A/N: Hopefully now the story will pick up. I own none of the associated canon.
Chapter 9: Godric's Hollow
Harry awoke early the next morning, his mind filled with concern as to what needed to be done that morning. It was something he had told himself he needed to do, if nothing else then to steel his resolve on the journey ahead. He glanced down once more at the parchment that Remus had given him:
The Home of Mr. and Mrs. Prongs may be found at
Number 7 Phoenix Court
Harry regarded it for a moment and realized he didn't recognize the handwriting. A few seconds later he realized where the nearly illegible scribbles must have come from. His eyes burned at the thought of the sniveling coward named Wormtail. 'Remus will finish him,' Harry told himself, 'he deserves the vengeance.' With Sirius dead, there would be no need to keep Pettigrew alive any longer than necessary.
Putting the thoughts aside he strolled over to his bookshelf where he had placed some framed pictures of his family. Hagrid had been kind enough to send a few photos of his parents and Sirius while they had been at school, and Harry smiled at how happy...how carefree they all seemed in the pictures. None of them had any hint of the storm clouds that were brewing over the horizon. His eyes stung and he clenched his fist to try and hold back the tears that were threatening to overtake him. He gazed at the wedding photo of his mother and father, saw how happy they were just simply to be in each other's company. His eyes then drifted down to his favorite photo, one of him as a baby being swung around by his father while his mother just laughed at the display. Collectively these photographs provided him with the only picture he had of his life...until Voldemort had ruined it all.
Harry felt the anger well up inside of him and he forced it back underneath as far as it could go. He needed to maintain his cool right now. The last thing he needed was blowing his top and breaking down before he even saw his parent's home. Taking a deep breath he turned away from photographs and headed for the wardrobe. Pulling out a set of clothes he headed for the master bath and stepped into the shower. As he let the warm water wash over him in waves he allowed himself to think more about what Dumbledore had said in the letter two days prior. He hadn't told everyone about Snape, and the more he thought about the less it made sense in his head.
Why would Dumbledore order Snape to kill him?
Harry made a mental note to revisit the scene in the pensieve as soon as they got back. He'd been promising the others to show them the memory as well, and this would be as good a time to do it. As he finished in the shower and got dressed, he resolved to relive the memory, even if he didn't really want to go through it again. It had to be done in order to settle the question of Snape's loyalties one way or another, even if Harry was certain himself where the ex-Potions Master's loyalties truly did lie. He nodded to himself again and headed out of his room. He went downstairs towards the library, finding Hermione there with her nose firmly planted in a book. She glanced up at him and offered him a quick good morning before heading back. Harry turned his head sideways to try and read the title. The Darkest of Magics.
"I thought I might find something about Horcruxes in it," Hermione explained, flipping through a couple more pages and then closing it. "So far nothing." Harry nodded.
"Moody gave me a book about how to cheat death," Harry said, earning a bit of a wide-eyed book from Hermione. "There might be something in there. I haven't had a chance to read it yet." Hermione nodded and went off to collect another book. Harry just snickered to himself and sat down in a comfortable chair, reaching and grabbing a small apple out of the fruit bowl that Mrs. Weasley had placed there. He didn't want to eat too much breakfast for fear of losing it later that day. He glanced over as Ron made his way into the room and sat across from him, still trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes. "Morning mate," Harry offered, but Ron merely grumbled. Hermione returned to her seat sans a book, simply placing her hair into a more appropriate bun for the trip.
"Now remember," she began to explain as Ginny slowly stalked into the room, also looking a bit tired, "Once we get off the Knight Bus and into the village...we're supposed to be muggles. So don't act out of character." She glanced at Ron, who just waved his hand and nodded in between yawns, followed by a similar response from Ginny.
"You don't think I know how to act like a muggle," Harry said with a smirk. "I did grow up with the most mugglish of muggles in the whole of Britain." The group smiled at the joke. Harry took one last bite of the apple and stood up. With a sweep of his hands the group followed him out of the library and towards the main entry hall. Harry made sure to tip an imaginary hat to Mrs. Black as he passed by, with a cheeky grin firmly planted on his face. The now perpetually annoyed portrait simply threw an angry glare in his direction.
The quartet walked outside and passed down the street a few blocks before stopping at an intersection. Harry unsheathed the wand he kept under his sleeve and stuck it outwards slightly. Seconds later there was a loud bang and the Knight Bus came into full view. It crawled to a stop in front of the four.
"Welcome to the Knight Bus...emergency transport for str..." the new conductor was cut off by Harry who simply tossed a few galleons into his hand and walked onto the bus. He was quickly followed by Ron and Ginny, then by Hermione who informed the conductor of their destination. The conductor shook his head and retook his seat.
"Godric's Hollow Ern. Take 'er away!" Ernie Prang nodded and pulled a few levers, and with another bang they were off. Harry managed to keep his seat rather nicely, as did Ginny and Ron. Hermione was thrown for a loop, bouncing back and forth as she rode the twists and turns of the trip.
After about 20 minutes the bus came to sudden stop just outside a small village on the outskirts of London. Harry and his friends dismounted the bus, and Harry took one look back at the conductor, mentally reproaching the Minister for not having released Stan Shunpike yet. The conductor looked back at him with wide eyes.
"Say...ain't you the fa..." Harry shook his head.
"No. But I get that a lot." Before the conductor could question further, Ginny took Harry's hand and pulled him away, shooting an angry glare at the man. Ron and Hermione followed suit, and the bus left with another loud bang, Steeling himself again, Harry motioned for the three others to follow him down the road.
Godric's Hollow was a quiet little village that barely deserved even that distinction. It was little more than a few houses grouped together along three or four small streets that each ended in dead ends, with a more main street with a few businesses flowing between them. Harry glanced around at the neighborhood and noticed how non-descript it actually looked. No one would suspect anyone would hide here, no one at all.
He fumed internally at Pettigrew again.
Turning down the street called Phoenix Court, he strode down the sidewalk with a bit of a hesitant determination encroaching on his steps. His pace was slowing as the house numbers started to go upwards, and his three friends were quickly slowing down to match his pace. Each of them kept a short distance though. They knew this would be difficult for Harry, and had agreed to give him as much leeway as possible. Though each of them was ready to intervene should the boy breakdown at what he was going to see.
Eventually they came to an empty field where Number 7 Phoenix Court should have been located. Instead of the house that looked just like the others on the street, there was nothing but emptiness here. Harry rummaged around in his pocket and took out the piece of parchment. He gazed over it again and committed the address to memory. As soon as he looked up the house popped into existence, and Harry mentally winced.
He had half-hoped that Hagrid wouldn't have been mistaken after telling him the tale of that Halloween night years ago as far as his houses remains were concerned. Hagrid had said that the house had likely been destroyed, but he couldn't remember for certain. Though there was a gaping hole in the roof where he guessed his nursery had been, the house was practically untouched. It was as bland and identical as the other houses in the neighborhood. It was a small, two-story home painted a dull white coloring with grey shingles covering the roof of the house and of the small porch on the front end. Harry took a deep gulp of air, trying to force down the knot forming in his stomach as he slowly pressed forward. He reached the front door and shakily extended his hand. Firmly grasping the silver doorknob, he gave another wince as it turned with ease, no sign of a lock on it. Summoning up every ounce of his Gryffindor courage, Harry slowly opened the door and made his way inside.
The entryway was simple enough. A hallway led down to a darkened room that Harry guessed was a den of some sorts, but off to the side was a living room that had a full-picture window view of the front yard. Harry turned left and into the room. It's white paint practically matched the outside of the house, and the furnishings were similarly simplistic. He glanced over at the empty shelves where some books had once been, and struggled as hard as he could to remember any of it. Over in the corner he could see a small playpen in full view of the kitchen, and he walked over towards it. Hesitantly he rubbed his hand across the railing of the pen, fighting back the first few tears that fought out of the corners of his eyes. Sniffing a bit he trudged forward, headed towards the kitchen.
After passing through a rather informal dining room he entered the kitchen and got the first view of the backyard. There was a small wooden patio that extended out a ways and a garden shed in the far corner of the yard. Passing by a kitchen door to the outside, he entered another living space that he had suspected to be the den. There was a fireplace, the wood inside was long since dormant. Harry considered it for a moment and noticed that there wasn't even a jar of floo powder sitting there.
Something about the house had Harry amiss. It wasn't anything spectacular...but he hadn't expected it to be a mansion. It was the fact that the house was so...mugglish. There wasn't a hint of magic anywhere there.
It suddenly dawned on him that there was a reason for that. He quietly shuddered at his parent's sacrifice. They had abandoned their whole lives just to protect him.
Yes, Peter would suffer greatly.
Moving forward through the living room he came towards the bottom of the staircase. In a wave a rush of magical energies overtook him and he stumbled in his walk. Quickly Ginny and Ron were at his side, helping to steady him. He nodded them off, collecting himself from the onslaught. After a few moments he leaned forward and felt on the ground, rubbing his hands over the light brown caret of the staircase and the hardwood floor of the hallway. He had felt this magic before, it was Tom's magic. He didn't recognize the other signature though...till he searched in himself. With a shudder and a few forced tears, he realized this was the spot where his father had been killed.
He felt a light touch on his shoulder and turned around to Hermione who glanced down at him with concern. "My father," he whispered, only getting a nod from the young witch. Taking a deep breath, Harry stood back up and started up the small staircase to the second floor.
Immediately to his right was a small bathroom that Harry barely offered a second glance. Also to his right was a linen closet that didn't really draw his attention. He was focused on the three rooms at the end of the carpeted hallway. He went to the one on the left first, and frowned at finding it completely empty. He noticed a desk chair and a few bookcases. This had likely been his dad's study. Ignoring the center room purposefully, he headed to the right and entered his parent's bedroom.
Like the rest of the rooms in the house it looked like it belonged in any other muggle household. The bed was a simple king size with a handmade quilt sticking up over the side. He walked into the room and glanced around, seriously frowning that anything that even related to his family had been removed. He questioned why that was, but in the back of his mind a slight conclusion was coming around. Sighing as he headed out of the room, he kept a close eye on his friends behind him. He'd probably need them for this. He paused just outside the closed door at the very end of the hallway, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
As before he was almost floored with the rush of magical energy that fell over him the moment he opened the door. After letting the initial rush pass, he walked into the room and regarded it with shimmering eyes. Unlike the other rooms this one had distinct flavor to it. The walls were painted a light blue with an animal-lined wallpaper wrapping around the middle of it. The animals moved while they were smiling, and Harry let out a laugh as he saw it was a dog, wolf, and deer that pranced about closest to the center of the room. Clearing his throat he walked over to the ruined crib in the middle of the room, his eyes awash with tears as he considered everything that had happened. This is where it had all began. Where he had been marked by Voldemort and set on his path to this predestined conclusion. Where his life had been destroyed before it had even begun, in a sense.
The emotions finally came full throttle at him as he identified the magics that surrounded a spot a few steps away from his crib, the signature of that of his mother. In a heap he collapsed onto the floor and began to openly weep at the sight, the pain of sixteen years of sorrow and heartache finally overtaking him. Ginny rushed forward and leaned down next to him, taking his crying face and holding it firmly against his shoulder as she offered harried words of comfort. Ron and Hermione merely stood back, their faces drawn, not really caring that they were silently squeezing the other's hand for comfort and support at this point.
After a few minutes of crying his eyes out, Harry's tears ran dry. He looked downward at the floor, his breath ragged and his emotions still raw. "It wasn't fair..." he finally said, barely above a whisper. "It wasn't fair that this had to happen to them. It shouldn't have happened to them."
Ginny simply nodded. "I know Harry, it's not fair. But we're here. All of us are here now." Ron walked forward and leaned down in front of him as well.
"That's right mate," he said, offering as much of a smile as he could, "And we're always going to be there for you." Harry looked up and offered a timid smile, still fighting back some tears. Hermione leaned forward as well, in between Ron and Ginny.
"You'll never be alone again," she added, her smile radiating in the group. Harry regarded all three, and for the first time in his life felt truly lucky to be alive.
The group had slowly made their way out of the house, without any other words spoken between them. Harry had made a note to grab the only thing of notice on his way out, a small locked box that had been on his parent's dresser. After shrinking it to the size of a matchbox he stuck it in his jeans pocket and followed his friends out the front door. Their business was far from concluded that day, and they made there way to a small church that laid just off in the distance.
Beyond the small white chapel was a normal looking graveyard. Harry had not been looking forward to this moment either, but his strength had somewhat been resolved after the events at his house. Spreading out amongst the headstones, they searched for the two that Harry knew from Remus had to be around here somewhere. Remus had visited the headstones in the past, but not recently much to his chagrin. Finally Harry came to a large willow tree that sat in the corner of the graveyard, away from the other headstones. The others saw him fall to his knees and quickly deduced that he had found their quarry. Rushing over to his side, they all looked down and saw two, small, marble plaques firmly planted in the ground beneath the shade of the tree, each with an intricately carved portrait of the person laying beneath. Below those was another plaque with a small epitaph. They carefully saw the one in the upper left to read "Lillian Rose Potter; born October 4, 1958; died October 31, 1981." The gravestone next to it read "James Michael Potter; born December 17, 1958; died October 31, 1981." Below them was a epitaph that caused all of their hearts to skip a beat. It read "Dedicated and Loving Parents who died to protect the only thing important in their lives...their son." Harry again nearly broke down at this, but waved off Ginny's embrace when he had control of his emotions again. Clearing his throat, and not caring that the others were there, he began to speak.
"Mum...Dad..." he began shakily, "I made it. I'm here. You guys let me live...and it's been hard but...I'm here. I've got people who care about me. I've got people who love me. And..." he paused a moment as he considered the right words. "Part of me knows I'll see you again but, until then...just know this. I'm going to finish this." His eyes steeled with resolve they had not known since the death of Dumbledore. "I'm going to finish this and this prophecy and then live my life that you graciously gave to me. I'm going to make you guys proud...I promise." At this a few more tears trickled down his face, and Ginny leaned forward and embraced him softly.
Suddenly Harry opened his eyes with a bit of a frantic look to them. He made a motion with his right hand and his wand quickly fell into place, thanks to the wand holster Neville had given him. He turned quickly, much to the surprise of the others, and anger flashed over his face, quickly replacing the sadness that had been there moments ago, as he saw the man who had snuck up on them.
"Well well," Severus Snape said with a sneer, "That was quite a moving speech there." Harry made a decision right there. Dumbledore or not...Snape was going to pay for what he had done.
A/N: Bit of a cliffhanger ending there, but maybe it'll encourage more interest...or cause people to hate my guts...but either way at least people will be reading!