Chapter One


To make things vanish

A cold wet drizzle washed the dirt and grime from the houses in Godric's Hollow. A few stragglers pulled their jackets over their heads as they hobbled towards shelter. Dark had already fallen.

It was Halloween. The small village no longer celebrated the spooky event; its inhabitants were too old. To ask around for candy was unthinkable; anyway, the child would freeze in the cold before managing to coerce the sweet treats from the stiff neighbours. No, Halloween was not worth the trouble. Two people were slightly grateful for that fact.

These two people were sitting in the living room, staring into the fireplace. The red-haired woman was pretty, even though there were tear streaks down her pale cheeks right then. She had her face buried in the man's shoulder. The man's black hair was messy; stuck up at the back as if he had been rumpling his hand through his hair in stress recently. The man was lean, and well-built, and he was holding the woman in his arms very tenderly. His thin-rimmed spectacles were sliding a bit on his nose, but he did not move to push them back up. His hazel eyes were glistening slightly.

They were, in fact, Lily and James Potter, and they were grieving, for their son had died in that very room twelve years ago. He had only been one years old.

"James," Lily said after a long while, her voice a bit thick. "What time do you have to go back to the Ministry tomorrow?"

When Lily decided it was safe to move on, and think about their future and not about the son they had lost, then it was when James decided it was safe too.

"It's been quiet lately," James admitted, "the Auror department is suspicious though. We're patrolling the areas where Death Eaters have been reportedly sighted." He was babbling; and he knew it. "Late morning, perhaps."

"I see," Lily said softly. She pulled away from her husband and stood up, wiping her tears. "I'll make some tea. I don't feel like sleeping much tonight."

She walked towards the kitchen, stopping in the hallway for a moment. She had not been home all those years ago when Voldermort had sauntered right in the front door, as if their protective enchantments had not been there. She and James had stolen away for the night, leaving two Aurors Gideon and Fabian Prewett as unruly babysitters for little Harry. She had argued, but James had distracted her with a kiss and sealed the deal when he suggested the alternative to be Sirius Black. Lily loved Sirius like her own brother, but Sirius was more likely to blow up the house in the process too.

"Lily?" James called from the living room. He had turned in the chair, to see Lily poised still in the hallway. "Are you alright?"

And then, as if his voice had been a catalyst, there was an ear-splitting blast and a loud siren began wailing in distress.

"Lily!" James yelled. He leapt to his feet, pulling out his wand. He sprinted towards his wife. Lily had her wand out too. Her green eyes widened in alarm; the siren had jerked her out of the past quickly.

"The wards have been activated!" Lily cried out. "We need to get out!" In all the years they had resided in Godric's Hollow, they never had the occasion of having the alarm raised. "Remus's?"

"It's the full moon," James said, yelling over the loud wailing. "Sirius's place!" He was just about to grab onto Lily's hand and apparate, when the front door blasted open, and a black-haired boy pointed his wand at them.


The two wands soared in the air and the boy caught them on reflex. James cursed; a wizard could not apparate without possessing a wand.

The boy seemed more stunned to see them, than the adults were to see a child, going on to his teens, break through protective enchantments cast by Albus Dumbledore himself. "Who are you?" he said, almost angrily, pointing his wand at them.

Lily looked at the boy closely. Her breath was still caught in her throat, but the boy resembled her husband very much. James cast a sideways glance at the wall clock in the hallway. The siren was still going strong, and in exactly one minute within effect, the other members of the Order of the Phoenix would be notified if the siren was not turned off. He just had to distract the boy.

James looked at him square in the face. Inside, he felt a stirring of pity. It was an abomination; that the Death Eaters were recruiting children now, to do their dirty work.

"Lower your wand," James said in a kind, yet commanding voice. He may be one of the more senior Aurors, but he was unaccustomed to dealing with children.

The boy snorted, and James did not blame him. It was the worst kind of advice to give to anyone. James could almost hear what Mad-Eye Moody would say. "Constant vigilance, Potter, or are you as dense as a puffskein? Don't put that wand away!"

"Answer me," the boy said, more forcefully. "Who are you? And, er-" He looked around, confusion evident on his face. "-where am I?"

Just then, the clock struck, and three dark figures appeared just outside the doorstep. The boy whirled around, and the way he held himself surprised James. It was as if he was seasoned in dealing in tight situations. Again, he felt the tug of pity.

"Expelliarmus! Stupefy!" Jets of red flew into the living room. James pushed his wife into the kitchen to avoid the spells.

A moment later, Sirius popped his head into the kitchen, grinning. "Do you have any butterbeer?" he asked seriously. "I mean, I just came back from an assignment in East London – great beers there, by the way, Prongs – and I get a call saying you need to be rescued by a twelve-year-old!"

"Put a sock in it, Black," a tall, clean-shaven man said from the hallway. "He could be under the Polyjuice Potion." James and Lily took their wands from him.

"Benjy Fenwick!" Lily said, before turning her eyes to the intruder. A blonde woman, Marlene McKinnon, was crouching on the floor beside the stunned boy.

"We'll take him to Dumbledore," she said to nobody in particular. "He would want to know who broke into his protective spells without so much as a scratch or a hex."

"I'll go with you," James said immediately. Marlene looked up in surprise. It was quite a well-known fact that the Potters liked to have a quiet Halloween.

"You don't have to, James," Benjy said, pocketing his wand. "Marlene and I were going to give him our report on Death Eater sightings."

"Aren't they usually rumors?" James said. He ignored the pointed looks that Marlene was giving him.

"That's what the Ministry wants you to believe," Benjy said, wrinkling his nose. "Fudge has been panicking for the last three weeks; no less than twenty Death Eater sightings in London. He's adamant that since You-Know-Who hasn't been active for the past decade, he has vanished from the world." He nodded towards the boy. "This is strange too. Dumbledore needs to know."

"Yeah, I'm coming." James got up. "I'm not going to stay here, after a boy breaks into my house." He looked around.

Sirius's hand shot into the air like a schoolboy. "I'll stay and raid your refrigerator," he volunteered.

Lily tore her gaze away from the intruder, and to James's horror, her eyes were wet. "I'll stay too," she said, clearing her throat. "No-" she added, when James made some noise indicating he changed his mind "-you should be in the know-how, Dumbledore might want to tell you something important, or at least how to strengthen the protective spells."

"Are you sure, Lily?" James said, looking at her with an intense gaze. Suddenly, the other occupants in the house felt uncomfortable.

Lily nodded. "It's just that today – and then this," she said, feeling as though she was not explaining enough. "Just- just get the boy's name, will you? He looks so young."

Benjy sighed. Sometimes it was hard to be the practical voice. The boy could be a seventy-eight year old hippy with a white beard for all they knew. With top marks in Concealment and Disguise during Auror training, he ought to know. "Come on," he said gruffly, gripping the boy's arm. "Dumbledore's in Hogwarts, we'll apparate just outside. Black; you'll recast the protective enchantments. I hope you still have your wits with you, after your 'assignment', which by the way, did not include drinking your way through the pubs of London."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "That was not my assignment, it was self-assigned; I was being proactive – I mean, yes boss."

"See you tonight, Lily." Lily looked up, but the four were gone.

Sirius got to his feet and stood by the doorway for several minutes. The laughter from his face was gone; he muttered a string of complicated spells flawlessly. Despite his demeanor, the intruder had alarmed him when he had gotten the message that the Potters needed help. Harry was his godson, and it was Sirius who found the still body amidst the broken banisters and torn pillows. He took his friends' safety seriously.

He closed the door when he was done, and found Lily sitting in the kitchen. She pointed her wand at the kettle, and it started steaming.

"I'm not thinking straight, Sirius," she said at last, shaking her head. "I don't know what came over me. The intruder was a young boy, and he looked so much like James that for a moment, I was thinking it was just so cruel for you-know-who to make him crash into our house today of all days…" The tears started spilling, and before Sirius could do anything, she was already wiping them away with the heel of her hand angrily. "I know - I'm stupid. It's just-" she paused, trying to find the correct phrase.

"-bloody hormones," Sirius completed. Lily gave him a weak smile.

"Yeah, that."

Sirius jabbed the butterbeer bottle with his wand and it refilled. He took a long swing, and Lily turned around and busied herself over the cup of tea.

"It's not wrong, you know, to miss him," Sirius said, not looking at her. It made him uncomfortable, to say those words, but something in Lily's face prompted him too. "And it's definitely not stupid."

"You think so?"

"Well, then that would make me one of the most stupidest prats in the world, doesn't it?"

Lily's face broke into the smile, as she understood what Sirius was trying to tell her. "Well, you are, Sirius," she said. "But thanks."

Harry Potter was having the most disconcerting day. He had just gone back in time, rescued his godfather, who was coincidentally the most wanted man in the wizarding world just then, and then had trodden onto Hermione's Time Turner by mistake. Then, the next thing he knew, he had stumbled into a dark place, and there was awful wailing about him.

When he awoke, he was pleasantly surprised to see Dumbledore's office. He was slumped on the chair at Dumbledore's desk, a seat he had last vacated when he handed over Tom Riddle's diary. Still groggy, he looked up to find a phoenix staring at him fixedly.

"Fawkes!" he blurted out without thinking. He sat up straighter, and held his hand out tentatively. Fawkes tilted his head slightly, before consenting to be touched by Harry.

"This is so surreal," Harry whispered to it. "You have no idea how strange today was…"

There was a polite chortle. Harry's head jerked up, and his right hand slipped to his pocket. Panic gripped him as he realized his wand was missing.

"You and I seem to share the same sentiments," Dumbledore said, his blue eyes twinkling behind his half-moon glasses. "Perhaps you can answer some of my questions, young man. As for your wand, I'm afraid Auror Fenwick has it confiscated. He may give it back."

Harry looked at him in confusion. Surely a broken Time Turner did not warrantee aurors…? "Professor Dumbledore, I swear, I didn't mean to break it," he said quickly. "I was tired, and Hermione's stuff fell on the floor from the bedside table, and I stepped on it and-"

He fell silent as the old wizard raised his hand slowly. "I'm afraid I'm not following you," Professor Dumbledore said kindly. "Maybe we should start with something simpler. What is your name?"

Harry's jaw fell open. "Is-is this some kind of joke?" he said uncertainly. Maybe he was dreaming. He never had fifteen chocolate frogs in a row, after all. It could just be a bad dream…

"It's quite late in the night," Dumbledore sighed. "We could continue this tomorrow morning… I do wonder where to put you in the night though, calling the Ministry would just be trouble and quite frankly, there isn't anywhere in Hogwarts I can put you… or perhaps the dungeons…"

"Professor Dumbledore, sir," Harry said, feeling more alarmed. "I had no idea Time Turners were so valuable."

"Time Turners, my boy?" Dumbledore leaned forwards, intrigued. "And you seem to be very careful in evading the topic of your name."

"But you know my name!" Harry said, pushing back his chair. It was disconcerting to see Dumbledore playing dumb about his existence. "My name is Harry Potter. Of all people, you would know that."

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows.

Then, something happened that had Benjy and Marlene running into Dumbledore's office, from the private space within where they had been talking before. James Potter had run into the office at the two words, his hazel eyes flashing and his wand out.

"James," Dumbledore said quietly, in a warning tone.

"Don't," James said, the carefully blank expression on his face flickering wildly, "say that name."

Harry stared at the man. "You have to be kidding me," he swore under his breath.

James looked ready to curse him, but a ball of silvery light floated gently onto Dumbledore's desk. A silver lynx appeared, just as a blinding white flash of pain tore through Harry.

The last thing Harry saw was a pair of hazel eyes widening in recognition.

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A/N: edited on 23/11/2010 for contextual mistakes.