Disclaimer: Considering that I am in no ways rich, blonde, married with children, or British, I think it's safe to say that I am not J.K. Rowling, and therefore have not written the exquisite series of that famous boy wizard, Harry James Potter.
Rating: PG-13, for violence, language, and angst
Genre: NO SLASH; Adventure/Action/Angst; not really a romance, though I tend to hint at Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ginny/Neville, and there are quite a few James/Lily moments.
Spoilers: PS/SS, CoS, PoA, GoF, and OotP.
Summary: The new school year begins and Leo makes a startling discovery that leads him to wonder: what does his deceased brother, Harry, have to do with Apollo Hero?
Dedication: To Miles (1985-2004) I miss you. Rest in peace, my friend.
Author's Note: Special thanks go to pmc (Curry25), my new beta, who has waded through my sea of grammatical nonsense and come out alive. Believe me, this chapter makes a lot more sense (and is more canonical) thanks to pmc. And also to my beloved Steffis, who taught me how to e-mail word files. I'd probably be dead without him. Also, I have taken into account the request of lostdreamer23 and have decided to put all my review responses at the end of the chapter. It really is much more efficient that way. And I would like to wish you all: HAPPY BELATED HOLIDAYS!
Nightmares of a Different Past
"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me,
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating,
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me,
'Til then I walk alone."
—"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day
James was in the halfway state between wakefulness and sleep. He drifted in and out, the late summer's sun creeping over the horizon and into the bedroom. Yet he knew that soon he'd have to get up. It was the first of September, after all, and a certain someone was starting school at Hogwarts.
He was just stealing himself to get up and wake Lily, when his wife suddenly rolled over onto her side, emitting a soft groan. "No…no…"
James sat up on his elbows, looking down at Lily with an amused smile. She was talking in her sleep. Oh, how he was going to tease her when she woke up…
But her next words wiped the grin right off his face.
James suddenly felt very cold. "Lily," he said softly, "Lily, wake up…you're dreaming…."
"Take me…not Harry…take me instead…don't kill him…please…PLEASE! NO!" She began to writhe beneath the sheets, body twisting in pain or panic, or whatever it was that caused her distress.
Lily woke up suddenly and immediately grabbed hold of James' shoulders, green eyes livid with fear. Leo stood in the doorway, already in his Hogwarts robes, looking quite scared himself. "What's wrong with mum?"
"What are you doing in here?" snapped James, not out of anger at Leo, but out of nerves.
Leo took a step back, round eyes on his mother, who was now sobbing into James' chest. "I—I was just coming to wake you up…you said you wanted to be up by seven…"
James nodded, feeling guilty for yelling. "Thank you, son. Go on and get out of those robes now. You'll be in a Muggle train station—can't have them see you dressed like that, now can we?"
Leo nodded absently and left, shutting the door to the room as he did so.
"It was just a dream, Lily," James soothed, turning back to his wife. "It's all right, it's all right…"
"No, it's not," she said vehemently, voice half-choked with tears. "He should be starting his seventh year today. He should be Quidditch captain. He should be Head Boy. He should be helping Leo through his first year. But he's not! He's not, James, he's not!"
James said nothing, but held Lily tighter to himself, marveling that no matter how many years went by, the old wound in his heart, in Lily's heart, never really healed. And no matter how many times they reassured themselves that they had accepted and healed from Harry's death, they were only lying to themselves. Things like that stay with you forever.
"I wish I could see him," she whispered, having calmed down a bit, but still keeping her head against James' chest. "I wonder if he would have grown to look like you. I wonder if he would have been handsome and talented, with a small group of close friends who would have gotten themselves into mischief every chance they could. And maybe there'd have been a girl who despised him openly, and called him arrogant, but secretly loved him."
James laughed softly, though his heart wasn't really in it, and his eyes remained sad. "Secretly, eh? I hate to tell you, love, but I could always see through your little insults and reprimands. It was obvious you fancied me."
"It was not," Lily countered in an unconvincing way.
They sat there like that for a while, until Lily finally pulled away from James, looking up at him somewhat sheepishly. "Did Leo see?"
"I'm afraid so," James sighed, looking towards the door, and rising from bed. "I should go see if he needs help getting ready."
Lily nodded, getting up herself. "I'll make breakfast," she said quietly, and hastened from the room.
James made his way to Leo's room, where the boy's school robes now lay in a pile at the foot of his bed. Leo himself was sitting in front of his trunk, now dressed in everyday Muggle clothes, rifling through his school things. His back was to the door, but James could still see the stiff arch in Leo's posture that said he was nervous about something. That, along with the fact Leo had been unfolding all his socks, and then refolding them all again.
"Leo? All ready mate?"
Leo nodded but didn't turn.
"Are you excited?" James asked.
Leo nodded again, picking a hole in the toe of one of the recently unfolded socks.
"Well," James said, feeling suddenly very intrusive in his son's room. "Mum's making breakfast, so pack up that trunk and—"
"I don't want to go to Hogwarts," Leo said suddenly.
James was sure he had heard wrong. No one didn't want to go to Hogwarts. Hogwarts was the greatest place on Earth for young wizards and witches. Everyone did everything possible to be admitted. James had spent some of the best years of his life there. Besides, Leo had been talking about going to Hogwarts nonstop since he got his letter. How could he suddenly not want to go?
"What was that?" James asked, completely taken aback.
Leo turned around to face him, eyes wide and pleading. "If I go, then…" He trailed off, looking uncertain.
James knelt beside him. "What is it that's worrying you, Leo? Classes? Making friends?"
Leo shook his head. "No…it's…mum…"
James frowned slightly. "Mum? Why are you worried about…?" And suddenly it dawned on James what was troubling his son. His heart became heavy as he looked down at the boy next to him. "Oh, Leo, you shouldn't—"
"I don't want her to be sad anymore," Leo said quickly. "I don't want her to lose another son. I don't want her to be lonely. I don't want her to think I've abandoned her—"
"She won't, Leo, she won't," James said, throat tight. He placed his hands on Leo's shoulders and looked straight into his eyes. "She knows you'll come back to her on holidays, and that you'll write. She knows you have to go to school to become a wizard. She wants you to go, believe me, and so do I. We'll miss you of course, but it won't be as though you're gone forever like…"
"Like Harry," Leo said, looking more serious than James could ever remember him looking.
"Yes, Leo," James answered softly. He gave Leo's shoulders a short squeeze and said: "I want you to go and learn how to be a great wizard, Leo, and not worry about us. You'll be safe there at Hogwarts, and you'll make many friends. You'll probably have so much fun you won't even think about us."
Leo's face scrunched up and James could see his throat working, but he turned away quickly, playing with the socks again. "I'll think about you," he said after awhile, so quietly that James had to strain to hear. "And I'll write every day."
James gave Leo's shoulders one last squeeze and stood up. "Well," he said softly, "don't take too long packing up. Breakfast should be ready soon, and we can't be late getting to the platform."
"I know, Dad," came the response.
James went to the door, but paused before leaving. "And you'd best eat well at breakfast; it's a long train ride, and you'll get hungry right quick."
"I know, Dad."
James made to leave, but paused again. "And Leo…you'll be fine, son."
"I know, Dad."
Sirius was on edge, yet he couldn't explain why, he just was. It was as though there was something in the air, some slow-working poison, penetrating his thoughts and dreams with horrible delusions. Each night for the past few weeks, he had dreamed of the most terrible things, things that had never happened to him, but felt as though they had.
Each dream, or nightmare rather, seemed so real, so personal, all the details so very precise, that when he woke, it felt as though he had been remembering some past experience. The only thing was, the dream was not his past.
He did not know why he dreamed of these things, or how, but it bothered him that he did. One night last week, for example, he had envisioned himself in a filthy cave, gnawing what little meat there was off the bones of rats. He had felt the pangs of hunger, fear, and desperation in that cave, though he could not explain why. While he was dreaming them, however, he did seem to know why. He was conscious of the reasons for his hunger, his fear, his desperation. Yet when he woke up from them, he could not remember.
By far, though, last night's nightmare, or vision, or whatever it was, had been the worst. He dreamed of his own death, though the details were a bit foggy. It was not so much the actual death that bothered him, but rather the emotions tied to it. They were so real—as if it had actually happened. The shocked feeling of sudden and unexpected death had stayed with him well after waking; and he could still hear James, or who he assumed was James, crying out Sirius' name in horror as he watched the death.
Even the light of morning could not quell the disturbed feeling Sirius now carried with him, as he stood at the window overlooking the forest beyond his home. He shivered slightly, though it was quite warm out, as summer had not yet given into the chill of the fast-approaching autumn.
"Sirius?" Apollo asked, coming up behind him. "Are you ready to go?" The boy had enchanted his trunk to float by his side, obviously taking advantage of the fact he was now of age and, therefore, allowed to use magic outside of school. In his left hand he carried a very handsome broom.
"Yes, I'm ready. And you?"
Apollo nodded. "I've got everything packed. Cauldron, books, robes."
Sirius nodded to the broom curiously. "Where did you get that?"
"What? This? Oh, this is my Firebolt. I brought it with me when I came here. I thought I had lost it, but I found it again the other day in the woods."
"I've never heard of a Firebolt before," Sirius said, intrigued. "Mind if I take a look?"
"Not at all," Apollo said, though he suddenly looked a bit nervous.
It was indeed a very handsome broom, and also a very curious one. Sirius had always fancied himself something of a "Quidditch connoisseur". The fact that such a broom as this had escaped his knowledge both troubled and intrigued him.
Handing the Firebolt back to Apollo, Sirius took a deep breath and smiled a bit more heartily than he felt at the moment.
"Well, then. I suppose we had best get going," he said in a falsely cheery voice. "Don't want to miss the train. It leaves at eleven o'clock sharp."
Apollo nodded. "Let's go then."
The steam from the engine blew across the platform like a fog as wizards and witches hurried to get their children onto the train. Harry weaved his way through the baggage littering the area, dragging his own trunk behind him. Sirius led the way to one of the carts towards the end of the train where the Potters, Longbottoms, and Weasleys were standing.
"Hello there!" James called, seeing them approaching. "Glad to see you made it."
"Hiya Sirius, Apollo!" said Leo. He ran towards them, smiling.
"Hello, Leo," Harry said, putting down his trunk and scanning the windows of the train for an empty compartment.
"You can sit in my compartment, if you'd like," Leo offered.
"Thanks," Harry said, lifting his trunk again and following Leo to one of the doors on the cart. He helped Harry put his trunk onto the rack, and then glanced eagerly at the broom in his hands.
"I didn't know you owned one!" The first-year exclaimed.
"Er, yeah…" Harry said uncertainly. It had not occurred to him before that this world may not have Firebolts until he had shown Sirius the broom. Sirius had never heard of one before; and by the way Leo was staring at it, Harry could tell that he hadn't either.
Leo looked as though he were going to question Harry further about his broomstick, when there was a loud, shrill whistle.
"The train must be leaving soon," Leo said. He hopped out of the compartment and walked over to where his parents were standing. Harry watched them quietly, the same way he had once watched another family, years ago, when he, himself, was only a first-year.
Leo hugged both his parents goodbye, shared some last words Harry could not hear, and then walked back to the compartment, this time accompanied by Donna, Neville, Ron, and Ginny. As Harry made way for them all to enter, he heard someone call him.
"Apollo! Apollo, come here a moment!"
It was Lily. She was smiling at him, beckoning him over to where she stood.
He hopped down the stairs of the compartment and over to her, James, and Sirius.
"We just wanted to wish you luck, Apollo," James said, smiling.
"Yes," Lily said nodding. "And also," she lowered her voice slightly, "could you perhaps keep an eye on Leo for us? I don't mean for you to follow his every move…just, look out for him."
"Of course," Harry said. He would have done just that even if she had not asked.
"Good man," James said jovially, and gave his shoulders a pat. "I'm sure you'll have a grand time at Hogwarts."
"Sure he will," Sirius said. "Everyone does."
Harry looked at them, suddenly noticing that he was almost as tall as Sirius and James, and taller than Lily. For some reason this made him feel very sad, as if he had lost something quite irreplaceable. And in that moment he knew he could never be their child, for he was practically an adult. He would never know what it was like to be comforted during thunderstorms, or read to at bedtime. He had gained parents far too late in life. If only he had known them sooner, when there was still innocence left within him, when he was still young and naïve enough to believe that good would always prevail, and that nothing bad could ever really happen to him or those he loved. He no longer had a need for parents. He had lost it forever. They had come too late.
The conductor gave the warning call, breaking him from his thoughts.
"Well, I'll see you then," Harry said. "And thanks, Sirius, for everything."
"My pleasure, Apollo," Sirius said. "It was nice to get to know you. I'm sure I'll see you again soon."
After he said his goodbyes, Harry hurried back into the compartment. Ron, Ginny, and Neville had gone; only Donna and Leo were left.
"Where are the others?" Harry asked, choosing a seat by the window.
"Ron and Ginny are prefects," Donna explained, "and Neville's Head Boy."
And just as she finished saying this, a very familiar, bushy-haired someone, walked past their compartment, stopped, and then doubled back.
"Apollo!" Hermione exclaimed, entering halfway through the door. "How are you?"
"I'm all right. You?"
"Fine!" she beamed, "I'm just fine. It's so good to see you."
"You, too. Would you like to sit with us?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Apollo," Hermione said, sounding quite disappointed. "It's just, I'm Head Girl, you see, and I have to go and sit with the…"
"Oh, that's all right," Harry said. "Go on. I'll see you at the feast later."
Hermione nodded and continued down the hall.
"You know her?" Leo asked.
"Yeah, we've met," Harry said.
"That's the Granger girl, isn't it?" Donna said. "Neville talks about her sometimes. Says that she's a real know-it-all. No one likes her much."
"That's too bad," Harry said, a pang of longing for his world's Hermione rising in his chest. "She's real nice."
Donna shrugged as the last whistle was blown. As the train began to move, she and Leo jumped up and went to the window, waving to their families. And Harry knew, homesickness welling up within him, somewhere in a different world there was a different Hogwarts Express leaving a different Platform Nine and Three Quarters towards a different Hogwarts, and this year, he wouldn't be on it…
Instead of taking the lift to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as he was supposed to do, Sirius decided to get off at the Department of Magical Games and Sports. He hadn't visited that floor in a good while, and was in a mood to do so. Besides, he had a few minutes to spare before he was needed at the office, and there was something he needed to check out.
Walking through the halls towards Ludo Bagman, the department head's, office, Sirius ran right into Bagman himself, looking as cheerful as ever with three professional broomsticks tucked under his arm.
"Good morning, Sirius!" Bagman said brightly. "What brings you to this level?"
"Well, you know," Sirius said easily, "I haven't been here in some time. You can't get enough of Quidditch."
"No, that you can't," Bagman agreed, as if it were the truest and most solemn statement ever spoken. "Is there anything I can do for you today, Sirius?"
"Actually, yes," Sirius said, running a casual hand through his hair. "I was just wondering, have you ever heard of a broom called a Firebolt?"
"A Firebolt?" Bagman asked. "No, I haven't. And if I haven't, then it's sure not to exist," he added with a short laugh.
"Well, thank you very much, Ludo, for clearing that up for me," Sirius said, laughing along with him. "I had best get to the office now, though. I'll see you around then, eh?"
"See you," Ludo called, waving a hand merrily as he walked away.
Sirius stared after him as he climbed back into the lift. "How very interesting," he said to no one in particular. "Very, very interesting."
"Things are going to be awful quiet around here," James said, looking around the kitchen. Leo had been gone before, to visit Sirius or friends, but this time, his departure was different. He would not be coming back until Christmas.
"I wonder if this is how my parents felt, after I left to go to Hogwarts," he mused.
Lily snorted. "I'm sure they were glad to get you out of the house, James."
James laughed. "Probably." He stood and walked over to where Lily was kneeling by the large cauldron in the fireplace.
Lily looked up at him, the heat from the fire making her flush. "Are you worried?"
"Me?" James asked, trying to look incredulous. "Worried? Of course not. Leo will be fine. Hogwarts is very safe."
"Why are you worried, James?" Lily asked, ignoring his admonitions to the contrary.
James sighed. "There's no fooling you, is there?"
Lily shook her head, a small smile curling her lips. "I don't know why you even bother."
There was a silence, broken only by the sizzling of the cauldron. Then, Lily spoke again.
"So, you haven't answered my question yet. Why are you worried?"
"Same reasons you are. Voldemort's been taking an interest in Hogwarts's students. You can bet Leo will be on the top of his list…"
"And what list would that be?" Lily asked, her voice calm, as if she were a professor helping a student through a difficult problem. James often thought she'd have made a good teacher.
"Whatever list he keeps," James said wryly. "You know if he has one, our family's near the top, which means Leo, too."
Lily stood, wiping her hands on a small dish towel lying nearby. "Dumbledore will keep him safe," she said, trying to convince herself, as well as James.
"I know," James said, "but I can't help worrying. I mean, sure he's safe, but didn't Dumbledore say that Harry would be safe—"
He stopped short, inwardly berating himself for bringing up that subject again.
Lily looked at him, her expression unreadable, the emotions in her green eyes well guarded. "Things were different with Harry," she said softly.
James nodded. "Yes, of course." He touched her cheek with the back of his hand, smiling sadly. "When did we become so overprotective?"
Lily smiled back, but didn't answer, staring into the flames. They stayed that way for awhile before James finally said, in much lighter tones: "So, what mischief shall we pursue whilst our son is away?"
Lily's eyes glinted, but before she could answer, there came the unmistakable sounds of someone entering the house. They glanced at each other, and Lily rolled her eyes as James called: "In the kitchen, Sirius!"
"Now all we need is a way to get rid of him 'til Christmas," Lily muttered.
Sirius clambered into the kitchen, grinning. "Guess what I learned in school today!" he said.
"What's that?" Lily asked, busying herself over the cauldron again.
"There is no such thing as a Firebolt," Sirius announced. James waited for more, but none came.
"So what?" James asked.
"So what? SO WHAT?" Sirius said, adopting an amazed look on his face. "So, Apollo's got himself a Firebolt, that's what!"
"Is this supposed to mean something to us, Sirius?" Lily asked, her back to him still.
"What is a Firebolt?" James asked.
"A type of broom," Sirius said. "Apollo owns one. I saw it today. I held it and everything. It was a genuine, real broomstick, or I'm a lethifold. One of the best I've ever seen. But I'd never heard of one before, so I went to ask Ludo Bagman about it—just out of curiosity—and he said there was no such thing. And he is in a position to know, mind you."
Lily turned. "What are you getting at, Sirius?"
"Well, it's odd, isn't it? I mean, he owns something that doesn't exist, he just shows up in the middle of the forest, Dumbledore knows him…There's just something about him that doesn't add up. I'm not saying he's a danger to our side, or anything like that. He's a very nice lad, actually, I got along famously with him, but…there's something strange about him, something I can't put my finger on. It's almost as if I've met him somewhere before this summer, even though I know I haven't. Do you know what I mean?"
James nodded. "Actually, I do. I've been getting this…feeling…ever since he first showed up. It's not a bad feeling exactly, but it's not a good one either. It's just a feeling. Like some sort of presence has been following me."
"Yes, a presence," Lily said. "I've felt it, too…and I've also dreamed things…horrible things…" she broke off, shuddering slightly.
"Same with me," Sirius said, darkly. "I keep dreaming about…about things…"
James suddenly felt as though they were all twelve again, telling ghost stories. The fire in the corner only helped with the atmosphere.
"What kinds of things, Sirius?" Lily asked. She seemed very eager all of a sudden, as if Sirius' answer would give her some sort of assurance.
"Things that have never happened, or at least not to me." he looked around at the two of them, grey eyes narrowed. "I saw…that night…only it was different. Harry was, well, he was alive, and you two were…were not. And then I went in search of Peter, instead of Remus…"
Lily was staring at Sirius so intently that James was sure she would burn a hole right through him. "I dreamed something similar…just last night." She swallowed and continued. "I watched…James…be killed by Voldemort. I saw Voldemort advance on me, asking for Harry, saying that he would spare my life if I gave him up…"
"But you didn't," Sirius said, as if he knew just as much about her dream as she did. "You gave your life for him…" His eyes widened suddenly as if seeing something beyond them. "He was saved…"
"How did you know?" Lily asked in a voice barely above a whisper.
Sirius shook his head. "I just do."
"What the hell is going on?" James asked quietly to no one in particular, a shiver going up his spine. Were his wife and best friend sending each other telepathic messages in their dreams, or was something else going on?
"I don't know," Lily said, her voice still soft. "But I have a feeling we're going to find out soon…"
After slipping into his Hogwarts robes, Leo flopped back down onto his seat in the train compartment. The things he had eaten for lunch seemed very long ago, and the sky had turned a deep velvety purple, a few early stars twinkling merrily in the sky.
"We must be nearly there," Donna remarked, fixing the collar on her robes compulsively.
"How do you think they'll do it?" Leo asked suddenly.
"Do what?" said Apollo, turning away from the window he had been staring out of.
"The Sorting," Leo explained. "I asked my parents, but they wouldn't tell me nothing about it."
"I asked Neville," quipped Donna, "but he didn't say anything either. I don't know why it's such a secret."
"I'll tell you why it's a secret…" said Apollo. He leaned forward intently, a wicked glint in his eyes.
"You know about the Sorting?" Leo asked. "How?"
"I was already sorted," he said simply, "this summer. Gryffindor," he added proudly.
"Well?" Leo pressed. "What was it like? What happened?"
"It was…" Apollo gave a theatrical shudder, "horrible. Real painful. That's why it's such a secret, you see. The professors want students to come to Hogwarts, and they know they won't come if they knew…"
"Knew what?" Donna said, her hands gripping the edge of her seat, knuckles white.
"Oh don't worry," Apollo said, brightly. "You'll live…probably. Most students do. The professors don't want students to die before they've even had a chance to spend one night at Hogwarts." He straightened up and looked at them hard. "No, you'll live. It'll hurt you, sure, but the scars will fade with time."
"But what happens?" squeaked Donna.
"I can't say," Apollo said, shaking his head sadly. "But you'll see. Just remember, the anticipation is always worse than the actual torture—er—Sorting."
Donna glanced worriedly at Leo, but Leo folded his arms across his chest. Donna may have bought Apollo's story, but Leo hadn't. No professor would submit their students to horrifying torture…right?
With a loud whistle and the squeaking of old, rusty wheels, the Hogwarts Express eventually came to a halt outside Hogsmeade Station. Steam from the engine billowed up in front of the windows as the students shuffled out of compartments, crowding around the corridor and doorways, pushing and shoving for their turn to get off.
Apollo helped Donna off the train, but Leo was eleven now and could manage without help. But just as he was going to follow Apollo and Donna out of the compartment, something shiny on the seat Apollo had been sitting on caught his eye. Curiosity taking hold, he went over to it, and picked it up.
It was an Apparating License.
And it belonged to Harry James Potter.
Leo stared at the little, plastic card for what seemed an eternity, not understanding why or how it could exist. He felt cold and detached, the hairs on his neck standing up, his legs wobbly like gelatin. The lights from the compartment made the card glossy and surreal, yet there it was, shiny and plastic and real.
There was information about Harry on the card, the card that shouldn't exist, birth date, appearance, everything. There was even a picture of Harry on it, looking identical to his father, save the eyes which were clearly his mother's.
What was Harry doing on this card? Harry was dead, long dead, and yet there he was.
Hands trembling, Leo felt a sudden flash of anger. Was someone playing a joke on him? Did some sick person think it funny to do this to him? Or…was it real?
No, no, it couldn't be real. It couldn't possibly be real.
"Leo? Are you coming?"
Leo whirled, shoving the license into a pocket in his robes, so that he could inspect it later. Apollo was standing in the doorway of the compartment, looking mildly concerned.
Leo felt his jaw drop open, and was helpless to stop it. Either he had just gone totally mad, or he was really seeing what he thought he was seeing.
Apollo looked like Harry. There was just no other way to put it. The resemblance was extraordinary. Save the blond hair, everything was exactly like the picture. The same shaped face, the same nose, the same mouth, the same eyes, even the same scar on the forehead…Oh, why hadn't he seen it before?
"Leo?" Apollo said frowning. "You're going to miss the boats. You'd better hurry up and get off the train?"
Leo took a step backwards, trying to find his voice. "I…I…"
"Are you all right?"
"I…Yeah…I'm fine…" He was staring up at Apollo, wide-eyed, questions zooming around in his head like a thousand owls. Why does Apollo look like Harry? Why did Apollo have Harry's license. Why does Harry have a license?
He felt both confused and ill, his breath coming out in uncontrollable gasps, hysteria rising in his throat. Then, in one fluid motion, before Apollo could stop him, he raced out of the compartment, through the corridor, off the train, and onto the bustling platform.
Leo had never experienced so many different emotions at once in his life, and he was finding it rather difficult to manage them all. Shivering, he pulled his cloak tighter about himself, and joined Donna in one of the first year boats, trying hard not to think about anything lest he go insane.
During the boat ride, while his fellow first years were pointing and gawking at the sight of the castle looming above them, Leo sat pensively, running all his confused thoughts through his mind, trying to come to some logistical answer. But the only answer that came was: Apollo Hero was really Harry Potter, and that wasn't logistical at all.
MOO HA HA!!!
Sorry this took so long AGAIN. Chastises self>
And now, much thanks and praise to my beloved reviewers:
Tombadgerlock: First to review! Huzzah! Thank you for your review and I praise you for your much appreciated insights. bows>
The-Ever-Lazy-One: Hehe, I'm a poor American, too. I'm sorry about the confusion with the Talisman! I should have explained better, bad editing on my part. He doesn't sleep with it on, you see, it's a tad uncomfortable. This is not very wise of Harry, but alas, Harry himself is not very wise. Thank you so much for reviewing! (Awesome name, by the way.)
NoAlias: I love that you did a little dance for my update! I'm sorry this took so long. I am a terrible, terrible person for making you wait. Honestly, the guilt has kept me up at night. ;) Thank you very much, my dear!
Lady Gallatea Ravenclaw: Yes, yes they are. Bwahaha. Thank you!
Night-Owl123: Thank you very much!
girlknight: Don't worry, I'll keep your identity secret, as you are so very cunning. As far as anyone else is concerned, you only reviewed once…I'm glad you got your touch back, and I'm sorry that I didn't wish you a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving way back in October. So, I'll wish you one now. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I love Darth-Vader! He's so mysterious with his helmet and so evil before he is redeemed! Ah, that Darth…Thank you, as always, my northern friend, for your wonderful threats.
scotgirl: Thank you so very much! There will be more Hogwarts next chapter, as we've only just arrived.
C.M Aeris Queen of Insanity: I'm glad it was only a little beating, though I deserve much worse than that for making you all wait again. Thank you for being gentle!
MagiciansOfTheYami: Haha, I'm always too lazy to sign in, too! Thank you so much for reviewing!
Constance Truggle: Thank you! Yes, we are indeed getting closer to revealing who Apollo truly is to everyone…
Von: Something IS about to happen, though it's not wholly depressing, so I hope I have spared you that. As for pairing Harry, and for ships in general, I'm really not a big fan myself. I've always been a horrid shipper, finding very few romance fics interesting. So don't worry too much about the Harry/Ginny stuff, as there won't be much of it. Thank you so much!
lostdreamer23: Thank you for the advice and the review! I knew after the last chapter someone would comment on that.
FutureGoddess: Wow, thanks!
TheHufflepunk: Hahaha! I guess you would be a Huffleclaw, or a Ravenpuff. It's good that you are able to admit your Hufflepuff nature, as so very few people do. It took me a good long while to get over my denial and finally admit that my house colors are yellow and black. Thank you so much for reviewing!
Dragon Tyrion: HUG!!!
Sirius Revenge: Don't worry; I happen to like your detached and nonsense-filled reviews. Thank you!
Larna Mandrea: There will be more "doorperson" in the next chapter, and yes, the identity of doorperson will be revealed. Thank you very much, my friend!
Depressed Gothic Raven: Well, thank you very very much!
siriuslyhot!!!: I guess you're going to have to jinx me, as I failed to update quickly. Thank you for reviewing!
wolfawaken: YAY! An update! Thanks!
Kyntor: The duel between Harry and Draco wasn't so much a duel as it was a "Muggle fight". And Harry did in fact win, despite the fact that the Draco, the other Death Eaters and Voldemort all cheat and fight dirty. Yes, Harry has fought off Death Eaters and Voldemort before and come out victorious, but that was either due to a series of unusual circumstances, or because he had the help of his friends. Harry isn't superman, and while he can hold his own and excels at Defense, he's still a teenager and has a lot more to learn.
hermione21: The answers shall come, all in good time…Thank you!
azntgr01: Cheer up! Here at last is an update! Thanks!
Madfoot Moony: Thank you very much!
Miss Runa Black: As you can see from this chapter, Sirius is beginning to figure out certain things. Thanks!
midnight star: All your questions shall be answered…eventually. Hehe. Thanks!
FullMoon-Witch: Please don't be mad! Believe me, I make myself mad with my lack of quick updates. I'm really glad you like it! Thank you very much!
Amitra Minh Day: Thank you!
preoperative: Don't worry, you haven't missed anything. Next chapter I shall reveal the identity of the doorperson for those who have not yet figured it out. And as for the thing Dumbledore was saying, it's okay if you were a bit confused, he's Dumbledore after all, and Harry really didn't understand him either. Thank you!
gaul1: Thank you!
Aussie-Girl3: Thanks very much!
kyLaaa: Hehe, it is most definitely my constitutional right to add cliffies, as I shall continue to do! Thanks!
Byrne76: Thank you very much!
belle84: Thanks, though I sort of failed at updating quickly…again.
Illusoire: Alors! Une autre Française! Mon histoire est très bizarre? Hé hé. Merci beaucoup!
hollily: Hello there! No, Harry and Hermione will not get together, and yes, Ron will be different. Neville will be the one who is the most changed in the other world, though. Thank you very much!
attackofthemarblesnatchers: Hello there! I think I know what you mean by asking how to say peoples' names when they are in the past/future (or in my case, two different worlds). I think for your story, Harry should call his parents/Sirius, etc., by their first names, but that's just my opinion, if indeed that's what you wanted to know. Thank you very much for the review!
Happyherminchen: Wow, thank you!
dress-without-sleeves: I know I didn't update soon, but do I still get chocolate, ice cream, and éclairs? Hehe. Indeed, Harry and Neville ARE the only people suited for Ginny. Thanks very much!
heyo: I'm sorry it took so long! I wept guilty tears for you and your hopefulness for updates. Please, forgive me, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well, cause I sure did! Thank you!
Assur: Hallo! Sirius doesn't need a wife, he has me! Hehehe…Harry is rather "naïve" at times, if I may quote Miss Granger from OotP (Chapter Thirty-one). The thought that he might be caught with the talisman off while sleeping never crossed his mind, but of course now, after his near-exposure, he will most certainly not make that mistake again. I love the idea of Harry as a healer, too. I haven't come across many Healer!Harry stories, though, which is too bad. Yay for German! I have been practicing my German oh so diligently to all my friends, who stare at me and mutter that I have, at long last, lost my mind. Place names like "hotel" and "airport" would be good to know, I think. Thank you so very much, Assur!
Christina Black: What, don't you like crying babies? ;)
MysterioX: Sorry about the terrible updating. I am ashamed. Thank you!
wyadra: Thank you!
Nimair Black: Sirius is getting closer to figuring out the mystery, and he will not soon forget about James (Harry) Apparating in his house. As for the mysterious doorperson…you'll see.
Kilikapele: Hello!!! I've missed you, my friend! Your review made my day; you had me laughing so hard. Oh my gosh, I'm allergic to everything to! And I'm such a nerd about it, what with my asthma inhalers and allergy meds and epi-pen. Hehe. Huzzah! I'm a mastermind! That sounds so conniving and devious, doesn't it? I like it. Mmm…you've got me on the peanut-butter hot chocolate deal. I wonder, I've never had Californian hot chocolate…I bet it would good and California-y. Thank you so so so so much!!! I love you more than you can ever imagine! Cheers!
antares520: You are quite on top of things! Good for you, and thank you very much for reviewing!
Silver Warrior: Thank you very much! bows>
Xandria Nirvana: :) Thank you!
Maryx: You are just all over the place, aren't you, my friend. Thank you so much, for your comments here and on the other site. Yeah, about that the license thing…when it came to acquiring an Apparation license my imagination kind of took a holiday, but it's so much important HOW Harry got it, as it is THAT he got it, for reasons you can probably see in this chapter. Ah well, maybe someday I'll go back and make it a bit more interesting. Once again, thank you very much!
Sei-san: Don't cry! Here's an update for you! Be happy! Thanks!
moonfyre: Thank you!