Harry looked around him and smiled. He was standing in a backyard with an overflowing garden that looked to be over run by weeds, wild peonies, and other much more exotic plants. He had stood in this yard every summer since the age of twelve. His first time he had been chasing garden gnomes out of the yard. A gasp echoed in his ears and he spun around to see a plump woman with bright red hair standing in the back door of a house that leaned so heavily to one side it could only be staying upright by magic. The woman wasted no time pulling her wand out and Harry simply grinned, knowing what that wand could do if Mrs. Weasley was angered enough.
"Who are you? And what are you doing here?" she demanded fiercely.
Harry's grin broadened. She was just as protective twenty years ago as she was twenty years in the future.
"Hello, Mrs. Weasley," Harry waved. "Is Mr. Weasley home?"
"He's at work," she said sharply. "Don't get any ideas though, I'm just as capable with a wand as he is."
Harry laughed. "You would have to be Mrs. Weasley, to look after seven children four of which are pranksters two of which are well on their way to putting their names in history as some of the best Pranksters in their century. No, I believe I'm more afraid of you than I am of your husband," Harry said grinning as he walked towards Mrs. Weasley.
"If you don't mind, who are you?" she asked acerbically.
"Well now, that's a bit difficult to answer," Harry replied not wanting to give himself away yet. He really didn't want to explain himself more than he had to. "I suppose the easiest way to put it is that I'm a friend. Until everyone is here, I think it's best we leave it at that. Mr. Weasley is at work, you say? I sent a note around not long ago asking him to take the time off to listen to something I'm certain you both will be very interested in," Harry explained.
"He did, although why I don't know, we could use the money, and I doubt that what your selling…"
"Selling?" Harry laughed. "Mrs. Weasley, I assure you I am not selling you anything. I'm not here to buy either. I'm here to prevent some very terrible mistakes Mrs. Weasley. Now, how about I send around for Mr. Weasley. I'll get Albus while I'm at it too shall I? Or is he already here?"
"Are you talking about Dumbledore?" She asked suspiciously. Harry nodded. "He arrived not a moment before you did."
Harry laughed and shook his head, "It's a wonder you didn't threaten me with him."
"Would it have done any good?" she asked.
"Not in the slightest, indeed I'm all to eager to see him. It's been … it's been a long time," Harry choked out. He hadn't thought about how hard it would be to see the people who had died without showing a reaction. They can't know what happens to them, not yet. Harry took a deep steadying breath. Turning away he conjured up a Patronus and sent it after Mr. Weasely, partly because he had to, but partly because he needed a moment to collect himself. He was about to turn back, when he recalled someone else who he had forgotten about. He conjured another Partronus and sent it after Remus. He would need to be here. He wished Sirius could join them, but it was imperative that everyone understand and know that he was innocent.
"Why are you sending for Remus?" Molly asked suspiciously.
"He'll be very interested in what I have to say as well," Harry explained turning back. "Now shall we go in and wait for them to arrive."
Harry smiled at her kindly, knowing that she was on her guard and not minding at all. He enjoyed seeing Mrs. Weasley the way she had been. Now days, she rarely smiled and one could often find her at the kitchen window with tears in her eyes a forgotten bowl of batter or dough in her hands. Ever since Fred, she found it hard to keep going. She did though, and every year, she got happier as the memories grew fainter and she found more to be happy about in what was left of her family, but there were moments when she would take a look at George or accidentally call him Fred and it would be weeks before she was alright again after she burst from the room in tears.
Molly looked at him now with fire in her eyes and steel in her spine. Stiffly she nodded and led him into the kitchen. Albus was coming in from the other side where the living room was. "Molly, is everything alright?" he asked and then his eyes landed on Harry and the color drained from his face. Indeed Harry was slightly surprised that Molly hadn't recognized him for what he was, but he had made certain that his signature was hidden from view. It was such that Harry looked so much like James, that people who had known his father hadn't needed to see the mark to know him as Harry Potter, they knew just from his gangly appearance and messy Potter hair. Harry quickly shook his head, and Albus who had been about to say something closed his mouth and abruptly found the nearest chair staring intently at Harry.
"Albus are you all right? What is it?" she asked sending a glare over her shoulder at Harry who she was certain had caused Dumbledore's lack of pallor.
"I'm fine, just fine, Molly," the Professor said. "I simply tried to walk into the kitchen and wound up in my own memories," Professor Dumbledore said looking at Harry.
"Molly! Molly!" Someone shouted from outside. "Is everything alright?" Arthur Weasley came bursting in through the backdoor wand ready. "Someone sent a patronus saying that I was needed here. What is it?" His eyes landed on Harry and they narrowed suspiciously.
"I'm afraid I sent that patronus Mr. Weasley, I apologize if I worried you. Everything is fine," Harry assured the man. "I sent you a note a week or so ago, I simply thought you would like me to get this business out-of-the-way as soon as possible."
Mr. Weasley stared at Harry in wonder. "You sent the note? What was it about? I have work you know, I can't really afford to be taking time off just because someone thinks they have something important to discuss."
Harry raised his hands in defense. "I'm sorry I'm being so evasive. It truly is rather important. We are simply waiting on Remus Lupin to join us and then I will be more than happy to explain everything."
"What's Remus got to do with this?" he asked his eyes going back and forth between Harry and Albus.
"I assure you I don't know, Arthur," Dumbledore shook his head.
Harry snorted. "Bet you have a guess though," he smiled kindly at Albus. Albus lifted an eyebrow in his direction. "Your guesses are rarely that far off Albus, quite honestly, they're very usually right. I have no doubt, you've already figured out exactly who I am and probably have a very accurate guess as to what I'm doing here." Harry turned back to Mr. Weasley. "Remus is coming, because like you and your family, he plays a very large part in what I wish to speak with you about." A large crack could be heard out in the yard. "Finally."
"Molly? Arthur? Is everything alright?" someone called out from the yard. "who's in their with you?"
"We're fine Remus," Mr. Weasley called from the back door and motioned for Remus to come on in.
"What's going on?" Remus asked as he walked through the door his hand in his robe putting away his wand.
"Ah, good now that we are all here, I can explain," Harry said cheerfully. "Remus why don't you take a seat. Now," Harry pulled out his wand and flicked it conjuring some tea and cakes. Harry put the tea in the tea-pot and with a quiet word set it to boiling.
"How did you…"
"These are mine!" Mrs. Weasley cried out holding up a chocolate pastry.
Harry grinned at Molly, "I'm afraid Mrs. Weasley, in some things you are rather predictable. Ron told me where to find them. I'm afraid you still hide them in the very same spot fourteen years from now."
"How would you know that?" Remus demanded.
"Well that's because in..let's see...ah yes...in three years I'll be walking through those doors at the age of twelve with my very best friend Ronald Weasely for the very first time. It will be the first time I really meet you, although we spoke briefly at the Platform. You were yelling at Fred, George and Ron and a more spectacular temper I have never seen," Harry said grinning at Mrs. Weasley.
"Who are YOU?" Arthur demanded gripping his wife's shoulder who had gone pink with embarrassment and at the same moment looking absolutely frightened.
"Care to make a guess Albus? I truly am curious what that magnificent brain makes of this," Harry said grinning at the man who would eventually become something of a father figure in his life.
Albus studied him for a moment and then shook his head. "So much a like, when I walked in here I could have sworn James was back in the flesh. Those eyes though, they are your mothers."
Remus was studying him closely now. Indeed he had noticed the resemblance between the young man and his late best friend, but what Dumbledore was implying was impossible.
"What I don't understand is how you are here. Time turners only work twenty-four hours," Dumbledore said a mischievous gleam in his eye.
"Yes, well I see you figured that one out as well," Harry smiled and then turned his gaze at Arthur and Molly. "Ron is rather brilliant."
"Dumbledore may have figured this all out, but I'm still in the dark," Remus announced.
"Tsk, tsk, Mooney. You call yourself a Maurader. Prongs would be devastated," Harry scolded mockingly. He longed to add Sirius to the list, but knew that Remus wouldn't take it well. In this time, his best friend was still guilty of murdering his best friends and thirteen muggles.
"But, but that's, that's not possible. You're only nine!" Remus shouted.
"What isn't possible? Who are you?" Arthur demanded.
"I'm Harry James Potter, Mr. Weasley and where I'm from it is currently 2008," Harry grinned. Albus was the only one who wasn't starring in shock. "Your right of course, I am only nine."
"Your Harry Potter?"
"Come Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, I'm the spitting image of my father as Dumbledore said. Do you not recognize me?" Harry looked at them.
"But time traveling only works twenty-four hours," Arthur argued, repeating Dumbledore's earlier statement.
"As I said, your son is rather brilliant. A bit thick at times, but very, very good at guess-work and figuring things out. If I had to pay a knut for every time that boy turns out to be right, I'd be poor," Harry muttered.
"But the potters are one of the wealthiest families."
"Exactly," Harry grinned.
"I'm assuming that you time traveled here for a reason, Mr. Potter," Professor Dumbledore said.
"Harry, Albus," Harry smiled fondly at the man. "You and I became very close over the years, I'm not used to you using my surname. Your right of course, I have a very good reason for coming back. My friends and I have discussed it in great detail and we agreed. Some things occur over the next few years, things that could be prevented. Pain, heart-ache. There are some things that will happen over the next nine years that I would like to prevent from happening. I can not stop them all, there are events that must happen, but I would like to minimize their effect as much as possible."
"It's very dangerous to tamper with time, Harry," Dumbledore said.
"I know sir, and quiet honestly we're relying quiet heavily on the fact that I seem to defy the very basic laws of magic, not to mention some of the complicated ones as well. As I said, my friends and I discussed it in great detail and we are prepared to make changes with as minimal effect as possible." Harry explained solemnly. He looked around the table. Remus still looked a bit shocked at discovering his best friends son in the kitchen fourteen years older than he should be, Arthur and Molly were glancing back and forth between each other and themselves having a private conversation.
"All right," Arthur said with Molly nodding beside him. "We will help change these events." Harry grinned knowing that out of all of them at the table the effects of this war affected them the most.
"Anything for you, Harry," Remus nodded his voice soft as if he were trying not to choke. "James would want me to help you in any way that I can."
"Thank you Remus," Harry nodded. He turned to Dumbledore.
"It seems that the room has spoken, what do you need us to do?" Dumbledore asked.
"Awe, well firstly I think it would be best to gather a few others. I have seven books that dictate the life I would have had if I had not come to the past to interfere," Harry explained.
"Who else do we need to gather?" Remus asked.
"Myself," Harry grinned. "I think it would be wise for me to be here. Also a muggle-born witch by the name of Hermione Jane Granger who will be starting Hogwarts with Ron and I. I think all the Weasley's need to attend as they play a very large part in my life. Other's I suppose we could bring in later if anyone feels that they should be there. Oh, Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. "
"Is that all?" Albus asked a glint of amusement in his eye at the long list.
Harry shifted uncertainly on his feet. "There is one other. I hadn't planned to have him here until after the third book, but...I find that now I am here, I am all to anxious to see him. Yes, I think we will fetch him now. Or at least you will. Mo...err...Mrs. Weasley, can you bring Percy's rat down here when you fetch your children?" Harry asked and waited for Molly to nod before turning to Albus and pulling out the papers that he had in his pocket and handing them over to him. "I had my friend put together this. These papers should be enough to release Sirius Black from Azkaban."
"ARE YOU INSANE!" Remus shouted as he leapt to his feet, his chair toppling to the floor with the force causing Harry to wince.
"It's been said I'm a bit mad, yes," Harry grimaced at the anger in Remus' eyes.
"Sirius Black murdered your parents! He murdered Pettigrew and thirteen muggles! The man should have been kissed!" Remus yelled furiously.
"Do you honestly believe that Padfoot could have done anything of the sort? Ignore the rumors and look at what you know. Could my godfather really have betrayed my father?" Harry demanded pleading with Remus.
"I didn't know Black as well as I thought I had," Remus said coldly. "There's enough evidence…"
"What evidence?" Harry shouted. "Black was never even given a trial! There was no evidence!"
"An entire street heard…"
"Pettigrew. The biggest coward in Gryffindor history shouted out bravely that Black killed my parents, yes I'm aware of what happened in that little street. Just as I know how out of character it was of him. The four of you should have looked more closely at your friendship with the Worm when it was discovered his animagus was a rat. After all, an animagus is a reflection of one's personality, of ones character. " Harry growled. "Tell me Remus, if I were to tell you ten years ago, that one of you would betray James who would you have immediately thought of?"
"Pettigrew, but I would have been wrong…."
"You would have been absolutely right. I take it back Molly, I think now would be a perfect time to go get the rat," Harry snapped. Molly got up and hurriedly left in confusion and some relief. "You were grieving, I get it. You accepted what you were told, because it was simply to painful to think about and once the pain numbed you didn't question it, even when doubts rose in your mind, because if you looked to closely you might have to admit that the world was wrong and that you had done nothing to help a friend. Remus I get it, and it's not your fault. You were, are, in pain. You don't want Padfoot to be innocent because that would mean you had left your friend in Azkaban for eight years. It would mean that you betrayed him as much as you thought he had betrayed you, but that's not true Moony. You had no reason to look closer at the situation, no reason to investigate the truth because what everyone told you fit with what you knew. I get it, I really do, but believe me when I tell you Black is innocent!"
Molly came back in at that moment with a little cage that contained the rat. As soon as it's beady eyes landed on Harry it began to squeal in panic and burrowed itself into a corner trying to distance itself from the ghost of James Potter.
"Albus, if you wouldn't mind performing the spell, I would most likely end up performing my first Avada Kadavera curse ever if I tried," Harry sighed.
Albus looked at him slightly surprised and not somewhat disturbed by the admission but complied with Harry's request and performed the spell that would reveal an animagus' true identity. Where the rat had fallen on the floor from where Albus Dumbledore had dropped him stood a short man with watery blue eyes and blond hair. He was pudgy and covered in dirt. Remus apparently didn't need anymore proof because before Pettigrew could even open his mouth to defend himself Remus through a right hook that caught Pettigrew squarely on the jaw. The pudgy form crumpled to the ground unconscious.
"I think you have plenty of evidence now, Professor. I think Sirius might be able to walk out a free man," Harry grinned. "I'll leave you to concoct a story that explains his sudden appearance and the evidence you have in your hands. "You are after all, far more experienced at concocting stories than I am."
Neither Albus or Remus missed the slightly bitter sound in his voice. "I will see what I can do, Harry."
"Good luck," Harry said as the Professor took hold of Pettigrew and disapparated.
"Oh God." Harry turned around to see Remus slump into a seat his head in his hands.
"Remus," Harry said softly as he approached the man.
"How could I have not seen it Harry?" Remus muttered. "How could I have just left him there in prison and never try to ask him why he did it?"
"Don't Remus," Harry snapped. "Sirius and my father can carry that guilt. After all had they not believed that you were the spy they wouldn't have kept secrets from you."
Remus looked up at him his eyes full of pain and now something like betrayal. "Why would they think that Remus was the traitor?" Arthur asked.
Remus stiffened and clamped his mouth shut. "They'll find out when we read the books, Remus, very little of our lives will remain secret when we read these," Harry said gripping the man's shoulder. Remus nodded and put his head back in his hands. Harry turned to address Molly and Arthur. "They thought Remus was the spy, mostly cause Peter fed them little lies, made them question Remus' absences and lack of communication. They were able to believe it so readily though, because Remus is a werewolf. They never blamed you though Remus. It was hard times for a werewolf and Voldemort was promising such freedoms for your kind. Plus, no one can deny how charismatic the man can be, or used to be. I think a part of them wanted it to be you, because at least you had an excuse, they could forgive it, understand it, you see. Wormtail had nothing."
Remus sighed and reached out to ruffle Harry's head. "I don't blame them."
Harry glanced over his shoulder at Arthur and Molly. "You're not about to have a hissy fit that he's a werewolf are you?"
Arthur shook his head, "We know Remus well enough to know that werewolf or not he's a good man." He looked over at the spot on the floor where Pettigrew had been. "If I have nightmares it will be about how I let that thing in my house and near my children." Molly went pale at the remark. "I do have a question though. If Sirius was your parents secret keeper then how did Pettigrew betray them?"
"My parents switched keepers. Sirius thought it was the perfect bluff. The ultimate prank, pulling it over on darkest wizard in memory. After all no one would think my dad would entrust his life and the lives of his family with the most gutless man alive. Voldemort would go after Sirius first then, if he managed to keep his mouth shut, he would go after Remus, only then would he go after Pettigrew. The no good Rat probably thought it was Christmas when my dad told him about the plan," Harry snarled.
Arthur nodded, pushed his hand through his hair and then sank into a seat, his hand clasped in molly's. "I need to check on my children," she whimpered and then fled up the stairs leaving the rest to stare after her.
"I think they are going to be very confused," Harry chuckled. Arthur gave him a weak smile and then leaned back in his chair. Harry turned back to his father's friend and squeezed the man's arm. "Are you through feeling guilty?" Harry asked.
"No, I think I need to hear it from Sirius first," Remus sighed. Harry conceded the point. He knew how the kind of guilt that gnawed at Remus' heart could only be alleviated by the person that suffered the consequences of his actions. It was a guilt that still haunted him nearly seven years after the war. It was that guilt that had brought him back here.
"It will be several hours before Professor Dumbledore get's back," Harry sighed. "Perhaps we should consider beginning the books tomorrow morning. We could fetch a few a few people today, Luna for example, and Tonks. I believe they are both friends of your children?" Harry inquired looking at Arthur. Mr. Weasley nodded. "Then why don't you fetch Luna, Mr. Weasley, and Remus why don't you go get Tonks, then you can explain to Ted and Andromeda what has happened in regards to Sirius. I would ask that you leave me out of it. Just say that certain evidence has come to light and that there is a strong suspicion that Sirius Black is innocent." Remus studied his friend's son for a moment before shaking his head. "It will be a while before Albus brings Sirius here, this will give you something to do other than dwelling on your happy reunion."
Remus sighed, but agreed and as though he were several years older than his actual age pulled himself out of the chair and headed to the back door.
"When Dumbledore gets back, we are going to have to discuss where we are going to read these books," Harry said to Arthur.
"We can read them here," Arthur offered.
Harry smiled at his father-in-law, but shook his head. "You and I both know that it would not be ideal," Harry said kindly. "I was thinking that if Albus doesn't put up to much of a fuss we can open up my manor. Sirius and Harry will need a place to stay once this is over, anyway."
"Won't you...er...Harry, be going back to...umm...his Aunt and Uncles?" Arthur frowned stumbling over who he was speaking of.
Harry's gaze darkened. "No, I highly doubt that will be happening," he scowled.
"I see," Arthur said in placation. "I suppose I'll go fetch Luna now then." Arthur stood up from his spot and headed towards the back door. "Let Molly know if she comes looking," Arthur added over his shoulder as he left the room.
Harry slumped onto the couch and not for the first time wondered if he was doing the right thing. An explosion and the following laughter from upstairs assured him that he was.