A Little Bit of Hope by CharmHazel
Summary: At the height of the first wizarding war, Albus Dumbledore seeks out a mythical artefact to help bring hope to those he believes will be affected by the prophecy.
Categories: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Chapter 1: The Package
Chapter 2: Sirius and Remus
Chapter 3: Harry and Ginny
Chapter 4: Lily and James
Chapter 5: The Hopeful Heart
Chapter 1: The Package
Author's Notes: Hello!!! Brand new story for you!
I know Time-Turner stories have been done loads of time, but I wanted to give it a try. Hoping I have managed to write a different take on it than normal.
Story is actually still being written, but is close to being complete. Therefore, I shall be posting once a week to give me a chance to finish it.
Thanks to Arnel for checking through the story. Hoping her positive response to the first chapter will mean you will all enjoy as well.
The gates to Hogwarts opened for a few seconds before closing with the appearance of no one having either come or gone from the school grounds. However, despite remaining unseen, someone had exited the gates of the school. That person was hidden under the disguise of a Disillusionment Charm to avoid anyone noticing they had left the school in the middle of the night. As the wizarding world was deep into a war with the self-styled Lord Voldemort, the person in question needed to remain unseen by his enemies, especially considering he was Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, leader of the Order of the Phoenix and the one person who was claimed to be the only person the Dark Lord had ever feared.
Albus paused, waiting for the gates to shut silently behind him as he checked to see if the path ahead and the surrounding area was clear. However, the rain was lashing down violently, making his field of vision considerably shorter than normal. Despite being Disillusioned, the Headmaster chose not to linger any longer than necessary and began making his way into Hogsmeade towards his intended destination.
The headmaster moved quickly up the path, taking the most direct route to his destination, through the all-wizarding village, only veering off into an alley just before he reached his journey’s end. On reaching the back entrance of the building, he paused once more to quickly recheck he had not been followed and no one else was around or looking out of their window. Once he felt satisfied that he was alone, he knocked on the door three times.
After a minute or two, the door opened just wide enough for a wand to fit through and be pointed at the Disillusioned headmaster.
“Who’s there?” a gruff voice asked quietly from behind the door.
Removing the Disillusionment Charm from himself, Albus stepped forward and spoke, “It is I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, brother to yourself and Ariana. We were both present on the day of her tragic death, along with one other, whom I shall not name.”
The wand remained in place for a second before dropping as the door opened fully to reveal the shadowy form of Aberforth Dumbledore.
“Get in here quickly,” Aberforth growled.
Albus slipped inside and without being told, made his way upstairs to the room that held his sister’s portrait. Once his brother had followed him a few minutes later, he closed and locked the door and threw up
numerous privacy charms, despite the fact they were currently the only two people in the Hog’s Head. He was not willing to take the chance of this specific conversation being overheard by anyone, despite knowing there was no one else around.
“I can only assume you have managed to procure the item I requested,” Albus asked as he took a seat at the table.
“I wouldn’t have sent an owl to you asking you come here in the dead of night if I hadn’t, now, would I?” Aberforth responded as he, too, took a seat at the table and placed the parcel he had brought up with him between them in the centre of the table.
“Did you have any problems in obtaining it?” Albus asked, ignoring his brother’s previous comment.
“Nothing that I couldn’t handle,” he confirmed, “and nothing you need to worry yourself about.”
“Of course, I just hope you were discreet,” Albus replied in amusement, having a reply along those lines. “Now, shall we move on to the details of what I need to know about this artefact?”
Aberforth hesitated for a moment, wondering how he should approach this conversation. He had been asked to by his brother to procure an old magical relic and when he had accepted, he had not asked questions about why Albus had wanted something that had long been thought to be a myth by many in the magical community. It was not until he had tracked down the current owner and been given the necessary information on the relic that questions had begun to crop up inside his mind. He knew he couldn’t ask outright why his brother wanted this specific relic as he knew how secretive Albus could be and would skirt the questions if asked. However, he could find out just what his brother did know.
“What exactly do you know of the Hopeful Heart, Albus?” he eventually said in response to his brother’s original question. “Besides what it is designed to do.”
Albus immediately recognised how his brother was fishing for further information about his reasons for wanting this relic, but he could also tell that Aberforth had information that may be critical if the plan he had in mind was to be successful.
“It is specifically designed to bring the user some much needed hope for the future in times of darkness by allowing them to spend twenty-four hours in the year of their choice,” Albus told his brother. “However, it is known that each user can only use the Hopeful Heart once in their lifetime. No user will be able to remember their time in the future, which allows the timeline to be preserved, but it will leave them with hope for that future.”
“Yes, that is all essentially correct,” Aberforth confirmed with a look of concern on his face. “There is one thing you must know before you use it, however, something that is not told within the stories that have been passed down through history, but only between owners.”
Albus was concerned by the serious look on his brother’s face, making him wonder what information could have been held back from the stories. Therefore, he knew it must be a serious consequence for it to have affected his brother this way. He said nothing as he waited for his brother to explain.
“The Hopeful Heart will not work for everyone,” Aberforth said solemnly. “If there is no hope to be found in the future for them, it will not take them to the year they wish to travel to.”
Albus processed the information that his brother had just shared with him and mused what this could possibly mean for his plans. Admittedly, he felt it could mean he would discover if Voldemort was defeated, but then again, magic worked in mysterious ways and would only give the user hope for a potential future.
“Do you know if it would still for work for any user who may have died before the year they choose to travel to?” Albus eventually asked. “Would they need an immediate family member or close friend to have survived for them to be able to use the Hopeful Heart?”
“Yes, it will work for any user who may have died before the year they choose,” Aberforth confirmed, “and no, they do not need someone they know to be alive. This is where the story becomes mixed up. It is believed you can use the Hopeful Heart as way to see your own future, but, that is not the case. It works based on the future that the user is hoping for, whether they are alive or not.”
“Therefore, if the user had died to help make the future better…”
“Then, yes, they could go forward,” Aberforth confirmed again. “Obviously, they would not remember they had died when they returned to their own time. All the user needs, though, is hope for the way they wish their world would be. It is as simple as that.”
“Shall we have a look, then?” Albus said with a twinkle in his eyes and as though his brother had not just warned him of potential problems he could encounter.
Albus reached out and pulled the parcel towards himself. He then opened it carefully to discover the Hopeful Heart in amongst numerous layers of protection. He sucked in a breath in awe of the beauty of the relic. It was gold heart with a heart-shaped ruby set in its centre. It was attached to a thick gold hoop, which in turn, was attached to a long golden chain. It was something that could be worn as a normal necklace as it would too easily draw anyone’s eye. He could understand, therefore, why the description of the mysterious relic was not known to anyone, but the current owner.
“So, how does this work?” Albus asked, looking back up at his brother.
How it worked was the one piece of information Albus knew was only passed along with the necklace itself. The magic needed to make it function had been long lost to history and legend. Keeping the true nature of the relic secret meant that if the necklace was to ever stop working, it would remain a myth as no one would be able to repair or even attempt to replicate it.
“Like any normal Time-Turner, it can only move through time,” Aberforth explained. “The user must choose a public location or an area which can be controlled easily.”
“So, for example, if they were to use my office at the school, I could leave instructions for whomever is the head of the school in the year they choose…”
“Yes, that would be a perfect example as it allows you to have the necessary control,” Aberforth confirmed. “A private home would be out of the question as they would have no way of knowing what or who to expect on their arrival.”
Albus nodded his understanding. He had already planned to use his office from which his chosen users would travel, but his brother’s reasoning behind the choice of location made much sense to him.
“As for making it function,” Aberforth continued as he now pointed to the chain. “The chain is essential, as like any other Time-Turner, it must be placed around all those using it. If someone is not included, it will not matter if they follow the rest of the instructions, they will be left behind.”
Aberforth pointed next to the thick gold ring. “Each user must, then, place at least one finger on the ring. The consequences for not doing so are severe and they risk being randomly dumped at any point in time. Once the heart has been activated, it will feel like the finger has been stuck to it, just like with a Portkey.”
Albus nodded to confirm his understanding so far.
Aberforth then pointed to the heart. “This is the most essential part as this is what helps move the user through time. To activate it, just one user needs to place the tip of their wand to the ruby and clearly state the year and only the year. The heart cannot be activated without a wand, not even with wandless magic.”
“What about the chosen year?” Albus asked to confirm. “Is it just the year they choose or a specific date?”
“Just the year. It is like the location, the date will remain the same on arrival, with only the year having changed,” Aberforth explained. “As for returning, the same rules apply, except they would not need to activate the heart themselves. They just need to be ready in advance as once the twenty-fours is up, it will automatically pull them back to their own time, wiping their memories in the process. They will be stuck in the future if they do not follow the instructions and are not ready with time to spare.”
Albus only nodded in acknowledgement of his brother’s warnings as he carefully wrapped the necklace back up and then, cast a variety of charms over the package for additional protection before securing it in one of his pockets. He planned to make some notes on the Hopeful Heart and discover if he could learn any more about its magic and how it worked as he did not wish for any more of the information on this remarkable relic to be lost to history forever.
Albus looked at his younger brother with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. “I believe I should take my leave now. Thank you for obtaining this for me.”
“No problem, Al,” Aberforth said gratefully before turning serious once again. “Just be sure to hide and protect it well. There’s no telling who believes and knows of it.”
“Would you honestly expect anything less of me, Abe?” Albus asked in amusement. “However, I must know, does the previous owner know to whom it has gone?”
“I Obliviated them as you requested,” Aberforth confirmed as he watched as his brother removed all the charms he had placed on the room. “He will not only not remember passing it onto me, he will not remember ever owning it.”
“Do you wish for me to Obliviate you as well as a precaution?” Albus asked as the two brothers made their back downstairs.
“Better safe than sorry, don’t you think?”
Albus could only nod in agreement as he took out his wand and pointed it in his brother’s face, whispering with regret, “Obliviate.”
He was gone before Aberforth’s eyes even came back into focus.
I know you will have no reason to believe this letter is truly from myself, when it is highly likely that it has been years since I have moved onto the next great adventure that awaits me. To prove to you that it is me, Albus Dumbledore, who writes this letter, I shall reveal information that I know, at the time, is only known to a very few people.
It is I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts and leader of the Order of the Phoenix. It is I who has spent your sixth year giving you private lessons as to pass on the most crucial information on Tom Riddle to you. We have concluded that Lord Voldemort made several Horcruxes, one of which I have not revealed to you as I believe it to be you, yourself.
I strongly believe that when you finally receive and read this letter, our world will be once more at peace and free from the oppression of Voldemort. It is my hope that you have now created the family I know you have always longed for and my suspicions tell me, it is Miss Weasley with whom you have done so.
However, I would like your help in one final matter.
I would like for you to be in attendance of the current headmaster’s office on the following three dates: May First, June First and July First of the year in which you have received this letter. The current Head of Hogwarts will have been notified of your attendance and will be expecting you at midday on each date, unless they have been otherwise informed.
Knowing you as well as I do, I know you will not attend as asked without being given a reason to do. So, please bear with me while I explain what is I have planned for as best as I can.
Near the end of the first war, after the prophecy about yourself and Voldemort had been made, I sent my brother, Aberforth, on a special errand to procure an artefact, one that was considered by most to be a myth. However, it is not a myth. It has, instead, been hidden well by the stories passed down by generation to generation. This artefact now, as I write this, lies in my possession and has only been used three times, each one under my instruction.
The Hopeful Heart, as it is known, is a special, one of a kind Time-Turner. It provides each user one chance only to travel forward in time for a set period of twenty -four hours. However, the user will not remember their time in their chosen year as on their return their memories of that time are removed. This relic is designed to leave each user with hope for the future they have been fortunate to visit.
The three dates I have given to you are the dates on which the people from the past shall arrive. They shall leave the following day and must return to the headmaster’s office with enough time to be ready for the Time-Turner to return them.
The people who shall be visiting you I know you wish to see and reunite with. I had not originally planned to reveal to you who it is you are to expect on those days, however, I believe emotional reunions can be expected, even more so if you are not forewarned of whom to expect. I wish you to be ready, emotionally, for your visitors, so you have more time to enjoy with them, rather than struggle to accept what is in front of you. Therefore, I am pleased to tell you that over the course of the three dates, you will be able to meet with your Mother and Father, Sirius and Remus and finally, your younger self and Miss Weasley.
I have my reasons for sending each of them, including your past selves. However, I suspect you may know those reasons without needing me to tell you. In their current climate, it is very dark times and trust and hope is very hard to come by at a time when it is very much needed. Something I believe you, of all people, fully understand.
While I have already stated that the memories of all those shall be wiped, I believe that your memories, and those of Miss Weasley’s, of having used this unique Time-Turner shall be returned to you after your past selves have returned to their current time. I have no evidence to confirm this, only the magic that surrounds the relic.
Please feel free to ask your visitors anything you wish. All I ask is that you keep their presence in your own time as quiet as possible.
Harry placed the letter down on his desk in his study and lifted his glasses slightly so he could rub his eyes in confusion. This was not what he had been expecting when he had opened the letter and yet, he had no real reason to doubt what he had just read.
The thought of being able to meet his mum and dad and have actual memories of them, or of reuniting with Sirius and Remus, or of even being able to give his younger self the chance to see that everything would turn out for the better was rather overwhelming. He didn’t think, no, he knew he couldn’t turn down any of these chances to spend time with the people he loved.
Being able to meet his mum and dad, he knew, would be amazing, but also, incredibly hard to cope with. It would be a one-off opportunity to be able to get to know them personally, a chance that he originally had been denied. He would be able to introduce Ginny to them and they would be able to meet their three grandchildren. As hard as it would be to say goodbye to them, he knew he would be taking the chance to meet them.
To see Sirius and Remus once more would be an opportunity for him to apologise to them for their deaths. He knew, logically, that it was not his fault that had died, but there were still times when it was hard to believe otherwise. He would be able to show them that he was no longer the angry teenager with the weight of the world on his shoulders, something he knew they would both be grateful to see. Plus, Teddy would be able to meet his father.
As for the visit from his younger self and Ginny’s, he could only think back to their time together during his sixth year, figuring it was the only way that Dumbledore could have given him the chance to use the Hopeful Heart. However, he couldn’t pinpoint a period in which anything out of the ordinary had happened in accordance with the dates they had been given. This would suggest, therefore, that whenever they had been sent, the twenty-four-hour period in which they were gone were, in fact, false memories. Memories, which per the letter, could possibly return after the visit from their younger selves.
“So, what was the letter about?” a voice came from the doorway to his study.
Harry looked up to see his wife of nearly ten years standing there with a concerned look on her face. He could tell from her expression, she’d been there long enough to see the myriad expressions that crossed his face in reaction to the letter. He smiled wanly at her as he held out the letter to her to read.
“I know you are planning on attending on each of these dates,” Ginny said once she had read through the letter a couple of times. “The fact that Dumbledore even sent this letter suggests that all three uses have been successful. He obviously wanted you to have the chance to be there.”
“I figured as much,” Harry simply replied.
“What is the problem, then?” Ginny asked as she came and sat on his lap, allowing him to wrap his around her and bury his face in her hair while he tried to figure out what was bothering him.
“The children,” he finally responded.
“You’re worried about their reactions to meeting people who they know to be dead or to meeting our younger selves,” Ginny said, expanding on his words. “However, you are worried most about how Teddy will react to the possibility of meeting his father.”
“Something like that,” Harry said absently as he tried to figure out how they would each of those visits and without too many people knowing about their visitors. “The biggest problem I see, is that we cannot plan specifically for each date, only for each set of people.”
“We can plan for each date, actually.”
Harry looked at Ginny confused, wondering what she meant. Ginny, on the other hand, shook her head in amusement at the idea that her husband, the Head Auror, could not see just how clear it was as to when to expect each set of people to arrive.
“Oh, Harry, think about it,” Ginny gently nudged him. “If our younger selves are coming, it had to happen when we first began dating during your sixth and my fifth year at Hogwarts. He could not have sent us in July of any year as we were not at school and he had no reason to send us together just as friends. Therefore, the only date that fits is June.”
“Okay,” Harry slowly responded as it all seemed to suddenly fall into place for him. “That would mean, therefore, Sirius and Remus would have come during my fifth year, maybe even my fourth year. I doubt they would have travelled during July due to the events that happened at end of June both years; therefore, it would make sense for them to come in May.”
“Yes, which means your parents would come in July,” Ginny said, happy that he finally understood. “Now we can make plans on each date with no problems.”
“It helps that Teddy will be here for a couple of days due to the anniversary, so we’ll be able to bring him home to meet Remus without any issues. Minerva has been notified, so she’ll be expecting us to do so. We should also inform Andi. I want her to be prepared for Teddy’s reactions to meeting Remus.”
“I think we should send the children to my parents’ when our younger selves are due to come. I don’t want them confused by having two sets of us in the same room. Plus, I feel Teddy should not be present for your parents’ visit. I know your father will be happy to see Remus has a son, but I would prefer that visit be about our children meeting their grandparents.”
“I agree with you about that. We just need to make sure we have those dates booked from work,” Harry finished up in regards to their plans.
“So, we’re going ahead with this, then?” Ginny asked, despite knowing the answer.
“Yes, we are,” Harry said just before he kissed his wife soundly.
Harry sat in the living room, watching as the clock slowly ticked towards midday on May First. He had barely slept the night before, due to his regular nightmares that always occurred in the week running up to the anniversary of the final battle. His nerves and excitement about seeing Sirius and Remus had also not helped. He was grateful that Ginny had decided to go about her day with the children as normal, while allowing him to brood and have the time to attempt to get his thoughts and emotions together.
Teddy had stayed the night, having gained permission from Minerva and Andromeda to do so, with both having been informed as to the reasons why. Harry and Ginny had chosen to wait until after their three children had gone to bed to explain to Teddy why he was staying with them for a couple of nights. They had been surprised at how well he had taken the news about meeting his long-dead father. He had told them, however, that while he would not be able to meet his mother, he was grateful for the opportunity to even meet his father. He had been upset, though, when Harry had explained it would be better for him to remain at the house while he collected the two wizards from Hogwarts to avoid any problems with Remus, who had yet to become a father in his time and would, more than likely, need to be calmed down before he could even come back to the house to meet Teddy.
“Harry, sweetie, it’s time,” Ginny’s voice said, breaking through the thoughts he had become lost in.
Harry stood from the sofa, pulled his wife into his arms and gently kissed her. “The children?”
“I have put Lily down for a nap, Albus is settled at the kitchen table, doing some colouring and Teddy has taken James outside for a fly,” Ginny informed him. “While you’re at Hogwarts, I’ll begin preparing lunch for everyone and our guests.”
“Thank you,” Harry responded before giving her one last kiss and heading for the Floo. He looked back and shot his wife a small nervous smile before turning back and throwing the Floo Powder, while calling out, “Headmistress’ Office, Hogwarts!”
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Chapter 2: Sirius and Remus
Author's Notes: Thank you for the great response to this story.
This chapter is quite a long one and the next two will be around the same length as well. I also do not deal with the return to their own time as you will get to see the affect their trips have on them in the final chapter.
Thank you to Arnel for her help with editing.
May 1st 1996…
Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place was quiet, too quiet. The only occupants of the house were currently sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee in silence. Neither had anything to do, nor had anywhere else they could go. Sirius Black, considered to be a much-wanted escaped convict by the Ministry for crimes he had not committed, was confined to his childhood home for his own safety. Remus Lupin, on the other hand, had chosen to remain at the house, through his own choice, as the next full moon was due in just two days’ time.
The silence of the dark house was disturbed as a flash of flames suddenly appeared out of nowhere before it cleared to reveal a familiar, magnificent phoenix on the kitchen table.
“Fawkes?” Remus whispered in awe of seeing the bird.
“Ah, it seems our esteemed Headmaster would like to meet with us as soon as possible,” Sirius said, making Remus pull his gaze from the phoenix to his best friend, who held a short letter in his hand. “He has asked Fawkes to take us directly to him.”
“Does he say why he wants to meet with us?” Remus asked, wondering why they, one of whom was restricted to the house, had to go to him, especially when the Headmaster would usually come directly to them.
“I have no idea, Moony,” Sirius replied with a wide, mischievous grin on his face. “All I know is that I am getting to break free of this place, even if it is just for a few hours.”
Remus shook his head in amusement at his oldest friend’s excitement over being able to escape the house he hated so much, even despite the fact they did not know where they would be going.
“Well, then, there’s no point in hanging around,” Sirius said, clapping his hands together. “If you are ready, Remus, let’s get going!”
Fawkes, recognising the man’s eagerness to leave, flew up into the air above the two men and held his tail within reaching distance for them. As soon as they had both grabbed his tail, the phoenix immediately flamed out of Grimmauld Place and into the last place either man had expected to find themselves.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” a voice came from behind them as soon as the phoenix had safely delivered them and flamed away.
The two men turned to see Professor Dumbledore ensconced behind his desk with an amused look on his face. It was only then that it dawned on Sirius and Remus that they were in the Headmaster’s Office at Hogwarts, the last place any one of them should be.
“Do not fear,” Dumbledore said before they could question why they had met here of all places. “Hogwarts, being the wonderful and mysterious castle that it is, has locked the office, making it inaccessible to all people within the school. Madam Umbridge, herself, has not even been able to gain access, despite proclaiming herself to be the new Headmistress. You have been granted access as Fawkes has brought you directly here on my request. Please, take a seat, we have much to discuss.”
Both men visibly relaxed and took a seat in front of desk as requested.
“As to why I have asked you to meet me here,” Dumbledore continued, “I have a special mission for the pair of you to complete.”
“I accept,” Sirius eagerly responded. “I don’t care what it is. It can be anything you wish if it gets me out of that blasted house for a few hours.”
Dumbledore chuckled at the man’s eagerness, not that he could blame him for it.
“Sirius, you should always wait to hear what it is he asking us to do before accepting,” Remus said with a stern voice.
“Trust me, Remus, I have no doubts about what either of your answers shall be once I have explained what the mission is,” the Headmaster calmly told them with a knowing look. “Tell me, gentlemen, what can you tell me about The Hopeful Heart?”
Both men’s jaws dropped in shock. Considering their backgrounds, Dumbledore was not surprised they had knew about the myth of the powerful relic.
“You have it in your possession,” Sirius said in awe, knowing his former professor would not ask unless he had confirmed its existence.
“But… but, it is just a myth,” Remus said in disbelief as the Headmaster nodded in confirmation to Sirius’ statement.
“And yet, as you know, many myths are truly a twisted version of the truth,” Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eye. “Well, as both of you have heard of it, as I had hoped you would, this will save me time in explaining what it is and what it is capable of.”
“Have you taken the opportunity to use it yourself?” Remus asked, feeling nervous at the prospect of being given an amazing opportunity to discover the future, even if he knew he would not remember it on his return.
“No, I have not, Remus,” Dumbledore replied with a chuckle. “But, then again, even if I had, I would not remember doing so.”
Remus and Sirius laughed at the Headmaster’s response.
“So, why us?” Sirius asked. “Why not Harry?”
“Because, besides Miss Granger and Mr Weasley, you two are probably the closest to Harry and with what lies ahead for him, those who are closest to him will need, I feel, a boost in morale and in hope for a peaceful future for our world and most specifically for Harry,” Dumbledore explained. “I cannot send Miss Granger and Mr Weasley in the current climate as it would raise suspicion with many people, including Harry himself. As for Harry, I do intend for him to use it, but, only when the time is right. Therefore, the obvious choice would be yourselves.”
Sirius eyed the Headmaster with suspicion. Something about what he had just told them sounded awfully familiar to the escaped convict. Then, it suddenly clicked into place as he remembered a twenty-four-hour period in which he had spent caring for Harry while Lily and James took some time for themselves, just weeks before Harry’s first birthday.
“James and Lily used it, didn’t they?” Sirius exclaimed. “I remember now. They had told me they needed to spend some time together, just the two of them. They said something about a decision they needed to make about whether they should go into hiding sooner rather than later. I remember when they returned home, they seemed different somehow. I never figured what it was as whenever I decided to ask them, I would always forget when I saw them.”
“They were more hopeful,” Remus quietly concluded. “The hope they found in the future must have been the deciding factor for them to choose to hide under the Fidelius when the time came to do so.”
Dumbledore smiled, happy that the two men had figured out the connection.
“Not that it did them much good,” Sirius said solemnly.
“Ah, but you must remember, Sirius, that whatever it is they saw in the future was the world they wished and hoped for,” the Headmaster reminded the Animagus. “James and Lily were already leaning towards going into hiding when I made them the offer. The hope they returned with was enough for them to firmly decide it was the right choice for them when the time came.”
Sirius bowed his head as he digested what he had been told about his best friend and his wife. They had obviously seen something to suggest Harry survived and led a happy life, something he knew he wanted for his godson as well. He realised James and Lily would have discovered they had died, but, he knew that did not matter to them if Harry had lived. Like them, he did not care if he did not survive the war as all he wanted was for Harry to live and be happy.
“So, when do we do this, then?” Sirius asked once he came to a decision.
“I believe now would be as good a time as any,” the Headmaster replied as he pulled a package from a drawer and placed it on his desk. He carefully explained how the relic worked to the two men, letting them know the same details as his brother had told him when he had received the package. “I advise that you travel to 2010. It is far enough into the future to believe the war should be over and it is, also, the same year James and Lily visited. However, you will arrive two months earlier than they did, so you should not expect a reunion with your old friends. As I shall be writing a letter to explain this, the current Head of the school should be expecting you. I am also hoping Harry will be there to meet you as well.”
“Let’s do this, then,” Sirius said, clapping his hands together.
Following Dumbledore’s instructions, the two men stood in a clear space before Sirius wrapped the long chain around both their necks, allowing the Heart to fall gently between them. They both, then, placed a finger on to the thick, gold ring as Remus placed the tip of his wand to the ruby heart.
“Good luck, gentlemen,” Dumbledore said from the comfort of his chair. “I shall see you in twenty-four hours.
“2010,” Remus clearly and confidently stated as both men hoped for a future that was peaceful in which Harry had found happiness.
For a moment, nothing appeared to happen until, suddenly, the men’s fingers felt like they were glued to the ring and they felt a wind whip up around them. Then, they both felt a tug from their naval, like the effect of a Portkey. A second later, they were pulled away.
May 1st 2010…
The legendary Time-Turner dumped the two men in a heap on the floor of the same room they had just left barely a minute before. Neither were completely certain it had worked for the moment, despite knowing they had been pulled away from they had been stood.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” a familiar voice came from above them.
The two time travellers looked up to see their former Transfiguration professor standing above them.
“Professor McGonagall?” Sirius said in shock at seeing her in the Head’s office. “You’re the Head of the school?”
“Indeed, I am,” she replied as she returned to her seat behind her desk. “If you could, please untangle yourselves and take a seat, I would like to fill you in on some basic knowledge before Mr Potter arrives.”
Sirius and Remus did as they requested, taking the same seats they had been sat in just a few minutes before, but with a different head teacher. Remus carefully removed the chain from both of their necks as they did so, placing the Time-Turner into his pocket for safekeeping.
Minerva looked at her two former students, wishing she had not been tasked with informing them with a basic knowledge of the past fourteen years. She had agreed with Harry, though, that the news would be better coming from her as neither was sure how Harry would react when he came face to face with them.
“I am going to start with the bad news,” Minerva began. “I am sorry to tell you that you both died during the war.”
Both men remained quiet as they processed the news of their deaths. Neither seemed shocked, though, still a little surprised. The silence was broken, however, when Sirius began laughing.
Remus and Minerva both shot the laughing man incredulous looks. Neither could understand what could possibly funny about being told he had died.
“Seriously? Are either of you really that surprised?” Sirius asked them when he had finally calmed down. “I’m locked up in a house that I hate, so my guess is that I broke out because Harry was in trouble and I was determined to be there to protect him.”
Minerva could only nod to confirm the man’s suspicions.
“Is there anything else we should know?” Sirius asked the Headmistress, feeling content in the knowledge he would die protecting his beloved godson.
“Obviously,” Professor McGonagall confirmed. “The war itself lasted just two more years from the year from which you have travelled. Unfortunately, it meant we suffered many losses, including Professor Dumbledore himself. Harry finally defeated Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts on the Second of May 1998, the same day and battle in which you died, Remus.”
Both wizards dropped their jaws in shock as they both quickly realised the significance of the date they had travelled to.
“That means…” Remus started, but was unable to finish.
“The anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and the final fall of Voldemort is, indeed, tomorrow,” Minerva confirmed. “A day which, I’m afraid to say, has never been easy for Harry.”
Neither man knew how to respond to such a revelation. They could not, however, blame Dumbledore for sending them on the day that he had as they knew he could not have possibly known what this day would have meant in the future.
“If it helps,” Professor McGonagall spoke in the hopes of easing their worries, “Harry has always spent this day at home with the ones he loves most, his family. He says it helps him to remember what he fought for and that it helps him to avoid falling into a depression as he has done in the past.”
“He has his own family?” Sirius asked in hope and awe.
Professor McGonagall smiled as she thought of the family Harry had created for himself. “He does indeed, but, I shall allow him the honour of telling you about them.”
As if on cue, the Floo flared to life and an older, dark-haired wizard stepped out and into the office. The man froze in place as he eyes fell upon the two wizards he had not seen in over ten years.
Harry stood still as he drank in the sight of the two men he had missed desperately over the years. It didn’t matter that he had known they were coming, it was still a shock to his system to see them here, alive and in the flesh.
“Sirius, Remus,” Harry breathed out in awe.
Hearing Harry speak their names was enough to make the two Marauders leave their seats and engulf the wizard in a huge hug. When they pulled apart from one another, smiles could be seen on all three of their faces.
“Hello, Minerva,” Harry said, finally greeting the Headmistress as the men all took seats. “Have you filled them in on what we discussed?”
“The basics, just as we agreed,” she confirmed. “We were just talking about you and your family as you arrived actually. However, I refused to give them any details as I believe that is your right more than mine.”
Harry nodded, having expected this. He turned to his godfather and friend and smiled happily at them.
“I promise I will fill you in with more details about my family and the war once we head back to my house,”
Harry explained to them. “However, before we leave, there is something I need to tell you. The only problem
is I suspect I may meet some resistance to the news.”
“Whomever it is you have married, Harry, I am certain we shall approve of them,” Sirius jokingly said.
Harry flashed his godfather a grin, knowing full well that the two men would approve of his choice in bride. “Oh, I am not worried. I am absolutely certain you will love my wife.”
“Do you have children?” Sirius asked. “I am sure, if you do, they are all troublemakers just like their father is.”
“I do have children, three, in fact,” Harry confirmed. “Plus, one godson, Teddy.”
Remus was about to ask who Teddy’s father was, but the look on Harry’s face stopped him. The wizard was looking directly at the werewolf as though he was trying to convey a message to him.
“No… that’s not… why would… no,” Remus stuttered, unable to form a coherent sentence as the realisation washed over him that he was Teddy’s father.
“He’s not a werewolf,” Harry said soothingly, knowing that this had been Remus’ biggest fear when he had discovered Tonks was pregnant. “He is much more like his mother, though he does get a little grumpy during
the full moon.”
Sirius’ face split into a huge grin in elation for his friend. “You’re a father! Congratulations, Moony!”
“Who is the mother? Did she survive the war?” Remus asked as he ignored his excitable mutt of a friend.
Harry’s face dropped in response to the second question.
“He’s an orphan?” Remus said in horror. “He’s been left with no parents just like you were.”
“Yes,” Minerva replied on behalf of Harry. “However, he is being raised by his grandmother, Harry and his wife. He is well cared for, very much loved and he knows the reasons for why you both died. He has become a wonderful, well-adjusted young man.”
Remus tried to speak, but his thoughts were jumbled to the point that he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to say or even ask. Sirius, on seeing his friend’s struggle, spoke up.
“Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about Teddy?”
Harry smiled at the thought of his beloved godson he’d had the pleasure of helping to raise. “His birthday was a couple of weeks ago, he turned twelve.”
Remus’ eyes widened as he quickly calculated that Teddy would have only been a few weeks old when his parents died.
“I can see you have realised Teddy was only a few weeks old when you and his mother died in the battle,” Harry said on spotting Remus’ reaction. “You need understand, though, his presence in our lives was one of the reasons many of us could begin to move past the grief and move forward. He never failed to bring a smile to anyone’s face in the aftermath of the battle. When his grandmother and I felt he was ready to be told what had happened to you and his mother, he dealt with it incredibly well and was proud that you were his parents.”
Remus smiled, knowing Harry probably had a lot to do with how well Teddy had taken the news of why his parents had died, having been through it himself.
“He started Hogwarts this past September,” Harry continued. “He was sorted into Hufflepuff and is a Metamorphmagus, just like his mother was.”
“So, she wears him down, then?” Sirius asked with a knowing smile on his face.
“Obviously,” Minerva remarked with an uncharacteristic smirk.
“Will… will I get to meet him while I am here?” Remus asked nervously while ignoring the comments of the identity of Teddy’s mother. He needed to meet this boy, his son, despite the shock of discovering he had become a father. He would have no memory of his parents and if he could give Teddy just a few, then, he had to meet him, even at the expense of not remembering him on his return to his own time.
“I was truly hoping you would say that,” Harry replied, relieved the news of Teddy had gone over better than he had expected. “I think we should, therefore, head home. Lunch should be ready soon and I doubt my wife or the children will be happy if we delay them from eating for too long.”
“Of course, Harry,” Minerva responded with a look of understanding. “Please, say hello to your wife and children for me.”
“It was good to see you, Sirius, Remus. I shall see you tomorrow morning. Please, do not be late.”
The three wizards made their goodbyes to the headmistress and headed for the Floo. Following Harry’s instructions, they too the Floo to Potter Cottage.
“Honey, we’re back,” Harry called as he exited the Floo into his house. Just seconds later, Remus, then, Sirius followed.
The two older wizards looked round at the well-kept home in awe. Neither could keep the smiles from their faces at seeing the sheer number of photos hung on the walls of Harry’s home.
“Oh, good, the kids are hungry and getting impatient about having to wait,” a familiar voice said as a red-head walked into the living room where the Floo was located.
“Little Ginny Weasley,” Sirius said in amusement as he turned to look at his godson. “You married Ginny Weasley!”
“I believe you know that it is Potter, now,” Ginny laughed as she came over and gave the Animagus a hug. “It is so good to see you!”
Harry watched with a smile as his godfather and Ginny exchanged greetings before she turned to Remus to hug him as well. In the corner of his eyes, he saw a flash of blue, causing him to turn and see his godson, carrying his daughter, with his two sons standing just behind him. He smiled at them as he waved them to come into the living room.
“I have some people I would like you to meet,” Harry announced.
Ginny walked over to Teddy, took Lily out of his arms and encouraged him to move towards Harry.
“This, here, Remus,” Harry said as he placed a gentle, comforting hand on his godson’s shoulder, “is my godson, your son, Teddy Remus Lupin.”
Teddy looked up at his godfather, seeking reassurance, to which he received a nod of encouragement.
“Dad?” Teddy whispered cautiously.
Remus could only stare at the twelve-year-old who was calling him Dad. His eyes widened slightly as the young boy shifted the colour of his hair from blue to light brown, the same colour as his hair. It amazed him that he was here, in the future, meeting the son he would never get to see grow up, especially as he thought he would never experience becoming a father. In his eyes, Teddy was perfect. He nervously and awkwardly opened his arms as an invitation to the boy, causing Teddy to break out into a huge smile and run directly into his arms. The father and son held onto each other tightly as they revelled in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The adults in the room watched as the father and son had an emotional meeting, that was until Sirius had his attention drawn away by someone tugging on his hand. He looked down to see a young boy who was the spitting image of his long dead best friend.
“I don’t know you,” the boy stated bluntly.
Sirius let out a bark of laughter to the comment before bending down until he was eye level with the boy.
“Well, I don’t know who you are either,” Sirius politely replied with a kind smile, despite knowing this was Harry’s eldest child. He knew, from having noticed the variety of photos around the room, there was bound to a photo or two of himself in the house, but he suspected the boy was too young to know who he truly was. Either that, or he did not remember Harry telling him about his godfather. “Well, how about you tell me your name and I’ll tell you mine?”
The boy seemed to carefully scrutinise the older man before breaking out into a cheeky smile. “I’m James!”
“I’m Sirius,” the Animagus replied, not at all surprised that Harry and Ginny had chosen to name him after Harry’s father.
James’ eyes widened at hearing the name as he quickly looked back at his dad and then back at Sirius as though he was trying to figure out a puzzle. Sirius was unsure what to make of James’ reaction to him telling him his name. He figured that perhaps James had been told about him.
“My middle name is Sirius,” James proudly told his new friend. “Do you like pranks as well?”
“I do,” Sirius just about choked out in shock. He was astonished that his godson and his wife had named one of their children for him. He looked at the man in question to see him now holding his daughter as his other son hid shyly behind Harry’s legs.
“I couldn’t not name him for you, even Ginny agreed with me on that,” Harry whispered painfully. “You were the closest thing I had to a father and when you died, it nearly destroyed me.”
An emotional silence hung in the air between them for a split second.
“Can we have lunch now?” James whined.
Laughter rang out at the innocent comment, much to the confusion of the six-year-old.
“Come on, then, James,” Harry said as he began ushering everyone into the kitchen.
Ginny, who had gone ahead to the kitchen before James introduced himself to Sirius, was placing a mountain of food on the table as they arrived. Teddy led Remus to two chairs so they could sit next to one another, while James dragged Sirius into a chair next to him.
“This beautiful little girl is our Lily Luna,” Harry told the two older wizards as he passed his daughter over to her mum, so Ginny could securely place the two-year-old in her highchair. “We named her after Mum obviously and our good friend, Luna. You might remember teaching her, Remus.”
“Ah, yes, Miss Lovegood. Of course, I remember. She was a Ravenclaw, a year below you,” Remus confirmed.
“And, this little man is Albus Severus,” Harry proudly said as he picked up the shy four-year-old, who was the spitting image of his father.
“Severus?” Sirius choked out in shock.
Ginny shot the Animagus a reproving look before sternly responding, “You may have not gotten on with him, Sirius, in all honesty, no one appeared to get on with him. However, new information came to light towards the end of the war, during the final battle, that proved that he had always been on our side.”
Sirius and Remus exchanged a look of disbelief. Neither could help but wonder if this was the information that Albus so convinced that Snape was firmly on their side. If it was, both knew it had to be something big for Albus to refuse to reveal it to anyone and for Harry, especially, to accept it.
“Look, I know I hated him throughout school, but I do have my reasons for the choice of name,” Harry explained calmly. “Trust me, if Ginny had not agreed with my reasoning for the name, she would have refused me my request. I promise I will tell you both later about what it is that we found out as I do have some questions for you about what I discovered.”
Sirius looked as though he was going to question Harry and Ginny’s decision over the name, but another reproving look, this time from Remus, stopped him. He wasn’t stupid to not realise that much would have changed in the ten years or so since the war had ended, so he had to accept, therefore, that his godson’s reasons were strong and valid. Now, all he could do was push it to the back of his mind until Harry chose to bring back up the subject.
“Of course, Harry,” the Animagus finally responded. “We’ll do our best to answer any questions you have for us.”
The tension that had settled over the adults dissipated at Sirius’ words, allowing them and the children to relax and enjoy their lunch together. Conversation was quickly steered away from the heavier topics of the war, with them, instead, choosing to speak of the Marauders’ antics at Hogwarts and the married couple’s relationship and wedding.
By early evening, Harry had retreated to the kitchen to begin making the dinner. He had spent the afternoon in the garden, enjoying the company of Ginny, Sirius, Remus and the children. They had, again, avoided the heavier topics of the war and their deaths as Harry had wanted the two time travellers to spend plenty of time playing with and getting to know the four children they would never get to see grow up. He could see it was something the two men had appreciated as his three children had enjoyed chasing Sirius around in his dog form, while Teddy had taken the time to get know his father.
Harry had just begun preparing the vegetables when his godfather walked in from the sitting room, where the family had relocated when Harry had decided it was time to begin cooking.
“So, I must ask, whatever happened to Kreacher?” Sirius asked as he took a seat at the table.
“Well, considering I was the main beneficiary of your Will, I inherited him after you’d died,” Harry said, keeping his back to his godfather as he continued to peel the carrots by hand. “He was resistant to me becoming his master to begin with, but, then again, I didn’t want him to be my house-elf either. He was the one to betray us, the night you died. He was the reason we all ended up at the Ministry.”
Harry paused from what he was doing, so he could gain control of his emotions over his godfather’s death, something that still pained him even after fourteen years.
“TRAITOR!” Sirius spat in disgust. “I knew he would probably do something like that. I wanted to throw him
out when I returned to my childhood home, but Dumbledore forbade me from doing so.”
Harry spun around suddenly, his eyes flashing in anger at the statement. Sirius couldn’t help but shrink back slightly at the look on his godson’s face, one he had never seen before.
“I hated Kreacher for what he did to you, Sirius. I hated him for a long time,” Harry responded in a calm, low voice, despite the look of anger in his eyes. “However, it was the way you treated him which led to him choosing to betray you when he was given the chance to do so.”
Sirius went to protest, but Harry held a hand up to stop him.
“Leave it, Sirius,” Harry ordered. “He more than made up for his misdeed by helping me end the war.”
The Animagus stared at him in shock, disbelieving the idea that the wretched house-elf could have possibly been of any use to his godson or the war effort.
“On orders from your own brother, Regulus, he was forced to help Voldemort hide one of his Horcruxes,” Harry explained with a sigh, while also knowing he would have to explain about the Horcruxes later. “When your brother discovered what Voldemort had done to avoid death, he, with help from Kreacher, went to retrieve it, dying in the process. Kreacher could do nothing to save him, because he was under orders to return home and destroy the Horcrux. However, Kreacher was unable to destroy it, nothing he tried worked. It was not until we made the connection between your brother and a note he had left with a fake necklace that we discovered what had happened. He helped us track down the missing locket, he even fought in the final battle, leading the house-elves of Hogwarts.”
“My brother… he switched sides?” Sirius whispered painfully.
“Yes, he did,” Harry confirmed compassionately, understanding that this was a shock for his godfather. “I made sure his role in helping bring down Voldemort was made known to everyone. He deserved to be remembered for what he did and what he gave up in doing so.”
Harry turned away and went back to peeling the carrots, knowing Sirius needed a chance to process what he had been told and compose himself.
“What about Kreacher? Where is he now?” Sirius eventually asked.
“He passed away a few years ago, not long before we found out Ginny was pregnant with Albus,” Harry solemnly told his godfather, bowing his head in respect to his loyal and faithful house-elf. “He was a good house-elf in the end. He was loyal to me, took care of me in the months following the end of the war. He just needed to be listened to, he needed to be able to tell his story about Regulus and the locket.”
The two men lapsed into silence as their thoughts turned to the house-elf who had caused them so much grief during their short time together.
“I wish I could say I will treat him better when I return to my house,” Sirius eventually spoke with a slight hint of regret evident in his voice, “but I won’t even remember this time spent with you, let alone this
Harry dropped the carrots into the boiling water before he turned to face his godfather again.
“As much as I hate saying this, and trust me, I have said this a fair few times,” Harry responded, keeping his eyes firmly locked with those of Sirius, “but, I wouldn’t change a thing that happened.”
Sirius was unable to say a word, shocked that Harry could even say something like. He couldn’t understand why his godson would think like that when he knew he would give anything to have James and Lily back in his life, to have not spent twelve years in Azkaban and to have had more time with Harry.
“It doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t wish I could change things, because I do,” Harry quickly explained upon seeing the confused look on the Animagus’ face. “I would give up everything to have been able to grown up with Mum and Dad, with you, but at the same time, there is no guarantee that this would be my life now if anything had gone differently.”
“What do you mean?” Sirius asked, genuinely curious by the comment, though, slightly shocked by godson’s maturity and openness with him.
Harry ran a hand through his already messy hair as he thought about how he wanted to explain the reasons for his comments.
“After the final battle, I was not in a good place,” Harry finally admitted to his godfather. “I was pretty much the same way I had been immediately after the third task, though probably not as angry.”
Sirius nodded to confirm he did, indeed, remember. He couldn’t forget that night as the look on Harry’s face had remained stuck in his mind ever since. He had hated leaving Harry so soon after such a traumatic event, but he’d had no choice in the matter. The pleading look on his godson’s face when he had been about to leave had just about broken his heart at the time.
“Ginny helped me work through everything,” Harry continued with a soft smile on his face. “That’s not to say I moved past everything that happened straight away, that still took time. Even so, Ginny helped, despite her own issues she needed to work through. We helped each other, leaning on one another throughout the funerals and the nightmares. It was Percy, though, who ended up saying the one thing I truly needed to hear that ended up helping me to move forward in my life.”
“Percy?” Sirius choked out in disbelief. “The prat who broke his parents’ hearts and sided with the Ministry?”
“Yeah, that’s Percy,” Harry responded with a chuckle at Sirius’ choice of words. “He realised his mistake, but
it was hard for him to admit to it. He ended up reuniting with the Weasleys just before he fought alongside us in the final battle. He’s a good guy, he just lost his way for a while.”
The Animagus nodded in understanding. It made sense to him, it had happened to him.
“Anyway, it was about a month after the final battle when he asked me outright if there was anything I would have changed about my life, most specifically in regards to the war against Voldemort. I’m not going to lie, I did want to say yes immediately, but I couldn’t.”
“What stopped you?”
“The realisation that one, just one, difference might have meant his victory and not mine,” Harry bluntly stated. “It made me think about everything I had been through, everything I had done. I know I have made so many rash decisions in the past, Sirius, but in the end, in a way, they have paid off for me in the long run. Your death may have nearly destroyed me, but it also made me more determined to do what was expected of me and finish off Voldemort and end the war, even if it meant I died doing so. I honestly didn’t care if I survived the war at the point, I had nothing to live for, but I just knew I wanted to be the one to end it after everything and everyone I had lost to that monster.”
“Obviously, something changed for you,” Sirius said, though, he suspected it was more who than what. Something that was confirmed to him as he watched a dreamy smile spread across his godson’s face.
“Ginny changed everything for me. The few weeks we had together before Dumbledore died and the war escalated were, at that point, some of the happiest weeks I’d ever had in my life. She gave me a reason to want to live, to want to survive the war, all because she helped me see the possibilities open to me after the war. However, when Dumbledore died, I pushed her away, which I’ll admit was not the smartest move I’ve ever made. In the end, though, as much as I hated being away, it gave me the goal of surviving and coming back to her. Anyway, even with as many mistakes I have made, I wouldn’t change a thing as much I might I wish I could.”
Sirius looked at his godson in awe. He honestly could not fault Harry’s reasoning for knowing he would not change anything that had happened. He could only respect the answer Harry had given, rather than question his answer and his sanity. It did give him the hope he had so desperately needed to feel in recent months after watching a fifteen-year-old Harry struggle through so much in his life. It helped to see that, despite all the guilt and grief Harry would obviously suffer through in the coming years, he would find the happiness he thoroughly deserved.
“As much as I wish I didn’t die when you needed me the most,” Sirius eventually responded, “I am glad it gave you the strength you needed to accept the responsibility of ending the war. Minerva told me I will die protecting you and I must say, if I am going to die, then that is the way I want to go. So, if you are still holding onto any guilt in regards to my death, then, please, for me, let go of it.”
Harry could only stare at his godfather in amazement at how calm he was with the knowledge he would die and would do so not long after he returned. However, the very fact Sirius had died to protect him had never sat well with Harry, especially as he had run off to the Ministry under false pretences, which had led to Sirius and other members of the Order coming to his and his friends’ rescue. To now be asked to let go of the guilt by one of the many people whose deaths he had long felt responsible for was something he knew he would struggle to do, but would work hard at to accomplish.
“I’ll try,” Harry promised.
Sirius stood and went over to his godson, placing his hands onto Harry’s shoulders.
“That’s all I can ask for,” he simply stated as engulfed Harry in a hug. “I am so proud of you.”
Harry came into the dining room, carrying a bottle of Firewhisky and four glasses, to find the two time-travellers laughing. It made him stop and pause for a second as he took in the scene before him, something he had never imagined he would see again. It made him smile, thankful for the chance to spend this precious time with them, even if it was for the final time.
“The kids have all settled down for the night,” his wife said as she came up behind him. She stopped next to him, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “Are you okay?”
“I am fine, more than fine, actually,” he said honestly to his wife before he kissed her firmly on the lips, only to pull apart quickly as they received catcalls from the remaining two Marauders.
“I swear we are more mature than they are,” Harry whispered, causing Ginny to giggle as they headed over to the table and began filling the glasses with his chosen drink for the night.
“So, tell me, Harry,” Sirius spoke up once everyone had a glass of Firewhisky in front of them, “just why would you name your child after Snape?”
“Why didn’t either of you ever tell me that Severus and my mum were friends when they were children?” Harry countered, much to the Marauders’ surprise.
Sirius sighed and rubbed his eyes as he tried to formulate an acceptable answer for his godson.
“How did you find out about their friendship, Harry?” Remus asked before Sirius could attempt to reply.
Ginny reached out and took her husband’s hand in hers, knowing this was something he did not willingly speak about to anyone. Yes, the world knew what Snape had done and why he had done it, but Harry had refused to speak about it more than once at the time. He had, however, spent time with Ginny talking about it as he sorted out his feelings on the matter. She did know that this was something they would need to tell Sirius and Remus due to the long-held grudge between them and the former Potions Master.
“It was during the Battle of Hogwarts, the battle that ended the war,” Harry began to explain. “Myself, Hermione and Ron had gone to the Shrieking Shack, where I knew Voldemort to be, and when we arrived we saw him murder Snape. For some reason, once Voldemort had left, I approached him to help him, to save him, but there was nothing I could do for him. He gave me his memories, before bleeding out in front of me.”
Harry took a long sip of his drink to calm his nerves about what he was going to reveal to his father’s friends.
“Voldemort, then, called for a break in the battle to give us a chance to remove our dead, heal our injured. He spoke directly to me and told me I had one hour before he entered the castle to come and look for me himself. I was to meet him in the Forbidden Forest and give myself up if I did not want anyone else to die.”
Harry paused for a moment before looking directly at Remus.
“That’s when I discovered you had died, Remus,” Harry quietly said. “You and Tonks just lying there in the Great Hall was too much for me, so I took my chance to escape and look at the memories. I figured Severus would not have passed them onto me unless they were important.”
Harry looked down at his glass for a moment before looking back up at the two Marauders.
“What he had given me was his memories of his friendship with my mum. From when they had met before beginning Hogwarts, to the day he destroyed their friendship, even to the night he found out my mum and dad had been murdered. He never said it, but it was clear from watching the memories that he loved my mum. Not just as a friend either, he was deeply in love with her. His feelings ran deep enough for him to become a spy for our side and he chose to protect me as best as he could for my mum. It was for this reason that Dumbledore trusted him implicitly and with his life. He trusted Severus to the point that he was the person he chose to give one of the most vital pieces of information I would need if I was to defeat Voldemort for good.”
Silence pierced the air for the moment as the two Marauders processed what Harry had just told them.
“I’m not going to lie, but I think James always suspected Snape had feelings for Lily,” Sirius painfully confessed. He hated himself now for the way he had treated the Order’s spy, all thanks to being told Snape had played a more important role in the war effort than he even had known. “I am sorry we never told you, but, I think, at the time, it just never seemed important to tell you.”
“Harry, think about how you were at fifteen,” Remus gently suggested. “Bear in mind, though, to us, you are still fifteen. You were angry and withdrawn most of the time. You were struggling with so much, including what you had discovered about us and your father. If we had told you about your mother’s friendship with Snape, you would never had taken the news very well and it would have just pushed you further away from everyone.”
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but was cut off by his wife before he could say a word.
“Oh, you know he is right, Harry,” Ginny said sternly as she placed a hand over his lips to keep him from talking. “You were truly awful that year and you know full well that you were. May I remind you that it was me who pulled you out of most of your moods that year? I highly doubt, though, that even I would have been help you figure out your feelings to that piece of news back then.”
Harry locked eyes with his wife for a moment and knew in an instant that she was right. It was just like when he had discovered he was Horcrux, it had to be broken to him at the right moment if he was to accept the truth.
“So, what was the vital information Snape told you about?” Sirius asked, curious know what had been so vital that it had been left to Snape to tell his godson, rather than Dumbledore himself.
Harry swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat before he whispered what he knew would be chilling news to the two time-travellers, “That I had to die.”
The revelation left both men speechless. How could anyone even respond to that bombshell?
“Harry, I think we need to tell them the full story,” Ginny pleaded with her husband. “They, of all people, deserve to be told.”
Harry nodded his consent, and then proceeded to tell two of the most important men in his life the full story of his involvement in the war against Voldemort.
Sirius stumbled down the stairs as quietly as he could in the still dark house. It didn’t seem to matter that he was currently in a different time-period, he was still unable to sleep, thanks to the effects that had remained with him from his stay in Azkaban. On entering the living room, he discovered he was not alone in not being able to sleep as he found his godson on the couch with his head in hands.
“Harry?” he quietly called out to the wizard.
Harry looked up, startled, to find his godfather stood just inside the door of the living room with a concerned, yet confused look on his face.
“Sorry, Sirius, I didn’t expect you to come downstairs so early,” Harry apologised weakly. “I don’t tend to sleep well on the nights surrounding the anniversary of the battle.”
Sirius’ expression changed from one of concern to one of sympathy. He moved over to the couch, taking a seat next to Harry and pulled his godson into an embrace.
“I understand, Harry,” he responded soothingly. “After everything you told me and Remus, I would be surprised if it didn’t affect you the way it does now. Sleep did not come easily to me when I was in Azkaban as my thoughts would always wander to the night your parents died. I would sit there in my cell and try to figure out if there was anything I could have done differently.”
“I am the same,” Harry admitted. “I know I told you I wouldn’t change a thing, but that doesn’t mean I do not think about it. It helps me reinforce the belief I wouldn’t do anything differently.”
“Don’t linger over the ‘what ifs’, Harry. Like you said before, there is no guarantee you would have won had one thing changed.”
Harry nodded his understanding before the two men lapsed into silence as they allowed their thoughts to drift to the nights that changed their lives, while taking comfort in having this precious time together.
“I need to thank you, Harry,” Remus softly said as he and Harry watched the children chase Sirius around the garden in his Animagus form.
Harry looked over at his former professor in confusion, wondering what he had done to receive his thanks.
“For being there for Teddy and helping to raise him,” Remus explained. “For being willing to give him this chance to spend time with me.”
Harry felt his cheeks heat up as he turned back to look at his godson as he played with Padfoot, James, Albus and Lily.
“He’s an amazing child, Remus,” Harry replied. “I am grateful to have been able to help raise him. He is one of the main reasons I managed to move on with my life after the war.”
“I can only assume Ginny was the other reason,” Remus gently teased.
Harry looked back to the werewolf and smiled widely, “Obviously.”
“I hate that I will not retain the memories of these past twenty-four hours and the time I have spent with Teddy when I return,” Remus said with a sigh. “I hate that he has to grow up without me and Dora not raising him.”
Harry placed a hand on his former mentor’s shoulder. “He is incredibly proud of you and Tonks. He is proud of the fact that you are his parents. He does understand why you did what you did and he is grateful you both took the risk to fight for the freedom he gets to enjoy. However, there are times when he hates the world for taking you from him, especially as he has no memories of your short time together. When he begins feeling like that, and he is with Ginny and me here, then we just let him rant, scream or whatever it is he needs to do to rid himself of the anger.”
“I am glad it is you we chose to be his godfather,” Remus responded with a genuine sincerity. “I obviously could not have predicted what would happen, but, somehow, I am guessing Tonks and I decided on you on the off chance that we didn’t survive, while also knowing you’d do anything for that little boy. Based on what Teddy has told me about his life, you have done that, you gave him everything you could.”
To Harry’s surprise, Remus pulled him to a hug and held on to him tightly for a second. However, the moment was broken as they heard a loud whimper escape from Padfoot’s lips. They pulled apart to see Padfoot laid out on the grass with all four children tickling as they laughed loudly.
Harry and Ginny watched as Sirius and Remus made their good-byes to their three children and their godson. Remus had wrapped Teddy in a tight embrace and was whispering something in his ear, which made Teddy nod and smile sadly. Sirius, however, had been engulfed in a group hug with James, Albus and Lily.
“Do you plan to Floo over to Hogwarts with them to say your good-byes?” Ginny quietly asked her husband, knowing he did not want this visit to end.
“No, I don’t,” Harry replied honestly. “I don’t think I could watch them disappear from my life for the final time, it was hard enough losing them the first time. Plus, you know I have never been to Hogwarts on this date before and I don’t intend to start now.”
“I’ll say my good-byes and then take the kids outside to play while you make your own good-byes,” Ginny told him before she kissed his cheek and moved over to where the two Marauders were stood. She hugged the two men individually, both of whom whispered something that made her smile, before she gathered the kids and led them out of the living room to the garden.
Harry stood there awkwardly as he gazed at the two men for a few seconds after the door had closed behind Ginny. He was uncertain of what he wanted to say now the time had come to truly say good-bye.
Remus decided to make the first move as he wanted to give Sirius and Harry a private moment together afterwards. He approached the man he made godfather to his own son and smiled.
“Thank you for having us, Harry,” he said with a genuine smile that made him appear years younger. “Thank you, also, for taking care of Teddy the way you have. He is an incredible young man and it amazes me that I helped create him. It is certainly worth dying to make the world a better place if he gets to live in it.”
“He most certainly is,” Harry replied in agreement as he hugged his former professor.
Remus pulled away and headed towards the Floo. He stopped before entering so he could turn and look back at Harry one more time.
“Thank you,” Remus said once again before stepping into the Floo to head back to Hogwarts.
Harry reluctantly turned his gaze to his godfather, wishing he did not have to say good-bye, but grateful for the opportunity to do so.
“Don’t say anything, Harry,” Sirius requested when he saw the look on his godson’s face. “I know what I am going back to and it certainly helps I am not going to remember. The whole point of this trip was to find myself some hope for the future, hope that you would come through the war against Voldemort and have the life you have always wanted. I found it in seeing you alive, happy and whole. That, to me, is most definitely worth dying for.”
Harry did not respond in words, but instead, moved across the room and wrapped his arms around his godfather tightly. The two men held on, knowing, that for Harry, this would be the last time they would ever see and speak to each other.
“Just promise me you will look after that redhead of yours,” Sirius said to Harry as they reluctantly broke apart. “She waited a long time to be with you.”
“I know and I will,” Harry whispered, fighting the tears that were on the brink of falling.
Sirius gripped Harry’s shoulders and gave them a squeeze before he moved away for the final time. Neither said a word to the other, knowing none were needed, as Sirius flashed Harry a smile and took the Floo through to the school.
The moment Sirius stepped out of the Floo and into the Headmistress’ Office, he walked directly over to where Albus Dumbledore’s portrait resided.
“Good morning, Sirius,” the former Headmaster said when he saw his former student stood in front of him. “What can I do for you, today?”
“I wish to say thank you to you before I return,” the Animagus responded, knowing Dumbledore would understand why he was saying this now. “Thank you for giving me this chance to spend time with my godson, his wife and his children. I can understand why you sent me and Remus here, even if you were not sure what we would find when we arrived.”
“You are most welcome, Sirius,” Dumbledore responded, his eyes twinkling in delight. “I will say that, despite the fact you do not remember this special and unique trip, you were certainly more hopeful on your return. I believe it was your renewed hope for a happy life for your godson was what led you to risk your life for him. I am, also, certain it is your hope for a free world that you, Remus, eventually gave into Miss Tonks’ advances.”
Remus blushed at the very thought of a relationship with the woman he knew he had deep feelings for.
“Thank you, again, for this opportunity,” Sirius said once again. “I am led to believe, by my godson, that Severus has a portrait hung here in this office.”
“He would be correct, Sirius,” Professor McGonagall confirmed. “Severus’ portrait is towards the back of the office.”
“We don’t have much time left till the Time-Turner is due to return us,” Remus called after his friend as Sirius walked towards the Headmistress had indicated.
A smaller portrait than most was hung on the walls, located towards the back of the office and out of view of the desk and the entrance. Unsurprisingly, the former Potions Master had his usual sneer on his face.
“Well, well, well, it seems that Black just could not stay dead,” Snape snidely said as Sirius came into view.
Sirius ignored the comment, forcing back any snide comment he was tempted to reply with.
“I don’t like you, you don’t like me, that is something that will never change,” he calmly stated. “However, thank you for looking out for my boy all those years and for helping him to fulfil his destiny.”
Sirius immediately turned and walked away, not expecting a reply from his rival and not feeling he needed one. However, to his surprise, he heard two words he would have never expected his sworn enemy to ever say.
Sirius paused for a moment and nodded his acknowledgement without turning to look back at the portrait before he returned to where Remus and Professor McGonagall stood.
“Time to return home, then,” Sirius said with a sigh, wishing he could remain here with his godson and his family.
The two Marauders made their good-byes to their former professor before Remus removed the Hopeful Heart from the pocket in which he had kept it for the past twenty-four hours and placed the long chain around both his and Sirius’ necks. The two men, then placed a finger onto the gold ring and waited patiently for the Hopeful Heart to pull them away from the future and back to the past and their present.
Back to index
Chapter 3: Harry and Ginny
Author's Notes: Sorry I am a little late in posting. Severe headache meant I was unable to look at a computer screen to post this.
Thank you to Arnel for her brilliant help!
June 1st 1997…
Despite the early hour, no one could fail to notice the wide smiles on the faces of the couple who had just walked into the Great Hall for breakfast. For a brief second, the chatter in the hall lowered as many heads turned to watch Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. Neither noticed the noise drop or the looks they were receiving as they were too wrapped up in each other to do so. The noise only regained its previous level when the couple took seats at the Gryffindor table, next to each other and as close as they physically could be to one another without the need for Ginny to be sitting in Harry’s lap.
Harry served up a selection of breakfast foods to their plates as Ginny poured them each a fresh glass of pumpkin juice. As they tucked into their breakfasts, the couple kept their heads close together and quietly talked to one another. With their exams, more specifically, Ginny’s O.W.Ls, due to begin the following Monday, every precious moment they had to spare they would spend together. Breakfast happened to be one of those times.
“Mr Potter, Miss Weasley,” Professor McGonagall called out to them as she approached as they were getting ready to leave for their first lessons of the day. “Professor Dumbledore would like to see you both in his office as soon as possible, please.”
Harry and Ginny looked confused at the unexpected request.
“You are to go immediately, though, I’d advise you take your bags back to your dorms and change into some everyday clothes,” their head of house explained. “I have been told you are to be excused from your lessons for the day. I believe the Headmaster has a special task for the two of you, which will take most of the day.”
“Oh, ok,” Harry replied before turning to Hermione.
“Yes, I’ll take notes for you, Harry,” his best friend responded before Harry could even ask.
“The password is the same as it was for your previous lesson, Mr Potter,” Professor McGonagall quietly told him before she swept past the couple and out of the hall.
“Well, then, we’ll see you later,” Harry said to Ron and Hermione as he clasped Ginny’s hand and led her out of the Great Hall and back up to the Gryffindor Tower to drop their bags off and get changed.
“Enter,” the voice of their Headmaster came before either Harry or Ginny had the chance to knock on the door to the office. The couple just exchanged an amused glance as they both wondered how Dumbledore always seemed to know when someone was at his door.
“Ah, Mr Potter, Miss Weasley, thank you for coming so quickly,” Professor Dumbledore said as the couple entered the room and took a seat in front of the desk. “I know you must be wondering why I have asked you both to meet with me and miss classes for today. Even with exams beginning next Monday, this was something I felt could not wait as there may be not be time at the end of term for you do what I am about to request of you.”
Harry and Ginny sat in silence, confused at what the Headmaster could possibly need them to do for him. Despite having been told by Professor McGonagall that there was a special task for them to complete, neither Harry nor Ginny could comprehend what it was that would require them to need to take the entire day off classes. Neither of them was a member of the Order of the Phoenix as they were currently underage and even if they could join, Ginny’s mother would probably deny them the opportunity to do so. Harry did not think it had to do with the private lessons he’d had with Professor Dumbledore up until recently as Ginny was ignorant to what he had learnt. However, she had fully understood that he could not inform her about what he had been taught, knowing it was important information that required the bare minimum people knew of it.
“Please do not worry,” the Headmaster said upon seeing their confusion. “It is nothing of concern, nor is it dangerous. It is, in fact, an opportunity that I would be wrong to deny the pair of you.”
“An opportunity, sir?” Harry queried with a quick glance at Ginny. “You are not talking about…”
Harry trailed off, fearful that Dumbledore was suggesting they bring Ginny along with them to search for the next Horcrux.
“No, Harry, my dear boy,” Dumbledore replied in understanding. “This is something different. It is a chance to discover what lies in the future without affecting your present.”
Dumbledore currently removed the package that had been safely stored in his desk for a little over year for this very moment and placed it in front of him in full view of the young couple.
“The opportunity I am offering you has to do with what lies inside this package,” he explained, noting their curiosity. “Inside, there is a very rare magical artefact, something that is the only one of its kind and has long been considered to be a myth. However, an acquaintance of mine, on my request, tracked it down for me. Now, despite it being in my possession, I have never used it myself, but, there are people close to yourself, Harry, who have.”
“My parents?” Harry guessed with a look of awe in his eyes.
“Yes, you would be correct. Sirius and Remus also used this artefact last year. I offered the chance to your parents to help them to decide whether they wished to go into hiding, whereas, I gave Sirius and Remus the chance at a time when I knew you were struggling and they were at a loss at how to help you,” Dumbledore explained to the young wizard, knowing Harry would be delighted to learn something new about his parents, his godfather and his friend. “The artefact they used is known as The Hopeful Heart and it gives each individual one chance to travel to the future for a period of twenty-four hours.”
Ginny gazed at the Headmaster for a moment as the words he had used previously registered in her brain. “What is the catch, Professor?”
“Ah, I am not surprised you caught on to that, Ginevra.”
Ginny bristled at the use of her actual given name.
“While you shall be able to experience the future, you will not be able to remember it,” Dumbledore said in answer to Ginny’s question. “The spells that have been used to create this Time-Turner are complex, but I have been able to discover that the magic includes a very powerful memory charm.”
“How, then, would we know if we have not used it before?” Harry asked inquisitively.
The headmaster could not help but smile at how observant the pair sat in front of him were.
“Like I said, the spells used were and are complex. They have been, unfortunately, lost to history, though the story passed from owner to owner does tell us how it works. I believe, therefore, that the Time-Turner has a specific charm that allows it to register the magic of the user so it can recognise it if the wizard or the witch attempts to use it again.”
Harry and Ginny nodded their acceptance of the explanation. They were both intrigued by the information and the potential opportunity. However, there was a need to understand just why it was being offered to them and no one else.
“Why us, though? Why use it at all?” Harry asked on both of their behalves. “What is the purpose of using this if we cannot remember what we experience?”
“The answer to your question is in the name of the artefact itself,” the Headmaster calmly explained. “The Hopeful Heart allows to user to experience the future, but only if there is a future to look forward to, a future which the user is hoping for. If there is and the user gets to experience it, then on their return, their memories of their time are wiped, but the hope for the future they saw is not.”
“Therefore, with the war intensifying and with Harry being at the heart of it, if we are to return from the future with hope that it can be ours, then that hope can give us an even bigger reason to win and survive,” Ginny concluded.
“Exactly, my child,” Dumbledore exclaimed in delight. “Like I said before, it is about the future you as
individuals hope for. The magic of the Time-Timer, I believe, can tap into your emotions and pick up whatever small piece of hope you have for the future and that is how it knows whether it can take you through time.”
Harry mulled this over for a moment, knowing there was a real risk of him not surviving this war, especially as he had a prophecy looming over his head.
“So, even if my future involved me dying during this war,” Harry tentatively mused, “I would still be able to travel forward in time as my biggest hope for the future is for us to win this war and secure the peaceful world we deserve.”
Ginny looked at Harry in shock, her heart feeling like it was beginning to break in two at the prospect of losing him. Yes, she shared the same hope for future of the wizarding world, but not at the expense of him giving his own life. However, she knew she had to push her own personal feelings aside for the moment as she knew Harry had a bigger role to play and the possibility of him dying was very real. Harry may not have informed her of what the prophecy had said, but she would be an idiot not to realise that it had been made about him being the person who could defeat Voldemort.
“You would be correct, Harry,” the Headmaster said, feeling delighted that Harry and Ginny had fully understood what he had explained to them about the Hopeful Heart. “Now, before we move to the next part of my explanation, I need to know if you wish to take this opportunity. If you don’t, then I am afraid I shall have to Obliviate you to keep this artefact secret.”
Harry reached over and took Ginny’s hand in his, locking eyes with her as he did so. Neither one had to say a word as they made their decision together. Both feared losing the other, not that either of them had vocalised it during the few weeks they had been together. The relationship, in their opinion, was still too new for such declarations to be made.
“Yes, please,” Harry answered for them both without breaking eye contact with Ginny.
“Just as I hoped you would,” Dumbledore smiled in response. “Now, before I show you the Time-Turner and explain how you make it function, I need to tell you what I hope is going to happen. When you arrive, you shall be in this very room, on the same date, except for the year. I suggest you travel to 2010, like your parents, Sirius and Remus did. I shall be leaving a letter for whomever the head of the school is in that time, so they should be expecting you. I am hoping you will be able to meet your future selves as I feel they would be the best people to inform you of past events and to explain where they are in their lives at that point in time.”
“Wouldn’t that cause an issue, sir?” Harry asked as he remembered his first experience with a Time-Turner back in his third year. “Hermione told me we could not be seen by anyone when we used her Time-Turner.”
“Essentially, she would be correct, Harry. However, that would only be if you were travelling to the past where there is potential to change our original actions,” Dumbledore explained. “As you are travelling to the future and will not remember what you have experienced when you return to the present, the chances of changing the course of history are negligible.”
Once Harry had confirmed he understood what he had been told, Professor Dumbledore explained how to make the Hopeful Heart function to travel forward to 2010 and what they would need to do to be able to return to their present.
“Remember, you shall be there for exactly twenty-four hours,” the Headmaster reminded the couple. “You have been excused from classes for the rest of the week. If your friends enquire to your whereabouts while you are away, I shall provide an excuse of which I shall inform you when you return. It will be a plausible excuse and something you will believe you have truly spent time doing.”
The young couple nodded their agreement.
“Well, then, I believe there is no reason to delay your journey any longer,” Dumbledore said as he began to unwrap the package. “Just remember to follow the instructions I have given you and you’ll have no problems.”
Harry took the offered Time-Turner from the hands of the Headmaster and carefully wrapped the long chain around his and Ginny’s necks. Following the instructions that they had been given, they both placed a finger to the gold ring as Harry also placed the tip of his wand to the ruby heart.
“I truly hope the future is what you hope it to be,” Dumbledore said just before Harry clearly stated the year, with the young couple’s hopes firmly placed in their hearts and minds.
The couple’s fingers suddenly felt like they had become glued to the ring as a wind whipped up around them. Then, with no warning, they felt a tug, like what they had previously experienced when travelling by Portkey, as the Time-Turner whisked them away to the future.
June 1st 2010…
The Time-Turner dropped Harry and Ginny in the same spot in which they had stood just seconds before. Both stumbled slightly on landing, but they managed to remain on the feet for once.
“Welcome, Mr Potter, Miss Weasley,” a familiar voice said before either Harry or Ginny could take in any changes that had been made to the office.
The couple turned in the direction from which the voice had come and discovered their current Head of House behind the desk with a rare, warm smile on her face.
“Please, take a seat,” she politely asked as she indicated to the two empty chairs.
Harry and Ginny glanced at one another before they took the seats as requested.
“Hello, Professor,” Harry managed to say as a sweeping realisation came over him that Professor
Dumbledore must have died if Professor McGonagall was now sitting in his place. Remembering the headmaster’s words about leaving a letter for the current head, Harry suspected that he had known he would not be the head of the school in the year they had selected.
“I would say it is good to see you, but, as I am in regular contact with your counterparts here, it would mean very little for all of us.”
Harry’s eyes widened as her words registered in his brain, barely feeling the squeeze of the hand Ginny gave him. They had both realised what this meant for them, but neither had been willing to believe it was possible when they had activated the Time-Turner.
“I… I survive?” Harry choked out in shock as elation began to fill his heart.
Professor McGonagall smiled wider than either of them had ever seen her do so.
“You do, indeed, survive, Mr Potter,” she told him proudly before turning solemn. “However, the war was not without further losses for yourself.”
Harry dropped his head in despair on hearing he would suffer further losses in his life. He was not surprised, however, knowing that there would be. As much as he hoped there would be no more deaths, he knew that they were at war. More loss of life, therefore, was inevitable, no matter how hard he or anyone tried to prevent it.
“Can I ask who?” Ginny asked, much to Professor McGonagall’s surprise.
Harry and Ginny watched as the headmistress’ gaze flittered for the moment to the portraits. Following it, they both immediately spotted the sleeping portrait of Dumbledore they had neglected to notice when they first arrived.
“How much longer does the war last?” Harry asked forcefully, no longer wanting to know just how many people he knew died. The one thing he knew for certain, it did not matter if it was himself named in the prophecy as the one who would defeat Voldemort as with the loss of Dumbledore, Voldemort would be in a better position to take control of the world.
“Exactly eleven months,” the Headmistress replied as she watched Harry piece together the possibilities made possible as the result of the death of Dumbledore. “You would be correct to assume that Voldemort took control of the Ministry and Hogwarts. He was never seen in public, though, not at least until the final battle that took place here at the school.”
The office remained silent, except for the snores of the sleeping portraits, as Harry and Ginny processed the implications of what they had been told about the final few months of the war. It was hard for either of them to comprehend to know that this was something they would have to endure when they returned to their own time.
“I think I am not the best person to be explaining this to you,” Professor McGonagall eventually said as to break the stifling silence. “I think, perhaps, that the story of the final year of the war would be best to be told by yourselves. They have arranged for you to stay at their house for the duration of your time here.”
“Are we married?”
Harry and Ginny asked their questions simultaneously, much to the amusement of the Headmistress.
“Are you actually that surprised?” she asked in exasperation.
The two teens could only nod as they both began to blush.
“I, honestly, do not believe you should be,” she continued. “It was obvious to all those present at the school when you first began dating that your relationship would be for keeps and go the distance.”
She stood and approached the fireplace. Taking the pot of Floo powder to hold out to the couple, she told them, “Potter Cottage is the name you need to use to go to their house. Harry and Ginny shall be waiting for you.”
Harry heard a chuckle of laughter as he stumbled out of the Floo and tripped over his feet, falling flat on his face.
“If it helps, you do get better at using the Floo,” the voice said as he continued to chuckle. “Eventually.”
Harry lifted his head from the floor at the same moment Ginny gracefully stepped out of the fireplace. Both couldn’t help the gasp that escaped them when their eyes met the sight of an older Harry, who was waiting for them to arrive.
“Leave him alone, or need I remind you, Harry, of just how often you still manage to stumble out of the Floo yourself?”
The younger couple’s attention was pulled in the direction of the female voice to find an older Ginny entering the room. She stopped on seeing them and smiled softly as Harry finally clambered off the floor and back onto his feet.
“If it helps,” Older Ginny said as she noticed the young couple’s awkwardness at being in the same room as their older selves, “we knew you were coming, but I don’t think anything could prepare us for seeing our younger selves standing in our house.”
The two teens visibly relaxed, knowing this was just as awkward for their older selves as it was for them. Much to the two teens’ surprise, Older Ginny, then came over to them and hugged each of them. Older Harry followed his wife’s actions, but chose to shake his younger self’s hand and kiss the cheek of the younger Ginny.
“I know you must have many questions for us,” Older Harry told them with a comforting smile, “and we will try our best to answer them, but I must warn you, now, that you may not like some of what we tell you. It was, for everyone involved, an awful year and we lost many good people to the war, but as I am repeatedly reminded, it was worth it in the end.”
Younger Harry looked at his older self as he spoke and realised that, while there was a smile on his face and happiness shining from his eyes, it was obvious he was still haunted by the events of his past.
“How about we take a seat outside in the garden?” Older Ginny suggested as she decided she needed to find a way for their younger selves to feel more comfortable and relaxed. “It’s a beautiful day, today, and I believe I have some Butterbeer in the cold cupboard.”
“So, where do you want to begin?” Older Harry asked once the group had settled down at the garden table with cold Butterbeers in their hands. “Do you want the good or the bad news first?”
The younger Harry and Ginny turned to look at each other and had a silent conversation to decide where it be best to start.
“I see it now,” Older Ginny whispered into her husband’s ear.
“See, what?” Harry replied as he continued to watch the two teens.
“Why it was everyone could tell our relationship was for keeps once we began dating,” Older Ginny replied, her breath tickling her husband’s ear. “Just looking at them, I can see that, even at fifteen and sixteen, we had a strong connection to one another, to the point of understanding each other without the need for words.”
Older Harry did not respond to his wife’s observation as his mind, instead, drifted back to the day of Dumbledore’s funeral and remembered how just one look between them had told him that Ginny would understand his reasons for needing to push her away and protect her from potential harm while he did what he needed to do.
“I think we should begin with the good news,” Younger Ginny eventually answered, pulling the older Harry from his thoughts. “It might be best to know what we have to look forward to before you tell us all about what happened over that final year of the war.”
The older couple exchanged a knowing smile. This information, about their futures, would be what they needed to feel hopeful that the war could be won, no matter how dark things became.
“Well, as you are already aware, we are married,” Older Harry started as he reached out for his wife’s hand. “We will be celebrating ten years of marriage in just a couple of weeks’ time.”
“We have three beautiful children as well: James, Albus and Lily,” Older Ginny told them, causing the younger couple to blush at the thought of what was involved to produce three children.
“Where are they?” Younger Ginny asked in response when she realised she had not seen a hint of a child at the house since they had arrived. Then again, they had neglected to have a look at the photos that covered the walls of the home.
“We decided to send them to spend the night at Molly and Arthur’s,” Older Harry explained. “They are still quite young at six, four and two. We felt it would confuse them if they were here at the same time as our younger selves and us.”
“I can understand that,” Younger Harry replied, remembering how he had used a time-turner at the end of his third year. “Hermione told me that bad things have happened to those who have messed with time. However, Professor Dumbledore said that would not be possible due to the method we have used to travel here. I have to admit it was weird seeing myself when I travelled back, so I can understand it would be confusing for three young children.”
“What about the rest of our family?” Ginny asked eagerly, wanting to know who had gotten married and how many nieces and nephews she had. “Do Hermione and Ron finally get together?”
The older couple had their own silent conversation upon hearing Ginny’s first question. They both knew that if they were to answer it, then, questions would be asked to why Fred had not married and had children and why it was George who had been the one to marry Angelina.
“I think it might be best at this point if we tell you what happened in the final year of the war,” the older Harry said solemnly, guilt swimming through his eyes.
“Which one of my brothers was it?” Ginny responded, recognising Harry’s need to avoid the question she’d asked. She could tell from the way they had changed the subject, from that of her family to the war, that one of her brothers must have died at some point in the final few months.
Younger Harry grabbed his girlfriend’s hand, having immediately understood what was not being said, while also knowing that whichever one of her brother’s it was who had died, she’d be devastated.
“Fred,” Older Ginny simply stated.
“For us to answer that, we really should tell you of the events from the end of my sixth year to the end of the war,” Older Harry explained. “I would prefer to only go through this story once and in order of the events.”
Ginny could only watch through tear-filled eyes as her boyfriend walked away from the table in shock towards the rear of the property. She understood why he needed to walk away and take time for himself to process what they had just been told about what was to come when they returned to their own. With everything they had discovered he, Harry, would personally go through, she would have needed that time as well. To be honest, she needed time to process the very fact one of her brothers would die during the final battle, but at the same time, she desperately wanted to follow Harry and comfort him. However, before she could make the move to do so, a handkerchief appeared in front of her, moving her attention from her boyfriend to his older self.
“I don’t understand how you even managed to move past all of this,” Ginny said as she gratefully took the handkerchief from him and wiped her eyes. “You were a wreck after the deaths of Cedric and Sirius. All of this, everything you just told us, it should have been enough to break you.”
“It nearly did,” Older Harry confessed.
Ginny looked up at Older Harry confused as to how he didn’t completely fall apart in the days, weeks and months following the final battle they had been informed of. Harry smiled softly at the younger girl as though he was trying to make understand without the use of words before his eyes drifted towards where his wife had now followed his younger self. Ginny quietly gasped as the realisation hit her of what he was trying to say to her.
“You are and will be the reason that I don’t completely fall apart,” he honestly told Younger Ginny as he turned his gaze back to her. “Now, that’s not to say I didn’t struggle with everything, because I did and I still do. You were and still are the best source of comfort I could ask for. Your Harry will realise and understand that in the days following Dumbledore’s death and he will remember that in the immediate days following the end of the war.”
Younger Ginny didn’t find what Harry had told her about being his best source of comfort hard to believe. They may have only been a couple for only a few weeks, but they had both found it incredibly easy to confide in one another. She also now knew what it was that Professor Dumbledore had been teaching Harry during their private lessons and she could understand why he had kept it secret from her and had only shared it with Ron and Hermione. The break up, however, she was still confused over.
“Why do you decide to break up with me?” she asked, knowing Older Harry was the only one who could fully explain it to her. “You brushed over that in your explanation, but I felt like there was far more to it than what you actually said, more than this need to keep me safe.”
“I brushed over a fair few things when it comes to you and I did so for a good reason,” Older Harry answered honestly, knowing this would be an explanation that only she could be told and would be one that would help solidify that hope for the future. “The reason I brushed over it was because, right now, my sixteen-year-old self is still struggling to understand just how much you mean to him. He is unable to comprehend just how deep his feelings run when it comes to you. He does know, however, that he has fallen for you beyond anything he has ever experienced with anyone. It takes being away from you, over the course of that year for it all to begin make sense for him, especially, when he stands in front of Voldemort and thinks explicitly of you as the Killing Curse is sent his way.”
Younger Ginny’s jaw dropped in shock at the discovery of being Younger Harry’s final thought before what he believed would be his actual death. She knew she would not remember being told this, but to know that he loved her that deeply left her in awe.
“That is the same face you had when I told you about it when we reunited after the battle,” Older Harry said with a chuckle. “Anyway, you need to understand that you represent hope to him. Falling for you gave him a new outlook on life, a reason to win and to survive the war. However, that only applies if you survive, therefore…”
“He pushes me away to keep me safe physically and for his own peace of mind,” Younger Ginny concluded for Older Harry. “Plus, if I am not with him, he will not be worrying about me as much. He will believe I am safe if there is nothing to prove him otherwise. He needs me to survive as much as I need him to survive.”
“Exactly,” Older Harry replied with a smile.
Younger Ginny turned her head towards where she could now see her future-self talking to her boyfriend, finally feeling reassured and relaxed in the knowledge that he would be coming back to her once the war was over. As she thought about his decision to end their relationship, she realised she would not fight him over it as she knew he needed to end what Voldemort had started all those years ago, and he wouldn’t allow himself to be truly happy until he had defeated him. It was one of the reasons she loved him.
“I am guessing I have probably already told you what I am about to say,” Ginny said as she turned her gaze back to the Older Harry.
“More than likely,” he chuckled.
“I knew it had to be you in the end, that it had to be you who finished off Tom once and for all,” she confessed, unsurprised when Older Harry did not react. “It wasn’t hard to figure it out, not after we had discovered the prophecy with your name on it, alongside Voldemort’s. So, even though I will not remember this conversation, it won’t be too hard to let you go when the time comes, because I have always known this what you would need to do, what you were destined to do.”
Older Harry chuckled as he remembered having the same conversation with his wife not too long after the final battle. “It helps that you understand him… me better than I know myself at times. Better than anyone else knows me, in fact. Your faith in me is one of the things I love most about you.”
“I could never not have faith in you. You saved me from Tom’s clutches when you were just twelve years old, when I was only Ron’s little sister to you. It helped me to believe that you would always do everything in your power to rescue or save anyone you could, no matter the consequences for yourself. It made me realise, also, that it is probably why you always take every death so hard, because there was nothing you had been able to do to stop it, no matter how hard you had tried to prevent it from happening. The fact that, of all people, it is me you purposefully go out of your way to keep safe lets me know you… he is already in love with me, even if it doesn’t realise it himself yet.”
“Oh, trust me, he is,” Older Harry replied with a knowing smile. “He has been for a very long time.”
Younger Ginny could only smile in response as she continued to watch her boyfriend as he and her future-self spoke, knowing the hope she would return with would be the hope that Harry would do everything in his power to return to her following the end of the war.
Younger Harry stood from his seat and walked away from the table towards the back of the garden. His mind was a swirl of emotions as he attempted to process everything their older selves had told him and Ginny. He knew there was nothing he could do to change the future on his return. The Time-Turner they had used was an old relic, which meant the magic was old and powerful, something Dumbledore had reminded him of time and time again. Instead, he needed to find a way to understand, or how would he even return to his time with hope in his heart for the future he had seen?
His thoughts, though, kept coming back to three specific things they had been told. Firstly, the sheer number of people who would die over the course of the final few months of the war, especially, during the final battle. How was he supposed to accept that so many people would die and there was nothing he could do to stop it? All he could do, from what he had understood from his older self, was concentrate on the task at hand, the one left to him by Dumbledore, and work towards finally defeating Voldemort.
Secondly, the very fact he was willing to push away the one bright light in his life, Ginny. While he was still not able to label what it was he felt for his girlfriend, he did know that he had fallen for her and fallen hard. Every moment spent with her was always a happy moment and he knew he wanted to feel and live in that happiness once the war was over. He could tell the full reason for him choosing to push Ginny away had not been revealed to him. Maybe they felt he would not understand the reasons and would refuse to believe it, he wasn’t certain. He did know that keeping her safe from harm made sense to him. What confused him most was the fact that Ginny had not fought him on the matter. He had tried the year previously to stop her from coming to the Ministry to rescue Sirius, but she had shot him down and listed valid reasons why he was wrong to refuse. For some reason, though, he knew if anyone had to remain safe and survive this war, it had to be Ginny.
Third, and finally, he was the accidental Horcrux, the one Voldemort had never meant and never knew he had made. He would not be told until the lull in the battle and at a point where he would be unable to walk away from what would be asked of him. He just didn’t understand how he would find the strength to willingly walk to what he would believe would be his own death. He had long accepted that he may not survive the war, but to go so willingly, to stand there without defending himself, was not an easy concept to accept. It didn’t matter there was living proof that he would survive, thanks to a mistake Voldemort overlooked, it was just knowing he would have to take that walk that was so hard for him to comprehend.
“You would never have accepted the idea you would have to walk to your own death had you known ahead of time,” a voice said from behind him. “You would have done everything in your power to try find another
way to remove the piece of his soul from you if it meant not needing to walk to your own death.”
Younger Harry remained where he was for the moment as he let the words register in his mind. If he was struggling with the idea now, he knew he would struggle with it had Dumbledore told him over the course of this past year.
“I suppose you are right,” he finally said as he turned to see Older Ginny standing there with a compassionate look on her face. “I guess it is easier to accept what needs to happen in the heat of the moment, rather than fighting against it right up until the moment it happens.”
Older Ginny smiled at Younger Harry, grateful he would not need to have it explained to him.
“What I don’t understand, though, is why you just accept my decision to break up with you?” Younger Harry continued, not waiting for a response to his previous comments. “You fought against me when I refused to allow you to come to the Ministry with me. You won that argument easily, but why just accept me ending our relationship?”
“It was easy to accept because I knew it was what you needed,” Older Ginny simply replied.
Younger Harry said nothing in response as he tried to understand what it was she was telling him and what she was not saying. He could sense there was more to it than that, but she was holding back and he realised it was because he was not ready to understand it just yet as he, having already realised, was not ready to understand the full extent of his feelings for the younger version of the woman standing in front of him.
“I would tell you exactly what it is you will tell my younger self, but I think we both know you are not ready to hear it, because you are still figuring out the full extent of your feelings.”
“Yet, I can see clearly, in front of me, that I will fall in love with her and marry her someday.”
“That maybe so, but we have not even told you what happened in the aftermath of the war, when it is we resumed our relationship or how we even get to the point of wanting to marry one another. Even though we know you will not remember what happened while you were here and what you were told, your heart will still remember your feelings and if you figure it out before you are supposed to, we risk changing the future in ways we cannot understand or know.”
Younger Harry opened and closed his mouth several times to respond. Why would Dumbledore not warn him of this potential risk?
“What was it that you hoped for when you activated the Hopeful Heart?” Older Ginny asked, much to Harry’s surprise.
“I hoped to see a world that was at peace, a world where Voldemort is merely a memory, a part of the history books,” Younger Harry replied honestly.
Ginny glared at him, knowing there was more to it than what he had already admitted.
Younger Harry sighed, knowing he could never lie to Ginny, whichever moment in time she was from. “I also hoped that you would survive to live a life of happiness.”
“I can guarantee you, because it was what I hoped for throughout the war, that my younger self was hoping to find a future in which you had survived the war, a future in which you had realised your own dreams and had found happiness. It wouldn’t have mattered if you had married someone else or if she had died, because all she has ever wanted for you was to survive the war and have the normal life she knows you desperately crave.”
“What is your point?” Harry asked, wondering why she had admitted that to him if she did not want to risk changing the future.
“You don’t need to understand why things happen the way they do, or what it is you feel for my younger self. They are not the reasons why Dumbledore sent you here,” Older Ginny calmly explained. “What you need to understand is there is a life for you after the war, after the heartache and the grief. It doesn’t matter how dark the final months of the war become, because there is a flicker of light at the end of it, a glimmer of hope. That is what he wanted you to understand, what he wants you to consume and fill your heart with.”
“You never did tell us what happened to my brothers,” Ginny said as she placed her knife and fork, having finished the delicious dinner older Harry had cooked for them. “Who is married? How many nieces and nephews do we have?”
Both Harrys laughed as Older Ginny began clearing the table.
“Well, you obviously know Bill and Fleur get married,” Older Ginny stated as she shot a glare at her husband for laughing at the question. “They have three children, Victoire, Dominique and Louis. Victoire was born on the second anniversary of the final battle. While it is still a tough day for all of us, celebrating her birthday stops us from becoming sad and depressed.”
“Also, it helps us to escape attending any memorials the Ministry or the school chooses to hold,” Older Harry stated. “Anyway, Charlie has chosen to remain a bachelor till his dying day. He loves his dragons too much to get married.”
“That does not surprise me, at all,” Younger Ginny said with a laugh. “I am guessing Mum is still trying her best to marry him off?”
“Obviously,” Older Ginny replied. “Dad has tried to make her stop, but, it has been to no avail. Charlie just sits through the lecture she gives him every time he comes home.”
Everyone laughed at the remark, knowing it was hard to stop Molly Weasley once she started ranting or lecturing.
“Percy married a lovely girl, Audrey, and they have two girls, Molly and Lucy,” older Ginny continued. “George married Angelina Johnson…”
“Didn’t she date Fred at one point?” Younger Harry asked as he remembered Fred taking Angelina to the Yule Ball during the Triwizard Tournament.
“Yes, but Angelina helped George through his grief, just like Ginny helped me,” Older Harry confirmed. “It brought them closer and by the first Christmas after the war, they were dating. Now, they have two children together, Roxanne and Fred.”
Younger Ginny smiled sadly at hearing her brother had named his son for his dead twin brother. However, if she really thought about it, Fred would have done the same thing had it been the other way around.
“That, then, brings us to Ron,” Older Ginny said with a twinkle in her eye, knowing the younger couple would love what they were about to hear.
“Oh, please, tell me Ron and Hermione finally get together,” Younger Harry pleaded with them. “I am not sure how much more I can take of their denial of their feelings for one another!”
The older couple exchanged amused looks before they burst into laughter.
“Oh, trust me, they are together, married with children,” Ginny managed to choke out through her laughter. “You are just going to have to wait another year before they come to their senses!”
The younger couple looked at each other in confusion, wondering what could be so funny about Ron and Hermione finally getting their acts together, even if Harry did have to suffer yet another year of them dancing around each other.
“How did it happen?” Younger Ginny pushed as she began to get frustrated with her future-self.
“Well, being Ron and Hermione, it happened at the most inappropriate time,” Older Harry sniggered as the memory began to replay in his head. “To be honest, I cannot remember the exact wording as it was in the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts. I just know there was something said about house-elves and then, Hermione threw herself at him.”
The younger couple burst into laughter. It honestly didn’t surprise them that it had taken so long to admit their feelings, nor that it came at one of the most ridiculous moments for them.
Younger Harry paused at the bedroom door to look back at the bed in which he had slept. There, much to his disbelief, was his girlfriend. Their older selves had been more than happy to allow them to share a bed for one night, stating no one would ever know. While nothing had happened physically between them, Harry had appreciated being able to curl up, in bed, with Ginny in his arms. After everything they had learned the previous day about the year to come, they had both needed the closeness and comfort. It just saddened him that they would not remember the first time they fell asleep in one another’s arms.
Leaving his girlfriend sleeping peacefully, Younger Harry quietly exited the bedroom and headed downstairs. Walking into the kitchen, he wasn’t surprised to find his older-self there, making breakfast for everyone.
“Good morning,” his older self said when he spotted Younger Harry take a seat at the table. “Did you sleep well?”
Younger Harry couldn’t help but blush at the question. Sleeping with Ginny in his arms had given him the best night sleep he’d had in a long time. “Yes, thank you.”
“Don’t worry, I felt the same way the first time, well, at least the first time I remember, I shared a bed with Gin,” his older self chuckled in response to the blush that had spread across Younger Harry’s cheeks.
The two Harrys remained in silence for a few minutes with only the fizzle and crackles of the food being cooked heard throughout the kitchen.
“How did you manage it?” Younger Harry asked his older self.
“What do you mean?”
“How did you manage to survive the aftermath of the war?” Younger Harry asked, desperate to understand how he would find a way to cope with everything he went through and everyone he lost. “How did you deal with the losses, the grief, the guilt?”
Nothing was said in response, leaving Younger Harry to watch as his older self paused for the moment before he halted what he had been doing to turn to face Harry.
“I am not going to lie to you,” his older self admitted, “and tell you I moved past everything that happened with ease. I struggled, but then again, everyone did. So much happened in that final year of the war that I highly doubt anyone came out of it unscathed.”
His older self paused for the moment, casting charms on the food to keep it warm and from burning before taking a seat across the table from Harry.
“In the past, as you know, we have always been sent back to Privet Drive,” Older Harry continued. “It didn’t do us any good as it left us to wallow in our own self-pity as we struggled to come terms with whatever had happened. With the end of the war, though, I didn’t need to return there, I was finally free to decide where I wanted to go, where I wanted to be.”
“You returned to The Burrow,” Younger Harry stated, knowing this would be the choice he would make.
“Where else could I go? Grimmauld Place held too many bad memories, I couldn’t remain at the school and I wasn’t quite ready to live by myself. The Burrow was the obvious choice, plus, Molly wouldn’t let me go anywhere but home with her and the rest of the Weasleys.”
Younger Harry couldn’t help but laugh at the comment about Mrs Weasley, knowing, how, every summer she wanted Harry to come straight home with them, rather than back to Privet Drive with the Dursleys.
“It was the first time she didn’t have to put up a fight to get me home with them,” Older Harry said as he remembered the day the family finally left Hogwarts for The Burrow. “Anyway, it was being there that helped me. I had nightmares, I still managed to find time to brood and I am not going to lie, but there were a fair few tears as well. However, being around the family, Ron, Hermione and Ginny helped me slowly work through everything I had been through. Kreacher even helped when I started the Aurors and moved out, making sure I was well looked after.”
Younger Harry could see his older self was being evasive with just how he coped after the war, but, remembering the conversation with Older Ginny the previous day, made him realise that it was not something he needed to understand. It was the fact he had fought his way out of the grief and the guilt to be able to create a happy life for himself. However, he could not forget the partially haunted look in his older self’s eyes he had seen when he had arrived the day before.
“You still struggle, though?”
“Of course, I do,” his older self admitted, a sad smile crossing his face. “What we have experienced, what you are still to experience, is not something that is easily forgotten. The sheer number of people we have lost, though, is the worst part of it. I still see their faces in my dreams or my nightmares, more so around the anniversary of the final battle.”
“You’re happy, though? I am going to be happy?” Younger Harry asked, needing to hear it from his older self, despite being able to see it for himself.
“Yes, absolutely. Everything we went through, everyone we lost, as much as it hurts, it was worth it to finally be free and happy.”
“Tell me, honestly,” Younger Ginny said to her older self as the two red-heads walked downstairs together, “just how bad is Harry in the aftermath of the war?”
The Older Ginny grasped the wrist of her younger-self to stop her from continuing down the stairs.
“I know you know how Harry can be in the aftermath of any traumatic event,” she calmly told the younger girl. “However, you can also see that Harry has come through everything and found the happiness he has desperately longed for, even if those events still haunt him.”
Younger Ginny could not disagree with any of what she had been told as she hadn’t failed to notice the haunted look that would occasionally cross Older Harry’s face.
“He is going to struggle and, yes, he is going to brood,” Older Ginny continued. “With what we told you, about who will die in the coming months, it will be a tough few months for everyone. Harry is going to rely on you in the same way you will come to rely on him. The aftermath was hard on everyone, but, for Harry, it is the anniversaries that are always the worst for him as he always struggles with the idea of just how many people died and whether he could have saved them.”
Younger Ginny opened and closed her mouth several times to respond, but she just didn’t know what to say to her older self. It certainly explained the haunted look in his eyes she had seen when he told them of the final year of the war. It just seemed incomprehensible for him to be happy if he was still struggling with those deaths.
“I know you spoke to my husband about the real reason he broke up with me,” her older self said after a couple of minutes of silence between them. “I highly doubt he told you the exact words he said to me, though, the words that made it so easy for me to wait for him.”
Ginny shook her head.
“He told me that being with me had been like something out of someone’s else life. I knew what he had meant, that he had been able to experience some normality in his life for once. Something that made him truly happy. It’s the same reason he can go on with his life, despite the guilt he still harbours. We make them happy, we give them everything they have ever wanted and needed, we love them deeply and for just him, Harry. That’s the reason he has not fallen apart and has managed to live his life.”
Younger Ginny knew her older self was right. Many people had told her they had never seen Harry so happy as he had been since they had begun dating. Ron had even told her that Harry had been sleeping better. She hadn’t failed to notice how he held his temper better or had even ignored the gossip and rumours surrounding him. She couldn’t help but wonder what positive effects he had on her.
There was a slight awkwardness as the two couples gathered by the fireplace as the younger couple prepared to return to Hogwarts and then to their own time-period. All of them knew what they would be returning to, even if they would not remember what they had been told. They could only take solace in the fact they would remain hopeful of a future where they could happy, free and together.
“Will you regain the memories of our visit here?” Younger Harry asked, knowing he had not been eloquent in his phrasing, but knowing their older selves would understand.
“Dumbledore believes we will,” Older Harry answered his younger self. “Unfortunately, even in the information passed to him, there was nothing to confirm either way. We can only wait and see if they do return to us.”
“I hope they do,” Younger Ginny responded. “It would be nice to be able to remember the first time we actually shared a bed.”
To neither Ginnys’ surprise, both Harrys blushed at the remark.
“Well, thank you for having us,” Younger Harry politely said, pushing his embarrassment aside for the moment. “Thank you, also, for the information and the advice you gave us.”
“It is a shame we’ll not be able to remember what you told us,” Younger Ginny continued. “It would be helpful to remember what we have to look forward to, but it’s enough to keep me hopeful.”
Older Ginny moved forward and wrapped the younger girl in a hug. “That would be the point of taking this trip to your future. Just keep that hope of what you wanted to see when you arrived here in your heart over the next few months and all will be well.”
Harry had barely stumbled out of the Floo when he picked himself up and walked over to where Professor Dumbledore’s portrait was located. He hadn’t originally planned to speak to his Headmaster, sensing his older self had probably already thanked the Professor for everything he had done to help him fulfil his destiny. However, he realised he would never be able to thank him for the opportunity he had been given and the strong sense of hope it had given him just to see that he and Ginny would survive the war.
“Hello, sir,” he quietly stated, recognising the usual signs of a painted portrait feigning sleep.
Professor Dumbledore’s eyes fluttered opened to reveal to the usual twinkle that Harry had long come to expect when he met with his Headmaster.
“Hello, my dear boy,” he greeted the younger version of Harry. “I can only assume that this trip has been worth what you have discovered. I was never able to ask you on your return, unfortunately.”
“It was certainly illuminating, sir,” Harry replied with a slight blush to his cheeks as he thought about the idea of marrying Ginny in the future. “I have to ask, though, how did you know? Why did you decide to send me and Ginny together?”
Dumbledore smiled at the young couple as Ginny came to stand next to her boyfriend.
“I could not have possibly known what was to come for either of you in the future. The only clues I had were the hopeful expressions on the faces of your parents, Sirius and Remus when they returned to their time-periods. However, while you may not be aware, it is obvious to all those who have seen the two of you together that your relationship is one that is forever, not one that is a simple childhood crush.”
The two teens glanced at one another and smiled at the idea of people already knowing they would have a future together.
“I just wanted to say thank you, sir,” Harry stated. “I know I will not be given the chance to say this when I return, but thank you for everything you did for me, for believing in me.”
“You are very welcome, my dear boy.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr Potter,” Professor McGonagall spoke up with an apologetic look on her face. “I am afraid you only have a few more minutes before your Time-Turner is due to return to your time.”
Harry and Ginny made their goodbyes to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, despite knowing they would see them shortly in their own time. They stood in a clear area of the office and took the necessary steps to be ready for the Hopeful Heart to return them to June 1997.
Back to index
Chapter 4: Lily and James
Author's Notes: I am so sorry this took me longer than promised! It has been a very busy few weeks for me!
Please note, there is a fair amount mentioned about Snape in this chapter. I used the books and tweets from JK Rowling to put together those conversations surrounding him.
Thanks again to my beta, Arnel, who is brilliant at kicking my butt over my horrendous grammar and sentence structure!
Shall post the final chapter next week.
July 1st 1981…
James Potter couldn’t help but smile when he walked into the kitchen to see the scene before him. He felt his heart flutter as he watched his beautiful red-headed wife feed their one and only child his breakfast. Even within the in midst of the war consuming the wizarding world, he felt incredibly lucky to have found a bright light in the darkness. He could feel his smile widen when his wife turned and smiled at him.
“I saw the owl,” Lily Potter said as she fed their son, Harry, some scrambled egg. “Who was the letter from?”
“Dumbledore,” he answered as he came over to the table and dropped on kiss on both his son’s and his wife’s heads. “He has asked us to come up to the school as he wishes to speak with us.”
Lily scrunched up in confusion for a second before answering, “Well, that’s not a problem, but I need time to get myself and Harry cleaned up and dressed.”
“That’s the other thing,” James said with a sigh. “He wants us to find someone who would be willing to look after Harry for the next twenty-four hours.”
“Did he say why?”
“No, nothing specific, at least. He just asked that we find someone we can trust to look after Harry as he needed us to do something for him. However, he said we needed to say to whoever looks after to Harry that we just want to spend some time together by ourselves.”
Lily did not immediately respond. Instead, she cleaned up Harry and cleared the plates away from the table as she thought about what they were being asked.
“Dada!” Harry cried as James came into his eyeline.
“Hey, there, little man,” James said as he picked his son up from out of his highchair.
Lily could hear her son’s giggles as she paused in front of the sink and dropped her head in worry. To be away from Harry for a whole day in the middle of a war was an extreme request in her opinion. However, she knew the Headmaster would not request something of her and James unless it was something of importance. Therefore, she could only assume he had made headway on the contents of the prophecy he had informed them about just after Harry’s birth.
“Ask Sirius to look after Harry,” Lily plainly stated. “He is the only one I trust to watch Harry for that amount of time.”
James did not feel the need to respond as he passed Harry over to his mum. They both knew Sirius loved and adored Harry and would do anything for his godson, even giving his life if it came down to it.
“Siri!” Harry cried as he spotted his godfather walking into the sitting room and began crawling over to him.
“Hey, there, kiddo,” Sirius replied with a wide smile, bending down to pick up his precious godson once he had crawled over to him. “How’s my favourite little wizard doing?”
Sirius began to tickle his godson, causing Harry to squeal in delight, much to the amusement of James and Lily who had followed Sirius into the sitting room.
“Before you get him all riled up, Padfoot, could we talk first, please?” James asked as Lily took Harry away from his godfather and took him upstairs for a nap.
Sirius didn’t fail to notice the serious look upon his best friend’s face or the fact that Lily had taken Harry out of the room. James had only mentioned to him that it was important that he came over to the cottage immediately, nothing else. Sirius had assumed that they had information for him or something of the sort, but something about the way the couple was acting suggested to him it was something completely different to what he was expecting.
“I need to ask you a favour, Sirius,” James stated once Sirius had taken a seat in one of the armchairs. “However, I need you to accept what I am asking and the reasons I am giving.”
Sirius didn’t need to think about what he was being asked of by James as he knew he would accept whatever it was he was told, having done the same in the past for the Marauders.
“That’s fine, James. What do you need me to do?”
“Lily and I have some things we need to discuss and decide upon and that’s not so easy to do when you have a child who constantly wants attention. Therefore, we were hoping you could stay here and look after Harry till tomorrow morning, lunch time at latest.”
Sirius simply nodded in response, sticking to his agreement not to question their reasons, but also recognising that his best friend had more to tell him.
“I know this is asking a lot of you, but I don’t want you to leave the house with Harry or leave the wards while we are gone. I don’t even want anyone to know Lily and I have left the house, not even Remus or Peter.”
“It’s fine, James,” Sirius cut in, sensing his friend’s agitated state over leaving his only child for the next twenty-four hours. “I can cope with looking after Harry by myself. I won’t tell anyone where I am or that you and Lily are not here. Whatever it is that has you and Lily needing time to yourselves is obviously important,
so if me being here helps you out, it really isn’t a problem.”
James breathed out a sigh of relief, knowing he was getting worried for no reason. If anyone would do what was needed to protect Harry, besides himself and Lily, it was Sirius.
“Thank you, Sirius,” he replied, feeling slightly more relaxed.
James and Lily sat in the chairs, opposite the Headmaster’s desk, clasping each other’s hands tightly as they worried about what it was Professor Dumbledore wanted to talk to them about and about being away for Harry for an extended amount of time.
“Thank you for meeting with me at such short notice,” Professor Dumbledore said as he took a seat at his desk. “I know I have asked a lot of you to leave Harry for the next twenty-four hours with vague reasons as to why, but I promise this is not a bad thing I am requesting of you.”
The two Potters simply nodded as they visibly relaxed at Dumbledore’s words.
“I know that I placed a great burden on you when I informed you that the prophecy that was made may in fact pertain to Harry,” the Headmaster continued. “While we still have no further information to confirm whether Voldemort is aware of Harry, or even Neville Longbottom, I want to offer you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that may help ease your worries.”
“I honestly don’t think our worries will ever be eased,” Lily admitted. “Not until Voldemort has been defeated.”
Dumbledore smiled gently at the worried parents. The burden he had placed upon them when he had informed them of the prophecy that stated that their child may potentially be the person destined to defeat the darkest wizard of their time was not an easy one to bear. He could understand their worries and their need to protect their child at all costs.
“That is understandable, Lily,” he responded. “However, the opportunity I am offering yourself and James today should ease those worries and give you hope and strength for the future.”
James doubted there was anything that could be offered to them that would help settle their feelings over the son’s future. However, he was willing to try on the off chance that it did.
“What’s this opportunity you have for us?” he asked, wanting to find out more before he agreed to anything.
“As I said before, it is a chance to give you hope and strength for the future,” the Headmaster replied. “Have either of you heard the myth of the Hopeful Heart?”
James’ eyes immediately lit up in recognition, whereas Lily just looked confused.
“Ah, I had a feeling you might have known, James,” Dumbledore said on seeing their reactions. “Lily, there has long been a myth amongst the older wizarding families of a one of a kind Time-Turner. Sadly, not much was known about it, specifically whether it was true. All that was known was that it gave the user a chance to visit the future for a period of twenty-four hours, providing them with hope for that future on their return.”
“If I remember what my mum and dad told me,” James said, taking over from the Headmaster, “the user would not remember the future to avoid the risk of it being changed.”
James paused for the moment as a thought came to mind.
“Are you telling us that this mythical artefact is real?” he asked as he looked his former professor with wide eyes.
“I am indeed, James. It is currently in my possession and I am offering you and Lily the opportunity to use it.”
“Tell me more about it, please,” Lily asked before James could accept the offer. “How does it work, exactly?”
“As I said before, it will allow you to travel forward in time for a period of twenty-four hours,” Dumbledore explained. “You can choose the year, but not the time and day as that remains the same. I would advise you choose the year 2010 as I believe that will allow enough time for the war to have passed and for Voldemort to be defeated.”
“Harry would be nearly thirty,” Lily said with a sigh. “What if we arrive and we discover we don’t survive? Or Harry hasn’t survived?”
“What if discover Harry has had a happy life? Or that he is married with children?” James countered, desperately wanting his wife to see the positive benefits to using the Time-turner. “It’s not like we will remember, that is part of the magic.”
Lily was tempted, but something was holding her back from saying yes.
“James is correct,” Dumbledore said, returning to his explanation. “You will not remember what you have seen or what you have been informed about. On your return, your memories of those twenty-four hours will be removed. However, you will be left with a strong sense of hope for the future you have seen.”
Dumbledore leaned forward, resting arms on his desk and looked Lily directly in the eye.
“The Hopeful Heart will only work if there is hope for a future you desire,” he carefully explained. “You must hold that desire, that hope, strong in your heart when you activate the Time-Turner. If it doesn’t move you forward, then, there is no hope.”
James turned his head to look at Dumbledore in shock as the Headmaster’s words registered in his mind. “Are you saying… is this a way to figure out whether the war will have a positive outcome?”
Lily looked at the Headmaster, wondering whether this was the real reason he was offering them the chance to use it.
“I must admit that the thought did cross my mind,” the older wizard confessed. “However, the very fact no one can remember what they have seen or experienced will be no help to us. Even then, it is what you hope for that will move you forward and everyone’s desires and hopes will differ. I think in your case, though, if you were to successfully use it, then, yes, it would mean a positive outcome for the war.”
James stood and went to kneel in front of his wife. Taking her hands in his, he spoke softly to her, “Lily, I don’t think it matters what we find out, but I do think we should take this chance. To come back with hope for a future for Harry is something we need right now. That hope could potentially help us make decisions that allow us to protect him.”
Lily looked up at her husband and smiled softly. She knew he was right in what he had said about hope helping them. Ever since they had been informed of the prophecy that possibly pertained to Harry, it had felt like all hope for them to have a happy life together as a family had been sucked away. They were currently living day to day, unable to plan anything in advance on the off-chance they had to suddenly go into hiding.
“Okay, let’s do it,” she finally replied.
Dumbledore removed the package from an unknown drawer in his desk and placed it carefully in front of the young couple. He then unwrapped it to reveal the Time-Turner, making them gasp at it grandness.
“No wonder people keep it a secret,” James said on seeing the ruby heart. “Must have some value for the gold and ruby alone!”
“James! Now is not the time for that,” Lily scolded her husband.
Dumbledore chuckled before he gave the couple an explanation of the Time-Turner and how it worked, ending by stressing the importance of being ready in advance for the return trip.
“If we are arriving here, in the same place from which we are leaving, will someone know to expect us?” Lily asked, once Dumbledore have finished explaining everything.
“I shall be leaving a letter for the Head of the school at the time of your trip,” the Headmaster confirmed. “I will arrange to have a letter sent to Harry as well.”
James and Lily smiled at one another, excitement shining all over their faces at the prospect of seeing their son as a grown man and discovering what his life would become.
“Well, then, when you are ready, you may activate the Time-Turner,” Dumbledore continued, knowing he had explained everything he needed to. “I truly hope that this works for you and you find only happiness for Harry in the future.”
James took the Hopeful Heart from the Headmaster and carefully placed the long chain round both his and Lily’s necks before they placed a finger to the gold ring.
Placing the tip of his wand on the ruby heart, James locked eyes with his wife, both smiling at the prospect of seeing the future as they allowed the hope they had for it to fill their hearts.
Finally, with a nod from Lily, James clearly stated, “2010.”
When nothing appeared to happen, the Potters felt disappointed and shocked at what it meant for the future. Both sighed in relief and strengthened the hope in their hearts as they felt their fingers become glued to the ring as a wind began to swirl around them. Seconds later, they were pulled away from the present and towards the future.
July 1st 2010…
Seconds later, James and Lily found themselves back in the Headmaster’s Office, wondering if the Time-Turner had worked. James quickly removed the Hopeful Heart and placed it safely in his pocket before grasping Lily’s hand and looking around the office to look for differences.
“James, look,” Lily said softly, her hand pointing towards a painting of a familiar face.
“Well, at least we know the Time-Turner worked,” he replied on seeing the sleeping portrait of Professor Dumbledore.
The sound of the door opening and shutting made the Potters jump and turn around to see who had entered the office. There, standing in front of the door, was Professor McGonagall.
“James, Lily, it is so good to see you,” the Professor said as she moved further into the office. “My apologies for not being here when you arrived, but I was dealing with some end of year issues.”
The Potters remained frozen in shock, unsure what to think of their former professor’s reaction to seeing them. Something in the way she had greeted them suggested that perhaps they did not survive the war.
“Please, take a seat,” Professor McGonagall gently said to them, recognising the shock they’d had to her greeting.
The couple did as they were requested, keeping a firm grasp on each other’s hands as they did so.
Professor McGonagall smiled warmly at two of her favourite former students and when no comment seemed forthcoming, she decided to steer the conversation herself.
“I can see your arrival here has caused you some shock,” she said in a gentle voice. “I can understand that as much has changed in the past twenty-nine years.”
“Of course, Professor,” Lily finally responded. “I think it was just a shock to see Professor Dumbledore’s portrait on the wall and your greeting…”
Lily’s words trailed off, knowing their arrival was as much as a surprise to the Professor as it was for them.
“Your greeting, Professor, it was… well, you seemed surprised and relieved to see us,” James asked on behalf of his wife.
Minerva sighed, cursing Harry in her head for making her be the one to break the news to his parents. Not that she didn’t understand his reasons for asking her to do so, it had been the same when Sirius and Remus had come from the past.
“I’m sorry to have to start your time here like this, but I am afraid to say that you did not survive the war,” she calmly told them. “You both died in October 1981, sacrificing yourselves to protect Harry.”
Lily immediately broke down into tears as James wrapped her up in his arms.
“We failed him, didn’t we?” Lily managed to choke out through her tears.
“Lily, sweetheart, I don’t think we did,” James cautiously replied. “If we had, we wouldn’t be here, would we?”
“James is correct, Lily,” Minerva confirmed. “Harry survived that night and survived having the Killing Curse thrown at him. He survived the war, he defeated Voldemort and has gone on to live a very happy life, even though he does still struggle with the memories of everything he has been through from time to time.”
Lily looked up from where she’d had her face buried in her husband’s chest, tears still running down her cheeks. The look of disbelief was evident on her face.
“He… my baby… he survived?”
Minerva smiled at the young woman. “Yes, he did and he is most anxious to meet you.”
“James, he survives! Harry survives!” Lily exclaimed loudly.
James chuckled at his wife’s happiness. “Yes, I know, sweetheart.”
“Harry asked me to give you an overview of his life and the war before he came to collect you,” Minerva told the Potters.
With a nod of confirmation from the couple, she proceeded to tell them what had happened on the night of Halloween 1981 and the subsequent events that led to Voldemort’s defeat.
Harry nervously paced the floor in front of the Floo, trying to decide when the best time would be to head over to Hogwarts to collect his parents. While he knew what time they would be arriving, thanks to the letter Minerva had received, he was trying to give her enough time to tell them the background to his life. He didn’t want to go too early, but at the same time, he did not want to leave it too long and waste the time they had here.
“Instead of working yourself up into a state, why don’t you just head over to collect them, now?” his wife asked as she came into the room, their daughter on her hip.
Harry smiled on seeing his favourite two red-heads. “I’m just trying… I’m nervous, Gin.”
Lily reached out her hands for her father as Ginny approached Harry, causing him to take her into his arms and blow a raspberry on her cheek, making her giggle. Ginny couldn’t help but smile as she watched her daughter and her husband interact with one another as Harry seemed to physically relax with the simple action.
“I know you’re nervous, Harry,” Ginny said as Harry tickled Lily. “You were tossing and turning all night. Just go and collect your parents. Don’t waste time here when you could be spending every minute they have here with them.”
Harry sighed, knowing his nerves about meeting his parents were keeping him from heading to Hogwarts. Recognising his wife was correct, he gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek and passed her back to her mother.
“I’m not sure how long I’ll be,” Harry quietly confessed. “I’ll try and have us back in time for lunch.”
“You’ll be fine, Harry,” Ginny whispered soothingly into his ear as she gave her husband a hug.
Harry pulled away and moved over to the Floo, shooting Ginny and Lily a nervous smile before disappearing into the green flames.
Minerva could only watch on in sadness as Lily and James came to terms with what they had learned of Harry’s life and his battle against Voldemort. James had his head in his hands as he struggled to contain his anger at discovering one of his closest friends had betrayed not just them, but Sirius and Remus as well. Lily, on the other hand, could only gently rub her husband’s back in a soothing manner as she looked over at Dumbledore’s portrait with tears in her eyes for helping her oldest friend.
The silence in the office was finally broken as the Floo flared to life and a dark-haired man stepped out, albeit clumsily. He quickly dusted himself down before allowing his gaze to fall upon the two people he had waited many years to meet.
James and Lily’s heads turned to meet the gaze of the man and they both gasped.
“He looks just like you, James,” Lily whispered, though her voice was heard by all.
“He has your eyes, Lily,” James replied on recognising the green eyes he loved so much on the face of their grown-up son.
“Mum? Dad?” Harry choked out, shocked at truly being able to meet his parents, despite knowing this day had been coming for a couple of months.
The final word had barely left his mouth when Lily stood from her chair and rushed over to pull her son into her arms, with James quickly joining her. Harry was quick to return the gesture, holding on tightly to the parents he only remembered through one horrible memory the Dementors would make him relive when he was near them.
“I want you to know, Harry, that your father and I could never regret sacrificing our lives for you,” Lily said fiercely when she pulled back to look her grown son in the eye. “To give our lives so that you could live would be something we would do time and time again for you.”
“I know you would, Mum,” Harry replied with a tearful smile. “It took me some time to fully understand why you would do that for me.”
“What changed that for you, son?” James asked, sensing it was a moment that had helped Harry understand, rather than a slow realisation.
“Becoming a father, myself.”
Lily nearly collapsed as the sudden realisation hit her that not only was she a grandmother, but also, that she was younger than the version of her son who was standing in front of her. James and she were only twenty-one, destined to die in just a few short months, and here they were, in the future, being told they had become grandparents.
“Mum? Are you okay?” Harry asked as he and James stopped Lily from stumbling and helped her over to a seat.
Lily tried to shake the thoughts from her head, but they refused to budge. She looked up at James with tear-filled eyes and smiled sadly at him.
“I just realised that you are older than we are, Harry,” she quietly confessed to the men. “You’re nearly thirty years old and here we are, in the future, at only twenty-one years old. It’s just a little overwhelming and strange to comprehend.”
Harry knelt in front of Lily, taking her hands in his and whispered, “That doesn’t matter to me, Mum. All that matters to me and Ginny, is that we get to have this time together, something I have desperately wanted all my life.”
Lily smiled at her grown son. She couldn’t get over just how much he looked like James, except for his eyes. Those, she could tell, he had inherited from her. It just saddened her to see a mix of happiness and sadness within them.
“Would you like to meet my wife and children?” Harry asked when his mum did not respond.
Lily nodded as James replied, “We’d be honoured, Harry.”
“Do you remember what your Mum and I told you about your Nanna and Grandpa Potter?” Harry asked as he knelt in front of his sons.
Albus screwed up his face as he thought about what he was asked before sadly shaking his head in defeat. James, on the other hand, was bouncing on the balls of his feet, happy that he knew the answer.
“Nanna and Grandpa Potter went to Heaven when you were a baby,” the six-year-old proudly told his Dad, “and today, we get to meet them!”
Harry smiled sadly at his two boys, recognising they didn’t fully understand what had happened their grandparents. The way James had spoken had made it sound like Harry’s parents had gone away on a long trip, which, in a way, they had.
“That’s right, James,” Harry replied, choosing to humour James. “I’ve just been to see them to tell them where we live and they will be coming through the Floo very shortly. So, I need you both to be on your best behaviour for me and your mum. Okay?”
Once the two boys had nodded their agreement, Harry stood and gently kissed his wife and daughter.
“They’ll be so proud of what you have accomplished in your life,” Ginny quietly said, seeing the nerves within her husband’s eyes.
Before Harry could respond, the Floo flared to life and his parents stepped out into the room.
“Mum, Dad,” Harry greeted them as he waved them to come over to him. “This is my wife, Ginny.”
“Hello, Mrs Potter, Mr Potter,” Ginny politely said as she gently shook their hands.
“Please, call us James and Lily,” James replied, grinning widely as he addressed his daughter-in-law.
“That’s my name and my sister’s name!” little James exclaimed loudly, capturing the older James’ attention.
Harry and Ginny both couldn’t help but chuckle at James’ response, knowing he had reacted the same way when Sirius and Remus had visited in May.
Lily could feel the tears begin to well up in her eyes as she watched her husband bend down so he was eye-level with his namesake.
“It’s like looking in a mirror,” James whispered, though everyone heard him. “You look very much I did when I was your age, James. Do you know who I am?”
Little James grinned widely and nodded his head. “Mummy and Daddy told me you were my Grandpa Potter and the red-haired lady is my Nanna Potter!”
“That’s right,” James replied as he looked over at his wife who fighting back the tears. “Now, do you want to introduce me and your Nanna to your brother and sister?”
James nodded eagerly as he pulled Albus closer to him.
“This is my brother, Albus and he is four,” he told his grandparents proudly, “Mummy is holding my sister, Lily and she is two. I am the oldest and I am six!”
Ginny placed Lily on the floor, next to her brothers, allowing her to meet her Grandpa Potter.
“Albus is the spitting image of you, Harry,” his mum said as she watched her husband greet their
Harry glanced over at Ginny and gave her a subtle nod.
“Mum?” Harry said as Ginny gathered the children and led them and James outside into the garden. “Do you want to help me finish making lunch?”
“What did you want to talk to me about?” Lily asked as she watched her grown-up son lay the table. “Don’t think I didn’t spot the subtle nod you gave your wife or the fact she encouraged your father to join her and the children in the garden.”
Harry sighed as he stopped what he was doing and took a seat at the table. He and Ginny had planned this moment between him and his mum so he could talk to her in private about her friendship with Snape. Considering Sirius’ reaction on discovering Albus’ middle name, they didn’t want to take any chances when it came to James.
“Before I tell you, I need you to promise me that you won’t ask me how I found out this information,” Harry said as he finally looked up at his mum, who had sat across the table from him. “To explain that would mean telling you the full story, which I know Minerva has only glossed over for you, and I want to tell you in full once the children have gone to bed.”
“I promise, Harry,” Lily immediately answered. She had no reason to deny her son’s request, not when he had been denied her and James as parents growing up. However, she was confused as to why he wanted to speak to just her, rather than both her and James.
Harry dragged his hands through his already messy hair as he figured out how to start. He didn’t want to just come out and say it, taking his mum by surprise, but it appeared to be the only way.
“I know about your friendship with Severus,” Harry said, choosing to use Snape’s first name in hopes that his mum would understand he had no problem with the friendship.
Harry could only watch as the look of understanding and then shock crossed his mum’s face.
“No wonder you didn’t want your father present for this conversation.”
“Well, after Sirius’ reaction to discovering my son’s middle name, I didn’t want to risk an argument with him.”
“I can only imagine,” Lily chuckled. “I take it, then, you know about their rivalry at school.”
Harry nodded. “Severus made it clear from my first day at Hogwarts that he didn’t like me. He decided I was too much like Dad without ever getting to know me. It wasn’t till after I had discovered your friendship with him, through his memories, that I could partially understand how hard it must have been to see me when I looked so much like Dad, except…”
“You had my eyes,” Lily finished for Harry.
“I watched him die, Mum,” Harry whispered as that day flashed in front of his eyes. “The last thing Severus requested of me was to look at him just so, as I now know, he could see my eyes, your eyes. I need you to understand, Mum, that no matter what I tell you about my life growing up, especially regarding Severus, he loved you so much. You are the reason he changed sides, became a spy, the reason I could do what was needed. He protected me, died for me, all because I was your son.”
Lily felt a couple of tears slip down her cheeks as she fondly remembered her childhood friend. She had always hoped he would see the light and change his ways. To know that he had gave her some relief, despite the fact she would not remember this on her return.
“I cannot guarantee that your father will be happy about the name, but he is not the same person he was in school,” Lily finally spoke in response. “He will be willing to listen to what you have to say, but I would suggest avoid telling him of Albus’ middle name until you have explained about Severus’ role in the war. However, Professor McGonagall did tell us that Severus changed sides before your father and I died.”
“Yeah, I think that might be the best idea,” Harry replied. “I think I probably should have done that when Sirius and Remus were here. They were more understanding once I had fully explained the events of the war and Severus’ role in it.”
“I have to ask, though, why use his name as a middle name for your son?” Lily asked, wondering why Harry would choose the name, despite knowing this man had not liked him.
“I wanted to make sure he was remembered,” Harry began. “He had no other family who could name their child for him and he deserves that recognition for his bravery. That doesn’t mean I like him or completely forgive him for the way he treated me over the years, but I do respect and admire him for everything he did in the fight against Voldemort and to help and protect me.”
Lily watched her son’s face as he explained. The look of pain and guilt in his eyes as he spoke suggested there was another reason.
“That’s not the only reason, though, is it?”
“No,” Harry admitted, not wanting to lie to his mum. “I… Severus felt guilty for so many things he had done, but he hated himself for destroying his friendship with you and for being the one who told Voldemort of the prophecy. He changed sides to help protect you, but you still died and he swore to protect me because I was your son, hoping he could find forgiveness for his actions. I think, perhaps, it was one of the reasons he gave me his memories.”
“Oh,” Lily gasped, shocked her childhood friend had been the one to tell Voldemort about the prophecy.
“Choosing his name as Albus’ middle name was, for me, a chance to do something similar,” Harry admitted.
“What do you mean?”
“I felt, and still do feel guilty for every death, especially the ones at the final battle,” Harry continued. “I just want to find forgiveness for my own actions, for not figuring it all out sooner, for being the one who turned up at Hogwarts that night and allowing Voldemort to follow me there. I know I seem happy, I am happy, but the events of the war, especially the final battle, still haunt me, Mum.”
Lily stood and made her way round the table to take her only child into her arms. She felt him cling to her as though he was begging for her forgiveness. Not that she felt he needed to be forgiven as nothing that had happened was his fault. It was all the result of a mad man with delusional ideas.
“It’s not your fault, Harry,” Lily softly crooned to him. “I think you know that. We can’t control the actions of others, but we can do all we can to try and stop them and that is what you did. You have to remember though, things may have ended much differently had your father and I survived, or if you had tried to confront Voldemort earlier than you did.”
Harry moved away from his mum’s embrace, discretely wiping his eyes as he did so.
“I know that, Mum,” Harry finally responded as he looked his Mum in the eye. “Percy, Ginny’s brother, asked me if there was anything I would have changed and I told him there wasn’t, because I knew if I changed just one thing, Voldemort may have won instead. I have to cling to that notion and Ginny’s love just to get through the bad days.”
Lily smiled at her son, amazed at the man he had become without her and James to raise him.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect when we agreed to come here,” she told Harry as she pulled him back into her embrace. “I was worried what we would find, but, here you are, having become this incredible man despite everything you have been through. The very fact you know you wouldn’t change a thing that has happened shows deep down you know that you are not at fault for the deaths that occurred throughout the war. You just need time for your heart and your head to catch up with one another. You’ll get there eventually.”
Harry hugged his mum a little tighter for a second. “I know I will, Mum. Ginny reminds me of that every time I have a bad day.”
“Right, I think we better call your children and James in for lunch,” Lily said as she pulled away from Harry. “We didn’t come here to spend twenty-four hours here for only me and you to spend time together.”
“How about I spend some one on one time with Dad, later?” Harry suggested as he headed towards the back door to call everyone in for lunch.
“I think he would love that.”
“Daddy?” James asked as he ran up to the table where the adults were sitting. “Can we go for a fly?”
“James, manners,” Ginny reprimanded the six-year-old.
“Sure, we can,” Harry replied with a smile before looking over to his father. “Dad, do you want to join us?”
“Of course,” James eagerly replied, much to the amusement of his wife. “After hearing about your own antics on the Quidditch pitch, I have to see you fly.”
The three black-haired wizards began to make their way to the broom shed, only pausing when Ginny called out after them.
“Don’t go showing off any of your fancy tricks to your Dad with our son on your broom!”
Harry shot a look that said, “Like I would do that!” before he continued towards the broom shed.
A few minutes later, Harry was flying high in the sky as he prepared himself to perform a Wronski Feint, while James and his grandfather sat on another broom together, watching from a safe distance.
James whooped in delight as he watched his father perform the dangerous move to absolute perfection. His grandfather, however, sat behind him, trying to stop himself from tightening his grip on his grandson as his jaw dropped at just how talented a flyer his son was.
“Wow, Harry,” Older James said in awe as Harry flew back up to join his son and father. “I have to admit I was hoping you would be a natural on a broom. It looks like my wish came true.”
“Daddy?” Younger James piped up. “Can I go on my broom now?”
“Of course, you can,” Harry chuckled as he and his father drifted down to the ground.
James ran towards the broom shed to get his own broom as his father and grandfather took a seat on the grass.
“Can I ask you something, Dad?” Harry asked as the two men watched the younger James mount his broom and kick off the ground.
“I’d be worried if you didn’t have any questions for me, Harry,” James responded, having expected the questions from the moment Professor McGonagall had sadly informed them they did not survive the first war. “There is only so much Sirius and Remus could have told you as it is. I just wish you’d had more time with them. I still can’t believe Sirius spent twelve years in Azkaban.”
“Dad, don’t get angry, please,” Harry said calmly. “We can’t change the past and I wouldn’t even if I could. I may have only had a couple of years with Sirius in my life, but he supported me as best he was able to, given the circumstances.”
“Something I hope you will tell your mother and me later.”
“I promise, Ginny and I will tell you everything in more detail later,” Harry confirmed. “Anyway, I need to ask you something that I once asked Sirius and Remus. I need to hear your side of things, even though I know what they told me had to be true and that the reason I didn’t understand was because my own childhood had been so different to yours.”
“What do you need to know?” James asked, worried at what he was hearing.
Harry explained to his father about the day he had seen a memory of Snape’s that didn’t show the Marauders in the best light and the subsequent conversation he’d had with Sirius and Remus.
James could only sigh in response, dragging his hands through his hair as he attempted to formulate an answer that would satisfy his son.
“No excuse I give you will explain my behaviour,” he finally responded. “I was a spoiled, arrogant brat. People believed us to be the cool kids and we allowed it to go to our heads, thinking we could use it as an excuse to get away with the things we did, like picking on Snape. What we did was unacceptable and had your mother and I been the ones to raise you, we would not have condoned behaviour like that from you.”
“I know you wouldn’t have,” Harry said with a chuckle. “I know I don’t want my kids following in my footsteps. Admittedly, they will not face the same challenges I have, but I still don’t want them sneaking around
Hogwarts in the middle of the night, looking for an adventure of some kind.”
“I kept picking on Snape, even after I grew up, even after your mum finally agreed to date me,” James continued. “I never liked him, I won’t deny that, but I knew he had been friends with your mum and I hated that, just as much as I hated that he was into the Dark Arts.”
Harry’s jaw dropped in shock. It didn’t matter that Sirius and Remus had told him that they thought his father had suspected Severus had feelings for Lily, just hearing his father confirm he had known about the friendship was a shock.
“Does that mean…” Harry couldn’t even finish the question, scared of the response he would receive.
“Yes, I knew he had feelings for her,” James answered, knowing what his son had wanted to ask. “I could tell from the way he looked at her. The man may have been good at keeping his feelings to himself, but he could never hide his feelings for Lily, at least not to me, he couldn’t. I can’t fault him for falling for your mum, though. They had been friends from before they began Hogwarts and she treated him with kindness and respect he did not receive from much of the school. I am guessing he switched sides because Lily had been targeted by Voldemort.”
Harry shook his head in disbelief. His father knew more than he had let on to Lily, Sirius and Remus. Perhaps telling him about his son’s middle name wouldn’t be as much of a problem than he had previously thought.
“Yeah, he did,” Harry confirmed. “Protected me, right up until he died, all because I was her son. I respect and admire for him that.”
“I would as well,” James admitted. “I suspect I may respect him even more once I know the full extent of his role in the war and how he protected you. Even so, I need you to know that as much as I hated the man, when I heard what Sirius had done to him, I had to stop Severus from attempting to enter the Shrieking Shack. I would not wish the life of a werewolf on anyone, not even my own worst enemy.”
Harry relaxed on hearing his father saying that, while also mentally berating himself for forgetting that at the time he was struggling with what he had seen in the Pensieve.
“Thank you for being honest with me,” Harry said. “How about we leave the emotional topics for now and go and join your grandson?”
“Any excuse for me to fly with the youngest Quidditch player Hogwarts has seen in a century!” James replied, causing Harry to blush.
Harry couldn’t help but smile as he pointed his wand at the dirty plates and set them to washing themselves in the sink. Despite all his worries and nerves, he had spent an enjoyable day with his wife, children and his parents. He may have had serious chats, individually, with his mum and dad about Severus Snape, which had settled some issues he’d still had regarding the former Potions Master, but, overall, he had enjoyed spending time with his parents as they got to know their grandchildren and learn about the happier aspects of their son’s life. However, he knew now he would have to tell his parents, as promised, everything about his life and the war in more detail, something he was dreading.
Taking a deep breath in before slowly letting it out, Harry steadied his nerves before walking back into the living room where his parents had settled as they waited for him and Ginny to join them.
“Professor McGonagall gave us an overview of your life and of the war, Harry,” his mum spoke as Harry took a seat in his favourite armchair, “She told us how Peter betrayed us, how Sirius ended up in Azkaban, but she never told us who raised you. It made me suspect she was not pleased by where you ended up and that she didn’t want to be the one to tell us.”
Harry sighed. He had hoped to avoid the conversation of being raised by the Dursleys. He knew his parents would not be happy if the full story came out of how he was treated by his mother’s sister. They would want to return to their time and change it if it meant Harry didn’t have to grow up in the hostile environment he had been subjected to. However, he knew he didn’t want to lie to his parents and as far as he was aware, there was no way to overcome the magic within the Hopeful Heart that removed their memories of the future.
“Dumbledore asked Hagrid to rescue me from the ruins and take me to the one place I could remain safe,” Harry finally replied, determined to explain the reasons he ended up where he had. “I am not sure how he knew to make the decision he did, but he somehow figured out that you had sacrificed yourself for me, Mum. It was so powerful that it was able to repel Voldemort’s Killing Curse, powerful enough that it left me with a protection that could be used for my benefit against Voldemort.”
“Harry, I can tell you’re stalling,” Lily reprimanded him. “What are you trying to avoid telling us? Where did you end up living?”
“With the Dursleys,” Harry whispered painfully. “I was left on Aunt Petunia’s doorstep, who, when she took me in, helped invoke powerful wards around the house through your blood relation and your sacrifice.”
“That would make sense,” James mused as he thought about the stories of Old Magic his parents had told him growing up. “The protection would have been infused in the wards, protecting you and the Dursleys from anyone who meant you harm.”
“My sister took you in?” Lily finally spoke. “We’re barely talking to one another as it is. I know how she feels about the magical world and Vernon hates magic more than she does. Maybe they came around and they never had the chance to fix things with us. Did they give you a good life?”
Harry froze. His mum had asked the one question he knew would end with an answer that would upset her greatly. How was he supposed to tell her that her own sister had neglected and abused him? He rarely spoke of his childhood to anyone. He had confessed in full to Ginny in the months following the end of the war and they had spoken at great lengths about his fears of becoming a father as a result when they had discovered she was pregnant with James. He still struggled with those fears, worrying that one day he would slip up and do something unforgiveable to one of their children.
“They did give you a good childhood, didn’t they?” his mum asked again when he had still not answered the question.
Harry refused to look at either of his parents, scared to tell them truth and ruin what had already been a good day for them all.
“You need to tell them, Harry,” a soft voice came from the doorway. “You need to tell them the truth. They won’t be angry with you. They’ll be proud of the man you have become despite the upbringing you ended up having.”
James watched as his son looked up at his wife, who had just entered the living room, with a pleading look in his eyes. It was obvious to him that Harry did not wish to reveal certain facts to him and Lily about his childhood, which made him suspect that the Dursleys had not given his son the childhood he deserved. However, it was the compassionate look on Ginny’s face that confirmed that he was right in his suspicions and it was the very fact that it was same look his own mum had worn on her face the day Sirius had arrived at the Potters, having run away from home, that told him that Lily would most certainly not like what they were about to hear.
“Harry?” James softly said as he moved to kneel in front of his son. “Whatever it is, however awful it is, please tell us. Sirius went through a horrible childhood with his own family and my parents took him in when he ran away from home. I won’t pretend to understand whatever it is they put you through, but I can promise to be patient and listen to you, just like I did for Sirius.”
Harry’s eyes widened at his father’s words. He had known his grandparents had taken Sirius in, but he hadn’t realised that his godfather’s home life had been as bad as his.
“Just promise you won’t attempt to leave here and do harm to them,” Harry pleaded with his father, remembering when Ginny had nearly Apparated to Little Whinging to hex his relatives. He had been able to stop her by simply kissing her, he didn’t know how he would stop his father or his mother if either one of them decided they wanted to confront the Dursleys.
“I promise you I won’t go and confront them,” James replied.
Harry sighed, wondering how he was to start this conversation. He looked over to his mum, who his dad had return to sit next to, and knew she would not be pleased with what she would be told. He knew Ginny was right though in what she had said to him when she had entered the room, despite his upbringing he had become a good man and had not travelled down the dark road Tom Riddle had chosen.
It was only with the gentle squeeze of his shoulder from his wife that Harry finally found the courage to speak and reveal the complete truth of his childhood to his parents.
Lily gazed out of the window, over the grounds of Potter Cottage, thinking about the in-depth story Harry, with help from Ginny, had told her and James over the course of the evening. While she was shocked of how deeply involved he had been when it came to the war against Voldemort, her mind kept coming back to the fact her only child had been sent to live with her sister, which had resulted in him being neglected and abused. She couldn’t comprehend how any person would want to treat a child with such disdain, but the fact it had been her own family who had done so was just beyond her.
She was startled out of her thoughts as a thumb gently wiped away the tear that had slipped down her cheek.
“I hate what Harry has been through as much as you do, Lily,” James softly said as he took his wife into his arms. “I hate that he was abused and neglected by his own relatives, yet it amazes me and makes me so damn proud that he has become the loving and generous man that he is.”
Lily lifted her head to look up at her husband and offered him a small smile.
“It’s not exactly what I was hoping to hear from him, though,” Lily confessed. “I know I wasn’t expecting his life to be perfect, especially after Minerva told us those few basic facts. I just…”
“…hadn’t expected to discover he had been abused and neglected with a Dark wizard out for his blood on a yearly basis,” James finished for her.
“No, definitely not what I was expecting.”
James gently led his wife over to the bed their son had offered them for the night and the couple climbed in and made themselves comfortable.
“He is so much more than what I hoped for as a son,” Lily admitted into the darkness after James had dimmed the lights. “After everything he has been subjected to, he still found the courage to walk to what he thought would his own death just to save our world and yet he feels guilt for all those who died during the war. Do you think he would have been that way had he not been raised my sister and her vile husband?”
James didn’t immediately respond as he pulled his wife into his arms and held her close to his body. He wanted to say yes to her question, but even he knew just one change could mean a different outcome. Yet, he knew he couldn’t say no as he could see so much of him and Lily in Harry, looks and personality.
“Yes and no,” he finally replied.
Lily sat up, looking down at her husband in confusion.
“What I mean,” James began in response to her unasked question, “is that there is no right answer to your original question. I see so much of us in Harry that I would like to think he would have been the same man we have gotten to know had we been the ones to raise him. Yet, I can’t help but wonder how much of his experiences through his childhood have shaped him into the man he is today and how much of it comes from the short time he had with us.”
Lily continued to stare at her husband as she allowed his words to sink in. It did make sense based on what they had been told by Harry and Ginny that evening. The events of both of their childhoods had shaped them and made them into the people they were today. If neither one of them experienced what they had, there would probably be many differences in their lives, though she was certain, Harry and Ginny would have ended up together in any timeline.
“I think that had we raised him,” Lily finally said as she laid back down next to James, “he may have been heavily influenced by you and Sirius and would have gotten into far more trouble, but for completely different reasons.”
James could only laugh in response, knowing full well that Lily was right. Sirius and he had or were planning to turn Harry into a mini-Marauder.
“No matter how things have turned out, though, I am certain he would have fought for what was right if Neville had been the one who Voldemort had chosen as equal,” Lily continued once James stopped laughing. “You, Sirius and Remus might have loved to cause trouble, but you all stepped up when the time came and I know you would have made sure that Harry was the same.”
James could only nod in agreement as he thought of the loss of his two closest friends and the potential impact he and they could have had on Harry had they been given the chance.
Lily gently kissed the cheek of her youngest grandchild before handing her back to her father.
“They’re beautiful, Harry,” she told her son. “I’m glad I had the chance to meet them, even if I won’t remember this time we spent with you.”
She turned away from Harry, knowing she would say her goodbyes to him shortly, and looked at her husband, who was now taking his turn to say goodbye to their grandchildren.
“No giving them ideas, James,” she warned him sternly.
James looked up at her, an innocent look on his face. “Of course not, sweetheart.”
With a shake of head, Lily walked over to her daughter-in-law.
“Thank you for having us,” Lily said as she drew Ginny into a hug. “Thank you, also, for being there for my son.”
“He’s been there for me as much as I have for him,” Ginny protested as she pulled back from her mother-in-law’s embrace. “Even if it did take him a little longer to wake up and see me!”
Both women giggled at the statement.
“Even so,” Lily aid as she took a quick glance at her son and husband, “I am so glad he has you and your family. Something tells me if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have coped in the aftermath of everything he experienced during the war.”
Ginny smiled sadly as she recalled one of the conversations Harry and she had in the months after the final battle. “He said the same thing to me, not too long after the end of the war. He admitted that if he hadn’t had me and my family to come back to, he probably would have chosen to go on to join you, James and Sirius in the afterlife.”
“I can’t say I blame him for saying that to you. No one should live their life alone and without love.”
“No, they shouldn’t,” Ginny replied as thoughts of how differently Tom Riddle had turned out because of a similar upbringing. “Anyway, I best leave you and James to say your goodbyes to Harry. I’ll take the children out of the room and let you have your privacy.”
“Thank you,” Lily said in acknowledgement as Ginny moved across the room and gathered the children and said one last goodbye to James.
The door closed behind Ginny and the remaining Potters stayed quiet as they looked at one another, each wondering how they were meant to say goodbye.
Harry opened and closed his mouth several times as he attempted to say something, anything to his parents. However, it was just too hard to say goodbye, knowing this would be last time he would ever interact with them, knowing that when they returned to their own time, they would only have a few months left before Voldemort finally found them.
Lily saved him the effort of trying to figure out what to say, by coming over and wrapping him up in her arms. James followed barely seconds later, wrapping his arms around both his wife and son. Several minutes passed before the family pulled apart.
“Don’t say anything, Harry,” James said when Harry went to speak. “It is hard enough for all of us, knowing what will happen when we return. Just know that we appreciate being able to spend this time with you, seeing the man you have become, seeing you do have a bright future ahead of you, despite the trials and tribulations you will have to go through to get to this point.”
Harry only nodded in response, knowing there was nothing he could say in reply.
“We’re so proud of you, Harry,” Lily continued. “You have grown from a cheeky baby who could make anybody’s heart melt at the sight of your smile and into the most courageous, generous, loving man. I can take comfort in knowing this is the person you will become even without me and your father to raise you.”
“I love you both, so much,” Harry simply replied as he hugged both his parents one last time.
“We love you, too, Harry,” Lily responded as James led her over to the fireplace.
Harry could only watch as his parents took the Floo to Hogwarts, his heart breaking all over again as his parents began their journey back to their time and their eventual deaths.
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Chapter 5: The Hopeful Heart
Author's Notes: Well, here it is, the final chapter in this story. I have been working on this story for over a year, so glad to have finally have finished and published it. Thank you, therefore, for all the amazing reviews and nominations for the Trinkets. Makes all my hard work on this story worth it!
Thank you Arnel for your amazing editing as always!
Godric’s Hollow — October 1981…
“Are you absolutely certain about this?” Sirius asked after he had been informed the Potters were planning to go into hiding, having been made aware that Voldemort was intending on coming after them.
“Padfoot… Sirius… Lily and I have discussed this and we feel this is the best course of action for us, for Harry,” James replied in a much calmer manner than Sirius had expected of him. “You know full well that Harry is our priority and I will refuse to allow that monster to come anywhere near me, my wife or my son.”
Sirius looked at his two closest friends for a moment before turning to look towards where his beloved godson was sitting on the carpet, playing with his toys. He knew what James had said was true, just as he knew James and Lily would willingly lay down their lives for their son if it meant Harry lived. In all honesty, he knew he would also do the same for Harry, all because he loved that little boy more than anyone and anything in the world.
“We can see how much you love Harry, Sirius,” Lily softly said to the Animagus as she watched as her son looked up and grinned at his godfather. “Harry loves you as well.”
Sirius returned his gaze to James and Lily, knowing that if Voldemort was truly after them, then they would need as much as protection as possible to prevent them from being found the so-called Dark Lord.
“Not me, it cannot be me,” Sirius said in a tone that made clear he would not be backing down from what he had said or what he was about to suggest. “I can’t be the one who is your Secret Keeper.”
James could only look at his long-term friend in confusion, wondering why he would turn the chance to protect the Potters, most specifically his godson.
“Don’t look at me like that, Prongs,” Sirius snapped, hating seeing the confusion and hurt in his best friend’s eyes. “You know it will be far too obvious a choice for it to be me. I would rather die than give away the secret to where you are, but it would be a much better choice for us not to take that chance. We can make people believe I am the Secret Keeper, it is what they will be expecting, but we need to choose someone less conspicuous to actually be it.”
“He’s right, James. It makes sense to do this,” Lily said in a soothing voice on seeing the agitation on her husband’s face. “It would create an extra layer of protection for us, and more importantly, for Harry. If no one knows who the true Secret Keeper is, then how would Voldemort be able to find us?”
James didn’t respond, instead, choosing to move off the sofa and sit down next to his son, who immediately looked up at his father, smiling widely. James knew what Sirius had suggested and what Lily had said made the most sense, but it was hard to accept an option that would require them putting their trust in someone other than Sirius, especially when there were suspicions of there being a traitor in the Order. However, he felt hopeful that the decision to go into hiding was the right one for them as a family, therefore, an unexpected Secret Keeper had to be the right choice too.
“Who?” James simply asked, knowing that Sirius must have had someone in mind for him to even suggest the idea.
“Peter,” Sirius immediately responded. “He may be our friend, but I don’t think anyone would expect you to turn to him for something as important as this.”
Lily and James locked eyes with one another and had a silent conversation in response to Sirius’ suggestion. The moment they broke eye contact, they turned their gaze onto their son. A hopeful feeling washed over them as they watched Harry babble away to himself, a feeling which was telling them that this was the right decision for them if they were to have any chance of protecting Harry and give him a chance to grow up in a peaceful world.
“Let’s use Peter,” James confirmed.
Grimmauld Place — June 1996…
Severus Snape swooped into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place with an urgency that shocked the few Order members who were currently gathered there.
“Good, you are here and you are safe,” the Potions Master stated as he looked directly at Sirius.
Sirius did not respond, choosing to wait for Snape to elaborate further.
“I believe that Potter has been sent a vision by the Dark Lord and he now has the firm belief that you have somehow been captured and are being held in the bowels of the Ministry. However, it also seems that he has led Professor Umbridge into Forbidden Forest as way of a distraction,” Snape explained in answer to Sirius’ unasked question. “I need to return to Hogwarts immediately and search the forest to check if the boy is still in there with Miss Granger. I believe, though, it is more likely he has found a way to travel to the Ministry to rescue you and it is imperative that the Order goes to his rescue before he does something stupid.”
Every Order member present immediately stood to leave.
“Where in the Ministry, exactly?” Moody demanded as he stomped past the Potions Master.
“The Department of Mysteries,” Snape immediately answered before stopping Sirius from leaving with Moody, Tonks, Shacklebolt and Lupin. “You, Black, must remain here. Albus is on his way and someone needs to inform of what is happening.”
“NO, I am NOT remaining behind, not this time,” Sirius protested fiercely, coming toe to toe with Snape and causing Remus to remain in the kitchen. “He is MY godson, he NEEDS me.”
“And as much as it pains me to say this,” Snape said with a great reluctance, despite the truth in his words, “you must remain here, BECAUSE the boy needs you.”
“Severus is right, Sirius,” Remus softly told his friend before he could protest further. “If anything was to happen to you, Harry will never forgive himself. He needs you to remain safe, he needs you alive.”
Remus reached out and gave his friend’s shoulder a gentle squeeze before he rushed out of the kitchen to join the other Order members in their task.
“What gives YOU the right to decide what is the right course of action for me to take?” Sirius demanded in anger at being made to stay behind once again.
“It is not for me to decide, but you know, as well as I do, that it appears the fate of the wizarding world is on Potter’s shoulders, whether he has realised it already or not,” Snape explained, his patience beginning to wane. “Albus has kept you locked up in this house for your own safety and for Potter’s sanity. Imagine what it will do to the boy if you were to die.”
Sirius said nothing as he struggled to cope with the impact of Snape’s words.
“Remain behind, inform Albus of what has happened,” Snape stated firmly before he, too, swept out of the kitchen.
Sirius pulled at his hair, hating the fact he was currently confined to the house on Dumbledore’s orders. He did understand why he had been made to remain in a house he hated, a house he had said he would never return to. He was only following orders to stay for Harry, knowing it made his godson feel better knowing that no one could get to his godfather here. However, he needed to be there to help his godson in any way that he could, even if it meant risking his own life. He had already broken his promise to protect Harry by getting himself chucked into Azkaban for a crime he did not commit, making him even more determined to keep it now he was able to do so.
An overwhelming feeling of hope washed over him as he thought about the words both Remus and Snape had said to him about why he needed to remain behind. While he agreed with them that Harry would suffer greatly if he were to die, he knew his godson was strong enough that he would eventually find a way to fight his way out of his grief and find happiness like he deserved. He was certain that his godson would win this war and finally have the life he had long been denied and just knowing that gave him a strong hope for the future, for Harry, no matter what happened to himself.
“Kreacher!” Sirius called for his wretched house-elf as he decided he had enough hope that whatever happened tonight, his godson would make it through the dark times ahead, with or without him.
“Kreacher!” Sirius called for his wretched house-elf again as he made a snap decision, knowing now he had enough hope that, whatever happened tonight, his godson would make it through the dark times ahead of him, with or without his godfather.
Hogwarts — June 1997…
As Harry slowly made his way down to the Great Hall for breakfast, his hand holding on tightly to his best source of comfort, he realised he could no longer put off the words he had been holding in since the night that Dumbledore had died. It had to happen today if he was going to stick to his convictions and go through with what he knew would be one of the hardest things he had ever done.
He glanced over at his girlfriend and saw the solemn expression on her face. He suspected that it was not only the death of their Headmaster or the injuries Bill had suffered from Greyback that had allowed that expression to appear there. He was certain she was aware of what was to come when it came to their relationship. Not once, though, had she brought it up in conversation when they had been alone, instead, choosing to enjoy whatever time they had left together. He was certain she knew it was him who would be the one to finally defeat Voldemort, but, then again, she had never asked and he had never offered any information. He was humbled by the amount of trust she had in him, despite the sheer number of secrets he was currently keeping from her. Even so, he believed she would demand a full explanation when this war finally came to an end and he knew he would give it willingly and freely.
Harry tightened his grip on his girlfriend’s hand, causing Ginny to look up and smile wanly at him. In her eyes, he could see her begging him not to say anything right now, that now was not the time to have the conversation neither wished to have, but knew was necessary. He smiled weakly in return, knowing he would need her by his side during Professor Dumbledore’s funeral.
He hated the idea of pushing Ginny away, of putting their relationship to one side, of not being able to be with her, just so he could finish what Voldemort had started all those years ago. However, he knew he needed to do it if she was to remain safe, not that he could be certain that would be the case while the war raged on. He figured though, that if she was not his girlfriend and people believed they were no longer together, it would, in theory, keep her safer than she was at this moment. However, it was for his own sanity and peace of mind that he needed to believe she was safe, especially if he was going to have any chance to completing what Dumbledore had left him to do.
Amazingly, though he wasn’t certain where the feeling had come from, he felt hopeful that this was the right decision to make for them as a couple, that Ginny would understand his reasoning behind the break up and that if he made it through this war safely and in one piece, she would accept him back into her life without question or doubt. She had been the brightest spark in his life over this past few weeks and it had given him a glimpse of something he had never expected to have and something he desperately wished to have in the future if he was given the chance. In all honesty, if he made It through this war, he knew he wanted Ginny to be a big part of his life, and for that reason, he needed her to be safe, he needed her, more than anyone else within his life that he cared deeply for, to survive this war.
As the young couple finally reached the entrance to the Great Hall, the hopeful feeling Harry felt within himself remained and he knew that whatever words were spoken between him and Ginny later that day, she would accept what he needed to do and would wait for him as he did so. If anything, it was Ginny’s mere presence that strengthened the hope he needed and had to believe he could come through this war alive, while also defeating the monster who had consistently made his life a living hell.
Hogwarts — June 1997…
Ginny could do nothing but watch as Harry stood from his seat and walked away from her and towards the lake. She could feel the tears that had been slowly welling up in her eyes on the verge of falling, but she was determined to continue holding them back for just a little while longer. As much as her heart was breaking over what had just happened between her and Harry, she truly did understand his need to end their relationship to protect her and keep his mind focused on his task ahead. Normally, it would have bothered her to be left behind, to be kept safe, but she knew there was much more to his reasoning. She had been able to read between the lines, to grasp his need to believe she would remain safe and survive this war while he went and did whatever it was he needed to do. All she hoped for was that it would not take too long for him to complete and to come back to her.
“Ginny?” Hermione’s voice came, startling Ginny from her thoughts.
Ginny composed herself, putting on a brave face, before turning to look at the older witch.
“Are you okay?” Hermione asked with a sad smile on her face, which suggested to Ginny that she knew what had happened between her and Harry.
“I’m fine… I’ll be fine,” Ginny answered, knowing she was sounding like Harry usually did when he was asked the same question. “Nothing I didn’t expect.”
Hermione drew the redhead into her arms and hugged her tightly. “He’ll come back to you, I know he will. You give him the best reason to make it through this war.”
Ginny couldn’t help the small smile that came to her face at hearing those words from one of Harry’s best friends.
“Just promise you’ll look after him for me,” Ginny requested as she pulled away.
“Of course, I will,” the older witch replied before she stood and walked away with Ron to go and catch up with Harry.
Ginny remained seated as she watched them go and join up with Harry, trusting and knowing in her heart that if anyone could keep him safe and support him through whatever was about to come Harry’s way, it would be the two people who had been there for him since he first began Hogwarts; Hermione and her brother, Ron.
No longer wishing to continue to watch Harry, Hermione and Ron together, she finally stood from her seat and made her way back up to the castle on the hope of having just a few minutes alone to think and get her emotions in check. Luckily, no one appeared to notice or approach her, leaving by herself as she navigated her way through the castle and up to the Gryffindor Tower.
Ginny allowed her thoughts to drift back to Harry and the conversation they’d had as she walked through the near empty castle. She was not stupid and she knew Harry well enough to be able to read between the lines of the words he had said to her. If he had such a hard time with the possibility of attending her funeral, then, she knew it had to mean his feelings ran much deeper than he had ever confessed to her. She could only assume, therefore, he was still trying to figure out just how much he felt for her and she would not judge him for that when she had not revealed just how much she had fallen for him. However, his words also suggested that he needed to her survive whatever was to come, much in the same way she knew she needed him to survive. She had complete faith in him, that he could be the one to help end the war and win, and she truly believed that if anyone could do it, it would be Harry. That faith and belief she had in him, and the words Harry had said to her, left her with a strong feeling of hope that he would win, that he would survive and that he would return to her when it was finally over.
When she finally reached her dormitory, she changed out of her dress robes into Muggle clothing before checking to make sure she had everything in her trunk. She had hoped in keeping herself busy, she would be able to distract herself from her thoughts of Harry, but eventually a couple of tears slipped from her eyes as the heartbreak she was feeling from having to let Harry go began to overwhelm. Luckily, the dam of tears did not break as a feeling of hope flooded her heart, making her feel like she was strong enough to be patient to wait for Harry to come home to her.
The Tonks’ Residence — May 1998…
Remus rushed into the room where his wife was currently sat in a rocking chair, breastfeeding Teddy. He couldn’t help but pause for the moment, allowing himself a few seconds to take in the scene before him. He knew immediately he would respond to the call because this, right here, was what he wanted to preserve, what he needed to fight for.
“Tonks,” he softly said, not wanting to disturb their son.
Tonks looked at up and smiled at him.
“Harry has turned up at Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione,” Remus said before Tonks could speak. “A call has gone out for fighters.”
Tonks could only stare at her husband in shock at what she was hearing. Of all the places for Harry to be seen, the school had been the last place she had expected him to turn up at.
“Fighters?” she finally asked, wondering why people would be needed to help fight at Hogwarts.
“From what Kingsley managed to relay to me, it seems HE is on his way there,” Remus quickly replied, knowing time was of the essence. “Kingsley believes that if Harry is going end this, it will be happening tonight.”
Tonks looked down at her son, knowing she needed to stay with him, but her Auror instincts desperately made her want to follow her husband and join those gathering at Hogwarts to fight.
“I have to go, I have to be there to help Harry. I need you to stay here with Teddy,” Remus pleaded with his wife as he recognised the look on his face. “Please, for me, for Teddy, stay here.”
Tonks knew she couldn’t argue with him as she knew he could be just as stubborn as she was at times.
“Just promise me you’ll do your best to come home to us, to your family,” Tonks pleaded, resigned to the fact she would be remaining away from the fight for now.
Remus didn’t miss the lack of promise of her remaining behind as he walked over to where his wife sat and knelt in front of Tonks and Teddy. He gently ran a finger over his son’s cheek and as he did so, he felt a feeling of hope swell up inside his heart. He knew there was a good chance that he would not come home, but, for him, it would be worth it if it meant Teddy could grow up in a peaceful world. He was hopeful that, no matter what happened tonight, Teddy would understand and be proud of his father if he was not to return because Remus had chosen to make the sacrifice to help make the world a better place for his son to live in.
“I promise I will try my best to return to you and Teddy,” Remus responded sincerely. “However, if something does happen to me, it will be worth it. I have a strong feeling of hope for Teddy’s future, no matter whether I am a part of it or not. I understand now, why Lily and James were able to give their lives so willingly for Harry and I am prepared to make that same sacrifice for you and Teddy.”
Tonks smiled, understanding what her husband was saying and knowing she felt the same way.
Remus gently kissed Teddy on the cheek before kissing his wife with as much love as he could muster. As he left, he paused at the door to take in the scene before him for one last time and smiled.
Potter Cottage — June 2017…
“Yes, Lily,” Ginny said, looking up from the copy of the Daily Prophet she was reading.
“Why is there a photo with you and Daddy with two people who look just you?”
Ginny was taken aback by the question. Lily was looking at the photos from the visits made by people from their past, specifically the one they had taken with the younger selves. It was a risky move to place the photo where they had, considering they had kept the children from being a part of that specific visit, however, Harry had charmed so it would only be visible to themselves. There was only one reason for a charm failing and she knew that was not possible as she could hear Harry talking to Albus in the kitchen as he tidied up from breakfast. Therefore, she was confused as to why Lily could suddenly see the photo.
“Harry!” Ginny called out as she stood and moved over to where Lily stood, staring at the photo. She pulled out her wand to check the charm work and if needs be, recast it, but before she could cast the necessary spell a sharp pain shot through her head and she collapsed to floor, dropping her wand as she brought her hands up to her head.
“DADDY!” Lily screamed out as she watched her mum struggle against the pain.
Harry came rushing into the living room with Albus following him and took in the scene before him.
“Ginny!” he cried out as he rushed over to his wife and took her into his arms. “Gin, what’s wrong? What happened?”
When Ginny did not respond, Harry turned to his daughter, looking for answers.
“I asked Mummy why there was a photo of you both with two people who looked like you and when she went to have a closer look, she dropped her wand and grabbed her head,” Lily quickly explained.
Harry knew which photo his daughter meant, knowing it had been charmed to remain unseen to everyone but himself and Ginny. He wondered if the charm failing and Ginny collapsing was a sign of what they had been waiting for, their memories returning to them. However, before he could check the photo himself, Ginny stirred in his arms.
Ginny looked up at her husband, a glazed look in her eyes.
“I remember,” she whispered before passing out.
Harry swung Ginny into his arms and proceeded to carry her up to their bedroom. However, he paused at the doorway, turning to speak to his children.
“Al, can you take the Floo over to The Burrow and ask Grandma Molly to come over here, please?”
“Okay, Dad,” Albus replied before heading over to the fireplace to do as he was asked.
“Lily, can you pick up that photo?” Harry asked his daughter. “Explain what happened to Grandma and then bring that photo up to me as I need to go through as your mum has.”
“Why?” Lily asked as Harry was about to move once more.
Harry sighed, knowing how inquisitive his children could be.
“I promise, Lily, I’ll explain it all to you later, but right now, I need to take your mum upstairs to sleep off what she has just been through.”
Harry did not wait for a response from Lily, choosing instead to continue to the master bedroom.
Harry slowly woke from his nap, his eyes fluttering open to see his wife sitting on the bed, watching over him. For a moment, he wondered why he was in bed in the middle of the afternoon until he remembered having carried Ginny up here after she had blacked-out from the pain of long-hidden memories returning to her, memories he believed to be those from their use of the Hopeful Heart.
Once he had settled her onto their bed, Molly had arrived and Harry had explained what had happened. When he had explained that he felt it would best if he allowed his own memories to be returned to him, using the same method, she had quickly agreed to remain at Potter Cottage and look after Albus and Lily while he joined Ginny in having a short sleep.
The pain of the memories returning had been much more horrendous than he had been expecting and he could understand while Ginny had passed out not long after the pain had passed. He didn’t remember passing out himself, but he knew he had been laying down on the bed when he taken the photo frame from Lily.
“Hey, Sleepyhead,” Ginny quietly said as she handed Harry his glasses to put on.
“Hey, Gin,” Harry replied as he slowly sat up, leaning against the headboard. “Are you okay? You scared me when I found you the way I did.”
“I’m fine, now,” Ginny said as she slid across the bed and curled up against her husband. “Mum explained to me as best as she could about what had happened. She said you had taken the photo to look at as well.”
“I figured it would be best if I regained my memories as well,” Harry shrugged. “I’m just surprised at the way it happened.”
“I know what you mean. The last thing I remember before waking up and Mum telling me what had happened was Lily asking me about the photo of us with our younger selves.”
“You don’t remember the pain you were in or telling me you remembered?”
“Do you remember the pain?”
Now Harry thought about it, he could remember the moment the pain hit him, but nothing after that. “Okay, that’s a good point. Luckily, I don’t feel it now either. Why did it happen now, though? Why not just after our younger selves left?”
“Well, if you think about it, Harry, it has been twenty years since our younger selves used the Hopeful Heart and ten years since they visited us. Perhaps there is a certain amount time that has to pass before the memories return, but you have to remember Dumbledore didn’t know if or when they would return as he was only guessing they would.”
Ginny’s explanation made sense to him. The one thing he had learned since discovering the wizarding world was that magic could do incredible things without explanation.
“Well, I am guessing we’ll never know why the charm on the photo failed, either,” Harry mused. “Magic can do some pretty impressive things that sometimes it is better left unexplained.”
“Wow, my husband, the Auror, leaving a mystery alone,” Ginny teased. “I never thought I would see that day come!”
“Very funny, Gin,” Harry jokingly grumbled. “It is weird, though, having two sets of memories from that day our younger selves visited or from when we visited that day. I remember the conversation you had with my younger self now.
“I remember the conversation you had with my younger self as well,” Ginny said as she sat up to look down at her husband’s face. “I am glad you told me what you did about why you broke up with me, making me understand you didn’t want to do it. I would have accepted what you needed to do even without us visiting our future selves, but I think that conversation, despite not remembering it, helped me deal with it better. I felt strong enough to be patient and wait for you to return to me. The visit here gave me enough hope, and even faith, to know you would return to me.”
“You were, well, we were both right, not to let my younger self know he was already in love with you,” Harry confessed. “I have been in love with you for longer than I realised back then. I think that had I already known, I may have done something stupid, like come and rescue you from Hogwarts. Having seen us together, married with the children, in the future, that was enough to give me hope that I could survive and return to you. However, do you know what the best part of having our memories of that day back?”
“I think I might,” Ginny coyly replied. “Why don’t you tell me?”
Harry sat up quickly, flipping Ginny onto her back before crawling over her body and looking down at her.
“Remembering the actual first time we shared a bed together,” Harry softly replied. “I remember how much I enjoyed curling up together and falling asleep together. I remember thinking how I wanted to be able to do that every night with you. I enjoyed the closeness and the comfort it brought both of us. It would definitely explain why we suddenly began falling asleep in the common room together, late at night.”
Ginny smiled, remembering all those late nights together on the sofa after a long day of exams.
“Now, though, we can do so much more than just sleep,” she whispered seductively as she pulled Harry down into a heated kiss.
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