Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, except for ones I created for the purposes of this story.
Harry woke up. That was strange to begin with. He had thought he was dead. His last memory was being in the forbidden forest and Voldemort casting the killing curse at him. Where was he? He looked up and saw something he hadn't seen in many years. He was in the cupboard under the stairs again.
"What the?" he asked himself.
"Boy!" Aunt Petunia's shrill voice called from outside the door. "Wake up! It's time for breakfast!"
Harry wasn't sure what was going on. He had long since lost his fear for the harpy that called herself his aunt. But he didn't know what was going on, so he took stock. He looked at his hands and realised they were smaller than he remembered. The scar from Delores Umbridge's detentions wasn't there either.
For that matter, how was he still fitting on the cot that used to be his bed? He threw the tiny, tattered blanket off himself and looked at himself. He was in cast-offs again. 'I must have been sent back, somehow.' he thought. 'That or this is what hell looks like and I died as I was supposed to.'
"Boy!" came a second call. "Don't make me call Vernon to sort you out!"
'Sort me out.' Harry thought. 'Beat me like a misbehaving dog, you mean.'
He got out of bed and looked for shoes, before he realised he didn't have any. His body was still very young. Four or five he guessed. They had needed to supply him with shoes before he went to primary school, so he was likely four. 'Damn. This is going to suck.' he thought.
Harry opened the closet door and walked to the kitchen, where a stool was standing in front of the stove. He couldn't reach otherwise. Knowing he was meant to cook breakfast he set to work doing what he remembered he had to. It was not something he questioned at that age, since he had been told to clean and cook from the moment he was able.
He performed his duty, while considering what was going on. If he was sent back, he could change things. He was by no means planning on going through life like he had before. For now, though, he'd bide his time. He was too small to go into public without people asking him where his parents were.
After breakfast, and the few scraps of food he was allowed, and a glass of water, he was sent back to the cupboard. At this age, he was mostly only let out for chores and to use the bathroom. That would come later in the day. For now, he had time to plan.
Once he was in his cupboard again, Harry started looking through his meagre possessions. He had a couple of broken toys, a blanket and the cot. Besides that, there were a couple of boxes the Dursleys stored there. They didn't care about what space he had. Harry didn't find anything of use, unfortunately. A wand didn't magically appear for him, but magic would be off limits anyway.
Or was it? Harry didn't have the trace, because he hadn't gotten his wand yet. He also knew that accidental magic wasn't tracked. So if he could channel accidental magic, he could very well improve his situation. He would need to work on that. But first, he intended to make a list. He'd have to keep it in his head for now, since he didn't have pen or paper, nor was he supposed to be able to read or write.
He sat down and closed his eyes, to start making a list. First thing he'd need was to obtain proper nutrition. He didn't want to be the smallest kid in school again. Then, he'd need to focus on magic. Perhaps he could start working on wandless magic? He'd investigate that soon.
His priorities set, he set about trying to focus on his magic. He'd be able to do that for a few hours, before Petunia decided he was being useless and set him to work in the garden. He had never tried wandless magic, but he knew it could be useful. He remembered making the glass at the zoo disappear, to let Dudley fall into the snake habitat. That time he didn't even move a finger. He had simply stared. If that was true, he could have an advantage this time around he didn't have before.
When he apparated himself onto the roof of the school building, there were no letters of warning either, so apparently, there were forms of magic that either weren't or couldn't be traced. He'd try to focus on those as well. He knew how to apparate as well, which would be useful, if it worked.
So he opened his eyes and placed a broken toy in front of himself. Then he stared at it, focussing his magic. He knew the Reparo spell by heart. He knew the wand movement, he remembered the feel of the power leaving him. All he needed was to focus. Try as he might, though, nothing seemed to happen. He could feel the power looking for a way out, but not having a focus was making things difficult.
He started remembering when he had done accidental magic and realised, at those times, he was angry or afraid. So he remembered his most emotional times, when magic just happened without him wanting it to. He remembered Aunt Marge calling his mother a bitch. He remembered Dudley bullying him. Channelling the emotions, he focussed on the toy again. Suddenly the toy burst into many different pieces.
'Huh.' Harry thought. Perhaps anger wasn't the way to go about this. It was progress though. What other emotions had he channelled to make spells work? After a bit, he remembered the patronus. He doubted he'd be able to cast one of those without a wand, but perhaps the exercise he did in training to cast the spell would be useful?
He closed his eyes again, after collecting the pieces of the broken toy and placed it on the cot in front of him. He started focussing on the good emotions he had trained to cast the spell. He let them fill him up. Good memories with his friends. His first gifts and celebrating his birthday with the Weasleys. His first kiss.
He felt the power build again and focussed on the toy in front of him. At first nothing seemed to happen. But then one of the pieces of the toy moved closer to another and stopped, like his magic was asking him if that was right. Harry smiled and nodded to himself, trying to encourage his magic to continue. The piece moved again, but then stopped as Harry's focus wavered.
He closed his eyes again and focussed on the memories, allowing them to fill himself up again. When he felt his power building he opened his eyes again, but this time he incanted the Reparo spell in his mind, hoping his magic picked up on his intent. Suddenly the toy snapped back together into a single piece, completely repaired!
"Yes!" he exclaimed, in victory.
"What are you doing in there boy?!" Petunia called to him.
Damn! He'd need to be more careful. "Nothing Aunt Petunia." Harry said aloud. "I was just imagining having friends."
"A freak like you could never have friends." Aunt Petunia scoffed. "You should forget that ever happening."
Harry seethed at her words, but kept his mouth shut, focussing his intent back on the toy and it suddenly burst apart again. He calmed himself with a deep breath and went back to practice.
That was how Harry started spending his free time. At this age, people didn't expect much from him, so as long as he did his chores and stayed quiet, he could practice all he wanted. He would sneak into the kitchen and after much effort, he was able to use duplication magic to make himself some food, which he stashed in the cupboard under a floorboard he had pried loose.
A couple of months later, he had started working on more complex forms of magic and his plans had grown. He didn't want to stay with the Dursleys forever, but he knew Dumbledore would insist, no matter what he could do, so he had decided to work on more difficult magic. A notice-me-not was, in his opinion, one of the handier pieces of magic he had ever learned. A couple of those on both himself and the cupboard and the Dursleys started leaving him alone more.
He was still called to do chores and he'd have to counter the magic, so that he could do the work, but he'd ensured that his relatives never saw him appear. He knew that they would not tolerate anything freaky from him, even if he claimed he didn't do it, or know he was doing it. It did end up making his life simpler, though. When the Dursleys didn't see him for days on end, they didn't care where he went. They seemed to like the idea of him not existing at all, so he capitalised on it.
He had practiced apparition again, which worked perfectly for him, so he started working on the next stage of his plan. He needed to be able to function around adults, so he started working on illusions and moving things using his magic. That was a more difficult feat to achieve, but he had time, and he reasoned it would be very useful for his future. Simply using the notice-me-not spell wouldn't allow him to communicate with people, if he needed information, after all.
He'd found that his magic had started building up more easily, as his proficiency increased. He didn't need to focus so hard on emotions as he had to at the start and the magic, seeming to know what he wanted done, would come more easily at his command. It was something he took great pleasure in discovering. It would be great if he could cast his whole repertoire of spells at some point, but for now, he focussed on doing things that were more simple and straight-forward.
Harry had also realised that his moving of items wasn't bound to any specific spell he knew. He knew banishing and summoning, and levitation was first-year magic, but he had never learned a spell that could turn pages on a book or wash dishes at his direction. It was like telekinesis. He would focus on an item and 'hold' it with his magic. Then he could manipulate it, lift it and move it. It even seemed to have a strength that he didn't possess as a four year old.
He worked on that, when he discovered the ability and found that he could emulate using his hands to lift things no small child should be capable of. This was very handy, he realised, and he spent a whole month on training to emulate moving with his power, until it became second nature to him. By the end of the month, he had even tried to lift Vernon's car. It took a lot out of him, but he succeeded in lifting the rear wheels off the ground for a good ten seconds.
He was wiped out after, but he was still smiling like a loon as he snuck back into the house that night. Using his power to unlock his cupboard and the front door was simple after all. He simply had to emulate the movement of a key and his power would turn the tumblers in the lock the correct way. He'd ended up breaking the lock the first time, before he knew how to do it without breaking the mechanism, but the Dursleys didn't suspect him, as he was still 'locked up' in his cupboard the next morning.
Harry's illusions were coming along swimmingly by the time he entered the first year of primary school. He could now create a full illusion of a grown man, which was his goal. He needed more information on wandless magic and he knew exactly where to find it.
He wasn't planning on spending his time going to school anyway, since they couldn't teach him anything he didn't already know. By this point he was confident enough in his power, that he simply stopped going.
Vernon had not been happy to find out and had barged into the house looking for the freak after the school called to tell him Harry didn't show up.
"Boy! Get out here!" he bellowed.
"Uncle Vernon." Harry said as he stepped out of the cupboard.
"What's this I hear about you not going to school!?" Vernon demanded.
"I decided not to go." Harry said simply.
"Too good for school, are you?! I pay good money to send you there!" Vernon yelled.
"You don't pay shit." Harry said. He'd had enough of the fat oaf treating him like an insect. "I know full-well that you are receiving a stipend from Albus Dumbledore to pay for my schooling, as well as board and room. Something you've not been providing."
"How do you know that name?!" Vernon asked as he lost some colour in his face.
"I know a lot, Vernon." Harry said with a straight face. It did not look good on a five-year old. It made him look slightly unhinged. The fact that he had called Vernon by his first name didn't help. "I'm also tired of playing the role of live-in servant, so I've decided there will be a change."
Vernon didn't like the sound of that. "You've been speaking to the freaks, haven't you!?"
"I have not." Harry said truthfully. "But here's a little secret, I don't need to. I already know about all of that." To prove his point, Harry took hold of Vernon's one leg and lifted it up, while Vernon yelled in both surprise and fear. When he was dangling in the air, Harry said, "Shut up you fat bastard!" Then he dropped him to the floor.
"As you can see, I don't need to worry about what you want." Harry continued. "I'll be taking care of myself from now on. All you need to do is leave me alone, and you won't even know I am here."
Vernon had been picking himself up from the floor. His face had turned an ugly red and Harry could see the man had lost his temper. He sighed as Vernon rushed at him to attack him, so he stood with his hands behind his back and waited for the hit. Once Vernon was on him, with a fist fast approaching his face, Harry stopped it by holding it with his magic.
"Corporal punishment is against the law, but I suppose I can allow it this time." Harry said with a bored face as he increased the pressure of his hold until Vernon screamed and there was the distinct sound of a bone breaking. "That's one finger for one attack. Do you want to try again?" he asked.
Vernon shook his head as he tried to pull away from the freak and whatever invisible force was holding his hand. When he couldn't he kicked at Harry, only for his foot to be caught by the same power. There was another crack as another finger broke.
"Two fingers." Harry corrected. "We can go for the whole set if you want?" he offered.
"I was right, you are a freak!" Vernon spat as Harry finally let go of his hand and he fell on his ass. "When your people come, I'm going to tell them that you attacked me!"
"And you think they'll listen to you?" Harry scoffed. "They'll simply read your memory and realise that you've been mistreating me for years. You just tried to assault me. Chances are, you'll go to jail for that… if I decide to tell them."
Vernon had paled. He hadn't thought of that. If they read his memories, they'd realise that he had been spending the money that he got to support Harry on things for his own family. Harry wasn't even being fed properly. He lived in a cupboard! "You… you can't let them do that! If I'm in jail, who will provide for the family?!"
"Should have thought of that before you started spending my money on a new car and gifts for your whale of a son." Harry replied calmly. "You do realise that I don't want to be here either, right? I don't care that my presence here protects your family from the Death Eaters. I'd just as soon go to live… literally anywhere else and read about your deaths on the paper, while I take my morning shit.
"But I'm feeling magnanimous today." Harry continued. "I'll continue as I am and you will ignore me. Tell the school that you transferred me to another school, I don't care where. In the meanwhile, I'll be giving a letter to someone with all the sordid little details of what really happens in this house and if anything should happen to me, the letter will be sent to some people who I know would love to meet the person who abused the last Lord Potter."
"You're a monster." Vernon said, feeling the pressure of the threats hanging over his head.
"I'm the monster?!" Harry laughed. "Really? Do you even know what you've put me through? The beatings for not making food fast enough. For not making your bacon crispy enough? All the while I make the food and I'm only allowed a crust of bread every other day.
"No Vernon Dursley. I'm not the monster currently in this room. You see the monster every time you look in a mirror." Harry finished. "I'm a five-year old boy, who has never known the love of a family. You saw to that. If I turn into a monster, who do you think is responsible?"
Vernon had lost all colour again as he realised the boy was right. He had no choice but to accede to his demand. "Fine." he ground out through clenched teeth, still cradling his broken fingers in his other hand.
"Good man." Harry said as he turned and walked into his closet, casting the notice-me-not as he went.
And that was the end of Harry's torment. In the meanwhile, he was making more plans. There was a certain convict, who Harry intended to free, but he'd need proof, and for that, he'd need Pettigrew.
Harry wouldn't trust Dumbledore with this, so he decided to take a different approach. He'd need allies going forward and he knew just who he intended to get. As such he started a letter to Remus Lupin.
Remus Lupin was staying in a small apartment in Kent. He had taken a job as a labourer at a farm. He had claimed he had an ailment that would incapacitate him for a couple of days a month and while the owners weren't happy about the missed days, considering it was harvest season, they needed all the help they could get and Remus proved his worth by putting in extra hours wherever he could.
It wasn't a good living, as he needed to purchase Wolfsbane and the potion was very expensive, but he got by. It was late one evening, when he returned to the flat, when he saw an owl waiting for him on a tree outside the flat. He quickly went in and opened a window for the bird and relieved it of the letter. Then the bird flew off.
He quickly opened the letter and read.
Dear Mr Lupin,
My name is Harry Potter. You knew my parents. I realise you will not believe that I am capable of writing this letter on my own, but I assure you that I am quite able. For the sake of expediency, let's say that I'm a prodigy. I know you won't believe it one way or another, but let me make the request anyway.
I am in need of a magical tutor. While I am young, I'd like to at least learn what theory I am able to, and the younger one starts, the better the knowledge sticks, as I understand it. I am willing to pay well and I will supply you with your monthly potion. If that is not good enough, let me know and I will start looking for tuition elsewhere.
If, however, I have peaked your interest, please meet me at the Leaky Cauldron at 10am this Saturday morning. I've booked a room for you and I'll be waiting for one hour. If you decide not to show up, I will be disappointed, but I will understand.
Harry J. Potter
PS: I solemnly swear I am up to no good.
Remus stared at the letter in disbelief. Whoever wrote this message knew things only the Marauders could or did. Sirius was rotting in prison, where he belonged, and poor Peter and James were dead. The decision wasn't difficult to make. He needed to know who this really was. If the person was somehow in contact with Harry, he'd welcome that as well, since he hadn't been able to find the boy, and he'd looked. Wherever he was, Dumbledore wasn't talking.
Saturday arrived and Harry was waiting at the Leaky Cauldron. It had not been difficult to enter the alley or to gain access to Gringotts. He'd simply shown up, asked to see a consultant in private and dispelled his illusions. The goblins were still unfriendly, but when he told them he had never been given his key and that he believed he was being stolen from, the goblins couldn't ignore him. The reputation of the bank was at stake, after all.
They had given him a blood test, to confirm his identity and given him a new key. Then they checked the records and found the withdrawals that Dumbledore had made to pay the Dursleys for his essentials. Harry was happy to note nothing else was missing. The goblins were not happy to hear he had not authorised any withdrawals, and considering Harry's godfather was in prison, none could be authorised, either. Harry had told them to hold off on any legal action, since he knew that the old man had meant well, but they didn't care. Albus Dumbledore had been stealing from them for years. It would not be tolerated.
Harry had sighed, but let it go. It really wasn't his problem. If things worked out, he'd not be seeing the Dursleys again anyway.
He wasn't surprised when Tom, the barman, knocked on the door at exactly 10am and said that the visitor had arrived. Harry's illusion was still up, when the man opened the door and looked in. The illusion nodded at him and the door opened fully to allow Remus Lupin in. Remus froze in the door, not having expected, nor knowing either of the people.
"Come in, Mr Lupin." the illusion said. "You are in the correct room."
Remus took a deep breath, before he walked in and the door closed behind him automatically. Harry didn't wait long before dispelling his illusion. "Hi there, Remus!" he said with a happy smile.
"What…?" Remus started as he looked at where the older man had been. "What's going on here?" he asked. The boy did look like he suspected Harry would, but the magic was too advanced for a child to have cast.
"Would you mind casting some privacy spells?" Harry requested. "I've not worked out how to do those yet."
Remus wasn't certain he could believe this child was really a child. He was far too well spoken and the magic he had seen didn't make him feel any more at ease. "Why should I?" he asked instead.
"Come on, Moony." Harry tried. "Can't you at least try and trust the son of a Marauder?"
Remus hadn't expected that, but he decided to give the boy a chance. He cast a couple of privacy spells and then approached and sat down on the other side of the table. "What's going on?" he repeated.
"Hello. My name is Harry Potter. I'm currently five-years old. I've learned a certain amount of wandless magic and I know some things you might need to know." Harry started. "For one, I know you are a Marauder. James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were your roommates in school. They were Animagi. A deer, a dog and a rat, respectively. You are a werewolf and they became Animagi so that they could keep you company during the full moon."
"Where did you learn that?!" Remus exclaimed. Not many people knew this.
"Sure you can handle the truth?" Harry asked.
"Tell me." Remus insisted.
"I'm a time-traveller. You told me yourself." Harry said simply.
"That's not possible." Remus scoffed.
"Try me." Harry said back, a smile on his face.
An hour later, Remus was sitting there dumbstruck. "You really are from the future." he said.
"Yes." Harry confirmed.
"I can't believe Peter would betray your parents like that!" Remus exclaimed. "When I get my hands on him, I'm going to kill him!"
"Glad for the privacy spells, now?" Harry smirked. "Anyway, I would not suggest you do that. Peter is our evidence. We need to somehow get the truth from him and then get Sirius exonerated."
"But Dumbledore…" Remus started.
"Will do nothing." Harry interrupted. "He wants me to die, so that Voldemort can be killed. He knew who the secret keeper was and he's done nothing for Sirius."
"WHAT!?" Remus exploded.
"Yeah, not a fun pill to swallow, that." Harry agreed. "Fortunately, it seems that the horcrux has been destroyed. I can't speak to snakes anymore."
"You were a Parselmouth?" Remus asked.
"No. The piece of Tom Riddle's, Voldemort's, soul, which used to be in my head and could speak to snakes, was destroyed by him in the forbidden forest twelve years from now." Harry said.
Remus went cross-eyes for a moment. "Time-travel, right." he said. "Shouldn't we be worried about changing things?"
"No chance in hell was I going to go through all that again!" Harry scoffed.
"Language, Harry." Remus said.
"Fuck that! I'm eighteen years old! As soon as I can find a ritual or potion that can age me permanently, that's exactly what I'm doing." Harry said. "Do you have any idea how much effort it is to keep the illusions going so long?"
"I'm afraid there's no such thing, Harry." Remus chuckled, after he got over the shock of the five-year old boy swearing like a sailor. "You'll have to do it the old fashioned way."
"I'll figure something out then. No chance am I going through school again. I deserve my freedom. I've earned it!" Harry said vehemently.
Remus chuckled. He'd not be any better, given similar circumstances. School was some of his better years, though. "What about your friends?" he asked.
Harry thought about that. He hadn't considered it! If he didn't go to school, he'd not meet everyone, like he should have. "Fuck!" he swore again.
Remus almost rebuked him for swearing again, but found the more he talked with Harry, the more he picked up on the mannerisms of a grown-up, rather than a child. "Could you at least attempt to not swear so much?" he tried.
Harry shrugged, but didn't answer one way or another. Then a devious smile crossed his face. "Let's talk about something way more important." he offered.
Sirius Black was lying in his cell, listening for any movement that indicated that someone was coming. He'd need to turn back into a human if he heard someone coming. When he heard the footsteps of people approaching, he turned back instantly, with a frown. The patrol wasn't due for another hour.
"Sirius Black!" a voice called as they approached. "Stand with your back to the cell door and your hands against the wall above your head."
Sirius was worried that they had somehow found out, but a small part of his mind hoped that Remus had found the traitor or picked up on his scent out in the world somewhere and tracked him down. He was cuffed in magic suppressing cuffs and marched out of his cell at wand-point. "Where are you taking me?" he asked.
"You've got a visitor." One of the Aurors said simply.
"Who?" Sirius asked. The man did not reply and neither did his partner.
When they got to a room, he was bound to a table and a guest was seen in. It was Amelia Bones. "Sirius." she greeted him.
"Madam Bones." Sirius responded. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asked. He was not very hopeful at this point. Nobody had ever listened to him and he doubted that would change this day.
"Leave us." Amelia ordered the guards.
"But," the guard started.
"Get. Out." Amelia said in a frosty tone. The guard didn't even try to argue after that. Bones had a reputation for a vicious temper. People that displeased her would never be able to find promotion. She also had a very long memory. 'Glad I'm not Black.' the guard thought as he left the room.
Amelia cast a couple of spells for privacy and then turned to Sirius. "Couldn't keep your bloody trap shut could you?! Couldn't just report what you knew to your superiors?"
"What?" Sirius asked in confusion.
"You were supposed to take care of the Potter boy, but now I have to find out he's been abused by his relatives for years, Dumbledore has been hiding pertinent information to try and keep him hidden and you could have stopped all that by simply following procedure." Bones snarled at him. "Fortunately for you, your friend, Lupin, came forward with some new information."
"He found Peter?!" Sirius asked, with some hope.
"Better." Bones said. "He turned him over to us earlier this morning. Somehow Peter had 'accidentally' ingested some Veritaserum and started telling us all sorts of interesting stories." She stuck a finger in his face, "Stories, I'd have loved to hear from one of my own people, instead!"
"I'm sorry Amelia." Sirius said as he sighed in relief. Finally, Remus had come through for him. "I wasn't in my right mind. My best friend had just been killed and I wanted to get revenge."
"Aurors don't serve vengeance. We serve justice." Bones said in the same cold tone. "When you are released, don't think you'll be allowed on the force again. You are a disgrace." she spat. She calmed herself visibly then, "But I am sorry that nobody ever checked up on you, or took what you were telling us seriously."
Sirius had shown much promise, when he had finished Auror training. She had an eye on him for promotion, as it was seldom that a Pureblood family produced someone with so few prejudices. He'd have been perfect for taking over for her once she became the Head of the Department. Instead, she'd had to promote Scrimgeour. He was just hoping to use the position as a stepping stone in his political ambitions and wasn't cut out to serve the people. She had never forgiven Sirius for forcing her to do that.
Sirius had closed his eyes and nodded. He wasn't expecting this, but he wouldn't complain either. Three and a half years of his life had been spend sitting in a cell. He looked up when he remembered that. "And Crouch?" he asked.
Amelia took a deep breath. "He was found harbouring his son, who he had allowed to escape Azkaban. He'll be taking up residence in your old cell, if I have anything to do with it." she promised.
"Thank you Amelia." Sirius said. "I owe you one."
"No, you don't." Amelia said. "If you were a better man, this would never have happened. I suggest you get your shit together, so that you can take care of the unfortunate boy, who you left in the hands of those filthy muggles!" she spat again. "I'm no purist, but those creatures shouldn't be allowed near other human beings. I hear they locked him up in a cupboard for the last three and a half years!"
Sirius' face showed rage, before it went blank, as he was hit by that information. He needed to control his emotions. If he didn't show he could control himself, he had no doubt Amelia wouldn't allow him near his godson. "Are they being arrested?" he asked evenly.
Amelia was sizing him up. He had not been wrong, as she had informed him to find out if he had at least learned from his mistakes. She nodded at him, when he controlled himself as she had hoped, "They Dursleys have been placed under arrest. Her majesty's government do not tolerate the mistreatment of children. Their son has been sent to live with his paternal aunt."
"Good." was all Sirius said. "Where is Harry now?" he asked.
"His current whereabouts are a secret." Amelia said. "Not even I know where he is. Apparently, he refuses to reveal himself to anyone but his legal guardian. You."
"How will I find him?" Sirius asked, a little worried now. The poor kid must be hiding somewhere, afraid for his life.
"Remus Lupin has a letter for you. Apparently young Harry is quite mature for his age and arranged for secure lodgings after speaking to his bank manager at Gringotts." Amelia allowed. "Since we need to abide by the treaties, we cannot force the information from them. Quite devious of the young Potter."
"What about Dumbledore?" Sirius asked, his eyes narrowing. He must not look too good to the general public at this point.
"He's still Chief Warlock, and as such cannot be touched by law." Amelia said. "I'd suggest you stay away from him. With all this having come to light, I don't know that I would trust him anywhere near my Susan."
Sirius remembered hearing about the deaths of Susan's parents and that Amelia had taken her in. "I'm sorry for your loss Amelia."
Amelia didn't respond. Instead she stood up and un-cuffed the man. "You will be transported to St Mungo's and checked over before release. Mister Lupin informed me that he will meet you there."
Sirius had been quickly transported away and taken for treatment. Malnourishment was the worst of it. The healers didn't understand how his mind had gone through all that unscathed, though Peter Pettigrew had informed the Aurors of his Animagus status and Amelia had taken pity on the man and registered Sirius, stating that the paperwork must have gotten lost. She still damned him for not telling anyone. If they had known about Pettigrew, they might have believed him, when he started telling people that Pettigrew was alive.
When Sirius was released, Remus was waiting for him. "Remus!" Sirius exclaimed as he walked up to the man to hug and thank him.
"Stop." Remus said, holding a hand out to stop the man. "We can talk once we are at your ancestral home."
"You want to go there?" Sirius asked. "I want to pick up Harry first. I hear you have a letter for me?" he tried.
Remus smirked at him for a moment. He reached into his pocket and handed him an envelope.
Sirius opened it and read:
Listen to Moony, Padfoot.
Harry J. Potter
"What's this?" Sirius asked. He looked up and saw the smirk appear on Remus's face again. "You know where he is, don't you? Why go to the old house first, then?" Remus didn't say anything, but lifted an eyebrow and placed a hand on Sirius' shoulder. Sirius sighed then, "Fine, but let's make it a quick stop. I need to know my godson is safe."
Sirius transported them directly to the front door of 12 Grimmauld and led Remus in.
"Surprise!" Harry yelled as he tossed a pie in the ex-prisoner's face.
Sirius hadn't expected it and took it full in the face. He spluttered as he cleared his face of the sticky, sweet substance. "Harry?" he asked.
"Who else would it be, you old fleabag!?" Harry laughed as he ran up to the man and hugged him, not caring that he was getting himself dirty in the process.
Sirius didn't know what to think, but smiled and hugged the young boy. "It's great to see you, Harry!" he said as he just hugged the boy to himself. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there to look after you."
"You're here now." Harry said. "That's all that matters."
"Do you even remember me?" Sirius asked. He could recognize Harry, of course, but Harry had been only slightly older than one year old, the last time he had seen Sirius.
"You'd be surprised what I remember, Padfoot." Harry smirked.
Sirius caught it that time. This boy was far too well spoken and knew things he shouldn't, couldn't remember. "What's going on here?" he asked.
"Same question I asked when I met Harry." Remus said. He looked at Harry, "Mind if I tell him, this time?"
"Sure, Moony. Go for it." Harry said with a smirk. He turned and walked into the kitchen, "We can talk while we eat. I got us some proper food for dinner."
"Did you leave the house without me again?!" Remus demanded.
"Sod off, Moony." Harry said. "I'm not a child and can take care of myself."
"What is going on here?" Sirius repeated and stopped in his tracks. This couldn't be Harry Potter. "Where is Harry, really?"
"It's me, Sirius." Harry said. "I promise. Let Remus explain it to you. I'm hungry and the food is getting cold."
They finally got Sirius to follow and they went to sit in the kitchen where a couple of pizza boxes lay on the table with a couple of plates set around them.
Kreacher walked in mumbling something about muggle-lovers. Harry picked him up with magic, though, and shook him. "Kreacher. Have you forgotten yourself again?" Harry asked.
"Of course not Master Potter." Kreacher said, shaking his head. "The disappointment is a disappointment to see again, is all."
Harry chuckled and put the house-elf down. "Well, go clean the disappointment's room for him, please? We'll be staying here for the foreseeable future."
"Will I be allowed to see the mistress soon?" the House Elf countered.
"You still haven't earned that, I'm afraid." Harry shook his head, still smiling. "Go, now. Quick as a bunny. If I hear you put any traps up, that will be another month without the portrait."
"Of course, Master Potter. I would not dream of setting traps for your guests." the house-elf promised and disappeared.
"Funny little guy." Harry chuckled.
"What the hell!?" Sirius demanded.
"I don't even know where to begin with that." Remus said. "One morning your mother's portrait was missing and Kreacher started calling Harry, Master. He won't even tell me how he got the painting down."
"I told you." Harry said. "Brute strength."
"But the portrait was magically attached to the wall!" Remus objected.
"Exactly." Harry said. "I removed the wall first."
"CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON!?" Sirius yelled.
Harry just chuckled, but Remus shook his head with half a smile. At least that made sense now. "Okay, let's start at the beginning." he started.
After dinner and a lot of talking, Sirius was sitting there with his head in his hands. "Time-travel? How the hell does something like that even happen?" He looked up at Harry, "Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'd rather not spend twelve years in Azkaban, but still. How did it all go so wrong?"
"I'm currently blaming Dumbledore." Harry said. "I mean, I realise he means well, but all the suffering he causes as he tries to do things in his own way… I don't think I can allow that to happen again."
"Though, you will need to go to Hogwarts to set the stuff you'll need up." Remus said.
"What does he need?" Sirius asked. "Didn't he say he was basically finished with school?"
"His friends are still going to go there." Remus said. "He'll also need access to get rid of some of the horcruxes." He looked directly at Sirius, then, "We also need you to get the cup from the Lestrange vault."
"How will I do that?" Sirius asked. "I have no right to go in there. You know how goblins are about theft!"
"We don't really care, Sirius." Harry said. "Pay them off or hire professional thieves. Take over the goblin nation or look for a law that will give you access. I'm not breaking in there again. Once was enough and we only barely got away last time."
"You broke in!?" Sirius asked. He didn't know if he was impressed or worried for their sanity.
"We didn't have a choice." Harry said. "While Voldemort had his soul-anchors, we couldn't try to kill him. If we're going to live happy lives, he needs to die. Fortunately, we already know where most of the horcruxes are and he won't have turned Nagini into a horcrux yet."
"Are you sure he didn't do that before he died, when you were a baby?" Remus asked.
"Nah." Harry said. "I haven't set Nagini free yet and she was bred in captivity."
"What do you mean?" Remus asked.
"Last time around I was a Parselmouth. I went to the zoo with my relatives and accidentally set loose the snake that would later become Voldemort's familiar." Harry explained. "I know I'm not a Parselmouth this time, since I couldn't talk to a garden-snake while I was working in the Dursleys' garden, recently."
"Why would you have lost that power?" Sirius asked.
"Because I used to be a horcrux." Harry said simply.
Sirius stiffened at that. "How do we know you weren't taken over by the dark lord's soul?" he asked.
"Why would I want to destroy the other horcruxes if I was one of them?" Harry scoffed. "Seriously, Sirius, I thought you were smarter than that!"
"I questioned him thoroughly." Remus informed Sirius. "He told me some things that I told him the last time around. Things only I knew and could have told him."
"Like what?" Sirius asked.
"I'm not telling you!" Remus told him.
"Damn." Sirius said with a bit of a smile on his face. "Was worth a try, I guess." He turned to Harry, "Anything I told you, worth mentioning?"
"You gave me one of a set of two-way mirrors for Christmas, which we never used. Apparently you and my dad used to use them. You tried to tell me about the prophecy, but Mrs Weasley and the rest of the Order wouldn't let you." Harry said. "You also promised me we could live together, and then you went and fell through the veil of death after Bellatrix hit your with a stunner. A stunner!" Harry exclaimed.
"That bitch!" Sirius exclaimed too. "I can't believe I died for a stunner!"
"To be fair, you were fighting Malfoy and she got you in the back." Harry said.
Sirius still didn't want to believe it, but he controlled his emotions with some effort. "I don't know how, but I'm definitely getting into the Lestrange vault, now."
"Did you just use Occlumency? To control your emotions, I mean?" Harry asked. He knew that the old mutt was always in some form of control, which he let go only to show Harry genuine affection the last time around.
"Trained up a bit when I arrived in Azkaban." Sirius confirmed. "Why?"
"Snape likes to read his student's minds." Harry said. "Both him and Dumbledore, I suspect. Every time that his eyes twinkle, I wonder if it's because he's in my head."
"But he twinkles those eyes at everyone!" Remus objected, before understanding dawned. "Oh. That's just wrong."
"Well, we can't have that happen this time around." Sirius said. "We'll have to train you up some. We'll probably need to get you a wand as well." he said looking at Harry.
"No need." Harry said, taking a stick out of a pocket. It looked roughly like his old wand.
"Where did you get that?" Remus asked. He knew of Harry's wandless capabilities.
"Made it this morning, while I waited." Harry shrugged.
"You can make wands?" Sirius asked.
"No, but I can transfigure sticks into looking like wands just fine." Harry said with a smirk as he used his magic to levitate his 'wand' in the air.
Sirius' eyes narrowed and he got an evil smirk. "Oh, the things I'd have done if I had that kind of talent."
Harry smirked. "Until the hormones hit again, I doubt I'll be flipping any skirts, Sirius." he said.
"But you'll still be able to trip people up and sabotage potions and distract and prank and so many things!" Sirius said. Then he straightened, "It's only proper for the son of a Marauder, and considering you don't need to spend so much time studying, you'll have all that free time to spend practicing your skills. Pranking gave me most of the skills I needed for the infiltration course at Auror Academy."
"And those are some of the skills I think I'll need to learn." Harry said with a smile. Then there was a knock at the front door and all of them looked up. "Expecting guests already?" Harry asked, thinking he already knew who it might be. "We might want to think about relocating to a place where Albus Percival Wulfric Fucking Dumbledore doesn't know the bloody secret to your Fidelius." he said with a frown.
"I don't think that's his full name." Remus said with a smile as he got up to follow a suddenly very quiet Sirius. "I'm almost certain there's a 'Brian' in there somewhere." he noted.
They followed Sirius, but Remus stopped Harry before he could turn the last corner. Harry allowed it.
Sirius opened the front door a crack and looked out at the old man they had suspected. He didn't say anything though. He just looked at the man that had basically planned to leave him in prison, so that his godson could die. The hand that had opened the door, was also the one that currently pointed a wand straight at Dumbledore's head, through the door.
"Sirius!" Dumbledore said with a smile. Sirius didn't answer and looked at the man's crooked nose, avoiding eye-contact, so he didn't see any twinkle. Albus waited for a couple of seconds, but Sirius avoided his gaze and his face remained passive. "Welcome back!" Albus tried again. "I was so surprised to hear that Peter was the Secret Keeper. James must have memory charmed me to believe I had made you the Secret Keeper."
Sirius didn't even blink. He just continued to look at the man's nose.
"You must believe me Sirius." Albus insisted. "I would have helped you, had I known."
"Bullshit." Harry coughed, in a reasonable magical emulation of Remus' voice. Sirius didn't know it had been Harry, but smirked and opened the door only slightly more, to allow Albus to see Remus standing there.
"Remus, my friend!" Albus tried. "Certainly, you must know that I would never allow Sirius to suffer needlessly."
"Prove it." Remus said, also avoiding the man's gaze. "Make the Vow." he dared.
"Unbreakable vows are not to be used lightly." Dumbledore objected. Then he tried a different tactic. "Where is young Harry?"
"The goblins still need to tell me." Sirius broke his silence for the first time with a lie. "Harry claimed sanctuary from them, apparently. Something to do with 'someone' stealing from his vault and paying his relatives to keep him in a cupboard and feed him twice a week."
Dumbledore paled at that. Sirius didn't know if it was because he hadn't known or if the Goblins thinking he was stealing from one of their customers was the problem, but really couldn't care. "I merely arranged for some payments to be made, to pay for the boy's needs."
Sirius didn't answer this time. Remus, however, didn't have that compulsion. "When was the last time you went to Gringotts?" he asked with a bit of a vindictive smile.
Dumbledore had not been able to enter either of the men's minds. They simply refused to look him in the eyes. A simple spell had already informed him that three humans were in the kitchen area when he approached, and since he'd only seen the two, he suspected Harry was hiding from him and they were avoiding eye contact, out of guilt. "You must not lie to me, Remus. I must ensure Harry's safety. His relatives offer him security you do not know about."
"You mean the blood wards you placed at their house?" Remus asked. "I already removed them. They were basically doing nothing for him anyway, since the family never loved him, and he never thought of the place as his home."
"You fool!" Dumbledore exclaimed in real anger, before closing his eyes and reigning in his temper. "You should not have done that. His mother's death gave him protections that you destroyed when you lifted those wards."
"If they were as powerful as you think, why was I able to remove them?" Remus asked. That shut Dumbledore up. He really didn't understand that either. "I'll tell you why." Remus continued. "The protection Lily gave Harry was rooted in love. There was no love for him in that house. The wards would have failed to stop a mouse, let alone a Rat, like Pettigrew."
"Yes, I'd heard about him being an Animagus." Albus said. "You boys really should have told someone about these abilities you have." he tried, changing tactic again and acting like the stern teacher he had once been. "Either way, I suppose keeping Harry in a protected location is for the best. But you must allow me to see the boy. I insist, in fact."
"You can insist all you like, but by law, I have the right to decline your request and not even the Supreme Mugwump or the Chief Warlock has the right to interfere." Sirius said. "You are officially also removed from the protection of the wards of the House of Black. As my heir and ward, Harry Potter is now the recipient of the full protection of the House of Black. So mote it be!" he said as he lifted his wand and it flashed as the wards of the house changed at its master's will.
Dumbledore had wanted to stop him as he spoke, but realised the wards would have protected him if he had tried to attack the idiot before him. "You don't want to make an enemy of me." Dumbledore warned. "I'm going to protect Harry, even if I have to take the whole house down to do it." he warned.
"Then you will allow uncle Sirius to protect me, like mum and dad wanted." Harry said, poking his head around the corner to be seen. He had to act like a child, so he affected a scared look. He looked at Remus, "Is he one of the bad man's followers? Is he a Death Eater?" Harry asked.
"No, Harry." Remus said, placing a hand on his shoulder, knowing what he was doing. "He's just old. He doesn't understand that Sirius loves you and wants to protect you." He knelt down in front of the boy and said, "Why don't you go to your room? We'll be done talking to the Headmaster in a short bit, okay?"
"Which closet is my room?" Harry asked with a downcast look.
"You won't need to sleep in a closet again." Remus said. "That room upstairs that we showed you? That is your room now."
"The one with the bed and windows?" Harry asked looking up at Remus in wonder.
"The whole thing." Remus nodded and ruffled his hair with a tolerant smile.
Harry smiled and ran to the stairs to go to his room, at least that's what it looked like to Dumbledore. The poor boy must have had it rough. He suspected he knew why Sirius was so protective, now. Perhaps he was being a bit hasty. "I'm sorry, Sirius. I didn't know." he apologised. "I thought he'd be safe and protected."
"I believe you." Sirius allowed. "But that doesn't mean I'm letting anyone near Harry. Not even you. James and Lily entrusted him to me."
Dumbledore nodded then. "Maybe in time, I can prove to you that I only want to protect the boy too?" he offered.
"Then I suggest you return a certain family heirloom to him." Sirius said. "If he could hide, should someone, somehow, break through the Fidelius, that's just an added protection he can rely on."
"I doubt that could happen, Sirius." Dumbledore said. "The Fidelius is quite safe."
"Tell that to James and Lily." Sirius said. "If they had the cloak, though, they might be alive today. Why did you have it to begin with?" he asked.
"How do you even know I have it?" Albus asked. Sirius just lifted an eyebrow. "Of course. James told you everything, didn't he?" he realised aloud. "You are correct, of course." he finally said. "Any added protections Harry could have will be provided. I'll deliver the cloak to you soon." Sirius just nodded and made to close the door. "Could we not sit down and discuss what you plan to do now?" Dumbledore tried.
"We can't send him to a counsellor, so I'll be speaking to Harry about what he has been through and try to comfort him and try to break him from his conditioning." Remus said. "He woke up this morning and apologised for not having my breakfast ready yet and then started begging me not to beat him again."
"Merlin!" Dumbledore swore. "Surely they couldn't do that to a child!"
"They did that, and worse." Sirius said, allowing some emotion to cross his features. "Considering who left him with them, I'm sure you can understand why I am not enthused with your presence at this time." he growled.
"I promise you, Sirius, had I known, I would have made other arrangements for the boy." Dumbledore swore. He really hadn't known. Arabella had told him that the boy worked in the garden and that he sometimes had suspicious bruises, but he had thought that he was being bullied by the other boy. Some form of sibling rivalry, perhaps. At the time he had thought it would build his character.
"You took responsibility for his safety, and you failed him." Sirius said darkly. "Until you prove you really care about his future, I give you my own promise that you will not set foot in the same room as him."
"Maybe you can start by asking Madam Pomfrey to come look at him?" Remus asked. "He's malnourished and has some bones that will require re-setting after they weren't treated when he had breaks."
"They didn't even take him to a muggle doctor?" Dumbledore asked in horror. What had he done to the poor boy? He got an angry look in his eyes, not that they noticed. "I'll send her immediately. Once again, I am so sorry for letting him down. I can see I have a lot to make up for."
He turned on the spot and apparated away.
"That was well played." Harry said from the second floor landing.
"I wasn't playing." Remus said. "I can see they haven't been taking care of you."
"Meh." Harry scoffed. "When I came back, I started stealing food and duplicating stuff. They got the conjured copies, so I've actually been feeding myself much better in the last year."
"A couple of potions will still do you some good." Sirius agreed with Remus. "I know you're not a child anymore, but your body still needs to be taken care of."
Harry shrugged and then turned around. "I'm going to go do some reading in the library." he called down. "I saw a book on wandless magic and want to learn a bit more."
Sirius looked up in horror. "Is he a bookworm?" he asked apprehensively.
Remus chuckled. "He's been through a war, Sirius. He's just taking steps to prepare."
"At least he's also a prankster." Sirius conceded. "The more he knows, the more legendary his time in Hogwarts will be." He looked up the stairs again. "We could still teach him a couple of tricks. Maybe he can make a new Marauders Map."
"Or find the old one." Remus said. "As I understand it, he already knows who will have it when he goes to school."
Sirius smiled the smile of a predator. "Oh, the things he'll do. The Dark Lord won't see him coming." he said.
Remus allowed it. He preferred to think of Harry as the serious young man who met him that first day. Sure he'd made a few jokes and mentioned things to shock him, and to see his reaction, but he'd gotten to business quickly and he could see Harry was trying to keep on mission. "And we'll have to help him as much as we can." he said.
Madam Pomfrey showed up an hour later, accompanied by Dumbledore, of course, but he respected Sirius' request and stayed outside while the school Matron went to speak to Harry. He was worried, when she didn't come back out for two hours. Finally, he knocked on the door again and waited for someone to answer.
Sirius went to open the door and opened it a bit more widely this time. "Yes?" he asked.
"What is taking Poppy so long?" Dumbledore asked.
"She's insisting that she has to monitor him as the potions do their work." Sirius informed him. "We had to knock him out to break and re-set the bones on his right arm and some in his left foot. The ribs apparently healed properly on their own, but the head fracture never fully healed, as apparently, his uncle preferred to hit him in the head on the same spot every time and it never got the chance."
"Merlin!" Dumbledore swore again. "The monsters." he murmured. He really should have listened to McGonagall. He couldn't apologise again, though, so he promised to himself that he'd see justice done. "They will pay for this, Sirius. I swear it!"
Sirius was glad for his occlumency training, when he reported, truthfully, about some of the things Harry had been through. Had he not had control, he may have simply cursed the old bastard. Harry assured him that Dumbledore meant well, but he was not likely to trust the old goat ever again, after he heard the list of injuries. Not to mention everything done to himself and his best friends. The old bastard must have taken the invisibility cloak to ensure they didn't have a way to hide from Voldemort. "The cloak?" he asked.
"Of course." Dumbledore remembered, removing the requested item from inside his robe. "I intended to give it to him when he was older." he said. "When he was old enough to properly care for it."
"I'm sure Harry will not abuse it, once he knows it used to be a family heirloom." Sirius said. Then he closed the door. The first thing he did was look for tracking magic. Sure enough, it was littered with spells of every kind. It would be so simple to find the cloak, if you knew what spells to look for. Sirius rolled his eyes and went to the living room, where Remus, Poppy and Harry were sitting having tea.
"And the idiot vanished the bones in your arm instead of healing you?" Poppy asked incredulously. Harry had decided to tell her the truth, after she swore to keep his secrets under healer/patient confidentiality.
"Yeah, the only skill he really had was memory charms." Harry confirmed. "He went around and stole people's heroic stories by getting them drunk and then obliviating the person who did the actual work. Lockhart was a fraud and a coward. Maybe we can stop him this time before he starts messing with people's memories?"
"If what you told me is true," Poppy said, "maybe we should allow events to unfold until you can get your hands on the diary?"
"We'll have to see when the time comes." Harry said, noncommittally. "I don't know that I can act like the idiot I was back then."
"Innocence and idiocy are two different things, young man." Poppy scowled. "I would still prefer you have a childhood, this time around."
"Fair enough, but could you see your way to giving me a bit of training anyway?" Harry asked. "I'll just learn from books if you don't and I still think you're the best healer I ever knew."
"I'm the only healer you ever knew." Poppy scoffed, but smiled indulgently. "I'll see what I can arrange. Perhaps I formed a bond with the poor Potter boy while I was caring for him and decided to visit him?" she asked.
"I don't see why not." Harry allowed. "I'd still like to meet McGonagall and get her on our side."
"Our side?" Remus asked.
"It's us versus Dumbledore, versus Voldemort." Sirius agreed.
"He might join your side, if you told him the truth?" Poppy offered. She had a lot of respect for the Headmaster, even if she was worried about his choices when it came to Harry.
"I don't know, Poppy." Remus said. "He's not shown a lot of things to trust."
"Maybe later." Harry said. 'After I've had my fun.' he finished in his head, as he chuckled.
"I'd prefer we let the Goblins just deal with him." Sirius growled. He'd not forgive the man anytime soon for the way he was treated and left to rot. Dumbledore's story about James memory charming him was laughable. James was too loyal to him to even attempt it. Who'd be stupid enough to come after Dumbledore, looking for information, anyway?
"I'm bound to secrecy, so your secrets are safe with me, but that doesn't mean I have to like it." Poppy said, then. "In the meanwhile, I'll have to come visit a few more times. You need more potions and I'll need to monitor your health for a bit. I'd much rather prefer that you come to the school, where I can keep an eye on you, but since you're not a student, I'll need to trust that your guardians will make sure you rest while you are healing."
"I can always read and practice my magic in bed." Harry said. "I just don't want to be the small kid in class again."
"About your magic." Poppy said. "I'll need to check into what I've found, but I'm almost certain that you have too much power for your physical age."
"I've been practicing my magic for a year now." Harry allowed and had his adult illusion to form.
"When Harry goes out, he has to make me appear and maintain me with his power. I'm almost certain that that has been building his reserves." the illusion said.
"Who are you?" Poppy asked, shocked at the appearance.
"I'm an illusion Harry thought up." the illusion said as he stepped forward and took Poppy's hand, to shake, with Harry using his power to make physical contact. "It is nice to meet you." it said with a smirk.
Poppy almost screamed and pulled her hand from the illusion's grip. "You're no illusion! Illusions can't touch things!"
Harry started laughing at her reaction. Then he got up and stepped into the illusion, disappearing from sight. "It really is my power, Poppy." Harry said with his own voice from inside the illusion. "I've learned to infuse my illusion with another power I trained, which works like telekinesis." Then he stepped out of the illusion and smirked at her. "See?" he asked.
"Are you sure it's not something else?" Poppy asked Remus, when she noticed both him and Sirius smirking.
"It's just as Harry describes it." Remus said. "It's a useful trick he picked up."
"I'm planning on learning it myself." Sirius said. "Whatever telekinesis is, it's strong."
"How strong?" Poppy wondered.
"Strong enough to punch out a magically reinforced wall." Harry said with a shrug. Looking at a wall.
"No!" Sirius said urgently. "You're not punching any more holes in our home!"
"One of these days, you're going to hit something load-bearing and bring the whole damn building down on us." Remus agreed. Harry had shown them where he was storing the picture of Sirius' mother. It had screamed at them, until Harry dropped it, with the bricks still stuck on its back, back onto the floor, face down.
Instead, Harry shrugged and lifted all of them up into the air with a bit of effort and some power, which he grounded on the stone floor. "Is this better then?" Harry asked.
"You can make people fly?" Poppy asked in shock.
"No, this is more like a push effect. The focal point of the magic is actually the floor. We just happen to be part of the result of the effort." Harry said easily. "Though, now that you mention it, maybe I can practice making it look like that. I can just imagine people's faces when they think I'm some kind of super hero." he chuckled.
"Super hero?" Sirius asked.
"You're really a pureblood, aren't you?" Harry asked. "Haven't you ever watched TV or read a comic book?" It had been simple for Harry to have access to those things after he mastered the notice-me-not spell.
"I doubt he's spent much time outside of the magical world." Remus chuckled.
"We should take him to a bar. Let him feel a bit of the freedom he just gained." the illusion spoke up.
"Can you at least stop making him talk?" Poppy begged, looking at the illusion again. Then she turned on Harry. "And you are not old enough to drink!" she admonished.
"Oh, relax." Harry said. "I don't plan on drinking myself. I know alcohol would be bad for my body at this point." Then he looked at her sternly. "That doesn't mean I can't go to a bar to enjoy the atmosphere. I am still eighteen, you know. I reached my magical majority before coming back, so I fully intend on enjoying some of the freedoms I have earned."
"Just… be careful, okay?" Poppy pleaded.
"I don't intend on doing that this very instant." Harry allowed. "I don't have the hormones to make me want to chase skirts, yet, for example."
"You can still flip a couple for your dear godfather, though, right?" Sirius joked.
"Nah. You can do it yourself, once you've learned the skill." Harry laughed.
"You're so indecent!" Poppy reprimanded Sirius. "Can't you at least try and set a better example? Even if he's eighteen, he can still learn from you to be a better man!"
Harry and Sirius just laughed at her. "I was always going to be the fun uncle." Sirius said. "Remus can set an example if he wants."
"How did you change the subject on me so quickly!?" Poppy demanded as Harry finally allowed them back onto the chairs. "I was saying that you have too much power for your age. It's not something I've seen before. Not even children that start showing accidental magic or limited abilities that use magic ever have such a strong power. You're more powerful than most adults from what I can tell!"
"Maybe my power was sent back with my memories?" Harry theorised. It would explain how quickly he had picked up wandless magic.
"Maybe." Poppy allowed.
A short while later, and with strict instructions for Harry to rest and take his potions on a schedule, Poppy left. She remembered to keep Harry's information a secret, when they discovered Dumbledore still standing outside the house, waiting for her.
"How is Harry?" the man asked, with worry written on his face.
"I'm sorry Headmaster, but Harry asked for my healer's confidentiality." Poppy apologised. "I can tell you he will need a few more sessions with me and then he should be fine. Physically at least."
"What about his mind?" Albus tried.
"Remus refused a mind healer for Harry. He said he'd rather help the boy himself." Poppy said. "Now, give me the secret for the house, so that I can come here on my own." she demanded.
"I will bring you here if you need it in the future, Poppy." Dumbledore said.
"It was not a request, Albus." Poppy said in a no-nonsense tone of voice. "I'm already sworn to keep my patient's confidentiality, so you really have no need to keep the information from me."
"Poppy-" Albus started.
"If you refuse to do as I ask, I shall have to inform the Magical Medical Association or Europe that you are refusing me access to my patient." Poppy said firmly. "I have a right to enter any secured location by the laws of Europe, if it is to treat a patient. Don't tell me that you'll bring me here, when I really shouldn't need your permission, let alone your assistance, to reach him."
Albus was about to object to her insistence, but then realised that she must blame him for the state of the Potter boy. How many more people will lose faith in him, before he can fix his mistake? "You are right, of course." he accepted, before telling her the address and allowing her to exit the property line, without losing sight of the property.
Before disapparating to Hogsmeade, she turned to him. "I'm not happy with what I found here today Albus, but I know you are a good man. I just hope you do right by James and Lily's son from now on." she said and vanished.
"I intend to, Poppy." Albus promised the empty space, where she had been. "I intend to."