Chapter 22 : Truth Be Told
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A/N Wow! I am so sorry about this confusion for those of you who read chapter 21 and found it was cut off halfway through. I guess I had more words than was allowed? ell here is the complete other half. Sorry again and take care, Kyle : D
Truth Be Told
Harry felt the usual tug of a hook behind his navel and felt his feet lift off the ground. He had to hold on to his trunk tightly and was thankful that he sat on it as everything around him began to spin. He could see Marc right next to him, trying his best to hold on to his trunk and he reached out to grab hold of the boy’s robes. Marc also grabbed hold of Harry’s arm and soon the pair was spinning wildly through darkness.
Finally Harry felt the ground as he and Marc landed in a heap next to their trunks. They were still gripping each other tightly and when Harry opened his eyes he was more than surprised by what he saw. Dumbledore sat behind his desk smiling softly down at them while professor McGonagall stared wide-eyed at them, and professor Black glared hard at Harry.
Harry and Marc both started to stand but found it difficult when they realised there was something heavy sitting on their legs. Not understanding, Harry reached out and felt his fingers clutch a familiar smooth fabric. Eyes widening in understanding and fear, he pulled back the invisible fabric to reveal Lily, James and Sirius trying to untangled themselves.
‘First of all welcome back,’ Dumbledore chose this moment to begin speaking, his voice calm as ever as he looked down at the five students in front of him.
‘Bloody hell, where are we?’ Sirius said, looking around as he and James gave Lily a hand to her feet.
Harry was about to explain himself when he heard a loud thud and found that professor McGonagall had just fainted.
‘Oh dear!’ Lily cried and rushed over to the old woman, waving her wand and saying ‘Enervate!’ as she crouched down next to her.
McGonagall’s eyes slowly opened and when they focused on Lily’s face they widened. Harry thought she was going to lose consciousness again, but she soon regained composure and accepted Lily’s hand to stand up.
‘Thank you Miss Evans,’ she said in a far more brisk voice than was usual. She then turned her eyes away from the girl and watched Dumbledore for a response.
‘As I said before, welcome back. And now I suppose it would be welcome forward for three of you. It is not very difficult for me to assume that the three of you grew suspicious of your friends’ departure and chose to follow them. Unfortunately I can now inform you that you have followed them into the future. You are now in the year 1998, and both Marc and Harry have quite a lot of explaining to do. I’ll have no problem answering your questions in a moment, but for the time being would you three kindly give me a moment with my students? Professor Black will take you into my quarters for a moment.’
Harry watched as his parents and Godfather all looked up quickly to inspect this professor with the last name Black for the first time. He was surprised when they all seemed to recognize her.
‘Hyacinth?’ Lily shouted, ‘Is that you?’ Harry was beyond surprised when his mother rushed across the room and wrapped her arms tightly around the severe woman, who suddenly was unsure of what to do.
Professor Black looked torn between returning the hug and pushing this girl away, but simply asked her follow her into the next room. All Harry heard as they followed her out of the office was Lily’s voice asking how she had become a Black.
Now Harry and Marc stood alone before the Headmaster and professor McGonagall, who did not look at all pleased.
‘You had better explain yourselves right now,’ she said, her lips forming one of the thinnest lines they had seen yet.
She was very pale and Harry could tell that no matter what he said there would be no pleasing her. Suddenly he remembered something that would help him and flipped open the latch on his trunk. He carefully lifted out the pensieve and placed it on the Headmaster’s desk feeling very glad he had placed the imperturbable on it to prevent spillage.
‘I promised you I would return these as soon as I got here sir, but some of them are professor Lupin’s as well.’
‘Not a problem Harry,’ he replied calmly and waved his wand lazily over the contents of the pensieve. Slowly wisps of silver began to rise and reinsert themselves into his mind, each of them disappearing into his long strands of silvery white hair. Harry looked down into the pensieve and found that very little memory remained.
‘Now that’s better,’ the Headmaster said with a smile. ‘And have the two of you learned your lesson?’
Harry and Marc could not believe what they were hearing as they nodded their heads fervently.
‘You can’t be serious Albus. You might have just regained memories of something but I would like an explanation,’ McGonagall nearly shouted, and Harry smiled as the Headmaster mumbled something as he waved his wand.
She stopped speaking momentarily and when the Headmaster lowered his wand her eyes widened in shock and she turned back on the boys. ‘Portus! Turner! That will be fifty points each and detention until the end of the year,’ she said, her face white with rage.
‘Minerva,’ Dumbledore started quietly. ‘I believe we can remove seventy points each and forego the detentions. I believe they have undergone enough punishment as it is, being trapped in the past with no way home. After all, I did place them in History of Magic if you recall.’
McGonagall put up a front of looking stern, but Harry could tell that she was trying her hardest to not look amused with the Headmaster’s last comment.
‘And boys, I must warn you that if anything were to happen like this again, it would be expulsion,’ he added with a serious look on his face.
‘We understand,’ they both said in unison and received a soft smile from their professors.
‘Unfortunately, all is not well. And by this I do not mean that we have three ghosts walking among us once again, but that the Minister knows what you’ve done and he is far from pleased Harry. You Marcus are lucky, in that you have never been at the receiving end of Cornelius’ punishments, but Harry here has had one too many run ins with the Minister.’
‘Will I be tried again?’ Harry asked weakly, not wanting to think of how long it would be before he ended up in Azkaban.
‘I’m afraid so Harry,’ he said sadly. ‘You know how the Minister feels about you right now, and I warned you specifically not to try and find a way to see your parents. I have convinced the Minister to at least hear your explanation before he alerts the rest of the world, but I’m afraid that is all I can do this time.’
Harry nodded dolefully before asking when.
‘I think we best deal with it right away. I’ll have to inform him of our guests as well. He will undoubtedly allow them to use my Time Turner to return home immediately. Marcus, would you kindly join the others with professor McGonagall in the other room until we are finished?’
Harry nodded again and watched as Dumbledore threw a pinch of Floo powder onto the flames in his fire grate before calling the Minister’s name. The short man’s pudgy face appeared in the flames and as soon as they took in Harry’s face it disappeared instantly, only to be replaced by a full bodied Minister walking out of the grate.
‘Potter! You have really done it this time,’ he started right away. ‘Not even Dumbledore can help you this time.’
‘When is my trial?’ Harry asked in a bored voice, simply wanting to hear the inevitable.
‘Trial? What trial?’ The Minister laughed bitterly. ‘You’ve clearly broken the law as our records show us. Illegal time travel with a Time Turner does not require a trial. It is a minimum and immediate sentence of six months in Azkaban.’
Harry’s eyes widened in fear as he heard what the short lime green clad man said. His eyes darted to Dumbledore who continued to sit calmly in his chair and he was confused when Dumbledore stared pointedly at something on the wall. He followed the old wizard’s gaze and nearly shot a curse at him when he found nothing but a star chart. How could he be studying a star chart when Harry was about to be sent to Azkaban without trial? Was he completely nutters?
Harry’s mind was racing and then finally his eyes landed on something that cleared everything and made him want to thank the Headmaster profusely. In the bottom of the star chart was a group of three days circled in a bright red square: December’s full moon cycle.
Harry could not believe that Dumbledore was allowing this, but he calmed himself slightly and looked up at the smug Minister for Magic with a business like look.
‘Minister, do you think that we could just ignore that rule this one time?’ he asked politely.
‘What?’ Fudge said incredulously. ‘Are you mad? Never! No more exceptions for you Potter. You will be in Azkaban by the time I have my tea in the morning, and that is final.’
‘But Minister,’ Harry said, a slight edge in his voice now. ‘I don’t want to go to Azkaban. It would be far too difficult to see the full moon through the small windows of a cell.’
‘What?’ Fudge said, suddenly losing all the colour in his face and looking as though he were deflating.
‘The full moon,’ Harry repeated. ‘You know, a werewolf’s worst nightmare.’
This was all he needed to say. Fudge immediately went rigid and gave him a wary look before glancing over at Dumbledore who simply continued to stare at the wall serenely.
‘Right, well you know Potter, I think you’re right. You didn’t mean any harm and I’m sure you learned your lesson so perhaps we can keep this between us. I’m assuming you did not change the timeline and therefore there is no need for such drastic punishment.’ He waited for Harry’s small nod and then gave a last fearful glance in his direction before throwing a pinch of Floo powder onto the flames and disappearing as quickly as he had arrived.
Harry then flopped into an armchair across from the Headmaster and stared at him in disbelief. This was now the second time in two weeks that Dumbledore had allowed him to blackmail Cornelius Fudge. He was not sure of what to say so he settled on a simple thank you. Dumbledore smiled but gave no other sign of having heard him before he started to speak once more.
‘Now Harry, I’m afraid we have more pressing matters to attend to. I’m certain that Cornelius will be more than accommodating in sending your Parents home, however I don’t feel it such a good idea to inform him that Sirius Black is among us. That would only ask for trouble.’
Harry nodded in agreement. He had not thought of that, what with the prospect of being sent to Azkaban and all.
‘We shall give the Minister a few days to adjust before we inform him of their arrival, but until then we must decide how to deal with them. I do not need to tell you what could happen if they learn what has happened to their future selves, however they are bound to find out from the whispers of Hogwarts. I do believe Miss Granger has warned you of the consequences of time travel?’
‘Apparently not well enough,’ Harry joked, but stopped laughing at the look on the Headmaster’s face. ‘Sorry sir.’
‘For now, Professor Black is informing them of where they are and of some of the recent developments in our time. As you may have noticed, Hyacinth is quite close to all of them, or at least their future selves. Am I correct in assuming you made it to your parents wedding?’ he asked curiously.
‘Yes sir,’ Harry said and had the grace to look ashamed. ‘She was one of the bridesmaids,’ he said remembering her standing with his mother, Sophie, Gwen and Helena.
‘Ah yes, and a beautiful one at that. That was one of my favorite weddings Harry, and while I wish you had not disobeyed me, I am glad you were able to witness it. Lily was absolutely stunning as always, as were her bridesmaids. I’m sad to report that professor Black is the only one of their group left, but I do have a photograph somewhere if you would like it.’
Harry nodded, more than happy to receive a new photograph of his parents. This one would be special as it would have Sophie and Gwen in it as well. He watched as Dumbledore waved his wand and a small rectangle dislodged itself from a shelf above to float down onto the desk.
‘Ah yes, one of my favorite photographs,’ he said as he held it up and pointed at the waving wedding party for Harry. ‘I believe it’s the only one of the five of them together. Be sure to keep it from your parents for now Harry, as I’m not certain how Lily would react if she saw a picture with Miss Tryndel, Mrs. Bones and Mrs. Snape. One does not usually do well to hear about friends’ passings.’
‘What?’ Harry said suddenly. ‘Mrs., Snape? You mean Chastings?’ he corrected the Headmaster.
‘No Harry. She was Miss Chastings until she married her husband and became Mrs. Snape. I’m certain I can trust you to keep that to yourself?’
Harry nodded dumbly, stunned by the concept of Snape having a wife, or rather having had a wife. Suddenly he was saddened and looked back up to the Headmaster.
‘If you don’t mind sir, how did Gwen and Sophie die? I already know about Helena from Professor Moody, but I never knew about the other two.’
Dumbledore sighed heavily and Harry could see the sadness in his eyes. ‘I’m afraid our dear Sophie died working for the Order as well, but she was taken quickly after her seventh year. I believe it was only two months after the wedding actually. As for Gwen, I’m afraid it’s not my place to tell you Harry.’
Harry nodded and wondered what could have been so terrible that Dumbledore would not tell him.
‘As for our guests, I will introduce them to the school in the morning, but I will need several minutes to explain the situation to the students. It is not everyday the parents of the Boy-who-lived and an infamous fugitive return from the dead. As it would be pointless to give famous wizards false names, they shall keep their own, but I will have to charm the Great Hall to prevent any students from spilling the secret to unfriendly ears. It will undoubtedly come as a shock to all of them so I will ask that you accompany them in the morning, and if you do not mind, perhaps you might accompany them to the Room of Requirement for the night.’
‘Of course,’ Harry answered, not able to believe his luck. Not only did he just avoid a prison sentence, but he was gaining extra time with his parents, and now he could actually tell them a little bit about who he was. It was almost too perfect to be true.
‘Is there anything I should know before I start telling them about this time?’ Harry asked, wondering if anything had changed in the last month and a half.
‘Very little has changed Harry, however, there is a new professor for Muggle Studies,’ the Headmaster said sadly, and Harry looked up at him curiously, wondering what had become of the friendly man. ‘I’m afraid that professor Windum has left us to join his family in hiding with Arabella. He no longer felt safe despite my reassurances. There is no need to tell our guests that, but do inform them that we have a new professor,’ he said with a small grin that Harry found very suspicious.
‘Now I’ll invite them all back in, and I’ll let you explain whatever you wish, but I suggest you start with who you are. They will undoubtedly hear your name and figure it out, so it is probably best that they learn it from you. Do you wish to tell them here?’
‘I’d prefer to do it alone actually. Could I tell them in the Room of Requirement sir?’
‘Absolutely. Just a moment.’
Harry nodded and took a few breaths to ready himself as Dumbledore stood and walked to ask the others back in. They all entered the round room, and Harry watched as they looked at him expectantly.’
‘Harry will accompany you to your room this evening, and there all of your questions will be answered. If you could all kindly follow him, I will see you all in the Great Hall for breakfast.’
Harry said a quick goodnight to Marc and watched as the other professors watched him leave with the three anxious teenagers following closely behind. Apparently, the year was just starting to get interesting.
An awkwardly silent walk to the seventh floor ended with the four youths inside the curious room that transformed its appearance at will. The three new arrivals were now seated on their four-posters, James and Sirius looking around the room in shock, while Lily watched Harry quietly.
‘Who are you?’ she finally asked and this brought the other two back to attention.
Harry looked at her for a moment, no answer in his mind as he had absolutely no clue where to begin. How was he to explain that he was her sixteen year old son from the future, and that he had been lying to her face for the last month and half? He took a deep breath and decided he had better start with some semblance of the truth and allow their questions to bring the rest out of its own accord.
‘I’m Harry,’ he started with a small smile and then shifted his eyes to his father, ‘Harry Potter.’
All three sets of eyes widened significantly as they stared at the boy in front of them, each having thought they knew him quite well.
‘What?’ James asked in an odd voice. ‘How are you a Potter? I’m not related to anyone named Harry, and I think I would have been told if I had a new cousin.’
Harry smiled softly as he watched his father try to reason his way out of the truth, however his eyes told him that he knew what it meant.
‘You’re nearly nineteen years into the future, and I’m your son.’
Harry watched James stare at him seriously for a few moments, taking in every detail of his face while the other two averted their eyes as to respectfully give him a moment to deal with this news. Harry found it odd to see Sirius acting so unlike himself; normally he would have jumped at the opportunity to destroy the awkwardness with a joke.
‘I suppose it makes sense,’ he finally said. ‘After all, you look far too much like me to not be related to me. I don’t know how I didn’t figure it out before. So, what can you tell your ol’ dad about yourself, other than you’re dead good at Quidditch? Obviously came from me,’ he said and nudged Sirius with a grin.
Harry could not believe how well he was taking this. He did not do so well when he and Marc had found out they were stuck in the past, and he had not met a family member that he did not know.
‘Wait, so you’re telling me that you’ve gone to Hogwarts all this time, and you really are a Gryffindor?’ Sirius chimed in all of a sudden.
‘I’m afraid so,’ Harry answered. ‘No Durmstrang for me. But Marc really did go to Durmstrang. He only transferred to Hogwarts this year.’
‘So I’ll assume he’s not really called Turner is he?’ Lily asked, a coldness to her voice as she watched him for his answer.
Harry shook his head. ‘No, he’s really Marcus Evans. Professor Dumbledore came up with our names after the devices we used to get to your time. I’d used a Time Turner and he had activated a Portkey at the same time. Apparently the two don’t coincide and that’s how we ended up with you lot. Oh, don’t worry. No relation to you Lily, just a coincidence,’ he added at seeing the questioning look on his mother’s face.
‘This really explains a lot you know,’ Sirius said now. ‘I mean, the way you knew your way so well around the castle and how you found Gryffindor tower on your first night. Not to mention the way you knew about the Marauders.’ He laughed then and slapped James on the back. ‘Well Prongs, looks like there’s someone else who knows you about as well as I do. Good luck with that.’
‘I wouldn’t speak too soon Sirius. After all, you are my Godfather.’ He smiled again at seeing the grin fall off the long-haired boy’s face and plaster itself onto his father’s.
‘Well, I guess this explains why you defended these two so often,’ Lily said while rolling her eyes. ‘I should have known you had a reason other than their being your friends.’
Harry took a deep breath now, as he knew he had the worst parts coming. He would have to tell James and Lily who his mother was, and then he would have to tell Sirius that in this time he had been a convicted felon. Then worst of all he would have to explain to them all that they were no longer alive.
‘Alright. Dumbledore is allowing me to stay the night in here, until he can introduce you all to the school in the morning. I’ll try and prepare you for what you’ll see, but you need to understand that it will be difficult.’ He could already feel tears welling in his eyes and looked upward to try and keep them at bay. All three faces watched him curiously; incapable of knowing what would come next. ‘Tomorrow morning when we walk into the Great Hall, you will all need to expect a ton of shocked faces and awkward pointing.’
‘We’re not that bad looking,’ Sirius said with a laugh, but stopped at the looks he received from James and Lily.
‘Actually, there isn’t a witch or wizard in this time who does not know your names intimately. James, you’ll be the easiest to spot as you look just like me, so you should expect the works.’
‘What, am I the world’s best dad or something? Don’t tell me I’m a professor at Hogwarts,’ he added and looked at Harry warily.
Harry blinked a few more times and at this point watched as Lily flung a hand to her mouth and then walked over to sit next to him. She placed a hand on his shoulder and nodded in understanding and looked up at James carefully.
‘Do you not remember what he told professor Prynell about his parents that day in class?’ she said and watched sadly at the horrified expression on his and Sirius’ faces.
‘How?’ was all he could say in a hushed voice a moment later.
Harry thought for a moment, not wanting to reveal everything to him, but deciding that no matter what Dumbledore would surely alter their memories before sending them home. He stared hard at James before finally answering him by starting at the beginning.
‘First you should know that since I was a year old, I’ve been the most famous wizard in Britain, only I didn’t know it until five years ago. Just before I was born a prophecy was made about me that claimed a wizard would be born at the end of July who would have the power to defeat the Dark Lord.’ All three listeners gasped quietly.
‘On Halloween night two years after you graduated, Voldemort came to Godric’s Hollow and tried to persuade you to join him.’
‘What?’ James nearly shouted, disgust written all over his face. ‘I would never-’
‘You didn’t,’ Harry cut him off and then looked away, blinking several more times to hide his brimming tears.
James looked unsure of what to say so he merely nodded solemnly.
‘Next he went upstairs to kill me, but my mother being the clever witch that she was fooled him. She put on a show of begging for my life, and trying to have him take her in my place. When she died, a magical protection spell was thus in place and when Voldemort turned the Avada Kedavra on me it rebounded and took him instead. Ever since that night I’ve been known as the boy-who-lived and the only person to survive the killing curse.’
Harry now stared at his three friends and waited to see if they would say anything, possibly think he was lying and start to laugh. He wished they would, as it would be better than the looks of astonishment and pity he was seeing.
‘Who was she?’ James asked then. ‘Who was your mother?’
‘I’m sitting next to her,’ Harry said and watched the shocked look on both of their faces, and the small grin on Sirius’.
Lily quickly recovered and was now shaking her head, obviously not ready to learn that she was married to James Potter and that she would die in three years time. James was still simply staring at the red-head with surprise.
‘Yes,’ Harry said now placing a hand on her shoulder for support. ‘Because of what you did mum, I lived, and Voldemort disappeared that night. Because of your willingness to take my place, Voldemort stayed away for nearly thirteen years. I’m afraid he had returned now, but I’ll explain that later. All you need to know for now is that the spell your love created that night has kept me safe from him on more than one occasion.’
She stared at him, tears now filling her eyes as she slowly nodded. A second later she had flung her arms around him and tears were openly falling down her face as he hugged her back tightly. Harry took a few moments to allow them to collect themselves before going on.
‘I know this hasn’t been easy, but I’m afraid there’s more. You’re going to have it the worst tomorrow,’ he said and looked over to Sirius.
‘What? Why am I famous?’ he asked carefully, wondering if perhaps he had done something similar to what his friends had.
‘Actually, you’re more infamous than anything. I’m really sorry Sirius, but the entire wizarding community knows your name because you’re the first wizard to have escaped Azkaban.’
If it were possible, Harry would have said that the looks on everyone’s faces were more shocked now than ever before.
‘What? You can’t be serious,’ he said disbelievingly. ‘I would never land myself in Azkaban.’
‘I know this probably won’t help, but you were innocent all along. The night my parents were killed,’ he said quietly as he started to explain the circumstances of Sirius’ imprisonment, ‘you were known as their secret keeper, meaning that you were the traitor who sold them out to Voldemort.’
‘I would never do that!’ Sirius shouted, getting to his feet and breathing heavily as he stared angrily at Harry.
‘I know. But you and James agreed at the last minute to switch secret keepers from you to Peter, thinking you were too obvious a choice. Unfortunately you didn’t tell anyone and when Peter ran straight to Voldemort, everyone had to assume it was you. Let me finish,’ Harry said as Sirius started to shout again.
‘You found James and Lily in the ruble at Godric’s Hollow and immediately went to confront Peter. He was ready for this, and for the first moment of brilliance in his life, he staged his own murder and killed a street full of Muggles before leaving you to be found by Aurors. You didn’t even get a trial,’ he finished in a whisper.
Sirius was clearly upset by this news but seemed to calm down rather quickly and looked up with a bit of hope on his face.
‘Well, at least I get out,’ he said. ‘Have they apprehended Peter yet?’ he asked now.
‘No, there’s still no proof that he’s alive.’
‘Well, no matter,’ Sirius said determinedly, ‘I’m sure I won’t rest until I’ve caught the dirty rat.’
Harry looked down now, the pain of his Godfather’s death still relatively fresh. Sirius saw this and exhaled deeply shaking his head slowly.
‘I’m so sorry Sirius,’ Harry said and he could feel hot tears streaming down his face. ‘Voldemort somehow gives me fake nightmares and I thought he had captured you. I went to the department of Mysteries this summer with a group of friends to try and rescue you but it was trap. We all would have died if Dumbledore and a group called the Order of Phoenix had not saved us. It’s because of me that you came out of hiding. It’s because of me that you died.’
For the first time in his life, Harry saw tears welling in his Godfather’s eyes and it made his own tears fall harder.
‘Did you shoot the curse that killed me Harry?’ Sirius said next, and Harry shook his head. ‘No. Then don’t blame yourself. You did what you had to thinking you would save my life. While foolish, I have to say no one’s ever done anything so blatantly dangerous to save my life. I’m glad that you thought so highly of me.’ Harry nodded but said nothing at first.
‘It was Bellatrix,’ he said quietly, and waited for the expected response and was surprised when it did not come.
Sirius simply clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes in obvious disgust as he dealt with this news.
‘And Remus? What’s become of him?’ James asked, desperate to finish the tales of the deaths of the Marauders.
Harry smiled slowly at this, happy for a chance to deliver some good news. ‘Actually, he’s very much alive and about as healthy as a werewolf can be. You see they’ve found a potion to stop him losing his mind during the transformations. It’s made a huge difference he says, and now I know first hand. When you two were in detention, I brewed it and spent the last full moon with him. He knew everything.’
Everyone nodded their understanding and James said something along the lines of ‘should’ve known.’
‘Your deaths have affected him greatly, and more recently, yours has left him extremely down hearted. He’s only had you back for two years knowing the truth. I’m certain he’ll be thrilled to see you all.’
They all smiled widely at this, and grinned even wider when Harry told them he had been the Defense professor during his third year. They continued to talk and ask questions late into the night, all of which Harry answered the best he could. He was so excited to tell them all about his friends in this time, suddenly realising how very much he wanted to see Ron and Hermione. It was only a matter of hours before he would see Ron’s annoyed face, upset at being left behind, and Hermione’s stern and disappointed look; he could not wait.
A rather funny yet awkward moment had arisen when Harry explained where he had been sent after his parents’ deaths. James had asked if Remus had taught him to fly at a young age, clearly explaining his skills, but Harry had laughed and told him that he had not ridden a broomstick until his first year at Hogwarts. All three friends were shocked so Harry went on to explain that he did not know about his being a wizard until Hagrid came to retrieve him.
‘How could you not know you were wizard?’ James asked incredulously, absolutely bewildered by the thought.
‘Well, Dumbledore sent me to live with my aunt and uncle in the Muggle world and they told me that you two had died in a car accident. That’s also how they explained my scar. If it hadn’t been for my Hogwarts letter, I never would have found out.’
‘Are you telling me that Dumbledore sent you to live with my sister and her oaf of a husband Dursley?’ Lily said, a look on her face that clearly expressed her displeasure. ‘And that they lied to you about me and your fath, uh James?’ she quickly caught herself.
‘Yes, but it was for my own protection,’ Harry said, and then went on to explain the protection he had from his aunt’s proximity.
‘How is Petunia?’ Lily asked next, and Harry was surprised to see that she sounded very much interested in her sister’s well being despite her obvious dislike of Vernon. ‘We all think she made a mistake in marrying that idiot Dursley, but I suppose if she loves him,’ she trailed off. ‘They just married last spring and didn’t even invite us. Mum was really upset.’
‘Well, I’m not sure,’ he started awkwardly, never having been asked this question before. ‘I suppose she’s alright. She and Uncle Vernon had a baby when the two of you had me. His name’s Dudley and I’m not quite sure how to describe him. Up until this summer the two of us only spoke when he wanted me to make something to eat or if he and his friends were pushing me around. I found it odd that all of a sudden he would ,make such a turn around but then I found out from a neighbour that aunt Petunia’s pregnant.’
‘What?’ Lily asked, sounding just as surprised as he had been when he first found out.
‘I was shocked too, but then I nearly died of when she was born in August. You’ll never believe it, but she’s a witch!’ he said dramatically and waited for their surprised expressions but found none. ‘A witch,’ he said again but found that Lily only seemed slightly bothered. ‘How’s that for irony? She spent eleven years hiding the wizarding world from me and then when I did find out she and uncle Vernon tried to keep me from coming to Hogwarts and telling me what a freak I am.’
‘She did what?’ Lily said, finally sounding upset.
‘She told me that I was freak just like my parents and that they would not allow me to go. If Hagrid had not come for me I never would have been allowed. Unfortunately, I have to go back every summer, but at least now Dudley’s there to keep me company. That reminds me, I should write him tomorrow before I forget again.’
James and Lily watched the dark-haired boy in front of them in wonder; he so quickly changed the subject from something they both found horrifyingly disturbing to something of everyday normality with such ease that it was astounding. It was clear that the boy was different and that he had been through a lot. Neither said anything at that point, but secretly they both wished they could help him.
Harry spent approximately two uninterrupted hours describing in as much detail as he felt was crucial, the events that had occurred during each of his Hogwarts years. Lily, James and Sirius were still quite shocked that anyone could have lived through the killing curse, let alone escape Voldemort a total of five times by the age of fifteen.
The three visitors had all been extremely interested with the news of the Tri-Wizard Tournament; Lily wanting to hear more about the challenges, and James about the Champions. Sirius on the other hand was very interested in hearing about the female Champion.
Another burst of excitement rushed through his body as Harry thought of seeing Fleur again, however this was soon replaced by anxiety as he hoped that she had not moved on while he was gone. He decided to describe her best he could to the group but to leave out that she and himself were actually an item. He figured he could save a lot of personal embarrassment this way, and then if things still worked out for the best he would also get to see the priceless look on Sirius’ face.
He explained to them that Fleur was now Professor Flitwick’s assistant and could see the excitement on Sirius’ face at the prospect of meeting a part Veela. Then he explained that there was also a new Muggle Studies professor, but that Dumbledore had not told him who it was. Harry decided not to explain the reason for Professor Windum’s departure, hoping that perhaps the need would not arise during their brief stay.
Harry found himself conflicted when he saw the reactions on the three of their faces whenever he mentioned Pettigrew. They had all looked completely surprised when he first revealed the rat’s true allegiance, however, a bitter hatred was now showing on both James and Sirius’ faces when Harry spoke of Voldemort’s resurrection. Surprisingly, neither boy had once defended the small boy or even mentioned that they found it unbelievable for Peter to do something of such magnitude.
Harry knew that Wormtail deserved to be hated for what he had done, and that his parents had every right to hate him for his betrayal, but he was still bothered by how hurt they looked underneath. He knew for certain that he would go mad at learning that Ron or Hermione had sold him out to the Dark Lord but felt relieved that something like that would never happen; they were his best friends.
Soon enough Lily, James and Sirius had a basic understanding of who Harry James Potter was and why exactly he had been so very important to the wizarding world. They still did not know about the prophecy, but Harry decided that if Ron and Hermione did not know that, there was still no way he could tell his parents. When they finally gave into sleep, Harry closed his eyes and felt at ease for the first time in years, knowing that in the beds all around him were his family.
‘Alright, we need to get down there soon,’ Harry told the newest members of Hogwarts the next morning.
The three boys were still getting dressed lazily, each of them having slept in quite a bit and were now bordering on being late. Lily had been in the lavatory for quite some time, presumably getting herself ready for another day of lessons and rule-abiding. Harry decided that she and Hermione would get along quite well.
Finally Lily reentered the main dormitory and all four of them were ready to leave. Harry and James studied their looks for a moment and James reached up to try and flatten Harry’s hair a bit.
‘Don’t bother,’ Harry said with a grin. ‘It’ll be funnier this way. Now we really look like twins.’
James and Sirius laughed, and Harry was pleased to see that even Lily was laughing quietly as she shook her head to his left. The group let themselves out of the Room of Requirement and made their way quickly down to the entrance hall where they stopped in front of the closed Great Hall doors. Harry listened for a moment and could hear the Headmaster’s voice speaking to the entire student body. He could tell that the old wizard was nearly done his speech so he turned to give the three visitors a reassuring smile. They all returned it and he felt relieved.
Truth be told, Harry was actually feeling more nervous for himself than for his parents and Godfather. While they would obviously have quite a lot to deal with, he was still unsure of how to explain himself to everyone. He had been gone for a month and a half without a trace and suddenly he would reappear with three people dead to their time. At least it would be interesting.
‘Ready?’ Harry asked them one last time as he heard Dumbledore’s voice calling them in, and as they nodded the large doors opened and the four students strode in side by side.
Not a second after they had entered the hall, a loud gasp filled the air and the chatter began to fly around the room. Harry smiled and tried not to look nervous as he walked to the staff table with his father and Sirius to his right and his mother to his left. As he looked to the house tables, he was surprised to see many students not chattering but still simply staring silently in shock and disbelief at what they were seeing.
Harry’s smile widened into a grin and he waved as his eyes fell upon Ron’s lopsided grin and the first smile he had seen on Hermione’s face in months. Perhaps after all they had been through, she would forgive him now. He was slightly confused by the look they were both giving him now though. Ron kept signalling toward the staff table with his eyes, and when Harry looked up to the Professors he found out why.
The look on Snape’s face was one he had never seen before. The man’s sallow skin had paled further and was now easily the colour of the hospital wing walls. His eyes seemed to be glazed over as he stared clearly at Lily and Harry suddenly felt a pang of sympathy for the greasy-haired man. If he did not know any better he would have guessed that Snape was about to faint or be sick.
He soon learned that his friends had not been signalling Snape’s behaviour, when he turned to his mother to see if she had noticed the man that he had forgotten to mention was a professor. Harry was completely caught off guard and felt his legs wobble underneath him as she shouted a name he never thought he would hear uttered in Hogwarts and darted toward her robe-clad figure.
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