Remus took a deep, shaky breath, and stalling a bit said "there's not too much of this left. Your first year should be almost over."
"I sure hope so" Lily muttered "I can't take too many more heart attacks."
Harry just smiled at them, but warned them "I can tell you now, you're probably not going to like this chapter though. I can't remember what all Quirrell says, but I know it made me angry."
"Great" Sirius rolled his eyes "something else to look forward to."
The man inside was Professor Quirrell. He greeted Harry very calmly, and stated that he had been wondering whether or not Harry would come down here.
"He's not stuttering" James asked in surprise.
Harry shook his head sadly, feeling like he should pop himself in the head and saying "No, he was faking it, I should have remembered that."
Harry insisted he thought that it had been Snape, and while Quirrell agreed that Snape seemed the type, what with him swooping around the place like a giant bat,
All three boys couldn't help but snort at this, how many times had they called him that?
who would suspect the stuttering Professor? Harry insisted that it must have been Snape, he tried to kill him! Quirrell just laughs and says it was he who tried, and would have if Hermione hadn't knocked into him during that Quidditch game.
Lily muttered something incomprehensible, she felt like an idiot for not noting that when the book had mentioned it.
Hermione had broken his eye contact that he was using to curse Harry, as well as Snape's who was trying to mutter a countercurse trying to save Harry.
"Bless my soul" James breathed, looking like someone had just punched him in the gut.
"You've got to be joking" Sirius demanded.
Remus was just sitting there, staring blankly down at the page.
Then Lily suddenly let out a whoop of joy, saying smugly "You see, I told you he" then she trailed off, looking suddenly confused as the others.
"If Snape was trying to save you, if he didn't hate you like we thought he hated James, then what was all that crap all year?" Sirius demanded.
"Oh he hates me" Harry disagreed "but not enough to want me dead."
"That, actually made me feel better" James said, blinking spastically in surprise.
"I can hardly believe it" Remus agreed.
Sirius snorted, but even he couldn't think of anything to say just then. Severus Snape had actually tried to save Harry Potter's life? What was this world coming to?
Lily looked like she was about to start crying all over again, but they were tears of joy this time.
Shaking off the last visages of shock he had, Remus now read on quickly.
Harry was still in shock as Quirrell laughed at the absurdity of anyone trying to save Harry, when Quirrell was going to kill him now.
They had all listened to this revelation in stunned silence, but at this last sentence any happy feelings were tossed out of the room, to be replaced by protective anger.
"You throw one curse at him, and no cell in Azkaban will stop me killing you" Sirius vowed.
"That's being kind" James snorted, a manic look gleaming in his eyes "I can think of much worse things to do to him rather than killing."
"Sign me up for that" Remus and Lily agreed.
Quirrell snapped his fingers, and ropes sprang up out of nowhere and tied themselves around Harry.
"Dammit" Lily snarled "he's actually competent?"
"That's beyond a normal magical level" Remus said, voice edging into panic "wandless magic like that, the only wizard I can think of with that kind of ability is Dumbledore."
"Or Dumbledore's opposite" James breathed.
Sirius whipped his head around and looked at James like he'd grown a second head. "What do you mean by that? Harry would have noticed if Voldemort was there."
Harry groaned suddenly, pressing a fist to his temple, but quickly shook it off, sitting back up and saying "I think he is there, but I can't remember, he's hiding in someone or" he trailed off again, losing colour by the second.
"That's enough Harry" James said at once, then he turned to Remus and said "keep reading, it should explain soon."
Harry was still trying to process this, demanding to know if it had been Quirrell who had let the troll in on Halloween. He admitted he had, stating he had a gift with trolls,
"Is it because you act like them" James grumbled.
and that he had let it in so that he could get a proper look at what had been guarding the Stone. Sadly that hadn't worked out, nor had the troll killed Harry, and the dog hadn't even managed to tear Snape's leg off.
"We're all so sorry for your loss" Remus hissed.
Then he told Harry to stop asking questions so that he could have a proper look at this mirror.
"Mirror?" They all asked in surprise.
Remus didn't bother to think on it, but kept going.
Only then did Harry look around and find the Mirror of Erised in the same room with them.
"Dumbledore put something up to" James said, looking confused "is this what Hagrid meant?"
"I don't get it" Sirius said "the mirror shows your deepest desire. So anyone whose deepest desire was the Stone could look into it, and what, find out where it's really hidden?"
Remus snorted, saying "I hope so. That means that it's actually hidden somewhere else, and then Quirrell will have to go off and find it there."
"All that set up, and it was never even down there" Lily rolled her eyes, still a little irked at the whole situation.
Harry set his mind then, determined to keep Quirrell talking and keep his concentration off of that mirror.
"I'd rather you do the opposite" Lily huffed "let him find the Stone and walk away. He might forget you're there."
"Then I'll have come all this way for nothing?" Harry said in surprise.
"We'd rather you didn't come all that way at all" Remus sighed.
"But boy are we impressed you did" James added on at Harry's rather hurt look.
He said the first thing that came to mind, which was that he'd seen Quirrell and Snape in the forest. Quirrell admitted that Snape had been on to him by this time, wanting to know how far he'd gotten.
"Which reminds me" Sirius said "what did Snape mean by Hocus Pocus? Quirrell's wasn't an anti-defence spell."
"I've no idea" Harry said honestly, feeling that no one had ever explained that one to him.
Snape had tried to frighten the information out of Quirrell, which he wasn't able to do, because he had Voldemort on his side.
"I'll give him that" Remus sighed "even Snape isn't as scary as him."
"I'm just impressed this nit called him Voldemort" Sirius said in mild shock. "Normally his followers call him the Dark Lord, that was pretty bold of him."
"Maybe he's just preening cause he thinks he's about to win" James shrugged, still not really interested in whatever this loon had to say so long as he stayed away from his son.
Quirrell turned his attention back to the mirror then, claiming he could see himself in it, presenting the Stone, presenting it to his master, but he still had no idea where it was.
"Well that's as tricky as it gets" James laughed "his deepest desire is to give it to Voldemort. So long as that's true, he'll never find its real hiding place."
"Ingenious when you think about it" Sirius agreed "because your deepest desire would be what you actually do with the Stone. Not the actual Stone, therefore its location."
"Only Dumbledore" Remus said in happy exasperation.
Harry was still talking, bringing up that he thought Snape hated him, which Quirrell agreed that this was true. Snape had known Harry's father in school, and they hated each other, but that didn't mean Snape wanted Harry dead.
"I'll take that" James said with a weak smile.
Harry reminded that he had heard Quirrell sobbing in an empty classroom, and that finally broke into Quirrell's calm. He looked almost frightened now as he admitted that it was hard for him to always do what his master wanted, and Harry blurted out that Voldemort had been in the classroom with him!
"No way" all four of adults said at once.
"It's not possible" Remus added on "Dumbledore was still at the school at the time, Voldemort could never get in."
Lily and James shivered in disgust at the very idea Harry was that close to such a lunatic.
Quirrell didn't seem phased by the question, saying that Voldemort was everywhere he was. How he'd met him while out traveling, how he'd been younger then, with foolish ideas about how good and evil worked.
Sirius groaned, saying "do we really have to hear the ravings of Death Eater lunatics? I got more than enough of that at my parent's place."
"Sorry Sirius" Remus said, and he sounded like he really meant it "I'm not skipping."
Voldemort had showed him a different way though, and Quirrell had served him ever since. However when he did let his master down, Voldemort would punish him severely.
"Hope it hurt" James muttered, any kind of pain he more than deserved for what he had tried to do to his son.
He had punished Quirrell quite harshly by deciding to keep a closer eye on him, when Quirrell had failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts. Harry felt like an idiot then, remembering now how he'd seen Quirrell that day in Diagon Alley.
"Yes, but I would have never thought anything of it" Lily sighed "teachers come and go there as much as anyone else."
"Though I do hope he explains how he broke into Gringotts" Remus scowled "as that is supposed to be impossible."
"Don't hold your breath" Sirius sighed "probably some Dark Magic, or maybe a bribe to one of the Goblins told him or something."
Quirrell then turns his attention back to the mirror, and curses that he still doesn't understand what to do, should he break it?
"I feel like that wouldn't actually work" James said, a small smile gracing his features.
"But please, do try" Remus said happily "that way the Stone will be lost forever."
Harry felt his mind flying, as he realized something. What he wanted most in that moment,
"At the moment?" Lily asked "I don't think you get to pick your deepest desire. It's simply what it is."
"Maybe" Remus said slowly "well, it is called the Mirror of Desire. Perhaps you can, in a sense, simply see what you desire at will. Dumbledore was the one that said it had to be your deepest."
"Dumbledore" James said the name like he'd never heard such a thing in his life.
"Alright James?" Sirius asked.
"Dumbledore showed Harry how to use the mirror" he said, running his hand through his hair in agitation "and the last thing he said, next time you see it you'll know how to use it." He shook his head, he didn't believe in coincidences. Not one bit "It's almost like he knew Harry" but then he trailed off, looking about the room like he expected someone to tell him he was being daft.
Instead, they were looking at him like he had just made absolute sense, and they looked furious.
"Are you telling me" Lily said slowly "that Dumbledore intended for Harry to do this?" She had been thinking this same thing a little earlier, but had hardly been able to fully form the thought, it was just too horrible to consider!
"Not possible" Remus said, though his tone wasn't very believable. After all, if the Headmaster could be fooled by an idiot like Quirrell, what else could he be up to?
"But there's too much of a coincidence" Lily said, beginning to name the tasks out loud." Hagrid giving Harry a musical instrument for Christmas, Dumbledore surely knew Harry and Hagrid were friends, could he have suggested a gift like that? The flying key room, testing his skills as a Seeker? The chess room, where one of his good friends could test his skills? I'll give you the rest are questionable, but the others just line up to well. To be perfectly honest considering the magic those teachers are capable of, I'd almost say it was easy!"
Sirius was looking about the room like he expected someone to say 'got ya' any second. When no one did he finally said "I'll agree with you Lily" she turned to face him, because his tone didn't really match what he said, which made sense when he continued on "but I think you're still a little sore at him for leaving him at the Dursley's. I am too, don't get me wrong on that, but come on. The man's had nothing to do with Harry's life since he dropped him off there. What possible reason could he have for 'testing' him and his friends?"
Remus sighed, rubbing his temple, before glancing over at Harry and asking "Got any input?"
Harry shrugged, saying blankly "I, yeah I feel like Mum might be right, but I kind of agree with Sirius, I don't know."
The momentary shock and thrill at Harry actually referring to her as his mother, out loud like that, actually did distract her enough that she really did decide she could let this matter go for now.
Remus nodded, and by now he had come to the conclusion Harry's first instinct was usually right. Still, with nothing to do in the meantime while they all pondered this, he kept reading.
was to get to the Stone before Quirrell did. He knew that if he saw himself in front of the mirror now, he could find the Stone first, but how could he do it without Quirrell realizing what he was doing? Quirrell was continuing to speak aloud, admitting he didn't know what to do, and asked his Master for help.
"Great, the nutter talks to himself now" Sirius said absently, all of them who weren't reading were still only half listening, still stuck on the oddity that was their old headmaster.
Then a voice came from seemingly nowhere, whispering to use Harry.
"What?" James yelped, coming out of it first.
"Remus, read that again" Lily said, eyes almost falling out of her head she was so wide eyed.
Remus complied, and they all sat there like stunned fish for a moment.
"How could that have happened?" Harry asked, rather concerned by this reaction.
"I've no idea" James said.
"And that's why it's so bad" Sirius agreed.
"And if none of us knows how to do that" Remus muttered "then this clearly isn't anything good."
"My question" Lily said, ignoring how high pitched her voice is "was who said that?"
Remus glanced back down at the page with ice cold fear, forcing himself to read.
Quirrell dutifully turned his attention on Harry and told him to come stand in front of the mirror. Harry did as told, and looked upon his reflection, which smiled back at him.
"Did that happen before when you saw us?" James asked, not really curious to know the answer, just trying to keep himself in the here and now so he didn't freak out that Harry was now in such immediate danger.
"No" Harry answered honestly.
As he watched his reflection self-put his hand in his pocket and came out with a ruby red Stone. Then he winked and put it back, and as he did so, Harry felt a weight fall into his own real pocket.
"You're joking" Sirius groaned "please tell me that was a really awful joke in which Harry now has the thing that lunatic wants, in his pocket."
Remus didn't even glance up at him, but shook his head swiftly from side to side as an answer before blasting on.
Harry now had the Philosopher's Stone.
"But how" Lily couldn't help but blurt out.
"Really, scary, over the top magic" James grumbled, only having a few vague ideas himself.
Quirrell demanded to know what Harry saw, and he quickly lies as he says that he sees himself winning the House Cup for Gryffindor.
Sirius couldn't help it, he snorted in amusement, saying "Come on, you could lie better than that."
"I was under a lot of pressure" he defended.
Quirrell pushed him out of the way again, and Harry considers whether he dare make a run for it.
"Yes, please dare to yes" Remus said fervently.
Then the voice returned, again from nowhere,
"Dammit" Sirius groaned, this Dark Magic, whatever it was doing this, just kept getting worse and worse.
saying that Harry was lying.
"How, what" Lily spluttered.
"I don't know, and I won't if you keep asking me that" Remus snapped at her.
At Lily's hurt look, he said "Sorry, we're all a bit on edge."
Lily nodded, accepting the apology.
Quirrell rounded back on Harry and demanded to know what Harry saw. Then the voice requested that it wanted to speak to Harry, face to face.
"Don't want that. Absolutely the last thing I will ever want" James was muttering.
All four of them couldn't get the idea out of their head, Harry was in the same room as Voldemort! It was impossible, but...
Quirrell turned on the spot and began unwinding his turban,
Harry knew, instinctively somehow, he did not like what Remus was about to say next, if the reaction to feeling like screaming meant anything.
and sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head was a face,
"A face?" James said faintly.
"Out of the back of" Lily whispered.
"I'm going to be sick" Sirius groaned, and the green colouring made it seem like he wasn't kidding about that.
"He, what, merged bodies with" Remus tried to say, trailing off in confusion or horror they didn't know.
"That's not, he's not even" Lily stuttered.
"Explains the magic beyond Quirrell's level" Sirius muttered bitterly. He felt itchy all over, like he needed a hot bath just from hearing about this.
"It gets weirder as you go on" Harry said, rubbing his temple again in agitation. His scar wasn't hurting him now, but he seemed to know that it was about to start hurting soon.
Remus wouldn't have believed that, until his twenty year old cub fell into the kitchen yesterday. While the baby he knew and loved sat in Sirius' lap.
that was the palest of whites with dark red eyes and snake like nostrils.
"There's a nightmare I'll never forget" James said in disgust, he really wanted to go wash himself in pure soap.
The face looked on at Harry, whispering that this was what he'd been reduced to, only a vapour,
"I might be fascinated if that wasn't the most twisted, darkest thing I've ever heard in my life" Remus said in disgust.
that he only really had form when he shared another person's body,
"Great" Lily snapped scornfully "so our plan should be that no one ever wears something that covers up their head, ever again."
but he has always found someone willing and able to share. How he's always convinced people to drink unicorn blood, like Quirrell had been doing that night in the forest.
"I am going to be sick" Sirius vowed.
Once he found the Stone, he wouldn't even need that, all Harry had to do was hand it over.
"Run" they all whispered, that thought the only thing any of them could really focus on anymore.
Harry tried to run then, and the face merely cackled, saying that Harry may as well save his life and join Voldemort, or he'd go the same way as his parents, begging for their life.
"LIAR!" Remus and Sirius snarled, angrier then they had been yet.
Harry could feel blood pounding in his ears, this was the part he had been remembering, he hated listening to someone say anything about his parents, but he also feared that the pain would be coming soon.
Harry shouted that this was a lie!
His parents beamed at him, pleased to know that if Harry knew anything about them, it was this one truth.
Quirrell had been turning on the spot to make sure Harry stayed in the faces line of sight.
"I might laugh if that wasn't the most disturbing sentence I've ever heard in my life" James said faintly.
Voldemort seemed to be enjoying himself now as he taunted Harry, saying that he had he had killed his father first,
Remus voice almost stuttered out, he really didn't want to be the one to read this.
Then James surprised them all by puffing out his chest and saying "I'm not surprised one bit. He'd have to kill me to get to you two."
Lily's lower lip was quivering, while she didn't appreciate that statement one bit, she wasn't about to argue it either.
"Do you want me to read?" Harry offered, when it seemed Remus might pass out.
"No" he said, bolstering his courage. If James and Lily could hear this without crying over it, he could certainly read it.
how he had tried to fight him off while his mother made a run for it, but she shouldn't have died, she was just protecting Harry.
"Of course I did" she hissed, her wand appearing in her hand, looking ready to curse the world any second now to protect her family.
Then he told Harry to give him the Stone, unless Harry wanted to die for nothing. Harry shouted back he never would.
"And we don't blame you one bit" Lily whispered to him.
Harry smiled around at his parents, never having been more proud to be their son then in this moment.
"Hoping that bastards done now" Sirius muttered in disgust, hearing that had been almost as bad as hearing they were dead the first time.
Harry ran back towards the door which was still on fire,
"The potion would have worn off" Lily yelped in concern.
"Would you rather he stayed in there with them? Him? How would you even..." Sirius began hotly, but faded off into mutters at the end.
Harry couldn't help but burst out laughing at him, which calmed them all down.
Since Harry was alive and laughing, and didn't have black burns all over his body from that fire, Remus read on with only medium anxiety.
but then Voldemort yelled at Quirrell to catch him.
Which immediately flew up to the highest level of anxiety it could get. Harry may be fine now, but how much had Voldemort/ Quirrell hurt him before Harry gave up the Stone?
Blinking the red vision out of his eyes, Remus quickly read.
Harry felt something catch his wrist,
"He's dead" Sirius spat, looking quite deranged at hearing anyone put their hand on his godson. "I don't care where he is right now, he is dying."
"Not going to stop you" the others agreed, privately thinking they would all help.
and the moment that happened he could feel the sharp pain returning across his scar,
Harry winced, putting his hand to his scar again, there was the pain he had been remembering.
it made his head feel like it was being cleaved open,
"Why?" Lily yelped, pushing Harry's hand out of the way so she could look him in the face "what spell was he doing to cause that to happen to you?"
"It wasn't a spell" Harry muttered, frustrated that he couldn't remember why this was happening, even though it felt really important.
"Keep going Remus" James said evenly, he wanted to get past this part already.
and Harry tried to pull away, and to his astonishment, Quirrell did let go.
"Who'd have thought yelling and struggling would actually work" Sirius said to himself, pleased beyond measure it had.
The pain began to dull enough that he could look around and spot Quirrell who was kneeling and looking down in surprise at his hand, which was blistering.
"I've never heard of anything like that" Remus whispered.
"Why can't he touch me?" Harry asked, bewildered.
"Don't question it, run for it" James said quickly.
Remus pushed the thought aside for now so he could read on.
Voldemort was still yelling to catch Harry, and Quirrell still obeyed, getting to his feet only to knock Harry on his back and straddle him, wrapping both burnt hands around his neck.
"Remus" Harry yelped in shock as the book actually split down the spin as Remus ripped it.
He didn't look very sorry, looking at the remnants of the pages in his hand like they themselves were Quirrell's skull.
Lily waved her wand, and the book flew back into his grasp, completely repaired, then she snapped at him "What did I tell you-"
"You told Sirius he couldn't ruin the book. You didn't say anything to me," he pointed out.
"Wahoo, loophole" Sirius cackled, slapping a high five with his friend.
All four adults were still breathing more rapidly than normal, the mental image of Harry being pinned to the ground and strangled one that would leave a scar on them for the rest of their life they were sure, but the distraction had done its job.
Harry was again laughing along at these antics, safe and sound right here with them. Sirius cuddled the baby closer to him, and both of Harry's parents leaned in to their son as Remus forced himself to go on.
The pain in his scar returned, so horrible it nearly blocked everything else out, like Quirrell shouting that his hands hurt, and he couldn't hold him,
"Hope you can't heal that" Lily said nastily.
and Voldemort snapped that he should just kill him already, and so Quirrell pulled out a wand and was fixing to do just that,
Remus couldn't help but stutter over those lines, but one glance up at the black haired youth squished between his parents and he was able to finish.
but then Harry lunged forward and pressed his hands against Quirrell's face, causing a scream of pain.
"Who was screaming, you or him?" Sirius asked.
"Both of us?" Harry muttered, still rubbing his scar.
"You're rubbing that an awful lot" James frowned.
"I just remember the pain, really, really well. That's something I wouldn't like to have had back."
His parents smiled sadly down at him, but no one could really think of anything to say to that.
Quirrell got off of him and stumbled around, moaning about his now burnt face and hands, and Harry realized that Quirrell couldn't touch him without being burnt, so Harry decided he could work with that.
"Hopefully die from pain overdose" Sirius said in a chipper tone, then added on "though that would kill my fun."
Remus' mouth twitched at that, but Sirius seemed so sincere, he decided not to ruin that comment by pointing out that this act was clearly hurting Harry as well. It wasn't hurting him now though, which gave him the strength to read.
Harry ran forward and caught hold of Quirrell's face again, hanging on for dear life as Quirrell was screaming in pain, and Harry was screaming through the pain of his scar, and Voldemort was screaming that he had to die, and someone else screaming his name...
"Oh I doubt that" James breathed.
"Help arrived, maybe Ron and Hermione" Lily offered, unable to keep the excitement out of her voice.
He felt his grip being torn away from Quirrell,
"Bloody hell" Sirius groaned, that wasn't a good sign, was it possible other Death Eaters had arrived?
and then Harry blacked out.
"Jeez, if you had actually stopped there-" James began, then broke off his own sentence, not even wanting to say any of those next words.
"It's okay" Harry said into the awkward silence "I'm alright then. Nothing else happens for the rest of this year." Except going back to the Dursley's he privately added.
"Well I should hope not" Lily yelped "isn't five deadly situations more than enough for all seven years at school!"
Harry gave her a sheepish expression, but didn't seem like he was going to answer.
Remus didn't give him the chance.
There was something gold above him, and his mind went to a Snitch. He wanted to grab it, but his arm felt weighted.
"Are you dreaming again?" Lily asked.
Harry shook his head no, smiling now. His scar, he remembered, didn't hurt anymore. The opposite in fact, he felt quite content and happy, if a bit drowsy.
He blinked a few more times and found it wasn't a Snitch, but glasses.
"Strange indeed" Remus said, rubbing his jaw, more grateful then anything that whole ordeal seemed to be over.
"Who wears golden glasses?" Sirius asked redundantly since he knew Remus was fixing to read.
After blinking once more, the face of Albus Dumbledore swam into view.
"Oh" they all muttered in annoyance. None of them had really decided on their feelings about him just yet, this book was certainly implying a lot of bad stuff about him.
Harry tried to begin explaining at once, that Quirrell was after the Stone,
"Right to the point then" James said, frowning slightly. He really would hate it if Quirrell had gotten the Stone after all of that hard work his son did.
but Dumbledore was quick to calm him, saying that Quirrell didn't have it.
"I will admit, that's a relief" Sirius sighed.
Harry was still wound up, demanding to know who did have it then, and Dumbledore tried to relax him once more, saying he had to calm down or Madam Pomfrey would kick him out.
"That she will" Remus actually chuckled, amazed he could feel alright again after that awful last scene.
Harry forced himself to settle and look around properly, finding himself in the hospital wing. On his bedside table was a mountain's worth of candy.
"How come you guys never gave me that much candy when I was in there?" Remus demanded, unable to hide his smile.
James snorted, saying "Please, if we gave you candy every time you wound up there, we'd put every candy shop in the country out of business."
"You're only encouraging him," Lily reminded, "since buying that much would in fact be good for their business."
"Fine, then all of our teeth would simultaneously rot out," Sirius grinned.
"Never stopped you trying before," Remus smirked, but then he finally admitted he had let the joke drag on too long so quickly kept reading before anyone else could throw something out.
Dumbledore noticed Harry's stares, saying that these were tokens of gratification from his friends and admirers. What had happened below the castle was supposed to be a complete secret, so naturally, the whole school knew.
"Sounds about right" Sirius laughed.
"Really though" Lily asked "what did the school know about that?"
Harry shrugged, answering "I honestly have no idea. I never wanted to ask anyone."
He even mentioned that Fred and George had tried to send Harry a toilet seat.
They couldn't help it, all five of them cracked up laughing at that. It seemed a lifetime ago they were reading about Mrs. Weasley scolding her boys on the platform.
Sadly though, Madam Pomfrey had taken it away, claiming it wasn't hygienic.
"Killjoy" James sighed.
Harry asked how long he'd been out for, and Dumbledore replied three days.
"Three days" Lily moaned.
"If it makes you feel any better" Harry said "that's the longest I'll ever be in the hospital wing." Then he frowned and rubbed his temple, annoyed at this random habit of his gut speaking, and his brain paying for it.
Lily looked like she dearly wanted to ask why Harry had wound up in there any other time, but felt it wasn't worth it right this moment.
He concluded that Ron and Hermione were going to be very relieved to hear Harry had awoken, but Harry went back to asking about the Stone then.
"One track mind eh?" Remus chuckled, honestly curious what had happened to it as well. His cub sure went through an awful lot of trouble to keep it safe, he did deserve to know.
Dumbledore admitted that he had arrived just in time to separate Harry from Quirrell, and Harry asked if he'd received Hermione's owl. Dumbledore says that he must have just missed it, as he'd arrived in London only to realize what was going on. He turned around at once to get rid of Quirrell.
"Okay, I'm not mad at Dumbledore any more" James sighed, he clearly had come at a time when Harry needed him, which was the most important thing to him.
"Remembered why Dumbledore was supposed to be gone so long yet?" Sirius asked.
Harry nodded brightly and said "Oh yeah, it's because he said he flew. When he got to the ministry though, he apperated back. I don't know how he flew, he didn't say" he trailed off with a shrug, having remembered asking him this shortly before he headed to the boats at the end of the year.
"Might have used a Thestral, like Hagrid at the beginning of the year" Lily speculated.
"We never even proved that's how Hagrid did it" Remus pointed out.
"Why would he fly anyways?" Sirius demanded "Hagrid I can understand, but Dumbledore has every means at his disposal-"*
"Sirius" James broke him off "let it go. We're not going to find that out."
Sirius huffed, but did indeed let the matter drop.
Dumbledore admitted that he feared he had almost been too late, and Harry begins to agree saying he couldn't have kept the Stone safe much longer, but Dumbledore corrects saying he thought he'd almost been too late to save Harry who had nearly died in trying to hold off Quirrell.
Remus shuddered in disgust. How many times was he going to have to read that?
"I guessed as much, from the way Harry was passing out" James murmured to himself, the only reason he had been able to hold himself together was because of his living son at his side now.
"Then yeah, I guess I forgive him to" the other three agreed.
Then he said that the Stone was destroyed.
"Destroyed?" Sirius said blankly "after all that, he went and blew it up."
James snorted, asking "why do you assume the only way to destroy something is to blow it up?"
"That's just what came out okay, I didn't mean it literally" Sirius rolled his eyes.
Harry was astonished, asking what would happen to Nicolas Flamel, and Dumbledore seemed pleased that Harry had done this thing right.
"The thing" Lily said at once, eyes narrowing dangerously "I think I might reconsider my forgiveness."
"Now Lily" James began, but then she looked at him, and James whimpered "keep going Remus."
Then he explained that Nicholas and his wife had set their affairs in order, and then they would indeed die.
"To be honest, I don't think I'd want to live that long anyways" Sirius said "be bloody depressing outliving everyone you know by a couple hundred years."
Harry simply sat there, staring for some time. Dumbledore tried to explain that death was merely a new adventure. The Stone really wasn't such a good thing, as it gave man everything he would have wanted, but then again, man usually had a knack for wanting exactly what was the worst thing for them.
"Nutter, I swear" James snorted.
Harry started to ask that if the Stone was gone, then how would You-Know-Who, but Dumbledore corrected him and told him to call him Voldemort, that fear of a name will only increase his fear of the thing itself.
"Glad Dumbledore taught you that" James said proudly.
Harry corrected himself by asking if Voldemort could somehow find a way to still come back.
"I'm not even going to ask if he said 'yes, of course'" Lily sighed, pressing her face into her hands in preparation for this answer.
Dumbledore agreed that he is still out there, biding his time, perhaps looking for another body to share,
"Well, then Lily's thing about having to show your full head should at least be applied to all future teachers" James muttered, still forcing down a shiver of disgust.
but since he wasn't really alive, he couldn't really die. He left Quirrell to die,
"Deserves it" Remus said without any remorse. None of them disagreed.
which only showed he cared as little for his followers as he did his enemies.
"You would think his followers would realize this" Sirius pointed out.
"Nah, they're too dumb to work for themselves, they need someone telling them what to do" James snickered.
Harry had only delayed his return, but if people kept on delaying forever, then perhaps he would never truly return.
"Let that be as true as it ever gets" Lily vowed, personally thinking about starting up a new Department just for this job alone if it kept Voldemort out of their lives for good.
Harry wanted to ask another question, and Dumbledore said he would try and answer if he could, but said he may not, but promised not to lie.
"Again" Sirius snorted, thinking back to the mirror.
Harry began by saying that Voldemort had killed his mother because she had tried to stop him from killing Harry,
"Which I would do every single time forever" Lily growled, a glint of something in her eyes none of the boys had seen before this day.
but why had Voldemort gone after Harry's family in the first place?
"Yes" James said eagerly, he had been wanting to know this since the first chapter!
Dumbledore said that this was one of those questions he couldn't answer.
"Why the bloody hell not" Sirius groaned.
"Cause I was to young" Harry said sadly.
"Was?" James asked, eyeing him hopefully "are you saying he does tell you then?"
"I," he hesitated for a moment, then accepting the pain that was coming he spoke with his gut "yeah, I think he does." The pain flowed through him, and he brushed it off as soon as he could, allowing Remus to go on.
That Harry was too young, but perhaps when he was older, then he'd tell him.
"I'm pretty sure we all hate to hear that right now" Lily muttered.
Feeling disgruntled, Harry decided to move on to another question, why hadn't Quirrell been able to touch him?
"Yeah" James sighed "I hope he bleeding answers that question."
Dumbledore happily answered that one, saying that when Harry's mother died for him, it left a mark of protection. Not anything visible, but something he would carry with him forever.
The longer Remus kept reading, the more curious his tone became. This was something he'd never heard of, and he still loved learning new things.
Quirrell, having shared a soul with Voldemort, could not touch Harry, because the mark that was left on Harry, something so truly good, meant someone like Quirrell could not touch Harry without feeling great pain.
Lily hadn't realized she was crying until she blinked, a tear traced her cheek down her face. Then she saw that Harry was smiling at her, and she whispered, happier then she could ever remember being "so I saved you?"
Harry nodded, unable to speak himself.
The three boys exchanged happy smiles, all thinking that if they had to die, at least they had left Harry with this small precious gift. Their love and protection over him, even if they couldn't be there in person to deliver it. Each of them had questions of how this had really worked, as surely Lily wasn't the first mother to die for her child, but they decided to wait until much later to question the actual act of that magic.
Harry sat and thought about this for some time before moving on to another question, and asked if Dumbledore knew who had sent him his invisibility cloak?
"Just out of curiosity, though I'd really like to know the answer myself, why on earth would you think he'd know that?" Remus asked "it's not like you knew then what you know now."
"He's the headmaster of the school" Harry tried to explain "I thought he would know everything that goes on there, I don't know, I didn't even have anyone else to ask really."
"Fair enough" he agreed, albeit sadly.
Dumbledore said that his father had left it in his possession,
"I did what?" James balked.
"So we were right" Sirius said slowly "sometime in the next year, the Order must find out about it, and everyone starts using it. Or Dumbledore could mean him specifically, in which case" he trailed off.
"Why would he need it?" Lily asked what they were all thinking "he's already said that he can be invisible without it?"
"Well maybe he couldn't" Remus offered "there could be a million reasons why he couldn't have turned himself invisible, and he needed an untraceable way."
"Well, remind me never to offer it up anyways" James sniffed, privately thinking that he didn't care what the bloody Order needed it for, his family was going to need it more all too soon.
but Dumbledore decided that it belonged in Harry's hands. His father had made good use of it by sneaking around the castle, stealing food from the kitchens.
"Can't deny that" Sirius chuckled.
Harry began to ask about Snape, but then Dumbledore corrected him it was Professor Snape.
"Ah no" Remus interrupted himself "if Harry actually ever calls him that, and means it mind you, I'll eat a quaffle."
All of the boys laughed, while Lily simply rolled her eyes indulgently.
Harry just said, yes him,
"Best answer you could have given" Sirius snickered.
and how Quirrell had said something about how his father had hated him, and was that true?
"Yes, and no" Lily said sadly "but since you already know that complicated answer" she trailed off, eyeing Remus expectantly, who took the hint.
Dumbledore agreed that they did detest each other, but then his father had done something Snape couldn't forgive, he saved Snape's life.
"What?" Harry yelped.
Remus couldn't help but burst out laughing, and without looking up read.
Harry exclaimed what!?
Harry ignored this, still eyeing his father.
The three boys exchanged rather uneasy looks, that was a rather nasty tail for all parties involved, so James said slowly "well, you see, ah-"
Then Sirius cut in quickly "Let's start with, it was my fault, end with the bugger didn't actually die, and we can fill in the middle bit later, yeah?"
Harry nodded grudgingly, very curious to hear this.
"Maybe Dumbledore will tell you now" Lily offered, though none of them really expected him to give Harry the full story.
Dumbledore explained that Snape hated being in his father's debt, and that he'd done so much this year to protect Harry because he felt it would make them even.
"Well" James said, looking like he'd just swallowed a lemon he spat out "okay fine. Yeah, call us even. But anything he does to you over the next six years is fair game for me to hate him again."
Lily snorted, but none of them could disagree.
Now he could go on hating Harry's father in peace.
"And I'm sure he did" Sirius said in a false happy voice.
Harry tried to understand this but it made his head hurt.
"That was a bombshell out of nowhere" he explained to the kind of confused looks.
Then Harry asked how the Stone got out of the mirror.
"I think we've kind of worked that out" Remus said.
"But I'd like to hear him explain it anyways" Sirius said in a stuffy tone "so no cutting out."
Remus gave him the stank eye before reading.
Dumbledore beamed as he said he felt that was one of his more brilliant ideas, which was saying something,
James couldn't help but snort with mirth at that.
and explained that only someone who wanted to find the Stone without using it could get it out of the mirror.
"Yeah" Remus nodded "about what I worked out."
"Know it all" James snickered, while Remus stuck his tongue out at him.
"But Quirrell didn't technically want to use it" Lily pointed out with a ruffled brow. "So shouldn't that still count?"
"But Voldemort did" Sirius reminded with a renewed shudder of disgust at the thought, "and I think that's what made it count. If Quirrell had just been down there on his own, then maybe he would have gotten it on a technicality. It all depends on how liberal the mirror was with the spell, if Quirrell's intentions to give it to someone who would use it still nullified him."
"You scare me when you get all logical like that" Lily smirked back without argument.
Dumbledore then turned his attention to Harry's candy and exclaims when he finds a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. He says he'd come across a vomit flavoured one once,
"Blech" Sirius retched, the nausea he had been feeling had died down, but he didn't appreciate the reminder.
but decided he'd try one again with a toffee colored one.
"Never assume what flavour it is by the colour" James said wisely "otherwise chocolate flavoured can look like bark."
He chewed on the bean for a moment before gagging and saying it had been ear wax.
"My point" he laughed.
The narrative returned, explaining that Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was a nice woman, but very strict.
"You can say that again" Remus nodded in agreement.
Time had clearly passed, and Harry was now trying to convince her to let his friends in now that Dumbledore had gone, and she had let him in.
"Another benefit of the cloak" Sirius snorted "we never asked for permission to go in there."
"You never asked for permission to go anywhere" Lily reminded.
She said she had because that was the headmaster, but Harry still needed his rest.
"She thinks resting will cure every disease in the world" Remus muttered.
Harry promised he wouldn't get out, just please let them in, and she did.
"Poor kids, not being allowed to go in and see him" Lily sighed, then perked up at once saying "Oh, Ron's okay. Poor thing, I've forgotten all about him."
"Well, since Harry didn't wake up and find him in the Hospital with him, I'm sure he wasn't too badly hurt" Sirius said brightly.
Hermione ran in, looking ready to fling another hug on Harry, but she held back to which Harry was grateful for, as he was still feeling rather sore.
All four adults again exchanged superior looks, they had a feeling Hermione liked hugging Harry a little more than as a friend, but as Harry had shown no reaction to this, since he only had eleven year old memories it wasn't too surprising, they said nothing.
Hermione exclaimed how worried they were, while Ron wanted to know what had happend. Harry filled them in on all the details, and Hermione screamed out right when she heard what was on the back of Quirrell's head.
"Damn near did as well" Lily shuddered.
When he was done Ron's first question was that since the Stone was gone, Flamel was just going to die?
"Well when you put it like that, it sounds awful" Remus chuckled.
Harry agreed that's what he had said, but then repeated what Dumbledore had told him. Ron said that Dumbledore was crazy, but hardly looked upset over this.
"A feeling I share" Sirius laughed.
Then Harry asked what had happened to them, and Hermione says how she went back and got Ron, and they were going up to the owlery to write a note to Dumbledore when they met him in the entrance hall,
"Entrance hall?" James said, frowning "the owlery is up in the turrets, and they were on the third floor. What did they go down for?"
"Took a wrong secret passage" Harry answered, he had asked them this himself later "Hermione was leading, and they were in so much of a panic, they decided not to risk taking any more. They wound up at the top of the stairs and there was the entrance hall" he trailed off, then waved Remus on.
and Dumbledore's only words were that Harry had gone after him, hadn't he? Then Ron asks if Dumbledore meant to set the whole thing up, like by sending Harry the cloak.
"I'll kill him" Lily vowed "encouraging you to do that!"
"Lily" Remus said uneasily, but she looked like she was going red in the face as she snarled "No Remus. Nothing you say will make this alright. Nothing Dumbledore says could make this alright. If he intended-"
"I'm not defending him" Remus said hotly back "what I'm saying is give the bloody man a chance."
Lily paused, giving him an odd look, while he explained "You made us promise not to kill Snape because of what we thought of him, well now I'm asking you to do the same. Dumbledore is the greatest wizard there is, and while I can fault him for a lot of things in this year" he waved the book around just to make sure they understood what he meant "I'll not have you condemn him without all the facts. Six more books Lily, then you can go kill him if you want."
Lily deflated, but finally said "Yes, alright, agreed."
James and Sirius were looking between the two wide eyed like a tennis match, but after a few more moments Remus continued.
Hermione disagreed, he wouldn't do that, Harry could have been killed.
Lily muttered something under her breath, but not loud enough for anyone to hear.
Harry said that he thinks instead of Dumbledore discouraging them, he may have just been trying to help them along, like he thought Harry had a right to face Voldemort.
Lily opened her mouth in protest, but quickly snapped it shut. She came to the conclusion that if she started nagging on everything she thought Dumbledore did, rather than the man himself saying it, she was no better than the four boys around here this whole book. So she kept her mouth shut, and contented herself with mental scathing.
Ron repeated that Dumbledore was off his rocker. Then he changed the subject to the end-of-year feast tomorrow. Even though all of the points were in and Slytherin had won, because Harry had missed the last Quidditch match,
James groaned, saying "this is why you have a reserve team."
"Maybe they still won with a quick replacement" Remus offered without any real hope.
that Ravenclaw had pummelled them without Harry,
"Never mind" he sighed.
"Who did replace you anyways?" Sirius asked.
"Some seventh year who Charlie beat out of the team all those years ago" Harry shrugged, he'd never asked for details to angry at himself for missing the match.
but at least the food would be good. Before Harry could respond though, Madam Pomfrey came back over and told them they had to get out now, Harry had to rest!
"Bossy, bossy, bossy" Remus muttered. As good as her intentions were, the thing he hated the most about his condition was being cut off from his friends so much.
The next day Harry was trying to convince the matron to let him go to the feast, and she agreed that Dumbledore had allowed this in a rather stiff tone, like she thought feasts were far too dangerous.
"Well you can't blame her since that time we released a horde of Fire Salamanders our last day there" James chuckled, no one would ever forget that ceremony.
Then she told Harry that he had another visitor, and Hagrid walked in, took one look at Harry, and began crying.
"Aw" Lily smiled "in all of this, I can't even be mad at Hagrid for his slip."
"Agreed" the boys all said.
He began sobbing that this was all his fault, if he hadn't slipped about Fluffy, and how he shouldn't have fallen for something like a dragon egg.
"In consolation, he didn't know that at the time" Remus said bracingly, like Hagrid was really there to comfort him "otherwise I'm positive you wouldn't have said a word."
Then he swore he'd never drink again. Exclaiming how he should be forced to live with Muggles.
"I think they only do that to wizards who can't be rehabilitated in Azkaban" James said, frowning "Hagrid's never done anything to deserve that."
"Rehabilitated" Sirius snorted "they bloody lose their souls in that place."
"Can we not talk about this" Lily groaned, she didn't want to think about that horrid place any more then possible.
Harry tried to comfort him, saying surely Voldemort would have figured all of that out some other way.
"True as well" Remus agreed.
Hagrid told him not to say the name, and in retaliation, Harry screamed Voldemort, which stunned Hagrid so much he stopped crying.
"I've never tried that" James said thoughtfully "you think if we just yell it loud enough people will get over it?"
Lily snorted and shook her head in disbelief, but since James clearly didn't mean it she didn't say anything.
Harry said that because he'd met him, he was going to call him by his name.
'Wish you hadn't met him' they were all thinking.
Harry tried to convince Hagrid to cheer up, and handed him a Chocolate Frog.
"That cheers everyone up" Remus said, smiling eagerly.
Hagrid did marginally cheer up then, and said that he'd gotten Harry a present. Dumbledore had given him the day off for him to work on it, though in his opinion he should have been fired instead.
They were all very curious to see what Hagrid had gotten Harry this time. Despite the disastrous consequences of his Christmas gift, he was still the one person through this entire story that had been keeping an eye out for Harry, that wasn't a student anyways. True he had made some disastrous mistakes, but who hadn't in their life?
Hagrid gave him a book, and when Harry flipped it open, he found a photo album filled with pictures of his mother and father.
"Oh" Lily murmured, looking about ready to burst into tears again.
"Thank Merlin" James breathed "I'd hate for your only image of us to be some spooky old mirror."
Harry was smiling sadly, very much wishing he had that book now, having looked through it so many times he would have wanted to ask exactly when and why each picture had been taken.
Hagrid had apparently sent owls off to all of Harry's parents old school friends asking for these, then asked if Harry liked it.
Remus and Sirius exchanged very depressed looks, knowing that they probably hadn't been on that list.
"You were in the book" Harry said slowly, looking at Sirius with a new light, then he smiled and said "I knew it. I thought I had some memory of you, but it must have been your picture I'd seen. The wedding photo."
Sirius went bright eyed at that saying "You saw me? That's awesome, here we were both getting depressed you'd never even know we existed."
Harry smiled and nodded, but the moment Remus kept reading, the less sure he felt. There was a picture of Sirius in his parent's scrapbook, but that wasn't the feeling he had of Sirius. It must be though, what else could it be?
Harry was speechless with gratitude.
Harry was finally released from the Hospital wing after that and made his way down to the Great Hall, finding the place decked out in Slytherin colours, but trying to ignore that plus all of the stares he was receiving as he sat in between Ron and Hermione.
"I just had Déjà vu' to your first day there" James wanted to laugh, but at Harry's annoyed look, he held himself back.
Then Dumbledore took to his feet and began addressing the students, saying that he was happy they had a good school year, and happier they had a whole summer to forget it all.
"I wish some students hadn't taken that to heart" Lily said lightly.
James and Remus gave her annoyed looks, but Sirius actually laughed for a moment before he realized Lily had meant them, then he just scowled at her without any real heat.
Then he began addressing the House Cup, stating all of the house points. Slytherin cheered wildly, and Harry felt sick at watching Draco Malfoy cheer along.
"Maybe next year you won't go pulling as many stupid stunts, and you'll actually earn points" Lily said without any real hope.
James snorted, for some reason he highly doubted that. Then Lily looked at Harry's face, and she agreed it was wishful thinking.
Dumbledore gave them congratulations, then said that recent events had to be accounted for.
"Recent events?" Sirius asked.
"They stop counting the last day before exams start" Remus puzzled.
Then Dumbledore said he was going to give out some last-minute points,
James went wide eyed before he gasped "you mean he's going to award you three with house points for what you did?"
Harry muttered "us four," but not loud enough that Remus stopped to ask.
and started with Ronald Weasley, who went bright purple in shock, looking like a sunburnt radish.
"I officially cannot meet your friend without laughing at him" James chuckled.
Dumbledore awarded him fifty house points for his champion chess skills.
"That bumped you to third place" Lily sighed, this didn't seem fair to her at all. Through the whole of their first year, Harry and his friends had constantly broke the rules, and been awarded for it. The only time they had been punished, and still Harry was almost put in danger because of it. She really, really didn't like this pattern that was forming.
The Gryffindors all began cheering, Percy beside himself with pride as he boasted that was his kid brother who had gotten past McGonagall's chess set.
"So they do know some of what happened" Sirius said in surprise.
Once things had quieted down again, he went to Hermione, awarding her fifty points for her use of logic.
"The three of you are going to win that hundred and fifty points back" Remus surmised.
"But that would leave them twenty points short" Lily added up.
"So Dumbledore's rewarding you guys for what you did, but not so much that you beat out another house" James said approvingly.
Lily sighed, she wished they weren't rewarded for it at all. She was proud of her son for what he did yes, but if he came to the conclusion that it was alright now to go breaking rules and then expected to be awarded, they were going to have a hard six books to come.
Then he went on to Harry, awarding him sixty points for his use of courage.
"Never mind, they did tie" Lily rolled her eyes.
"Has there ever been a tie?" James asked.
"No, not that I can think of" Remus said "so this might be interesting."
Harry was cheering along with everyone else, but then as he added it up, he realized they were now tied with Slytherin. Dumbledore wasn't done yet though, as he finally went on to Neville, awarding him ten points for having stood up to his friends.
All four adults couldn't help themselves. Despite how wrong they felt this was, they all said "congratulations" and Harry's eyes light up like Christmas all over again. Mostly though, they were just proud of him, and happy that Neville had been rewarded as well for what he had done. What's done is done.
The whole Hall went wild, everyone was pleased that the Slytherin's had lost the cup. McGonagall and Snape got to their feet and shook hands, a rather forced smile in place on the later.
"Oh, I'm sure he's very pleased about all of this" Sirius laughed.
Snape caught Harry's eye, and he could tell that Snape's feelings towards him hadn't changed one little bit.
"Can't say I'm surprised" James sighed.
"Disappointed though" Lily muttered.
Harry knew that this was the best night of his life, better than playing Quidditch, or his Christmas, or even knocking out trolls.
"Knocking out mountain trolls is a good memory now?" Lily asked.
"Well when you look back, yeah, I was pretty proud of that incident" Harry shrugged.
Before he knew it, the school year was over, they were being handed their final grades, and even the neanderthal students like Crabbe and Goyle had managed to scrape through, but as Ron said, you couldn't have everything.
"Has anyone ever gotten such bad marks they were thrown out?" Sirius laughed.
"You should try it sometime" Lily said sweetly.
"Why do you keep picking on me" Sirius grumbled.
"Because you know I don't mean it" she shrugged, eyes twinkling.
Sirius couldn't help it, he smiled back.
Notes were handed out reminding that magic wasn't allowed on holidays,
"Pointless really for the purebloods" James laughed.
despite Fred saying how he always hoped no one would remember to hand those out.
"Even if they forgot to give them to you, the rule would still apply" Lily giggled.
Their suitcases were packed, and they were all back on the boats with Hagrid to head back to the train. The three friends had a memorable trip, filled with candy and games, and then they were pulling back onto the platform.
"Oh no" Remus groaned.
"What's the matter" James demanded, Remus looked like he didn't know whether to be angry or sad, and it was rather an odd, torn expression.
"I've just realized where he's heading back to" he sighed.
"Crap" Sirius hissed in disdain.
"You know what, I lied" Lily told Harry, going a shade of red in the face at remembered anger "I'll take the mountain troll."
"Last you left, they weren't speaking to you" James groaned "so I suppose if you just have to put up with that for three months, it won't be too bad."
Harry kept quiet, knowing full well it was better not to say anything he was thinking about the Dursley's to this lot, and just mentally preparing more calming speeches about why they shouldn't kill them yet.
It took some time for all of the wizards to pass back through the barrier, as it would be kind of obvious if they all crowded out at once.
Despite the sudden dread, they all couldn't help but laugh a bit at that mental image.
While waiting, Ron mentioned how he wanted Harry to come over during the summer.
"Yes" all four of them said at once, glad Harry's friend didn't wait till another year to ask.
"Hell, please let him stay all summer" James begged.
Harry blinked, having an odd feeling about bars being ripped off of windows? Something involving Ron? He had no idea.
As people were passing by them, random people called out a farewell to Harry. Ron laughed and said that Harry was still famous, and Harry corrected not where he was headed to.
"Wish you had told them exactly why" Lily muttered.
"Why didn't you?" Remus demanded.
"I just made some snide comments every now and then, like that first day I met Ron" Harry shrugged. He hadn't really believed that, whatever he said, he'd be taken away from the Dursley's, so he never thought to tell anyone. What good would it do?
It was their turn to exit then, and the first people they spotted was Ron's family, including his younger sister who squealed in delight at seeing Harry Potter.
Lily rolled her eyes, how young was this kid again?
Harry however was smiling indulgently, like he thought that was the cutest thing in the world. Odd though, since back then he'd just felt embarrassed.
Mrs. Weasley greeted Harry with warmth, asking if he had a busy year. Harry's only response was to say, very.
"Why do you over exaggerate every punishment you should have gotten, but can't be bothered in these moments" James laughed.
Harry thanked her for the sweater, but then he spotted the Dursleys, as outraged as ever to see the nerve of Harry existing.
"I can't believe the nerve of your ugly face" Remus grumbled.
Mrs. Weasley greeted them as well, asking if they were Harry's family.
"Hardly" Lily muttered scathingly.
"Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid are better family then that lot of slugs" James hissed.
Vernon's reply was only in a manner of speaking, then he turned to Harry and told the boy to hurry up, he didn't want to wait all day on him.
Remus half considered it a bleeding miracle the man had even shown up to get Harry, considering the last time he'd only dropped him off as a cruel joke.
Sirius puzzled over something, thinking back to those awful first three chapters when he had felt like a murderous psychopath, and came to the suddenly odd conclusion that Vernon had never actually called Harry by his name. He had just called him boy at every opportunity. It seemed a miracle Harry even knew his name. Well the first chapter said Vernon never even learned Harry's name, maybe this was implying he never had. Sirius couldn't decide whether to laugh at the man's stupidity, or crack the man's head open and let all the dust out.
Harry still hung back for a last word with his friends, Ron promising he'd see him over the holidays, Hermione wishing him well with an uncertain look over at Harry's Uncle, clearly shocked at how unpleasant he as.
"You haven't heard the worst of it" Lily snapped.
Harry suddenly got a huge grin as he promised that he would have fun over the holidays,
"Why?" James asked "cause you know how to curse Dudley now?"
Harry just chuckled, that momentary memory of something bad happening gone in an instant to be replaced by what he had been feeling then.
because the Dursleys didn't know he wasn't allowed to use magic outside of school. He was going to have a lot of fun with his cousin this summer.
"Oh" they all said brightly.
Lily frowned in concern at once, as she knew full well Petunia did know that rule, as she constantly reminded it of her whenever the slightest odd thing happened. Hopefully Harry wouldn't get into too much trouble because of it...
"Okay, that could be some potential for a lot of fun" James said, an evil grin spreading across his face.
"That's the end of this book" Remus said, glancing down at the last two words.
"Well I think it's time for dinner then" Lily said getting to her feet.
"I can help" Harry offered, following her into the kitchen
"No dear, I won't even let your father help, this is my thing. Go badger the boys with fifty questions I know you've been holding back."
Harry smiled at her, but did as he was told, walking back in to find them all laughing about some of the pranks they had pulled back in school, but there was a dark undertone to it. They seemed to be focusing on the ones that had disastrous, unplanned side effects. Several students seemed to have wound up in the hospital wing because of them.
Harry didn't want to think about the Dursley's when he was in such good company now, so he threw out the first question that came to mind. "So about that awful Quidditch match?" Harry began cautiously.
"Really" James laughed "you want to bring that up now? After everything we've just read?"
Harry merely shrugged, as far as he was concerned, he was alright. He didn't even feel any lingering trauma from this, which didn't bode well for his mental health, or this gut feeling that this wasn't his only deadly encounter. So he did what he had been watching his family do this whole time, deflect. "Yes" he said simply.
Sirius sighed and began "Alright, yeah, you've earned it. So it was my fifth year right, and just before the game I was mad and distracted, which is probably why I didn't notice that my little brother, Regulus, was a Seeker for the Slytherin team, in his second year! Scrawny little git, I wouldn't have believed he could stay on a broom that was almost as big as him."
Shaking his head in remembrance, though with his mixed feelings about his brother he really couldn't decide if they were fond or not, he kept going "anyways, so after I had basically ignored him for the past two years, I didn't see any reason to change that now, and the game went on as usual. That is until James went to make our fifth goal in a row, and one of the Slytherin beaters on the team lost it. I'll admit, I was distracted by watching Regulus, so I didn't see him, guy's name was Runcorn I think, big ol' sixth year. Yeah anyways, he knocked a bludger right at James, who didn't have the quaffle at the time mind you, and I did what any beater would and dove down to intercept."
Sirius paused again, frowning a bit and saying "Don't rightly remember the rest of it, since that's the last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital wing."
"Well we do" Remus said, looking pale as he glared at his friend, who clearly looked like he wanted the story to end there. Knowing that wasn't fair, he turned to Harry and finished "Sirius was coming in from one direction to block the Bludger, and Regulus came in from the other, he must have seen the snitch or something. James tried to cut away, but having three things pelting him at once, it's no wonder he collided with one of them, which happened to be Regulus. All three boys managed to dodge impact however, but then Runcorn blew the second Bludger in their direction, and still disoriented from that three way near knock out, one of the three didn't have time to move out of the way..." he trailed off, wincing in disgust.
"It was awful" James agreed, "that thing hit Sirius in the back of the head, and he fell nearly forty feet to the ground. Everyone was distracted by calling a foul on both teams."
"I thought he was dead" Remus said, looking like he was going to pass out while looking his friend full in the face "I didn't even realize he wasn't in the air any more, and when I saw him on the ground below-"
"But I'm not" Sirius said loudly, mimicking Harry earlier, but hey it had worked then right. "Spent a while in the hospital wing, and then I was as good as new."
Lily was looking genuinely upset for all of them, not having attended this game, she couldn't even imagine the trauma of seeing that now. She had been listening in from the kitchen, rather curious to hear that story herself.
Harry smiled around at them, as he decided to let the story go. His family clearly didn't like revisiting the incident. Yet this shared memory only reinforced what he knew for a fact back when he had first woken up and laid eyes on these people. They were all loving, caring, and his. Nothing would ever change that.
Finally done! ...redone? Not the point! I'll have the next book up within the week, and before we know it we'll be right on track again in the third book! Thank you all so much to infinity for your constant support of this, it never would have made a comeback without you all.
Thoughts on Philosopher's Stone:
The first book of this series does an excellent job right off the bat of showing you exactly what you're getting for the next seven, yes still seven I'll get to that latter, books. Whimsical fun mixed with a healthy dose of 'this is some real shit you need to learn to survive.' Magic is only introduced and teased until you hit chapter 6, and even then you only get the real life experience of what's been building up in 8. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is such a fascinating space I swear you could throw the most boring person in the world, like Vernon for instance, in there and you'd still find something interesting in that school. Harry being the focal point really makes you feel like you're there, because he's not much of an opinionated person. While traveling through him you don't get his impressions, you just see what he does and you gather your own opinion of it. The characters are introduced at an excellent pace, it quickly sets up their character, but then as the story progresses you realize there's more depth to them and you get to watch them interact and change throughout the year. Even subtle future plot points are laid out that you won't even notice until your second read through. Fourth favorite in the series, 10/10 for me, would recommend to anyone of any age.
*I couldn't find a way to work it into the book, but the reason Dumbledore flew instead of getting there quicker was because of Fudge. At the beginning of the book Hagrid mentioned how Dumbledore got messages from the man all the time, and Dumbledore was more than tired of having to arrive and help the man, so he was dragging his feet if you will to go up there. They don't even meet Fudge until the second book, and they don't see his true colors until the fifth, and by that time this really wouldn't have a reason to cross their mind. Found that interesting.