Happiness still hadn't come for Harry Potter. True, he had defeated Lord Voldemort, he had saved the Wizarding World, he had become the youngest auror ever, and everyone loved him. He had even shed that horrid nickname of "The Boy Who Lived" (Although, "The Man Who Triumphed" wasn't much better) But, when he wasn't being hounded by reporters, or chasing left over Death Eaters, or spending time with his fiancé Ginny, or with his other friends, he had too much time to think.
Harry hated when he thought. For the past seven years, he hadn't had enough time to think. It was always one thing after another. From protecting the sorcerer's stone, to destroying seven scattered pieces of a torn and mutilated soul, he never seemed to catch a break. He had hated it back then, but now, he longed for it.
With his new found free time, Harry was able to think of all the terrible things that had happened to him, all the stupid mistakes he regretted, and most importantly, all the people who had died for him. Every. Last. One. Lily, James, Cedric, Sirius, Albus, Dobby, Peter, Severus, Fred, Remus, Nymphadora, even Colin had died for him!
Their ghosts haunted his dreams, their memories flooded his thoughts, and the things they had left behind influenced his world.
Today, as he found himself walking into Gringotts he repeated the mantra he had repeated to himself for months once more. They wouldn't want me to stop living. They wouldn't want me to break. They wouldn't want me to think of them like this. They would want me to keep going. But, these words couldn't stop him from dwelling on the past. What could have been.
So, to appease his thoughts, he found himself going in to Gringotts to sort through his things. It had been Hermione's idea actually. To placate his ghosts, he would visit every vault he had access to. It had been his idea to bring Teddy.
Teddy was one now, and could say many words. His favorite sentence was "Let go to Die-gone owie pease!" Harry loved watching his godson grow up. Although, it was hard considering Teddy's nose changed shape at least twice a day and his hair at least thrice. None the less, Harry loved his godson immensely.
Harry found himself thinking these thoughts as he said to the goblin, "I'd like to visit the vaults of: Harry James Potter, Sirius Orion Black, and The Black Family. Teddy here would like to visit the vault of Remus and Nymphadora Lupin." Harry proceeded to lay three keys on the table, and pick up Teddy to allow him to deposit his own key. The goblin picked up the keys and gave Harry a dirty look. He guessed they hadn't quite forgiven him for the dragon stunt. A new goblin came out and Harry and Teddy soon found themselves hurtling down the catacombs of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
They first came to Harry's own vault and he, having come here many times, planned to merely pick up a few galleons, spend a moment in silence and allow Teddy to take a galleon before leaving. However, fate would not allow that. When Teddy took his galleon, it was from a pile that Harry had rarely touched due to the fact that this one went almost to the ceiling and he could not reach the top. . Teddy, being the one year old he is, took it from the bottom and the whole pile tumbled over.
"Oopsie!" Teddy said in a high pitched voice and Harry cracked up. As he was wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes, he saw a carving in the wall he hadn't noticed before. Almost up to the ceiling, was a series of hearts, each with two letters in it. G+T was the carving at the top, and coming down hearts included R+M, S+K, W+N and at the bottom of the column was, J+L. James and Lily. Harry thought.
Harry almost broke down. But he quickly remembered the goblin and his godson standing behind him. He would probably look mental if he went from crying tears of laughter to tears of sorrow. So he beckoned Teddy to him and said "Look here Teddy, these were some of your Dad's best friends. And my parents," his voice thick with emotion.
The little boy looked confused. He fixed his godfather with a wide eyed stared and asked innocently, "Hearts?"
Harry chuckled. "No, no not the hearts silly Teddy. The people who made the hearts!"
"Oh," said Teddy. "We make hearts too!" The toddler declared. Harry thought this was a good idea. But before he angered Gringotts further, he turned around.
"Is that ok? If we carve into the stone?" He asked the goblin.
"It's your vault sir." The goblin replied curtly.
Taking it as a yes, Harry conjured a carving knife and allowed Teddy to grasp the not sharp end above his own hand. Harry guided their hands and the blade into a heart shape and wrote H+G in the center.
"Now," he turned to face Teddy with a mock-stern face. "Do not tell Ms. Ginny about this. It's a suprise." He informed Teddy who nodded his head brightly. "I'm ready to go to the next vault." He told the goblin.
The next vault was the Black vault, where Harry just briefly looked in and got back in the cart. The goblin was very ticked off about that, but Harry knew that vault would not help him feel any better.
After the Black vault they visited vault 324, the Lupin's. Teddy got a little more pocket money and insisted they draw another heart. Harry complied and carved an almost identical heart except this one said R+N.
The last vault was Sirius'. Even though it was technically Harry's, he always called it Sirius'. Harry felt an odd sense of foreboding as he approached this vault. He held Teddy a little tighter as the goblin inserted the key and unlocked the door. Harry had never been to this vault. He had avoided it until now.
As the door swung open Harry gasped in shock, Teddy squealed with delight, and the goblin groaned in annoyance.
Inside the vault, front and center, looking shiny and new, was Sirius' motorbike. Harry hadn't seen that bike in over a year. He walked quickly over to it and ran his hand along the side.
"Is there anyway for me to take this home?" He asked the goblin.
"It can be arranged." He said.
"Thank you." replied Harry.
As the motor bike was taken out, Harry saw many other exciting things in Sirius' vault. A set of Quidditich balls, Another set of mirrors, a few broomsticks, a list titled "The Best Pranks We Ever Pulled", a Hogwarts trunk filled with passed notes and vintage prank supplies, and lastly a box labeled "For Harry"
Harry's breath caught in his throat. Sirius wanted to give this to me. Probably the moment he got cleared.I wonder what it could be. Suddenly Harry was overcome with emotion for the second time that day. He wouldn't allow himself to break down in front of his godson. But he did allow one tear to fall for Sirius.
Harry opened the box and saw only three things. Two were wands. He picked up the first one. Mum he thought. This was his mother's wand. He took a guess at the other. When he picked it up, his suspicions were confirmed. Dad was his only thought. He pocketed the wands for further examination later. He proceeded to pick up the last item in the box.
It was an envelope. The envelope was on addressed to Lily, Padfoot, Moony, Peter, Harry, Snivellus and Albus in a handwriting much like his own. His father. He decided to read the letters after he dropped off Teddy. He knew this would be his ticket to the end of his haunting.
Much later, in his room at his flat, He opened the letters. Harry didn't know what to think about them. What did it say about his father? Harry decided that it said his father was brave enough to write letters with his last words before he dies.
Harry started with Snape's. That would promise to be entertaining.
It's the one guy you love to hate! The one! The only! Jaaaaames Potterrrrrrr! All pleasantries aside, I am currently dead. Maybe that makes you happy. Maybe it doesn't we never could tell with you. I have a few things that I want to clear up with you. First off, for old times sake, please, take a shower. I am leaving you fourteen bottles of shampoo in my will, in hopes that you will find you enjoy the feeling of having clean hair and continue to do so.
But to get in to more Siruis (sorry I'm in hiding. I need every form of entertainment I can get) matters, I heard that you're getting a position at Hogwarts. If Harry is still alive, and gets there, please look out for him. I fear that Voldemort might want to kill him even more than he does now, only if he survives though.
If he doesn't survive, then I guess you don't need to worry.
Also, Sirius will probably try to find someway to blame you for my death. Don't mind him. He's just upset. He really was always a big baby. I know you did your best.
Dumbledore told me you warned him about us. For that, I am grateful. Even though I was horrible to you for seven years straight, you still tried to save my family. I also wanted to apologise for those seven years. I can't speak for Sirius or Peter, but I know Remus and I, at least, are very sorry. We were children and although that is no excuse, I hope you find it in your heart to forgive us.
Lastly, could you please help Remus and make him the Wolfsbane Potion? I just heard about it and it would do wonders for him. I have left you and him together enough money for several years of ingredients. It would mean a lot to me.
But, it is your place to refuse any of these requests. I was cruel to you. And for that I am truly sorry. I hope that fate gifts you a life longer than mine.
Harry thought about Snape then. Snape, who in first year he thought was trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone. How many times had he been wrong about Snape. Hermione always told him he could trust Snape. But, Harry had never believed her. Not until Snape's dying breath. "please forgive me as well, Professor." he said aloud, as if Snape was in the other room.
Harry turned to the next letter in the envelope. This one was addressed to Albus Dumbledore.
If you are reading this it means I'm dead. I wrote this letter in case I died so that I could tell you a few things. First off, Why didn't you tell me you have a brother? If you are wondering how I know this, it is certainly not because of some of the many illegal trips to Hogsmeade the marauders and I have gone on.
Also, Since you still have the cloak, I would appreciate it if you gave it to Harry. If he is dead, please give it to Sirius. If he is dead and so are Remus and Worm- Peter, then you may keep it.
Finally, the matter of Secret-Keepers. I am very sorry that we did not choose you but we had our reasons. Lily, as you know, has a certain flare for charms. She thinks that the more feelings of love and happiness that goes into a complicated bit of magic (Patronuses, Animagi transformations, Fidellus) the more powerful it is. That's why the good guys always win.
So as powerful a wizard as you are, we love the marauders. And they love us. Which, makes their power far greater than any other. You always said love is more powerful than any magic. So, Lily and I decided to have Sirius do the charm. Sirius though, thought that it would be too obvious, and Voldemort might somehow get it out of him.
So, he convinced us to switch to Peter at the last second. Right now, Peter is our Secret-Keeper. Since sirius probably brought you this letter, you probably know he is innocent. Just in case though, you have it in writing from me.
Have a nice day,
P.S. Tell Minerva that Harry will be raised by Sirius if Lily has passed on, and that I apologise in advance for any heart attacks which may result.
Harry thought about his mum's theory a bit. It sounded like a good idea. Any charms or spells he ever did with loved ones or happy thoughts in mind tended to be more successful than any others. Then he thought about the other things his father had mentioned.
The Cloak, he thought, Dad wanted me to have it. Also, his father had known about Aberforth due to many forbidden trips to Hogsmeade. Harry doubted that Aberforth had told too mant people about his brother. And James wanted Harry to be raised by Sirius!
Lastly, Secret-Keepers, Harry thought. Dad thought that Dumbledore would believe Sirius. But Sirius never got the chance to tell his story. After all that suffering though, Dumbledore did believe him. He always did think the best of everyone, even when he had no reason to. "Thank-you Headmaster, for always believing in me."
The next letter was addressed to began to read
It's me. James. I'm dead. If you're reading this, it obviously means that you are alive. I can only draw one conclusion from this. You sold out Lily, Harry and I to Voldemort.
I loved you Wormtail. I trusted you to be our secret keeper. That was the only way it could work. If I loved you. And I did. You, Remus, Sirius, I loved you all as if you were my own brothers. I only want to know one thing:
Why did you do it? Were you just afraid? Under the Imperious? I don't think so. You were never really afraid of anything as long as your friends were behind you. Which we were, all the time. You could throw off the Imperious in 2 minutes but you only told the other Marauders, it was your secret weapon.
I think you wanted something else. I think you wanted power. You wanted to outshine the rest of were always the Underdog, and you wanted to be the champion. Well look where that got you. You're going to go insane in Azkaban because everyone knows Sirius wasn't the secret keeper. I've made sure of that.
You don't deserve to be a Gryffindor. You don't deserve to be a Marauder. Wormtail did. You're Peter. Not Wormtail. Wormtail died when you took the Dark Mark.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your life serving snake-face. Never talk to my son, Sirius, Remus or Lily. Good-bye Peter. I wish things could have been different.
Oh dad, if you only knew. Harry thought. Peter had done the right thing in the end. When it had mattered most, Peter did the right thing. "Wormtail," Harry said, "I forgive you. You've earned your nickname back." Harry thought Wormtail would appreciate that.
The next letter was for Moony.
If you're reading this, it means I'm dead. Knowing you,You've somehow found a way to blame yourself for this. What the hell? Just because you're a werewolf, doesn't mean you're cursed!
Ok, well maybe it does, but not the make-bad-stuff-happen-to-the-people-around-you kind of cursed ! Padfoot has probably also found a way to blame himself. Mr. Moony, you have my written and express permission to use whatever means necessary to talk some sense into him. If that includes hitting him upside the head many times in quick succession, that is, of course, perfectly acceptable, as I myself have found that this is often the only way to knock sense into Mr. Padfoot.
Also, since I have already established that you are not cursed in any way that will hurt others, GET A GIRL MOONY! GET A SODDING BIRD YOU NITWIT! We can't very well have only ONE ladies man in the Marauders. And Merlin knows Wormtail is hopeless with women. (Harry fell to the floor with laughter here) That is my dying wish. That you find yourself a nice chic and settle down. And don't leave her once you've decided she's the one.
Also, Since I am gone, there will be no Prongs to help you on your full moon nights. So, to keep playing my part, I have left you and Snape enough money to brew lots of Wolfsbane Potion. I daresay you know about it, and since you always were rubbish at Potions, I've asked Snape to make it for you. (might I suggest apologizing before asking him for favors though)
Remus, (I didn't use you're nick-name this is going to be serious.)Dammit, I'm so sorry. I didn't tell you anything. You have no idea what happened. And It's all because I'm a prick and I didn't tell you we switched.
Peter thought you were the spy, and if I'm dead it's obvious you weren't. If I'm dead it was Peter. We all told you Sirius was the secret-keeper. He wasn't. It was Peter. You may act accordingly.
Please forgive me Moony. I'll miss you.
Harry's dad was afraid that Remus wouldn't forgive him for thinking he was the spy. He didn't know haw wrong he was. Also, Remus was supposed to get the Wolfsbane every sodding month! But, these letters were never sent. No one but Harry would ever know his dad had made a different will. Harry promised himself that he wouldn't tell anyone about these letters. The only reason he was even reading these letters was because all of these people were dead.
The next letter in the envelope was to his mother. Lily Potter.
To My Dearest Lily
If you are reading this, it means that Voldemort got to us. It means that I am dead and you are not. I am so sorry to leave you. So sorry. I will miss you when I pass on. Wherever I am now, know that I am missing you more than you miss me right now. Just writing this is making me emotional, and you are in the next room over!
I will miss the way you smile when we're alone, I will miss the way your eyes sparkle when you get excited. I will miss the way you bite your lip when you're nervous and the way your head fits perfectly against my neck. Damn Lily I'll even miss the way you glare at me when I'm being arrogant or stupid.
It's the same look you used to give me in school. I remember when you used to hate me, you're so cute when you're angry. Dammit Lily, I'm so sorry to leave you. I don't think I can write anymore about this. It's too painful. Just know that I've always loved you. Even when we supposedly hated each other. I've never hated you Lily. I've always loved you with my entire being. Always with my mind, heart and soul. Always.
To the moon and back,
Harry was in tears by the end of the letter. His Mum and Dad really loved each other. "To the moon and back" James had said. Frankly, there was no greater love, than the type that went to the moon and back.
The second to last letter was for Sirius.
Mr. Prongs would like to make evident the fact that if this letter is being read, he is dead. He would also like recognition for being successful at sneaking this bunch of letters into Mr. Padfoot's Gringotts vault. If Mr. Padfoot would please just lift his glass and toast all of Mr. Prongs' wonder and glory, that would be most appreciated. (Mr. Prongs knows Mr. Padfoot well enough to be certain he is drinking at least a fire whisky at this moment.)
Mr. Prongs would also like to say that he has given Mr. Moony permission to hit Mr. Padfoot if Mr. Padfoot is brooding so Mr. Prongs suggests that Mr. Padfoot stay away from that type of behavior. Mr. Prongs thinks that pranks on the Ministry with Mr. Moony would be a much better way to spend his time.
Mr. Padfoot should also not forget to neglect his duties as Godfather to Mr. Prongs' son, but, there is no need for that because Mr. Padfoot would escape Azkaban for Mr. Prongs' son.
Mr. Prongs has two last words of advice for Mr. Padfoot. The first, is that Mr. Padfoot should be the one to tell Harry about what happened to his parents. As soon as he is old enough to understand. And Mr. Padfoot must Tell Harry about the Prophecy before his first year of Hogwarts if Harry is alive. The second is Mr. Padfoot is not allowed to think about what would have happened if Peter was not the Secret-Keeper. That will do nothing for anybody except make Mr. Padfoot depressed.
Your brother in all things but blood,
Mr. Prongs (aka. James)
P.S. We really were bloody brilliant. Those pranks we played and the magic behind them. Let everyone know and register us as animagi. Then, tell Harry where to get the Map.
Harry loved the fact that most of this letter was in Marauder-speak as Fred and Geroge had dubbed it. Harry decided that he would have to tell George who the Marauders were the next time they spoke. But, stangely, thinking of George in the singular and not with Fred attached to his name didn't hurt as much as it had before. Most of the names didn't hurt as much. Only one name still hurt.
Sirius would escape Azkaban for Harry. That's what his dad thought. His dad had thought it was ridiculous though. Why would Sirius go to Azkaban? But he did. And Sirius did escape Azkaban for Harry. As Harry was brooding over this, he suddenly remembered his father's punishment for brooding. And he did the most ridiculous thing possible in that moment.
This, made Harry think about how Sirius had laughed when Peter got away, and Harry laughed even harder. Harry guessed that he was honoring Sirius' memory or something when he laughed. Sirius always thought the world was too, well, Serious! (Punn completely intended)
He decided right then and there to take his father's advice to Sirius. Harry would not dwell on what could have been. He would only think about how much he had loved the time that they spent together. And most importantly, he would laugh. He would try to bring a little more sunshine into the world because that was what Sirius would have wanted.
The final letter belonged to Harry. Just like Sirius' vault at Gringotts, he had deliberately put this off. But there was no way he could ignore it now.
If you are reading this it means I am dead. It also means you are old enough to understand what probably happened to me. See, I'm not really the sentimental type, but Dumbledore showed your mother and I a prophecy about you and quite frankly it scared the bloody hell out of me. If Padfoot showed you this before you knew those words I will re-animate myself and murder him!
Anyways the prophecy said that you will "have the power to vanquish the Dark Lord" and "be marked as his equal" and "have a power the Dark Lord know not". Which, is pretty impressive for a 6 month old.
Dumbledore only told us about this because we're going into hiding tomorrow. Voldemort is after us son. He wants us dead. No one lives after he decides to kill him. No one. Padfoot is probably going to be our Secret Keeper. But, he wants Wormtail to do it. He says "it's the perfact ruse" and I say "too bad Scooby". Needless to say he was not happy and your mother decided that she liked the way I looked blonde.
But, if you're reading this it means I'm dead. I don't know who else will be alive when you read this, but I'm sure they'll love you as much or more than they do right now. Just like myself.
If you're reading this, I'm not around to tell you how proud I am of you. How cute you looked after you're first haircut, how you fell so often after you're first steps, how your first word was "Pwongs!" or even how much joy you bring me.
That's why I wrote this letter. To tell you those things after I'm gone. I love you Harry James Potter. More than words can describe. And no matter what you become, I'll always be proud of you. Even though I'm not with you physically, I'll always be in your heart.
I'm smiling down on you,
James Potter; Your Dad
Harry looked up. If his father really was smiling down on him, he might as well smile back. "Thank-you Dad. I love you too." he whispered to the ceiling, or, whatever laid beyond.