Harry and the Staircase to the Founders' Portal - by teddylonglong
8 – the Staircase to the Founders' Portal
'Everything must be true then,' Severus mused in excitement, just as Harry turned around as well and breathed, "Mum!"
"Harry, Sev, are you feeling all right? Is everything okay?" Lily asked in concern as she headed straight to Harry's bed and consecutively pulled her son and her husband in bear hugs.
"Lily! We had the best dream of our lives," Severus replied, smiling.
"Oh well, according to what Rowena told me, both of your lives must have been horrible," Lily said softly. "Thank God you went to the past and changed everything for the better... and saved my life," she added, smiling fondly at her family. "Where is Tom by the way? I can't wait to see him, and I'm so happy Harry has a little brother now."
"I'm afraid Salazar is teaching him how to prank the students," Helga threw in, smirking. "They're brewing fruit drops and prank potions together."
"I believe I have to exchange a word with my ancestor," Severus spoke up sternly. "How dare he teach my son how to do mischief?"
"It's a good thing that he's learning to brew, isn't it?" Harry asked innocently, happily leaning against his mother.
Two hours later, Harry anxiously followed his parents into their quarters, trying not to let his uncertainty show in his face in order not to frighten Tom, who was firmly holding his hand. Severus had introduced Lily to Tom as his adoptive mother, and Tom was as happy as Harry was to finally have real parents. Harry patiently waited as Tom discovered the portraits with the moving people along the corridor, remembering well how amazed he had been when he came to Hogwarts for the first time in his older timeline.
'In this new timeline, I have been growing up at Hogwarts,' he mused. 'Mum is the Charms teacher and Dad the Potions professor like before. And I'm in Slytherin and best friends with Blaise and Millicent as well as Neville and Hermione from Gryffindor. That seems so strange, but it isn't. I'm not friends with Ron in this new timeline. Well, maybe that's better. A friend from whom I have to hide so many things is not a good friend anyway.'
"Harry!" Tom's impatient voice brought Harry out of his reverie.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Tom. I was so deep in thoughts. What?"
"Who is that?" Tom pointed ahead, and Harry could see the Bloody Baron.
"Ah, that's the Bloody Baron, the ghost of Slytherin House," Harry explained gently and called the ghost over to properly introduce Tom as his adoptive brother. 'It'll be great to have a little brother,' he thought when they reached their quarters. Harry smiled, noticing that the password wasn't 'Lily' anymore as it had been in the old timeline. Now it was 'Welcome home, Tom.'
"Do you want to attend dinner in the Great Hall, or would you prefer to eat at home tonight?" Lily queried, throwing Severus and Harry a concerned look.
Severus glanced at his children. "Well, if Harry and Tom aren't too exhausted, we should probably head to the Great Hall. You know that Dumbledore doesn't take it well if we miss a meal."
"Dumbledore?" Lily asked incredulously, worriedly looking at her husband. "What does Dumbledore have to do with it? Are you getting confused with the different timelines?"
"Oh no," Severus groaned. "Yes, I must be getting confused, and I have a splitting headache. Please excuse me for a moment." He turned on his heels and headed to the potions lab, unaware of the fact that Harry followed him.
"Dad, I'm getting confused as well," Harry said softly. "May I have a headache potion too, please?"
"Of course," Severus replied, giving Harry a sharp look. "According to Helga, it might be that we'll have problems for a few weeks. Come to me if anything bothers you, son."
"I will," Harry promised, chuckling. "Dumbledore is the Minister of Magic, isn't he?"
"Yes. Oh my, how could I forget that Minerva is the Headmistress now?" Severus sighed, smirking.
"Of course; otherwise, Mum wouldn't be Head of Gryffindor," Harry agreed and held the door open for his father, knowing that his mother would probably be worried if they didn't return soon.
"Do you know what happened to James?" Harry asked hesitantly. "I mean, he was my father in the former timeline. It's not as if I wasn't really happy to have you as my father; I was just wondering."
"Of course," Severus sighed, "you only have the memories from after you were born and not of everything we changed. Well, it's a longer story, but I can show you the memory of the old timeline some time, and it'll show you why your mother and I didn't remain together in the first place."
"Do I look differently by the way?" Harry suddenly remembered to ask, causing Lily to chuckle.
"You're very handsome, sweetie; why don't you have a look at the mirror?" she suggested, looking up from the puzzle of Hogwarts she was just doing together with Tom.
'Oh right,' Harry mused and stepped into the bathroom, taking in his new features. 'I don't look very different,' he thought, realising that he still had his green eyes and his mother's nose. Only his black hair wasn't messy anymore but longer and straight like that of his father's. 'Not too bad,' he decided as he headed back to the living room, taking a glance at his own room as he went. To his surprise, his room was decorated in the same colours as it had been before; however, he found many toys and books on the shelves as well as many handmade items, which obviously Lily had made for him. Even the curtains surrounding his bed were obviously handmade, decorated with a bubbling cauldron, from which small golden Snitches emerged and moved around the curtain, before they were sucked in again. 'This time, I had a very happy childhood; I'll see to it that Tom is going to grow up happily as well this time,' he thought as he let himself sink onto the sofa, watching his mother and his small brother finish their puzzle.
"What day is it?" he suddenly remembered to ask. "Are we going to have classes tomorrow?"
Lily sighed, throwing Severus a questioning glance. "Tomorrow is Monday," she said softly; "however, I'm not sure if you should attend classes right away. I don't even like it that your father wants to go back to teaching tomorrow."
"Lily, I'll be fine. Harry however..." Severus said forcefully, but quieted when Harry interrupted him eagerly.
"I can't wait to attend classes. Do I have to stay in Slytherin though? I'd love to remain here and look after Tom. What are you going to tell people about who he is by the way?"
"You may attend classes if you feel well enough. In case you get a headache, which can easily happen, I want you to come to your mother or me for a potion," Severus said firmly. "We have told the others that we were going to fetch a distant cousin, whose parents died recently. In general, you should stay in Slytherin; however, at least during the next few weeks I want to have you here for observation, and I'm sure your friends will understand if you tell them that you have a small brother and want to take care of him."
"May I take Tom to class with me?" Harry queried, causing Tom to throw him a huge smile.
"Yeah, Tom go to class with Harry," he said excitedly, looking questioningly at his parents, who were smiling down at him.
However, when Harry accompanied his parents and Tom to the Great Hall for breakfast on Monday morning and motioned Tom to sit with him at the Slytherin table, he suddenly felt very uncertain. 'I don't really know the people here; oh well, I do, but I don't. Everything is such a mess; I can't sort out what was in the old timeline and what is in the new one; what am I going to do?' he mused, slightly beginning to panic.
"Harry, look, this room doesn't have a ceiling," Tom efficiently pulled Harry out of his musings.
Harry gently explained to the child that the ceiling was charmed to look like the sky.
"So we can't get wet, right?" Tom asked in his high children's voice. "Look, it's raining cats and dogs."
"No, we won't get wet here," Harry replied softly.
"Harry, who is the child?" Blaise suddenly queried, and Harry realised that everyone was observing him in expectation.
"That's Tom. He is a distant cousin, but his parents died and my father adopted him; so he is my little brother now."
"Hello Tom," Millicent cooed. "Oh, he is such a cutie."
Tom cheered, while the older girls fussed over him, and Harry smiled, glad that Tom seemed to enjoy himself. Too soon it was time to head to class. 'Thank God our first class is Potions with Dad,' Harry mused as he absently followed his classmates towards the dungeons with Tom in tow. During the class, Tom sat at a table next to Severus', playing with Harry's old 'Toddler's Potions kit' that Severus had brought to the classroom for him.
In this new timeline, Harry was very adept at brewing, not only because of inheriting Severus' genes, but because his parents had taught him to brew as soon as he was old enough to look over a cauldron. Nevertheless, Harry felt uncertain on this morning and his head hurt. Somehow, he was extremely glad when the class was over.
"Harry, did you have a fight with your father during the weekend?" Hermione asked as they left the classroom.
"No, why?" Harry queried, throwing the girl a confused look.
"Because you're both acting a bit strange this morning; I thought something was off, especially with you. Are you feeling all right, Harry?"
"I'm fine," Harry replied, although his headache was slowly becoming unbearable as he hesitantly entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. He motioned Tom to sit on the chair next to him and laid parchment and a few crayons out for him.
Unfortunately, from the time Professor Lupin entered the classroom, things went downhill for Harry. Of course, he knew Professor Lupin well from his new memories. He had grown up at Hogwarts, and all the teachers were like aunts and uncles to him. He had even assisted his father in finding a cure for lycanthropy, so that Professor Lupin could be healed from being a werewolf. Since Severus had told everyone that Harry had helped developing the cure, he had even received the Order of Merlin together with his father two years ago and was known as the youngest owner of the Order of Merlin in the British history.
However, while the new memories flooded his mind, the old memories of Professor Quirrel flared up at the same time, causing Harry to grip his head in agony, before he collapsed with his head on the table, unconscious.
"Harry, Harry," Tom shouted in panic, attracting all the attention to Harry. While everyone gathered around Harry and Professor Lupin tried to wake him up, Tom dashed to the dungeons, storming into his father's classroom. "Dad, Harry is dead," he shouted, causing everyone to look at him in disbelief.
"Please stop fetching your ingredients and make yourselves acquainted with the content of the next chapter in your Potions book," Severus ordered the third year Slytherin and Gryffindor students and hurriedly followed Tom to the Defence classroom, where they arrived at the same time as Madam Pomfrey.
While the Mediwitch cast a diagnostic spell on the boy, Severus gently woke him up, causing Harry to whisper, "Dad, my head's going to explode."
Severus quickly pulled a small phial out of his robe pocket, pressing it against his son's lips.
"Do you think you can walk to the hospital wing, sweetie?" Madam Pomfrey asked softly, noticing that Harry relaxed visibly as the potion took effect.
"Is it necessary to take him to the hospital wing?" Severus asked quietly, causing the Mediwitch to nod.
"Yes Severus, he is burning up. Do you have an idea what might have happened?"
"I'll tell you in private," Severus replied and gently led Harry out of the classroom, seeing from the corner of his eyes that Tom anxiously sled his small hand into the Mediwitch's.
"Will Harry be all right?" he asked in concern, causing Poppy to gently squeeze his hand.
"Give him a few hours of rest, and he'll be right as rain," she said softly.
Severus placed Harry on a bed in the fortunately empty hospital wing and quietly told the Healer that the heirs of the Founders had the possibility to travel into the past and how they had changed the timeline by fetching little Tom.
The Mediwitch listened in amazement, before she shook her head. "You and your son are just amazing," she finally said. "However, Harry's mind seems unable to cope with the two timelines." Glancing over to the boy, who had drifted off to unconsciousness again, he continued sternly, "He is unconscious again with a splitting headache and a high fever. You're probably better able to process the memories, because you're a master of Occlumency. Harry however doesn't have this ability, and even if he has to deal with much fewer memories than you, it hits him much harder. We have to do something to help him. Can you enter his mind and erase all the memories of his former childhood?"
"I'll probably be able to do so; however, it would take several hours, if not even days. On the other hand, it might be enough to delete the memories of his time as a student at Hogwarts, since his earlier childhood won't have such an effect on him now that he is at Hogwarts," Severus replied thoughtfully.
"Very well then, do you want to do it right away? For Harry it would be the best of course, but are you feeling well enough, Severus?"
"Yes. However, I have to either teach my classes or cancel them and take Tom to Lily first." 'And I need a headache potion,' he added silently, unaware of the fact that the Mediwitch was waving her wand over him.
"Take a headache potion first, Severus," she admonished him firmly. "I'll ask Minerva to cancel your classes and take Tom to his mother. I will continuously monitor the two of you and, if necessary, pull you away from your son. Please be careful, Severus, for both of your sake."
"I will," Severus promised and quickly entered Harry's mind, secretly feeling very much reassured by Poppy's presence.
It took Severus ten hours to skim and remove all of Harry's earlier Hogwarts memories with the exception of those of the Founders' Portal, the staircase and the time travel. During that time, Poppy monitored both Harry and Severus closely, spelling potions into their system whenever she deemed it necessary. When Severus finally pulled out of his son's mind, he collapsed on the bed next to Harry's, unaware of the fact that Lily, Poppy and Minerva were watching him in concern.
The Mediwitch kept both time-travellers asleep for two full days, before she finally allowed them to wake up and return to their usual business.
Harry felt happier than he had been ever before in his life. He still had his old memories of his childhood with the Dursleys, but these memories only helped him to enjoy how much better off he was in the new timeline, having real parents and even a small brother, who absolutely adored him.
Tom grew up happily with his new family, and a little more than six years later, shortly after Harry took his NEWTs, he was sorted into Ravenclaw.
At the same time, Harry became a professor for the new subject "Ancient Studies", for which Harry had studied with the Founders, who had invited him to spend several months in the past during his summer holidays.
'Thank God for the Staircase to the Founders' Portal,' he mused as he opened the door to his classroom on the second of September, allowing his first students, the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff first years, in. From within the crowd of the waiting students he could hear Tom's voice, sounding very proud, "That's my big brother."
Thank you for your kind support throughout this story - I really appreciate it!
I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
In case you are looking for one of the later chapters of my original daily-page story: I re-posted the story in form of a normal chaptered story, so that it will be easier to read for the people who haven't been following the story as daily story with mini chapters. There are appoximately six of the earlier pages in one chapter now.