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The Order Member's could only watch helplessly, they out numbered the Death eaters two to one but to attack would mean Lily's death and they couldn't do that to James. As long as she was alive, there was still hope, no matter far away it seemed. They could only watch as one of their most proud members begged for the life of his wife and watched as he was ridiculed and jeered by Death Eaters who he had pledged his life to capture and stop.
"STOP!" Parricida demanded angrily, jerking her head back hard and bringing the knife closer to her throat to stop James who had been ready to jump, he looked down at her disgustingly. "See what you've reduced him to...Mudblood? See what happens when you poison the bloodlines? You've disgraced us!"
A inconsolable cry of fear, hatred and grief was ripped from James throat as he watched powerlessly as the six inch knife swung down towards his wife's chest.
Harry sprinted like a man possessed towards the centre of the village, ignoring the painful moaning and groaning of the injured still lying on the streets. Behind him flew the beautiful Red and gold phoenix, so sensitive of the grief and pain of the innocent, his sadness just radiated off him.
Reaching a block in his path, he swore expressively, the string of vulgar words expressing his distress plainly where others would have failed. A burning inferno that was once a home had fallen across the street, its beams and arches no longer able to hold up the fiery weight of the second and third levels.
Quickly backtracking, he sprinted back to try another route, he could not spare the time that was needed to wade his way through the black magic tying the fire and building together. Rushing through the back of a destroyed building, he came to a concrete back wall, not bothering to use his wand he hissed and threw a spell through the wall. It blasted a path through the thick concrete and through the house behind it. Scurrying through, Harry quickly and nimbly leaped over the destroyed furniture and dodged the falling debris from above.
Coming out to the front of the house, Harry paused briefly to get his bearings back; twisting around to try and find a familiar landmark he spotted the destroyed sign that once indicated the Three Broomsticks. For a quick second he mourned the loss of the inn, before rushing in the opposite direction. He was only a block away from the centre of the village now but he was slightly worried that he could not perceive any noise emerging from that general direction. Only the screams and cries of those left behind him as well as the collapsing and cackling of burning buildings could be heard.
Quickening his pace as he approached his destination he found the reason for the unnatural silence in the form of a sound barrier. Mentally cursing himself for his foolish inattention he automatically slowed down and proceeded with the caution that he had previously neglected.
Looking carefully around the Honeydukes building towards the heart of the little village he made out a rather daunting group of people gathered around a small female. Eyes narrowing, he took in the familiar forms of the members of the Order, including Dumbledore who was standing on the far side of the street. Their postures and body-language were radiating worry and fear, and for him to see it from this distance meant that whatever was happening was really not good.
Creeping ever so slowly along the building, Harry approached the Hogsmeade Candle Store; it was the nearest building that was still intact. Quickly motioning to Fawkes, he indicated that he needed to get up onto the roof. The phoenix, who had been very quiet and had tried not to draw attention to himself by keeping close to the numerous fires along the way, glided to be within an arm's reach of his master's friend and then soared upwards with his burden.
Once reaching the roof, Harry sneaked agilely towards the far edge until he was within jumping distance of the next building's roof. This building's front had collapsed but part of the house still stood, including at least half of its crown. With a running jump he launched himself onto the top of the other house and repeated it a second time for the next building, this time with much more difficulty as the roof was highly unstable. He was now just above the gathering in the street, behind the cloaked menaces, and with a start realised that the kneeling figure in the street was his mother.
Swearing lightly under his breath he scrambled inelegantly towards the front edge of the half collapsed roof. Looking over the ledge he could make out Ron, Hermione and Sirius, as well as James Potter who had broken formation with the other three and had walked slightly to stand in front of them. He could also hear the ongoing conversation and realised sadly that the unpleasant figure, man-handling his mother was....him...or rather Parricida.
Growling softly he watched seemingly unemotionally as the knife in the bastards hand edged ever closer to his mother's exposed neck. When he heard Parricida order James to beg, Harry knew that he was running out of time to act. Death Eaters loved to watch their victims beg, it was thrilling to watch them humiliate themselves, and somewhere amidst their pleasure they realised that it was much more exciting to watch them die.
As he watched James fall onto his knees, Harry built his magic up, hissing under his breath wand pointing at the back of Parricida's companion 'Dray'. He noted with a rather morbid sense of humour that he did not have a plan and that chances were that if he failed, James could probably hate him more then the other version of his son. A soft brush of feathers on the back of his neck reminded him that his former headmaster's phoenix was still with him, and with a mental shrug he remembered Moody's lesson to 'use whatever you got' in helpless situations. Biting his lip he leaned down and whispered softly to his companion, he crossed his finger's and hoped that Fawkes understood his half-formed plan. The only uncertainty of this entire thing was the bloody knife in the alarmingly agitated Death Eaters hand.
When Parricida started raising his knife and yelling, Harry decided it was time to act. Swatting the phoenix unnecessarily hard on his wing it disappeared to reappear just in time to claw Parricida's hand rather deeply, and disrupting the knife's momentum and direction. Instead of right in her heart where it would have been, the blade imbedded itself in her shoulder instead. A wound yes, but not a mortal one.
Parricida fell back in shock and looked up in disbelief just in time to see Dray fly forward with the force of a very strong spell cast from behind. Scrambling back onto his feet he decided to stop playing around and raised his wand towards his mother only to watch as the annoying peacock of a bird grab her by the shoulders and disappear in a blaze of fire.
Screaming in fury, he ordered his Death Eater's to attack. The Order of the Phoenix who had otherwise been watching in a mixture of stunned disbelief and alarm, shook themselves out of their stupor and defended themselves vigorously. Their enemies' numbers had doubled unknowingly since the beginning of the conflict and they were nearly evenly balanced, the Order still with the odds if not the spells to match the Dark Magic used against them.
James had found himself face to face with a rather skilled opponent. After the near escape from the previous emotional rollercoaster, he was tiring rather quickly both mentally and physically. Throwing everything he had at his opponent, his movements almost sluggish and inept, only years of experience saved his life. Ducking the latest bombardment of spells he saw his opening when his assailant hesitated for a brief moment; James seized his chance and sent his curse to end this duel.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" he yelled, feeling the drain on his energy and the thrumming of his magic as it lethargically made it's way out of his wand.
Hitting its target, he watched dispiritedly as the green light hit and the figure fell heavily to the ground. He shook his head sadly and collapsed to his knees, breathing heavily.
No sooner had he taken a deep controlling breath he found himself rolling quickly to the side dodging a Cruciatus curse as it barely missed him and hit the ground harmlessly, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end as his body felt the near miss. Looking at his attacker with wide eyes he scrambled back in the dirt and stood up unsteadily, swaying on his feet as he tried to regain his balance.
Tired pain filled hazel eyes met loathing green as James scrutinized his once loved son. Collapsing back onto his knees, energy reservoir depleted and losing his battle with gravity, James closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable pain or death.
Moments passed before James realised it wasn't coming. Opening his eyes wearily he could only watch in fear and a small bit of awe as Parricida duelled Harry.
Silently congratulating Fawkes for a job well done, Harry sent a strong stunning charm at Draco so that he couldn't join in when another battle broke out. From what Ron and Hermione had told him, Draco and Parricida were a very effective team, the order were already tired and he didn't think they'd be able to handle the fight the two of them would be able to put up.
Climbing unsteadily down from the roof, he cursed again (the fifth time that day) his inability to access the larger portion of his magic, he could have easily used a wandless levitation charm to jump off in spectacular style right into the midst of the raging fight, but he didn't want to test himself since his ego probably wouldn't have survived the embarrassment of falling on his arse.
Nevertheless, he made do with jumping the remaining 2 metres from the pipe he was climbing down, ego still intact he joined the violent fray. His magic rejoiced at being put to use again, and he energetically sent spells here and there. Practically dancing across the street he indulged himself and did a little pirouette before powerfully stunning the rather scared death eater who had been his only witness.
Making his way back across he noticed a streak of green light in the corner of his eye, blasting his current opponent into a building he turned around to see where it originated from, in time to see his father fall to the ground (he also noted with some humour that James seemed to have done a lot of that this night, but he didn't think that he'd appreciate the joke). He observed worriedly as the auror forgot all the rules in warfare and ignored his environment. Taking a step in his direction Harry made his way over, deciding that stubborn git or not he was his father...sort of.
Harry rather felt Parricida cast the unforgivable pain curse before he saw it, and got there just before he could cast a second unforgiveable, the killing cure. Running hard, Harry launched himself at the unsuspecting Death Eater and tacked him from the back.
Rolling off him quickly, Harry crouched, low left hand on the ground, wand out and directed at the slowly rising figure. Sensing a volley of spells coming his way Harry jumped to his feet and leaped out of the way, before hising a blasting curse, a severing charm and an impedimenta jinx at him in quick succession. Parricida managed to dodge all of them with ease, just like Harry knew he would.
Both figures faced each other, illuminated by the burning buildings near them they eyed their opponent, and found each more then a match for the other. Gripping his wand tightly Parricida gave a smile, devoid of any warmth or friendliness; the term would have been applied loosely to the act.
"So you're the person I've been hearing so much about?" he said menacingly, before spitting on the ground before him. "Dumbledore's new pet, the newest weapon in the mudblood lover's arsenal."
Harry did not deign to answer, silently and casting a wandless shield charm on himself. His silence seemed to be angering his opponent as he threw a few of the weaker dark curses at him, all which Harry's shield managed to repel. Harry gladly reciprocated in kind, and sent back his own curses, none were above the fifth year Hogwarts syllabus, and Parricida seemed to notice this.
"What is this? Using child spells? Do not try to fool me; I know that you know curses much stronger then this."
Ignoring him Harry hissed a quick spell under his breath and with a swirl of his robes vanished into thin air, Parricida's eyes widened as he looked around wildly and spinned around to be hit with a blasting curse right in his chest. Flying backwards, he hit a couple of barrels and slammed into the side of a building; the shadows cloaked him and obscured him from anyone's view. Harry reappeared where Parricida had been standing before and peered into the darkness, body tensed in anticipation, wand poised and at the ready.
A spell came out of the darkness, red and powerful, cast with so much anger it carved a deadly path through the air towards Harry. Creating a brilliant light shield reminiscent of the one Dumbledore had used so many years ago, the curse struck it and dissipated, the noise it made on contact reverberating through the street. Ducking the next few curses, Harry sent back a few of his own. Back and forth the spells went, Parricida's position changing ever so often. To any who were watching, both men had become a blur, disappearing and reappearing at will. The spells used were cast with so much power that as they passed they were capable of making hairs stand up and goose bumps form.
Suddenly the curses seemed to stop. None of the duellers were visible, not even a sound of heavy breathing to signify they were still even there.
"You do not seek to kill me, enemy mine? Not a single dark curse?" the questions were asked in such cold and harsh tones, seemingly angry at the thought that such a being existed.
"Is such dark magic so beneath you? Such a sign of weakness. Pathetic. But then what would one expect from Dumbledore's own warrior?" the frosty, cruel and unforgiving tones cut into the night, mocking his opponent for even thinking of being worthy of such a battle.
A scornful and laughing voice cut into the dark tirade with words of his own, contemptuous and disdainful.
"That's the reason why you're evil and I'm not. The whole dark versus good issue would be completely out of reason if I lowered myself to such low depths and used dark magic, and unfortunately there's just no way that you'd find a ladder tall enough to get you out of the hole your in so as to use Light magic now, eh?"
And with that both figures, still invisible to the eye went off on another fighting spree. Colourful curses each with its own intention and meaning, the casting beyond the capability of normal wizards, the energy used to fuel them not within the grasp of many. The curses were used with such abandonment, the wizards using them disregarding all those watching, somehow they knew when a curse hit or when they missed, always knowing when the magic was on its way. Death Eaters and Order Members alike jumped out of the way, staying low to the ground as the curses became more and more stronger, more and more deadly and more and more harder to see in the dark. For a split second Parricida became visible, they saw that he was bleeding heavily and breathing harshly, agony was written all over his face and his left arm was broken and bleeding. He disappeared again, a curse originating from where he had been, it hit its target with a resounding crack, and the target flew back hard to crash into the fiery inferno behind him.
Somewhere in the oppressive silence and in the dark of the night a young lady screamed for Harry. Struggling against the injured red-haired man that tried to hold her she kept screaming his name.
Parricida made himself visible again, he watched in satisfaction as the burning building crash down to the ground with his enemy still inside, and gritted his teeth against his own pain. Bleeding and battered form outlined by the fire, he swiftly screamed in agony and disbelief as an equally battered, bleeding and smoking form stumbled out of the wreckage. Spinning around unsteadily he raised his wand and dismantled the silence and anti-apparition wards, staggering towards the prone form of his companion, he screamed for a retreat before disapperating.
In the roaring of a battered Hogsmeade and amidst the agony of those whose lives had been shattered, pops could be heard signalling the retreat of the Death Eaters. Back in the hub of tragedy the Order was quickly regrouping itself and rushing around dazedly trying to help where they could. A group of people swarmed towards the bleeding and slightly burnt form of Harry Potter, in the lead an old and very worried Wizard.
Dumbledore knelt down beside Harry and quickly cast a stabilising charm on him quickly followed by a cooling spell. He shook his head at Hermione when she moved to do a healing spell, summoning a piece of wood he created a Portkey into Hogwarts and gave it to her. Ron limped towards them, worry clearly visible on his face; behind him was his older brothers all intent on checking up on their adopted brother. Kneeling on the ground, wincing when he jarred his leg, he took in Harry's form, blood soaked clothes, the wounds not visible under all the grime and blood. He took Harry's wand out of his arm, coaxing it out of his hard grip, realising that even whilst unconscious and delirious with pain he refused to let his wand go. Whispering directions to the both of them, Dumbledore nodded once and then watched as the trio disappeared to the Hogwarts infirmary.
Standing up, Dumbledore took a look around Hogsmeade and started giving orders to the aurors that had turned up. He pushed his worry of Harry Potter to the back of his mind, knowing that he'd be alright...eventually.
Over the next two days the Hogwarts Infirmary was busier then it had ever been, and this is was taking into account the Potion's war of 1987 when a Gryffindor/Slytherin potions class decided to take their animosity to a whole new level and nearly blew up the lab.
Hogsmeade itself was going through a rather intense rebuilding phase, thankfully magic made everything that much quicker to fix, although the wounds and mental scarring suffered by the village would never heal that easily. Wizarding Carpenters worked tirelessly through the night and through the day to erase the physical horror from the town, and were pleasantly succeeding. By the end of the first only the centre of the village needed to be completely demolished and then rebuilt from scratch.
All those that were not mortally wounded in the Battle at Hogsmeade had been sent to Hogwarts. This included various Order members, including Lily Potter who was discharged the following afternoon. St. Mungo's sent a Mediwitch to help where she could, so therefore it was a controlled chaos if anything else. Harry's diagnosis was quite positive, he had almost healed completely save for a few bruises and cuts which could not be magically healed and Madame Pomfrey said they were harmless enough to heal on its own.
The second day after the battle, the Order received word that Voldemort had decided to once more refrain from making attacks. He was now overly cautious of the unknown man who'd fought his favourite, especially since Parricida had not been beaten so badly since....training with Lucius. They quietly celebrated at this wonderful news, true the war was nowhere near its end but the fact that they were given a time of peace no matter how short, it was a joyous occasion.
Harry Potter had become an instant celebrity, word had quickly spread that he had duelled Parricida and lived, and yet still managed to beat him up just as bad. Harry had morphed from Albus Dumbledore's nephew to being his illegitimate son, whom Albus protected from his enemies by hiding him in New Zealand. That rumour only lasted a few hours before Harry became Dumbledore's grandson, whose mother was Voldemort's illegimate daughter. Somewhere along the grapevine the rumour was completely and utterly disfigured beyond belief when Harry became Professor Snape's son with Dumbledore's daughter, who, because she was such an excellent charms student, put her son under a Glamour charm to save her own marriage. It was proof of the rather animated and unhealthy imagination of Hogwarts students that they managed to find an excuse to explain away Professor Snape's loathing of Harry; apparently his hatred sprung from his pain at losing the love of his life, either that or his forbidden passion for the young man. The latter rumour was so disturbing that Dumbledore had to interfere before Professor Snape went on a point's massacre.
By the fourth day, the focus of all the rumours had still not woken up. It wasn't until the ending of the fifth that the old headmaster realised the school nurse was trying very hard to avoid him. Wondering what on earth could have caused this strange twist in her attitude, he sought her out, eventually cornering her as she crept out of a hidden passage he never knew existed. The reason for her avoidance of him came as such a surprise to the old man that he could never look at the nurse the same way again.
It appeared that the strength of Harry's potions depended on how much and often he'd had to take them. So sitting Hermione and Ron down she'd gotten most of his hospital sessions, Madame Pomfrey had been so alarmed about the amount of times the he'd been in a hospital wing that she'd given him almost twice the amount of dreamless potion then needed. When she'd found out about the amount of times he sneaked out of the hospital wing before she'd let him, she had ignored everything she had be taught about bedside manners and ethics and had given him another dose of the stuff once he'd woken up from the first one. The professor managed to persuade her not to do it again, and the nurse said that Harry would wake in the morning, much to her displeasure.
James waited patiently as the Weasley's had a mini reunion with the just awakened Harry. They'd been in there for almost an hour and for James whom patience wasn't a virtue, it had been the longest wait of his life. He had been waiting now for almost two hours for the headmaster had been in there before them. He hated waiting because it gave him too much time to reflect.
During Lily's short incarceration in the Hospital wing he had been given time to think about the enigma that was supposed to be his son. He had watched detachedly as his younger sons had gotten to know Harry and had nothing but good things to say about him. He had watched from afar as the young man who had never had a family of his own be a big brother to two twins who all things considered, should have hated him.
That was what embarrassed him no end. The fact that his children and god-daughter figured out what it had taken him the near death of his wife and himself to comprehend. All the tales that he had been told of Harry's achievements could not hold up when he actually met him, they didn't hold up to all the things that he had to live through with another young man just like him. He had wanted to but he had been absolutely petrified at the thought of caring for the man that looked just like him, and in the end he had decided that the pain wasn't worth knowing again. His children had decided that the pain was worth it if they got a big brother out of the deal, and had risked it.
Now here he was, waiting for Molly and Arthur Weasley to stop smothering his son so that he could start apologising, and hopefully save whatever he could of their relationship....if there had ever been one to begin with.
"...we'll be back to see you again dear. You get some sleep and mind you don't overdo yourself before you're ready. Oh Harry dear, are you sure you don't want me to cut your hair dear? It's overly long and may- "
"I reckon Harry's hair looks quite nice. Suits him down to a tee....don't let her cut your hair Harry..."
"(laughs) I won't Bill.."
Finally after a few more minutes of light bantering they eventually left the Infirmary. But not before Arthur had to drag his wife out after she refused to go once she saw him, casting one more deadly glare over her shoulder at him she finally let her husband drag her out the door. The remaining Weasley's all nodded curtly at him, their body language warning him of bad things if he upset Harry.
Once they had left, James took a deep breath and stepped around the curtain.
He was met with the sight of his dimension travelling son reading a Quidditch magazine, and wearing Pyjama's which could only have been borrowed from one Albus Dumbledore. They were an atrocious lime green, which seemed to grow brighter the longer you looked at it, the teddy bears on the material danced around fruit bowls and every once in a while the fruits would change colour. It was very strange to see it on a 22 year old and rather....disturbing, to know that it belonged to the Headmaster of a prestigious school.
"They don't belong to the headmaster," Harry said, not looking up from his magazine, "he brought these for my birthday, he must have decided that there was no better day to wear it then today, that man is absolutely brilliant for reasons even we cannot comprehend," he said blithely, the last bit somewhat sarcastically.
Closing his magazine, he reached over and placed it on the table beside his bed. Taking his wand from the same table he quickly drew up a chair for him.
"Won't you have a seat?" he said politely, motioning towards the chair and then wincing when the teddy bears gave some outrageous giggles.
Sitting down, he leaned back in his chair and adopted a relaxed posture he did not feel. Some of his thoughts must have shown on his face because his son spent the next few minutes trying unsuccessfully to quieten the annoying giggles coming from his pyjamas, giving James enough time to relax himself.
Minutes passed before either of them spoke, and when they finally did it was Harry who broke the silence.
"Why are you here...Mr Potter?" he asked softly, eyes looking over his wand that he still had in his hands.
James flinched at the rather formal use of his name, but knew that he had never given him leave to address him as anything else. Finding his fingernails very interesting he didn't answer for a long moment, rehearsed words eluding him.
Finally he found his tongue and his courage, looking up to find dark green eyes on him he all of a sudden became rather frustrated with the pretentiousness of the situation.
"Look...can you...you don't have to...but can you drop your spell?" he asked, eyes scanning over his son's glamour face.
Harry's eyes widened slightly over the request before nodding his acquiescence. Shaking his head vigorously he repeated his actions of the first order meeting (that James had not been conscious for) and then dropped his hands to his lap. He watched his father for a reaction and was pleased to find only a spark of momentary panic before calmed and...smiled?
"I hated you....you know?" he said softly, eyes closing briefly in reflection. "When you first introduced yourself....I had never been so scared in my life. All of a sudden I was faced with the version of my son that I wanted, that I thought he would have grown up to be like given his upbringing and both his parents. And I thought to myself...who does he think he is? Being so strong and so good, when he had no-one...and I hated you more, for being what he never was.
But then I saw the way you interacted with those around you, with the ease and warmth that I see with Lily. I watch you become so protective of the brother's you never knew, just like you'd lived here all your life, you found and healed wounds that I never knew they had. You became the son that I had always wanted yet I knew I could never have, because in a way, you're not really mine are you? You belong to a Lily and James Potter who died to save you, one who is so very different from us, yet just the same.
I just want to know you...as much as I convince myself that he is dead to me, a father cannot turn off the love he has for a son. For the first twelve years of his life he was mine, I cannot forget everything I had done for him. And I will not insult you by transferring all that love onto you. You deserve so much better. Please, let me know you."
Harry who had been quiet throughout his explanation nodded his head and then smiled.
"My name is Harry James Potter," he said solemnly, hand extended.
James relaxed visibly and returned the smile with one of his own, warmth reaching his eyes.
"Hello Harry, My name is James Potter," he replied affectionately, grasping the proffered hand tightly in his own.
When Harry was finally discharged from the Hospital wing, it was to find a long list of people wanting to speak with him. At the top of that list was the Twins and Tina, who were three of at least fifty students still remaining over the Christmas period, he spent almost an hour talking with them before they were absolutely sure that he was alright.
After them it was one Ginny Weasley who had demanded to know what exactly he told Molly about her other dimensional self's romance with Neville, Molly had been delighted at the prospect of being a grandmother and had gone about trying to make it a reality, unfortunately as quick as possible. She was currently, Ginny told him, trying to persuade her and Neville to skip the courtship and just get married straight away. Through his hilarity, he managed to tell her what he had told her mum, and it wasn't long before she found the situation rather funny herself.
Following Ginny it was Hagrid, who welcomed him back to the land of the conscious by nearly sending him back to the hospital wing, one rib cracking hug later and they were seated in his hut discussing dangerous animals and how best to break the law to get hold of them.
As he was leaving Hagrid's hut he was accosted by two red-headed identical twins. Using their rather unique way of finishing each other's sentence they managed to communicate to Harry how worried they had been and how they couldn't really talk to him the day before because of their mother being present, and if he didn't mind spending at least an hour with them perfecting a couple of......spells.
When he had finally gotten rid of the twins it was almost dinner time and he made his way downstairs to the Great Hall. Realising that most of the students were gone home he thanked the deities for that small miracle. He sent a warm Hello through his link to Hogwarts who reciprocated with her 'feelings', and went about aligning all the staircases for his journey down to ground floor.
Arriving at the grand doors of the Dining hall, he stopped when he heard someone call his name. Turning around he was greeted with a rather nervous smile from the fifth year Hufflepuff, Zachary.
Giving Zach a toothy smile he greeted him warmly, "How have you been Zach?"
Zach looked relieved for a moment before answering, minus the stuttering, "pretty good sir....how about you, sir?"
"I'm doing very well, in fact I don't think I've felt this good in ages," he answered cheerfully, rocking on his feet.
Together they entered the Great Hall, making small talk along the way. Harry dropped Zach off at his table and carried on to sit next to Ron who was beckoning at him.
"Hey ya mate, hows your day been? The Twins been to see you yet?" Ron asked as soon as he sat.
"Yep, they just left to go back to their flat, and my day's been pretty busy..." he replied. He quickly selected himself some food and started eating, conversation for the both of them quickly relegated to the 'not important' bin as they dug in eagerly and impatiently.
Some time after their third helping of dessert, they finally decided to try conversation.
"Oi Harry? How do you know Zach?" Ron queried as he sized up the Apple pie that had magically appeared in front of him.
Harry who was listening distractedly as he scrutinized the same Apple Pie answered rather absent-mindedly, "Duelling class, asked for extra help for DADA....oi Ron? You reckon if we go half and half on that Apple Pie it'd be enough?"
Ron who had been thinking along the same lines shrugged and then picked up his spoon.
"Mate, we weren't sorted into Gryffindor for nothing," he reasoned not knowing they had the attention of the staff table. Reaching over to the Pie he moved it closer to the both of them, and then proving the years of camaraderie, they both dug in simultaneously and in an action that elicited laughter from the members of the table, arranged their faces to very similar expressions of pleasure.
Later on that night while Harry and Ron were heading towards the headmaster's office for cocoa, they were waylaid by the very unfriendly Potions Professor.
"Dumbledore," he said in austere tones, all the while maintaining his 'you are way beneath me' posture.
"Snape," Harry returned with a false sugary sweet smile.
"Kindly refrain from showing off your many questionable talents to your Slytherin counterpart? There are those that do not need to be punished for the foolhardiness and idiocy of others, it's unfortunate but this world is doomed to suffer because of a Potter, we do not need the consequences of two," he sneered and then stormed away, Robes billowing behind him, and two former Gryffindor's trying to understand what just happened.
"I don't know about you, but that was long enough that it could have included a compliment," Ron said astounded and bemused.
Harry who was in a similar state but hiding it a little bit better just nodded his head slightly and then continued walking.
A few minutes later, the slightly less dazed men reached the gargoyle, whispering the password ("Cadbury Chocolate"), the two men stepped onto the revolving staircase. Entering the Headmaster's office a short ride later they saw that the Headmaster wasn't alone.
Hermione they were expecting to be there, but not the other figure. He was around Harry's height, had dark brown hair and light brown eyes. He had a rather cheeky but friendly face, a rather athletic build and could probably have fit Harry's clothes comfortably. He looked very familiar but Harry couldn't place him anywhere, it wasn't until the man smiled shyly at him that he clicked.
"Neville Longbottom?" he asked pleasantly bowled over.
The man in question gave a bigger smile and then stood up to shake hands with Harry.
"I've a lot about you from practically everyone in the Order," he said warmly, "Ginny, Hermione and Molly speak warmly of you, I understand we were rather close back....well, home, I guess."
Nodding his head Harry grinned merrily before explaining the kind of person he was in his former world. All the occupants in the room laughed when he enlightened them of the calamity that was his wedding, even the other three although they had heard it before. Half an hour later, after show and tell, the Leader of the Order thought to fill them in on the reason why Neville was there.
"Neville is your new team member; he will be patrolling as of tomorrow evening with you. Because Neville is a trained Healer he would be an excellent addition to your rather......disaster prone group," he said with a wink before carrying on in a more sombre tone. "I'd like to thank you all for volunteering to patrol London tomorrow night, under normal circumstances I would love nothing more then to see you with family on Christmas eve, but these circumstances have never been normal.."
"It's alright Albus," Hermione interrupted soothingly, "I think I speak for all of us when I say that we'd rather make sure everyone else has a happy and peaceful Christmas at the forfeit of our own."
Nodding heads all round indicated their agreement with Hermione's words.
The Headmaster, eyes twinkling again smiled tenderly at each of his former students, clapping his hands suddenly a small elf popped into existence.
"Briggy is it?" he asked the elf kindly looking at the small thing over his half-moon glasses. The elf nodded nervously, wringing her hands anxiously.
"Would you mind getting us some cocoa please? And some Chocolate if you have any," he finished gently.
The elf nodded again, this time less nervous, and disappeared with a pop. She reappeared a few minutes later with the cocoa and the chocolate, and left sucking heavily on a lemon drop which the kind 'Dumbly' had persuaded her to take.
Digging into their cocoa and chocolate, they spent the next hour talking about everything they possibly include, but mostly they told Neville stories of their past life. Had anybody been walking past the Headmaster's gargoyle they would have been rather curious to know what it was that was causing such hearty and unmanageable laughter in his office.
"T-t-that b-bastard's ....g-going t-to....s-suf-fer...I'll m-mak-ke him p-pay..."
The aristocratic silver-haired man sponged the delirious dark haired man's head. Muttering soothing words under his breath he ran the cold cloth over his forehead. A miniature version of the man entered carrying a potion, stepping into the room at the same time as the house elf carrying a bowl of water.
"Dobby!" the older man snapped, "This isn't cold enough you disgusting snivelling little wretch," before hitting the bowl out of the poor little creatures hands. Falling to the ground in fear, he was hit with such force by his master's cane that he flew across the room and hit the dresser.
"When I say Ice-cold, I want it ice-cold," he snapped frigidly, "now go elf, and do not make another mistake."
Turning back to his patient he ignored the other man who had entered and continued to soothe the still muttering and shaking young man.
"I've got the potion father, will he be alright," the other man asked, trying to hide the worry in his voice and failing miserably.
The elder grabbed the potion out of his hands and poured the contents down the feverish man's throat.
"He has to be Draco," he retorted impatiently, "we have a meeting with the Dark Lord tomorrow afternoon."
Draco nodded his head grimly. Looking to the figure on the bed he realised depressingly that the Dark Lord would still be angry over the failure at Hogsmeade. And 'Cerastes' would take the full brunt of his disappointment...again. All the death-eaters knew that the Master's anger had not been quenched after the first round of punishments. They all knew that tomorrows meeting would be solely for the second round. Truth be told, Draco was absolutely scared, but a Malfoy never shows fear.
Anxious muttering and promises of revenge broke him out of his reverie and he grabbed the cold water from Dobby, kicking the elf out of his path on his way to the bed. Both men breathed an inaudible sigh of relief when Cerastes finally calmed down and went into deep sleep.
Motioning towards the door, Draco followed his father downstairs. A few minutes later saw both men ensconced in the study, drinking some unknown amber liquid from their glasses. Ancient books lined the entire wall of one side of the study, and the large intimidating desk on the other side of the room was littered with important parchment and scrolls. Abruptly and rather forcefully the elder man threw his glass, still half full of liquid, towards the fireplace. It shattered on impact against the back of the grate, leaving the liquid imprint on the back concrete.
"Find out who he is Draco...I want to know who he is...", he said harshly, no-one hurt's my sons and get's away with it, he thought, no-one.
"And tomorrow..." prompted the younger man.
"Tomorrow...you will stay here. With Cerastes, I will make our excuses to our Lord," he finished wearily.
"That bastards going to suffer, I'll make him pay," he swore under his breath, echoing the sentiments of the Dark-haired boy sleeping upstairs.
What do you know?? Not even a week and I've updated. You want to know why? Because of the wonder's of plussage!! Plussage: your overall mark of your paper is taken from either the Exam or the assignments and the semester test/exam, whichever has the highest mark. And I bloody blitzed my assignments and the semester test, so it doesn't really matter if I just fail my exam because I would have passed the entire course anyway. So this is my mini celebration.
Alright, if the Harry/Parricida (or Cerastes) action was anti-climatic, I apologise...really I do. I am absolutely useless when it comes to action scenes, if I wasn't so anti-plagiarism I would probably copy someone elses...good thing I'm such a goody two shoes then huh?
O.k...the last bit of this chapter, I can hear some people going, Cerastes??? What in the world?? You honestly didn't think that the death eater's themselves would call their boy wonder 'Parricida' now did you? Nope....Lucius Malfoy gave Harry his name after Harry decided to defect over in his second year. Cerastes means 'horned snake'....to be frank, I liked the sound of Cerastes better then all the other choices (I liked 'Draco' until I realised that it was already taken :D hehe). But who knows what goes on in Lucius Malfoy's head, maybe he has some sentimental reason for naming him that, that we muggles just would never understand.
As you can see, the Malfoy's are rather...human. Which is good, because they will feel all the extreme emotions that come with being...human. And before you wonder whether such a loving and caring display means redemption for the Malfoy's, the answer is...no. Sorry. Being good looking and drop dead sexy in a movie isn't reason enough for me to want to save them :D
Yeah, about Lily...I was seriously this close (holds up forefinger and thumb) to totally killing her off. But then I realised that it was my dislike of all things James that was rearing it's ugly head so I quickly shoved it back in the closet. So she's alive...but if I read one more fic with 'arrogant moron' James I'll be killing her off as revenge for all my anti-james feelings. I can't do anything about other fics, but I sure as hell can do something about mine. Smiles sweetly.
Any other questions left unanswered?
Oh yes, there you go gallandro-83, there's darling Neville. As for the wands, no they don't know that their wand cores are the same. Nor will they, maybe you can't tell in my fic :D but Ollivander doesn't tell everyone information of specific wands. He only tells those that need to know, and Harry needed to know. Harry's former lover may be rearing her head sometime (and yes, sorry slashers, it's a 'her') later on in the fic, and you'll get to see more of Harry's little 2am panic attacks. And Ariel is Ravenclaw, already mentioned it in chapter...five, I think. The Prophecy is pretty much null and void in this dimension. Voldemort never marked anyone as his equal, therefore the Longbottoms survived and so did the Potters. Since Harry hasn't been having any of his 'damn migraine' attacks lately, then we can safely assume that he never will, and that his connection with this Voldemort is pretty much dead (thank God! There is only so many 'attack of the major scar twinges' I can take). That isn't to say that there might be another link, shrugs, my muse is working on it.
What happened to Hermione and Ron of this time? They're well...dead. :D They got hit with a motherload of dark curses (yes I didn't explain it, but I think that this is rather convenient for me...hahaha), and it was enough for whoever it is that decides semi-reincarnations/spirit transposing to shove 'our' Hermione and Ron into the storyline....me and the deities have got an understanding. Anyway the dark curses would have killed anyone else, but by the meddling of the powers that be (via author) they went into a deep deep coma instead. Yep, that's my reason, and I'm sticking with it. Thanks for asking Vire.
You know what? I hate cliffies too. They are completely and utterly ridiculous and no story needs them, they're evil and chances are they're satans tools to keep people away from socialising with the real world and coming back into the evil that 'computers' and 'internet' just to see if someone's updated to get rid of said cliffie.
But Cliffies have to be used to preserve the balance between good and evil. It's either that or it's a great excuse for the author to think up the next part of her story...snort, I'd never do that. Honest.
So thank you all to my wonderful reviewers. I know that this is a tad bit shorter then what I've written lately, but I reckon that as long as I keep my min. words above 3000 I'm pretty much set. I've read one story that had 9 chapters and a total word amount of 2000 or something like that, and she had a shiz load of author's notes. :D Like what I'm doing now....whoops.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who read and most especially reviewed:
Leo Gryff (it's not really important per se, it's just alluded to a small tiny bit), gina87 (here's the chapter), ShaeLynn (yes I did have to end it there :D and who rec'd it? I'd like to thank the person), TruthxInxShadow (don't hate me), Citan (Alright, romance for Harry later then...much later :D), Amora (thank you for that, if you want to read another dimension travelling one check my favourites list, story is called Deceptive Rewards), CrazyPsychoBananaHead (lol what an interesting name...and you're the only person who liked the cliffie), Danny boy (alright, slytherin for Harry later on....much later), Von (I don't like annoying you :D I think it might be dangerous for my health), Shawnculli (Thank you, wish I could claim the idea as my own, but unfortunately the dimension one has been jumping around the fanfic base for a while, I just changed it a bit), Aurora (I didn't really make you wait...just a little :D), TopQuark (my life is complete....someone said my fic rules :D), gaul1 (yes huge cliffie, :D and I aim to please), Zaln (lol...How eloquent ;) thank you for going against your norm and reviewing, I hope that this lives up to your expectations...I hope so), Wytil (Harry was still in his glamour mind you.....so not really a shock as much as the ass kicking he semi got...), Szihuoko (you're not selfish, hopefully other author's see how often I update and rush to emulate me ;) it's quite easy, you just have give up ever having a life), grand griffon (have I told you how much I love your stories?? And your favourites list drools), Lady Gallatea Ravenclaw (I had to have a cliffie because I didn't know what to do next :D forgive me?), Huggiebear (:D I take it that no-one really likes cliffies then? Alright I'll take it down to a minimum...right down to a min.).