The Sugar Quill
Author: James Bow (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Grandfather Paradox  Chapter: Chapter One: Wesley
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***

Chapter One: Wesley

Hermione was being infuriating again. As she always was. Ron felt restricted, being in the library. He was forced to keep his voice a whisper. Perhaps that was why Harry had steered them here. Unfortunately, Hermione could be just as cutting at a whisper as she could be full-shout. Even moreso, perhaps.

Honestly. I don't know why I put up with this know-it-all, with her constant nagging, and her bushy hair, and her fiery eyes-

Focus, Ron. Focus.

He could see Harry rolling his eyes and resting his head in his hands. The poor bloke. I guess he's feeling caught between when we--

"Harry," said Ron. "Are you mimicking what we're saying?"

Harry flushed. "No," he squeaked.

"You surprised that he can?" said Hermione. "You raise the same points, drag out the same silly arguments-"

"You two, look," said Harry. "If you don't keep it quiet, we'll be thrown out. If you can't bury your differences for just a few minutes, perhaps we should leave."

Ron and Hermione grew quiet. They glared at each other.

Two minutes later, they decided leaving the library was the only option.

Ron stormed ahead of them. With more force than he had intended, he shoved open the library door.

Something checked its swing. There was a thud, and a clatter of falling books.

Harry and Hermione rushed to see what happened.

Sprawled on the floor, clutching his nose, and surrounded by scattered books, was a boy, about their age or younger. He had brown-blond hair cut short. His eyes were clenched shut in pain.

"Are you all right?" Hermione exclaimed. Harry helped the student sit up.

"Sorry," said the boy. "I wasn't watching where I was going."

"It's not your fault," said Hermione. She shot Ron a glare and pointed. "Blame him!"

Ron cast his eyes heavenward. "Of course, blame me. Always blame me! If you hadn't..." His voice trailed off and he knelt by the fallen student. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," said the boy. "Nothing seems broken."

Hermione set to picking up the fallen books while Harry and Ron helped the boy to his feet. The boy brushed himself off and looked at the three for the first time. His gaze lingered over Ron and Hermione for a moment before settling on Harry. "You're Harry, Harry Potter, aren't you?"

Harry sighed. Not another one.

"I'm sorry," said the boy quickly. "I can see you have enough people gaping at you, but... I guess I'm a little dazed."

"Come on," said Hermione. "Ron will return your books to the library, and then we'll take you back to the common room."

The boy smiled sheepishly. "Thanks."

"I haven't seen you at Hogwarts before," said Harry. "New here?"

"Transfer student," said the boy. "Fifth year. They put me into Gryffindor."

"That's why I thought you looked familiar," said Hermione. "I saw you in Potions class!"

"You don't sound like a transfer student," said Ron, coming back out after depositing the books. "What's your name?"

The boy hesitated. Finally, he said, "Wesley. Wesley Grange."

"Well, you know Harry," said Hermione. "I'm Hermione Granger, and this is Ron Weasley, and we're pleased to meet you"

"Hermione," said Wesley, fumbling over the name. "Ron. Harry. It's good to meet you."

"So, who are you sharing your dormitory with?" asked Ron.

"Some first-years," said Wesley. "I haven't really met them. Truth to tell, you three are the first students I've spoken to since arriving here."

"Well, we'll help introduce you around," said Ron.

"Give you a tour of the place," said Hermione.

"Tell you what to watch out for," said Ron.

"Like library doors getting shoved open thoughtlessly by Ron."

"Will you-"

Ron cut himself off. He would not be drawn into an argument in front of this new student. Not yet, anyway. But he also was caught short by Harry. His friend was hanging a step back from them, and staring at the newcomer with an expression that harboured some suspicion.

Harry. You're not getting paranoid, are you?

***

A week later, as they were getting ready to sleep, Ron asked, "Harry, are you feeling left out?"

It took a moment for the question to register with the boy. He sat up, and pushed his specs further up his nose. "What?"

"You and Wesley," said Ron. "You're not jealous, are you? You don't feel like he's getting in the way of you, me and Hermione?"

Harry blinked, struggling to consider Ron's question. Again he said, "What?"

"Look," Ron began.

"It's not that," said Harry. "It's nothing. He's nice. He gets along very well with you and Hermione. All of us."

"You don't really talk to him, much," said Ron.

"He doesn't talk to me, much," said Harry.

"He's shy," said Ron. "Poor bloke. Except for us, he's not made too many friends here. Everybody treats him well, but he's naturally quiet. I wonder if he thinks striking it up with you, me and Hermione was a lucky accident."

"You and Hermione have both taken a shine to him," said Harry.

"And you haven't?" asked Ron.

It was getting harder and harder for Harry to avoid where this conversation was going, but Harry didn't seem to know where it was going, thought Ron. His friend stared at the ceiling, deep in thought.

Finally, Harry said, "I find something odd about him."

"What, a third eye nobody else has noticed?"

"Ron!"

"Sorry. What do you find odd about him?"

"I don't know," said Harry. "Wish it were a third eye. At least that would be out in the open. He's... He's... He's hiding something. He hasn't made friends in the week he's here because he doesn't want to. But he's made friends with you, Hermione and me. Or, rather, he's trying with me. What makes us different?"

Ron snorted. "What makes you think he's hiding something? Just because he's shy? Did you see the way he blushed when Parvati tried to flirt with him? He's not unlikable."

"Quite the contrary," Harry muttered. "I'm surprised you aren't worried about how well he gets along with Hermione."

Ron started to say something snide, but caught himself. He answered Harry seriously. "He doesn't make me worry about that. He's just as friendly to me. I like him." He struggled to explain why. In the end, he could only say, "I like him."

"How much do you know about him?"

"Harry Potter, you are a paranoid--"

"Come on, recite what you know about him," said Harry.

"Well, he's a transfer student from Beauxbatons. He's travelled a lot, so that's why he doesn't have an accent like Fleur's."

"So, his family moved around a lot?" asked Harry.

Ron frowned. "He hasn't talked much about his parents."

"Noticed that, have you?"

"Well, he's..." Ron struggled. "Shy. But I like him. He knows his stuff in Potions. His hands were flying over the cauldron. Modest too when Hermione mentioned it. He sort of blushed and said he had a good teacher."

"Which may or may not have been his parents."

"Harry, let this go before you start accusing every new student of being a plant for You Know Who," said Ron. "Yes, he hasn't told us much about himself, but he will. I'm sure he will. We could ask him tomorrow, over lunch. Friendly conversation, you know?"

"Hmm," muttered Harry.

"If you'd rather, I could have Hermione extract the information out of him. Then we'd get what you want to know, and send him screaming for the hills as an extra bonus. Then would you be satisfied?" Ron gave Harry a grin.

Harry smiled back. "Perhaps. You're probably right, Ron. Let's get to sleep. Good night."

The lights went out. Harry stared at the ceiling. Minutes later, he could hear Ron's snoring from across the room.

"Then there is the fact that he's been watching this room, every night," he muttered.

He yawned, and rubbed his forehead. His scar was giving off a mild ache, but he was too tired to notice. He rolled over and fell asleep.

***

Later that night, Harry opened the door to his room and stepped into the hallway. Looking to his left and right, he crept towards the stairs to the common room.

A moment later, a door down the hallway opened silently. Wesley peered out. When he saw Harry approaching the stairs, he stepped out and walked cat footed along the hall, keeping to the shadows, his wand in his hand, his eyes fixed upon Harry's back.

Harry took the first steps down the stairs, and disappeared.

Wesley froze. He closed his eyes and shook his head. "Stupid," he mouthed.

Behind him, Harry cleared his throat.

Wesley turned and stared at him.

"I'm sorry if I've seemed a little distant this past week," said Harry. "I think we need to have a frank conversation."

Wesley lowered his head sheepishly. "I really walked into this, didn't I?"

"There's something strange about you," said Harry. "Like the way Hermione and Ron took to you. Hermione and Ron can bristle sometimes; it takes them a little longer to make fast friends, but I've never had a case where they'd take to someone so much faster than I would. You've really formed quite a bond."

"Well, they're good people," said Wesley.

"Yes, they are," said Harry. "Which makes it stranger why they should like you so much, whereas I find you suspicious. Add to that the way you've been watching my room the past seven nights, and--"

Wesley turned around and stared at the stairway to the common room. "Something's wrong!"

Harry listened. He could hear nothing, but he felt a tingling in the air. Something that didn't belong to Hogwarts. It brushed past him like a breeze.

"The common room?" he whispered.

"Go back to your room," said Wesley. He crept along the hallway.

Harry snorted under his breath. "No way."

Wesley descended the stairs. Halfway down, he raised his wand, flipped it in his hand, and flicked it. At once, it expanded, until it was taller than he was; a great staff.

Harry stared. "Where did you get-"

Wesley whipped around. "I thought I told you-"

"Who's there?" came a voice at the bottom of the stairs.

Harry's heart leapt. It was Ginny's voice piercing the tension. But to Wesley, the effect was to make him turn as white as a ghost. He ran down the rest of the stairs, somehow without making any noise. Harry was steps behind him as he entered the common room.

Ginny stared at the two of them, curious.

"What's going on?" she asked. "Why are you two prowling about?"

"Ginny," said Wesley. He swallowed hard. "You've got to get out of here!"

"What?" said the girl. "Are you Wesley? We've never been properly introduced."

The hairs on the back of Harry's neck rose. The tingling sensation filled the common room, and was intensifying with every second. His scar ached.

"Ginny, listen to him," said Harry. "Go-"

Then the floor opened up beneath them. A whirlpool of darkness caught at Ginny's feet. Ginny screamed as she was sucked in.

"Voldemort?" Harry exclaimed. "How?"

"Don't ask how!" Wesley shouted. "Get away from here!"

"No! Ginny!"

Harry dived for the disappearing girl, but Wesley grabbed him back, holding him with his staff. Harry swung back an elbow and the two struggled. A good punch and a kick, and Wesley's grip slackened. The whirlpool took Harry, and closed behind him.

"No!" Wesley beat his staff against the floor, and swore. He leaned against the wall and cradled his head in his hands.

Instinct made him duck a spell.

Ron jumped at him, wand raised.

"Get him!" shouted Hermione, standing at the base of the stairs to the girls' dormitory. "He pushed Harry in! I saw him!"

"What?" Wesley exclaimed. "No!"

The stairs were filling with formerly dreary-eyed Gryffindors, staring agog as Ron fought Wesley. Some started to cheer Ron on.

"What have you done with Harry?" Ron shouted.

"Nothing!"

"Accio table!" he shouted. The common room table came sliding at Wesley. The boy jumped up and rolled over it. Ron flashed two more spells at Wesley, which the boy deflected with his staff. "Ron, please, let me explain!"

Then Hermione jumped him from behind, wrapping him in a headlock and putting her full weight on his back. Wesley staggered. His staff clattered to the floor. "Now, Ron!" she shouted.

"Wait!" Wesley shouted. "You don't understand!" He fell to the floor, but Hermione held onto him tenaciously. "Okay," he croaked. "I give up. I surrender!"

Ron pointed his wand inches from Wesley's head. "What have you done with Harry?"

"I haven't done a thing with Harry, I swear!"

"Aparecium!" Ron shouted. A bolt from his wand struck Wesley.

Wesley groaned. "No! Why did you have to do that?"

"You know the spell," said Ron. "It makes invisible ink appear visible, and it forces you to answer all questions put to you in the next five minutes truthfully."

"What did you do with Harry Potter?" demanded Hermione.

"Nothing!" said Wesley. "I was trying to save him."

A hush drew over the common room.

"If he's not the culprit-" someone muttered.

"Why were you fighting him, then?" Hermione did not release her headlock.

"He was jumping in after Ginny. He was going after Voldemort. I couldn't let him. Not now."

"How did he know what was going to happen to Harry?" muttered another.

"That's right," said Ron. "You knew something was going to happen tonight. Harry was right about you: you've been keeping something back all this time. If you want to save Harry, then you'll tell us, right now."

"It's complicated," said Wesley.

"Who are you, really?" Hermione demanded.

Wesley closed his eyes in resignation. "My name is Harry. It's Harry Granger-Weasley," he said

There was a moment's stunned silence.

"What?" said Ron at last.

"Harry Granger-Weasley," the boy repeated. "I'm your son."

Hermione clenched down harder around Wesley's neck. "No, you're not!"

"Mum-Hermione-please!" Wesley struggled to his feet and shook himself free. "Look at me! Just calm down a second and look at me!"

Hermione staggered back to Ron's side. They stared at Wesley. So did everyone in the common room. Wesley had looked oddly familiar to them before, but now, though they didn't believe it, his words made them realize why. The boy had Hermione's eyes, and her colour of hair. If it had been longer, it might have been just as unruly. His build was like that of Ron's; the set of his jaw, the curve of his face. With their similar ages, he could have been a brother to either of them, and since Hermione and Ron weren't siblings...

What made things more alarming was that nobody in the room was teasing Ron and Hermione about it.

Eyes wide, Ron and Hermione glanced from Wesley to each other and back.

"This is crazy," said Ron.

"You hit him with the right spell," said Hermione. "He couldn't lie."

"It's true," said Wesley, catching his breath back. "You are my parents or, rather, you will be in..." He gave them a quick glance over. "...about ten years."

Ron flushed.

"We named you after Harry?" said Hermione.

"Yes," said Wesley.

"Why are you here?" asked Ron.

"I was supposed to prevent Harry and Ginny's kidnapping by Voldemort, and I failed," said Wesley. He shuddered. "And that's my five minutes. I'm not answering any more questions until I speak to Dumbledore. "

//
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