So this was an interesting idea offered up by Stormblessed2 that I've never seen before. Instead of simply shortening the text as I did in the past, I'm simply going to summarize what they read as done below for the first chapter. Please let me know if it's intelligent and still makes sense, and I do hope this covers the copyright issue as I'm not using the text of the book. This isn't even technically an MST: comments inserted in between the flow of a copied story, because they're commenting on what they're being told happened.
Update: I was recently talking to a British person who suggested I turn this into the Philosopher's Stone if I want to keep this as authentic as possible, which I do, so I went in and tried to fix all the mentions of the Sorcerer's Stone. If I missed any, do please point them out.
"Come on, Lils, you think that fly on the wall is going to be the death of him. Let me give him one more go," Sirius tried again.
"I said no, Sirius," Lily snapped back. "He's only four months old; he can't even hang on by himself yet. You need both hands to steer that monstrosity."
"But I can-" Sirius began again, but he was interrupted by the man on the couch.
"Just let it go, Padfoot. There's no point in arguing with Lily when she's in a logical mood. Try it again later when Harry won't go to bed."
Sirius grinned. Lily shot the couch warmer an evil look for giving Sirius false hopes when suddenly there was a horrible sound of something huge smashing down in the kitchen. Faster than many could follow, Remus and Sirius had pushed Lily and the baby in her arms towards the stairs, drawn their wands, and advanced on the noise. Entering the kitchen, they saw something that would turn their world upside-down.
A young man was strewn across the Potters' kitchen table, which had snapped in half underneath him. The only reason he was not a slug on the floor for going into this house was that he looked oddly familiar. But this was impossible. James Potter was upstairs, probably trying to calm down his disturbed wife. Sirius was half-surprised he wasn't down here himself by now. This had to be true, for no matter how much he looked it, this man was not James. They had a lot of facial similarities, and the intruder even had James' black hair, but there was something slightly off.
The man on the table stirred, groaning slightly and grabbing his head as if in monumental pain. The thought that someone had tried to use a Polyjuice potion to look like James was driven out of both men's minds as the eyelids slowly parted, and they saw a pair of bright green eyes behind those glasses. Remus was too stunned to do much of anything but stare at the strange sight before him at first, but now that he was seeing life in the stranger he managed to gather his wits about him. "Alright, you, whoever you are, you are to get to your feet slowly. No sudden moves, or I will make sure that arm of yours never moves again."
The familiar eyes slid over to the side to land on the two, and the young man frowned as he caught sight of them. Then he grimaced, clutched his head, and groaned as if he was suddenly in even greater pain. Sirius and Remus exchanged wary looks, wondering if this was some kind of trick, but as soon as it had started, the man relaxed again. Once his face calmed a bit, his eyes reopened. In a slightly slurred voice, he stated, "Alright," and very slowly he raised both arms above his head, then brought them back down to his side to lift himself up.
Both men felt another spasm of shock as they realized just how close in height this person was to their best friend. Turning a funny green color, the man managed to right himself, giving the pair of Marauders one more confused stare, then passed out again on the kitchen floor as soon as James Potter came skidding into the room.
"What the hell?!" James yelped in shock upon seeing his doppelganger.
Sirius turned to him sharply. "James, do you have any idea what's going on?"
His friend merely shook his head in shock, still staring down at the body on the floor.
"Well," Remus started cautiously while shifting his weight around. "What do we do now?"
"Obvious, ain't it?" Sirius grunted. "Call some Aurors and have him carted out of our hair."
"Is that all you think about?" Remus asked with a small grin. "Your hair?"
"Well, it is marvelous," he grinned, pushing it out of his face so they could see his full grin.
James, on the other hand, surprised his two friends by saying, "No, not yet."
They both turned to him sharply as Remus snapped, "James, you can't be serious?" He quickly cut himself off by stating, "Don't even start," to Sirius before hurrying on. "A strange person just apparated into your kitchen and you want to leave him there?"
"Well," James started slowly but gained confidence as he continued. "It's just, he seems rather harmless right now, doesn't he? We should at least give him the chance to explain." Remus and Sirius both exchanged concerned and even alarmed looks.
"That's it, who are you and what have you done with James Potter?" Sirius finally spat, only half-joking in light of the current situation. James grinned and looked about ready to make a sarcastic comment until Remus seconded, "The James I know would never leave a stranger in the house with his wife and son."
James slumped his shoulders as he reconsidered, but then his eyes landed again on the youth on the floor. He straightened back up and looked his friends square in the eyes. "Look, you two, don't tell me you're the ones that need glasses now? Can't you see the resemblance between this young man and myself?" The other two had to agree with this.
"Well, I suppose-" Remus began slowly, but he was cut off by a harsh light three men yelped in shock as eight objects slammed down, exactly where the other person had been. The wands had never been put away but had remained pointed at the stranger. Now they were raised instead at seven books and a note. Cautiously Remus and Sirius walked forward, and while Sirius bent down to examine the books, Remus read aloud:
'Harry, we're all so worried about you. Still trying to put the pieces together as to what happened to you; that potion's never been human-tested before. We've full confidence that you're safe, but keep your head down as we both know that Death Eater's a known killer. I've sent these books to travel with your presence in hopes it will help in jogging your memories. As of now, though, it's still too dangerous to send another person after you, or we might suffer the same effects. The rest of us will follow as soon as I can find out how.'
"That's it," Remus finished.
"These books are a bit odd, too," Sirius said, flipping through them. "They're just numbered first, second, et cetera." He held up the skinniest book in the lot and showed it to James, who could only agree.
"This is so weird," Remus muttered, his eyes flickering back and forth between the man on the floor, his best friend across from him, the ceiling where his little cub was with his mother, and back towards the books. Sirius was merely looking down at the still sleeping body, kind of bemused now. "So, what do you guys make of it?"
James sucked in a deep lungful of air before deciding. "Alright, nothing's concrete yet. I say we tie up this chap and make him comfy on the sofa until further notice. Bring Lily and Harry down here; I don't want them out of my sight until I'm more comfortable about this. We'll read the first chapter to try and decide how legitimate this is. After that we'll wake the kid up and get some confirmation."
"And what about this Death Eater?" Remus asked, perusing the letter again. "Apparently this boy here's not our only visitor."
James and Sirius hesitated, both sharing dark looks before Sirius said, "That just backs up what James said all the more."
"Waking him up might not help much," Remus pointed out, still staring at the letter. "These books are apparently here because he has no memory. This note seemed to have been written very hastily. Look at how some of the words mash together. If it was any smaller I wouldn't be able to read it at all."
Sirius huffed, realizing Remus and James were on opposite sides here, and he was the deciding factor. After thinking it all through he said, "I'm with James. If these books and this kid really are about our little Harry upstairs, the books should confirm it one way or another. Let's work through the first chapter until we come up with a better idea anyway."
Outvoted, Remus nodded and quickly bent down to tie up their visitor as James went upstairs to fetch his wife and child, and Sirius carried all of the books over and plopped them down on the coffee table back in the living room. Once Lily had come down with her baby in her arms, her eyes went straight to his duplicate on the couch. James had already explained the situation to her, and she agreed this was nothing to be hasty about. Leaving the older unconfirmed Harry to the couch, Lily and James took up the love seat with their baby in Lily's arms. Remus took the recliner, and Sirius sat down on the hearth rug in front of the fire.
Remus had managed to take the book away from Sirius during all this, so it was he who opened it to the first page and read out:
The iconic first line of the series.
Lily's face brightened with joy at those words, and as she clutched her son to her chest she cooed, "Oh, these books are about my little Hare Bear!"
"How on Earth could you know that from the first sentence?" Remus demanded.
"My sister, Petunia, married a man named Vernon Dursley," she replied, a bit of a catch in her voice, the sting of not even being invited to that wedding still smarting a bit.
"Good to know about your horrid sister's life," Sirius said sarcastically. "But what does this have to do with Harry?"
Lily mulled that over for a moment before announcing, "Maybe I finally make up with her. Maybe we finally get to push all that water under the bridge."
"I doubt that," James muttered so low his wife couldn't hear him, rethinking the first sentence. He did not, however, repeat himself louder because he did not want to hurt his wife's chances of this being true.
Stating the job of Uncle Vernon.
"What are drills?" James asked curiously.
"They make holes in the ground," Lily said quickly before waving Remus on.
That his wife Mrs. Dursley has a very large neck she uses to spy on neighbors.
"She hasn't changed much," Lily said with a small smile, "always been a bit nosy."
The Dursleys have a son called Dudley.
Lily pursed her lips, wondering when exactly this took place, as she had no idea whatsoever that her sister was even pregnant; they hadn't even spoken in several years.
How the Dursleys wouldn't have been able to stomach if anyone knew their attachment to the Potters.
For the first time, Lily started having doubts as well, but she quickly shook it off. "Perhaps they just don't want the other muggles finding out about the wizarding world. They're trying to protect us."
Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they were estranged and did not speak to each other, nor had they for years, because the Potters were the opposites of the Dursleys, Undursleyish.
Lily flinched and looked down instead. There went that dream. In hopes of cheering her up, Sirius piped up, "So if they get to make those kinds of words up, can I make everything cool as Siriusly as possible?"
James groaned and Remus pointed out, "Sirius, seriously is already a word. Just because you substitute your name doesn't change that."
"Rats," he muttered, snapping his fingers, and then looking around for the first time as if noticing something. "Hey guys, where did Peter run off to?"
"Oh, he left a few minutes ago," Lily said, pleased for the momentary change of subject. "Said he had to run some errands. He'll be back later."
"Why didn't he ask any of us to go with him?" James asked.
Lily rolled her eyes and stated, "He wouldn't," while pointing at Sirius, "you couldn't," she told her husband, "and I was busy with Harry. Though I don't know why he didn't ask you," she finished, turning her wide green eyes on Remus. Remus shrugged and, as he had no idea, just went back to reading.
The Dursleys would be horrified if the Potters had shown up and surprised to learn that the Potters had a child their own son's age.
Lily again pursed her lips, this time in a bit of annoyance. Yes, she had written to her sister to tell her she was an Aunt now. When she hadn't gotten a reply she had tried to brush it off. Now she had learned that her sister had a boy at about the same time, and this hurt more than anything.
They had never met their nephew, and they didn't want Dudley anywhere near this strange boy.
Lily's feelings had sunk even lower with every word because clearly Petunia's attitude for her had only gotten worse. The other three boys in the room, however, looked outraged that anyone could think such a thing about a kid like Harry.
The story officially starts on a Tuesday, and nothing about the weather suggests it will be different from any other day of their life.
"Well, that's ominous," Sirius chuckled.
Mr. Dursley got dressed and ready for work, not noticing an owl go past the window. He kissed his wife goodbye and tried to do the same to his son, but the child was throwing a tantrum and the father's only reaction was to laugh.
All of the adults exchanged startled looks. What kind of discipline was that? They all looked down at baby Harry in his mother's lap, watching him playing with Lily's cat Hickory's tail. If he had acted like that there would be a minimum of a verbal warning, not encouragement!
He got into his car and began to drive away, only to see a cat reading a map on the corner of his street.
"What?" Sirius asked, startled.
"That's what it says," Remus confirmed.
Mr. Dursley convinced himself it was a trick of the light, though there was a tabby cat still sitting there.
"Think it really was?" James asked curiously.
Lily shrugged and admitted, "Unless it's an animagus, what else could it have been?"
"Well, since the possibility of an animagus being in a muggle dwelling is slim to none, we'll just have to read to find out," Remus pointed out.
While driving into town he tried to focus on his work and tried to shake the image of the cat from his mind. He started driving past people dressed strangely in cloaks.
"Why is that strange?" James asked.
"Muggles don't wear cloaks, dear," Lily told him patiently.
"Don't they get cold?" He asked in surprise. Lily just shook her head, not wanting to get into it now.
He saw them all huddled together talking and at first he thought it was some stupid new fashion trend, but then he saw a man older than him in an emerald green cloak. Mr. Dursley seemed outraged.
"What on Earth has gotten into us?" Remus asked, slightly amused but mostly irritated at such carelessness.
"Something really big must have happened," Sirius deduced.
Everyone else gave him 'duh' looks before Remus went on.
He convinced himself they were of some collecting group and forgot about it.
"Hopefully the rest of the muggles got that same line of thinking, don't want someone to get suspicious," Lily decided, personally happy he didn't seem to remember the one time he'd met James, who had indeed been wearing a cloak to that meeting as well.
Since he worked with his back to a window he did not see the owls swooping past his window all day, and in the process of yelling at a few people this seemed to put him in a good mood and he decided to walk across the street for a bun.
"Well, it's good to see he has a healthy diet," Sirius said sarcastically.
The people in cloaks had slipped his mind until he walked past them and noticed that they didn't have a collecting tin at all, but still he seemed determined to ignore them until he walked back out of the store with a doughnut and caught a whisper of what they were saying.
"Never mind what I said about the health thing," Sirius joked.
"We weren't paying much attention to you anyway," Remus told him without looking up.
The whispers were about the Potters, and their son Harry.
Everyone looked around the room in shock at that. "What in the name of Merlin did we do?" James asked.
"Maybe you went on a killing spree," Sirius suggested innocently.
James threw a pillow at his best man, but as there really were no better suggestions, they looked back to Remus to continue.
Mr. Dursley stopped for a moment and considered demanding to know more of what they were talking about, but instead ran back to his office and began to call his wife before talking himself out of that. Deciding Potter must be a common surname.
"No, it's not," James snapped. "My family's a very prominent one, yet we hardly have very many lines left."
"It's actually pretty common among muggles," Lily told him. "Come to think of it, so is my maiden name. I've actually met two separate people who have no relation to me at all with my old last name."
"Oh," James deflated.
He also admitted to himself he wasn't even sure if his nephew was called Harry, it could have easily been Harold. No need to worry his wife, as they so often pretended Mrs. Dursley's sister didn't exist. If he'd had a sister like that...
"Excuse me?" James snarled. "Like what exactly?"
"A witch," Lily told him with a straight face.
When he got off work, he was still distracted by the matter and walked into a stranger, muttering 'sorry' on impulse.
"Well, at least he has manners," Lily said. "I certainly hope he takes those home to his son." She was still thinking of that breakfast scene of before.
Instead of being upset, the man hugged Mr. Dursley, a complete stranger, and told him that because You-Know-Who was gone he could not be angered at all!
There was a huge intake of breath all around before this news truly sank in, and then they all burst out in an explosion of happiness. It took a good while for them to all settle back down, and then James puffed up and stated, "I told you I'd be the one to do it."
"What in your fathead makes you think that?" Remus demanded.
"Well, they said Potter. Like I said, don't think any other member of my family could have done it."
"Could have been your Grandpa," Sirius pointed out. "They did mention Harry."
Lily gasped and clutched her son tighter to her, but James quickly tried to soothe her while giving Sirius a harsh look. "Don't freak her out like that."
He turned back to his wife and said, "I'm sure it has nothing to do with our son. Maybe they are talking about my granddad." Though none of them really believed that, as even now both his grandparents were rather ill, and getting on in years. She nodded quietly as she looked down at her baby. As much as it pained her to admit, she did hope that it was her grandfather-in-law, Harry, rather than her son. She didn't want her little Hare-Bare on the same continent as that, that horrid blight on existence.
Mr. Dursley was very confused now, and began heading home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before because he didn't approve of imagination.
"You know, this man's starting to remind me of my dad," Sirius said, rolling his eyes.
"That's a bit of a harsh insult," Remus noted. "We don't really know that much about this man yet. He could just be having a bad day." (Insert paragraph break.)
Sirius shrugged; he wasn't taking it back.
When he got home he saw the cat from that morning sitting on his garden wall, which only managed to annoy him more.
"What's wrong with cats?" Lily demanded as she tickled Hickory's ear. The cat purred in content as it wrapped its tail tighter around the baby.
When Mr. Dursley tried to scare the cat away, it only glared at him, leaving the man unsure as he wasn't used to cat behavior.
"Still leaning away from the oddity of the cat?" James asked Remus. Remus didn't give in easily, so he hurried on.
Through the rest of the night Mr. Dursley tried very hard not to mention his odd day. Mrs. Dursley had had no problems at all, gossiping about neighbors and saying how their son had learned a new word, shan't!
"That's a real accomplishment, that is," Sirius said sarcastically.
While watching the evening news, it mentioned the oddities of the owl sightings today, but they brushed past it and went to the news with Ted.
"Ted?" Remus asked, interested. "Don't suppose it's Ted Tonks? He's a muggleborn who works for a news company, if I remember correctly."
"Could be," Lily shrugged. "They didn't describe him. How should we know?"
Next were reports of shooting stars, but they got past that with a joke about Bonfire Night and the weather man instead insisted there would be rain that night.
"What on earth has gotten into us?" James asked, still more amused than anything. It wasn't like the whole of wizard kind to go about this type of thing.
After all these odd incidents, Mr. Dursley finally brought up the question of whether Mrs. Dursley had heard from her sister. She immediately got defensive, which Mr. Dursley didn't blame her for, since they normally pretended she didn't even have a sister.
Everyone in the room looked rather upset at the reminder, but it was Sirius who looked rather guilty. Did he have any room to judge when he himself often pretended he did not have a brother for the opposite reason, for flouting his pure blood status?
Mrs. Dursley denied having any knowledge of her sister's whereabouts as usual, and Mr. Dursley didn't dare mention that he heard a whisper about her sister's new last name.
"Coward," James said, rolling his eyes. Though secretly he was pleased his name had this kind of effect on people.
Instead he asked about their nephew, trying to confirm his name was Howard, but Mrs. Dursley corrected him and stated that it was Harry and continued by insulting that name.
"Hey!" James snapped. "Don't mock my son and grandfather's name."
Lily reached over and gave him an apologetic look for her sister.
Sirius on the other hand had something a bit more vocal to say, "Well, it's a hell of a lot better than Dudley."
When upstairs, Mr. Dursley took one more look outside and saw the cat below, still staring down the street. He strained his mind for a while, wondering what it could all mean, and then fretted about what people would think if they were involved with that crowd, how he couldn't bear it.
"Wow, thanks," James grumbled under his breath.
After that he let the matter go and they slipped off to bed, Mr. Dursley deciding right before he rolled over that, what did it matter? This couldn't affect them.
"His wife's related to a witch," Sirius said in disbelief.
"He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, is he?" Lily asked.
Cryptic narration stating how wrong Mr. Dursley was.
Lily frowned as a new thought occurred to her. "If my sister still hates me, what do they have to do with our world? If we don't even make up, my son will have little, if anything, to do with them."
James just shrugged and slung his arm around his wife as Remus read on.
Point of view switches back to focusing on the cat on the street where it sat watching for hours, until a man seemed to pop out of the ground.
Everyone except Remus was grinning, though he was frowning in thought as he asked, "Now how did he manage to apparate without the cracking noise being described?"
"He probably apparated too far away to hear the noise and disillusioned himself to walk there. Don't change the subject Remus. Admit it's an animagus now?" Lily asked.
Remus sighed in irritation. "Yes, alright. But why's McGonagall there?"
"What makes you say it's McGonagall?" Sirius asked in surprise.
"What other cat animagus do we know? And with those markings," Lily pointed out.
"Yes, because there's no such thing as an unregistered animagus," James sniped.
"When are you three going to register, then?" Lily snapped, throwing him a dark look.
James and Sirius exchanged uneasy looks before Remus quickly jumped in, "Give it a few more years, Lily. It really is quite advanced magic, and we've only been out of a school for a bit."
Quickly trying to change the subject, Sirius said, "There could have been other animagi that we don't know of, or haven't transformed yet. We don't know when these books are taking place."
James bypassed that and instead snapped his fingers saying, "I got it, what if Dudley's a wizard? It's a diluted line, but it could be. Might even explain why they're in this book. Petunia will have to make up with you." Lily looked all too pleased with this statement, while Remus and Sirius looked disgusted that a spoiled child would be around their little Marauder Junior.
The passage described an elder man with flowing white hair and half glasses.
"That sounds like Dumbledore," Lily said in surprise. "Now why are the both of them there? Surely you would just need one wizard there to test a young one."
"Come to think of it," Remus said slowly. "Why would anyone need to be there at all? Isn't there some kind of magic quill that says whether you can go to Hogwarts or not?" Stumped again, Remus went on.
The book declared this man as Albus Dumbledore, who did not seem surprised to have a cat watching him as he rummaged in his cloak until he found a silver cigarette lighter, which he used to make a street light go out with a pop.
"Cool!" all three pranksters breathed together.
After all of the lights were out, he joined the cat on the Dursleys' garden hedge.
Lily raised a sharp brow in surprise. She, like the boys, was quite impressed with this bout of magic, though for a completely different reason than the trouble they could cause. She'd never heard of magic that worked with electricity: most magic actually caused electricity to not work properly at all. She couldn't help but wonder if this was an invention of Dumbledore's own making, and hoped it came up again.*
He greeted the cat, who was no longer a cat but Professor McGonagall.
"Told you it was McGonagall," Remus said with a grin.
"No one disputed that," Sirius huffed.
"You did," he reminded him.
"Not after you said- oh, just shut up, Moony."
"How can I shut up if you want me to read?" he asked with a wicked grin. Sirius satisfied himself with a scowl at the werewolf.
McGonagall asked how Dumbledore knew it was she.
James let out a slight snicker as he demanded, "Why wouldn't he know? I've heard that Dumbledore himself was the one who trained her. Plus wouldn't the headmaster know what his employee looked like when she transformed?"
"It was dark," Lily said with a shrug, still more distracted by the story and wanting to move this along. "I'd be mildly surprised as well."
He kindly responded she made it obvious by sitting so still. She responded by stating he would too if he'd been sitting on a brick wall all day.
"But why was she?" Lily begged the book.
Dumbledore asked why, when he himself had passed through dozens of parties to get where they were.
"Wonder why he wouldn't have just apparated straight there?" James puzzled.
"Maybe he was checking out some local information?" Remus shrugged.
McGonagall seemed angry, stating how inappropriate she found those parties and the flocks of owls, and went on saying how she would pin those shooting stars on Dedalus Diggle because he never seemed to have sense.
"Maybe not," James agreed, "but he's the nicest bloke you'll ever meet."
Dumbledore gently reminded her how they've had little to celebrate in years. McGonagall rebutted that it didn't give them the right to be careless, going about the street and not attempting to dress in muggle garb while swapping stories.
"You know, it's probably better that the wizards weren't trying to dress like Muggles," Lily pointed out. "Seeing as they don't do that good of a job anyway."
"Hey!" James pouted. "I do an alright job."
"Yeah, after your wife dresses you," Sirius mumbled, glad he was far enough away that James could only glare at him, seeing as the parents were trying to refrain from cursing anyone with their son in the room.
McGonagall then asked Dumbledore if You-Know-Who really had gone, and Dumbledore confirmed this as true.
Everyone exhaled a breath at the same time, none of them willing to admit that they'd still had doubts of this truth. Now that Dumbledore had said it, it must be true.
Dumbledore then asked her if she would care for a sherbet lemon, and McGonagall denied in a tone that implied she didn't see this as the time for candy.
"Why not?" Sirius asked. "Any time is a good time for sweets."
"Sirius, you would stop in the middle of a motorway to pick up a Bertie Bott's Bean," Lily pointed out.
"Your point?" he demanded, and Lily just rolled her eyes.
McGonagall tried to carry on the conversation by talking about You-Know-Who, but Dumbledore cut her off, insisting it made much more sense to call him by the proper name of Voldemort.
"I'm with Dumbledore on that," James agreed. "Never really did get why people don't say his name. Just gives him more power."
"You have to look at it from another perspective," Lily told them all. "Others who have been personally affected by the war have more reason to fear something. Saying Voldemort's name is like talking about a great war: don't talk about it, don't think about it."
"That doesn't make any sense," Sirius argued back. "It's still going on, and people are still dying. Not talking about it doesn't stop that."
"We could spend all day having this argument," Remus pointed out. "Why don't we finish this first, hmm?"
"Fine," the others grumbled.
McGonagall flinched at the very sound of the name, but Dumbledore seemed not to notice as he kept going, stating it's so very confusing to call him You-Know-Who, and he didn't understand why people would be frightened to call him Voldemort. McGonagall told him half in admiration and half in exasperation that Dumbledore's the only one You-Know- then corrected herself and managed to say Voldemort's name and continued, saying that Dumbledore was different because he's the only one Voldemort ever feared.
Then Dumbledore returned that he was flattered, but that it was only because Voldemort had powers he never would.
"That's only because he's too good of a person to use them," Remus said stoutly.
McGonagall told him that was because Dumbledore is too noble to use them.
"So, Professor Lupin, tell us the exact wrist movement of a switching spell," Sirius joked at once upon hearing his friend mimic a teacher.
"Shut up, Padfoot." Remus snapped, trying to pretend he didn't like the ring of that title. "You know it was true."
"Yeah, but I didn't mimic a teacher, now did I?" Sirius demanded right back.
"Just you wait," he grumbled.
McGonagall then got the conversation back on track by asking if Dumbledore knew the real reason why Voldemort had disappeared.
"I'd like to hear this myself," Sirius admitted, then quickly pressed on as James opened his mouth. "You know the real reason."
While James pouted, Remus pointed out, "Well, if you guys would stop interrupting me, maybe we could."
"You've been talking just as much as we have," Lily told him sternly. Instead of commenting on that, Remus carried on reading.
Now McGonagall's voice turned anxious: this seemed to be the real reason she'd been waiting for this man all day. When he did not respond, she pressed on that Voldemort made an appearance in Godric's Hollow to find the Potters.
Everyone in the room now flinched hard at that, while a white looking James whispered, "I was joking, really I was. What did I do to have Voldemort coming after my family?" Sure, he was in the Order. Sure, every member was a target, but what had changed to make the threat suddenly much more real than just being told that?
He looked desperately at his friends, as if begging one of them to tell him that he'd heard wrong.
Giving himself a slight shake, Sirius told him stubbornly, "I doubt you did anything to put anyone in danger James. Just read on Remus, I'm sure there was some sort of misunderstanding."
McGonagall stated the rumor that Lily and James Potter were dead.
What was once a flinch could have counted as a convulsion. Remus actually looked like he was going to be sick.
"Li-like I said," Sirius managed shakily. "Mis-misunderstanding. Not true, McGonagall just heard wrong, is all."
"There's still no proof this is real," James said quickly, as if determined to find a flaw in this. "Couldn't be too hard to find Petunia's name somewhere. This could be fake."
Dumbledore bowed his head in silent acknowledgment, making McGonagall gasp.
Nobody appreciated this kind of confirmation, but with James' words in mind, Remus was able to go on in a still audible voice.
McGonagall stated her horror and disbelief, wishing this weren't true.
James somehow managed to get out a weak chuckle, an echo of his old laugh, as he said, "Well, it's nice to know she really did care."
"Course she did," Lily mumbled, looking down at her son in fear. "At least, about me anyway. She loved me because I was her favorite student. She's actually pleased to hear you won't be causing any more trouble."
'So that's why he married you,' Sirius thought. 'Even learning that you might die, you can still joke around.'
Dumbledore comforted her for a moment, but then McGonagall pushed on and said that wasn't all she'd heard. That Voldemort tried to kill Harry Potter, too, but he couldn't and now Voldemort had vanished.
There was an odd, pointed silence after this little speech. Every eye in the room was either on the little baby in Lily's lap or on the black haired youth still passed out on the couch. No one could quite believe it; no one wanted to believe it. A world without Voldemort, free of fear and prejudices, yet at what cost? Remus was now trying to read as fast as he could, wanting to get a confirmation one way or another, fake or real?
Dumbledore nodded glumly. McGonagall gave her surprise by stating that he'd killed numerous people, so why couldn't he kill that baby? Then she asked the obvious follow-up question, how had Harry survived?
"Yes, little Harry, do tell," Sirius said quickly, looking for any excuse to get the solemn feeling out of the room. "The world's just dying to know your secret."
"Now's not the time, Sirius." Remus spoke softly, but it was a clear reprimand that Sirius took, well, seriously.
Dumbledore told her that they can only guess what happened because nobody may ever really know. While McGonagall blew her nose, Dumbledore turned his attention to an odd looking watch with twelve hands, but no numbers, with planets moving around the edge. The narration notes that it didn't seem to make much sense.
"Why wouldn't that make sense?" James asked, glancing down at his own watch.
"Not to Muggles it wouldn't," Lily reminded him, happy for any chance to get her mind off of this depressing subject.
"Yes, but no one here's a muggle," James stated, to which Lily just shrugged, unable to really answer that.
Dumbledore seemed to understand the watch just fine and said that Hagrid was running late. He then commented that he must have told McGonagall where to come.
"That was dangerous," Lily snapped, fear for her child rearing its head. "Hagrid shouldn't have told a single living, or non-living, soul about where my baby was. He might not have really known it was McGonagall he told. Could have been a Death Eater out for revenge, couldn't it?"
"Calm down, Lils," James said gently. "You know Hagrid's a bit gullible with a loose tongue. I'm sure he didn't mean any harm. In fact, Dumbledore might have said it was okay for Hagrid to tell McGonagall." Lily huffed and did not look keen on taking this answer until it was confirmed.
McGonagall replied in the affirmative, then asked why they were meeting here at all?
"If she didn't know why he was coming there, then why was she there?" Remus asked.
Lily wasn't very happy about thinking on this, but offered, "Well if, if we had died-" she hardly got the words out and flinched terribly but kept going, "then possibly McGonagall may be there for my sister's protection. The whole Order does know I've a muggle sister. It couldn't have been that hard for her to find out and check on them for me."
"That was, nice," Sirius struggled to say, not really agreeing this should have been a top priority, but it made as much sense as anything.
Dumbledore told her the people in the house behind them were the only family Harry had left now.
The three boys slumped their shoulders at this reminder, but Lily looked even more panicked now. "Is he insane? My sister hates me and everything to do with Magic! This book has proven that so far. Why would he send my son there?"
"Well, like he said," James said quietly. "Voldemort's probably done my parents and yours in by now."
"That's right comforting that is!" Lily snarled, while James raised his hands in surrender and edged away slightly.
McGonagall got to her feet in a temper, listing reasons why this was a terrible idea, including the fact that their son kicked his mother up the street for sweets. Harry shouldn't live here!
"I take back every bad thing I ever said about McGonagall," James muttered.
"That's a long list," Remus reminded him. "She did manage to catch us in the act quite a bit."
James shrugged and admitted, "She's trying to keep my son away from them. I take it all back."
Dumbledore didn't even seem to hear her, continuing on by saying he's written them a letter. McGonagall rightly asked if he really thought he could explain all of this in a letter.
"I'm with her on that one," Sirius said making a face. "Would it go something like Dear Muggles, This kid's a wizard who defeated an evil and powerful wizard. Look after him until I can bother coming back, lots of love, Dumbledore ?"
Lily rolled her eyes at his antics and said, "Sirius, she already knows a bit about the magical world. It wouldn't be like that."
"Not the point," Sirius reminded her.
McGonagall continued by saying that Harry will be famous for his act this night, stating that every magical person in the world will know his name.
"That sounds right nice, that does," James said with a cocky grin, rather pleased his name would be so well known.
"I think you missed the point of that statement, James," Remus told him calmly, "but as Dumbledore's about to say it himself-" he turned his attention back to the printed words.
Dumbledore replies that is exactly his point: it would be much better growing up away from all of that until he knows how to handle it.
"Oh." James deflated. "Yeah, I guess that would be a bad thing."
"'Guess?'" Lily hissed. "'A bad thing'? James Potter, would you really want to be famous for this?"
"No," he admitted, mentally thinking he should put a bit more thought into what he said before he said it now.
McGonagall conceded the point then asked how Harry would be getting here. Dumbledore replied that Hagrid will be bringing him. McGonagall didn't seem keen on the idea, asking if that was wise? Dumbledore then firmly said that he would trust Hagrid with his life.
"That's going a bit far," Lily said slowly. "I know his heart is the right place, but, well, he can be a bit careless."
"Oh, Lils, you worry too much," Sirius said brightly. "Hagrid's the best kind of protection Harry could ever ask for. You've seen the size of that bloke."
"Who hasn't?" James agreed.
McGonagall still didn't seem pleased, stating that she admitted he was a good person, but also acknowledging he could be careless.
"Argh!" Sirius groaned. "Now we've got two bloody Professors in the room! You have no idea how horrid Professor Potter sounds."
"Be nice," Lily snapped, blushing slightly at that.
"If it makes you feel any better," Remus said slowly. "You could just call her Professor Evans, use her maiden name."
"No way!" James barked. "Do you know how long it took me to get Lily to admit that Potter was her last name now?"
"So you'd rather one of your family be a teacher then?" Sirius egged on.
James seemed to be in a physical pain at this dilemma, so to help him out a bit, Remus kept reading.
The conversation cut off by Hagrid arriving on a flying motorcycle, and then went on to describe Hagrid.
"Gotta love these books' descriptions, anyway," Sirius laughed. "That's Hagrid to a T."
"Can't wait till they do yours," Remus muttered, thinking of all the lovely adjectives that would boost his friend's ego another few degrees.
Dumbledore greeted him, and then rightly asked where he got the bike. Hagrid told him that it came from Sirius Black.
"What?" Sirius yelped in shock. "Why the hell would I give Hagrid my bike? I won't even let Moony drive it."
"Yet you encourage a four month old to hold on to the handlebars," James reminded him.
"Now that I think about it," Remus said slowly, "why would Harry have to go there at all? Sirius is his Godfather, which entitles him to be caregiver should anything happen to you two."
That had the others stumped until Lily snapped her fingers and said, "Maybe they have to deal with the legal side of this first, make the paperwork go through for Sirius to adopt Harry, and Harry has to be with relatives until then."
"I guess," Sirius grudgingly accepted. "Though that still doesn't explain why I gave up my bike."
"You know it puts him to sleep," James suggested. "Hoped it would calm him down in the meantime."
Accepting this for now, Remus went on.
Hagrid continued by saying he'd gotten the baby out of the destroyed house fine, and that he fell asleep halfway through the trip. The three adults bent over the child, noting the baby's lightning-shaped scar.
"What?" Lily yelped, scanning the hairline of her beautiful baby frantically. "He doesn't have a scar."
"That's proof right there that these books are fake," James exclaimed, a smile cracking over his face.
Hating every movement he was making, Remus made to stand up and go towards the kid on the couch, but Sirius stood up and stopped him with a hard look in his eyes. "Wait until the chapter's over." He glanced at the book in Remus' hands and decided, "There's only a bit left. Let him have some peace until then." Remus did not agree, but thought it best to finish this chapter before their world really did go to hell.
McGonagall began to ask if that was where, but Dumbledore cut her off and said yes, that he would have that scar forever.
Lily pursed her lips, thinking, 'Well, if Voldemort hasn't come to attack us yet, and Harry's still a baby in this, then maybe...'
McGonagall asks if there's anything Dumbledore could do to remove the scar, but Dumbledore declined, saying that even if he could, he wouldn't. Scars do come in handy, pointing out his own which was a map of the London Underground.
"Interesting," Lily muttered sarcastically, wanting this to be done with already so she could have a proper look at what could be her future son.
Dumbledore took the baby from Hagrid, who hesitated for a moment and then gave him a kiss goodbye before releasing a howl of misery.
"Aw, that's so sweet," Lily said sadly. "He cares about my little baby."
"Who doesn't?" the others agreed, Sirius even so depressed he didn't even think to make a dog joke.
While McGonagall kindly shushed him, Hagrid explained brokenly that it was too sad to think about, Lily and James being dead, and Harry going off to live with Muggles.
"Well, that's nice, too," Remus agreed. "Glad to know you two will be missed."
"Was that supposed to make me feel better?" Lily questioned.
"It made James feel better," Sirius pointed out. "His life's goal is to end up on a Chocolate Frog card."
"Haha, very funny, guys," James said, gazing down at his son without looking up.
McGonagall agreed it was all very sad, but there was no need to make so much noise.
"Remind me never to go to her for comfort," Sirius muttered with a frown, not even wanting to think how he would be feeling right now.
"Why would you?" Remus asked, slightly disturbed at the oddity of that sentence anyway.
McGonagall tried to comfort him by patting him on the arm, while Dumbledore stepped forward with the child and placed him on the doorstep, the letter tucked into the folds of his blankets, and then came back to stand with the other two.
Lily's eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she held her tongue to see if what she was thinking was true.
For a minute the three simply stood there watching the infant while each of them was obviously distressed by what they were doing, but then Dumbledore pulled himself together and said he would see them soon to join the celebrations. Hagrid agreed, while also pointing out he should get this bike out of here.
"Well, I should hope so," Sirius grumbled, trying to find something else to think about rather than the situation at hand.
Hagrid left on the bike and Dumbledore turned to McGonagall and said he would see her soon. Her only reply was to blow her nose.
"You think that means 'Yes, sir,' or 'I still can't believe what you're doing'?" James asked with a straight face.
"The second. Go with the second. It makes me feel better," Remus advised.
Dumbledore walked down to the end of the street, pulled out his Put-Outer and put the lights back, saw the end of a cat tail disappearing at the other end of the street, then said one more goodbye to Harry before disappearing as well.
"Oh, for Merlin's sake," Lily hissed, while the other three looked on at her in shock.
"Something wrong, Lily Flower?" James asked with some concern; she looked quite deranged.
"I've just found out my son's going to live with my sister who hates me, we're both dead, and now they've left my son, who has an injury on his forehead, ON THE DOORSTEP!" Hickory streaked away from the couch and curled up on top of the mantel to glare down at the lot of them. Little Harry woke up with a startled wail and looked around for the source disturbing his play mate.
James and Remus tried to make soothing motions with their hands, but she was on a rampage. She even thrust Harry into James' arms so she could stand up and continue. "They even said it was going to rain that night. What were they thinking! They could have done something, anything, other than what they just condemned my only boy to."
"Lils-" James started, but Lily did not seem in the mood to calm down. She stalked over to the body on the couch, determined to get this proven once and for all. Before she got too close, Remus begged.
"Come on, Lily, one more paragraph, see?" He even flipped over the book so she could see it. "Let me read this aloud, and then you can have it out, alright?" Seething, she hovered over the body with narrowed eyes. Fearing for his health, Remus quickly read out:
The passage gave a brief description to how normal the whole thing looked, and what Harry's first few days would be like, including being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley.
"Sounds like a lovely first few days," Sirius muttered without thinking, and then hopped backwards onto the fireplace in shock at the look Lily gave him.
Harry couldn't possibly know that at that very moment, the magical people all over the world were raising their glasses and cheering, 'To Harry Potter- the Boy-Who-Lived!'
When Remus looked up to indicate he was done, Lily rushed forward and pushed back the long black bangs that would reveal their destiny.
*Question came up because of Queen of Creating's equally as intriguing Reading fic Thin Pages, thanks!