Summary: Harry Potter went to live with Carlisle Cullen and his family when he was seven years old, then to Hogwarts when he was 11. Now he's 20, the war with Voldemort is over and due to misunderstandings and manipulations he's not seen or heard from his adoptive family in years. This is his journey home.
Disclaimer: All recognized works belong to their respective owners, this is merely a way to exercise my writing muscle on a regular basis.
Warnings: Slash and all that entails. Don't complain.
"Are you certain you're up to this, Harry?" Charlie Weasley asked as he helped him into his cloak. "We could put it off a few weeks."
"I'm sure." Harry's fingers trembled and slipped against the clasp of his cloak and his stomach turned. He paused, took a deep breath, and forced himself to steady.
The clasp clicked into place.
"Can we portkey from here, or do we need to walk to the front gates?"
"McGonagall keyed it to work inside the wards." Charlie held out a torn rucksack. "Ready when you are."
Harry reached for the dangling strap, hoping he was doing the right thing.
"Home." Charlie incanted, activating the portkey and plunging them through space.
Harry hit the ground hard, retching as his fingers curled into the cool grass beneath his hands.
"Easy." Charlie knelt at his side and conjured a cup. "Auguamenti." The moment Harry's stomach settled Charlie looped an arm around his waist and hauled him back into a sitting position. "Here. Sip."
Harry wrapped shaking hands around the cup and tried to keep the water from sloshing over the sides. Regardless of what Pomfrey's scans said, he knew he wasn't getting any better.
"Evanesco." Charlie banished the mess and sat back with a sigh. "It's nice here. Warmer than I thought."
"Alaska summers are beautiful."
"Do you miss it? Being here?" Charlie asked, casually looping an arm around his knee.
"Well, not the winters." Harry sipped on the water, relieved that it washed away some of the lingering bitterness. "The cold I can handle, but the constant darkness was always hard."
"Probably easier for your family."
"In some ways, yes. But hunting in the winter up here is difficult, herds migrate, and the bears hibernate." Harry shrugged and trailed off. "I'm ready."
Charlie stood, brushed off his jeans and offered Harry a hand. "Well, if the portkey was accurate, the house should be just over that rise," Charlie said, pointing toward the south.
"Yeah. I know where we are." Harry began walking as a fresh bout of nerves flooded his system. How many times had he roamed these woods? Played an unbalanced game of hide and seek? Taken a walk with his father, both content to enjoy each other's company without the urge to fill the silence? He didn't know. But he could have found his way home from here blind folded.
"Wow." Charlie stopped as they crested the hill. "Just, wow."
"Yeah." Harry stepped up next to him, a small smile playing on his lips as he drank in the view. A three story stone and log cabin rose directly in front of them, the sun gleaming off the floor to ceiling windows.
"You grew up in that? It looks like a hotel!"
"What did you expect? A cave?" Harry laughed and let gravity lengthen his stride down the hill and toward the front door.
"Well, no. But this is magnificent." Charlie caught up with him in a few quick strides. "How long has it been since you've been back?"
Harry's smile slipped from his face. "Five years." Harry paused. "Not since the summer I turned fifteen." He elaborated as he ran a shaking hand through his hair.
"They don't know I'm coming Charlie. Maybe I should write first, or something."
"Hey." Charlie grasped his shoulder and pulled him around. "None of that. I made you a promise, I intend to see it through. Besides, they're your family, I'm sure they'll be excited to see you."
"I don't know. I haven't spoken to them since I was in school. No phone calls. No letters." At the time he'd thought he was doing the right thing, pulling back, pulling away. The idea that they'd get dragged into the war, be put at risk… He couldn't bear the thought. So he'd kept his letters brief, hidden a lot of what was going on in his life, written less. And they'd responded less. More days and fewer letters, until Harry realized he hadn't heard from them in months. It had hurt, that separation. But by then things were so bad he was too afraid to maintain the contact. He'd told himself he was doing the right thing, and he let the Cullen's go. Keeping them safe was the very least he owed them.
"You're thinking too much." Charlie prompted. "Come on. We came all this way, let's at least see if they're home." He jogged up the porch steps and knocked on the door before Harry could stop him.
He held his breath. No answer. He forced his feet to carry him up to stand next to Charlie.
"Maybe they're out." Charlie said as he knocked again.
Harry peered through the small vertical windows that hugged the door. "Maybe." But he didn't think so. He pulled his wand. "Alohamora." The locks on the door clicked open and Harry grasped the knob.
"Uh, Harry, I know they're your family and all, but I don't think spooking a bunch of vampires is a good idea."
"It's alright. They aren't here."
"All the same, maybe we should just wait for them on the porch."
Harry wandered into the living room of the main floor. "They aren't coming back." He said, voice flat.
Pieces of furniture dotted the living room but Harry only saw what wasn't there.
The grand piano where Edward had taught him to play chopsticks.
The soft chaise where Esme would bring him soup when he was sick.
The two arm chairs that used to sit in the bay window where Alice and Edward had taught him to play chess.
All of it. Gone.
He knew without looking that Esme's art wouldn't be on any of the walls, and that Carlisle's bookshelves of first editions would be empty.
"We should go." Harry winced at the way his voice wobbled. "They aren't here, and we should go."
"Maybe they're out hungting." Charlie offered, his brows creased with a frown. "Or travelling."
"They're not." Harry strode for the front door, choking on the memories and disappointment. "They've moved on."
"We could ask around, see if they left a forwarding address." Charlie pulled the door shut behind him and locked it with a spell. "You shouldn't just give up, the house was still furnished, maybe they're coming back."
"You don't understand. They've moved on. New towns, new lives, new stories." Harry jerked his shoulders, feet eating up the ground back to the portkey. He didn't stop until he was standing over the rucksack.
"It's not surprising. I moved here when I was seven. The Cullens had been here nearly two years by that point. By the time I was fifteen their ages would have become suspicious. I was foolish to think they'd still be here."
Charlie's soft voice struck him like a blow. "We were always going to part ways Charlie. I'm human, they're vampires. It's okay, let's just go home." Harry picked up the rucksack and held it out.
Charlie hesitated or a long moment, glancing through the trees surrounding them as if he expected to see the Cullen's appear.
"Please." Harry winced at the plea in his voice. He knew his face echoed it. "It's okay. For the best, even. I just want to go…" He couldn't force the word home past his lips.
Charlie's fingers grasped the portkey and with a look Harry couldn't meet he said, "Hogwarts."