Hey guys sorry it's been so long since my last update - but here's the next chapter. Please review.
As Hermione ran back towards Gryffindor tower, she didn't know what to think. Either Rachel had been joking when she'd said "James and Lily", and Hermione would look incredibly foolish for over-reacting; or she had been telling the truth, which meant –
"Port Luck!" she shouted at the portrait of the Fat Lady as she grew closer.
"My, aren't we in a hurry?" commented the Fat Lady as she swung forwards. Hermione didn't answer.
"Harry!" she called out, panting heavily from her run.
"Hello Hermione," said Ron, turning around to face her. "What took you so lo-…?" The words died in his throat when he saw her face. Harry began to ask a question, but was cut off by Hermione.
"Harry, you have to go to see Dumbledore, now," she said.
"Why?" he asked.
"I'll explain on the way," replied Hermione. "Come on!"
"But what about breakfast?" complained Ron.
"Oh!" Hermione stamped her foot in annoyance.
"Alright, Hermione, we're coming," said Harry, standing up. "Come on, Ron." The reason for Hermione's impatience was still a mystery to him, but he reasoned that it must be important for her to get so worked up about it.
The three pf them clambered out of the portrait hole, Hermione leading the way. Harry and Ron ran to keep up with her.
"Wait," said Ron, remembering. "Did you go and talk to Rachel?"
"That's why we're going to see Dumbledore. Harry," she continued, turning to him. "Brace yourself, ok?"
Harry's mind raced through all the possibilities of what Rachel could have said, but none of them made any sense.
"James and Lily," concluded Hermione.
"Sorry, say that again?" asked Harry. He hadn't heard Hermione talking as he worked through his thoughts.
"She said her parents were James and Lily," she repeated.
"She must have been joking, Hermione. My parents died when I was a baby, remember?" said Harry.
"You didn't see her when she said it, Harry," replied Hermione. "Pumpkin Pasties," she said to the stone gargoyle. It sprang to life and leaped aside. "And when I asked her if she meant Lily Evans," she continued, "she said 'Yes, why, do you know her?'. Do, Harry, not 'Did you know her'."
Harry felt very confused as Ron leaned forwards to knock on the door of Professor Dumbledore's office.
"Enter," called a voice from inside. Hermione looked meaningfully at Harry before pushing open the door and leading them into the office.
"Ah, Mr Potter. I was wondering when I might see you," Dumbledore said, looking up over his half-moon glasses. "Miss Granger, Mr Weasley," he said, acknowledging each of them with a nod. "Please, have a seat, all of you." Dumbledore waved his wand and three squashy armchairs materialised in front of his desk. Harry took the middle chair as Ron and Hermione sat on either side of him.
"Sir," he began slowly, unsure of where to start. "Last night, at the Sorting, there was a girl named Rachel. Rachel Potter."
"A very fine name, in my humble opinion," interrupted Dumbledore, his blue eyes twinkling. "Please continue."
"Well, Ron asked me if she and I are related. Because I don't know anything about my family, we decided to get Hermione to ask Rachel about it this morning."
"And why did you get Miss Granger to do that?" asked Dumbledore in a voice that suggested he already knew the answer. "Why not ask Rachel yourself?"
"Because, Professor, we thought that I might scare her," replied Harry.
"Very thoughtful of you, Harry. So what happened after that?"
"Well, Hermione agreed to, and then, er…" Harry broke off, looking uncertainly at her. She obligingly continued.
"I met Rachel in the Great Hall. We were talking and she told me that her parents were James and Lily," said Hermione.
"And then we came to see you, sir," broke in Ron, eager not to be left out.
"I see…" said Dumbledore. He sat silently in thought for a moment or two, fingers pressed together. Then he looked up and said, "Mr Weasley, would you so kindly go down to Greenhouse one and send Rachel up to my office. Then I suggest that both you and Miss Granger have something to eat before you go to your Transfiguration lesson. I shall send a note to Professor McGonagall explaining why you are late."
"But…" said Ron, half-heartedly rising from his chair. "Don't we get to find out what's going on?"
"I'm sure Harry will fill you both in on what I say when he finds it appropriate," replied Dumbledore.
"Yes, sir," said Hermione, tugging a disappointed-looking Ron out by his elbow. "See you later Harry."
"Bye," said Harry as the door of Professor Dumbledore's office clicked shut behind them. "Professor-," he began, but was cut short.
"One moment, please, Harry. I just have to send this to Minerva. He tapped the piece of parchment he had been writing on with his wand, and it folded itself into a paper aeroplane and zoomed out of the window. Harry smiled, remembering having seen the same thing at the Ministry of Magic, where Ron's dad worked.
"Harry," began Dumbledore carefully. "Firstly, please forgive me. Another old man's mistake, I assure you."
Harry stiffened. The last time he heard those words, Dumbledore had told him that he, Harry, would have to be the one to kill Lord Voldemort. He sensed that what Dumbledore was about to tell him would reveal some other dark aspect of his life that no one had told him about before.
"What you are about to find out," continued Dumbledore, "will be hard for both you and Rachel to accept. All I ask of you is patience, for with that comes understanding."
"I… yes, sir, but-" Harry was prevented from asking any of the thousands of questions in his mind by a knock at the door.
"And Harry, I suggest that you cover your scar for the time being," said Dumbledore pointedly, before calling out "Enter!" and vanishing the armchair to Harry's left. Harry hastily flattened his fringe as best he could as the door opened and Rachel stepped inside.
"Professor Dumbledore, sir? You asked to see me…?"
"Ah yes, Miss Potter. Please come in," said Dumbledore.
Harry stood up to introduce himself. Rachel, who had not noticed nim earlier, froze. For a second she thought she was imagining seeing her dad again, but then she noticed his eyes. They were bright green eyes. "Oh good, I'm not hallucinating," she thought. But a second later she wondered who this boy was.
"I don't believe you two have ever met," said Dumbledore, breaking the silence.
"Hi, I'm Rachel Potter," said Rachel, extending her hand. Harry shook it.
"Hi," he said.
"Now if you two would care to take a seat…" said Dumbledore, gesturing to the two armchairs in front of them. Harry and Rachel sat down, both of them staring at the Headmaster in silence what was going on. "I will explain everything."