Sequel to 'Having My Say...'
Thank you to WyrdSmith for the idea!
He was floating...just following the river, wherever it took him. Only...it wasn't a river. Harry wasn't sure exactly what it was, but he was enjoying the calming sensations that flowed through him. Finally he came to a stop and sat up slowly to look around.
He was sitting in the middle of a forest clearing; the trees and bushes forming walls around him that only let in sunlight and fresh breezes. He had to be somewhere, but he had no idea where he was; nothing looked familiar, but it was real, substantial...not at all what he imagined the afterlife to be like. He felt the deadening weight of depression settle back down on him...it hadn't worked.
~Harrison, are you there?~ Maybe it had worked...
Harry heard the sound of bushes rustling and turned, futilely searching for his wand. Where was his wand? How could he lose his wand? He had just been holding it...
"I'm telling you that he has to be here somewhere!"
"Prongs, calm down...we'll find him."
"Jamie, this is the only other place he could be..."
The bushes parted and three people walked into the clearing...three people that Harry knew well, two only from photographs and the other from two short years of personal acquaintance. He stood and stared at the two men and one woman as they turned to face him.
"Harry!" Sirius Black ran across the clearing and swept Harry into his arms, spinning them around from the momentum of his movements. Harry began to cry; it had worked...IT HAD WORKED!
"Padfoot, let us have him." There was a jumble of hands and then Harry was transferred into two more sets of arms; one set hugged him around his waist, the other around his neck. The owner of the arms around his waist belonged to a woman only slightly shorter than he was; the owner of the other set was taller than him by a good five inches.
"Oh, my baby! As happy as I am to see you, I wish you weren't here!" Lily's tears soaked the shoulder of Harry's shirt as her arms tightened around him. "You weren't supposed to die!"
"Well, technically, I didn't." Harry smiled as she raised her head so that she could look him in the eye.
"What do you mean you didn't? You're here, that means you died."
Sirius stepped up and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Do you want me to explain?"
Harry nodded and they all sat on the ground as Sirius started explaining what had happened to Harry while he was growing up. He explained about Harrison and the fact that they were two distinct personalities, two separate people sharing the same body. James began to shake with anger and tears slid down Lily's cheeks; Albus Dumbledore, the man they had trusted with their lives had enabled the abuse that fractured their beloved son into two people.
"But...how did you get here, if Harrison isn't with you?" Sirius was curious about how that had happened.
Harry smiled slightly. "Charlie, Harrison and I planned how this would work; Harrison overheard Dumbledore telling Snape that I had to die to get rid of the horcrux we'd been carrying in the scar on our forehead. Harrison figured out that one of us would have to die in order for Voldemort to become mortal again; I chose to be that one."
"But why, Baby, why?" Lily hadn't stopped crying yet; she really didn't want to believe that Albus had forced her baby to essentially commit suicide.
"After everything that had happened, Harrison was the stronger of the two of us; he and Charlie are also very much in love with each other. After all the abuse and everything, I didn't want to let anyone get that close to me; I would have probably just stayed in the background for the rest of our lives if I hadn't agreed to do this, or if I had survived...there was nothing to keep me there except for Harrison."
The four of them were startled by a large, glowing orb appearing in front of where they sat; looking carefully, they were able to see the living room at Grimmauld Place. It was filled with people sitting in chairs staring at an empty coffin with a moving photograph of Harry propped up in front of it. As they watched, Harrison walked to the front of the room and turned to stare at the crowd in front of him; they recognised him even through the light glamour he was wearing.
"Oh, he's so handsome...just like you, Baby." Lily and James stared at their other son; when Harry had been born, there had only been one, but they instinctively knew that, by the time Harry had died, there was a set of twins. They heard snippets of conversation as Harrison berated the people and froze some of them in their seats; James was pleased to see that Snivellus Snape was one of those frozen.
"Let's start with his 'relatives'. You hated him. No matter how much you try to sugar-coat it, you hated him. You allowed your whale of a husband to beat him, to starve and abuse Harry as much as he wanted; you never once tried to stop him." Lily snarled at the image of her sister.
"You were honestly friends with Harry for the first three years you knew him. After that, what happened to your friendship was anyone's guess...it sure as hell wasn't the same as the first three years. You were jealous of the fame that he hated; you wanted it for yourself."
"Then, right before the final battle you came right out and told him that you hoped he died in the battle, so that you could finally get what was coming to you. Well, you'll get that alright...exactly what's coming to you." Sirius sat still in shock that Ron Weasley, Harry's best mate, could have done something so completely wrong.
"I was Harry Potter's only true friend, the only one he could trust unconditionally. He and I were definitely radically different from each other. He was the Gryffindor Golden Boy; I would have been sorted into Slytherin...had I been allowed to attend Hogwarts. I wasn't permitted to go; it wouldn't have been a good thing, if I had. I see one of you has figured who I am...excellent! You'll keep quiet about it." James and Sirius smiled when they saw Severus Snape, frozen in place, with a surprised expression on his face.
"You imagined yourself to be Harry's surrogate mother, someone he could go to and talk to, if the need arose. Well, the need arose several times, but each time you fobbed him off, dismissing his concerns because they weren't what you wanted to talk about."
"He came to me again, after his godfather's death and couldn't do anything but cry. Once he had calmed down enough to talk, he told me that you had said that now that he was going to be Head of the House of Black, wouldn't it be such a wonderful thing when he married Ginevra? Not if, but when. You didn't even bother to ask Harry if he wanted to marry your daughter; you kept talking about spending all that lovely money that Harry was to inherit on a wedding that he didn't want to happen." Lily snarled at Molly Weasley...to think she had thought well of her, taking care of Harry all these years; Gideon and Fabian were going to be so disappointed with their sister.
"Ah yes, Remus Lupin. You were Harry's honourary godfather; you weren't allowed to be an actual godfather because of your condition, Harry understood that. You could have, at the very least, shared some of your history with Harry's parents, though; he needed to know that they loved him. By the time he met you, he had already been conditioned by the Dursleys to believe that he was worthless and unlovable; the things that were happening to him only furthered that belief."
"The only decent parental figure that Harry had...Sirius Black...got taken from him during the battle in the Ministry building. You blamed him for Black's death...he knew you did." Only James' hand on his shoulder kept Sirius from standing and trying to get to the werewolf.
"Severus Snape...the esteemed Potions Master and Professor at Hogwarts. You hated Harry even before he could talk. He represented everything that you couldn't have...Lily and a child with her." James growled slightly at that pronouncement; Lily placed a hand on his arm to calm him.
"Albus Dumbledore. From the day of Harry's parents' deaths, you had been manipulating his life; you wanted to make sure things would happen a certain way and you needed Harry to make that happen."
"Harry was your pawn, your little chessman; you knew that the likelihood of him surviving the final battle with the Dark Lord was slim. You manipulated everything so that he could gain first-hand knowledge of how to go about doing things...but still not enough knowledge to destroy the Evil."
"We've now come full circle...the manipulations start from the precise moment that you left Harry on his relatives' doorstep. Wait! Let's examine that for a moment...you left a fifteen month old child on a doorstep...outside...at night...on 31st October, wrapped only in a sleeper and a blanket. I don't know about the rest of you, but I happen to think it's rather fucking cold that late in the year...and at night, too!" Lily's face flushed at the language used by her second son; for all her faults, she knew that Petunia hadn't raised him to speak like that...it was probably from everything else they had to endure. Then the rest of his words penetrated her mind.
"He left you on their DOORSTEP? On Hallowe'en night? He left you there? He didn't ring the bell, he didn't knock...NOTHING?" Harry shook his head and motioned for her to keep listening.
"How, you may ask, are Harry and I two separate people? Very good question...you see, while Harry was growing up, he took to talking to himself in order to keep his sanity; you would too if you were being beaten for every little thing you did wrong. In doing so, he created me...my name is Harrison Evan Potter-Black. This is my husband, Charles Adam Potter-Black. We will celebrate our first anniversary the day after Harry's eighteenth birthday."
"Husband?" Lily and James looked at each other and then over at Harry, who just smiled at them.
"By the time I married Charlie, Harry Potter had almost ceased to exist; he was there, but only in spirit. I allowed him out when it was necessary to play the part of The Gryffindor Golden Boy, but then he was put away; he preferred it that way."
The glow faded away and left Harry watching his parents and godfather stare at each other in shock...then the questions began.
"When did that happen?"
It was James' quiet question that got Harry's attention first. "What did he mean by you preferred it that way?"
Harry ducked his head slightly, almost afraid to meet his father's eyes. "Like I said before, Harrison was the stronger one; by the time we got to our sixth year, so much had happened to us that I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I agreed to come out only when it was absolutely necessary to play my part; Harrison was in front from the time of Sirius' death, except for rare occasions. I think I had been in front, maybe, four times by the time the last battle rolled around."
"Harry, when you say 'in front', what does that mean?" Lily was trying to understand everything that had happened to her son.
"If Harrison was in front, that meant that his was the dominant personality at that time. If I was the dominant personality, then I was in front. That was the best way I could come up with to explain who was dominant at any time. I was in front most of the time...up until Cedric's death after the tournament; after that, Harrison took over more and more, because I couldn't handle everything."
James didn't say anything, just pulled his son into his arms; they sat like that for a few minutes, then Lily and Sirius joined them. Harry didn't know how long the four of them held each other, but eventually Lily pulled back slightly.
"Do you have any questions?" She'd get back to how Harrison was married later on.
"How fast does time pass here?"
Sirius thought for a moment. "Well, you know you'd only been here for a few minutes before that orb appeared?" He kept speaking when Harry nodded. "That 'memorial' for you took place about a month after you died. I've been here for two years, but it only seems like a month or two to me. That's why I didn't get around to telling your parents about you and Harrison; until you got here, I didn't know how quickly time was passing down there."
"So, now it's...when?"
"About another two weeks have passed. Now that we've all been made aware of time passing, it will slow down here, to match what goes on down there."
Harry nodded in understanding. "Is...is Cedric here? Only I want to apologise for getting him killed."
"Harry, you had nothing to do with my death...you didn't cause that." Cedric Diggory walked into the clearing and sat down next to Harry. "V-Vol-Voldemort caused my death...that other one just cast the curse."
"Peter Pettigrew...he's the one who cast the Killing Curse; but I'm the one who told you to take the cup with me." Harry looked at Cedric for the first time; he looked just like he had right before the last task. His tournament uniform was clean and not torn up like it had been after the maze; he had no cuts or bruising either, he looked...healthy...for a dead person.
"I don't blame you; you didn't know what the cup was. You did take my body back to my parents, though, right?" At Harry's nod, he smiled. "Thank you...I just wanted my parents to have closure, to have something to grieve over, instead of an empty casket." Cedric got up and walked out of the clearing, leaving Harry alone with his parents and godfather again.
"Is there anyone else here that I know?" Harry was almost afraid of the answer...he didn't want to know if anyone else that he cared about was dead.
"Well, the usual assortment of relatives and ancestors, but I think Cedric's the only one you went to school with." Sirius thought about it again and nodded. "Yeah, he's the only other one I think you'd know."
Harry breathed a sigh of relief; he hadn't wanted to personally know anyone else in this place...wherever it was. "Hey...I just thought of something...where are we?"
James chuckled and slung an arm across his son's shoulders. "This is the afterlife, Son. It doesn't get much better than this. C'mon, we'll take you back to the house now; we have the rest of eternity to get to know each other." James stood and pulled Harry to his feet and then turned to do the same with Lily and Sirius.
Lily gently dusted dirt from her skirt and took Harry's hand, swinging it slightly as they walked. "You're going to love it here, Harry."
Harry looked behind him at the clearing and then forward again...
Yeah, I think Mum's right...I'm going to love it here ~...goodbye Harrison...be happy.~
Down below, a tall, dark haired man raised his head from the book he had been reading and looked at the ceiling.
You be happy too, Harry...finally...