"Harry." James yelled, "If you don't hurry we won't be ready on time."
Ten year old Harry Potter yelled back, "I'm hurrying Dad. It's Sirius' fault he won't leave me alone. He wants to review all the spells I know."
"Sirius get in here and leave him alone he needs to finish packing." James yelled.
Sirius walked in whining, "But he needs to know these spells, how else can he protect himself."
"Sirius, shut up." Lily said, "Harry knows all the spells and you have all summer to do your review. You have two full months then. For now we have to finish before our friends arrive to say goodbye. We probably won't see any of them ever again."
"Sorry, I'm just a bit panicky; he's going into first year." Sirius said, "It's seems like just yesterday we started training and now it's over."
"You sound like a girl Sirius." James chuckled.
"Really." Lily huffed, "It's my line to be all blubbery about my baby going off to school not you."
"I am not blubbering,." Sirius stated emphatically, "And I don't sound like a girl. I'm just concerned."
Harry walked in finally packed, "Sirius stop blubbering and sounding like a girl. I'll be fine. I know the spells and I can do all of them. Weren't you the one telling me just last week I could ace my NEWT's now?"
Remus followed him into the room saying, "No he said you'd ace your OWL's, I said you'd ace your NEWT's."
"Right sorry." Harry said, "Sirius is being a whiney baby girl about me heading off to school."
"Sirius, you're worse than Peter's Mum." Remus rolled his eyes.
"Just kill me now." Sirius huffed exaggeratedly.
"Gladly." Lily muttered.
"Dad they're almost to the door." Harry said. James ran off to let their friends in and the rest followed him out to the arena. Harry and the older kids in the group took the younger ones off to play while the adults talked. Harry played for a few hours and then said his goodbye's to the children and left to talk with the adults.
"Telly, how are you feeling?" Harry asked.
Telly smiled wanly and the woman next to her said, "Her health is failing. She is very old even by our standards. We think she may not last the summer."
Harry leaned forward to touch her and she said, "No friend, keep your magic. It is my time soon and I will be ready to go. I do have one more gift for you."
"But you have already given me so much." Harry smiled, "I could never repay your kindness."
"What I have done for you will not even touch what you will do for us." Telly waved him off, "Your time is coming soon enough, do not worry you have what you need."
Harry nodded as she reached out to touch him. The next thing Harry knew he was waking up in his bed. His Mum was there waiting and watching, she stepped out and said, "He's awake."
James, Sirius and Remus came in and they all were looking at Harry, he asked, "What's going on?"
"When Telly gave you her gift you passed out." James said, "They left about two hours ago, without saying what the gift was."
"I don't know what she did, but I feel normal." Harry replied.
"We need to be going." James said, "All our things have already been moved to Hogwarts, our portkey leaves in about an hour."
Harry got up and started walking through the house and grounds, "I'm going to miss this place. But on the bright side we can see the others more often."
"Yes, yes you get to see your girlfriend more often, let's go already." Sirius was still huffy from the comments earlier in the morning.
"And now that I won't require so much of your time you can find a girlfriend too." Harry snickered.
"Now that's a cheerful thought." Sirius grinned.
"You might even be the next one married." James snickered.
"No way." Sirius exclaimed, "I told you once I only want the biscuit benefits."
The rest of the day was spent portkeying around the world to get back to England. James wasn't comfortable letting anyone find their home yet. They may need it in the future for a save place if things didn't go well. The next day at Hogwarts Ginny and Harry hugged again surrounded by the white light. The hug lasted longer as both were thinking, we won't have to be that far apart ever again.
"I really want to kiss you but I think it would freak them all out." Harry thought to Ginny.
"I don't think many nine and ten year olds think about snogging each other senseless." In her mind Ginny giggled.
"Probably not." Harry replied snickering as he pictured their reaction to a kiss.
They still held hands as they greeted the rest of the family. No one paid any attention, they were used to the two needing physical touch for the first several hours after a long separation. The first day was just relaxing and renewing friendships. The real training wouldn't start until the next day. After lunch Harry and Ginny decided to take a walk.
"We're going for a walk." Harry told his Mum, "It's easier to get used to the emotional connection with no one else around. We'll stay inside the castle."
"Fine just don't be gone long or we'll send Sirius to find you." Lily warned them.
"Can't you send Remus?" he asked, "Sirius will just try to embarrass me."
"That's the point." Lily retorted, "Don't be long."
"We won't." Ginny said giggling about Harry's embarrassment at the hands of Sirius Black.
They had been walking for several minutes when Ginny stopped near the library. She turned to Harry and gave him a small kiss on the lips, she thought to him, "I know I shouldn't do that, but I wanted to make sure I'm the first."
Harry grinned continuing their thought conversation, "I don't mind and I don't plan on letting any other girl kiss me."
"I know but other people have a way of messing up plans." Was her reply thought, "Fred was saying yesterday that a girl in his year kissed him goodbye before she got off the train. He wasn't expecting it at all, he still doesn't know what she meant by it. I wanted to make sure no one messes up my plan."
"I love you and no one can come between us." Harry kissed her again, "Even if they kiss me, I won't be kissing them back. I'm glad we have kissed, but at the same time it feels weird because I know we're too young for this."
"We both know we're older mentally than we are physically." Ginny said as she started walking again.
Harry was thoughtful for a bit, "Percy's in fifth year, the twins are in third year and Ron, Neville and I are in first. We could have a large group for training. I wonder if they have any of the years between them or the sixth and seventh years?"
"Can you stop thinking about training for a few minutes?" Ginny grinned.
"Oh sorry, what did you want to talk about?" Harry asked.
"I don't want to talk." Ginny giggled, "I just want to absorb the fact that we're together again and we don't have to be separated so far ever again. Although I wish I could start Hogwarts this year."
"At least we should be close enough to feel each other's emotions." Harry pointed out.
"I always feel half empty when you're gone. Can you tell me where you've been now?" Ginny asked.
"I don't know." Harry answered, "Dad hasn't said we could tell yet. I'll ask him later."
"It doesn't matter I have it figured out anyway." Ginny said, "I just wanted to confirm it."
"And where do you think we were?" Harry grinned.
"Why do you think there?" Harry asked.
Ginny bumped his shoulder, "You slipped today. As you were leaving Sirius stepped in a pile of kangaroo dung and you were laughing at him."
"I didn't realize I had thought kangaroo dung." Harry said.
"You didn't." Ginny laughed.
"That wasn't nice." Harry grimaced, "I can't believe you got me to tell you that. You're very sneaky."
"With Fred and George as brothers how could I be anything else?" Ginny twirled away from him and he quickened his pace to catch back up to her. It wasn't long before the two returned to the others and visited with the remaining members of the family.
Albus approached the families as they were relaxing, "The last three applicants for DADA professor are coming today for interviews. It would probably be best if all of you were out of site from one until four today."
"Any good prospects?" James asked.
"It's getting worse every year." Albus sighed, "This year's best prospect is a young man that got excellent scores on his NEWTs for DADA five years ago. He's been studying abroad trying to gain some experience."
"Only five years out of school?" Arthur asked, "He can't have a lot of experience."
"No but next to the other candidates Quirrell has the most experience." He grimaced.
Later the group was in the room of requirement playing quidditch. Part way through the game Harry started feeling odd. He landed and asked for a replacement for a bit and then sat by his mother and leaned his head on her shoulder.
What's wrong Harry?" Lily asked.
"I just feel… weird." Harry said.
"Out with it." Lily pushed, "You wouldn't stop playing quidditch for just anything."
"I just feel like something bad is here." Harry said, "Not here in this room but here in the castle. I think I need to talk to Granddad Al."
"We have to wait." Lily said, "He's interviewing for the DADA position."
"Can we grab Dad's cloak and just go see please?" Lily finally relented and the two went in search of James.
"Remember some people can see through it like Albus and Moody and anyone can hear your noises." James warned.
Lily and Harry quietly stepped through the castle moving towards the headmaster's office. When they were within sight of the gargoyle Harry stopped his mother. After a few seconds the gargoyle jumped aside as Albus and a man with a turban walked out. Lily noticed Harry staring wide eyed at the stranger and tried to pull him away but Harry didn't move that direction. In fact he pulled his mother towards them and followed at a discrete distance. At the main doors the pair were met by Hagrid. Albus watched Hagrid escorted the man out of the castle presumably to the gates.
After a few moments Albus turned to them, "He's gone. What was so important you needed to see me or was it him?"
"It was him." Harry said throwing off the cloak, "I got a bad feeling a while ago and I had to come see why. That man is evil. You need to hire him."
Lily was flabbergasted, why would Harry want an evil man at the school. Albus asked him the question with just as much confusion as Lily was feeling.
"We need to keep an eye on him." Harry replied, "He's working for Voldemort. His stuttering is an act and the turban is there just for show. Though it may serve a purpose later."
"Do you know what their goal is?" Lily asked.
"Ultimately it's to get Voldemort a body." Harry said, "But I can't see how he's planning on doing it."
"I know." Albus said, "I have an empty vault at Gringotts. It's an old family vault and I just haven't made myself close it. Recently a friend came to me asking if I knew of a good place to hide something very valuable. Someone had tried to steal it and he wanted better protection. The friend was Nicholas Flamel."
"The Sorcerer's stone." Lily said, "He wants to make the elixir of life."
"Exactly." Albus said.
"I don't think he really wants the job at all, he's just trying to figure out where you put the stone." Harry said, "If you moved the stone to the school and used it to trap Voldemort we would be able to hold him until I'm strong enough to stop him."
"Harry that would be too dangerous." Lily said, "If Voldemort is here with you he would try to kill you."
"Voldemort can't do it. He has no body." Harry said, "The worst he could do is haunt me."
On September first James woke up to Harry saying, "Sirius I don't care if it's your house you can't treat him that way. That is just horrible. If you were nicer to him he might be nicer to you."
"He's never been nice." Sirius declared, "Even when I was small he was mean."
"Do you think that maybe your mother put him up to it?" Harry replied, "You said she never liked you and it was worse when you got sorted into Gryffindor."
This thought made Sirius pause, he hadn't thought of that. He could just see his mother telling the house elf to do mean things to him and not to Regulas, "But… do you think… I'll work on being nicer Harry."
"Thank you, that's all I ask." Harry said, "Well that and removing her portrait if you can."
"Well I may have to cut out the wall to get it down but that is an option I could consider." Sirius laughed.
"Harry, your Mum said breakfast is ready and to wake your father." Remus yelled from the kitchen.
"He's already awake, but not out of bed yet." Harry yelled back and as James started to move from the bed Harry continued, "He's moving now."
James thought, sometimes that kid freaks me out. I am really not looking forward to his rebellious stage, unless of course he takes it out on Voldemort; that would be nice.
Harry knocked on the door, "You better keep moving, Mum said breakfast is ready. If you're late you may miss it."
James pushed himself off the bed as he heard Harry tromp down the stairs. He hated staying in Grimmauld place, it was depressing. As soon as Harry was off to school they could start looking for a place of their own. He guessed he could always live at his parents place but it was just so big. Of course it had the Quidditch pitch and the small forest around it which allowed a lot of privacy. It could be warded easily enough; he just missed his parents so much. If they hadn't been killed in that attack when they were visiting his Uncle they would have really enjoyed Harry. They would have even found living in Australia to be a grand adventure. James continued to run the pro's and con's through his mind as he headed down to breakfast. He was even silent during the meal as he continued to think.
"Dad, you're terribly quiet." Harry stated, "Is something wrong?"
James tried to smile as he said, "Just thinking of where we should live now."
"You can stay here as long as you want." Sirius said.
"For as depressing as I find this place it must be many times worse for you." James said.
"That's true, but I'm not staying here." Sirius said, "I going to find an apartment and move out just as soon as I can."
"Wait." Harry exclaimed, "Aren't you two moving in with us where ever we go?"
"You said it yourself Harry." Remus said, "We need to have our own lives now."
"Yes you do." Harry agreed, "But until you get married you can still live with us. I don't want you to go away."
Lily smiled this was the first time in a long time that Harry sounded his age. She so badly wanted to give him this time with Remus and Sirius but it was their decision to stay or to go. But she could tell them one thing, "Guys Harry's right you don't have to live someplace else. You can if you want, but you don't have to. One of the places we're going to look at today is the Potter Estate."
"You two need to find a place that suits you." Remus said, "Don't get something with us in mind."
"Hey, even if you guys don't stay at the Potter Estate," Sirius said, "Remus and I could rent the cottage from you."
"The caretakers place?" James asked.
"Yes, it would probably need fixing up." Sirius said, "But we have experience in that kind of thing now."
"Are they close?" Harry asked.
"Yes it's by the road and the Estate house is at the end of the drive, less than half a mile." James offered.
"My vote is for us to be in the Estate house and Padfoot and Moony to be either in the house with us or no further than the cottage." Harry said then left the kitchen and headed up to his room to finish his last minute packing.
"That's the most he's sounded like a child in ages." James said, "I don't think he's ready to part company with you two. I'm not ready to either. I'm still relying heavily on my matching pair of watchmuts."
"I've just realized." Remus said, "This has been record employment for me. I doubt I'll ever have another job for ten years straight again."
James put a hand on his shoulder, "How do you feel about being a caretaker?" Remus shook his head and James said, "Come on I know you have experience. Two months worth at that resort, not to mention an additional ten years of it underground. That's a challenge growing flowers, trees and plants underground like that."
Lily left to make sure Harry was ready. The other three followed her and they started getting ready for the day. After Lily reached the bedroom she and James had been staying in she said, "You know you can't take care of him forever. He wants to do something himself without thinking it's a handout from you."
"I've never given him a handout." James said, "I always pay him for his work. I paid Sirius for the watchmut gig too."
"I know and I completely agree." Lily said, "I'm just telling you from his point of view. You and Sirius were Aurors and can go back to it."
"But Remus is smarter and better than both Sirius and I but he just doesn't get a fair break." James said, "I wish I could get a piece of Fenrir Grayback. Lucky for him he's in Azkaban for the moment."
"Stand in line." Lily said, "There are a lot of people who would like to take a bite out of him."
"I've asked the two of them to say their goodbyes to Harry here so that just you and I can take him to the station." James said changing the subject, "It's going to be bad enough with us blubbering all over him. I'll spare Harry two more."
Lily laughed, "At least he'll be able to hug Ginny goodbye. He won't be able to do that when he gets back."
"I really felt bad last night. Ginny was really upset." James said, "I wonder how this bond is affecting them. Do they already know they love each other? Are they thinking about doing more than holding hands and hugging?"
"He's enough like you that I think he has thought about it." Lily said, "You told me you thought I was pretty as an angel on our first train ride."
"Yes but I wasn't about to kiss you or anything." James shrugged, "I wasn't even ready to hold your hand and they've been doing that for ages. I'm going to have to give him the talk before next year."
Lily looked at him astonished, "You haven't done that yet?" James shook his head, "You were supposed to do that before we left Australia."
"Yes but he was out cold from Telly's gift during the time I was going to do it." James said, "Over the summer we talked about boy's bodies and puberty but I never got the time to do the rest of it."
"Christmas James, no later."