Authors Note: I do not have, or pretend to have, any rights to these
characters. All characters herein belong to JK Rowling. I dont even know
where to find fickleberries. Many, many thanks to Doctor Cornelius for his beta-reading
and helpful suggestions.
It had probably been the worst Christmas break Harry had
suffered through in years. Of course, hed been spoiled the last few years
at Hogwarts, having at least one friend to share it with. But, as luck
would have it, this year Ron had gone to be with his family, as had Hermione,
and Harry ended up being the only Gryffindor in the tower. And he was bored.
Bored beyond belief.
He paced the Common Room mindlessly, kicking at a chair as
he passed it. It was awful, to be so lonely on Christmas night. True, hed
gotten a few nice presents, but what he really wanted was to share them with
someone. After all, he couldnt play chess against himself.
To top off his gloomy mood, Harry couldnt sleep. Not
a wink. It was close to two oclock in the morning, and still he was wide
awake. Sighing deeply, he trudged back up the steps to his dorm. He started
to get back into bed, but stopped. Why bother tossing and turning all night?
he thought. Harry grabbed a pair of old trousers and
a shirt, and pulled them on. He grabbed his wand and Invisibility Cloak, consulted
his map (not even Filch was up!), and stomped out of the tower for a long walk.
Harry had never seen the castle so deserted. Every one of
the portraits was asleep, not a person or ghost stirred, even the very air seemed
stagnant. While wandering through the familiar halls, Harry noticed a wooden
door on his left. He pausedhe didnt remember a door here. Could
he be in a different part of the castle? After studying the doorway for a few
seconds, he shrugged and pushed it open.
The door led to a small, dark, cramped corridor. Harry lit
his wand, and found he had to sidle along like a crab to fit through; but after
fifty feet, the hall took a sharp turn, and widened enough for him to walk normally.
He continued on, through several twisty, barren passages, before finding himself
in a large, plush, and completely unfamiliar hallway. White columns lined the
wide foyer, and the carpet was thick and lavishly decorated. Bending down, Harry
could see the woven unicorns movingtilting with lions over jeweled
crowns. Besides the columns and rugs, there were statues made of highly-polished
marble, and the doorframes were gilt-edged. It was the most magnificent place
Harry had ever seen.
Racing up and down the corridor, Harry gave a few good leaps
and spins, allowing the cloak to twirl about him. Having worked off some of
his energy, he leaned against a column and sighed. He knew he needed to find
his way back soon, but hated to leave the opulent corridor. Maybe Ill
take just one more look, he thought, then Ill go back and try to
get some sleep.
He walked up and down the hall, and finally picked a door
at random. It turned out to be a bathrooman amazing bathroom, better than
the prefects bathroom, but a bathroom nonetheless. Harry closed the door
and chose another.
This time, he stepped into a fantastic hall of mirrors. All
of the surfaces, save the ceiling and the floor, were mirrored. He was amazed
to see his reflection in about half of them. Most reflected nothing back at
him until he lowered the hood of his cloak. Curious, Harry covered himself back
up, and took a closer look at one of the mirrors that still reflected his image.
An older version of himself stared backtaller, with slightly more defined
features. Hmm, he thought wryly, not too bad
He took off
his cloak, and looked in another mirror, which showed him just as he was. A
third mirror, in an elaborate frame, caught his eye. It was clouded by a silvery
haze, and the reflection rippled slightly. Something about the mirror seemed
vaguely familiar, and Harry saw the inscription over it:
Maerd Tsed No Frou Yesp Milgy Amuoy Sru Ohla
Harry stood there, puzzled. The mirror looked almost exactly
like the Mirror of Erised, but the inscription wasnt right
didnt see his parents in it. He stared at the inscription for a moment,
and slowly it dawned on him. He turned to the mirror immediately behind it,
and read the inscription in the reflection:
forS eveR alhO urS youmA ygliM pseY ourF oN
Chuckling, Harry turned and stood before the elaborate mirror
again. He grinned triumphantly as he reached out a hand to the shimmering surface
and suddenly, he felt himself being sucked in by his
fingertips. Inky blackness streaked by him, then with a thud, Harry hit the
ground, sprawling. He got to his feet, straightening his glasses and brushing
off his clothes. Looking around, he noticed that it was now late spring, and
he was in Hogsmeade, just outside the Three Broomsticks pub.
"Somethings wrong here," Harry muttered to
himself. "Two years ago my dream was to go to Hogsmeade, not now
His words trailed off when he noticed the pubs paint was no longer peeling,
but shiny and new. In fact, he didnt remember it being quite that shade
"James?" a womans voice behind him called.
Startled, Harry turned. The young woman behind him jumped.
"Oh! Im terribly sorry, you looked just like myoh
" Her voice trailed off as she crouched down and studied
Harrys face intently. "I-Im sorry, that was really quite rude
of me. You justyou look almost exactly like my fiancé. Hes
a few years older than you are, of course, and he has brown eyes, but still
Its uncanny. You could be his long-lost brotheror son, even!"
Harry just stared at the woman, nodding slightly. He was
transfixedher long, copper hair was pulled back in a ponytail, her creamy
skin had a few scattered freckles across the bridge of her nose, and her eyes
As green as mine," he murmured. The woman
smiled. "My eyes, right?" She gave a light laugh. "I get a lot
of comments about them. Youre the only other person Ive seen with
eyes that green. My sister used to tell me I was the milkmans child, but
I think that was just wishful thinking. Our grandmother was
supposed to have green eyes, too." With that, she stood up and offered
her hand. "Im Lily Evans. My fiancé and some of our friends were
supposed to meet me here. Why dont you come in and have a drink with us?
Id like for James to see you, if you dont mind.
Thanks, I-Id love that," Harry managed, and followed
Lily into the pub.
Inside the Three Broomsticks, Harry waited at a large table
while Lily bought two butterbeers. Shes-shes my mother! MY mother!
Harry kept telling himself this, but could hardly believe it. Lily was so beautiful,
so warm and alive
Everything about her seemed to sparkle, she was so full
of energy. He watched her chatting with Rosmerta, 15 years younger and absolutely
stunning as well. Lilys laugh, like
a ringing bell, carried across the room from the bar. Harry was practically
Lily brought the beers over to the table. "Here you
go. And, er, Im sorry, Im afraid I didnt catch your name."
"Oh, right! Im Harry."
hmm, thats a nice name," she
murmured thoughtfully, sipping her drink, before turning her full attention
to him. "You must be a student at Hogwarts, then?" Harry nodded, and
she continued. "I finished there a few years ago."
"Yeah," he said brightly. "Im in fifth
year. We must have just missed each other."
"Just!" she agreed. "What house are you in?
I was a Gryffindor."
"I knowI mean, Ive heard. Im a-a Gryffindor,
too." Harry pinched his thigh under the table. That had been closea
little too close, but a sudden commotion near the door cut the awkward
"Dont worry mates, the fun can start now!"
a voice boomed. Harry and Lily turned. Three hauntingly familiar men, all in
their early twenties, had burst in. In the middle was a handsome man, tall and
well-built, with dark, shaggy hair and his arms outstretched triumphantly. On
his left, a lanky, sandy-haired man stood back, grinning, as a spry, slightly
shorter man off to the right yelled, "Yeah, Im gettin married
and all drinks are on him!"
The few people in the pub laughed and cheered as the first
man shook a fist at his friend in mock anger, then pulled both of them over
to the bar. Lily leaned across the table to the astonished Harry. "Thats
Remus Lupin, hes a bit quiet at first, but great fun. That one there,
hes Sirius Black, James best friend. A real character but loyal
through and through. And this," she leaned back as the third man approached
the table, "is James Potter. James, dear, this is my new friend, Harry.
Ive decided to run off with him, so go tell Sirius he can stop buying
James laughed, put down his drinks, and extended a hand to
Harry, who jumped up to shake it. "Cheers, mate," he said with
a slight trace of a Yorkshire accent. "Youve stolen a hell of a woman
from me." He eyed Harrys face a moment, and added, "Must be
the devastatingly good looks. Oi, Sirius! Cmere!" James leaned down
slightly so his face was level with Harrys. "Look at this. Ive
got myself a twin!"
Sirius, followed by Remus, carried even more drinks over
to the table. "Bloody hell, Prongs. You and Lily been breeding behind our
James snickered, but Lily slapped Sirius on the arm. "Thats
enough, youre embarrassing him!" Sirius raised his eyebrows and pursed
his lips, but sat down obediently. Remus followed suit, taking the chair on
Harrys right, but James draped himself right across Lilys lap and
kissed her gently. The sight of his parents together, gazing lovingly into each
others eyes, nearly made Harry choke on his drink. In that fleeting moment,
Harry saw his father perfectly serious, his mischievous grin replaced by a brave,
determined look. Thats the man who stood up to Voldemort
for her, and me
he loved us that much
James suddenly hopped up and grabbed his own chair, between
Lily and Remus. "Sorry, wherere my manners? Boys, have you met Harry?
"Jameson. Harry Jameson," he blurted, before he
realised what he was saying. Well, at least I didnt give them my real
name, he reasoned, and I can't very well lie to my father
"Im, er, a student at Hogwarts."
"And a Gryffindor to boot!" Lily added, and James
"Our old house," he said, sighing wistfully.
"Welcome then, Harry, Son of James!" Sirius intoned
dramatically, with a deep bow, before remarking to Remus, "Kinda fitting,
"Hey," protested Harry weakly. Remus gave him a
sympathetic half-shrug as he finished his first pint of butterbeer.
"Sorry, but it must be hard knowing youve got
to go through life looking like that prat," Sirius gibed. "Those even
look like his old glasses!"
James took off his tortoise-shell frames and examined them.
"Yeah, and if you hadnt hexed that Bludger, Id still be wearing
"Me, interfere with a Quidditch match? Never!"
"Wormtail did that," Remus cut in.
"Right, and Snapell be my best man!" James
whooped. Even Harry and Lily burst out laughing.
"Speaking of Peter," Lily asked, turning to James,
"wasnt he supposed to be here?"
thought so. Any of you seen him?"
"Hey Rosmerta!" Sirius hollered. "You seen
any rats in your cellar?"
"Of course I bloody havent!" came the reply.
"Nope, hasnt been here," James whispered
"Our weddings in less than a week! He couldnt
have forgotten it." Lily began to wring her hands.
"Yes, he could have."
"Is his memory that bad? Have you tried a Remembrall?"
offered Harry, thinking of Neville.
"Ohh, yes," moaned Lupin.
"One year for his birthday we only gave him about six
dozen of them," Sirius said, taking another pint.
"Lost all of them within a month. Ive no idea
how he managed it."
"What are we going to do? James, he wanted to be our
ringbearer!" Lily was now practically hysterical.
"Ringbearer?" scoffed Sirius, turning to her.
"Yeah, he wanted to scurry up the aisle with the rings
tied to his tailer, tailcoat." James broke off and glanced at Harry,
who was grinning knowingly at him. He winked back and went on, "but as
I was about to tell Lil here, its a Muggle tradition that we can do without
if he doesnt show."
"Maybe you can ask Molly Weasley for one of her boys?"
"She and Arthur cant make the weddingtheir
youngest is too small, and Mollys expecting again
" Lily rushed.
James reached over and took one of her fluttering hands in his own.
"Again?" gasped Sirius. "This will
be what, their fourth?"
"And fifth," chimed in Harry. Everyone at the table
stared at him. I, er, heard they were having twins."
"Well, Arthur always did want a large family,"
Remus commented, helping himself to his second pint.
"And hes certainly got it! I reckon theres
enough ginger there for a whole Irish village," quipped James, as Lily
glared at him. "Whoops, sorry, forgot. No redhead humour."
"No, its not that
Im just, you know,
nervous about the wedding, especially now that Peters missing
"Hes been missing-in-action quite frequently lately,
hasnt he?" Remus mused, leaning forward thoughtfully.
"Hmm, yes, he has
" murmured James.
"If I were you, Lil, Id be more concerned about
the reception. I hear Hagrid got a tip on where to find some green Fwoopers,"
Sirius grinned maniacally.
Lilys eyes got very wide. "Why, youtheyll
sing the guests mad! If youve done anything to ruin mySirius Black,
I will personally" her voice reached a high pitch and broke
suddenly, as she fought to hold back tears.
"Uh-oh, bridal hysterics! Rosmerta! One gin and
Rosmerta came rushing over with a drink, which Lily gulped
half of gratefully, then set down, taking deep, calming breaths.
"Ah, the two best things to come from MuggledomBombay
gin and Lily Evans," Rosmerta chuckled. "Hope you boys havent
been too hard on her?"
Sirius leaned back in his chair, and put his arm about Rosmertas
waist. "Of course not, luv. Wouldnt dream of it." He looked
up at her innocently. "Say, you wouldnt happen to get off soon? I
hear they rent rooms here by the hour."
Rosmerta playfully shoved his arm away. "Oh, off with
you, youre bad for business. One of these days, youll convince me,
and Ill lose me pub." She turned to the rest of the table, and surveyed
the group of mugs, both empty and filled. "Can I get you anything else,
or do you think you have enough?"
"Anybody want anything? Harry? Want some mead?"
"No, dont get him drunk, James, hes too
young for that," Lily admonished in a surprisingly stern tone. "Harry,
have you tried one of Rosmertas fickleberry sodas? Theyre my favouritethey
change colours with every sip!"
"I think I can handle another Butterbeer, but thanks
Harry kicked himself under the table. Bugger! Luckily,
everyone else at the table burst out laughing, except for Lily, who blushed
"She guzzles gin like a Muggle, but if any of the blokes
wants an extra pint or two, she gets all huffy. And to think Im marrying
this woman!" But James leaned over and tenderly kissed Lily on the forehead.
She flashed him her beautiful smile. "This from the
man who snuck out and had twelve pints of meadhis first night as
a prefect! You barely drank water after that."
"That explains why you didnt come round
much that year," snickered Rosmerta. "And here I thought you were
busy with Quidditch. Anyhow, if you lot need anything, you know right where
to find me."
"I certainly do," grumbled Sirius, eyeing her as
she walked away. Harry noticed that Rosmertas hips seemed to sway more
than usual with Sirius watching her.
"Cor, guv, I think youre in there!" James
"Shove it, Potter," Sirius growled.
Remus and Harry exchanged bemused looks; meanwhile, James
stroked Lilys hand. There seemed to be a lull in the conversation, so
Harry finished his butterbeer and sat back to observe them.
"So, Lil, is everything else all worked out for your
"Oh, mostly, I think, Remus. The hall is being done
all in green ivy, with white bunting and gold touches. Apparently, Hagrid had
quite a time with the ivyor rather, the Devils Snare someone
planted with it" she shot a glance at Sirius, who feigned innocence,
but gave a thumbs-up to Lupin as soon as shed turned away, "but
everything else will be put into place after the students leave, and that will
leave time to finish the decorating and getting the food ready."
"If everythings taken care of, then why are we
all here early?"
"Because I need to enjoy my last days as a free man."
"James!" Lily wailed through her glass.
"Driving her to drink already? Hey, Moony, I reckon
hes set a new record."
Lily kneaded her forehead. "Im here to
ask a favour of Dumbledore. And, yes, I wanted to spend some time with you lads
"Before you chain him up in the cellar?"
"Before he changes his mind?"
James, seeing the look on Lilys face, raised his hand
to quiet his friends. "Before times get any worse," he said somberly.
"Weve been fairly sheltered the last few years, but its getting
nasty out there, and I know were going to be affected. Things always get
worse before they get better, and its all going to start changing soon.
Im dead certain about that." He looked down for a second, then raised
his glass. "This is to our good times, mates."
Lily, Sirius, Remus, and Harry grabbed drinks and shouted,
"To the good times!" They all drank, and lapsed into a thoughtful
silence. Harry ran his fingers through his hair a few times, nervously.
Something was nagging him about his fathers speech
Voldemort was after them when they went into hiding. Does that mean he already
Lily gasped suddenly, alarming Harry, who nearly spilled
"Good heavens, Harry! What happened to your forehead?!"
Without realising it, Harry had pushed his hair off his forehead, where he usually
combed it to hide his scar. Lily leaned across the table and touched the raised
lightning-bolt, sending a shiver through Harrys body. Her eyes grew very
wide, and she yanked her hand away. "Thats a curse scar," she
said in a low voice, sinking back into her chair. Remus peered intently at Harrys
head, his brow furrowed.
"So it is," whispered James, sounding rather impressed.
"Nicer than yours, Prongs," Sirius snorted
"Excuse me?" James gave him a cautious look.
Ignoring him, Sirius turned to face Harry. "Way back
in our second year, James got into a bit of a tiff with an, ahem, friend
of ours, this miserable bastard in Slytherin"
"Severus Snape, the slimy little pillock."
"Ah, you do remember it, then? Anyhow, Mr. Potter
here thought hed had the last word, and was walking away when"
"BAM! The greasy-haired git nails him from behind with
a Splintering Hex. Hes still got the scars to prove it." finished
Remus, finally taking his eyes off Harry.
"I do not!"
"Yes, you do," tittered Lily. "Right across
your bum. You cant miss it."
"Dont believe us? Pull your trousers down. You
looked like you got rammed in the arse by a stag. Hence, Prongs."
Sirius pretended to paw the ground, his hands up like antlers. James looked
murderously at Sirius, while the others screamed with laughter.
"Dont get the wrong idea, Harry, that wasnt
the end of the story," James said, when the last giggles subsided. "As
soon as I was out of the hospital wing, I managed to slip an extra ingredient
into one of his potions. Filibuster fireworks, wasnt it, Sir?"
"Let me guess," Harry grinned. "Swelling Solution?"
"None otherthe Slytherins all got hit with it,
and the professor ran out of the antidote before she got to Snape. It was brilliant.
Best class in seven years."
"Ill bet. Double Potions with them is a nightmare!"
Harry exclaimed. James nodded his agreement, then added "Still, his face
went down by the end of the week; I couldnt sit for six months. Thought
it was the end of my Quidditch career, for sure."
"You know, Harry, Im surprised you dont
have headaches," Remus said furtively, examining him closely again. "Mustve
been some curse. Ive never seen anything like it. Do you mind my asking
how you came by that?"
"Remus, do you have to"
"Hush, Lily. Moony knows more about Dark Arts Defense
than any of us."
"Er," Harry swallowed hard, and looked down at
his hands. "M-my family was attacked when I was young. I survived, but
He bit his lip and looked up at his parents. Even though he wasnt sure
if hed traveled back in time, Harry couldnt take the chance of saying
anything to alter the future. Besides, how could he sit here
and tell James and Lily they would be dead within two years?
The three men stared gravely at Harry, and James glanced
apologetically at Lily, but shed already jumped up from her seat and rushed
to give Harry a hug. "Im so sorry, Harry, I know how it feels."
Surprised at that, he looked into her face, their identical
eyes meeting. She patted his cheek. "I lost my parents when I was in my
last year at Hogwarts. We were in a car accident, my whole family. Something
hit the car head-on, and I wasnt paying attention, so I couldnt
stop it." She paused to blink a few tears away. "I had my wand with
me, so I was able to get my sister and I out of the back, but it was too late
to save my parents." Lily gave Harry a last squeeze and went back to her
chair. "Bloody Mini Coopers
" he heard her
"No, Im alright, James," she insisted, then
addressed Harry again, "You learn to make peace with these things. Besides,
I was lucky enough to have good friends, and people like James and Albus Dumbledore
to get me through it." She gave a wry smile. "I really ought to thank
my wonderful husband-to-be for keeping my mind occupied with other things. I
got back to school after the holidays, parents gone, a Muggle sister who blamed
me for everything, and this genius here decides to cheer me up
Remus and Sirius snorted into their mugs at the memory. "It
was right at the end of a Quidditch match, no less," Lupin began. "Gryffindor
had just clobbered Hufflepuff, and James pulls up on his broom, hovering in
mid-air. Somehow, he manages to kneel on it, shouting, "Lily Evans!
I love you! Please marry me!"
"Naturally, I said no."
"What?!" Harry gasped.
"I thought he was kidding. I was furious with him."
"So what happened?"
"I left the field, only to find the Common Room filled
with flowersall lilies! And then he gave me the most beautiful ring
Sirius coughed. "Thats not quite how it
" Lily, James, and Harry all whipped their heads around to
look at him. "What she actually said to him was something along the lines
of Bugger off, you mad bastard, and then she just ran for it. Jim
fell straight off his broom in shock, and landed face-first in the mud in front
of the entire school."
"Really?! Oh, dear, I never knew that!"
"Oh, thats not even the best part, though,"
James interjected. "Thought I was doing her a favour, surprising her with
lilies, but of course I didnt know a thing about Muggle flowers. So, I
consulted a friend of oursthe belated Peter Pettigrewand he had
me conjure up the wrong kind. So Lil walks into the Common Room, and finds it
filled with the lilies they use at Muggle funerals. She didnt even bother
to hex meshe chased me all over the tower, smacking me about the head
with the flowers!"
Harry, whod just taken a swig of butterbeer, nearly
"Wasnt until she ran out of flowers that I was
able to give her the ring."
"But that is when I said Id marry him."
Lily held out her hand and Harry stared at the perfect, sparkling diamond, set
on either side with small rubies. "Isnt it amazing? Not even James
knows how long its been in his family."
"According to Mum, it once belonged to Godric Gryffindor
himself, though I dunno if I believe that. But, I do know that its enchanted
so that it will only fit the finger of the givers one true love."
Harry let out an involuntary sigh, which Remus answered with
a short, dry laugh.
"Thats what Lily thought until she tried to get
it off the first time. Seems somebody had also enhanced the ring with
a Shrinking Charm."
"Only, the rings own magic wouldnt let us
break the charm. If it hadnt been for Dumbledore stepping in, I would
have lost my fiancée and a precious heirloom," James scooted his
chair closer to Lilys, and put his arms around her. "Thankfully,
she never threatened to break the engagement off again. I think that was one
of the worst nights of my life." Lily sniffed, and kissed him hard on the
Gently, Remus and Sirius shook their heads. "I cant
believe were letting this one go," Sirius said finally.
"I cant believe weve reached the age where
we have to," Lupin sighed. "I want you to listen to me, Harry. Enjoy
your years at Hogwarts as much as you can, and make the most of the time you
get with your friends. Because one day, youll wake up and find yourself
like us. All grown up, worrying about your kids, your work, or about losing
all the things you hold dear." He paused, then commented, "Just look
at these three. Hes lost his freedom, shes lost her mind, and hes
losing his hair."
"Speak for yourself!" Sirius barked.
James looked around at them ruefully. "I hate to admit
it, but Moonys got a pointno, not your hair, although it is looking
a tad thin. As I said earlier, these are dark times, and theyre fixing
to get worse. Who knows where well all be a few years from now?"
He lowered his voice, "You know, its not a secret that we all back
Dumbledore. How much longer until were marked by Voldemort?"
He paused, impulsively squeezing Lily for reassurance before he turned back
to his friends. "I-Im sorry, mates," he continued, his voice
strangled, "I know this isnt happy talk, but youre like brothers
to me, and Im starting to get frightened. All of a sudden, I have so much
more at stake
Sirius and Remus each clasped one of James arms. "Dont
worry, James, were not about to let anything happen to either of you,"
"Or your family," Remus agreed.
"I dont know ifsometimes I wonder if this
is the time to start a family." James voice was barely above a whisper.
Harry, whod tactfully withdrawn from this conversation, jerked his head
up. He wasnt the only startled by this news, though.
"Jim, are you mad?!" Sirius howled. "We know
how much youve always wanted a son!"
Lupin leaned across the table. "Hes right. You
cant put off your life, waiting for things to get better!" He took
a breath, then noticed Lilys wooden expression. "Lil, you alright?"
I was just thinking." She
blinked and looked down into her lap. "Ive had this discussion with
James several times, but now, I wonder if he isnt right. Thereve
been enough families torn apart as it is. Im afraidwhat if something
happened to us? I dont want to leave my children orphaned."
"Wed take them," Sirius said firmly. "Dont
you worry about that. Me, or Moony, or even Peter"
"better not be Wormtail, hes not always
too reliable" mumbled Remus.
"or you, Moony, you might eat them," James
joked, but there was only a weak smile on his face. Harry noticed him pat Remus
arm affectionately, and they nodded to each other before James turned to Sirius.
"Just promise me one thing," he said, looking very
concerned. "Promise me, youll teach my boy to fly. If I have a son,
I want him to be the best Chaser anyones ever seen!"
"Seekers not bad, either," Harry interjected.
James stared at him for a second, then grinned. "Yeah,
I reckon Seekerd be good. Hear that, Padfoot? Make my boy a Quidditch
player I can be proud of." Sirius saluted him.
"Dont worry, Lil," he insisted, "no
child of yours will end up in an orphanage!"
"Or with your sister," cracked James. Lily made
a show of pretended twitching, and they all laughed together, Harry rather uneasily.
James gave Lily another hug, kissed the top of her head,
and whispered in her ear. She smiled and hugged him back. Remus and Sirius grinned
at each other, then at Harry, who gave them both a feeble smile and went back
to gazing longingly at his parents.
Remus must have noticed this, because he cleared his throat
and hastily asked Lily, "Is Albus meeting you here?"
"Yes, he is. Should be here rather soonright,
dear?" James fumbled in his pocket for a watch, which he swung before Lily.
Her head followed it back and forth for a moment before she gave up and grabbed
it to hold it still. "Hell be here momentarily; its not like
him to be late."
"What did you want from Dumbledore, anyhow?" asked
" she blushed.
"Were going to ask him
if hell give away the bride," James answered for her, beaming proudly.
"I think its a fantastic idea, dont you?"
As the rest voiced their assent, Harry could only nod, feeling
a sinking sensation in the region of his stomach. Not only were his few precious
hours nearly upthe sun was already beginning to set outsidebut what
if he ran into Dumbledore? Since he technically hadnt been born yet, he
certainly couldnt be a Hogwarts student. A conversation with Dumbledore
would blow his whole cover! He decided to make a run for it, and quickly, but
when Harry raised his head to ask James for the time, he found himself staring
straight at Albus Dumbledores unmistakable silver beard.
At the sight of him, Lily squealed "Albus!" and
ran straight into his arms, giving him an enormous hug. The men each stood to
shake his hand, but Harry sat rooted to the spot with panic, his mind racing
as he tried to think of a way out of there. James offered the headmaster his
chair, and pulled up and another for himself. "Youll stay for a drink,
wont you?" he asked.
"Certainly! Id love a fickleberry soda, but Im
afraid I cant stay for much longer than thatit seems Hagrid has
acquired a flock of Fwoopers for your ceremony, several of which have gone missing
in the castle. Poppy is preparing a Sanity Draft as we speak."
Lilys mouth dropped open. Sirius barely managed to
disguise his laughter as a coughing fit.
Harry was beginning to relax, as Dumbledore hadnt acknowledged him yet,
when James spoke, forcing Harry back to his senses.
"Oh, Albus, Im sorrycertainly you know"
"Harry," Dumbledore turned slightly towards him,
his eyes twinkling. "A pleasure to see you out and about, but I do
think its time you headed back to the castle." Harrys eyes
bulged in shock, but he could have sworn that Dumbledore winked at him.
Harry said his good-byes to Remus and Sirius, thanking them
for the drinks, then walked around the table to shake his fathers hand.
Lily excused herself from the table, and guided him outdoors, where she knelt
down beside him.
"Harry," she whispered hoarsely, "I hate to
do this, but I need to ask youoh, this is going to sound so odddo
you mind if I touch your scar again?"
He opened his mouth to reply, but only a strange, strangling
sound came out, so Lily continued.
"When I touched your forehead in there, I saw something
briefly. I thought I saw James and" her voice cut off, her eyes wide.
Harry dropped to his knees beside his mother, who instinctively put an arm around
"You said you got the scar when your parents were killed,
so when I saw that, I thought maybe I was watching your memories, but
it definitely was James and I, so I dont know
I have to see it again
to make sure." The words tumbled out of her mouth in a rush before she
managed to stop and take a shuddering breath.
"W-what exactly did you see?"
Lily tried to collect herself. "Vol-Voldemort. He was
standing over James body, and was pointing his wand at me."
"Waitwere you holding anything?"
a bundle of blankets I think
a baby," she blinked back tears at the thought. "I was shielding it
with my body when everything went green
" She held him tightly for
a moment, then pulled back and looked right into his eyes. "Harry, I know
you may not want to talk about this, but I have toI know curse scars dont
tell the future, so there has to be a reason why it showed me that."
Harry looked away guiltily, but Lily was persistent. Stroking
his hair, she questioned him softly. "Theres
a reason you look so much like James, isnt there?" Harry nodded glumly,
afraid to open his mouth to speak.
"You get your eyes from me, dont you?" she
continued, brightening. He looked back at his mother, only to find her smiling.
"I knew it!" she cried, her grip on him tightening again. This time,
Harry hugged her back, and when they finally let go, spots from his tears were
left on her shoulder.
"You cantyoure not going to tell anyone,
are you? This could change everything, I dont want to mess with time"
"Hush, Harry. Of course I wont. Not even James.
I know the risks as well as you do. But now, I know Ill have a sona
bright, healthy, brave sonwholl somehow survive an attack by Voldemort.
That means more to me than anything."
"I liveder, I mean, I will livebecause you
sacrifice yourself for me." Harrys eyes stung with tears.
Lily stood, and helped Harry to his feet, and clasped him
to her once again. "That is old magic, Harry. The bond between mother and
child is stronger than any other, and special powers come from it." She
tilted his head back to look at him. "I couldnt expect any less of
myself. You are a child born out of lovethe deep, strong devotion James
and I have for each other extends to you, whether well be there for you
or not." With that, tears spilled from Lilys eyes, and she hugged
Harry again. "You havent even been born yet, and already youve
made me so proud!"
Finally, she let go of him, and backed up a few paces, fiddling
with her ring. "I have to get back inside now, and I know you need to head
back. Take care of yourself, Harry, Im counting on you!"
Harry watched her turn to go. A yell wrenched itself from
him, with a sob. "I love you, Mum!"
"I love you, too!"
With that, the world around him dissolved into blackness.
Harry awoke the next afternoon to Ron leaping onto his bed.
Groggily, he sat up and scrounged for his glasses, which he found beneath the
Invisibility Cloak he was using for a blanket. "Whatre you doing
"Hello to you, too," Ron replied sarcastically.
"Mum was furious that we all came home and left you here. So, she gave
me the choice of either coming back here, or kidnapping you so you could come
to Romania with us."
"And you chose to come back here?"
"Figured youd had enough of dragons last year.
The wild ones can be pretty vicious. Besides," added hopefully, "we
can enjoy ourselves here without having to worry about Percy telling us what
Ron laughed. "Up for a game of chess?"
"Definitely! Just let me put the cloak away."
As Ron bounded down the stairs and out of sight, Harry folded
the cloak and went to place it in his trunk. There, inside, nestled near his
school robes, was a battered gold ring box, which opened to reveal his mothers
diamond and ruby engagement ring.
A yellowed scrap of parchment was tucked inside, with the
fading inscription, "To my beloved son, Harry. I made sure to set this
aside for you. Please, pass it on wisely. All my love, Lily."
He held the ring in his palm, then tucked it back inside
the box. His heart considerably lighter, Harry skipped down the steps to the
Common Room three at a time.