Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and Co.
Summary: After one very eventful night ten years ago, Voldemort was destroyed and Harry disappeared. Where did he go? What happened that night? Only one man knows the answer: a teacher named James. And as the tenth anniversary of Voldemort's downfall draws near, Ron and Hermione are thinking more and more about their friend.
Chapter 1: Articles and Éclairs
The man sighed as he pushed back his thick brown hair. He was sitting at a desk in a classroom, correcting papers. It was a clear spring afternoon in late May.
The man pushed back his hair again, reveal a thin, lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. It was immediately covered up again when his stubborn locks flopped back into their previous messy position.
He looked up as another guy walked into the classroom. He had brown hair and bright blue eyes. He seemed to have a bounce in his step where ever he walked; always happy.
"Well, look who it is! The very person I haven't seen in a millennia!" He looked around. "Nice room you got here, James."
"Thanks, Peter," said the man amusedly. "You know, as I recall, you've been in here quite a few times. So what is it that you want?"
"Well, what are you doing here grading fifth graders' papers on a beautiful day like this when you should be helping me at the store? Plus, it's a Sunday."
James smiled. "The store" was Peter's bakery, which James helped Peter bake for if there was a big event coming up.
"I'm just trying to finish correcting these papers," he answered. "I didn't want to bring them home. There's only one more week of school left, you know. "
"And only one more week until that wedding for which I have to bake one hundred éclairs. C'mon, James, I could really use your help today."
"You say that everyday."
Peter gave James a pleading look.
"Fine. I'm almost done correcting these anyway."
Peter punched James on the arm playfully. "Thanks, you're a real pal, a real pal," he said with emphasis.
James rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, yeah..."
"Look, Ron," said Hermione angrily, "I really don't see why we have to travel halfway across the world to see one man." It was breakfast time, and Hermione had just come downstairs with her bags.
"I've explained this before, honey," said Ron, exasperated, "We're meeting this guy's family, not just him. I have to go, at least. How would it look if her own brother didn't even meet her fiancé, never mind her future family-in-law? Besides, we're the only one's who haven't met the 'famous' Daniel that Ginny always talks about. Mum seems to like him well enough, anyway."
"Yes, but leaving the kids with Percy and Penelope for a week?"
"We're dropping the kids off at the Burrow first. Believe me; Mum will make sure they are all right. Plus, it will be a good experience for them. Look, we can talk this over with Percy at lunch. Besides, have you ever been to Canada before?"
"See? We'll be going someplace new! It'll be an adventure!"
Hermione sighed. "I suppose."
Ron kissed her cheek. "Thanks."
"I'll just get the kids ready, and then we can go." Hermione went upstairs.
Ron turned back to the paper. An article caught his attention.
BOY WHO LIVED, DEAD, OR ALIVE?
It has been almost ten years since the downfall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and ten years since Harry Potter was last seen. His disappearance has caused much controversy in the wizarding community. Was he killed in the war? Or is he still out there, hiding from the world? Many choose to believe the latter, although no trace of him can be found. But why would the most powerful wizard hide? What caused his disappearance? And where is he hiding, if he is indeed hiding? Most people believe he is still in the wizarding world, but there is a surprising few who believe he has gone into the muggle world. This year's tenth Anniversary of Peace raises more questions about what happened on that night, and reminds us of the hero and biggest mystery of the wizarding community, Harry Potter.
Hermione came downstairs, with Emily and Jack in tow, arguing with each other.
Jack was a spitting image of his mother: light brown hair with dark brown eyes. And he read a surprising amount of books for his ten-year-old self. Emily had red hair, and Ron's eyes. She also had his short temper and picked fights with her older brother.
"Now you guys are sure you packed everything you need?" Hermione asked worriedly, interrupting the argument.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Yes, Mum, you've asked us a million times already."
"Now, I'll apparate over with the luggage, and Ron, dear, will you take the kids? Don't forget to call out 'The Burrow' nice and loud."
"Yes, Mum," said Jack, Emily, and Ron in unison.
"Dear, don't encourage them..."
"We'll be fine," Ron reassured his wife, "We're only using Floo Powder. We'll see you in a few minutes."
Hermione gave them a weak smile and apparated away.
"Right," said Ron, "Let's go."
The bakery looked as if a tornado had swept in, and then there was an earthquake. There was flour everywhere, not to mention water from an over-flowing sink of cooking utensils.
"My god," said Peter to James, "I'm gone for a minute, and they tear the place apart! Good thing we aren't open on Sundays."
"What?" shouted a woman behind a huge whirring mixer.
"Uh, I said, keep up the good work!" shouted Peter.
"Thanks!" the woman shouted back.
Peter chuckled. "Sarah's so sweet. She was the first one over here to help me today."
"Okay, okay, I get it," laughed James. "I'm the last one here, I know. I haven't been here in a week, I know. I haven't--"
"Eeeee! It's Jamesie!" shrieked Emma, high enough to break several windows.
James rolled his eyes. Emma insisted on calling him "Jamesie." It made Jacob angry though, because she called him "My Cobbie," and that was a lot worse than "Jamesie." Emma and Jacob were engaged. The wedding was in two months and they had started helping Peter with his store a lot lately. They're trying to get a discount on their cake, thought James wryly. Just like them to do that.
Jacob was thin, tall, and had flaming red hair. Luckily, his red hair did not reflect his temper. He was known for being a temperate and trustworthy person. He was very clumsy, but extremely bright. He collected knowledge faster than anyone James knew. Well, almost anyone. James always got a wave of nostalgia and regret whenever he looked at or talked to Jacob. The combination of red hair and a smart mind brought back uncomfortable memories.
Emma was from Oregon. She had blonde short hair, and large brown eyes, and was fairly big chested, and consequently often got asked if she was a movie star. Now that made her cringe. She seemed to hate being considered "good-looking"; she called it a hindrance to having the proper amount of fun. While visiting her parents (who had moved to San Francisco), she met Jacob and they fell in love and moved to Calgary, where Jacob's parents lived. Nothing had really gone wrong in the entire time they had known each other. Their lives were a fairy tale. Some people have all the luck, thought James.
"Jamesie? Hellooo," Emma waved her hand in front of James' face. "Anyone home?"
James shook himself. "Oh, yeah. What?"
"My Cobbie was saying something."
"James--," scolded Sarah, "James--," she tried again. "Say, what is your middle name?" she asked.
"James is my middle name. Harry is my first," James answered.
The group exchanged surprised glances.
"Well," continued Sarah, "Harry James Potterson, what have you been doing all week that demanded your attention so badly that you couldn't visit your friends even once? Not only that, but then you zone out while we're talking to you?"
"Sorry guys, I guess I just got busy."
"Yeah, well you were certainly in a bad mood the whole week."
James raised an eyebrow.
"We heard what you did to poor Jacob. Snapping at him like that, tsk, tsk, tsk. And we just told him to talk to you, since he's the only one who works at the same place you do."
"I'm in a better mood, now, promise," tried James.
"You know Jamesie," said Emma, "You get in this mood every year. And around the same time. What is it? And it always seems to be My Cobbie that you pick on. What's going on?"
There was silence. James could hear the whirring of a mixer in the back room, the soft flow of water in the sink, and even the humming of the oven. The silence was heavy around him, as if daring him to break it. James licked his lips and tried desperately to think of a new topic of conversation. Peter shifted his feet, uncomfortable, but curious at the same time. Emma's gaze was penetrating. The silence became unbearable. Finally James stupidly blurted out:
"So, what are we making today?"