Last chapter: "Dumbledore … He just – collapsed – I think he's dead!"
Chapter Four: Double Trouble
"I keep telling him," Minerva was saying in an exasperated voice as Harry charged into the Hospital Wing, "that those awful things are bad for his health."
"What awful things?" Harry gasped, skidding to a halt. "What's wrong? Will he be all right?"
Without answering him straight away his mother grasped his arm and pulled him into the waiting area.
"Albus will be fine," she said before Harry could ask again. "It was just a scare this time." Under her breath, she added, "Idiot."
"He's … going to be okay?" Minerva nodded, and Harry let out a sigh of relief and sat down heavily. "What happened?"
Minerva sat down beside him. "It's nothing for you to worry about, Harry. He just had a cough that got a little out of control."
"What do you mean, out of control?"
She sighed. "Albus' immune system isn't particularly active, and he forgot to take his potions when he was supposed to. He will be fine," she repeated gently.
"What were the awful things you mentioned?"
Minerva wrinkled her nose. "Cigarettes."
"Oh." Harry couldn't imagine his father smoking. He certainly couldn't imagine his mother letting him. Obviously there was a lot more he had to learn about his parents. "Can we go in and see him?"
"He's sleeping at the moment, but yes, if you want to you can go in. Just don't disturb him."
"I won't," Harry promised.
Madam Pomfrey let him and Minerva inside the Hospital Wing and closed the door behind them quietly. Harry swallowed as he saw Albus lying in bed, still and pale. Somehow, he didn't look like the powerful wizard any more; he looked a lot smaller, weaker, than usual, and it scared Harry seeing him like that.
Minerva slid into a seat next to the bed and Harry sat down as well. Albus twitched a little in his sleep, but did not wake.
Eventually Harry dozed off as well. When he woke, he became aware of someone stroking his hair and opened his eyes to see his father watching him.
"Tired?" Albus enquired, a small smile on his face despite the fact that he still looked exhausted.
Harry didn't answer; instead he hugged him tightly and buried his face in his robes. Albus chuckled and hugged him back. "It's all right, Harry, I'm fine."
"Neville thought you were dead." It came out muffled.
"Well as you can see, he was wrong."
Harry drew back a little and fixed Albus with a stern look reminiscent of Minerva. "Don't scare me like that again."
"It wasn't intentional, believe me."
Minerva herself fixed Albus with a glare. "No, but preventable if you would just listen to Poppy for once."
"I do listen to Poppy; I was merely distracted, as you know very well."
"Sorry," Harry mumbled, correctly guessing that he was the reason for the distraction.
"It's not your fault, Harry." Albus sighed. "It's just circumstances."
Silence fell. Harry closed his eyes and lay still, enjoying being with his father for a while. Minerva finally stood.
"I should go, I have morning classes to teach." She kissed Albus and squeezed his hand. "Rest, you. I'll come back later." She kissed Harry as well and turned towards the door. "Oh, and Harry," she added, "Fred and George Weasley arrived earlier for a visit. I believe they want to talk to you about something."
Harry nodded, only half-listening. "Okay. Thanks."
"You should really be going too, Harry," Albus said gently as the door closed behind Minerva. "You have classes to be in."
"I know," Harry mumbled, but didn't move. Albus sighed.
"All right, fine. You can stay. For now. You haven't had any breakfast yet, have you?"
Harry shook his head. "Not hungry."
"Iris?" Albus said. A pop later, the house-elf was standing in the middle of the Hospital Wing.
"Yes, Master Albus?"
"Could you bring Harry something to eat, please?" Harry started to object, but Albus spoke over him. "Something small that slips down easily, he's not very hungry."
Iris smiled at Harry. "I is bringing Master Temmy breakfast, sir," she said, and disappeared.
Albus looked down at his son. "Master Temmy?"
"She said that's what – what you used to call me," Harry said. "Minus the 'Master' bit. Did you?"
"Yes, I did." Albus smiled. "It was what people called my father – his name was Artemis too."
A thought struck Harry. "You said earlier, something about my bloodline meaning I was powerful, or something," he said, looking back up at his father. "What did you mean?"
Albus looked as though he was considering his answer. "Magical power," he said finally, "is normally hereditary. You get exceptions, of course, like Muggleborns and squibs, but for the most part power runs in families. Actually, a lot of Muggleborns discover that they did have a wizard in their family once, so there are less exceptions than you might think."
Harry nodded, letting him continue.
"Some wizarding families have distinctive power patterns to them. I had a friend whose family turned out a squib every fifth generation exactly. My family – our family – also had a pattern which the Ministry has always been concerned about, because it's quite an unusual one."
"Firstly, there are far more males born into the family than females. We're a bit like the Weasleys in that respect – in fact, I think Arthur is something like my third cousin a few times removed … but I digress.
The concern was that, every child whose mother was a Dumbledore by blood, appeared to be exceptionally powerful. I was one, my brother as well. And they've been getting stronger and stronger over time.
Because there are so few women born into the family it's not as huge an issue as it could be, but people in the family were and are still becoming more and more powerful. Then a while back, a man – my great-great-great uncle or something like that – had a male partner and he had a child, who was also one of the powerful children, so it's been recorded as a matter of who gives birth, rather than the females-only pattern people thought before. Are you following this?"
Harry nodded in confirmation. "So, because you had me, I'm one as well?"
Albus nodded too. "And I imagine that you are actually more powerful than I am." Harry raised his eyebrows in disbelief, but Albus nodded. "As I said, it's been growing."
"Wow." Harry sighed. "No wonder the Ministry were glad of a reason to have me killed."
"I never said they were glad," Albus said gently. "But it's been a concern of theirs for a while, which merely gave more power to Jasper's story."
At that moment, Madam Pomfrey entered. "I see you're still here, Mr. Po -" she began, but changed her mind. "Harry." There was an awkward pause. "I think it's time you left, Professor Dumbledore needs his rest."
"Fine, I'll go," Harry muttered.
Albus pulled him into another hug before letting him stand up. "We can talk more later," Albus promised. Harry nodded, smiled, and left the room.
Harry didn't go to class; instead, he went to his dormitory to think over what he had learned. Lying on his back, staring up at the four-poster, he wondered exactly what being one of the 'powerful children' meant. Was that perhaps the key to defeating Voldemort in the prophecy?
His train of thought was soon interrupted.
He groaned and sat up. "What?"
"We've got a favour to ask you, dear investor," Fred Weasley announced, sitting on the end of his bed and pulling out a bag. Inside were two harmless-looking chocolate muffins. Harry eyed them suspiciously before turning to the twins.
"What are they?"
George grinned. "Our new improved Gniega Cakes. Try one, Harry."
"Aw, come on Harry, don't be a spoilsport."
"Funnily enough, I don't much fancy turning into a baby, even if it is only for a couple of seconds … wait. What do you mean by 'new improved'?"
"Well," Fred started, "the current version is only a temporary state, like the Canary Creams. These need an antidote to be reversed."
"Good blackmail weapon. We make a point of not selling to Slytherins."
Harry peered at the cakes. "You have an antidote?"
George showed him a small vial of purple liquid. "Yep. We just need a tester, that's all."
"Sorry guys, but you've come to the wrong place. Ask Ron or Hermione."
"No way; Hermione would have our heads if it went wrong."
"Is that possible? That something's wrong with it? Because in that case, I'm definitely not trying one."
"Oh, Harry, go on. No-one else will."
"I wonder why," he replied sarcastically. "Can't you take it yourselves?"
Fred and George looked at each other. "Well … we'd rather that, in the unlikely event of an emergency, we were both at hand, so we can put things right."
Harry groaned. "You're not going to give up till I've agreed, are you?"
"Oh for goodness' sake, all right, I'll eat the bloody thing. But if ANYTHING goes wrong, I will sue you both, do you understand?"
"Yessir," they said happily, saluting. Harry cautiously pulled out one of the cakes. It looked perfectly harmless, but them, so did all Fred and George's products. Wondering what he'd got himself into, he made to take a bite.
"Wait!" Fred said quickly. Harry looked up, and George murmured a quick spell. "There. Sorry; we thought it would be a good idea if we enchanted your clothes to shrink with you."
"Right. Is there anything else?"
"No; go ahead. George, are you ready with that clipboard?"
Harry took a deep breath and bit into the cake. It tasted perfectly ordinary. Nothing happened as he finished the whole thing, then …
Fred and George stared. Harry began to shrink; his face became younger, and his hair was growing longer, and – turning red?
Harry's glasses slipped off his nose, which had changed shape and was still shrinking with him. The twins gaped as the final changed took place, and stopped. Harry Potter, now two years old, was sitting cross-legged on his bed.
But he didn't look like Harry Potter at all.