View Full Version : Escape
November 21st, 2003, 7:10 am
Disclaimer: I unfortunately do not own Harry Potter. I am just borrowing him and his world from the wonderful woman J.K. Rowling and anyone else he might belong to.
So here is my 2nd fanfiction ever! :) This one will definitely be darker than my last. Please stick with me for a few installments, it will take a few to really get in to the actual story. Some things like the mood need to be set up first.
Also, there is something later on in the story that I got the idea for from... something else. I won't say what that is yet, as to not ruin it. If, when it shows up, anyone recognizes it, good for you! :D
I hope you enjoy it, and all feedback (which would be greatly appreciated) can be posted here: http://cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=671316#post671316
November 21st, 2003, 7:11 am
He wanted to escape. He needed to escape. It was just too much, he couldn’t take it anymore. Too much pain, too much suffering, far too much for one blameless sixteen year old boy to handle. He didn’t want to be himself anymore. He had to get out of that skinny body with the bad eyes, unruly hair, and worst of all, the famous lightning bolt scar. But there was only one way out that he could see, and there was no way he was going to take it. He shuddered at the thought.
Harry Potter rolled over in his bed to face the ceiling. He put his hands on his face, sticky from the tears he had found on his face when he had woken up abruptly from his dream. It was always the same dream. The dead body of his godfather Sirius would fall through a tattered black veil. When he tried to go toward Sirius, Lord Voldemort would appear, blocking his way. Then, a harsh voice would start speaking, always the same words... ...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... Voldemort would raise his wand, scream Avada Kedavra!- and Harry would wake.
This night was like every night he had spent that summer at Privet Drive. Harry had been back for over a month now, despite the promise from Mr. Weasley that they would get him out of there as soon as they could. Harry had received letters by owl all summer, always saying that he could leave soon, but never that he could leave now. He would scan every letter, hope rising and then fading in his chest, and he would go back to his usual activity, brooding.
Harry had spent the majority of the summer locked up in his room, but when he made his occasional departure in to the kitchen to grab some food, even the Dursleys noticed that he seemed different. He always looked depressed. He hardly said a word, he didn’t even make rude comebacks when they insulted him. Harry, already naturally skinny, had even lost weight from not eating as much. There were bags under his eyes from lack of sleep, and he hardly ever bothered to comb his hair. Harry overall had taken a turn for the worst, and he knew it. He knew all this time alone was only making him suffer more. He had been driving himself crazy by going through the same things in his mind, over and over and over...
He had thought endlessly about the injustice of it all, the deaths, the prophecy, everything. How his parents had been killed, and after years without them, he had finally found someone to act as one, only to lose him in the end. And now, what did he have to look forward to? Killing or being killed, and there was no way out. Why him? That was what bothered him the most. Why, out of all the people in the world did he, Harry Potter, have to be born with a terrible fate?
Harry was still lying in his bed, going over all these thoughts again, when he heard something moving on a table by the open window. Harry looked over to see what it was. There stood Errol, the old owl who belonged to the Weasleys. He put his glasses on, dragged himself out of bed, and walked over to take the letter that Errol was holding in his beak. Harry’s own owl, Hedwig, was sitting in her cage and hooted at Errol as if to say hello.
“Hedwig, shush!” Harry whispered. Hedwig glared at Harry and hooted again. Errol acknowledged Hedwig with a hoot of his own, and then flew away and out of the window. Harry opened the letter and read it in the moonlight, with some difficulty, not wanting to turn on any lights.
How are you? We all hope you are well. Errol has probably disturbed some great dream you were having [Harry snorted] but I wanted to tell you as soon as I could. Dumbledore has just given me the word- We can take you for the summer now. We are all sorry it took so long, but we had to be safe. Ron and I will pick you up on Saturday at 5 o’clock pm- We got a used car from a Muggle in London, so keep your eye out for us!
Best wishes, Arthur Weasley
Saturday was in four days, so Harry would be leaving very soon. Yet it somehow seemed like a very long time. Harry would be starting up at school again two weeks from today, and he couldn’t help wishing that they were coming just a little sooner so that he could enjoy more of his vacation, if that was possible. But still, his freedom from Privet Drive was now in the foreseeable future, and this was a happy thought. Harry laid on his bed again, determinedly thinking of this instead of his nightmare, and he eventually drifted back in to a sleep that would eventually be interrupted by another bad dream.
November 22nd, 2003, 12:29 pm
On Saturday morning, Harry woke up, abruptly like always, at five in the morning. He groaned and rubbed his eyes. He turned over, intending to lie on his stomach, but ended up falling off his bed and on to the floor with a thud.
“Brilliant, Harry,” he said to himself, after swearing and groaning again. He laid still on the floor for a few minutes, hoping that he would be able to sleep comfortably there since he didn’t want to use the energy necessary to get up. But then he suddenly remembered that finally, after a month and a half, today he could leave Privet Drive. Harry smiled to himself. He forced himself up from the ground and decided to take a shower and wash his hair before the Dursleys woke up, since he hadn’t done so for about a week.
After Harry had showered and packed all his belongings, he went downstairs and looked in the refrigerator. Harry saw the last piece from a chocolate cake that Dudley was probably planning on eating that day. He decided that would do for breakfast and took it up to his room. If Dudley found out about the cake before he left, Harry could tell Uncle Vernon that Mr. Weasley was coming that afternoon and would gladly blow up the living room if they did anything to him.
Harry spent the rest of the day lying on his bed, thinking about the same old things and trying to push them out with the thought of Ron and his dad coming that afternoon. Finally, 5 o’clock arrived, and Harry went downstairs and sat in front of the living room window to watch for them. Uncle Vernon was in the room watching television.
“What are you doing boy?” Uncle Vernon demanded. Harry hadn’t bothered to tell him that he was leaving today.
“Waiting for my friend Ron and his dad to pick me up.”
“What?!” Uncle Vernon sounded outraged, and then suddenly worried. “Do you mean the ones with the- with the hair?”
“Most of my friends have hair.” Uncle Vernon scowled, and went back to his television show. After ten minutes, Harry saw a gray car that looked about twenty years old pull up with two red heads sitting in the front. Harry went to the front door and opened it, and Ron and Mr. Weasley met him there.
“Harry, it’s great to see you!” Mr. Weasley said, smiling. “Are your aunt and uncle here?”
“Yeah, my uncle’s in the living room.”
“I’m going to go say hello. Ron, help Harry get his things please?” Ron and Harry went upstairs.
“So how’s your summer been Harry?” Ron asked as they entered his room.
“Not bad,” lied Harry. “Yours?”
“It’s been okay. Pretty uneventful. I saw Hermione a few weeks ago though, she brought her parents to the Burrow to visit right before she left for the States.”
“Is she back yet?” Harry had received an owl from Hermione telling him her parents were taking her for a vacation in America, but hadn’t heard from her since.
“She’ll be back in a couple days. She’s coming to stay with us too once she’s back.” They talked a little more, and soon they were downstairs with all his things.
“Ah, good, let’s go then,” said Mr. Weasley, coming out of the living room. They went outside, loaded up the car and all got in. Mr. Weasley drove down to the end of the road and stopped.
“Let’s see,” he said, looking all around him. “Looks clear...” Mr. Weasley pushed a button where the radio should have been and POP! They were now driving down a completely different street. An oddly familiar street. Harry realized they were in London, and he felt his stomach clench.
“I thought- Aren’t we going to the Burrow?” Harry asked weakly from the backseat.
“Er, no, sorry, I forgot to tell you,” Mr. Weasley said. “We’re staying at headquarters for the rest of the summer.” Harry suddenly wished he was back at Privet Drive again. The Order of the Phoenix’s headquarters had been Sirius’ home.
They stopped in front of two buildings labeled 11 and 13 on Grimmauld Place, and they took out Harry’s belongings. They walked up towards the buildings, and Number 12 appeared in between them out of nowhere. Mr. Weasley opened the door and they walked in. Harry and Ron dragged Harry’s trunk, Firebolt broomstick, and Hedwig’s cage into the front hall. Harry turned to close the door, thinking back to one of the last times he had ever seen Sirius- it had been right here, and Sirius had given him a mirror that Harry could have talked to him through but never did. To Harry’s horror, he felt his eyes start to water. He started blinking furiously.
“Harry!” He whipped around to see Mrs. Weasley coming down the hall. Before he knew it, Harry found himself wrapped in a hug. “It is so good to see you.”
“Hi.” Mrs. Weasley stood back and looked at Harry.
“You look terrible Harry, have you eaten anything all summer?”
“Thanks, and no. I’m going to take my stuff upstairs now.” Harry said mechanically, still blinking like mad. Ron helped him and they made their way up. They reached the same bedroom they had stayed in the summer before, and put down his trunk. Immediately thereafter, Harry went to sit on the bed near the window, facing it instead of Ron, and put his head in his hands.
November 24th, 2003, 10:25 pm
“Er, Harry?” Ron said awkwardly. “Are you okay?” Harry ran his hands through his hair and took several deep breaths of air before standing up.
“Oh yeah, I’m fine. It’s just peachy being back at my dead godfather’s home,” Harry said shakily. Ron looked guilty and didn’t say anything. Harry walked swiftly past him and out of the room without looking at him.
Harry spent the next few hours locked up in the bathroom, not wanting to face anyone. He seriously contemplated getting his wand out and running away, rather than staying and being reminded of Sirius everywhere he looked. But, in the end, he knew that it was a bad idea and he would just have to stay and deal with it. Finally, he left the bathroom and went back in to the bedroom, where Ron was changing to go to bed.
“Listen, Harry,” Ron said tentatively when he saw him come in. “I’m sorry, we should have told you-”
“It’s fine Ron,” Harry interrupted, as he crawled into bed without changing clothes. “It’s just...” He didn’t finish his sentence.
“I know mate, it’s hard.” Ron said sympathetically. Harry thought that no matter what Ron said, he couldn’t possibly know, but Harry appreciated his comment anyway and nodded. He laid down in his bed and eventually fell into an uneasy sleep.
The next day, Mrs. Weasley made a big breakfast for Ron, Ron’s sister Ginny, and Harry. Harry didn’t say much at breakfast and tended to give one word answers to any questions they asked him. But he did eat a lot, and for Mrs. Weasley, this seemed to make up for his lack of speech. Harry spent that day and the next sullenly helping Ron and Ginny do chores around the house, which was still infested with numerous magical pests.
On Monday night, five members of the Order- Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, Mundungus Fletcher, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks- came over to join Harry and the Weasleys for dinner. They all attempted to talk to Harry, but Harry was still only giving minimal responses. After dinner while everyone was laughing loudly at a story Moody was telling, Lupin pulled Harry aside to talk to him.
“How are you holding up Harry?” Lupin asked quietly.
“Fine,” answered Harry. Lupin frowned.
“You look worse than the last time I saw you, are you sure?’ Harry put his hands in his pockets and shrugged, avoiding Lupin’s eyes.
“I mean, I’m not great, but I’m doing okay,” Harry said.
“Listen, I know how it feels. I’ve lost both of my best friends, one of them twice now. It’s a horrible feeling.”
“Yeah, it is,” mumbled Harry.
“But you will get through it, I promise.” Lupin paused, trying to find the right way to say what he wanted to say. “And Harry, while you are going through this, please don’t do anything... anything self-destructive.” Harry looked at Lupin like he was crazy.
“After I lost all my friends I went through a really bad time in my life and I felt tempted to do some pretty bad things. I just want to be sure that you’ll be okay.”
“I’ll be fine, what would I possibly do?”
“Just... use your head Harry, that’s all, don’t do anything to hurt yourself,” said Lupin, looking very serious. “If you ever need to talk to anyone you can always send me an owl.”
“Yeah, sure.” Lupin patted Harry on the shoulder and went over to listen to Moody’s story. Harry felt agitated. If he had actually wanted to do something self-destructive, he would have done so already while he was at Privet Drive, so why was Lupin warning him? All he wanted to do was get away from himself, not hurt himself. But Harry reminded himself that Lupin did have his best interests at heart, and it was true that he out of anyone would understand how he felt. So, he decided to shake it off and went over to join the others to try to enjoy the rest of the night.
On Tuesday night Hermione was dropped off by her parents to stay with them for the remaining week of the summer holidays. When she saw Harry, Hermione did the exact same thing that Mrs. Weasley had done- she hugged him and then told him how terrible he looked.
“Thanks, I get that a lot,” Harry responded.
“I’m sorry Harry, but you do. You look paler too,” Hermione said, as she pulled away from giving Ron his hug.
“Great...” Harry trailed off. Wanting to change the subject, he asked Hermione how her vacation was.
“Oh it was wonderful!” Hermione talked nonstop about her vacation for the next three days, which was fine by Harry. She told Harry and the Weasleys everything she learned about American witches and wizards. She had visited the two most prestigious wizarding schools in America, one in upstate New York, and one that was located in the middle of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. She had learned everything she wanted to know from the professors there, and some students who had been taking summer classes.
“So I was talking to a couple students in New York,” said Hermione, sitting next to Ron on his bed and across from Harry on his. It was now Friday night. “And they told me there are a lot of people around there really getting into experimenting with magic and potions and- Harry, are you even listening to me?” Harry had been staring into space, and, in fact, had not listened to a word Hermione had said.
“Yeah, of course,” Harry said, shaking himself out of his stupor. At that moment, Mrs. Weasley came in to the room.
“Ron, Hermione, Harry,” she said. “I’m planning on going to Diagon Alley tomorrow, would you three like to come with me?” They all agreed that they would go with her, and Mrs. Weasley told them to go to bed so they could get up in the morning. Hermione said goodnight and left the room, and Harry and Ron went to sleep.
November 26th, 2003, 10:01 am
The next morning, Mr. Weasley drove Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Harry through London in the old gray car without using magic, until they reached The Leaky Cauldron. They went inside, out the back entrance, and in to Diagon Alley. They all decided to buy everything they needed for school first, eat lunch, and then go visit Fred and George at their new joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley left to buy some new anti-pest supplies for the house, and Ginny found a couple of her fellow fifth year friends fairly quickly, so Harry was left alone with Ron and Hermione.
First, they went to Gringott’s Bank so that Harry could take out some money. Next, they went to a store where they bought new parchment and quills. They had just exited the store when Harry noticed something. People seemed to be staring at him more often than they usually did. Whenever people saw his scar, they were always fascinated, but Harry never noticed quite this many people looking at him so shamelessly.
“Why is everyone staring at me?” Harry asked, frowning.
“Because you’re Harry Potter,” said Ron, knocking Harry on the forehead with his knuckles to check for his brain. “Your picture’s been in The Daily Prophet all summer, so they don’t need to see your scar anymore to recognize you now, do they?”
“What have they been saying about me?” Harry hadn’t bothered to continue his Daily Prophet subscription that summer, so he hadn’t read a newspaper for quite awhile.
“Oh just the same old stuff,” Hermione answered. “You know, about what a hero you are and how no one would listen to you before. A lot of the time they just fit your name in somehow and stick a picture in because people will pay attention if it’s there. It’s nothing to worry about, Harry.” But Harry hated getting too much attention, so to him it was something to worry about. Ron and Hermione continued chatting about what else they had read in the Daily Prophet that summer, but Harry stayed silent, and determinedly started glaring at anybody who dared to look at him.
“Oh, and Harry, you might be interested in this,” Hermione said. “About a week ago Fudge let it slip to the press that V-Voldemort was trying to get something from the Ministry of Magic, but they haven’t said anything about the prophecy.”
“That’s nice,” said Harry, as he stared down a curly haired witch that had been gaping at him. Harry had somehow not given a thought to the prophecy all day, and wasn’t pleased that Hermione had brought it up. She and Ron still had no idea what the prophecy was and did not know that Harry knew what it was either.
“It really is too bad the thing broke,” Ron said thoughtfully. Harry, who’s glare was now making an 11 or 12 year old boy feel very uncomfortable, said nothing.
They soon entered Flourish and Blott’s to buy their new school books. They took out their Hogwarts letters, which had arrived a few days before, and started looking for the books they needed. Harry and Ron were still in all of the same classes with each other, but they had five less subjects than the year before. Hermione, on the other hand, was taking a N.E.W.T. class in every subject she had taken the year before. Hermione picked up a book called Advanced Potion making and How to Not Get Blown Up. Ron and Harry had both managed to pass their O.W.L. exams in Potions, but neither of them had scored high enough to get into Professor Snape’s N.E.W.T. class.
“I don’t know why you’re continuing with Potions, Hermione,” said Ron. “The thought of having two more years with Snape makes me shudder.” Harry felt the same way as Ron, although he had been slightly upset, since to be an Auror, the only career Harry had considered, a N.E.W.T. in Potions was required.
“I want to have as many job opportunities as I can, Ron, that’s why,” Hermione responded. When they had all picked out their books, they went to stand in line to buy them. After Ron and Hermione had bought their books, and Harry reached the register, two giggling girls who looked about 13 years old spotted him and came running up.
“Are you Harry Potter?” One of the girls asked. Harry rolled his eyes and nodded.
“Can we have your autograph?” Her friend asked.
“No,” said Harry coldly. He then told them to do something that made them gasp and run away. Looking satisfied with himself, Harry smiled. Ron laughed, but Hermione gasped too and hit Harry on the arm.
“Harry! That was really rude!” Hermione scolded.
“I was rude? I’m trying to make my purchase in peace and they’re the ones that come and ask for a stupid autograph.” Harry bought his books and they left, Hermione still reproaching him.
It was now time for lunch, so Harry, Ron, and Hermione made their way to a small outdoor restaurant called Vooming Victuals near the end of Diagon Alley where it meets Knockturn Alley. They spotted Ron’s parents and Ginny at a table at the edge of the outdoor sitting area and joined them. A friendly rhyming witch took their orders.
“You may start longing for your plate, but you won’t have long to wait. Here at Vooming, service is zooming!” They all laughed and thanked her. When she had left, Ron’s parents asked them all how their shopping had gone. Harry was about to answer, but stopped when he heard a buzzing noise. It sounded like a group of excitedly talking people. He looked around and saw a large group of witches and wizards coming down the street, all carrying quills and notepads. They were led by a short man carrying a large camera. They seemed to be heading for Vooming Victuals. Harry’s face fell.
Special thanks to Loz for the name Vooming Victuals! :evil: ;)
December 1st, 2003, 9:15 am
Harry had a dreadful feeling that the group was made up entirely of reporters, who had somehow heard that he was there that day. He realized that he was only too correct when the man with the camera reached him, and immediately took a picture of Harry looking thoroughly miserable. Soon the rest of the people caught up and the reporters started attacking him.
“Harry, can I have a word?”
“Harry, how does it feel to have the wizarding community finally believe you about You-Know-Who’s return?”
“Harry, have you spoken with the Minister of Magic this summer?”
“Harry, are you scared about what You-Know-Who might do next?”
“Harry, do you know what it is You-Know-Who was trying to steal from the Ministry of Magic?”
“Harry, do you have a girlfriend?” Harry stood up, fuming.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” Harry turned around and jumped the short fence that was along the perimeter of the restaurant’s outdoor seating, and took off. He didn’t care if people were in his way, he pushed them aside, and continued running as fast as he could without stopping.
Harry had come to Diagon Alley expecting a nice peaceful day out in the open air, away from all the depressing reminders of Sirius that Grimmauld Place held. Instead he had come to find people staring at him, asking him for autographs, and hounding him for interviews.
He didn’t stop running until it finally occurred to him that he was deep in Knockturn Alley. He stopped and looked around. Harry was on a dark narrow street, in front of a store displaying swords with bones for handles in the window. He turned, and looking down the street, could not believe how far he had run before noticing where he was. He couldn’t even see Diagon Alley. Harry started walking back, keeping a wary eye on the strange looking witches and wizards wandering the streets.
Harry was passing a grungy looking alleyway with an overflowing dumpster in it, when he heard someone whisper to him.
“Hey, kid,” the voice said. Harry froze, reached for his wand, and looked around for the source of the voice. He found that it was coming from the alley. “Over here. Don’t worry kid, I don’t bite.” Harry was not particularly good with accents, but he was good enough to tell that the voice belonged to an American, probably one from the east coast.
“What d’you want, an autograph, an interview? Or maybe a lock of my hair?” Harry spat nastily, gripping his wand tightly.
“What? No, no, I just couldn’t help noticing how miserable you look, kid,” the voice answered.
“Stop calling me kid!” Harry said angrily. The man stepped out of a shadow and walked slowly toward Harry. He looked like he was in his mid-twenties. He had straggly blond hair with black roots growing in, a lean, tan, and scruffy face, and he was wearing a black trench coat with many bulging pockets. He had a pleasant look on his face, not at all menacing like many of the people in Knockturn Alley.
“This one’s troubled,” the man said calmly, stopping some six feet away from Harry, looking him over with deep brown eyes. Harry stood quite still, not liking how the man was looking at him, and trying to decide whether to run. “No need to run, boy, I told you I’m not here to hurt you.” Harry’s eyes widened. Was he reading Harry’s mind?
“How did you-?”
“Don’t worry, I’m not doing Legilimency, I just read people well. And you in particular are exceptionally easy to read,” he said. He held out his hand for Harry to shake. “My name is Dominic Demoure. And you are?” Harry was very reluctant, but in the end he walked into the alley, switched his wand to his left hand, and shook Dominic’s hand.
“You don’t know who I am?” Dominic shook his head.
“Why would I?”
“I’m Harry, Harry Potter.”
“Oh...” Harry saw Dominic’s eyes flicker toward his scar. “I see. Interesting.”
“So did you just want to tell me I’m miserable, because I really don’t need to be told.”
“No, no, I’m sure you don’t need telling,” said Dominic. “I just thought maybe I could... help you.” He motioned for Harry to follow him farther into the alley, and after some more hesitation, Harry did. Dominic opened his coat briefly, and Harry saw many small containers whose contents were many different colors. He pulled out one about the size of a cough syrup bottle. The bottle was full of a clear orange liquid. Harry’s eyes widened, and he looked at Dominic suspiciously.
“Are you a drug dealer or something?” Harry asked. Dominic laughed.
“Drugs? No, drugs are for muggles. I, my young friend, sell potions at reasonable prices. That’s all they are, just potions, I guarantee they will not influence your schoolwork, make you sick, they won’t kill you, nothing. It’s clean business.” Harry raised an eyebrow at him.
“Then why are you doing business in a dark alley where no one will see us?”
“You ask too many questions Harry, don’t worry. This is all good clean fun.” Dominic smiled at Harry, who had furrowed his brow and was staring at the bottle.
“Well what is that stuff anyway,” asked Harry, indicating the orange potion and then folding his arms. Dominic examined Harry closely again, looking very serious, and then looked him straight in the eye.
“You are not a happy person right now Harry. I can tell, you’ve been through a lot, and you’re suffering. More than even those closest to you know. You’re sick of it.” Harry didn’t say anything, but held Dominic’s steady gaze. “This will help you. This will assist you in... clearing your mind, so to speak. That’s all I can say. I’ve never used it myself, but those who have report fantastic results. From what I’ve heard it doesn’t do the exact same thing for any two people, it acts slightly differently, perfectly for each individual.” Harry pondered this for a moment.
“How stupid do you think I am? You think I’m going to waste my money on a strange potion from a strange American behind a dumpster in Knockturn Alley?” But these words didn’t come out of Harry’s mouth quite as strongly as he had intended. Despite what he said, in actuality, the idea of this mysterious potion was becoming appealing.
“Ah, you’re interested I see.” Dominic smirked. Harry growled. “Yes, I think this is definitely the one for you. Back in the States, they call this one Escape.”
“E-Escape?” This word had a strong effect on Harry. It was the word that had gone through his mind all that summer- escape the Dursleys, escape all the staring people, escape his fate, his misery, himself. He stared long and hard at the potion. All rational reasoning left him. Could this potion really help him escape the feelings that he was so tired of? He had no idea how it could, but... with a name like that... and the reports from people who had used it... Against his best judgment, he started seriously considering buying it.
“Well?” Dominic said after watching Harry think for three minutes straight in silence.
Author's comment: Oh Harry...
December 2nd, 2003, 11:11 pm
Harry emerged from Knockturn Alley in to Diagon Alley with one hand in his jeans pocket, holding on tightly to the bottle of potion. He was trying to arrange his face to look far from guilty, but he was failing miserably at the attempt. He looked everywhere to see if the reporters were still around, but they were nowhere to be seen. He went back to Vooming Victuals, but Hermione and the Weasleys weren’t there anymore. He figured that they had gone ahead to visit Fred and George, so Harry walked to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, being bombarded with stares the whole way.
Harry soon found his destination and entered the shop. The walls were lined with shelves of jokes and tricks, there were several tables with neat displays of Fred and George’s latest inventions, and next to the register was a glass case holding mysterious sweets. There were many kids and teenagers in the shop, including Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. At the front of the shop, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were talking to Fred and George. Ron soon spotted Harry and came up to him.
“Where’ve you been Harry? Everyone was so worried!”
“Oh, you know,” Harry said. “Just went to cool off. Where the reporters couldn’t find me.”
“And I guess they didn’t, ‘cause some of them went running after you, but they came back looking pretty disappointed.”
“Right, none of them found me. Nobody found me, just been by myself. Alone.” Harry grinned nervously as he clutched the potion bottle in his pocket tighter. Ron noticed this.
“Hey Harry, what’s that you’ve got in your pocket?” He asked curiously.
“What? Oh, nothing,” said Harry. He needed to change the subject. He gave a fake sigh and smile. “I’m just happy to see you, I thought I’d never find my way out of Knockturn Alley.” Ron looked at him suspiciously and made to speak again, but just then, Hermione and Ginny came running up.
“Harry! You’re safe!” Hermione squealed. She hugged him, but Harry immediately backed away from the hug, fearing that Hermione would get too close and feel the bottle in his pocket. He didn’t want her asking any questions, and he knew if she found out about it, Hermione would scold him and insist he get rid of the potion.
“Are you okay, Harry?” Hermione asked, handing Harry back his shopping bags.
“Yeah, fine. I’m going to go say hi to Fred and George.”
“Oh, can you send Mum and Dad back? I want to ask them something,” Ginny requested. Harry nodded and made his way up between tables and chattering kids. On the way, he surreptitiously slipped the bottle from his pocket to one of his bags.
Ron’s parents were very pleased to see Harry, but went to talk to Ginny like she had asked, and Harry got to talk to Fred and George.
“How’s business?” He asked, trying to sound and look cheerful.
“Great, we’re just about out of Skiving Snackboxes,” said George.
“What with Hogwarts starting up in a few days,” said Fred.
“Care for some fudge?” George took a small square from the glass case and offered it to Harry.
“Er, no thanks,” Harry said, not trusting that the fudge could do any good to him. “Hey, I wanted to ask you two something.” He tried to sound as casual as possible. “Do you know anything about any... er... black market sales going on around here?”
“Oh yeah, of course!” George answered happily.
“We’re always getting foreigners around here,” Fred added.
“And to tell you the truth,” George whispered, winking. “Their stuff comes in handy.”
“So you’ve bought things from them?” Harry asked.
“Oh yeah. In fact the other day we bought some potions from this American bloke-”
“Dominic was his name, he had some great stuff.”
“I met him in Knockturn Alley, that’s why I was asking actually,” Harry said.
“Cool guy, eh?” George said.
“Yeah, I guess. He wanted me to buy this orange stuff... but I told him I would... not.”
“He wouldn’t let us touch the orange!” Fred said, looking impressed.
“Said we didn’t need it badly enough.” George explained.
“He said it was only for suffering people,” said Harry, frowning.
“But you’re okay, Harry, you don’t need it right?” Fred asked.
“Obviously,” George said, “Mum said you weren’t your usual self, but you’ve got to be okay if you weren’t desperate enough to buy it.” Harry forced a laugh.
“Nope, not desperate enough,” he said.
“Guess he can’t read people as well as he says, can he?” George chuckled. Just then, a couple boys came up to buy some Snackboxes and the mysterious fudge.
“Well, business calls, it was simply splendid seeing you Harry.” Fred bowed dramatically.
“If the new Defense teacher is horrible, give ‘em hell from us!” Harry smiled and waved goodbye, and went to join Ron and Hermione.
Soon, they left to make a few more stops. They stopped at a second hand shop that sold everything from robes to cauldrons to old books. It turned out that Ginny had asked her parents if she could get a used broomstick, as she was planning on trying out for the position of Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. She hadn’t been made prefect like Ron had the year before, so she didn’t bother asking for a brand new one. At first Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were unsure, since there was no guarantee that she would make the team, but Harry and Ron assured them that after her performance as the temporary Seeker the year before, Ginny was a shoe in.
As Ginny and her parents looked for a reasonably priced and decent broomstick, Harry absentmindedly looked around the store, daydreaming. He hadn’t given a thought to Quidditch in a long time, and the thought of being back on the Gryffindor team and playing again made him happier than he had felt in ages. He thought about the fact that Draco Malfoy and the Slytherin team had never once beaten him at Quidditch, and smiled.
Maybe I won’t need to use that potion after all. I just need to get back to school that’s all, I’ll be fine. Harry thought, trying to convince himself. Beating Malfoy again will make me happy enough. And no lessons with Snape this year too!
They all left the shop, Ginny holding her new used broomstick in her right hand, and they made their way back to The Leaky Cauldron. Harry’s rare good mood was slightly dampened when he saw everyone outside staring at him again, but he just glared back at them, and started a conversation with Ron about Quidditch to try to keep his mind off of unpleasant things. They eventually got back to the car, loaded it up, and went back to Grimmauld Place.
Note: If you want to know exactly how Harry says the line:
"but I told him I would... not."
... then watch (or remember, if you've seen it) the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called "Smashed". Buffy says this and that's how I imagine Harry saying it. :D
December 4th, 2003, 6:44 am
As soon as they arrived, Mrs. Weasley asked Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Harry if they would come down to the kitchen as soon as they were unpacking, so they could help her with dinner. Some members of the Order were coming again that night, including Lupin, who had just finished with some important business and would be staying at Grimmauld Place once again.
While he and Ron were unpacking the things they had bought that day, Harry went extra slowly. Harry hoped that because of this Ron would leave before him, so he could put away the potion he had bought without him seeing. His plan worked, and Harry told Ron to go ahead without him when he was done.
Just as Harry slipped the bottle of potion into a safe spot in his trunk, he heard the door creaking open. He looked around, and saw Kreacher, the old wrinkled house elf that lived there, walking in to the room. Harry had been told that they had recently been trying to get Kreacher to take orders from Tonks, who was Sirius’ cousin, and he had responded by going into hiding in the attic for a few weeks.
“Look, it’s the Potter boy, Kreacher wonders when he arrived at my mistresses home,” Kreacher muttered to himself.
“You know I can hear you,” Harry spat. To say that Harry didn’t like Kreacher was a bit of an understatement. All happy thoughts of Quidditch vanished from Harry’s mind and were replaced by feelings of disgust for the house elf. Kreacher was now walking in circles around the room, looking at the floor.
“Kreacher remembers when he last saw the Potter boy, oh yes he does, Kreacher was very clever...”
“Shut your mouth!” Harry yelled. He knew that Kreacher was referring to when he had lied to him just a few months earlier, which Harry considered to be one of the biggest factors leading to Sirius’ death.
“Kreacher does not take orders from him, he is not of the noble family of Black. Yes, Kreacher was clever, he fooled the Potter boy.”
“Get out!” Harry’s hands turned to fists, and he started turning red.
“Kreacher does not take orders from the Potter boy. Kreacher took orders from the blood traitor Master Black, but...” Kreacher started laughing. “He cannot take orders from a dead Master Black, what a happy home we have now, how my Mistress was pleased when she heard-”
“WHY YOU LITTLE- YOU- I’M GONNA-” Harry started yelling threats at Kreacher while running towards him. He tried to kick Kreacher, but he ran straight out the door. Harry followed him. For a creature with such short legs, the elf ran down the stairs remarkably quickly, but Harry was right behind him, throwing curses at him all the way.
When they had almost reached the ground floor, a new noise filled the house. The portrait of Mrs. Black, Sirius’ mother, which stood in the front hall, started wailing. She had not been bothered the entire time Harry had been there, but his loud swear words and death threats to Kreacher disturbed her. At the same time, the Weasleys and Hermione came bursting out of the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about.
Kreacher leapt off the bottom step, and made to run down the hall. Hermione went running after him. She reached him and picked him up off the floor so he could not go any further. Ron went for Harry, and as soon as his feet left the stairs, Ron grabbed him. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley went to try to pull the curtains over the portrait of Mrs. Black.
“YOU! Blood traitors! Mudblood lovers! Be gone from the house of my fathers!” Mrs. Black shrieked this when she saw them trying to cover her up. Ginny, seeing the trouble Ron was having, went to help him restrain Harry, who was pushing with all his might to get out of Ron’s hold.
“I’LL KILL HIM!” Harry roared.
“Calm yourself Harry! He’s just a house elf!” Ginny yelled at him, taking his right arm tightly and pushing him back forcefully.
“Why should I?” Harry yelled back at her, his face two inches from hers. “It’s all thanks to him that Sirius-” Harry choked on his words. Hermione, meanwhile had taken Kreacher into a room Harry had never been in and returned without him. Harry stopped struggling and sunk onto the floor just as Mrs. Black’s curtains were successfully pulled over her.
“I hate this place,” Harry said dejectedly. Nobody knew what to say to him, so everyone just stood there awkwardly, saying nothing for awhile.
“Nobody really likes it here, Harry” Ginny said gently, and much quieter than when she had last addressed him. “C’mon, get up,” She took a hold of his arm again and pulled him up.
They all went back down to the kitchen, and as they did, Harry started to feel extremely embarrassed. He had been in a decent mood for once, and he had let Kreacher provoke him into losing his temper and yelling like a madman in front of anyone. Harry felt even more embarrassed when he thought of how Ginny had been so calm with him even after he had shouted at her in her face. And so, Harry fell back into his usual moody silence and stayed in it for the rest of the afternoon and through dinner.
For the last two days at Grimmauld Place, Harry avoided being alone with anyone but Ron at all costs. He was afraid they would try to have heartfelt talks with him. He especially tried to stay away from Lupin, who was staying down the hall from Harry and Ron, and Hermione. Harry was not sure if Lupin knew about the episode with Kreacher, but he wasn’t keen on finding out, and it was sure to come up if they had a talk. And Harry was convinced that Hermione would just scold him for threatening to rip Kreacher’s “[censored] head off and stick it on the [censored] wall” if she got two seconds alone with him. Harry was successful in his attempts.
To everyone’s pleasure, Kreacher, although still wandering around the house, always made a point not to enter a room that Harry was in. Whenever anyone else saw him though, he was talking to himself about how insane Harry was.
Soon, the two days were over, and before Harry knew it, he was crawling into his bed on August 31st, the night before he would return to Hogwarts.
December 7th, 2003, 3:06 am
The next morning, Mr. Weasley drove Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny to King’s Cross station to catch the Hogwarts Express. They all passed through the barrier to reach Platform 9 3/4, boarded the train, and Ron and Hermione left to go to a prefects meeting.
Harry and Ginny found and claimed an empty compartment fairly quickly. Soon they were joined by Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, who drifted in with a vague smile on her face. They talked about their summers, the main contributors to the conversation being Neville and Ginny, with occasional random comments from Luna. Occasionally they would try to get Harry in to the conversation, but Harry didn’t really have anything pleasant to say.
“Your summer couldn’t have been all bad, could it?” Neville said, after Harry declared that he had a boring summer with absolutely no high points to tell of. “Something good must have happened.”
“I got away with eating my cousin’s chocolate cake for breakfast one day,” Harry said, shrugging.
“Well that’s good. I ate a whole apple pie this summer,” Luna said. Ginny giggled.
“That’s about it really. Unless you count all the times people told me how bad I look. That’ll get your spirits up,” Harry said sarcastically.
“You could have used my apple pie,” Luna said thoughtfully, staring at him with huge eyes.
About halfway through the trip, Ron and Hermione returned from their prefect duties and joined them in their compartment.
“Malfoy wanted me to deliver a message to you, Harry,” Ron announced as he took the seat between Harry and Neville.
“Oh yeah?” Harry said, eyebrows up.
“It was something about how he’s going to get you this year. There may have been a death threat in there somewhere. Poor baby’s still hung up about you putting his dear old dad in Azkaban,” Ron said.
“I’m getting really scared here,” Harry said dully.
“Oh, I saw Cho awhile back,” Hermione said. “She was kissing some new guy.”
“Not Michael?” Ginny asked. Cho Chang had dated Harry the year before, while Michael Corner had dated Ginny.
“Nope. It was some Hufflepuff. You know for someone who’s still mourning over their old boyfriend, she sure gets around a lot,” Ron commented. Harry rolled his eyes at the thought. Most of Harry’s memories of his relationship with Cho consisted of her crying about Cedric Diggory, who’s murder Harry witnessed.
Towards the end of the train ride, Hermione and Ron left again to carry out more prefect duties. Soon, the train stopped, and everyone got off and boarded the thestral drawn carriages. Harry patted one of the thestrals, which only a handful of people could see, and a second year girl looked at him like he was crazy.
They arrived at the castle, and everyone entered and went into the Great Hall. Harry sat between Ron and Hermione at the Gryffindor table, and after a few moments, Professor McGonagall entered with a big group of first year students. The sorting hat sang a new song, sorted the students into the four houses, and then Professor Dumbledore announced the beginning of the start of term feast. When they were done eating, Dumbledore stood up to speak.
“Before you all go to your dormitories, there are a few regular announcements that need to be made,” he started. “First, note that no students are allowed in the forest on the edge of the school grounds. Secondly, Mr. Filch has asked that students read the list of objects not allowed on school grounds carefully. The list can be found on his office door. Thirdly, I am pleased to introduce Professor Blackstone, who will be taking over the Defense Against the Dark Arts position.”
There was some scattered applause, as a tall brown haired witch who looked around 35 years old waved and grinned. Although Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t say anything to each other, they were all thinking the same thing- that she was the most normal looking Defense teacher they had seen yet, and they were all pleased with that fact.
“I will let you go to your dormitories in just a moment, but first, I ask that when you are dismissed, each house send one sixth year student up to me. There is a matter of business that needs to be taken care of.” Dumbledore smiled. “Have a good nights sleep, and good luck with your classes tomorrow morning!” He sat down, and there was a rush for the doors.
Harry looked around at his fellow sixth years, seeing if any of them had volunteered. Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown were giggling and already halfway out, as were Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan. Harry was left standing with Ron, Hermione, and Neville.
“I would go up, but Ron and I have prefect duties, could one of you do it?” Hermione said to Harry and Neville.
“Yeah, sure, I’ll go,” Harry said. He fought against the crowd and walked up to the front of the room, where a Slytherin girl and Ravenclaw boy stood. Soon, the Hufflepuff representative, Susan Bones, reached them too. Dumbledore beckoned them to come closer to the table, and he gave Harry a small smile.
“I thought this would be better than addressing the entire school, as this matter only concerns those in your year,” Dumbledore began. “As you know, this year you are all beginning N.E.W.T. classes, but there has been a problem with the Potions class. Professor Snape usually insists that all his students receive the highest grade on the O.W.L. exam, but for some reason, only seven people in the school received an O, and only four of them want to take the class.”
Dumbledore paused briefly, while Harry looked down the table at Snape, who had a nasty scowl on his face and was determinedly not looking in their direction.
“I have insisted that your Potions master take some extra students in to his class. But there are three requirements. The student must have received an E on the Potions O.W.L.. Those qualifying must write an essay on why they want to take his Potions class. And lastly, they must have a personal interview with Professor Snape, where they will turn in the essay. There will be sign up sheets in each house common room for interview times. Please pass the message along and make sure everyone interested signs up no later than tomorrow night.” Dumbledore smiled again and let them leave.
As Harry left and tried to catch up with the other Gryffindors, he realized that he wasn’t sure whether or not to be happy about this news. On the one hand, if Harry could get into this Potions class, he might actually be able to become an Auror after all. But on the other hand, Harry and Snape hated each other with a passion, and it was doubtful that Snape would ever let him into his class.
Harry finally caught up with the crowd, and after they got in to the common room, he told the rest of the sixth years what Dumbledore had said. None of them looked too thrilled. From the look on Ron’s face, it seemed that he was having the same internal debate as Harry. Hermione started to try to convince Ron to try out.
But Harry had already made up his mind on the way there. He went over to the announcement board and found the sign up sheet. He reluctantly picked up the quill next to the board waiting to be used, and wrote his name in the 6:00- 6:15 slot for that Friday.
And some of you thought there'd be no Snape.... :p
December 8th, 2003, 1:40 am
Note- Earlier, it was said that Harry and Ron were taking two less subjects than the year before. This is a mistake which has been corrected to say that they are taking five less subjects. (Seems like alot less, eh?)
That night, Harry had the same dream he had been having all summer. He woke up very suddenly, and put his hands on his face, which was slightly wet to the touch. He sat up and tried to see if everyone in the room was still asleep. He shuddered to think that he might wake up the other boys by talking or crying too loudly in his sleep. Luckily, they all appeared to be undisturbed.
It was at least an hour before he had planned on getting up, but Harry knew he couldn’t get back to sleep. He laid back down on his bed. His mind was swimming with the contents of his dream and now the new worries of the interview with Snape. Harry groaned as he rolled over, wondering why he was even bothering to try to get in to the class.
‘Because you want to be an Auror,’ he thought to himself. ‘And you won’t let Snape ruin it for you.’ But still, Harry was already dreading Friday. He tried to push the thought out of his mind.
Harry decided to go take a shower, as long as he was up. After he was done, he happened to see his reflection in the bathroom mirror, which he hadn’t taken a very good look at in a long while.
“You look terrible,” he said to himself, half joking, but half serious. Although Harry had eaten more in the last week and a half, he still looked too thin. He pinched his cheeks and started doing strange things to his face, which he decided could do with some color.
‘Once I get back into Quidditch I’ll be fine,’ Harry thought. ‘I can get some sun.”
Harry pushed his wet dripping hair back from his forehead. He wondered if he was imagining it, but to him it seemed that when he was paler, not only did the dark circles under his eyes stand out more, but so did his scar. He glared at the lighting bolt shape, and then pulled himself away from the mirror.
“Stupid scar,” Harry said. He finished getting dressed and went down to the common room.
Soon everyone else woke up, and before long Harry was joined by Ron and Hermione. They all went to the Great Hall. They sat at the Gryffindor table, and Harry helped himself to some eggs and toast. Professor McGonagall was handing out the class schedules, and when she reached where they were sitting, she stopped and addressed Hermione.
“Miss Granger, I’m afraid there is a problem with your schedule,” she said. Hermione looked guilty, as if she knew exactly what was coming. “In the letter you received, it specifically stated that you could sign up for no more than seven classes, and you are down for ten.”
“Well... well... I thought... that if there was a problem...”
“That we would tell you before? You should know that we are very busy Miss Granger, I expected you to pay attention to the instructions. It is simply impossible for you to take ten N.E.W.T. subjects. You need to drop three.” Hermione looked crestfallen, but Ron and Harry were holding back laughter.
While Hermione dealt with changing her schedule, Harry and Ron looked at theirs. For each of their classes, they had one double period and one single period on different days. They both were taking Transfiguration, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Care of Magical Creatures. They figured that if all else failed and they could find no good jobs after school, they could at least get a job taking care of flobberworms, or maybe even open a magical creatures petting zoo.
“Hermione made me sign up for the Potions thing after you went to bed. Mine’s at 6:45,” Ron said unhappily while they examined the schedules. “It’s not like Snape’ll actually let either of us in though.”
“Well it’s worth a try if we want to be Aurors. Maybe Dumbledore can force him to take us,” Harry said hopefully.
“Yeah, I guess,” Ron said. “Let’s see, it’s Wednesday today. So we’ve got Double Charms at nine... and Care of Magical Creatures at one.”
“All we’ve got tomorrow is Double Transfiguration,” Harry said.
“Excellent!” Ron said happily.
Ron wasn’t too happy later on though, when he realized how much homework they would be doing for their N.E.W.T. classes. The first two days of classes went fairly well, and they were getting in to what they were going to be studying right away. They didn’t have the class they were most looking forward to though, Defense Against the Dark Arts, until Monday and Tuesday. They heard nothing but good things about Professor Blackstone from the students who had already had classes with her. Of course, Harry thought that everyone would probably like anyone who wasn’t last years teacher, Professor Umbridge.
In between his homework on Wednesday and Thursday night, Harry wrote his essay on why he wanted to take the Potions class. He wrote about how he would like to be an Auror and how being experienced in making potions would help him. As he put the finishing touches on it on Thursday night, Harry thought to himself that his essay was quite good.
On Friday morning at breakfast, Professor McGonagall approached the area where Harry, Ron, and Hermione were eating again.
“Potter, I need to speak with you,” she said. Harry noticed that Katie Bell was standing with her. Harry got up from his seat, and they walked away from the table where the other students couldn’t listen to them.
“As you both know, Angelina Johnson has graduated, which means that Gryffindor needs a new Quidditch captain. Seeing as you two have been on the team the longest, I think it should be one of you.” McGonagall looked at Katie and said, “Since this is your last year at Hogwarts, Miss Bell, you have priority over Potter to claim the captainship. If you decline, Potter will be captain unless he refuses too. In that case, Ron Weasley will be captain.”
Katie bit her lip and didn’t say anything for a minute.
“Well... In a way I want to be captain, but I know this year is going to be really busy for me. So...” Katie paused. “I’m going to turn it down.”
“Potter?” McGonagall said, looking at Harry. It hadn’t even occurred to Harry until then that he might be Quidditch captain one day. But once McGonagall had mentioned it, he secretly started hoping that Katie would refuse.
“Yeah, I’ll be captain,” Harry said, with a small grin.
“Excellent,” McGonagall said, clapping her hands together. “Now Potter, the first thing you will need to do is organize tryouts, since you need two new Chasers. There are more notes on what is involved in being captain in these guidelines.” McGonagall pulled out a piece of parchment, appropriately titled Quidditch Captain Guidelines, and handed it to Harry. She then let them return to their breakfasts.
“What was that all about?” Ron asked, after swallowing a piece of sausage.
“McGonagall made me Quidditch captain,” Harry answered.
“Good job Harry!” Hermione exclaimed.
“Excellent, now you can schedule practices according to my- our schedules,” Ron said, grinning.
“And you can make sure I get on the team,” laughed Ginny, who was sitting next to Hermione.
“You’d get on the team anyway,” said Harry, with a smile.
Harry enjoyed his lessons that day, and stayed in a good mood until dinner. At 5:45 he realized that his interview with Snape was in just fifteen minutes and, his good mood fading, he left the Great Hall. He made his way down to the dark dungeons of Hogwarts. At exactly 6 o’clock, he knocked on Snape’s office door.
December 9th, 2003, 2:31 am
Harry heard Snape tell him to come in, so he opened the door slowly and stepped in to his office. Snape was sitting at his desk reading The Daily Prophet. Harry closed the door behind him and stood still in the middle of the room.
“What are you doing here, Potter?” Snape asked from behind his newspaper.
“I’m here for my interview,” Harry answered. Snape put his newspaper down and stared at Harry with his cold black eyes.
“Here I was thinking you signed your name as a cruel joke,” Snape said with one eyebrow raised. Harry stayed silent. “Your essay?” Harry retrieved the essay he had finished the night before from his bag and handed it over.
“It’s not very long, is it?” Snape said, eying the piece of parchment. “Sit.” Harry sat in a chair facing the desk. Snape took a few minutes to read the essay, occasionally making a noise indicating that he had found something he didn’t like.
“This is an abysmal essay,” Snape said when he finished, looking pleased.
“It is not!” Harry said before he could stop himself.
“Silence Potter! It is for me, not you, to decide how good this essay is, and I assure you it is not of high quality. Although I do not doubt that Weasley and Longbottom’s will be worse so there still may be a chance for you. Unfortunately.” Harry was already feeling angry, and the actual interview hadn’t even started. He thought Ron was right, whatever Snape said, he was never going to let them in.
“Now, the interview. Why do you want to continue with Potions?” Snape asked, picking up a piece of parchment and a quill to take notes.
“Isn’t that what the essay was on?” Harry said coldly.
“Answer!” Snape said impatiently.
“Because I’m thinking about becoming an Auror and I need to know about potions to be one.”
“And what on this earth makes you think you would actually be skilled enough to become an Auror?”
“I thought this interview was supposed to be about Potions,” Harry said, glaring at Snape.
“Let me rephrase the question for those of us too dimwitted to understand the original,” Snape said, rolling his eyes. “What makes you think your potion making skills would be high enough to become an Auror?”
“Well I did get an E on the O.W.L. exam,” Harry said, thinking the answer was obvious.
“I cannot imagine how that happened, your potions were almost never correctly made in my class,” Snape said with a sneer.
“Maybe it’s because I didn’t have you breathing down my neck during the exam, sir,” Harry spat.
“If you even want a chance of getting in to this class, you will speak to me with respect Potter!” Snape said very loudly.
“You should try following your own rules,” Harry muttered, sinking low in his seat and folding his arms.
“Sit up Potter! I am your superior, and you WILL treat me with respect!” Snape said this as he stood up and gave Harry a look of pure loathing.
“Why should I respect you when you treat me like dirt?” Harry said with resentment in his voice, as he sunk even lower in his seat just to annoy Snape.
“I am a professor at this school Potter, that is why! You, on the other hand, are nothing but a worthless child-”
“Oh yeah, the one born with the power to defeat the Dark Lord is pretty worthless...” Harry said quietly. Snape dismissed his comment to finish what he was saying.
“-who is almost as useless as his parents and his dear godfather!” Harry shot up to his feet.
“DON’T YOU TALK ABOUT SIRIUS LIKE THAT!” Harry yelled at the top of his lungs.
“Temper temper,” Snape said, not looking remotely sorry for what he said. “Still upset about Black’s death, are you? It was his own fault you know. He knew he was useless and wanted to feel important, but he just got himself killed. Pity.”
“IT WAS NOT HIS FAULT!” Harry yelled again, fists clenched and shaking. “IF YOU HAD SAID SOMETHING-”
“So now it’s my fault? Did I act foolishly?” Snape said scornfully. “No, I am not the one who went galavanting off to the Ministry of Magic to meet my death-”
“BETTER YOU THAN SIRIUS!” Harry was red in the face. He could not remember ever feeling so much hatred towards Snape. Snape was looking at him with humongous eyes.
“OUT!” Snape yelled and pointed at the door. “I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU IN HERE AGAIN!” Harry grabbed his bag and bolted for the door. He flung it open, walked out, and slammed it shut as hard as he could. Ernie MacMillan, from Hufflepuff, was standing outside waiting for his turn and looking terrified. Harry walked past him swiftly, wanting to get back to his dormitory as quickly as possible.
Harry knew his chances of getting in the class were ruined. It would truly be a miracle if Snape accepted him. But, Harry thought that Snape had deserved to hear every word he had said to him. He was absolutely furious that Snape had dared to bring up Sirius, to insult him even though he died fighting for a good cause.
Before Harry knew it, he had reached Gryffindor Tower. He gave the Fat Lady the password and her portrait swung open, allowing Harry to enter. Still fuming, he stomped across the common room, which was empty except for Hermione and Ginny, who were sitting on chairs in front of the fireplace. Harry was intending to go up to his room, until Hermione ran up and stopped him.
“Harry, what’s wrong?” Hermione asked, blocking the stairs leading to the boys’ dormitories. “How’d your interview with Snape go?”
“It went horribly,” Harry said shortly. “Now can I please go up to my room?”
“What happened?” Hermione asked, looking very concerned. Harry knew he wouldn’t be getting anywhere until he answered her.
“He started talking about how it was all Sirius’ fault that- that he died,” Harry said, a scowl on his face and his lip trembling
“And what did you do?” Hermione was already cringing, knowing what the answer would be.
“I yelled at him. I said ‘Better you than Sirius’ and he told me to leave.” Hermione frowned.
“You know he was only trying to provoke you. He just wanted to touch a soft spot so you’d blow up and he’d have a good excuse not to take you in the class.”
“So it’s all my fault is it? What was I supposed to say? ‘Oh yes, my godfather was a moron and I’m glad he’s dead!’”
“No Harry, you just should’ve kept your cool-”
“Kept my cool? Try losing both your parents and a godparent, have a nice little morbid prophecy made about you, have all summer to brew in that, and then have Snape tell you that you don’t have the skills to be an Auror, you’re worthless, that all the people you lost were useless, and see how you react!” Harry was breathing heavily. Hermione had a very strange look on her face.
“A morbid prophecy?” She said quietly.
“Let me go,” Harry said, realizing what he had let slip. He pushed Hermione out of the way and went up to his room.
December 9th, 2003, 9:47 pm
Harry flung himself on to his bed and buried his face in his pillow. He had been having such a good day for once and it had been ruined. He kept going over and over in his mind what had happened with Snape. When he thought of what Snape said, he inevitably thought of Sirius. Thinking of Sirius made him think of his dreams, and this made him think of the prophecy. Not only what it said, but the fact that he was sure that Hermione had figured out that Harry knew what it was, and she would be sure to ask about it later. Harry really didn’t want to tell her what it was.
All these thoughts were unbearable. Harry pulled on his hair and screamed in to his pillow. If only he could...
Harry sat up on his bed, his mouth slightly open, and slowly turned his head to look at his trunk. He had almost forgotten about the potion that he had bought in Knockturn Alley. Escape.
Harry stood up from his bed and went to open his trunk. He found the orange potion very quickly. He took it out and sat on the floor, staring at the bottle. He sat there motionless for several minutes.
Finally, he made his decision. He went through his trunk again and found a set of measuring spoons that he had used in Potions in years past. He wasn’t sure why he had brought them, but was glad he did. He found the smallest spoon, which carried only a couple drops of liquid. Harry figured if he had no idea what the potion would do, he shouldn’t use too much.
Hands shaking, he screwed off the cap of the bottle and put the little spoon in and captured a couple drops. He carefully closed the bottle, making sure not to spill anything. Harry went back to his bed and sat on it, holding the small spoon inches from his nose, inspecting it.
“What are you waiting for Harry?” he said to himself. With that said, he dropped the liquid on his tongue and swallowed. He threw the spoon aside and sat, tapping his fingers on his knees, nervously waiting.
And suddenly, it happened. Harry saw a flash of white light and fell on his back, unconscious but with his eyes wide open.
A few moments later, Harry woke up. He sat up and looked around.
“Well that was stupid,” He murmured to himself. The potion appeared to have done nothing to him.
Then, Harry heard footsteps and the door opened. It was Ron.
“Hey Harry, what’ve you been up to?”
“Nothing,” he answered, trying not to sound guilty.
“So what did Professor Black have to say?” Ron asked casually.
“What?” Harry said. “Do you mean Blackstone? The interview was with Snape, you know that.” Ron looked at Harry, looking very confused.
“Interview? Snape? I’m talking about Black. As in Sirius Black, your godfather.”
“That’s not funny Ron,” Harry said, glaring.
“It wasn’t supposed to be,” Ron said, looking at Harry strangely. “Well, I just wanted to see if you were back, I’m going to go talk to Hermione about the Transfiguration homework now.”
“Sure,” Harry said. Ron turned to leave, but stopped.
“Oh, you left your watch in the bathroom. You should get it, I wouldn’t want it to get stolen or something.” Ron left the room. Harry looked down at his wrist. He could have sworn that he had been wearing his watch moments before. But, he got up and went to the bathroom to retrieve it.
Harry decided on the way that he had wasted his money on that potion. The only thing that had happened since he took it was Ron saying things that made no sense, but that couldn’t be an effect of a potion, could it?
Harry reached the bathroom and found a watch on the sink counter. But it didn’t look like his watch. Harry’s watch was black and simple. This one was shiny and silver, and behind the minute and hour hands was a golden picture of a Snitch flying around. It couldn’t be his. He put it back on the counter.
As long as he was there, he decided to wash his face. He took off his glasses. But he put them back on straight away, noticing something strange. His glasses were rectangular shaped. His glasses were supposed to be and had always been perfectly round. He looked at his reflection to take a closer look at them.
Harry was shocked. Not only were his glasses in a different shape, but he looked remarkably healthy. He was not pale anymore, but he had a nice color and even a tan. He did not look nearly as thin as he had when he last looked in the mirror. He found himself staring at his cheeks for a whole minute and a half. Harry then rolled up one of his sleeves and looked at his arm. His mouth dropped open. It wasn’t the skin and bones arm he was used to, it was a leanly muscular arm, toned just the right amount for a 16 year old boy.
“Have I been working out in my sleep?” Harry asked himself, feeling his chest and stomach, which also felt quite fit. He looked at his face again. Those glasses looked quite good on him. The rims were dark green and went with his eyes very well. Could the potion have just made him better looking? But then why would it be called Escape? It made no sense.
Harry looked at his face closer in the mirror. He pushed back his bangs to see how his scar looked with his new and mysterious tan.
Harry gasped and stood back from the mirror, staring at it in utter disbelief, and breathing very quickly. His scar was gone.
Harry went back to the mirror and checked his face again. He couldn’t believe it. It was nowhere to be found. His forehead was perfectly smooth. Not a blemish could be found on it. The lightning scar that he had been famous for for fifteen years was gone. Harry ran out of the bathroom and down to the common room. He had to tell Ron and Hermione.
He found them in front of the fireplace, looking through their Transfiguration books.
“Ron, Hermione!” They looked up at him. “My scar, it’s gone!”
“What scar?” Hermione asked.
“I told you, he’s gone crazy,” Ron said to her out of the corner of his mouth.
“What do you mean, what scar? The one Voldemort gave me when I was a baby of course, the one I’m famous for,” Harry pointed to his forehead.
“What is with you today?” Ron said, laughing. “Everyone knows that Dumbledore killed Voldemort the year we were born, Harry. Why would you be famous for some stupid scar?”
Harry’s mouth dropped open for the second time. There were so many things wrong with what had just come out of Ron’s mouth, he didn’t know where to start. Harry tried to say something, but he suddenly felt dizzy. He sat down next to Ron, and within seconds he saw another flash of white light and was unconscious again.
Harry sat up the moment he woke up again. He was back on his bed. He felt his forehead, and his scar was definitely there.
“What the hell?”
December 11th, 2003, 7:19 am
Harry sat there running his fingers over his scar, thinking. Had everything that had just happened all been in his head? He found it incredibly hard to believe. The smells, the sounds, the things he had seen and felt, they had all seemed perfectly real, just as real as the rest of his life.
But it couldn’t have been real. Just the fact that Ron had said Voldemort’s name told him that it wasn’t. It had just been the effects of the potion.
Without really realizing what he was doing, Harry left and walked down to the common room in a zombie like state, lost in confused thoughts and conflicting feelings about what had just happened to him. The room was full now, but he hardly noticed. Harry automatically went to his favorite chair and sat down.
“HEY!” Harry jumped up. He had sat on Hermione without realizing it.
“Oh, sorry Hermione,” he said monotonously, and sat instead in the chair to the left of her.
“Oops.” This time he had sat on Ron. Harry saw that all the seats were taken and sat on the floor. He had his legs crossed and was hunched over with his chin in his hands. He started staring in to space.
“Er... Harry? Are you okay? You seem kind of... out of it,” Hermione said cautiously. Harry looked at her but said nothing.
“Listen mate, don’t get down on yourself about Snape, my interview was lousy too,” Ron added. Hermione had obviously told Ron everything.
“Oh, no, it’s not...” Harry trailed off and didn’t finish his sentence. Hermione exchanged a meaningful look with Ron. She got up and took Harry by the arm, forcing him to stand up.
“Come on,” Hermione said, as she led him, with Ron following, up to Harry and Ron’s room.
“What’re you doing?” Harry mumbled, but did not try to get away. Hermione said nothing until they were in the room with the door closed. Harry saw the spoon he had used for the potion lying on the floor and kicked it under his bed.
“I know what’s wrong,” Hermione said, sitting next to Ron on Harry’s bed. Harry sat down too and faced them.
“What?” Harry got worried. Had Hermione been spying on him earlier?
“You said there was a morbid prophecy made about you. I think you know what that prophecy was, and you are scared that I know that.” Hermione said. Harry was relieved for a moment, but then all the feelings that had been dominating his brain before he used the potion came flooding back to him.
“It’s none of your business,” Harry said rudely.
“Harry, it’s eating you up inside, I can tell,” she said. “Ron and I suspected there was something more than Sirius bothering you.”
“What, so you two have been talking about me all the time when I’m not around?” Harry said rather loudly. Ron shook his head vigorously, looking scared that Harry would blow up.
“You’re our best friend, of course we talk about you sometimes, we’re concerned,” Hermione answered.
“And now we’re going to have a heart to heart dialogue about my feelings, right?” Harry said sarcastically.
“Not if you don’t want to. But to start, could you just tell us Harry, do you know what the prophecy is?” Harry took a long look at Ron and Hermione. They both looked genuinely concerned, which Harry appreciated, but he still did not want to talk about this subject with them. But he couldn’t just leave them hanging there, they were his best friends after all. He looked at the ceiling, and nodded.
“Yeah,” Harry said in a depressed voice. “Dumbledore... he showed me... after... you know...”
“How did Dumbledore know it?” Ron asked softly.
“Trelawney made it right in front of him. Sixteen or so years ago...” Harry answered.
“Trelawney?” Ron said. “Well if it’s Trelawney-”
“No, no, it’s true. Part of it... it’s already happened.” Harry said this with difficulty, his eyes still on the ceiling. Nobody said anything. “Listen, I don’t really want to talk about this.”
“Of course Harry, you don’t have to. But if you ever want to just say the word.” Hermione obviously wanted Harry to continue, but had the good taste not to force him to go any further.
“Well, we’re going to go back down then, do you want to come?” Hermione asked, standing up with Ron.
“No, I’ll stay here,” Harry answered.
Although it was only a little after seven o’clock, Harry crawled in to bed once Ron and Hermione left, but he laid awake for hours, even past when the rest of the boys came to bed, just thinking. The next morning, after he woke up fairly early in the morning, he basically did the same thing. He laid there until after the boys had all left. The only thing that made him get up was the vague desire for food.
He got up, threw on some clothes and went downstairs, not bothering to brush his hair. Ron and Hermione saw him on the way down and joined him for breakfast. Harry was perfectly silent while sitting across from them, munching on toast, and didn’t notice the worried looks that Ron and Hermione kept giving each other in between their futile attempts to make Harry talk. In the middle of his meal, Ginny came up and sat next to Harry.
“Hey Harry, have you started organizing the Quidditch tryouts yet?” she asked.
“Oh,” he said. “No, I haven’t, I’ll do that today.” Harry gave her a grin, and it was a real one. Harry had been so occupied in his thoughts about the effects of the potion that he had completely forgotten that he was now Quidditch captain.
“Well let me know when you’ve done it,” Ginny said.
“Of course,” Harry said. “Thanks for reminding me. I mean really. Thank you.” Ginny gave him a curious look and smiled.
Even Harry was surprised at how quickly his mood changed when he started thinking of Quidditch again. He determined that he would stop mulling over what had happened the night before, and concentrate on his duties for the Quidditch team. Quidditch was a happy thought, and what was more, it was a happy thought that made perfect sense. So he spent the whole day going over the captain guidelines and figuring out practice schedules, what strategies they would need to practice, the exact time and date of the tryouts, and the criteria for judging the people trying out. Had he looked up from his many pieces of parchment with various notes on them, he would have seen that Hermione looked very pleased that he had snapped out of his strange mood.
That evening at dinner, Professor McGonagall gave him a sheet with the dates of all the games that would be played that year, and the names of all the team captains.
“Malfoy?” Harry said, looking at the name next to Slytherin Team Captain. “The worst part is I’ll have to shake hands with him... And Cho. And Zacharias Smith. Oh god, this is miserable.”
“Who are we playing first?” Ron asked from across the table, stuffing a piece of chicken in his mouth.
“Slytherin. I can’t wait to beat Malfoy.” Harry said in a maliciously happy manner. Hermione looked at him with wide eyes.
“Oh Harry, please don’t...” The year before when they had played Slytherin, Harry had actually beaten up Malfoy, who had taken his loss rather badly.
Feel free to leave feedback (http://cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=671316#post671316)! ;)
January 6th, 2004, 5:45 am
Over the next week, Harry grew to have a Quidditch obsession so complete that it rivaled Oliver Wood’s. He had decided that Quidditch was a healthier form of escape than the orange potion, and therefore tried to occupy all of his free time with it. He was often tempted to try it again, especially when he remembered that Ron had mentioned a “Professor Black” in the strange episode, but when he was tempted, he would tell himself to go work on new strategies or something instead.
The tryouts were held on Wednesday night. Ginny was easily the best out of the seven who tried out for the two empty Chaser positions. After Ginny, a third year girl named Marina Courville was chosen, and the Gryffindor team was complete. Harry scheduled practices for all the Saturdays of the month, plus every Tuesday and Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Harry was doing fairly well in his classes. Not surprisingly, Harry had not been accepted in to Snape’s Potions class. But he was enjoying Defense Against the Dark Arts immensely. Professor Blackstone definitely knew what she was doing, and that was such a refreshing change from Umbridge the year before. Every lesson included a time for practical application for what they were learning. The first time Harry heard the words “Wands out!” from Blackstone, his heart leapt and by the end of the lesson, he had decided that he liked her.
But there was something relating to that orange potion that Harry could not avoid. Occasionally, about once a week, Harry would have very brief flashes of what he called in his mind “the other world” that he had momentarily been a part of. It usually happened in harmless places where no one would notice anything, like in bed, while studying, or while falling asleep during a certain extremely boring Transfiguration lecture. What happened in the flashes was usually very similar to what he was actually doing, but in different clothes and with that nice healthy body.
There was one time though, when it was all to obvious that something had happened to him.
It was the first Hogsmeade visit of the year, and Ron, Hermione, and Harry had just left Honeydukes, their pockets full of new sweets to eat. They walked down to The Three Broomsticks to have a butterbeer, and found a small table in the corner to sit at. While Hermione went to get the drinks, Harry pulled out a small bag of chocolates in the shape of extremely tiny waffles. He took one out and put it in his mouth.
“Ron, you have to try one of these,” Harry said after he swallowed the candy. “This is quite possibly the best chocolate I’ve ever had.” He handed one to Ron and put another one in his mouth, just as Hermione returned with the butterbeers.
Harry closed his eyes and grinned as he let the heavenly chocolate melt in his mouth. He let the extraordinary sweet and delectable flavor cover his tongue- when he saw a flash of light and found his tongue in a completely different place.
It took him a second to understand what was going on. As he opened his eyes he found that he was in a tight embrace with a girl in an alley in Hogsmeade. Harry’s hands were on the girls waist, and with a huge shock, he realized that the girls’ hands were comfortably situated in the back pocket of his jeans. The girl noticed after just a couple seconds that something was wrong, and took her lips from Harry’s, but kept her hands right where they were.
In the split second before he spoke, Harry saw that he was face to face with a girl with long dark brown hair and big deep blue eyes. He was sure he had never met her. But Harry thought that she must have been the most gorgeous girl he had ever seen in his life.
“Whagihans!” Harry said in a high pitched and very nervous voice. He had intended to say either “what”, “girl”, or “hands”. Harry cringed at his loud, nonsensical exclamation.
“What’s wrong Harry?” The girl asked sweetly, moving her hands out of Harry’s pockets and rubbing his back.
“Nyawhahuh,” Harry said. His eyes were opened as wide as was humanly possibly, and he glanced from side to side.
“Oh, I know, You’re worried,” the girl said, “But Dad won’t find out. He said he had some work to finish and he wouldn’t be coming to Hogsmeade this weekend. It’s not like him, but hey, it’s good for us!”
“Er... er... are you... er... sure...” Harry glanced down at her neck, around which a silver necklace was hanging. He sincerely hoped the name on the necklace was hers. “Leilani?”
“Of course. Why are you so nervous anyway? Usually you-”
And then there was another flash of light. He had only been with the girl for twenty or thirty seconds.
Harry blinked several times and found that he was on the floor with Ron and Hermione looking down at him very worriedly. He sat up.
“Harry!” Hermione shrieked, giving him a hug. “I was so worried!”
“Er... what happened?” Harry asked, trying to sound clueless.
“You went sort of rigid and fell on the floor with your eyes wide open. It was really weird,” Ron said.
“Oh.” Harry said.
“You were only out for half a minute, but I really think you should go to Madame Pomfrey, what if you’re sick?” Hermione said, as Harry picked himself up and sat back on his chair.
“No!” Harry said quickly and loudly. “I mean, it’s nothing. Maybe I’m allergic to this chocolate or something.”
“Well then can I have it?” Ron asked.
“No you can’t!” Ron and Hermione looked at Harry with their eyebrows up. “It’s nothing, if it happens again, I’ll go. It was only thirty seconds, like you said.”
Ron seemed satisfied with this answer, but Hermione just glared and said nothing until they left. As they walked out, and back to Hogwarts, Harry desperately hoped it wouldn’t happen again in front of them. But he did halfway hope that it would happen again while he was by himself. His thoughts were still on the girl, Leilani. She had been so beautiful, and although he was sure he didn’t know her, she had seemed slightly familiar. He thought of her hands in his pockets and felt his stomach squirm. ‘No! Think of something else!’ Harry thought to himself.
“Quidditch!” Harry spurted out.
“What about it?” Ron said, laughing.
“First match, one week from today!”
And Harry lost himself once again in thoughts of the sport he so dearly loved.
January 7th, 2004, 11:57 pm
There was a familiar feeling in the week preceding the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Like usual, several students found themselves in the hospital wing with nasty curses after hallway fights, the Slytherins whispered insults and threats to all the Gryffindor team members, who just insulted and threatened them back, and all the students, ghosts, and professors were buzzing with excitement constantly.
As usual, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students were supporting Gryffindor, and Harry was often stopped in the hall by students from all three houses to say things like “Good luck on Saturday!” “We know you can do it!” “Malfoy has no chance!” and one that made Harry smile particularly widely, “I want to put a bet on you winning, but no one will go against me!”
On the morning of the match, Harry woke up abruptly from his sleep, disturbed by another nightmare about Sirius and Voldemort. He actually hadn’t been having the nightmares as much as over the summer, since his mind had been so occupied with the upcoming game. Harry lay there miserably dwelling on his dream for a few minutes, but then remembered what day it was and got up, changed, and went down to breakfast with the rest of the team.
They were welcomed with cheers at the Gryffindor table as they sat down to eat. Harry was halfway through eating his toast when an owl carrying an envelope swooped in to the Great Hall and landed in front of him. He took the envelope from the owl and opened it to find a card with a moving drawing of a Golden Snitch on it. Inside it said:
Good luck with the match today! I heard you made captain and have been training hard. I know you can get the Cup for Gryffindor again.
P.S. Remember what I said this summer, if you ever want to talk just send me an owl.
“Who’s that from?” Ron asked from across the table.
“Lupin. He wrote to wish me luck,” Harry said, grinning. He found it kind of odd after having him as a teacher that he had signed the card with just his first name, but all the same he made a mental note to write back to him and thank him for the card.
“That was nice of him, wasn’t it?” Hermione commented.
Soon the whole school was on their way down to the pitch. The team changed into their scarlet robes once they got to the locker room, and sat down with Harry standing before them.
“Slytherin has no chance. It never really did. We’ve trained hard, and we still have the best team in the school. I have complete confidence in all of you. ” Harry paused. “I’m not big on making speeches, so let’s just go play.”
Everyone laughed, and they got up and walked out to the field. Ron, Ginny, and Katie all looked very confident, as did the Beaters, Andrew Kirke and Jack Sloper. The other Chaser, Marina, looked slightly nervous, but she held her head up high as she marched out with them. Harry felt great and had no worries as he led the team and found himself face to face with Draco Malfoy and the Slytherin team.
“You all know the rules, I trust,” said Madam Hooch, whistle in hand and the box of balls at her feet. “Captains shake hands, and we can begin the game.”
Harry and Malfoy looked at each other with disgust and shook hands in as short a time as they could manage.
“Ready to lose, Potter?” Malfoy said.
“Isn’t that what you said before the last three times I beat you?” Harry replied, wiping his contaminated hand on his robes. And with that, both teams kicked off from the ground on their broomsticks, and the game began.
Ginny was the first to score a goal, and soon after Katie and Marina each scored one too. Ron was blocking almost all the attempts that the Slytherins made to put the Quaffle through the hoops. Andrew and Jack managed to mess up several of the Slytherins’ plans by sending Bludgers their way.
After twenty minutes of playing, Gryffindor was leading by forty points. Harry was circling the pitch above all the other players, searching for the Snitch. Malfoy was doing the same thing and at any given time they were at exact opposite ends of the stadium.
“Any time now,” Harry said to himself, wishing the Snitch would show up. He watched Ginny score another goal, which was met by happy cheers from three quarters of the crowd.
And then, he saw it.
The Snitch was flying almost at the opposite side of the stadium. But the problem was it was much closer Malfoy than to him. Harry knew what he had to do. He would fix his gaze somewhere else and speed toward that spot, luring Malfoy away from it.
Harry had just chosen his spot and was ready to zoom away, when he heard loud cheers from the Slytherin end. They all seemed to be pointing to the Snitch, yelling at Malfoy to get it. It did not take long for Malfoy to notice, to turn around and see it. Harry automatically flew as quickly as he could toward the Snitch, his heart racing. He could make it, he had the better broom after all, he would just have to fly faster than he ever had before-
But it was too late. With an eruption from the green and silver clad Slytherin crowd, Harry realized with a horrible shock that the Snitch had been caught. Draco Malfoy had beaten him at Quidditch, fair and square.
January 10th, 2004, 4:23 am
Harry was frozen in midair, sitting on his Firebolt broomstick. He could not believe what had happened. He had lost, to Malfoy of all people. The noise coming from the Slytherin section of the stadium was deafening, but Harry hardly noticed. He didn’t even hear what nasty thing Malfoy said to him as he went flying past him, looking disgustingly happy. Harry was furious with himself.
Harry sunk to the ground slowly, starting to feel nauseous. As soon as he landed he ran as fast as he could straight to the locker room, past the big crowd of Slytherins who had come down to greet their team. He quickly changed back into his normal clothes and headed to the door to leave, but before he could, the rest of the Gryffindor team came in.
“Harry!” Ron yelled. Harry turned around to face him and the others. They all looked concerned rather than upset, but Harry looked sick, angry, and disgusted all at once.
“Listen, mate, we don’t blame you,” Ron said. “We can’t expect to win every time can we?”
“Why don’t you blame me? It’s my fault we lost. I lost. To Malfoy. I don’t lose. That’s not how I play. I play to win, I don’t play to...” Harry’s voice was shaking, and he was only half aware of the words coming out of his mouth. “It’s not you guys, it’s me, there’s something wrong with me. And after every horrible thing that’s happened to me, now I can’t even play Quidditch properly? I’m just... I’m out of it this year. And you call me your captain-”
“Harry! You’re overreacting!” Ginny interrupted. “It’s okay, nobody’s perfect, don’t get down on yourself-” But Harry didn’t hear anything else Ginny had to say because at that moment, he raced out of the room, his Firebolt in hand. Harry ran all the way back to Gryffindor Tower, stomped up the steps to the boys’ dorms, and stepped into his room. He dropped his Firebolt next to his bed and started pacing the room, breathing quickly.
Normally in this situation Harry would have just fixed his mind on Quidditch, like he had every time he felt bad for the last month. Thinking of it this time made him feel sick and humiliated. Quidditch was the one thing that made him happy these days, but his first game of the year, his first game as captain had been, in his eyes, a failure.
Harry stopped pacing and stopped in front of his trunk. Every unpleasant thought and feeling he had managed to push away came back flooding back to him.
Then he thought back to the attractive scarless reflection he had once seen in the mirror and the beautiful girl he had briefly seen the week before. Harry rummaged through his trunk and found the bottle of orange potion. He stared at it.
“I guess they don’t call this stuff Escape for nothing...” Harry muttered to himself. He opened the bottle and poured some potion into the bottle cap. He drank it, and as he closed the bottle and put it back in his trunk he noticed that with this larger amount, he could actually taste the potion.
“Hmm. Orange flav-” Harry fell on the floor, his eyes open and staring blankly at the ceiling.
After seeing the familiar flash of light, Harry found himself in the entrance hall of Hogwarts, surrounded by a large moving group of excited Gryffindors. Harry stood still, trying to take in the scene. He noticed that he was in his Quidditch uniform.
“C’mon Harry, what’re you stopping for?” A voice to his left said. Harry looked and saw it was Ron, also in uniform.
“Oh, yeah, sorry,” Harry answered.
“Anyway, like I was saying, you get us two more quick games like that, and the cup is ours again! You were so good! The Slytherin captain was really getting on Thompson’s case for not seeing the Snitch-”
“Thompson? What about Malfoy?” Harry asked, as they climbed the stairs, walking toward the Great Hall.
“Nice one Harry. You know all Slytherins buy their way in, and Malfoy hasn’t got a cent. The day Malfoy is on the team, you’ll be famous for a scar on your head.” Ron said this loudly to compete with the noise from the surrounding crowd. Harry stared at Ron. Firstly, this Ron clearly remembered what Harry had told him a month ago. And secondly...
“Malfoy- is poor?” Harry burst in to laughter. After hearing Malfoy give Ron a hard time for being from a poor family for so many years, this was just perfect.
“You know that. They lost everything when his dad went to Azkaban.” Ron looked at Harry. “Are you going mental again, like last month?” Harry controlled his laughter.
“Nope, I’m fine, just fine. Let’s go eat, I’m starving.” Harry felt better already.
They went into the Great Hall and Harry sat down at the Gryffindor table next to Ron. Soon Hermione came and sat across from them. With her was the girl Harry had been with the week before- Leilani.
“Great job Harry!” Hermione said.
“I knew you would win for us again!” said Leilani, sitting next to Hermione, and looking at him adoringly. Harry’s stomach did a back flip. He grinned and looked down at his plate.
Harry took a sandwich and was about to take a bite, when he felt something traveling up his leg. It was a foot. He looked up at Leilani, frozen with his sandwich at his mouth. Leilani winked at him. He tried to concentrate on his sandwich, but it was quite difficult.
‘What a potion,’ Harry thought to himself. But Harry allowed himself to become so absorbed in what was happening, that he soon half forgot that everything here was the effects of the potion.
Halfway through lunch, Hermione started talking about classes to Leilani. Harry listened to them, or at least tried to, since Leilani’s foot had found its way up to Harry’s knee, and this was a bit distracting. Harry’s whole body was very tense, but this only seemed to amuse Leilani, who had a mischievous grin on her face. Hermione was talking about some sort of jinx they were learning about in Defense Against the Dark Arts, when very suddenly, Harry remembered that the last time Harry had used the potion, Ron had mentioned a Professor Black.
Harry’s eyes went straight to the staff table. His heart jumped. He leapt up out of his seat and ran up to the table, stopping in front of a very handsome dark haired man who looked like he was ten years younger than he actually was. He looked up at Harry curiously. Harry stared at him with a loss for words, hardly daring to believe he was face to face with Sirius Black, the godfather he thought he had lost forever.
January 11th, 2004, 10:14 am
“What is it Harry?” Sirius asked from behind the staff table. Harry said nothing. “What are you looking at me like that for?”
“Could we go somewhere private?” Harry said quietly. “Now?”
“I guess so, if it’s important. Just let me finish talking to Professor Flitwick-”
“No, I need to talk to you now, before-”
“Okay, okay. Filius, could we finish this on the way to my office?” Sirius stood up, along with Professor Flitwick, and they walked with Harry out of the Great Hall. Sirius and Flitwick talked while walking, with Harry tagging along behind, his heart beating very quickly. Finally they reached the office that Harry knew belonged to the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
“I’ll talk to you later then, Filius, Harry wants to talk to me in private,” Sirius waved as Flitwick skipped away, and he opened the door, letting Harry go in ahead of him. As soon as Sirius closed the door behind him, Harry trapped him in the tightest hug he could manage.
“Harry! What’s this all about?” With some difficulty, Sirius pulled Harry off of him, so he could see his face. Harry’s eyes were shining with tears that he was trying not to let fall, but there was a huge smile on his face.
“I’m just s-so happy to s-see you,” Harry said.
“I saw you this morning before the match Harry, is something wrong?” Sirius made Harry take a seat and walked around to the chair behind his desk to sit.
“Er... well... I had a... a dream,” Harry said, not wanting to tell him about the potion, since Sirius would probably think he was crazy. Harry touched his forehead at the spot where his scar should have been. “Well, see, in the dream, Voldemort was still alive, and I was famous because he tried to kill me and I had this dumb scar on my head and it always hurt like hell- well anyway the point is, in the... er... dream, you were... you were killed. By your cousin. And I felt so... so alone when you died. Then, right after I lost you I found out there was this awful prophecy made where Voldemort and I would- well, one of us would have to kill the other no matter what. I was brewing in that all summer, and then once I got back to school I lost at Quidditch to Draco Malfoy.”
Sirius was staring at Harry looking very concerned. Harry had had a very hard time controlling his voice and it was all he could do to stop himself from crying.
“That’s a terrible dream,” Sirius said quietly. “But you mustn’t worry yourself about it Harry, that’s all it was after all. Just a dream. Voldemort is gone. You weren’t even alive yet when he was killed. You don’t have to kill anyone. And I’m alive. I’m right here. There’s nothing to worry about. And... well, Draco Malfoy doesn’t even own a broomstick.”
But far from comforting him, this made Harry break down. He buried his face in his hands. Harry didn’t see it, but Sirius’ mouth fell open.
“Harry!” Sirius rushed out of his seat and went to Harry. He lifted Harry from his seat and held him by his shoulders. Harry dropped his own hands, and looked at Sirius’ worried face with his own wet red one, his tears still falling and his lips trembling. “Are you sure nothing else is wrong? A dream couldn’t affect you this badly, could it?”
“It- it wasn’t- I mean- It just seemed so real. Like none of this here had ever happened. I had been dealt the worst possible hand at life and I was stuck. Trapped in this stupid famous body with the stupid famous scar and everything bad always happened to me. I just wanted to be a normal kid, to be nothing special.”
“But Harry, you are a normal kid. Nothing spe- no you are special, any godson of mine is special. But you are just a normal kid. No scar, see?” Sirius ran his fingers over Harry’s scarless forehead. “Just calm down Harry, everything is okay.” Sirius hugged him, and then went back to his seat behind his desk.
“Sorry,” Harry mumbled.
“What are you apologizing for? Listen, I just don’t want you worrying about it.” Sirius pulled out two tea cups. “Would you like some tea?”
“Sure,” Harry said with a sniffle and a smile. He really was incredibly happy to see Sirius again, even if it technically wasn’t real. He tried to do as Sirius told him and not worry about his problems for now, and enjoy his time with him.
“Here,” Sirius said, handing Harry a cup of tea, which Sirius had prepared with his wand in seconds. “Now let’s just cool down.”
“Thanks,” said Harry, and he took a sip. “So... Sirius... have you ever been to Azkaban?”
“What? Of course not!” Sirius said this with a grin. “Don’t tell me in this dream I was framed and sent there or something?”
“And you were the first person ever to escape,” Harry said with a laugh.
“Nice one,” Sirius said. “Say, Harry, have you practiced any of the jinxes I taught your class this last week?”
“Er... yeah, I...” But Harry trailed off because he had just noticed a framed picture sitting on Sirius’ desk. It was of Sirius, a beautiful woman who Sirius had his arm around, and Leilani. Harry’s eyes widened and he looked at Sirius. Was Leilani Sirius’ daughter? Sirius never had any children that Harry knew of... But now Harry realized why Leilani had looked familiar- she had a slight resemblance to Sirius, and had obviously inherited extremely good looks from him, and seemingly her mother too.
“You noticed the new family portrait I see?’ Sirius said, glancing at the photo. “About time I put a new one up, Lei’s not the little girl she used to be is she? She’s grown up to be as gorgeous as her mother.”
“Yeah, she has,” Harry said vaguely. “Not little anymore...”
“I remember when you two used to cause so much trouble playing over at our house, you know, when you were three, four years old. One time we made the mistake of leaving you two together in her room and we later found that you two had pushed her mattress on the floor and were jumping around on it stark naked covered in toothpaste and Floo powder.”
“Oh,” Harry said. His mind was busy working out what all of this meant. So in this world he had grown up with this girl, Sirius’ daughter, and now for some reason they were hiding their relationship. Interesting...
“I know, I always bore you with these stories, but I can’t help it. You two were adorable.” Sirius smiled. “So Harry, was there anything else you wanted to talk about? Or was it just the dream?”
“Well actually, I just didn’t want the whole school watching me hug you. You know, I’ve got to be all manly in front of my peers,” he said with a small smile, and Sirius let out his bark-like laughter that Harry had missed so much.
January 14th, 2004, 4:12 am
Harry was not sure how long he sat there in Sirius’ office. He spent most of the time listening to Sirius talk, and sometimes faking answers to questions that Harry hoped would sound right. Sirius would occasionally ask Harry if he wanted to leave yet, but he always said no. He wanted to stay with Sirius as long as he could. From what Harry gathered, in this world he usually didn’t make time to have long chats with his godfather anymore, so Sirius seemed perfectly happy with his answer.
At one point Sirius started talking about the upcoming holiday season.
“We got this the other day,” Sirius said, handing Harry an envelope. Harry looked at the front of the envelope, which said:
To Sirius, Adriana, and Leilani Black.
Inside was a Christmas party invitation reading:
The Longbottom family cordially invites you to-
“Are these Neville’s parents!?” Harry asked, losing interest in the rest of the invitation.
“Of course, what other Longbottoms do you know of?” Sirius said casually. In the real world, Neville’s parents had been tortured into insanity by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, so to see a party invitation from them was fairly shocking, even after seeing how different things were here.
“Oh, right. You know, I’m just being weird today...” Harry drifted off.
“Anyway, Ana and I think we’ll go to your place for the week of Christmas, and we’ll all go to the party together on Christmas Eve...” But Harry didn’t hear the rest of what Sirius said.
Something entered in to his mind that made Harry almost forget to breathe. He could not believe he had not thought of this before. His mind had been too occupied with Sirius and everything else. But now... Why had he not thought of this?
“My parents...” Harry said quietly.
“What about them?”
“They- They’re- Are they alive?” Sirius looked at Harry for a moment, not saying anything.
“Is this about your dream?” Sirius asked seriously.
“Tell me!” Harry stood up and shouted this in Sirius’ face. “Are my parents alive!?”
But at this moment, Harry got very dizzy. He couldn’t see straight, and he had to sit back down. He put his hands on his forehead.
“Not now...” Harry murmured to himself. And then he saw the now familiar flash of light and passed out.
“Not now!” Harry yelled out in frustration, and sat up as soon as he was conscious again. He soon realized he was not alone, and he wasn’t in his dormitory anymore. He was in a bed in the hospital wing, with Ron and Hermione sitting in chairs at the foot of the bed. They both looked scared. Harry saw Madam Pomfrey heading over to him out of the corner of his eye.
“Awake I see,” Madam Pomfrey said. “And yelling random nonsense to announce it.” She came over and put what looked like a large purple thermometer into his mouth.
“I’m fine,” Harry said once she had taken the thing out of his mouth and shook her head at the results.
“If you were fine, you wouldn’t have been unconscious for the last five hours.”
“Yes, five hours. Weasley here was terrified when he found you and Miss Granger was crying her eyes out for the first two hours. The Headmaster even came to see you.”
“Yes Potter, Dumbledore is still the Headmaster. Now you stay put while I go tell him you’re awake. You are staying here overnight.” Madam Pomfrey left. Harry was now alone with Ron and Hermione, who were staring at him like they expected an explanation. Harry still had no intention of telling them about the potion.
“I’m fine,” Harry said calmly, as he laid back down on the bed.
“You are not fine,” Hermione said sternly.
“You should have seen yourself, Harry,” Ron said. “Lying there with your eyes wide open, you looked like you were dead or something. You weren’t moving at all except to blink once every 14 seconds. I counted. It was 14 every single time.”
“Have you had more of that chocolate Harry?” Hermione asked. “I didn’t think that could be it, and neither does Professor Blackstone, but last time-”
“It’s not the chocolate,” Harry said confidently, rolling his eyes.
“Then what is it?” Ron asked. Harry hesitated.
“I don’t know,” Harry said angrily. “I told you, I’m fine, don’t worry about it.”
“I don’t know why you aren’t worried,” Hermione said just as angrily. “Maybe you do know what’s happening and don’t want to tell us for some stupid reason. But either way, Harry, you were out cold for so many hours, nobody knew what was wrong, we didn’t even know if you’d ever wake up.” Hermione’s eyes were filling with tears.
“Why are you two assuming I would know what’s causing this?” said Harry, avoiding both their eyes. “What if it’s Voldemort or something?”
“That’s what Dumbledore said, but I think you would be more concerned if it was,” Hermione said.
“I’m not that concerned because whatever’s happening isn’t causing me any harm.”
“No, being unconscious for five hours and scaring your friends isn’t harmful at all,” Hermione said sarcastically.
“I mean, it felt like I was just out for a second,” lied Harry. “And I feel fine now.”
“You might feel fine now, but Dumbledore seemed to think it would be nice and easy for Voldemort to kill you if you were lying there unconscious all the time. He sounded really worried.” Ron said. Nobody said anything for awhile. Harry took the opportunity to examine his fingernails.
“Well that would work,” Harry said to himself, thinking of the conditions of the prophecy.
“That would work?” Hermione said in a high voice, looking frightened. “Harry, is your life that bad? Were you trying to-”
“No I wasn’t!” Harry yelled, getting impatient. “I just mean it would fulfill the proph-” He stopped himself. But it was too late. Harry swore under his breath.
“The prophecy?” Hermione said nervously. “The prophecy says V-Voldemort is going to-to kill you?” Harry didn’t see any way out.
“No. The prophecy. It says-” Harry took a deep breath, feeling extremely agitated. “It says that one of us has to die at the hand of the other no matter what. That’s it- I was born to kill, or to be killed. Are you happy now?” Hermione and Ron’s mouths had dropped open. Ron looked horrified and Hermione looked like she was going to start crying again. Harry, on the other hand, now felt infuriated.
“Oh... Harry...” Hermione said. “I didn’t know it was-”
“Well now you do!” Harry yelled, as he got up on his knees. “Now do you get why I really don’t want to talk about it? But you-” Harry pointed his finger accusatorially at Hermione- “You had to force it out of me!”
“Harry, I didn’t mean-” Hermione said, looking fearful, while Ron still said nothing.
“You didn’t mean to? Of course you did Hermione, you were dying to know! Now could you just go and leave me alone?”
“I didn’t make-” Hermione said.
“I said go! You can’t help me!”
“Harry, she was only-” Ron tried to get a word in.
“GET OUT!” Harry’s voice seemed to echo in the almost empty hospital wing. Ron and Hermione looked at Harry, saying nothing, and eventually stood up together.
Harry watched his two best friends walk slowly out of the hospital wing. He then turned around and laid on his stomach, burying his face in the pillow. He knew perfectly well that Ron and Hermione were both worried, shocked, and altogether very upset, but this did not bother him at the moment. Harry was too busy basking in his own misery to care about anything. He was back in the real world, the world that Sirius had thought was just a bad dream, and he hated it more than ever.
I hope I'm not depressing my readers too much... :D
January 16th, 2004, 10:50 pm
Harry lay there fuming in his hospital bed for only a few minutes before Madam Pomfrey came back with Dumbledore. Harry pretended to be asleep so that he wouldn’t have to talk to Dumbledore. He heard them walk over to him and stop next to his bed. Madam Pomfrey gasped.
“There is no need to worry, he’s just asleep,” Dumbledore whispered. “His body isn’t tense like before... and look, his eyes are closed.”
“Do you have any ideas yet on what it was? Because I surely don’t.” Madam Pomfrey whispered back.
“Not quite, Professor Blackstone is researching, and I’ve contacted a few others- they are researching as well,” Dumbledore said, and Harry had to stop himself from groaning.
“I do hope they find something soon, we can’t have students collapsing all over the place.”
“We will, we will,” Dumbledore said a little more quietly. “Even Miss Granger is looking into it. She already started to check some books that she bought on holiday in America when she left for lunch. It’s unlikely they would have anything; she said they were about new magics that have supposedly not yet reached Britain, but still, we can use all the help we can.”
Harry opened his eyes. Luckily for him, Dumbledore didn’t see, since he and Madam Pomfrey were now walking away. He closed his eyes again. Harry did not like what he had just heard. Dominic, the man he had bought the potion from, had been American. Hermione was bound to be done reading all five books (Harry somehow remembered this number from Hermione’s incessant talks back at Grimmauld Place) cover to cover by the time the next day was over. If there was anything about Escape in there, she would find it.
But then, how would she be able to recognize it when she found it if Harry didn’t tell her what the symptoms were? This was a hopeful thought for Harry.
But there were visible symptoms- a tense body, eyes wide open except to blink every 14 seconds, falling back into ‘unconsciousness’ for half a minute at random times- she could very possibly find it. The thought of her finding out was unbearable. He couldn’t have his friends, or Dumbledore, know that he was resorting to strange potions to escape his problems. No, that was not an option. And Harry was going to make sure it did not happen.
He opened his eyes again. Dumbledore had gone, and Madam Pomfrey was in her office. Harry reached to the bedside table, where his glasses were, and put them on. He very quietly got out of bed, and put on his shoes, which were sitting next to the bed. He ran stealthily and silently across the room and out the door. He was free.
Harry ran all the way to Gryffindor Tower. On the way, he looked out the window and saw the sun setting. He figured that it was probably dinner time by now. Harry reached the Fat Lady’s portrait, gave her the password, and he entered.
Harry walked into the common room, and knew that he was right about it being dinner time, because the room was deserted, save two people on a small loveseat in front of the fire. Harry stood still in the middle of the room and saw Hermione crying into Ron’s shoulder. Ron had his arms around her, one stroking her hair comfortingly. That is, until he saw Harry. As soon as Ron realized he was there, he looked up at Harry and glared at him. Hermione looked up too and stopped crying. Harry reluctantly went and sat in a chair next to Ron and Hermione, and there was a long silence.
“Harry,” Ron said finally. “We know you’ve been going through alot for the last year or two, but you can’t take it out on us-”
“I wasn’t-” Harry said defensively.
“Oh yes you were,” Ron interrupted. “Now why don’t you shut up and listen to me for a minute. What you said back there was completely uncalled for. You blamed Hermione and screamed at her for forcing the prophecy out of you when you know perfectly well it was your own fault you told us. We’re upset about what it is too, but I’m telling you Harry, after how you acted, it’s a lot harder for us to sit here and comfort you.”
Harry was so used to Hermione being the confident speaker that it was surprising to hear this all coming out of Ron’s mouth. He started to feel guilty.
“I know you’re all upset about Malfoy beating you,” Ron continued. “’Cause you’re in the worst mood that you’ve been in since Snape’s interview. And I don’t know if that curse or whatever did something to you too, but whatever it is, you were a real jerk in there. The prophecy is a really bad one, we know that Harry, but you just can’t go around practically blaming your friends for your problems. You’ve already lost your mum and dad and Sirius, do you want to lose your best friends too?”
Harry’s mouth fell open. Ron’s last sentence had been like a slap in the face.
“I- I- I’m... I’m really sorry,” Harry said, although he doubted this apology would really fix anything. The expressions on Ron and Hermione’s faces did not change. “But listen, you guys don’t know what it’s like, I just lost control this one time, I really am sorry.”
“You’ve been losing control all the time since V-Voldemort came back,” Hermione said timidly. “How do we know you won’t yell at us again tomorrow?”
Harry growled. He decided he didn’t feel sorry anymore.
“I’d like to see you try to live my disaster of a life without occasionally losing control!”
“Temper temper,” Ron said to himself.
“What was that for!?” Harry shouted.
“You’re doing it again.” Ron answered simply. Harry yelled out in frustration.
“That’s because you’re provoking me!” Harry said accusingly. Ron closed his eyes momentarily, apparently trying to calm himself so he wouldn’t start yelling back at Harry.
“Harry, you’ve already heard what we have to say. When you’ve decided you want to treat us like you actually like us, let us know.”
“When I-? ” Harry stood up, and prepared himself for blowing up. “Well when you want to be a little more sympathetic, why don’t you let me know! You said it yourself, I’ve gone to hell and back, so don’t I deserve a break? You expect me to act perfectly calm even now that you know I’ve been going through? I’d take an unfair scolding from my best friend any day if I could trade places with either of you!”
Harry was red in the face, glaring at Ron and Hermione with his fists clenched.
“No,” Harry said, slightly more calmly. “I really doubt I’ll be letting you know about that anytime soon, because right now, I really don’t like either of you.”
Harry, maliciously happy that his last words would definitely make them feel really bad again, made to leave, but then he glanced at the table in front of where Ron and Hermione were still sitting. There were Hermione’s five books that she had bought in America.
“I want to read these.” Harry announced, and he scooped up the books and ran up to his room.
January 21st, 2004, 9:33 pm
Harry dropped Hermione’s books on his bed, pulled his shoes off, and then angrily kicked one of the wooden legs of Ron’s bed.
“Ouch!” Harry fell on to his own bed, clutching his foot and causing the books to fall on the floor. He let go of his foot, picked them back up, and pulled the hangings around his bed to hide himself from his roommates when they came up. He sat cross-legged on top of his covers and ran his hands over his hair roughly, as if trying to iron his head.
Harry felt like he was going to explode. He had somehow found pleasure at making his friends feel horrible at the time, but that faded quickly, and now Harry was back to feeling thoroughly miserable. He seriously considered taking more of the potion, but decided he shouldn’t right then, not only because he could be discovered again, but because Hermione would be able to get her books back too easily before Harry checked them.
Harry took a few deep breaths and then pulled the top book from the pile towards him. It was simply titled Native Magic of the Americas and had a picture of an elaborately decorated Native American on the cover. He opened the book and started to skim through the chapters. There were chapters on rain dances, dream catchers, and talking totem poles, but Harry didn’t find anything good in there. The chapter on potions proved itself to be useless, and he moved on to the next book.
Harry picked up a fairly thin blue book called Mystical Montana which, predictably, covered the history of magic in the state of Montana. It was very boring until the second to last chapter, where Harry found a reference to himself. Apparently, seven years earlier, a grown woman had come forward claiming to be the famous Harry Potter, but it was quickly proved she was not him when the scar on her head washed off and they found that she didn’t have an English accent. But they named the section of their newly built hospital where they kept incurable mental patients after Harry since they never discovered the name of the woman.
“So I’m famous there too,” Harry said quietly to himself, rolling his eyes. He shut the book and put it aside. He went through the next two books, which were more about modern advances in magic, but he still didn’t find anything about the potion. Halfway through one of these books, he heard Ron and the other boys come up to go to sleep.
Harry had been looking through the books for hours now, and he really wanted to go to sleep and forget his troubles. But there was one book left:
Dangerous Experimental Magic and Your Teenage Witch or Wizard
The picture on the cover showed a married couple having what appeared to be a heartfelt talk with their teenage daughter, who had a nose ring and green hair.
Harry raised his eyebrows at the book. He opened the hard cover, and could tell that Hermione had not yet done so herself. Harry wondered for a moment how Hermione could possibly own a book for three months and not even look inside, but he blew off that thought and started searching.
Finally, Harry found what he was looking for. He turned the page, and there was a color picture of an orange potion in a bottle identical to the one Harry had. At the top of the page, it said in big letters: “Escape”.
Harry saw that the article on the potion took up two pages, and so, he ripped them both out carefully. He was too tired and didn’t care enough to read the pages now, so he folded them up and tucked them into the area underneath his mattress. Harry put the books on the floor and his glasses on his bedside table, and got underneath his covers to go to sleep. He felt his stomach clench uncomfortably, thinking back to the day’s events without the distraction of the books. Soon though, he fell asleep and did not wake up for another nine hours.
Harry woke the next morning with another unpleasant feeling in his stomach, but this time it was hunger. He realized he hadn’t eaten, at least not in this world, since breakfast the day before. He sluggishly got out of bed, threw some clothes on, and left the empty dormitory to go downstairs.
He arrived in the Great Hall and sat at the very end of the Gryffindor table away from everyone else. He served himself a couple sausages and sat eating them, staring in to space. He was thrown out of his daydream about playing footsies with Leilani the day before when he saw Ron and Hermione, talking amongst themselves, walk past him and out of the hall. They didn’t even look at Harry. Harry pushed his plate away and let his head fall on the table with a loud and painful bang.
Harry moaned. He couldn’t believe what he had done. He had pushed his best friends in the world away from him and he felt more alone than ever. And on top of it all, now his head really hurt.
“You idiot,” Harry said, though no one else heard him. He got up from his seat and left the hall to wander the corridors of Hogwarts. He wished that he could talk to Sirius again, but as tempting as it was, the rational part of his brain somehow convinced him not to take the potion again. Not yet anyway. He thought for a moment about visiting Hagrid, but Harry thought that Ron and Hermione would probably be doing the same thing, and he didn’t want to take the chance of running into those two.
Then Harry suddenly remembered the good luck card Lupin had sent him the day before, and the words he had said to him back at Grimmauld Place... “If you ever need to talk to anyone you can always send me an owl...”
Harry rushed back to his room, got out a piece of parchment and quill, and went up to the owlery.
“Hedwig,” Harry said, looking up at the snowy owl. “Come on, I need you to bring something to Lupin.” Hedwig flew down and waited for Harry while he took five minutes to write a short letter.
Dear Professor Lupin,
Thank you for the card, I really liked it. I didn’t win though. I’m too messed up to play properly this year I guess.
I was wondering if we could talk sometime, like you offered before. I want to ask you about some stuff. Really late when no one is awake would be a good time. I don’t want anyone else around. We could talk through the fires or something.
January 23rd, 2004, 8:53 am
After he sent Hedwig on her way, Harry went outside to the far side of the lake of Hogwarts. It was an unusually warm day for November, so he stayed there all day, lying on his stomach in the grass. He nearly drove himself crazy going over the same thoughts over and over in his mind all day long, but he couldn’t help it.
The thing that went through Harry’s mind the most was the thought of how incredibly different the Escape world was from his own, and the remote possibility that that world could be real. Harry couldn’t help but think that maybe he had been having mental problems for his whole life and that what he thought was real could all be in his mind.
After all, how likely was it that he, Harry James Potter, a normal teenage boy, could survive a deadly curse as a baby, happen to be the one who successfully found the Philosopher’s Stone, kill a giant snake with a sword at the tender age of twelve, survive a huge dementor attack because of time travel, live through the resurrection of the most evil wizard in the world, and then turn out to be the one who was destined to kill him? Could it be that his mind had created this fantastical world, a world even more incredible than the normal magic world?
“That’s ridiculous,” Harry said out loud to himself when this thought first occurred to him. “I’m like a superhero or something. A really screwed up superhero.”
Harry came to the conclusion that if the Escape world was in fact the real world, then his brain must have created the potion because it realized that things were getting so out of control in his made up world. This device of his mind would allow him to escape, to return to the real world.
But deep down, Harry highly doubted that this was the case. As much as he would love the other world to be real, and as much as he hated his life at the moment, the thought that the past sixteen years of his life could have been a lie was almost worse.
When Harry finally went back to his room in Gryffindor Tower, he discovered that Hermione’s books were gone. He suspected that Hermione had probably spent the day searching them, but this was fine by him since he had already made sure she wouldn’t find anything. Harry got in to bed and laid there, lost in confused thoughts, for a long time before he fell asleep.
Harry woke up abruptly the next morning from another nightmare. He took a moment to calm himself, breathing deeply and wiping the sweat off his face with his shaking hands. He quickly realized that he was starving, since once again, he had hardly eaten the day before. He pulled on his school robes and went to breakfast. Harry was pleased to see Hedwig fly in and deliver a letter halfway through his meal. The note from Lupin said that he would make an appearance in the common room fire at one in the morning.
Harry made his zombie-like way through his classes that day, sitting in the back away from Ron and Hermione, barely taking notes, and trying new spells only halfheartedly. He ate a measley dinner that night, and afterwards claimed a chair in a corner of the common room where he sat reading the same page in his Transfiguration book all night long. He would occasionally look up and see Ron and Hermione looking at him, but he would just glare at them and go back to his book.
Finally, the common room cleared out at half past twelve, and Harry went to the fireplace and sat in front of it, waiting. At exactly one o’clock, Lupin’s head appeared in the flames.
“Hello Harry,” said Lupin, smiling.
“Hey,” Harry said, forcing a smile.
“I’m sorry to hear about the game,” Lupin said. “But I’m sure you’ll win next time.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Harry said with a frown.
“Now don’t get too upset Harry, no one’s perfect.”
“I didn’t really want to talk about Quidditch.”
“Oh, well, then what do you want to talk about?” Lupin asked. Harry said nothing at first.
“Stuff? Is something wrong Harry? It looks like you haven’t brushed your hair for days, and that’s a tell tale sign,” Lupin said with a slight grin.
“Of course, everything’s wrong,”
“Is it... Dumbledore told me what happened after the game, are you worried about that?”
“No!” Harry said quickly. “No, it’s not that. I got in a fight with Ron and Hermione and...” Lupin furrowed his brow.
“Well, Hermione practically forced me to tell her what the prophecy was and-” Harry stopped mid-sentence. “Wait, do you know about the prophecy? I mean, do you know what it is?”
“No, I don’t. Dumbledore told me it was about you of course, but he thinks you are the only one with the right to decide who knows and who doesn’t.”
“Oh. Good. I mean, I would be okay with you knowing, but good.”
“If you ever want to tell me that’s fine, but I won’t force you,” Lupin said. “You said Hermione forced you to tell her? That’s hard to believe.”
“Well,” said Harry. “Not quite, but I could tell she was dying to know.”
“So you told her what it was, and Ron I’m guessing, and then...”
“And then... I yelled at them,” Harry said guiltily. “But you don’t understand how it is, I had just had all this stuff happen to me- I mean, you know, the Quidditch thing- and then she starts bugging me about the po- er- the curse or whatever- and then the prophecy came up. It just made me so mad.”
“So it was just Hermione?” Lupin asked.
“No... Ron told me off for yelling at her. But they should be more sympathetic. That’s what I told them.”
“Well, Harry,” Lupin said with a sigh. “I can’t tell you how to solve this, you’ll have to do this on your own-”
“I never said I wanted you to solve it for me!” Harry said, almost yelling.
“Harry, I know that, please don’t get angry,” Lupin said cooly. “I’m just trying to give you a bit of advice.”
“That’s all right. All I wanted to say is that you really should try to make up with them, you don’t want to lose your friends at a time like this.”
“Right, I know,” Harry said dully. “Anyway, this isn’t really what I wanted to talk about either.”
“What is it then?”
“I want to know...” Harry paused. “I need to know some things about Sirius.”
Credit needs to be given for the quote "I'm like a superhero or something." It was taken from the episode Tabula Rasa of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
January 26th, 2004, 4:18 am
“Oh. Yes, of course, I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” Lupin said. “What kind of things were you curious about?”
“About his life, I guess. His past,” Harry said with a shrug. “I mean, I only had him for a couple years and I didn’t even think to ask him about a lot of things.”
“Well,” Harry stopped to pretend to think, even though he had every question he planned on asking ready to go. “Did he have a girlfriend or a wife or anything before he was put in Azkaban?”
Lupin didn’t say anything right away, but looked down and sighed before opening his mouth to answer.
“Yes, he had a wife, for a short time. Less than a year. Adriana was her name. She was one year below us at Hogwarts. You know, Sirius was very popular with the girls, and always so confident around them. But with Ana,” Lupin laughed softly. “With Ana, it took Sirius quite awhile to master speaking the English language when she was around.”
Harry’s heart was beating very quickly. He was sure the name on Sirius’ invitation that he had read under the influence of the potion had been Adriana.
“But they got married?”
“Oh yeah, they got married. They had the best wedding. Weddings were kept small around that time, what with Voldemort being in power. But they went for a big one, and we all had a blast. It was so like Sirius to do that.”
“So what happened? You said they weren’t married that long?” Lupin’s look of fond recollection changed to one of sadness.
“She was killed by a Death Eater.”
“That’s... terrible,” Harry said quietly after a moment.
“It really was. She died a few months before you were born. In April.”
Hadn’t the Ron of the Escape world said that Voldemort had been killed the year they were born? If he had been killed before April, then Adriana Black would have probably lived...
“She, um, she didn’t happen to, er,” Harry was trying to ask his question casually, but it wasn’t working very well. “She wasn’t pregnant when she died was she?”
Lupin’s eyes widened.
“How would you- Why do you ask?” Lupin looked at him inquisitively.
“It was just a question.” Harry had to think fast. “Well, they were newlyweds after all, you know how they are, babies naturally follow-”
“Yes, yes, I know. Well, you’re right, she was pregnant. The baby would have been born about the same time as you. Your due dates were two days apart I think. Sirius and Ana and your parents were so excited about raising you and their child together. They had it all planned out, their kids would be best friends from the first day. Lily and James were going to be the godparents too.” Lupin paused, looking sadder than ever. “I suspect that’s one reason Sirius was so attached to you, Harry.” There was long moment of silence.
“Why did he never tell me about this?” Harry said with a frown.
“He hardly talked about it to anyone. It was too painful.”
“I can relate to that,” Harry said lowly, understanding perfectly. “How could you ever have thought he was on Voldemort’s side though, if his wife was killed by his followers?”
“When we thought he was on Voldemort’s side, we assumed that he had been involved in the murder.” Harry’s mouth opened in outrage. Lupin continued. “You have to remember, we thought he was an insane mass murderer at the time. Even you thought so, remember that. If he had actually betrayed your parents, don’t you think he could have killed his wife?”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“You sure know the fun questions to ask Harry,” Lupin said with a hint of sarcasm. “Anything else?” Harry was lost in thought, but after a minute he snapped himself out of it and answered.
“Yes,” Harry said. “Do you happen to know what they were planning on naming the baby?”
“Well, I think they were looking at Hawaiian names,” Lupin said, looking up at the top of the fireplace as if it would give him the definite answer.
“Leilani, is that Hawaiian?” Harry asked.
“Oh, yes, that was one girl’s name they were thinking about. Pretty name. They would have had a beautiful child, Sirius and Adriana.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, staring off into space and thinking back to Leilani’s face.
“Harry?” Lupin said after a moment.
“Could you scratch my chin, I have an itch.”
“Oh, sure.” Harry carefully avoided getting burnt by the fire and did as Lupin asked.
“Thanks,” Lupin said. “Any more questions?”
“Just one more for now,” Harry said. He thought he already knew the answer to what he was going to ask, based on how Lupin had answered the other ones, but he asked anyway. “What did Sirius want to do with his life? Like for a career?”
“A career? Pretty soon after we graduated, he told me that he would love to get out in the world and learn as much as he could about defense magic, and then come back and teach everything he learned at Hogwarts,” Lupin took a breath, while Harry nodded to himself. “But he always wanted to be active, always learning more. He said that if he did end up teaching, he’d take the kids on field trips all the time and never use a textbook.”
“If only we could’ve had him instead of Umbridge,” Harry said bitterly.
“Yes, if only,” Lupin said. “Well, Harry, you have class tomorrow morning, I shouldn’t keep you up too late.”
“Right. Thanks for talking with me, maybe we’ll do it again sometime.”
“Well I’m glad you initiated it. You know, before Sirius died, he made a point of telling me that if anything happened to him, if he got caught or anything, he wanted me to keep an eye on you, make sure you were okay. I know I’m no substitute for him, but I’m more than willing to be there for you whenever you need me to be.” Lupin grinned at Harry. At first Harry had the urge to yell about how he didn’t need to be looked after, but that feeling melted away quickly, and he found himself tearing up.
“We’ll do it again, definitely,” Harry said, blinking.
“Goodnight then, Harry.”
Lupin’s head disappeared from the fire, and Harry was alone in the common room once again. He started thinking about everything Lupin had told him about Sirius. It all matched perfectly with what Harry had experienced when he took the potion.
“Smart potion,” Harry said as he stood up. He thought about reading the potion description he had torn out of Hermione’s book, but then realized that he felt very tired, and so decided to put it off for another day. He went up to his room, quietly changed and got into bed, and fell into a sleep that would be filled with confused dreams about his godfather.
January 27th, 2004, 10:33 am
Harry cheerlessly went through the next few days of school, often spacing out during class to daydream about what Lupin had told him, or to think again about all the possibilities involved with the Escape world.
Even though Lupin had encouraged Harry to make up with Ron and Hermione, he made no effort to do so. Harry suspected that they were talking about him a lot, because most of the time that he was in hearing distance of them, they would lower their voices to whispers so he could not hear them.
So, Harry spent most of his time alone. One day, however, he ate lunch with Ginny, who clearly knew something was wrong with him and Ron and Hermione, but had the good taste not to interfere. Harry was also pleased when she didn’t mention Quidditch, even though he figured she was probably wondering when they were going to continue practices.
Then on Friday, Harry found himself joined by Luna Lovegood after he was done with an early dinner, and they ended up taking a walk around the lake together. Luna happily talked about the latest articles her father had published in The Quibbler, she described in detail all the defining characteristics of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack for him, and she would occasionally state obvious facts like what items of clothing Harry was wearing. Their talk involved very little participation on Harry’s part, which he was perfectly happy with.
When he and Luna went back to the castle, they walked up to the seventh floor, said their goodbyes, and Harry headed back to North Tower. When he reached the common room, he saw Ron and Hermione sitting by the fire. He was just about to determinedly look the other way and keep going, but at that moment, Hermione saw him, elbowed Ron, and the two of them got up and walked up to Harry. As soon as Hermione reached him, she grabbed his arm and dragged him halfway up the boys’ dormitory stairs with Ron. Hermione put her hands on her hips, looked Harry in the face, and opened her mouth.
“Harry, does the word ‘escape’ mean anything to you?” Harry stopped breathing for a moment and his eyes widened. He didn’t say anything. Hermione and Ron were both staring at him expectantly.
“Well?” Hermione demanded.
“Why would it? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” But Harry’s eyes shifted in an uneasy way that made Hermione continue.
“You are such a liar Harry. You know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“No, I’m sorry, but I don’t,” Harry lied again.
“Someone ripped two pages out of my book, and you’re the only one who read it before me. I looked in the table of contents, and the pages on some potion called Escape were the ones torn out.”
“What? Why would I rip up your book? Sure, I was- no- I am angry with you but I’m not immature enough to rip pages out of your book just to get back at you.”
“That’s not why she thinks you did it Harry,” Ron said. “She thinks- We think you didn’t want us to see those pages.”
It looked to Harry as if his brilliant plan wasn’t so foolproof after all.
“Well let me ask you this,” Harry said, with a touch of nervousness in his voice. “How do you know the book wasn’t like that when you bought it, huh? Maybe someone came along before you bought it and ripped them out.”
“That’s not very likely Harry,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “I’ve never bought a pre-torn book before, and I’ve bought a lot of books. I think it’s very suspicious that you just randomly wanted to read those books, and the next day pages are missing.”
“Well, do you want to know what I think? I think you’re jumping to conclusions. You just want to believe that I’m so pathetic that I’d resort to getting one of those potions in that stupid book of yours, so you can have another excuse to pull stuff out of me and put me in the wrong-”
“What the hell are you talking about Harry!?” Hermione yelled, silencing him. “I’m concerned about you, so is Ron, you’re our best friend. I know we haven’t been talking this last week, but we still love you, we want what’s best for you. And if this thing you’ve ripped out of my book is the reason you keep falling unconscious, and what’s more, turning you into an even angrier more miserable person than you already are, what with all this-”
Hermione suddenly stopped. Harry didn’t say anything, and neither did Ron.
“I can’t do this,” said Hermione quietly, shaking her head from side to side. “Let us know when you snap out of this Harry, ‘cause I can’t deal with you like this. I can find out about this Escape myself. It may take a few weeks to order that book again, or maybe Ron can find the papers you tore out. But however I do, I will find out, you can count on it.”
Hermione gave Harry a threatening look and marched down the steps away from Harry. Ron glanced at Harry briefly, looking almost apologetic yet clearly unhappy with him, and followed Hermione.
Harry stood motionless on the steps. He knew the whole conflict with them, especially with Hermione, was all his fault. Even though Hermione was determined to find out about Escape, and seemed like she wouldn’t stop until she did, he couldn’t bring himself to tell them about it, even though it would probably help solve their fight. He just couldn’t tell them. He still couldn’t stand the thought of them knowing.
Harry walked up to his room. He knew that if he wanted to postpone them finding out as long as possible, the first thing to do would be to get rid of the evidence. Not the potion- no, he was keeping that. He would burn the pages he had torn out, that night after everyone was asleep. But first he would finally do what he had been putting off all week.
Harry pulled out the folded pages from under his mattress, sat on his bed with the hangings drawn, and started to read.
January 28th, 2004, 11:42 pm
Where did it come from?
Escape is one of the riskiest of today’s new potions, and it is spreading quickly throughout the country. The potion, which is recognizable by it’s clear orange color and flavor and it’s watery consistency, originated on the east coast from an unknown inventor. Students at the prestigious New York Academy of Magic were the first reported to be exposed to the potion, and it’s popularity there caused it to spread to neighboring states and schools. Shortly before this book was published, a case of a teen under the influence of the potion was found in California, so this is now truly a problem for the whole country. In addition, one case has been reported in Mexico, just below the San Diego border, so it is only a matter of time before it spreads across the world. The selling and production of the potion has just recently become illegal in the United States. Since it has only been around for a couple years, most of the magical community are not nearly as informed about Escape as they should be.
Who is at risk?
So far, the majority of people found using the potion have been between the ages of 14 and 21. Most of the users tend to be battling moderate to deep depression, and in their eyes, they have no way to get away from their problems. With many, just the name of Escape is appealing to them, and they will take the potion without having any knowledge of what they are getting into.
So what does it do?
The Escape potion mentally brings the user into a different world in which what they see as the source of their problems is gone, or somehow altered. The worlds are different for every user and very complex, so complex that they seem just as real as the real world. It also must be noted that the world is not in any way dreamlike, it has tastes, smells, textures, sights and sounds that are exactly like those we experience in every day life.
The creator(s) of Escape developed a very smart potion, so smart that no one so far has been able to figure out how exactly it does what it does. Even a tiny drop of potion can somehow figure out what the person’s ideal world is, and automatically transport the user to it. The most mysterious thing however, is that the potion not only creates ideal worlds, but amazingly accurate worlds that the user would have no way of being able to create with their own minds.
For example, Jenny [name has been changed] tried taking Escape when she was sixteen years old. She was very upset because her family had just lost their home, and was living in a shelter while her father looked for a job to replace the one he had just lost. She ended up finding Escape from an acquaintance at school, so she stole it from her and sampled the potion. In the world the potion created for her, her father was a Muggle Studies teacher at her school, although she had no classes with him. Her family lived in a nice home, and they had all the money they needed. Not only this, but her mother, who had died in an unfortunate broom accident with an airplane when she was four years old, was alive. Later, when Jenny recovered, she discovered that her father had interviewed for a job as the Muggle Studies teacher at the school when she was four. If the interview went well, he and his wife, who was waiting outside, were going to go to a restaurant down the street to celebrate. But the interview was a disaster, so instead they flew home, and his wife died on that trip. Jenny’s father became very depressed and stopped looking for a job. He ended up becoming a janitor at a muggle train station. Jenny had no idea the interview had ever happened.
The potion truly is amazing, as there are countless more cases like Jenny’s.
Is there a way to tell if my teenage witch or wizard is using it?
There are just a few symptoms visible to outsiders, but they can be very telling. Someone who has taken the potion will appear to be unconscious, but with a tense body. Their eyes will be open, but they will blink once every fourteen seconds. Many people will fall momentarily back under the influence of the potion even weeks after taking it. These occurrences usually last less than a minute.
Additionally, when a person falls asleep in the Escape world, there is a change in the state of the person’s body for the entire duration of the sleeping period. They will close their eyes and soon start sweating. Their body will also start shaking, sometimes very mildly, but sometimes violently. It appears that the more relaxed the person is in their sleep in the Escape world, the more extreme these outside symptoms are. The reason for this is another mystery about the potion, but some theorize that it has something to do with the complexity of what the brain is doing- dreaming, which is a basically fictional thing, within an already unreal place in the mind.
Why is Escape dangerous?
When this addictive potion first came out, it did not seem harmful at all. People would be under the influence for a few hours, recover and be fine. The only possibly bad side effects seemed to be the sleep symptoms.
But emotionally, the potion has a huge effect on the person using it. Immediately after coming out of their ideal world, they tend to feel even worse than they did before, since their perfect world is suddenly gone and replaced by the world they often hate. Upon waking, many people have been known to be violent, verbally and physically, towards themselves and others. Some people begin to take the potion every day, which leaves them detached from the outside world and their loved ones. Their world becomes so attractive to them, that it is preferable to live there, and many times, they start to believe it is real.
It has also been discovered that if taken in too large a quantity, the high concentration of the potion affects the person so that they begin to have control over whether they come out of the world or not. Usually, they choose to stay, living in their mind day after day, month after month, with no end. There are over fifty cases of American teenagers who have overdosed on Escape and are presently in the care of Healers who must keep them alive, in case they ever come out of their world. Only one person so far has come out of an Escape overdose, and it is thanks to interviews with that person that we are able to present the information in this last paragraph to you.
Potion experts are currently working on developing a potion that will stop past users from having flashbacks. They, and witches and wizards in other areas of magic, are also looking into finding a cure for those who are lost to the Escape world, but it will most likely be a long while before anything is successful.
Oh dear God! What should I do?
The last chapter of this book contains information about helping your son or daughter deal with depression and other problems encountered in the difficult teenage years. If your teen is experiencing any of these problems, we highly recommend you read the chapter thoroughly and do what you can to help them.
Even if your teenager seems fine, please talk to them about the dangers of dark magic and potions like Escape. Let them know there are better ways to get through the hard times in their life.
Lastly, if nothing seems to work, try to not give them too much pocket money, as Escape tends to be fairly expensive.
If you suspect that your teen is already taking Escape, please consult the list of support centers in the back of the book, and make contact with one of them immediately.
February 9th, 2004, 6:52 am
Had he been the relatively more optimistic boy he had been in years before, in the years before Voldemort’s return, the pages of Hermione’s book would have had a much larger and more disturbing effect on him. But Harry Potter, sixteen years old and already disturbed, now witness to more than one murder and survivor of multiple experiences with excruciating torture, did not see what the big deal was. Or at least he tried to convince himself that he didn’t.
Admittedly, he was slightly unnerved by the idea of being lost to the Escape world for the rest of his life, and imagining what his body would do as he slept there was not exactly pleasant. And he did see how his experience fit perfectly with most everything in the article- the depression, the “verbal violence” against others after coming out, the questioning of which world was real, but still, what was the worry?
“Nothing,” Harry said softly to convince himself. But he still couldn’t let Hermione and Ron find the article. They would never understand. They would try to take the potion from him. They would be afraid he would overdose, but he knew he never would. He would take it again one day, but he would be careful. Dumbledore was right, Voldemort could too easily waltz in and kill him if he was unconscious forever.
‘Of course,’ Harry thought, ‘If I do have to die, that probably wouldn’t be too painful a way to go. What chance do I have of winning anyway?”
Harry widened his eyes at his own thoughts.
‘No Harry, don’t think that. You’re not going to do it. Take it in moderation... and burn those pages...’
Harry laid in his bed for a few hours more, occupying himself with his thoughts until all the boys had come up to sleep. He crept out of bed when he heard the telltale snores and deep breathing from the boys, and went down to the common room. It was dark and empty, the only light coming from the little fire that remained in the fireplace. Harry stood in front of it, staring into the orange flames, and holding the papers over it. He thought about what he had read on the pages, about the fact that he really should show them to someone, or at least tell someone about what was written on them, even if it was just to Lupin.
“I can’t...” Harry said to the fire. Just then, he thought he heard something behind him. Harry jumped, and the papers slipped from his fingers into the fireplace. He looked around wildly, but saw nothing. Looking at a window, he thought it must have been the wind. Harry turned his head back to the fireplace. The papers had caught fire and were now curling as they burnt. He watched the picture of the bottle of orange potion turn brown and crumble in to ash.
“Good luck Hermione,” Harry said, and he walked back upstairs and went to bed.
The next few weeks passed much as the last one had. Harry sulked around, going to his classes, trudging his way through his homework, glaring at Hermione, but avoiding Ron’s eyes whenever they were in their room together. Harry didn’t take any more potion, but he did have the occasional relapses back into the Escape world, but these were fairly uneventful, as they usually happened while he was in bed or doing homework.
Harry was also having late night or early morning chats in the fire with Lupin once or twice a week now. It was true, Lupin was no replacement for Sirius, but Harry was glad to have someone to talk to, someone who wouldn’t judge him or push him. Lupin would often give him advice, tell him where he would do good to change, but he always did so gently, never in a way that made Harry feel like he was being blamed for anything. Harry even willingly told Lupin what the prophecy was one night, about a week before winter vacation was to start.
“I’m so sorry Harry, that’s awful,” Lupin said from the fire, after a long pause, with the utmost sincerity. “I suspected it was something like that, but... Well, I don’t blame you for not wanting to talk about it to Ron and Hermione.”
“Yeah, and then they get all mad at me, like I’ve done something wrong,” Harry said, as he sat with his left arm around his knee, his right hand playing with his shoelaces. Lupin sighed.
“You still haven’t made up with them?”
“No, they should be the ones to make up with me,” Harry said. “I told you, they still think I’m taking some stupid potion, I heard them whispering about me the other day. From how Hermione was talking, you’d think I’m some drug addict or something. Which would be ridiculous, even if I was taking it.” Harry didn’t look at Lupin as he said this.
“So I guess you won’t be going to Ron’s for Christmas then?” Lupin asked.
“No,” Harry said grumpily.
“Well, I don’t want you to be all alone for the holidays, so I was thinking maybe you and I could go somewhere together over break.” Harry looked up at Lupin, who was grinning.
“Really? Not Grimmauld Place though...”
“No, no, I know you don’t want to go there, and to tell you the truth, I don’t like it much either. I need to clear it with Dumbledore first though, you know we would have to have extremely high security wherever we went.”
“Right, right. But as long as we can have a decent Christmas, that’s okay,” Harry said, with a rare smile on his face.
“Good! Listen, why don’t we meet back here next Thursday night at midnight, that’s the night before the last day of term, right?”
“I thought so,” said Lupin, nodding. “By then I should know for sure if and where we can go. I’d talk to you sooner, but I have some business for the Order to do this week, it’s- Harry? Are you okay?” Harry had just clapped his hand to his forehead over his scar and had a painful look on his face.
“No, my scar’s burning again,” Harry said, now rubbing his scar. “It’s been doing that more and more lately.”
“Really?” Lupin said, looking concerned.
“Yeah, since last summer it’s always tingled a little every now and then, but it’s been hurting more these past few weeks.”
“Makes sense,” Lupin said regretfully. “Voldemort seems to have been laying low since last June, but he and his followers appear to have been a bit more active in the past month.”
“Yeah, I know. Well, like I said, I’ll meet you back here next Thursday night. If your scar hurts too badly, you should tell Dumbledore. You might need to start Occlumency again.”
“Not with Snape I won’t,” Harry grumbled, lowering his hand from his head.
“We’ll see,” Lupin said. “Thursday then?”
“Thursday.” Harry confirmed.
“’Night Professor Lupin.”
“You can call me Remus now, Harry.”
“I can’t, it’s too weird.”
Lupin laughed, said goodnight again, and his head disappeared from the flames.
February 11th, 2004, 9:15 am
It was Wednesday evening of the following week, and Harry had claimed a comfy chair in the almost empty Gryffindor common room near the fire. He was slouched down in his chair with his feet on the table in front of him, his open Charms book in his lap. He was supposed to be reading, but all he could think about was the prospect of the nearing vacation. Christmas with Lupin would definitely be something different, something peaceful and pleasant, and Harry could not wait.
Harry’s thoughts were interrupted when Hermione and Ron came back from dinner together. Harry didn’t look at them, but he moved his book in order to block his face. Hermione came and sat in a chair next to Harry.
“Don’t you love sitting by the fire Ron, it’s so nice.” Something in Hermione’s voice told Harry that she was sitting there for a reason other than the fire. Harry sunk lower in his seat.
“Yeah, sure,” Ron said. “I’m gonna go get my stuff from my room, I’ll be right back.”
Harry heard Hermione shuffling through her book bag. Meanwhile, more and more people were returning from dinner. Hermione’s shuffling stopped, and Harry heard a book sliding out of her bag, and the crinkling of parchment. Just these little noises were getting on Harry’s nerves. Why did she have to sit there? He was having a nice peaceful time with himself, and now she was invading his space. She was up to something, something no good, and he wasn’t going to-
Harry suddenly felt his feet being forcefully shoved off of the table. He was in such a low and unusual position in his chair that this made him lose his balance, and he and his book slid off and landed on the floor with a thud. Many people in the room turned to look at him, including Ron, who had just returned. Harry looked at Hermione. She was setting up her books, parchment, quill and ink bottle where Harry’s feet had been. Harry had the strong urge to yell at her, but instead he glared and made a sound between a grunt and a growl. Hermione looked at him innocently.
Harry picked up his book and huffily threw himself back into the chair. He opened his book to a random page and angrily pretended to read. A few minutes passed, in which Ron and Hermione each started writing an essay.
“Oh, Ron, did I tell you what I got in the mail today?” Hermione tried to say this as if she had just thought of it, but Harry was not convinced.
“I think so-” Harry, who was turning a page in his book, glanced over at them briefly and saw Hermione elbow Ron. “Oh, no you didn’t.”
“Well, I finally got the book order form from that American company, you know, the one that published my book that got all torn up.” Harry’s body involuntarily tensed up and he accidentally ripped the page he was turning straight out of the book. Harry tried to relax and he sunk back down in his seat, keeping one eye on Ron and Hermione.
“Took long enough, didn’t it?” Ron said.
“You know how these overseas things are,” Hermione said, casting an eye in Harry’s direction. “It was just a normal owl. But I’m going to go to the post office in Hogsmeade on Saturday before I leave and use the fastest owl they have to send the order. So at that rate I’ll get the book halfway through vacation.”
Harry felt his stomach squirm and his face get hot. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair, and saw Hermione glance over at him again. He couldn’t take it anymore.
“What are you doing Hermione?” Harry said, throwing down his book.
“What are you talking about?” Hermione said, dipping her quill in her ink pot.
“Why are you sitting with me?” Harry asked. “Why are you talking about that book in front of me? It’s so obvious you want me to hear about it.”
“Why are you getting so worked up about it?” Hermione responded, going back to her essay.
“Why are you answering all my questions with more questions?” Harry yelled. Half of the people in the room stopped talking and looked at him.
“Why are you?” Hermione said, raising one eyebrow. Ron let out a small giggle.
Harry stood up, turned his back on her and moaned, clenching his fists. He took a few deep breaths, while most of his fellow Gryffindors resumed their conversations. He turned back around.
“Would you just answer the bloody question?” Harry said icily with narrowed eyes.
“What are you doing?”
“Does it matter?”
“You tell me, does it?”
“No. Now can I please do my homework in peace?”
“No! Now why won’t you answer my question?”
“Why won’t you?”
“What are you getting so worked up for?”
“Because you’re not answering my question!”
“There, we finally got an answer.” Hermione said calmly. Ron looked extremely amused. Harry let out a nonsensical yell and threw his arms in the air. This re-attracted the attention of everyone in the now full room.
“What is wrong with you!?” Harry exclaimed.
“Shall I answer that with another question?” Hermione asked pleasantly. Harry looked ready to kill her.
“Do you find some sort of sick pleasure in infuriating me?” Harry yelled at the top of his lungs.
“What makes you think that?” Hermione said, putting down her quill.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Harry spat. He looked around and noticed that every eye in the room was on him. He sat down again, and spoke slightly more quietly this time. “Now for the last time, what are you doing?”
Hermione didn’t say anything at first. She also seemed to be taking in the fact that they were being watched by almost all of Gryffindor House.
“Fine. I wanted to see how you would react,” she said simply. “I knew if you got all nervous when I mentioned the book, that would confirm it. And you did. I’m not really surprised though, Ron’s really the one who was doubting it.”
“You are so wrong,” Harry said, his eyes darting around the room, looking at all the familiar faces.
“You’re just ashamed, that’s all. If you’d just tell the truth-”
“I am telling the truth,” lied Harry.
“No you’re not, you’re taking that potion and you know it! This isn’t good Harry, if you would just admit it we could help you. All the potions and spells in that book are dangerous, they’re like the drugs of the magical world. I admit I have no idea what that one does, but it must be pretty bad if you’re trying to hide it from us. Doing this to yourself is not going to make your life any better.”
“I am not doing anything to myself, but now thanks to you, a quarter of the whole school thinks I am,” Harry said. “You know I was perfectly fine with the ‘it’ metaphor.” The room was completely silent. Harry saw Neville watching them with his mouth slightly open. Ginny was looking straight at Harry, looking very worried for him. Colin Creevey looked like he was in disbelief.
Harry felt humiliated. Whatever he said, he knew probably at least half the people listening would believe Hermione. And whether they believed it or not, by that time the next day, the whole school would know about Hermione’s accusations.
“And to think, I was actually considering making up with you,” Harry said coldly. He stood up, walked across the room and up to the boys dormitories.
Harry reached his room and knelt in front of his trunk. Inside, the orange potion was sitting there, waiting for him to use it again. He stared at the trunk. His anger told him to open it, to take the potion again, to escape. Harry stretched out his hand, shaking as it moved toward the lid.
But something inside of him made him reluctantly pull it back.
‘Not now Harry,’ he thought to himself.
Tomorrow he was going to talk to Lupin, and he would have the whole vacation to spend his time peacefully. That would be a better escape. A healthier escape.
No, not now. He would have a real life escape soon enough. He would save the potion for when he really needed it.
February 14th, 2004, 2:53 am
Harry lifted himself from the floor and decided to take a long shower and then go to bed. He hoped that after the unpleasant events of the day he could have a peaceful night’s sleep, but he wouldn’t count on it.
Harry arrived in the bathroom and took a quick look at himself in the mirror. He still didn’t look nearly as good as he did in the Escape world. He was still too skinny, too pale, not to mention he looked miserable. Harry stuck out his tongue at his reflection, undressed and took off his glasses, and got in the shower.
Like he did every time he had showered at Hogwarts since the middle of his fourth year, Harry took a close look at the shower head and the drain to make sure a certain female ghost wasn’t lurking there. When he was sure she wasn’t, he turned on the water so it was nice and hot. He stood there under the water for a few minutes, thinking about how much pleasure he would get at that moment from drowning Hermione.
Harry reached for the shampoo, squeezed out a small puddle of it in his hand, and worked it in to his hair. Just as he was rinsing off his hands, Harry felt a sharp pain in his scar. He almost slipped, but he put his hands on the tile wall to steady himself.
“Of course you have to get me in the shower,” Harry muttered to himself. Then, very suddenly, his scar hurt so intensely he felt as if his head was splitting open, a sensation Harry had not felt since the last school year. He cried out in pain and fell to his knees, breathing heavily and clutching his head in his hands.
“Stop it... Stop...” Harry begged the pain to stop, but it wouldn’t. He opened his watering eyes and saw bubbles being rinsed out of his hair by the water that was still spraying all over him. He laid there, his body shaking, staring fixedly at the bubbles going down the drain and willing himself not to throw up. He could feel Voldemort’s anger...
“Go away,” Harry whimpered. But it didn’t go away. In fact, at that moment the pain doubled and Harry let out another yell. Harry was almost positive that Voldemort was either torturing or killing someone. He could feel it, and he hated it.
After the last burst of pain it slowly started to subside. He didn’t move though, since he was too shaky and his head still hurt too much to stand up without slipping and actually cracking his head open. Harry laid there for almost ten minutes, wondering what had happened, and who Voldemort had tortured or killed. He desperately hoped that he was just punishing one of his followers. He would have to tell somebody about this. He decided he would tell Lupin the next night.
“Why does the world hate me...” Harry said with a groan as he finally picked himself up and turned off the water. He got out and put on his bed clothes. When he was about to leave the bathroom, a second year boy came in and couldn’t help staring at Harry, who was still trembling.
“What are you looking at?” Harry said coldly, and he left.
The next day Harry was greeted throughout the school with strange looks and whispers, something he was used to getting every once in a while, but he still didn’t like it. The one person who greeted him normally was Luna, who left the Ravenclaw table and drifted over to sit with him at lunch.
“I heard what happened last night with Hermione,” Luna said as she sat down next to Harry.
“That’s nice. I suppose you believe all that nonsense she said,” Harry said dully.
“I haven’t heard your side yet. I tend to believe what you say.”
“Well I’m not taking that potion, and even if I was it wouldn’t matter.”
“Okay, I believe you.” Luna smiled.
“Thanks,” Harry said, forcing a grin. But moments later, Harry scowled as a couple Hufflepuffs passed by goggling at him.
“I know what it’s like, to have people look at you funny like that. You shouldn’t let it bother you. Because really, we’re the sane ones.” Luna said this with her huge eyes open as widely as humanly possible, looking fairly insane.
“Yeah, they just don’t understand us,” Harry said, right before stabbing a piece of potato and sticking it in his mouth.
The day passed slowly, but eventually Harry found himself back in the common room waiting for the room to clear out and midnight to come. It wasn’t very fun, as a lot of the people in there were whispering among themselves. Harry thought he knew what they were talking about. As he sat there pretending to read in the corner, he thought about how at any given time, the latest rumor about Harry Potter always seemed to be the hottest gossip topic at Hogwarts.
‘It’s fun to be me!’ said a little sarcastic voice in his head.
Just in time, around 11:55 p.m., the room cleared out and Harry was left alone. He went as usual to sit in front of the fireplace to wait for Lupin’s head to show up.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry looked at his watch. Lupin was ten minutes late. He was usually never late...
Twenty minutes later Lupin still wasn’t there. It was 12:30 a.m. now. Thirty minutes overdue. Harry told himself Lupin would show up. Just a few minutes more.
A half hour later. It was one in the morning now. He was a whole hour late. Harry was starting to get very worried. Lupin had to come. He had said he would.
Another forty five minutes passed. Harry had spent the whole time thinking about the night before in the shower. He had felt torture. Or death.
3:00 a.m. arrived. No sign of Lupin still. Harry wouldn’t move. Maybe he was just late getting back from his business with the Order. That was it.
At 4:27 a.m. Harry fell asleep on the floor in front of the fireplace.
At 7:40 a.m. Harry was woken up by people talking in the common room. A few of them looked at Harry curiously but he didn’t care. He was too busy staring at the fireplace, panicking. Lupin had never shown up. He had to tell Dumbledore. Dumbledore would find him.
At 7:43 a.m. Harry jumped up and raced out of Gryffindor Tower as quickly as his feet would take him.
February 15th, 2004, 7:28 am
Harry ran through the doors of the Great Hall and in between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables. He stopped only when he reached Dumbledore at the staff table, where he was chatting with Professor McGonagall. Dumbledore looked alarmed and stopped talking immediately when he saw Harry, who had his hands on the table and was panting from his sprint from the North tower.
“What is it Harry?” Dumbledore asked very seriously.
“Lupin... He never... showed up... last night...” Harry was breathing so heavily he could only say a few words at a time. “Wednesday night... my scar... it hurt... somebody...” Harry couldn’t bring himself to finish.
“Remus Lupin?” Dumbledore said. “You were supposed to meet him?”
“Yes... He’s always... on time...”
Dumbledore stood up and turned to McGonagall.
“Minerva, you know who to contact. Find out where Remus is.” McGonagall nodded, stood up, and left the room. “Come with me, Harry.”
Harry followed Dumbledore out of the hall. They walked along silently at a reasonable pace, allowing Harry to catch his breath. Soon they reached the outside of Dumbledore’s office.
“Drooble's Best Blowing Gum.” Under different circumstances, Harry might have laughed at the password, but right now he was terrified out of his mind and couldn’t have laughed if his life depended on it. They went up the spiraling staircase and arrived in his office.
“Back so soon?” asked a portrait of a plump blond headmistress on the wall.
“Yes,” Dumbledore said. “If you would excuse me, I need to talk to Harry now.” Dumbledore sat down behind his desk and motioned for Harry to do the same. He took a chair in front of the desk.
“Tell me everything, Harry.”
Harry told him everything he could, how his scar had hurt so badly when he was showering, how he thought he had felt torture, death, or both, and how the next night Lupin hadn’t shown up.
“He was never late before, never more than a minute or two,” Harry said, sounding slightly hysterical. “We’ve been talking through the fires a couple times a week for almost a month now, we were supposed to talk last night about spending Christmas together. He was never late.”
“Yes, he told me. I even arranged the proper security so that you two could have a safe vacation together.” He paused. “I am afraid that Remus was on a mission for the Order, very secret and also dangerous. He was supposed to have arrived back late last night, just before you two were to meet. It is likely that he could have had a run in with a Death Eater, but we were fairly certain he was very far from Voldemort.”
“Oh,” said Harry. “But couldn’t have one of them captured him and brought him to Voldemort or something?”
“It is possible.” Harry put his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. Neither of them spoke.
“Oh god,” Harry said after a moment, his stomach filling with dread, but not moving his head up. “I told him what the prophecy was.”
“Yes, he told me that too,” Dumbledore said.
“Do you think... Oh god...” Harry felt worse than ever. “What if they found out and... Voldemort tortured him until he told, or... Maybe he wouldn’t tell so they killed him?”
Dumbledore said nothing, but if Harry would have looked at him, he would have seen his old face looking very somber.
“This is all my fault,” Harry moaned, pulling at his hair.
“You shouldn’t say that Harry, we do not know for certain that anything has happened to him,” said Dumbledore.
“How can you be so calm all the time?” Harry demanded, finally lifting his head up.
“It comes with age. Believe me Harry, I am just as worried as you are. But if you would rather I start yelling and pulling out my hair, I could. I would rather not though.”
“No,” Harry mumbled.
“It will likely take all day to find out what happened or where he is, so I will give you a choice. If you want to stay here, I will excuse you from your classes. Or, you can go ahead and attend them and come back later when we will have hopefully found Remus. I personally would rather you go to your classes so you don’t fall behind, and so you don’t drive yourself crazy staying here.” Harry thought for a moment.
“I have a quiz in Charms today. I’d better go then.”
“Very well. I will be here at five, you can come back whenever you want to.”
“Okay,” Harry said, and he left.
Harry might as well have stayed in Dumbledore’s office, because he couldn’t concentrate on his lessons at all, and he was fairly sure he failed his Charms quiz. He sat restlessly in the back of his classes, getting even more strange looks than he had the day before because he looked so nervous. He tried to convince himself that Lupin was fine, that his scar hurting so close to Lupin’s absence was just a coincidence. But at the same time he tried not to get his hopes up, just in case the worst was true.
Finally, at around half past five, Harry finished his measly dinner and went to Dumbledore’s office. He gave the password, and soon was at Dumbledore’s office door. He knocked. Dumbledore opened the door and let Harry in.
“I am expecting Professor McGonagall any time now,” Dumbledore said as he sat behind his desk and Harry sat in the same chair he had that morning. “We have both contacted many people today, and she seems to have- Ah, Minerva, you’re here.”
“Yes, Albus. Hello Mr. Potter,” McGonagall said. The look on her face did not give Harry much hope.
“Hi,” Harry mumbled. She took a chair next to him and started to speak.
“They found Neil at-”
“Who’s Neil?” Harry interrupted.
“Neil Zacarro is the young wizard who went with Lupin on his mission. He is a fairly new member of the Order,” McGonagall answered. “Now as I was saying, they found Neil near the location they were scheduled to be at on that night. He was unconscious, and apparently had been ever since Wednesday. It seems he was knocked out with a strong curse, and he was very disoriented once they brought him out of it.”
“Is he going to be okay?” Dumbledore asked, with his elbows on his desk and his fingertips together.
“Yes, he’ll be fine after a day or two,” McGonagall said. “From what he said they were able to figure out that he and Remus were found by two Death Eaters on Wednesday night. Neil is too young to be able to identify them, they had masks and he had never heard their voices before. Our suspicions seem to be at least partly correct. Fairly soon, one of the Death Eaters started talking about the prophecy and the fact that Remus knew it. Our guess is that he was a Legilimens, but not a good enough one to figure out the exact words of the prophecy from his thoughts.”
“Remus has some skill with Occlumency too,” Dumbledore added. “He never perfected it, but that will have helped.”
“Yes,” McGonagall said, ready to continue. “There was talk of bringing Remus to their master, but of course they weren’t going to sit down and accept this. They started dueling, and before it was over, Neil was hit by that curse. He said that before he was knocked out, Remus was not doing very well.”
She stopped talking. Harry looked back and forth between the two professors.
“That can’t be it!” Harry said wildly. “What happened to Lupin?”
McGonagall took a deep breath.
“All they found at the site was the small backpack he was carrying and the spare wand he always brings on his missions. We can’t find him anywhere.”
February 16th, 2004, 7:59 am
Harry had to remind himself to breathe when the impact of Professor McGonagall’s words hit him.
“That’s it?’ he said incredulously.
“That is all we know. We’ve had people looking all day, no one can find him,” McGonagall told him.
Harry stared in to space, and the expression on his face perfectly reflected how every miniscule hope he had been holding on to was draining out of him.
“I’ve killed him,” he whispered.
“That is ridiculous Potter,” McGonagall said.
“This is all my fault. If I hadn’t told him...” Harry trailed off and didn’t finish his sentence.
“We do not know for sure that he has been killed, Harry,” said Dumbledore, even though he too did not look optimistic.
“Then where is he?” Harry shouted. “Wouldn’t he have shown up by now if he was fine? Moody told me last year, they didn’t always find the people Voldemort killed! And I felt it! I felt him kill someone Wednesday night!”
Dumbledore and McGonagall looked at each other, but neither of them seemed to be able to say anything else that might comfort Harry.
Harry felt himself tearing up. He took off his glasses and put his palms over his eyes. He didn’t want to cry in front of them.
“The world hates me,” Harry simply stated, his hands still covering his face. “It takes away everything that makes me happy and leaves me with nothing. It’s right there in that stupid prophecy, the only reason I exist is to kill or be killed after all. Death is my gift.” He paused for a minute and took several deep breaths. “I wish I had never been born.”
“You don’t mean that Harry,” McGonagall said in the softest voice Harry had ever heard her use. Harry wondered for a split second whether she had ever called him by his first name before now, but then forgot about it and spat an answer back at her.
“Oh yes I do! You don’t know how I feel. I’d rather not exist than have this pathetic excuse for a life.”
“I know there is nothing we can say to make you feel better-” Dumbledore’s gentle voice was interrupted.
“And you’re right! So don’t say anything!” Harry put his glasses back on over his red eyes and stood up. “I’m leaving. I need some time alone.”
He walked across the office, past a table full of spinning silver instruments that had replaced the ones Harry had broken the year before, and put his hand on the door handle. He turned around and looked at Dumbledore and McGonagall.
Harry walked back to Gryffindor Tower as though he were in a trance. He was unaware of giving the Fat Lady the password to enter the common room, but he must have since he soon found himself there with someone calling out his name.
“What’s wrong?” asked a quiet voice. It was Ginny. She had seen him enter the room and had jumped up and reached him when he was halfway to the stairs. “You look really upset.”
“It’s nothing,” Harry mumbled. Ginny clearly didn’t believe him. “Okay, it’s Lupin.”
“Lupin? Is he okay?”
“No, I’m pretty sure he’s... dead.”
Ginny gasped and clapped her hand on her mouth.
“He can’t be,” Ginny said, her eyes watering.
“Sure he can, I felt it. No one can find him.” Harry said heavily. “Listen Ginny, can you tell Ron and Hermione... tell them...”
“About Lupin?” Ginny said with a sniffle.
“No, just that... I wish they... no...” Harry couldn’t think of the right thing to say. “Never mind. You know they’re my best friends.”
“Everyone knows that,” Ginny said, her eyes shining with the tears that still had not fallen.
“Good. They should know that. Tell them. I can’t.” Ginny looked at him suspiciously.
“What are you...”
“Don’t worry. I need some time alone now. You tell them what I said,” Harry said monotonously. He stood there looking at her for a moment. “You play a mean game of Quidditch, Ginny.”
Ginny stood gaping at him as he ran upstairs.
Harry reached his room and stopped at the door. Slowly his eyes traveled to his trunk. He walked over to it and pulled the lid open. There was the orange potion, nestled comfortably between the folds in his favorite pair of jeans. He picked up the glass bottle and stood there holding it in one hand. He stared at it with larger than normal eyes, breathing unevenly, his hands shaking. He put his free hand up to his forehead and fingered his lightning bolt scar.
‘Do it,’ Harry thought to himself. ‘Just do it and be done with it.’
Harry took the cap off the bottle. He didn’t bother getting out one of his measuring spoons. He put his lips to the edge of the opening.
Harry took a small amount of potion in his mouth.
‘Just do it!’
Harry swallowed and then drank more. He drank speedily and steadily until the bottle was empty. As soon as the last drop of potion passed his lips, both Harry and the bottle fell, crashing on to the hard wooden floor. The bottle smashed and one of the pieces of glass that went flying cut him across the cheek. His eyes were wide open, but Harry had no idea that drops of blood were now oozing down his face.
Five minutes later Ron and Hermione were stampeding up the stairs towards the sixth year boys dormitory. Ron flung the door open and they both froze. Ron’s mouth dropped open. Hermione’s face was already tearstained from the news about Lupin, but they now started falling anew.
Ron finally knelt down beside Harry, who had landed on his back, and he counted the seconds between his blinks. Hermione went to Harry’s bedside table and found some tissues, one of which she handed to Ron. He wiped Harry’s cut with it.
“Careful,” Ron said as Hermione knelt down with him. Hermione was wearing a skirt, so her knees were more susceptible to being cut by the shards of glass.
“Look Ron, he’s taken all of it,” Hermione said quietly. “There’s no liquid, only glass.”
“I love ya mate, but you’re an idiot,” said Ron sadly, looking at Harry in his green eyes.
“Why didn’t Ginny come after him!” Hermione cried. “What he said sounded like a suicide note and she didn’t even come after him!”
“Don’t blame her Hermione,” Ron said, putting his arm around her. “She didn’t know. He’ll probably come out of it soon anyway, right?”
“Well if he’s taken the whole bottle it could be a while,” she answered, dabbing her eyes with one of the tissues she had picked up. “And he knew it too, why else would he have said those things to Ginny?”
“I don’t know, but let’s hope there wasn’t much left,” Ron said, picking up Harry’s glasses, which had fallen off and landed a foot away from him.
Hermione let out a yell of frustration.
“Oh I wish I had those pages already!”
“I know, so do I,” Ron said with a sigh. “Come on, we need to get him to the hospital wing.”
“Right,” Hermione said, standing up and stuffing the tissues in the pocket of her robes. “On the bright side, he shouldn’t be too heavy, he’s still too skinny.”
“Yeah, he is,” Ron said, as he lifted Harry up off the floor. They each took one of his arms and dragged their unconscious best friend out of the room, completely forgetting that they could have used magic.
*Note- There is yet another Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote in here which I should credit- "Death is my gift." This showed up all throughout the 5th season. :)
February 17th, 2004, 9:51 am
As the last drop of potion passed his lips, a bright white light flashed before Harry’s eyes. He was unconscious for a few seconds, but before he knew it he was wide awake and standing in the middle of the Gryffindor common room. He wasn’t in his school clothes anymore, but was now wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, and he had a tightly packed bag hanging from his right shoulder. Ron was standing by his side.
“Why’d you stop Harry?” he asked.
“Er...” Harry put a hand up to his head just to make sure his scar was gone. “Where am I going?” Ron lifted his eyebrows.
“I swear, you’ve been acting so weird this year, always acting like you don’t know what’s going on. Is this an act?”
“No. Maybe I’m having mental problems,” Harry said dully.
Ron laughed. Harry forced himself to join him.
“Very funny, come on, let’s go, I’ll walk you there.”
“Okay,” Harry said, still clueless as to their destination, and followed Ron out the portrait hole.
While Ron talked endlessly about Quidditch on the way to wherever they were going, Harry didn’t listen to a thing he said and instead got lost in his own thoughts.
Had he done the right thing in drinking that whole bottle of potion?
‘No,’ answered a little voice in his head that sounded a lot like Hermione’s.
‘Yes,’ answered a defiant voice that sounded more like his own.
The second voice told Harry what it had been telling him ever since he had stood up to leave Dumbledore’s office. He had had enough of that world. Lupin had been the last thing left that made him happy and if he was gone, he didn’t think he could stand it any more. So why should he stay there? Living in the Escape world felt just like living in the normal world after all, only things seemed to be much better here.
‘And besides,’ the voice said, ‘If you really did take enough to stay here, you can always leave whenever you want. That one other person did...’
“Harry? Harry?” Ron’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
“I asked if you were going to Neville’s Christmas party.”
“Oh, yeah, I think so,” Harry replied. They were now walking down a corridor that he remembered being in the last time he had taken the potion.
“Cool, Mum wrote to say we were going too, so we should see each other there.”
“Great,” Harry said unenthusiastically, as they stopped in front of a door. It was Sirius’ office.
“Well bye Harry, I’ll see you then,” said Ron, smiling.
“Bye,” said Harry. Ron bounced away happily and left him alone in front of the door. He wondered what on earth was going on, but opened the door all the same. He saw Sirius pacing the room, but he stopped when he saw Harry.
“Ah, good, you’ve arrived with a few minutes to spare!”
“Yep,” said Harry. He closed the door behind him and put his bag down.
“You can sit down if you want,” Sirius said, motioning to a chair. Harry refused, and was silent for a moment before he spoke again.
“I’m glad to see you.”
Sirius furrowed his eyebrows.
“Did you have another one of those dreams?”
“Oh! No, no. I’ve just had a bad day. Everyone’s been kind of getting on my nerves so, you know...”
“Oh. All right then,” Sirius said, his expression lightening. “Well, Ana and Lei and I will be arriving tomorrow at your place at around three o’clock, you can tell your parents for us.”
Harry’s stomach jumped.
“M-my... my parents?” When Sirius heard this, he looked just as concerned as he had the minute before.
“Harry, are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine.” Sirius didn’t say anything, but his expression stayed the same.
“If you say so.” He pulled open a drawer from his desk and pulled out what appeared to be a very old ballet slipper with many holes in it. He placed it on the desk. “Come on Harry, get your bag. The portkey is scheduled to go just a few seconds from now.”
Harry picked up his bag and looked from the slipper, to Sirius, and back again, and finally put his hand on it. Sirius looked at his watch.
“4, 3, 2, 1-”
Harry felt the familiar sensation of a hook being pulled behind his navel and felt himself spinning. Soon, the spinning stopped and he landed hard on the ground, which was covered in grass. He looked up and saw that he was in the front yard of a very nice looking two story house. Harry picked himself up, still holding his bag, and started to slowly walk toward the house. Even though it was dark out, he could tell it was painted a pale blue with a dark brown roof to match the color of the door and window frames. He noticed a small flower garden in front of a large window, which displayed a beautifully decorated tree.
Harry soon reached the brightly lit front porch. He looked at the door, and above the knocker saw gold cursive letters spelling out two words: The Potters.
This was his house. This was his parents house. Harry felt his heart beating as quickly as if he had just run all the way from Gryffindor Tower to the Great Hall like he had that morning. He stood there looking at the name on the door for several minutes before he finally raised his shaking hand and knocked on the door three times.
He heard someone moving inside. Then, a female voice.
“He’s here James!”
A moment later, the door opened and Harry found himself face to face with his mother. She looked about an inch or two shorter than him, with thick dark red hair and the same bright green eyes that belonged to Harry. She was smiling widely.
“Harry! It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed.
But Harry was speechless. He was just standing there, staring at her with his mouth slightly open.
“Harry?” she said, still smiling. “What are you looking at me like that for? Oh, here, let me get your bag.” She took it from him and brought it inside, but Harry still didn’t move. “James, hurry up, it’s Harry!”
“I’m coming Lily, I’m coming, I just need to finish wrapping this,” came a voice that sounded very similar to Harry’s, drifting outside from somewhere in the house.
His mother reappeared at the door.
“Well aren’t you going to give me a hug?”
“Mum?” Harry finally managed to force out of his mouth.
“Harry, what’s wrong?” she asked, the smile finally fading off her face.
“I’ve just...” Harry started. He was having a very difficult time controlling his voice. “I’ve just had a really horrible day, that’s all.” A look of deep concern for her son swept across Lily Potter’s face.
“I’m so sorry Harry. Come on, come here.” She hurried up to Harry and wrapped him in a tight embrace. For a second he was motionless, but he quickly returned the hug.
For the first time that he could remember, Harry was with the woman that he had thought so longingly about for so many years of his life. He had seen pictures, reflections, shadows, and memories of her, he had heard her screaming voice, but never, other than in the forgotten years of his first year of life, had Harry actually been with her.
He buried his face into her shoulder, after pulling his glasses off with one hand. Within seconds, so completely overwhelmed with emotion and unable to control himself, Harry found himself sobbing uncontrollably in his mother’s arms.
February 19th, 2004, 9:15 am
“Oh my god, what happened to you?” said Harry’s mother, when she realized just how hard he was crying. Harry’s muffled answer was unintelligible, due to the fact that his face was still pressed against her shoulder. She forced her way out of the hug and held him at arms length, looked down briefly at the damp spot left in her sweater, and back to his face.
“I’m s-s-sorry,” he blubbered, wiping his nose and putting his rectangular glasses back on.
“Don’t be sorry honey,” she said, putting one arm back around him. “Here, come inside and we can talk.” She lead Harry into the house, down a short hall and into a cozy living room, in which a fire was blazing and the tree he had seen from outside was sitting. His mother made Harry sit down on a big comfy blue couch, and sat down beside him. Before she could say anything else though, his father, who looked like an older and slightly different version of Harry, burst into the room.
“Ah, Harry!” he said happily, as he made a quick deposit of gift wrapped packages to the bottom of the tree. “I’ve been thinking about you all day and you’re finally-” he stopped abruptly when he saw Harry’s face, and the jovial look on his own face fell.
“Harry, what’s wrong? You look like someone died!”
Harry emitted a noticeably louder sob, but immediately thereafter said, “N-Nobody d-died.” He then leapt off the couch and threw his arms around his father. Over Harry’s shoulder, Mr. Potter exchanged a worried look with his wife. After a minute or so, he managed to get Harry and himself to the couch, where he sat Harry down between the two of them.
“Is there something you want to tell us?” Mrs. Potter asked, putting her hand on Harry’s knee. “You haven’t been so... emotional when coming back home since your first year at Hogwarts, and even then, you weren’t nearly this bad.”
Harry didn’t know what to tell them right away, so he said nothing. Then, even though tears were still streaming down his cheeks, he found a smile spreading across his face. He never would have imagined that he would be sitting between his mother and father, both of them looking at him so intently, being so concerned. He never would have experienced anything like this at the Dursley’s.
“Just happy to see your folks then?” said his father, raising an eyebrow. Harry nodded and decided he better try to explain himself.
“W-Well,” he said, with a sniffle, wiping his eyes. His dad handed him a tissue. “Thanks. I g-guess I’ve just b-been r-really homesick.” Harry blew his nose and then took a deep breath, determined to get control over his voice again. “It just felt like I hadn’t been with either of you for years. And then, well, you know how it is, being this age. I’ve been pretty down lately. Every teenager goes through a depression at one point or another don’t they?”
“Does this have anything to do with that dream you had last month?” his father asked. “Sirius told me about it.”
“No!” Harry responded a little too quickly. “I mean, no, not really. Why would I dwell on a nightmare like that? It wasn’t even real. I should live in the present, right?”
Neither of his parents looked completely satisfied. They both sighed.
“All right. I guess we can’t expect you to be your usual cheery self all the time,” his mother said, as she took Harry in her arms in an attempt to get him to sit on her lap, and started messing with his already messy hair. “But I just hate to see my baby boy so upset.”
“Honestly Lily, don’t coddle him, he’s sixteen years old,” his father said, rolling his eyes and laughing.
“Ah, but he needs his mummy, he’s letting me, see?” she answered with a laugh of her own. Harry, who was now grinning goofily, was indeed letting her and quite enjoying it. “Usually by now he would have whined at me and squirmed away, who knows when I’ll get the chance again!” And with that she gave him a big kiss on the cheek.
“Are you sure you’re not sick Harry?” his dad joked. “You haven’t let her do this to you for years!”
Harry just laughed.
“Oh! Dinner should be just about ready!” Mrs. Potter said.
Harry stood up and allowed her to run off to the kitchen, and he and his dad followed her. The kitchen was decorated in bright greens and yellows, with lots of recipe books and different cooking utensils cluttering the counters. On the opposite side of the room next to a window was a table big enough for the three of them with a little vase with a few gold flowers in the center.
“We can eat in here tonight,” Harry’s mother said, as she took two dishes out of the oven and set them on the table. She pulled a pitcher out of the refrigerator and sat down at the already set table, where Harry and his dad were seated.
“Roast vegetables and potatoes, and your favorite strawberry smoothie,” said Mrs. Potter, as she poured a glass for Harry. They all served themselves and started eating. Harry couldn’t help staring at and admiring his parents as they ate.
“Have you spoken to Sirius, James?”
“Not for a week,” Mr. Potter answered his wife. “He was supposed to tell Harry-”
“Oh!” Harry said with his mouth full, suddenly remembering what Sirius had told him. He put down his fork and swallowed his potatoes. “Sirius said that he and Ana and Leilani would be arriving tomorrow at three o’clock.”
“Ah, thanks for the message,” his father said.
“How long are they staying? Just for the day?” Harry asked. His parents exchanged a look.
“No, it’s our year to have them over, remember?” Harry’s mother answered. “They’re staying for almost all of the holiday break, like usual.”
“Oh, yeah, right, how could I forget,” Harry said, and he faked a laugh.
“I’ve already gotten the guest bedroom ready for Sirius and Ana,” she continued. Harry nodded as he picked up his glass of smoothie and took a drink. “And Harry, when you unpack your things I want you to be neat about it, don’t go messing up your room. I’ve already put in the extra bed for Leilani, we don’t want it to be a pigsty.”
Harry choked on his smoothie and had a coughing fit.
“She’s sleeping in my room!?” Harry blurted out. He thought his parents must be insane.
“Like always,” his father said. He and his wife exchanged the same meaningful look they had moments before.
“Like always...” Harry said. “Right, right. Yeah. It’s just, well, if I had a sixteen year old son... I don’t know if I’d trust him sleeping in the same room with a sixteen year old girl.”
“We trust you Harry,” his dad said with a laugh. “And besides, this is Leilani Black we’re talking about, you always insist that kissing her would be like kissing your sister.”
Harry suddenly got worried and didn’t say anything for a moment.
“We’re not related, are we?”
There was a moment of silence, and then laughter from both his parents.
“I guess we could call you god-cousins or something,” his mom said. Harry made himself join in the laughter, but inside was sighing a breath of relief.
Harry spent the rest of the evening sitting with his parents in the living room, mostly listening to them talk and watching them constantly. When he got tired and decided it was time to go to bed he hugged each of his parents goodnight, telling them both that he loved them, and they each said ‘I love you’ back to him. Harry knew in the real world he had a few people that loved him, but, getting teary eyed again, he wondered if anybody had ever actually told him so.
Harry went upstairs, and found what was unmistakably his bedroom. It was three times as big as his room in Privet Drive. There was a huge amount of scarlet and gold in the room, and the walls were plastered in quidditch posters. Out of the two beds in there, he was able to pick out his by the telltale blue comforter with a giant picture of a golden snitch on it.
“I’m obsessed here too...” he commented to himself, giggling at his bed. Continuing to inspect his room, he found a mirror sitting on the wall above his chest of drawers (dark red with gold handles), and took a look at himself. He looked great. Just like the last time he had seen his reflection in the Escape world, he had color in his face, pinchable cheeks, and most definitely no scar. He went through the bag he had brought, found some pajamas and changed into them. While he changed, he took a moment to admire his body, lean but nicely athletic. When he was done, he looked at himself in the mirror again, smiled, and took off his glasses.
Harry turned off the lights and crawled into his comfortable bed. For a minute or so he thought about what his body would soon be doing back in the other world. He wondered if anyone was watching him now, and how worried they would get when he started shaking and sweating.
‘They’ll get over it,’ he thought, and he cleared his mind and soon fell in to a deep sleep.
February 21st, 2004, 8:54 am
Harry woke up refreshed the next morning. He got out of bed, and after brushing his hair and teeth and unpacking his bag, he looked through his closet and chest of drawers at every single item of clothing he could find. He finally settled on wearing a simple long sleeved dark green shirt and some khaki colored pants, and after digging through his socks drawer, he came across a pair that had a detailed map of the London Underground on them and couldn’t resist putting them on too. Harry was immensely pleased to see how well the clothes fit him after so many years of wearing his cousin Dudley’s hand-me-downs.
Harry went downstairs to the kitchen, where his dad was reading the Daily Prophet at the table and his mom was sitting across from him, eating some eggs and toast.
“Morning,” Harry said to announce his presence.
“Morning Harry,” his parents said together.
“How are you feeling?” his father asked, looking at Harry over the top of the paper.
“Fine, a good nights sleep can do wonders,” Harry said with a grin.
He ate breakfast and afterwards spent the rest of the morning and afternoon with his parents making sure the house was ready for their guests. Harry took the opportunity to get to know every room and how to get there, since he didn’t want to be getting lost in the house he was supposed to have grown up in.
Harry was in the upstairs bathroom making sure it was perfectly neat and clean (and occasionally taking a moment to admire his reflection) when he heard his mother yelling from down the hall.
“Harry James Potter! Your room is a mess!”
“Oops...” he said as he ran out of the bathroom. Harry arrived in his room and saw her standing in the middle of the big pile of clothes he had left on the floor that morning.
“What did I tell you last night at dinner?”
“Sorry Mum,” he said, and started to pick up the clothes and put them away.
“It’s okay, I’m not mad, I just don’t want Leilani to have to stay in a messy room.”
“Why doesn’t she stay in the guest room with Sirius?” Harry could feel himself getting butterflies in his stomach. The thought of Leilani staying in his room was somehow very exciting yet terribly frightening at the same time.
“It’s too small, you know that. Only room enough for one bed, and all three of them can’t share it. Why are you so concerned about it this year?”
Finally three o’clock arrived, and the Black family was knocking at the front door. Harry and his parents all answered the door and the front hall was soon very crowded and full of loud and happy greetings. Harry felt very awkward when Adriana Black, who was her husbands equal if not superior in good looks, greeted him as if they had known each other for his entire life, which he assumed they must have.
“What a handsome young man you are becoming Harry, you look more like your father every day!” Adriana said as she released him from a hug. He smiled sheepishly. She went to hug Harry’s mother, and Harry found himself looking at Leilani, who looked as pretty as she had the last time he had seen her. She wore a simple long black coat, her dark hair was in two buns on the back of her head, and she was wearing no makeup other than lip gloss.
“Hey Harry,” she said casually, with no sign of flirtation in her face or voice.
“Hello,” he answered with a nervous grin, trying to be casual too. He thought he should say something else, but before he had to think of anything, their parents were walking down the hall, dragging their luggage, and so they followed.
“Harry,” Mr. Potter said, as all the adults took Sirius and Adriana’s things to the downstairs guest bedroom. “Help Leilani bring her trunk to your room, will you?”
Harry took a hold of one side of her trunk, Leilani took the other, and they dragged it up the stairs until they got to his room. Leilani looked out the door when they had set the trunk down, and seeing that the coast was clear, grabbed Harry and planted a kiss on him. Harry only let it last a few seconds before he pulled himself away and started pacing the room.
“They’re crazy letting us sleep in here together,” Harry said in higher than usual voice.
“I know, isn’t it great!” Leilani said, sitting down on Harry’s bed with a smile. “On the way over, dad was talking about having me sleep in the guest bedroom with mum and how he could sleep in your room. He was going on about raging hormones and stuff, but I assured him that you’re still only like a brother to me. ‘That’s disgusting Dad, he’s not even cute!’ I said. ‘My heart belongs to Cedric Diggory!’”
Leilani laughed as she stood up and took off her coat.
“Cedric?” Harry said, freezing in his steps.
“Yeah, he still thinks I’m not over Cedric leaving me for Cho yet.” she said, laying her coat on her bed. “And I made sure to mention that you’re still hung up on her too.” Harry blinked at her.
“Cedric’s okay. And we went out with them first,” Harry said calmly, more to himself than her. He laughed softly.
“Of course Cedric’s okay, what are you talking about?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing,” Harry said, shaking himself out of his thoughts. “Life is beautiful.”
“Sure is,” Leilani said, as she opened her trunk. She pulled out a lumpy red drawstring bag, opened it, and offered it to Harry. “Chocolate?”
“No thanks,” he said, shaking his head. He sat down on his bed as Leilani took some more things out of her trunk and placed them on the small table next to her bed. “So this is why we haven’t told them about us?”
“It was your idea, you tell me.”
“But you agreed,” he said. “Remind me, won’t you? I’m feeling stupid.”
Leilani looked up at him with the same look of concern that he had already seen on Sirius’ and both his parents’ faces.
“Is something wrong Harry?” she asked, as she got up, sat next to Harry and took his hand. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but you’re not acting like yourself. You seem like you have no idea what’s going on.”
‘I’m never going to get away from this question,’ Harry thought to himself before answering. He wished very much that he could read a detailed biography on the Harry Potter of this world so that he could stop worrying everyone.
“I’m fine, okay? I’ve just been feeling weird lately, my mind’s all cluttered up, I can’t think straight.”
“Oh,” Leilani said with a frown. “But you’re acting really nervous around me too.”
“What? No I’m not.” Harry said nervously, demonstrating her point perfectly. She let go of his hand and folded her arms. “Okay, okay. I guess it’s just being around our parents you know... How long has it been now, this thing with us?”
“A few months- it was the beginning of October, right?”
“Right. So you can’t blame me, I’m just worried they’ll walk in on us any moment now.”
“HARRY! LEILANI!” The voice of Harry’s father came yelling from downstairs. “COME ON, WHAT’S TAKING YOU GUYS?”
“See?” Harry said, motioning to the door.
“Sure,” Leilani sighed.
“C’mon, let’s go,” Harry said, and he stood up and walked out the door.
February 26th, 2004, 5:28 am
Harry rushed down the hall and stairs before Leilani could catch up with him. She was right, he was nervous around her and he knew it. He didn’t feel quite ready to be alone with her for more than five minutes at a time yet. As pretty as she was and as much as she seemed to adore him, he barely knew her and he felt like he should at least know a little more about what she was like before he let her do whatever she intended on doing to him. The most prevalent thought in his mind though was the one that told him that the Harry of this world was bound to be a much better kisser than him and that would be just one more thing Leilani would notice was different about him.
Harry found the adults chatting in the kitchen, where he was soon joined by Leilani. She briefly caught his eye, but gave no outward sign that anything was even remotely wrong.
That evening, instead of a sit down dinner, the Potters and the Blacks sat in the living room and enjoyed a variety of hors d’oeuvres that Mrs. Potter and Sirius, who as it turned out was quite a good cook, had prepared with the help of all those cookbooks Harry had seen lying all over the kitchen. This gave the two families an opportunity to sit and talk together about anything and everything. Harry sat on the big blue couch between Sirius and his father while they ate. Adriana and Harry’s mother sat together on a smaller couch, and Leilani made herself comfortable on a pillow on the floor in the best spot to reach the food on the coffee table. Harry happily stayed quiet for the most part, enjoying every word his mother, father, and Sirius said, and taking the opportunity to get to know Leilani and her mother better. Halfway through eating, the conversation switched to Hogwarts and related subjects, and stayed there for quite awhile.
“You’ll be glad to know,” Sirius said to his fellow adults, after swallowing a stuffed mushroom, “That both of our children are excelling in Defense Against the Dark Arts this year once again.”
“It’s the only class we can beat Hermione in,” Leilani said with a grin. “But I still think you bump up our grades, Dad.”
“I do not! I grade fairly, I always have!” Sirius laughed. “You two are naturals, always have been.”
“Well that’s good to hear,” Harry’s dad said, picking up a cracker and brie cheese. “I just hope Harry’s keeping up in his other classes.” He looked at Harry, expecting an answer. Harry looked at Leilani, as if hoping she would answer for him, but she was busy eyeing the food.
“Yeah, I’m keeping up.”
“He is,” Leilani said, getting on her knees to survey the selection of hors d’oeuvres. “Hermione and I always make sure he and Ron do their homework. Well it’s mostly Hermione, but still, I help.”
“Speaking of Hermione and Ron, how are they?” Adriana asked. Harry didn’t say anything, so Leilani spoke again.
“They’re great as usual,” she said, as she finally picked a turkey pinwheel sandwich. “Hermione of course is taking the maximum amount of N.E.W.T. classes allowed but she’s doing fine. Ron’s good too, he and Ginny both got new Firebolts from their parents at the beginning of the year so they’re thrilled. Three Firebolts on one team- there’s no way we can lose this year, is there?”
Meanwhile Harry’s mouth had dropped open and he had to make himself close it again. Since when could Ron’s family afford to buy two Firebolt broomsticks? He was dying to ask about the Weasley family’s financial situation, but he knew it would sound suspicious.
“Nope, no way, Gryffindor played brilliantly against Slytherin,” Sirius said, smiling at Harry. “That was an amazing catch you made, Harry.” Harry frowned, thinking back to his humiliating loss to Draco Malfoy. But after a second, he forced himself to smile back at Sirius.
“Thanks,” he said, and he reached for a deviled egg to occupy his mouth just in case someone decided to ask about that amazing catch he had supposedly made. There was a short silence in which no one was really sure what to say, but Sirius soon found a way to break it.
“Well here’s something exciting: For the fourth year running I received more Christmas gifts from my students than any other professor!”
Everyone laughed except for Leilani, who rolled her eyes and groaned.
“That’s because they all have crushes on you,” she said, looking nauseated.
“That’s not true,” Sirius said, still laughing.
“Yes it is Dad! They were all girls, right? They think your so cute.” Leilani said the last two words in a high pitched and mocking voice. “I hear them talking about you, it’s revolting.”
But looking at Sirius, Harry, although not attracted to him in any way shape or form, could see why the girls at school would have a crush on him. He must have been forty years old, but as he had never been to Azkaban in this world, he hadn’t lost a trace of his good looks from his days at Hogwarts, and if anything, age had made him look even better.
Harry, lost in his thoughts, realized the conversation had moved on without him and he paid attention to Sirius again. He seemed to be the most talkative out of the four adults, or at least he did that night.
“... and you know that lesson is always hard to give. There’ll always be a kid whose relatives were tortured or killed by Voldemort or a Death Eater back in the day. It’s never parents anymore, thank goodness, they’re too young.”
“Wait, what lesson?” Harry asked. “Sorry, I zoned out.”
“The one in fourth year on the Unforgivable Curses. I just gave the last of them on Thursday.”
“Oh, yeah, that was a hard one...” Harry said.
“Most of the kids from wizarding families already know it, but still, it’s the worst when I have to tell them about Avada Kedavra. I mean, just the fact that no one has ever survived it and probably never ever will... that’s hard.”
Harry could feel his face getting hot. He had survived the death curse. Back in the other world, he had survived with nothing but a scar. That, and a life full of trouble.
While the subject was swiftly changed to a lighter topic, Harry became suddenly all too aware that in the world he had grown up in, every single person in that room, other than himself, was dead. He always knew it in the back of his head, but never took a moment to really think about it. His mother and father were killed the night Voldemort tried to kill him. Sirius had died just six months ago. Adriana was murdered only months before Harry had been born. And Leilani never even got to experience a second of life outside her mother’s body.
He found himself staring at Leilani as she sat there, munching on a cracker, laughing at something his dad had said that Harry didn’t hear. She had no idea what could have become of her, that she was enjoying a life that had never even started to begin with.
That is, if she really was enjoying it. Harry had started to think of this world more as an alternate universe that actually existed rather than something only made up in his brain. It was so real, so tangible, that he couldn’t believe he was only living in his mind.
Harry sat there being confused, still sadly watching Leilani. She looked at him, and the change in her expression showed Harry that she definitely noticed something was wrong. She didn’t say anything, but her notice of him did shake him out of his daydream. Harry checked his watch. It was half past nine.
“I’m suddenly very tired,” lied Harry. “I think I’ll go to bed now.” There was much protest from the adults, but in the end they let him go on his way.
March 3rd, 2004, 12:54 am
Harry climbed the stairs and went back to his room. He changed out of his clothes into some silly looking plaid pajamas with little broomsticks all over them. He turned off the light, crawled under the covers of his bed, and turned on his side facing the wall to think.
What was troubling him now more than his revelation that he was spending time with a bunch of dead people was the question of where he was. In his mind supposedly. But he just couldn’t believe it. This world had a history, things happened there when he was absent, the people in it seemed like they thought for themselves, they didn’t blindly accept how weird Harry was acting. It was too real to be fake. Maybe the potion made his mind or soul or whatever part of him travel to a different dimension... that’s it... a different dimension or universe where all this had actually happened... but how was that possible? Well, magic of course. Maybe what it was-
“AH!” Harry, thrown out of his thoughts immediately, yelled and violently turned over in his bed. He had just felt movement from what was unmistakably another body. He was on his other side now and saw in the dim light from a window that Leilani had made herself comfortable under Harry’s blanket. They were face to face and inches apart.
“Shush! Don’t be so loud!” Leilani whispered.
“What are you doing?” he frantically whispered back. Throughout the day Harry had grown out of being nervous around her when they were with their parents, but her jumping into his bed was a whole new story.
“We need to talk Harry,” said Leilani seriously.
“Oh,” he said, thinking that wasn’t too bad. But then again... “Why do we have to do it under the covers?”
“What if my mum or dad checks on us on the way to-”
“Listen, I don’t care,” Leilani interrupted. “We need to talk now. What is wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong except you’re in my bed.”
“See, just you saying that is wrong. You are being so weird. You’ve been really quiet all day. You obviously don’t want to be close to me at all. And don’t you say it’s because of our parents because I know you, you don’t get so weird about these kinds of things.” Leilani paused and took a breath. “And then there was the way you were looking at me back there...”
“It’s nothing Leilani,” Harry said. “Everything’s fine.”
“Liar,” she said. Harry didn’t respond.
Leilani turned so she was lying on her back. Harry looked at her outline in the silent moonlight, and started thinking the same thoughts he had when he had been looking at her back in the living room. He felt some indescribable feeling for her rushing through him as he thought about the fact that no one in the real world would ever get to know this girl besides him.
Just as Harry felt the side of him that found Leilani staying in his room exciting starting to surface, he heard a sniffle.
“Oh no,” Harry said, still whispering, and sitting up in his bed. “Don’t cry, please don’t cry. Why are you crying?”
“I know what it is. You want to break up with me, don’t you?”
“What?” Harry said. He couldn’t believe his ears. He was just starting to become more comfortable around her, and there was something about her that he did like, and now she was talking about breaking up? “No! No no no! That’s not it!”
“Then what is it? This is just how Cedric acted before he broke up with me.”
“I swear Leilani, that’s not it. I just... I don’t feel like myself these days, that’s all. I’ve been in a weird mood lately. I was kind of depressed yesterday too, I don’t know why, it’s just one of those random things that creeps up on you...”
“Really,” Harry said. “It was just a weird depression thing, I don’t want to break up, that would only make it worse. I mean, it feels to me like we’ve only been together for a really short time.” He looked down at her hopefully. He really didn’t want to screw up this world for himself too, and upsetting her would surely be the first step. He shuddered to think of how much more awkward the rest of the vacation would be if they were secretly having problems with each other.
“Okay, okay, I believe you.” She sat up too and faced Harry, who breathed a sigh of relief. “But why were you looking at me like that downstairs? You looked so sad.”
“Well,” Harry whispered, “You know how your dad was talking about the Avada Kedavra curse. I was just getting carried away with my thoughts, you know...”
“Oh,” Leilani said, wiping her eyes. “So you’re still depressed then? I’m sorry Harry. I hate to see you feel bad.” Leilani wrapped her arms around him. Harry was stiff at first, but after a minute he relaxed and returned the hug.
“It’s not your fault, I feel loads better than yesterday,” he said quietly in her ear. The memories of the previous afternoon and morning came back to him, and he said, “You have no idea.”
Harry felt a stinging in the corner of his eyes and promptly closed them. He thought for a little longer about his life back in the other world, about all the things that had made him decide to take all of that potion. But then he made himself stop. He had taken the potion to escape that world, so why should he worry about it or the technicalities of what he was experiencing? He made a conscious decision to live in the present from now on, to enjoy every moment in this new life. After all, here he was, in a happy home with his parents and Sirius, sitting there in the arms of a beautiful girlfriend who seemed to really care for him even though he wasn’t the famous boy who lived.
After awhile, Harry announced that he really did want to go to sleep, so Leilani gave him a goodnight kiss and reluctantly went back to her own bed. They whispered their goodnights and Harry started to drift off to sleep, wishing that someone at some point would have told him whether he snored or not, and hoping he didn’t.
As he fell asleep, he stayed true to his new determination and paid no thought to the real world, not thinking about how in that world his body was starting to shake and sweat. He didn’t know that Ron and Hermione had decided to stay at Hogwarts in case he woke up and were at that moment looking at him in fear, not having seen him fall asleep the night before. Madam Pomfrey would soon be rushing over to him to strap him down just to be safe. Hermione would soon gasp and find herself in tears and Ron would stare too stunned for words when Harry gave a especially violent jerk as he started pleasantly dreaming. Harry was completely ignorant of all this and was perfectly happy to be so.
March 6th, 2004, 9:45 am
Harry happily spent the next few days with his parents and the Blacks, only occasionally stumbling across a situation where he had no idea what to say. When the situation did arise though, he would tend to either put a large piece of food in his mouth or pretend to not hear what they said and change the subject.
By day, the two families took occasional outings together, going to the local shops in the town, going out to eat, or just taking a walk around the neighborhood. In their time together, Harry casually brought up subjects he was curious about, and managed to learn that Ron’s father was head of the now very respected Muggle Relations department of the Ministry of Magic, Viktor Krum had won the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Harry’s fourth year, and Gilderoy Lockhart had just started his own line of hair care potions over the last summer.
By night, Harry discovered that kissing wasn’t nearly as hard as he thought it was, and when his partner wasn’t crying and he stopped being nervous, it was a lot of fun. He still hadn’t decided whether he was really in his brain or just in another physical world, but either way, he became very thankful that the Escape world had provided him with a girlfriend a thousand times better than Cho.
The night before Christmas Eve, Harry and Leilani were in Harry’s room, sitting on his bed with a single lamp on, and enjoying all sorts of delicious chocolates from that big red drawstring bag she had offered him on her first day there.
“Have you tried these?” Leilani asked, pulling out a little waffle shaped chocolate and giving it to him.
“Oh yeah,” Harry said, remembering his trip to Hogsmeade a few months before. He had eaten one right before the first time he had seen Leilani. “Those have got to be my favorite.”
“You know we’re never going to get to sleep like this, do you know how much sugar we’re consuming?” Harry said, sucking on his candy.
“Gosh Harry, you figured out my plan,” Leilani said, smiling and sounding fakely disappointed. Harry grinned and swallowed.
“Say, Leilani,” Harry said. He didn’t finish what he was saying, partly because he didn’t know how to say what he wanted to without sounding completely random. Leilani raised her eyebrows at him.
“Well... Say you were going to write a biography or something on the exciting life of Harry Potter. What would you write about?” Harry looked at her and she giggled.
“I don’t know, what would you write about? It’s your life.”
“No, I want to hear it from you.”
“All right, all right,” she said. “I guess I’d start out with-” Leilani cleared her throat dramatically. “Harry James Potter was born on the beautiful night of July the thirty first at eleven forty five pm, exactly twelve hours after the famous, beautiful, intelligent witch Leilani Andromeda Black, who’s parents have pounded that fact into her head over the years repeatedly with a sledgehammer-”
“Come on!” Harry said, playfully punching her in the arm, and silently taking in the fact that she had the same birthday as him.
“Okay, okay,” she laughed, and then looked up at the ceiling, thinking. When she spoke again, she took on the important voice of someone narrating a documentary. “At the tender age of three, Potter invented the sport of Mattress Vaulting, which was usually played in the nude and covered in toothpaste and Floo Powder, as Leilani Black’s father also never failed to remind her.”
Leilani pulled a piece of chocolate with almonds in it, and munched on it while thinking again. Harry wanted to say ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ very badly, but resisted the temptation.
“It was soon clear that Potter had a gift for flying, and in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he became the Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team-”
“Oh, sorry, second year I mean.”
“Mmm...” Harry guessed that the incident with Draco Malfoy and his first flying lesson that got him on the team in his first year had never happened. “Go on!” Harry was getting impatient to hear something different.
“This is dumb Harry,” Leilani said. “What are you making me do this for?”
“Nothing, I just thought it would be fun,” Harry said, sounding slightly dejected. “You don’t have to go on if you really don’t want to.”
“No, I’ll go on,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder and handing Harry a swirly looking hard carmel and chocolate candy to eat. “Okay... ‘Thankfully, the bright and outgoing young Potter was sorted into Gryffindor house, and soon became best friends with one Ronald Bilius Weasley. Weasley happened to initially not like the girl who would become Black’s best friend, Hermione Jane Granger, but Potter and Black worked their magic- er, not literally- and soon the four became almost inseparable.’ Err... Ah! ‘In his second year at Hogwarts, Potter was challenged by that ferret Draco Malfoy-’”
“Did you just call Malfoy a ferret?” Harry interrupted.
“Of course I did. Now let me finish, I’m trying to dictate your biography to you!”
“Sure, go on.”
“Right. So. ‘Potter was challenged by the ferrety young Slytherin to race him in a swimming match across the lake one midnight and Potter accepted-’”
“That’s stupid,” Harry announced.
“Of course it was stupid, you were twelve,” Leilani said, and cleared her throat again, returning to her narration. “Potter and Malfoy each brought witnesses to the race, Potter’s being Black, Weasley, and Granger of course. The race started, and soon, Potter was at the halfway point in the icy cold lake. But alas!’” Leilani tragically put her hand up to her head. “Two grindylows caught hold of his legs and Potter had left his wand at shore! It was pulling him down into the water while Malfoy swam away to win the race. Potters friends didn’t know what was happening since it was so dark. There was no one there to save Potter from drowning! Potter knew he was going to die that night.”
Leilani stopped talking and pulled out a dark chocolate truffle, popped it in her mouth, and chewed on it thoughtfully. Harry stared at her expectantly. He was dying to know what had happened.
“Aren’t you going to finish?”
“Oh, you know the end,” she said.
“Yeah, but I like how you tell it, please go on?”
“All right, all right. ‘It was lucky for Potter that Percy Weasley and his girlfriend Penelope Clearwater had snuck out that night for a midnight broomstick ride. Out of nowhere, they came zooming over the lake and saw Potter splashing around helplessly, nothing left above the water but his hands. Weasley the elder came to his rescue, and Potter lived. The story spread throughout the school in no time, and to his pleasure, he became the most popular boy in school overnight. But deep down, for Potter this was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.’”
“I have it easy then, don’t I? That’s not very traumatic at all...”
“Well I’m glad you’ve finally gotten over it,” Leilani said, also laughing. “Now let me get to the best part, Cho Chang!”
“Woop dee doo,” Harry said monotonously. Leilani was still laughing.
“Potter swore she was his true love. Black still remembers when he triumphantly asked her out in his fifth year, oh what a happy day that was for Potter! But little did he know that Chang would one day fancy Black’s boyfriend, the handsome Cedric Diggory. Diggory did the respectable thing and broke up with Black properly that June, but Chang did not! The day after Black’s break up, poor Potter found Chang and Diggory snogging in the bushes by the lake!”
Harry’s mouth was hanging open.
“She cheated on him- me!” Harry exclaimed, outraged.
“Oh yes, Potter was very upset. He came running to Black in a storm and told her everything. Black and Potter spent the whole night complaining to each other about Chang and Diggory. The whole of Gryffindor house probably heard every word they said.”
“Yes, very good,” Leilani said. “But in the end, Potter was glad the whole thing had happened, or else he never would have fallen for Black, and Black for him. And how could she not after how he had turned out?” She looked at him fondly, but Harry couldn’t keep the eye contact; he looked down to examine his fingers, and felt what he was sure looked like a stupid grin on his face.
“Pretty skimpy biography, but there you go,” she said, taking his hands. “Now you do me!”
“Er...” Harry would fail miserably if he tried. “Nah, enough of that...” Leilani looked like she was going to argue back, but Harry took the opportunity to kiss her, and she seemed to take that as an acceptable answer.
March 8th, 2004, 10:16 am
“Harry, you cannot wear that to the party!” Harry’s mother stood before him in the living room with her hands on her hips. He and Leilani had both been lounging around in their pajamas all of Christmas Eve in especially good moods, and Harry had finally gotten dressed since they had to go to Longbottom’s party soon. He was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans.
“Come on, why not?”
“Your mother’s right Harry,” said Sirius, who was sitting on the couch with his wife and James Potter. “This is a nice party, you have to dress up better than that.”
“Ah, now this young woman knows how to dress nicely.” Mrs. Potter had just spotted Leilani walking into the room and was looking at her with admiration. She was wearing a calf-length blue skirt and an elegant long sleeved black shirt that laced up the front. She held the same black coat in her arms that she had been wearing when she arrived at the Potters. Leilani smiled at Harry with a look that said ‘Ha ha ha.’
“Yeah... but look at her shoes!” Harry exclaimed.
“Leilani!” Adriana said disgustedly. “That looks horrible!”
Leilani was wearing bright red sneakers with green laces and socks that were covered in pictures of candy canes and holly.
“They’re festive Mum!” Leilani said, looking like she was going to start laughing.
“Honestly you two,” Mrs. Potter said. “Go change, we’re going to be late, it’s already six.”
Ten minutes later, Harry was in some nice black pants, a dark red button up shirt and black coat, and Leilani had changed her shoes to some knee high black boots. The two families piled into the Potters’ car, which as it turned out had the same apparating type function that Mr. Weasley’s had. They were in front of the Longbottom’s house in no time. They all went inside, where they were greeted by Neville and his parents. Harry couldn’t stop smiling as he met Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom. He was so happy to see that Neville also had his parents in this world.
Harry soon found himself in a large living room covered in decorations, and in the corner was a sparkling tree that went up to the ceiling. The room was filled with people, many with familiar faces. He was a bit nervous that he would act weird when people would talk to him, but he tried to brush it off.
“Ooh, there’s Hermione!” Leilani grabbed Harry by the arm and dragged him away from their parents to a corner of the room where Hermione stood chatting with Ron and Ginny. Leilani soon got wrapped up in a conversation with the two girls about how Hermione had used one of Lockhart’s hair potions to calm down the frizz in her hair, which left a completely uninterested Ron and Harry by themselves on the side.
“That Lockhart, I swear, he’s so fake,” Ron said, looking at the girls. “If I could only get my hands on him-”
“You know what I’d do?” Harry interrupted. “I’d give him a dysfunctional wand, and when he tried to blast out our memories because he’d just told us what a fraud he was, the wand would backfire and he’d be stuck in St. Mungos for years.”
“Yeah! Good one Harry!”
“Thanks,” he said, grinning.
“Oh look, it’s your favorite guy in the world,” Ron said, pointing to some people just entering the room. “Diggory. I bet you’d like to use that dysfunctional wand trick on him too.”
He looked over, and sure enough, there was an eighteen year old Cedric Diggory, looking as handsome as he had the night Harry saw him murdered.
“Not really...” Harry said quietly without thinking. Then he remembered what Leilani had told him the night before and realized how he should be acting. “Oh! Yeah, yeah. That good for nothing pretty boy.”
“Ah, and there’s Cho,” said Ron, as she too walked into the room and quickly spotted her boyfriend.
“Lovely,” Harry said, and he and Ron watched them for a minute.
“You’ll find a better girl than her one of these days,” Ron said. Harry said nothing, but nodded. “C’mon, let’s go get some drinks.”
Harry and Ron found the refreshments table, and were serving themselves some punch when Harry felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around, and saw Lupin smiling at him. His eyes widened and he stood unable to say anything for a moment.
“Hi Harry, it’s good to see you!”
“Oh,” said Harry. It took him a second to realize that ‘oh’ was not a proper greeting. “I mean, hi Pro- er... Remus. It’s great to see you too.”
“Don’t sound so cheerful now,” Lupin said, picking up a cup to serve himself a drink.
“No, I am happy to see you!” Harry said, putting a smile on his face. “Really. I’m sorry, my mind was just somewhere else.”
“It’s fine. I’m assuming James and Sirius are here too if you’re here, do you know where they are?”
“I dunno, around somewhere.”
“Well, I’ll find them. See you Harry.” And with that, he left the table.
“What’s up Harry, you looked like you just saw a ghost there,” Ron said. “That is, if you had never seen a ghost before...”
“It’s nothing,” he said, taking a sip of punch. Just as he did so, a tall curly haired boy around their age who Harry had never seen before in his life came rushing up to him and Ron.
“Hi there Ron, Harry,” said the boy.
“Hey,” Ron said. “Are you ever going to return those Charms notes? I need to get them back to Hermione before she figures out they’re gone.”
“I will, once we get back to school. Sorry I forgot, I was just so caught up in Quidditch practice you know, I can’t let you guys beat us this year!” The boy smiled.
“Ha! Yeah right, we have three Firebolts, a Seeker who’s never lost us a game, and our brilliant new Chaser, my little sister of course, almost broke the Gryffindor house record for most number of goals in one game! Isn’t that right Harry?”
“Uh huh,” Harry said, still studying the boys face and wishing he knew who he was.
“Well now that Diggory’s gone,” the boy said. “We’ve got the fastest new Seeker Hufflepuff has seen for years, and our Keeper didn’t let in a single goal from Ravenclaw last time.”
“Dream on Jared, you know you can’t beat us,” Ron answered. His name was Jared. Harry made a mental note to himself.
“You never know,” said Jared. He looked at Harry. “You’re being awfully quiet.”
“Yeah, what’s it to you?” said Harry. “Jared?”
“Nothing,” Jared said, giving him a funny look. “Say, how’s your essay on Flangle Marzlecamps going? I heard you found some rare book about them and that’s why you chose that topic. It must be fascinating, I’ve always wanted to learn about Marzlecamps!”
Harry blinked. He stared at Jared blankly. He and Ron were both looking at him expectantly. Harry reached his hand over to the refreshments table, picked up a large bread roll, and stuffed it in his mouth.
“Marooomfroom moooo!” Harry said through the roll, and he waved to Jared and walked hurriedly back to Hermione, Ginny, and Leilani.
March 10th, 2004, 1:14 am
“Whasss hiss lass num agenn?” Harry asked when Ron caught up with him. He was still chewing on his bread.
“Jared’s last name? Prewett, you know that, why?” Harry shook his head.
“Nuffffin...” He thought the name sounded slightly familiar, but forgot about it promptly when they reached the girls.
“Hey, you’re back!” Hermione said. Harry nodded, swallowing his bread. “Neville came by a few minutes ago and told us there’s going to be dancing down in the basement.”
“He said that he and his parents even went out and bought some Muggle music just for the party, so it should be fun,” Ginny added.
“It would be fun no matter what as long as we get to dance,” Leilani said. “Come on!”
With that, Harry and Ron were quickly dragged across the house and down some stairs by the girls to go dance. When they arrived in the basement they saw that many of the teenagers at the party were already there. The room had been darkened but had all sorts of sparkling light effects coming from the ceiling. Harry recognized the upbeat song that was playing as one he had always enjoyed from the radio at the Dursleys. It was a song that Uncle Vernon would always shut off when it came on and start muttering about out of control hair while glaring at Harry. He noticed a small group of people staring in wonder at what he knew was a CD player, and Neville, looking proud that he knew how it functioned, was apparently explaining it to them.
“This is good music, those Muggles aren’t bad!” Ron yelled in Harry’s ear.
“You mean you’ve never heard this? This is one of the most popular Muggle bands ever if I’m not mistaken.”
“How do you know that?” Harry rolled his eyes at him.
“We wizards sure are ignorant, aren’t we?”
The girls meanwhile had all abandoned their high heeled shoes and were attempting to pull off Harry’s and Ron’s.
“I can do it, I can do it,” Harry said, looking down to see Leilani tugging at his left shoe. As Harry took his shoes off, he smiled, noticing that Leilani was still wearing her candy cane and holly socks.
While Ginny spotted a friend and ran off, Hermione and Leilani pulled the two boys into the growing crowd of dancing people. Harry was very thankful it wasn’t any lighter in there, because he thought he must look like a fool. It took a few songs for him to get comfortable dancing, but once he did, he had a great time. The music was fantastic, the atmosphere was fun, and he felt like nothing existed outside of that room.
At one point, Ron unintentionally did a odd looking dance move that somehow reminded Harry of an ostrich, resulting in uncontrollable laughter from his three friends. From then on, Harry, Leilani, Hermione, and Ron were coming up with inventive new moves to do nonstop.
“Hey, I’ve got one!” Hermione said loudly over the music. She put her both of her pointer fingers on the top of her head and did a series of twitchy hops. Giggling hysterically, they all followed suit.
“Ooh, my turn!” Leilani spread her feet far apart, put her arms in the air and started to do a kind of lopsided version of the twist. Her friends were doubled over in laughter, but tried their hardest to imitate her.
Harry was just about to come up with a weird dance move of his own, when he felt a horribly familiar sensation creeping up on him. He felt slightly dizzy. It was the same feeling he got whenever he was about to be pulled out of the Escape world. Harry stopped moving.
“No...” Harry said quietly to himself. “No, not now...”
“Come on Harry! Why’d you stop dancing?” Leilani yelled in his ear, doing Ron’s ostrich dance again.
“No,” Harry said a little louder, getting dizzier. He could feel tears springing up in his eyes. He didn’t want to leave, he hadn’t been there long enough, he couldn’t go back to that life now that he knew this one. He could feel the dizziness getting stronger, and he fell to his hands and knees.
“NO!” Harry shouted to the floor as he put his hands on his head, pulling at his hair and not caring that he was making a scene in the middle of Neville’s party. If he had looked up, he would have seen that everyone around him had stopped dancing, and that they were all staring at him, looking shocked. Harry felt the sensation getting stronger and stronger, threatening to take him away.
“NOOOO!” He yelled again, willing himself not to be taken. Tears were falling down his face. “I WON’T GO!”
Harry’s head was spinning, he couldn’t see straight and he felt himself shaking. He saw a flash of a ceiling that looked strangely like that of the hospital wing of Hogwarts. Then he saw his knees again, back in the dark basement. He heard what sounded like Hermione’s voice. “Madam Pomfrey, he’s shaking worse than ever! But his eyes are still open!” He heard the rock music from Neville’s party, but felt himself shaking violently in a bed and being held down while he saw a strange mix of his rectangular glasses falling off below him and a red headed figure standing above him.
“DON’T MAKE ME GO! I HAVE TO STAY!” Harry cried at the top of his voice amidst all the confusion. For about two seconds Harry saw a very clear image of Ron, Hermione, and Madam Pomfrey looking down at him very stilly with their mouths open, and he could feel himself in the hospital bed.
“Har-” But Harry did not hear Hermione finish saying his name, because with a flash of bright white light, he was back in Neville’s basement, lying on the floor with loud music blaring in his ears.
He was breathing very heavily and quickly. Harry picked up his glasses and put them back on, and picked himself up off the floor. He was still trembling as he looked around him and saw the whole crowd of dancers looking at him. Directly in front of him was Leilani, who looked terrified. After a moment she took a hold of him and marched him up the stairs and out of the room, with Ron and Hermione following close behind.
March 12th, 2004, 8:16 am
Leilani let go of Harry once they reached the top of the stairs. They were in a hallway now, where they could still faintly hear the music from downstairs. Ron, Hermione, and Leilani stood before him while Harry leaned against the wall, not looking at them.
“What just happened in there?” Leilani asked quietly, sounding very worried.
“I don’t know,” Harry mumbled, folding his arms and staring at his feet.
“You don’t know?” Leilani said. “You don’t know that you were just on the floor crying and screaming in the middle of Neville’s party?”
“It looked like you were having seizures or something,” Hermione added.
“It was scary, mate,” said Ron. Harry was still determinedly looking at the floor.
“We’ve got to get James and Lily,” Leilani said after a moment.
“No!” Harry yelled, finally looking up at them.
“Why not? There’s obviously something very wrong,” Leilani responded.
“Nothing is wrong. It won’t happen again, I promise.”
“Nothing is wrong?” Ron said incredulously.
“Harry, you didn’t see yourself, trust me, something is wrong,” said Leilani.
“No, you trust me,” Harry said. “I should know, I’m the one who’s... Listen, you have to believe me, everything’s fine.”
“How can we believe you?” Hermione said. “You just said you didn’t know what happened and now you’re telling us it won’t happen again?”
“You know. I can see it your face,” Leilani said, her eyes never wandering from Harry’s. “You know exactly what just happened. And you know why.”
Harry opened his mouth to claim he had no idea, but he realized in a split second that that wouldn’t work. He knew he had to come up with an explanation quick. He had chosen to stay in that world, and that choice was not going to ruin everything for him.
“I didn’t want to tell you guys, it’s kind of embarrassing but if it’ll make you stop worrying... Have you heard of... experimental potions and stuff?” Harry said. Hermione nodded. “There are some... They... Well they’re really appealing when you’re down, you know? And, well, you know, Leilani, I was kind of depressed for no reason recently and... Well one time, awhile back... After my breakup with Cho, I got this little bit of potion from... well it doesn’t matter where, but the point is, I took it when I was depressed just recently and it made me feel better for a short time, but the thing is it has after effects. The guy who gave it to me told me so. He said that at some point after you take it, this, er... thing happens where you get this kind of attack, just like what I must have just done, but it only happens once. And that’s it. Trust me, I’ll never take it again, the good effects only lasted for a few minutes.”
Harry finished and looked at his friends, hoping they would believe the story. It was partly based in fact after all, it had to be believable.
“That’s so weird,” Leilani finally said. “But I believe you. I’ve been tempted to do the same thing before so I can’t really blame you. So is this is why you were acting all nervous before too?”
“Exactly,” Harry said, nodding.
“Well I hope you know not to solve your problems with strange potions next time,” said Hermione. “They cause more problems than they prevent.”
Harry had the urge to say ‘They do not!’ but he resisted.
“I learned my lesson,” Harry said. “Now can you see why I don’t want you telling my parents?”
“Yeah, it’s just one of those things you don’t tell mum and dad about,” Ron said. “What did the potion do anyway? I mean the immediate effects?”
“Er...” It hadn’t occurred to Harry that they would ask this question. “I don’t know, it just makes you feel really good. It’s hard to describe.”
“Okay, I know it’s all over now, but do you feel alright, Harry?” Leilani asked. “I mean, it looked really bad, you have no idea. It looked painful too.”
“Fine, I’m fine,” Harry said, putting a smile on his face, mainly in relief that they had bought the whole story. “Now look, I’m here at this perfect party with my perfect family, perfect friends, my perfect girlfriend-”
“Girlfriend!?” Ron exclaimed. “Which one of you is it?” He glared suspiciously at Leilani and Hermione. Leilani was watching Harry, looking surprised.
“Me, Ron,” Leilani said, raising her hand. “But don’t you dare tell our parents.”
“Why not? How long has this been going on, and why didn’t you tell us?”
“You are blind, Ron,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “They’ve been playing footsies under the table at every meal for months now.”
“We didn’t tell you just in case you spilled and word spread to dad, but now that you know, you are not to breathe a word of this to anyone,” Leilani said, pointing a finger at Ron. “’Cause if our parents found out, first of all, they’d be thrilled. It would be disgusting, they’d be planning our wedding and buying gifts for my baby shower tomorrow. Secondly, Harry and I have shared a room over winter break almost every year for sixteen years because they think we’re like a brother and sister to each other, and we don’t want to ruin that now, do we?”
“Your parents are mental!” Ron said, laughing and sounding almost jealous.
“Anyway,” Harry said, “Before we got on this topic, I was saying...”
“Oh, right, sorry Harry,” Ron said.
“That’s alright. There’s no reason to spoil the party over this stupid potion. That happened, it’s over with, let’s go enjoy ourselves.”
“Okay,” said Leilani. “But one question. Why were you yelling those things. ‘No, I won’t go, I have to stay’? And it definitely sounded like you were crying.”
“Oh, well... The guy said you don’t really have any control over what you do when it comes, it’s like... one last explosion from the potion, you have random emotional outbursts. I could have yelled ‘No! I’ve ruined my shirt! Take me to the torpedo king!’ and I would have no control over it.” Leilani raised her eyebrows and seemed to be amused at his example of what he could have yelled.
“That's... really really weird,” she said. “Almost hard to believe, but I have heard about some experimental magic and it does do some pretty bizarre stuff to you. So you’re sure you’re okay?”
“If you ever take a dumb potion like that again Harry, I’m going to smack you. Getting us all worried like that... Well come on, let’s get back to the party.”
Harry silently thanked himself for lying well enough to convince them as they went back down to the basement. When they arrived, they got quite a lot of stares, but Leilani whispered in Harry’s ear “Ignore them” and he did. She didn’t realize just how used to getting stared at he was.
They danced for another hour, although the level of pure fun and laughter that had been there before Harry disrupted the dancing never quite returned. Even though they had accepted his explanation and had acted like they were completely fine with it, Ron and Hermione still seemed very slightly disturbed, and Leilani barely took her eyes off Harry the whole time they were down there.
After that hour, Mr. Longbottom appeared at the basement door and announced it was time for carol singing, so Harry and the rest of the teenagers trooped up the stairs and back to the main room with all the adults. Harry found his parents, Sirius, Adriana, and Lupin talking and sitting together on some chairs along with Professor Dumbledore. Harry was mildly surprised and said hello to him, and then sat on the floor with Leilani, Hermione and Ron, who’s parents and siblings were also close by.
The crowded room of people sang many different songs, who’s lyrics would float in the air for all to see with the help of a spell from Mr. Longbottom. They sang with the accompaniment of Mrs. Longbottom’s piano playing, along with the chaotic playing of percussion instruments that had been handed around the room. Harry had taken a pair of maracas, Hermione had a pair of loud symbols, Ron had gotten stuck hitting a wooden block with a small hammer, and Leilani was proudly playing the triangle.
After a rousing final chorus of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, the singing ended, and people slowly started to leave. The Potters and the Blacks took what Harry thought was way too long a time to say goodbye to practically everyone in the room, but eventually they left and made it safely back home.
March 18th, 2004, 10:18 am
That night, after staying up late again with Leilani and eating the candy that she had somehow smuggled from the party, Harry didn’t sleep nearly as well as he had the several nights before. He had vivid dreams all night recalling when he had almost been pulled back in to the real world, and he could almost feel himself shaking again.
The next morning, therefore, Harry was tired and felt slightly sick to his stomach. After breakfast though, Harry felt much better and more awake, and he followed Leilani into the living room where he expected they would be opening presents soon. Harry had been relieved when unpacking his bag days before to discover already wrapped and labeled presents for everyone he figured he was supposed to give presents to. He had placed them under the tree, and his dad had taken the ones for Ron and Hermione and had them delivered. Harry was very curious to see not only what his gifts were, but what the ones from him were.
Sirius and Adriana soon came and joined them in the living room, along with Harry’s mom. They chatted for a few minutes before Mr. Potter came in and announced that they were going to go to an outdoor ice skating rink that was opened in town for the season. So, everyone bundled up in their warmest clothes, and by noon they were walking to the rink. When they reached it, many families were already there, and there was cheesy Christmas music playing out of a single loudspeaker. They went into a small building next to the rink, where Mrs. Potter, being the most familiar with muggle money, rented skates for all of them from a man dressed as Santa Clause. As Harry put on his skates and put his shoes into a little cubby hole, he sincerely hoped that he was supposed to be bad at skating, as he had never gone before in his life.
Once on the ice, it took Harry a grand total of twenty seven seconds to fall on his behind. He sat there watching his parents easily making their way around the rink, smiling and arm in arm. Soon, Sirius came skating up to him.
“Let me help you Harry,” Sirius said as he lifted him up. He was having no problem staying on his feet and neither was Adriana, who was just a few feet away helping Leilani, who had fallen seconds after Harry, stand up. “Here, you two can help each other.”
“How can we help each other if we’re both stink?” Leilani asked, holding on to her mother’s arm.
“Trust me, it’s easier to learn as team, your father and I learned together,” Adriana said. She let go of Leilani, who grabbed Harry’s arm immediately. Sirius let go of him, and looked at the two of them fondly.
“You two would make the cutest couple!”
“Gross Dad!” Leilani said.
“Now Lei, you don’t want to offend Harry,” Adriana said to her daughter.
“She’s not offending me, it is gross,” Harry said, looking appropriately disgusted.
“See! Now can’t you let us skate in peace without disturbing me with this talk again?” Leilani said.
“All right,” Sirius said, laughing. “Good luck!” And with that, Leilani’s parents went skating off gracefully.
“We’re good Harry,” Leilani said, smiling at him. Harry smiled back at her.
“Yes, we excel at many things, but unfortunately ice skating is not one of them,” he responded. They very slowly made their way around the rink, often resorting to holding on to the bar that went all the way around with one or both hands.
“Don’t you hate that kid?” Harry asked, clinging to Leilani, who was holding on to the side bar. He was watching a blond girl wearing all pink who looked about seven years old. She had already passed them by at least five times.
“Yeah,” she said. “Oh hey, here come your mum and dad... Lily! James!”
Harry’s parents came skating over to them.
“Can you help us? We’ve barely made it once around the rink,” said Leilani.
“Sure,” Harry’s father said. “Here, we’ll all hold hands, you two can get in the middle. Lily, you get Harry’s hand, I’ll get Leilani’s.” In that formation, Harry and Leilani finally succeeded in completing their lap, and made it around a couple more times with relative ease.
They were skating the fastest they had so far, which was pretty slow even though it seemed like light speed to Harry, when he saw the girl in pink straight in front of him. She unexpectedly stopped on the ice for some reason and stood perfectly still. His parents let go of either side to go around her, but when Harry tried to go to the left of the girl, Leilani tried to go to the right. They were still holding on to each other though, so when they went in opposite directions they lost their balance. Their struggle to stay on their feet ended up sending their legs flying in the air, and they landing in a two person pile.
“Bloody kid...” Harry groaned, lifting his head and watching her glide off, oblivious of what she had caused. He heard Leilani moaning, and saw that she had landed face down on the ice. Harry untangled himself from her and she sat up. She rubbed her chin, which had a light scrape on it.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked.
“I’m okay, it was just a hard fall,” she answered, as their parents came hurrying over to them. “You know your blade missed my face by inches on the way down.”
“Stupid kid...” Their parents reached them, and each of their fathers picked them up.
“Wow, you’re both miserable at this,” Sirius said.
“It was that kid’s fault!” Harry exclaimed.
“It was,” his father confirmed. “They were doing fine, but she stopped right in our tracks.”
After hearing this and fixing Leilani’s chin with a wave of his wand, Sirius went off to find the girls parents while the rest of them continued skating. It gave Harry and Leilani immense pleasure to see him find them and yell at them. They laughed so hard they almost fell down again when Sirius threatened them with his wand, which he had forgotten to put away, and had to hastily stuff it back in his coat pocket when he realized he was talking to muggles.
They stayed for another hour after the big fall and had a fun time, and Harry even got good enough to make a lap all by himself. Harry was happy to leave though, and his normal shoes felt so good on his feet on the way home.
When they got back, Mrs. Potter and Sirius went off to the kitchen to prepare an early dinner. An hour and a half later, they were in the dining room with the finished meal before them. Looking at all the different food in front of him, Harry was sure that the same meal would have taken Aunt Petunia all day to prepare without using magic. All the food was delicious, and when they were done, they retired to the living room and collapsed, barely able to move from being so full.
After Sirius lazily pointed his wand to the fireplace and started a fire, they all opened their presents around the tree. Harry’s presents from Ron and Hermione were typical of them, a bag of various candies from Honeydukes and a book. From his parents he mainly got clothes that he was always immediately told to try on for them all to see. When he opened a triple pack of underwear from his parents, Leilani, giggling, insisted he model them too. He just threw the underwear at her head and went on to the next present. From Leilani he received, not surprisingly, a bag full of every single type of chocolate that he had tried from her own collection, and a wall calendar with a different Qudditch team pictured for each month. From Sirius and Adriana, Harry got a book full of obscure, but according to the blurb on the back of the book, useful jinxes.
Harry soon discovered that he had given Sirius a cookbook called Almost Impossible Recipes for the Expert Cook, and Adriana a book called Coping With Your Food Obsessed Spouse, which received lots of laughs when it was opened. To Leilani’s delight, Harry saw that along with a pair of sparkly purple shoelaces, he had given her three pairs of socks, one knee high pair with thick scarlet and gold stripes, one with the words “Yummy Sushi” and pictures of it printed all over them, and one pair that changed colors every ten seconds.
“Oh Harry!” his mother said happily, having just opened his present to her and her husband. “This is wonderful! Thank you!” Harry grinned, wondering what it was, and she proceeded to pass the gift around for everyone to see. When it got to him, he saw that it was a very nice frame with three different pictures of him and his parents in it. He stared at the pictures, wondering when they had been taken. He wished he could ask, but he there was no way he was going to.
“And now for the last gift of the evening,” said Sirius. “Here’s a real good one from me and Ana to all of the Potters.”
He handed the package to Mr. Potter and he opened it. Harry had no idea what it was, but it reminded him of an abnormally smooth pie, complete with a crust, but it was made of some sort of gray stone. It had two holes in it big enough to stick a finger in, which were located on opposite ends on the sides. Harry looked at his mother, who seemed just as confused as he was.
“What is it?”
*An Exciting and Special Note*
I know, I know, you're thinking "Attack of the Evil Cliffhangers" by FoolOnTheHill. And the unfortunate thing is that it's probably going to be quite awhile until the next update. I'm in the middle of finals (it's so bad that I wrote this too, I should have been studying) and I'm going home for spring break on the 19th and won't be back until March 28th, so it will be at least that long. Sorry! But thanks so much for reading! :D
March 30th, 2004, 8:11 am
“I didn’t think you’d know what it was Lily,” Sirius said, grinning at the stone pie-like object. “So I’ll tell you. Have you ever seen a Pensieve?”
All three of the Potters nodded.
“Well, this is a variation on a Pensieve,” said Sirius. “And you all have seen those Muggle movies before, right? Or films, television?”
They nodded again.
“Okay, so, what this does is it takes your memory and kind of edits it so it ends up looking like one of those movie things- but without orchestral music in the background. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually been inside a Pensieve, but when you’re in one, you can see things from the point of view of the person who’s memory it is, or you can actually look at the person. Basically, it’s like you are reliving that moment. So... where was I? Ah, yes. So this Pensieve Projector, I think they called it, can use every angle, and it sort of edits the memory into a little movie.”
“Wow, that’s great!” Mrs. Potter said. “When I was young, we had a video camera- you know, the thing that captures a movie- and we would watch home videos, it was a lot of fun.”
“Right,” Sirius said. “But this is better because you don’t need a camera, all you have to do is have the memory, and there you go!”
“You sound like an advertisement, Sirius,” Mr. Potter said, laughing. “So how do you work this thing?”
Sirius took the Projector in his hands.
“It’s much easier to use than a normal Pensieve. You just stick your wand in the smaller hole- this one- and concentrate on the beginning and end of the memory. Once it’s ready, it comes out the other side and gets projected against whatever wall it’s facing.”
“It’s that easy!” Leilani said cheesily.
“Well it is! Here, I’ll show you how it’s done,” Sirius said eagerly. “But what memory to use... Oh, I know!”
Sirius glanced at Harry and then Leilani for a split second. Leilani groaned.
“Mattress Vaulting... He’s going to do the Mattress Vaulting...”
Sirius positioned the Projector to face a blank wall and pulled out his wand. He put the end of it in the smaller hole, and closed his eyes. Soon colorful light came shooting out of the other hole and within seconds the light hit the wall and formed a picture. Harry saw a younger Sirius, Adriana, and Lily and James Potter approaching a door. The door opened, and inside were four year old versions of Harry and Leilani. It was exactly like he had heard, they were covered in nothing but floo powder and toothpaste and jumping on a mattress that had been pulled halfway off the bed. Little Harry had toothpaste in his hair too, and his mother did not look so happy about it. Sirius, on the other hand, was laughing hysterically, and said “I’m never going to forget this.” Sirius had been right, the whole thing was just like a movie, complete with interesting angles and editing. Everyone in the room was laughing. Even Leilani had stopped complaining to her father and couldn’t hold back her giggles.
The wall went blank.
“So, what do you think?” Sirius asked.
“It’s great! My turn!” Harry’s father exclaimed. He smiled at his wife and put his wand in the stone Projector. Soon, Harry was watching what looked like seventeen year old versions of his parents walking through a snowy Hogsmeade.
“Oh no James, you didn’t!” Mrs. Potter said to her husband, turning pink.
“What is it?”
“You’ll see, Leilani, just keep watching!” Mr. Potter answered happily.
Harry watched and listened to his seventeen year old parents walking along the streets of Hogsmeade, arguing.
“James Potter, get away from me!” shrieked the youthful Lily Evans, starting to walk faster, heading down the path to the Shrieking Shack.
“Come on Evans!” yelled the young and persistent James Potter, catching up. “You said you’d spend the day with me, you can’t get out of it now!”
“I must have been under the influence of a pretty powerful confusion charm when I agreed!”
“It was charm that got you Evans, but it wasn’t the kind that comes from a wand,” said James with a playful grin on his face, now jogging side by side with his future wife.
“You are so arrogant!” Lily said, stopping in the snow and facing James.
“You don’t really think that.”
“Oh yes I do!”
“You don’t,” James said this quietly and actually looked hurt now. They stared at each other for a minute in silence. Then, very suddenly, he moved forward and kissed Lily on the lips. She pulled away after a few seconds and looked at him for a moment, shocked. She then ran away, blushing, leaving a widely smiling James behind her.
The memory vanished from the wall, and all that could be heard now was the sound of Sirius cheering, and Harry and his father, Adriana, and Leilani all laughing. Mrs. Potter was still scolding her husband.
“So you were telling the truth after all!” Sirius said to his best friend. “I never believed you did that, but this thing only shows real memories so you couldn’t have made that up... Here, Lily, why don’t you go next?”
“Thanks Sirius, but why don’t we let Harry try it first?” she suggested. Everyone turned and looked expectantly at him.
Harry felt all the laughter drain from his face. There was nothing he could show them. He didn’t have any memories from this life other than the ones of that vacation.
“Er... No thanks,” he said. “You go first mum.”
“No, Harry, I insist. You go.”
“I don’t... I can’t think of anything.”
“How about you show your parents that great catch you made in the last Quidditch game?” Sirius said. “We can see it right up close this way.”
Harry didn’t know what to do. If he showed them a random memory of him catching a Golden Snitch, they would realize something was wrong, even if it was only from seeing a strange scar on his face and round glasses instead of rectangular ones. He had no idea what that amazing catch had been like, and even if he did, Sirius had just said they could only use real memories, he couldn’t make it up. Harry felt a small wave of panic rising in his chest.
“No... I... I don’t want to,” he said, looking at the floor.
“Oh come on Harry, it’s not hard,” Sirius said. He paused for a second. “Don’t you like our present?”
“Yeah, I like it, it’s just... I don’t want to do it, okay?”
“Aww...” Harry’s father looked disappointed. “I really wanted to see the game. Please do it Harry?”
“No!” Harry shouted, standing up. “What’s the big deal? I said I don’t want to, all right? Just stop hounding me about it!”
Everyone stared at him with a loss for words.
“Excuse me,” he said, a bit calmer. “I need to...” He nodded his head to the side, and walked out of the room. He went to the downstairs bathroom and locked himself in.
April 3rd, 2004, 5:15 am
Harry glared at his scarless reflection in the mirror. He made a kind of growling noise and stomped his foot in frustration. Why was this happening to him? Why would a potion that was supposed to let him escape his problems create this thing that had just caused a new problem?
But then again, he wasn’t really under the influence of the potion anymore, the potion had lost it’s effect, he was only there because he chose to be. So was it his brain that created the Pensieve Projector all by itself?
Harry hit himself on the side of the head. Why? Why would his brain do this to him? Why was it complicating things for him? This world should only contain things he wanted. It was supposed to be perfect.
Of course, maybe if Harry had actually grown up in this world, Sirius actually would have given his family the Projector. The article he had read about Escape had said that things appear in the worlds that the taker would have know way of knowing about, so maybe...
Harry was incredibly confused. He thought Hermione could probably make sense of all this, and for a split second, wished he was back in reality so he could ask her about it.
As soon as Harry wished this, he felt slightly dizzy.
“No no no... I didn’t mean it...” Harry muttered to himself. He sat himself down on the floor, quietly telling himself over and over “I’m staying” and soon his head stopped spinning. He sighed in relief.
Regardless of the reason for this happening, he had just thrown a fit and he was going to have to face his family and the Blacks sooner or later. He had no idea how to explain himself. But why should he have to explain himself? Why did he always have to be surrounded by people who wanted to talk about his problems or behavior? He knew the answer though- they all cared about him.
Harry took several deep breaths and unlocked the door. He arrived back in the living room where everyone was talking, but when he walked in, they all stopped.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” he said, looking at his father. “I hope I didn’t ruin Christmas...”
“You didn’t,” Mr. Potter said to his son. “But... Why don’t you want to try out Sirius’ gift?”
“Do I have to answer that?” Harry asked coldly.
“No, I suppose you don’t...”
“Good.” Harry took a seat, feeling awkward, but glad that he wasn’t being pushed into an explanation. Nobody looked quite as cheery as they had before, but conversation soon resumed as normal, with Harry saying even less than he usually did. He noticed after awhile that unusually, Leilani wasn’t saying anything either, she was just frowning and looked like she was deep in thought.
Eventually, the adults announced that they wanted to go to sleep, so Harry, followed closely by Leilani, went up to his room. Harry hoped doubtfully that Leilani looked the way she did as she sat on his bed next to him just because she had decided to take their usual pre-bedtime kissing session especially seriously that night, but not surprisingly, this was not the case.
“Harry?” Leilani said.
“What is wrong with you?”
“What do you mean, what’s wrong with me?” Harry said defensively.
“I mean... You have not been acting like yourself all vacation. You act normal sometimes but... There’s something different about you lately. You’re always too quiet but then you have these occasional loud outbursts and stuff.”
“Don’t be sorry, I’m just confused that’s all,” she said. She was looking at Harry in the eyes but he was avoiding her gaze. “You’ve explained yourself pretty well but... well, tonight, what you did... That was just weird.”
“Well I’ve told you, like you said, I’ve just been in a weird mood lately.”
“But why?” He didn’t answer. “I was thinking about you down there, and I realized something.”
“Maybe this is crazy but... It seems like you haven’t talked about anything all vacation.”
“I’ve talked about things!” Harry said, although he had an idea of what she could be talking about.
“I know you’ve talked, but what I mean is...” Leilani stopped, trying to piece her words together. “Well... You made me give you that biography thing but you wouldn’t do mine, you always avoid answering certain questions about stuff that’s happened to you during school. And then tonight, you refused to show us any memories.”
Harry couldn’t help shifting uncomfortably on the bed.
“I’d think someone did a memory loss charm on you or something, but I think if you did it would be more obvious. You wouldn’t know who you are at all, but you definitely do. And I don’t think you’d be hiding it.”
“That’s not it,” said Harry.
“So you’re not denying there’s something?” Leilani said, looking at him curiously. Harry could have hit himself. “Was it that potion? Did it do something to you? Something permanent?”
Harry didn’t answer, so they sat there in silence for several minutes. Finally, he gave in.
“Yeah,” he said softly. “It did something to me. But I don’t want to talk about it now if that’s okay.”
“It’d be hard to talk about,” Harry said, before Leilani could say anything. “Too... painful... You don’t understand.”
“Painful?” She said, her brows knit and looked worried. “Okay, I won’t force you. But when you want to talk about it, I’m here for you, I’m willing to help you however I can.”
“I suppose you’d kill me if I told anything to your parents.”
“Right,” Harry answered. Leilani looked like she was in half a mind to go tell them anyway.
Later, while Leilani was brushing her teeth, Harry tiptoed down to the living room, after having an idea pop into his head. He quickly found the Pensieve Projector and took it in his hands, staring at it. If he had created this thing, maybe he could get rid of it.
“Go away!” Harry whispered to the inanimate object. He concentrated his whole mind on willing it to disappear. “Come on! Get lost!”
Finally he gave up. The Projector was just as solid as it had always been. He swore at it and put it back, and went back upstairs.
When Harry and Leilani had crawled into their respective beds, Leilani quietly spoke.
“You know it’s going to come out eventually. You’ll keep on acting funny and you’ll tell us everything.”
Harry felt his stomach clench in nervousness, but didn’t respond to her statement.
That night Harry once again had a fairly disturbed sleep, although not as bad as the night before. He could feel himself shaking very slightly. He also had a dream that he was lying in the hospital wing at Hogwarts, being visited by Ron and Hermione. In the dream, Hermione had received her new copy of the book that had the article on Escape in it, and was reading it out loud.
“...the users tend to be battling moderate to deep depression, and in their eyes, they have no way to get away from their problems...”
“...a tiny drop of potion can somehow figure out what the person’s ideal world is...”
“...their world becomes so attractive to them, that it is preferable to live there, and many times, they start to believe it is real...”
“...only one person so far has come out of an Escape overdose...”
Harry soon saw Hermione start to cry, and Ron even had tears in his eyes. Harry told them there was nothing to worry about, and then Ron turned into an ostrich. Hermione’s tears turned into big water balloons and got Harry all wet, so he stood up and went out to the warm Quidditch pitch to dry off by riding his abnormally large Firebolt broomstick. Leilani was sitting on top of the middle goal hoop.
“Your shaking too much! You’re going to fall off your broom!” she yelled. Harry fell off his Firebolt and woke up with a start.
April 6th, 2004, 7:45 am
Harry had just walked into the kitchen after getting up and dressing, and his mother was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and a copy of the Daily Prophet.
“Morning,” he mumbled as he rummaged through the refrigerator looking for something to eat.
“Did you sleep well?” she asked, looking at Harry over the paper.
“Not really,” he said as he pulled out some orange juice and poured some for himself. He put the bottle back when he was done and sat at the table next to his mother.
“I’m sorry,” she said with a frown. “Are you feeling okay other than that? Are you feeling down again, because last night-”
“Yes, I’m fine,” Harry said. Mrs. Potter was still frowning.
“Are you sure?”
“Really, I am.” He made himself put a grin on his face. “Don’t worry about me, I’m just happy to be home with you.” His mother smiled and they gave each other a one armed hug.
“Oh!” she said, pulling away from Harry. “Say, Harry, what would you think about having Ron and Hermione over for dinner tomorrow night?
“Sure, that would be great.”
“Good, because I already sent the owls to them this morning...”
That day proved to be fairly uneventful yet a good one for Harry. He wasn’t provoked into having anymore outbursts, and although Leilani still looked like she was thinking about telling his parents something was wrong, she didn’t. In the late evening, they received replies from both Ron and Hermione saying that they would arrive the next day at six o’clock for dinner.
That night Harry slept better than he had the two nights before, but he had several dreams all taking place in the hospital wing again. One of the dreams involved him staring at the ceiling for five minutes straight until finally it started raining little pieces of chocolate and miniature spatulas. In another he listened to Hermione talk about the article on Escape some more, with her somehow getting into a conversation with Ron about the lesson in fourth year about the Unforgivable Curses. They were just starting to talk about how Harry had been able to fight the Imperius curse, when a full marching band came bursting in through the doors, playing one of the songs from Neville’s party, complete with female and male cheerleaders wearing neon pink spandex. One of the last dreams he had involved Ron and Hermione talking about what an idiot Harry was, but he quickly got tired of this, and, realizing that Ron and Hermione were in fact both giant marshmallows, he bit off their heads.
Before he knew it, Harry was awake and had been for several hours, and it was nearly six. Ron and Hermione arrived at almost the same time, and soon after they did, they all sat in the dining room and ate a meal that Harry’s mother and Sirius had prepared with the help of the cookbook Harry gave him. As they all happily ate and talked over dinner, Harry couldn’t help but notice that Hermione kept shooting him funny glances. Harry knew Hermione well enough to be able to tell that she was itching to talk to him about something.
“Why don’t you all go wait in the living room while Lily and I get out the dessert?” Sirius suggested once they were all done eating.
“I couldn’t eat another bite,” said Ron, stretching out his arms.
“I think you’ll have room for this Ron,” said Mrs. Potter. “We’ve made a fluffy white cake with chocolate chips, covered in strawberries and whip cream...”
“Ooh...” Ron looked like he was going to start drooling. “Yeah, I’ll have room for that.”
“Oh, Harry!” Hermione said as everyone stood up, acting as if she had just remembered something. “While they’re getting the dessert why don’t you show me that thing you were talking about at the party.”
“You know, that, er, Quidditch thing,” said Hermione, and she took Harry by the arm and dragged him up the stairs and into his room. She closed the door and stood looking at him with her hands on her hips.
“What Hermione?” Harry said impatiently.
“I know you were lying at the party.”
“What? No I wasn’t!”
“Yes you were. I’ve done my research,” said Hermione.
“Research? So you never believed me to begin with?”
“No, I did, I just wanted to be sure, but unfortunately I found out you must have been lying. There is absolutely no potion that makes people do what you did.” Harry didn’t say anything. Instead, he just stared at her with his mouth open, trying to figure out something good to say. “And here’s my final proof, you looking at me this way.”
“I was not lying, I did take a potion.”
“No, you didn’t,” Hermione said, sitting down on Leilani’s bed. “I looked at every book on potions I own, including one that I just happened to buy last summer about experimental ones. I even had my parents take me to London so I could go to Diagon Alley and check the books there.”
“You’re insane,” Harry said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Nope, that would be you.” Harry glared. “Anyway, I even talked about it with a couple very well informed owners of potion shops there. And I even sent an owl to Professor Snape.”
Harry looked at her in disgust.
“You told Snape about me!?” He said in outrage.
“No, I just described the effects of the potion. He said, like everyone else that there is no potion that has that exact after effect. And remember Harry, you wouldn’t tell us exactly what it did to you when you first supposedly took it.”
Harry, while she had been talking, had walked over to the window and was looking out of it instead at Hermione. He had the strong desire to punch a hole through the glass pane.
“Why is this happening?” Harry muttered to himself.
“You tell me,” Hermione said calmly.
“I wasn’t talking to you!” Harry yelled at her, turning around.
“This is it,” she responded. “I’m telling your parents what happened.”
“Hermione, no! You can’t!”
“Why not? You need help. What if what happened at Neville’s happens again?”
“I don’t need help!”
“They need to know,” she stated simply, and she stood up and walked towards the door.
“You’re going to ruin everything, I hope you’re happy!”
Hermione looked back at him, and seemed as if she was going to say something else, but she didn’t, and just walked out the door. Harry swore, stomped his feet several times, and ran out the door after her. He caught her at the top step of the stairs and grabbed her arm.
“Don’t, please Hermione, you can’t tell them!” Harry frantically whispered.
“You can’t stop me.” She tried to move down the steps but Harry was holding on to her tightly. “Let go of me!”
Hermione struggled with him, eventually wrenching herself out of Harry’s grasp. She leapt down the stairs and out of sight.
April 10th, 2004, 4:35 am
Harry rushed down the stairs once Hermione was out of sight, not really sure what he was going to do once he got downstairs. When he arrived in the living room, his mother and Sirius were already there. Sirius was placing a delicious looking cake on the coffee table, and Hermione had already reached Harry’s parents, who were sitting on the big blue couch. Ron and Leilani were sitting on the floor in the best spots to reach the cake, and Adriana had taken the loveseat, with a space left beside her for her husband. Harry went over to Hermione and his parents.
“It’s about Harry,” Hermione was saying as he reached them. Harry folded his arms and glared at her.
“You’re really going to do it, right now, in the middle of our nice evening? Don’t you want dessert first?” Harry said nastily.
“Why not? They have to know sooner or later.”
“Know what?” Harry’s father asked, looking up at him. They had now attracted the attention of Sirius, Adriana, Leilani and Ron too.
“Harry,” Hermione said in a clear voice, looking at him unwaveringly, “had some sort of attack at Neville’s party. We were dancing, and all of a sudden he fell on the floor and starting screaming nonsense, crying, shaking horribly-”
“And you didn’t tell us?” Mr. Potter said, looking worriedly at Harry.
“None of us told you- me and Ron and Leilani- because Harry said it was just the after effects of a kind of experimental potion and he didn’t want you to know. I did my research though and I know he was lying. But I think he knows why it happened and he just doesn’t want to tell us.”
“He does know,” Leilani said quietly. “It’s why he’s been acting funny all vacation... But he told me it was just that potion.”
Harry’s mother had her hand clapped over her mouth. Sirius and Adriana both looked as worried as his father. Ron just looked guilty. Harry collapsed on the couch next to his dad and buried his face in his hands.
“Thanks a lot Hermione,” he groaned through his fingers.
“They needed to know,” she answered.
“Why do you always do this?” Harry exclaimed, pulling his hands down and thinking back to when she had embarrassed him in front of all of Gryffindor House just weeks ago. “You just had to do right here in front of everyone again too!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, as she took a chair.
“I’m glad you told us Hermione,” Mrs. Potter said. “Harry, what is going on? Do we need to take you to St. Mungo’s?”
“No! I’m fine. I want some cake,” he said, a scowl still on his face.
“Not until we’ve talked about this Harry,” his father said strictly.
“Okay, let’s talk about it in front of everyone, this’ll be fun,” said Harry sarcastically.
“Fine with me,” his father cooly responded. “What happened? Why were you hiding this from us?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Harry looked at his father for a long time, saying nothing but holding an internal debate. Did he dare accept his father’s challenge and try telling them the truth?
“Okay,” he said calmly, seeing every pair of eyes in the room staring at him. “What if I told you that this whole world we live in, it’s not real. Or maybe it is, but I didn’t grow up here-”
“Harry, you’re going to have to do better than-”
“Well I can’t do any better than the truth!” Harry yelled, leaving his father in a shocked silence. “Can I have my cake now? ‘Cause if you don’t want to hear this, I have nothing else to say.”
“Fine, go on, this should be interesting,” Mr. Potter said, still looking skeptical.
Now that Harry had his chance he didn’t know quite where to start.
“I... er... Well, I’m from a different world where I’m still me but everything is different. This potion I took at the end of the school term brought me here. What happened at the party was... well the potion wore off and it was trying to get me to come back, but I stayed here.”
Harry saw his parents rolling their eyes. Sirius and Hermione both appeared to be thinking hard, and Leilani actually looked like she was considering his explanation.
“A different world?” Sirius said, although he didn’t sound or look like he believed Harry. “Why would you want to take a potion that brought you to a different world?”
“I’m fed up with that world. I hate my life there, take my word for it, it’s really bad.”
“You mean like you have a famous scar, Voldemort’s alive, and I’m dead bad?
Harry was stunned for a moment, but then remembered the conversation he had had with Sirius the second time he had taken the potion.
“Yeah, everything I told you then was real, it’s wasn’t a dream.”
“But you said you just took it recently...”
“No, I took some of it a couple times before but I took the whole bottle recently.”
“This is ridiculous,” Harry’s mother said. “Let’s take him to St. Mungo’s, James.”
“No!” Harry said in protest. “Listen, I can tell you my whole life story, no one would be able to make this up. Dumbledore never killed Voldemort there. He- Voldemort I mean- tried to kill me with Avada Kedavra when I was a baby, but he just lost all his powers and I was left with this lightning shaped scar on my head.”
“Very funny,” his father said.
“It’s not funny!” Harry shouted, standing up. He pointed at his parents. “Both of you were killed that night, do you think that’s funny? Adriana was murdered too, is that funny? And you heard what Sirius said, he was killed just months ago.” Harry looked at Leilani, who looked at him curiously, and almost announced what had become of her in that world, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“It’s not true,” his mother said firmly.
“Sure it is! You want to hear the funniest part of all?” Harry said almost insanely. “It’s all because of this stupid prophecy, you see. Lucky me, I’m the one with the power to defeat Voldemort, now that he’s risen again. I have to kill him or he’ll kill me.”
“And you think this is real?”
“It is real, Dad!” Harry wasn’t sure why, but something had come over him and he now had a very strong desire to make them see that he was telling the truth. He had known from the beginning that they would not believe him, but now he had to make them. Looking around the room at everyone’s faces, he could tell that no one at this point did, although Leilani still looked thoughtful and like she was at least considering believing him.
Harry’s parents gave each other significant looks. His mother looked at Ron and Hermione and spoke to them.
“I’m so sorry the evening has turned out like this-”
“It’s Hermione’s own fault-” Harry mumbled. His mother gave him a warning look.
“-but I guess you two will have to go home now. We’re going to need to get Harry to St. Mungo’s, he’s obviously having some sort of... mental problem-”
“I AM NOT HAVING A MENTAL PROBLEM!” Harry roared.
“Harry Potter!” his father said very sternly. “Don’t you yell at your mother like that!”
“I wouldn’t yell if you would just believe me!”
“It’s impossible for us to believe that nonsense story.”
But was it really impossible? An idea suddenly popped in to Harry’s head.
“Ooh! No, no it’s not, I can prove it!” His father rose and eyebrow at him. “I can! Where’s the Pensieve Projector?”
April 11th, 2004, 9:08 pm
“The Pensieve Projector only shows real memories, Harry,” Mrs. Potter said.
“I know, why do you think I didn’t want to use it the other night?” No one answered, but Sirius got up and quickly found the Projector. He placed it on the table next to the cake and made a hand gesture at it.
“Have at it then,” said Sirius.
Harry, already on his feet, ran upstairs quickly to retrieve his wand, and when he came back he sat on the floor next to Leilani. He positioned the Projector so that it would reflect on a blank wall.
“So... What do you want to see?”
“Something that never could have possibly happened here, I guess,” Harry’s father answered. Harry thought for a moment.
“Want to see me kill a Basilisk?” No one said anything at first, but after a few seconds, Sirius burst into laughter.
“You’re telling me you fought a Basilisk and lived to tell the tale?”
“Yeah, when I was twelve. I guess it’s still alive here, it’s at Hogwarts by the way,” Harry responded. They all looked at him skeptically, but Harry stuck his wand in the hole of the Projector. He concentrated very hard on the moment nearly four years ago when he put the Sorting Hat on and felt a sword fall out, and then he thought of the moment that Fawkes the Phoenix had cured his almost fatal wound.
Hoping very much that it would work, Harry looked up at the wall after pulling his wand out. For a moment, he thought nothing was going to happen, but then colored light shot out of the other end of the Pensieve Projector, and Harry saw himself with the hat on his head, begging it to help him. Harry was pleased that the Projector had decided to include a shot of him that was very close, in which his round glasses and scar were easily visible. Everyone in the room watched the whole scene with their mouths hanging open. Harry thought that what he was watching would make a very exciting movie. They could call it Harry Potter and the Chamber’s Basilisk or something. When it was over, the gaping people all turned to stare at Harry.
“How did you do that?” Mr. Potter asked his son, astonished.
“You saw how I did it, it was a lot of luck, you know...”
“No, I mean how did you show us that? That- You- You had the scar- and the snake- and-” He turned to Sirius. “Are you sure it only shows the truth?” Sirius nodded.
Harry grinned pleasantly at his father.
“Do you believe me now?”
“I don’t know... You could have... Leilani, did you know anything about Harry killing a Basilisk?”
“No, can’t say I did...”
“You need more?” Harry asked. “I can show you more. Do you want to see Sirius here straight out of Azkaban? He was there for twelve years, you’d barely recognize him.” Without waiting for an answer, Harry put his wand in the Projector and focused on the very first moment he saw Sirius in the Shrieking Shack, and then on the moment he was contemplating killing him. The fairly short scene soon flashed before them. They saw Sirius’ pale gaunt face and heard his hoarse voice, they heard Ron and Hermione screaming in the background while Harry attacked and punched Sirius, and it ended with a close up of a furious Harry, shakily saying “You killed my parents.”
When it was over, Harry looked around to see their reactions. Sirius, who looked completely shocked and horrified, was running his hands over his face, as if to make sure it wasn’t skeletal like it had been in what he had just watched. Leilani and Adriana were both watching Sirius, looking almost as shaken as him.
“This... This makes no sense...” Mr. Potter said. “How can this... What we showed you were real memories... but what you’ve shown us, they have to be too... How can they both be real?
“I don’t know,” Harry said honestly. “What you showed me is real in this world I guess, but what I showed you is real in my mind because, well, it actually happened.”
“This won’t show hallucinations, Sirius?” Mr. Potter asked, looking at him.
“Nope, only the truth, James,” Sirius said, sounding rather zombie-like and staring in to space.
“What about... Voldemort?” Harry’s mother said quietly. “You say he’s alive still? If you can show me him, I’ll believe you. They don’t publish pictures of him, you kids would have no way of knowing what exactly he looks like.”
“You only want me to watch the worst memories of my life and you’ll believe me...” It was painful enough just to think about his encounters with Voldemort, so the thought of watching them was even worse. But if it would make them believe him... “All right, would you rather watch him be reborn and torture me, or would you like to see him possess me and hear me beg Dumbledore for death?”
Nobody answered him. Harry hoped they felt guilty now for making him do this.
“Rebirth and torture it is, you’re in for a good one,” Harry said dully. This time he focused on the moment he was brought to the graveyard a year and a half earlier, and then when he left it again.
In just seconds, they were watching Harry and Cedric Diggory in the graveyard. Everyone except Harry gasped when they saw Wormtail kill Cedric instantly. It was at this early point that Harry couldn’t watch anymore, he knew everything that was coming and he hid his eyes with his hands. He heard Leilani let out a kind of whimper when he knew Wormtail was cutting off his own hand and then drawing blood from Harry. Soon came the part where Voldemort had risen out of the big cauldron, back in his own body. Harry looked at his mother through the cracks of his fingers. Her eyes looked like they were going to pop out of their sockets.
“That’s him...” she whispered.
Harry soon regretted showing them such a long memory. He sat there for a time that seemed longer than when it had actually happened, listening to what had haunted his nightmares so many times. He listened to the whole story Voldemort told to the Death Eaters. Then he heard him cry “Crucio!” Harry couldn’t help but look up, and he saw his own fourteen year old body writhing behind the ropes he was tied up with, he heard his muffled screams, he saw a close up of his eyes rolling around uncontrollably.
Harry stood up from his seat on the floor. A strong feeling of nausea had come upon him very suddenly.
“I’m sorry,” Harry mumbled, looking at his parents, who were both white in the face. “I can’t watch this, someone tell me when it’s over.” He walked out of the room into the hall and sat on the floor against the wall. Holding his stomach, Harry was trying very hard not to be sick all over his parents’ nice carpet. He felt a burning sensation creeping into his eyes, so he pulled off his glasses and pushed his palms into his eyes until he saw little yellow and orange lights popping up everywhere.
If Harry had needed a reminder of why he had taken the Escape potion, what he had just been watching in there was a very good one. He wondered what everyone would do once they were done watching. They would surely understand why he preferred this world, and hopefully they would accept it. He just hoped that things wouldn’t get too strange, because there was still no way Harry wanted to leave.
Finally, Harry heard the hall door open, and he looked up and saw Leilani.
“It’s over,” she said with a sniffle. Her eyes were red.
“Good,” Harry said as he put his glasses back on. Leilani put out a hand for Harry, and he held on to it long enough for her to help him to his feet. They went back into the living room, which was dead silent. Harry sat next to his parents on the couch.
“So?” he said. His father nodded.
“I believe you,” he said.
“And I believe you,” his mother said. “But... I have a few questions.”
“First, if that was you, and you’ve lived that life in that world...” She stopped.
“Where is my son?”
April 13th, 2004, 8:54 am
Harry couldn’t find his voice for what seemed like a very long time, even though it was only barely longer than a minute. He sat there staring open mouthed at his mother, feeling like she had just socked him in the stomach out of nowhere.
“I’m- I’m right here, mum,” he said weakly.
“No, you’re a stranger. Where’s the happy son I raised for sixteen years in this house? What happened to him? Because you’ve proved it to us, you are not him, you’re just using his body. You’re not my son.”
“B-but I am,” Harry said, his eyes filling with tears. He wished Ron and Hermione had left when they had been asked to, and for that matter, he also wished Sirius, Adriana, and Leilani weren’t there watching this too. “I’m Harry James Potter, born on July thirty first, I look just like my father but I have my mother’s eyes. You saw me, I look just like I do here but a bit skinnier and with the scar and-”
“But you’re not, you’re a completely different person, we don’t even know you,” his father said.
“You too? I can’t believe this,” Harry said angrily, on the verge of breaking down. “How can you say this to me after seeing what I’ve gone through? Who cares where he is, if he even existed to begin with! He doesn’t need you like I do! He’s spoiled and carefree and has a perfect home and clothes that fit him and he doesn’t get woken up in the night from his head splitting open! He didn’t have to watch Cedric and Sirius die! His sole purpose in life isn’t to kill or be killed like mine is! I’m the one who needs parents! How can you say I’m not your son?”
The room was silent again. Ron and Hermione looked extremely uncomfortable, while Sirius, who had his eyes on Harry’s parents, looked outraged, with his mouth hanging wide open once again.
“I’ve wanted you so badly for so many years, and this is what you say to me once I get you,” Harry said to his parents, now unable to hold back his tears. “I never thought you’d be so tasteless. You know, I used to wonder why Snape hated you, but...”
Without finishing his sentence, Harry stood up, marched out of the room and up to his bedroom. He slammed the door behind him, hoping it was loud enough to be heard downstairs. Harry, after pulling off his glasses and abandoning them on the floor, threw himself on to his bed and buried his face in his pillow.
He barely had a moment to think about how this wasn’t supposed to be happening, how this world was supposed to be perfect, when he heard the door open. Harry felt another body sit down on his bed. He had felt her do this enough times in the past week or so to know it was Leilani.
“Harry?” she said cautiously, putting her hand on his back. He didn’t respond. “I know that was really tacky what your mum and dad said, but they’re just in shock. They’ll come around eventually.”
Harry still didn’t say anything, he just left his face in his increasingly moist pillow.
“Dad’s taking Ron and Hermione home right now,” Leilani said to break the silence. She sighed when he still didn’t speak.
“Listen, I still think you’re the same person deep down, if it counts for anything. I like you now just as much if not more than I ever did.”
Harry pushed himself up after a moment and sat facing her.
“Thanks,” he mumbled. Leilani wrapped him in a hug, which Harry returned appreciatively and tightly.
“It must be really dreadful there for you to have put up with me bugging you about acting weird all week,” she said, still holding Harry. “But after what you showed us, I can’t blame you. I suppose my life is pretty bad there too, with no mum, and a dad in Azkaban for all those years. I can’t imagine what he could have done to land himself there...”
Harry pulled out of Leilani’s hug.
“He didn’t do anything, he was framed. He never got cleared before he died,” Harry said heavily, wiping his face on his shirt sleeve.
“That’s... terrible...” Leilani said, looking very sad. “And what about me? It’s so hard to believe that this here isn’t real, but if it really isn’t, what is my life actually like?”
Harry, who’s eyes had just been glued to hers, couldn’t look at Leilani anymore. He had purposefully just avoided answering that question, but now he couldn’t.
“I’d hate to think that this world isn’t real somewhere,” Harry said, taking her hand and looking at it instead of her face. “Because... I never met your mum. She was killed a few months before I was born.”
“But we have the same...” Leilani’s sentence drifted into silence as she realized what this meant. Harry looked up at her.
“Sirius lost both of you and he never told me,” he said, barely audible.
“I was never born,” she said, her voice almost breaking. “You never knew me until holiday started...”
“Actually, I met you the first time in Hogsmeade a few months ago, and then again after the Quidditch game.”
“That explains a lot.” Leilani let out something between a laugh and a sob.
“Yeah...” She had started to cry, and Harry couldn’t help but start again himself. He hadn’t felt this bad since he had taken the whole bottle of orange potion. Normally he would have felt very embarrassed crying in front of a girl, but it somehow felt okay with her.
“What if this really is all fake?” Leilani said, looking at Harry with her wet, shining eyes. “What if I don’t exist at all? I mean, I’ve said before at low points that I wished I’d never been born but... Are all these memories I have made up? This body, is it real? If I bleed, is that really blood? And these tears? Am I really crying right now? And this thing with us, we- are we really- god, I’m so confused.”
“I don’t know,” Harry said. “You have to believe me though, this does seem just as real as-”
But Harry didn’t finish his sentence because they were interrupted by someone yelling extremely loudly downstairs. Leilani had left the door open when she came in, and they could hear Sirius’ voice perfectly.
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LILY AND JAMES POTTER? AFTER WATCHING YOUR ONLY SON BEING TORTURED AND NEARLY KILLED THERE, HOW, JUST HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT TO HIM? CAN’T YOU IMAGINE HOW HE’S FEELING RIGHT NOW?”
“I guess Dad’s home,” Leilani said. She and Harry had both jumped in surprise when Sirius had started yelling. They both went to the door and stood in it’s frame, listening.
“NO, YOU LISTEN TO ME! YOU WERE WONDERING WHAT WAS WRONG WHEN HE CAME HOME SOBBING, AND NOW THAT YOU KNOW-” He was interrupted by a voice that sounded muffled to Harry and Leilani, but it wasn’t long before Sirius interrupted back.
“NO JAMES, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR EXCUSES! I’VE NEVER BEEN MORE DISGUSTED WITH YOU TWO!”
Soon they heard Sirius running up the stairs. He arrived at Harry’s door, looking just as furious as he had sounded.
“Leilani, Harry, pack your things, we’re leaving right now.”
“But-” Harry said, shocked at this sudden decision.
“You’re parents aren’t in their right minds, Harry, if anything will snap them out of this...”
Sirius didn’t finish, but turned around and walked back downstairs. Harry and Leilani looked at each other, both looking a bit alarmed.
“Come on, if Dad says we’re leaving, we’re leaving,” Leilani said. They packed as quickly as they could, Harry all the while making miserable comments about how he’d ruined everything, which soon changed to miserable comments about how Hermione had ruined everything.
Sirius arrived at Harry’s room again less than five minutes later, this time with Adriana.
“Get their things, Ana,” Sirius said. She took out her wand and levitated Leilani’s trunk and the same big duffel bag that Harry had brought home. Sirius pushed Leilani ahead to follow her mother out, and then took Harry around the shoulder and walked out and down the stairs with him.
“Sirius!” Harry’s mother cried, running into the hall with her husband as Adriana and Leilani walked out the front door. “Isn’t this a bit drastic? You can’t just take him and leave!”
“Oh yes I can, you just told him he’s not your son didn’t you? He’s more my son than yours at this point, he knows me better than both of you!”
Still holding firmly on to Harry, Sirius made to leave the house. Harry turned his head to look at his parents. He made eye contact with both of them. They both had strange, almost desperate looks on their faces. Harry took one last look at them, and turned to walk with Sirius out into the cold dark night, closing the door behind them.
April 16th, 2004, 5:40 am
Harry got in the backseat of the Blacks’ car with Leilani, and Sirius soon joined Adriana in the front at the driver’s seat. Sirius put his hands on the wheel and took many deep breaths. He looked back at Harry.
“I’m sorry,” Sirius said, and he turned back and started the ignition. “I’m sorry if I sounded insane in there, it’s just... I can’t believe them.”
It looked like they were going to start driving, but Sirius suddenly turned the car off, and looked around at Harry again.
“Do you not want to leave? I just dragged you out of there and didn’t even ask what you want.”
“I don’t even want to look at them right now,” Harry said darkly.
“They’ll probably come around eventually,” Sirius said as he turned the car on again. “But in the meantime I can’t have you staying there if they’re going to treat you like a parasite.”
They drove down the smooth dark road while Sirius continued to rant about Harry’s parents. Harry noticed that Leilani was gloomily staring out the window, probably not listening to a word her father said.
“...I know it was shocking and everything, and maybe it was a legitimate question, but they took absolutely no consideration of how you were feeling right then. I can’t imagine living through that and then having to watch it again and-”
“Sirius, dear,” Adriana interrupted. “We’re never going to get home at this rate.”
“Oh. Right, I was distracted,” Sirius said, and he pushed a button, which made the car make a popping noise and land on a completely different street in what looked like a small town, although Harry had no idea where in England they were. They pulled into the driveway of a one story house and parked. Sirius and Adriana took their wands out and levitated all their luggage after taking it out of the car, and they took it in the house, Leilani and Harry following close behind.
“You can stay in the guest bedroom for once, Harry,” Sirius said, taking his and Leilani’s things down a hall on the left side of the house. Harry and Leilani looked at each other, and both of their faces fell, if it was possible for them to fall any farther. But they didn’t protest.
“Okay,” Harry said.
“Oh,” Sirius said, turning around to look at Harry, and the forgotten luggage fell in a pile on the floor. “You’ve probably never been here, have you?”
Harry shook his head to say no, and Sirius showed him around. It turned out that the guest bedroom was right across from Leilani’s room in that hall, while Sirius and Adriana’s room was in the back of the house. The house wasn’t as big as the Potter’s, but it was a very nice and comfortable looking one. When they had settled Harry into his room, Sirius asked to talk to him alone, so Adriana and Leilani, who was still sadly staring into space, left them in there by themselves.
After they both sat on the big bouncy bed that Harry would be sleeping in, Sirius opened his mouth several times to start talking, but each time he just closed it again, apparently not satisfied with what was going to come out of it.
“What do you want to talk about?” Harry asked, growing impatient.
“I- I have so many questions going through my head... There’s so much to know,” Sirius said. “I feel like... the more I know about where you are coming from, the better I can help you.”
“Or understand you. I don’t know.” Sirius didn’t say anything else for a few moments, but finally, an avalanche of questions came pouring out of his mouth. Harry answered every one, and the two of them ended up talking for several hours. Harry told him everything about his life at Hogwarts and what had happened to him there over the years. He described to Sirius in full details what had happened to him and how he had escaped Azkaban, and about Wormtail and Lupin. He told him about the night at the Department of Mysteries that last June and about the prophecy. He told him about everything that had happened to him since the summer, from buying the potion in Knockturn Alley, to the disaster of an interview with Snape and trying the potion for the first time, all the way to when Lupin had turned up missing. Harry also told him every detail he could remember from the article he had read about the potion.
“So the source of your problems- Voldemort- is gone,” Sirius said. It was now a little past midnight. “This, for you, is a perfect world. You don’t have that responsibility here, everyone you love is still alive... But now that you’ve chosen to stay here, things don’t seem to be as perfect as you thought...”
“I don’t know why though, it’s been really bugging me,” Harry said.
“Oh, I could just curse Lily and James right now!” Sirius exclaimed randomly for what seemed like the hundredth time that night.
“I know...” Harry said, as Sirius put a frown on his face and appeared to be deep in thought.
“I hate to say this Harry, I really do, but has it occurred to you that your brain, if this actually is all just in your head, might be trying to tell you something?”
“What? No. What are you talking about?”
“It’s just... the potion gets out of your system, and within days, your perfect world is, well, falling apart,” Sirius said as gently as he could. “Personally, I think in a perfect world, your parents would not have reacted the way they did. And if your mind had really wanted you to go on living here undetected and prevent all this trouble, it would not have let me give you guys the Pensieve Projector, and Hermione would not have acted the way she did either.”
“But I told you, it said there are things in the world the user would have no way of knowing, what if you would have given it to us anyway? And what Hermione did, she would have done it where I’m from too.”
“Sure, that’s a possibility, Harry, that it would have happened anyway. But if this is only your mind, I really think there’s more to it,” Sirius said. Harry was starting to get angry. “In what you showed us earlier, you were able to throw off the Imperius curse, remember? Maybe it’s that same kind of mind power doing this. Some part of you knows you shouldn’t be here. It knows you have that responsibility and you have to fulfill it, so it’s trying to mess up things here.”
“No part of me wants to go back there, Sirius!”
“I know you don’t want to, Harry. The theory is that part of you knows that you should go back there.”
“So you want me leave?” Harry spat.
“No, no, I don’t,” said Sirius. “Believe me, I want you to have an easy life, I do. But one day, I think you’ll realize you have to go back.”
“There’s no point though,” Harry said miserably, desperate to prove to Sirius that he should stay here forever. “I’m probably going to lose anyway if go. Voldemort always almost kills me. One time Dumbledore won’t be there to save me, and I’ll be dead. I don’t have powers remotely close to Voldemort’s, I can’t kill him. Even if I did, he’s... it’s like he’s less than human or something, the killing curse probably wouldn’t even work on him. I’d rather just let him kill me while I’m lying there unconscious, it would probably hurt less.”
Sirius sighed and didn’t speak for a couple minutes, looking down at the quilted blanket they were both sitting on.
“I’m so sorry you’ve suffered so much,” Sirius said quietly, and Harry saw a tear fall down his cheek. “It’s too much.”
Sirius looked up at the ceiling and took a very deep breath.
“We’d better go to bed,” he said, standing up and going to the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow Harry. We can talk more another time. I hope you sleep well.”
“You too,” Harry said. “Goodnight.”
April 17th, 2004, 10:27 pm
Harry changed into his pajamas and got under the covers of his new bed. He was sure he would not be able to get to sleep very fast that night, but he still reached over to the bedside lamp to turn it off so he could at least try.
Harry had his finger on the switch and was about to push it, when Leilani appeared in the door frame, wearing her purple pajamas that had gotten a chocolate stain down the front sometime in the last week. He put his hand down.
“I can’t sleep,” she said in an unsteady voice. Her face was stained with tears. She stood still for a moment, but then in what seemed like half a second, she found her way on to the bed and was clinging to Harry.
“I can’t think about anything else,” Leilani cried into Harry’s right sleeve. “Am I real? Am I not real? Is my whole life a lie? If this is all fake... How can I even think these things if I never existed?”
Harry wished he could say something to comfort her, but he couldn’t think of anything. Instead, he just held her, letting his cheek lie on her soft, dark hair. He felt like he had to say something.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault,” she said, sitting up and looking at Harry in the eyes. “It’s that Voldemort! I hate him! I always knew he was horrible, but now I know what they mean when they say he ruined lives. If Dumbledore hadn’t killed him- or since Dumbledore hasn’t killed him, I don’t know- your parents, my parents, Cedric, all dead! It’s all his fault if I don’t exist! And you! I don’t even know half of what your life has been like because of him! I hate Voldemort!”
With this she fell sobbing again into the front pocket of Harry’s shirt.
“How can someone who isn’t even real act like I am right now?” said Leilani’s muffled voice.
“You’re real to me,” Harry said quietly, running his hand through her hair. “Even if no one else in the world will ever know you, I’m somehow lucky enough to be with you now.”
Harry thought he had said something terribly wrong when he heard Leilani’s sobs grow even louder, but his worries subsided when she looked up at him and gave a kind of miserable smile. She then gave him a kiss, with a wetness factor reminiscent of the first kiss he had ever received.
Leilani, who seemed to be glued to Harry, leaned over and turned off the lamp herself awhile later and got under the quilted blanket with him. Not caring at all about whether Sirius and Adriana would discover them together, they laid there for what seemed like hours until they both fell asleep, within ten minutes of each other.
Harry dreamed all night long, and once again, most of his dreams took place in the hospital wing at Hogwarts.
“The most mysterious thing however,” Hermione read from a book sitting in her lap. “Is that the potion not only creates ideal worlds, but amazingly accurate worlds that the user would have no way of being able to create with their own minds.”
“But what about the pineapples?” Ron insisted angrily. “What about the pineapples? What role do they play?”
“Pineapples come from Hawaii,” Harry told him importantly. “Just like Leilani’s name, Ron. It’s amazingly accurate that I have her in this world. I had no idea Sirius had a pregnant wife.”
“But the PINEAPPLES!” Ron shouted.
“LEILANI!” Harry shouted back. “You’re just jealous! I’ve got a cute girl and all you’ve got is a pointy fruit!”
“It’s amazingly accurate,” Ron said, nodding his head.
“I’m trying to tell you, you should come back here,” Sirius sang, appearing out of nowhere doing a dance that reminded Harry of the can-can. “You’re supposed to kill him, you know.”
“I can’t! Let Hermione do it!” Harry said.
“Oh no Harry,” she responded impatiently. “You can’t make me do it, I’m too busy with my N.E.W.T. classes...”
“Dumbledore did it,” Leilani said, appearing next to the pineapple Ron had been yelling about. “I suppose you’re too afraid of old Voldy’s stapler to take him on, are you?”
“Voldemort has a stapler now?” Harry said in fear.
“Those amazingly accurate worlds... The user would have no way of being able to create them with their own minds. Amazingly accurate.” Hermione said this as she took out some scissors and started cutting Ron’s hair off.
“Since when does Voldemort need a stapler?” Harry said to himself, scratching his head. “Do wizards even use staplers?”
“Amazingly accurate,” Leilani said, now using Harry’s Firebolt to sweep away the red hair littering the ground.
“I’m trying to tell you something!” Ron screamed, now almost completely bald.
Harry woke up very suddenly with a jump and a gasp. Leilani, who had been sleeping with her head on his shoulder, was jolted awake too.
“Harry? Is something wrong?” He was sitting there with his eyes and mouth wide open, breathing quickly. He leapt out of bed, glancing at the window and seeing that the sun had already risen.
“No,” he said, putting on his glasses. He rushed out into the hall, ran to the back of the house, and found Sirius’ room.
“Sirius!” Harry whispered loudly, shaking him to wake him up. He groaned and opened his eyes.
“Morning, Harry,” he said groggily.
“Sirius, you have to get up! Do you have an owl?”
“Good,” Harry said. “I need you to send one to Dumbledore, tell him about me, and tell him I have to talk to him. And could you mention the whole prophecy thing too?”
“You have to talk to him?”
“I have to talk to him.”
So Sirius got up and wrote a long letter in an amazingly short amount of time. He sent it off with their owl, one that looked like a smaller version of Hedwig.
Harry didn’t know how he got through the rest of the day. The whole Black family was very quiet that day, and all day long, Harry felt a strange mixture of excitement, anticipation, and great unhappiness all at the same time.
Instead of receiving a return owl, that evening, Professor Dumbledore showed up at the Blacks’ door.
“Good evening, Sirius,” Harry heard Dumbledore say. He was sitting in the living room with Leilani, and they both looked up and listened. “I understand Harry needs to speak with me?”
“Yes, he didn’t tell me why but...” Sirius paused, and then in a quieter voice said: “Do you believe what I told you in that letter? Because if you don’t-”
“I believe you. I have heard of stranger things in my days.”
Sirius and Dumbledore came into the living room, and Harry stood up.
“Hello Professor,” he said. “If you don’t mind, could we go back to my room?”
“Certainly,” Dumbledore answered with a small smile.
They arrived in the guest bedroom and Harry closed the door behind them.
“Sirius told you... about me?”
“Yes, he did,” Dumbledore said, looking more serious now.
“He told you about the prophecy? About how I’m the one who’s supposed to kill Voldemort?”
“Yes,” Dumbledore replied.
From the look on his face, Harry thought Dumbledore already knew what their talk was going to be about. Dumbledore sat on the edge of the bed. Harry’s heart was pounding.
“How did you do it?”
April 20th, 2004, 2:00 am
Dumbledore patted the bed next to him. Harry knew Dumbledore wanted him to sit with him, so he did.
“How did I defeat Voldemort?” Harry nodded. “Sirius says you were brought here from your own world awhile ago, I wonder why you did not ask before. At the Longbottom’s party, maybe.”
“I don’t know,” Harry said with a shrug. “I didn’t think of it until now. I came here to get away from my problems, not to figure out how to solve them. But then today I woke up with this idea in my head. See, I never really thought I could win against Voldemort, but if you tell me how you did it, maybe I’ll stand a chance.”
“I can tell you how,” Dumbledore said. “But Sirius’ letter said that you think this is all in your head. If it really is, how can you be so sure that what I will tell you will help? Mind you, I am almost positive I can, but I am still curious.”
“The potion I took to get here creates amazingly accurate worlds,” Harry said, quoting his dream. “Whether this is real or not, there is scarily accurate stuff here that I would have no way of knowing about.”
“I see. Well, since you asked, I will tell you. I used a spell. A very old, complex, difficult spell.”
“You have to teach me,” Harry said.
“I have to guide you to it,” Dumbledore said, looking at Harry over his half moon glasses. “Then, you will ask me for guidance.”
“Err.. Okay...” Harry thought that perhaps Dumbledore had gone a bit senile in this world.
“Let me explain,” said Dumbledore. Harry nodded. “For years, I have wondered what something meant, and it was not until I received your godfather’s letter that I understood. I knew at last, and that is partly why I believed what he told me about you.”
Harry was growing impatient. Why did he always take so long to get to the point?
“Seventeen or eighteen years ago, I came across a very old book. I received it with a number of others and, desperate to find a way to defeat Voldemort, I searched them all thoroughly.”
It was only now that Harry noticed that Dumbledore was carrying a thick book in his arms. It did look very old. It was tied up with leather straps, and if they were not there, Harry was sure the book would have fallen apart.
“This,” Dumbledore said, holding it up for Harry to get a better look. “Is a collection of ancient spells. Many of them are in different languages, I had them all translated, but not until the very end did I find the one I would use against Voldemort. The very first thing it said on the page was that only one person could and would use the spell, and only that person could read this text. To all others, the pages are blank. It’s a wonder they weren’t ripped out before the book came to me.”
Dumbledore opened the book carefully to what looked like the tenth to last page and showed Harry.
“Can you see anything?”
“No,” Harry said.
“No, you wouldn’t be able to, not in this world,” Dumbledore said, not sounding surprised at all. “The second thing it says sounds like a prophecy. Since you can’t read it yourself, I will put a special emphasis on the ‘one’s’ that are capitalized, I think you will find it interesting. ‘The One will find it. The One will guide the one to it. The One will find it. The One will seek the one to guide him. The One cannot escape it.’”
“Does it actually say ‘escape’ there?”
“That’s the name of the potion,” Harry said, frowning.
“Interesting,” Dumbledore said. “As I was saying, you can imagine why I was confused for so many years, for all that happened was that I found it and I learned the spell myself. But it finally makes sense tonight.”
“I was... I was supposed to come here,” Harry said, shaking his head, hardly able to believe it. “The world tortured me so I would come here and you could tell me about this...”
“It seems so,” Dumbledore said quietly. “Would you like to hear more?”
“Yeah, go ahead,” said Harry, who was thinking about how violently he hated prophecies.
“I will not tell you every minute detail of mastering the spell, for it took me months, and I suspect for a wizard at your level, it would take at least a year if not more. But I will tell you that you will have to pour your heart into it. These pages also say that the spell is for one with the highest capability to love-”
“Of course, it’s all about love with you,” interrupted a groaning Harry.
“And you, apparently,” Dumbledore said with a hint of a smile. “There is a part in here that I felt applied to me, but now I think it will much more so with you.”
“What is it?”
“It talks about love in many forms. Platonic love, romantic love, love for a parent, and more. The most interesting part though.... Let me find it...”
Dumbledore searched the blank pages and found what he was looking for.
“Ah! Love for those you have.” He looked at Harry expectantly. Harry looked back at him, clueless. “Well? You love some that you have, don’t you?”
“Who do you have in that world that you love?”
“Ron and Hermione, I guess,” Harry mumbled awkwardly.
“Love for those you have lost.”
“Sirius,” he said automatically.
“Love for those you never knew,” Dumbledore read from the book.
“My parents,” Harry said, despite being angry with them at the moment.
“Love for those who never were.”
Dumbledore looked up at Harry, who took a little longer to answer this one, not because he didn’t know the answer, but because he was momentarily unable to speak.
“Leilani,” Harry said.
“I feel that I love in all these ways,” Dumbledore said. “But I realized when reading Sirius’ letter that I do not love in these ways on the same level as you, Harry. He said that Voldemort fell because of you and he has now risen again, more powerful than ever, I assume. But if you go back and study this spell as hard as you can, I believe it will be even more powerful than when I used it. It will be very difficult work, but I believe that you can defeat him.”
Harry didn’t know whether to feel overjoyed or thoroughly depressed.
“What is the spell anyway?” Harry asked.
“It is a death spell,” Dumbledore said simply. “But its power comes from love, like I said, rather than hate like Avada Kedavra. Avada Kedavra’s purpose is solely to extinguish life. The spell I used comes out of a desire to let life continue. Does this make sense, Harry?”
“Yes,” he said. “I don’t- and you didn’t- want to kill just to kill. If Voldemort kills me, it’ll because he hates me. If I kill him, it’ll be because I have to, for the people I love.”
After thinking for a minute, Harry spoke again.
“Why did they make it so that only the one person could read it? I mean, it would have made sense to let everyone read it, and then you could have just given it to me years ago to start working on.”
“We just answered this question a few minutes ago,” Dumbledore said. “It seems that you were supposed to come to this world, it has helped you love those you never knew even more deeply, and those who never were... I am sad to hear that it is Miss Black who never was in your world, but love for her will help tremendously, I am sure of it.”
This was more depressing than encouraging to Harry. When he didn’t respond to Dumbledore’s answer, he spoke again.
“Remember also that it says here that only one person is meant to use this spell and that they will find it no matter what. Here, that person was me. Where you are from, I have no doubt that it is you. We have now both found it. When you go back, ask me about the book, describe it and tell me it is the one full of ancient magic. If I know me, and I think I do, I will not have thrown it away and I will be more than willing to help you how I can.”
“I only wish there was a way we could communicate with you in that world,” Dumbledore continued. “A way for you to let us know if you succeed.”
“The choice to go back there,” Harry said, his eyes on the floor rather than on the old man’s face. “Is a choice not to fail.”
Professor Dumbledore grinned.
“That is good to hear,” he said. “Now, Harry, if you don’t mind, I need to be going now.”
“Sure,” Harry said, and they both stood up. Harry walked with Dumbledore to the front door of the Blacks’ house.
“Er, professor?” Harry said, as a new thought crossed his mind.
“Yes?” Harry paused and bit his lip.
“There’s a basilisk at Hogwarts. I just thought I’d let you know. It’s in the Chamber of Secrets, Moaning Myrtle lives next to the entrance. Don’t let any Parselmouths go in that bathroom.”
Dumbledore looked slightly alarmed, and then amused.
“Thank you Harry, perhaps we will get that taken care of. It might be safer just to let it go on living there undisturbed though.”
“It can cause real trouble though, trust me.”
“Goodbye, Harry. Good luck.”
“Thanks,” Harry said, and he watched Dumbledore walk out the door and disappear in to thin air. He closed the door slowly, while an indescribable feeling fell over him. Whether he liked it or not, Harry knew he had to leave the Escape world.
April 24th, 2004, 9:47 pm
A/N--- Sorry this one is kind of short. It was very very awkward to write so... yeah. I hope it's good. The next one will be longer. :)
Harry stood motionless next to the front door for a long time. He didn’t even consciously realize he was moving when he finally left it and went back to the Blacks’ living room, where Sirius, Adriana, and Leilani were still sitting and waiting for him. Harry sat next to Leilani.
“What did Dumbledore have to say?” Adriana asked, and Harry was snapped out of his thoughts.
“He told me how to defeat Voldemort,” Harry said dully.
“Well, that’s good, isn’t it?” Sirius said.
“Yeah. It turns out I was supposed to come here. Which means...” Harry sighed deeply. “That I’m also supposed to go back.”
Nobody was quite sure how to respond, so they didn’t.
“I’m not going until my parents come begging me for forgiveness though,” Harry said after a minute. “I’m not going back while they’re still being a pair of idiots. There’s this whole love thing... Being mad at them won’t help.”
“A love thing?” Sirius said curiously.
“Yeah, I’m real good at loving, apparently.”
“I don’t understand,” said Sirius.
“There’s this spell I’ll have to use to kill Voldemort and it’s all about love,” Harry explained. “Dumbledore says I came here to love more... deeply I guess. To love people I’ve lost.” Harry looked at Sirius. “People I never knew.” He jerked his head, as if to motion back to his parents house. “And people who never were.” He looked at Leilani, briefly catching her eyes.
“The world is harsh,” Sirius said, shaking his head. “To make you come here and... love, like you say, only to have to lose it again.”
“I know, it’s not fair. I don’t want to go,” Harry said. “Maybe I’ll just stay until school starts up again.”
“No, you have to go as soon as you can,” Leilani said firmly, even though she didn’t look happy about saying it. “I don’t want you to either, but the sooner you do, the sooner you get rid of Voldemort, and the more lives you save. If Dumbledore had hesitated, this world wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is, you know that better than anyone. You have to do it, for people like me. If you wait too long, who knows, maybe your future-” Leilani paused, looking like the words were becoming more painful. “Your future wife, and kids will be killed just like me and my mum. You have to do it so people in the future don’t have to suffer like you have. And you have to do it for yourself. The longer you wait, the worse it will be when you leave. You’ll never escape by running away.”
When Leilani was done with her speech, Harry nodded. He knew she was right about everything. He couldn’t put off leaving much longer.
“Okay, but... I still need to make up with my parents.”
As if it had been cued, the doorbell rang directly after Harry said this.
“How did they do that?” he wondered out loud, almost positive it was his parents at the door.
“I’ll get that,” Adriana said as she stood up, looking at the scowl that had just formed on her husbands face. “If that’s them, Sirius, give them a chance. Don’t blow up.”
“I’ll control myself,” Sirius said, and Adriana left. Moments later, she returned with Lily and James Potter. Harry noticed that in addition to both of them looking worried and extremely guilty, neither of them seemed to have changed clothes since he last saw them.
“Harry,” Mrs. Potter said, standing before him. “I am so sorry for the way I acted. I haven’t been able to sleep, all I’ve been thinking about is you. I know it’s no excuse, but I was in shock. You don’t know what it’s like to watch your own child suffer, I didn’t want to believe it was really you going through that. I didn’t want to believe that it was my son who grew up without us. I wanted it to be someone else, we both did. But you are our son. Even if the Harry who grew up here had a different life, you were right, you’re still the same person.”
“We love you,” Harry’s father said. “And we’ll do anything to make it up to you. I don’t expect you to forgive us easily, I would hate me right now if I were you. But if you can, we’ll be the best parents we can be for you.”
Harry was almost surprised at how easily he was willing to forgive them.
“Okay,” he said. “I guess it was pretty shocking, so... As long as you realize how horrible you were to me.”
“I know, I was horrible, Sirius should have stayed and yelled at us for hours,” Harry’s mother said.
“I forgive you then,” Harry said, and he stood up. His mother put her arms around him and hugged him tightly, the whole time continuing to tell him how sorry she was. It took quite an effort to pry her away from him and allow his father to give him a hug too.
When Mr. Potter pulled away from him, Harry took a deep breath and looked at both his parents.
“You know I still love both of you, right?” His parents nodded. Harry’s mother looked like she was going to burst in to tears at any moment. “Good. Because I have to leave now.”
April 26th, 2004, 12:39 am
Another random note--- If you are emotionally involved in this story, I may need to issue a tissue alert. Tee hee, that rhymed. :p Anyway, Harry and I both needed one while I was writing this so you might too. We shall see.
“What? Now? Why?” said Mr. Potter.
“I have a responsibility there, remember? I’m going back,” Harry said, blinking twice as much as normal. “The sooner, the better.”
“But don’t you want to... Can’t we take you home first? Can’t we make you a nice dinner and have a long talk?” his father said. “This seems awfully sudden.”
“I know, it is,” Harry said. “But it’ll be easier if I just go now. And, see, Dumbledore told me what to do, there’s this spell to use against Voldemort that gets it’s power from love... Anyway, if you want to know more, you can ask Sirius once I’m gone, we had a long talk last night. That is, if you’re still here once I’m gone.” Harry paused for a moment, and something new occurred to him. “If you are still here, and the other me, the other Harry, if he comes around and he doesn’t know what happened... don’t tell him about me. Make something up, I don’t want him worrying on top of all of you.”
Harry’s mother attacked him with another hug as soon as he finished his sentence. She said a lot of things to him that he couldn’t understand because she had started crying. Harry’s father, unable to pry his wife away from him, put his arms around both of them.
Harry didn’t want to, but he had to eventually struggle to get out of their hold. He smiled weakly at them and then turned to Sirius, who was already on his feet.
“I never told you, but I- I-”
“I know,” Sirius said, and he hugged his godson. Harry wondered vaguely if he had ever done so much hugging.
Sirius let go of Harry and clapped him on the shoulder. Sirius couldn’t speak, but the look in his eyes was enough for Harry. He knew Sirius loved him and wished him the best.
Harry turned to Adriana.
“I would have liked to get to know you better,” Harry said. “We didn’t talk a whole lot but...”
“It’s okay, Harry,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “If you really want to know me better, you can ask someone where your from about me, can’t you?”
“I guess,” Harry said, and he gave her a small grin.
Harry then found himself face to face with Leilani, who looked just like his mother had a few minutes before, like she was going to start crying at any moment. Harry looked at her, at all of their parents watching them, and back at Leilani again. Leilani seemed to see Harry’s brain working, because what she said next answered the question going through Harry’s mind.
“I don’t care,” said Leilani, and she grabbed him and gave him what Harry was sure would be the hardest kiss he would ever receive in his life. He wished it would never end. But by the time it did, Harry had broken down completely, as he had been on the verge of doing so for the last several minutes. He held on to her as if his very life depended on it.
“I love you Harry,” Leilani whispered in his ear with a sniffle. “Don’t ever give up.”
Harry wanted to tell her how much he was going to miss her, that he never would give up, that he loved her too, but every time he tried to speak he felt as if he was going to choke on his words. He thought of all sorts of things that he would have liked to tell his parents and Sirius too, but he couldn’t say a word.
Harry finally let go of Leilani and looked at their parents, only to find that they were all staring at them with their mouths hanging open.
“The same room... over a week...” Harry’s mother said very quietly. “Oh dear me...”
“Well... It probably helped with the love thing,” Leilani said. Harry and Leilani both nervously giggled. It seemed strange to Harry that he should suddenly feel like laughing after crying so hard. But it felt good, like he wouldn’t be leaving on completely low note.
“I won’t ask...” His mother said. Harry’s father shook his head as if to agree, and Adriana was still simply staring at her daughter with her mouth open. Sirius, on the other hand, looked like he was having a very hard time stopping himself from smiling.
Now that he had gone around the room and given his last hugs, Harry felt a bit awkward, and wasn’t sure exactly how to depart.
“Erm... I guess- I guess should be going now,” Harry said, finally finding his voice. “I’d better do this alone.”
And with that, he forced himself to smile at the room full of people that he loved and would never see again, and tore himself away. He walked out of the living room and went into the the first room he came to, a bathroom, and closed the door. He looked in the mirror one last time, at his healthy and unscarred face. As he sat on the floor, Harry remembered back to when he had almost wished to leave a few nights earlier, and figured he would just have to tell himself to go.
‘I’m going back,’ he thought. ‘I’m leaving. I want to go.’
“Come on!” Harry said out loud to himself when nothing happened. This is when he felt a very distant dizziness start to creep up on him.
‘I’m going now,’ he thought again. ‘I’m going back, and when I do, I’m going to get rid of Voldemort and the world will be just like it is here.’
The dizziness became much stronger.
‘I will make the real world safe like this one...’
The spinning in Harry’s head started to overtake him, but unlike the last two times this had happened, he let it. Soon, the blue tile of the floor, the shower standing before him, and the sight of his knees in front of him all became a spinning mess of colors. Harry fell sideways onto the floor, since he couldn’t keep himself up any longer.
And with a flash of bright white light, he was gone.
Seconds later, he woke up with a start, lying with his head on a pillow in a bed at the hospital wing of Hogwarts. He was breathing very quickly. He noticed Hermione’s voice after a second and listened to it while he stared at the ceiling, which was very blurry since he didn’t have his glasses on.
“You may say that, Ron,” she said. “But if he does, I swear, the first thing I’m
going to do is give him a slap across the face! Making us worry about him for so long...”
As she said this, Harry lifted his hand up to his head, which took quite an effort. He felt very weak. Just as he put his fingers on his forehead and felt his scar, he heard Hermione scream.
‘Great, she’s going to hit me now...’ Harry thought to himself, but the slap never came. Within seconds Hermione’s bushy hair was all over his face as she hugged him.
“I can’t believe it, you’re awake! I told you Ron! I told you he could do it!”
Hermione stood up and looked down at him with what Harry guessed was a big smile, although he couldn’t tell for sure because she was too fuzzy. Soon, Ron came up beside her.
“Maybe I should be manly about this, but...” and Ron hugged him too.
“Here, Harry,” Hermione said after Ron stood up again. Hermione took Harry’s round glasses from the table beside the bed and put them on his nose. Once they were on, he could clearly see Hermione and Ron fondly grinning down at him.
“Well?” Hermione said. “You haven’t said a word.”
Harry didn’t say anything. He didn’t feel like talking much.
“Oh, Hermione, Snape’s potion,” Ron said after a moment. He left Harry’s bedside and returned after a minute with a bottle containing what looked like slightly cloudy water.
“It’s a cleansing potion,” Hermione said. “It’s supposed to get rid of any trace of influence from potions taken within the last six months. Snape thinks it will stop the flashbacks.”
Harry had almost forgotten about the flashbacks.
“What if-” Harry stopped to clear his throat. His voice had sounded very hoarse. “What if I don’t want to stop the flashbacks?”
“You don’t have a choice, they are dangerous and you know it.”
“Fine,” Harry spat, his voice still sounding a lot like that of Neville’s toad. He pushed himself up with some difficulty and took the bottle from Ron. He drank the entire thing, handed the bottle back to Ron and folded his arms. Harry felt himself tearing up, and immediately got angry at himself. He was sick of crying. He had done way too much of it already.
Hermione looked like she was still expecting him to say something.
“I don’t want to talk right now,” Harry said, and he pulled off his glasses and put them on the table again. He laid back down and turned on his side, facing away from Ron and Hermione. Sure, Harry had come back with new hope for the future, but at the moment he only felt like sulking. “Leave me alone.”
“Okay,” Hermione said. “But... We should tell you... I think you’d want to know. Lupin is alive.”
April 28th, 2004, 11:50 pm
Harry turned around and sat up in a split second.
“Yep,” Hermione said.
“He’s alive...” Harry fell back on the bed, closing his eyes and smiling as a wave of relief rushed over him.
“Yeah, and he feels really bad,” Hermione said, taking a seat with Ron on the bed next to Harry’s. “One of us should go tell him you woke up, he’s at Hogwarts right now. And Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore now that I think of it.”
“He’s here?” Ron nodded. Harry, after putting his glasses on again, threw the light sheet he had been covered with off himself and made to stand up. As soon as he was on his feet though, his knees buckled and he fell on the floor.
“Here, Harry,” Ron said, and he pulled Harry off the ground and helped him back in his bed. “You haven’t used your legs for almost two weeks now, you can’t go running around school.”
“Yeah, I forgot,” Harry said with a groan, as he sat back on the bed. “It sure doesn’t feel like I’ve just been lying around all this time. I’ve been dancing and ice skating and doing all sorts of physical activity, I shouldn’t be-” He stopped mid-sentence. “Never mind, what about Lupin? What happened?”
“Well, before his partner got knocked out,” Ron said. “Lupin was doing pretty badly against the Death Eaters, and after he got knocked out they were both able to gang up on him, and they got his wand. So they thought there was nothing more to worry about, since Lupin was just lying there on the ground since they’d struck him with so many curses. They were about to tie him up or something, I guess, but they didn’t realize that they had just taken Lupin’s spare wand, and he had his real one on him. So of course he pulled it out and did the fastest magic he could and he got away.”
“That’s smart, to bring two wands,” said Harry. “But why was he missing? They couldn’t find him anywhere that day.”
“Well, he was out in some forest by some mountain, they won’t tell us where,”said Hermione. “He was in pretty bad shape and he couldn’t apparate because of it, but he managed to get himself to the mountain and hide himself. He was lucky, he found this really well hidden cave and stayed there for a few days. They found him in there the day after you... after you took the potion.”
“So what I felt that night,” said Harry, trying to make sense of it all. “That wasn’t Lupin. That must have been Voldemort punishing the people who let him get away. You two have no idea... I thought I killed him.”
“Well you didn’t, and you’re right,” Hermione said. “Lupin says the Order has reason to believe that the Death Eater who was mainly dueling with him was killed. He says Voldemort must have been very angry to know that they let the knowledge of the prophecy slip away again.”
“Moron,” Harry muttered. “That’s one less Death Eater for the Order to deal with.”
“One up for us,” said Ron.
“Two up, actually,” Harry said. When Ron and Hermione looked confused, he said, “ While I was... you know... I found out how to defeat him.”
There was a moment of silence after this declaration.
“You- How? Did you- Oh my gosh...” Hermione stuttered.
“Speaking of which, I need to talk to Dumbledore.”
“Okay, but how-” Hermione was interrupted by Madam Pomfrey’s shrill voice.
“Potter! You’re awake! Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
Madam Pomfrey insisted that Ron and Hermione leave for the night and bring word that Harry had woken up to Professor Dumbledore, which would allow her to fuss over him for as long as she wanted. She made him drink a few potions that would improve his strength and energy overnight. She then brought him a few sandwiches, and as Harry bit into the first one, he realized that he was starving. He also realized that his hair was very dirty. Harry complained about this, but Madam Pomfrey said impatiently that they had more important things to worry about than washing his hair when he had been under, like keeping him alive when he obviously wasn’t able to do things like eat for himself.
It wasn’t long before Dumbledore came to the hospital wing, with Lupin on his heels. Harry told Dumbledore about the spell and the book it would be found in. Harry was glad to see Dumbledore’s eyes light up when he described the book to him.
“The last ten pages are blank,” Dumbledore said. “Yes, that should be the one.”
“They won’t be blank to me,” said Harry. “They better not be, anyway.”
“I will go retrieve the book, I keep it in my office,” said Dumbledore, and he left Harry alone with Lupin. Lupin gave Harry a small smile.
“How are you feeling?” he asked. Harry shrugged.
“I’m happy you’re alive,” he answered. “And it’s nice that I have a chance of reaching my eighteenth birthday now...”
“But... It’ll be hard, getting through these next few weeks,” Harry said, looking down at the remains of his last sandwich. “Life was so... so good there. I’m guessing Hermione got that book and told you what the potion does?”
“Yes, she did,” Lupin said, taking a seat at the end of Harry’s bed. “My guess was that you got a world with no Voldemort.”
“Right. With my parents, and Sirius,” Harry said. “And Sirius still had his wife, and he had a daughter, Leilani. She was... We were... err... you know...”
“Ah, yes. I see. I’m so sorry you had to lose them all. I know what it’s like.”
“Yeah,” Harry said. There was a moment of silence in which Harry put aside his sandwich plate and examined his fingernails, which really needed to be cut. “How did you get through it? Losing all your friends, I mean.”
“It was probably the lowest point in my life,” Lupin said sadly. “I don’t know exactly how I got through it. I told you a few months ago back at headquarters that I was tempted to do things to myself too, experimental magic, potions, anything to escape the pain. But I didn’t. I just... kept going, kept on living. And it always helped to have someone to talk to. If you keep things inside too much, it’ll drive you crazy.”
“It will,” Harry said with a nod. “But... Okay, you told me not to do anything, and obviously I did, but it ended up helping me.”
“You are special case, Harry Potter,” Lupin said. “Yes, it did end up helping you, but you just said these next weeks are going to be very hard. I don’t know everything that happened to you while you were gone, but those memories you have of it will always be bittersweet, and you know it.”
“They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all,” Harry said. Lupin didn’t speak for a minute.
“What would you have done if you hadn’t found the spell there?” Lupin asked.
“I would have never left.”
“And Voldemort would have killed you in your sleep. The country, maybe even the world, would have been free for him to take.”
“You just have to remember, Harry,” said Lupin. “You have to go through the bad to get to the good. I know you’re an extreme case, but think about it this way: If the bad is this extremely bad, just imagine how good the good will be. If you work hard and struggle until you do defeat him, just the relief alone of having it all be over would be amazing. Then you would be free to live the rest of your life with no trouble because you went through such hard times early on.”
“I guess that’s not such a bad way of looking at it,” Harry said with a sigh. “Thanks Professor Lu-”
“Are you ever going to call me by my proper name?”
“Okay, Remus,” Harry said. “It still feels wrong.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Lupin said with a smile. Seconds later, Dumbledore came back. He showed the book he had in his arms to Harry.
“Is this it?” It was undoubtedly the same book, so Harry nodded a yes. Dumbledore put the book in Harry’s lap, and he very carefully opened it to the last pages. Where he had seen blank pages just hours ago in the Escape world, he now saw words written in black ink. He read the first words on the page.
The One will find it.
The One will guide the one to it.
The One will find it.
The One will seek the one to guide him.
The One cannot escape it.
I'm pretty sure the next update will be the last one, just to warn you. :sad:
April 30th, 2004, 9:01 am
“Are you ready?”
“The question is, are you ready, Harry?” said Hermione. She, Harry and Ron were up in the boys’ dormitory sitting on Harry’s bed.
It was a cool Sunday afternoon, just a little over a month since Harry had come back to reality. The day before, the three of them had gone on the first Hogsmeade trip of the new year. After stocking up on candy from Honeydukes and having a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, Harry had dragged his two best friends all over Hogsmeade, looking in every shop in the village. Finally, Harry had found what he was looking for, a Pensieve Projector. It had been a bit more expensive than he would have hoped, but he bought it just the same and carried it very carefully back to Hogwarts.
Now Harry sat with the stone Projector placed on the bed, Ron and Hermione sitting on either side of him.
“I think I am,” Harry said. He was doing better now than the first couple of weeks he had been back. He had been very depressed to look in the mirror the morning after he woke up to find himself looking worse than ever because of the fact that he hadn’t eaten for almost two weeks. He would often find himself falling into daydreams during classes that Ron or Hermione would have to snap him out of. It usually took him hours to get to sleep, and he had to get used to having his scar hurt occasionally again. But slowly, he was starting to feel better.
“I guess I’ll show you Christmas Eve,” said Harry. “Then you can see yourselves too. You did this great ostrich dance, Ron.”
“I can’t wait,” Ron said with a laugh.
“And you can see what was happening when I almost came back,” Harry said.
“Are you sure you want to watch that?” Hermione asked.
“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s not like you’re making me watch Sirius die all over again or something.”
Harry took out his wand and stuck it in one of the holes of the Projector. He concentrated on the moment when Harry and Leilani had tried to go to the party wearing the wrong clothes, and then on the end of the carol singing.
“This’ll be kind of long,” Harry said, as bright colorful light shot out of the Pensieve Projector onto the opposite wall. They saw Harry first, looking healthy and happy and wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, and then Leilani. The picture panned down from her face until they saw her ridiculous socks and bright red sneakers.
“She’s beautiful,” Hermione whispered.
“I can’t believe they let her stay in your room,” Ron said.
“I know, they were crazy,” Harry said. “But I’m really not complaining.”
Ron stifled a laugh, and they continued watching. Soon, they saw them all arrive at Neville’s party, where Harry and Leilani found Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. Ron especially appreciated the conversation that his other self had with Harry about Gilderoy Lockhart.
“You know, Sirius looks good,” Hermione commented. “I mean, really good. I guess not being in Azkaban helped alot.”
“Leilani said all the girls at school had crushes on him,” Harry said, while they watched him and Ron walk over to the refreshment table.
“That’s not surprising,” she said.
Soon, they were watching themselves and Leilani go down to the basement to dance.
“That’s pretty good music, Muggles aren’t so bad,” Ron said. Seconds later...
“This is good music, those Muggles aren’t bad!” the other Ron yelled into Harry’s ear.
“You’ve never heard The-” Hermione stopped speaking when the Harry they were watching said, “You mean you’ve never heard this? This is one of the most popular Muggle bands ever if I’m not mistaken.” Hermione laughed. She laughed even harder when Ron started to dance like an ostrich.
“Oh god, look at me,” said Ron, while Hermione was turning red, almost falling off the bed in a fit of giggles.
“No one topped that one,” Harry said with a grin.
The laughter faded when they saw Harry fall to the ground, screaming and shaking. They saw everything Harry saw, the confused mess of sound and image, ending with two seconds of Ron, Hermione, and Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing before Harry was back in the party again.
“Wow. That was intense...” Hermione murmured. After they watched Harry explain himself, she said, “I bet I went and researched it afterwards.”
“Of course,” Harry said, and Hermione looked pleased. They watched themselves dance some more and then sing Christmas carols. Ron, just like the Ron they were watching, complained when he got stuck hitting the wooden block with a hammer. Finally, the picture faded from the wall, and it was over.
“I don’t blame you for not wanting to leave,” Ron said sympathetically. “You had your parents, Sirius... and your girlfriend, she was quite good looking wasn’t she?”
“Yeah. She was more than just good looking too,” Harry said with a sigh. “She was so much fun. Smart, funny, she had this thing for chocolate and weird socks. And she seemed to genuinely love me even though I wasn’t famous, unlike some certain girls here.”
“Do you- Did you love her?” Hermione asked softly. Harry didn’t answer her. Instead he stared down at the Pensieve Projector.
“I can’t help but wonder if she’s still out there somewhere,” Harry said instead of answering her question. “It was so real. She was so real. I can’t believe it was only in my head.”
“That’s the point of the potion isn’t it, to make it seem real?” said Ron.
“Yeah,” Harry said. “It’s not fair. With Sirius and his wife, and my parents, at least they had a chance to live, you know? Leilani was never even born.”
“Well, look at it like this,” said Hermione. “In a way, you gave her a chance to live, even if it was only for a brief time, and even if it was just in your head.”
“I guess,” Harry said. He stood up from his bed and put the Pensieve Projector safely in his trunk. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting hungry. Let’s go have dinner.”
What Hermione said about him giving Leilani a chance to live stayed in Harry’s mind for a long time, even if verbally he didn’t react very strongly to it. It was this idea, that Harry could give people a chance to live, that helped him keep on going, just like Lupin had.
Harry had started working on the spell with Dumbledore the day after he woke up. He read the entirety of what was written about it almost every night, and soon he nearly had it memorized. It was proving to be just as difficult as Dumbledore had told him it would be, and Harry knew it would be many months before he would be able to pull off the spell successfully. Three times a week, Harry met with Dumbledore. During these sessions he was learning how to become supremely focused, and how to concentrate all of his mind, all of his heart and being into performing spells. In addition, Dumbledore helped him to master Occlumency, which Harry found much easier, or at least more pleasant, than when Snape had tried to teach him.
While working as hard as he could on mastering this spell, Harry found himself improving in all areas of school. After a month or two of studying with Dumbledore, Harry would very often be the first one in his Transfiguration or Charms classes to successfully do whatever they were learning. Hermione didn’t seem to mind slowly losing her reputation for being the first in everything, she was too happy to see Harry advancing so much, as was Ron.
Harry’s advancement didn’t always stop him from occasionally falling back into depressions, but he never tried anything like the Escape potion again. He spent many afternoons alone with the Pensieve Projector, watching memorable moments with his family, Sirius, and Leilani for hours at a time, some of which he would never show to Ron and Hermione. Afterwards he would often find his determination rejuvenated though, as he wanted the world he lived in to be like that one so badly.
Harry strongly determined never to lose his focus, never to stop working, and never to give up. He knew that the more effort he put into the present moment, the better the outcome would be, and the faster it would come. Harry would work as hard as he could for as long as he had to. He knew that in the end it would pay off, and he would find his real escape.
And that, my friends, is the end. :upset:
Thank you all so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story (especially if you got this far :lol: ). There is going to be a sequel, which I will probably post in the next day or two. I really enjoyed writing Escape, so I hope the next one is as good. :)
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