A forked road

Chapter 1: Protection

A twenty year old Harry James Potter was sat on the edge of the bed he had occupied for the last three months, he had been in a medically induced coma while his body recuperated from the last battle with Voldemort. Poppy Pomfrey had been telling him about his friends visiting him, though she had been adamant that the press and the ministry not be allowed to come into the infirmary. Harry after all wasn't some exhibit for people to look in on, like you would a piece of art you would view at an art gallery.

"Daddy." he heard a familiar a voice yell as he came racing down the hospital wing. They hadn't allowed Matthew to visit him while he had been in the coma, they didn't want to upset him. They also didn't know the answer to any of the questions, that would likely come when he had seen his dad in that state.

Just after the start of his third year, Harry had become intimate with Cedric Diggory the result of which had been the birth of Matthew. In Harry's fourth year, Harry had been devastated by the death of his then fiance. They were went to be soul bonded the summer after his fourth year, when it would have been legal for them to be so. Harry had done a remarkable job with the soon to be six year old boy, Sirius and Remus while they had been alive that is had helped him. Sirius had died in the ministry of magic just twelve months after Cedric had died, the hammer blow this had dealt to Harry had nearly broken him.

Remus had been killed in a battle just outside Newcastle just weeks before the end of the war, the man who had been more like a father to him in the last few years had fought to his last breath. His sacrifice had save sixty children, one of whom was his godson Matthew. The man had been kissed by a dementor, what was left of him had died an hour later from shock. Harry had taken this as a blessing, he would have done it himself if his friend had not died.

"Hey buddy." Harry said to him as he bent to catch the boy swinging him up into the air.

"I missed you dad." Matthew said to him.

"I missed you to, now where is that kiss." Harry said to him Matthew bent forward pressing his lips to Harry's cheek. "Much more like it." Harry said to him as he placed Matthew back on the floor and looked at his friends and the headmaster.

"Harry you look ready to get out of here." Hermione said to him.

"I am definitely ready to get out of here." Harry said to her she laughed. "I think I spent enough time on my back the last three months, to last me a life time." Harry said to them Albus chuckled at this Harry's green eyes travelled to him. "Headmaster." Harry said to him.

"Harry I think you can manage to call me Albus now don't you?" he asked Harry smiled at the man.

"I think I may be able to manage that you old codger." Harry said to him Albus chuckled as he was hugged by Harry. "Has everything been set up like I asked for it to be?" Harry asked him Albus nodded his head.

"Yes Harry it has, your family home in the town is ready for you." Albus said to him.

"Harry what are you talking about, your be staying at the Burrow." Hermione said to him.

"Poppy could you take Matthew to your office for a moment I need to speak to Ron and Hermione alone." Harry said to her she nodded.

"Matthew I have some new colouring books for you to try, you can take them with you." Poppy said to him.

"This is for you Harry." Albus said to him passing an old boot which he placed on the bed beside him.

"Thank you for everything Albus, I hope to see you again some time." Harry said to him with a smile on his face.

"As do I Harry." Albus said to him before leaving the room.

"Harry what are you talking about?" Ron demanded.

"I'm leaving today with Matthew." Harry said to him. "And I don't intend to return." Harry said to him.

"What why?" Hermione screeched.

"It is far from save for me or Matthew here any more." Harry said to her.

"We can protect you, the order…" Ron started Harry shook his head.

"That is not the life I wish to lead, a life in a bubble without contact with real people is not a life worth leading Ron." Harry said to him with a smile. "Remus and I always planned on leaving after the war was over, we had planned to use an old family home." Harry said to them.

"But Matthew he will miss his family." Hermione said to Harry.

"I know that Hermione, but my job is to keep him save, I can't do that here in England." Harry said to her she smiled sadly but understood what he was trying to say.

"Your write though." Ron said to him.

"No." Harry said to him. "I can't afford for them to be able to track me." Harry said to him. "After I leave today you won't hear from me again." Harry said to him Ron looked angry. "You are my best friends and I love you all, but I am trying to protect you both to, if you know where we are they can use you to get to me." Harry said to them.

"Harry…" Hermione started.

"Please do not try to find me or Matthew." Harry said to them.

"But…" Ron started.

"I don't have time the portkey leaves in two minutes." Harry said to them. "Their was so much I wanted to tell you, so much I wanted to share. So much we were going to do together, I'm sorry that can't happen now." Harry said. "MATTHEW TIME TO GO." Harry called out to them.

"What if there is an emergency?" Hermione asked.

"Then you can get to me through Albus." Harry said to her. "Your find letters for each of you at the burrow." Harry said as Matthew came up to him. "Buddy you need to say good bye to aunt Mione and Uncle Ron." Harry said to him.

"Bye." Matthew said to them he hugged them both briefly.

"Take care Harry." Poppy said to him.

"I plan to, thank you for your services and your friendship." Harry said to her she smiled. "Here buddy you need to take a hold of this." Harry said to Matthew who did as he was told.

A moment later they were gone in a puff of magic, Hermione who had been holding back for Matthew's sake let out a sob. Her best friend had left, he was cryptic about why he was leaving but she understood, what she was feeling was grieve for the loss of her best friend. Ron wrapped his arm around her shoulders drawing her into a hug.

"I don't understand." Ron said to him.

"This was the only thing he could do to protect you all, from the death eaters who may try to use you to get to him." Poppy said to them. "He spent a long time considering what he would do when the war was over, he always hoped that he would be able to stay with you all. The ministries lax attitude to death eaters and their crimes, it was the last straw, he knew that he would not be save so long as people like Lucius Malfoy were still roaming free." Poppy said to them.

Hptwhptw

Ron and Hermione rushed to their room in the burrow, they found a couple of envelopes on the bed addressed to them and Hedwig sat on her perch she hooted mournfully as Hermione stroked her breast feathers. Nipping her finger affectionately.

"I guess he wasn't kidding about security, he left you to girl." Hermione said the owl bobbed its head and hooted once more.

Hermione took her letter opening it to read she smiled at the messy script that was Harry's handwriting.

Dear Hermione

I am so very sorry that I left the way I did, your know what I mean by now.

You should know that I spent a lot of time trying to make sure that this was my best option. As much as I love you all, my priority as it has always been is to keep my family safe. To keep Matthew safe from death eaters. The ministry let them walk free without a trial in some cases Hermione, its this pureblood crap once again. I can't protect you or him while I still live in England.

So I left, I was going to leave with Remus but well you know what happened their as well as I do.

I have closed my accounts in the UK branch of Gringotts and the money has been moved to a safer location close to my new home. I have left one final gift for you all, call it my last hurray. Something I have made sure that none of you can return to me so ha.

I leave you each ten million galleons to make with what ever the hell you like.

My only request is that you take care of, and give a home to Hedwig. It pains me greatly to not take her with me, she has been my faithful companion for nine years now, I hope that she will be of service to you both for many years to come. Maybe now you can get rid of that mangy cat you call Crookshanks now, or at least let him chase the gnomes in the burrows back garden.

I love you both and am forever yours

Harry

Ron meanwhile read his

Hey Mate

I won't say I love you, we are to manly for that right.

I am going to miss the fun we have together more than anything else, you were my first friend and my true best friend. But don't tell Hermione that she'll hunt me down and kill me, that woman scares me more than your mother.

Quite the feat I think you will agree.

I have one job for you to do now, only one I hope you can do it.

Keep your family save and your head down, if they start making me out to be the bad guy I want you to ignore it. Your job now is to keep that beautiful woman happy and safe, it is all that should matter. You and Hermione belong together, so stop being a prideful idiot and ask her out already.

In this life and the next I love and I will miss you.

Your friend always

Harry

Ron looked up from his letter to look at Hermione who was smiling as she passed him her letter, he read it and couldn't help but smile. He had never been in it for the money, he was friends with Harry because of Harry nothing else. The road to such a strong friendship was a bumpy one and it hadn't always been a happy one.

His friends generosity would mean that they could start a life together, that they could mend the Burrow which was in dire need of renovations. Buy their own house, have the weddings they always dreamed off. Ron would have been angry under most circumstances if Harry had done this, but he knew this was Harry's way of saying he was sorry for leaving and that he wanted them to be happy.

"He really is gone." Hermione said to him.

"I guess he is." Ron said to her.

"I wish he was still here, I wish to kill him for that comment about best friends." Hermione said to Ron who laughed.

"He wanted to write things that would mean the most to the both of you." Arthur said to them from the doorway. "He came last night while you were both in bed sleeping, I was up when he came. He asked me to leave them on the bed for you, while you were at Hogwarts." Arthur said to him. "He said I would understand after you got home why he didn't want me to wake you last night." Arthur said to them. "I realise now, that he was attempting to say goodbye." Arthur said to him.

"Every where he goes, he leaves this gigantic hole in peoples lives." Hermione said to him.

"Yes he does." Arthur said to her. "But its because of who he is, that we love him so much, and it is why we will miss him so much." Arthur said to him. "He had to do what was right for him and Mattie and now we must honour his wishes." Arthur told them. "No matter how much it pains us to do so." he added.

Hptwhptw

Harry woke up for the first time in the new house, to the laughter of his son as he bounced up and down on Harry's own bed. Harry groaned as he rolled over opening his eyes to look blearily at the alarm clock. It was just after eight in the morning, the first full day they had in Forks. When they had arrived the day before it had been the middle of the evening.

"Matt what are you doing?" Harry grumbled as he looked at his son.

"Waking you up daddy." Matthew said to him.

"Couldn't you have just shook me awake instead." Harry said to him. "That would have been a much nicer way to wake up." Harry said to him.

"Not as fun though." Matthew said as Harry pulled him down on to the bed.

"Oh I will give you fun you little sod." Harry said to him as he attacked his sides mercilessly, Matthew dissolved into laughter as he tried to push Harry's hand's away from him, "Will you be waking me up like this again baby boy?" Harry asked silvery blue eyes looked up into his green eyes as he shook his head. "I can't hear you." Harry said t him.

"No daddy." Matthew growled out as he laughed.

"I didn't think so." Harry said to him as he stopped his attack. "Good morning to you to baby boy." Harry said to him. "Now since I didn't buy any food last night, why don't we get showered and dressed, then we can go look for a place to eat in town." Harry said to him Matthew.

"No shower." Matthew growled.

Harry knew his son was going through the he hated baths stage of his life, he tried to stiffle his laughter as he looked at the pout on his sons face.

"Matthew Cedric Potter you will be taking that shower now move your tush." Harry said to him Matthew glared at him. "You stink baby." Harry said to him.

"I do not." Matthew growled out.

"You really do." Harry said to him. "Come on I will help you." Harry said to him Matthew sighed.

"Fine." Matthew said to him.

Hptwhptw

They stepped into the diner they had selected from a whole choice of two, it looked cleaner than the other which was always a good thing he thought. They took a seat in the end booth, Harry facing the door so he could see who was coming in and out. Matthew was already looking over his menu which had been left with them by a young waiter.

"I want an English breakfast daddy." Matthew said to him.

"You can have something from the kids menu Matt, you won't eat the portions they serve here for adults." Harry said looking at him.

"Okay, nuggets then." Matthew said to him.

"Nuggets it is." Harry said to him.

"Are you ready to order?" Seth asked well according to his name tag it was his name.

"Yes the nuggets meal from the kids menu, and I will have the full English." Harry said to him.

"How would you like your eggs?" the boy asked.

"Scrambled will do just fine thank you." Harry said to him.

"Coming right up." Seth said to him the door opened to the diner as he was walking back to the counter to give their order to the chef and to get their drinks for them. Harry watched as more natives or what he assumed were native American's enter. They all looked young and all were enormous, even there waiter was big. What was this the bigfoot convention for the state of Washington.

"Daddy what are you looking at?" Matthew demanded tapping his arm.

"Sorry buddy, I was just looking at the people who were just coming into the café." Harry said to him Matthew's head swivelled to look at them.

"Their huge like uncle Hagrid." Matthew said to him causing Harry to laugh.

"Yes they are… though I think their a little smaller than him, he bumps his head when ever he walks through doors." Harry said Matthew giggled.

He knew that in the coming days his soon would begin to miss the people that they had left behind, but he knew what he was doing was the right thing for them both. Even if it hurt them both to do what they were, starting again in a completely foreign land was not easy for any one.

"The one with the dark eyes is staring at you." Matthew said to him.

"They all have dark eyes." Harry said to him but he had noticed it as well… one of them was definitely watching him. Their food soon arrived and Harry watched his son tuck into the food as if he was a starving man. "Slow down Matthew, your not in a race." Harry said to him Matthew did a little. "Hey slow down." Harry said to him. "Would you like some ketchup to go with that?" Harry asked Matthew.

"Yes please." Matthew said to him.

Harry squeezed some of the ketchup on the plate for him before doing likewise on his own plate.

"When are we going to see aunt Mione and uncle Ron?" Matthew asked him.

"We aren't buddy." Harry said to him Matthew stopped eating to look at him angrily. "We moved here for a fresh start, your aunt and uncle love you very much but we have to keep them save for now. Maybe in a few years when it is safe we will visit them." Harry said to him as their was no one near by to hear him say it.

"Is it because of the death munchers?" Matthew asked.

"Yeap that is it." Harry said Matthew nodded.

"Can we write to them?" Matthew asked.

"No buddy, if we did that they might be able to find us or they may try to hurt your aunt and uncle." Harry said to him Matthew sighed sadly. "We'll make new friends here buddy, your starting school next week that's something to look forward to isn't it?" Harry asked him.

"Not really school sucks." Matthew said to him Harry raised an eye brow at this.

"Did your uncle Ron teach you that saying?" Harry asked Matthew nodded. "I'll hang him up by his thumbs later for that." Harry said to him. "That language from you mister is not acceptable." Harry said to Matthew who blushed. "You know if I hear you use that word again it's the soap treatment right." Harry said to him Matthew nodded. "Good." Harry said to him.

"I'm sorry daddy." Matthew said to him.

"Apology accepted, would you like a sausage?" Harry asked Matthew grinned.

"Yes please." Matthew said to him.