Discoveries of the Heart

DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter (and associated characters, likenesses, concepts, etc.) belongs to J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic, Inc. AOL/Time Warner, Inc., among others. I make no claim, written or implied, upon Harry Potter. No money is being made and no infringement or disrespect to the creators / copyright holders is intended.

Summary: Still grieving sixteen years after the death of his infant son, James Potter, a Professor at Hogwarts, befriends a student from a visiting school that has come to compete in the newly resurrected Tri-Wizard Tournament. But there is something familiar about this extraordinary competitor…Can discoveries of the heart heal a parent's grief?

Warning: The primary focus of this story will not be romantic relationships, but eventually there may be some relationship material included. In that event, this story will contain slash (i.e. male/male relationships) although it will not be graphic.

Potential parings: (James/Lily, Remus/Severus, Sirius/OFC, Draco/Harry, Ron/Hermione, Ginny/Blaise, Seamus/Dean and maybe others.)

A/N: This story was inspired by the many wonderful stories that I have read and enjoyed here at fan fiction and any similarities to existing stories is not intended. This story is completely AU, meaning that the events that occurred in the first five books have not been taken into account and am I in no means suggesting the material described in this story should be considered as a direct interpretation of cannon. Also, I am American so I apologize in advance for any Americanisms.

This chapter has not been betaed as I'm not sure that this story is going anywhere yet. Please see important A/N following this chapter.

Chapter One The Sorting

A headmaster's bright twinkling eyes carefully watched as yet another group of excited and nervous first years filed through the doors and into the Great Hall, ready to be sorted. He couldn't recall the exact number of sortings that he and his deputy headmistress had proceeded over, but it was well over forty-five. The years seem to pass exceedingly faster as time goes on. But this year was going to be different; this year was certainly going to be one to remember.

The children all lined up in front of the Head Table waiting anxiously for their name to be called and their chance to discover in what direction that their true talents may lie. It was amazing how young and innocent this new class looked. The Headmaster found it hard to believe that he had ever been that young or innocent. But when you have lived as long as he had and had experienced both the wonders and the horrors that this world had to offer, it was difficult to remember what it had been like all those years ago when it had been his turn to sit on the stool.

This year promised to be a very interesting one. Not sure how the students would react to the announcement that he was prepared to make at the conclusion of the welcoming feast, he let his gaze wonder over the students sitting at the four long tables in front of him. His old eyes rested primarily on the group of young people that were getting ready to begin their seventh and final year here at Hogwarts. Soon they would have all the knowledge that could be gleaned from this institution and would be prepared to enter the world as adult wizards and witches.

He focused briefly on the new Head Boy, Draco Malfoy. Would he be the one chosen? It was certainly possible. Draco was a very strong wizard and undeniably the best dueler currently at Hogwarts. But somehow he didn't feel that Draco would be the Goblet's choice.

He shifted to another table, this one decorated in scarlet and gold, 'maybe Hermione Granger then' he thought to himself. Hermione was a talented witch, yes, there was no denying that, but did she have what it took to be a champion? While this year's Head Girl was very bright and hardworking, her overall innate magical abilities were only average. If it hadn't been for her fierce desire to do well and her incessant study habits, she would never had been able to get the outstanding grades that she had been able to achieve this far. She was going to be in for a surprise this year though, when she took her N.E.W.T.s. The scoring for the N.E.W.T.s relied much heavier on practical applications and less on book smarts then any of the exams that she had excelled at in her previous years here. Albus certainly hoped the young bushy haired girl wouldn't be too disappointed in her results.

Hermione would be a strong candidate, but Albus wasn't sure if she would be the Goblet's choice either. Maybe it would be Ron Weasley…he was very brave and loyal…or maybe it would be one of the Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs. The list of potential competitors went on and on, as the Headmaster considered the various strengths and weaknesses of the current group of seventh years.

This particular group of students was very talented, one of the most talented groups since the marauders themselves passed through these halls, but not one of the students really stood out from all the others. Albus couldn't get the feeling that something was missing out of the back of his mind.

The ancient wizard chastised himself, 'something' wasn't the correct term; no, it was definitely someone who was missing. Steeling a quick look at his Charms professor, he saw the same sadness in her eyes that he saw every year at this time. Albus was sure that the raw pain he saw on her face would soon fade as it had each of the last six years, but it still hurt to see one of his dearest friends in such turmoil.

Maybe next year wouldn't be so bad, once this particular class of students finally graduated and moved on. Maybe then Lily Potter would stop looking over at the Gryffindor table, imagining what it would have been like had her son lived to attend Hogwarts. He would have been a seventh year himself this year had he not been murdered as an infant. Those students sitting there now would have been his classmates.

Albus sighed as he remembered back to the end of the last term when he had inadvertently stumbled upon a private conversation between Lily and James Potter.

Albus had hurried through the corridor trying to catch James before he left his office for the day. As he approached the transfiguration classroom, he heard raised voices from within. James had joined his wife as a Professor at Hogwarts that year. Minerva, deciding that the duties of Deputy Headmistress were starting to interfere with her classroom time, had requested that she be permitted to give up her teaching duties and that of Head of Gryffindor House. Immediately James came to mind as the perfect candidate for both positions. After a little persuasion, he accepted.

Pausing, the Headmaster relaxed when he recognized the voices as belonging to the Potters, even though they were slightly muffled through the shut door. Not wanting to get in the middle of what appeared to be a marital squabble he got ready to leave, intending to come back to see James at a later time, when he heard Lily's desperate plea, "Don't tell me you don't ever think about it James. Don't tell me you don't ever sit there in your class and wonder who his friends would have been. Who his best friend would be, or if he would have had a girlfriend? What classes he would have liked? I know you James, I know how you watch every quidditch match and wonder if Harry would have liked to play and if so, what position he would have been?"

"For Merlin's sake Lily, let it go. It's been nearly sixteen years, since he died. Of course I wonder sometimes, it's only natural to speculate what might have been if Harry wouldn't have died, but Lily, you have to let him go. Harry is dead." The voices paused as the Headmaster heard the telltale sound of sniffles that indicated that someone was crying.

"Honey, our baby died a long time ago. He's not coming back, no matter how much we wish it otherwise." The terrible angst in James' voice made his voice almost unrecognizable.

It was so rare to hear anything but warmth and laughter in the young man's tone, occasionally he would get angry, but he never stayed angry for long, not even at his childhood nemesis, Severus Snape. But the old wizard's heart ached at the grief that these wonderful people were still dealing with even after all these years. Maybe if they would have been able to have another child they would have been able to let their first born go a little easier as they would have had a new baby to focus their attention on. Not that baby Harry was replaceable, every baby is unique and special, none more so that the young Potter child. But it still would have been a way for James and Lily to direct all the love in their hearts that had been reserved for their son in a new direction.

But fate once more decided to frown on the young couple, and after many years of trying to have another child, they gave up on the dream of having another one. Although they both adored and loved their Goddaughter, Riley Black, it just wasn't the same as having your own child to love and care for.

Indulging in what might have been wasn't hard to do especially when it concerned the fate of the Potter's young son. It was extremely rare to see innate magic as powerful as it had been in that particular infant. Harry Potter had accomplished more in his one year of life than any adult wizard had been able to do, and for that his name was revered in the wizarding world. Not that that was a lot of comfort to his grieving parents.

Had he lived, there was practically no limit to what he would have been able to achieve once he hit his magical maturity. But as in all things, magic must maintain such a delicate balance and with the destruction of such evil, it couldn't be done with out the sacrifice of an equal amount of good. It was such a shame to see such potential gone before it even had a chance to be realized.

Remembering back, it had been at the height of Lord Voldemort's reign of terror when one night while the Potter's had been away on a mission for the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort and some of his followers had broken into their home. They murdered Peter Pettigrew, who was babysitting young Harry, and then sent the killing curse on the infant.

Harry who had only just celebrated his first birthday a few short months before the attack, somehow managed to rebound the curse back onto the Dark Lord, leaving him only a shadow of his former self. The Death Eaters that had accompanied their Lord to the site fled in fear when they saw what had happened.

Severus, Hogwart's current Potion Master who at the time had been working as a spy for the Order, had witnessed the event and had immediately sent word to Albus about what had happened before returning to the Potter's cottage to retrieve the infant. Unfortunately, by the time Severus had returned the cottage was completely destroyed and completely engulfed in flames.

Severus nearly killed himself trying to get into the house to rescue the child, but to no avail. The flames proved to be too much for him and even after casting extinguishing spell after extinguishing spell the flames just seemed to spread faster than he could put them out. Once help arrived and the flames had finally been put out, rescue workers searched the rubble and were able to identify Peter's badly burned corpse, but Harry's remains were not found.

Although to this day, Severus swears that baby Harry had been alive when the Death Eaters left, with little more than a cut on his forehead, no sign of the baby was ever located. Snape's account of what happened, which he testified to under the strongest truth potion, would lead one to believe that little Harry Potter had survived the killing curse, only to be killed moments later in the wreckage of his home. Without proof, many people, including the Ministry of Magic, discounted Severus' version of events, believing instead that the killing curse had misfired and killed both its intended victim and the person who had cast it.

The logical conclusion was that even if Harry had been alive when the Death Eaters had apparated away, the fire would have soon killed him. Magical fires burn extremely hot and it wasn't unrealistic to believe that little Harry's body turned to ash in the fire.

Not having a body to bury only added to the Potter's grief, giving them that one glimmer of doubt that their son was really dead. At James' and Lily's insistence, the Ministry searched for over two years for baby Harry. The search proved to be fruitless as not in all that time, not even one lead turned up. Eventually, even James and Lily had to acknowledge that their son, while the hero of the wizarding world, was dead.

Someone clearing their throat on the Headmaster's right brought the old man out of his memories. Seeing that yet another sorting had concluded, the Headmaster stood and welcomed both the new and returning student's to Hogwarts.

The Headmaster smiled his first real smile of the evening as he introduced his two new Defense Against the Dark Arts/Dueling professors, although the two gentlemen needed little introductions as they both were commonly seen around Hogwarts last year visiting their best friend James Potter. After the applause for Sirius Black, the famous Auror and Remus Lupin, renown expert on defense, had died down, Albus clapped his hands and as it does every year the tables were soon filled to the point of breaking under the weight of all the food.

It should prove to be a very interesting year, indeed.

To be continued ???

Important A/N: This is just a trial chapter just to test the waters of a new story that I am considering writing after A Moment in Time is completed. Please note that if I decide to write this story, I will not be able to spend any time working on it until my other story is finished, which won't be until sometime towards the end of January. I am going to target the average chapter length to be approx. 3,500 words and I probably won't post anything for this new story until I have a good bit of it written. Let me know if you think that this idea has merit. If I don't get much feedback, I probably won't write it. Thanks for your consideration.