The door of the room opened slowly and carefully, as not to intrude on the occupants. The slight creek of the door penetrated the light atmosphere of the room, which quickly reverted it back to the awkward silence that had started the day. It seemed there was a need for Harry to learn to trust each person individually.
Lily's head moved diagonally slightly from focusing on Harry to the individual in the doorway; she smiled sympathetically and welcomed James in. He seemed slightly fazed by the less than welcoming environment. However, he did not show seem to be allowing Harry to see this.
James had come to tell the two that most of the school had already left the grounds and were now on the train back toward London. The school, now practically empty now allowed them to travel through the corridors to Gryffindor Tower without worrying about other people's reactions to Harry and use the deserted tower to their advantage in order to keep him a secret. James walked slightly in front of the other two down the halls, a rolled up piece of parchment grasped in one of his hands. He kept taking a quick look back to keep an eye on the two. Harry had one hand tightly grasped in Lily's hand as she led him up the corridors. James kept glancing back at Harry, who seemed to try to duck behind Lily whenever he noticed James's gaze on him. Though most of the time he was looking around his surroundings with a strange sort of awe. He seemed fascinated, but determined to stay alert in his awkwardness.
"So what were you up to this morning?" Lily asked addressing James to break the awkward and unnecessary silence. She was addressing James because she knew that Harry would take some time to adjust to James. He seemed to open up rather quickly, as if he wanted to connect but was still reluctant and worried about doing so.
"Oh," James said with a grin. "We've been shopping."
"What?" Lily exclaimed shocked. "Yesterday was the Hogsmeade day!"
"Never stopped us before. I would have thought that you would have known that we knew ways out of the castle."
"Well I suspected, but I never had any confirmation. And I don't want to know any more. I don't care how often you've snuck out. I also don't need to know what else you've done that is against the rules."
"What makes you think we've done anything else?" James said in mock outrage.
"Your wonderful skills of lying would tell me otherwise." Lily gave her own grin.
"I can't believe what you are accusing my friends and me of! We would never dream of sneaking around the castle or doing anything to aide that. Oh and Sirius, Peter, and Remus are sneaking into the kitchens, so that we are able to eat in the Common Room when we get there."
At certain points James would check the parchment that he had been holding in his hand. He would merely glance at it and lead his two companions down corridors that Lily was not used to, or else used rarely. When asked what the parchment was the only response was "Something you don't want to know about." This satisfied Lily; after knowing him for years she had learned that some things were best left alone despite her curiosity. There was certainly a part of his life that was forever with his friends, and despite their relationship she understood and respected the deep connection that they shared.
Harry's grip loosened, as he seemed to be less tense. The visible curiosity for his surroundings seemed to increase as some of his self-consciousness appeared to fade. His expressions were interesting to watch as he took in everything that was in the castle. It was amazing to anyone; however it must have been that much more magical to someone who was experiencing it for the first time when they had been told repeatedly that this sort of thing did not exist.
When they finally climbed through the portrait hole the tables that were scattered throughout the room were filled with different items. One table was piled with food items, presumably brought up from the kitchens where there was never a problem getting any type or amount of food at any point in the day. Sirius sat at a table covered with stacks of books, his face buried in a book, carefully taking notes on a piece of parchment to the side, and oblivious to the group that had just entered the room. He looked up when his name was called and his attention directed outside the book.
"Sirius! Where are Remus and Peter?" James called, walking toward the table.
"Upstairs." Sirius nodded towards the staircase behind him. "They're putting away the things we bought today. Figured we shouldn't leave them lying around down here for everyone to see. They'll be down shortly for lunch. Any trouble getting here?"
"No, we took the long route, not the one that passes through the charms corridor because Flitwick was going somewhere, and there were a few students wandering about."
"I take it you had no problems getting lost, then," interjected a voice from the doorway behind Sirius.
"I only got lost once, and that was your fault, not mine." James scowled when his friends snickered. He then grinned, "So no, since no one gave me bad directions I had a perfect time navigating the halls." James was favored with a raised eyebrow as the two descended the staircase.
Everyone, save Sirius who went back to the book he was reading since he was almost to the end of the chapter he had been reading. No one protested his continued research as they were busy protesting that Harry was the guest and as such should not be helping to set the table for the meal. Harry seemed used to helping out and in the end was allowed to continue helping without further protest. As long as Harry was happy, he could do what he pleased.
Lunch itself was fairly uneventful, though by the end of the meal Harry was openly talking with everyone, even if he might not be as outgoing as certain other occupants of the table. Lunch ended when Harry made the offhand comment that he wished to see some magic, and the group relocated to a more comfortable spot, spending the rest of the day demonstrating magic for Harry.
Harry was thoroughly enchanted by the demonstration. Lily understood Harry's amazement at the new environment having been introduced to the whole wizarding world at once as well, though she knew that Harry's experience was still different from hers, since her parents had not raiser her with such a dislike for the abnormal. However, she did understand the difference between hearing about the magic and actually witnessing it firsthand. That was a truly magical experience.
The others did not seem to understand the experience of Harry, growing up with magic being commonplace it was never a shocking new experience but rather a normal way of life. Much of the wizarding world held much more appeal to those who were of Muggle heritage since they got to experience things that previously they had only dreamed of.
There was a quick break for dinner after Sirius and James disappeared to retrieve it from the kitchens.
Eventually it was decided that it was time to go to sleep when Harry fell asleep. He was carried upstairs to one of the empty beds in the seventh year boy's dormitory.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Harry Potter. I am writing this to satisfy my own personal "What-If" fantasies.
Authors Note: I apologize for the delay. I was a bit busy with school work, but now that school's over I can focus on this. I no longer need to write out complex notes on dates and places different artifacts were found. (I really loved archeology though!) I have job that requires lots of time when I'm merely sitting on the computer. I wanted to post this earlier, but I left my rough copy at home and had to start on the next chapter at work today.
I have not gotten a chance to look back and correct capitalization of canon terms, I'm still working on what is capitalized and what is not.
However the most important thing is that I want to thank everyone who reviewed, even though I was bad and had not updated. I especially liked Kate's most recent review. So again thank you very much! Love to all!