A/N: I don't own Harry Potter etc. This is similar to the "Reading Harry Potter" but with a different twist. All the characters are dead and they are watching rather than reading. It'll follow the book not the movies. I did steal most of the talking for the living and some descriptions. I don't own anything that sounds like J.K. Enjoy and let me know what you think! That means review!
A little disgruntled that the screen had vanished, the dead decided to get to know each other. Still sitting in the grass, they began to talk. First those who had recently died told Arianna and Merope what was going on. Both were horrified that someone could be so hateful. Voldemort didn't sound like he was very stable.
"So anyway, he decided to target our son so we went into hiding. Apparently we…I trusted the wrong person." James ended sadly.
"Speaking of which, if Sirius wasn't our Secret Keeper like you told me, then who was?" Lily demanded of her husband. She tried to stay angry but the crushed look on his face was enough to make her take his hand.
"Sirius thought it was too dangerous for him to remain our Secret Keeper. He thought that the Death Eaters would know he was the obvious pick, so we switched to…Peter." James said softly. Mary cursed.
"That two-faced bastard! It all makes sense!"
"What do you mean?" James asked.
"Who else could have made Sirius believe Remus was the spy? Let alone make Remus think Sirius was? He knows everything about you guys. He knows you're weaknesses and strengths. He could play off of those and no one would suspect him because he was an awful dueler, quiet and nearly non-existent!" Mary fumed.
"How could Peter do such a thing? After all you three did to help him? "Lily asked tearfully. "How could he hate you so much that he would want you dead?"
James shrugged. "We teased him, but we all teased each other. We acted like any other group of friends. I don't know what we could have done."
"He sounds like a moocher." Merope said. "Were you the most popular in school?"
"Yes," James said.
"There you go; he was friends with you then because you were top of the food chain. When you got out into the real world, you were beneath this Voldemort in power and control. He was obviously hoping to use other's glory and power to get some himself." Merope said.
"But why? He had no reason." James said in frustration.
"Sure, if he came from a broken home, he had plenty of reason." Merope said. "Believe me; nothing makes you crazier than a broken home."
"His father did leave when he was young…but so did Remus's mother and he didn't try to betray us."
"Yes, but he also thought he would never have friends." Mary said. "He was glad to be included anywhere."
"So, you're Albus's little sister?" Gideon asked to break the tension .Arianna nodded.
"Yes, he's my big brother. He's four years older than me." She replied. "Or he was when I died."
So, is Aberforth older than you too?" Fabian asked.
"Yes, but only a year." Arianna answered.
"Interesting, so how exactly did you end up here?" Gideon asked.
"Stray curse hit me," Arianna said. "I don't remember much. I wasn't exactly sane then. When I was six some Muggle boys attacked me because they'd seen some of my accidental magic. I went kind of funny after that but I don't remember much between six and fourteen because of that."
"You were only fourteen?" Mary asked in horror. Arianna nodded.
"To be honest, it was probably better this way. I couldn't go to school and my father was in prison. My mother had a hard time taking care of me, especially when my brothers went to school."
"Sounds pretty tough," James agreed.
"That's nothing compared to poor Merope though. At least I knew my family loved me. Hers most definitely didn't." Arianna said.
"You knew your family didn't love you?" James asked. It was such a foreign concept to him. He barely understood Petunia.
"Yes, it was pretty obvious. My father was a very conceited man. He was so paranoid that he killed my mother when he thought she had had a fling with some man in the town. My brother wasn't much better. He was a Muggle Bater." Merope said. "He loved to tease the Muggle that I liked. We were purebloods you see and my father and brother thought it was a crime to be anything but. I disagreed. I had seen what it had done to my family. We looked like monsters, most went crazy and I knew eventually we'd run out of purebloods and we'd start marrying our siblings. I didn't want that. So when my father and brother went to prison, I ran away."
"Sounds awful," Mary said. "Where did you go?"
"I hate to admit it, but I kidnapped the Muggle I had fallen in love with and gave him a love potion. I knew he would never love me otherwise. It was so stupid and I wish I hadn't done it, but once I gave him the potion, we got married. Not long after I…I got pregnant." She took a deep breath and plunged on. "I had hoped he would love me on his own if he knew I was carrying his child, but when the potion wore off, he was horrified. He shouted at me, grabbed all his things and left. I was heartbroken. I didn't live very long after that. The moment my son was born, I named him and died. I wish I had given him a different name now, but I suppose I was hoping his father would try to look for him and I wanted to make it easy. He probably stayed in that orphanage until he was eighteen."
"Not seventeen?" Fabian asked.
"It was a Muggle orphanage. I hope he was able to go to school. I wanted him to have a better life than me. I should have tried to live for him, but I was afraid he would look like Tom." Merope sighed. Lily placed a hand on her shoulder.
"We all make mistakes, at least you regret them, a lot of people just deny they ever happened. You'll see your son again."
"I hope so," Merope said. "Do you think I'll recognize him at all?"
"Of course, it's like a fifth sense." Lily said.
"The screen's back!" Regulus interrupted suddenly. The group eagerly turned back to it hoping to see what became of the ones they loved. The screen buzzed back into being and the image blurred into the Dursleys house. Lily and James scowled. They had had enough of them already. Of course, if Harry was still here and not with Sirius, they would have to suffer through it.
Petunia stopped cooking where she was. She marched into the hall and shrieked "Up! Get up! Now!" as she rapped smartly on the door under the staircase. She rapped it again.
"Up!" she screeched. She walked back into the kitchen where she continued cooking.
"Where is he?" she asked after a few minutes. She slapped a towel down onto the counter and went back into the hallway.
"Are you up yet?" She demanded.
"Nearly," came a muffled voice. Lily looked murderous. How dare her sister lock her son in the cupboard under the stairs?
"Well, get a move on, I want you to after the bacon. And don't you dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."
There was a groan from in the cupboard. Petunia pursed her lips.
"What did you say?" she snapped not in the mood for his attitude.
Petunia left the door and went up the stairs to wake Dudley. The screen panned through the cupboard under the stairs and inside was a rather small and skinny boy with messy black hair that grew everywhere.
"Wow, he looks just like you James. "Mary said. "Poor kid,"
He seemed to be searching for something with a frown on his face. He wore glasses like his father, but they were held together with a lot of tape. He pulled some socks out from under his mattress and shook a spider off of them, put them on, got the rest of his clothes and shoes on and left the cupboard.
"What's with his clothes?" Regulus asked. "It's like he got hand-me-downs from an elephant."
"They probably don't buy any clothes for him." Lily said through gritted teeth. She really hated her sister right then.
Harry went into the kitchen. He glanced at the table. It was covered completely with birthday presents. He shook his head and went to go tend to the bacon. He hummed quietly to himself while he worked. Vernon entered the kitchen as he flipped the bacon.
"Comb your hair!" he barked. Then he opened the newspaper and attempted to find a seat at the dining room table. Dudley and Petunia entered a few minutes later. He was very fat like his father with blonde hair like his mother.
"Get a load of your nephew." Gideon chuckled.
"He is an elephant." Fabian said.
Harry tried to put the plates of eggs and bacon on the table in the empty spaces. It proved very difficult because there wasn't much room. Dudley was counting his presents. His face fell.
"Thirty-six," he said looking at his parents. "That's two less than last year."
"So?" Regulus said. "I never even got half that many for my birthday."
"Me either and I was an only child." James said.
"Darling you haven't counted Auntie Marge's present, see, it's here under this big one from Mummy and Daddy." Petunia said quickly.
"All right thirty-seven then," Dudley said getting red in the face. Harry's eyes widened and he began to scarf his breakfast. Petunia's eyes widened too and she quickly said. "And we'll buy you another two presents while we're out today. How's that popkin?" Two more presents. Is that all right?"
Dudley looked like he was thinking, then again, it might have been gas.
"So, I'll have thirty…thirty…"
"Good grief," James said. "He can't add two?"
"Thirty-nine, sweetums," Petunia said smiling.
"Oh," Dudley said sitting down. "All right then."
Vernon chuckled ruffling Dudley's hair. "Little tyke wants his money's worth, just like his father. At a boy, Dudley!"
The telephone rang as Dudley began to open his gifts. Petunia went to go answer it. Dudley got a racing bike (James made a noise in disbelief), a video camera ("Why does he need that?" Lily asked), a remote control airplane, sixteen computer games, and a VCR. He was opening a gold wrist watch when his mother returned looking angry and worried.
"Bad news Vernon. Mrs. Figg's broken her leg. She can't take him."
"Figg's his babysitter?" Fabian roared with laughter. "The poor boy probably smells like cats."
"At least we can trust that she treats him right." Lily said.
Dudley looked horrified. Harry's face lit up though he tried not to show it.
"Now what?" Petunia asked looking at Harry as though this was all his fault.
"We could phone Marge," Vernon said.
'Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy."
"What about what's-her-name, your friend—Yvonne?"
"On vacation in Majorca,"
"You could just leave me here," Harry said sounding hopeful.
"Wow, he even sounds like you, James." Mary said.
"They aren't going to let him stay home alone." Lily said. "And I would hope not. He doesn't look old enough to stay home alone."
"Don't you remember how small I was when I was eleven?" James asked.
"Yeah, puny," Mary giggled.
Petunia made a strange face as though she had swallowed something unpleasant. "And come back and find the house in ruins?"
"I won't blow up the house." Harry said sulkily.
"I suppose we could take him to the zoo, and leave him in the car…" Petunia said ignoring Harry.
"You'll do no such thing!" Lily shouted. "He could die if he's left in a hot car!"
"That car's new; he's not sitting in it alone…" Vernon spat. Dudley began to cry though it sounded very fake. Petunia and Vernon didn't notice Harry rolling his eyes because they were too preoccupied with their son. The doorbell rang and Petunia jumped.
"Oh good Lord, they're here!" she shrieked running to get the door. A moment later a boy that looked like a rat came running into the kitchen. Dudley stopped crying immediately and they did a funny handshake. Petunia walked in with his mother telling her exactly when they would be back. Once the woman left Petunia looked back at Vernon.
"He'll just have to come with us." She said defeated. Harry looked like Christmas had come early.
"Let's get ready to go to the zoo." Petunia said ushering the two boys upstairs to get suntan lotion on. "Don't forget your sunglasses and hats!" Vernon called after them. He glared at Harry and then lumbered off after them. Harry slouched in his seat a wide smile on his face. Then he got up and did the dishes.
Soon the Dudley and his friend came thundering down the stairs again. Dudley tripped Harry as he was trying to leave the room. He laughed as Harry stumbled.
"Fill some water bottles." Dudley said. "Mum told me to tell you."
"Fine," Harry said filling three large water bottles. Then the three boys went to wait for Petunia and Vernon at the front door. Harry was carrying all three water bottles. Petunia and Vernon came down a few minutes later and they all went outside and hopped in the car. Before Harry could get in, Vernon grabbed him.
"I'm warning you. I'm warning you now, boy-any funny business, anything at all-and you'll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas."
"I'm not going to do anything, honestly…"
But it was obvious Vernon didn't believe him. The two hopped in the car and they were off. While they were driving, Vernon complained about motorcycles to Petunia. Dudley and his friend were talking quietly between them and Harry was looking out the window.
"I'm getting some vibes that he isn't as well treated as he would have been had you lived." Fabian said.
"We couldn't figure that out on our own." Regulus said. "Where's Sirius anyway? Wouldn't he rescue Harry?"
"That's a good question, isn't he Harry's godfather?" Mary asked.
"That's right; he should be with his legal guardian." Lily said.
"Maybe Albus changed that." Arianna said. "I can see him having a lot of influence."
"…roaring along like maniacs, the young hoodlums." Vernon was saying as a motorcycle overtook them and sped ahead.
"I had a dream about a motorcycle. It was flying." Harry suddenly said.
Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He spun around red in the face his mustache bristling. "MOTORCYCLES DON"T FLY!" he roared. Harry didn't even flinch as Dudley and his friend sniggered.
"I know they don't," he said coldly. "It was only a dream."
"What a horrible man." Merope said.
"He doesn't approve of imagination." Lily said in frustration.
"Dreams included, even though you can't control them? "Mary asked. "The man's insane."
The Dursleys car pulled into the zoo parking lot. It took them a moment to find parking as it was very crowded. The moment the car was parked, Dudley and his friend took off to the zoo gate. Then Vernon and Petunia followed. Harry came in last obviously savoring his freedom. After all, they had to behave in public as much as he did. The Dursleys paid to get in and then they took off to look at the animals. Harry was always several paces behind the rest of them. His aunt and uncle didn't even look back to see if he was still with them.
"You know with how they always work up how great a zoo is, I'm not very interested." Regulus said.
"They are it's more fun to actually be there." Lily said remembering how much she loved the zoo. She loved the big cats. She knew Petunia liked elephants. Apparently she liked them so much she married one.
"Oo, they're at the reptile house." Mary said. She had an odd fascination with everything scaly.
Dudley ran to the biggest snake in the place right away. He and his friend pressed their faces up to the glass urging it to do something. The snake didn't move. It could be asleep or dead for all they knew.
"Make it move." Dudley ordered his father. Vernon tapped the glass.
"Do it again." Dudley demanded. Vernon tapped the glass again but still the snake remained motionless.
"This is boring." Dudley moaned going to explore the other tanks with his friend. Vernon and petunia followed them. Harry remained behind watching the snake in what could only be a sympathetic…no empathetic way. It was a few momts before anything happened. Then, very slowly, the snake lifted its head and tilted it one way as if it were winking.
"What's going on?" Lily asked. Everyone else seemed shocked too.
Then something very strange happened. Harry looked around to see if anyone was watching. The snake raised its eyes in a strange gesture for a snake as if saying daily torment for me, I'm used to it. Then Harry spoke to it, but not in English. He made a funny hissing sound.
All he dead gaped in astonishment. All except Merope.
"Tell me about it." She muttered.
"You understood that?" James asked. Merope looked confused.
"Yes, of course, it's Parseltongue. I've always been able to speak it. Don't you? He's your son, one of you has to." Both Lily and James shook their heads.
"Let's worry about that later, translate for us." Fabian said.
"Okay, the snake said that it gets that a lot and Harry said I know."
The snake nodded its head. Harry spoke again.
"Where do you come from anyway." Merope translated.
The snake pointed at the sign adorning his tank. It said it was from Brazil. Harry spoke.
"Is it nice there?" Merope repeated.
The snake pointed at the sign again. Harry nodded and spoke again.
"Oh, I see—so you've never been to Brazil?"
The snake shook its head just as Dudley's friend yelled out: DUDLEY! MR DURSLEY! COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHA IT'S DOING!"
Dudley hurried over as fast as his fat legs would carry him. He punched Harry in the ribs saying" Out of the way you." Harry fell to the floor. In the next second Dudley and his friend screamed and leapt back from the cage. The glass front had vanished and the snake was rapidly uncoiling itself and escaping. It snapped at a few people playfully (?) as it went. As it passed Harry it hissed and then it was gone and his uncle was upon him.
"What did the snake say?" James asked as Merope was giggling uncontrollably.
"Brazil here I come, Thankssss amigo." Merope said.
The screen fizzled as Vernon punished Harry back at home. Then it blanked again. The group groaned. Kendra and Percival had been talking and they had looked out a window and seen all the new people. Curious, they scrambled down the lawn and toward the group. Arianna saw them first.
"Mama, Papa, come meet all my new friends!" she called. Many of them exchanged glances. Dumbledore's parents, it was hard to imagine him young and with parents.
"It is a great honor to meet the parents of Albus Dumbledore." Gideon said with a flourish bowing and kissing Kendra's hand.
"You know Albus?" Kendra asked.
"We all do, he was our teacher and or Headmaster." Fabian said. "Fabian Prewett, and that is my twin brother, Gideon."
"Pleasure," Percival said shaking both of their hands. "Percival Dumbledore, but I suppose you knew that. This is my wife, Kendra."
"I guess you met Arianna, I see?" Kendra asked.
"She's a sweet little girl. "Lily said. Kendra smiled.
"Lily Potter," Lily said. "This is my husband, James."
"My, we like to die in pairs, don't we?" Percival chuckled. "And who might this other lovely young lady be?"
"Mary MacDonald," Mary said. "I'm a friend of the Potter's from school."
"Very nice, and you young man?" Regulus jumped at being addressed.
"Er, Regulus Black,"
"Are you related to Phineas Nigellus?" Percival asked.
"Unfortunately," Regulus grimaced. Percival nodded.
"Fortunately, he has relatives like me." A man's voice said. Regulus's face lit up.
"Uncle Alphard!" he said running to hug his favorite uncle. Actually, he was everyone's favorite uncle except Bella's. "I didn't think I would ever see you again!"
"I thought we would, I just didn't think it would be this soon. What year is it?" Alphard asked.
"1990 something," James said. "Good to see you again, Alphard…er…I think."
Alphard chuckled. "It's good in some ways, wow, Regulus; you couldn't have been very old when you died."
Regulus shook his head. "Seventeen," he mumbled.
"And your mother about took my head off so you better have a good explanation for running off and getting killed. Kreacher was in a right state."
"Dad?" Regulus said in shock. "What…?"
"I had a heart attack," Orion Black said. "Right after I moved in with Sirius."
"You moved in with Sirius?" Regulus blurted.
"Your mother was driving me crazy and I believe it is her fault you died and Sirius ran away." Orion said.
"It wasn't her fault I died. It was all mine." Regulus said. "But I won't defend her on Sirius's behalf."
Orion chuckled. "I would think not. Let's see, I don't think Alphard and I know all of you."
"Nope, we know Reggie (Regulus groaned), James, Lily, Mary and the Prewett brothers." Alphard said.
"Percival Dumbledore, I'm Albus and Aberforth's father. You may know them." Percival said. The Blacks' eyes widened.
"Know him, he's famous, and Aberforth's a bit infamous." Alphard said. Kendra groaned.
"What did he do?" she asked.
"Something with goats," Orion said. Percival roared with laughter.
"That boy and his goats." He said. "By the way, this is my wife, Kendra."
"Pleasure ma'am," Alphard said winking. Kendra rolled her eyes but smiled nonetheless.
"And this is our daughter, Arianna."
"There's another one?" Orion said.
"Dad," Regulus muttered in embarrassment. Percival laughed again.
"Yes, there is. She's our youngest."
"And I'm Merope Gaunt," Merope said shyly.
"A Gaunt, huh? I haven't heard that name in years." Alphard said.
"No, I expect my brother was the last one." Merope answered.
"Morphin?" Alphard asked. Merope nodded.
"Yeah, he's in prison for killing three muggles." Orion said. "Huge scandal that had to be covered up,"
"Did they say who he killed?" Merope asked wide eyed. Orion shook his head. Merope relaxed. It might not have been Tom, though it wouldn't be much of a loss if it was, but she still had some feelings for him…
"So, care to fill us in on what you've all been doing? "Percival asked. The group jumped right in.