AN: Welcome to "Hair of the Grim". It would be wise to read everything in bold-print before continuing on to the story.
Disclaimer (I'll only be doing this once): I do not own the rights to Harry Potter. This story is being written as a form of personal entertainment that anyone is allowed to enjoy with me. I am in no way earning anything through the creation of this fic.
Warnings: INCEST (please no complaining about it since it's going to happen), alcohol use, violence, strong language, lemons, time and dimension travel, and possible character death. This will be AU as well as taking place in the Marauder Era. Harry will be powerful in this fic and possess a gray to dark alignment.
Pairing: Harry / Lily Evans / Lily Luna Potter (As Joe Lawyer so aptly said "rounds out the whole forbidden fruit angle quite well"). I'm a freak, I know—but the thought of Lily / Harry and Harry / Lily Luna relationships intrigued the hell out of me. And as warning beforehand, this Harry isn't the same as the one from J.K.'s canon. If he wants something he'll go for it. Don't expect him to shy away from his feelings because of westernized taboos—taboos, no less, that were hinted at being broken in canon. Incest WILL. TAKE. PLACE!
AN2(7/19): After reading over the reviews I've received thus far, I've found the general consensus to be that many don't view this story as incest. Personally, I do. However, I've decided that I would make a small change to the summary of the story and will let each individual reader decide for themselves whether or not they categorize what happens in this story as incest or not. Either way, all reviews are welcome.
The beta for this chapter was Joe Lawyer (hopefully he'll agree to take up the mantle of fulltime beta). He did an amazing job catching my bad habits—thank you, Joe.
It was the first and most dominant sensation Harry experienced upon regaining consciousness. It enveloped his lips like liquid velvet in a way only a woman's cupid-bow lips could, pressing deeply into his rising and falling chest—sensually matching his every panted breath—kneading perfectly between his lingering fingers as he desperately attempted to melt into it, whatever it was.
Slowly, as if his mind was trapped within a cotton-like haze, Harry began to regain his bearings. And though he wanted to give his very being to the enchanting satin his senses were attempting to drown him in, an incessant nagging at the back of his mind demanded he break from this slice of sinful-bliss and focus on something it deemed far more important. What could be more important than the delicious pressure grinding against the tightness in his pants? Harry wasn't sure. It wasn't until the "softness" spoke, that he truly understood the urgency of the persistent voice within his mind.
"It seems you've gone and improved once again," purred a husky voice into the shell of his ear. "What delicious fun did you have without me this summer, Sirius?"
As if struck by lightning, Harry gave a sudden dog-like yelp, forcibly trying to distance himself from the stranger he found himself embracing so intimately. His attempt at freedom, however, would lead to far more trouble than he had bargained for. As his legs were slightly entwined with the mystery person's, he clumsily stumbled backwards, away from the warmth of their enticing presence. Fortunately, before he could land painfully on his rear, a wall, or judging by its give, a door, slowed his momentum. Unfortunately, his weight, combined with the force of his fall, proved to be too much for his momentary savior to withstand.
The sound of shattering glass and hinges being violently torn from their wooden structures echoed painfully within his head. Desperately he tried to grasp at something that would stop or even slow his fall, but was left sorely wanting when he found no purchase with which to save himself. Seconds before the bone-jarring impact would send waves of searing pain up his tailbone and spine, he was able to catch a glimpse of tantalizing flesh and cascading curls of a sandy-hue.
His back screamed in pain as bits of broken glass dug mercilessly into his bare skin, as the last Potter struggled to still the sudden swimming in his head. Ignorant of the outbursts of shock of those around him slowly morphing into a chortling at his expense, he sluggishly tried to right himself without aggravating the glass shards reeking-havoc upon his flesh.
"Why am I not surprised?" a feminine and unexpectedly familiar voice sighed, cutting through the growing laughter—of which Harry was only beginning to register—and the dense fog clouding his thoughts.
Where had he heard that voice before? It sounded so familiar, like he had known it since birth—an intimate knowledge as well-known to him as the rhythm of his heart. Yet, for some unknown reason, he felt as if something were off about it.
'As if the tone is all wrong,' he mused drunkenly. Shaking his head in a very dog-like manner, he dispersed the last vestiges of dizziness from his mind as the voice continued on with its berating of Sirius.
"Not even halfway to Hogwarts and already you're starkers." The voice, which was now closer than it had been just seconds before, sounded both exasperated and resigned by what its owner was witnessing. "And wherever a naked Sirius Black is, a poor, helpless girl will follow, foolishly hoping they'll be the one to change-"
"Sirius!" they gasped, breaking from their tangent. It was obvious to Harry, who had yet to open his eyes for fear of becoming sick, that the girl was frightened by what she saw. A sense of dread bloomed within the pit of his stomach at the thought of what form of horrific scene lay before her. After all, the last time he had seen Sirius was moments before they began performing a ritual that was by no means considered "light magic."
Worried about his godfather, Harry ignored the pain dancing upon his nerve endings in time with his heartbeat and forced himself into a sitting position. His world was full of pain; the stabbing in his back now being mimicked in the palms of his hands as he fought for balance. He never expected a pair of soft, delicate hands to be laid gently across his shoulders.
"Don't move around so much; you'll only make the bleeding worse," his aid gently ordered.
"Sirius," he hissed, his call weak even to his ears.
"Yes, you're Sirius Black—infamous man-slag of Hogwarts. An idiot who's gone and got himself hurt because he can't keep it in his trousers."
Confused by the girl's words, Harry forced himself to swallow down the acidic taste coating his mouth, slowly opening his eyes as he spoke. "What are you on about? I'm not… Sirius…"
The various aches and pains plaguing his body, the nausea twisting at his stomach, the laughter and catcalls playing on the air—it all died away as he gazed into the most amazing pair of emerald eyes he had ever seen. Eyes set in a soft, heart-shaped face, suspended over the softest looking heart shaped lips and framed by silky, flowing red tresses. They were his eyes… or rather Lily Potter's eyes.
"M-mum?" Harry's voice broke over the word he had never before used when addressing another living person. Eyes stinging with unshed tears, he searched her face hungrily, the fear that he was dreaming and could awake at any moment spurring him to take in every minute detail of her features and store it forever in his memory.
Here before him sat the very woman who had given birth to him; a woman who had been dead for more than forty-seven years. A woman who wasn't a woman at all yet, but only a girl, of what Harry could only guess was about fourteen or fifteen years old, dressed in her Hogwarts' uniform, the Gryffindor prefect badge pinned proudly to her chest.
The only thing capable of diverting his attention away from the stunning features of the girl who would grow up to become his mother, was the girl herself. It was her eyes, the way she fixed him with a stunned, disbelieving look that succeeded in bringing him back to reality and the present moment.
"Sirius, your eyes?!"
The guffawing, which had spread like wildfire upon hearing him call her "mum," quickly died away as the group of students surrounding them saw what it was that she talking about.
"What are you on about?" he asked, hoping as he did so that he didn't sound rude. He'd probably never forgive himself if he were to alienate the girl in front of him. "Why do you keep calling me Sirius?" Lily balked at his response, looking unsure as to what to say or do.
"Rosmerta, help me get him into the compartment," the redhead called, throwing a look over her shoulder. "And for Morgana's sake, close your blouse! We don't need that kind of attention right now!"
Following the path of her eyes with his own, Harry gained his first view of who it was he had been "embracing" before he had, literally, fell through the door. Standing idly nearby framed by the open doorway, as if nothing out of the ordinary had taken place, was a young, seventeen year old Madam Rosmerta. Her thin Hogwarts' blouse laid completely unbuttoned, exposing her black lacy bra and the fleshy orbs it emphasized oh so perfectly; this combined with her sexily mussed locks and the swelling of her ruby-lips painted a very salacious picture.
Paying Lily's words no mind, the young Rosmerta exited her cabin at a leisurely pace, crouching down opposite of the prefect as she took him by the arm. Harry, like many of those surrounding them, watched the gentle, hypnotizing sway of the girl's impressive bust. Being closer to her than the rest, he was treated to the sight of her shorter-than-was-regulation-approved Hogwarts' skirt, rise dangerously up her creamy white thighs. Apparently Rosmerta, even at this age, was very proud of what she been gifted with at birth. It was clear that she had no intention of hiding her body, not when it garnered her as much positive attention as it was now.
"Come on, Black," Rosmerta purred into his ear, as she, with Lily's aid, helped lift Harry to his feet. "We'll get you fixed up right as rain, and then we can get back to more pleasant activities."
Distracted as he was by the firm, semi-bare chest pressing pleasantly into his arm on one side, and the presence of his presently teenaged mother on the other, Harry caught the promiscuous girl's use of Sirius' family name. An all too familiar sense of dread that Harry had come to be very intimate with in his almost fifty years of life descended upon the Lord of the Most Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Black.
'Sirius said little about the possible unintended side effects of the ritual.'
Allowing himself to be guided, he noticed for the first time the blurring of the landscape outside. This, accompanied by the assortment of teens in various states of muggle and wizard dress, and what Lily and Rosmerta had said thus far, led him to the conclusion that he was upon the Hogwarts Express; no doubt carrying the student population of Britain's most prominent school of magic toward the waiting castle in Scotland.
It was as they stumbled into the privacy of the compartment, Lily having struggled with his weight whilst using her wand to reparo the one he had damaged, that Harry caught sight of his reflection in the window. It had only been a flash, the light having caught the glass at exactly the right angle and moment, but he had seen it as clear as day. Standing in his place, supported by the very witches that currently had their arms wrapped around his middle, was a green-eyed, fifteen year old, Sirius Orion Black. Gone were the storm-gray eyes Sirius had inherited from his father, replaced by the shining emeralds of the petite girl now supporting his weight. Not that she knew that, of course.
The girls were only just able to get him to one of the cushioned benches in time to keep the stunned "teen" from experiencing a second painful fall.
"Go find Potter and Narcissa! Maybe one of them will know what's come over him."
Seeing how serious the situation was becoming, Rosmerta refrained from acting her usual flirty self, hastily fumbling with the buttons of her blouse as she made for the door. "And what if they don't know what's wrong with him, then what?"
"Then we'll have no choice but to go to the Head Girl and Boy." Pursing her lips, Lily sent the near catatonic teen a concerned look. "But not until we know we can't do anything for him. Cissy's been giving some real thought to becoming a Healer after Hogwarts, and has been studying healing magic in her free time. I'm hoping she'll know something that will help his back."
While Sirius may have been a part of that immature prat's gang and a natural born troublemaker to boot, she didn't think he should get in trouble for doing what he and Rosmerta were up to, no matter how perverse and unbecoming she found it to be. The trouble was that if they were forced to seek the aid of someone in a higher position of authority than herself, they would be obligated to explain the events leading up to Sirius' current condition, or chance missing an important detail that could be used to possibly help him. Sirius and Rosmerta would get in trouble for something that should be strictly private between them, and Lily was of the mind that it should stay that way.
Turning back to Sirius as the door closed behind Rosmerta, Lily knelt before him so as to better look into the eyes that now inexplicably mirrored her own. "Sirius," she called in a hushed tone, taking his face in her hands and forcing him to meet her gaze. "You need to tell me what happened. How did you end up falling through the compartment door, and… and what's happened to your eyes?"
Eyes sharpening, Harry fixed his mother with a gaze of such incredible intensity that it brought an almost unnoticeable dusting of red to her cheeks. "What year is it?"
"What's today's date?"
"September 1st, 1975," she answered hesitantly. "Sirius, are you alright? Did you hit your head when you fell?" Removing one of her hands from his face, she gently ghosted her hand through his hair, searching for any injuries that may have gone unnoticed until then.
"And you're Lily Po- Evans? Daughter of Rose and Timothy Evans, sister to Petunia?" Slowly taking her hand from his long raven-locks and his angular features, her look of concern began shifting to one of confusion.
"I am… How did you know all that?" she questioned, her tone bordering on demanding. "I've never spoken to you about my family before—not that we've ever really spoken in the first place!"
Lily had become slightly nervous by the questions this emerald-eyed Sirius Black was asking her. So when his response was to break out in his well-known barking-laughter, she was left a little unsure as to how to proceed. What she hadn't been expecting, however, was for the normally cocky Gryffindor to give her the most loving and genuine smile she had ever received. The look left her feeling vulnerable and her stomach in knots.
Blush reappearing, she was seconds away from smacking the perverse boy upside the head—he had no right to look at her like that—but before she could act, she found herself being pulled into his chest for a tight embrace she wouldn't have seen coming even had she been born a true seer.
In years past, Lily had been subjected many times to the inane cooing and gossiping of her roommates, and the general female population of Hogwarts, concerning how attractive the bigheaded Black heir was. Personally, she had never seen what the others saw in him. Sure, he was attractive, excelled in his studies and was, she grudgingly admitted, intelligent when he applied himself. He also had that whole "bad-boy," rebel image going for him that so many girls her age and even those quite a bit older found extremely desirable. But unlike so many others, Lily wasn't blinded to his faults, simply because he was pleasing to the eye. His arrogance was unrivaled by all with the exception of his best friend. The trail of broken hearts he had left in his wake since late in his second year when he had discovered the pleasures of the opposite sex were impressive in number. Lily found herself hard-pressed to find any real appeal in the dark haired youth. But now that she was so close to him, flush with his lean, muscled-form, her head full of his intoxicating and masculine scent that was tinted with the smell of the dragon hide he always appeared to be wearing and… was that a hint of motor oil? She wasn't so sure anymore. All this, coupled with the sight of such a caring and loving look gracing his eyes and playing upon his lips when looking at her… Lily was starting to see what all the fuss over Sirius Black was about… If only just barely.
Lost in her own thoughts and enjoying being held so intimately by a member of the opposite sex for the first time—not that she would ever admit as much, especially to the one doing the holding—Lily, nor Harry, noticed the group about to intrude upon their private little moment.
"Why are you here, Snivellus?" James Potter angrily growled, opening the door to the cabin his best mate was said to be in. "Don't you have a cauldron to hover your nose over? This has nothing to do with yo-"
James' words died on his lips upon seeing the scene before him. The contingent following the Potter heir were just as shocked to see two people who had barely spoken to one another outside of trading barbs, embracing—one of which was partially naked.
Peter Pettigrew, a small and mousy teen, leaned around his two mates, James and Remus, taking great care not to touch the Slytherin boy accompanying them or the two beauties which had led them here. Seeing just what had stunned the others into silence, he was barely able to restrain the snickers that threatened to overwhelm him.
"Looks like Sirius took your girlfriend before you ever got the chance to confess!" Who Peter was talking to, whether it was James or Severus, both of whom were well known for having an unrequited crush on the red haired fifth year, no one knew.
"WHAT THE HELL, SIRIUS!" Jerking apart as if burned, Lily and Harry, not that anyone knew who he truly was, looked shocked, and in Lily's case embarrassed, to find themselves no longer alone.
Harry, or rather Sirius, smiled brightly at the sight of his father and pseudo-uncle. Overjoyed by this turn of events, he jumped to his feet intent on giving both men the biggest hug he could muster. But before he could reach either boy, he found himself relying on the battle-sharpened instincts which had kept him alive through three separate wizarding wars and had allowed him to vanquish numerous fledging and even several established Dark Lords the world over.
Throwing up his empty hand, he wandlessly summoned the wand the dark haired Slytherin had been seconds away from cursing him with. In the silence that descended upon the cabin after his display of wandless magical ability, Harry's attention was directed to the hand holding Snape's wand. Wrapped around his index and middle fingers were two rings that he was intimately familiar with, having worn them for decades.
The Potter and Black head of house rings.
Both rings were simple, but elegant affairs, a style that many of Britain's older and more prominent families of the time favored. The Potter ring had a band made from the only metal known to be magically conductive, Mithril. The Black family ring was of a similar design, a halo carved from a Garnet, said to have been found in the stomach of the dragon slain by the first Black to enter the lands now known as Britain over a millennia ago. Both lacked the gaudy, oftentimes overly large stones that were so commonly found on the rings of Britain's "younger" noble houses. Atop their surfaces, carved into the metal and gem alike, were the identifying crests of each house upon their respective rings.
'This situation just went from being to my advantage, to being the likely worst case scenario. With the exception of my eyes, none of my other possessions traveled back with me; so it would stand to reason the rings I now possess are the same as those Charlus and Orion should currently hold as the heads of the Potter and Black families.' Paying the gaping he was receiving little mind, Harry sat back down, absentmindedly tossing the stunned, teenager version of Snape his wand as he did so.
The ancient family magics of Black and Potter recognized the strongest and most worthy of their bloodlines as the head of their respective families—an ancient magic embedded within the rings upon their creation to insure that each family was protected long into the future by their most deserving and capable members. If he now possessed them, it was his guess that the rings upon his arrival in this time and dimension had recognized his many varied exploits, achievements and overall magical ability—perhaps even recognizing and accepting that in his time and world he was the head of both families for decades—and had then given him with their allegiance and all their respective powers that came with them.
'Charlus will be devastated by this.' Harry's thoughts travelling to the image of his grandfather, realizing he'd never be able to pass on the Potter family ring to James. Though he knew the predicament they were in wasn't his fault or intent, he couldn't escape the slight guilt this line of thinking brought him.
'The question now is how should I proceed from here on out? Do I contact Charlus about the rings' transfer to myself? Keeping my anonymity would allow me to move without the restrictions that could possibly arise if word were to spread that I usurped control of not only the Black family and its vast fortune, but that of the Potter's as well'
Looking up from his clenched hand and ending his all consuming thoughts, he saw that it was Remus who had spoken his name. The young werewolf was gazing at him with unmasked concern upon his youthful face. Life had yet to truly break the spirit of this version of the werewolf, and if Harry had his way, it never would.
"Sirius, you need to let Narcissa see if she can do anything for your back. It looks quite bad," he observed, his normally soft voice coming out as barely a whisper. "Your hands aren't looking any better either."
Harry smiled kindly at the gentle teen. It was obvious that Remus was worried that after his display of wandless magic that he might react badly to anything he saw as a threat.
"There's no need to hold your breath, Moony. I'm not off my rocker, just a bit addled after my fall."
"Moony?" Remus mimicked, paling at the nickname he'd just received. Unnoticed by all but his fellow Marauders, the timid boy sent the other occupants of the cabin worried glances as he wrapped his arms around his middle protectively. It was as if he thought that doing so would shield him and his secret from the world for a little while longer.
Harry silently cursed at himself; he'd been present in this time and place for less than an hour and already he had made a significant mistake. It wasn't until after the Marauders had discovered their animagus forms that Remus received his fitting nickname. Before his arrival, James and his group would have discovered their inner animals sometime after returning to Hogwarts—an event Harry was unsure if he would be aiding or hindering.
"Sorry 'bout that, Remy," Harry chuckled, making sure the attention stayed on him and away from the obviously uncomfortable teen. "Just something I thought I'd try out. Doesn't quite fit though. I'll keep trying."
"As interesting as this is, dear cousin, I had better see to your back. If you lose any more blood the world may be without its precious Black heir." From behind the group of fifth year boys, all of whom towered over the petite form easily maneuvering between them, came a blonde beauty Harry hadn't seen in more than two decades.
"Narcissa," he nodded.
He didn't receive any form of reply from her. Stepping well into his personal space, she took him by the shoulder, her touch far more rough and demanding than that of Lily's. She then turned him so that his damaged back was visible to them all. Judging by the sounds of shock mingled with those of disgust, Harry assumed his back—or was it still Sirius'—was one of the more gruesome sights the gathered had witnessed up to this point in their short and relatively sheltered lives. After a lifetime of bloody war and combat, most of which he found himself actively seeking out in the latter part of his life, he had experienced pains and forms of torture which made the mess that was his back comparable to the annoyance of a persistent gnat. Though even he would readily admit that his new body wasn't as accustomed to pain as his old one had been.
"Bloody hell, Black. Next time you've got me on your own, try not to almost die—it's a bit of a mood killer!" Harry chuckled at that, catching a blushing Remus burying his face in his hands to the chorus of chuckles and sounds of disgust her comment drew.
"It's not as bad as it appears," Narcissa observed, speaking more to herself than to him or any who were present. The same stoic look she had worn since arriving had yet to waver from her aristocratic features, Harry noted, as he watched her examine him over his shoulder.
"The reason there's such a copious amounts of blood, is that the majority of the glass from the window embedded within the skin. And while none of the glass is deep enough to be immediately lethal, if it were to be left as is, you'd bleed out relatively quickly."
"I was hoping you'd know some spells that could help him," Lily revealed, as she stepped into Sirius' and Narcissa's line of sight. "I thought it a better alternative to going to the Head Girl and having to explain the events leading up to his condition."
Narcissa nodded, emotionlessly. "I can help, but I may be unable to stop it from scarring." Lily grimaced.
"Then go ahead," Harry told her, sounding flippant. His casual tone caused Lily to look at him as if he were crazy. Catching her observing him, he sent her a serene smile that wouldn't have looked out of place on the face of Harry Potter, but was extremely unusual upon the lips of Sirius Black. "What's a few scars here and there? It's not a matter of having scars or even where they're located, but in how you wear them. That's what truly matters."
Like the rest of the compartment, Lily was a little awed by the wisdom in the teen's words. She scrutinized him unabashedly, unblinking even, as if for the first time in her life she was seeing the true Sirius Black.
"Sirius, I believe that may be the single most eloquent thing you've ever said." Remus lightly ran his hand over the three thin scars that had been present on his face for years now, feeling for the first time that their presence didn't mean that he was a hideous monster.
Before anymore could be said, Lily spoke up. "Sirius, what's happened to your eyes?" His behavior, both earlier and now, were different from anything she had ever witnessed from him. She knew from her time spent studying advanced runes, charms and potions texts, all of which were branches of magic she excelled in, that there were ways to replicate and copy a person's appearance. Could it be that the person before them wasn't Sirius Black at all? It would certainly explain his changed mannerisms and personality.
Ignoring the slight nervousness gnawing at the pit of his stomach, he gave a bewildered jerk of his shoulders. "Don't know for sure. Metamorphmagus have been known to appear in the Black family line from time to time—maybe I awoke a minor ability for it?"
Looking to Narcissa for any sign that he was lying, Lily nodded when her blonde friend indicated he was in fact telling the truth.
"What the bloody hell were you two doing in here?!" James yelled, finally losing control of his poorly restrained temper. Now that he knew his best mate was going to be fine, he could get to the bottom of why Sirius had had his hands on his Lily. "Why were you two… all… you know!" Flailing his arms about wildly, he gestured at Lily and Harry.
"That's not important right now," Narcissa cut in before a red faced Lily could hex the Potter heir. "I need to focus on his wounds. You can learn later why Lily would rather snog with Siri instead of you or Sev." Allowing the smallest of mischievous smiles to cross her dainty lips, the daughter of Black turned from the stunned and, in Remus', Peter's and Rosmerta's case, laughing group, to jab her wand into her cousin's back, hitting him with a stunner.
Hair of the Grim
"Honestly, Sev! For the last time, it wasn't like that. He was disoriented after falling and latched on to the first person to get close to him—me. What was I supposed to do, throw a severely injured person off of me?"
"Yes," Severus hissed emphatically, as if she should have known as much. Seeing her look of anger at his words, the greasy haired teen sighed dejectedly. "It's Black, Lily. Everyone knows any move he makes is done with the express purpose of getting into someone's knickers firmly in his mind. This time it's yours!"
Ignoring the red now staining her best friend's cheek, Lily glared disapprovingly at the boy she had been friends with since before they received their Hogwarts letters.
"Calm down, Snivellus," James called from his place on the opposite side of the compartment. Sitting next to Peter, playing a hand of exploding snap, he appeared to be intently focused on the game as he spoke. "Don't you have a potion you can go get hot and bothered over?"
After hearing Lily and Rosmerta's explanation of the events prior to their arrival, James had calmed down considerably. Knowing that it had been the blow to his friend's head that had resulted in his having hugged Lily as he had, and that he hadn't, in fact, suddenly become interested in her, was enough for the Potter to dismiss all of his worries and return to business as usual.
Severus turned to sneer at the antagonistic Gryffindor, for the moment completely forgetting the argument he had just been having with his long-time crush in favor of returning his rival's taunt. "That's rich coming from someone who loves having long shafts of polished wood tucked securely between his arse-cheeks for hours at a time."
"W-what?" sputtered James, flipping Peter off as the boy struggled for air through a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
Severus smiled victoriously at the person he hated most in this world, taking immense joy in his momentary victory over the boy he was proud to say was his complete opposite.
"You heard me. For someone who's always talking about his conquests, you tend to spend a considerable amount of time with a broom up your arse. Not to mention that after all that time spent practicing, you go on to spend even more time with your teammates in the men's showers. Sounds pretty suspicious, if you ask me!" By now the laughter had spread from Peter to a majority of the cabin, causing James' to flush a red reminiscent to that on the Gryffindor symbol upon his robes.
"You greasy haired son of a bit-"
"Can you two save us the headache and just go find a broom closet to solve your problems in?" Harry asked upon awakening. Slowly pushing himself up from his place on the bench where he had been stunned. He ran a hand through his now long, silky hair. 'That's going to take some getting used to.'
"Sirius!" Lily and Remus cried in unison.
"All of the unresolved sexual tension between you two is giving me a headache." he groaned, sending James a mischievous smirk that was tainted with a grimace. "Where's blondie at? I owe her for fixing me up and that dirty use of a stunner."
"She and Rosmerta left after they knew you were okay." Lily revealed as she took a seat beside him. If she noticed the dirty look Severus gave her for doing so, she hid it well. "Cissy said that she had more important things to do than watch you sleep. Rosmerta… well, she stayed long enough to see you get healed, then went off in search of Rosmerta type activities." Harry laughed.
"Yeah, I sometimes wonder if she's part succubus," he admitted truthfully, his words coming forth without any conscious thought on his part.
His laughter abruptly died as he realized that he recalled the entirety of Rosmerta's and Sirius' earlier encounter, and not only that, but all the intimate moments that they had ever shared. The more he looked back, sorting through the new, foreign memories that had invaded his mind while he was unconscious, the more of Sirius' life he was able to recall. Memories of ugly fights with Orion and Walburga over matters of blood purity and who he associated with, mixed and mingled with the many delights and joys he experienced when running around Hogwarts with the rest of the Marauders. Girls he had never before seen or heard about, he now knew intimately—Sirius seemed to have spent a considerable amount of time learning the locations of all the broom closets around Hogwarts.
It was enough to bring the "new" lord of the Black and Potter families up short. As a famous celebrity and powerful wizard Lord in his own life he'd been around the block, so to speak, but Sirius had taken it to a whole new level.
"How close to Hogwarts are we?" he asked, trying for small talk to lighten the mood as he continued to sort through the fifteen years of memories he had awoken with. Advanced occlumency techniques were a godsend for this task.
"It was a little over half an hour ago that they announced we'd be arriving soon." Dressed in his school robes like everyone else in the cabin with the exception of Harry, Remus laid his charms textbook aside, sending him a worried look. "How are you feeling; are there any lingering pains in your back or hands?"
Getting to his feet, he twisted and turned at odd angles, bending and stretching his body as he tested for any leftover soreness or injuries Narcissa may have missed. As he did so, he noticed that Sirius at this age had a body that was much more physically fit than his own at age fifteen, but was still nowhere near the hardened and ever combat ready body of a veteran of three wars. He'd need to set up a regimen to get back in form as soon as possible.
"Besides feeling as if Hagrid's taken a beater's bat to my head, I'm feeling fine."
Seeing that Remus and Peter were sharing a laugh at his expense, Harry stopped his motions to raise a questioning eyebrow at the two. "What?" he asked, focusing more on Remus than Peter. There were far too many conflicting emotions at work when it came to the future rat animagus for him to deal with the teen levelheadedly at the moment.
Not saying a word, an amused Remus nodded his head toward the three remaining occupants in the compartment. Turning, Harry found himself being glared at by a seething Severus and an exasperated and annoyed looking James.
"Isn't it time you put on your uniform, Sirius?" Blushing madly, Lily had turned to face the window, fixedly watching the shadows blurring past to avoid seeing the half-naked teen moving about provocatively.
More disturbed by his lack of concern that his mother had reacted in such a manner to his body, than he was by her actual reaction, Harry gave a distracted flip of his hand and summoned the top half of his uniform.
"How did you do that?!" No longer facing the window, Lily's face shined brightly at the prospect of learning something new. Her natural curiosity and hunger for knowledge was on full display for all the boys to see, making the naturally stunning girl all the more appealing in that moment. "We're not supposed to learn non-verbal casting until sixth year, and I've never heard of someone casting spells without a wand or some form of focus!"
"I'll answer your questions if you answer one of mine," Harry proposed, grasping at straws with which he could distract the group's attention away from his sudden increase in magical ability. Even Severus had stopped his glaring long enough to stop and hear what he had to say, as any good Slytherin would do when the opportunity for more power reared its head.
The reason behind his hesitation to show off his magical prowess wasn't that he didn't want them to know of his capabilities—quite the opposite in fact. If people respected one thing more than money, looks and pedigree in the magical world, it was raw magical power and genius—both of which Harry had prodigiously. No, it was more that he was unsure if it would be wise to so abruptly show such a vast increase in magical ability rather than exhibit a somewhat natural progression. Lily had already become suspicious of him, and with good reason—he had, after all, experienced an inexplicable change in eye color and demeanor all of a sudden. To go about showing more changes would draw exactly the wrong kind of attention to himself.
However, the ancient family magics of two of Britain's most beloved and respected houses had chosen him to be their lord and protector. When word spread of this sudden shift in power within the Black family, for at the very least news of the Orion Arcturus Black losing his lordship would spread, many would see this as a chance to make a move against or take advantage of what would be perceived as a weakened ancient and noble house. The more dangerous and enigmatic, powerful and commanding he showed himself to be, the less opposition and criticisms he would later face.
"Anything," she agreed readily, her curtain of scarlet tresses dancing unrestrained and free in her almond shaped-eyes as she eagerly nodded, a beautiful and unknowingly enticing smile on her face.
Grabbing the overhead rack to maintain his balance as the train crawled to a stop at the Hogsmeade station, he leaned cockily toward his mother, drawing on every ounce of Sirius' charisma and personality he had felt awakening in him since he had woken. "If you were looking out the window when I summoned my uniform, how did you know I didn't use a wand?"
Lily opened her mouth to respond, but when she began to give her explanation her words appeared to have failed her.
Smirking wolfishly down at her, Harry continued "I believe, Lily flower, that you were peeping on lil' ol' me!" As if to answer his question, the Gryffindor prefect's face turned a pretty shade of red. Whether she intended to do so or not, her eyes drifted down to his hard and flexing abs before guiltily flashing back up to his eyes.
"Who would have thought Gryffindor's newest female prefect could be such a pervert?"
Harry's barking laughter filled the small compartment as an angry and obviously embarrassed Lily Evans stormed from the cabin, taking care to tread painfully on his dragon hide boots as she went. Severus lagged behind just long enough to send a threatening sneer his way before he followed her lead, leaving the Marauders alone.
Leaning out into the corridor from inside the compartment, he called after her, "Oh, ca'mon, Lily flower! It's not like I'm going to tell anybody!" He received more than a few odd looks from passerbys for his outburst as he pulled his head back into the cabin. 'I think I enjoyed messing with her a bit too much.'
"What was that?!" Throwing down his cards, James crossed the small distance between them, looking as if he wasn't sure if he wanted to punch him or hex him. "Why are you suddenly so interested in Evans? We agreed a long time ago you weren't going to go after her!"
"You're paranoid, James. I'm not trying to steal your imaginary girlfriend." Pausing momentarily to check himself over in the window, Harry slipped into the fray, moving decisively toward the exit. He knew without looking behind him that James would be close on his heels.
"You could have fooled me!" James scoffed, sardonically. "First you molest her, then you show off in front of her, and finally you start to flirt with her like you do every other bird within your line of sight!"
Stepping out into the cool September evening air, the hustle and bustle of the platform a pleasant background sound, Harry was overcome with nostalgia, and the comforting sense of returning home, something he felt every time he came back to Hogwarts.
All along the platform were stalls featuring the local businesses, offering up treats and last minute items for sale to the students as they made their way to the carriages that would take them up to the school for another school year.
The first Hogsmeade weekend of the school year was never scheduled that long after term began, with sixth and seventh years being allowed to visit every weekend as long as they weren't barred as punishment for some offense committed during the week. This, however, didn't stop the owners of the local shops from trying to cash in on what they called the "return rush."
Harry turned to face the man that could possibly be his, or more accurately Harry Potter's father someday. Thanks to his appearance in the timeline, whether or not James and Lily would ever get together was entirely uncertain. Technically, since he had appeared here before he was even born, that made this current reality an alternate one from the one he left. Whether his consciousness merging with that of his teenaged godfather's was the only difference between this world and the one he left behind, only time would tell.
As it was now, his only goal and in fact the entire purpose behind proceeding with the ritual that brought him into the past—though the entire plan and its execution was something Sirius had come up with while they had been drinking in celebration of the extermination of another one of their targets—was to stop Voldemort before he could do as much damage as he had in the second war. Little did Sirius know that that specific part of his drunken, idiotic plan would work out far better than they had ever imagined. Having traveled so far back in the timeline, Harry would have ample time to stop Voldemort's reign of terror and his subsequent return before he really had a chance to build momentum.
Gazing pensively at the teen who would in another timeline grow up to be his father, Harry sighed, unsure as to how he should proceed. It seemed that Sirius' memories, feelings and personality were having a bigger impact on him than he had anticipated. When he looked at James Potter now, he saw him as more of a brother and best mate than he did a father. At the same time, though, he possessed Sirius' loyalty to James, recalling the mischief and many adventures the two had shared, but his own personal eagerness to learn about the teen and his friends was making itself known, creating a confusing mix of emotions and desires.
'Damn head's a right mess at the moment,' he mused tiredly.
"If Lily flower hates anyone as much as she does you, mate, it's me." Sorting through the memories of Sirius and Lily's many encounters, Harry could clearly see the naked animosity and aversion the two shared for one another. The fact that the redhead had come to his aid after all the crap Sirius and the rest of the Marauders had pulled over the years showed just how good of a person she was.
"I doubt her seeing how ridiculously good I look half naked will change anything between us," he joked as Peter and Remus caught up to them. "Besides, if she's the type to put that much stock into looks, no offense, but you and Snivellus are both screwed."
Laughing along with Remus and Peter, he stopped at the Honeydukes' stall long enough to buy them each something warm to drink on the ride up to the castle.
"Why do you keep calling her 'Lily flower?'" James asked suspiciously, taking the spiced tea he was offered. Though he appeared to still be upset that someone other than himself had held Lily's attention for more than a few seconds, Harry's constant reassurances seemed to be having the desired effect.
"Why do I do anything that I do? I did it because I wanted to," he shrugged nonchalantly. Claiming an empty carriage as their own, Harry didn't continue until they were moving. "I called Remus 'Moony' and 'Remy.' Do you think I'm going to try and get into his knickers as well?"
Before James could admit to seeing his point, Remus gave a horrified gasp. "I'm sorry, Sirius, but you're just not my type!" Covering his chest melodramatically, he cowered in the corner of the carriage as if he were trying to protect both his modesty and chastity from Harry's untoward advances.
"Please, Remy. You know you want me as much as I want you," he said, sounding completely serious. "Don't worry though, I know it'll be your first time—I'll be so gentle."
"Alright, alright," James laughed, holding his hands up in surrender. "I get it, you're not pursuing Evans. Point made!"
The remainder of the ride up to the castle was spent in a comfortable silence, and when they exited the carriages Harry had already loosened his tie to the point it was almost completely undone. It seems it was a quirk of Sirius' that he had inherited from their merging. Harry found it to be quite funny that Sirius had compared the school's required tie to that of a dog collar during his first year. If he had only known at the time…
Slowly striding into the Great Hall, taking his time to greet all those who were calling out to him, he examined the hall for any visible changes between his time and the present. From what he could tell as he sat down between James and Remus, besides a few of the teachers and all of the students, there had been no major changes made to the parts of the castle he had seen thus far and the castle he would come to know twenty years from now. That thought was enough to make him shake his head.
"What does Evans see in him?" Looking up to see what James was grumbling about, Harry found the teen leering unabashedly at the object of his affections as she parted ways with Severus.
"Surely she has to know the little grease-ball is panting after her, right?"
Harry shared a knowing smirk with Remus. "Perhaps she handles his feelings with the same approach she uses with yours?"
"Wha-what? Evans doesn't know I like her!" he hissed indignantly. "Wait, what are you talking about? What approach?"
"The approach where she pretends to be ignorant of the unwanted attention in the hope that the unrequited feelings, or in your case, you, will go away." This was too much for Remus who had to bury his head in his arms so as not to draw the attention of all those in the hall now watching the sorting with his shoulders shaking violently with suppressed laughter.
"Mr. Potter, if I see you use that hand gesture again, it'll earn you an evening with me doing lines." McGonagall's lowly given warning came as the cheering at the Ravenclaw table died away.
James smiled cheekily up at his head of house, dropping his hand and the offending finger, as sniggers traveled up and down the Gryffindor table. Her warning, as quietly as it had been given, had carried to all of the Gryffindors.
"Shut up you three!"
"Don't get huffy because Minnie caught you," Remus lightly rebuked. Pulling his head from the cradle of his arms, he sent them a tired smile that let them know the full moon was rapidly approaching. "You'd think he'd be used to it by now…"
"I think he's more huffy 'bout Lily than anything else." Peter pointedly avoided James' gaze upon seeing the annoyed grimace his words had elicited from the 'leader' of their group.
Before anymore could be said about the source of James' uncharacteristically sullen mood, the sorting had come to an end, and Dumbledore was standing before the school, holding his arms out, wide and inviting. Though the man before him was twenty years younger than the Dumbledore he had first laid eyes upon, he was no less eccentric in appearance, nor was his magical presence any less imposing.
It had only been a few months before Albus' death that Harry had begun his apprenticeship with the Flamels—just enough time for him to begin learning the intricacies of reading the ebb and flow of magic with his eyes. The first and only time he had ever used his mage-sight on the headmaster had resulted in Harry very nearly blinding himself. The sight of the man's magic had been comparable to looking into the sun, just as it went supernova. For weeks after his rash attempt to better understand the power the man possessed, his eyes had been ultra-sensitive, with any level of light causing him unbearable migraines that potions did little to help.
Gazing up at the man known as the "Leader of the Light," Harry was amazed that a man who possessed such vast and potent magical reserves had been unable to best Voldemort. Or perhaps, as he had often mused to himself in the years that followed, the war with Gellert Grindelwald had taken too great a toll on him, destroying what had once made him revered the world over. Harry believed his refusal to use lethal force, except in the most harrowing of situations, was an adverse effect from having to kill so many of his former paramour's followers before having to grievously wound said man.
His dissent with Dumbledore's ideology aside, Harry would have to be blind not to see the advantages that having the man in his corner would grant him. His mere presence on a battlefield was enough to change the tide of any conflict—reigniting the spirit of even the most despairing of "light" warriors, and striking crippling fear into the hearts of the vilest Death Eaters. This, coupled with the political power he held and the way his words were seen as near gospel by a majority of the British wizarding public, made him the most favorable of allies and the deadliest of adversaries. At 47 years old when Harry had left, he was only just approaching that level of power and respect.
'Well, Riddle notwithstanding, that is.'
Surfacing from his thoughts, Harry found himself the only student with an empty plate. It appeared that while he had lost himself in a tempest of thoughts, the sorting had ended and the feast had begun.
"How have things been going for you, Moony?" he asked, as he served himself. "Last time I saw you things were a bit strained between you and your folks."
Setting his fork down, Remus slowly chewed his last bite, taking his time before he responded. Harry got the feeling, as he tucked into his own meal, that the young werewolf wasn't sure how much he actually wanted to share.
"Things have been… as you said, 'strained.' Mother is as frightened of me as she's always been, and father… I sometimes get the feeling he wishes I would just leave them... Perhaps even wishing that I had died that ni-"
"Mate," Harry interrupted, placing his hand comfortingly on his shoulder. "I know the situation with your parents is less than desirable, but I can't see them wanting you dead." Remus nodded, but didn't look convinced.
"Listen, if you really feel that way, why not move in with me?" Now that he was Lord Black his banishment from the family and, subsequently, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place was no longer in effect. The former / future location of the Order of the Phoenix housed many dark and rare to outright extinct forms of magics that had been lost to him and Sirius when the Black ancestral home had been destroyed in his fifth year. He had every intention of immersing himself deeply in all the "new" and forgotten magics that lay right at his fingertips.
"I-I thought you were living with James at the moment!" Remus looked as if he'd been smacked. "I don't know how the Potters would feel about taking another stray in."
"No, not at the Potter's—at Grimmauld Place."
"I… Weren't you kicked out by your parents?"
"Yup!" Harry laughed. "But that's no longer a problem. By Christmas I'll be the only person living there—unless, that is, you want to live with me."
"What's going on, Sirius?!" Remus hissed, keeping quiet so that even James and Peter couldn't overhear their conversation. "Your parents won't be living there anymore, but you will?! What aren't you telling me?"
"No time now—later!" Nodding his head toward the front of the hall where Dumbledore was rising to his feet.
"Now that we are all watered and fed, let me once again welcome you to another magical year here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
What Dumbledore would say next, Harry would never know, for at that moment Remus spun in his seat to fix him with a stern, reprimanding look that he had only ever before seen upon the face of his former lover, Hermione Granger. Just like it was when she gained said look, whatever it was the boy had to say was too much for him to keep to himself, even though that meant he had to speak while the Headmaster, a man Remus deeply respected, was giving his speech.
"Sirius, if you're planning on doing something… in the vein of what your family is infamous for, I beg of you to reconsider. If someone were to discover what you were planning-"
"Whoa, mate! It's not like I'm going to kill them. Though, knowing my family, after I'm done with them they'll wish they were dead. And you want to talk about parents wanting their children dead—chances are mine will have a hit out on my head before the night's end."
"Once more, I feel I must ask you what is it that you're planning?"
"I'll explain it all at another time, when we're alone. In the middle of a packed Great Hall, while Dumbledore is giving his welcoming speech, isn't the best time to discuss such things. Just know, I'm not doing anything illegal."
Remus didn't have time to voice his many doubts. Both had their attention ripped from one another as loud cries of displeasure and anger tore through the hall from all four house tables.
"That's bollox, that is!" James stood on his seat to better glare at the headmaster, who stood facing the hall with the same twinkle in his eyes that they always had, despite all the scorn and angry insults currently being thrown his way. "You can't cancel our quidditch season! Are you mad, you nutter?!"
"MR. POTTER!" came McGonagall's enraged scream, silencing most of the hall. Only the most avid of quidditch fans dared speak after seeing how livid the head of Gryffindor house had become. "Twenty-five points from Gryffindor and two weeks of detention—you will show the headmaster the respect he deserves! I have a right mind to bar you from entering your name in the competition after such a disrespectful outburst."
James' indignation at his punishment quickly died as he realized what had been said. Still standing in his seat, much to the amusement of James' admirers and Peter, he continued, despite the look on McGonagall's face. "Competition? What are you on about, Minnie?"
Seeing his deputy headmistress' normally pale complexion turn a dangerous shade of red, Dumbledore quickly intervened before the spirited youth could suffer the Scot's wrath. "That is correct, Mr. Potter—you may sit down now," he added with a small chuckle, causing the smirking teen to return to his seat.
"I am proud to announce that this year Hogwarts will play host to a most historic event not seen in close to two centuries. Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, two of Europe's most respected institutes of magical learning, will be arriving in October to participate in the Triwizard Tournament!"
As it had been in his original timeline, the hall filled with the sounds of awe and roars of excitement at the news of the legendary tournament's resurrection. It seemed no one was immune to the energy pulsing through the crowded hall, not even Severus it seemed, who was sending his mother loaded looks from across the hall.
'It would appear Severus plans to enter in the hopes it will earn him Lily's affections,' Harry mused, observing that James was sending similar looks the redhead's way. 'Though they may be as different from one another as night and day, the two certainly seem to share similar mindsets.'
Turning back to gaze up at the headmaster, a pensive Harry watched the man as he lovingly eyed his students chatter on about the upcoming tournament.
'What the hell is going on here?' was echoing through his thoughts. After being entered in the tournament against his will in his sixth year, he had gone on to examine past tournaments in the hope of discovering anything that could have been useful to him. It was then that he had had learned that the last attempt to restart the tri-wiz had been over half a century beforehand. So why was it that the tournament not only seemed to be fully resurrected, but to be following him into the past? Was there some hand of fate or destiny at work here?
Harry listened intently as the headmaster spoke of the very real dangers that any who entered the tournament would face, should they be chosen as champion. Unlike in his time, there would be no age restriction on those eligible to enter. If the Goblet of Fire chose you—then you were champion and that was that.
From the overall tone of Dumbledore's speech he had the distinct feeling that this tournament wouldn't be anything like the one in his time. There would be no hand-holding on the ministry's part this time, no watering down of the tasks the champions were expected to conquer, for if the Goblet chose you, then you were the very best your school had to offer. This tournament was meant to live up to those past champions who were even now whispered of with reverence and awed tones—the perfect setting for another needless massacre to play out for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty masses.
"Oh, man!" James yelled, as they made their way out of the Great Hall, heading toward the Gryffindor tower. "I'm so going to be chosen as Hogwarts' champion!"
"Please, Potter," came the derisive voice of Severus Snape from behind them. "The only way you could be chosen as champion would be if your parents were to bribe your way in. But then again, I suppose that wouldn't be all bad. Perhaps we'd all be treated to the sight of you being buggered to death by a dragon!"
"Severus!" Lily gasped, shocked that he would say such a thing.
Harry along with the rest of the Marauders turned to see the two unlikely friends, accompanied by Narcissa and the future Alice Longbottom, trailing out of the hall behind them.
"Like you have a chance of being chosen, Snivellus?" James asked mockingly, his entire demeanor shifting into the arrogant strutting bad boy he'd been trying to catch Lily's attention with for years. "If you were to get anywhere near a dragon your hair would go up in flames. They may ban you from entering simply due to how much of a fire hazard your hair is."
Sighing, Harry turned and left, surprising the entire group. Normally, when Severus and James got into one of their signature little tussles, Sirius couldn't help but to throw in his two knuts worth.
Knowing that for some odd reason they were all following him, including Lily and her group, he asked the group a question. "How many of you know the real reason this tournament was abandoned?"
"You really are a troll for brains, aren't you, Black?" Severus sneered at him, trying to hide his discomfort at being around the enigmatic teen. He was unnerved by the changes he had noticed in Sirius. The way he carried and conducted himself now was that of a person with the confidence of someone vastly more experienced than anyone their age could possibly hope to be. Like he was an apex predator who knew to their very core that few, if any, could stand against him and survive. It was night and day different, compared to the overly arrogant and spoiled act Black had been putting on for years.
"The headmaster explained that the death toll had risen too high for it to continue on. If you had been paying attention, instead of trying to pick up your latest slag, you would know as much."
Harry didn't even blink at the teen's attempts to get a rise out of him. "Yes, that's the bollox Dumbledore chose to tell us, but it is in no way the full truth." Stopping and turning to face them, he continued his explanation. "Besides me and Narcissa, none of you have ever been to the Sieve, have you?" The group, minus the emotionless Narcissa, gave a collective shake of the head.
"What's that?" Peter asked, voicing the question on all their minds.
"It's a former coliseum, which was in use in the times of the founders as a place to settle disputes between clans. Now, however, the massive stone structure has been turned into the world's largest pensieve." Already knowing what many of them were going to ask, he went ahead and answered the collective's unspoken question. "A pensieve is a magical device which allows one to share and view the memories of others."
"Wicked!" James exclaimed in awe, summing up everyone's thoughts in one word. "Why haven't I heard of this place before? My family is one of the oldest magical familes in Europe after all." Everyone ignored Severus' snort of disgust, they all knew James really wasn't trying to brag at the moment.
"Surely if such a place existed we would know about it."
"Because," interjected Narcissa, surprising them all, except for Harry. "It's owned by the main bloodline of the Black family. The Potters are too much of a 'light' family to be invited to such a place."
"Why would his family's status play into the matter?" Remus questioned, sounding as if he were unsure if he wanted to know or not.
"Not all of the memories played are that of past Quidditch World Cups," Harry explained. "Any event that people want to see is shown. Quidditch matches, dueling tournaments, battles the founders and other noteworthy witches and wizard participated in, executions of infamous criminals, and yes, tasks of the Triwizard tournament are all regular attractions. The reason the Potters have never been invited is that the memories aren't edited at all—blood, gore, and anything else that took place in the original memory gets shown."
"That's…" Alice trailed off looking rather pale.
"Unpleasant," Harry supplied, nodding that he agreed. "I say that Dumbledore's words were bollox because I've seen the last tournament and know why they stopped it altogether. It wasn't because the champion body count rose too high, it was because a cockatrice that was brought in for the champions to kill, broke free of its restraints before the task could even begin—killing close to four hundred students and spectators."
Thinking of nothing else to say, a nauseous looking Peter asked "What's a cockatrice?"
"A crossbreed of a wyvern and a rooster." Peter gave a humorous laugh at the thought of such a creature.
"Don't be so quick to underestimate the magical properties and abilities of roosters and chickens," Harry told him knowingly. "Think about it, cockatrices, basilisks, and some breeds of chimaera and manticore all have some relation to the feathered creatures."
Seeing the group was still reeling from his revelation, he left them with a bit of advice before they went their separate ways. "Just think twice before you enter your name in this competition. Attempting to claim all the fame and glory this tournament has to offer may be the last thing you ever do."
Silently, the three other members of the Marauders ambled up the staircase leading out of the entrance hall, following closely behind Harry. He, himself, was quiet as well. He was still attempting to sort out Sirius' memories, yet just minutes ago he had given a lecture to his one-time parents and their friends with information he hadn't been aware he possessed. He had investigated the final task of the Triwizard tournament in his own time, of course, but had only been able to find a few things on what had really transpired all those years ago. It didn't sit well with him at all that random pieces of knowledge and memories of Sirius' life up to that point, all of which could be key to the future success of his plans, were just floating around in his head going unutilized.
"I'll talk with you lot later," Harry said as they reached the top of the stairs, breaking off from the group to head in the opposite direction. James and Peter absentmindedly waved him off, but Remus stared after him as if he were debating whether or not he should try tagging along.
Glancing over his shoulder, he smirked. "I'm not killing anyone, Remy. You can go read whatever book it is that's calling your name. Your virtue is safe for one more night."
Remus disappeared around the same corner as the rest of the Gryffindors, a small chuckle shaking his hunched shoulders. Before Harry could continue on to the third floor and the One-Eyed Witch's passageway out of the school, he was stopped by the voice of his mother.
"Where are you going?" she questioned, quickly getting ahead of him.
"Does it matter?" he asked, genuinely curious.
"You're supposed to be heading back to the tower." Lily stood alone before him, her arms crossed authoritatively over her smaller than average chest. He could tell by the cute way her forehead was scrunched that she was attempting to put all of her authority into her eyes.
"If I'm not mistaken the fifth years' curfew doesn't go into effect until ten. I should be fine for at least the next hour and half." Seeing that Lily didn't plan on letting the subject go, he propped himself up against the wall. "Shouldn't you be helping lead the firsties up to Gryffindor tower instead of stalking me around the castle?"
"I'm not stalking you—I just happened to see you heading off this way." she defended. "You've already destroyed public property, flashed half of the school because you couldn't control yourself, and your 'best mate' has lost Gryffindor twenty-five points—don't you think it's wise to call it a night?"
Reaching into his pocket, Harry withdrew a powder-blue cigarette that looked as if it had been rolled by hand. "First off," he started, pausing to wandlessly ignite the cigarette hanging from his lips. "Despite popular belief, I'm not James Potter or his minion—so you trying to hold me accountable for his 'evils' is patently unfair to me. Second, I've abstained from any behavior since arriving here to warrant your suspicions. If anything, I've been on my best behavior. How many arguments between James and Severus have I stopped today?"
Lily was momentarily taken aback by the honesty and truth in his words. Not used to having an actual conversation with the boy, she was left unsure of how to respond.
"You're not wearing your dress slacks and smoking is prohibited upon the castle grounds."
Harry sent her that same genuine smile she had only seen once before, as he took a long drag of the bad habit he had inherited from Sirius. "Are you going to turn and watch my reflection as I change again, or are you going to force me to strip as you watch?"
His chest gave a deep rumble as he watched the innocence of the redhead turn her scarlet from her cheeks down into the collar of her robes. "As for this," he said, indicating the smoke between his lips, "it's made up of the leaves of a plant known simply as Melancholy. An apt name, if I do say so myself. For you see, when its smoke passes into your bloodstream it causes the smoker to experience an overwhelming sense of melancholy. Its effects are said to be comparable to that of a person who's lost their loved one."
Lily gave a horrified gasp as she watched him take another drag of the blue drug. "Why would you smoke that if causes you such pain?" She surprised him with the look of deep remorse she wore—if he hadn't known any better he would have believed she were the one causing him such heartache.
Shaking his head, he rid himself of thoughts of her beauty and goodness. "A majority of the Black line possesses an addiction to its taste. That majority are usually those who are forced into arranged marriages."
"I-I don't understand…" Slowly tucking a strand of her amazingly red hair behind her ear, she inched closer, stopping just outside the range of the smoke orbiting him. "If they're unhappy, why would they want to make those feelings worse?"
Harry smiled. "It's an exceedingly rare event, but every once in a while the leaves have the opposite effect on the smoker. Instead of causing them heartache, it shows them what it feels like to love… and to be truly loved."
Harry could already feel the drug's effect starting to overtake him, as he watched his future mother try and comprehend the depth of the sadness felt by those of the Black line.
"Until recently I had been expecting to receive word of my marriage to whatever fine young lady my parents had chosen for me. Now, however, I don't have to worry about such things; though I doubt if I'll be able to stop smoking."
"Why not?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"I need to know what the opposite of such sadness is." His answer was so vulnerable and honest that it took everything Lily had not to go forward into the poisonous smoke and give him the hug he so desperately deserved and needed.
It had been years since he had experienced the love shared between a man and a woman, not since Luna died giving birth to what would have been their firstborn child had he allowed himself to love another as he had her. The closest thing to what he had felt for Luna was the bond shared between him and Sirius, who in their time was now married to Harry's old Astronomy professor, and that of his only child, Lily Luna Potter—his angel born of a one night stand with his former best mate's little sister. And though he rarely had the chance to see the now—or was it then—twelve year old, there was no bond he held that was stronger and no love that burned quite as brightly as it did for his daughter. In some ways, his love for Lily Luna was as strong as that as he held for his deceased wife.
Never being able to see his little angel or Sirius again were the only reasons he regretted drunkenly agreeing to going through with the ritual. A little bit of smoke was a small price to pay if it meant getting a few seconds of that love back.
"Look at the time, Lily flower. If I'm to do what's needed before curfew, I had better get moving." Pushing off from his place against the wall, he started down the hallway, leaving behind a pensive Gryffindor prefect who wasn't sure what had just transpired between her and the boy she thought she knew.
"I'll show you that I'm not as bad a person as you believe," he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into the twists and turns of the second floor corridor. 'But first I have to deal with the former lord Orion Black.'
So, that was it. What did you all think?
I'm not sure if it was noticeable or not, but Harry's personality underwent a slight shift toward more of a Sirius Black mentality after he woke up. This was done on purpose as a side effect of his gaining Sirius' memories. Harry was by no means a coward when he traveled back, but thanks to the merging with a fifteen year old Sirius (I mean think about it, a hormone driven Sirius Black!) he's gained a bit of recklessness that forty-four year old Lord Harry Potter Black, a veteran of three wars, survivor of countless battles, and apprentice of the Flamels never had.
Also, for anyone who may be worried about as much, Harry/Sirius, despite his use of the drug Melancholy, won't be angsty. I know the end of the chapter was starting to lean that way, but I wrote the scene in such a manner as a way for Lily to connect with Sirius and see him in a different light to what she's used to experiencing.
On the topic of getting to know one another better, they won't be getting together right away. There's no way someone you've hated for so long could wiggle their way into your heart with a few charming smiles and by opening up to you. Harry/Sirius and Lily will face many challenges before they can be together—getting past Lily's preconceived notions of him will be one such obstacle. However, this won't be a fic where you have to wait forever for them to be together, either. Waiting for over 150,000 words for a couple to get together, let alone admit their feelings to themselves, is simply ridicules.
As a side note, if anyone is curious about how I envision the girls, I see Karen Gillan (Doctor Who!) as Lily, and Holland Roden as Lily Luna Potter. I have links on my profile to pictures of both. As for Sirius (sorry, no picture), I've always seen him as being very close in looks and personality with Jared Leto. By no means is this how I want all of you to see them. I just thought I'd share my thoughts on the matter in case someone out there was interested.
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