Lily Potter and
the Worst Holiday
Standard Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
WARNING: Harsh Language and Adult Themes
Chapter One Summary: For Lily Potter, Halloween always dredges up memories of the day her son was murdered. Now, sixteen years to the day of her son's murder, Professor Potter must deal with six visitors. Ships include: Lily/James and Harry/Hermione.
For Muggles, Halloween was a time for children to dress up as witches, monsters, or heroes. For magical folk, Halloween is not known for costumes, rather it is known as a time for festivals and feasts.
But, for Lily Potter, Halloween is a time that always brings up memories of pain, suffering, and death. It is because of these memories that Lily hated Halloween.
She tried not to show her dislike of that day to any of her students. They were usually in a jolly mood on Halloween, and Lily didn't want to dampen their spirits with stories of her past Halloweens.
In the past, Lily had always found an excuse to separate herself from the students on this holiday. Unfortunately for her plans, this Halloween fell on a Hogsmeade Weekend, and Lily was needed as a chaperone.
On an average Hogsmeade Weekend, the students were always bustling between shops and having a "grand ol' time". Given that this weekend was also Halloween, the children should have been nearly delirious with happiness.
But there seemed to be something in the air around Hogsmeade. Everyone appeared to sense it. It was as if they were anticipating something big, something unknown. Whatever that something was, it made the hairs on the back of Lily's neck stand on end.
Someone bumped into Lily with a thud.
"Sorry, Professor Potter," Dean Thomas apologized. "I didn't see you…"
"It's alright Mr. Thomas," Lily said to the seventh year Gryffindor. Her mind flashed to another horrible Halloween memory as she looked at Dean. Two of his housemates were killed by a Troll six years ago today. Lily was with a few of her fellow professor when they had stumbled across the ruined girls' loo and found the mutilated bodies of the boy and girl. As horrifying as that memory was, it paled in comparison to that one particular Halloween, sixteen years ago. Her mind involuntarily drifted back to terrible events of that horrible day:
Their feet pounded up the stairs as the monster's cold high laugh filled the house. Lily begged to every god and spirit that she could think of, 'please let me get there in time!'
But, with the sound of a small pop, the laughter stopped. The logical part of her brain realized that the monster had apparated away and they were too late. But Lily refused to heed that part of her mind; she refused to believe that her baby was gone.
Lily and her husband, James, froze in the doorway to the nursery. They both saw the motionless lump under the covers. James gasped and fell roughly to his knees. Lily, still refusing to believe what her mind was telling her and what her eyes saw, staggered towards the small lump.
"Harry…b-ba- baby," her voice trembled more than her hands did. "Harry, please wake up…"
"Professor Potter," Dean's voice drew Lily out of her memories, out of her daily nightmare. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, Mr. Thomas, thank you," Lily said. "Just keep an eye on where you are walking."
The young man nodded his head and walked away. As Lily looked around the village, it was obvious that everyone was distracted, not just Dean.
A smile appeared on Lily's face as she saw a tall girl carrying two bottles of butterbeer walk toward her.
"Hello, Alice," Lily greeted the fifteen year-old girl.
"'Lo, Mum," Alice replied as she handed Lily a bottle. "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine, love," Lily responded. Alice knew that her mother wasn't telling her the truth, but the young girl knew not to press her.
After Lily took a sip of her drink, she told her daughter, "You shouldn't bother with your mum. Go and have a good time with your friends."
"You're not a bother, mum," Alice said with a smile. "Besides, I rarely get to spend any time with you outside of school."
"How are the two smartest and most beautiful witches in the world?" a familiar masculine voice called out to the two Potter women. Alice broke from her mother and rushed to her father, jumping around his neck in a hug.
"DADDY!" She shouted in his ear. "I haven't seen you in ages!"
"Alice, luv," James chuckled, "I saw you less than a month ago."
"Oh, tosh! It felt like forever to me"
James staggered over to his wife with his daughter still hanging from his neck. Lily would never cease to be amazed at how much Alice resembled her father, James. Not in her facial features, mind you. She believed that Alice closely resembled Lily's own mother. But Alice did remind Lily of James in many other ways. She moved like he did, and she made the same gestures as James did when she talked. The girl had inherited James' long limbs, and at 15 years old, was almost as tall as her father was (which made her a full head taller than most of her fellow students in her year). Unfortunately, in Lily's mind, Alice had inherited her full, auburn curly-mane from her mother.
"'Lo, Love," James said as he included Lily in the family embrace. "How are you holding up?"
Lily attempted to answer, but her lips quivered ever so slightly. She settled for a simple shrug in response. She knew she could not lie to him and say she was 'All right', because she knew he was feeling the same thing. He was there with Lily when it happened; he saw the small form lying unmoving in the crib. He was the one who had pried her hands off of their son's cold body as she begged for the baby to wake up. James tried to smile and failed. He kissed his wife in hopes of comforting her.
A single tear fell from Lily's eye. James and Alice held on to Lily. She didn't just cry for her own sake; she cried because James had lost his first born son. Lily also cried because Alice never got to meet her brother, and because Harry never got the chance to teach Remmy how to play Quidditch.
"Where's Remmy?" James asked as if he had heard Lily's thoughts. He always did seem to have the knack for knowing what Lily was thinking.
"Five," Lily responded and held up her hand with her fingers extended. James furrowed his brow and gave Lily a puzzled look.
"Four," she continued and lowered one of her fingers a second later despite James' confused look. "Three…" another finger lowered, "two…" and then another, "one."
"DADDY!" a blur shouted as it, or rather he, jumped into the group hug as Lily finished her countdown.
"DaddyhaveyouseenZonko'stheyhaveallthiscoolstuffandthenthesweetshopHonnyduke'shascockroachclustersandthere'sanewbroom…" the young auburn-haired boy rambled out.
"Remmy," James interrupted his son, "say hello to your mum."
"'Lo, Mum," Remmy said with a smile and then continued to ramble to his father about the joys of Hogsmeade:
After James responded with a few "Yes"'s and one "That's wild", Remmy fell silent and as he finally noticed the sad look in his parents' eyes.
"Oh, sorry…" Remmy mumbled. "I forgot what day it was."
"It's alright, luv," Lily said as she rubbed her son's back.
"No it's not," Remmy replied mournfully. "I shouldn't be happy when you're not."
"Remmy, luv, you couldn't be more wrong," James said with an honest smile.
"You being happy is what makes us happy," Lily finished and kissed her son.
"And here's poor Uncle Sirius, left out of this lovely display of affection," a tall dark haired man said overdramatically.
"SIRIUS!" the two children screamed and lunged at their parents' friend.
"OOF!" Sirius grunted as the young boy and girl hugged him. "Geroff, you two."
"Hello, James," Remus Lupin said as he walked up to the growing group.
"Good morning, Professor Lupin," Alice greeted him.
"Alice Potter," Lupin playfully chastised the girl. "How many times have I told you that outside of the classroom you and your brother are to refer to me as 'Remus'?"
"Sorry, Pro… R-Remus," Alice stuttered and looked like she had done something terribly wrong and got caught doing it.
"I would never have thought that saying my name would be as difficult as saying 'Voldemort'," Remus chuckled. To Lily's displeasure, Remmy and Alice shuddered at the Dark Lord's name. Lily would have lectured her children again on how they shouldn't fear a silly name, but she saw a red-haired girl, who was passing by when Remus said "Voldemort," jump and squeak in fear as she heard the Dark Lord's name spoken aloud.
"Ms. Weasley," Lily said with compassion to the coppery haired young witch, "it's just a name. No one should fear a name, dear." 'Just fear the man' she thought to herself.
"Sorry, Professor Potter," Ginny said meekly. She then turned to Lupin. "Professor Lupin, can I ask you a question? I know we're not in class, but I'm really having trouble with the shield charm."
"Well, let's head back to the castle and I can help you with your problem," Lupin replied as Ginny started to walk towards her DADA Professor. "Most people have a problem with that charm. Usually it just a matter of confidence…"
Just as Ginny was walking by Sirius, she bumped into something, or someone who wasn't there.
"Ooof," the person who was not there exclaimed. "Oops."
Lily looked at Sirius with a glare that she saved for her most bothersome pupils. Upon noticing Lily's stance and expression, both Remus and James unconsciously took a step back, whereas Sirius was frozen in place with a guilty smile on his face.
"Sirius Phineas Black!" Lily scolded him, and he almost literally shrunk a few inches. Remmy muttered in horror "…All three names!"
"Your daughter is only a second year!" Lily continued. "Michelle is NOT allowed outside of the castle grounds until next year!"
"Looks like you've been busted mate," James said sympathetically.
"Oi!" Sirius shot back at his best friend. "It's your cloak!"
Lily spun and cast a look at her husband that would make most men run in fear. Her brilliant green eyes where blazing as she stepped towards James so that their noses were just a few inches apart. James cringed as he prepared himself for the approaching verbal onslaught.
But Lily's tirade on school rules was abruptly cut off when the earth shook beneath their feet, as if a large explosion occurred far away. Everyone in Hogsmeade, students and adults alike, looked at one another hoping that someone could explain what had just happened. Lily felt another ripple through the magic that surrounded her. Again, the ground quaked for a brief moment.
"Daddy, I'm scared," Lily heard Michelle Black's disembodied voice coming from next to Sirius. He quickly wrapped his arms around his invisible daughter. Lily felt Remmy clutching onto her robes as the ground trembled yet again.
The magic in the air began to throb and Lily's skin prickled.
"Kids, get behind us," Lily told Alice, Remmy, Ginny, and Michelle. She, James, Remus, and Sirius stood protectively in front of the children.
Then, it happened.
A great wind blew out of nowhere, nearly knocking Lily down. She heard screams and shouts as other people around her were unable to keep their footing and fell roughly to the ground. Lily had to shield her eyes with her arm as a cloud of dust and dirt blew by her.
As the dust settled, Lily saw six… forms in the town square. For a spilt second, she thought they were simply great globs of black mud, but then one of the forms stood up.
They were people!
Three of the forms lay motionless on the ground while two of the other forms were barely moving. The one that stood up was obviously a boy or a small man judging by his size and build. His left arm swung limply at his side, clearly broken in several places. He staggered for two or three steps then fell to the ground with a thump.
That's when everyone began to panic.
The scene erupted into a near-riot within seconds; people were screaming and running in blind terror. Some of the smaller students were being knocked to the ground inadvertently by other students and the citizens of Hogsmeade.
Remus stepped forward and pointed his wand at his throat and muttered the incantation for the Sonorus Charm.
"Hogwarts Students!" Remus shouted in his amplified voice. "Calm down!" The shocked students stopped panicking and looked at their DADA Professor and the others stopped running.
Lily rushed up to the motionless bodies and performed a quick Diagnostic Charm. It was a simple charm that she had learned in the war with Voldemort. It basically warned the caster if the victim had any life threatening injuries. The students, Lily assumed they were students as they appeared to be around their mid to late teens, were beaten and battered but nothing life threatening, luckily they were just unconscious. The two forms that had barely been moving before now had fallen unconscious as well.
"Prefects, escort the other students back to the castle," Remus' voice boomed through the streets. Lily preformed the Diagnosis Charm again on the boy who had staggered a few steps; he was the only one of the group still moving. He, like the other five, was completely coated from head to toe in the thick black ooze. His spectacles were covered with muck, rendering him temporarily blind.
"Students: proceed back to the castle in a calm and orderly fashion," Remus ordered in his magically amplified voice.
The bespectacled boy seemed to react to Remus' voice. It was obvious to Lily that he mustered up the last bit of his strength and said so weakly that only Lily could hear:
"Moony… Moony… warn Dumbledore…" his voice croaked, "Voldemort has… Time Turner…"
And with a groan, the boy collapsed.
Remus ended the Sonorus Charm and turned his attention to Ginny, Alice, and Remmy. "You three, please go back to the castle and inform the headmaster what has happened."
"Most of them a few minor injuries," announced Lily. "A few cuts, some burns, and mild broken bones. This one is the worst of the lot," Lily gestured to the boy. "But they seem to be suffering from exhaustion."
"We have to get them to Poppy right now!" James stated. "Lily, Remus, and I will transport them to the castle. Sirius, you take Michelle back through the passage under the Whomping Willow."
Within minutes, the three adults had levitated the six children from Hogsmeade to the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts. The walls of the entrance hall were lined with curious students. They watched as Lily, James, and Remus levitated the six unknown people into the Hospital Ward.
"Lily," Dumbledore said as he walked up to her, "your children and Ms. Weasley told me what happened. Are any of them awake?"
"No, but one of them said something… odd," Lily said. "This boy said something about Voldemort having a Time Turner."
"A Time Turner," Albus repeated as he stroked his long white beard.
"But Albus, he didn't say 'You-Know-Who' or any rubbish like that," Lily continued. "He said 'Voldemort' and without going into a mild panic attack."
Lily could count on one hand the number of people who could say "Voldemort" without shivering or have a panic attack. Unfortunately, her two children were not ones she could include in her count. It seemed they had picked up the Wizarding world's silly fear of the name "Voldemort." No matter how many times she tired to break Alice and Remmy of their irrational fright of the name, they could not say it.
"You're certain that he said 'Time Turner'?" Albus asked.
"Positive," Lily confirmed. "What are you thinking Albus?"
"Something that I would like to prove, or disprove before mentioning," he answered in his normal cryptic tone. Albus turned from Lily and walked over to Madam Pomfrey. "Poppy, may I have a sample of this substance coating the children?"
While the Headmaster was busy with the school nurse, Lily turned towards James, Remus, and Sirius, who had just joined them.
"The boy said another odd thing," Lily said in a hushed tone so that only the three men could hear her. "He seemed to recognize Remus' voice."
"What's so unusual about that?" Remus asked.
"He called you 'Moony'," Lily answered. Remus stared gob smacked at Lily.
"How can that be?" James asked.
"We're the only four people who know Remus by that name," Sirius said.
"Peter knows the name as well," Lily answered with a touch of bitterness in her voice.
After a few moments Poppy handed the headmaster a flask filled with the dark ooze.
"I am going to run a few test on this," Dumbledore said while examining the substance. "Lily, would you be so kind as to assist Poppy with these children?"
"All right, the lot of you, out!" Madame Pomfrey shouted and ushered everyone, except for Lily, out of the Ward. After she closed the doors, Poppy turned to Lily and said, "I will take the three on the right and you'll take the ones on the left."
Lily was not as skilled a healer as Poppy, but she did pick up the basics during the war with Voldemort. She walked to the nearest bed and performed a cleansing charm to remove the inky black substance from the body. With a soft pop, the unknown ooze disappeared, and Lily saw a young girl who looked vaguely familiar. Something struck Lily as being odd about the way the girl looked however. She wore thick-rimmed glasses and had dark black hair, but her school uniform seemed to be decades old. Lily had seen photos of James' mother when she was at Hogwarts; in those photos she wore a similar uniform.
She pushed her ponderings into the back of her mind. Lily's primary focus was to make sure that these children were healed. She removed the girl's wand, which was still tightly gripped in her hand, and placed it on the bedside table.
"This is odd, Lily," Poppy called out from her side of the room. "This one seems to be wearing some kind of a costume."
"A costume?" Lily asked as she removed the girl's glasses and placed them next to her wand.
"Yes, it looks like she transfigured her robes to have scales, and she is wearing some sort of funny little horn on her nose,"
"Well, Muggle children have a tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween," Lily stated as she turned her attention back to her patient. "Maybe these children picked that tradition up for some reason…"
Lily froze as she noticed that the unconscious black-haired girl lying in front of her had coppery red eyebrows. Lily tapped her wand on the girl's head and said: "Finite."
Before Lily's eyes, the girl's black hair changed magically to a fiery red.
"Good Lord!" Lily exclaimed. "This is Ginny Weasley."
It was very confusing for Lily; Ginny had been standing right behind her when these six children appeared. But this girl was obviously Ginny, even though there were subtle differences. This Ginny's hair was much shorter than the other's. She was also noticeably thinner than the Ginny that Lily knew, as if this one had been sick.
"Lily, this one's Luna Lovegood!" Poppy cried out. "But, I just saw her in the Entrance Hall. How can we have two duplicates of students?"
"Let's make sure these children are stable," Lily said after thinking for a moment, "before we worry about anything else."
Lily waved her wand over Ginny's clothes and muttered "Evanesco," and the girl's old school uniform disappeared. Lily then performed a more detailed Diagnostic Charm. An aura appeared covering Ginny's body, with different colors and shapes hovering over her injured body parts. Each color indicated what type of wound the girl had and its severity.
"Nothing too serious," Lily remarked as she examined the girl. "A few scrapes and bruises, I can fix this one."
After Lily performed a few simple healing charms, a purplish haze hovering over one of Ginny's ankle caught her attention. The color indicated that she had broken her ankle and had it healed some time in the past.
"Poppy, have you ever had to heal a broken ankle on Ginny?" Lily asked.
"No, never," Poppy replied.
Another odd haze in Ginny's aura caught Lily's eye. A faint red tint covered her entire body.
"Poppy, come take a look at this." Lily called over. "I can't figure this past injury out. It's a light red glow all over her body."
"What? Let me see!" Poppy said loudly and rushed over to Ginny's bedside. After a moment of looking the girl over, Poppy exclaimed, "Merlin! This girl has had some of her life-force drained!"
"That's serious dark magic!" Lily said. "Will she be all right?"
"It looks as if she's only lost a few years off of her life expectancy," Poppy replied. "But what happened to this Ginny? Who could have done this?"
"I don't know," Lily responded. "Was there anything out of the ordinary with your Luna?"
"I had to heal a mild fracture in her tibia, but it would appear that she has had several ribs broken as well as a concussion sometime in the past," Poppy stated. "Ms. Lovegood came in two weeks ago with a head-cold, and I did a thorough check-up on her at that time. I can tell you with certainty that she has never had such injuries."
"Let's check on the others," Lily said. "Hopefully there will be more clues as to what's happening."
Poppy walked back to her side of the ward and began to work on the next body. Lily paused and wondered what had happened to this Ginny. Could this Ginny be a magical copy of the Ginny that she knew? Why did someone drain some of her life-force? Was she attacked by some Dark Wizard that Lily didn't know of?
"LILY!" Poppy called out in panic. Lily turned to see that the nurse had already cleaned the next child on the next bed. "It's… it's… Ron Weasley!"
"What?" Lily pulled a blanket up to Ginny's neck before rushing over to Poppy's side. "It can't be. I found his body…"
Lily stopped as she looked at the unconscious body of Ron Weasley. Her mind flashed to the last time she saw him alive, and whole, six years ago. She saw him during the Halloween Feast, before Quirrel announced that he saw a troll in the dungeons. The professors had thought that all the students were safely returned to their dormitories. Minerva and Lily were patrolling the corridors when they heard Percy Weasley screaming. The two professors rushed toward the cries for help that were coming from outside the girls' bathroom. Lily saw the massive troll swing his club at Percy, and instantly used the Summoning Charm on the boy. As Percy flew to safety, Minerva transfigured the troll into a harmless field mouse. Percy had gone into shock and was unable to tell the teachers why he was standing outside the girls' bathroom. He just stared at the door to the bathroom. Lily got an uneasy feeling in her stomach as she followed his gaze. She stood, walked into the bathroom and found the two mutilated bodies.
Obviously, this boy was not the same Ron Weasley. Ron died when he was only eleven. This boy, or rather, this young man was obviously in his late teens. As if he hadn't met the same fate as Ron and Hermione, and had aged six years.
"Wait a moment," Lily said distractedly. She looked at the remaining children and saw that two were boys and the person she was going to work on next was a girl. She walked to the unknown girl and once again performed the cleaning spell.
"Scourgify!" Lily muttered and the black ooze disappeared from the girl's body. Lily saw what she expected: untamable bushy brown hair. The same bushy brown hair that was matted with blood and gore the last time she saw it.
"Hermione Granger," Lily stated.
"But… but they're dead," Poppy stuttered. "I had to put their bodies back together. How can this be?"
"Let's focus on fixing these kids, first." Lily repeated. "Then we can figure out what happened."
Lily studied the young woman's face and saw a little bit of Paullina and Edward, Hermione's parents, in her features. Lily had acted as the couple's grief counselor after their daughter was killed and she had grown close to the couple. In fact, when Edward and Paullina decided to have another child, they named Lily as Emilia's godmother.
Lily removed Hermione's rags to continue her examination. She thought idly on what type of costume she was wearing that it was made of rags. Lily performed the diagnostic charm again and noticed that Hermione had dislocated her right shoulder. Lily muttered an incantation and the young woman's shoulder popped back into place.
Lily gasped out loud as she saw a purple gash in Hermione's aura, diagonally across her chest. She had seen the same would nearly a dozen times during the war. It was called the Viscus Pinso; also know as the "Organ Crusher Hex." It was a hex designed to pulp the victim's heart and lungs. Someone had tried to murder this poor girl.
"What did these children run into?" Poppy asked from Ron's beside. "This boy was mauled by some magical creature in the past. He has wounds all over his arms and torso."
"Hermione was hit with a low powered Viscus Pinso," Lily informed Poppy.
Lily stroked Hermione's hair and thought to herself , 'How am I going to tell Paullina and Edward?'
"Oh, my god!" Lily heard Poppy mutter. Lily noticed that the old nurse had already moved on to the fifth child. "Lily… it's Neville Longbottom!"
Lily knitted her brow and thought aloud:
"We have two students who are 'duplicates' of other students. We also have two students who died in their first year, and appear to be six years older. And we have a student who was murdered at the Tri-Wizard Tournament almost two years ago… Could that mean…"
Lily quickly walked over to the final student and noticed, unlike the others who were unconscious and still, this one was restless, like he was having a bad dream. She cast the Scourgify Charm, expecting to see a living and breathing Cedric Diggory, but instead found an unknown boy. Lily examined the young man; he wore glasses and had an oddly shaped scar, a sort of lighting-bolt, on his forehead. The boy had blond wavy hair and a comically broad chin.
Although she could not recognize him, this boy felt familiar. Like she had known him for a long time. 'Maybe,' she reasoned to herself, 'he's a duplicate of one of the more quiet students.'
"Lily, do you recognize your boy yet?" Poppy asked her, as she continued her work on Neville.
"No, but he… it feels like I should know him."
"He looks like that fool Lockhart," Poppy appraised from over Lily's shoulder. "Only younger and funnier looking, almost like someone drew a caricature of him."
"No, it's not that," Lily responded. Something about this boy struck a cord in her. Poppy returned to Neville's side as Lily realized that she was stroking the unknown boy's hair. She also noticed that he had calmed somewhat at her touch, though he remained somewhat restless.
Lily removed the boy's brightly colored robes and cast the Diagnostic Charm once more. He was the worst of the lot. His left arm was broken in three different places and he had multiple burns and cuts which she applied ointments and used charms to correct. After his injuries were healed, Lily was stunned at the amount of previous injuries this boy had suffered.
"Poppy, when you're done with Longbottom, give me a hand, if you will?" Lily asked as she ran her hand gently over the boy's multiple scars.
"My word!" Poppy exclaimed as she saw all the different colors in the boy's aura, indicating his different wounds. "What has this one been through…? All of the bones in his right arm have been re-grown."
"Correct me if I'm mistaken," Lily asked as she pointed to the boy's ankle and the inside of his upper forearm, "but these were caused by a magical creature?"
"Yes, but you'll notice the slight color variations, it means that each was caused by a different creature," Poppy explained. "And look here, at the back of his right hand; it looks like he was forced to use a Blood Quill."
Lily cradled the boy's hand as she examined it and saw the words "I must not tell lies" carved into the flesh.
"But what about these two scars?" Lily asked, pointing to the lightning-bolt scar on his forehead and a jagged "X" over his heart. Lily did not notice that she hadn't let go of the boy's hand.
"I have no idea; the aura over both scars is black," Poppy said as she knitted her brow. "In all my years, I've never seen a black aura before."
"But it is obvious that this boy must have been hit by the same curse or hex seeing that both scars share the same color."
After a moment Poppy sighed sadly.
"I think he is a Muggle-born," Poppy said sadly.
"What makes you say that?" Lily asked.
"Do you see the faint green tinge that covers his entire aura?" Poppy said with sad eyes. "That indicates that he had suffered malnutrition as a child. There is a good chance that this boy was neglected."
"You think he was abused?" Lily asked.
"It's a possibility."
Lily knew far too well it was a possibility. Too often when a Muggle has a magical child, and that child has bouts of "accidental magic", they don't know what is happening and the Muggle parents react in fear. Unfortunately, sometimes they direct their fear towards their magical child. Far too many Muggle-borns had faced abuse from their ignorant parents. The fearful parents foolishly believed that they could have "forced" the "unnaturalness" out of their children.
Lily had been lucky. Everyone in her family, save for her dreadful sister, had accepted her and her magical ability. From what she knew of the Grangers, Hermione was also lucky.
But with this boy, one thing was clear; he had suffered some form of neglect. Whether it was intentional because he was a wizard in a Muggle family or for some other unknown reasons, this boy had been abused.
"Good afternoon ladies." Lily's attention was drawn away from the boy by Dumbledore's voice. The headmaster entered the hospital wing, leading in a number of the teaching staff. "It seems my 'idea' on what happened to our guests has just been proven. As hard as it may be to believe…"
"They have come from an alternate reality," Lily interrupted. "Or a parallel universe."
"Ah, that is why you have always been one of my favorite students Lily," Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eyes. "The residue is from a temporal paradox, but no records have ever reported such a large amount of it. But, tell me Lily, how did you come to this conclusion?"
Lily spent the next several minutes filling in the headmaster and her fellow professors on their discoveries.
"And you do not know the identity of the young man whose hand you are holding?" Dumbledore asked, as he gestured towards Lily. She was taken back as she saw that she was still cradling the boy's right hand and was gently moving her thumb across the scarred words, as if she were trying to smooth them out. She also noticed that her other hand was caressing his check. It may have seemed odd to see such an intimate gesture, but, to Lily, it felt natural, like she needed to ease his pain.
"No, we don't," Lily said and somewhat hesitantly stepped away from the boy. "What little we have been able to discern is that he is most likely a Muggle-born and that he was abused."
"Would it be safe to assume that his counterpart from this timeline succumbed to the abuse and perished?" Albus asked with a heavy heart.
"It's possible," Lily responded. "More than likely, his counterpart died sometime before he got his Hogwarts letter."
"That is unfortunate. For I believe we should contact these children's families; Lily would you please go to the Grangers." Turning to address the faculty members who had accompanied him into the Hospital Ward, Dumbledore continued, "Minerva, if you would go and get the Weasleys, and Professor Vector, please go to Mr. Lovegood. Allow me a quarter of an hour to prepare the necessary Portkeys."
"Headmaster," Snape interrupted. "If it is true that the boy has come back… it may cause the Dark Lord…" the potions master unconsciously rubbed the stump of what used to be his left arm, "to pause in his activities."
"Indeed," the ancient wizard replied. "Voldemort may halt his operations if he finds out that The-Boy-Who-Lived has returned."
None of the adults noticed a shadowy figure lurking in the shadows near the doorway. Nor did they notice that same figure slink off toward the dungeons.
"But, he may hasten his plans as well," Dumbledore continued. "For now, let us keep Mr. Longbottom's return a secret."
The Portkey dropped Lily in an alleyway a few blocks away from the Granger residence, dressed in her best Muggle clothes. Although they were some 20 years out of date, she took pride in the fact she could still blend in with Muggles better then 98 of wizarding folk (No matter how many times she told James "don't mix plaids with stripes," the man just didn't seem to get it).
Briskly walking up to the house, Lily knocked on the front door. It opened slowly, and a tiny, round face with bushy wild hair poked out from behind the door.
"Aunt Wiwwy!" the tot exclaimed.
"Hello, Em!" Lily returned the greeting with equal enthusiasm. She bent over to whisper to the little girl. "Emilia, you know you aren't allowed to open the door without Mummy or Daddy's permission. I could have been a stranger."
"But you're not a stwanger, you're Aunt Wiwwy," Emilia stated flatly.
"Emilia Granger!" a disembodied voice chastised the girl somewhere from the foyer. "You're not allowed to open the door without Daddy's or my permission."
"I know!" Emilia said in frustration and pointed to Lily. "That's what Aunt Wiwwy just tole me."
The door opened further to reveal Paullina Granger.
"Lily!" She exclaimed with almost as much enthusiasm as her daughter's greeting. "We didn't expect to see you until the Holidays."
"Actually, something's come up at the school, and I need to speak to you and Edward," Lily said wringing her hands.
"There hasn't been another…" Paullina paused and became very pale, "another death?"
Explaining magic to a Muggle was never an easy thing to do. You would have to use broad and general terms, or, in some cases, very small words and simple drawings. Then they would usually look at you with a blank expression and call you "Barmy" after you were done with the explanation.
But for the short time that Lily knew and taught Hermione, she should have realized her parents would have been cut from a different cloth. Lily spent the next half hour in the Grangers' kitchen explaining theories, studies, histories, and practical uses for time travel and the effects of temporal paradoxes, over tea.
"We believe that in their timeline," Lily explained, "for some reason Ron Weasley and your daughter were not killed by the troll. Most likely the teachers stopped it, or the children never entered the bathroom that night. There is another child from their timeline, whose identity is unknown to us, and we believe that his impact on that timeline may have affected what happened to Hermione. It's possible that he might have done something that stopped your daughter from entering the bathroom.
"If you're ready, we'll use a Portkey to travel to the school," Lily said as she took a length of rope out of her purse. She tapped her wand to the rope and said: "Portus."
And then Lily had to describe Portkeys; how they work, their practical uses, history, etc. Each and every question was clinical and logical. Each question was asked with almost detached interest. As if a small part of Paullina's and Edward's minds would not accept the reality of their first daughter being alive. When the Grangers and Lily arrived in front of the Hospital Ward, reality began to set in.
"Will she recognize us?" Paullina asked franticly. "Will my baby recognize us?"
Edward was pale as a ghost as he held onto his five-year-old daughter as if she was his security blanket. Paullina clutched Lily's hands in hers.
"What if it's not her? What if you're wrong?" Paullina said while tears freely fell from her eyes.
"Paullina," Lily said softly, "I, too, have lost a child to violence. I would not have contacted you if I wasn't positive that the young woman in there was your Hermione. I would never dream of it."
She pulled Paullina into a hug and continued, "That is Hermione Jane Granger in that room, beyond a doubt. She looks like she has aged a few years and had her teeth fixed…"
"See, the braces worked," Edward said on the edge of shock.
"But she is your baby girl," Lily said, and noticed that she was crying as well. Lily wondered for a moment if she was crying out of happiness for her friends, or if it was jealousy?
"Lily, Drs Granger," Remus greeted the group as he walked out of the ward. "The children are awake and Professor Dumbledore is talking with them now."
"What about the other families?" Lily asked.
"The Weasleys and Mr. Lovegood are in there with them."
"All of the Weasleys?"
"Yes," Remus smiled. "The twins are joking that the 'extra' Ginny gives the family another set of twins."
"Excuse me, Mister...?" Edward asked apprehensively.
"Remus Lupin," The man responded. "Please call me 'Remus'."
"Are you sure that that is our daughter in there, Remus?"
"Dr Granger, the young woman in that room has the exact expression of worry and doubt on her face as you do," Remus answered. "I am sure she is your daughter."
"How about you go in there and find out for yourselves?" Lily asked, and hooking her arms into theirs, guided Edward, Paullina, and Emilia into the crowded Hospital Ward.
As if by instinct, The Grangers bolted straight for the second bed on the left, hidden by a privacy curtain,. It took Paullina less then a second to shout out, "My Baby" and lunge herself out of sight and onto her daughter.
A sea of red-haired people, most of who were packed tight around Ron's bed, blocked the view of the right side of the Ward. Molly Weasley's voice could be heard sobbing while the male Weasleys were all practically shouting something about a pick-up game of Quidditch.
Lily noticed that the Ginny from the proper timeline, her timeline, was looking at her counterpart with trepidation. Her duplicate, who was now wearing a Hospital gown, was staring back at her with an equal amount of apprehension. The other timeline's Ginny was also half hiding behind Neville Longbottom, who seemed to be shielding the red-haired witch from any harm. An odd thing, seeing as Lily remembered Longbottom being an arrogant snob who often ridiculed Ginny because of her social standing.
In front of the first bed on the right were the Lovegoods, two Lunas and their father, talking about the possible effects of time travel on Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Due to her hospital gown, it was easy to spot the Luna who came from the alternate timeline.
Lily's eyes were drawn to the far end of the Ward to Dumbledore. He was obviously speaking to the unknown young man, whom she could not see.
Just as Lily turned to head out of the ward, she heard a gasp. Lily turned to meet the gaze of the Ginny from the other timeline. The girl was white as a sheet and her eyes were bulging. Ginny was shaking Neville's arm to get his attention. Longbottom turned and followed her gaze to Lily and he went pale as well.
"Welcome to our world," Lily greeted them. The two teens seemed to be in shock, for they didn't respond. Lily shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the ward.
Just outside of the doors Lily found her husband, and her two children, along with Remus Lupin, Sirius, and his daughter Michelle, waiting for her.
"Did they have to put an Engorgement Charm on the ward so they could fit all of the Weasley's in there?" Sirius joked with a smile.
"No, somebody should have, though," Lily said returning the smile. "It's awfully crowded in there."
"Wait, aren't you a 'Charms Mistress' or something?" James playfully chided his wife.
"Shut it, you."
"Mum, have they found out who the sixth kid is yet?" Alice asked.
"I believe that the Headmaster is speaking with him now."
Lily felt a hand rest on her shoulder; she turned to see the unexpectedly sad face of Albus Dumbledore.
"Albus, are you all right?" Lily asked.
"As well as could be expected," Albus said, looking the oldest Lily had ever seen him. "It is true that I discovered the identity of the mystery boy."
"What did he say his name is?" Remus asked.
"He did not have to tell me," Dumbledore said. "I recognized him."
"Wait, you said earlier that you didn't recognize him," James said irritably.
"After he woke up, he reverted to his true form," Dumbledore explained. "He is a Metamorphmagus."
"My Great-Uncle Albert was a Metamorphmagus," James said casually, and Albus seemed to sadden even more. "I understand that such abilities are extremely rare."
"Are they rarer than an animagus?" Lily asked and poked James in the ribs playfully. James shot his wife a reproachful look.
"Would you like me the fetch his family?" Sirius asked.
"I don't think so," Lily said as she crossed her arms. "Those bastards abused the poor boy."
If the group's attention had not been on Dumbledore, they would have seen a figure leave the hospital ward and walk up to them.
"James, Lily," Dumbledore said as he put his other hand on James' shoulder. "The two timelines did not diverge on Halloween in 1991 as we first believed."
"Then when did they, Albus?" Lily asked, but a quiet voice in the back of her mind was repeating a familiar name.
"It is true that time-lines did diverge on a Halloween, but…" the old man drew a sad breath "the difference occurred ten years earlier, sixteen years ago today."
"What?" James asked.
"Hey!" Remmy interrupted and pointed behind his parents. "You look just like my dad!"
Lily spun around and looked at the young man standing just a few feet away. Her gaze fell past his untidy mop of black hair, past his lightning-bolt shaped scar and landed on his eyes. She was amazed that his eyes that held so much pain and loneliness; just like her eyes did whenever she thought of Halloween.
"Oh, my God!" Lily blurted out as the young man began to shake violently.
"Harry?" James asked, while tears formed in his eyes.
The boy, no, she corrected herself, Harry, then fell harshly to his knees and wretched on the floor. Before his green eyes rolled up into his head, Lily saw something akin to terror and fear in them. Harry then turned very pale and fell to the floor unconscious.
"Harry…b-ba- baby," her voice trembled more than her hands were, "Harry, wake up…"
Author's Notes: Thank you for reading my fic. I would like to thank my beta sasqch.