Harry Potter sat alone in his bedroom at Number Four Privet Drive just days after his Godfather, Sirius Black, died in a fierce battle at the Ministry of Magic. Professor Dumbledore, despite the fact that the school term had yet to end, had sent Harry back to Surrey, so that he could spend his required time there before Dudley returned from Smeltings. To Harry’s surprise, however, Dudley had returned early as well, meeting him with his aunt and uncle at King’s Cross, although he said nothing to Harry during the entire time they were crammed into the back seat. Harry was greatful, however, that he had been able to get Professor Dumbledore to shrink Hedwig’s cage, and also agreed to send Hedwig on the next day, so he would not have to listen to the complaints about her being in the car.
As Harry lay in bed, finally free of his relatives due to the locks on the door, he thought back over his last five years. On his eleventh birthday, while staying in a run down hut in the middle of a lake, Hagrid had broken down the door and told Harry he was a wizard, and would be going to Hogwarts. At the end of that year, after fighting past a three headed dog, devil’s snare, a huge chess set, and walking through fire, he had killed Quirrel, who was sharing his body with Voldemort. In his second year, after learning that the Chamber of Secrets was home to a basilisk and that Ginny had been taken, he had killed the enormous serpent and save her, almost at the cost of his own life. Only a few months later, after blowing his uncle’s sister up like a balloon, he had stormed out of the house and taken the Knight Bus to London. After a year of being attacked by dementors and learning the patronus charm, he met his Godfather, who he thought had betrayed his parents, only to learn he was wrong. Sadly, Peter Pettigrew, the real traitor, had escaped, leaving Sirius to hide from the world, but at least he did not have to hide from Harry.
Over the course of his fourth year, thanks to a death eater who had taken Mad-Eye Moody’s place as the D.A.D.A. teacher, he had been entered in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and won, only to come face to face with the reborn Voldemort in the graveyard at Little Hangleton, and escape again. Then, this last term, thanks to Professor Umbridge, he had taken up teaching his classmates defense, only to end up fighting against death eaters at the ministry after being tricked into coming to rescue Sirius. Sadly, Sirius came to Harry’s rescue, only to die after being stunned by Bellatrix LeStrange and falling through a strange archway, which he learned was a doorway to the realm of the dead.
Overall, one could say that Harry Potter lived a life in five years that most people would not live in five hundred. Pain and loss seemed to stalk him everywhere he went, but as he rolled over to sleep, he could have no idea what was about to happen to change his life forever.
Harry stood in front of a small, comfortable looking cottage. As he took in the scene, from the coziness of the house, with the roses under the picture window, to the two rocking chairs on the front porch, he had the feeling he knew the place, although he knew he had not been here before, as the Dursleys would never have a house like this, and he hadn’t been anywhere but the Burrow, Diagon Alley and school outside of Number 4.
For some reason unknown to him at the time, Harry began to approach the house. Cautiously, he looked all around the front yard, and even to the neighboring houses, but it appeared as if he were the only person about, which only served to make him more suspicious. As he reached the door, preparing to knock, however, it was flung open. Before him stood a striking young woman, close to 20 or 21 years old, with long red hair and eyes as green as his. As he stood there, trying to find his voice to ask all of the questions now racing through his mind, she enveloped him in a hug that put Mrs. Weasley’s rib cracker to shame, then turned him to face a young man about her age, with glasses, and a mop of untidy black hair.
“Mum? Dad?” Harry said, finally finding his voice as he just stared at the man who was now nodding and smiling at him. “But you’re,”
“Dead, I know son, and we miss you terribly.” James Potter pulled his son into a hug that Harry had longed to receive for 15 years.
As he stood there, his father holding him in his arms, he felt the weight of all the pain the Dursleys heaped on him fall away, leaving him with every tear he cried. For nearly an hour he simply cried and held on to his parents, telling them everything he had endured at the Dursleys, and how he missed them.
“I’m so sorry he killed you, it was my,” But Lily cut him off sharply.
“HAROLD JAMES POTTER!" Harry started at her voice. :It was not your fault, and I never want to hear you say that again.” Harry looked to his father, who merely smiled and shrugged, as if to tell him not to anger his mother, which he took as good advice.
“OK Mum, I won’t say it, but it’s kinda been on my mind for a while, you know?” Harry smiled at last as she ruffled his hair, then remembered all of the questions he had wanted to ask, but before he could speak, James smiled and stood.
“Yes, Harry, this is a dream. Now that you know it, you will have a livid dream, and will remember this as if you experienced it when awake. No, we aren’t just in your head, we really are James and Lily Potter, but that’s a bit of a long story, and your Mum has a question now.” James smiled as he sat down in an easy chair, laughing as Lily began to fuss over Harry’s hair and glasses.
“Harry, I need to know where you are right now, not beside me, but what house you are asleep in.” She smiled, trying to flatten his hair, but having no more success than he had ever had.
“I’m at the Dursleys, but I leave for the Burrow tomorrow.” Harry started as James jumped from his chair.
“I thought we made the will unbreakable, even for the old coot!” Lily pushed him back into his chair, then turned to Harry as James fumed silently now.
“Harry, you were never to live with Petunia and Vernon. We set it out in our will that Amelia Bones, Augusta Longbottom, Sirius, Remus or the Weasleys were to take you in, because I knew, we knew, that Petunia and Vernon would do this to you. I am so sorry for this, but we will talk more later.” Lily smiled as Harry began to realize she wanted him to wake up.
“Why can’t we talk now, I’m just laying there asleep, and Mr. Weasley won’t be around till noon.” Harry asked, upset that he had to leave so soon.
“Harry, when you come back to us,” Lily said, looking to James for support and smiling as he moved to join her, “you will be asleep for two weeks. By then you’ll need to be in a hospital, a muggle one or St. Mungo’s, but I don’t trust Vernon Dursley to take you to one, but Molly won’t let you be hurt, I know it.”
“Just concentrate on this house, and on us when you go to sleep tomorrow, Harry, and you’ll be back for nearly 30 years.” James laughed at the look on Harry’s face when he said 30 years. “Time is different here Harry, you probably have only been asleep a few minutes in the real world, but we’ve been chatting for almost 12 hours. Go on and wake up, then take the dreamless sleep draught Dumbledore probably gave you after Sirius died.”
“How do you know about that?” Harry asked.
“Harry, we may be dead, but we still see what happens with you. We’ll see you soon son, just don’t forget to pack everything you own, even what you normally leave behind. Don’t be afraid to use magic either, trust me.” James winked at Harry, settling the question of underage magic with him, and he knew he would be OK with it.
Moments later, Harry felt himself flying through a thick haze, leaving the cottage far behind him as he did.
Moments later, Harry woke still as tired as he had been before he lay down. When he checked the clock, however, he found that less than 10 minutes had passed since he lay down, but as much as he wanted to pack and leave, he knew it was too late to do anything right now. After drinking the bottle of dreamless sleep potion he had received from Dumbledore, Harry lay back down and fell instantly into a very restful, and uneventful, sleep, until he woke to banging on his door.
Suddenly, as if he was actually hearing his father speak, the words no time like the present raced across his mind. Not daring to hesitate, Harry grabbed his wand and muttered a strong locking spell at the door, followed by the best silencing spell he knew, which would not only shield him from their noise, but also the other way round. Two hours later, when no Ministry owl had arrived, and as he had removed the silencing spell a moment later, as he would have heard his uncle roaring about it, Harry realized he could do magic now, and he nearly passed out from elation.
After removing the locking charm long enough to visit the bathroom for a quick shower, Harry returned to his bedroom, shrinking everything he owned to fit into his trunk, finally shrinking it as well, before deciding he would rather not explain this to Mr. Weasley, and returning it to normal size. Finally, as Harry watched the clock turn to 12:00, he saw a plain black sedan pull up outside, and wait. Harry removed the locking charm, then turned to survey his room one more time. In the four years it had been his, except for just before he moved in, it had never been this clean. As he thought about it, however, he realized it could be hospital sterile and his aunt would still not approve. With a small sigh, Harry made his way downstairs, leaving his trunk at the door as he moved to the small kitchen.
“Mr. Weasley and Kingsley are here, I’m leaving.” Harry said, then hearing a grunt from his uncle, he turned and left the house. “Hi Mr. Weasley, Kingsley, Ministry car?”
“Yup, they seem to think a port-key would be to conspicuous here, so they gave it to us for the day.” Mr. Weasley smiled as he tapped the trunk after loading it, causing it to vanish when no one would see, then sat down in the front seat. “Molly will have kittens when she sees you, I swear I don’t see how those muggles are not arrested for treating you like this.”
“Don’t worry about it, Mr. Weasley, I’m fine. Besides, I need to stay thin, I’m a seeker.” Mr. Weasley gave a laugh at Harry’s attempt to brush off his under feeding, then nodded to Kingsley who set off down Privet Drive.
The trip it’s self was uneventful, with Mr. Weasley and Kingsley asking Harry how he thought he did on his O.W.L. exams, then talking about quidditch and of course, plans for Harry’s birthday. Harry, as always, said he didn’t want a fuss over his birthday, while Mr. Weasley replied that it was no trouble. Finally, after nearly an hour, Kingsley turned into a rather non-descript driveway, which led to a very old looking house that appeared to have been deserted long ago. Harry was told that the Ministry owned the house, and Kingsley would be able to return with the car from here, while Harry and Mr. Weasley took a port-key to the Burrow.
After thanking Kingsley for driving, Harry grasped the small brush Mr. Weasley held out, when he felt a jerk behind the navel and his feet leaving the ground. A moment later, Harry lay sprawled on the ground while Mr. Weasley again said that would clear his sinuses, and that he would get better with time as he helped Harry to his feet. A moment later he was knocked off of them again by Ginny, who had a running start before she flung her arms around him, causing Mr. Weasley to give up on Harry walking any time soon and go inside.
“It’s about time you got here, you git! Ron and Hermione are driving me insane, all they do is fight!” Ginny finally pulled back, allowing Harry to stand as he simply shrugged off the news about his best mate.
Although Ron had told Harry he fancied Hermione, and wanted to ask her to be his girlfriend, their fights had seemed to get much worse, although they were already legendary to begin with. More than once, Harry remembered seeing Hermione threaten to hex Ron for being insensitive, and had even told him he had the emotional range of a teaspoon, although that comment did get a laugh. Harry thought a moment, wondering how anyone who fancied a girl like Ron said he fancied Hermione could fight with her this much, but eventually decided to just let it be, and not get involved.
The rest of the day, after a triple helpings at every meal, was spent playing two-aside quidditch, where Hermione actually managed to score three goals against Ron, although Harry was sure she aimed to hit him, and a few games of chess with Ron, before finally going up stairs to sleep. Being that Harry had Fred and George’s old room to himself, he pulled out his trunk. After a few minutes of rummaging around, Harry managed to find the small box he was looking for, which contained Lily’s engagement ring. Harry had found it in Number 12 over the holidays before Sirius died, and had decided that if and when he asked Ginny to marry him, he would give it to her. After a few minutes just staring at it, Harry placed it back in the trunk, then lay down, concentrating on his parents and the cottage as he drifted off to sleep.
Harry looked up at the cottage, feeling the same sense of being home as he had the previous night, but without the sense that something was off. Without hesitating, he moved to the porch, but was actually able to knock this time, before being dragged into a crushing hug by his mother, then his father. As he finally managed to extract himself, however, he froze, staring at the man who had just rounded the corner into the den.
“Well, either he forgot about my wonderfulness, or he’s a bit surprised.” Lily gave Sirius a swat to the head, then barely moved aside as Harry tackled him, giving a bone crushing hug of his own, before finally sitting down to tea.
Harry listened as the three laid out their plans for instruction in dueling, arithmancy, ancient runes, history of magic, potions, charms, transfiguration and D.A.D.A. Once they had finished telling Harry their plans, Sirius and James drug him into the yard behind the cottage to start on dueling while Lily prepared for her lesson in potions. To his surprise, Harry found potions, arithmancy and ancient runes fascinating, although he was pretty sure it was being able to spend time with his mother, but he was actually enjoying learning the subjects now, and didn’t care why it was, as he began to see just how powerful they could be.
Within a few days, Harry found he had settled into a nice routine that would follow for the next seven years, until he began working on etiquette, law, society and finance with Lily, while maintaining a vigorous work out routine with James and Sirius. To their annoyance, Lily reminded them that Harry seemed to enjoy dancing, and would keep him in his dance lessons well into the night. After the first week, Harry found that he only slept about two hours, but was just as rested as he could be with a full night, though he had much more time to study now. Finally, as Harry rose one morning from a short nap after a particularly intense dueling session, where even Lily had joined in against him, Harry moved back to the kitchen, where he heard the words he had been dreading since his return to the cottage.
“Harry, it’s time sweetheart.” Lily smiled as Harry simply stared at her. “We can’t decide for you, but if you stay much longer, your body will die.”
“I know I can’t stay Mum, but I just don’t want to leave.” Harry sighed, hearing his parents and Sirius all sit down around the table. “I know it’s only been two weeks really, but I don’t ever want to leave, but then again, I kind of do.”
Harry told them about Ginny, casting a glare at Sirius here and there as he wolf whistled or laughed. Moving along, Harry told James about his being made seeker in his first year, and even doing a perfect Wronski Feint in his first ever game, causing James to fall out of his seat. No matter what, though, every topic seemed to come back to Ginny, until he finally admitted, to himself mostly, that he didn’t just like her, but he felt more than that.
“Pup, saying that is like saying I only knew James in school.” Sirius laughed as Lily began to make muffins attack him, leaving him covered in bread crumbs.
“I have to go back, I can’t leave them to fight him alone.” Harry rose, giving them each a hug before turning back to Lily. “You’d love her Mum, she’s a lot like you, except, well,”
“I know, Harry, I know. And who knows, we didn’t expect to be able to do this, so who knows what might happen next, right?” Lily smiled as Harry gave her another hug, then moved to the door.
“I’ll miss you guys, I love you.” Harry waved, then realised if he didn’t leave right then, he never would, and stepped out into a bright haze which seemed to pull him away from the house as he heard Lily call back to him, mirroring his feelings.
Harry woke a moment later, although he knew it had been two weeks, which meant that it was his birthday. As he lay in the bed, which he knew immediately was not in the Burrow, he felt someone lying beside him. Letting his senses explore, he smelled the familiar flowery scent, and knew Ginny had fallen asleep in his bed. The soft snoring from his right meant Ron was in the next bed, and the rustling of pages to his left meant Hermione was awake. Slowly, as he found his arm was a bit heavy from lack of use, Harry place a hand on Ginny’s shoulders, waking her immediately.
“Harry? You’re” but she never finished the sentence, as she passed out when he smiled at her.
“I think I broke her.” Harry croaked, feeling his mouth and throat very dry.
“You gave us a right good scare, mate.” Ron said, holding out a glass of water as Hermione helped him sit up to drink.
Once Harry drank the water, he felt instantly better, beginning to ask where everyone else was, and finally feeling Ginny stir again after Hermione cast an envenerate spell on her.
“Harry! You’re awake!” Ginny collapsed on his chest, wrapping her arms around his neck and refusing to let go until the healer threatened to hex her.
Nearly two hours later, after being forced to drink a few rather nasty potions, Harry was able to walk freely, and headed for the lobby where the Weasleys, Tonks, Remus, and Kingsley were smiling as Ginny moved to help him. Harry floo’d back to the Burrow for breakfast, and soon found everyone was looking at him rather oddly, and decided he should tell them everything. Naturally, they were a bit skeptical, but after he told them things only James, Lily and Sirius would have known, which were confirmed by Remus, they accepted he really had been with them, and began asking about his time there.
“Well, for starters,” Harry waved his hand over an almost empty glass of water, refilling it and changing it to pumpkin juice, “I can do silent and wandless magic now.”
Everyone oohed and ahed at his display, then Hermione began to quiz him on runes and arithmancy, eventually suggesting he could test for his N.E.W.T.’s now and get an “O” in all of them, if he wanted to. Harry then explained how Sirius had put in his will that Harry was to be emancipated should Sirius die before Harry turned 17, but he stopped when they asked about James and Lily’s will. Slowly, he explained about their will stipulating that Harry was never to be sent to live in Surrey, even stating he should be placed in an orphanage before doing that. Eventually, Harry tabled that topic until he could speak to Dumbledore, then announced he needed to go to Gringott’s to take care of a few things, and that he would like Ginny and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to come with him.
After a short argument, with Mrs. Weasley arguing he was in no state to travel, Harry managed to convince her that it had to be right then, and that she was free to hex him into his next life if he over did himself, which convinced her, and they set off for Diagon Alley, and a very big change for all of them, although none of them knew except Harry, and even he didn’t know just how big the change would be.
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