HELLO ALL! Sorry for the long wait, but here it is for you all :)
Also, hello to every new reader and favorite!
Harry's feet touched down on the grounds of Hogwarts and he felt himself falling backwards from the impact. Hermione caught him before his legs gave out from under him, and together, he and Hermione fell down on the grass in exhaustion.
"Harry?" Hermione asked, squeezing his upper arms like she was asking if he was awake.
"Yeah?" Harry asked lightly. "You okay?"
Hermione choked out a laugh. "Fine. I was going to ask you the same."
Harry felt like his arms were going to fall off and his head was going to explode. Breathing hurt and he thought that his shoulder was probably just one big ugly mess right about now. "Oh I'm just.. brilliant."
"Yeah?" she breathed.
"Yeah," Harry said back conversationally. "You?"
"Oh," Hermione said leaning back on her arms so Harry was against her stomach. "Fantastic. Let's go have another go."
Harry huffed out a laugh. He didn't understand why he was laughing, but the space around him seemed light and her joke caught him off-guard. He smiled. "Yeah. We'll do that." From ahead of him, Harry could see the outlines of robed people running towards them from the Hogwarts castle.
Hermione saw them too. "Where are we?" she asked, looking around her.
Harry figured they were sitting somewhere between Hogwarts and Hogsmead. Just outside of both the protection boarders. Not too far of a walk towards a bed. "Thats castle up there? It's Hogwarts, a Wizarding school of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Hogwarts?" Hermione said like she was tasting the word out on her tongue. "A magical school?" she asked sounding surprised and a little suspicious.
"Well where do you think we learned it all? The backyard of our parent's houses?"
"Well… but a school?"
"That would seem to be the most conventional use of learning."
Hermione nudged him with her shoulder. "Oh shut up, I'm just asking."
Harry grinned. "No, I know." He looked back at the tall castle. "To be honest, I didn't quite believe it either."
"You didn't know it existed?" Hermione looked down at him strangely.
"When i was a kid? I didn't even know I had magic. I thought I was having some sort of freak accident every time my accidental magic acted up."
"What about your family? They knew right?"
"I grew up with muggles. They told me I was a freak, so eventually I began to believe it."
Hermione frowned at him narrowly. "I thought you said you were a half-blood, not a muggleborn."
"I am a half-blood."
Harry could see the faces of Lily, James, Remus, Mr. Weasley, Fred, and Tonks now from below the hill, running up towards them. "My parents were killed by black magic followers as well." Harry didn't tell her the difference between their situations, but he figured he wouldn't have to. A lost parent was a lost parent.
"When?" Hermione asked lowly.
"I was about a year old."
"Not exactly," Harry muttered out. Later Hermione and Harry would blame it on the exhaustion, but when the group of wizards and witches found them, they found the pair leaning on each other for support and laughing hard enough to wheeze more than a little hysterically.
Harry woke up the hospital wing. Again.
"Morning… or.. well, not," Hermione said from the bed he figured was to his left. Harry groped around for his glasses before he could make out the short haired girl to his left.
Hermione had a book between her hands and was propped up in her bed. She had dark circles under her eyes and whatever scratches she'd gotten in the Malfoy Manor were wrapped up in gauze instead of having been disappeared altogether. Some of her injuries had stains of red blood coming through the cloth. Harry frowned at the wounds.
"Did you… resist treatment?" he said as a greeting.
Hermione sighed and stared back down at her book. "You've been asleep for eight hours. It's nighttime. I'd guess around eleven."
Harry took a closer look at her. "Did you sleep at all?"
Hermione flipped a page. "I'm not tired."
"You're exhausted," Harry argued.
"Right." Harry pushed himself forwards in bed so he could sit upright with Hermione, and immediately regretted his decision. His shoulder screamed out in pain, his ribs groaned, and Harry nearly fell back in bed at the shock of the pain. He took weight of his left shoulder and pushed his back against the headboard.
Hermione didn't miss his wince and hiss of pain. "You shouldn't be moving it," she tisked.
"You should let madam Pomfrey take care of your cuts. She's a talented Medi Witch."
Hermione glanced at him from the corner of her eye curiously, winning over her book. "A what?"
"The same thing as a doctor, just in magical terms."
"A magical doctor?" she stated flatly. "Wait does that mean… Do your people have medical diseases?" Hermione asked, abandoning the book altogether and turning to him a little from her bed. "Real sicknesses with magical properties?"
"You do realize we're normal people? We're not an entirely different species. And, hang on, you know that you're one of 'us' right? You have magical blood in your veins." Harry's shoulder flared in pain again at his movements and Harry reached up and cupped his shoulder gently, like his hand would suck away the pain.
Hermione down at the closed book in her lap. "Accidental magic," she stated quietly. "It's not the same thing as being…" She looked to Harry. "Whatever you are."
It was Harry's turn to look away. He glanced around him at the number of filled beds in the Hospital Wing with him. His eyes caught the sight of shinning red hair in the bed across from his. "Is everyone alright? Did they—"
"The doco—Medi Witch gave them all something to sleep. They all made it back fine in case you were wondering. The redhead had a lot of visitors. A lot of blubbering really." Hermione reopened her book.
Harry eyed her bandages and dark circles. "Really?"
"Are you sure?"
Harry took his wand from beside the bed and swung his legs over the side of his bed. Hermione watched him from the corner of her eye, and when she saw what he was going to do, she sat completely up in her bed. "Harry!" she shout whispered. "What are you doing?"
"Coming over to you," Harry grimaced. He stood himself up, and felt a rolling blackness pass over his eyes and face. He stood still for a moment so he could catch his breath and started to take small, baby steps towards Hermione's bed.
"Don't—" Hermione raised a hand as if she would catch him if he suddenly pitched forwards.
"Don't worry I won't collapse on you," Harry tried to grin as he came towards her bed and sat down on the edge next to her.
Hermione scooted closer to him like she wasn't sure he wouldn't just fall over on her. "Are you sure? You look a little pale. Maybe you—"
"I'm fine Hermione. I just—" Harry took a deep breath and let the pain settle in his bones before he looked back at her. "Needed to take some baby steps."
"Baby steps?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
Harry grinned. "Baby steps." He glanced at her injuries with a sigh. "With you, this will be your baby steps."
Hermione looked down at the gauze on her arms before staring back up at Harry. "What are you talking about?"
Harry held up his wand, and Hermione went very still. Harry lowered it very slowly and set the piece of wood on his lap. "Don't worry, I'm not going to force it on you."
"Force what?" Hermione asked, very voice suddenly sharp and her eyes cold.
"Healing your wounds," Harry said calmly. He knew she had had bad experience after bad experience with magic, but that didn't mean he could try to change her perspective on it just a little bit. "I'd guess you wouldn't let Madame Pomfrey do it to you because you don't trust her. If you'd let me, I could do it instead."
Hermione's eyes softened a little, and Harry suddenly wondered if he had missed something. "You think I trust you?"
Harry smiled at her. "I know you wouldn't have saved my life if you didn't think I was worth saving."
Hermione tipped her head towards him and smiled from the corners of her mouth. "True."
Harry licked his lips. "So will you let me help you?"
Hermione glanced at the wand in his lap. "Why do you want to help me?"
"Well, you... saved my life."
Harry dropped the smiled when she didn't smile back at him. Hermione wasn't going for the light tone in his voice. She frowned. "No but why?" She looked up at him. "Why try to…" she waved her hand around at the room. "…desensitize me to magic? It's obvious you've been trying to prove to me that magic is good as well as bad ever since you met me. Do you want something from me? From the other hunters? Do you want me to join you because I look like your friend from another world?" She shook her head, and Harry could practically see the gears turning in her brain full of the different possibilities. Harry didn't like where this was going. Like she seemed to think he was using her.
"No," Harry said immediately. The possibilities stopped rolling over Hermione's eyes and she looked at him, shaken and still, Harry could see, completely exhausted.
"What?" she asked.
Harry twirled the wand in his hands. "Okay, so maybe.. partially, yes I'm doing it because you look like my Hermione, but it's only because I know her brilliance, and when I see you, I see the potential." Harry looked up at her and she stared back at him with a calm expression. "I've known my Hermione Granger for nearly eight years. I know who she is, and I know how clever she is."
Hermione glared at him fiercely. "I'm not her."
"No," Harry nodded slowly, careful of her piercing eyes, "you're not." Harry twirled the wand between his fingers. "But you're still clever. More clever in some ways than my Hermione is, because you've gone through different experiences." He looked at her wounds. "My Hermione, for the first couple of years I knew her, trusted adults first. Thought they would help her when no one else could. She trusted them too much, and when we needed them, we were … uh, screwed over." Harry cleared his throat. "Multiple times."
Harry turned to Hermione and offered the wand up to her between them in his palm. Hermione didn't take it, but Harry didn't expect her to. "You on the other hand, while still brilliant, have already seen the world at its worst and know the muggle population more than anyone I know here."
"Because I am a muggle," she said quietly.
Harry met her eyes. "No. You're not."
Hermione didn't say anything back.
Harry started up again. "So when I say that I want to help you, I mean it. Not because I'm mistaking you for a friend I have in a different world, but because you're a witch. You were born to be a witch. You were supposed to be the greatest mind of the century. You still are, I have no doubt with other schools, but for the magical world, you were prized because of what you could do when you put your mind to it."
Hermione looked at him for a moment, before her gaze fell to the wand between them. She reached out to touch it, but at the last moment, pulled her hand away and looked back up to Harry. "Baby steps?" she asked.
Harry smiled and then nodded. "Baby steps."
It took Harry less than three minutes to actually heal Hermione's scrapes and cuts. It took more than thirty minutes to answer her questions about the pronunciation, the hand movements, the wand, and every other magical thing Hermione could come up with to ask about when Harry was treating her. When he was done, Harry moved over to his bed beside her and they talked about the amount of magic it would have taken for a person's body to be transported to a different dimension and different theories on how to bring them back. Hermione little to no information to offer, and Harry had no idea what blood magic could really do. They were both stuck.
Harry found it all quite fun. After a while though, Harry noticed Hermione's eyes shutting periodically, and he remembered that she hadn't had the privilege to sleep yet. So he pretended to be falling asleep as well, and when he was sure she had followed his lead and was deeply under, Harry sat up in bed, ignored his shoulder, and stood up.
"That was… quite the conversation," Harry heard someone say behind him.
Harry turned with his wand pointed at the stranger before his mind could process who had said it. He nearly dropped his wand when he realized he was pointing it at James Potter. Harry blinked rapidly and lowered the wand a little sheepishly. "Er.. sorry. I didn't hear you."
James Potter moved closer to Harry, his face falling in to the lamp light that hung above in the ceiling even this late at night. "No, it's quite all right. I was just uh… well, I was just keeping watch over Ginny while her families out."
Harry didn't know if he should drop the conversation there and leave, or actually talk to the man who was his … sort-of namesake. He put his hands in the pockets of his rumpled robes. The necklace was still there, sitting silently in his pocket. Well, that made his next trip certainly easier then. "None of the Weasley's could make it to see her?" he asked.
James looked back at where Ginny was supposedly sleeping. "They did actually, for a while. But then the news broke out about the Malfoy Manor attack in the prophet and well… it's been chaotic. I thought it best for a family friend to watch over her while everyone's… out."
Harry nodded. He hadn't expected anyone to be waiting for him to wake up. Not really. "I'd bet."
James nodded after him and put his own hands in his pockets like he was trying to starve off an awkward moment. "Are you alright after all of that?"
Harry blinked. "What? The imprisonment? It wasn't so bad. Better than I expected to be honest."
James smiled good naturedly. "Didn't scare you ?"
Harry shrugged and found himself grinning back. "Had worse, so it wasn't that big of a deal."
James's smile faltered and Harry looked away. Right. It was awkward again. James cleared his throat. "But are you, umm… are yo—what I'm trying to say is, are you ...okay after killing Draco Malfoy?"
Harry turned to look back at James, and realized with a start, that his hazel eyes were searching Harry's green with such rapt attention, Harry was sure his thoughts were being read out like a borrowed library book.
"Er…" Harry thought back to James's question. "I'm fine. Mostly. I knew what had to be done and it was either him or me." He turned to James again. "How did you know it…"
"How did I know it had been you?" James asked. "Hermione. She refused to be helped by Madam Pomfrey, so instead of sleeping, she was sharing her story with the order."
"She actually talked to you all?"
"Well, she did when she was moved next to you."
Harry turned to look back at Hermione, and found himself watching her breathe. At least he knew that she was starting to warm up to him then. He turned back. "She's an amazing witch… well she will be. I'm sure she would have cooperated when she felt you deserved it."
James coughed out a laugh. "Yes, I'm sure that given time, she wouldn't have tried to breathe fire at us through her eyes."
Harry grinned. "She couldn't have been that bad."
James pointed a finger at him. "You didn't see her. We almost couldn't get you two to the hospital wing with all the commotion she was making."
Harry smiled and relaxed against the wood at the foot of his hospital bed. Harry thought about who would have had to dealt with her temper, and he switched his weight between his feet uneasily. "How is… er, how's Jonathan?"
James stared at him and sighed out, crossing his arms over his chest. "Safe, thanks to you."
"But?" Harry prompted, because he doubted Jonathan would have taken being shoved out of a war kindly.
"But… he was angry for a while," James admitted. "He thought you had betrayed him, and he was sour for a couple of hours."
"And now?" Harry asked. It didn't matter what Jonathan thought of him, Harry knew that at the surface, but at the same time, he didn't want the only person who had been genuinely open with him when he had first gotten here to hate him. Call him crazy, he liked Jonathan as a friend. He was probably what Harry would have been like if there had never been a war, or a dead family to deal with.
"Now? He's fine. He even came to sit by your bed side for a couple of hours before Lilly made him go home," James smiled casually.
"That's… that's good. I'm glad he's okay." Harry felt awkward. Again. He thought now was probably the best time to leave. He had turned on his foot towards the door, when James's voice caught him in place.
"You don't have to look out for him, you know," James said.
"I—"Harry turned around confused. "What?"
"I know Jonathan gets… overwhelming sometimes. He tends to stick too close to some people too fast. And I know that you're uncomfortable being here. So I just want you to know that it's okay if—"
"If what? I tell him I don't want him as my family?" Harry interrupted. "That he needs someone else to play big brother?"
James hardened. "I wouldn't have put it in those words, no, but if—"
"He's fine where he is, doing what he's doing. Being Jonathan," Harry stated.
James grinned. "Good."
"Good?" Harry asked, suddenly confused. Had he missed something? Did he—why was he smiling like that?
James nodded. "Good."
Harry tipped his head to the side. "I—okay. I'll just be…seeing you later then."
Harry had turned back around towards the door when James's voice stopped him again. "Where are you going?"
Harry pointed at the doors. "Outside."
"Madam Pomfrey said you needed mandatory bed rest."
"You were half dead."
"But I'm fine now."
"There's a spy among us. They could get you as you are right now, tired and hurt."
Harry grimaced a dark sort of smile. "Id that a threat?"
"It's a warning."
Harry turned to face him. They were all on alert then. No one knew who had done it. "You still don't know who put down the wards in Hogsmead?"
James shook his head. Most of the Order was at headquarters, talking with you. The others that weren't there were either at their daily jobs, undercover, or on a mission already for the Order. Those left at Hogwarts were a short list, and very trusted."
People like Madam Pomfrey, and Hagrid, who had warned them. Harry nodded. "Was anyone else allowed in the wards?"
"No one other than students."
"So a student did it?"
James nodded, glancing around the room. "We don't know who, or why, but a magical signature was left in the dismantling of the wards, and we'll find them soon enough."
"And then what?" Harry asked, looking over the room's occupants like James. Harry saw Ginny move in her sleep. "What happens when you find who did it?"
"We'll have to see if it was on accident or not."
"An accident," Harry echoed. Harry didn't think taking down a secure locations wards could be done on accident. It took not only concentration, but a lot of power to do something like that.
"The imperius curse is not out of the question," James clarified, looking at Harry with suddenly very old eyes. "A lot of things can be done under a curse with power, including taking things apart from the inside." There was a silence after James's last words, and Harry nodded. He knew that. Had seen a lot of that first hand in his fourth year.
James walked up after him and clapped his hands together softly. "So, now that that's out of the way, where are you really going?"
Harry didn't quite know what to say. The atmosphere changed between them from frosty to cozy in the next moment and it caught him off guard. He just sort of spat out the truth. "The girl's bathroom."
That apparently, had been the last thing James had expected to hear. "The—I'm sorry the what?"
Harry tucked his hands back into his pockets. "Visiting Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom."
James stared for a second, and then nodded soundly. "Right. Okay, let's go."
James took off in front of him, and Harry whipped himself around in surprise. "Wait what? I didn't—"
"Madam Pomfrey would have my head if she knew I had let you walk out of here. The least I can do is tell her I'm watching over you while you're supposed to be on mandatory bed rest," James smirked confidently. "Come on."
"I—Merlin," Harry resigned with a sigh. "Alright, hold up, I still can't move my shoulder about too much!"
The walk to the girl's bathroom wasn't as awkward as Harry had thought it was going to be. It was actually, comforting in a weird way. Someone to talk to. James would often more likely laugh at him than talk, but that just made Harry's spirits lighten that much more. He was rarely smiling even in his own world. Between Ginny and him going on a 'break', and then attending all of the funerals felt from the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry rarely had time to not break down and try not to cry.
Honestly, Harry felt it had been the pressing media that held him together. Well, that and Ron and Hermione. With every passing day, the Prophet would plaster his face over the newspapers and every family that could get a hold of his hands would shake it and thank him for his work. They would tell him of how their children were safe, how they couldn't ever thank him enough, how they would always remember him for this, and whenever they let go of his hand, all Harry could see were the rows and rows of covered bodies inside of Hogwarts after the war.
Then a picture would flash, and Harry would turn towards the light. The Daily Prophet called him Hope.
Harry didn't smile for the camera, but if his face was kept them all moving forwards, then Harry wouldn't turn away. He kept his face straight because he couldn't smile, and he couldn't move when he was being thanked.
So it was nice when he didn't have to say anything back to James as he talked quietly down stairs and hallways through the castle. He didn't have to apologize for someone else's loss when they told him that he had held up their family's revenge by killing Voldemort. He didn't have to shake back a hand he didn't want to touch, or purposely look in control when he felt like falling against a wall and just holding his head.
He smiled when James would talk wildly with his hands, or flash his wand annoyingly at sleeping portraits for his enjoyment. He wouldn't walk to close, like he was in Harry's space, but just barely kept a distance that didn't feel uncomfortable.
It set Harry's nerves down. He grinned along with his stories and would listen when James had decided that humming seemed like the best thing to do instead of rambling. It wasn't complete silence, but it was nice. Something peaceful.
Eventually, they made in to Myrtle's bathroom.
James opened the door for Harry, and Harry walked in before him. The room was just the same as it was in his world. Empty, cold, and as Harry walked farther in the room, he felt ghostly eyes on him. Myrtle was staring at him from her toilet stall. Harry looked to her and nodded politely. Her eyes widened in return, like she was surprised he hadn't done something nasty towards her.
"Hello Myrtle, I'll only be in here for a moment. We'll leave you alone again pretty soon," Harry said.
James followed him in. "Isn't this the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets?" he asked, looking around. Harry looked up in surprise for a moment before he remembered how he'd shared his memories. Right.
Harry nodded. "That's where I'm going."
James looked to the ring of sinks dryly. "Oh." He nodded. "Alright then."
"The basilisk will still be there."
James nodded, wandering around the sinks like was staring at them for the first time, but stopped when the words seemed to process through his mind. "Wai- What?" he turned to look at Harry. "If it's still down there—"
"I need basilisk poison," Harry said evenly.
James looked like he was backtracking. "Basilisk poison?" James asked. "Why—"
"I found a horcrux at the Manor. I need to get rid of it, and basilisk poison can do that."
James's eyes were wide open. "You have a horcrux? On you? Right now?" he asked disbelieving. "Why didn't you go to Dumbledore? Tell him that—"
"Dumbledore isn't my keeper," Harry interrupted, looking away from James and marching up to the bathroom sinks calmly. "And he doesn't have anything that can destroy a horcrux. He doesn't even know what they are."
James came beside him. "And you think this is the way?"
"I know it is."
"So you're going to march in and almost die again, or worse, actually die?"
Harry ignored James and told the sink to open. He didn't feel himself slipping into a different language, but from the sudden closed face of James, he figured he'd done what he wanted. The sinks began to move and sink in towards the ground. James took a step forwards to take a closer look. Harry stood where he was.
"Does it feel weird?" James asked, looking down the deep tunnel in front of him. "To speak Parseltongue?"
Harry moved to the edge of the hole with James. "Not really." He glanced sideways at James. "You can go back you know. I don't need you to come with me."
James glanced back at him dryly. "My Lily might not look it, but she can give a tongue lashing to match Minerva's. Don't ask me to do something that might actually kill me."
"A basilisk might kill you."
James made an acknowledging face. "Death by a giants snakes poisonous teeth is better than the poisonous words of an angry wife."
Harry grinned lightly. He didn't feel all that scared going down to the Chamber of Secrets. He was sore, yes, and tired, but he wasn't scared. He'd been there before. He'd done this by himself, and when he'd only been a second year. He had had the sword of Gryffindor to help him last time, sure, but then again this time, he wouldn't have the memory of an angry Dark Lord putting him on a speed timer. He had sort of plan planned how he was going to do this, but he doubted the basilisk was going to just hand over some of its poison, or for that matter, a tooth.
"You're good at transformation, yes?" Harry asked, stepping closer to the hole just at the edge of his feet.
"Pretty good, yeah," James said, coming to the edge beside him. "Why? Are you going to turn the big snake into a flower? Because I'm almost positive you can't transform magical creatures without a median."
Harry didn't know what a median was, but he didn't bother that with a response. "No. I need a cauldron though. Can you spare me one?"
James looked at Harry, surprised. "I…" James blinked and drew his wand. "Yes. Hold a minute." James muttered under his breath and used a loose bathroom tile to turn it into a large, grey cauldron before Harry. James levitated it before Harry and Harry grabbed it from the air easily.
Harry looked down the tunnel and cleared his throat. "Another thing?" Harry asked.
James looked up at Harry from under his fringe. "Hm?"
Harry licked his lips. He didn't know if James would do this for him, and if he didn't then he would have to do it himself. At a later time, which actually, might just kill him if talking to the basilisk didn't work out. Harry looked over to James. "I need something else. Something I think you might be able to get."
James glanced down at the tunnel before the both of them hesitantly. "Ah, and that would be..?"
Harry's hands tightened on the cauldron. "I need the sword of Gryffindor."
James opened his mouth, and then glanced at the cauldron cautiously. His eyebrows twitched like he was putting together puzzle pieces in his mind and he looked to Harry again with a frown at the corners of his lips. "Do you… You have no idea what you're going to do down there do you?"
"I'm going to destroy the horcrux," Harry stated flatly.
"And you've an idea on how to do it then with a giant snake beneath our feet?" James pulled a hand through his hair, making it stand wildly around his face and crossed his arms over his chest.
Harry swallowed. No, not exactly. He didn't know exactly what he was going to do, but he knew the horcrux needed to be destroyed. The last time he'd been hunting horcruxes, he had had a poisoned blade from the basilisk. Or a fang of the basilisk. The other option was fiendfyre, but Harry didn't want to attempt that on the insides of Hogwarts. Maldoy Manor had been one thing. Everything needed to go, so he didn't care what burned, but Hogwarts? No. He needed the blade.
"That's why I need the sword," Harry answered James.
"From Dumbledore," James raised an eyebrow flatly.
"The sword. You want the sword from Dumbledore, and you want me to go and get it?" he asked.
Harry saw James's rising reluctance like a building brick wall. "Yes," Harry said. He needed it. More than that though, he needed to go alone. If the basilisk didn't react well to Harry's presence there, he would strike out. Harry didn't know if he could re-defeat the basilisk, but he knew he wouldn't be able to look after himself and James at the same time. One of them would get hurt, or worse, die, and that had Harry's insides twisted inside him.
"You think you can use the basilisk's venom to absorb into the blade?"
Harry nodded stiffly. "Yes."
"By yourself." Harry knew that James knew if the older man left to get the sword, Harry would go down to the Chamber of secrets by himself. James was staring at Harry with a blank face and hands tucked into the pockets of his robes with tight shoulders.
Harry wondered briefly what the older man was thinking. That Harry was truly insane? That the kid who looked like what his dead child would have looked like was …dangerous ? Harry thought so. He probably would have thought the same thing.
Harry stared defiantly at James looking over him. "Yes."
James looked down at the hem of his robes and shook his head. "That's not…" he shook his head again. "No." He raised his face to Harry's. "I'm not leaving you to go down there by yourself."
Harry felt a curl of anger rise in his chest. "I can do this by myself." Harry could. He'd been doing it for years, at the end, it ended up just being him. Him and his shadow, walking through the dangers and living through the colors of spells that followed his steps. He could do this.
Something in James's face died out, and he looked off down at the tunnel, letting his wild hair cover up the most important planes of his face so Harry couldn't see what had happened. His shoulders looked low to the ground, like he'd given up, or accepted something. Like something heavy fell on his shoulders or fell away, leaving him weak in his stance.
"I know you can," James said to the hole. "I've seen it. Your memories. I know you can, and you will without anyone next to you."
Er.. yes? Harry was put off. He didn't know what exactly to say that. "Well, … good. Er I—"
"But you don't have to anymore," James stated thickly, coming up with his hair falling away from his face. "You don't have to be alone. Not here," James said, his face sincere and honest. Like he was speaking straight to the child locked away in the back of Harry's mind and insecurities. "Not with me. Not when you're here. I won't leave you."
The words echoed. Harry swallowed past a swollen throat. "You don't have to—"
"I want to Harry," James said, cutting him off.
And of course he did. Just what Harry really didn't want to hear right now. He shook his head and ran a hand over his head, sending his hair flying across his forehead. "I can't- you can't come with me."
James studied Harry for a moment, before stepping back and crossing his hands over his chest. He grinned cheerfully. "Well, you could try stopping me."
Oh for the love of Merlin. "I need that sword."
James shrugged. "Fine." He clapped his hands together loudly, making the ringing echo across the tiles like a war bell. "Dobby!"
Harry's eyes felt like they'd pop out of his head. Dobby? of course, everyone else in this world, so why not-
There was a 'pop' in the echoing room, and suddenly, a big eyed, familiar house elf appeared in front of the pair wearing a dress coat and mismatching socks with a knitted hat on the back of his head. "Dobby sirs?" Dobby asked, standing tall and bowing.
"Dobby?" Harry gasped with a smile.
The house elf looked up at his name over at Harry. "The sir knows Dobby?" Dobby asked, his green tennis-ball like eyes widening larger.
"Yes- no, no not really. i just- it's- uh, nice to ...see you Dobby."
"Harry Potter is kind," Dobby said, bowing his head forwards a little before looking back to James. "Mr. Potter? You called for Dobby?"
James rubbed his hands together. "Yes, um, well, I would understand if you didn't want to do this, as its not under your working contract between us, but er… i need you to get something for Harry and myself."
"Mr. Potter?" Dobby asked. "Dobby will serve the Potter family until he dies sir. For saving him from the other family. Dobby will do whatever Mr. Potter asks sir."
Harry looked over to James. Dobby worked for the Potter family then? After… saving him from the Malfoys? What was-
"Yes, I know Dobby, the thing is, the thing you would be getting would have to be from Dumbledore's office." James was looking at Dobby, and the house elf was staring back him unblinking. "Something you might have to steal from the headmaster."
Dobby blinked, but Harry didn't see anything close to fear or shock on the house elf's face. "Is that what you wishes sir?"
James looked to Harry before turning back to Dobby. "Yes Dobby, get it as fast as you can. Then bring it to Harry. Only Harry, do you understand?"
Dobby bowed. "Harry Potter is part of the Potter family, he is a young master then too." Dobby turned to bow to Harry as well and disappeared with a 'pop' in the next moment before Harry could say anything against him.
"He-" Harry said, looking after where he vanished.
"Alright, no excuses now," James said, interrupting Harry and standing in front of the entrance again. "Dobby will get the sword, you have the cauldron to get the poison and the horcrux." James grinned lightly and put his hands into his pockets. "I'm coming with you."
Harry was silent. No more excuses, he was right. He wanted to come with him. Help him. Harry turned to the tunnel as well. "Fine. Ready?"
"Always," James said behind him. "And if you think you're going to lead me down there just to kill me later on I'll have to-" James's joke cut off halfway. James breathed in sharply and grabbed the back of Harry's shoulder. "What the bleedin hell is that?"
Harry looked behind at James, took in his shocked face, and looked up to what he was staring at somewhere up in the sky in front of them.
Harry's heart beat picked up and his face split into a smile. "Ron! Hermione! Luna!" he called brightly. In front of him was the glowing blue mirror that Harry had seen in the hospital wing two days ago. His friends were standing close together on the other side of the mirror, looking at him in shock, and then back at James like they couldn't believe their eyes. Luna, of the three, was the only one who didn't look a bit put off.
"Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Woah mate, I know you said that your parents were alive here and all, but I didn't expect them to be so…" Ron trailed off, staring at James with wide eyes.
"Alive?" Harry finished.
"Yeah. Yeah exactly."
"Ever so eloquently Ron," Hermione said beside him.
Luna smiled. "He really does look just like you Harry."
"I-" Harry said.
James stepped beside him and looked upwards at his friends. "Harry?" He looked down at Harry and raised an eyebrow, something Harry was sure he couldn't actually do. "Care to explain?"
:) So trust issues, gonna destroy a horcrux, saw Dobby, and now we get to see Ron, Hermione, and Luna.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you all, i appreciate all the messages of support :) For those of you wondering, i lost my work multiple times due to my own stupidity of not saving, and my computer crashing. So next time, I'll be making the updates in a shorter time period.
Hello again to all my new followers and favorites!
UP NEXT: Horcrux-in time, a big ass snake, and some advice and information
Comments and reviews are always appreciated!