Disclaimer: J K Rowling owns the rights and likenesses of all the characters in the Harry Potter series. This story is meant to add to the world she created. Any conflicts are accidental and they yield to her reality (canon).
This is a post-Hogwarts story.
This story was written with OOTP facts considered. No elements of HBP were used.
Some themes and ideas have contributed to this story, please see http/boards.harrypotter. and posts by "hamr403" on the Harry Potter Forum website hosted by Warner Brothers.Harry Potter and the Return Home
1. The Decision To Be Made
The sun was rising even with the treetops that could be seen from the paned window. The dew sparkled on the wild grass covering the unkempt yard. How rare a sight, today of all days; surely, nature knew what day it was. How could the mood in this house be so much at odds with the rest of the world?
The sunlight bathed the room in a yellowish glow highlighting the gold trim on the red curtains that adorned the windows. The mirror on the wall reflected only swirls and vague shapes that dare not take form. His eyes fell upon the sweet, beautiful creature sleeping in her bed so soundly. Her long jet-black hair was flowing out across the pillow like a stream cascading down over rocks. Her cheek partially covered by the black veil of hair. She looked so sweet, lying there. Her piercing green eyes were neatly concealed behind tightly shuttered eyelids.
"Oh the suffering you have endured all these years without your mother," he said longingly. His head dropped remorsefully into his awaiting hands. His eyes screwed shut against the oncoming memories.
Twelve years it had been since that dark day. Though it started out much the same as today, bright and cheery, it ended far differently. The sun had been blocked out by dread and despair.
The family awoke to the sun shining in off the sea. The air was warm and humid with a salty hint. What a wonderful start to our last day here he thought.
"I will visit the beach one last time before we head home," he exclaimed. "Our daughter has always enjoyed the sand and water."
"Yes, I think that would be nice," a woman said from across the room. "I'll head into the village and pick up a few things before we leave."
The patter of little feet sounded through out the room. He sat up from the bed and saw that same face looking back at him. Jet-black hair and sharp green eyes met his gaze.
"Yes, we will go to the beach so you can play."
The little one jumped up as well as she could, and scurried toward her room to get ready. The rustling of a bag could be heard.
"I will go help her," the voice spoke. "You had better get ready soon. Best not to keep her waiting long."
In minutes, the precious cargo was carried aloft on his shoulders headed to the beach at a quickened pace. The little girl ran directly toward the water and splashed in headfirst. Squeals of glee reported back to the adoring father. This was a wonderful place, a magical place. The hours flew by. Lunch came and went without notice. Sensing an aura of sleepiness about his daughter, he picked her up from the sand in mid yawn. She looked at him, peering straight into his heart. The hug that followed was only the kind a child can give.
On the walk back to the hotel, his darling fell asleep in his arms. He thought he would try the village before returning to his room. Surely his wife would still be shopping for this and that. He rounded the corner of the local market place and took a small alleyway that led to a row of shops that his wife had wanted to visit since their first day here. He glanced in the windows searching for her. After the first 4 shops showed no signs of her, he thought she might have bought so much she had quit early and headed back to the room. He turned around and was going to check 2 more shops before going home.
After the last shop, he headed back down the alleyway slightly puzzled. He passed by a very small walkway that intersected the alley when something caught his eye. The walkway glowed a greenish hue. A hue he hadn't seen for over 3 years. His heart leapt and he wheeled around and rushed down the walkway. As he came to the corner, his wand was firmly in his grasp. He turned the corner and was nearly knocked over by the sight.
He shook his head in an attempt to clear the image from his mind. He knew it wouldn't work, but he tried nonetheless. What a bright day for such a gloomy occasion. His eyes fell upon a letter he held in his hand. The scrawl was familiar, but more like a distant memory. A conflict waged in his head. 'How could I do this to her? Fourteen is hardly the time after all. No, I won't do this to her. It isn't fair; it isn't right.'
Sam awoke with the sun on her face. An infrequent occurrence around here she thought, but a welcome change. She looked around, sensing she wasn't alone. She saw her father sitting in a chair at the foot of her bed. The same place he spent many a night comforting her when she had been scared by a bad dream or nightmare. He was sitting there shaking his head staring at a piece of parchment. The look of conflict on his face was obvious.
"Father, what is wrong?" Sam asked.
"Good morning my dear," Harry replied. "What? Oh, nothing."
"Father, you were never any good at lying to me. What is the letter about?" Sam queried.
"This?" Harry pondered his response. "A, well, it is a letter from my old headmaster.
"Professor Dumbledore?" Sam muttered. "What does he have to say?"
"He," Harry paused. "He says there is an opening at Hogwarts. A teaching position he feels I would do well at."
"Really," Sam replied reading her father's expressions. "So, what do you think about it?"
"I would love to go back and see everyone again," Harry said forgetting himself and becoming nostalgic. "I miss the good times with my friends." A smile crept across his face as he thought of good times in past years.
"So, we are going to move then?" Sam asked measuredly.
Snapping back to reality, Harry replied, "No. I couldn't do that to you. You are going into your fourth year at Salem. It wouldn't be fair to you, honey."
"No, you are right. It wouldn't be fair to me." Sam said with a plan in mind.
"Then, we are agreed. I will decline the…"
"You sitting around here casting protective charms and tracking death eaters is much more fair," Sam interjected with a sarcastic tone. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
A wave of distress washed over Harry. He thought he had adjusted pretty well to staying home and raising his daughter.
"Dad, you need more in your life than just me," Sam consoled her father. "What have you done in the last ten years that was for you?"
"I have done a lot," Harry defended himself. "We took that trip to Chile when you were eight. We went to Japan three years ago."
"I asked what you have done for yourself."
Harry pondered the question. Thinking back through the years, every image he summoned from his memory seemed to revolve around Sam. All except…
"Dad, have you thought of any yet?"
"Well, yes, but you never mind about them," Harry said defiantly.
"Dad, capturing death eaters doesn't count," Sam said curtly.
"What?" Cried Harry. "Now you don't worry about them."
"Father, I know about the three you caught," Sam said confidently.
"What? What three?" Harry said without looking at his daughter. "I never said anything about catching death eaters."
"No, you didn't, but no one else did either," Sam replied. "There was Johnson, when you were gone for three days. That was right before we went to Chile. Then, there was Morrison, the day before we left for Japan."
"No one was identified in those captures," Harry said with an air of finality.
Ignoring the tone, Sam plunged on. "I know, but I saw you when you read about them. You looked happy, satisfied. I know you caught them. Besides, you only bought the paper when someone had been captured. Don't deny it."
"Fine, I won't, but where is number three?" Harry questioned not wanting an answer in return. "If you are so smart, Ms. Potter?"
Sam looked right into her father's eyes, a near copy of her own. She took a deep breath and replied, "Lucius Malfoy. December, last year." Harry couldn't control his shocked response. "You were particularly worried after that one. I heard you at night walking around the house. I dared not open the door without you knowing before hand."
Harry flashed back to the night.
He had reports of Malfoy lurking around an old village in northern Russia. It had been years since any reports showed merit, but Harry followed every one of them. This time started out no different than any of the others. He waited in the shadows of a shed, covered by his father's invisibility cloak. The hours drug on like preparing for a test. Even though it was an unusually warm winter, 10 below zero wasn't warm. The warming charm was doing its best, but the wind and bitter cold struck at the very core of Harry's body. It was just past two in the morning when a door to an inn opened and a figure crept out into the frigid night. Harry's hand rested on his wand in case of an attack. The figure skulked toward a house on the far side of the square. The house was as plain as the rest of the houses in the town. Not at all what a privileged Malfoy was used to in his life. Harry followed the figure quietly, waiting until they were in a more secluded area.
As they rounded a statue near the edge of the square, Harry called out.
"Lucius, you can't hide anymore."
The figure stopped and slowly turned toward the voice.
"Who is there?" the shaky, malevolent voice responded. The figure scanned the square intently searching for the speaker. After a few seconds, the figure turned and quickly made for the house in front of him.
Harry pulled his wand from his cloak. He trained it on the figure. Harry took in a deep, silent breath. He thought of all the pain, suffering, and anguish he experienced through the years. Once all those images and feelings were in his mind, he spoke again in a deep, ethereal voice.
Before Harry left the scene, he approached the motionless heap of a body. He pulled back the hood to reveal the weathered face of Lucius Malfoy. The feeling of triumph replaced the anger and suffering. The happiness was almost too much to contain. Noises emanated from some of the houses in the square. Harry noticed illuminated windows in many homes. People would be on the scene shortly. Harry scrawled his prey's name in the air with his wand and disapperated with a crack.
Harry gazed upon his daughter's face. So much intelligence. Smarter than I was, am. She is so much like her mother. I am way out of league here.
"I was concerned for your safety. If the others knew where we were, I couldn't stop them all," Harry said chokingly. "I failed before, never again!" Tears were welling up in his eyes as he looked upon his beautiful daughter. "I can't fail you."
"You didn't fail." Sam said holding back her own tears. "You weren't there to stop what happened to mom. It wasn't your fault."
"I didn't protect my family enough from the evils of my past," Harry lamented. "The one death eater I have chased the longest has been the most elusive and dangerous of them all."
"It is time for you to go home," Sam informed her father. "Hiding doesn't suit you. If you haven't found her by now, maybe you should let her come to you."
"That would put you, my most precious daughter, in danger," Harry said. "That isn't going to happen."
"You always told me that the safest place in the world was Hogwarts," Sam recalled. "Why are you forgetting that now?" Harry seemed lost in contemplation. "So are we going to sit here, hidden from everyone?"
"I will think it over and let you know," Harry said with a tone marking the end of the discussion. "OK?" Sam nodded. "Now, what should the agenda be for today? A walk, the zoo, a trip into town."
"No, that is common stuff," Sam answered. "How about some broom work?
"OK, I have been saving a spot for just such an occasion. I can show you how to cast an anti-muggle charm on the area," Harry said happily. "It is above your level, but it isn't that hard to do."
"Agreed," Sam said beaming. "We will go at ten o'clock if that suits you."
"OK," Harry said accepting his orders. "Get up when you need to. I will be down stairs preparing for the day."
Sam watched her father leave and walk down stairs. That was the happiest I have seen him in years, and defiantly the happiest he has ever been on this day, Sam thought to herself.
The morning flew by until it was time to go on their adventure. Sam was dressed in muggle clothes so not to attract attention. Harry did the same and pulled an old fishing hat down over his scar making sure it was hidden. His unruly hair put up quite a fight, but in the end, the hat won out.
"Ready?" Asked Harry.
"Of course I am," Sam replied.
They left their home through the back door that was disguised as a dilapidated garage behind a neglected old house. Harry carried a long brown bag with the tips of fishing poles sticking out the top. He completed the ensemble with a tackle box. Inside the bag a Firebolt 5 and a Firebolt 1 were safely hidden from muggle view.
"I don't believe I will ever understand the act of fishing my dear," Harry said as they walked along a path away from the village. "I never understood why muggles found it interesting."
Half an hour later, they came upon a grove of tightly packed trees. There wasn't a house in sight. Neither a structure nor any sign of people at all.
"This is a new place I have been saving for just such an occasion. Do you think it will meet our needs?" Harry asked his daughter.
"I think it is brilliant, father," Sam answered.
"Here, this is how you cast a protective charm on a location," Harry instructed. "It only works on muggles and some squibs. Swirl your wand counter-clockwise one and a half times. Say 'Aegis.' Then, circle back around one rotation and say 'abehom.'
Sam tried it, but the result was less than perfect. The grass, where she directed the charm, simply laid flat.
"Good," Harry complimented. "That is better than I did my first time."
Harry cast the charm in four places around the grove. He hoped his aim was good enough to reach the far ends, because the grove was too large to walk around in the high grass.
"Now, we go inside," Harry urged.
Sam found the trees and underbrush to be dense; dense enough to block the view of any who wandered by. It took a minute or so to reach the inner edge of the trees. Once inside, Sam looked across a grassy field perfect for flying.
"Father," Sam stated. "This is wonderful. How long have you known of this place?"
"Long enough," Harry spoke as he messed with the bag. "I come here during the day sometimes when you are at school. It is an excellent place to sit and think. Now, here you go. Be careful not to hit any trees."
Sam turned and found her father holding out the Firebolt he used when he was at school.
"It has been nearly two years since you last let me ride it," she said.
"I know," Harry admitted. "Last time I found a muggle watching us from the tree line, and I kind of over did the memory charm. It took me a few tries to get back the last year of his memories. I hadn't needed to use that one since before you were born. I felt it wise to find a better spot before we gave it another go, but only for special days. This warrants one. Don't you think?"
"Yes, I think so," Sam answered in a rush. "May I begin?"
"Of course my dear." Harry watched his fourteen-year-old fly up and around the meadow many times. The broom still had quite a bit of pep left in it after all these years. Thirty minutes passed, and Sam was in full control of the broom. Harry yelled out, "how about a little bit of a challenge?"
"Sure," shouted Sam! "What did you have in mind?"
Harry opened the tackle box and pulled out a golden, walnut-sized ball. Harry tapped it with his wand and muttered a few words. The snitch flew up and around Harry. Then it darted away from him with lightning speed.
"Was that your snitch?" Sam asked.
"Yes, it was," answered Harry. "Now seek it. It won't leave the meadow."
Sam sped after it. Searching for a glint of light among the green and brown landscape, she spotted it far off in the southern edge of the arena. She lowered her body flush with the broom and streaked toward the flash of light. Everything was blurred and all she saw was green, brown, blue, and that gold spec flitting around. She altered course to match the direction of the elusive quarry. She reached out and grasped the snitch with her left hand.
"Well done, Honey," cheered Harry. "Well done. If you practice, you might best me one day."
The daylight drifted away as twilight fell. Sam had been flying for hours and hours. Harry added a few bewitched dirt balls after awhile to simulate bludgers. Sam had a few stains on her clothes from where she dropped her guard. All in all, she did a spectacular job.
"Simply wonderful, Samantha," Harry exalted. "I dare say you could make a few teams right now."
"Dad, I was alone up there," Samantha rebutted. "Dirt is far different than real bludgers too."
"That may be, my dear, but the competition at Hogwarts will be more of a proper challenge," Harry revealed.
"Then you have decided to take the job?" Samantha shrieked unable to hold back her excitement.
"I realized that keeping you here is only hurting you," Harry said reluctantly. "Salem is a fine school, but they aren't of the same caliber as Hogwarts. They concentrate on potions and charms, not defense and other necessary skills. The lack of a quidditch team has never sat well with me, and I know you will excel at that. Please, tell me if you have any reservations about making the change."
"I have already packed half of my things," Samantha informed her father. "I can be ready whenever you need me to be."
"Alright," Harry said thoughtfully. "I will send my response tonight and begin making arrangements for our travels. We will plan for a Saturday departure. Is that OK?"
"Yes, I will be ready," responded Samantha, with her head full of thoughts.
They emerged from the trees; everything packed up as tightly as it was before. A wave of Harry's wand lifted the protection charms. The walk home was uneventful, but full of thought. Harry thought of the arrangements to be made, the favors to ask, and the many questions he would need to answer. He feared the guilt he would have the moment he saw his friends. But this move was for Samantha. If anything were to happen to him, she would be alone like he was. She needs someone who could give her a mother's touch if he 'wasn't' anymore. Someone to care for her, love her like she deserved. Sirius's care was short when it was needed most. He needed a better arrangement than he had years before. The Dursley's wrote him off the second they could without the wrath of Dumbledore coming upon them. He knew who should be her guardians. Who deserved the honor, but it would only be his luck if they had given up on him years ago. The conversations in his head pitched back and forth with no end in sight at least not until he saw them in person. Conflicted, he walked on in silence.
Samantha thought of a new place where she could make close friends. Being able to walk around without hiding who or what she was. They asked so many questions here. The people were nosey and wanted to know everything about everyone. They never left her alone always prodding her for information. Finally, a place to call home with a father who could admit he had a daughter. A father who would actually allow others to see him for who he really was, the best father she knew. She continued walking home as silent as her father.