'Those Who Love' is giving me some difficulties, but I am working on it.
This story is post DH minus the Epilogue.
Trivia Question: In 'Love Actually', which stars the actors who play Snape and Trelawney, what is the name of the girl Simon likes? Hint: it's the same name as his mother. 40 points.
One year I was bathed in it.
One year I was bathed in it.
Ten years I went without it.
One year I yearned for it.
One year I saw others had it.
One year I finally found it.
One year another's was destroyed.
One year mine was taken.
One year I nearly found it again.
One year it changed the world.
One year I searched for it.
One day I found it had been by my side for eight years.
One year it multiplied.
James and Lily stared at the riddle written in their father's messy scrawl, and framed with what appeared to be four wands. It had always hung there, just outside the doors to the library, but no matter how often they asked their father, he would never tell them the answer. He only ever said that they would figure it out someday.
This is why on a sunny Friday when the twins could have been out flying, they stood inside staring at what seemed to them to be the biggest mystery ever. Each child had a hand resting lightly on the back of a large, shaggy black dog that was lovingly named Padfoot.
James, to no one's surprise, looked just like his father, but had his mother's brown eyes. In truth he looked like a miniature of his grandfather. Lily had, to everyone's astonishment, inherited her grandmother's looks, right down to the thick dark red hair. Her father often said though, that she inherited her mother's disposition, and no one could argue with that. Both children had their father's curiosity, hence the reason they stood like statues.
Their beloved Uncles, Fred and George, had instilled in the duo a love of pranks, much to their mother's annoyance. Their godbrother was their best friend and confidant, and to no one's surprise, was the third member of the New Marauders. Teddy Lupin lived with his grandmother during the week, but his godfather on weekends, which suited the children just fine. He would be standing with them right now, were he not at his grandmother's.
The children's mischief had caused them to often try to look in their father's pensieve in hopes of finding the answer to the riddle. After they were caught the third time, their father erected a ward that would not let them past.
Like their father, they were determined to solve the mystery, though why they never asked their mother, no one was sure.
At long last, James spoke, "D'you suppose it means friends?"
"Not likely," Lily responded. "What would be the point in keeping the answer a secret if it was that simple?"
"Hmm," was all James responded with… then, "Why did he write it in the first place?" he wondered out loud.
His mother happened to be walking by when he said this, and it prompted her to stop and reminisce.
"He wrote it for me," she said softly. A gentle smile was on her face.
The twins exchanged looks of glee.
"So, what's the answer?" Lily asked as their father arrived home from work.
Harry heard the question, and looked at his wife to see her response.
She knew instantly when he arrived, and turned to look at him. "It's time you told them everything, Harry," she said.
He sighed and wearily rubbed his neck. "Everyone in the library, I'll be there in a moment," he said.
He hurried upstairs to quickly chang his clothes then joined his family.
"I knew this day would come soon," he started. "I'd have to tell you two before you go to Hogwarts, and that's a year and half from now."
The twins exchanged looks.
Harry continued, "I've never told you about my childhood or even much about Hogwarts."
Lily piped up, "You've told us about the Quidditch games, the lessons, and the professors. Erm…though you never did mention your childhood now that I think on it."
Harry smiled. "I never told you what I did at Hogwarts. The lessons and Quidditch were nothing compared to…" he trailed off. "I'd best start at the beginning."
"You've heard your mother and I talk about Voldemort before," the twins nodded, "What you might not know is that when I was one year old on Halloween night, he attacked us. My dad tried to buy my mom some time to escape with me, but before she could, Voldemort killed my dad. She begged Voldemort to kill her and spare me; he told her to stand aside several times, but she wouldn't, so he killed her. Because she died to protect me, she caused some ancient magic to come into effect. He tried to kill me with the Killing Curse, but it rebounded and destroyed his body, but his spirit escaped."
The kids gasped in shock.
"The only thing I got from that curse was the lightning bolt scar on my forehead. Anyway, I was sent to live with my mum's sister and her husband and son. Apparently the magic my mum invoked to save my life would protect me as long as I could call home the place where my mother's blood dwells."
"How come we've never met them then?" James asked.
Harry looked sad. "Aunt Petunia was jealous of my mother's magic, and her hatred of my mother led to a hatred of magic period, and by extension…me. Uncle Vernon hated me because I was left on their doorstep with a letter; no one bothered to ask them to raise me, it was ordered. Dudley, my cousin, was raised to hate me. When I left there, I never looked back."
"What was your childhood like if they hated you?" Lily asked.
"I was worked like an abused house-elf," he replied. "My bedroom was the cupboard under the stairs," at this point his wife flinched. "Dudley and his friends bullied anyone who was nice to me, and felt free to beat me up on a regular basis because they were never punished for it." He paused and continued. "I was locked in my cupboard without meals whenever I performed accidental magic…or even looked at them cross-eyed."
His wife rubbed his back soothingly.
"The first two lines of the riddle refer to the eleven years before I went to Hogwarts," Harry explained, holding the framed parchment. "My parents loved me very much, which is why I said I was 'bathed in it'. Then, for ten years I was unloved by my family."
Lily and James stared wide-eyed at their father.
"During my first year at Hogwarts, I found the Mirror of Erised," Harry continued. "It shows the viewer their hearts desire. It showed me my family. That is why I 'yearned for it'."
Lily asked, "Love?"
"Yeah, sweetie," Harry said, running a hand through his daughter's hair in an affectionate gesture.
A loud wail suddenly came from upstairs.
"I'll be back in a moment. Wait for me, dear?" Harry's wife asked.
"Of course," he replied.
Five minutes later she was re-entering the library, carrying a small pink bundle. "She was hungry," she explained. She cast a spell obscuring the baby and her chest, and began to nurse the little girl.
"I met Voldemort at the end of that school year. He was possessing the Defense professor." Harry took a large swig of the butterbeer that Kreature had brought him. "I returned to my so-called family for the summer." Harry smiled sadly. "Uncle Vernon had a dinner party with someone he was hoping to get a business contract with on my birthday that year. I was told to stay upstairs and be quiet as the guests were unaware that I existed."
James muttered something under his breath.
"You'd better hope that I don't figure out what you said, young man!" his mother warned.
Harry smiled at his wife and continued. "During the dinner party, a house-elf appeared in my bedroom demanding that I not return to Hogwarts because dangerous things were going to happen that year."
Lily gasped; and Kreature, who was supposedly dusting some books, began to mutter under his breath about keeping a master's secrets.
"When I refused to stay away from school, the house-elf went downstairs, hovered my Aunt's pudding then smashed it. Uncle Vernon might still have managed to brush the incident off if it hadn't been for the owl from the Ministry. They thought that I had done the Hovering Charm and so sent me a warning."
"I'd better never catch either of you two getting those warnings," his wife interjected.
"Yes, Mum," the twins responded, fear in their eyes. Everyone knew not to mess with Mrs. Potter.
Harry smiled sadly. "My uncle padlocked me into my room until the night Uncles Fred, George and Ron broke me out… Without using magic!" he quickly added when his wife gave him a warning look. "I spent the rest of the summer at the Burrow, and that's why 'I saw others had it'."
Lily's eyes sparkled as she tried to decifer the next clue to no avail.
"Incidentally, the trouble that I had been warned about, was that Voldemort was possessing a first-year student and making her set a Basilisk loose. Thankfully no one was killed. I was able to kill the Basilisk with that sword," he nodded at Gryffindor's sword which was in a glass case above the fireplace, "and destroy the object that Voldemort was using to possess the girl." Harry turned to Kreature, "Could you please serve us some sandwiches in here. I'm starving."
"What Master wants, Master gets," Kreature said in a surly tone.
"Thanks," Harry said when Kreature returned with some thick roast beef sandwiches. "Anyway, that summer my godfather escaped from Azkaban and at the end of the year I met him. He was innocent of the crimes he was imprisoned for, and so I helped him escape from the Dementors that were chasing him. Through him I 'finally found it'."
Harry picked up another sandwich. "My fourth year I was entered in the Tri-Wizard Tournament by a Death Eater that was Polyjuiced as our Defense professor. I made it through the entire Tournament, and at the end of the final task, I shared the victory with the real Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory." Harry's eyes welled up with tears.
"He's the one at the graveyard you visit every June, isn't he?" James asked.
"Yes," Harry said in a husky sounding voice. "That was when 'another's was destroyed'. Cedric had a sweetheart, you see."
Lily nodded, looking teary.
"Voldemort had his servant turn the cup into a Portkey that transported us to a graveyard where he had Wormtail," Harry spat the name, "kill Cedric. Then they used my blood to create a body for Voldemort. At the end of my fifth year, Voldemort tricked me into going to get a prophecy for him from the Department of Mysteries…"
"Hey! That's where you work!" James declared.
Harry flushed a light pink. "Yes it is. Anyway, Voldemort tricked me into thinking that he had my godfather and was torturing him in the Hall of Prophecies."
"Oh, Daddy," Lily breathed.
"He didn't have my godfather. It was a trap. Some members of the Order of the Phoenix came to rescue me and my friends, and my godfather was among them. One of the Death Eaters cursed him, and sent him into the Veil of Death."
"Shit!" James declared.
"No broom for two weeks!" his mother declared.
"But Mu-um," he whined.
"No buts! That's the second time this week, young man! I did warn you!"
Harry smiled at his wife, who was finished nursing their youngest, and continued. "That was how 'mine was taken'. Headmaster Dumbledore told me the prophecy that Voldemort had been after. It pretty much said that it was either him or me, 'neither can live while the other survives'."
The twins remained silent in shock.
"The next school year, I had my first girlfriend, and so I 'nearly found it again', but it didn't work out. She was in danger from Voldemort just by being with me, so I broke it off with her. The next year I spent on the run, trying to destroy some objects that tied Voldemort to life. At the end of the year, I found out that I was one of those objects. I had to let Voldemort kill me to destroy it."
"But you're still alive," James said. "So he obviously didn't."
"Actually, he did kill me, so to speak. But there were extenuating circumstances that kept me alive, but still destroyed the object." No one but his wife saw Harry lightly rub a wand that made up the frame. It was of Elder wood. "Voldemort was unable to kill anyone after that because I had died for them, causing the same protection over them that my mother had given me. I killed Voldemort shortly thereafter. That is why 'it changed the world'."
Harry reached over to his wife, and scooped their baby out of her arms and cuddled the baby to his chest. "I took my NEWTs that summer, then spent the next year travelling the world while your mother returned to Hogwarts to finish her seventh year. I went out on a lot of dates that never amounted to much," Harry said. "That is the year I 'searched for it'. I returned to the Burrow the next summer where I saw your mother again, and I suddenly realized that love had been sitting next to me for…"
"Eight years!" Lily said.
"Yup. We ran off and got married pretty quickly, and for my birthday the next year, your mother told me she was pregnant. It was the best birthday present ever." A few tears did slip down Harry's face at this. "That's when 'it multiplied'. I wrote this riddle for your Mum's birthday that year, and framed it with the wands of the people who loved me that are no longer with us."
"Oh, I see," James said. "So why didn't you ever tell us before."
Harry smiled sadly. "It hurt to talk about the ones who are gone, and you were both too young to hear the truth about what happened with Voldemort." Harry suddenly looked up at the clock. "Now! Why don't the two of you go practice some Quidditch before it gets too dark out?"
The twins hugged him quickly, James letting go faster than Lily did, then raced outside.
"I love you," Harry said turning to his wife.
"I love you too," she said.
They sat in silence for several minutes before she spoke again. "I think it's time that I stopped breast feeding Rose," Hermione said.
"Why?" Harry asked. "I thought you wanted to wait until her first birthday."
"Oh, well…" Hermione smiled as she climbed onto his lap, "I decided that it would be better if she were weaned before I got to the second trimester."
Harry blinked several times, not quite comprehending what she meant.
"Oh, and we'd better set up a second nursery using James' old things, as we're having a boy," she finished.
Harry's jaw fell open. "R-r-really," he stammered, and grinned wildly.
"Mmhmm," she murmured before leaning over a sleeping Rose to kiss her husband.
The other three wands belong to James, Lily and Sirius. In this story Sirius dropped his wand as he fell through the veil, and Fred lives just because I like him too much to let him die.