Disclaimer: I don't own any character, plot or anything mentioned in the amazing universe of Harry Potter created by J.K. Rowling. Every single bit of the Harry Potter book series and films belongs to J.K. Rowling, certain publishing houses and Warner Bros. Besides a hobby I'm not making any profits by writing these stories.
Title: Shifting Horizons
Summary: Fifth year fiction: Someone sharing Lily's blood showed up in summer after fourth year and touches not only Harry's but the lives of others whose future depends on Harry's actions. The new person helps Harry and Snape to bond together. No Slash; Snape mentors /adopt Harry story.
Ratings: T (Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, with some violence, minor coarse language and minor suggestive adult themes)
Genre: Drama/Adventure/ Family/Friendship/ Hurt-Comfort
Pairing: HP/GW, HG/RW, SS/LE/OC, SB/MM, RL/NT
It was an evening of late June. The sun had begun setting, inviting people to get out of their cool sanctuaries. In contrast to a somewhat cool evening the entire day was hot. The bright and blazing sun forced everyone to hide idly under the cool sheds of their houses. The dullness of summer was so evident that even meddlesome people like one Mrs. Petunia Dursley and her so called normal family had stopped snooping around neighborhood. Before this summer they never considered a serious long vacation or anything that kept them away from their perfect house at Private Drive but this year the harsh summer forced them to do something different; they decided to visit Switzerland. Hence, as preparation they shopped, renewed their passports, decided a date and booked tickets. As perfectly as possible they worked out every detail of their vacation trip except one. They deliberately forgot to give the news to their nearly fifteen year old nephew, Mr. Harry James Potter who had returned a week ago for summer break and happened to be living in their house.
Upstairs, inside his room Harry yawned and collected many parchments scattered all over his table. He arranged them in a neat pile following some kind of order. It was his self designed summer project to keep himself away from dreadful memories of the horrible events that happened at the end of Tri-wizard tournament. At Hogwarts the memories of Voldemort's rebirth and Cedric's death became nightmares. For weeks the horrors plagued his nights but at the Dursleys' he was rescued by his new project. The project involved a tedious work of collecting and making detailed notes on a variety of defense spells which kept him sufficiently busy for day and night. In last the seven days he just read and wrote until he exhausted himself into a fitful sleep with a mind full of new spells quite unavailable for new nightmares.
Harry eyed his yet unfinished project satisfactorily and thanked his lucky stars who made his summer stay pretty bearable. He remembered how a week ago an annoyed looking Vernon Dursley picked him up from King's Cross and as soon as they reached home, Vernon locked away Harry's school trunk inside the cupboard under the stairs. Harry did recall the triumphant smirk given by his big headed uncle who arrogantly ignored the very old, extra large jacket Harry was wearing. As Harry kept his expression blank and waited until Vernon disappeared inside the house. His heart thumped loudly but as the tense moment passed he silently thanked Hermione and the Weasley Twins for using their brilliance and resourcefulness. They used a few complicated charms to create a number of pockets inside the over sized, hand me down jacket so that it securely held many things weightlessly. Harry used his charmed jacket wisely by stuffing it with blank parchments, self-inking quills, and many books on Defense, Charms, Transfiguration and Potions. He did not forget his most prized possessions namely a Phoenix wand, an Invisibility clock, the Marauder's Map and the photo album Hagrid gave him in his first year.
Harry watched the sunset through his barred window. As seconds passed the bright orange-yellow disc of the sun began to travel slowly below the horizon. Harry silently admired the beauty of the vanishing sun. Without any intention his thoughts concentrated on his own summer. For everyone the summer was harsh but for Harry it turned out tolerable. The hot summer came with a severe drought meaning there was a constraint on using water to maintain lawns, gardens or washing cars; in other words he did not have any chores for the entire summer, and he happily welcomed the new development by keeping himself inside his room. During this whole time he did not touch any of his homework, instead he chose to work on his Defense project. He had thought that his Aunt and Uncle might miss him at least a few times for not doing chores but they didn't. In contrast, they felt happy for Harry's continuous absence. The first day Harry showed up in the kitchen to cook breakfast and dinner but no one reacted to his presence. They just neglected him and ate. Just to check, Harry did not show up in kitchen at all the next day and got surprised when no one bothered to complain. From that day onward Harry got his meager meals through the cat flap in his door. Whenever he came downstairs he only got glares from Vernon and Petunia. Even Dudley and his goons neglected Harry as they got busy doing something secretive under the extra sensitive noses of their parents. In response Harry remained silent and maintained the unspoken truce as sincerely as possible.
As the sun disappeared below the horizon, the orange light mingled with the blue of the sky and produced a vast array of different colors. Harry watched the darkening beautiful canvass filled with different colors. He sighed as the gloominess of the dark evening clouded his mind with the hopeless thoughts of being alone in the whole word. He remembered the last night when he overheard Vernon talking about their summer vacation trip without him. Vernon even told Petunia that Harry had to work for the summer if he needed extra food or other stuff when they were away for their vacation. For a moment Harry felt a pang of disappointment and jealousy but then he decided to ignore the unfairness and focused on the brighter side of the situation. He just got a Dursley free summer. That meant he was free to do anything without thinking about the Dursleys all the time. He knew he just needed Hedwig back from the Burrow, so he could contact Hermione, Sirius or the Weasleys for help.
A doorbell rang downstairs and Harry got distracted from his musings. Harry knew except for him and Petunia no one was inside the house. Vernon and Dudley were gone for shopping and his aunt never volunteered to answer the door. So as a habit he left his room quickly and descended the staircase two at time. But he was late as Petunia had already opened the door. Harry was at the bottom of the stairs when he saw the utter surprise on his aunt's face. At this Harry's curiosity heightened and instead of turning around he crossed the hallway quietly and remained there to see their guest.
Harry saw a beautiful woman. She had shoulder length light brown hair and very big sunglasses on her nose. She was wearing a knee length light blue flowery dress with matching sandals. She was as tall as Petunia and had a dazzling smile on her pretty face. She removed her glasses and opened her mouth to say something but Petunia was first.
"LILY..? But How?"Gasped Petunia, "NO, it's not possible. They… They said so."
Harry heard Petunia stutter with a dread. For a moment Harry thought his aunt had gone mad but then his heart began to flutter as he observed their guest carefully. Although he saw his mother a few times in photographs, he still could tell the resemblance between his mother and the woman standing very elegantly in front of Petunia. There were only few differences such as the woman on their doorsteps had light brown hair instead of red and her eyes were bluish green instead of emerald.
The woman who looked like Lily pitied Petunia and broke the awkward silence. "Hello, Petunia, I'm Megan, Dr. Megan Olivia Spencer. I am definitely not Lily but I can explain everything to you if you allow me to enter inside."
For a moment Harry thought the woman at the door might confess about her being Lily and but his hopes crumbled as he heard the introduction in a very soft American accent.
Petunia schooled her expression and decided to welcome her new guest before someone noticed Megan and began to ask some awkward questions. "My apologies Dr. Spencer. Please do come in."
Both women entered in and saw Harry, who absolutely forgot to remove himself from the hallway. Petunia glared at Harry but Harry remained in the hallway watching their new guest with curiosity.
Megan noticed the skinny teenager wearing a pair of very over sized, worn out blue jeans with yellow t-shirt. Megan did not miss the glare Petunia gave the boy. To Megan the boy looked miserable, underweight and tensed. Casually she made an eye contact with the boy and a very peculiar sensation coursed through her mind. She felt a longing, some kind painful yearning in those emerald eyes. She felt a sense of strong familiarity with the boy. She felt a need to protect the boy. And then a thought crossed her mind, like her the boy might have had a close relationship with her twin sister, Lily Evans.
Petunia cleared her throat and reluctantly Harry broke the eye contact. He saw the warning on Petunia's face and decided to go upstairs. But no sooner had he turned to do so than Megan stopped him.
"Sorry Petunia but I think it will be better if he joins us too. Don't know how but I can tell that he had a strong relationship with Lily."
Petunia took minute to process the suggestion and finally nodded, "Fine Dr. Spencer as you wish. Any way you are correct about his being related to her. He is Lily's son." was her curt reply.
"Thanks Petunia and please call me Megan." said Megan politely.
As a reply Petunia just nodded and showed the way inside her house. With an unsettled curiosity Harry just followed both women.
On her way Megan observed the perfectly arranged house. She saw many photo frames showing a very happy looking family of three people namely Petunia, a very overweight boy and a smug looking extra large man. She assumed they were Dudley and Vernon Petunia's son and Husband respectively. To Megan the frames looked incomplete; somehow she was expecting to see the skinny boy with emerald eyes in those frames. Megan followed Petunia's direction and took a seat around the tea table. She saw the boy disappear in the direction of the kitchen and came back with two glasses of lemonade. He did not take a seat and stood instead, near Petunia's chair.
"I don't understand Megan, if you are not Lily then why do you look like her?" asked Petunia impatiently.
Harry heard the question he was itching to ask. For the first time he thanked Petunia silently for her prying.
Megan smiled at Petunia and requested sweetly, "Be patient Petunia, I'll answer your questions one by one just tell me what I should call this young man?"
"Megan he is Harry James Potter and you can call him whatever you want." answered Petunia.
"Okay 'Harry' it is then. I like the name" commented Megan enthusiastically.
Megan looked at Harry intriguingly and continued talking. "You know I'm going to declare today as the luckiest day of my life. For almost a month I searched and searched but did not get any clue about your family. And now see I found you here, with Petunia. Now come here and sit with us Harry. You know for the last six months I was living with this unexpected revelation and I think now it's your turn to get surprised."
Harry looked at Petunia to get the permission for joining them but got nothing in response. So he simply chose a seat opposite both women.
Megan took a sip of her lemonade and finally decided to reveal her secret. "Petunia actually I don't know Lily at all. But in the past, at the very beginning we were together. What I mean is we shared the same womb when we were unborn babies."
Harry stared dumbly at Megan but Petunia quickly reached the correct conclusion.
"I'm Lily's twin Petunia; we all have the same biological parents, but unfortunately only I knew about it."
It was quite expected considering the resemblance between Megan and Lily but still the news did not miss the surprise factor. The revelation made both Harry and Petunia remain silent for while.
Harry was the first who came to his senses, "That's Great! I never thought about it. Hey, and this means … it makes you my aunt too."
"Thanks to my sisters but I've two nephews and I'm glad to know that Harry." replied Megan coolly.
Petunia did not like Harry's excitement over this news, for some reason she felt suspicious. "I don't understand but how can my parents never have told us about you? And why should I believe you?"
"I know Petunia it's difficult to believe. But just to avoid further questioning I do have original birth certificates and adoption papers with me which will prove to you that I'm telling you the truth. If you are interested you may see them."
Megan hurriedly removed a folder from her handbag and delivered it to Petunia who inspected it thoroughly. Petunia returned said folder to Megan dubiously. To curb her curiosity she asked skeptically, "Megan I know these documents look legal but still I'm confused that how and why my parents gave their daughter to some strange couple for adoption."
Megan sighed and decided to tell the story her dying adoptive mother had told her. "Petunia and Harry, from now on you both have to believe my words because what I'm going to share with you was only known by few people and unfortunately they all are dead. So the information I've with me is based on the story told by my mother on her deathbed. And I knew she was telling the truth, because she did not have any reason to lie to me. Oh and please believe me I always know when people lie to me."
Harry grinned at Megan's last statement but hid it when Petunia gave him a scathing glare.
"Thirty six years ago my adoptive parents Isabella and Benjamin Spencer were happily living in London. One day Isabella met a very kind woman named Mrs. Olivia Evans. But the situation was quite ill-fated when they met" began Megan but stopped when she saw Petunia open her mouth to say something.
"Yes, that's true, my mother was a kind person but how could have she done this to us" accused Petunia softly. She always resented Lily for inheriting Olivia's every good character including her green eyes, red hair and the kindness. She glanced at Megan with wistful eyes and just waved to continue the story.
So Megan continued. "It was cloudy evening of late august and Isabella was coming home from some grocery shopping. She was crossing a fairly crowded road when a car struck her. It was a severe accident. She immediately lost consciousness. When she opened her eyes she found herself in a hospital-bed with my adoptive father Mr. Benjamin Spencer sitting at her bedside. Once she had regained her consciousness Benjamin informed her about the unfortunate accident which injured her badly. With a heavy heart he also informed her about the loss of their unborn baby as well as the loss of her ability to bare the child again. A few hours later on the same day they met the culprit of the accident, who was a woman named Mrs. Olivia Evans. The investigation authority confirmed that the car accident was not her fault at all. It happened due to the failure of Olivia's car engine."
Megan paused and took a large sip of her lemonade. To Harry she looked pensive, much serious than earlier.
"Oh, I'm sorry Megan but I never knew about the accident. My parents had never talked about it." Harry was not surprised to hear a hidden indictment under Petunia's formal apology. Harry knew Petunia and her resolve to stick with normality very well. She did not cope well with unexpected revelations. Harry saw Megan smile sadly at Petunia and resumed her tale.
"I know Petunia but we can't do anything about it now. It happened in the past and as per Isabella Mr. and Mrs. Evans willingly paid for all the hospital and other bills. They sincerely apologized for the accident but felt terribly guilty when they heard about the Spencer's loss of their unborn child as well as the ability to bare another. The news especially had a deep impact on Mrs. Evans who took a very strange decision in the near future."
"And what was that?" asked Harry impatiently as Megan took another pause. Petunia just glared at Harry but did not say anything as she had a fleeting idea about next part of Megan's story.
Megan looked at Harry and answered gently. "One day in November both Mr. and Mrs. Evans visited the Spencer's and made an odd request. Mrs. Evans told Isabella that she was pregnant with twins and would deliver them near January end. They requested the Spencers to have one of their twins as redemption for the accident. At first the Spencers denied the request but finally Olivia convinced them. And as predicted on January end in a remote hospital in Northern England, Olivia delivered twins, one with green eyes and another with bluish-green eyes where they arranged a quick and secret adoption. A year later the Spencers moved to New York and I began my life as Megan Olivia Spencer. My middle name was Isabella's choice, by using it she wanted to keep alive a link between me and my biological mother. "
Harry listened to everything carefully and did not find anything deceitful. To him Megan looked relieved at end of story. In reality the story shocked him. Just an hour ago he did not know any living relative except Petunia and Dudley but then he met his mother's twin sister, Megan; who was alive and pleasant too. No doubt she looked like his mother, but there was something remarkable about her, which was compelling Harry to observe her carefully. Whenever he made eye contact with Megan he felt a strange feeling; something in Megan was trying to reach for him. A kind of unusual warmth was trying to envelop him and that never happened with Petunia. Petunia always had a bitter attitude towards Harry. She never tried to be affectionate around him. Unintentionally Harry began to compare the two sisters and concluded that he needed to be in touch with his new aunt but later when the Dursleys would be out for the summer.
"But I don't understand Megan, if you are happy with your adoptive family, why did you come here? Don't you think that it is too late to regenerate any bonding between us?" asked Petunia callously.
"I know what you are thinking Petunia. May be it sounds ridiculous to you but the day my mother told me the truth about my adoption I had this crazy feeling that I want to meet you and Lily. I was alone since last June after Isabella died because of lung cancer and I already lost my father three years back in a massive heart attack. In reality I don't want to be alone anymore and don't see any harm in knowing each other. I just wanted to have some connection with my biological family, that's all."
Harry knew the feeling of being alone for his whole life. He felt sorry for Megan and if possible decided to rectify her condition. So when he saw an opportunity asked quickly, "Um… So should I be seeing you around Dr. Spencer? Um… I mean Aunt Megan."
"Harry, you may call me Megan. No need to be so formal. And the answer to your question is yes. I've decided to stay in London. Actually I'm living in London for a month now."
"So you are not going back to New York then?" asked Harry to clear his doubt.
Megan took some time to come with answer. "I think I may go back in the near future but not now. I have been thinking about you people for over a year now. Once I planned everything I began to wind up my things in US. You see I've inherited a great deal of wealth from my adoptive parents plus earned plenty of money through my previous job. But before I came here I used some of my connections and secured an easy part time job as a freelance Science column writer in The London Times, a local newspaper. Once I got here I hired an estate agent to find a suitable house for me. So in less than a month I have a job, a car and a huge Georgian style house in town called Aisleton in Western London. It's weird but with every passing day I begin to like this country more and more."
"Wow! That's sounds great. Do you mind if I… "
Petunia interrupted Harry before he completed his sentence "But how did you find out our address Megan?"
Megan neglected Petunia's demanding tone and answered truthfully, "My mother gave me your old address at Cokeworth. But when I visited that place, I was told that both Mr. and Mrs. Evans died fifteen years ago and their elder daughter meaning you sold the property to someone else. I was disappointed but after searching a few databases I found your address but not Lily's. There was no sign of Lily's existence. For a moment I thought that she might be working with some 'Top Secret Agency' or something similar. I decided to ask you about her whereabouts. Hence, I came here to see you and your family but luckily I met Harry too."
Petunia nodded in response but did not lose the pinched look on her face. She was trying to digest the idea of having a living sister who happened to be a twin of her dead freak sister.
Megan gave a teasing smile to Harry and asked suddenly, "So where you and your Parents lives Harry?"
A painful expression crossed on Harry's face but before he gave any answer Petunia explained hurriedly. "After graduation Lily married a guy named James Potter. When Harry was fifteen months old the whole family had a freakish car accident which took the lives of Lily and James but Harry survived. After the funeral we took Harry in as he doesn't have any other living relatives."
Harry was taken aback by Petunia's skillful lie. He heard that story many times before but the lie hurt. A sudden wave of anger clouded his mind. For a moment he wanted to shatter something but one glance from Megan and he began to calm down.
Megan observed her nephew and a wave of sorrow and anger washed over her mind. It was strange but she felt his loss, emptiness and anguish. It was intense. She wanted him to calm down and he did but took few seconds. On the other hand she was feeling a subtle lie, jealously and hatred from Petunia. She did not understand why a sister like Petunia should harbor such vile feeling for her dead little sister. She wanted to know more about Lily but instead came up with the most appropriate words. "Oh No..! That's really terrible Petunia! I'm really sorry for your loss Harry. It hurts to think that I'll never get a chance to meet Lily but I'm fortunate to meet both of you."
Megan paused for moment and then added thoughtfully, "Petunia, I really appreciate what you are doing for Harry and it is a kind decision on your behalf. I'm sure Harry is feeling gratified for your help and guidance. "
Petunia became giddy when she heard Megan's amazing remarks. In response she came with a dramatic response. "It's okay Megan. We are quite happy now. It happened a long time ago and it's quite disturbing to remember and revive the painful events of past. I miss them terribly Megan, but for Harry's sake we decided to move on towards a better and happy future."
Megan did not believe Petunia at all rather her every word seemed insincere to Megan. She counted ten to control her temper and then suddenly decided to change the subject. So with a thought she casually asked "Would you mind Petunia to come with your family to dinner tomorrow evening at my place?"
Petunia answered with a smile. "Thanks for the invitation Megan but I think it's not possible tomorrow. You see, we will be leaving for our summer vacation tomorrow morning. It's Switzerland and we still are doing some last minute planning and packing. May be we should arrange it sometime later."
"It's okay Petunia. I can understand and as you have suggested we can have it any other time may be when you return."
Harry stared down at his old baggy jeans to hide his irritation but without any effort Megan sensed it. "So, have you packed everything Harry? You must be excited to visit the new country then. Trust me Harry Switzerland is a beautiful country. You will be amazed by its beauty."
Harry looked up and without a second thought answered, "But I'm not allowed Megan… I'm gro…"
Petunia knew what was coming from Harry; so she hurriedly interrupted him, "It means he had a very lengthy and important school project to complete and one of our neighbors will be taking care of him until we return."
Suddenly a thought struck Megan "Hey I have a brilliant Idea Petunia. What if I invite Harry at my place until you return? We can use this time to get to know each other and if possible I will supervise his summer project too. So no need to bother a neighbor and he will be in his aunt's care. So what do you think Harry? Would you like to come with your new aunt?"
Harry was so shocked that he did not know how to reply. He knew Dumbledore wanted him to live with Petunia for blood wards, but going with Megan offered the same protection as she was Lily's sister too. Harry did not take more than a minute to decide what he wanted but still there was one big problem that Megan had no idea about. First she did not know that Harry was a wizard and second a maniac named Lord Voldemort wanted Harry dead.
Petunia was delighted by Megan's idea. She decided to do what she wanted to do for the last fourteen years, to be free from her forced responsibility. She decided it was a time for someone to step in her place and take care of her freak nephew. She smiled sweetly at Megan and vocalized her choice, "That would be great Megan. I think if possible and if you liked then you can keep him until summer ends then he will be off to his boarding school until next summer. Rather I suggest you pick him up today, and then you both will have plenty of time for yourselves. Give him a few minutes and he will be ready to go. Won't you Harry, my Boy?"
Harry wanted to gag at Petunia's sweet tone but then decided to nod for her much expected decision. He knew if possible, Petunia would have gotten rid of him in the blink of an eye a long time ago and this was her only chance to fulfill her dream.
Megan was surprised by Petunia's swift response. Without showing any emotion she calmly accepted the offer. "That will be fine with me Petunia. Harry is and will be welcome at my home anytime."
She then winked at Harry and cheered enthusiastically, "Time to pack your bags Harry! We are leaving!"
Author's Note: Thanks for awesome reviews and suggestions especially to my friend im1inamillion . As suggested by im1inamillion and other readers I'm re-posting this chapter with few changes. Hope you will like it. Enjoy..