First and foremost, NO, this story is not abandoned. It just took me, you know, a year to gather the muses enough to put out another chapter. I'm continuing on, and hopefully it won't take me another year to post the next chapter. I do actually enjoy this story.
WARNING: I HIGHLY recommend re-reading everything. It's been a while my friends, so go ahead and reacquaint yourself with what the hell is going on.
"Wait!" Harry jumped in front of Ron, and held his hands in the air to stop the Order from cursing he and his best mate bloody. "He's with me! He's fine! He's-"
"Ron?" 's soft voice carried over the sound of burning bodies, the stomping of hundreds of feet, and the shouts of chaos from the dying skirmish. "Is that-" Her eyes were wide, hopeful, teary, and unblinking as if she were in a trance. "Is that ...you?"
Ron was staring at Mrs. Weasley's face, just as riveted, probably taking in all the small details that separated this Mrs. Weasley from the one at home as Harry had when he'd first seen her. "Mum?" Ron asked, swallowing ash away from his throat, and squinting his eyes.
Mrs. Weasley exhaled like she'd been holding her breath.
Ron tilted his head. "Are you-" he blinked rapidly and looked away from her, down at Harry. "Harry, what in the bloody hell is goin on here?"
"Um." Well. To be honest, Harry didn't know quite what to say.
James, Sirius, Lily, Mrs. Weasley, Remus, Fred, Charlie, and other important Order members were standing just around Harry. Their robes and hair were mussed from the ash in the air and the commotion around them. Dumbledore was nowhere to be seen, and their eyes looked panicked. Harry noticed it in the way they stood and how so very few completely lowered their wands. Even with Harry standing just in front of them.
No one took any notice of Natara sitting just off to the side of Harry and the unconscious pair of wizarding students, curled around a patch of blazing grass. Harry could more than feel her content at what she's done, he could almost hear her smug humming in appreciation at the sight around her.
Their attention was fixed on he and Ron though, and with a burning field behind them, and panicked children around him, Harry felt somewhat lost as his eyes took in again the very real image of his best friend at his side. "Well, uh, Order. Order of the Phoenix. Meet … Ron Weasley. Of ...my world."
Yeah. Well that came out just brilliantly.
There was a collective silence around him. Ron tossed him a look under his ginger eyebrows that Harry chose to ignore.
He found that that meant he should probably move on. "Not completely sure as to how he did it," he glanced back to his best friend, who had moved on from staring at his mother's face to the rest of the available Weasley clan like Charlie, Bill, the Gideon and Fabian Prewett brothers, but more specifically, George and Fred. "..but he's who I said he is, and he's here now, so." Harry shrugged and glanced at Ginny and Dean, who had somehow managed to land quite close together.
"Also," Harry continued on because the silence was deafening. "I don't know if you've heard, you probably haven't, but the inside traitor was um…" He looked to Mrs. Weasley. "It was Ginny."
"No," Mrs. Weasley broke, her voice ringing beyond a measure of sadness to Harry's ears.
To him, Harry could say that if anything, heartbroken would have been a better word. Or devastated. It hurt Harry's insides to hear her so utterly broken. It suddenly made it a whole lot harder to say the rest out loud. Ron looked back to his mother and Harry was sure that the red rings under his eyes weren't from the ash in the air.
"She was doing it to save her- to save Dean." Harry pointed behind him to the unconscious wizard, and eyes followed his hand. "Who I'd imagine is her boyfriend." Which momentarily, Harry felt very wrong to say out loud. "She had had Gabby as a hostage to trade for her… Dean," Harry locked eyes with James as he said that, and Harry saw Lily's hand on the side of his robes tighten. "...and I ended up mucking it all up by calling on Natara." He looked across at the staring faces. "Which is why the field is on fire. Again."
They continued to stare, and Harry felt it was necessary to clear his throat. "Sorry." Natara blew a smoke ring into the air through her nose.
Ron snorted amusedly from behind him, and it jump started the Order members around him to start talking at the same time.
"How did you-"
"Why was Natara-"
"Did any of the Death Eaters-"
"Who is he-"
"Ginny couldn't have-"
Harry blinked at the sudden mass of conversation hurling at him from all sides, and let it wash over him in a wave.
He was tired, sweaty, worn out, and in all honestly, only wanted to check on Natara, then check on Gabby, and then sleep for a couple days. Maybe weeks. He wasn't really in the mood for answering questions he himself didn't have the answers to. And he didn't have a clue as to where to begin.
"Alright, alright. Everyone back up and give him a breather. He did just come out of another bloody battle you know," Ron's voice washed over directly beside him. Harry didn't remember him getting up from Ginny. He felt his best friend's hand close over his shoulder, tightening on his robe. It grounded Harry enough to shake away the tiredness and look over to the redhead.
Ron had his right hand up, warding off the people around them, standing a little in front of Harry like a shield. Trying to protect him.
It hit Harry at that moment at how much he missed his closest friends. How much he wanted to see them again, and to go home.
"Harry dear, are you alright?" Lily had walked around Ron, looking at him closely for a moment before coming up in front of Harry and catching his face between her hands. She looked over his face with striking concentration.
Harry looked into eyes exactly like his own, and felt some of the tension bleed away. "I'm alright," he answered honestly. "I think Gabby's the one who needs you right now."
Lily snorted. "Oh she's next, believe me, but I wanted to see you first. The Order was woken near the end of your memories, and caught sight of the tail end of the battle-"
"More like the one-sided battle,"James grinned, getting in close too beside his wife. The ring around Harry was closed off to there's of the wizards and witches around them, making Harry relax a little more. Harry looked over to his name sake. "I'm glad the boundary did it's job though this time. None of the spells on their side got through right?"
Harry shook his head. "I don't really think they were trying to get through I think they were throwing spells to disorganize and scare everyone."
"Well that wouldn't be hard to do with a whole herd of first years and such," Ron said, crossing his arms over his chest.
Lily looked to the tall red head and left out a hand of greeting to him. "I don't believe we've met."
Ron grinned slightly and shook her offered hand. "Not really, no. But Harry's got pictures of you in his photo book, so I could tell who you were right away when I saw you." Ron turned a slight shade of pink at what he'd said, and glanced at Harry, who had gone very still. "Though you look much better now that you're- um,"
"-alive?" Lily finished in a question in a smile and released his hand.
"Well. Yeah." Lily grinned at Ron and James held out his hand.
"Well I believe we've met at least once, sort of, from the girl's bathroom," James smiled and intruded the spiraling awkward moment with his own handshake with Ron.
Ron shook the older wizard's hand, looking slightly grateful, and nodded. "From the portal with Hermione and Luna."
"Hermione and Luna were in a portal?" Lily asked looking over to Harry.
"Uh, my Hermione and Luna. From my world. When they tried to contact me with a sort of, magical mirror."
"Ah," Lily nodded in understanding. "Right before you went and killed the basilisk?"
Harry nodded. "Exactly." He turned to his best friend. "Question is, how in the name of Godric did you get here. Hermione said-"
"Hermione's bound to be wrong a couple times in her life right?" Ron interrupted, putting his hands into his pockets. Order members around them seemed to realize that their wouldn't be any grand announcements from Harry or the new redhead, and began filing the students back inside the castle. Most of the Weasley family got closer to Harry's little group, while Molly and Charlie took took care of transporting Ginny and Dean inside the castle.
To do exactly what with them, Harry wasn't entirely sure. He watched Ron's eyes follow them for a moment before he shrugged his shoulders in a tense roll, scanned the faces around him, and looked to the two eldest Potters. "Getting here was actually the easy part. Neville was the one who figured out how to sort of - turn it on."
"The portal?" Lily asked looking intrigued.
Ron nodded. "The mirror really. He took it, and told it that he wanted to get Harry back. We all saw him do it, and the mirror just sort of, changed color around the edges."
"It had never done that before?" Lily asked. "Even when you'd managed to contact Harry before?"
Ron shook his head. "No. It was like a normal mirror. Nothing extra magic-like about it. Well, right up until then." Ron looked to Harry. "As you can imagine Hermione wanted to see what it could do right away. We thought it could be like a doorway or something for us to get through now that it had changed." He paused. "But Hermione tired, and nothing happened. She couldn't get through. It was like a shield stopped her from reaching into the mirror or something. Ginny and Luna both tried after her, but the same thing happened as well. No one could get through. It didn't seem to be a doorway, just a mirror that let us talk to you sometimes."
Harry studied Ron's face as he spoke. "Then what changed?"
"Neville picked it up and put his arm through it," Ron grinned lightly. "You should have seen Hermione's face when it happened," he grinned wider, shaking his head a little, "when Neville could get through, but the girls couldn't."
"But he'd been able to get through? On our side?" Harry asked, and Ron noded. "So is Neville already here somewhere then?"
Ron shook his head again. "We'd been messing around with the mirror all day. And after Neville pulled his arm back through to our side, the mirror turned itself off."
Ron shrugged. "Dunno how it works to be honest, but Hermione figures that it uses a lot of magic to be able to do what it does, you know? She says that it must have some sort of magical reserves that were depleted after we'd been messing with it all day and Neville pulling his arm back through."
"Like batteries," Mr. Weasley said, joining the conversation from the ring of people around them.
Ron glanced at the older redhead, and studied him for a moment before he nodded. "Exactly. Like, muggle batteries." Both wizards kept eye contact for several moments after. Ron broke the contact first, blinking and swallowing, and turning away back towards Harry. "It uh, it didn't work for a couple of days after that. Until today, when I was holding it, I told it I wanted to see you, and it started up. Just like it had before."
"What did you see?" Harry asked.
"A dragon. And you, and Charlie. I wasn't really thinking, but I shouted at Hermione and Neville that it worked, and put my hand through."
Harry thought back to his dragon talk with Charlie, and didn't remember any sort of portal or suddenly appearing hand. And thinking back, Ron had shown up in the middle of the Ginny-Gabby-Death Eater showdown, not in the shed. "You shouted for Hermione?" Harry asked.
"Well yeah- and Nev-"
"So it works a bit like the deluminator then?" Harry mused, looking away from Ron and wandering his own thoughts.
"I guess so. Yeah. I ended up landing in the middle of-" Ron looked out towards patches of blackened grass, bare dirt, and blood on the ground. "Actually, I'm not really sure what I landed in the middle of."
Whatever excitement that had been around at Ron's arrival was lost in the next moment. A dark shadow of sadness and morose anger tinged the air. The shallow silence held for a moment.
"A murder attempt," Fred said sadly, and Ron looked to him like Hermione would a new book, completely saturating in the information allowed. Whether because it was his long lost brother, or because it explained what the hell had just happened, Harry didn't know. All he could see was Ron's eyes focused squarely on Fred.
Fred didn't seem to notice, as he turned to his twin and clenched his jaw, thinning his lips to a hard line. "A failed murder attempt," George said, though with no more power than Fred.
"That's not going to matter," Fred said lowly. "It doesn't. On either side, she'll be dead now." Fred looked up . "You know that. I know it." He turned angrily. "She turned-" He suddenly seemed to think of something and looked to the eldest pair of Potters. He dropped his eyes from their faces to the floor and froze like he was under a sudden spotlight. "I-I don't-"
"We don't blame you Fred," Lily stopped the ginger wizard before he could say much more. "We know-" Lily looked to James, and James to his feet. Fred's pale face fell even further, and George dipped his head low too. She sighed.
Harry felt Lily's words before she said them, and he stepped away from Ron to the shadow of a stiff James. "We know you didn't know. Couldn't have. You would have done something."
"She's my sister."
Harry nodded. "Your only little sister," Harry agreed, and Fred's eyes turned from sullen rage, to an entirely different heartbreak. He looked as if he was about to cry, and Harry's own heart twisted at the sight.
"Dumbledore-" Fred started to say.
"-will know what to do," James said, looking up and staring across at Fred. "He's a good wizard. He's known Ginny since she was a baby. He'll know what happened." He faced the twins. "He'll know what to do."
"But why would she-" Ron started, looking to Harry and stopped. "If it was for you she might go a little bonkers, but for Dean?" Ron raised his eyebrows skeptically. "She wouldn't kill somebody for anyone, especially not that toss-head."
Harry put his wand away. "I died here remember? Ginny and I never dated here," Harry shrugged. He didn't look to see how the Weasley clan around him reacted to that. "It would make sense if it was him, though I'm not sure how they'd have met since he's supposed to be dead in this world with Volde- oh for Merlin's sake, you-know-who after the lot of muggleborns and half-bloods born in that year."
Another idea hit Harry and he turned to the wizards and witches around him. "Someone said that Ginny went off by herself and that Luna followed, and that's how they got caught and sent to the Malfoy Manor. If she did take down the wards, why did the Death Eaters want the younger years? Why all the children? What would you-know-who want with all of them? Not all of them would be Order members' kids." Harry blinked and glanced at Ron who, at the moment, clearly looked lost. "And why then let herself get caught and brought back to you-know-who after she...failed?" Harry shook his head. "I've seen what happens to people who displease him, and I find it hard to believe she'd put herself through that."
"It's probably because she's a psycho," Fred muttered darkly, crossing his arms over his chest. George snapped his head in his direction and glared.
"You'd have to be beyond desperate to do something like that," Ron said, looking between his not-so-brothers.
"Desperation, it seems, has been the character flaw of late that seems to haunts us," the voice of Albus Dumbledore stated walking towards the small group outside the front doors of Hogwarts from somewhere behind them.
"Professor," Ron breathed in disbelief, looking the aging wizard up and down.
Albus stopped himself next to Ron and smiled over his half-moon glasses. "A mister Ronald Weasley I believe, is it not?"
Ron nodded hypnotically. "I know we haven't met here before professor, but it's good to see you again."
Dumbledore smiled. "And you my boy, for the first time outside of Mr. Potter's memories, it is a pleasure." His blue eyes scanned the wizards and witches around Harry. "Though introductions and explanations are indeed due, I believe it is time to move this conversation inside the walls of Hogwarts, away from unkind ears."
The Order members and Harry glanced at the burning field around them. Harry nodded. "We should put the field out before it burns its way to the forest," he said, looking to Dumbledore.
Dumbledore gazed over his glasses at Harry before turning on the spot and heading back to Hogwarts. "Hagrid will do that. We have many things to discuss."
The Order followed him. Harry caught Ron's eyes and nodded, heading back up to the castle side by side, feeling slightly uncomfortable with the Headmasters tone.
The Order, some of the teachers, Harry, and Ron gathered in the Great Hall. The students from earlier were nowhere to be seen.
They all took seats close to the teacher's high tables which only sat Dumbledore, Minerva, and Mad-Eye at the moment.
Dumbledore raised his hands to the conversation around the hall, and Harry searched the faces around him, looking for Mrs. Weasley.
"If you have not heard by now, then let it be known that the spy that infiltrated Hogwarts and let down the wards this following week done by Ginevra Weasley," Dumbledore stated, immediately quieting the hall.
Harry heard crying somewhere behind him, and turned to find most of the Weasley family sitting together not far behind his seat at the table. He turned back around. He couldn't quite believe this was all actually happening. He peeked a look at his best mate, and the look on his face made it seem as if he agreed too. It must have been doubly hard for him at the moment, as Harry knew he had absolutely no idea what was going on.
"As of now, Miss Weasley is in the infirmary with a muggleborn boy of the name Dean Thomas, who was brought in by Harry Potter," Dumbledore tipped his head in Harry's direction, sounding completely factual and crisp. "She was holding Miss Gabby Potter in an attempt of kidnapping, and what was believed to be a trade from Death Eaters for Mr. Thomas. The reason is not yet known and will remain that way until she awakens and is questioned by myself and two others. For this though, I will need two additional volunteers."
Harry immediately raised his hand. He didn't think about it. Ron turned a little, but then returned his gaze to the headmaster. Scanning the wizards and witches around him, Harry saw only a few other hands up as well. Mr. Weasley being one of them.
"Harry Potter," Dumbledore said, and Harry's attention switched back to the oldest wizard in the room. "I accept."
Mcgonagall tipped her hat in forwards slightly in a nod. "I second."
Mad-Eye's magical eye whizzed around in its socket, but Mad-Eye nodded as well. "I third."
Harry felt Dumbledore's gaze leave him, and Harry dropped his arm. Ron nudged him, and whispered softly, "You'll find out what happened yeah? Try to…"
Harry dropped his head as well, but could see Ron through his dark fringe. "Save her?"
Harry saw him swallow. "I can tell she's done something bad, but she's my sister."
Who tried to kidnap mine, Harry wanted to say, but she wasn't. Not really. Neither of them were. Not in this world, but Harry only nodded and searched the room again. He didn't want to try to explain to Ron his view of everything here quite yet. There were more important things going on than his feelings right now.
"Sirius Black," Mad-Eyes gruff voice echoed through the hall surprisingly. "I accept."
Harry turned his head to the left. Sitting beside himself was Ron and Lily. Beside Lily was James, and beside him was his best mate. Harry hadn't noticed his hand in the air.
Dumbledore studied the wizard in question for a moment before turning to McGonagall. "I second."
McGonagall's pause was longer than Dumbledore's, but she too nodded. "I third."
Dumbledore nodded. "Good. From here-"
"Albus," Mr. Weasley's voice carried over the gathering of people. He held everyone's attention. "I should be there."
"Arthur, no. You are too close to this."
"She is my daughter." Harry didn't turn around, but from the sound of his voice, he could guess his sort-of father figure was close to tears. It bothered him deeply. Ron didn't turn to look behind either.
"Which is exactly why you shouldn't be there Arthur," McGonagall said, her voice unusually soft. "You won't be able to separate your feelings from the ...reality of this."
"She's a minor."
"She's a traitor," Mad-Eye snapped back. Harry flinched. Ron did as well. "She didn't turn the wand at them, but every person who died last week was because of her."
"She's a child. Misunderstood," Mr. Weasley said back. "She couldn't have known-"
"That letting Death Eaters into a unprotected school was a bad idea?" Mad Eye asked. He grimaced. "Don't be a fool Arthur. She might not be an adult in the eyes of the law, but she's old enough. She knew what she was doing."
There was a moment of pause. "Mr. Weasley I cannot allow you, or any member of the Weasley family to be there when the questioning takes place. Not only would you not be able to control yourself, but Miss Weasley might not answer truthfully in the face of her family. We need only truthful answers."
"You know we will not hurt her. We only seek answers," Dumbledore stated resolutely, ending the conversation. Mr. Weasley must have know that to, because then he was silent. "For the next topic of discussion," Dumbledore's gaze swept over the hall. "A Mr. Ronald Weasley has arrived… somehow from the original world of Mr. Potter here." Heads turned to the redhead beside Harry, and he felt Ron stiffen beside him. "Accidently, if I'm not mistaken, and a testament to the curious nature of magic. But, if you could Mr. Weasley, please explain how this phenomenon occurred? "
Harry turned to make eye contact with Ron and gave him a nod. He could do this. Ron looked to the headmaster and cleared his throat. He stood up. "As you know, my name is Ron. Ron Weasley. From where I come from, or me and Harry really, Harry's defeated Volde- you-know-who already, and it made him famous. Even more famous really than he was before. Because he was young, and did it by himself." Harry frowned. He definitely hadn't done it by himself, thanks. He's seen plenty of people dead because of them helping him.
"We are aware of Mr. Potter's success against the Dark Lord, and his … popularity," Dumbledore said, raising his hands, so his chin rested atop them on the high table.
Ron furrowed his eyebrows. "I don't think you do though." The redheaded wizard gazed at Dumbledore. "Or else you never would have tried to do what you did."
"I'm sorry Mr. … Weasley, but what are your implications?" McGonagall asked.
"I'm saying you must all know how much of a terror he is. The Dark Lord. How far his ideals spread across the world, and how much he's poisoned the world's next generation," Ron answered. Harry personally thought this world's Voldemort had done more that poison, but he stayed silent through Ron's speech. "He was a hated wizard, not just by us, but by the world, because they all saw what he did to us. The magical community of England and Europe."
Sitting forwards, and listening to his friend, Harry was mildly impressed. He'd never really heard Ron go off like this before. Never heard anything like it at all really, and he doubted it was because Ron had been spending so much extra time with Hermione.
"You know what it's like to live under someone like him. You all do. And imagine that one day, you find out he's been killed. Gone. All of his supporters and dark creatures, running. Imagine that feeling." Ron turned to the hall. "And imagine that you hear it's from a school boy barely over legal age whose done it, and that you're all safe." Ron swiveled his head and body to look at the witches and wizards around him. "You're safe from him and his followers. Your family is safe, your friends and loved ones are safe. Everyone's celebrating because there's no more darkness. And it's all because of one person. Harry Potter, and the whole world learns his name." Ron paused. "And there's rebuilding, and funerals, and trials, and grieving, but you're safe because of that one boy, and the influence that you-know-who started is disappearing. Light is being brought back slowly into the world. But then imagine hearing that your hero, your savior has disappeared." Ron glanced at Harry. "Gone. Sucked up by the sky in front of his home. There are no Death Eaters, but everyone sees the wizard who brought down Volde- you-know-who vanish, yelling at the wizards and witches around him to run."
The hall is deadly silent, and Harry is torn between waiting to hear what his best friend has to say next, and genuine surprise that he'd never realized how good of a storyteller the redhead next to him was.
"There's panic. There's an investigation. The government stops transportation in and out of the country, the nation's on high alert, and the rest of the world is engaged in the biggest manhunt in the history of the world. Muggles and Wizards together are looking for this one person-" Harry snapped his head forwards in attention. "-and everyone is worried that you-know-who is back."
Ron sighed. "I don't think you realize how big of a name Harry is in our world because of what he's done. We didn't even know until he was gone. Vol- you-know-whos influence spread farther than just the magical borders of Europe, and when he was gone, the whole world was better for it." Ron looked to the professors at the high table. "Anyone who could help was brought in to find Harry after he.. left. Wizards, and witches, centaurs, agents from other countries, soothsayers, the most powerful seers in the world, and even the Unspeakables were sent in to investigate. Within a day, they had known Harry was taken by something out of our world." Dumbledore's eyes didn't hold a twinkle behind his half moon glasses.
Ron looked to Harry. "We didn't know until later… Neville's grandmum had to pull a lot of strings in the ministry for us to even know that much. But when we did know, Hermione went into one of those moods she gets into, ya know?" Harry nodded, remembering past events of Hermione obsessed with finding something out in the library. "She nearly went mad reading everything she could get-"
"Are you speaking of Miss Granger? Hermione Jean Granger?" McGonagall interrupted, studying Ron.
Ron nodded. "She's someone in our year in our world. One of-"
"We're aware of who she is in your world. Are you saying Miss Granger was the one who found a way to transport you to-"
"No. It was Luna."
"Luna?" McGonagall repeated.
"Lovegood. Luna Lovegood."
Order members around the room shifted in their seats. Dumbledore, Harry noticed, looked intrigued. "And how did she manage such a feat Mr. Weasley? It has been to my knowledge for some time that travel between dimensions has only ever been completed by very powerful magical rituals by the most accomplished of magic users," Dumbledore asked leaning steepled fingers on the table in front of him. "Harry for instance had to brought here by blood magic of nearly the entire Order, with the power of a prophesy to help."
Ron looked a little awkward at the question. "I don't know where Luna found it, but I came by the power of a mirror."
There was noise around the hall. "What kind of mirror?" the older wizard asked.
Ron shrugged. "I don't know. Luna found it, Neville opened it, Hermione tried to go through it, but I was the one that ended up in the middle of that … whatever happened."
"Would you be able to tell me what it looked like?"
Ron shrugged. "I guess, but I doubt anyone else will be able to get through, if that's what you're worried about. Its batteries or whatever are going to need a few days of charging before anyone else can have a go at it again."
There was an uproar of voices. Dumbledore asked him what he'd meant by that, and Harry, having heard it all before, sat unmoving as he listened to Ron recount the tale of Luna finding a some sort of girls mirror and everything that had happened afterwards. When he got to the part of Ron contacting Harry not once, but twice, Dumbledore looked to Harry. "And you did not think this prudent to mention to the Order?"
"I had no idea they could actually manage to get here Professor," Harry defended immediately. "Or that there was a hope of them being able to do that, as nice as that had sounded at the time. All I saw was a way for my world to contact me. For closure if nothing else." Harry was not going to apologize for that.
"Was anyone else aware of these conversations through the mirror?"
"Other than Ron, Hermione, Luna, and Ginny?"
"From this world."
James knew. Harry knew that Ron knew that, as James had been in the Moaning Myrtles bathroom when he'd last seen him and the others. But looking at Dumbledore closely, Harry didn't think he wanted to tell the older wizard that. He didn't know what he would do, and frankly, Harry surprised himself, he didn't trust Dumbledore. Not even a little bit. So Harry shook his head no and stared at Dumbledore's eyebrows. "No one knew of it but me and my friends on the other side of the mirror."
Dumbledore seemed to have believed him.
Ron caught on and didn't say anything. James didn't either.
"Information like that should be shared in the future Mr. Potter. It could help to bring you home faster."
Anger rushed through Harry. "Of course professor." He really didn't trust the professor.
"As to what will happen to Mr. Weasley, there should be a vote for -"
"You can't try to send him back, even if you knew how without a blood ritual. Ron stays with me. Where I go, he goes," Harry interrupted resolutely. He looked to the wizards and witches around him. "As will anyone else who manages to come through the portal. They're here because of me. They'll stay with me."
"Headmaster. This won't be a debate." McGonagall lifted an eyebrow, and Harry couldn't care to look at the others around him to see their reaction.
Dumbledore continued on. "Finding a replication of the mirror in this world might be more beneficial to sending Mr. Weasley home than staying here."
Ron put his arms over his chest and straightened to an impressive height Harry was sure he himself would never reach. "I'm here to help Harry. I won't leave until he has."
Harry fought to not smile. Merlin he'd missed his friends.
There was a moment of silence before Dumbledore nodded. "As you wish." He then stood up. "The hunt for the remaining horcruxes should be the biggest priority of the Order now. Mr. Potter has taken care of three out of the seven. The locket, the diary, and the diadem. A review will be given to everyone shortly on what they look like and where Mr. Potter found them in his world. As for now, this meeting is over." McGonagall and Mad-Eye stood up as one beside him.
Harry stood up as well. He hadn't told Dumbledore where the horcruxes had been in his world, or let the Order see the memories of his seventh year yet. A discussion he was going to now have to have with the Headmaster it seemed.
"Mr. Potter and Mr. Black, I believe we should start heading towards the infirmary."
Ginny looked sick.
Her skin was more than pale. An undertone of red flushed her skin, and Harry wondered if she had a high fever. Her cheekbones stood out from her face, and her eyelids looked stretched over her eyes. Her mouth was in a frown, and Harry watched as her face occasionally contracted into a hard flinch like she was being struck.
"She looks awful," Sirius observed next to Harry.
Harry nodded in agreement. He should be angry, he knew, angry and betrayed at how many people Ginny had hurt, but all he could feel at the moment was pity and a deep deep sadness. She looked nothing like the Ginny in his world at the moment.
"Headmaster," Madam Pomfrey greeted shortly, coming out from a door towards the back of the infirmary. She nodded to Harry and Sirius as well. "Mr. Black. Mr. Potter."
Sirius greeted her next to him, but Harry remained silent. "Do you know when she'll wake?" Sirius asked.
"She already has. I put her back under with a strong sleeping potion until I could explain the severity of the situation to you, Albus, and the rest of the Order."
"Is she sick?" Harry asked. Was there some sort of disease that could make her susceptible to madness or some kind of mind control from somewhere? Because then maybe Ginny could be saved. Or at least, not condemned to death.
"No," Madam Pomfrey pursed her lips. "Not sick. Just pregnant."
And Harry's world stopped for a moment. Did she just say- Ginny was- But who was the-
"The father Thomas?" Sirius asked, nodding at the dark skinned boy laying a few beds down from Ginny.
Madam Pomfrey nodded. "I conducted a test as soon as I was sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing."
"So that's why-," Harry started, looking from Ginny to Dean and back again, "-that's why she wanted to trade for Dean."
"For the father of her child," Dumbledore nodded, his expression downcast, but otherwise unreadable.
Sirius pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, hanging his head. "This is fucked up."
It was, Harry agreed, but something else didn't add up. "Why bring down the wards though? Why round up all the kids?"
"A trade?" Sirius looked to him. "Same thing as before wouldn't it be? To get Dean, she would have to do something for him."
Yeah, but why did he want them? "Why all the kids the first time, and then only Gabby the next?" Harry looked to Dumbledore. "What changed?"
Dumbledore looked down at the redheaded witch. "Perhaps Voldemort knows of your connection to the Potters now."
Ice filled Harry's stomach. "What?"
"It would make sense," Sirius said, and Harry turned to him. He couldn't see it outright, but he knew the older wizard was just as afraid, if not more, that Harry himself was. "Ginny's a spy. She would have told him who you were as soon as she came back from the Malfoys wouldn't she have?"
"He knows of the prophecy," Dumbledore agreed. "He knows someone is here to fullfill it now. His reign is threatened. The Potter family is in danger."
Albus turned to Madam Pomfrey, who was watching the conversation with wide eyes. "Madam Pomfrey, please inform the Potters that they are all to abandon pretenses and remain in hiding." The medi witch stood silent for a moment, and Dumbledore fixed her a hard star over his glasses. "Now."
Again. His family- the Potters- James and Lily and their children, they were all in danger again. Harry looked to Dumbledore. "You always knew it was going to be me coming through from your ritual, didn't you?" Harry asked, and Sirius turned to look at him as Madam Pomfrey withdrew from the Medical Wing. "You knew that it would have to be some kind of Version of Harry Potter that came through because you believed the prophecy was the only way to stop him. You always knew that killing him meant endangering the Potters again."
"The ritual worked, and the prophecy was not wrong."
"Dumbledore?" Sirius asked.
"'The One with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches," Dumbledore recited, looking directly into Harry's angry eyes and entirely ignoring Sirius. The white haired wizard pointed at Harry's forehead. "And the Dark Lord with mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not.'"
"'For neither can live while the other survives," Harry finished for him. "And did you think this power is from me being from another world?" he asked.
"It might not have been when you originally defeated him, no, but here… foresight and experience would seem to be the only way."
"That seems like a jump."
"Yet, here you are. And the prophecy continues."
Harry's anger climbed. "Haven't they lost enough?" He thought of Lily and James in this world. "They gave up their first child for this war. You're asking them to put their other three in danger for this… madness." Harry stared between his Headmaster's two cold blue eyes.
"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore said in a calm, sagely voice. "Everyone in this castle knows the risks involved in this war. Including the loss of life."
"Clearly," Harry said pointing to Ginny. "Not everyone." The Headmaster blinked and turned his gaze to the sleeping red-head. "She grew up in this war. All she has ever known is fear and waiting for death around the corner."
Dumbledore looked to Harry over his half-moon glasses. "Mr. Potter, I seem to have lost sight of the conversation. What, exactly, are you here for?"
Sirius had been watching Harry and the Headmaster go back and forth, and Harry felt his eyes strained on himself, suddenly very focused on whatever Harry was going to say next.
"I'd …" What was he here for? To speak for her? She'd been directly responsible for a lot of deaths. She was guilty of being a spy. Of nearly killing Gabby. His… well Harry would be lying if he didn't feel protective of the younger witch, despite everything.
But Ginny was Ginny. Maybe different in this world, like Malfoy, but she wasn't so far gone yet. She'd been desperate, not malicious. Harry couldn't sit back. He had to… He had no idea what he was doing. "I'd … imagine she has had very little freedom to have her own happiness in this world," Harry started. "Because in mine, Ginny Weasley is …" Harry searched for words. His ex-girlfriend was a lot of things. "...she's a good witch. One of the best. She knows what's good and what's bad. She has very deep morals, and she's selfless." Harry looked to her counterpart asleep on the hospital bed. Harry hadn't noticed before, but her arms and legs were strapped to the bed. "Given a chance, this Ginny has the potential to be the same."
"She is responsible for forty three Order member Deaths from the Burning of Hogsmeade," Dumbledore answered solemnly.
"I'm not saying she shouldn't be made responsible for that, but you've labeled her a traitor. On both sides. She has nowhere to go, and now no one will help her. And she has an unborn child with a muggleborn father." Harry shook his head sadly. "She has a death sentence."
"Are you suggesting we keep her here? The Order won't stand for it," Sirius interjected.
"They will, if you say something," Harry said, looking at Dumbledore. The older wizard's face was unreadable. "I know you don't want to kill her, but you can't turn her away either. While she's still pregnant at least, let her stay here. Let her try to make up for what she's done."
"How is she to do that?" Sirius asked. "No one would trust her to do anything. They'd want her locked up. I want her locked up. She nearly turned Gabby over to you-know-who. That could have been worse than death." Sirius looked at Harry with stone features.
Harry agreed. "She's a spy," he thought quickly. "She gave them information, yes, but that could also mean she has some to tell us as well." He faced Dumbledore. "She could know where Voldemort spends time, or where Nagini is. Both things that we need to know if we're to find the rest of the horcruxes and kill him. She could still be useful to the Order, and that's what you could tell them."
Dumbledore was silent, staring at Harry, studying him with unmoving eyes. "Be sure Mr. Potter that you are not confusing your emotions with Miss Weasley in this predicament. It would be unwise to let your feelings for the Miss. Weasley in your world to affect the lives in this one."
Harry was surprised for a moment, before he remembered that he had shown all of the Order memories of his school years up to his seventh year. He didn't remember adding any memories that might have shown that he and Ginny had been dating, but maybe he'd let something slip, or maybe the Headmaster had put it together anyways.
Either way, he was right. He couldn't let his past feelings for Ginny effect this world. "Of course," he nodded and looked to Sirius, who was staring back at him with a closed off expression.
"Well since that's been handled all nicely," Sirius started with a smidge of sarcasm, "can someone tell me what the hell 'neither can live while the other survives' means? Because if it means what I think it does-," he pinned Harry with his blue eyes, "-we'll be having words. I don't let my godchildren go on trying to die because of some stupid prophecy."
Something warm flowed through his veins. "Mr. Black-" Dumbledore started.
"I can fight my own battles Headmaster, thank you," Harry cut off sharply, the good feeling momentarily disappearing.
Dumbledore folded his hands into his robes and nodded. "In that case, if the two of you would please stay with Miss. Weasley until Madam Pomfrey returns, I need to discuss our decision with the Order." Dumbledore looked between the two Wizards in front of him, and Harry nodded in understanding. Sirius did the same, and Dumbledore swept from the room with as much grace as a man of his incredible age could.
"You really shouldn't talk to him like that you know," Sirius said, lifting a dark eyebrow towards the door Dumbledore had left through.
"Probably," Harry agreed. "He just.." he breathed deeply. "He just rubs on my nerves the wrong way most days."
Sirius put his hands in his robes. "Did your Dumbledore?"
"No," Harry shook his head. "The Dumbledore from my world was close to me. He watched me grow into the wizard I am. He was.. He was part of the family despite his secrets. I trusted him completely."
Sirius nodded. "I can't see this Dumbledore being a family man."
"No, the greater good is too far in his mind to be the wizard I trusted."
The animagus quietly studied him. "Does it hurt? To see everyone who died?" Sirius asked. "I saw how… close we were in your world before I … passed."
His memories to the Order. Of course, Sirius must have seen the fight in the ministry. Harry didn't know how to respond except with honesty. He nodded slowly. "You were the hardest actually. I didn't know my mum or dad, so to see them… it was like meeting them for the first time. Something I'd wanted when I was younger, but you… I knew you," he said in short bursts. "I'd lived with you; asked for your advice. When you died, it was… hard. Then to come back, and see you standing, and talking, and breathing again, with my parents no less- yea, it was difficult."
"You've been avoiding me because of my counterpart," Sirius simply stated.
Harry met his eyes. "Can you blame me?" he asked honestly.
"No," Sirius answered immediately. "I'd be a pretty poor godfather if I judged you based off a dead man."
Harry thought over his words. "Do you see me as that, your godchild? As the Harry Potter who died?"
Sirius blew out his cheeks, lightening the darkening mood. "Yes and no," he answered. "I see you as what that baby from nearly 18 years ago could have been. I've sort of watched you grow up through your memories you know, and I see a good wizard. A good man." He stared at Harry uncommonly serious. "The fact that you're Harry Potter from another world doesn't mean that you're replacing him for me, because, I'll always mourn that one year old. But I do see you as my godchild, yeah. Like a long lost godchild-relative-thing or something." he smiled and Harry felt the corners of his mouth turn up too. "You're not the baby who died, because he never got to grow up Harry, but you are what he could have been, and I couldn't be prouder."
He glanced to the floor. "And I know I'm not your Sirius Black, because I didn't go through the things he did. I never spent a day in Azkaban. Honestly, I never plan to," he looked at Harry again. "but I am here. Alive and willing. Not to be a parent to you anymore, because we both know you don't need that, but I am here. A friend if you need one. A comrade in whatever's coming. A shoulder for advice. Whatever you need. I've missed years of your life, and personally, I don't plan on missing more."
Harry was frozen in place., and he wasn't sure how we was feeling. It was so much more than he could have ever wanted from the conversation he was stepping into. He had an offer. He had Sirius in front of him.
"I… I don't know-" Harry looked away from him. "I don't know what to say."
Harry didn't see the grin. But he heard the huffed laugh. "You don't have to." He heard footsteps come closer to him, and he looked up as Sirius put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "And not to overwhelm you, but you know James and Lily feel the same way right?" he asked lightly. "If you ever wanted, they'd be more than willing to have you as their family."
Harry frowned. "They're not-"
Sirius shook his head. "You're right, they're not. But they'd offer anyways."
Madam Pomfrey walked into the medical ward. Sirius lingered with his hand over Harry's shoulder for a moment before he let the younger wizard go. "Well I guess we should head back to the others."
Harry nodded. "I want to go see Gabby. And Natara."
Sirius grinned. "Ah, that's right. You're dragon. I didn't know one could bond with a dragon."
Harry took one last look at Ginny. "I'll catch you up on the way back down to everyone."
UP NEXT: Ginny's repercussions, fam talks, and the brilliance of Hermione Granger.
Don't wait up my lovelies.