A/N: Here it is, the final chapter of Connections. I will hopefully start posting the next book in the series next week. Thanks to all those that have reviewed and thanks to my two Betas Arnel and jezzjamer2.
June 9th 1994
The sound of movement woke Ginny some time later. She was momentarily disorientated and sat up suddenly wondering where she was. Then she remembered, they were lost in the Forbidden Forest!
With a start, Ginny realised what had woken her, there were skittering sounds coming from nearby!
Ginny shook Adam and his eyes snapped open.
"What?" he asked.
"I can hear something."
They both got to their feet. It was pitch black, presumably the middle of the night. Ginny felt slightly refreshed from her sleep although she was now ravenously hungry.
Adam's wand lit the area around them but they still couldn't see the source of the noise. Together they walked slowly away from the hollow where they had slept. The sound was getting closer, like many feet hitting the ground in quick succession.
Adam spun around. His wand light cast shadows that looked to Ginny as if strange creatures were emerging from the trees to eat them.
Still the sounds of many feet hitting the forest floor echoed around them.
Suddenly one of the shadows seemed to be getting slowly bigger and a hulking shape appeared in the glow of Adam's wand. Adam froze. Ginny felt Adam's body began to tremble slightly.
"Ginny... " he said in a soft voice.
Ginny squinted her eyes as the shape advanced. She screamed. It was a giant spider.
"Stranger," the spider said. "In our territory."
"We'll leave," Adam said his voice shaking.
"Too late. Die." the spider said as it advanced on them.
Adam grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the way.
"RUN!" he shouted.
They pelted across the forest floor, Adam's wand making the forest come alive with strange shapes. The skittering sounds continued behind and to the sides of them. The spiders were chasing them!
"Confringo!" Adam shouted, pointing his wand behind them.
His spell struck the ground making the leaves that covered the floor shoot into the air, but it didn't slow the spiders.
"They're going to catch us!" Adam shouted as they ran. "Any suggestions?"
"Try Stupefy," she suggested, remembering the spell she had used on Adam in her dream.
The red light from Adam's spell shot behind them, it struck one of the spiders on its soft underbelly as it climbed over a fallen tree. The spider fell to the floor where it lay still. The rest of the spiders still gained on them, coming from behind them in wave after wave.
"Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy," Adam shouted time and time again, sending a hail of red spells behind him.
Ginny craned her neck to see if the spells hit. Some did, but they only seemed to anger the spiders further and they still kept coming. Suddenly, as she was looking over her shoulder, Ginny felt a tug on her foot and she fell to the ground with a sickening snap.
Realising she didn't have much time before the spiders caught her, she got straight back to her feet, but when she attempted to put her weight on her right foot, her entire leg gave way as pain shot from the ankle up to her thigh.
Adam ran to her side.
"Put your weight on me!" he urged in a panic. "We need to keep moving."
Ginny was able to hobble along by leaning on Adam, but they were now losing ground rapidly to the spiders.
The spiders caught them in no time.
Adam held his wand up and lit the area around them, while Ginny watched in horror as the spiders closed into a circle around them.
"Die," the spiders echoed.
Ginny and Adam clung to each other in terror. Adam vainly pointed his wand at any spider that got close. Trying to keep them back.
It was no use.
Suddenly a new sound erupted from the forest near them. There was a twang and the thunder of hooves. An arrow impaled itself into the lead spider dropping it to the floor.
"Go! Leave them!" a voice echoed in the dark.
The spiders scattered. Adam spun around pointing his wand in the direction of the new voice.
"Lower you're wand, young one," the voice said. "I mean you no harm."
A form materialised from the dark. Ginny recognised it instantly. It was a Centaur.
"It's a Centaur," Ginny said, thinking that Adam may not know what it was.
"Two young ones!" The centaur exclaimed. "It is lucky the Acromantula fear us and are easily scared off. Lucky for you your chase led them to the very edge of their territory. If they knew I was alone they would not have left so easy."
"W-Who are you?" Ginny asked.
"My name is Firenze and we should be leaving this place before they return," Firenze peered at her and then at Adam. "You are injured, come ride on my back. There are searchers out for you in the forest."
Firenze lowered himself close to the ground and Ginny was able to get on his back with Adam's help. As she mounted she got the first clear look at her foot, it was twisted unnaturally to one side. Why didn't it hurt more?
They began moving, with Firenze leading and Adam walking by his side.
"What are your names?" he enquired.
"I'm Adam Winters."
"I'm Ginny Weasley."
Ginny saw Firenze gaze at the sky as they walked along. He paused and looked at Ginny and then at Adam.
"You should stay together," said Firenze.
Adam looked bemused at what the centaur was saying. Why would Adam leave her now?
Ginny lost track of how long they walked together through the forest but eventually, sometime later, they saw a faint light in front of them.
"Light your wand," Firenze ordered.
The light of Adam's wand rapidly attracted the attention of whatever was producing the light in the distance. It moved rapidly in their direction and soon Professor Dumbledore appeared from the darkness.
"Adam!" He seemed incredibly agitated. "Oh thank goodness! Miss Weasley too!"
"I have your students, Albus, the female is injured," Firenze stated solemnly.
Professor Dumbledore helped Ginny down from Firenze's back.
"Farewell, Adam and Ginny," he stated, before galloping off into the dark forest.
"Hagrid!" Professor Dumbledore's voice echoed across the forest. "I have them!"
"Let's get you two to the hospital wing," Professor Dumbledore said kindly. Then his expression hardened. "We will discuss the events that lead you to be in the Forbidden Forest alone at night, in the morning."
June 10th 1994
"I'm getting fed up of this place," Adam grumbled as he sat up in bed the next morning.
"Then you shouldn't do things to land yourself in here!" snapped Madam Pomfrey, as she placed a breakfast tray on his bedside table.
Madam Pomfrey went over and pulled back the curtains next to Adam's bed. Ginny was sitting in the next bed gobbling her breakfast.
"I've fixed your ankle, Miss Weasley, and you are fine, Mr. Winters. Once the Headmaster has been to see you, you may go," Madam Pomfrey stated.
Adam had just finished his breakfast when Professor Dumbledore entered the room.
"I have informed your parents about what has happened, Miss Weasley," he said solemnly.
Adam saw Ginny pale visibly.
"I would have thought after last year, you two would have been more careful," he said sternly. "I have also had a complaint, Miss Weasley, that you attacked Lucius Malfoy, is this true?"
"NO!" Ginny said raising her voice. "He attacked me, took my wand."
"Ah, I did think it unusual for someone who was so brutally attacked to have their opponent's wand," said Professor Dumbledore, his humour seemingly returned. He withdrew Ginny's wand from his robes and placed it on her bed.
"Thank you, Professor," said Ginny. She now lowered her voice. "I think he may have had something to do with the diary last year, he knew about it and I don't think you told him, did you, sir?"
"No, I most certainly did not. Do you have any idea how he could be involved?" Professor Dumbledore questioned.
Adam saw Ginny's face scrunch up slightly in though, and then suddenly relax in shock.
"When I bought my school supplies last year, my cauldron got knocked out of my hands, and he gave it back to me..." Ginny trailed off. "IT WAS HIM!" She shouted obviously furious.
"Calm down, Miss Weasley. I will investigate this, although it will be hard to convict him on such evidence. I will, however, ensure that he is no longer welcome on school grounds."
Ginny gave a watery smile, though it was obvious to Adam she was far from pleased.
"Now, will you tell me exactly what you were doing in the Forbidden Forest?"
"It might have been rumoured," Professor Dumbledore continued. "That you had something to do with a Hippogriff that mysteriously vanished before its execution. The Ministry has been asking who could have freed the animal."
Adam stared at the Headmaster.
"However, my investigations have determined that it couldn't possibly have been you two. I expect you just went exploring and got lost," Professor Dumbledore said, his eyes glinting.
"Yes, sir," Adam replied.
"Good, good!" Professor Dumbledore's eyes turned to Adam. "I must impress on you the need to keep yourselves safe! Be more careful next year!" Professor Dumbledore turned to leave. "I just need to have a quick word with Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger and Mr. Longbottom and then I will send them in to see you."
Professor Dumbledore disappeared towards the exit of the Hospital Wing. A few minutes later Hermione, Ron and Neville raced around the corner.
"Thank goodness you're alright!" Hermione exclaimed.
"I can't believe you did it!" called Neville.
"You nearly got my sister killed!" grumbled Ron.
"Ron! It was as much my idea as Adam's!" Ginny exclaimed.
"I know! You're a troublemaker anyway, but you and him together! You're...you're nearly as bad as the twins," said Ron, frustration evident on his face.
"Why did you do it?" asked Hermione.
"Well, you weren't going to do it! We had to do something! We couldn't just leave him there to die!" said Adam.
"I know. You did a fantastic job," said Hermione softly. "But what happened afterwards, how did you get lost in the forest?"
Adam and Ginny launched into the tale of their confrontation with Lucius Malfoy, their encounter with the giant spiders and meeting Firenze.
June 11th 1994
The next morning, Adam was eating breakfast with the other Gryffindors in the Great Hall when an old and slightly feeble looking owl landed in a heap in front of him.
"That's Errol!" Ginny exclaimed as she reached over and grabbed the letter from the owl's leg. "Oh...There's a letter for you," said Ginny looking slightly surprised.
Adam opened the letter eagerly; he hardly ever got any post.
I just wanted to let you know that Mr. Weasley made enquiries at the Ministry about where you were going this summer and once again they had not sorted anything out for you.
So I've decided that you are going to come and stay with us for the summer. We will pick you up at King's Cross when we pick up Ginny and the boys. It has all been arranged with Professor Dumbledore.
P.S. We will be having words about the exploring that you and Ginny seemed to have undertaken recently.
Adam couldn't help the massive grin that came to his face at the thought of another summer with the Weasleys. Looking over to Ginny, he saw a worried look on her face.
"Mum and Dad want words with me about the forest," she said, slightly timidly. "I'm just glad it wasn't a Howler!"
"They said the same to me," Adam replied.
"Yep, and I'm coming to stay this summer. Apparently, the Ministry didn't sort anything out for me again," replied Adam still with a massive grin on his face.
"Yes!" Ginny exclaimed, grinning back at him.
"What did you get from Mum?" Ron asked as he leaned over the two of them to pet Errol.
"Mum wants words with us about being in the Forbidden Forest and Adam's coming to stay this summer," Ginny replied.
"Did you expect them to say nothing about it, Ginny?" Ron replied.
"No," Ginny sighed.
"It'll be good to have you around again, mate," Ron said, turning towards Adam. "So, have you guys got any plans today?" he continued.
"Nope," replied Adam. "All our school work's done."
"We gotta go talk to McGonagall about our electives next year and pick up our results though, remember," Ginny added.
"What are you thinking of doing?" asked Ron.
"Care of Magical Creatures definitely," replied Ginny. "Not sure about the other one. I'm thinking of Arithmancy,"
Ron got a strange look on his face when Ginny mentioned Arithmancy.
"What about you, Adam?" asked Ron.
"The same, although I was debating Arithmancy or Divination,"
"Divination is an easy class although you don't learn much," said Ron with a shrug.
"I'm definitely not doing Divination," Ginny stated flatly.
"Okay, shall we both take Care of Magical Creatures and Arithmancy then?" asked Adam, turning towards Ginny.
"Yep, let's do that."
Ron laughed. "At least you're only taking two each!"
"What do you mean?" asked Adam.
Ron lowered his voice and he whispered to them. "Don't tell her I told you, but Hermione took far too many. She got so stressed! I'm glad she's dropped a couple now, she was working far too hard."
"It's good that you care, Ron!" Ginny replied.
Adam saw Ron flush bright red.
"Erm, must be going, see you guys around!"
"What was that?" Adam asked.
Ginny giggled. "I think Ron may have a crush on Hermione."
"Oh," Adam replied, not really understanding what was so funny.
Once Ron had made a hasty retreat, Adam and Ginny continued with their breakfast at a leisurely pace.
"Shall we go and talk to McGonagall first?" Ginny asked, once they had finished.
"Sure," Adam replied. "I want to tell her that I'm sorted for the summer, I know she was on about making sure she knew exactly where I was going before school finished."
As they stood up from the table, they heard Hagrid's voice booming across the Great Hall calling their names. Adam looked around and saw Hagrid standing next to the staff table at the end of the hall, he was waving them over.
"Hi, Hagrid," Adam called as they approached.
"I just wanted to say," Hagrid hesitated, glancing around. "That...that I'm glad you're okay after your little adventure in the forest, its a nasty place."
"Thanks," Ginny said sounding puzzled.
Adam wasn't quite sure why Hagrid was making a fuss either.
"Its amazing that at the same time you got lost in the forest, that someone was setting Buckbeak free. I'd sure like to thank them, if I ever get to meet them," Hagrid said, winking.
Adam saw Ginny grinning. She had obviously caught on to what Hagrid was going on about.
"Well, you better be off," said Hagrid, clapping both of them on the back.
"Bye, Hagrid!" said Adam, feeling buoyant.
As the two friends walked out of the Great Hall, Adam could feel a giant grin forming once again on his face. He couldn't believe his luck, he was going to spend the summer with Ginny. It looked like this summer holiday was going to be far more fun than last year's.
June 11th 1994
Remus was rather annoyed with Albus Dumbledore, furious even. He hadn't been answering his Floo for nearly an entire day, and when he did finally answer, Remus was sharply instructed to come through and wait in the office.
Apparently, Albus had more important matters to deal with. What could be more important than this?
"I am sorry to keep you waiting, Remus," said Albus as he swept into the office looked slightly flustered.
Remus pulled out the blue blanket and chucked it to Albus.
"This is the blanket that Adam was wrapped in, when he was found abandoned in a park."
Albus examined the blanket. Remus noticed his eyes visibly widen when they came across the stag embroidered on the blanket.
"Albus..." Remus began.
"Remus, before we continue," Albus said, interrupting him. "I need you to give me your word that you will not tell another soul what you have found, or what we are about to discuss,"
"Okay, you have my word," replied Remus without hesitation. He could understand the need for secrecy.
"Then, please continue, Remus."
"That blanket was Harry's, I am sure of it. So I'm wondering, how did Adam end up wrapped in it?" Remus asked. "I can only think of one possible explanation and that just seems......"
"I think your suspicions are correct, Remus," Albus interrupted softly.
"But.... that's impossible," Remus stated flatly, shaking his head. "It simply can't be true!"
"Remus, it is what you already suspect, Adam is Harry."
"He looks nothing like Harry!" exclaimed Remus feebly, voicing his doubts.
"People's appearances can be changed," said Albus softly. "I have conducted a blood test. Adam Winters is definitely Harry Potter. Your research has only confirmed this and provided us, I hope, with some insight into his upbringing."
Remus felt sick, as the reality of the situation crashed down on him. The child that he had watched bounced from Muggle children's home to Muggle children's home, had been abused, made an outcast, and persecuted based on his magical talents. This child was Harry. James' son. Harry...
"There was no way any of us could have known," Albus said softly, obviously sensing Remus' distress. "You know how much was left of Lily's body, there should have been no way a baby could survive that."
"How...?" Remus croaked.
"Based on what you have told me, it seems that Harry somehow survived the night Voldemort attacked. Sirius must have removed him from the house, but was forced to leave him when he realised Peter was tracking him," said Albus.
"How did we never find out he was alive?" Remus asked, feeling angry now. He should have been able to do something for James' son!
"Sirius did something that interfered with the boy's magical signature. It is almost as if he found a way to make the boy Unplottable. He did have a Hogwarts letter, but the school was not able to supply us with a name for him."
Remus shook his head, how had it gone so wrong.
"Does he know?" asked Remus.
"No, and he will not be told; at least not yet."
"What?" Remus shouted. "That boy has no idea of his heritage; he doesn't know who his parents are! We owe it to Lily and James to tell him."
"Remus," said Albus soothingly. "He will be told but not yet. I have my reasons; I have a suspicion that if Harry survived that night then Voldemort too is not gone forever. Despite what we all believed."
"What?" Remus interrupted. He was gone. Everyone knew that.
"You will have to trust me on this, Remus. If Voldemort returns or if any of his surviving Death Eaters realise Harry is still alive he will be a prime target for them."
Remus couldn't argue with that. The remaining Death Eaters over the years had been keen to exact revenge for their master's downfall. Take the Longbottoms for example.
"As Adam Winters he is safely anonymous," Albus continued. "You gave me your word, Remus. Do not tell the boy! For his own safety."
Remus' shoulders slumped.
"Why, Sirius? Why?" he asked.
"I'm considering taking a trip to Azkaban and asking him that very question," Albus sighed. "Although he is probably insane by now."
They both sat in silence for several minutes.
"Can I at least see him?" Remus asked weakly.
Albus hesitated. "I think now would not be the right time, you are too emotional, and he has had a rather," Albus stroked his beard. "Stressful end to the school year."
"Oh," Remus replied lamely.
"Although I'm sure we can arrange something, and in fact I have a proposal for you regarding the next school year. If you accept I believe it would enable you to have contact with the boy," Albus answered gently.
"What is it?" Remus asked, he wasn't sure he wanted to be involved in anymore of Albus' projects.
"Now is not the time," Albus replied. "I think it would be useful for both of us if you can you tell me what you know about Adam's past?" Albus continued.
"He was abandoned in a park, only a short walk from where Peter tried to stop Sirius. He was found there by a woman out for a run. She contacted the Muggle authorities who took Adam into their care."
"What date and time?" Albus questioned intently.
"He was found on November the first, at approximately seven pm."
"Sirius killed Peter at about two pm that same day," Albus said to no one in particular.
"Sirius must have just dumped him there!" Remus spat. "He was supposed to be the boy's godfather!"
"Why don't you tell me something about Harry's life. Where have your travels taken you?" asked Albus.
Remus launched into the story that took Harry Potter from a bush in a park, to Hogwarts.