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Disclaimer: Anything you recognize from the books, I don't own. The first 18 chapters belong mostly to Rynne Lupin
Summary: After the defeat of Voldemort, Harry is tired. He is offered the chance to rest, relax, and have fun…by going back in time to 1977.
Warnings: OotP spoilers, and a few others splattered throughout
Harry was walking down one of the corridors a couple weeks after the Patronus lesson when he heard someone yelling "Expecto Patronum!" in a room near him. Curious, he walked over to the door of the classroom the yells were coming from and peered inside the window, but what he saw inside made him blink. Peter Pettigrew was inside the room, casting his Patronus over and over, though it never seemed to take a direct shape.
Wondering if he was doing the right thing, Harry pushed the door of the room open and cleared his throat, causing Peter to jump and quickly turn around, wand pointed at Harry, though once he saw who it was, he lowered it.
"Sorry, Professor," Peter said sheepishly, holding his wand loosely. "You startled me."
"Quite alright, Mr. Pettigrew," Harry replied, moving further into the room. "I heard someone practicing their Patronus in here, and I was just wondering who. You have very good reflexes, though."
"Thanks," Peter said, looking away, his cheeks flushing a bit. "I've been practicing my Patronus for a while, but I can't seem to get it to have a distinct shape. I don't suppose you could help?" Peter turned hopeful eyes to Harry, who suppressed a sigh and nodded reluctantly—he was a teacher now, and it was his responsibility to help his students, regardless of his personal feelings towards them.
"There's not exactly much I can do," Harry said as Peter sat down on a desk and Harry sat down on another. "I just teach the spell, but it's up to you to learn it, especially with this kind of spell."
Peter's face fell. "Can you just give me some tips?" he asked. "I really need to learn this spell."
Harry raised his eyebrow. "You need to learn how to do this spell?" Harry repeated. "May I ask why?"
Peter lowered his eyes, smiling ruefully. "I'm not a very good wizard, you know," he said amiably. "James, Sirius, and Remus are all loads better than I am, and James and Sirius don't even really work for it. Remus and I have to work hard, but even so, Remus does much better than me. There's few things I can do that they can't do better. I know Sirius and James already have a Patronus, but they don't expect me to have anything more than mist."
"They told you this?" Harry asked, a bit astonished. The Sirius and James of Snape's Pensieve he could see being so cruel to their friend, but not the Sirius and James he knew now.
"No, no," Peter said hurriedly, glancing up at Harry before looking down at his hands in his lap. "They've never said anything to me about it, but they talk to Remus, and say things like, 'You can do it, Remus, it just might take you a little longer.' They don't say things like that to me, because I know they think I won't be able to do it. They've never said anything, and their always helpful, but…I've known them for over six years now, and I know they think I can't do it. And that's why I have to."
Harry looked at Peter out of the corner of his eye, but Peter was looking down at his hands, one still loosely clasping his wand.
"But why this spell?" Harry asked. "Most people can't get a corporeal Patronus, so it's nothing to be ashamed of if you can't. It's a hard spell—"
"And that's why I have to learn it," Peter blurted, looking up again, his eyes wide. "I have to learn a powerful spell. No one will take me seriously if I can only do easy spells and nothing hard. I want to be taken seriously, but if I have to work hard to do so, then I will." Peter's watery blue eyes gazed up at Harry, filled with determination, and Harry felt a bit uncomfortable.
Harry didn't like Peter—it was hard to forget what he was going to do in the future. And Harry didn't especially want to encourage him in anything—it felt like he was encouraging the Wormtail he knew, even though this Peter hadn't done anything yet. But this Peter was still just a student, and one who needed help. Harry resolved to ignore what Peter had done in the future and just do his job, which was to help the students learn.
"There could be several reasons why you aren't getting an actual Patronus yet," Harry commented. "Your memory might not be strong enough. You might not be confident enough that the Patronus will come. Even the smallest doubt can throw the spell off, because doubt is negative, and the Patronus is a positive force."
Peter looked thoughtful. "It might…be a combination of both of those, I think. I'm not exactly used to having spells work for me," Peter dredged up a tired smile, "and so I'm always kind of…dubious, I suppose, as to whether it will work or not. But how can you tell whether a memory is happy enough?"
arry shrugged. "It all depends on you. My first happy memory strong enough to drive back a Dementor, though it didn't cause a full-fledged Patronus, was finding out I was a wizard and coming to Hogwarts. It just depends on you."
Peter bit his lip, looked away, then looked back at Harry. "How long did it take you to get a real Patronus, Professor? And why is your Patronus a stag?"
Harry sighed—he'd been waiting for one of the Marauders to ask him why his Patronus was what it was. "My Patronus is a stag for personal reasons that I would rather not share. As for how long it took me to learn it…several months, but a lot of things were happening at that point. I wasn't learning in my Defense class—we were only third years, and the Patronus is not on any third-year lesson plan—I had to take extracurricular lessons for it, because Dementors seem to be attracted to me, and whenever they came near I heard my parents being murdered. I knew I had to learn to protect myself, but it was the first time I had heard their voices since I was one, and I didn't especially want to lose that. I had to struggle with myself, to throw away that connection to my parents."
Several conflicting emotions were showing on Peter's face, including horror and awe, pity and fear. "That's…awful," Peter whispered. "I'm sorry."
Harry smiled lopsidedly. "It's not that bad," Harry assured him. "I don't even remember my parents, and I still have plenty of friends." Harry sighed again. "Though I haven't seen them since I started this job. I wonder what they're doing…" For one of the few times since he came back in time, Harry let himself think of Ron and Hermione and the Weasleys, Neville and Luna, and all the other people he left in his own time. He missed them, of course, but he knew they would want him to have the chance to get to know his parents. Still, he couldn't help but feel lonely.
Peter stayed silent as Harry mused, until Harry shook his head and smiled at Peter. Peter smiled back hesitantly.
"Don't let your doubts stop you, Peter," Harry told Peter kindly. "Doubts and fears are a normal thing to have, but don't let them control your life. Work hard to overcome them, and you'll be able to do nearly anything."
Peter nodded determinedly. "I will, Professor," he said firmly. "Thank you."
Harry smiled. "My pleasure, Peter." He stood up, stretching a bit. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be off. I'll see you in class." Peter nodded, and Harry strode out the door, closing it behind him.
Harry walked down the hallway, wondering yet again what had changed this determined, if rather mediocre, boy into a traitor willing to give up his best friends' lives for his own welfare.
Harry was startled out of his musings as he heard someone call "Professor!" from behind him. He turned around, and raised an eyebrow when he saw Sirius hurrying towards him, an oddly worried expression on his face. Harry stopped and waited until the boy reached him.
"Is something wrong, Sirius?" Harry asked when Sirius stopped just a few feet away from him and caught his breath.
"It could be," Sirius said enigmatically, his brow furrowed. "I'm not sure yet."
"Then why don't you tell me what's bothering you, and we'll see," Harry invited, leaning up against one of the stone walls and gesturing for Sirius to join him. He did, but once he was there, he ran his fingers through his hair in an uncharacteristically nervous movement.
"I've got another one of those feelings, Professor," Sirius began, and Harry gave a sharp intake of breath, which Sirius ignored. "Do you know if anyone knows about these lessons that you're giving Remus and me?"
Harry blinked, then bit his lip, thinking. "Severus Snape knows…" Harry said slowly as he tried to think of more, "…and of course your own friends and the Headmaster, but other than that, I don't know of anyone. Why?"
Sirius clenched his teeth. "Snape knows, does he? S'pose he would…he does make it his business to know everything about us, after all…stupid greasy git…" he muttered.
Though privately Harry rather agreed with Sirius's assessment of Snape, he had to be impartial. "Sirius, be polite," he said mildly, and Sirius flushed a bit. "Now what was that feeling?"
Sirius bit his lip and grimaced. "Just that it's not a good idea for anyone to know about the lessons. I have no idea why, but whenever I think of telling someone, something in my mind tells me that it's just not a good idea. I've already told my friends, and they know enough about my hunches right now to believe me, so I just had to hunt you down. You're sure Snape knows?" Sirius was obviously hoping that Harry was mistaken, but Harry regretfully nodded his head.
"He became aware that I was giving you and Remus lessons in resisting the Imperius curse and came to me to ask for a lesson of his own. You know him better than I do, would he tell someone else?" Harry asked, cocking his head at Sirius. Harry did know Snape fairly well, but Sirius probably knew him better, and Harry couldn't let Sirius know that he knew Snape that well anyway.
"Probably not," Sirius conceded, then pulled a face at having to describe Snape fairly. "He doesn't really tell things unless there's an advantage in it for him. Not sure where the advantage would be in telling people that Remus and I are taking extracurricular lessons. I just really hope he hasn't told Regulus."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Regulus knowing would be worse than anyone else knowing?"
Sirius shrugged. "It's important that he especially doesn't know. I don't know why, but there it is." He gave another helpless little shrug, then pushed off from the wall. "I have to be going though, I promised Remus he could copy my notes from the last moon. See you later, Professor."
"See you later, Sirius," Harry called absently after Sirius was already several feet away, already thinking about what this new feeling of Sirius's could mean. Then he shrugged philosophically and moved on. He'd figure it out sometime, of that he was sure.
Several days later, it was the weekend, and a rather brilliantly sunny day for late November, so Harry decided to take advantage of it by going for a walk around the lake, then maybe a nice flight if there weren't any students around. After having had the Gryffindor team catch him once, he didn't want any of the other teams to see what he could do and have more gawp at him. So he grabbed his broom and went outside, stopping for a moment to bask in the sunlight.
Then he took off, and began his slow meander around the lake, broom slung over one shoulder for when he got to the far side and out of the eyeshot of the students. But once he got down to the lakeshore, he was surprised to see Lily Evans sitting alone on a rock, looking out over the calm waters.
He walked over to where she sat, his shoes scuffling over the gravel and making enough noise that Lily turned around to see who it was. When she saw it was him, she smiled and said, "Good morning, Professor."
"Good morning, Lily," Harry said, coming to a stop beside her. "Is there any particular reason you're sitting out here alone on a Saturday?"
Lily shook her head slightly. "Not really. I just come out here to think sometimes. It really is very nice, you know. The water's so calm, and it just makes me feel peaceful. It's my favorite spot to be when I need to think."
"Mind telling me what you were thinking about?" Harry asked, sitting down on a rock near Lily's and setting his broom gently on the sand. He hadn't found much chance to get to know his mother before, so he was definitely taking this opportunity.
"Just…ah…James," Lily said, her cheeks pinking a bit.
Harry smiled. So she's thinking about Dad, then? Wonder if she'd be like this if she were still alive…no, don't go there, Potter. You are not to change the future, he told himself firmly, then spoke to Lily. "Ah yes, Mr. Potter. I recall seeing you two together in the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade awhile ago. You appeared to be having an enjoyable time."
Lily looked back over the water, her cheeks still pink. "I never thought James could be so nice before," she replied. "He always seemed like such a prat before, but somewhere, that changed. I don't know if it was him that changed, or me."
"Probably both," Harry suggested. "If James was such a prat before, well," he shrugged, "that's just what boys are, before they start to grow up. And if you can see beyond the prat that he was, then you're growing up too."
Lily laughed. "I never thought to hear the words "James" and "grow up" in the same sentence before. He and most of his friends were so immature, always picking fights with the Slytherins and perpetuating the stupid house rivalries. Until James convinced me to give him a chance, I never thought they actually had reasons for disliking the Slytherins beyond that petty feud with Snape. I didn't know them at all, and now I'm sorry I judged them so harshly."
We all judge people harshly, but it's the mark of a mature person who admits it," Harry said quietly, and Lily smiled.
"I wasn't so mature before, though. I saw in James Potter just what I wanted to see—the spiteful way he dealt with the Slytherins, his arrogance and self-conceit, and things like that. I didn't see everything else he was—his great loyalty to his friends, his compassion, and his sense of honor," Lily sighed dreamily.
Harry chuckled a bit. "Sounds like you're quite smitten with him now," he commented, and Lily considered the remark, then nodded shyly.
"Before this year, if I had to have chosen someone in James's group of friends, I would have chosen Remus," she confided. "He's really nice, and responsible. Probably the most responsible out of all of them. I'd actually had a crush on him once in fifth year, but that went away when he never responded to my overtures. But if I'd had to have chosen one of them, James would have been last on the list."
Harry listened with great interest. He'd never known that his mum used to have a crush on Remus, but he supposed it made sense; Remus was a very nice person, after all. It was just sort of weird to think of his mum liking anyone except his dad, though.
"And now you're finding that your opinion's changed ever since getting to know him better," Harry said, and Lily nodded. Harry smiled. "Well, from what I've seen of him so far this year, James is a very nice person. He's lucky to have you, you know."
"Thanks, Professor," Lily said, returning the smile, and looking out across the lake again. Taking the subtle hint, Harry stood up and stretched, then retrieved his broom.
"I'll see you in class, Lily. Have a nice day," Harry said, starting to walk away. Lily turned and smiled at him again, but didn't say anything else, and Harry continued his walk along the lake.
It was very nice to talk to his mother, and he'd like to do it again sometime, though hopefully he'd find more to talk about with her—talking about her love life with his father was a bit…disturbing. But he still had to maintain the teacher-student relationship, though that was getting harder with James, Sirius, and Remus already, and now adding Lily…he didn't know how long before he stopped being their teacher and started being their friend.
When he was a suitable distance away from the school and the Quidditch pitch and any students who may be watching, Harry swung his leg over his broom and kicked off, reveling in the feel of the wind in his hair again. He simply flew around for a bit before gliding low over the Forbidden Forest, seeing if he could find magical creatures by air better than by land.
Harry saw a flash of black in the forest, and with a frown, flew downward until he was amongst the trees themselves. He saw the flash moving north, so he carefully weaved between trees, trying catch a glimpse of the black thing again. But even after he flew rather far north, and circled around a few times, he couldn't find it again. The black thing had disappeared.
Sorry, I know I promised to have this up two weeks after the last update. I've been rather ill (again) and am just now getting better. I'll try to avoid having you guys wait that long again. Thank you to everyone who's reviewed. =)