Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognise. Characters, places, spells – anything from the Harry Potter books are not mine. I am simply a poor student with a severe lack of money. All that's mine is the plot.

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James' Duel

Is he fake?

"So, what were you planning on secretly doing about this bloke?" Harry asked, still puzzled and somewhat suspicious, but mostly annoyed that they hadn't told him. It was the principle of it – it concerned him, just like so much other stuff that was concealed from him. Having Dumbledore and Co hide things from him was one thing (that he hated), but having his friends doing it seemed a whole lot worse.

"Well," Hermione sighed, "that's just what we were talking about when you came in. We don't know what we're going to do next."

Harry rubbed his forehead, for once experiencing a normal headache rather than one caused by his scar.

"I haven't got any relations in the world apart from the Dursleys, so he's definitely not family."

A thought came to Ron. "What about, like when we used Polyjuice Potion? Maybe he's doing that to look like you for some odd reason."

Harry raised one eyebrow and Hermione actually let out a short laugh. "Except that he somehow managed to look older than Harry."

"What good would it do him anyway? Nobody tells me anything," Harry input, with a note of bitterness in his voice, "and it would be obvious he was a fake when I went to school in September. It wouldn't be advantageous to him."

"You don't know how clever he is though or whether he's even sane. But even then we're forgetting he was in St. Mungo's unconscious for a long time – he wouldn't have been able to take Polyjuice Potion then."

"You're right, Hermione, except that we didn't see him when we went back there. We don't know whether he still looked the same when he left."

"We'll just have to wait and see then." Harry concluded.

"Harry, we should at least tell someone." Hermione protested.

Harry scowled. "What? That you saw someone who looked like me who collapsed? I'm sure there are plenty of people who look like me. Either way, I'm sure we can cope if anything happens."

Ron shook his head. "No mate, he looked exactly like you, but older. But I agree – we've done all we can, at least for now."

Hermione was looking worried. "We-"

"No Hermione. I don't want to rush into anything again, okay? You know what happened last time."

And that ended the subject once and for all. Or so they assumed.

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The ministry fell silent as James walked in with Dumbledore. The normal hustle and bustle and rush of people to-ing and fro-ing came to a wondrous halt as they all stared at the newcomer. The people who had been working there for years recognised James instantly and they all wondered different things; who was this impostor? Had Dumbledore actually gone off his rocker? Why were they letting him into the Ministry? Or could he actually be James Potter? And if he was, where the hell had he been all this time?

However off normality Dumbledore seemed to be going lately, they had to admit they had been wrong about things, like Sirius Black, for example. They should at least talk to this man, whoever he was, and give him a fair hearing.

The silence continued and lasted until James and Dumbledore reached the second level and entered the Auror office, where they bumped into Gawain Robards, who had recently been appointed Head of the Auror Office.

He looked at James disbelievingly, and then moved closer as if expecting to find that James was wearing a simple muggle disguise. Eventually he stepped back and scratched his chin.

"Care to explain, Dumbledore?" He asked.

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News travelled fast. The press – all of the smaller newspapers, magazines and the Daily Prophet, along with reporters from WWN and other radio stations gathered in the Atrium. Obviously they had tried their best to get inside the Ministry to level 2 and would've been at the windows trying to snap photos of 'James Potter' had the Ministry building not been underground.

Some had tried to enter the Ministry through the red telephone box, but had been refused entry. So, in the end some had resorted to apparating in, whilst the bulk of the reporters had decided to clog up the floo network because they were worried about getting splinched – they didn't know whether the security at the Ministry had been heightened or not.

Of course they tried to get past security, but Eric Munch was having none of it. He had let James in because he had been with Dumbledore and he had his wand checked etc. It was clear that this 'James Potter' couldn't just go walking around as he was. The reporters were an unwelcome addition to the Atrium. There was no way they would get past security and they knew it – even the ones who had sneakily tried to disguise themselves hadn't come anywhere near close to getting through. So they just stood waiting for a first glimpse of 'James Potter' or an official with any snippet of information that they could turn into a story. The golden prize would be a picture or a quote. A fabricated quote was never as effective.

For hours the reporters waited. Then, finally, a worn out harassed looking bloke in a smart blue robes stood before them, on the other side of the gates. Immediately the Atrium once again filled with the hubbub of noise from the reporters vying for attention and talking amongst themselves.

"Heh – hum." The worn out harassed looking bloke cleared his throat and the Atrium went silent. Hands clutched parchment and quills, poised to copy down whatever this man had to say, fingers hovered above camera buttons and recording equipment.

"Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic and Gawain Robards, Head of the Auror Office have issued the following statement concerning leaked rumours and whisperings to do with Mr James Potter:

It is correct that a man claiming to be James Potter, who was previously thought to have been murdered by Voldemort, entered the Ministry of Magic this morning with Albus Dumbledore, currently Head teacher at Hogwarts. He was allowed to enter after having his wand checked and went straight to the Auror Offices, where he was met by Gawain Robards.

The man is now undergoing extensive questioning and tests to prove his true identity beyond any doubt. As such, the Ministry will not be answering any questions about him until we are absolutely sure of who or what we are dealing with."

This refusal met with an uproar from the reporters, causing the reader to stop until the noise died down once more.

"From initial questions and tests we can, however, assure the public that we have found no connection to You-Know-Who or traces of any kind of unforgivable curse and do not believe this man to be dangerous.

We expect to be dealing with this man for several hours, if not overnight, before we can provide any more answers."

The scratching of quills filled the room as the reader finished and the shouting began again as the reader turned away and disappeared down the hall once more.

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The WWN newsflash interrupted the Weird Sisters at an inappropriate point in the music, but nobody in the Weasley household batted an eyelid. It was a common interruption nowadays and was the main reason why the radio tended to remain on whenever anyone was awake.

Mr Weasley was still at work, as were the twins, leaving Molly, Ginny and Ron along with Hermione and Harry, who were staying at the Burrow until school began again in September.

Being the nearest, Ginny reached over to the worktop and turned the radio up.

"We interrupt the Weird Sisters to bring you a perplexing story on which we have little information to impart. The James Potter riddle continues following a statement from top Ministry officials that failed to tell us much of consequence.

A man claiming to be James Potter entered the Ministry of Magic with Albus Dumbledore this morning and is being questioned and tested by top Ministry officials. All we have been told is that the man is not believed to be dangerous or associated with You-Know-Who and that no more information will be given until the Ministry are sure of his true identity, which they expect to take at least several hours longer, if not overnight.

As soon as we have obtained more information we shall update this story.

WWN News, bringing you the latest, quickest, always."

Ron's sausages dropped from his mouth in a most disgusting way, Hermione gaped, Ginny looked bewildered, Mrs Weasley stared at the radio as if it were broken and Harry's blood drained from his face.

For a few moments they just sat in shock. Harry was astonished; completely astonished, though he was 99 per cent sure that the man could not be his father. What ifs and hows crowded his mind.

In the end it was Ron who broke the disbelieving silence.

"Well, I told you he looked exactly like you but older."

Mrs Weasley turned to her son with a murderous glare. "You what?"

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A/N: Seemed an apt place to finish. On to the next chapter! Sorry it took so long, the page view count was inspiring, but review count wasn't. Either way, I am continuing at the end of Harry's fifth year/beginning of sixth year with Sirius dead. This is not to say that he won't be in it later on. The next chapter is already part done and I am sure of the plot, so an update will never take as long.
The lines will not work for me and the uploading thing is being odd at the moment, so as soon as I can, I will reformat this chapter.
The next update depends on when I can finish the chapter and two things a) reviews and b) me - I got my A level results today and am going to celebrate! (anyone who says that A levels are getting easier is wrong - they aren't...and people who took their A levels decades ago generally have no clue what they are like now and, as such, should not pass comment.).

Tanya :D