Everyone leaves something behind for their children to remember them by. Lily Evans didn't know, when she left her diary behind, that it would help her son into knowing her and himself. …Or did she?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Don't bother suing cuz you won't get nuthen out of it neither.
Warning: First attempt at Harry Potter fanfiction. This is mostly an H/Hr romance (gotta love those two) but also contains a LOT of Lily/James and Draco/Ginny. Please be kind. Also, this prologue is a bit drawn out, since I wrote it in a bad mood moment (filled with frustrating interruptions, which, of course, handicapped my train of thought greatly, so this does not reach my usual level of perfection (yeah, right!). Anyway, I tried to fix it as best I can, so I hope it'll go. I'll let you know that for this I'm putting my Anime related fics on the backburner, so I hope you appreciate (they've actually been there for more than a year). Oh, and this was entirely written before OofP entered my life, so be sure to keep that in mind, because it kind of makes this an AU.
And now, on with the fic.
Harry Potter and the Knowledge of a Mother
By Pearl Drop Angel
Prologue: Dread and Anticipation
Tomorrow, Harry thought. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end of Hogwarts for me. But then again, was it? Hogwarts was so much a part of his life—or better yet, it had been the start of a real life for him—that he knew he could never truly leave it behind. After all, how can one forget the first home ever known? But still, tomorrow was the first day of his last year in that wonderfully magical and heartwarming castle where he'd first known of friendship and rivalry, of love and hate--for anything other than his adoptive family. The place where he'd found out the truth about his lost family, and, all the while, made himself a new one.
He smiled at the thought.
He really had made himself a family there.
Dumbledore and McGonagall to him had become like grandparents—or what he thought grandparents were supposed to feel like. Dumbledore, wise beyond words yet still a child at heart, had given him advice and simple warmth with just a word, a smile, a twinkle from behind his half-moon spectacles. McGonagall, strict and stiff in appearance, had tried to back him up in everything—as much as she could while trying to maintain the objective teacher-student look of things—she'd understood him in almost all his turmoil (especially regarding his parents), and she'd even spoiled him a little. He smiled at the memory of the Nimbus 2000 that Hedwig had brought him the morning of his first Quidditch game.
There were Ron, and Hermione.
Ron was his brother, in everything and every way, except for the blood relation part. They'd shared laughs, fights, opinions, and an unhealthy growing obsession for a particularly dangerous sport played on broomsticks called Quidditch. It had only gotten worse as Ron had made Gryffindor Keeper at the beginning of their fifth year. And—though that would sound like any other best friend to people—they were brothers. For one thing, Harry had felt an instant bond with him from the start, and also for the fact that they were both—for different reasons—jealous of each other. And that's what made them brothers. Friends, after all, weren't real friends if there was something like jealousy amuck. Brothers, instead, couldn't possibly consider each other so without it. He'd come to this realization after several summers spent with the Weasleys.
Maybe it was better this way, for, this year, he couldn't have bared to see the happy family laughing and joking and arguing while among them there would be Hermione Granger.
Hermione. The constant female presence of his life, she'd been there just as long as Ron, and she was the reason for the livid jealousy he felt towards the boy.
Harry James Potter, in fact, had been in love with Hermione Granger, for quite the duration of their nothing-but-friendly relationship, and Hermione, though she'd always demonstrated no romantic interest in anyone attending the Hogwarts grounds, was—as Harry was convinced—madly, head-over-heels in love with the youngest Weasley man.
Of course, neither of them had openly come to tell him such news, but how could he deny it when he'd witnessed himself the way, over the years, they acted differently around each other? The way they were constantly touching, and the fight they'd had in forth year when Ron had asked her to the dance as a last resort, and every fight thereafter, how could he ignore those? Especially since he knew them both so well, and knew that they didn't usually demonstrate open affection.
No, he was glad this year he wouldn't be spending the summer with them. Even if that meant having to suffer the Dursleys, at least he wouldn't be forced to watch their blossoming love. Maybe, if he was lucky, they would come to pick him up—as previously arranged—in the morning to go together to King's Cross and find them disgustingly happy announcing their engagement. Yes, at least that way, his awkwardness would be justified. I just hope they don't ask me to take part of the ceremony.
"POTTER!" The loud booming voice of his uncle Vernon called from downstairs, startling him out of his thoughts and the snow white owl next to him out of sleep. "COME DOWN AND GIVE DUDLEY HIS DINNER! … NOW!" He bellowed.
Good, Harry thought. I shouldn't be thinking these thoughts about my friends.
And as he stalked to the door he paused.
Oh, things would be so much simpler if they were only friends!
It was so early in the morning that it still was black and night seemed to be undecided whether or not to stay or move on, and Harry couldn't see the numbers on his wrist watch no matter how long he stared at it. Hermione had written him telling that, since she had family in one of the little towns in Surrey—not too far from where he was—and they had given their home to the Grangers for the summer; Arthur Weasley would get a one day permit to link the borrowed chimney to the "Floo Powder" line so that the Weasleys could apparate in and, with the Grangers, come and get him. Considering how long it would take to get from Little Whinging to King's Cross in a group of eight people they would have to come and pick him up far before the sun would even contemplate rising. Thank God Hermione had suggested she get his school supplies and whatever he would need from Diagon Alley, for the Dursleys would have never permitted him to go.
He sighed heavily. Hermione. Maybe if she wasn't so considerate of him, he wouldn't have such a hard time convincing himself that she could only ever be a…good friend to him. Nothing more, nothing less, at least on her part. Thing was all her kindness towards him kept putting false hope into his mind.
But before he could pursue that thought, a minivan and a station wagon pulled into the Dursleys driveway, and—thanks to the headlights of the cars—he could make out the shape of six very different looking shadows get out of the car and talk amongst themselves for a while. Finally, only three people walked up to the door. He recognized one of the heads as Hermione's—the hair kind of gave her away—so he figured the other two must have been her parents for their shape didn't seem like anything even remotely close to the Weasleys.
Harry, of course, had told his Aunt and Uncle about this, and had also explained that they would be coming with cars in the early morn. At first, he'd thought that uncle Vernon had simply forgotten or not believed him, for, after a certain hour, no sounds had come from the house, and Harry assumed they had fallen asleep. Now he realized that, instead of going to sleep, they had all (Dudley included) stayed up for the length of the night while staring out the window much like he had, for they were making quite a ruckus after the doorbell rang twice. He heard Dudley (for no other footsteps could be that heavy on the poor abused stairs) run ahead of everyone to get to the door and see his "weird" friends before the rest. Strange considering the last time he met some his tongue had been on the wrong end of a joke.
He shrugged to himself, and, leaving his things in the bedroom as to not upset his uncles, followed them down the stairs in time to see Dudley yank the door open and the three people behind it gasp in surprise (hopefully his "family" would think it was from the sudden move and not from the noticeable size of the human whale that was, in fact, his cousin).
He watched Dudley take in the three with his eyes and his jaw drop.
Ogling git, he thought to himself, knowing quite well what had made his lower mouth fall like that.
"Uhm…hello, you must be Dudley," Hermione's voice called and Harry snickered to himself at the sarcasm barely laced in her voice. "I'm Hermione Granger, and these are my parents. We're here to pick up Harry," she announced.
And more silence.
"I did get the right house, right?" She voiced after a second, and Harry this time found it very difficult to keep his chuckling quiet.
More silence ensued.
Sighing, he descended the stairs and made his way to the front door, speaking before he got in sight of the family on the threshold. "Come on in, Hermione, they wo—" his sentence hung in mid air as he finally took in the person standing in the doorway. Wow! Was all he could think as he looked down at her. She'd grown taller, but hadn't managed to come even close to his eye level for he had grown quite a bit as well, however it was not her height that impressed him. There she was, in front of him, freckles more noticeable then usual because of the, rather lovely, bronze colored suntan, hair—though always in a mass of unruly curls—longer (almost to her waist in layered lengths) and lighter colored, eyelashes long, black and curly framing her warm chocolate eyes and pink full lips slightly parted in surprise. Her lithe figure had filled out in a rather billowy form, elegant, sweet, and sinful. Bodies like that shouldn't be allowed on human beings, especially when clad in only an oversized fleece sweater that did a poor job of hiding it, short jeans mini (God, those legs should be illegal) and white cloth Sneakers.
Of course, he took in all this in the time span of three milliseconds, after which, he gave a loud "Hermione" in precisely the same moment in which she shouted "Harry!" and threw herself in his arms. He caught her, picked her up and spun her around in his arms laughing. Bloody hell! He thought to himself. She's probably never going to touch me like this again, I might as well enjoy it.
"Oh, Harry! I missed you so much!" She shrilled in his arms amongst giggles. "Put me down, let me take a good look at you!" She ordered, completely ignoring her parents approaching the Dursleys after the doorway was freed.
"Argh! Always the bossy bookworm I see," he joked as he released her, stepping back, arms held out at his side to give her a good view of himself. He saw her eyes become saucers and her mouth part in pleasant surprise. She was sure Harry was oblivious of what a male specimen he had become, but she definitely was not. She's been subjected to his charms from the start, but over the years, it had been harder and harder to keep it from showing, and she was afraid that, looking at him now, this year would prove to be too much for her.
For one thing, he towered over her (and she realized, looking at him, that she definitely had an unspoken attraction for tall men…or maybe it was just Harry). He must have reach the two meters, and maybe passed it a little, she guessed, considering that she was around one seventy-eight (which was, for a girl, rather very tall). He was slender and with long arms and legs (not skinny like he'd been). "Looks like you've been eating all the treats we sent for your birthday, huh?" She laughed, but the truth was, that he was beautiful. There was an underlying power in his lanky frame, and, despite the fact that he was wearing some very old looking hand-me-downs (probably from when Dudley went to grade school) that didn't fit very well at all, his tightly corded layer of Quidditch induced muscles was evident (at least to her) and quite impressive. His shoulders and chest quite broad, his waist tapered, and she was sure that under those huge pants he had what she called "the dimple of power" on the sides of his hips. His legs were strong and tapered, and, in truth, he put to shame the Greek gods represented by the masters of arts. His skin was darker, with a slight stubble growing on it (God, that's sexy!), and his face had become, to put it in one word: chiseled. The baby fat had disappeared and had left behind a strong, determined, squared chin with just the slightest hint of a dimple, sharp cheekbones, and well defined, thick black eyebrows. And his eyes…well, what could she possibly say more about them after all those years of contemplating them? Magnetic emerald depths that would bring her to her downfall if she stared at them too long.
So she looked away.
She was always afraid that looking at his eyes would bring the words that she swore she would never say to him out of her mouth. Instead, she noted, his hair was always the uncontrollable black mass of wavy yet straight strands.
She realized that if she didn't say something soon the silence between them would become uncomfortable, but (Thank God!) Ron and Ginny had come in to save her.
Strange, Harry thought to himself once the Hogwarts Express started moving. This was his seventh trip to The Castle, and it had never been quite like this. In first, he'd started out on his own, and, basically, everything was so new to him that, outside of meeting Ron and Hermione, he just remembered being completely flabbergasted at how it was all so different. In second and third…well, he'd found other ways of getting to destination because of…complications that he'd come across. The other years, instead, he'd always found himself, for one reason or another, at the Burrow during this particular time of year, so he'd found himself running a race against time with the Weasleys just to be able to pass the barrier of 9 ¾ on time to catch the annoyingly punctual train.
This time (probably because it had been the Grangers to organize everything), for once, they had gotten to King's Cross in plenty of time, had a lovely breakfast in a small bar outside the station, and had been among the first ones to cross the barrier, barely passed 10:30. They had found a spacious, clean, and well ventilated cabin (the very last one of the train) and had gone on with their usual banter.
"Honestly, Harry! You're cousin's a cow!" Hermione sighed and plopped herself in the comfortable cushioned seat of the cabin. "I mean, you did tell me about him, but…Honestly! I would have never thought!" She exclaimed.
"Actually," Harry began with a hint of a smile at the corner of his lips betraying the serious tone of his voice, "he dropped a whole of three pounds in the last four years. Never mind he picked them all back up yesterday after he found a Snickers bar that had been under the sofa pillows since at least '89, among other things."
Ginny and Hermione were practically rolling on the floor. Well, it had been the truth, but maybe they found it funny exactly because they thought it so.
"Yeah, Fred and George told me about him, but I had no idea he was that big! Maybe we could use him as Keeper, nothing would be able to budge past him…then again, there's no way in bloody hell that a broom could hold him up," Ron started, and continued for a good half hour on Dudley's girth, before deciding that it was time to move onto the other Dursleys. "Oh, and your uncles are lovely, too," he began. "Once they figured the Grangers were Muggles they loved them!"
"No, they loved the fact that they're orthodontists with an important studio in London," Harry corrected. "Uncle Vernon thinks that no matter what business you're in, good connections are always important," he explained.
"Yes, I noticed," Hermione said rolling her eyes. " 'Oh, but won't you have some tea with us? There's plenty of time to get to the station' ", she gushed, perfectly imitating Petunia Dursleys rather quite annoying falsetto. "Then, of course, they saw the Weasleys and suddenly decided that we were going to be late if we didn't leave that precise second," she pointed out with a sharp look to Harry, and then turned to Ron with knit eyebrows. "What exactly happened with your brothers that year?"
Harry laughed, and Ron smirked. "Bloody hell, I wasn't there, but they told me enough to know that ton-tongue toffees shouldn't have been tested on Muggles," he summed.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "Dudley was going around on all fours with his tongue flapping all over the place while my aunt was on his back trying to rip said tongue off with her hands, all the while trying to keep Mr. Weasley away even though he was trying to bring his mouth to normal. If I wasn't so scared of Dudley dying while I got the blame for it, I would have found it rather funny," he mused, the corners of his mouth pointing upwards.
"Looks to me like you find it quite amusing," Hermione said, poking him in the ribs.
"Yeah, but what about when Hermione's parents started saying how well they raised Harry?" And, saying this, Ron cleared his throat and spoke as Mr. Granger. "I must say, I only met Harry on few occasions, and the most I know about him is what my daughter told me, but I must also say, that he must have been raised incredibly well, to be able to handle his fame and fighting against the Dark Lord nearly risking his life for the sake of others. I, myself, don't know where my daughter would have been if he hadn't been there to help her" and at that point I was so ready to swear your uncle would have a stroke. He had no idea what the bloody hell Mr. Granger was talking about, but when he heard the word "fame" I thought he forgot to breath. "Well, sir, we never allowed him to lack anything he desired, but we sure had a firm grasp on him while he grew up", Jeez, Harry, if I'd been in your place I would have made him throw up slugs for a week!" Ron finished.
Before Harry could reply though, a group of thirteen girls or so ran up to their cabin, opened the door, all breathless and red faced. One of them asked aloud for the others; "Uhm…do you know if Harry Potter is on this train?" Four pairs of eyebrows touched four hairlines at the same time. "Because we heard he went to Hogwarts, but we're not sure if it's just a rumor or not," the pretty blond went on. By this time they had all figured out these were first years' and had all turned to look at Harry who shrugged his shoulders. The girls obviously taking this as a no began to turn away.
From the back they could hear one of them say, "I told you it was impossible! Even if he goes to Hogwarts do you really think he would come with the Express, I mean he's like, RICH! Although those two guys in there were pretty hot! Did you see the one with the glasses? If he ever talks to me I'll faint in the halls!"
"Yeah, but I liked the redhead, did you see the biceps he had?" Another girl exclaimed, and in the cabin the boys' faces both turned redder than Weasley hair.
Deciding they were saved from the sea of raging eleven year old with some serious hormonal dysfunction, ("Thank Merlin, we were never that scary at eleven!" Hermione sighed) they relaxed in their seats, had not a familiar and mostly unwelcome voice broken into their cabin.
"Well, well, well, Potter, looks like this year your fan club's getting head starts, we're not even on Hogwarts grounds yet," Draco Malfoy sneered at them. And from somewhere off to the left that couldn't be seen from the seat, came many a high pitched squeals, all saying pretty much thousands of things that could be summed up in one word: "POTTER?!!"
Harry slapped his forehead in his palms, Ron looked ready to draw blood, and Hermione cast a worried glance to Ginny who showed her first sign of life since they had reached King's Cross. She paled (which, in truth, made her look more dead than alive, but, oh, well).
"What do you want Malfoy?" And Ron dragged the name out like it were the most awful word in the magical world, which, to him, it was.
The ferret's eyes flickered towards Ginny, who was trying to make herself as small as possible in her seat, before going back to sneer at Ron. "Nothing Weasel!" He half shouted at him before leaving like a bat out of hell.
"Weird!" Ron exclaimed while throwing his hands up in the air. Ginny, in the meantime, had gotten up to search in her bag, quickly pulling out a piece of parchment (slight beat up from the ride), and hurrying out after the seething blond (having a hard time, though, for the sea of raging-out-of-control-hormones had come back and was blocking rather magnificently the small entry).
"Draco!" She called out to him, but froze when realizing that she'd just used his given name. He stopped in his track too.
Tu-thump! Was that her heart that she just heard in her ears?
Tu-thump!Yep, it was, and it was getting louder.
Tu-thump!Oh, good Gods, he was turning around so slowly that hell would freeze over before he faced her.
Tu-thump!Oh, man, he's mad! He's mad! He's so mad that he's not even saying a word!
Tu-thump!Would you crack an expression already?!
"What did you call me?"
Tu-thump, tu-thump, tu-thump-tu-thump-thump-thump-thump-THUMP!!!Oh, God, her heart had just ceased to exist after that one particularly explosive THUMP!
"Uh…Malfoy!" She finally squeaked out. "I…called you Malfoy…what…else…should I call you?" She tried to cover up with a nervous giggle which sounded far too fake and guilty, even to her own ears.
He grunted. "What do you want?"
"Uhm…" maybe this wasn't such a good idea…. "I…wanted to give you this" she finally said, cursing herself for actually letting herself admit that she was giving him something that her very own hand had penned. As she extended her hand out to him, the parchment she was holding trembled like if it had just been hit with a quivering spell. Sweat was lining her forehead. "I wanted to write to you over the summer, but I thought that if your dad recognized our owls we might never see them again, so I figured it was best to give it to you now," she explained, her hand still extended to him.
He stared at her hand for what seemed like an eternity locked in a second, and finally said, "My parents had…business to take care of. I was alone…all summer long." He replied, his piercing gray eyes still fixed on her hand.
"Oh," she mumbled. "I'm…sorry. I didn't know." He wasn't taking the parchment. Maybe if she slowly drew it back to herself, he wouldn't notice how big of a fool she'd made of herself. Maybe…
"No! I'll take it!" He shouted. Reaching his hand out to take it from her. Trembling more than before she very, very, very slowly began to bring the parchment back to him. And just as slowly, he curled his fingers around it, making sure that there was absolutely no physical contact between the two.
Then silence ensued.
Right as she was contemplating just turning around and going back to the cabin, he spoke again. "It would not have displeased me to receive an owl this summer. Even if from a Weasley," He remembered to add at the end.
Strangely enough, she didn't flinch at the last part of his statement. Instead, she smiled. "Well, the next time you're home alone and bored out of your wits, you might want to owl me, so that I'll know," and this time she did turn around and skipped her way passed the growing sea of raging-out-of-control-hormones. Hermione was right. Thank Merlin they hadn't been that scary when eleven and with a big crush. She deliberately ignored the little voice in the back of her mind telling her that her big eleven-year-old crush had brought her to confide in an evil diary which had used her to petrify half the Muggle born student body of Hogwarts by freeing a Basilisk. Nope, she had NOT been as scary as them.
Her thoughts were confirmed when she finally squeezed through to see Ron, with his back pressed to the train's window, holding Harry in a Muggle Wrestling style vice while keeping the black hair away from the Lighting Bolt scar; Harry trying to flee for his life; and Hermione trying to get in the way of Colin Creevy's camera, while what seemed like thousands of hands were trying to rip off a piece of the very oversized sweater that Harry HAD been wearing and was now reduced to shreds.
Nope, they had definitely NOT been that scary.
Finally, Hermione had gotten tired and pulled out her wand, pointing it at the herd of girls.
Obviously, the name Hermione Granger had become just as famous as Harry Potter's, for it seemed that the sea had been split as though it were Moses himself holding his shepard's staff.
Some girls seemed ready to face her wand as well, but decided against it.
Definitely, definitely, they had not been this scary, she thought as she watched them walk away, some of them triumphantly holding up a ripped piece of ancient sweater.
Harry sat with Hermione on his left, and Ginny and Ron across from him at the Gryffindor table. Soon, the first years would walk in to be sorted out. He was enjoying himself, and he would have enjoyed himself more if he didn't have the full knowledge that only two seats away there were Colin and his brother wasting as much Magic Camera Film as they could, and on the other side of the table at much the same distance, Seamus Finnigan and Neville Longbottom were trying out new spells that they learned over the summer. He just hoped they'd leave him with both his eyebrows at the end of dinner.
He watched in silence as the new recruits marched in, nervous and exited (flattening his hair at the sight of several girls he recognized from the mob on the train, who were, to his chagrin, pointing, giggling, and informing everyone they could that the "hot" guy with the round glasses was, in fact, Harry Potter), and followed the Sorting Hat's welcome with little interest. His rhymes really needed a boost.
He noted with a smile that there were quite the number of Gryffindors among the new comers, and his smile would have stayed put if he hadn't heard the name of one particular boy being called out. Kevin Creevy. He visibly shuddered. Could he handle yet another Creevy?
Slowly, fearfully, he looked up at the figure going to sit on the stool, under the hat, and… nearly suffered his first heart attack. The kid looked like a bloody thug wearing a Creevy mask! The face was basically like his brothers', but…the long spiked hair, the incredible number of piercings on his ears and eyebrows, and the black eyeliner (?) definitely didn't put him into his "Creevy" list.
And of course, he had to be sorted into Gryffindor.
Thank God, all the seats next to him were occupied. Oh, no, never mind, the elder Creevy siblings had saved a spot for their family's new addition to their house table. He groaned, and Hermione laughed out right. He glanced over at her and understood that she'd practically read everything that had just gone on in his mind.
He was about to comment, when the creature, that had caused the whole exchange in the first place walked over to stand next to Ron, facing Harry. Several eyebrows shot up at this, wondering just how THIS Creevy was going to react to Harry.
"You Potter?" He asked gruffly.
"Uh...yeah..." he answered uncertainly.
"Heard my bros were pressin' on ya. If you need 'em to stop just gimme a whistle. I'll be your personal Creevy bodyguard." And with that he just walked back to his seat.
Slowly, Harry turned to look at Hermione. "We were definitely NOT that scary," and with that he listened as McGonagall and Dumbledore did their usual speeches.
"For the seventh years," Dumbledore began, and Harry realized that he'd never said this at a sorting ceremony.. "I'm sure you've noticed how every year, the seventh years talk about in secret about a certain project that they do not wish to share with their younger fellow students as to not spoil the surprise for them. Generally, we present you with this project further in the year, but, as you all seem to be more creative with each passing year, this term we'll start earlier. The head of your house will tell you where and at what time to meet. I believe it is something very special that you will all enjoy."
"What could it be?" Hermione asked eager. "I've heard it was something very fun from the seventh year prefects last year."
"I don't know," Harry replied, touching his scar. It was strange. It tingled. Not the burning, or itching, or hurting that he felt whenever Voldemort was up to no good.
It felt like the fuzzy feeling one got when anticipating something wonderful.
With this thought in mind he turned to Hermione. "I don't know," he repeated. "But I can't wait till tomorrow."
She simply smiled at him in agreement.
Author's Note: This is actually no indication of where the fic is going because it'll get REALLY angsty, and the plot will probably surprise you as it unfolds…I hope. Well, did you like it? Hate it? Have any constructive criticism? Then drop me a line at Robbygal@hotmail.com or simply leave a review. If you want to flame me, that's fine, go on ahead, and I'll just have a barbecue.
Pearl Drop Angel