All rights are reserved to:

Christopher Paul Curtis – author of Bud, Not Buddy

J.K. Rowling – author of the Harry Potter series

I own only the plot (and some background OCs)!

WARNING: Contains spoilers for those who haven't read either book!

Chapter One: Admire, Not Idolize

So that's it. I have to die. He thought as he lay on the dusty floor in Dumbledore's office. At last, though, there was a way to stop Voldemort for good.

But what seventeen-year-old truly wants to die? This was one of the thoughts Harry had as he sat up. There was something ELSE that was creeping up but – Hmm? Out of the corner of his eye he spotted something he didn't notice – and didn't expect – to find here.

It was a gramophone. As Harry approached it, he was equally surprised to discover that there were records lined up beside it. He'd known that Dumbledore had loved music but finding this here was odd, even for him! Harry wasn't allowed much TV at the Dursleys but he'd seen enough to know what it was and had a vague idea of how to work it. Randomly he chose an album from the series, put it on, and cranked it up. Some high notes emanated from the speaker.

Though the music sounded upbeat Harry knew he couldn't stay there for the whole thing. He decided to leave it playing anyway, just in case...

"Hey, man, you're missin' the best of the song!" Harry had been walking away and jumped but didn't spy anyone else in the room. It was then that Harry realized the music had stopped but the record was still going. He slowly approached.

"Are there?"

"Uhh...more or less," the voice - a male, Harry found - replied. "Think you could rewind this thing?" Harry started to crank the handle backward...and as he did, a ghost started to appear out of the gramophone's speaker! As it appeared and landed in the center of the room, he saw that it was a boy with dark skin and black hair and that the boy was about the same age as Harry when he had started at Hogwarts. And his face...

"Man, that was a lonnnng time bein' in that thing...!" The boy ghost said as he stretched out.

"Sleepy LaBone?" Harry asked, confused. The boy turned and a smile immediately appeared on his face.

"That I am!...But that's just a stage name, my real name is Bud. Bud Caldwell. Oh, don't worry - I know all about who you are, Harry Potter," he added as Harry opened his mouth, "I've been told all about you. And judging by the way you seem now that you're outta that bowl you found somethin' in there you don't like, right?"

Harry found himself telling Bud about his journey since he returned at the end of term last year. He told about how Professor Snape was murdered for the Elder Wand and it is was Snape's memories he saw in "the bowl", and how he discovered that he must let Voldemort kill him in order for Voldemort to actually be defeated. Throughout the telling, Bud never interrupted and sometimes nodded.

"...and that's all of it, I guess."

"Dang, that's heavy..." There was silence for a moment until Bud asked "Bet it was a shock seein' your parents so young, huh...or is it because they weren't entirely the goody-two-shoes people have said they were?" Harry's head shot toward Bud in shock before realizing such a reaction would be a dead giveaway.

"Yeah..." Harry admitted, "but how did you know?"

"Because I've felt the exact same thing," Bud wandered over to the Pensive, "It was just me and my Momma growin' up. She moved like a tornado when she was upset about somethin' - everything was always fast around her, and we'd have the same conversations about the same things lots of times. She didn't talk about my father but she DID talk about her dad, who was a mean old guy."

"Momma died when I was six and I eventually found my grandfather...and let me tell you, I thought he was every bit as mean as Momma told me he was."

"But something changed?" Harry felt that's where Bud was leading him.

"Yeah, you see he didn't realize I was even alive - my Momma had run off with one of his drummers. My grandfather was a band leader, you see. When he found out she died..." Bud stopped and Harry understood what Bud's grandfather must've felt next.

"Did you...ever find your real father?"

"Eventually, yes." Bud's voice was almost flat but his tone didn't seem to give anything else away. "I was a father myself then and wasn't particularly keen on lookin' anymore for the man who abandoned me and Momma. HOWEVER," Bud's mood seemed to change like that, "I had the blessing to marry a VERY smart gal named Deza Malone, who pushed me to seek him out...and I'm glad she did. Because my father didn't realize Momma was pregnant with me - and I even met my three half-siblings."

"But why'd he leave in the first place? That would mean he'd have to start all over!"

"That's true, but I found out why. Remember how I said Momma moved every fast? Well, several years later, I find out those are things called 'manic episodes' - but those weren't known back then -"

"And let me guess," Harry continued, "he didn't know how to handle it, so he left."

"Yep, that's what happened!" Bud floated a little closer to Harry. "My father told me he didn't have the patience to deal with Momma, and he told me how much he regretted not trying to help. My grandfather wanted my mother to make something of herself but pushed her too hard. My point to telling you all this, Harry, is that nobody's THAT much of a goody-two-shoes."

"Thankfully, I've learned that people can change - and that includes your principal as well."

Harry blinked. "Principal? You mean Headmaster Dumbledore?"

"Oh, right, sorry!" Bud face-palmed. "I'm sorry, I keep forgetting you guys do things a bit differently over here!"

"Wait,'re not a wizard?! Then how could you know Dumbledore? We have -"

"Laws against showing your true self to ordinary people? Don't worry. I'm well aware of all of that, but there's an important reason why." Bud's manner and tone got the most serious Harry had seen.

"He saved my life."

Whoa, so how did Dumbledore save this Muggle's life? :O Find out in the next chapter: "Goodbye, My Friend"!

Staaay tuned...