Summary – It's
been a year since Voldemort was defeated by Harry. Most of the
Wizarding community has moved on, but for those who were personally
involved it's a bit harder. Then a something surprising arrives and
Harry realises he's going to have a whole lot more to deal with
now. "That's my mother! Be careful who you are calling a 'dark
Disclaimer – Rowling lives on the opposite side of the world from me. You actually can't get much further away from my home than she is right now. So out of all the people in the world, I most definitely cannot claim to own Harry Potter or anything else in the wizarding world.
Notes – Big thank you to all my reviewers.
This is for femaleprongslet, who asked for it – and I said it would be up a couple of weeks ago.
After lunch Harry took his mother out to a small, enclosed courtyard. This had been one of the most recent projects, to create somewhere pleasant outdoors on the property. Although it was a nice place, now, it had been as full of dark creatures as anywhere in the house. Neville had been only too willing to help them get rid of the various critters and plants – some of which Harry was sure had ended up in this friend's personal collection – and then plant in the new plants, some with magical properties, some without.
The fountain, which bubbled down into a small pond with goldfish, had been a work of genius by Ginny. Before that they had actually found a kappa lurking deep in it. Now though, the water splashed in rainbow colours over a statue of a rearing unicorn into a shallow pool that held nothing more dangerous than fish, frogs and the occasional water lily.
His mother seemed pleased to be outside and walked around, looking all over the sunlit garden. She poked at and smelled all the different plants and flowers, then smiled into the pond as a frog croaked loudly. She noticed the small plaque on the edge of the pool, it read: "For Luna, a place for all things unseen." Her fingers traced the letters as she read over it silently, and then looked up at Harry, asking him about it.
"Luna was a friend of ours, she was killed by Voldemort, but her father is the editor of The Quibbler, a magazine about, well, conspiracies and things that usually don't exist, or haven't really happened. Luna was always talking about some crazy creature that no one could prove was real." He paused. "Everyone was mean to her at school, but in many ways she was better than all of them."
"Sounds like she was a good person."
"She was. That's why this dedication is there. We wanted to remember her properly."
"Who created this garden?" she asked, and he was grateful she seemed to be keeping topics as light as possible. He wasn't sure how much he could give her in terms of information into his life, these days most things were painful.
"Neville Longbottom," the answer was easy. Neville had only been too happy to make this into a memorial garden, especially for Luna. He said that he felt he was giving something to the Order, something useful, and he was remembering someone who gave to the Order without thinking about how it might hurt her.
"Alice and Frank's son?"
Harry shook his head, but didn't try to draw out her hope – it'd only be worse in the end. There was too much darkness too many things to tell her that only ended in pain. "They're alive, in St. Mungo's, tortured mindless by Bellatrix Lestrange." The sharp intake of breath told him how she had taken it.
"Everything…" his mother breathed. "Everything gone, everyone…"
Harry looked at her sympathetically, he knew what it was like, or at least could begin to understand. He'd been lucky enough that the people he lost – some of whom had been dear friends – he'd still always had Hermione and Ron…and Ginny his mind added hastily. But he knew what it was like to lose someone and to gather your strength against it only to lose someone else, to go on losing until you didn't think you could stand it anymore.
"I'm sorry," he told her softly into the silence, not sure what he was sorry for, but having to try and ease her pain anyway.
Lily closed her eyes tightly for a moment and Harry was sure he saw a drop of moisture squeeze its way out. Then she opened her eyes and they blazed into his. Before now, he'd never quite appreciated just how much they were like his own. Some distant part of him acknowledged why people always seemed to harp on about it.
"Don't apologise for something you haven't done, Harry," she told him quietly.
Harry was even less sure what to do next, but he went to sit beside her on the edge of the pond. Neither of them quite touched. He had no idea of her reasons for not reaching out to him, but Harry was afraid of what might happen if he did. The night before he had held her hand briefly. It had been warm and soft and comforting, but at the same time it had been frightening. Before him was something he didn't quite understand. Nervously, he began to shred marigold leaves.
A startled gasp drew his attention back to his mother. She was staring at his hands. Harry looked down to contemplate them. Both carried a pattern of scars that looked as though they'd had acid spilled across them – which was a pretty good approximate when it all boiled down to it – and his right still carried the white indentation of the words I must not tell lies.
Accurately guessing that it was the writing which disturbed her the most, Harry managed a rueful smile. Those weeks in detention seemed such a long time ago now. "Umbridge trying to stomp out 'evil nasty, attention-seeking stories'."
"A teacher did that to you? Didn't anyone try to stop her?"
"No one could. She had Hogwarts under control by the Ministry. Everyone just kept telling me to not lose my temper at her."
Lily shook her head, apparently too horrified for words. Harry explained about the Educational Decrees that made it possible for Umbridge to unleash her horrors on the school. He carried on about his 'life-long' ban from Quidditch, and then moved on to an abbreviated version of how Umbridge had met the centaurs and eventually left Hogwarts.
"Still works at the Ministry, though," Harry said darkly. "She's one of the ones who are trying to stop me from becoming an Auror. Something about endangering myself." He glowered into the quiet pond for a moment. There was not a hope in hell that Umbridge was doing it for her his own good. Malicious cow was doing it out of revenge. She had made more than enough such veiled attacks at members of the Order of Phoenix over the years to prove this.
Lily glanced up to give him a sympathetic look, when she her eyes drifted upwards to his forehead. People only looked at Harry's forehead for one reason. Instinctively he brushed his hair down over his scar. It would not mean the same thing to her as it did to everyone else, and Harry wasn't sure he wanted her to know what it meant.
"A curse scar," she breathed.
Harry did not like the look of mingled horror and grief in her face. Before either of them could say anymore, the door to the courtyard swung open and Ginny stepped out into the light. His girlfriend's hair shone in the sun and Harry took a second to admire it, before standing to greet her. Irrationally, he was immensely relived for her intrusion. Good timing on her part once again.
"Harry, they're here," she told him quietly. An emergency meeting of the Order of Phoenix – some of them anyway – had been called to discuss the sudden re-emergence of Lily Potter.
"Er, right," he told her. "I'll be right there." He turned to his mother, "I've got to go. You can stay here, or go back inside. Just remember what I told you about the rooms."
Mad-Eye Moody was waiting in the kitchen and gave Harry a rough nod. Mrs.Weasley, of course, along with Ginny and Ron, who were standing next to an annoyed Hermione. No other Weasley was present. However, Professor McGonagall was there. So was Neville, who greeted Harry cheerfully. Lupin sat quietly next to a wan looking Tonks, and Harry had to wonder what she was doing home in the middle of the day. All things considered it was a very small gathering of the Order, but then most of the other members would still be at their various jobs, or otherwise detained on Order business.
"We'll get this started then, shall we?" Mad-Eye began, and everyone found chairs or leaned against a wall. Harry was standing, as he always did, towards the back. Ginny was leaning against him, her head on his shoulder, his arm wrapped around her waist.
"This is obviously some dark trick procured by—" but Mad-Eye got no further.
"OY!" snapped Harry. "That's my mother! Be careful who you are calling a 'dark trick'!"
"Mad-Eye, I hardly think she's a threat. This is certainly an incredible turn of events, but she's has seemed more shocked and horrified than anything else," Lupin said smoothly.
"There's no cause to assume that she is anything other than she appears, then?" asked McGonagall.
"No!" snapped Harry. In frustration, he turned from the group, pulling away from his girlfriend, knowing all eyes were on him.
A weighty silence ensued, and Harry stayed facing away. Ginny took his hand in hers, clasping it.
"Lad, I know you want to believe that she's your mother, but there are far too many ways for the other side to have used her as a plant," Mad-Eye said.
Harry clenched a fist, a bitter tasting anger rising in his throat. "So we're just going to assume that she's one of them."
"We can't do that!" Lupin said.
"People know her name almost as well as they know Harry's!" Tonks interjected. "Too just assume that she's part of this – we can't do that. She's a hero!"
"What about Veritaserum?" asked Hermione. She looked at him anxiously, pleading with him not to release the hot rage rushing through him at the thought of using the truth drought on his mother. "Harry, I know you don't want to think about it," she implored, "but this way we can clear her, make everyone see she is who she says she is."
Ginny's fingers curled tighter around his, restraining him. But it was all right, Harry could hear Hermione's words, and as much as he disliked them, he knew what she was trying to say. If they did this no one would have any cause to doubt that she was his mother.
"Fine," he agreed, bitterly but knowing that it was his word they were all relying on in this case.
Everyone else agreed quickly, and Harry was the one who was left to tell his mother about it