You guys have completely blown my mind(stares at you all in disbelief) there's only 5 chapters, well 6 now and this story is already over 100 reviews. I never thought this story would reach so many reviews, favourites and follows so quickly(smiles).
You guys are AWESOME, thank you so much for taking the time to review; I loved reading each and every one of them and thank you to everyone for your patients(smiles)it really is appreciated.
Now, here's chapter six, enjoy…
Disclaimer: I do NOT own anything of Harry Potter, that's ALL J.K Rowling.
Light had flooded his room in the early hours of the morning and it beckoned him to come out of his slumber. But he didn't want to, he still felt tired.
He groaned as he tried to fall back asleep, but it wouldn't come and he noticed he was feeling hot as the warm light heated up his room.
James groaned again and buried his head further into his pillow. He didn't want to get up yet; he didn't feel like getting up yet. It didn't even feel like he had a full night's sleep.
He had fallen straight to sleep when his head hit his pillow last night and he couldn't recall what he had even dreamt about. Sighing, he flipped onto his back and stretched. He shuddered a few minutes later and relaxed.
What time was it? James turned his head to the side and squinted, trying to read the time on the electric clock he had on his night stand. After a few seconds he gave up and grabbed his glasses.
Putting them on, his eyes widened. It was nearing eleven in the morning… and he still felt tired? Normally he was full of energy and ready for the day and yet he didn't want to get out of bed? Weird. Albus or Lily didn't even come into his room to bother him like they usually did every morning. Weird again and slightly worrying.
James blinked up at the canopy of his bed; he could smell breakfast being made as the aroma drifted into his room. He sighed at the smell and closed his eyes. Egg, bacon and toast. He wondered if his mum would make him some pancakes if he asked.
The sudden thought of his mother quickly remembered him of yesterday's events and his eyes shot open. That's right, his parents were turned into little children and now they had to take care of them until the potion wore off.
James quickly looked at the time again and quickly bolted out of bed, "damn, damn, damn, damn." He continued to curse under his breath as he quickly found himself a fresh pair of clothes and changed.
Why didn't he set his alarm or something? He could have gotten up and had breakfast ready for everyone by now. Who was making breakfast? He hoped Lily or Albus didn't mess up the kitchen or end up burning it down. He couldn't smell any tell-tale signs of smoke, so hopefully they were alright.
He finally yanked on his jeans and struggled with getting his arms into the sleeves of his shirt, all the while quickly making his way to the door. "Stupid shirt," he grumbled and finally got his arms through.
He grabbed the door handle, pulled it open and walked into the hallway. He fixed and smoothed down his shirt, running his hands through his messy hair. The delicious smell of breakfast wafting through the air intensified and James stomach grumbled.
Wanting to quickly get downstairs to help his siblings, he closed his bedroom door and was about to head down when the door opposite his opened and a fully dressed, but still slightly sleepy Lily walked out.
Lily looked at her brother in surprised, but smiled, "morning," she greeted.
James smiled, "morning, Lils. You got up now?"
"Yeah," she looked a little sheepish, "I was really tired for some reason," she said and came to stand near him.
"Well we did have a busy day yesterday and went to bed late," said James, "I was surprised you didn't wake me up, you're usually an early riser, even if it is the holiday."
Lily shrugged and blinked a few times, trying to get the tiredness out of her eyes. She was more of a morning person than her brothers and usually she had the honour of waking them up alongside their mother. But this morning she had taken her time getting out of bed and getting dressed, it still felt so surreal for her that their parents were actually little children and she wouldn't get to see her father's eyes brighten whenever he saw her or her mother's loving kisses on her forehead and her delicious breakfast.
Thinking of breakfast, Lily raised her eyebrows at her brother, "I thought you were making breakfast, James."
James shook his head, "and I thought you were, Al must be downstairs."
Lily nodded, if it wasn't her or James than it must be Albus. She looked towards the two doors near hers and James, "do you think Mum and Dad will be awake?"
James eyes drifted to the doors too and his chest tightened, "don't know." Flashes of their dad's innocent and guarded eyes looking up at him curiously and their mum's open smile and bright eyes coursed through his mind. For some reason the day suddenly felt very daunting, he remembered his talk with Uncle George, he felt confident enough to see everything through, but yet he still felt that uncertainty.
Lily's eyes went back to her brother and she was surprised to see him looking serious. It wasn't often she saw that look on her fun loving and mischievous older brother's face and honestly it unnerved her sometimes.
She placed a hand on his arm, bringing him out of his thoughts, "you okay?" she asked when he turned his head to her.
James blinked at her before smiling reassuringly, "sure I am, just thinking."
Lily didn't believe him, like their father she could easily sense or tell what a person was feeling. For Lily she was mostly in tune to her brothers. She could tell when her brothers were distressed or upset, one look and she knew something was wrong or they had a lot on their mind. But she never forced them to tell her anything if they didn't want to and most of the time it was stuff she could really do without knowing.
"Well don't think so much, it doesn't suit you," she teased.
James pouted at her and then ran his hand through his hair, giving his sister a superior grin, "well actually I've been told I look quite handsome when I'm deep in thought. Girls just love to know what I'm thinking about."
"Yeah when you're deep, deep, deep in thought," said Lily airily.
She quickly moved away when James tried to swat her over the head. She giggled at the look her brother gave her and straightened up.
"I'll have you know girls want a lot of James, they can't get enough of me," he said trying to inflate his ego.
Lily scrunched up her nose disdainfully at that; but she couldn't deny that girls didn't swarm all over him or Albus. The only difference was that Albus shied away from them while James took it all in stride. Her brothers had gotten to that age where puberty had already hit and they had developed height, muscles and an abundance of the Potter charm.
This meant girls at Hogwarts got interested and attracted and who best to come to than Lily Luna Potter, the youngest Potter and the only sister to the Potter brothers. She had lost count of how many girls had come up to her and asked her if her brothers were single, what were they like? What type of girls were they into and if she could introduce them to her brothers? And so on and so forth.
Now she didn't mind it at much... first, but now it had become increasingly easier for her to recognise and look for the signs of what girls were really after. Some didn't really care about her brothers, just the name attached - Potter.
So now she appointed herself as her brothers 'protector' or something along the lines. Her mother had told her she was just as overprotective of her brothers as her uncles had been with her when they were all in Hogwarts. Even though her brothers could be annoying pricks sometimes, she didn't want them to get hurt.
"Well that's something I really don't want to know," said Lily plainly and she walked to their mum's bedroom door. "I'm going to see if Mum's awake."
James nodded and followed Lily's example, going to their dad's bedroom door, "I'll get Dad up, I'm sure they'll both be hungry. Hopefully Al will have everything ready when we get down."
Just as Lily and James were about to open the bedroom doors, another door opened making them stop and turn and they gaped at what they saw. A tired looking, fully dressed and wet haired Albus walked out of the bathroom. He ran his hands through his hair and then shook his head; making droplets of water fly everywhere.
Albus sighed and stretched, the cold water had helped a little to wake him up, but he couldn't wait for breakfast. Hopefully James or Lily have woken up earlier than him. His green eyes roamed through the hallway and they suddenly meet his sibling's surprised gaze, his own eyes widened in return.
Albus shut the bathroom door and walked a few steps towards them; they continued to stare at him in shock. The aroma of breakfast wafted through the air and all three people who could possibly make breakfast were on the second floor hallway, looking at each other in disbelief. If they were all here, then who was making breakfast downstairs?
"What?" questioned Albus as his siblings looked at each other before turning back at him.
"You were in the bathroom," said James slowly, it came out more like a statement than a question.
Albus nodded, suddenly looking worried, "I took a quick shower, but I thought one of you two were downstairs."
Lily shook her head, "No I woke up now."
"So did I," said James, he turned his confused and suspicious gaze from his young brother to his little sister. Lily understood and they quickly turned the handles, pushed open the doors and looked inside.
The bedrooms were empty, no sign of their mother or father. Harry's covers were neatly in place while Ginny's were hastily thrown off. Lily and James turned back to each other and shook their heads.
"Dad's not here."
"Neither is Mum."
"If Mum and Dad are not in their bedrooms, then does that mean they're the ones...?" Albus trailed off, pointing a finger gingerly towards the stairs as he looked at his brother and sister in disbelief.
Without a second thought, all three Potter kids jumped into action. They raced down the hallway, down the stairs, into the foyer, through the living room and came to a stop at the kitchen entrance. They froze and gaped at what they saw.
Harry stood on a stool at the cooker, high enough for him to reach what he was doing and standing to close for their comfort. The heat was already on; bacon sizzling away on the pan as he gently flipped them. A pile of toast was already on the table, buttered and with jam sitting on the side. Scrambled eggs and cooked bacon were already laid out on four plates sitting on the table and one was already being devoured. Ginny sat at the dining table, watching Harry keenly as she chewed on her toast.
They both turned their heads when James, Albus and Lily practically ran into the kitchen and both young children smiled brightly at them.
"Morning," greeted Ginny, finishing the toast and started on the bacon eagerly.
The Potter kids slowly walked in, "morning," they automatically greeted Ginny back.
James' eyes quickly returned to their father who had returned back to the sizzling bacon over the hot pan and was proceeding to tip the bacon onto a plate. His heart gave a painful leap as he saw their young dad's arms tremble from the weight of the pan and he quickly moved forward.
"Harry, what are you doing?" his voice came out in a near panic. He took the handle of the pan from his father, turned the heat off and placed the pan on the cooker.
He quickly looked over the young boy, who in return was watching him in surprise and if James had looked any closer, he would have seen hints of fear there as well. But all that coursed through the older teenager's mind was that their six years old dad—not their fully grown, responsible, sensible, adult dad who cooked breakfast as much as their mum did— had made the breakfast and judging by the smell and appearance of it, a nicely cooked breakfast. That did not sit well with him.
How did his dad learn to cook at such a young age, six was not the appropriate age to learn cooking. "Are you okay? You didn't burn yourself did you?" he picked up his young father and gently placed him on the floor.
Harry watched the oldest black haired teenager nervously, did he do something wrong? He only wanted to make sure breakfast was ready before they came downstairs and he also wanted to thank them for the really comfy bed he got to sleep in. He couldn't remember the last time he slept in a warm, soft bed before. He thought he'll make a good impression of himself to his babysitter and hopefully they wouldn't be mad if he did anything wrong.
But the older boy didn't look happy, he didn't look mad either, but he had obviously done something wrong if the older boy had stopped him from doing what he knew.
Harry shook his head and looked down, "sorry."
James raised an eyebrow at him and looked to Albus and Lily who were at the table watching them. They both had concerned looks and he knew they found the concept of their six years old dad making them breakfast quite unsettling.
"Hey, hey," James couched down, gently cupped Harry's chin with one hand and guided his eyes back to his, "no reason to apologise, Harry. I was just worried; I didn't know you could cook."
Harry looked at James closely, but didn't say anything. He was trying very hard not to flinch away and he was slightly puzzled by the boy in front of him. So he wasn't mad at him?
"Harry's cooking is really good," commented Ginny gently as she hopped off the table and came to a stand near Harry's side. "The bacon is just as tasty as Mummy's." Harry smiled at her.
Albus and Lily looked at each other then at the four plates on the table. They each took a strip of bacon and popped it into their mouth. Albus and Lily were surprised; it tasted just like how their adult dad cooked it, perfectly cooked, not too burned nor too raw and just as tasty. It was a simple breakfast, but it was well made.
"This is just like how Dad cooks it, James," said Lily slowly as she finished chewing her bacon.
Albus walked around the table and crouched beside his brother, "when did you learn how to cook, Harry?" he saw his father squirm timidly under his and James scrutiny and gently added with a smile, "Ginny's right, it's really tasty."
Harry quickly racked his brain and tried to remember when his aunt had started forcing him to wake up early and prepare breakfast for them. He could remember his aunt telling him to stop being so useless and start earning his keep. He ended up burning the food or getting himself burned a lot and his aunt Petunia always yelled at him. "When I was four," he stated quietly.
All three Potter kids froze; different degrees of shock etched onto their faces as they looked at him with wide eyes.
Four? Their father learned how to cook at the age of four. That couldn't be right, who in their right mind would let or even teach a four years old child to cook.
Albus licked his lips, "who-who taught you, Harry?"
"Aunt Petunia," answered Harry innocently, his big green eyes showing hesitance and uneasiness.
Their great aunt? Their grandmother Potter's sister? Their father had told them that he had lived with his aunt until he started Hogwarts and then he just went home for the summer holidays. Their father had spent so many years with the Dursleys and they made him cook at the age of four.
"A-aunt Petunia taught you how to-to cook when you were four," disbelief and shock coloured Albus' voice.
Harry only nodded; he couldn't quite understand why they were getting upset. Ginny's brow furrowed with confusion, she couldn't really understand the emotions fluttering through the older children faces, but one look at Harry and she knew he was finding them staring at him uncomfortable.
"I help my mummy cook all the time," she reasoned. She helped her mummy make deserts and cookies and even got to wash some of the vegetables and fruits to make dinner. Her mummy never let her use a knife or anything pointy, telling her it was dangerous or she could hurt herself and she mostly watched when her mummy used magic to get the food done quicker. But Harry did use a knife; he even knew how to work the cooker and even cracked the eggs gently. Ginny tried it once, but hers broke quickly.
She had wanted to help Harry when she came into the kitchen to find him rummaging through the cupboards looking for the pan and some bowls. He had looked surprised when she asked him, but he only smiled at her and told her he was used to doing it himself. She had frowned and insisted a lot until Harry finally gave in and asked her if she wouldn't mind setting the table.
But as soon as she finished, he filled up her plate with eggs and bacon and asked her to taste it. He told her he wanted it to taste really good for their babysitters because he wanted to say thank you for the nice bed and clothes. Ginny thought it was a good idea, her mummy always told her to be polite –even though her brothers weren't at time– but Harry wouldn't let her help until she finished her breakfast.
"I still want to help you make breakfast, Harry. Mummy always tells me never to make anything in the kitchen alone and always have her or Daddy with me."
Harry only nodded at her, but didn't say anything. His aunt Petunia never said that to him and he was grateful that Ginny wanted to help.
James was having a hard time processing this, maybe it was because he was still tired or he was running on an empty stomach. But his six and five years old parents wanted to make breakfast themselves; he couldn't even toast bread at that age, forget about scrambling eggs or cooking bacon.
It unsettled him and he could see the difference in his young parents. Ginny was just offering assistance and he knew what type of assistance she meant. Their adult mother and grandmother always let him, Albus or Lily help in the kitchen if they wanted to and the most they did was lick the chocolate off the spoons or do some easy mixing.
Harry on the other hand had just made a full meal, one that looked and tasted as good as it smelt. This much knowledge for a six years old was unheard of and just not right.
"Da-Harry," started James, "when did you wake up? Do you usually make breakfast?"
Young green eyes looked at him with uncertainty and James was afraid his dad wasn't going to reply. But after another second of silence, Harry answered, "I woke up when the little hand was on the seven," he really wasn't good at telling time yet, but he knew a little about it, "and Aunt Petunia always wakes me up early to make breakfast."
"B-but you're only-only six, Harry," said James desperately, trying to understand the casual way his father answered his questions. He should be upset for waking up so early, especially to make breakfast for someone else. Harry shouldn't even know how to make breakfast. "Why does Aunt Petunia even want you to make breakfast? That's not right."
Harry was frowning now. So they didn't want him to make breakfast for them? He was being useful, he was trying not to be a burden to his babysitters and cooking meals was normal for him. He didn't want them to think he was a freak, but looking at the older teens' expressions, they didn't look happy with him.
He looked down, avoiding everyone's eyes, "Aunt Petunia said I have to be useful," he stated quietly.
Useful? James, Albus and Lily's heart clenched painfully at the quiet answer. They looked at each other, each of them silently communicating their discomfort and distress at the current topic. A seed of disgust was starting to grow for their great aunt. This wasn't right; this wasn't the answer they wanted to hear from a six years old, let alone from their dad. The way their dad acted and behaved wasn't right.
Harry squirmed at the silence and Ginny frowned at them. They weren't being nice, she didn't really understand what was going on, but all she knew was that Harry was trying to say thank you and they were ruining her friend's efforts. "Why are you so upset?" she demanded James and Albus suddenly, looking very angry.
The two brothers jumped a little at their mother's angry tone. Brown and green wide eyes swerved to young brown and Lily slowly came to a stand near Albus. They all looked at her with confusion and concern.
"Harry just wanted to say thank you," she said and stepped closer to Harry. They all saw Harry visibly relax when Ginny's shoulder touched his. "You're all being mean," she stomped one of her little bare foot on the kitchen's cold floor and pointed accusingly at the brothers.
The three now older Potters gaped at Ginny for a second before their eyes landed back on Harry. Harry was smiling at Ginny; gone was the nervousness and the discomfort. His face shone with amusement as he watched his new friend. Ginny sure was a lot different from any of the other kids he knew and he was glad for that.
"You- you wanted to say thank you?" asked Lily gently. Their six years old father wanted to say thank you by cooking them breakfast?
Harry looked back at them, then quickly ducked his head and nodded.
"For taking care of me, for the nice clothes and the nice bed," he admitted, after a few seconds of silence.
They just continued to stare at him, trying to understand. Little children usually said thank you by giving drawings of scribbles and stick people with excessive amount of glitter to their loved ones or a hug or a sloppy kiss, not by cooking them a meal and feeling obliged to do so.
James looked at his siblings before addressing their dad, "H-Harry, you really didn't need to cook breakfast to say thank you, you know."
Harry quickly looked up at him, his green eyes cautious. He didn't? "Really?"
All three of them shook their heads, "of course not. You're only six, Harry," said James desperately, wanting his young father to understand. "A grown up should cook meals, not a little kid."
Harry tilted his head to the side, "but Aunt Petunia said—"
"Aunt Petunia is wrong," said Albus quickly, a shot of anger coursed through him. "It isn't right that she's making you cook stuff."
All three of them shook their heads again. Harry's caution was still there, but a little flicker of hope was starting to rise in his chest. However he still didn't like the upset looks they had on, "are you mad?"
The Potter kids were surprised by the question and even more so by the tone their young father used. It sounded vulnerable and timid and –their hearts clenched– too familiar. It's as if this wasn't the first time Harry had asked that question.
It rang warning bells in their heads.
"Never, Harry," breathed out James. His father looked so vulnerable and small, all he wanted to do was just gather him into his arms and hug him. It definitely looked like he needed it, but James didn't know how this version of their father would take it.
Harry looked at him for a few seconds before giving a small smile. It wasn't convincing, he couldn't truly convince himself that his and Ginny's babysitters would never get mad at him. His aunt and uncle always got mad at him, but here, in a new place with new people, maybe he could show them he can be a good boy.
"So no more making breakfast by yourself okay," encouraged James, "if you're hungry in the morning or any other time in the day, just ask one of us and we'll make you whatever you want, okay."
Harry looked at him slightly bewildered and surprised. They actually wanted to make something for him? He could ask them? They wouldn't get mad? He turned his head to look at Albus and Lily and they both nodded their heads and smiled, completely agreeing with their older brother.
"Okay, Harry?" prompted James again.
"Okay," he said quietly. That answer didn't satisfy them, but they let it be.
James gave his young father a tender smile and straightened up, "good, now come on, let's eat. I'm starving."
Albus and Lily smiled and followed their brother's lead.
"When are you not starving?" commented Albus light-heartedly, trying to lift his brother and sister's mood. He knew this new discovery of their father will weigh heavily on their minds; he definitely knew it will on his, but he never was one to leave anyone in a gloom, especially his family members.
Lily gave a little giggle as James stuck his tongue out at his brother and said, "When I'm full. Now get in your chair and eat."
Albus rolled his eyes and didn't hesitate to help Harry onto one of the chairs; Lily helped Ginny into her seat as well and refilled her glass with juice.
James quickly served a plate for Harry, who sat in the same place he sat yesterday and noticed he didn't have a plate in front of him. James frowned at that, Harry had prepared food for everyone else, but not for himself?
"Here you go, Harry. Eat up," James placed the plate full of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast, making sure his little father got plenty of everything.
Harry mumbled a 'thank you' and cautiously started eating. He looked around to everyone, watching as they chatted to each other and ate heartedly the food he prepared.
The Potter siblings commented on how good the food tasted and smiled at him. He felt himself blush at the praises; he never got them from his relatives. Most of them time they didn't even let him eat with them or give him enough food that matched their own plates. But he liked this; just like how he liked the lunch and dinner they had yesterday. His babysitters were nowhere near like his relatives and he was both happy and cautious about that.
Ginny had already started eating when the Potter kids came in, so she was the first to finish. She waited patiently for Harry to finish eating his meal. She had left her chair next to Lily's and slipped into the one next to Harry's.
Harry was a little surprised, but grinned at his new friend nonetheless. She quickly struck a conversation with him, telling him about all the things they were going to do today and explore the house some more and he happily agreed.
As soon as Harry finished his meal, she practically dragged him off the table and was about to head out, when Lily stopped them. Lily quickly finished her juice and commented on Ginny's lack of shoes and that she needed to change her night clothes. Harry had already changed, but he had no problem being dragged upstairs with his friend and Lily so they could get ready.
Albus and James had rolled their eyes at their sister and quickly finished up their own breakfast. They started clearing up the table, quickly washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. They noticed their father didn't make a mess of everything, everything looked like it was carefully done and it both impressed and unnerved the two brothers.
How could a six years old be so capable in the kitchen? Why on earth would their great aunt Petunia feel the need to teach a six years old to cook meals? Wasn't she capable to do it herself? The more the two brothers thought about what their father told them, the more warning bells rang in their heads.
Albus finished putting the dishes back into the cupboard and James dried his hands with a clean towel.
"Well this had been a successful breakfast," stated Albus weakly and he turned to his older brother.
James sighed, he knew what Albus was talking about, but it wasn't easy to accept, "it was successful because our dad cooked it."
Albus frowned, "yeah, our six years old dad," he looked down and ran a hand through his hair, "our six years old dad," he spoke softly as if saying it enough times would help make it make sense. But it didn't and he knew it shouldn't. A six years old cooking a meal didn't make sense and it never should.
James looked up at his young brother and he saw the frown playing on his lips, the worry and suspicion in his pure green eyes. He didn't like it, it didn't suit Albus. He knew brooding about it wouldn't help anything, it never did, it just made everyone worry and fret and angry and that was the last thing he needed from his brother or sister.
James was about to say something when a sudden hoot echoed in the kitchen and an owl swooped in through the half open window and settled itself on the table edge. Both brothers turned to look at it and they immediately recognised it as one of the Ministry's owls.
The owl hooted and stuck out its leg with the letter attached. James quickly took it off, thanking the owl and Albus quickly found some Knuts in the cupboards and paid. It gave another hoot before flying off and out the window.
Albus turned to his brother and watched James look at who the letter was addressed to.
"This is for Dad," he said and Albus leaned in to take a look. Written in ink was their dad's name, James turned the letter over and they both recognised the seal stamped on it.
"This is the Minister's seal," said James, tracing a finger over the melted seal.
Albus's eyes widened as he realised something and he groaned, "oh no."
James looked up at his brother and was surprised to see distressed green eyes linking to his. "What? What's wrong?"
Albus groaned again, "don't you remember what Dad said; he still has another week before his holiday starts."
It took a few seconds before confused brown eyes matched distressed green, "Dad's supposed to be at work today."
"Yeah, grown-up Auror Dad, not six years old kid Dad," said Albus and he grimaced. Their dad couldn't go to work; no way was an Auror department suitable for a six years old. This was not good.
"Mum was supposed to go in today too. She was telling me about an article she had finished and needed to give it in to be published," groaned James.
"What should we do?" asked Albus. It's not like they could go in and take their parents places for a week in their departments. He looked at the letter in his brother's hands and hesitated, "should we… should we ignore it?"
James shook his head, "we can't, this is Kingsley Shacklebolt's seal, Al. What if it's important? I think we need to let him know what's happened."
Albus eyes widened again, "we're going to tell him that Dad and Mum can't come into work because they've been turned into little kids."
James nodded, grimly, "we have to, Al. we have to be the responsible ones now. Mum and Dad could get into trouble if they don't show up."
"Is he even going to believe us? What if he thinks we're playing a prank, James?" telling their uncle was one thing, but telling the Minister of Magic was a whole different story.
James looked at his brother and he saw the worry and distress there. Pushing his own worries to the side, James smiled reassuringly at Albus and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry, Al. He'll believe us and if he doesn't, we got proof. I'll show him the potion bottle and explain everything. You don't have to worry about anything."
Albus looked at his older brother, seeing the determination and reassurance there. It wasn't often he saw James being so responsible and comforting. He was always so mischievous and fun-loving, always after a laugh or a moment of laziness. His responsible side only came out when he needed it to and this was the longest he ever saw James like this and with a sinking feeling, Albus knew it was his fault.
If he hadn't been dumb enough to swipe that potion from Uncle George's shop and spike the Pumpkin juice, then James wouldn't have to worry and take all the responsibility of everything. If only he just accept his brother's apologies, none of this would be happening.
Albus' shoulders slumped and he nodded. The hand on his shoulder squeezed gently, the reassurance and comfort still there and Albus couldn't help but lean into his brother's touch.
"Hey," said James softly, "I'll make sure you won't get into trouble about this, Al. Nothing will happen."
Albus shook his head; he wasn't worried about himself. "I don't care, James; I don't care if I get into trouble." I'll deserve it.
"I'll do all the talking, I'll… I'll explain everything, I'll—" continued James.
"You're not doing this alone," interrupted Albus and he looked determinedly up at his brother. He's the one who got them into this mess; no way was he letting his brother face this alone. "If you really want to see the Minister of Magic then I'm going to be there too."
James stared at his young brother and he could see the determination set in those emerald green eyes and he knew there was nothing he could say to change his mind.
"Are you sure?"
Albus nodded, "You're not doing this alone. We're Potters remember."
This time James smiled and chuckled, yep they were Potters and they stuck together. James squeezed Albus' shoulder again and nodded and Albus was happy and relieved to see James' eyes lighten up, even if it was a little.
Suddenly three sets of feet thundered through the living room and into the kitchen. They saw Ginny race through the kitchen towards the kitchen door, clutching Harry's hand in hers and chatting happily as they both raced out the door and into the spacious garden. Lily quickly followed them and stopped at the door, shouting out, "be careful and don't climb anything you know you can't."
Albus and James raised their eyebrows at that and Lily laughed at their expressions when she turned and look at them.
Then she saw the letter, "who's that for?" she asked curiously and walked over to them.
James and Albus quickly explained everything to their sister and Lily, though worried, agreed with her brothers. She quickly went to their mother's office and found the article their mother had written and gave it to James, who would give it to Kingsley.
They asked Lily to watch their parents and James and Albus made their way to the drawing room. Deciding that it would be best to get this over and done with today than tomorrow, it would be one less thing to worry about.
It was half an hour later and the brothers were still sitting in the drawing room, trying to gather their courage to Floo to the Ministry. Not that they didn't like Kingsley Shacklebolt, he always made time to come down and have dinner with the Potter family and he was one of their mum and dad's closest friend and had been a great ally during the war.
They thought he was a pretty cool wizard and their father always told them how strong and powerful he was, even more so when he was an Auror. So they couldn't help but feel a little intimidated by him… okay well not a little, a lot, but that didn't help what they were going to do now.
"Maybe we should break it to him real quick," suggested Albus, "you know like a bandage. Just rip it off."
James scoffed, "do you really think that method's going to work with Kingsley?"
Albus looked down at the sheets of parchment James gave him and sighed, "Why don't we just tell him that Mum and Dad are sick and can't come in for the rest of the week."
James raised his eyebrows at his brother, "well for one, that would be lying. Two, it would never work with a sixteen and fifteen years old telling the Minister of Magic their parents can't come in to work today. Three, we'll definitely get caught and four, I think Kingsley would know Mum and Dad would personally call or go in themselves to say they can't come."
Albus sighed again; his brother had to choose now to be the voice of reason and sense. He got up from the armchair and started pacing, "alright fine, that won't work."
They knew they were being ridiculous, heck they even felt ridiculous. Here they were trying to come up with some reasonable way to explain to the Minister of Magic, once a formidable Auror and close friend to their parents that because of them, their parents, the famous Harry James Potter and the once number one Quidditch player Ginny Molly Potter were now reduced to giggling, nervous little children.
Yep that conversation was going go well.
They were idiots, cowardly, gutless idiots.
Another five minutes passed and they listened to Ginny and Harry playing in the back garden with Lily.
Albus' hands suddenly clenched tightly. That's it, no more pacing like old person. The faster they got this over and done with, the better. With determined steps, Albus walked over to the fireplace, he grabbed a fist full of the green powder and turned to look at his older brother, gauging if he was ready. James nodded and without giving himself time to realise what he was doing, Albus threw the powder into the fireplace.
The fireplace roared to life as James got up, the potion vial and letter clenched firmly in his hands. He walked to his little brother and gave Albus a pat on the back before stepping forward, "I'll go first."
Albus nodded and James stepped into the fireplace, stated the destination in a clear voice and he vanished. Taking a steady breath, Albus listened to his family playing outside for a few more seconds and with a firm resolve, followed after his brother.
He made sure to tuck his elbows in, keeping his mother's article safe in his arms and waited for the right fireplace to appear. He tumbled in right next to James, who quickly caught him before he fell.
James gave a little laugh, "you're still not used to that are you?"
Albus grumbled and straightened himself, "I still prefer flying."
They had arrived straight into the Minister's main reception. Kingsley and their dad had made sure if anything happened, they both could quickly arrive within the heart of the Ministry and the Potter Manor. They knew their father's study had a fireplace and it also was connected to the main reception and office of the Minister.
"May I help you gentlemen?" asked a feminine voice from the far side of the room. Both brothers turned to see a woman sat at a desk and looking at them sternly.
James nervously cleared his throat and he and Albus walked up to her, "we're here to see Minister Shacklebolt please. It's really important."
"Do you have an appointment with the Minister?" she asked, but it looked like she already knew the answer to that.
"No we don't," said James reluctantly, "but could you plea—"
The woman raised her thin eyebrows at them and shook her head, "I'm sorry, but the Minister is busy at the moment. You won't be able to see him today without an appointment."
"Please, ma'am, this really is important," said Albus desperately. He really just wanted to get this over with and he knew, with the way James was fidgeting, he didn't want this woman to stop them. "Our parents—"
The woman just gave them a stern look, her eyes narrowing disdainfully at them and cut him off, "without an appointment, I'm sorry, boys, you won't be able to see him. Now please, escort yourselves out."
James and Albus narrowed their own eyes at the woman and stayed put. What was wrong with her? They were trying to tell her something and she just kept interrupting them.
"Look, miss," said James, his voice lacing with frustration, "we're not leaving until we see Minister Shacklebolt. This is really important," he saw the woman open her mouth and he quickly continued in a loud voice, "it's regarding this letter we got this morning." He held up the letter showing the Minister's seal, he held it back so the woman wouldn't take it. "I know the Minister wrote this himself, you won't have any access to this seal. So please just let him know that we're here. We can wait."
Before the woman could say anything to that, the large mahogany doors a few feet away from them opened up and Kingsley Shacklebolt, dressed in royal blue robes stepped out.
"Darcy, could you please send these to— James? Albus? What are you two doing here?" asked Kingsley in his deep voice, surprised to see the Potter brothers standing in his reception without Harry.
Even though they knew the man wasn't going to like what they were going to tell him, they were nevertheless relieved to see him.
"Sir," Albus quickly answered, "I know you're really busy and we apologise for disturbing you, but please, we have something really important to tell you."
Kingsley raised an eyebrow at him curiously and looked to the oldest Potter child. James looked at him urgently and grimly and then he noticed and recognised the letter the boy was holding. His eyes then narrowed.
"That was for your father," he indicated to the letter.
James nodded quickly, "it's regarding our father, sir. Please, sir, can we speak to you? It really is important."
Kingsley, tall, proud and intimidating, stared at them critically and they fidgeted. Both brothers saw the concern flicker through his dark eyes for a second before he nodded and gestured to his office. "Very well, please follow me."
"But, sir, there is a meet—" said the woman, Darcy, as she got up.
Kingsley held up his hand to stop her and shook his head, "its fine, Darcy. It can wait; please carry on with what you were doing." he turned back to the Potter brothers, "this way, boys."
James and Albus quickly followed, but they couldn't help but stick out their tongues at Darcy who glared at them in return.
Kingsley closed the door behind them and he gestured for the boys to sit, but both Albus and James declined. They just wanted to let Kingsley know what happened and why their parents couldn't come in to work for the rest of the week.
Kingsley could see the tension in the young boys' stances and his own body tensed. Whatever the boys wanted to tell him, he knew it wasn't going to be good news, especially if Harry wasn't here to tell him himself.
"What is it that you wanted to tell me, James?" asked Kingsley as he walked over to his desk and sat down on his chair. The two boys neared his desk and looked at him solemnly.
Albus looked at his brother and James gave him a sideways smile before addressing the Minister. He held out the letter for Kingsley to take, "firstly I believe it's best for you to take this back, sir." There was no way he could put that anywhere in their house other than their dad's study and that was currently under lock and key or wand.
Kingsley took the letter and looked it over before placing it on his desk, "this was meant for your father, has he read it?"
"He can't, sir," said Albus softly. There was a lot his dad could do, but couldn't now.
Kingsley raised an eyebrow "what do you mean? Is your father alright?" there was concern in his voice, he had last seen Harry a day before the weekend and he seemed perfectly fine.
James and Albus squirmed, here came the difficult part, "Dad's fine, sir, but not in the way you'd think."
Before Kingsley could ask, James held out the potion vial and the older man took it. He looked it over and quickly recognised it as one of Weasleys Wizard Wheezes products. He had heard of this supply and knew that there were some major glitches to it and was currently going under trial and error. He gave the vial back to James.
"You see, sir," started James and waiting for Kingsley to look at him before he explained everything that had happened.
James didn't break eye contact with the older man and his voice stayed steady and calm when he told him that his father and mother no longer remembered anything other than their six and five years old memories and it would take up to two to three months for the potion to wear off. He tried his best not show the uncertainty and fear in his voice.
Albus stayed silent, letting his brother take over, he too kept his eyes on the older man, but couldn't help lean in a little into his brother. He wanted to let James know he was still here, giving his older brother his support and comfort. He smiled subtly when he felt James lean into his touch and quickly concentrated back on the Minister, who was growing stiffer and quieter with every passing second.
"… So you see, sir, I'll be really grateful if you could notify the Department of Magical Games and Sports and Law Enforcement to let our parents annual leave start now."
James finished with a gentle sigh and watched the older man, waiting for his decision. He knew the Minister couldn't do anything to help his parents, if Uncle George couldn't, and he invented the potion, than he didn't expect much from Kingsley. He just wanted to make sure his parents didn't get into any trouble for their children's mistakes.
Albus swallowed thickly and waited for Kingsley to speak, the man had brought his elbows to rest on the desk while listening to his brother. His hands were intertwined together in front of his face, his expression blank. Albus still felt the tension in his older brother's body and he didn't like it. He let himself lean into his brother completely, this time not caring what the Minister would think. His brother was taking responsibility for his mistake and he be damned if he left his brother alone to face whatever was coming.
A few more seconds passed by before Kingsley sighed and his eyes focused on the two brothers standing determinedly in front of him. This situation was a surprise and by the boys' words and appearance, appeared to have been all a big mistake.
"I see," stated Kingsley, "I will of course let Mr and Mrs Potter have their leave now, in this situation it is unavoidable. I will notify their departments and I believe their leave can be extended."
James and Albus sighed in relief and let themselves relax.
"Our- our parents won't get into trouble will they?" asked Albus cautiously.
Kingsley shook his head, "no they won't. It is not their faults and from the sounds of it I don't think this is what both of you wanted to happen."
Albus and James sobered and shook their heads; this was definitely not want they wanted to happen. It was just supposed to be a silly prank, a harmless, silly prank.
"But I do hope you both realise the seriousness of this situation and understand the consequences of the decisions you've made. If it had been anything else you could have caused your parents more harm than good. Intentionally or unintentionally."
"We do, sir," said James softly and Albus nodded. "We just want our mum and dad to be alright."
Kingsley let his face soften. The young boys were going to have a lot of responsibilities thrust upon them soon and there was little he could do about it. But maybe…
"It would be best if you follow George Weasley's instructions and take care of your parents. It is not my responsibility to give out any punishment over this situation; I'll leave that to your parents." James and Albus nodded gravely and could hear the disappointment in the older man's voice.
"I know the wards around your home are strong and unbreakable, your father made sure of that. But it would be best if they were reinforced in case someone wanted to come and cause any harm," these sort of things weren't unheard of; there had been many burglaries in homes that didn't have much defence.
Of course the Potter Manor was an exception, but Kingsley didn't want to take any chances, especially when the Potter family was in such a weak state. What with both fully trained witch and wizard out of commission. But he might have a solution for that.
James and Albus eyes widened at that, they didn't realise that security could be a problem for them as well. "Could- could that really happen?" Albus' voice shook, he felt sick. Someone could actually try to hurt his parents in that state.
"It is a possibility. Something we can't rule out and seeing as both of you and your sister are still underage, protection should be placed," said Kingsley gravely. He wasn't one to sugar coat anything; he needed the boys to understand how deep this could run.
James placed a hand on his brother's shoulder and Albus looked at him fearfully. How were they going to protect their parents if they couldn't do any magic outside of Hogwarts. James gave his little brother a reassuring smile, even though he felt an extra weight shift onto his shoulders, he didn't want his brother to feel disheartened.
"Does anyone else know of your parent's predicament?" asked Kingsley gently.
James shook his head, "other than Uncle George, Aunt Angelina and you, sir, no one else knows."
Kingsley nodded, "it would be best to keep it that way. I won't inform the departments on what's exactly going on, the less who know the better. But I think it would be wise to add some more protection."
The Potter brothers stared at him, more protection? "What do you mean, sir?"
The Minister crossed his arms over his chest, "I believe it would be best to station an Auror in your home in case anything would happen. Your father would want to make sure nothing happened to his children if he wasn't able to protect them."
Albus and James looked down, that was just another thing added to the pile of guilt.
Kingsley sighed as he saw the boys' crestfallen faces; he got up out of his chair and walked around his desk to stand in front of the two brothers. He placed his large hands on their small shoulders in a comforting manner.
"I know you lads will be fine," his deep voice was encouraging and light. James and Albus looked up at him, uncertain, "your father always speaks very highly of both of you and I don't believe you want to prove him wrong."
Brown and green eyes lightened at those words, "No, sir."
Kingsley smiled at them, "good. Just remember, help is here if and when you need it. Do not hesitate to call me or your uncle George until the Auror arrives."
James and Albus nodded and smiled, it was rarity to see the soft side of the Minister of Magic.
"Can we know who the Auror is going to be, sir?" asked James.
"You'll find out when he arrives, he is currently on his way back from a mission. As soon as I brief him on what's going on, he will stay at your home until your parents are back to normal."
"Can we trust him?" asked Albus. They would practically have a stranger walking around in their house and Harry and Ginny were only now starting to get used to them. Would an extra unknown person unsettle their miniature parents?
Kingsley gave a small smirk and nodded, "you can. Now you boys' best be going back. You two are the men of the house now… well until your father turns back to his normal self."
They both gave small nods; they were practically itching to get back home. Before he could forget, Albus held out the papers for Kingsley to take, "this is the article Mum wrote that's supposed to be published with the next print. Could you please make sure this gets to where it needs to go, sir?"
Kingsley took the papers and nodded, "I will. Now off you go."
"Thank you for understanding and for the help, sir," said James sincerely before he and his brother walked out the door.
Kingsley nodded and motioned for them to leave. James and Albus exited the office and quickly made their way to the fireplace. Before they left, they couldn't help but make faces and stick out their tongues at Darcy when she wasn't looking.
The rest of the day was spent entertaining their parents when James and Albus returned back from the Ministry. Lily had waited anxiously for them to return and practically tackled her brothers with questions when they came back.
They had quickly explained what had happened and that an Auror was going to be staying with them until their parents were back to normal. Lily wasn't happy about that, their parents already thought they were strangers, how where they going to deal with another stranger. But she knew it had to be done, especially when they explained the dangers that could befall their parents.
They had missed lunch as none of them were hungry because of the late breakfast they had. But Lily had brought out the last of the oat cookies for snacking on.
Harry and Ginny spent most of their time outdoors, frequently joined by James, Albus and Lily. Harry couldn't believe how much fun he was having. He was never allowed to play this long outside without doing some chores and he definitely never had a friend to play with. They played so many games, some he only heard about and saw other children play. He never knew he could get to play any games or play pretend with anyone.
Ginny was so hyper and creative, her imagination knew no bounds. One minute she pretended to be the queen of a rock –to her it was a big castle— and the next she was zooming across the garden as if she was being chased by a herd of monsters. She never left Harry alone for more than a few minutes, always tugged on his arm, always holding his hand to guide him somewhere and always smiling and laughing with him. It was the most attention he ever got and it was the good kind.
He watched as James, Albus and Lily joined in, laughing together, making jokes with each other, being silly in the many games they came up with. They even gave him and Ginny piggyback rides and Harry couldn't contain the joy when he sat on strong shoulders, his arms stretched in the air as James ran around the garden, the wind whipping at their black hairs and Albus with Ginny on his back and Lily chasing after them.
All three teenagers were fun to play with; they teased each other, playfully wrestled each other and most of the time Lily made her brothers do whatever she wanted. At one point she made them play her loyal servants in Ginny's game of Princesses, it was really funny to watch and even though the older brothers groaned and grumbled most of them time, Harry didn't think they minded as they smiled and laughed along with their sister.
He was jealous; he couldn't help but feel jealous. James, Albus and Lily acted more like brothers and sister, like a family than Dudley and the Dursleys ever did with him. Ginny always chatted about her brothers, there wasn't a time where she didn't remember something or another about her brothers and enthusiastically talked about them. Harry didn't have brothers to talk about, sisters to play along with and pamper. There were times he truly felt lonely at the Dursleys, long hours in his cupboard would give him plenty of time to fantasize about his own family, with his own brothers and sisters.
He couldn't help but feel jealous, but then Ginny would come, running to him, smiling at him, spoiling him with all her attention and the older children would join in. James and Albus would ruffle his hair; tickle him when he was within arms reach, Lily would gently smooth down his clothes, dusting off any grass and dirt and most of all they would all smile at him, grin at him, make him want to burst with laughter, make him want to smile till his face split.
And yet he would still flinch at their touches, he would still tremble at their closeness and he would notice the frowns that played on their lips, the brief flashes of disappointment and surprise at his withdrawal. He would wait for them to tell him to stop playing, to stop smiling, to stop laughing and to stay away from them because he was a freak.
He tried not to get too excited or too sad; he knew odd things happened when he got too happy or angry and he couldn't stop them, things just happened and it was always his fault. He didn't want the older teenagers getting mad at him, so to avoid that he stuck close to Ginny because Ginny was his friend, she wouldn't get mad at him.
Lily and Albus had made tuna, egg and ham sandwiches around late-afternoon and they had all gathered at the bench and ate the food heartedly. James made sure there was a plate full of sandwiches in front of their young dad and all three teens encouraged him to dig in. Harry had managed to eat one whole sandwich and drank a full glass of juice.
James had even brought out the treacle tart and was happy to note both their parents loved it. Ginny ate her full slice and Harry only managed half, he couldn't eat more than that, even if it did taste like the most delicious dessert he ever had, he just was too full; he never had so much good food in a day before.
Ginny had finished her full plate and drank her juice before quickly joining Harry and she suggested going to the study and library, the late afternoon air was getting chilling. Harry had agreed and Albus joined them. Lily and James quickly cleared everything up and cleaned the dishes.
Albus came back after half an hour to help his siblings, informing them that both their parents had curled up on the bean bags and were reading some of the children books. Smiling, they all finished up and retired into the living room. They discussed a lot of things together; the protection around the house, the extra precautions they could take, what they could do to help Harry and Ginny be more comfortable around Potter Manor before the Auror arrived, but mostly it was what they observed in the garden.
Their father's behaviour was becoming too suspicious, it was only their second day as kids and they were discovering too much for their comfort. The constant flinching, the constant fear in his eyes when one of them reached for him, the cautiousness, the distrust, the confusion when they did or said something completely normal or nice to him. It's as if he never heard those words directed at him before.
"Dad's completely fine around Mum. But whenever we come anywhere close to him, it's as if… it's as if…" Albus struggled to finish his sentence.
"It's as if he's scared of us," ended James softly. He couldn't get those big fearful green eyes out of his mind. Their mother's warm brown eyes were comforting, natural joy and happiness radiated off them and that's how they were supposed to look on a young child. But their father's green eyes were weary, cautious, distrusting, as if they were going to do or say something that he was waiting for. It wasn't right.
"Dad lived with the Dursleys for most of his young life didn't he, what could have made him like this?" question Lily thoughtfully. The more they thought about their father, his behaviour, his attitude, the more they could see a complete contrast from their older, normal, loving father.
James frowned, his brown eyes darkening, "whatever it was, I don't like it. They made him cook, guys. Cook," he said the word with distain, "when he was just four. What moronic idiot makes a four years old child cook," he practically hissed out.
Albus and Lily clenched their fists tightly, agreeing completely with their brother.
"Do you think Dad will tell us about the Dursleys if we asked him?" suggested Albus, after a few minutes of silence.
"If it's anything like being useful enough to cook than I don't think I want to know," said Lily and she buried her head in her hands. She was fearful with what they might find out, but she doubted they had any choice about it. "Why can't Dad be more like Mum? Mum seems a lot happier."
"Dad's happy too, Lils," said Albus soothingly, he rubbed his little sister's back and Lily silently relished in his comfort, "he's just a lot happier with Mum than he is with us." That caused all three of them to frown.
James shook his head, "no, Dad and Mum are always happy together, happy with us around, all of us together. This is Harry and Ginny, this is just Harry Potter happy with Ginny Weasley. His friend, we're not his friends," James looked to his siblings, his expression and voice troubled and they stared back at him, equally upset.
Little kids made friends easily and that's what exactly happened with Harry and Ginny, but they weren't little kids. They couldn't gain that sort of trust and friendship so quickly. For whatever the reason Harry just didn't trust anyone older than him.
Lily suddenly straightened up, surprising Albus, "well I think it's time we made him see that we could be his friends too," her brown eyes bore into chocolate brown and emerald green eyes. "If becoming a friend with Dad makes him happy, then I want to be his friend too." Her voice was brimming with encouragement and hope. She wanted their father to open up to them like he did with their mother, to know that they could be trusted too. She wanted to see a real, happy, genuine smile from their father, one that she saw every day, one that she didn't know how much she missed until now.
Albus smiled at his sister, "that's not a bad idea."
James nodded slowly, "yeah, and maybe we can get Dad to open up to us more."
"But what can we do?" asked Albus and he turned to Lily; "you're the youngest here, Lils, any more ideas?"
Lily gave her brother an irritated look, "so just because I'm the youngest from the three of us, I have to have the more child-like brain."
Albus blinked, "what? No I mean—"
"You're only two years older than me, Albus, you're still practically a kid," said Lily, crossing her arms over her chest.
This time Albus pouted, "No I'm not. I'm basically in my mid-teens. You're the one who just got into your teens."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're the baby teen."
The word 'baby' made Lily's eyebrow twitch, "I'm WHAT?"
Albus' eyes widened, quickly realising his mistake. One of the many things Lily didn't like and that was being called a baby, any other nickname was fine, but anything with the word 'baby' in it just meant a world of hurt for the person who said it.
"Nothing, nothing," said Albus quickly, bringing up his arms in defence, "you're nothing."
"Ugh, I can't believe you called me a baby," said Lily angrily and Albus started to inch away from her.
"I-I didn't mean it. Honest, it just came out," Albus looked to their brother for help, but James was only grinning, sitting comfortably in the armchair. "James," he whined desperately.
James only grinned further and watched as Lily advanced on Albus, who quickly got off the couch and tripped to get away from their sister. "Sorry, bro, you should have known better."
Lily pounced on Albus and Albus made a dash for it, running around the living room with Lily closely following him.
"Get back, Albus. I'll teach you who's the baby," yelled Lily.
"Aw come on, Lily. I was just kidding, it was a joke. Can't you take a joke?" Albus yelped as a cushion connected with his head and he nearly tripped.
Lily took that chance and she jumped on her brother. They both tumbled onto the floor and Lily quickly stationed herself on her brother's back. She placed both her hands under Albus' underarm and Albus started to fidget.
"That's not fair, Lily," said Albus frantically, knowing what was coming, "it was just a joke."
"You should know the punishment for calling me a baby, Albie," countered Lily and poked her brother, making him squirm.
James gave a laugh at the old nickname and Albus groaned, he tried to get his sister off, but she was securely planted on him.
"You ready, Albie?" taunted Lily.
Albus' eyes widened and he renewed his efforts to escape, "Lily, don't you da—"
Lily didn't let him finish and promptly started scribbling her fingers along Albus' sides and her brother burst into laughter. She grinned as he struggled and squirmed under her, he couldn't do much on his stomach and she alternated between his sides, underarm and neck.
"L-Lily, s-stop," laughed Albus, he tried to get up, but Lily wouldn't let him.
"No way," Lily struggled a few times staying on top of her brother's back. It was like sitting on a jostling ride, but she loved the sound of her brother's laughter and she grinned.
"Who's the baby? Who's the baby?"
"M-me, m-me," shrieked Albus.
"I can't hear you? Who's the baby?" she changed her hands back to his neck.
"L-Lily, s-st-" he dissolves into fits of giggles, "s-stop. I'm t-the b-baby," Albus struggled to speak between the laughter.
"Aw, Al, you gave up too quickly," commented James lightly as he moved to the couch to watch his siblings closely, enjoying their laughter and grinned.
"J-James, HE-HELP," he desperately reached out for his brother, but couldn't help but spasm into a laughing fit again.
James only laughed, "Sorry, little brother, but no way am I getting in Lily's way."
James only laughed again and Lily gave out a giggle, she continued her torture and only stopped when she started to see Albus' eyes water. She let go and Albus quickly scrambled away from her, nearly toppling Lily off.
He stopped at a safe distance –on the opposite side of the coffee table— and tried to calm his breathing down, "that was… so n-not… fair," he tried to scowl at his little sister, but it came out weak as he was smiling too much.
Lily only shrugged as she got up and giggled, "It's not fair you called me a baby, now were even."
Albus shook his head and collapsed on the carpet, "I don't… want to go… through that… again."
They laughed and James turned to Lily, "want to play chess?"
It was nearly eight when all three kids noticed the lack of noise coming from their parents, so after James thoroughly beat Lily and Albus in chess, they went to check on their parents.
Their face softened and tender smiles graced their faces at what they saw coming into the library. Litters of books were scattered around the floor near the colourful bean bags, some still open and both Harry and Ginny were curled up in their own bean bags, fast asleep.
"Awww," Lily cooed, "they're so cute."
Harry was curled up on his side, a closed book tucked under his chest; his messy hair flopped over his eyes, his mouth opened a little as he evenly breathed in and out. Ginny was lying on her back, a book resting on her stomach, her bright red hair fanned out around her head and a small smile gracing her lips in sleep.
Lily quickly walked up to them and cooed at the adorableness of her parents. James and Albus chuckled gently and joined her. They quickly cleared up the books, carefully picking them up and making sure not to make too much noise.
"They must have tired themselves out. They've been awake since seven this morning," said James. He placed the last book on the shelf and joined Albus and Lily, who were kneeling near their parents.
Lily and Albus nodded and they both reached out and gently brushed their parent's red and black hair away from their eyes.
"They look so peaceful," said Albus and he gently ran the back of his fingers over Harry's soft cheek. To his surprise Harry leaned into the touch and gave a small sigh. Albus looked to his brother and sister and they smiled at him.
They had discussed many ways to try and help their dad become more comfortable around them and maybe help him realise they could be his friends too and it seemed Harry wasn't pervious to touches after all. They only assumed he wanted them, but didn't know how to ask for them.
"Come on, we better put them to bed," said James and he bent down and gently picked up Ginny. She mumbled and squirmed a little in James' hold, but settled. Albus did the same with Harry, who practically melted into Albus' embrace and settled his head on the older boy's shoulder.
They all walked out and Lily closed the doors behind them, making sure to turn off the lights. As they started walking up the stairs, their movements must have been too much as both Harry and Ginny started squirming and opened their sleepy eyes.
Ginny lifted her head up from James' chest and looked around, "where we goin'?" she asked sleepily.
Lily chuckled, "we're going to your bedroom. You fell asleep downstairs."
"Wh're Hawwy?" Ginny's speech was a little slurred with sleepiness and she tightened her grip on James' shirt.
They all reach the top landing and Albus walked closely with James as they continued their way to their parent's new bedrooms. He turned, showing a sleepy Harry with half lidded eyes, watching them. Harry gave a sleepy smile to Ginny. "He's here, Ginny," said Albus softly.
Harry looked up at Albus, "sorry for fall'n asleep downstwairs."
Albus only smiled at Harry. His, James' and Lily's hearts clenching at those words, "you don't need to say sorry, Harry, it's okay."
Harry gave a sleepy nodded and turned his attention back to Ginny. Before James and Albus parted to go into the bedrooms —Lily had quickly opened the doors for them and turned on the lights—Harry lifted his head off of Albus' shoulder, "Goodnight Ginny," he called.
Ginny waved her little hand at Harry and smiled, "goodnight, Hawwy."
Harry gave a small giggle and Ginny and James disappeared into her bedroom, Lily following after them so she could help Ginny into her sleeping clothes.
Albus walked into Harry's room and gently sat him on the bed, "Let's quickly get you changed hmm." He ran a hand through Harry's messy hair and was happy to note he didn't move away, but Harry looked so tired, Albus supposed he didn't have the energy to.
Harry gave a small nod and rubbed his eyes with his tiny fists. Albus bit his lips; Harry just looked too cute doing that. He quickly turned away before he started cooing like Lily and found his dad's night clothes and gave them to him. Harry managed to change his clothes himself and Albus hovered close by in case he needed help.
Albus picked up the covers and Harry clumsily crawled in and settled down on the pillow, his eyes growing heavier and heavier. Albus spread the covers over Harry, he was about to say something when he noticed his dad had fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Albus gave a fond chuckle, tucked him in and smoothed out Harry's dark messy hair. He leaned down and gently placed a kiss on his father's forehead. He remembered how many time their dad and mum kissed them goodnight and this was going to be the second night without them there again. It was hard getting used to.
"Goodnight, Dad," said Albus softly and he slowly got up and made his way out. He gently closed the door behind him and joined his brother and sister in the hallway.
"Dad tucked in?" asked James, Albus nodded with a laugh.
"He fell straight asleep as soon he got into bed."
Lily grinned, "So did Mum."
James smiled and started walking back towards the staircase, Albus and Lily followed him, "today wasn't so bad." Even the meeting with Kingsley and discovering and realising a few things he never really gave any thought to, he still felt today went just as good as yesterday. But to be honest though he was still pretty worried.
Albus and Lily nodded absentmindedly, "we learned a lot," said Lily.
"Yeah, like how Dad likes to say thank you by cooking breakfast," commented Albus jadedly.
His siblings sighed as they made their way downstairs, "speaking of breakfast, I don't think it's wise to carry on like we did today," said James gravely; Albus and Lily looked at him questionably. "We need to wake up early; we can't keep having breakfast so late and then miss lunch. We only had two meals today with a bit of snacks in between. This is not going to be good for our health if we carry on like this."
Albus nodded and Lily sighed, "Just another thing Mum and Dad do for us that we don't notice."
Both her brothers looked at her and then looked down, she was right. Their mum and dad made sure they had plenty of food to eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They always woke them up so they wouldn't miss anything. They were always there greeting them, smiling at them, looking at them with love and care and now they wouldn't have any of that for a long while.
They walked into the living room and James made a beeline for the kitchen, he suddenly craved more of the treacle tart. The images of little Harry and Ginny devouring the dessert, humming happily from the taste and their big eyes brightening from tasting something so sweet, he knew he loved watching them enjoying themselves.
He wondered for a moment if that's what he, Albus and Lily looked like to their father and mother. Did their parents enjoy watching them take pleasure in what they made for them? Of course they did, it wasn't a hard question. Their mum and dad always wanted them to be happy.
He took a slice from the fridge and offered some to his siblings who sat on the table, each with a glass of juice. They both declined, but smiled when James shrugged and took a large bite. They all sat in silence, each in their own thoughts.
"How much more do you think we're going to learn and are not going to like it?" asked Lily after a few minutes.
James shrugged and Albus frowned, "whatever we'll learn, we'll deal with it together," said James. He didn't know how many times he was going to say that, but he believed in it wholeheartedly.
I just hope we're ready for it, thought Albus solemnly.
"You're going to love this, Harry, Ginny," said Albus excitedly as he and Lily placed three boxes in front of their young parents.
They were all sitting on the floor near the fireplace in the living room, it was late morning and James had given the idea of finally getting their old toys out. He had managed to get up early and make breakfast before his family came down. They had helped Harry and Ginny into new clothes –but as usual Harry didn't ask for any assistance— and they watched them happily as they showed off what they were wearing to each other.
"We got so many, bet you're going to have a lot of fun with them," said Lily with a smile, "we definitely did."
Ginny grinned and got onto her knees and shuffled her way to one of the closest boxes, Harry stayed were he sat and watched curiously. Albus and Lily opened up the boxes and James leaned over one of them and smiled at what he saw.
"Hey, I loved this thing, I used to play with this all the time," James took out a toy train, an exact replica of the Hogwarts Express. He remembered how it chugged around the room, even doing small loop-de-loops in the air, he wondered if it still worked.
A squeal quickly distracted him though, he looked up from the train and watched as Lily showed Ginny her old toy house, it was taller than their little mum and white and blue in colour. It had many windows and small balconies on the second floor and Ginny quickly fell in love with it. James found it a little ironic, it was the same toy house their mum had gotten Lily and Lily had squealed just the same way.
"We can put this in your room, Ginny and I think I got the dolls in here too," Lily rummaged through the big box and grinned as she pulled out three dolls.
"Can we play with it now?" asked Ginny excitedly, she never thought she'll get to play with such a big toy house, it was even better than the ones she saw in Diagon Alley.
Lily giggled, "sure, but I bet you'll love the rest that's in here," she coaxed her mother teasingly and Ginny quickly had her head back in the box to see what more she could find.
James grinned along with Albus and they both turned their heads to Harry. Harry sat crossed legged just behind Ginny, smiling at her excited face and eyeing the doll house curiously. James and Albus looked at each other and grinned before pouncing forward towards their dad.
Harry jumped a little as they sat next to him and Albus dragged the third box in front of them. "Want to take a look inside, Harry?"
Harry looked at Albus in surprise, "can I?" his small voice was cautious, but hopeful.
Albus nodded, "of course you can," and proceeded to take the toys out one by one.
James watched as Harry's bright green eyes started to light up as each toy was pulled out. There were stuffed animals, toy cars and trains, board games, building blocks, Quidditch action figures and Albus' favourite, the Quidditch pitch with miniature versions of two Quidditch teams. The figures all lay on the small field, ready to start flying as soon as one of them was touched. He wondered if it still worked as well, it had been a very long time since they last played with them.
Harry crawled forward and picked up one of the stuffed toys, it was a big, soft, furry, black dog. He ran his hands through the toy's fur and marvelled at its softness and texture. A small smile appeared on his lips and he hugged the toy to his chest. For some reason it made him feel a little giddy, "can I play with this one?" asked Harry timidly to James.
James grinned, "Yeah that used to be my favourite when I was little. Yo- um my dad got it for me."
Harry nodded and petted the dog, running his hands over the back of the dog's fur. It really was soft and fluffy.
"Here, Da-Harry, do you want to play with this too?" asked Albus excitedly and he showed Harry the Quidditch pitch.
Harry looked at it curiously, it wasn't like anything he'd ever seen before and it kind of reminded him of a little football field. But this was different, it was a lot bigger, had small figures lying around on the floor with brooms clutched tightly in their hands.
"What- what is it?"
James and Albus blinked at him, didn't their dad know? "It's a Quidditch pitch, Harry," answered James.
Harry blinked up at him and then back at the toy, he fidgeted slightly, "um… what's that?"
They blinked again, so he didn't really know, the two brothers looked at each other. Well their dad was raised by Muggles and they usually didn't know much about Quidditch. But it was still a surprise, they knew their dad was a big fan of Quidditch, what with him being the youngest Quidditch player in Hogwarts, being Quidditch captain and basically marrying one of the best Quidditch players in their years. They only supposed Harry would have known about it at the age of six, heck they'd known about Quidditch ever since they learned how to talk.
"It's a game where you can fly on broomsticks and you have to score points by throwing one of these balls," James pointed to one of the balls laying on the pitch, "through these hoops," he then pointed to the three small hoops on each side of the game.
Harry listened and frowned slightly, "they can fly?"
Albus chuckled at Harry's disbelieving tone, "sure they can. Here watch," reaching forward, Albus excitedly tapped one of the players and all at once all the little figures jumped up, hopped on their brooms and started flying around the pitch, tossing one of the balls around at each other. Three other small balls, one being almost impossible to see, started whizzing around the small pitch as well.
"It still works," said Albus happily as he watched the mini players tackle each other and steal and score points through the goal hoops.
James laughed and turned back to his toy train. He set it on the floor and within a few seconds it was chugging around the floor in front of the three boys, catching up speed and spewing colourful smoke out of its small front pipe. They watched as it did a small loop-de-loop and James laughed, happy that it was still working perfectly.
He turned to see Harry's reaction and his laughter died down in his throat. Harry still sat between them, his young green eyes were wide open, his complexion slightly pale, his little mouth open, gaping at the moving toys and shock was the clearest emotion he could see.
"Harry?" his father didn't give any reaction, he kept on staring at the toys, and James frowned worriedly.
"Harry?" he tried again and placed a hand on his father's little shoulder. Harry jumped at the contact and quickly turned to look at James.
James own eyes widened at the shocked and even scared expression on his dad's face. "Are… are you okay?"
Harry's grip on the dog tightened and he turned his head back to the moving toys, "h-how… how is…is it…?"
James tilted his head a little; his father's reaction was worrying him, this was not what he was expecting, "it's magic, Harry," he stated calmly.
Harry's green eyes widened even further, "magic?" the word came out as a small whisper and James strained to hear it over his siblings and Ginny's excited chatter and laughter. "But… but…" Harry licked his lips, confusion and fear clearly written on his young face and he looked back up at James, almost beseechingly, "but there's no such thing as magic."
This time James eyes widened in shock, did his dad really just say that? "Of course there's magic, Harry," he felt himself say, he turned to look at Albus, who had heard Harry and had the same expression on his face. "We all have it."
Albus nodded, drawing Harry's attention to him as he said, "our toys are all magic," he pointed to the girls, who had opened up the toy house and were playing with the dolls. To Harry's surprise the dolls were moving on their own, walking up the small stairs, running in and out of the small rooms, one was even working in the plastic kitchen.
The girls noticed the boys staring and they turned to smile at them. Ginny grinned at Harry, "Do you want to play, Harry? You can be this one," and she held up a little toy doll of a boy who sat on her hand and waved at him.
Harry continued to stare in disbelief, "but… but how?"
"They have spells on them, it helps them move and it makes it a lot more fun," said Lily, she didn't notice the perplexed looks on her brothers' faces as they continued to watch their father and only took Harry's expression for curiosity to the game she and Ginny were playing.
"Well," said Albus slowly, slightly thoughtful, "you don't only need toys for fun; remember the time we made the gnomes float around the garden when they kept running over our picnic." He smiled fondly at his sister, who grinned at the memory.
"Or the time you completely shattered the windows when James took your drawing and hid it," laughed Lily brightly.
"Yeah, well he wouldn't tell me where he hid it, thought it was fun seeing me beg," Albus scowled at James, who gave a faint smile.
"I accident coloured my brothers' hair purple once when they wouldn't let me play with them," commented Ginny and she giggled, "Daddy thought it was funny."
Lily laughed, "I did that once too, except Albus and James turned blue from head to toe."
"I blame that Smurf movie Uncle George brought," said James and shook his head fondly, "you liked everything blue after that."
Lily and Albus laughed and he turned back to look at Harry and was happy to notice that their father no longer looked scared or confused. He had a look of complete wonder and awe on his face as he listened to them, a bright emotion shining in his eyes that James couldn't quite place.
"You really did all that?" he asked quietly, everyone nodded at him and his small smile started growing little by little.
Albus grinned, "Yeah, even our cousins did some crazy stuff when they were little."
"I bet even you did some accidental magic too, Harry," said Lily with a smile, they hadn't seen either of their parents do any magic since they were turned, but it's only been three days.
James saw Harry give a small nod and he looked at all of them with renewed curiosity and amazement. The smile was bigger than he ever saw it on his young father and he would have let his concern and worry rest, he would have smiled and laughed and showed Harry some more toys. But the next words that tumbled out of Harry's mouth, said with such happiness, froze him to the core and silence filled the room.
"I'm not the only freak."
(A/N) This chapter was exhausting, it practically killed me, but it's done and up and I hope you liked it (smiles). Hope it didn't seemed rushed, but there was a lot to fit in and well most of the time this chapter had a mind of its own -_-. Wouldn't agree in some scenes with what I wrote and I had to rewrite it (laughs).
Well long chapter (grins proudly then looks terrified and points desperately at you) don't expect this to be a regular thing people. This chapter tortured me, TORTURED ME. You should be glad it took petty on me and let me live (laughs).
I apologise for taking so long to update, I know it's been… like three months, but honestly my health has not been with me(pouts)and I had a lot of problems with my work references… stupid people wouldn't reply back, took their sweet time. But finally I'll be starting my first job for the first time this month(puffs up chest and grins)pretty proud of me'self.
I know I shouldn't keep my hopes up for the same amount of reviews like the last chapter, it's definitely been a while and I'm not naïve enough to think I haven't lost any readers, but thank you all the same for your time and patience, especially your patience(smiles).
Next Chapter is going to be the Potter kids' reaction to well… Harry's 'freak' statement.
Just remember the kids are not going to get everything right, especially for the first few days. They will miss meals, make mistakes; forget to do certain things and all that. They are after all just teenagers; this is their trial and error time.
CAN YOU GUESS WHO THE AUROR IS GOING TO BE(grins), gave a few hints.
IMPORTANT NOTE:To check out how I'm progressing with the next chapter, please looks at my profile page, under where it says "Update News" and "Update Meanings". I'll let you know there how much I've gotten done and how much is left. I'm not going to leave Author Notes as chapters in any of my stories, so if you want to know what's going on with the next chapter or any of my stories, please check out my Update section on my profile.
A special thank you to those who checked out my drawing and commented on them(grins)I drew a picture of Jack Frost from the Rise of the Guardians and I'm pretty proud of it. it's my profile picture for Fanfiction (gives thumps up).
Anyways, I'm rambling again, but PLEASE you know what to do (smiles and points down to the review box) please leave me a review. Let me know what you think, which part you liked, loved, hated. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes, I did my best. As always constructive criticism is encouraged and so is advice.