Chapter 43

(12 Grimmauld Place)

Harry blinked as he awoke again to find his bed surrounded by Lily, Fleur and Hermione. He tried to give them an encouraging smile, but he could tell none of them bought it. His injury had been bad and his body still seemed to be overloaded with pain, and he dared not to move his shoulder much.

Lily leaned forward and wiped his hair back, she looked very worried as she looked his injured shoulder over.

"Are you okay Harry?" Hermione inquired as she watched her friend wince in pain as he readjusted himself on the bed.

"Not really," Harry admitted seeing no reason to lie as Fleur carefully took one of his hands in hers and gave him a weak smile. "Have they caught Diggory yet?" he inquired.

"He was caught after the fight Harry, once your mother put him down hard," Fleur told him as Harry had been unconscious since that fight and clearly no one had updated him on things yet. "He is in a jail cell at the Ministry right now awaiting his trial," she told him.

"Good," Harry said but unable to stop himself wishing Diggory had escaped so he could hunt him down and make him suffer for what he had done. Closing his eyes he was about to try and fall asleep again when he heard the bedroom open, opening his eyes he saw Xander, Jenny, Amelia and an unknown man standing before them.

"I'm sorry Rose, but Marcus and Amelia insisted that they need to speak to Harry," Jenny said when she noted the narrowed eyed glance she got.

"Harry is in no condition to do anything," Lily said in as calm a voice as she could, she could already guess these two wanted something of her son. They wanted to use him somehow.

"Rose, the Minster was murdered and a meeting to name a replacement is approaching," Xander explained, knowing Lily and more than likely Fleur and Hermione would not like this. "Both Voldemort and Dumbledore will try and get their own candidate to win that vote. They will use their best speakers and political tools to win," he added. "More than that they will use Dumbledore's fame as well as I'm sure someone of the same status for Voldemort," he informed her. "We have only one person who can stand up to Dumbledore in this and that is Harry himself," he stated, almost wincing at the cold look he got in return.

Amelia was watching the argument closely as it began, her eyes were glued on the woman who seemed far more concerned about Harry's well fare than would warrant outside of family. Even an ally or friend wouldn't react with such fever as this Rose was doing. She couldn't help but think that something was off here. Then there was Remus's slip up when she first met Rose, he had called her Lily during a rather heated exchange. 'But this woman couldn't be Lily Potter could she?' she wondered. If she was then where the hell had she been all these years, more important why had she not been raising her son? She had to take a chance and try and get some answers.

"If I may be so bold Rose, your actions seem somewhat out of place," Amelia finally said, cutting into the argument between Xander and Lily. "You act almost as one would for a son," she said, watching the younger woman closely and missing the brief glance Xander and Jenny exchanged although Marcus caught it and this quickly made him think Amelia was right, something was off here.
Something they didn't know and so he gave Rose his full attention. "But of course you are not Lily Potter who we know is dead, so why are you so concerned with his health?"

Xander moved to the door and quickly closed and locked it while Jenny cast a bunch of anti-spying wards. They knew that Lily eventually would have to come clean, but they had not suspected it would come this soon. They had underestimated Amelia, which was a mistake considering she was the head of the Aurors. Lily stared at Amelia Bones hard, she knew this woman through her brother who had been a member of the Order during the first war. But they had never met face to face. Amelia had never come to an Order meeting as she was only a loose ally to the group through her brother.

She turned and glanced at Harry who had been watching everything, but was unwilling to speak up. He didn't want to go anywhere right now as he was in pain and tired and he doubted he'd be much help. But he could understand them needing a symbol to rally around, a symbol that had just as much support as Dumbledore had. In this meeting the old fool would be the biggest concern, it was not as if Voldemort could just walk into the meeting and put himself up for voting. Lucius Malfoy was dead and he had been the most prominent Death Eater he could think of, either way they could not afford to allow either side to claim the office of the Minister of Magic. He met his mother's eyes and slowly gave her a nod.

Lily let out a sigh already guessing what her son was thinking. Turning back to Amelia she raised her wand and cancelled the concealment spell, slowly her features returned to normal and Amelia and Marcus were left stunned as they stared into the green eyes of Lily Potter.

"Oh my god," Hermione gasped in shock while Fleur just stared unable to believe what she was saying.

"How is this possible?" Marcus demanded at the same time, thinking this was some sort of trick.

+COF+

(Hogwarts)

Dumbledore smiled as he worked on some reports all the while he looked forward to finally getting his plans back on track. Soon Harry would be back under his control. Once he had one of his people in place as Minister for Magic he would have the guardianship of Harry taken from the Harris's, he would then ensure the brat started to do as he was told. He would also try and ensure the Harris's lost their rights to the Black inheritance as revenge for getting in his way. He was certain with the power of the Minister's office backing him up he would find a way to make it so, even if the Wizengamot had ruled in their favour before. With Lucius Malfoy dead and Harry Potter unconscious, neither of his opposing sides could possible win the vote as they had no one who could rally as much support as he could.

+COF+

(Riddle Manor)

Voldemort leaned against his throne, confident that in the next few hours his forces would achieve another big step in their fight for domination. Soon they would have one of their own in the Minister's office. Once that was done, they could begin to fully subvert the Ministry and twist it to suit their needs. Getting a hold of Potter and his allies would be a simple affair from that point onwards. Even Dumbledore would be easy prey once the Ministry was a front for the Death Eaters. Tapping his finger against the arm rest he wondered again about the missing Bellatrix. Was she as Rodolphus believed a captive of the Order or had fled after she had failed in her mission? It was almost something he believed she would never do, no matter that if she had returned he would have had to kill her, having sworn a magical vow he could do little else. Considering her sister was also missing when he sent for her he had to concede she had fled. He almost felt sorrow over her fall from grace. Still if she was found again he would kill her, but not before he made an example of her. No one turned and fled their fate when he ordered them not too. He also thought over the one interesting thing Wormtail had found out while searching for Bellatrix at the Ministry. Amos Diggory was in jail for supposedly attacking and seriously injuring Harry Potter during a confrontation between his people and Dumbledore's order.

It was news he hadn't found out from Severus, granted Severus had been busy trying to gain the information he wanted from the old fool on how Harry had survived two more killing curses. He had been told under no circumstances to fail, but so far the old man had refused to divulge anything. As with the prophecy the old man was keeping it close to his chest, still he wondered if Diggory had attacked the boy because he blamed him for his son's death. Or had he been prodded into thinking like that? He wouldn't put it past Dumbledore to do such things if it gained him another follower. In fact it was something he would do himself if he needed a certain individual, it just went to prove that even as old as Dumbledore was he was still a manipulative and dangerous enemy. But one he enjoyed fighting against, he wanted to ensure that when he finally beat the old man he lived long enough to admit he had been wrong not to admit Voldemort's greatness and the that his cause was just.

"Wormtail get in here now," Voldemort ordered as an idea came to him.

"Yes Master," Peter quickly ran in and bowed before him, wondering if he was going to be punished.

"I want you to return to the Ministry and see if you can free Amos Diggory. I want him brought before me," Voldemort told him. "Don't get caught or I shall ensure when we meet again you will suffer," he warned. "The Ministry will be in chaos due to the murder of that idiot Fudge so you have a window of opportunity, do not waste it by being stupid," he explained, looking the nervous man over. "Be patient," he suggested.

"What if Diggory will not come?" Peter inquired then winced as if afraid he would be punished for speaking out of turn.

"Make him or just stun him and bring his body back," Voldemort answered, wondering yet again why he put up with such a weak and idiotic servant who could barely think for himself. "Do try and remember you are a wizard Wormtail," he said sarcastically before shaking his head as the man just trembled before him. "Go and remember my warning," he ordered.

Peter nodded and quickly turned and fled. He was already sweating and wondering if he could pull this mission off. And for what had to be the hundredth time he wished he had never joined the Death Eaters. His life before the war had been a simple one, but at least he had friends and his life wasn't in constant danger of being ended. But he had thrown all that away when he had been captured, he had not hesitated to turn when his life had been threatened. When his self-loathing and disgust with his life became unbearable, he began to wish that he had the inner will to not having turned and died then and there.

Voldemort watched him go, wondering if he would succeed in bringing him Diggory. If he could convince the man to serve him, he planned to ensure the blame for his son's death lay even more on Harry's shoulders. He was explain that Cedric was never in danger of being killed, but Harry, to save his own skin, had pushed the man's son into the path of Voldemort's killing curse. The best lies were always the most simplest. He chuckled as he recalled some of his past lies and what they had led too.

+COF+

(12 Grimmauld Place)

Lily stared at Amelia and Marcus still stared at her in shock. After Marcus's rather agitated demand things had gone quiet as they tried to process who was actually standing before them. If the situation wasn't so serious and she was still a teenager she would be laughing her head off right now. She could almost imagine James, Remus and Sirius laughing beside her. She glanced at Xander and Jenny who were conferring with each other, probably trying to come up with a good idea to explain this.

"I will ask again, how are you standing there alive?" Marcus finally repeated himself.

"It isn't important right now how I'm standing before you. All that matters it that I'm standing here," Lily responded with a glare. "Yes I'm Lily Potter before you suggest I'm a trick of some sort, as to where I have been for the last couple of years well to be frank I was dead," she told them.

"Are you trying to be funny, dead people don't come back to life," Amelia shot back, not appreciating what she saw as sick humour.

"Oh yeah so how do you explain Voldemort?" Harry asked with a roll of his eyes, wishing he could stand up for this confrontation.

"This is not the time for jokes or sarcasm Mr. Potter," Marcus growled, growing annoyed at the lack of answers and real information. "I want to know how it is your mother is standing before us. I want to know why she abandoned you all these years," he added with a glare of his own.

It was the wrong thing to say as Harry instantly tried to sit up and would have had not Fleur and Hermione kept him in place. He winced as his body protested his sudden attempt to sit up. Lily's eyes grew cold as she stalked close to Marcus. He could feel a sense of foreboding suddenly surround Lily.

"I did not abandon my son. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" Lily growled out. "I was dead, killed alongside with James by Voldemort," she told him with her eyes boring into his. "I died for my son and now I'm back and I would gladly do it again if needed. How I came back is mine and my son's secret and I will not share it," she explained. "As to why I only came back now after fifthteen years of misery for my son, all I can say is the means to bringing about my resurrection could only be gained when he became head of our family," she informed them, turning her gaze onto the watching Amelia.

"And what about your son?" Amelia asked. "Could you not have given this information to a friend so they could bring you back earlier to raise him, and more to the point why if you have this means of coming back did you not bring James back as well?" she shot of a series of questions.

"I could trust no one with the information, not even my husband, and before you ask it was because James was too close to Dumbledore and would have told him about it," Lily answered, glaring at the elder witch, but Amelia was unfazed. "If he or Voldemort ever learned about it, they would do anything to get it and I will not risk it," she added. "While I never truly trusted Dumbledore I never imagined he would treat my son so cruelly. All I have learned since coming back has filled me with a dark desire to rip Albus Dumbledore to pieces and slowly at so that it hurts a lot," she admitted. "And he is not the only one I have grievousness with. The entire Ministry and Wizengamot failed not only my son, but the entire magical world by refusing to listen to my son's warnings," she spat. "You failed him by not acting sooner. You should have had Fudge out of office the very second he refused to investigate my son's warning, but instead you allowed him to launch a smear campaign against him," she reminded them her anger growing.

"We tried, but Fudge had too many powerful allies who ensured no one could challenge him," Amelia shot back, feeling slightly insulted by Lily's words. "He had his own followers in positions of power all over the Ministry, there was very little we could do to stop him," she stated no matter how much the fact irked her still.

"You should have done whatever it took even to the point of killing him when you knew the world was on a knife edge," Lily responded coldly. "So do not take the supposed moral high ground with me, all you need to know is that I'm back and this fact must be kept secret from everyone else bar those who are in this room plus Moody, Tonks, Remus and Faith who were there when I appeared," she stated before moving to her son's bed.

"Me and Fleur weren't there," Hermione finally pointed out.

"Your closeness and loyalty to my son has convinced me to trust you with the secret," Lily admitted turning to them. "Hopefully in time I can reveal my return to everyone, but that can wait until Voldemort is a corpse," she told them with a smile. She locked her gaze on Fleur who shifted a little, the quarter Veela realized Lily knew she had feelings for her son and that they were in a relationship.

"We are getting off track," Xander interrupted before anyone else could say anything. "You came here to get Harry to attend the Wizengamot meeting, and Lily disagrees," he reminded them.

"As should you Alexander," Lily growled out as she shifted back to the original topic. "You are supposed to be my son's guardians, yet you would allow him even injured as he is to be used to some Ministry whelps whims," she growled.

"No we wouldn't, Lily," Xander shot back, understanding her anger but knowing it was that anger that was stopping Lily from seeing the bigger issue. "I know he is wounded and badly at that, but we have to ensure we win the vote for the new Minister," he argued. "It must be someone on our side or we are doomed and so is the world," he pointed out.

"He's right Lily," Jenny agreed with her husband. "If they get that office then the war is over, they win as the Ministry will collapse and become nothing more than a pawn for them to use to enslave and kill whoever they want," she stated.

"You can't be blind to this fact," Marcus said softly, deciding on another tactic to try and win her over. He had to remind himself he wasn't dealing with just some guardian of the boy, but his actual birth mother and that meant she wouldn't be easy to convince. "If you want your son to survive, then sacrifices have to made," he added.

"And just how many more sacrifices will Harry have to make?" Hermione demanded before Harry could say anything in response. Hermione jumped out of her chair and marched forward. "Ever since he came back to the Wizarding world, he has had to fight and bleed and almost die while the adult people who are supposed to protect him did bugger all," she growled out. "He has been the one to make the sacrifices while the rest of you did nothing," she added glaring at the two.

"I understand your anger Miss Granger and you may have raised a good question, but I'm afraid that right here and now we need Harry Potter," Amelia said with a sigh. She understood the girl's anger all too well, but there was no other way to stop Dumbledore or Voldemort from winning the Minister's office. "So what do you say Mr. Potter?" she inquired, turning to the boy on the bed.

All eyes turned to Harry now, who had remained quiet throughout nearly the entire argument. Lily knew her son well even with the short time they'd had been together. She just prayed she was wrong in what choice he would make.