A/N: I do not own Harry Potter
"O Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,
And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle,
All bathed in liquid light."
—Abraham Lincoln (My Childhood's Home I See Again)—
Sunday July 27th, 1997
"Hagrid! No! Let me!" "REPARO!"
The sidecar broke away. Carried my the momentum of the motorbike, the sidecar stayed in the air for a few precious seconds, long enough for Harry to levitate it while Hagrid circled back. But he needed to hurry. Three Death Eaters were bearing down on him, aiming for the kill.
Hagrid was flying as fast as he could but Harry knew he would not make it in time. Harry leapt from the car, desperately reaching out for Hagrid who was racing for him. Behind him, the sidecar was obliterated as three powerful Reducto curses struck together.
Hagrid needed to dive slightly but he caught Harry's right wrist and squeezed tight. "I got ya Harry," he roared, catching Harry's outstretched arm. Harry felt his shoulder violently separate and bones in his wrist grind together and break, the pain slicing through him like fire. If it weren't for Hagrid holding him tight, he would've plummeted to his death.
The pain was quickly forgotten as Harry, through a haze of tears, saw Voldemort flying, like smoke on the wind, bearing down on them. Harry's scar was now searing with pain, making the pain in his shoulder seem like a tickle by comparison. But as his body went through the physiology of fight-or-flight, his mind cleared and he could focus on Voldemort. While he did not know if Voldemort knew he was the real Harry or if he was just cutting down each until he got the right one, it hardly mattered anyway.
Voldemort's eyes shone like stars in the twilight, his face nearly invisible under his hood. Harry watched helplessly as he aimed and fired a killing curse at Hagrid. The gentle giant could hardly turn in his seat before it hit him in the back. His black, lifeless eyes stared past Harry as he slumped over the controls, sending the motorbike into a steep dive. His hand holding Harry went limp and Harry plummeted towards the ground.
His eyes stung from tears of grief and the slipstream. But he recognized Voldemort chasing him as he fell; those mad eyes alight with a ferocious glee. He would not risk Harry pulling some trick and living. He would complete the job. As Voldemort cast another killing curse, Harry lifted his left arm (his wand arm was useless) and bellowed "Expelliarmus!"
As the green and red curses collided, a bright, blinding white light burst between them and Harry felt himself shooting towards the ground faster than before. He closed his eyes and braced himself for death.
Severus Snape was scanning the skies, looking desperately for any sign of Hagrid or Harry. He was looking to the west as a blinding explosion lighted the sky to the northeast. As the light faded, he saw a body falling swiftly towards the earth while a single coil of smoke billowed up from the explosion before righting itself.
No Snape thought desperately. He turned his broom and leaned down, coaxing as much speed as possible from the Cleansweep Eleven. He knew he could not reach the body in time but he did reach the Dark Lord before he fled the scene.
"My Lord. The other Potters are in disarray. Alastor Moody is dead and another Potter as been critically wounded. Have you eliminated another?"
The Dark Lord was silent for nearly a minute. "I am not sure," he said, a note of unease and uncertainty in his voice. He turned his gaze on Snape, his eyes blazing. "Go down and search the area Severus," he ordered, sounding much more like himself: cold and angry.
"Of course milord," he said, asking no questions. He leapt down from his broom, apparating in descent to the approximate spot where the body should've landed. He found himself in a small neighborhood, very quaint and pleasant. He sensed several people in a panic and knew soon the muggle authorities would be on the scene. But he heard nothing about a body. He only heard fear about the explosion of light.
Casting all necessary stealth spells, Snape decided to search the properties of each home in a two-mile radius until he found Potter's body. His shoulders slumped as he realized the magnitude of what this meant, not only for himself but also for the cause.
But after an hour, Snape found no signs of anything unusual. As he initially heard, the authorities and civilians were going on about the flashes of multicolored light in the sky until the massive explosion of white light before the stars returned. There was no sign that Potter had ever appeared in this neighborhood.
Feeling drained, Snape wondered if he should even return to the Dark Lord. What was the point? Dumbledore was dead. Potter was missing, likely dead. There was no one left to stand against Voldemort. More from habit than anything else, Snape turned on his heel and appeared outside Malfoy manor in Wiltshire.
After displaying his mark and waiting for the wards to recognize him, he holstered his wand and approached the door. Before he reached it, the Dark Lord opened it and stood before him. "What did you find Severus," he said urgently. Snape resisted the urge to raise an eyebrow. The Dark Lord had never approached him for information after a mission. The minion would always go to the master.
Whatever his reasons, they were irrelevant. Snape bowed, using the second to gather his thoughts. "I could not find him milord. I searched the area extensively and found no traces of magic that could be traced to Potter. Do we presume the boy dead?"
The Dark Lord actually deflated, his shoulders slumping and his eyes lost some of their fire before he could recover. "We cannot assume the boy is dead Severus until I see his body. As much as I hate to admit it, he is an incredibly lucky brat. I will order my Death Eaters to search the country high and low for him. You have done well searching the immediate area but it is not enough. I can still feel the boy on some level." Snape did not believe he was supposed to hear that last statement and looked quizzically at the Dark Lord when he glared at Snape and showed no signs of reaction until he was dismissed.
After bowing again and saying he would return to the manor tomorrow, Snape left the grounds of Malfoy manor and apparated to Hogsmeade. He felt better than he had before giving his status report to the Dark Lord. If the Dark Lord could still feel Potter, all was not lost.
Given his 'murder' of Dumbledore, Snape knew he could not enter the castle through the gates without drawing the wrath of the other professors. Instead, he snuck into Honeydukes and took the secret passage he discovered several years ago after Potter used it to stash his invisibility cloak and Marauder's Map. He was grateful that the halls were empty as he moved through the halls and entered the High Office.
The portraits were all asleep, save one. Albus Dumbledore was pacing in front of the throne in his portrait but he smiled when he saw Severus. He had been waiting for his report. The smile vanished as he truly saw the expression on Snape's face. "Severus, what has happened? Is Harry okay?"
Snape felt a flash of fury but he smothered it. Accusations wouldn't help. "Dumbledore, your plan didn't work. The Dark Lord deduced who was escorting Potter." Snape was breathing heavy, remembering the sight of Hagrid catching the boy only to die a few minutes later. Then there was the terrifying explosion that preceded Potter's disappearance.
Dumbledore took a seat. "Severus, please tell me what happened, from the very beginning."
"In the beginning, everything was going as planned. The Dark Lord and thirty of us Death Eaters were waiting for the Order to fly off just before the wards collapsed. The plan seemed to be working because the Dark Lord held back, unsure of who was the real Potter."
Snape sneered. "But Moody botched the whole damn scheme. All of Potter's things were sent to the Burrow except for Hedwig. When the Dark Lord saw the bird, he must have assumed that that was the real Potter. He knew how much the bird meant to Potter. Of course, he may have been drawn to Hagrid and the motorbike for symbolic reasons. The giant saved Potter when he was a baby; only fair to expect him to do the same again."
"What happened to Harry?"
"Moody and Hagrid are dead. Potter is missing. The sidecar he was sitting in broke off the motorbike. Potter jumped out just before three Reducto curses destroyed it and killed him. But the Dark Lord quickly murdered Hagrid and tried to kill Potter as he plummeted to the ground."
Dumbledore looked very grave. "What do you mean tried?"
"He cast another killing curse. Potter cast a disarming spell that intercepted the Dark Lord's curse. The spells collided between them and there was some sort of massive explosion and then Potter...was gone. I spent the last two hours scouring the countryside in a two-mile circle around where he should've landed. He is gone."
Dumbledore's shoulders fell. He looked old and defeated. "So it is done. Harry is dead. Voldemort has won."
Snape shook his head. "Albus, I don't believe that is the case. I just said Potter was gone. I think he is out there still, somewhere. The Dark Lord intends to have the Death Eaters to search the whole country looking for Potter. I'm sure the Order will do the same. The Dark Lord and Potter share a connection and he can still feel Potter on some level. Otherwise why would the Dark Lord bother to search for him?"
Dumbledore perked up, the strength returning to the old man. "Thank Merlin. Severus, do you know what Tom has planned for you?"
Snape shrugged. "I am not sure Albus. Much of it depends on the success of Thicknesse staging a coup of the Ministry. Yaxley managed to place him under the Imperius curse but I am not privy to all of the Dark Lord's plans for the Ministry."
Albus gave him a measured look. It was not the same sensation as when the man was alive but it was reminiscent. "When do you believe he will make his move?"
Snape considered the question and what he knew of the Dark Lord's strength at the moment. "If he moves soon, perhaps by the first week of August, he will need to take the Ministry silently. He will also, at least during the leadership transition, make sure the process is as legal as possible to install Thicknesse. He does not have the strength right now to bring off a sustained attack however, not at least for another six months, possibly more."
"Have you alerted the Order of your suspicions?"
"I haven't Albus," Snape said, shaking his head. "Yaxley informed us of his success a week ago. I haven't heard anything about further people being compromised. Given Yaxley's success in infiltrating the Ministry so soon after…after your passing." Snape needed to pause as his calm threatened to waiver. "Given his success, however difficult, getting to Thicknesse, he should have no problem subjugating others needed to stage a coup."
Dumbledore sat on the throne, ruminating about how to proceed. "If Tom were to take the Ministry, what would happen to Hogwarts?"
Snape grimaced. "The Death Eaters and Thicknesse would lean on the governors and name me Headmaster. I don't know for certain who he would want to serve as Defense and Muggle Studies professor, but I would wager the Carrows."
Dumbledore nodded and looked at him intently. "Very well. I have your word that you will do everything in your power to protect the students should that happen." When Snape nodded, Dumbledore smiled. "Thank you Severus. Now…Severus someone is coming."
Snape already sensed someone coming before the alert flashed on the desk. He moved as quickly as he could to the stairs leading to the bedchamber. He listened as McGonagall told Dumbledore the news about Harry. He sounded suitably grave as he responded and gave his input on the Order's plans. He also asked McGonagall to send Shacklebot and Arthur Weasley as soon as possible.
"Do you think they will be able to do anything Albus," Snape asked after she was gone and down the stairs.
"I am not sure Severus but the attempt must be made. Even if the coup succeeds, Tom cannot afford many losses. I am afraid I do not see how his attack can fail but the more expensive the venture, the weaker his rule will be and the more likely the Order can eventually reclaim the Ministry. Regardless, you need to be prepared if it succeeds and Tom puts you in charge of Hogwarts."
"I will be ready Albus."
Wednesday July 27th 1977
The moon shone brightly over the small town of Cokeworth, illuminating the sky and highlighting the stars in the sky. It was a beautifully peaceful summers night.
It's so good, it's so good
It's so good, it's so good
It's so good
For the young man and woman snogging on a blanket on a hill overlooking the little river that flowed through Cokeworth and the neighboring village, Spinner's End, Donna Summer's I Feel Love playing in the background, it was a wonderful night.
Fallin' free, fallin' free
Fallin' free, fallin' free
"Oh James," the young woman moaned, breaking off this kiss to catch her breath. He continued to kiss her neck, drawing another passionate moan from her. Before she could pull his head back to hers, the ground shook violently.
"What was that Lils," James asked, setting his glasses on the bridge of his nose.
The young woman shook her head. "I don't know. I think I should go home though." She chuckled as James pouted. "And what is that look for Mr. Potter?"
James pulled her towards him. "I'm going to be out of the country for the next month. I wanted some time with the most beautiful woman in the world."
Lily blushed (thank heavens he couldn't see, even with the moonlight) but turned her head before he kissed her. She pecked him on the nose as he frowned.
I'll get you, I'll get you
I'll get you, I'll get you
I'll get you
Lily and James both laughed at that conveniently timed portion of the song. "Just be sure you're waiting for me on King's Cross," she said before getting to her feet and apparating home. James stayed for another few seconds, chuckling at how lucky he was to have Lily as a girlfriend.
Two blocks away, a surely teenage woman was muttering furiously under her breath. She couldn't sleep but that wasn't the reason for her frustration. She hated her home and so looked forward to leaving in a few months. Her fiancé was at least normal. Her parents were normal too but they didn't care for her.
The young woman scowled. No, their favorite was her sister: her perfect, pretty, special sister. She was ignored, just a little tree struggling for light in the shadow of a bigger tree. How she wished she could cut her down to size, make everyone understand she wasn't so great, see her for what she really was.
Suddenly, the house shook violently and the young woman fell backwards on her bed. As she righted herself, she heard her parents getting up hastily. Exclamations from her parent's room said the crash had startled them as well.
"Are you all right sweetheart," called her mother, out of breath.
The girl scowled. "I'm fine mother. What on earth was that horrible crash?"
"I don't know dear. Your father is going to check. I hope it isn't anything dangerous."
The two women met up downstairs, watching their husband/father poke through a massive crater in the backyard.
"Good Heavens, is it a meteor," asked the mother rhetorically. After all, what else could have crashed into the ground like that? All the daughter could do was shrug. She was scowling a little, thinking this was probably the work of those dunderheads her sister hung around with. They were always disturbing the peace with their ridiculous antics.
"Sweetheart, you might want to come take a look at this," called the man. "Just you," he added when he noticed his daughter following.
"What is it?"
"Just look." He pointed the flashlight down into the hole. The girl couldn't see what was there but the way her mother reacted told him this was no meteor.
"For goodness sake, get him out and bring him in the house. He desperately needs help. Petunia, call the paramedics."
Petunia reached for the phone but a man held down her hand, preventing her from lifting the receiver. "That won't be necessary. My friends and I will take it from here." Petunia noticed four men and a woman, all clad in khaki robes with red trim. They were freaks from Lily's world. Petunia pulled her hand free and wiped it on her robe as if it were contaminated. The man said nothing even if he looked mildly offended.
"Oh, I'm glad you all are here," said Jacob Evans, stepping out of the crater and helping his wife out. "I'm not sure how this young man ended up here but he has been terribly beat up."
Three of the Aurors swept past the Evans patriarch, gently extracting the boy from the earth and bringing him in the house. Then one of the aurors with the map of Ireland on his face waved his wand over the boy's body three times. "Sir, I don't think we should move the boy. He is in critical condition and the shock could kill him."
"That's fine Milligan, just make sure he is okay. Briggs, you and I should set this yard to rights before anyone notices what has happened."
"Yes sir. Should we modify the memories of the neighbors, just in case?"
The leader shook his head. "It was dark out and no one saw what happened. The muggle authorities may canvass the neighborhood for the source of the crash but no one can say it happened here."
Petunia left the kitchen in a huff as they stepped outside and started doing whatever restorative work they wanted to do. The nerve of those freaks, talking about modifying innocent peoples' memories as if it were a game. It is as if they thought they ruled the world. Her parents didn't make matters better either, fawning over the boy as if he were their own. This was just another arrogant freak that had a stupid accident.
Just as Petunia pushed open her bedroom door, she heard a soft pop in her sister's. "Petunia, I felt the ground shake earlier. Is everyone okay?"
Petunia leered at Lily, growling faintly. "Why don't you check for yourself? Don't see the problem though. Just some freak vandalizing our yard."
Lily looked distinctly pained by the word freak but she didn't retort, rushing downstairs without another word. "Mum, what happened?" Lily was trying to crane her neck to see what was going on.
"A young man fell in our yard. Well, he crashed really."
"Did he have a broom or something?"
Her mum shook her head. "No sweetheart. The only thing he had was his wand. By some miracle it survived the crash. But he was hurt horribly."
"Is there anything we can do?"
"There actually is something you can do for us Miss Evans," said the lead auror, stepping into sight. "Can you tell us if you recognize this boy? You are the only magical person in this neighborhood, and only one of 3 in the county. I'm hoping you'll be able identify him for us."
Lily stepped forward, the aurors parting like the Red Sea. Her eyebrows jumped when the boy first came into view. He looked like thin, frail version of her boyfriend, though he had a rounder nose and chin, like her father's. Instinctively she raised her hand and caressed his cheek, careful to avoid a few bruises and the strange scar on his forehead. "Who is this man," she said softly.
The auror gestured towards a small basin charmed to be portable. Inside, Lily saw a small layer of swirling white, like liquid clouds. "We were able to draw recent memories from his mind. If they are correct, and by no means can we be sure until test him more thoroughly, but if his memories are correct, his name is Harry James Potter and he is a survivor of some horrific battle that caused him to crash land on your property."
"Why don't you trust his memories," asked Jacob Evans.
"There are several reasons why. First, there have been no sightings of You-Know-Who for nearly two weeks. He is a very powerful wizard but to just suddenly appear, and start a fully fledged battle that no one in the Ministry could detect, is impossible."
"The other problem with this young man's memories is that they have people in them that could not have been involved. For instance, Rubeus Hagrid, who we know is still safely living on the grounds of Hogwarts, dies in this young man's memories. Alastor Moody, the head of the Auror office, also dies in this supposed battle. We couldn't get a good look at him because of how shocked Harry's mind was from the crash, but Moody looked much older and horribly scarred, more so then usual."
"So what do you make of his memory," asked Lily.
"Well, it could be a fake, planted by the Dark Lord to confuse us. As I said, preliminary blood tests and fingerprint analysis are inconclusive. This young man is not a British citizen nor does he show up on any Hogwarts, Beaxubatons, or Durmstrang enrollment list past or present."
"Is there anything else this memory could mean? I mean could it be a prophecy of the future?"
The auror nodded. "Certainly possible. Again we won't know until we speak to the head Unspeakable but that is certainly a possibility. But I would doubt it. This memory did not strike me as a harbinger of the future. It felt as if it just happened." The auror raised his hand. "I understand that I just said that was impossible but that is how it felt."
"So what should we do right now," asked Jacob.
"Take care of him. We're leaving a few potions here. Make sure he takes the two with a red stopper every four hours. The three with a blue stopper should be taken with every meal. They'll help reverse the effects of his malnourishment, hopefully help him bulk up to the point he would be at if he had been eating properly all his life."
"Do we have enough," asked Mrs. Evans.
The head auror smiled. "If I may sir, I am close with Horace Slughorn, your daughter's potions professor. He's recommended her repeatedly for a position with the Ministry so I happen to know she is a regular potions prodigy. She'll be able to reverse engineer these potions if you need more."
Lily blushed at the praise, temporarily distracted from the injured boy. The auror chuckled as he packed up their equipment with a wave of his wand. "An auror and a healer will come by and check on this young man periodically. Try to keep him calm. After a few days, if he is strong enough, we'll start working with him. And thank you for doing all this. I know it is an inconvenience but the Ministry appreciates your cooperation."
"It is no problem. We're happy to help," said Mr. Evans but he was talking to himself. The auror was already gone.
"Well, I think we should go to bed. It's late. The boy should be okay until morning." Mr. Evans headed upstairs without waiting for his wife and daughter. He was beat and he had work in the morning.
Lily still hadn't left the side of the young man. She was afraid to touch him but there was something about him that was familiar. Well, obviously he looked like her boyfriend but it was more then that. She couldn't put her finger on it but she felt as if she knew this man, like he was an old friend she had never met.
Emily Evans didn't disturb her daughter. She sensed the boy's arrival was hard for her to take, even if she didn't understand why. Well, Lily would come to bed when she was ready. And it was probably good someone stayed with the boy in case he did wake in the night.
Harry sat alone in a small grove, the sun shining brightly. In the distance, children ran and played while adults sat on blankets, enjoying the weather and one another's company.
At first, Harry thought he was alone but then a beautiful red haired woman laid her head on his chest and smiled up at him. Her rich chocolate eyes were quite simply the most wonderful things he had ever seen.
Ginny poked him playfully, right under his rib where he was ticklish. "What are you thinking about Harry," she said playfully.
Harry wrapped his arms around her. "I can't believe how lucky I am. This is wonderful." He lowered his head as she turned in his arms and shared a passionate kiss.
As the kiss deepened, the sun started to fade and dozens of black, shapeless forms circled above the grove. Harry removed his lips from Ginny's as a massive orange ball of light fell from the middle of the ring of black and crashed to the ground. Harry could do nothing but watch in slow motion as the ball of light exploded in waves of fire, burning everyone in the grove and came at them. Ginny screamed as her skin burned and Harry could do nothing but scream as he too burned.
Harry's head pounded like a jackhammer as he stirred. "Uh...where am I," he mumbled, trying to shake the headache and the nightmare. A soft pair of hands gently kept him in place. His glasses were off, so he could only see a blur of red and ivory. "Ginny?"
The silhouette shook side to side. "Don't move too much. You need to relax." He could feel the weight on the couch shift as she grabbed a wet rag and gently dabbed his head.
He heard other voices in the background, presumably the other Weasleys. He didn't know what had happened after his spell struck Voldemort's. He was convinced he died actually. It was a relief to be safe with the Weasleys.
Lily raised his head slightly. "It's time for you potions. You need to sit up. There are two of them. When you eat breakfast you'll take another three." She got up and Harry heard her moving a tray over. She helped him drink them as well.
Harry didn't argue, grateful for her help taking the potions. "So, how are Ron and the others? Did everyone else get home safely?" His heart pained him, remembering what happened to Hagrid. He didn't think he could live with himself if more people died because of him.
Lily sat silently for a full minute, staring out the window. She had no idea what to say. She wasn't prepared to answer his questions and afraid to tell him what had really happened. She didn't agree with the aurors; she was sure this young man had lived through some catastrophic battle. Maybe that was where he got the scar on his head.
But that didn't make matters any easier. For starters, what about the people that had died yet in reality still lived. Maybe whatever curse sent Harry crashing into her yard also scrambled his brains. How else could you explain what had happened?
Before she could even attempt to answer his question, her father entered the living room. "Ah, the boy's up. Good. I was worried something would happen in the night."
"Ginny, who is that? It doesn't sound like your dad." Harry sounded on edge and Lily felt a rush of magic flow through him in anticipation of a conflict.
"Ginny? Who in blazes is..." Jacob Evans suddenly fell silent, a hard stare from Lily telling him to shut up and not make matters worse. "Right then. I suppose I'll leave you to it then," he said awkwardly, fleeing to the kitchen.
"What was that all about? Ginny, where are we?"
Lily heard the worry in the boy's voice. She was surprised to see that he made no effort to leave her side. Clearly he trusted this 'Ginny' even now. Not knowing what else to do, Lily sighed and started pacing in front of Harry. The boy followed her with his eyes as best he could.
At last, she stopped and sighed softly. "Harry, my name isn't Ginny." Lily took a cautious step back, her wand at the ready. She didn't know how he would react and so prepared for the worst.
But Harry didn't stir. She actually didn't think he even took a breath. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet yet strong. "All right. If you are not Ginny then who are you? Where am I?"
"My name is Lily Evans and, at the moment, you're lying in my living room. Before you ask, I cannot tell you how you got here? I'm actually hoping you'll be able to tell me. The man you heard earlier is my dad, Jacob Evans." She spoke as dispassionately as possible, presenting facts and leaving it there.
Harry looked blank. Then he glared at her. "All right…whoever you are. I'm not sure what kind of joke this is, but it's in poor taste talking about my mother, especially after everything that happened last night." He sounded infinitely cold and Lily felt his anger. She also couldn't help but be alarmed by how swiftly magic moved around him in his rage. There was a darkness to Harry she hadn't sensed before. Regardless, when he is angry, magic was able to move more freely around and through him.
His show of magic was nothing however compared to what truly disconcerted her; why on Earth would he refer to her as his mother. She was barely a couple months older then he was, if that. When she asked, she tightened her grip on her wand as the magic around him quickly became a storm of anger. She could only assume he held back an attack because he did not have his wand nor was wearing his glasses and couldn't properly see.
"Please Harry. I don't know what else I can say to you to make you believe that this is not a joke. I am really Lily Evans. I am only seventeen, probably not much older then you. I will be starting my seventh year in Hogwarts this year. Please calm yourself." She sounded frantic now. She was a little afraid at what he would do in anger but she was more worried about his safety. If he lost his temper, he may hurt himself worse than he was now.
To her relief and surprise, Harry's anger ebbed. He was now giving her a calculating look. "All right, if you're really who you claim to be, tell me everything that happened down by the Black Lake after your Charms O.W.L.?"
Lily raised an eyebrow. Why would he ask a question like that? At first, she couldn't remember her Charms O.W.L or what happened after. But Harry seemed sure something had.
Then it came to her. She was sitting down by the lake with her friends, her legs dangling in the water as she pet the giant squid, enjoying the fresh air and peace that came from having no more tests that day. But then she heard Severus' yell from across the grounds and saw he hanging upside down over a crest in the hill. She leapt to her feet and raced to help him. She was furious when she saw James holding a levitation charm on Severus, revealing his graying underpants. The arrogant prat, wouldn't let him go quietly…oh no, he had to goad Severus. Of course, that in no way excused Severus calling her a mudblood. Her face fell, thinking of that night when she finally broke her friendship with Severus. She missed him sometimes; when he wanted to be, he was a great listener and an even better friend.
She shook her head, pulling herself back to the present. How in blazes did this boy know what had happened to her last year? When she asked him why he asked about that, he said nothing and waited for her response. Having no better option, she told him everything she remembered. As she spoke, she felt Harry's anger vanish, replaced by a curious mixture of fear, calculation, and happiness.
She gave him a couple minutes to think about whatever it was he was thinking about but eventually she grew impatient and asked what he was thinking. He answered her question with one of his own: "Can you please hand me my glasses?"
After he put them on, she couldn't help but notice a small tear slide down his cheek as he looked at her. "Please close the door and put privacy wards around the room. I don't want anyone hearing what we're talking about," Harry asked, wiping his cheek.
"Why?" Harry didn't say anything, just sat quietly, staring at her. Desperately seeking answers, she waved her wand, closing the door and putting up several privacy and secrecy wards. She pulled up a chair and sat next to Harry. "How did you know what happened after my O.W.L? Who are you?"
Harry sighed. "My name is Harry James Potter."
Lily nodded; she expected that response given what the aurors found last night. Still, his response raised more questions. "Are you related to James? Is that why you look like him? Are you a student at Hogwarts? I've never seen you before?" She fired those questions off at a rapid pace.
Harry shook his head. "I wouldn't expect you to have heard of me. Am I currently a student at Hogwarts?" He shook his head again. "At the moment I am not."
Lily scratched her head. "You make it sound as if you have been a student. What happened? Did you leave the school or something?"
Harry ran his hand through his messy black hair, reminding her vividly of James. She could tell he was trying to figure out how to say what was on his mind. When she was about to ask another question, he asked that she give a moment and not interrupt. She promised she wouldn't.
"Thank you. I wouldn't say I was a student. It's more like I will be a student, if you catch my drift." Harry paused again. She saw in his eyes that he decided to go for broke and drop the double talk. "This is hard to say."
She reached out and squeezed his hand gently. "It's okay Harry. You can tell me, whatever it is." She felt bad when his eyes glistened again and he looked down at her hand as if it were a lost treasure he'd heard of but never expected to see.
He wiped at his eyes with his free hand. "Lily…Miss Evans, I'm your son. I hope you'll forgive me; I've dreamed of meeting you since I was eleven. Well, actually for as long as I can remember. I never thought it would happen, especially not like this."
Lily's mouth was agape. How could this be possible she thought. "What happened after you were born? Why do you sound like you've never met me before?" She shook her head again. This was the most convoluted conversation she had ever had.
Harry dropped his head into his chest. Lily thought she could hear him crying softly but when he looked up again, his face was dry. "It is a long story, difficult to explain. Suffice it to say something happened that separated you, me and my dad, your husband."
"And who is your dad?" She already had an idea and she was right.
"James Potter. I don't know when you got married but it was probably within a year of your graduation."
"Oh my God," she said softly. "I have to tell him." She jumped to her feet, knocking the chair over backwards.
"NO!" Invisible bonds held Lily in place. No matter how much she struggled, she couldn't escape. Harry was briefly surprised by his show of wandless and silent magic but only for a second. He looked pleadingly at Lily. "Lily...mum please. You can't tell anyone else the truth, not even dad."
She couldn't believe her ears. "Why not," she demanded.
Harry gave her an incredulous look. "Isn't it obvious? I'm from the future. I shouldn't be here. And if I'm going to return to my time, I have to keep my presence here a secret. I can't imagine what's already been changed just by my being here for...well, however long I've been here."
Lily didn't buy his argument. "There are about half a dozen Aurors who know you're real name. They most assuredly told their superiors at the Ministry after they left last night too."
Harry looked horrified. "What happened last night," he asked urgently. "Please tell me everything."
"You crashed into our backyard some time around midnight or so. Before mum, dad, and Petunia could do anything; five aurors showed up and ran some tests. They checked your memories, discovered your name." She scoffed. "They didn't believe what they saw though. They think you're either a spy for You-Know-Who or your memories were scrambled in the crash."
Harry's brow furrowed in thought, another trait he shared with James. Eventually he nodded with satisfaction. "All right, this shouldn't be too much of a problem then. I'll just tell them what they want to hear. I don't know who I really am. I've never heard of 'Harry Potter' and I don't know where these memories came from."
Lily was a little taken aback by this boy's deceptiveness. "What if they want to keep you, check to make sure you're not lying."
Harry gave her a look half amused half conspiratorial. It was an odd feeling for her to say the least; his eyes were very similar to hers, albeit a lighter shade of green. "That'll be where you and your parents will come in," he said easily.
Lily raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"If you and your parents take good care of me and say you're willing be my guardians until my memory comes back, they'll leave me be. They must already trust you enough to leave me here to recuperate. Leaving me with you permanently would make their lives easier. And nothing makes bureaucrats happier then having something taken care of by someone else. They'll forget all about me and it shouldn't effect the future, at least in any meaningful way."
Lily arched an eyebrow suspiciously. "You have everything figured out huh?"
Harry frowned. "You're not happy that I want to string along the Ministry are you?" He sighed when she didn't answer. "Lily, you have to understand how strange this is for me. First, I'm taking an enormous leap of faith trusting you're not lying to me about being Lily Evans."
Lily bristled. "You think I'm lying to you?"
Harry shook his head. "No. I trust you. Considering we're in relatively similar situations, would you say you trust me right now?" He chuckled when Lily shook her head. "I can't say I'm surprised. Back to topic, the other reason why this is strange is I am entirely at your mercy in a world I do not know and have no allies. I have no choice but to trust you, even if I didn't want to. But again, I trust you." He gave her a serious look and she was surprised to see sadness surface again. "I'm hoping you'll help me…that you'll believe me and help your son."
Lily wasn't sure wanted to help Harry and she certainly didn't believe his claim she was his mum. This boy had an aura about him that was dark and one she didn't trust. Unless she changed in the future, she didn't see how any child of hers could become this cynical.
"Lily? Miss Evans?"
"I don't know that I can trust you. You don't seem anything like James or I. I was just thinking that there is a darkness about you that I can't imagine any child of ours coming to possess, unless something happens to us in the future. You told me it is hard for you to trust me because I could be lying. How do I know you are not an imposter?"
She expected him to look offended but he gave an approving nod. "Lily, something did happen to the two of you. But before I tell you, before I tell you anything, I need your trust. I need you to promise me that whatever is said between us stays between us, forever."
"You make it sound so dramatic. What's the big deal if people know who you are?"
"I told you before that I'm from the future. Are you familiar with time-turners?"
"Sort of, I mean I've heard of them."
"That's a start. Well, what they do is take a person back in time depending on how many times the person turns the hourglass. My friend had one in our third year, going back in time and taking more classes. But you have to be careful so you don't run into your other self and that you don't screw up the timeline. People have killed their past self without even knowing it, killing themselves in the process."
Harry sighed. "That is the problem here. There are things that I just can't say because I don't know what the consequences will be on the future."
Lily scowled. "So that's it. You expect me to just trust you and you won't trust me, or anyone else. Just because you're afraid of what'll happen in the future. That's selfish."
She expected to get a rise out of Harry, but he looked hurt. "Lily, that's not my only reason for keeping information from you. I don't want to hurt you, or anyone else in this time either. You shouldn't have to suffer again because fate has screwed up my life." Harry stopped. Lily got the feeling he had said too much.
"Give me one reason why I should trust you?"
"Do you know legilimency?"
"No, never heard of it," she said shaking her head.
"Doesn't matter. It's actually a relatively easy incantation. Look right into my eyes and say 'legilimens.' I'll take care of the rest."
Lily wasn't too sure what was going on but she did what Harry asked. Staring right into his eyes, she said the spell. Suddenly she was in another place, another time.
The home was unlike anything she had seen before but it was quaint and quite cozy. In the den, there was a nice fire going. But what drew her was the cooing of a small baby somewhere upstairs. As she stepped out into the hall, she saw James exit the kitchen, wiping his hands on a towel. He looked older than she remembered but not by much. The only real differences in his appearance were the dark circles under his eyes and the scar over his right eye. She wondered how he had been injured.
He stopped and looked up the stairs. "Hey Lils, you coming down."
Lily heard her voice call from upstairs. "I'll be right down. I'm just changing Harry." She heard mumbled baby talk and then a baby giggling.
Have you seen enough Lily called Harry, the voice booming over the sounds of the memory. Lily didn't answer, wanting to see her baby. A minute later she watched herself (again slightly older but not much) come downstairs carrying a little baby boy. Harry was babbling excitedly, clutching a tiny broomstick. "Dada," he said, seeing James smiling at the foot of the stairs.
Lily wanted to see more but the memory ended abruptly. I'm sorry mum but that's all I can remember from that day. Lily was pulled through a vortex of color and returned to her living room. She was looking at Harry as if she had never seen him before.
"What did you just do to me," she asked with a shake in her voice.
"I showed you a memory that was long buried until an attack by a dementor in my third year."
"A dementor! You faced a dementor in your third year! How is that possible?"
Harry grimaced. "That is a long and painful story. Forgive me, but it isn't something I am fond of reliving."
Lily got the impression he was deflecting to a degree but she didn't push the issue. She knew he was being honest about the dementor and, given how awful they were, she could not fault him for not wanting to speak about the experience.
Her mind returned to the memory Harry showed her. She was still not sure about him but she could not deny his claim: somehow, her son had come back to the past. She couldn't believe such an adorable baby would grow into the rather cynical man lying in front of her. She hesitated a bit but went over and embraced him. She was surprised when his arms wrapped tightly around her.
Harry hadn't expected Lily to hug him; it was the most enjoyable experience of his life, save his first kiss with Ginny. Flashes of the Mirror of Erised, the screams from the dementors, and the pictures from the photo album Hagrid gave him raced across his mind. He rubbed her hair, tears silently streaming down his face. Lily let him cry.
When she finally pushed herself up, she gave him a moment to gather himself "Harry, what happened to us?"
Harry frowned, his red-streaked eyes still glistening. "Something happened that…broke up our family." He paused again. "For what it is worth, I would see you and James again over the years. In fact, you both saved my life on more than one occasion."
He wasn't telling her everything. She drew her own conclusions from his double-talk and reaction when she hugged him. She devoutly hoped she was wrong. After all, how could they save his life if she was right?
"What happens to you?"
Harry shook his head. "I can't tell you that either, at least not yet. All you need to know is that whatever else happens, I am safe from my worst enemy." Harry sounded perfectly calm but something in his eyes darkened, his eyes conveying pain and hatred.
"What can you tell me?"
Harry smiled sadly. "Right now, not much. I don't know enough about why I am here. It may have something to do with what I was doing before I…arrived for lack of a better work."
Lily made an impatient gesture. "What were you doing?"
"I was preparing to defeat Lord Voldemort."
Lily winced at hearing the name. "But you're just a boy. How could you defeat You-Know-Who?" She frowned, hoping she didn't offend Harry.
He shrugged his shoulders. "To be honest, I have no idea. Dumbledore wasn't able to tell me anything more beyond the fact that Voldemort and I were destined to face one another. He never told me how to actually defeat Voldemort, at least in a duel. He and I started searching for weapons that would help finish him off but that was all."
She bristled and looked positively furious. "Dumbledoretold you to defeat Voldemort," she asked incredulously. "How could he? What the hell was he thinking?" She was suddenly very angry with the Headmaster.
"I don't think he expected me to do it alone. He was murdered at the end of term last year. My term I mean."
"So how do you know what to look for? And what are these weapons anyway?"
Harry got a faraway look. "I don't know enough about them, for which I am thankful. I believe there are four of them but I only know about three for sure. Beyond that, unfortunately I don't know much more." Harry held up a finger. "Scratch that actually. One of them I know for a fact I can't touch, not while I am here."
"And why is that?"
"It doesn't exist," Harry said baldly.
Lily thought about what he revealed. It certainly added another layer of mystery to him. But it also helped answer a pressing question she had from last night: how could he have a memory of fighting a duel with You-Know-Who. Well, now she knew it was because he was a target in his time. Why You-Know-Who would want a teenage boy is beyond her. Nevertheless, she found herself trusting Harry. Which meant she believed she was his mother.
"My God," she said. When he gave her a quizzical look, she looked sheepish. "How many people can say they've met their children before they ever even have them?"
Harry's eyes widened. "So you believe me?"
Lily nodded. "I am still not sure what to make of you. I meant what I said when there is darkness to you that I don't like. But what you have shown and told me seem to fit together. Now, how can I help you defeat that mad bastard?"
Harry looked at her in surprise. "You don't have to help. I just need to you to keep my secret. I'm not putting you in danger."
The look she gave him was not unlike the look Hermione gave him when he tried to exclude her and Ron from helping him hunt for the horcruxes. "Harry, who are you to tell me not to help you. You're in no position to exclude me. You need me to keep your secret; you need me to help keep the Ministry off you back. And most importantly, Harry James Potter, you need to listen to your mother."
Lily relished the irony of this situation, scolding her son who was as old as she was. She had to choke back a giggle at the look on Harry's face. He looked like a five year old who was being yelled out but didn't know what he did wrong. "I'm sorry mum," he mumbled, sounding a lot like the kids Lily used to baby-sit.
"Good." Lily looked at her watch. "Now, before you tell me what is going on, you need to eat something and take your two potions. I'll be right back."
"Yes mum," said Harry in a small voice. Lily smiled as she left the room. She didn't know how much she could trust Harry or how she could help him. But by God, just being able to mess with him would be fun.