|SIYE Time:13:46 on 22nd September 2018|
For the Sins Against My Father
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Genres: Angst, Comedy, Crossover, Drama, Fluff, General
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Summary: A young boy cannot hide his emotions any more.
Hitcount: Story Total: 2212
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
About May 2015 I had an idea for a story, but I didn't know the best way to pursue it. I wrote down my ideas and emailed it to Arnel (beta extraordinaire) and we exchanged ideas. Last weekend, as i was waiting for the site to come back so I could post an epilogue, i finally got around to writing it. Again I sent it off to Arnel, along with a couple of pages of queries and concerns. Once again, Arnel responded, and I can't thank her enough for her encouragement and quick turn around. This is probably the most angst-y story Ive ever written, and now all that is left is for me to hand it over to you, Dear Reader. I'll be sitting by my computer, biting my nails as i await any responses. I truly hope you like it. Arnel, you rock!
“Hey Hermione,” sighed Harry, stepping out of their Floo. He'd been at work and was glad to be heading home.
“Daddy!” cried Lily, running to hug him around his middle. At nearly eleven, she was counting down till it was her turn to go to Hogwarts.
“Hey Dad,” greeted Albus, now thirteen and a half. He came in with Rose, and Hugo trailed behind them.
“No Jamie ?” asked Harry, his heart sinking. His eldest son had been standoffish and even surly at times to Ron and Hermione and preferred to go to George and Angelina's house to visit his cousin Freddie than go to Ron and Hermione's like his siblings.
Hermione bit her lip and shook her head.
“Did Ginny say anything?” asked Harry. “Like, where they were going?”
“No mate, she didn't. Sorry,” said Ron, still wearing his WWW robes.
“Dad, can we go home now,” said Lily.
“Of course, love. Ron, Hermione, thanks for having them over,” said Harry, his hand on Albus' shoulder. The boy was nearly as tall as Ginny already. Jamie was tall too, and Harry suspected he'd be lanky like Bill and Charlie.
“You know it's no problem. We love having them, ALL of them,” emphasised Hermione.
“Yeah mate, let us know if there's anything we can do,” said Ron, softly.
Harry nodded and rushed the kids into the Floo. To his surprise, he found Ginny home, just putting something in the oven.
“Hi, we just got home ourselves. It's one of Mum's Shepherd's pies, I'm afraid,” she smiled apologetically at Harry. She then came to him and kissed him. “Thanks for getting the kids. How was work?”
“Fine, it was fine. Where-where did you go today?” asked Harry.
Ginny turned to him with sad eyes. “Harry, we agreed that you wouldn't ask me those sort of questions,” she sighed.
Harry sighed too, “Can't you at least give me some sort of hint. I'm going crazy with worry here,” he said.
“I know, Harry, really I do. If it's any consolation, I think he's really close to talking to you about...everything,” said Ginny, sympathetically.
“Oh everything,” snapped Harry, angrily. “That really narrows it down.”
Ginny looked upset. “I'll just go see Al and Lil,” she said quietly, leaving the kitchen.
“Shit!” said Harry in frustration. He tugged his tie off and threw it across the room. He knew it wasn't Ginny's fault. Something had happened to their son Jamie, and Harry didn't know how to handle it. It had all started just before the children came home for the summer holidays.
Ever since Jamie had started at Hogwarts, he and his cousin Freddie had become the pranksters of the school. They were 'proudly carrying on the Marauder and the Weasley twins names', they'd say, when Harry and Ginny, or George and Angelina would question them. It was hard to find a week since Jamie's second year that they hadn't received notification of some prank that Jamie had been involved in. Even as late as May, everything seemed fine. Then word came that he had detention for shouting at Headmistress McGonagall and Hagrid, two people that Jamie had known forever. He'd had detention nearly every week until it was time to return home.
Harry had been away at a conference, so it had been Ginny who went to Scotland to see what was going on with Jamie. She'd returned home, wishing Harry was home to discuss this latest development with him. In the interim of the detention and Harry returning, Ginny received an owl from Jamie, begging her not to tell Harry. It was just something he needed to work on and he wanted to do it himself. He promised Ginny he would speak to his dad over the break.
They'd hardly talked much so far, but Harry was very aware of Jamie watching him-- a lot. It unnerved him. He asked his son what was bothering him, but Jamie wouldn't say. He even took Jamie out, just the two of them, at Ginny's urging .A Quidditch match, an afternoon at the movies- but still Jamie said nothing, just kept watching him and brooding. It frustrated Harry that whatever was bothering their son seemed to do with him, yet it was Ginny who Jamie had turned to for help.
They ate dinner as a family. Yet again, Jamie was quiet and thoughtful, gazing often at Harry and Ginny. He caught Ginny raising her eyebrows and nodding in his direction, but Jamie excused himself, took his plate to the sink to rinse and then went to his bedroom, where he'd spent a great portion of his summer break. Harry missed the fun and, at times, loud mealtimes his family had once shared. Jamie had always been a part of that.
Ginny and Lily did the dishes together, with Lily telling her mother of all that had happened at Hermione's that day. Al and Harry listened to the Chudley Cannons/Tutshill Tornadoes match on the wireless. The girls came in with hot chocolate and freshly baked biscuits to listen to the end of the match. It was a perfect family night, one which Harry usually treasured, had it not been conspicuous for the absence of his first born.
Al and Lily went up to get ready for bed. Ginny took their cups and plates back to the kitchen, then called out to Harry to lock the Floo when he came to bed. He was in his study, just going over some paperwork for work. When he came out, the house was dark, except for a low light left on. Harry secured the house, doused the light and went upstairs.
He heard Jamie's raised voice as he got to the top of the stairs. He was talking to Ginny.
“Why can't you?” Jamie demanded.
“Because that is something you need to ask your father. I can't help you with that,” said Ginny, firmly.
“But you helped me with everything else, why not this? I know Dad took you there. He must have told you things,” insisted Jamie.
“Jamie, I told you at the start, I could only help you so much. If you'd only talk to your dad. It's hurting him that you've become so distant from him. Distant at a time when you seem to want to know him better,” said Ginny. Harry could hear the despair in her voice.
“No...not yet,” said Jamie, suddenly sounding younger than his fourteen, nearly fifteen years.
Harry heard Ginny sigh. “You've become distant to so many who could help you to understand. If you won't talk to your dad, you should definitely talk to Aunt Hermione or Uncle Ron, it-”
“I don't want to talk to them,” snarled Jamie. “They're like the others.”
“What does that mean? If anyone could tell you about your dad, it would be them,” said Ginny, sounding confused.
“NO! I'm so fucking angry at them right now,” yelled Jamie, and Harry heard something crash. Fearing for Ginny's safety, Harry opened the door to Jamie's room. Startled, Ginny turned around and Jamie looked angrily at him. Harry could see that Jamie had pushed some books off his desk in his anger.
“I don't know what's going on, but you DO NOT use that language in this house, and you NEVER, yell at your mother like that again, do you understand?” asked a white-faced Harry.
Jamie looked defiant, but nodded. “Yes, sir.” He looked at his mother, his face softening at her anguish. “Sorry, Mum.”
Ginny nodded in acceptance.
“Gin, will you please give me and Jamie some time to talk?” asked Harry.
Jamie looked alarmed. Ginny placed a hand on his arm and they communicated silently. It was only a few seconds but it felt so long to Harry. Ginny turned to leave, and as she passed Harry, he grabbed her hand. “I'll be in to bed soon, love,” he said gently, squeezing her hand. She smiled at him, squeezed his hand back and left the room.
Harry turned back to Jamie. He'd crawled into his bed and lay down, but was watching his father carefully. His arms were crossed over each other, clearly sending out a 'back off' signal.
“Do you want to tell me what that was all about?” asked Harry, softening his tone.
Jamie shook his head, but said nothing.
“Jamie, I want to help you. Won't you please tell me what's going on?” Harry practically begged.
Jamie hesitated, then shook his head. Harry sighed in defeat. “Very well.”
He turned to go, but hearing his son call out to him made him stop. “Yes, son?”
Jamie hesitated again. “Do I have to go to the Burrow tomorrow with Al and Lily?”
“Yes. You've hardly seen your grandparents this summer. You're not going to Freddie's,” said Harry.
“I actually meant, can I come with you and Mum when you go to the Dursley's tomorrow. Please?” asked Jamie uncertainly.
“You want to come to the Dursleys? Usually we have to drag you, your brother and sister there when we go visit them before Christmas,” commented Harry.
Jamie shrugged. “I just want to, that's all.” He didn't meet Harry's gaze, a sign that something was wrong.
“I don't know, Jamie. I don't even know why my aunt asked to see me now,” said Harry truthfully.
The letter from Dudley had come completely out of the blue.
He saw the light of hope drop out of Jamie's eyes and he hated it. “I'll think about it and let you know in the morning, okay?” said Harry.
“Okay,” said Jamie, sounding resigned. He turned over in bed so his back was to Harry. “Night.”
“Good night, Jamie. I love you,” said Harry. When there was no response, Harry left his room and went to his own.
He found a nervous Ginny waiting for him. “Well, how did it go? What did he say?” she asked as soon as he went in to their bedroom.
“Not much,” he admitted. Ginny's face fell. “He wants to come with us to see Aunt Petunia tomorrow.”
“Oh,” said Ginny. “I'm not sure that's a good idea.”
“Why?” asked Harry. “Why would he even want to go there? Why don't you think he should go? Please Gin, give me something here,” he implored.
Ginny came over and hugged him. “You know the kids aren't particularly fond of them. They've picked up on your aunt's lack of...warmth, and it's completely foreign to them. With Jamie's mood, it could be a recipe for disaster, that's all.”
“It's the first time he's reached out to me all summer, Gin. When I hesitated, I saw the hope go out of his eyes. I want to help him and this may be the first step towards that,” he said, holding her close and resting his head on hers.
“So, you're going to say he can come?” asked Ginny, running her hands over his back to try and relax him. She knew the situation with Jamie was hurting him and she could feel how tense he was.
Harry sighed as her hands moved over his body. “Yeah, I, erm, think so. Merlin, don't stop, that feels so good.”
“Come and lay on the bed, love. I'll give you a proper massage,” encouraged Ginny. He let her lead him to the bed and undressed him to his boxers. He lay face down and she got on the bed, kneeling between his legs.
“Fourteen, fifteen can be such a hard age for kids, especially boys,” she said, as she got her favourite lotion and began to rub it into his back. “Do you remember yours?”
“Triwizard tournament,ohhhhh, dress robes, long hair,mmmmm, Cho Chang, yeahhhhh, right there, fake Moody, yada, yada, yada. Oh,mmmmmyyyygoddddddd,” groaned Harry, as her hands got busy.
Ginny giggled as she moved down his lower body. “I'm so glad you mentioned Moody. I'd hate to have you making those sounds in our bed thinking of Cho!”
Harry growled and rolled over, catching her around the waist. He half sat, palming the back of her head to bring her close to his so he could kiss her. “Mmmmm,” he sighed. “Cho who?”
Ginny laughed and kissed him back. “Good answer, Harry.” She pushed him down on the bed and lay over him. Their kisses turned passionate. “Mmmm,” she sighed.
“My turn to massage you, I think,” said Harry, swapping positions with her.
Ginny lay on her stomach, her head resting on her forearms. “This thing with Jamie; we'll get through it,” she said quietly, “and we'll be stronger for it. You and Jamie will be stronger for it.”
“Is it because of Riddle?” he asked hesitantly. “I know we talked to him, Al and Rose about it before they went to Hogwarts.” He moved to lay next to her, his arm draped over her waist and his hand caressing her skin.
Ginny turned to face him. “Indirectly, I guess. But it's not Riddle himself, or what you had to do that's bothering him,” she said. She brushed his hair off his forehead.
“I can't think what else it could be?” asked an anguished Harry. “What have I done?”
Ginny took him in her arms, bringing his head to her shoulder. “He's not angry at you for anything, Harry, just your situation. I--I can't say any more, not yet. He's hurting but he loves you, Harry, so much.”
Harry grunted, but wrapped himself around Ginny. With her familiar warmth and comfort, he soon fell asleep.
Jamie didn't even look happy when Harry told him the next morning that he could go with Ginny and himself to the Dursley's. He just nodded tersely and continued eating his breakfast.
Harry took Al and Lily through the Floo to the Burrow. Molly looked upset that, once again, Jamie was absent. He kissed her cheek, promising either he or Ginny would be along to pick them up. If this thing with Aunt Petunia wasn't going to take too long, Harry thought he'd go into the office and do a half day. If it took longer than what he thought he'd take the day off.
He returned to his own house to hear Ginny telling Jamie to be on his best behaviour. “--don't know why she wants to see your father.”
“Ready to go?” asked Harry. He picked up the car keys and locked the house behind them.
It took them about forty minutes to drive there, and when Harry pulled into the familiar drive, he saw Dudley's car was already there. He felt a sense of misgiving as he pressed the doorbell.
“Hey Harry, thanks for coming,” greeted Dudley, hugging him. The two men weren't close, but Dudley's time in seclusion after Harry left Privet Drive before his seventeenth birthday had given him a fresh perspective on the wizarding world and the part Harry had to play. He'd sought Harry out after the battle to apologise for his actions, and to offer the hand of friendship. Harry, being Harry, accepted, but it was a strained friendship, with too many bad memories between them. They caught up a couple of times a year and the obligatory Christmas afternoon tea at Petunia's.
With Vernon's death over a year ago, the tension when the Potters visited Privet Drive had abated, but it was still uncomfortable. Dudley, his wife and children made for easy conversations, but the differing lifestyles made the other hard to understand.
“What's going on?” asked Harry, allowing Ginny to enter ahead of him. Jamie followed silently behind.
Dudley greeted Ginny with a kiss on her cheek, then turned to Jamie. “Hey, look how tall you got since Christmas,” he said, patting Jamie on the back.
Jamie quickly pulled away from him. Dudley frowned, but gestured for the Potters to go into the lounge. Ginny looked worriedly at Jamie.
Petunia was there, sitting in a chair. Jamie was surprised to see how frail she looked. She'd always been thin and 'horsey' looking, but she was almost half the weight she was when he'd seen her at Christmas, just over six months ago.
“It's cancer,” she explained to Ginny and Harry. Ginny gasped, having had Hermione's dad go through a battle with skin cancer two years ago. Mr Granger was now fine, but Ginny remembered all the scary things Hermione had told her about cancer. By the looks of her, Petunia was suffering greatly. Ginny grasped Harry's hand and held his. Jamie sat on the other side of her. Dudley stood to the side of his mother's chair, looking sad.
“They tell me I don't have long,” she said. “I have to ask you a favour,” she said to Harry.
Ginny felt both Harry and Jamie stiffen. “How can I help you, Aunt Petunia?” asked Harry.
Jamie made a spluttering noise. Ginny quickly grasped her free hand around Jamie's knee, cautioning him. Harry's grasp on her other hand was almost cutting off her circulation.
Petunia leaned forward, ignoring everyone else in the room and concentrating only on Harry. “I've wronged you terribly, and for that, I'm sorry. I know this wasn't a happy home for you--”
“No kidding,” muttered Jamie under his breath that everyone heard. Harry broke Petunia's gaze to glance at his son. His face was rigid.
“-- and I know it's no-one's fault but mine. I'm not asking for forgiveness, I know too much time has passed for that,” finished Petunia.
Even Ginny snorted at that. Harry squeezed her hand, then turned his attention back to Petunia.
“You still haven't told me the favour,” he said tightly.
“I'd like you to take me to Godric's Hollow. I'd like to see the place my sister called home, and see her final resting place. Consider it a last request,” she said quietly.
Jamie jumped to his feet. “You've got to be kidding me? You give my dad some half assed apology, then expect him to do you a favour! He owes you NOTHING!” he yelled.
“Jamie!” gasped Ginny and Harry, totally shocked.
“Here now, calm down,” said Dudley, trying to keep the peace. He tried to pat Jamie on the shoulder, but again Jamie pulled away, sharply this time.
“Don't you touch me!” he yelled. “I know what you did to my dad. I know you and your friends used to beat him up for fun, called him names. You're nothing but a big, fat bully,” said Jamie.
“James Sirius Potter, enough!” cried Ginny. Harry was just so stunned at his aunt's request, but more so at the anger pouring off Jamie.
“No, Mum, I'm sorry, but it's not enough,” said Jamie, looking sadly at his mother. He turned back to a red-faced Dudley and a stone-faced Petunia. “My dad was left here as a baby. His parents, your sister,” he said to Petunia, “were murdered. You lied to him about that, and you made his life hell, just because he was born a wizard.”
“Jamie, son, stop. Let's go,” said Harry. He stood.
“Go?” asked Jamie, facing his father, almost at eye level. “Where? The cupboard under the stairs. It's where you used to sleep, right? Where you were locked up for days at a time. Right, Dad?” asked Jamie, tears of anger in his eyes.
“Yes,” whispered Petunia, looking at Jamie. “It's true, all of it.” She looked shame-faced.
“You treated him like a slave, made him cook and clean for you, yet denied him good meals of his own, or even clothes that fit him. You made him do the gardening, and paint fences, yet your own son was treated like a god,” said Jamie. His voice had lowered, but it was cold, without emotion, and that was frightening in itself.
A tear rolled down Petunia's face as she stared into Jamie's angry one. “Yes,” she admitted.
“Yet, my dad comes here, year after year to visit, because you're family!” Jamie spat the word out and even Dudley cringed. “Family doesn't do what you did to my dad, and I hate you for it. I hope you die soon!” Jamie ran out of the room and out the front door. Ginny ran after him.
Harry was stunned. He turned to face Petunia and Dudley. “I'll give your request some thought. Right now my son needs me. Goodbye.”
He nearly made it to the front door when he heard Petunia call his name. He hesitated, glancing out at Ginny and James. She held their shaking son near the car, but her teary eyes were beseeching Harry to hurry. He returned to the lounge.
“I am truly sorry,” whispered a broken Petunia. Dudley lay a shaky hand on her shoulder.
Harry turned and left. His son and wife needed him and that was more important.
He hurriedly unlocked the car, then went around the car to Ginny and James. Ginny was crying, but Jamie was now stoic. “I'm not sorry for what I said,” he said to Harry, defiantly. He looked at Ginny, “Mum, please don't cry.”
Harry put his arms around both of them, feeling Ginny shake with tears and Jamie shake with suppressed emotions. “Let's get out of here,” he said.
He helped Ginny into the car, then got in himself and drove away, unsure if he'd ever return. He met Jamie's gaze in the rear vision mirror, and nodded to him.
They arrived home in twenty five minutes and, without speaking, entered their house. Ginny excused herself, saying she needed to make a cup of tea. Harry watched her go, then turned to face Jamie.
“Are you mad at me for what I said?” asked Jamie. “It was all true, wasn't it?”
Was he mad? Harry really didn't know. “You shouldn't talk to your elders like that,” he said instead.
Jamie snorted. “That's it!”
“What do you want from me, Jamie?” asked Harry tiredly. The emotion was just catching up with him.
“I...I want you to take me to Godric's Hollow,” he said quietly. “Please,” he added as an afterthought.
“Why?” asked Harry, surprised. “You've been there before, loads of times.” Harry and Ginny always took the children to the cemetery on Mother's Day and Father's Day to lay flowers on their graves. Ginny accompanied Harry on Halloween and on the anniversary of Sirius' passing. They also took Teddy to visit Remus and Tonks on May second.
“Not the cemetery...the house,” said Jamie.
Harry hesitated. He'd only ever taken Ginny inside. It was too precious to share with just anybody, even Ron and Hermione, who he was still so close to.
“I think you should,” said Ginny quietly.
Harry turned to face her. He recalled the conversation he'd heard the night before. He turned back to Jamie. “You really want to go?” he asked.
“Very well. I'll Side-Along Apparate you. Ginny, are you--?”
“No, I think this just needs to be you two,” said Ginny quickly. She embraced her husband. “Talk to him, Harry. He needs to know,” she whispered.
She moved to Jamie, hugging him too. “This is your chance, love. Please, tell him what you're feeling. This anger isn't good to keep bottled up,” she whispered to her son. She cupped his cheek before letting him go.
“I'll be here if you need me, just send a Patronus,” she told Harry.
He moved closer to Jamie, but nodded at his wife. She looked worriedly between the two, so he tried to smile reassuringly at her. The feel of his son's arm on his reminded him of when he'd done the same to Dumbledore, when they left to go find the fake locket Horcrux. He felt the familiar squeeze of Apparition and closed his eyes at the sensation. Opening them seconds later, he found himself in the village centre of Godric's Hollow.
“We're here,” he told Jamie, who had burrowed his head against Harry's chest like he used to do when he was little. Jamie lifted his head and looked around. Knowing the way, he started to walk to the small cottage.
“I've always liked Godric's Hollow. I think it would have been nice growing up here,” said Harry, conversationally.
“Do you remember anything of living here?” asked Jamie, as they walked to the house.
“No,” said Harry, “just what I've seen in the Pensieve of other's memories, mainly Remus'.”
They stood out the front of the house. “It's kind of small,” said Jamie.
“It was only my mum, my dad and me,” said Harry, daring to place his hand on Jamie's shoulder. “Shall we go in?”
Jamie nodded, and he and Harry walked through the gates. They both felt the enchantments as the wards recognised their magical signature as kin.
“Imagine if you had brothers and sisters,” said Jamie, as they walked up to the front door.
“I would have loved that,” said Harry, quietly. “I think it's why I took to the Weasleys so quickly. The first time I went to the Burrow was the first time I felt part of a family. Brothers teasing, card games at night, chores to be done. Plus, no-one does mothering quite like your grandmother,” he joked. Jamie however, said nothing.
The door opened at Harry's touch. He and Jamie stood there, before Jamie slowly went inside. It had pretty much been left untouched since that Halloween night, although personal effects had been removed and placed in the family vaults at Gringotts. Jamie wandered around and Harry followed.
“They tell me my mum liked to cook, so I imagine she spent a lot of time in here,” said Harry, as they went to the kitchen. “Apparently there was a good herb garden out the back for potions and such.”
Jamie looked out the kitchen window, which took in the view of the back yard. “I can picture my dad taking me flying on his broom out there, while Sirius, as Padfoot, chased after us,” said Harry, whimsically. “My dad was on the Gryffindor Quidditch team too.” Jamie was Beater for the current team.
“I know. I had to polish all the Quidditch trophies one time for detention,” said Jamie, nonchalantly.
He went back into the small lounge, circling the chairs that faced the fireplace. “It's cosy,” he said.
“I have a photo of me asleep on that rug, curled up with Padfoot,” sighed Harry, pointing to a spot near the fire.
“Did you ever feel angry that they died and left you to go live with the Dursley's?” asked Jamie.
Harry nodded slowly. Taking a chance and remembering what Ginny said, he decided to be honest. “Not often, but...yes. Most times, I wished I had died with them. My aunt and uncle had told me they died in a car crash.”
Jamie's expression told Harry what he thought about the Dursley's and the way they had raised Harry. “What about Dumbledore, Hagrid, and McgGonagall? Aren't you mad that none of them checked up on you? They would have seen how you were being treated, and taken you away?” he asked heatedly.
“Dumbledore did what he thought best at the time,” shrugged Harry. “Hagrid left me on his orders.”
“Why didn't McGonagall realise something wasn't right? She's in charge of the Hogwart's letters going out. Didn't she think it was strange? 'Harry Potter--The cupboard under the stairs'?” snorted Jamie, disbelievingly.
I don't know, Son. Headmistress McGonagall,” he emphasised, “and I have never spoken about it,” said Harry.
“Well, what about Grandma and Grandpa?” asked Jamie.
“What do you mean?” asked Harry, surprised.
“When Uncle George and Uncle Ron came to rescue you from the Dursley's, there were bars on your window, Dad. Like a prison!” said Jamie, angrily. “Why didn't Grandma and Grandpa do something then?”
“Uncle Fred came too,” said Harry, never wanting his children to forget they had an Uncle Fred. “You know I had to return to Privet Drive because of the blood protection. I told you that,” said Harry.
“Yeah, but who was there to protect you from them? The next year was when you blew up Aunt Marge. Why didn't anyone tell you before about the Knight Bus? Why did Uncle Remus take so long to tell you he knew your parents? Why didn't you stay with him instead of the Dursleys?” demanded Jamie, his questions spilling out in a rush.
“You know he was a werewolf, Jamie,” sighed Harry.
“Better a werewolf who cares about you than where they actually left you,” said Jamie, angrily.
“Jamie, why are you so angry about this?” asked Harry, utterly perplexed.
“Because you were just a kid, and no-one cared enough to help you,” yelled Jamie.
“That's not true. Mrs Figg lived next door to the Dursleys, she was placed there to watch over me,” began Harry.
“A Squib! How was she supposed to help you? Did anyone tell you to go to her if you needed help?” asked Jamie.
“Well, no,” said Harry. “But I quickly learned to do my chores, keep my head down, then get out of the house for a bit,” said Harry. He didn't mention he had dear Hedwig for company. How he still missed her! “At school I had Ron and Hermione. Neville, Seamus and Dean . Your mum and Aunt Luna.”
“Well, why didn't they tell someone when Umbridge was torturing you? How could the other teachers not see how Snape used to treat you?” snapped Jamie.
“I asked Ron and Hermione not to tell, and Severus Snape had his reasons, Jamie,” said Harry. “I will tell you about that one day, but for now--”
“I don't care about him, or his reasons. What about Dumbledore, sending you on a hunt for the Horcruxes. You were seventeen, Dad. That's only two years older than I am right now!” said Jamie.
The thought of his son being hunted while looking for Dark objects sent a shiver down Harry's spine.
“How can you forgive people like that? Mum's always saying you're noble. After what they did to you, how can you forgive them? Any of them!” he yelled, before bursting into tears.
Harry hurriedly took Jamie in his arms and held his son. He rocked him slowly until his tears slowed. “You know, when your mum calls me noble, she usually follows it with the word 'git',” said
Harry softly. That earned a teary chuckle from Jamie.
He pulled away from his Dad. “Mum's been taking me places,” he admitted softly.
“Oh? Where?” asked Harry, curiously.
“The Shrieking Shack. The Department of Mysteries. Little Hangleton and...the Chamber of Secrets.” Jamie's voice dropped as he said the last one and so did his head.
“You asked your mum to take you to the Chamber of Secrets?” asked Harry, aghast. He recalled weeks earlier when Ginny had bad nightmares for a week straight.
“Don't you get it, Dad. I needed to see them!” said Jamie, earnestly. His eyes welled up again. “I didn't mean to make Mum upset again. I just wanted to understand it all!”
“But...why?” asked Harry, still shaken by the news that Ginny had gone back to the Chamber of Secrets.
“Because you had no-one who cared about you, just you and not the Chosen One! Not enough to help you. And sometimes...sometimes I wish I'd been around so I could have been your friend. I would have helped you, not with the Voldemort thing, but everything else,” cried Jamie, breaking down again. He sniffed. “That probably sounds dumb.”
“Oh Jamie,” sighed Harry, holding his son again. He kissed the top of his head. “Thank you. I think we would have been great friends.”
“Do-do you reallly?” asked Jamie. “Or are you just saying that.”
“I haven't had anyone stick up for me like you did today at the Dursley's since I was twelve,” said Harry, smiling wryly at a memory.
“Who was it?” sniffed Jamie.
“Your mum,” said Harry, grinning at Jamie. “We were in Flourish and Blotts and Scorpius' dad said something silly to me, and your mum stepped in front of me and told him to leave me alone.”
“Sounds like Mum,” said Jamie, wiping his nose on his arm. Harry decided to let that one go.
Harry took a breath. “At times, I was so lonely, and sad and yes, afraid. Before I went to Hogwarts, I would often wish for a friend. But then I found out I was a wizard, and I met Ron and Hermione. Neville, Seamus and Dean. George and Fred. Merlin, Fred would get a kick out of you and Freddie at Hogwarts,” he said, shaking his head as he chuckled.
“I had a lot of good people around me, Jamie, but I didn't tell anyone about my life with the Dursleys. At first I was worried that Ron and Hermione wouldn't like me. They were the first friends I had and I didn't want to lose them. When Dumbledore told me why I had to go back to the Dursleys, he told me Molly had begged to let me come to the Burrow. One time, she even told Sirius I was as good as another son to her. Knowing that, knowing they cared...it meant everything, Son.”
“I made a lot of mistakes, I'll admit that. I should have told someone about Umbridge and I should have listened to Hermione before we went to the Department of Mysteries. But Jamie, I'd do it all again the same way, if it meant I'd still get this moment with you now,” said Harry.
He continued. “I know you and Al are starting to notice what the papers say about me. I just want you to remember that what happened with me and Voldemort happened when I was seventeen. Do I forgive those who have wronged me? Yes, because it's not good to hold on to that kind of anger. I'm now in my thirties, Jamie, close to forty. That was like a whole other life ago. My life now is your mum, you and your brother and sister and it's brilliant. That's what matters most to me.”
“What about your job?” asked Jamie.
Harry shrugged. “I want to get as many bad guys off the street as I can. I want you, Al and Lily to grow up in as safe a world as I can make it for you.” He put his hands on Jamie's shoulders. “But nothing, nothing is more important to me than my family.”
“I think you've done a pretty great job of making our world safe, Dad,” said Jamie. He hesitated. “I'm sorry I didn't talk to you about this sooner. I just had a lot to think about.”
“Hey, you're talking to the master brooder here. You obviously get it from me,” chuckled Harry. Then he became serious. “Please, don't keep this anger inside. It's not healthy, and you could do accidental magic and hurt yourself. Your mum and I are always here to talk to. I promise to answer any questions you have.”
Jamie nodded. “I asked Mum not to tell, and I know that was hard for her. I shouldn't have asked her to keep this from you, it wasn't fair.”
“No, it wasn't, but I'm glad that you went to her for help,” said Harry.
“Who else could I go to? No-one knows you better than Mum,” smiled Jamie.
“Speaking of, don't you think it's time we went home? Your mum's probably worried about us. Unless...did you want to go upstairs?” asked Harry, looking up. It had been extremely hard for him to go up there his first visit, and he was so glad he had Ginny with him. It was quite an emotional moment.
Jamie thought about it and shook his head. “No...at least, not today. Maybe...maybe we can come another time, with Al. Or just us again.”
“I'd like that, Son,” said Harry. He put his arm around his son's shoulders as they left the small cottage.
“So, are you going to bring Aunt Petunia here?” asked Jamie.
Harry looked thoughtful. “I don't know...probably. What do you think?”
Jamie looked surprised but pleased to be asked his opinion. “I think...I think you should...not for her, but for Grandma Potter. I think she'd like that.”
Harry hugged his son proudly. “I think you're right.” He pulled away from his son. “Home?”
Jamie nodded. “Home.”
Later that night, the Potters shared a usual rambunctious dinner. It was just like old times. Jamie was explaining what prank he'd pulled to get one of his detentions, making all the family laugh.
“You're silly, Jamie,” giggled Lily.
Jamie stopped laughing. “Actually, I think I want to be called James from now on.”
“James Potter? You sound like an old man, like Grandpa Potter,” laughed Lily.
“It's a good solid name. A man's name,” said Ginny, nodding proudly at James.
“My dad would be proud to have you carry on his name, James,” said Harry.
“Thanks, Dad. I'm proud to carry on his name, and Sirius', too,” said James.
“Yes, well, we named you well. You've certainly got the Marauder genes,” laughed Harry.
“What about me, Dad?” asked Albus. He was old enough to know something important had happened between his parents and Jamie, er, James, today, but still old enough to want some of his dad's attention.
“You're all Potter, Al,” said Ginny. Harry winked at his son.
“What about me, Dad?” pouted Lily.
“You're as beautiful and strong as your mother, my Lily Luna. That's why I'm never letting you go to Hogwarts. I want my two girls with me always,” grinned Harry.
“But...I have to go to Hogwarts! It's the law, or something,” said Lily, fearing her dad wasn't joking. “Besides, always is a really long time.”
Harry grabbed Ginny's hand and squeezed.
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