Susan Kennel looked around her class. She truly enjoyed teaching and this was one of her favourite lessons — helping the children learning about their ancestors. It was often a lot of work, but the children all seemed to delight in learning their family histories. Some children were able to trace their ancestry back for centuries while others simply discovered their great-grandmother’s name.
She’d seen the American television programme ‘Roots’ when she was still in school and it had made a huge impression upon her. Her family had all indulged her in her interest in family history. She cherished the letters her grandmother and great aunts had sent her telling her their remembrances of their childhoods and the stories their grandparents had told them. It was now her great joy to share that experience with her sixth year students.
The children were to have asked their parents for help filling out a very simple family tree with the child, any siblings, their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Most of the children truly enjoyed this and many had brought in pictures they’d found of their grandparents or great-grandparents. By the end of the term, she would help them fashion a little book on their own family.
She couldn’t help but laugh when she recalled her discussion with her brother. He swore that within the next ten years all of the information that she and her students gathered would be available on the computer. What foolishness! She enjoyed playing with new technology and had used the word processing system he’d installed on her computer at home, but she just couldn’t imagine a computer helping search for family history.
As the children came in she heard them all chattering and laughing. Some were sharing stories about newly discovered ancestors while others were amazed that quiet old Gran had worked in a factory while Granddad fought in World War II. Susan collected all of the family trees and her class spent the morning talking about their ancestors. She taught them about the resources that were available to research their family trees. The children learned about the parish registries, the armed services records, and of course the census records.
After lunch she sent the children out to play outdoors while she started looking through their family trees. Most of the children had done well, but there were a few who were missing a name or two. She hoped she’d be able to help them discover the missing names. As she reached the bottom of the stack of homework, she frowned.
Harry Potter hadn’t done anything at all. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, he’d placed his own name very neatly on the tree, but all of the other branches were empty. Susan frowned as she tried to imagine why he’d not done his work. Harry was a quiet child, very sweet, but he hardly spoke at all. He cut a very tragic figure around the school.
Susan knew that Harry’s parents had died when he was a baby and he lived with his aunt and uncle. She frowned at the thought of his cousin, Dudley Dursley. Dudley was a spoiled, arrogant child. He was obviously over indulged by his parents and the difference between him and his cousin was rather uncomfortable for most of those observing them. While Dudley’s clothes were always new and in good condition, Harry had to make do with Dudley’s hand-me-downs. As Harry was much smaller than Dudley, the clothes were several times too big for him.
Dudley was a bit of a bully and unfortunately Harry was one of his favourite targets. The school was divided between those who thought Harry was a troublemaker and those who thought Dudley was the troublemaker. Susan was in the minority of those who thought Harry was being bullied. She had tried to tell Dudley’s parents about the situation many times, but the Dursleys didn’t want to hear anything against their son. So after a time, everyone ignored the fact that Harry seemed to be small and hungry while Dudley wanted for nothing.
Susan flipped back through the pile. Dudley’s family tree was filled out, so why had Harry not done his family tree?
Frowning, she headed to the door of her classroom. Opening the door, she scanned the playground. She found Harry sitting by himself, but his cousin was not far off. As she neared them, she heard Dudley taunting the smaller boy.
“Did you have fun with your family tree?” Dudley laughed. “Freaks don’t actually get a family tree.”
“Mr Dursley, that’s quite enough!” Susan said sternly. Turning to Harry she said, “Mr Potter, please come inside with me.”
As Harry accompanied her back into the class room, she could hear the taunts of his classmates. Susan sighed. She wished she could erase this impulse from the children. She led Harry back into the classroom and beckoned him up to her desk.
“Mr Potter, did you understand the assignment?”
“Yes, Miss Kennel,” he replied sadly.
“Why did you not fill out your tree?”
For a few minutes, Susan didn’t think she was going to get an answer, but then he looked up with his green eyes blazing. “I don’t know any of that stuff.”
“Why didn’t you ask your aunt and uncle? Your cousin filled out his family tree.”
“My aunt and uncle don’t like to talk about my parents,” Harry returned angrily. “I don’t even know their names. All I know is they died in a car accident when I was a baby and I ended up with my aunt and uncle.”
Susan found it hard to believe someone would be so cruel, but there was no denying the feelings shining on the boy’s face. Sympathy for the boy flooded through her. “Harry, how are you related to Mr and Mrs Dursley?”
Harry looked confused for a minute before he answered, “Aunt Petunia was my mum’s sister.”
“And you don’t know her name?”
Harry shook his head.
“What about grandparents?”
“My uncle’s parents are alive,” Harry said, “but Aunt Petunia’s parents died before my parents did.”
Susan looked through the stack of homework until she found Dudley’s work. Looking at Dudley’s tree, she said, “Okay, your maternal grandparent’s names were Iris and Charles Evans.”
She helped Harry fill out the limited information that was the same on both his and Dudley’s trees. Glancing at her watch, she realized that recess was almost over. A thought occurred to her.
“Harry, I will be back in just a minute,” she said. “If you wish, you may stay in the classroom.”
Susan hurried out of her classroom to the front office. She was in luck; Mrs Howard was at her desk.
“Good morning, Mrs Howard,” Susan said cheerily. “I was hoping you could help me. I want to see Harry Potter’s file.”
“Of course,” Mrs Howard replied. She was an older grandmotherly woman who truly loved all of the
children at the school. “Poor little lamb. Every time I see that poor boy I want to yell at that selfish auntie of his.”
Susan was surprised, she’d never heard Mrs Howard speak ill of anyone before. “Really?”
“Aye, the way she treats that boy you’d never know he was a relative. We had to threaten legal action before she would take the boy for an eye exam and glasses. Have you ever seen the lunch she sends in for him?” Mrs Howard shook her head. “She fawns all over that great lump of a son of hers and treats poor Harry horribly.”
By this time, Mrs Howard had found Harry’s file. She handed it to Susan. There was a contact information sheet and medical history form. At the back of the file she found what she was looking for, a copy of his birth certificate. Hurrying over to the copy machine, she made a copy of it before returning his file to Mrs Howard. After bidding goodbye to the older woman, Susan hurried back to her classroom.
Harry was sitting quietly at his desk reading a book. He looked up when she hurried in. She handed Harry the paper. “This is a copy of your birth certificate. It lists your parents and your place of birth. If you’d like, I can help you discover a little more about your family.”
Harry’s eyes lit up with joy. “Thank you, Miss Kennel.”
“You are welcome.” She handed him back his unfinished family tree. As she hurried to let in the rest of the students, she noticed that he was reading the birth certificate.
Harry read the fancy form with excitement. It said that Harry James Potter was born at 7:23 in morning on the 31st of July 1980. He felt a jolt of excitement. He actually had a birthday. Logically he knew he had one, but he’d never known when it was. He just knew he was younger than Dudley. Reading on, he found his parents’ names. His mother was listed as Lily Elizabeth Potter (nee Evans) and his father was called James Hardwin Potter.
Lily and James Potter, those were his parents’ names. He smiled; he thought Lily was a much prettier name than Petunia. As he looked at his family tree, he realized that his mother’s name was Lily, his grandmother’s name was Iris, and his great-grandmother’s name was Rose. They were all named after flowers.
As he carefully filled in his parents’ names writing as neatly as possible, he wondered if it would be possible to discover more about his parents. Looking at his birth certificate, he discovered one more piece of information. He was born in some place called Godric’s Hollow which was in Gloucestershire. That was interesting. He’d never even thought about where he was born before.
As the rest of the students filed in from recess, he carefully put the copy of his birth certificate in the plastic bag he used for his school supplies. He didn’t want Dudley to find it or obviously Dudley would rip it up or somehow destroy it. He couldn’t help but smile, he finally knew when his birthday was and more than that he knew his parents’ names!
Susan hung up the phone, shocked at Petunia Dursley’s rudeness. She’d secured permission to take Harry to the public library, but she was shocked at the total lack of concern the woman had for her nephew.
After school, she and Harry walked over to the Little Whinging library. “Have you ever been to the library?”
Harry shook his head. “Aunt Petunia used take Dudley sometimes, but he misbehaved a lot and they kicked him out of story time.” He giggled. “Aunt Petunia was so mad!”
“Do you like to read?” Susan asked curiously. She’d never seen the boy read and his grades weren’t the best, but when she talked to him he was clever and obviously knew what he’d learned. She’d wondered at the dichotomy between his grades and his knowledge.
Harry nodded. “I do, but Uncle Vernon would rather have me doing chores than reading. I’m not allowed to read anything about King Arthur or anything about witches.” He shrugged. “I don’t know why, but those are the rules.”
Susan frowned at the picture she was getting of his home life. It wasn’t a pretty picture. “Do you have a bookcase in your bedroom?”
He didn’t answer right away. Susan turned to watch him. He must have felt her eyes on him because he looked up. “I’m not allowed to have a bookcase.”
She felt there was something more to the story, but she couldn’t really imagine what that might be. The Dursleys were obviously fairly well off, so why were they so averse to sharing what they had with their nephew? It just didn’t make any sense, but she could almost hear her mother reminding her that not all families shared the love that her family did.
Shrugging off her tangled thoughts, she guided Harry to the research area of the library. Harry looked around curiously, taking everything in. Susan smiled as she greeted Jane, the research librarian.
“Good morning, Jane. This is one of my students, Harry Potter. He is looking for information on his family,” Susan explained.
Jane smiled at Harry. “It is nice to meet you. What information do you have so far?”
Glancing up, Harry flushed. “Miss Kennel found a copy of my birth certificate. I wanted to see if I can find out more about my parents. They died in a car crash when I was a baby.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” Jane said sympathetically. She looked at the photo copy of the birth certificate Harry proffered. After reading it, she asked, “Do you know when they died?”
Harry shook his head. Miss Kennel spoke up. “His aunt told me they died on Halloween 1981.”
“That’s an excellent place to start,” Jane declared. She took Harry over to the microfilm machine and showed him how to use it. “I’m not certain if their accident will be covered in any of the national papers, but I do keep an archive of a few local papers from southern England.”
After finding a likely prospect, she helped him load the microfilm. Harry scanned through the headlines. Stopping on the first of November 1981, he was at first disappointed not to find any articles on a fatal auto accident. Then the name Godric’s Hollow jumped out at him. He slowed down the machine and started reading.
Family Killed in Unexplained Explosion
Amidst all the trick-or-treaters last night, an explosion ripped through the quiet streets of Godric’s Hollow. Mr and Mrs James Potter of number twenty-five Lancaster Road in Godric’s Hollow were killed at approximately nine in the evening when an explosion tore through their home. Rescue workers could not approach the home for almost an hour after the explosion until it was cleared by police and the fire department. An odd green glow surrounded the house for a time and flashes of green lights were reported in the house just prior to the explosion. There is no explanation for the lights as of press time.
Mr James Potter, 21, was discovered on the ground floor. No apparent cause of death or injury was found on initial examination. It is theorized he may have died from some sort of fumes or possibly even radiation.
The site of the explosion was rather unusual; the explosion took place in the bedroom of the Potters’ fifteen-month-old son, Harry. Miraculously, young Harry survived the explosion, which tore the roof off the nursery. Unfortunately, his mother Mrs Lily Potter, 21, was found dead on the floor of the baby’s nursery.
Young Harry was examined by medical personnel at the scene. Astonishingly, he received an oddly shaped cut on his forehead, but otherwise appeared to be unharmed. He will be sent to live with relatives in Surrey.
The roof above the nursery was blown out with quite a bit of force, but the walls were left intact. The fire chief speculated that perhaps there was a natural gas explosion or even a build-up of radon, but he was a bit vague on what was in the child’s room to cause such an explosion.
Harry read and re-read the short article before searching the next weeks’ worth of papers. There was no further mention of the explosion or his parents.
When Jane came over to check on him, he showed her what he discovered. “I don’t understand. My aunt and uncle always told me that they died in a car crash.”
Frowning, Jane printed off the article after reading it. She showed it to Susan. “It’s a bit odd. I couldn’t find any obituaries for either of them, which is usual. I thought at the very least, I would find a notice about their funeral, but nothing. Why would his aunt and uncle lie to him?”
Glancing over where Harry was now looking at a map of Godric’s Hollow, Susan lowered her voice. “His aunt is not a nice woman. I don’t know why she lied, but it doesn’t really surprise me.” Looking over at Harry again, she asked, “Can he order a copy of his parents’ death certificates? It seems rather cruel, but it will give him some information.”
Jane nodded and hurried behind her desk to find the correct form. She helped Harry complete the form and mail it. She didn’t notice Harry copying down the address of the church in Godric’s Hollow.
Minerva McGonagall looked up as an owl fluttered into her window. After offering the bird a biscuit, she opened the letter.
Dear Professor McGonagall,
I hope all is well. We received a very curious letter yesterday that I am enclosing. I was unsure how to answer it. In addition to this letter we received an official request to the parish registry for a copy of James and Lily Potter’s death certificates. The form is completed properly, it was mailed from the Public Library in Little Whinging, Surrey. Normally we require the signature of an adult, but…well, you can see for yourself. They asked if we could mail the form in care of Miss Susan Kennel. She included a note saying that she is a primary school teacher in Little Whinging and they are working on a genealogy project. Please let me know what I should do. I have already started to prepare the death certificates if you think that is appropriate.
Frowning, Minerva struggled to recall Charity Webb. After a moment, it came to her. Charity was the secretary at the St Jerome’s Church in Godric’s Hollow. Whilst the priest, Reverend Swain, was a Muggle, Charity was a witch. She had graduated from Hogwarts almost fifteen years earlier.
The enclosed letter wasn’t written on parchment. Minerva recognized the lined paper that Muggle children used. Opening it, she scanned the short letter that was written very neatly in a child’s handwriting.
My name is Harry Potter. I just found out that my parents died in Godric’s Hollow in some weird sort of accident. Can you tell me if they are buried there? I don’t know much about them, but their names are James and Lily Potter. They died on Halloween 1981.
Minerva gasped as she read and re-read the letter. She frowned as she pondered the implications of the letter. Obviously, Petunia Dursley had not bothered to inform her nephew of his wizarding heritage. Harry was scheduled to start Hogwarts next year, but would it really hurt for him to learn of his heritage a few months early?
She knew Albus wouldn’t approve, but she couldn’t in good conscience ignore such a heartfelt plea. How could that woman have ignored her nephew? Frowning, she considered the woman requesting the records. The teacher was obviously a Muggle. No witch would request this information.
Minerva watched as Miss Kennel’s class played outdoors. Although it was rather cold, the children were running around playing. She had no trouble recognizing Dudley Dursley even though she hadn’t seen him in almost nine years. His attitude remained as selfish and bullying as it was nine years earlier. The years had not been kind to him. He was very obese with blond hair and pale blue eyes. From what she’d observed, Dudley was the leader of a band of bullies who tormented the other children on the playground.
Harry was a little harder to spot as he was trying to stay hidden. He was huddled up against the school building trying to keep warm in a coat that didn’t seem to be appropriate for the weather. He was munching on the cheese and crackers that he had brought in for lunch. Like his cousin, he was also quite easy to identify. Even with the broken eye glasses and too big clothes, he looked so much like his father. He had the trademark messy black hair that he shared with both his father and grandfather and his mother’s beautiful green eyes.
Frowning, Minerva watched the adversarial relationship between the cousins. Apparently, Petunia had done nothing to include Harry into their family. Jumping down from the wall upon which she was perched in her Animagus form, Minerva padded away from the school. She would wait until after school to approach the young wizard.
Following Harry home from school was not difficult for a cat, but he was quite fast as he dashed away from his cousin. The hooligans following Dudley were loud and obnoxious, but it was obvious they couldn’t catch Harry.
Running across several gardens, Minerva easily beat Dudley back to the Dursley’s house. She could hear Petunia as she lurked in the back garden.
“I’m taking Dudley to the mall,” Petunia was saying. “I expect the house will be clean when I return. I’ve left a list of chores on the refrigerator.”
“What about my homework?”
“What about your homework?” Petunia repeated nastily. “If you can’t manage your time properly, that is not my problem. Dudley never has trouble with his homework.”
“Dudley doesn’t have to do any chores,” Harry protested.
“That’s because Dudley’s parents didn’t dump their unwanted child on hard working relatives and expect someone else to raise their child,” Petunia retorted.
Minerva could see the heartbreak on Harry’s face for a moment before turning away. From her vantage point, she could see the petty triumph on Petunia’s face and it took all her restraint not to claw the woman. How could anyone taunt a child like that?
Petunia watched Harry as he began his chores. She nodded approvingly. Walking to the front of the house, she called up the stair, “Dudders, are you ready to go to the mall?”
While she was tempted to interfere with the car, she didn’t want the Dursleys around. A thought crossed her mind and she sent a wordless spell speeding towards the car as it sped away. She allowed herself a smile as the spell hit the tire. It wouldn’t go flat right away, but it wouldn’t make it to the mall and back.
Waiting a few minutes, she checked her appearance. She was wearing dark blue trousers and a lighter blue blouse and low heels. Knocking on the door she waited for it to be answered.
Harry answered the door quickly. “Hello.”
Frowning slightly, he nodded. “I’m Harry Potter.”
“My name is Minerva McGonagall, I am here to talk to you about the letter you sent.” She withdrew the letter from her pocket.
His beautiful green eyes lit up. “You can tell me about my parents?”
“I can,” she replied with a smile.
Harry stepped back and allowed her into the house. “Do you mind if we talk in the kitchen? I have a lot of chores to work through.”
“Of course,” Minerva replied. She followed Harry looking around the house. She frowned at the numerous pictures of Dudley and none of Harry.
“Please sit down,” Harry said with a smile. “I’m just chopping up some vegetables for dinner.”
“The secretary at St Jerome’s sent your letter to me.”
His face fell. “Am I in trouble?”
“Of course not,” she said briskly. “I was a bit confused. What were you told about the death of your parents?”
“My aunt always told me they died in a car accident, but when I looked at the newspapers it said they died in their house in some kind of explosion.”
“Unfortunately, that is true.” She sighed. “I am sure it is too much to ask that she told you anything about your parents?”
“They were unemployed,” he offered. “My aunt and my mum didn’t really talk.”
“Do you know where they attended school?”
He shook his head.
“I was one of their professors. I am the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry. You, Harry, are a wizard. Your father was also a wizard and your mother was a witch.”
He looked at her in confusion. She didn’t look like someone who would make things up, but how could he be a wizard? “Uncle Vernon says there is no such thing as a witch.”
Wordlessly, she pulled her wand and glancing at his list of chores, she cleaned the sitting room by sending a dust cloth into the room and letting it clean by magic. His eyes widened and she conjured up a teddy bear before levitating it and making it dance around in mid-air.
“That is brilliant! Will I be able to learn to do that?”
“You will receive an invitation to the school this summer. There you will learn magic. Have you ever done something that you couldn’t explain?”
He frowned for a minute. “Like when I ended up on the roof of my school or my teacher’s hair turned blue.”
She laughed. “Yes, that is called accidental magic.”
“Does my aunt know about accidental magic?”
Minerva nodded. Harry scowled. “She told me I was a freak and punished me for doing ‘freak’ things.”
“I am so sorry,” she said. “You are not a freak. You are a perfectly normal young wizard. Your mother, Lily, was a very gifted witch and James was also a brilliant student.”
“Were you a professor when my mum and dad were at school?”
“I was indeed. Both of your parents were sorted into my house, Gryffindor. They were head boy and girl in their last year so I worked with them quite closely. Unfortunately, not all wizards are good. When your parents were at school, one of the worst wizards was gathering power. Once they graduated, they worked to defeat him. Unfortunately, Voldemort — the bad wizard — knew they were fighting against him and he attacked your family home in Godric’s Hollow. Your parents were killed, but for some reason, you survived.”
Harry frowned as he thought about what she said. Having your parents die was bad enough, but someone had murdered them? On purpose? “Wait, did Voldemort attack me also?”
Minerva nodded. “He did. We aren’t sure why. Voldemort was a very powerful and very evil wizard. He used the Killing Curse on each of your parents before turning his wand on you, but for some reason you didn’t die. You are the first person in wizarding history to survive the killing curse. You were given the nickname The Boy Who Lived.” She watched him closely. “I’m sorry to give you so much information at one time, but everyone in our world knows your story. I would hate for you to show up at Hogwarts and not know.”
“Thank you,” Harry said. “Did Voldemort die?”
“I’m not sure,” she sighed. “You defeated him, but there are rumours that he is waiting out there gaining strength. I don’t know which is true.”
“Is that what the green light and the horrid laughter is about?
“I beg your pardon?”
“Ever since I was little, I’ve had nightmares about a green light and evil, high pitched laughter. I could never figure out how that happened in a car accident.”
Minerva paled at the thought that he recalled the moment of his parents’ death. “The Killing Curse is green.”
She watched as Harry finished chopping the vegetables and began putting together a stew. She allowed him to gather his thoughts together.
“Harry, I’ve given you a lot of information. Do you have any questions?”
“I’m not sure,” he said.
She smiled. “That is understandable. Before I leave I will give you information on how to contact me. If you think of any questions, please let me know and I will give you the answers if I can.”
He looked up at her as though assessing her sincerity. He must have believed her because he grinned after a minute. “Thank you.”
“I didn’t even answer the question you asked about,” Minerva said. “Your parents are indeed buried in the graveyard at Godric’s Hollow. If you would like, I can take you there this weekend.”
His eyes widened. “Really?”
She nodded. “I will speak to your aunt.” Standing, she said, “Let’s work on this list of chores.”
For Harry, an afternoon of chores was never so much fun. Professor McGonagall did a lot of the work using her wand. Harry was enthralled by the idea of magic and loved watching her perform even the simplest task with magic. When she showed him how she could turn into a cat, he was stunned speechless.
“Can lots of witches and wizards turn into animals?” he asked breathlessly.
“Not a lot,” she acknowledged, “but some can. I heard a rumour that your father could turn into a stag, but I don’t know if that is true or not.”
His eyes widened. “Like a big deer?”
She nodded. “A big deer with antlers.”
“Wow! That’s brilliant!”
“It is,” she agreed. “Your father, James, was a wonderful student. He excelled at Transfiguration. In his last year, he would help the younger students. He had a knack for teaching and the younger students loved him.”
When she saw how excited he was for even a tiny bit of information about his parents, she told him several stories about them. Harry laughed to hear some of his father’s pranks, especially when he was caught and came up with outlandish excuses.
“When I come to pick you up on Saturday, I will bring some pictures of your parents,” she said. “Perhaps you could choose one to frame and put by your bed.”
He nodded excitedly. “Did either of my parents have green eyes?”
“Yes, you definitely have your mother’s beautiful eyes,” she said with a smile. “Your mother was beautiful. She had long red hair and green eyes. Other than your eyes, you look a lot like your father. His hair would never lie flat either.”
Harry giggled, thrilled at the thought that he had something in common with each of his parents. The sound of the car pulling up made him incredibly anxious. With everything he’d learned today, he was upset at his aunt and uncle, but he was still a bit scared of them.
Aunt Petunia entered the kitchen hot and tired after having to change her tire. She could have sworn it was fine when she left, but after shopping at the mall they found their tire flat. Normally she wouldn’t think negative thoughts about her son, but he had been absolutely no help whilst she’d had to change the tire. He whined about the cold and how long it was taking.
She stopped in her tracks to see a stranger seated at the table talking to her nephew. Minerva stood up. “I am Minerva McGonagall. I am the Deputy Headmistress at Hogwarts.”
“We don’t talk about such things here,” Petunia snarled. This was the last thing they needed today.
“You may not, but I will,” Minerva replied coolly. “You’ve lied to your nephew and not told him anything about his parents and their world.”
“He doesn’t need to know about that, he won’t be learning that nonsense.”
“He absolutely will,” Minerva said firmly. “His name has been down since he was born. He will be receiving his letter this summer.”
“No, we swore we’d put a stop to this foolishness. Look where it got my sister — murdered before her twenty-second birthday! The boy is abnormal and rather useless, but we are not going to pay to send him to that school.”
“His parents left him money to cover his school expenses.”
Harry sat quietly watching the two women. He’d never had anyone take up for him before and it was really nice. He spied Dudley in the corridor watching the adults as well. Unlike Harry, he looked confused about what they were talking about.
Petunia glared at the woman who had invaded her sanctuary of normalcy. She’d had a feeling that they wouldn’t be able to suppress the boy’s unnaturalness, no matter how hard they tried. Had those freaks been spying on them? She’d have to talk to Vernon about moving the boy from the cupboard under the stairs — the freaks really wouldn’t like that.
Sensing a capitulation of Petunia, Minerva said, “I shall be picking up Harry on Saturday and taking him to Godric’s Hollow.”
Glaring at the other woman, Petunia nodded. That was honestly one thing she felt a little badly about. She hadn’t let the boy visit his parents’ gravesite. But how could she do that without revealing their unnaturalness? The only time she’d visited the gravesite, she’d felt as if those freaks were watching her. She certainly didn’t want to take him, so if this woman was volunteering, she would let her do so. “If you must.”
Turning to Harry, Minerva said, “I shall pick you up at nine o’clock Saturday morning.”
To Harry’s shock, after a tense discussion between his aunt and uncle, he was given Dudley’s second bedroom. Dudley threw a fit, but the first time Harry could recall, his cousin didn’t get his way. Harry revelled in the amount of room he now had.
Saturday morning, the Dursleys rose early. Dudley was sent to Piers’ house while Uncle Vernon sat dressed in his best suit. Harry knew this was not a sign of respect, but an attempt to intimidate.
At precisely nine o’clock, there was a knock at the door. Vernon strode to the door and opened it, glaring at the woman on the other side. He opened the door enough so she could come in. “My wife told you we don’t hold with this nonsense. The boy is strange enough, he doesn’t need to be taught by a bunch of crackpots.”
Staring up at the man with no sign of intimidation, Minerva sniffed. “He is not strange. He will be a powerful wizard someday. There is really nothing you can do to stop it.”
Ignoring Vernon’s blustering, she looked to Harry. “Are you ready to go?”
He nodded eagerly as he stepped around his uncle. Vernon glared at them, but didn’t attempt to stop them.
Harry had been up very early that morning. He had dressed carefully in his least baggy pair of jeans and his cleanest shirt. After pulling on his hat and coat, he smiled happily as they walked off the property and down Privet Drive.
“How are we getting to Godric’s Hollow?” Harry asked eagerly.
She smiled down at him. “We are going to take the Knight Bus.” When they reached the park, Harry looked around to see what he could find. He watched curiously as she flung out her wand arm. “The Knight Bus will help any stranded witch or wizard. You simply need to stick out your hand and wave it down.”
He watched in astonishment as a triple decker, bright purple bus zoomed up in front of them. One of the neighbour mums walked by and didn’t seem to notice the large bus.
Minerva smiled at his shock. “Muggles overlook a lot of magical things.”
He climbed into the bus and took a very bumpy and wild ride to Godric’s Hollow. A short time later, they pulled up in front of a church. Minerva led the way off the bus and Harry watched as it zoomed away. Once it disappeared, he looked around the village. They were standing in the town square with the church on one end. In the middle of the town square was a war memorial, but when Harry walked in front of it the statue changed into a very different statue.
Minerva settled a hand on his shoulder. “That is you with your parents.”
He stared at the depiction of his mother holding him on her lap and laughing down at him while his father held both of them in a loving embrace. He wished he could remember them. Minerva allowed him to look his fill before leading him to the graveyard behind the church. He could tell it was an old graveyard.
A few of the graves drew his attention, but once he saw the white marble headstone he paid no attention to the other graves., He dropped to his knees next to the grave and with a shaking hand, he traced his parent’s names and dates. His mother’s birthday was in January and his father’s was in March. That made his mother almost two months older than his father. His mum’s birthday was in only a few days. He wondered how she had celebrated. Would he have been able to make her a card? He was sure she would like that.
“Hi Mum, Hi Dad,” he whispered. “I’m sorry it took me so long to visit.” Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Professor McGonagall walked over to another grave leaving him alone. He appreciated the gesture. “Professor McGonagall came and told me about being a wizard. I can’t wait to go to Hogwarts.” He looked down at the ground. “I miss you. I wish I could remember you, but the stories Professor McGonagall told me were great.”
He talked to the gravestone for quite some time telling them about his life. He glossed over a lot of things, he didn’t want them to think he was a freak like his aunt and uncle did. It was nice to have someone to talk to.
When he’d talked himself out, he stood up and looked around. Professor McGonagall smiled at him and pulled out her wand. With a wave of her wand, she conjured up some roses and lilies. He smiled. “That looks very pretty.”
“Your mum liked roses, but your father liked to give her lilies because of her name.”
“Did you know my mummy’s birthday is in a few days?”
A sad look crossed her face. “I had forgotten that.”
“My mummy wasn’t very old when she died.”
Professor McGonagall shook her head. “No, they were both only twenty-one.” She looked around. “It is a bit cold; would you like to go to the pub?”
He nodded. It wasn’t often that he was allowed to eat out. She led the way out of the graveyard and across the square to the pub. It was busy, but not crowded. They were soon seated in a booth with a cup of hot chocolate each. Harry had fish and chips while Professor McGonagall had some soup. It was nice eating with her, she was nice and didn’t yell at him.
He pulled his school assignment from his coat. He’d put it in a folder that Miss Kennel had given him to keep it neat.
“What is that?”
“This is my genealogy assignment,” he explained.
“That’s why you wanted to know about your parents.”
He nodded. Clearing her throat, she said, “Your grandfather’s name was Fleamont Potter.”
Harry laughed. “That’s a funny name.”
“It was his mother’s maiden name and she wanted to use it for his first name. Your grandmother’s name was Euphemia.” At the look on Harry’s face, she spelled it for him. “Your grandfather was a potioneer, meaning he made potions.”
“Potions are like medicine in the Muggle world or sometimes they are used for cleaning. Your grandfather created something called the Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion to smooth out your hair,” she explained.
He giggled. “I bet he had hair like mine.”
“I believe he did,” she replied.
He nodded and looked back at his school work. “Do you know any of their parents? That is the last row.”
“I do not, but I believe we can inquire at the church. The secretary was a student of mine. She wrote to me when she received your letter.”
“Okay,” he agreed happily. After putting his school work away, he munched on his chips, determined to enjoy this rare treat.
“Professor, do you think I could make my mummy a birthday card? Dudley makes one for my aunt every year, but I don’t have anyone to make one for.”
A gentle expression crossed her face. Looking around to ensure on one was around, she conjured some coloured paper and crayons. She slowly ate her soup while he carefully worked on his card. When he was done, he folded it in half. He showed it to her. “Do you think mummy would like it?”
Taking the card, Minerva had to blink back tears. On the cover was a picture of a little boy with black hair and an angel with long red hair and green eyes. Inside, he had carefully written out — ‘Happy Birthday, Mummy! Love, Harry’.
“It is lovely,” she said. “Your mum would be thrilled to receive that from you.”
He sat back with a smile. He’d always wanted to make cards for someone. Dudley made lots of cards for Aunt Petunia, but the one time Harry tried to make her a card she criticized it and threw it away. “D-do you think I could leave it for her?”
It took Minerva a minute to work out what he meant. “You want to leave it on her grave? I think that is a lovely idea.”
Once she paid, they bundled up against the cold and walked back to the church. Harry confidently walked back over to the graveyard and knelt down. “Mummy, I won’t be here on your birthday, but I wanted to make you a card. Happy Birthday, Mummy.”
“You could tuck it into the flowers,” Professor McGonagall suggested. When he did so, she cast a few spells on it. At his questioning look, she said, “My spells will keep your card from getting torn or prevent the weather messing it up.”
When they left the graveyard this time, she steered him towards the church itself. She smiled when she saw Charity Webb waiting for them in the lobby.
“Professor, it is so nice to see you again,” Charity said as she shook the older woman’s hand.
Minerva smiled. “Miss Webb, Charity, it is good to see you as well. This is Harry Potter.”
Charity smiled and shook his hand as well. “Hello, Harry. I am so glad you sent me that letter. Did you find your parents’ grave?”
He nodded. “We left flowers and a birthday card for my mummy.”
“What a lovely idea,” Charity said. “If you would like to come to my office, I believe I can help you.”
Harry and Charity chatted easily while they walked to her office. He told her how much information he had on his family. Once they arrive in her office, she gestured to a small table upon which rested two boxes. “I pulled out our parish registers.”
Glancing at Minerva she mouthed over his head, “Does he know?”
Minerva nodded. Charity said, “I found your grandparents’ marriage certificate.” She handed it to him. Together they found his great-grandparents’ names and finished filling out his school work.
Charity was very patient with him. She helped him trace his heritage back to Hardwin Potter, the first Potter to move to Godric’s Hollow. Hardwin married Iolanthe Peverell who could trace her roots to Ignotus Peverell who had died in Godric’s Hollow in 1291. Charity gave him a small booklet that contained copies of the birth and wedding certificates of his ancestors as well as a handful of photographs. He found a picture of his grandparents’ wedding as well as a very old photo of his grandfather with his parents. His favourite was a picture of his parents. It had been taken at a Christmas party and they were standing in an embrace smiling at each other.
“She is so pretty,” Harry breathed.
Charity nodded. “That she is.” Turning the page, he found a copy of a portrait. Charity smiled. “This is a portrait of Iolanthe.”
His nose wrinkled. “How do you say that?”
“Yo-lan-thee,” Charity enunciated. “It is a Greek name. It means violet flower.”
“That’s pretty,” he said. “Lots of people in my family are named after flowers.”
He closed the booklet. “Thank you, so much!”
“You are very welcome, Harry,” Charity said. “You were so clever to figure out how to write to me. If you would ever like to send something to put on their graves, I would be happy to do that.”
His eyes lit up. “Really?!”
She nodded. He had to blink away tears. Finally, he would be able to make cards for birthdays or Mothering Sunday. Charity walked them to the doorway and soon Harry and Professor McGonagall were back in the town square.
“Professor, what did you mean earlier when you said I would get my letter this summer?”
“I meant your letter inviting you to Hogwarts,” she replied. “Every wizarding child receives one the summer before they start Hogwarts. You must have turned eleven before the first of September to attend Hogwarts. It will tell you what supplies you need for school.”
He nodded. “My parents left money so I can buy my books and stuff?”
“They certainly did,” she replied. “Why don’t I come visit you after you letter arrives and we can go shopping together?”
“Really? That would be great!”
That night, Harry lay in his new room slowly flipping through the pictures of his family. He actually knew what his parents looked like! He couldn’t wait until Monday — he was going to show Miss Kennel his family pictures. Now he was just like the rest of the students, learning about his family.