forest was just as dark as it had ever been and Hagrid’s hut stood out in the inky dark, its windows glowing brightly from the fire burning inside the small home.

Harry quietly said goodnight to his roommate before pulling the hangings shut and laying down for a restless night’s sleep. He tried hard to clear his mind of everything that had happened in the past few hours, but found it absolutely impossible. He could still see his parents’ lifeless eyes, and hear his mother’s heart shattering scream, but what he remembered most vividly was feeling the little Harry place his hand on his scar. He closed his eyes tightly and only let a few tears fall before falling asleep. Tonight, he did not dream.

*

Harry was awakened the next morning by Marc moving around the room in a flurry, trying to get his school robes on and taming his hair, his nerves clearly putting him on edge. It was the second time in two months he had joined Hogwarts as an exchange student from Durmstrang and was evidently not looking forward to going through the change again.

‘We’re already late for breakfast. There’s only about twenty minutes until lessons begin!’ he shouted at Harry who looked like he could easily have slept another week if left undisturbed.

A few minutes later, Harry was hurtling down the corridors next to his roommate until they stopped dead in front of the Great Hall. The doors were shut and Harry didn’t feel like walking in late. He received more than enough attention in his own time, and certainly did not need it in this one. They could hear the chatter and laughter of students on the other side, wafting through the thick ornate doors as though they were thin as parchment.

‘I’ll go first,’ Marc offered, and before Harry could reply he had pushed the doors open and strode in.
Harry instantly heard the chatter die down and then restart in a hush of whispers. Harry took a deep breath and then followed his friend in, hoping that no one would think his scar odd. The instant he entered the hall, silence fell again, but was soon punctured by gasps and several confused questions. He traversed the hall quickly to meet his smiling friend, hearing snippets of conversation as he walked past the house tables. It appeared that his scar was the last thing he should have worried about, his entire appearance being something far more interesting.

‘Who do you think they are? One looks like James Potter. Are they new students? I heard they were spies,’ he heard a couple of girls say. He shook his head and kept going, now with a grin plastered on his face.

He reached the staff table and found that he recognized some of the professors, but not all. Dumbledore stood and cleared his throat to make an announcement. Harry smiled and chuckled to himself at seeing the Headmaster’s vivid blue, crimson, and emerald robes. Apparently Dumbledore had always had his eccentric and expensive tastes in clothing, making him by far the brightest clad object in the hall.

Harry had his back turned on the professors and found that most of them were watching their backs intently, wanting to know exactly who they were. The look on the other professor’s faces told him that they had not yet been informed of the new arrivals. McGonagall in particular, looked far from pleased at being taken by surprise, her lips pulled thinly into a straight line and her dark eyes narrowed into mere slits as she surveyed them.

‘An announcement,’ Dumbledore started. ‘ I would like to introduce you to two of our new students, newly transferred from Durmstrang.’ Just as James had seemed offended by this news, most of the other students in the hall now appeared skeptical, not so hushed voices rushing through the crowd.

‘I am sure you will all make them feel welcome, and I ask that you please do not badger them with questions. I am sure they are quite tired from their journey. Now, Mr. Harry Portus and Mr. Marc Turner will be joining Gryffindor after our private sorting this morning, Harry in Sixth year, and Marc in fifth. Please join your table boys.’

The Gryffindor table roared in delight at gaining a couple of older students, some of the skepticism melting away, and even Professor McGonagall seemed pleased to hear this. He couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when she got a good look at him in class.

‘I’ve also been asked to remind certain students that dungbombs are clearly on the caretaker’s list of unacceptable Hogwarts items,’ he added with a small smile at the Gryffindor table before sitting back down.

Harry and Marc hurried over to their new table and sat down next to a group of students that they did not know, each of them smiling and now patting the boys on the back in congratulations. Just to their left, Harry noticed a group of four boys watching him intently and smiled upon recognising them all. The Marauders watched them in silence for a while as the other students told the newcomers about what classes would be like and which professors to watch for.

Finally they were handed their timetables by a seventh year boy with light brown hair and warm eyes. Harry instantly identified him as Giedeon Prewett, one of the original members of the Order and Mrs. Weasley’s older brother.

‘These will be your Timetables. It’s a pleasure to meet you,’ he said holding out his hand for them both to shake. ‘I’m Gideon Prewett, Head Boy.’ At this point, another seventh year boy stood and knocked the Head Boy out of the way, holding his hand out instead.

‘And I’m Fabian Prewett, the much better Prewett,’ the blonde boy offered, grinning at his twin. Many of the Gryffindors laughed at this and the brothers began to wrestle playfully in their seats. Harry smiled but was deeply saddened to see these two men alive and well, when he knew they would be murdered together by no less than five Death Eaters in less than three years time.

After eating a quick breakfast, Marc and Harry were forced to say goodbye and headed to their separate classes, Marc to Care of Magical Creatures and Harry to Potions. Harry grumbled as he walked through the entrance hall, not wanting to have anything to do with this class, but knowing that he would have to put up with it until Dumbledore could send them home. He reached the Dungeons quickly and was, for one of the first times in his Hogwarts career, early for Potions. He sat up near the front of the class in his regular seat and waited for the Potions Master to arrive, undoubtedly ready to insult him like every other morning. Another minute passed before Harry heard the familiar sneer of Severus Snape and when he turned around to glare was caught off guard at seeing the sixteen-year-old sit down right next to him.

‘I’ll ask you to get away from my station … Portus, was it?’ he hissed toward Harry.

Harry blinked a few times. He had forgotten that Snape would still be a student and not a professor, but this was still slightly shocking to him, and then a touch amusing. He looked exactly the way Harry had seen him in his older version’s memory the year before, still with greasy hair and the pair of well-worn robes that Harry assumed were his only ones.

‘What do you mean your station?’ Harry asked plainly. ‘I don’t see your name on it.’

‘I’ve worked here alone for the past six years. Now go find somewhere else, you Gryffindor filth,’ he said with such disdain that Harry was irked. Even the grown Snape wasn’t this hate-filled, and if he was he apparently showed great self restraint on most occasions.

‘He can work wherever he likes, Snivellus,’ a voice called from behind them, making both students twirl around quickly. James and Sirius had just walked in followed carefully by Remus, who was busy reading a book, his shining scarlet Prefect’s badge glinting in the torchlight.

‘Shut it Potter!’ Snape cried. ‘If you like him so much, he can work with you! Not that he’d want to. At least with me, he would be sure a passing grade.’ Now Harry could see a conflicted look in Snape’s eyes. On one hand, he had told Harry to move, but on the other, he had just said that he would be better off if he stayed simply to annoy his rival.

‘There’s nothing in this world that could make a Gryffindor work with a Slytherin,’ James’ retort came, harsh and cold. Sirius gave a glare that backed up his friends statement and more.

‘I’m afraid you are quite wrong Mister Potter, as I do believe I am such a thing,’ came a steely voice from the front of the room. Harry felt a shiver traverse his spine at the iciness of the voice and almost didn’t want to see from whom it originated. He slowly turned to see a very severe looking woman with long, dark hair braided and pulled into a tight bun. She had the darkest eyes he had ever seen, making Snape’s pale in comparison. She stepped from her office and securely shut the door, stepping forward to her desk to continue.

‘Mister Portus will in fact be working with our Mister Snape today, unless you see this as a problem, Mister Potter?’ she said this firmly and Harry was given the impression that no one would dare speak up. ‘Very well. Welcome to my class, Mister Portus.’

Upon seeing the boy in front of her, the professor’s dark eyes widened and a look of mild surprise took over as she quickly looked from Harry to James and back again, before regaining composure.

‘I am Professor Sharpbane,’ she said in an icier tone than before, ‘and you will find that my class is not for the weak minded,’ she shot a glare at Sirius and James. Harry understood immediately where Snape had found his role model.

‘Open your texts to page four hundred and twelve.’ Professor Sharpbane continued to explain the day’s work before flicking her wand at the blackboard and having the instructions scrawl themselves across it.

Harry read the instructions closely before crossing the room to the supply cupboard for the boomslang skin.

‘Mister Portus, perhaps you should allow Severus to collect the ingredients. He is after all competent,’ the professor’s voice reached across the room, her eyes filled with malice. Harry could see Snape’s lip curling up in a grin and his blood began to boil. ‘I think I can manage thank you,’ he called back and watched as her eyes narrowed and the class fell silent. Snape’s grin widened.

‘You do, do you?’ she started in a threateningly low voice. ‘Very well, I suppose our newest student deserves to be treated just as any of the others. I was willing to allow you a week before testing, but as it appears you feel yourself so gifted, we shall do it now. You will answer a short quiz Mister Portus, and I’m afraid that if you do not receive at least an Exceeds Expectations, you will have to leave my classroom.’

Harry could see James and Sirius shaking their heads at him like he was a fool. Remus, on the other hand, was watching attentively in obvious curiosity. Harry supposed he wanted to know how intelligent the new student would turn out to be. Harry nodded his understanding and quickly returned to his seat with the boomslang skin so that he could write his test. He was mildly surprised when Professor Sharpbane began to quiz him aloud in front of the class.

‘What will I get Mister Portus, when I add boomslang skin to unicorn blood?’ she started fairly simple.

‘That would be the base for the healing potion, Professor,’ he said with a smile and waited for the next question.

‘Correct,’ she added and continued unperturbed. ‘And what would I get if I added daisy root to the root of Asphodel and ground them with the venom from an acromantula?’ she asked, looking pleased with her question.

The look on many of the students’ blank faces told him that they had not yet covered this particular potion. He however, had read his entire text and he recalled this particular potion well. ‘That would be the last addition in the Vanesco Minimus potion,’ Harry said with the same smile as before. The smile widened as the professor’s eyes narrowed further and she looked him up and down sourly. She had felt confident that he would miss that one.

‘Correct,’ she said slowly. ‘Now tell me, Mister Portus, what would I get if I added a unicorn’s tail hair to a mixture of boomslang skin, three-part dried moonstone herb and two-part slick doxy oil, and allowed it to brew for a week?’ She now looked extremely pleased with herself, and Harry noticed the calculating look on both Lupin’s and Snape’s faces as they worked it out in their minds. Harry grinned at his good luck.

‘Well Professor, you wouldn’t have much,’ he said plainly and saw as she smiled in triumph.

‘I’m afraid that’s not correct, and that lowers your score to a-’

‘I’m sorry Professor, what I meant to say, and I should have been more clear, is that you would have an extremely useless Polyjuice Potion, as it must be left to stew for three weeks before consumption.’ The professor’s eyes widened at his interruption. ‘And then there’s the fact that the Unicorn’s tail hair would alter the effects as Polyjuice Potion should only contain a hair from the human host the brewer wishes to appear as. Using animal hair can create very unfortunate results,’ he finished with a smile. The thought of Hermione’s mishap in third year sweetening his success.

‘Very well,’ she snapped at him, her features now returned to their normal stony self. ‘Take your seat and start your work. If you ever interrupt me again Mister Portus, I will be forced to remove points from Gryffindor.’

*

Two hours later, Harry found himself sitting in the Great Hall for lunch with Marc and the Prewetts. Marc had told him all about his first two classes, before Harry explained how his double Potions had gone.

‘Sorry you still have to deal with Snape,’ Marc said to him quietly in a pitying voice, but it was strongly belied by his grin.
Harry nodded and gave a mock scowl, but what he did not say was that he truly did not mind working with him, and that they made a surprisingly good team. At the end of the lesson Harry had found himself gathering his things and leaving the Potions classroom after having created a near-perfect shrinking potion and receiving an outstanding for the day. He was surprised by how well he worked alongside Snape, and aside from several snide remarks along the way, he could tell that Snape was impressed with his work. Even Professor Sharpbane had complimented the results, though this was most likely because he had worked with her favorite pupil.

Harry listened to some of the apparently infamous tales of the Prewett twins and ate his lunch contentedly until a large mass of bright auburn hair coming through the great doors of the hall drew his attention away. Lily Evans walked through the doors, surrounded by three other girls, one on each side of her and another following closely behind. Lily and the two beside her turned quickly to say something to the other, before she gave a smile and wave and then went off to sit at the Ravenclaw table. The other three continued to the Gryffindor table where they sat down right across from Harry and Marc.

‘Hello ladies,’ Fabian said with a wide grin and he placed an arm around the girl with short, light brown hair sitting to Lily’s left. ‘And how are you all doing on this fine day?’

‘Shut it, Fabian,’ Lily said with narrowed eyes, ‘We’ve already told you, you can find someone else to go to Hogsmeade with.’

‘If you can find anyone who doesn’t mind looking at your face,’ the brunette to her right added and she batted her eyelashes at him innocently.

Fabian gave them a mock wounded look before breaking into a grin and throwing his arm around his brother. ‘No worries, Gideon here will always be at my side. Right until the end, isn’t that right?’ His brother flung his arm off and rolled his eyes, everyone around them laughing. Everyone except Harry, because knew that was exactly how it would end.

‘Hi there, Marc was it?’ Lily said holding out a hand toward Marc once they had stopped laughing. ‘I’m Lily Evans.’

‘Yeah,’ he said, taking her hand. Harry rolled his eyes when he saw the light-haired brunette next to his mother redden while looking at Marc.

‘And that would make you Harry then?’ she asked, shaking his hand as well. 'These two are my best friends, as well as another girl from Ravenclaw, but I’m sure you’ll meet her eventually. This is Sophie,’ she indicated to the brunette that was still ogling Marc, ‘and this is Gwendolyn.’

Harry looked more closely at the brunette and recognised her from the wedding. She had been one of the four bridesmaids, along with Sophie and presumably the Ravenclaw girl. She was also the woman who had almost caught him out but luckily mistook him for James. Harry smiled at Gwen warmly and noticed the brightness of her golden eyes as she smiled back.

The small group chatted for a while longer about nothing in particular, Fabian trying at regular intervals to get one of the girls to go on a date with him, until finally the warning bell for next lesson sounded and the Hall filled with the bustle of students heading to their classes.

‘Are you in Transfiguration now?’ Lily asked above the din.

‘Er, yeah I am,’ he answered after briefly scanning his new timetable.

‘Good, you can walk with me. Gwendolyn and Sophie have double Divination,’ she said, and pulled a face. Harry smiled, instantly liking his mother even more.

They continued to chat about what courses were actually worth taking and Harry learned that his mother already wished to be an Auror. As they entered the Transfiguration classroom, Harry was warned to pay attention in this class as Professor McGonagall was known to be quite strict. Harry tried to hide a smile at this and nodded his understanding before they took their seats, once again at the front of the room.

‘You don’t mind being my partner do you?’ she asked him.

‘Not at all,’ he said with a smile. ‘I’m sure you’re quite adept in the subject, and if not then I’m sure I could teach you a thing or two.’ He smiled knowingly, having learned from McGonagall that she was in fact brilliant in Transfiguration.

Lily raised an eyebrow in his direction and smirked. ‘I’d hoped you would be my partner so that I might avoid working with one of those idiots,’ she pointed to four very familiar wizards on the other side of the room, ‘but now I’m not so sure who’s more conceited.’

Harry could not smother his laughter when he saw the glare Lily sent across the room to James and Sirius. ‘Nevermind, I’ll keep you,’ she said finally, as Professor McGonagall walked in briskly and stood at the front of the room.

‘Today, we will be working in pairs to transfigure slightly larger objects into animals and then back again. Last week we learned how to transfigure our desks, but not how to return them to their original state,’ she started her lesson, briefly eyeing the group of males at the back of the room suspiciously. She explained and demonstrated the wand movement needed for this particular bit of magic and then told everyone to pair off.

Barely five minutes had gone by when McGonagall started her rounds, criticizing and complimenting the various degree of spell work. Harry and Lily were her third stop and Harry barely held in a snort of laughter when she made her comment. She had spent several seconds watching them cast their spells and then looked shocked when Lily laughed and pulled on Harry’s sleeve playfully before complementing him on his work.

‘Very good, the both of you!’ she said. ‘Five points to Gryffindor for each of you. Five for the spell work and five for working well together on your own,’ she added with a raised eyebrow. ‘If things continue this way, I may have to continue the Evans, Potter combination for the rest of term.’

‘You bloody will not!’ an indignant shout came from the back of the room, followed closely by howls of laughter.
McGonagall looked up to see who would be losing points and nearly fell over when she saw the highly affronted look on James Potter’s face, and the bent over form of Sirus Black shaking with laughter on the classroom floor. She quickly looked back to the boy standing next to Lily and her brows shpt upward, making Harry grin.

‘It’s uncanny, isn’t it?’ he suggested with a small laugh, getting a small chuckle from most of the room. ‘Although I must say that your reaction has been my favourite thus far, Professor,’ he added with a small smile at the old woman, who was still looking back and forth between the near identical youths.

‘Yes, well. It is quite intriguing, Mister Portus,’ she said in her regularly stern voice, but her eyes conveyed a certain gleam that Harry found was generally reserved for her more favoured Gryffindor’s.

Just as quickly as she had looked shocked, the tight-lipped woman adopted an icy glare. ‘That will be ten points from Gryffindor for Mister Potter’s obscenities, and another five for Mister Black’s inappropriate disruptions. Now if you would all please return to your work.’ The room sobered up instantly and Harry caught his father and Godfather scowling at the professor from behind their desks.

The rest of the class went well, and Harry soon found himself heading to his last class of the day, History of Magic. He groaned inwardly and outwardly at the thought of suffering another term of Binns’ droning simply because he had fiddled with time. He suspected it was Dumbledore’s twisted way of punishing him. He walked along the corridors with Lily until they were met by three other girls, one of them unfamiliar to him. He assumed that she was the Ravenclaw he had been told about.

‘Harry, this is our other good friend Helena Snarkett,’ Gwen offered as soon as they were all caught up. Harry smiled and shook her hand politely before they continued on their way, all of the girls gossiping as they did.

‘Sorry I’m late girls. I had to send an owl to Edgar so that he’ll get it on time,’ Helena was telling them.

‘So are you going to meet up with him on the Hogsmeade weekend then? He did ask you didn’t he?’ Sophie asked her friend eagerly, unable to hold back a giggle.

‘Of course he did,’ she answered with a swat at the taller girl’s arm. He said he would meet me in the three broomsticks at noon.’

‘We’d better not hear of any students snogging in the three broomsticks,’ Gwendolyn teased and all of the girls turned toward Harry when he choked on what could only have been air. He went pink as they all looked up at him.

‘Sorry, Harry,’ Lily apologised from behind a half smirk. ‘Once the girls get talking, there’s really nothing that stops them. Especially Gwen!’

‘That’s quite alright,’ Harry tried to say smoothly, but found himself squeaking instead, inviting another bout of laughter from the girls.

‘They’re just joking of course,’ Lily explained. ‘Edgar’s far too proper to even consider something as publicly scandalous as that.’

‘He just graduated last year. He’s in Auror training now,’ Helena announced proudly. ‘I do hope to work with him shortly. Two more years and I could very well be in the law enforcement department, alongside his sister actually. Very nice woman. She just started there three years ago, and already she’s been moved up to a charge position. Edgar always says that she’ll run the department one day.’

‘Amelia?’ Gwedolyn said with a snort. ‘It would be quite ironic if the girl who used to hold slumber parties for us ran the department of Magical law Enforcement.’ They all laughed.

Harry’s eyes widened at hearing this. ‘Amelia Bones?’ he said before thinking, and then turned to the girls who had all stopped walking.

‘Yeah, that’s her,’ Helena said with interest. ‘How do you know her?’

Harry’s mind raced for something to cover his ridiculous blunder. ‘Oh, my mum mentioned her a few times. Said she was a delightful woman at the Ministry.’

The girls all seemed to accept this and they started walking to class again. Once they had all seated themselves in the classroom, Harry found himself staring at one of his mother’s best friends. He felt saddened and slightly sick to be looking at one of his schoolmate’s mothers, who he knew would die in the next three years with her husband and the rest of their family.
Helena Snarkett would marry Edgar Bones, and would in fact join the department of Magical Law Enforcement to work under her sister-in-law Amelia Bones. Sadly, just after their daughter Susan is born, both Edgar and Helena would be murdered along with the rest of their family. As far as Harry knew, Amelia and Susan were the only remaining Bones in his time.

Trying not to dwell on death and all the terrible things that would befall most of those in the room around him, Harry elected to stare at the blackboard at the front of the room, through which he knew Professor Binns always drifted. He had wafted through that same board every lesson precisely as the bell rang for the past five years, prompting Harry to nearly fall out of his seat when the classroom door was opened and Professor Binns walked into the room with a briefcase in his hands.

Harry stared through saucer-sized eyes as the old man in front of him placed his briefcase on his desk and sat down in his seat, breathing heavily. Harry couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Professor Binns walking was one thing, but breathing was another altogether! The old man ran a hand through his wispy white hair then pulled out his wand and quickly scribbled some notes on the board. His cheeks were extremely pink and his eyes a startling blue as he stared out over his class.

Just when Harry thought things might have been looking up, Professor Binns began his lecture in the exact same hollow voice that could have easily been bottled and sold as a sleep aid. He had always attributed this monotonous voice to the professor’s being a ghost, but now he had proof that the man was just as dreadfully boring when he had been alive.
 

 


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