It had been a long day and it was about to get longer. Harry and Remus Lupin were at Gringotts sifting through the Potter family vault to make room for Harry’s trust fund and other expenses that would soon follow.
It had taken him only fifteen minutes to go through the paperwork, but they were still in the vault after an hour of organizing only a small fraction of his parents’ furniture and personal effects.
“There is just too much stuff in here, Remus. How am I going to get through all of this?”
Remus turned to him, wiping his forehead with the sleeve of his robe. “I don’t know. Maybe we should devote a few more days to this. That might help.”
“Do you want to do this? You know more of what is in here than I do. Besides, if I’m going to rebuild Potter Manor when this blasted war ends, I’ll need some help furnishing the house. I don’t know what needs to go in it.”
“I don’t think I’m one to do this…”
“Please? I need all the help I can get,” Harry asked, pleadingly. Remus looked at him before chuckling a bit.
“All right, Harry. You look just like your father when he wanted Lily to help him with his schoolwork.”
Harry smiled at the nostalgic comment as Remus headed for the door of the vault.
“I’m stepping out for a moment. Do you need anything?”
“No thanks, I’m okay.”
Harry had backed himself into the far corner of the vault and was sitting surrounded by his parents’ possessions and did not want to fight the stacks of boxes and trunks to get out. There was one problem, though; he needed desperately to stretch out his legs for a while before continuing his job of sorting.
Slowly, and using the wall for support, he raised himself off the ground – only to slip on a book and slam into the wall before sliding back down with a heavy thud. Swearing briefly, he reached for the offending object and was about to throw it across the room when a glint of gold caught his eye. He brought the object closer to discover that the glint was gold foil lettering.
J. Harrison Potter
Harry was about to open the book when Remus appeared in the doorway looking for him. He quickly placed the book in the inside pocket of his robes before getting up successfully and walking toward his friend.
“We need to go. We’re late for your birthday party.”
Harry nodded and followed Remus out and locked the vault door behind him.
It was a long party, a wonderful one and a much-deserved one, too; however, it was still a very long party. It left him exhausted to the point where he was about to fall asleep in his slice of cake. He didn’t dare to because he suspected the twins to think it would be hysterical if they moved Harry’s piece closer to his face just to see if he’d actually do it. Ginny had stopped them with a look and had Remus help Harry up to bed.
He was too exhausted to stop them from taking him upstairs and into his room. Mr and Mrs Weasley had given him his own room this year due to some unfortunate recent events. The war had left Hermione and her parents homeless and the Grangers were staying in Grimmauld Place with Remus to keep them safe while the Weasleys were still at the Burrow. On top of that, many of the Aurors who were helping the Order had been killed by Death Eaters in recent months.
Remus settled Harry onto his bed while Ginny found some pajamas in Harry’s trunk. Harry smiled at the thought and got up to stop her. He thanked her for the gesture and told her that he was fine and walked her out of the room, hugging her before shutting the door.
It was such a hot July night that Harry decided to only wear pajama bottoms and to not sleep under the blankets. Just as his body hit the bed, his thoughts drifted to the book in his robes.
Who was J. Harrison Potter?
Sighing, he rolled off the bed in the darkness and retrieved the book. Shaking his head to get rid of some of the sleepiness, he sat back down and illuminated his wand so he could see.
The book he held was a small, black leather-bound one with his ancestor’s name imprinted on it in the bottom right corner. It reminded him of Tom Riddle’s diary, the one that had possessed Ginny. Shuddering, he continued to look at the book. It seemed harmless to him, and it looked far too worn out to be important. He waved his wand over the cover murmuring, ‘Specialis Revelio’ before he opened it. Nothing happened.
No charms? Wonder why…
He opened the book and found there was writing already in it. He flipped the pages to discover that indeed there were no charms placed to conceal the writing as there had been in Riddle’s diary. He turned back to the front to the first page. The first entry talked about a school he did not know about and what was happening that day. Later, the entries began to expound on joining some small war effort that Harry didn’t know about. The later ones were not much to look at.
25 August 1938
This day marks the tenth week of the same. I woke up and ran 10 miles before breakfast. After that was some more target practice that was continued from the day before followed by lunch. Then I had to attend some lectures and briefings before dinner. Now I only have a few more minutes before lights out and I need to write my family.
Harry rolled his eyes at the monotony of the entries. He thought that a journal would have more personality of the writer such as the opinions he held about his life in this skirmish and maybe a few light rants about his superiors.
He glanced through the entries quickly since they consisted of the same thing for each day. Then he came to some entries for the next year which were longer. Curious, he looked at one entry that caught his eye.
11 September 1939
This upcoming war is starting to make waves across the country and even across the oceans. It’s not been half a year and already I am involved in another fight for power. I shouldn’t complain though seeing that Jeremiah left for a war of another kind. This time, I can’t go out and protect him like I used to. I may be a Squib, but I still want to help and protect him like any other older brother. I never wrote about what happened the day Jeremiah left.
I might as well since I don’t know when I’ll see him again. It must be two weeks since he announced that he would be fighting against Grindelwald. He just finished his sixth year at Hogwarts and already he wants to fight. He said he wanted to make a difference and even brought out the fact that I was fighting with Muggles in their wars. I thought it a childish answer at first, but now I’m not so sure.
Father was not pleased initially with Jeremiah’s insistence, but I saw that he needed to relent and let his younger son grow up. He knows that wars can make anyone grow up faster than they intended, just look at me. I’m only three years older than Jeremiah, but I feel as though I aged ten more years while fighting. He’s only seventeen years old. I hope…I know my brother will be fine. He’s a Potter and that alone will help him. I just hope the stubborn part of him would not overrule his heart. I never really knew why he wanted to join the fight, maybe one day, if we live that long, I’ll ask him.
In other news, I received word that I was promoted from Liaison Officer to Lieutenant, though this information is offhandedly received from another one of my mates who heard it as a rumor. I need to head back to base to confirm this and to start gearing up for this new threat…
Harry reread the entry just to make sure he understood it. He assumed that this Jeremiah Potter helped in the fight against Grindelwald with Dumbledore. He flipped back some pages to see if Jeremiah was mentioned any more, but didn’t see very much information. There were only entries that referred to him as someone to write to.
After that entry, he decided to try and read the journal a bit more, only to discover that the entries were once again monotonous. Bored with these new passages, he turned a few pages before stopping at an entry marked “6 June 1944”. He remembered that date was known as D-Day in Muggle history and started to read.
6 June 1944
Today is the day we are to land in Normandy. The lads are worried about what will happen when we get there, but this is war so there is bound to be trouble ahead. These lads do not know war. I’ve seen some of it at home, in front of their own noses even. Those Muggles do not know what a war can be like. Jeremiah’s been fighting in it for about five years now and I’m amazed he’s still alive. He’s had some close calls lately, but he’s optimistic that it will end soon. He stated that Albus Dumbledore, a professor of his at Hogwarts, is figuring out a way to end the war before the end of next year. That Great War of Grindelwald will be one they’ll talk about for ages after it’s over. That is what a war is.
If I were not a Squib, I would be fighting Grindelwald as well. At least here I can try and make my parents proud by fighting in this one. I’ve been an LO for some time now and now a Lieutenant. I remember the day I left again after my temporary leave; my mother hugged me to her with glistening eyes while my father remained stoic as he shook my hand. Stoicism must be a Potter family trait. I know that I must have done the same thing when Jeremiah said he would be fighting against Grindelwald with his friends.
There’s been much conversing between the Allies about this particular war, based on what I could glean from the Generals without breaching security. They already consider this the worst war of the century, so they say. I know of wizard wars and how to get from place to place, but this Muggle boat is not a good idea. There are about forty of us that I can see around here…
J. Harrison sat in one corner of the landing craft attempting to write in his journal while waiting to reach Normandy. The rough seas made this nearly impossible but he was determined to put his tangled thoughts down on paper before he became too seasick to write. His company was to join the other Ally battalions in invading Normandy to get the Germans. Get them, he thought, right and we’ll shock the hell out of them when we arrive in these cumbersome boats. He had scoffed the idea, but was silent while being briefed. Now he was sitting, waiting until the boat opened along with the rest of his comrades.
Sometimes his thoughts would go to his family, especially his brother. His brother was on the front lines in the fight against Grindelwald with his friends. J. Harrison was a non-wizard raised by wizards, in other words, a Squib. He wished he could do more magic; however, that would not be so and a Squib he would remain.
His family was still supportive of him and sent him to the best Muggle schools for his education. The Potter boys would be educated in two-fold; his brother would have the usual Hogwarts education learning incantations and history while he would learn of the Muggle world and all that it entailed. Now he would be involved in war like his brother, but a war of a different kind. This would be the war of the century for the Muggles; one that was far worse than World War I.
His landing craft was slowing down and preparing to disgorge its passengers onto the beaches of Normandy. He was originally supposed to be on the H.M.S. Scylla but they were to depart later as long as the weather continued to be decent and his group was leaving on another boat; one he could not remember the name of. Harrison could see his mates getting to their feet and preparing for the invasion.
Only his friend Frank called him that. “Yeah.”
“Ready to take down those Nazi bastards?” Frank asked him while lacing his boots.
He only looked at Frank before nodding. Smiling, Frank left him to rouse his other troop members leaving him to his thoughts. He could feel the boat scraping the bottom and the hatch doors starting to open. He could hear the others already storming the shore as best they could with shells flying and guns firing at the enemy. There was no distinction as to who was doing well in this battle, but it did not matter now. It was time for him to embark on a journey of his own in fighting this war.
The doors opened to reveal Hell on the shores of Northern France.
Never thought I would see what Hell looked like up close. The Germans did a considerable amount of damage to those who got to shore first. Barbed wire and huge metal hedgehogs which had been erected there to wreck any ship or boat that came too close into shore lined the beach while bodies of brave, martyred soldiers littered the shoreline and sea. Not something I want to remember but need to so that others will learn firsthand the horrors of war. I know I’ll be having nightmares of this for a while…
“Try having them your whole life,” muttered Harry as he turned the page.
He was so engrossed in reading this journal that he didn’t notice it was getting extremely late. He took his watch off the bedside table and saw that it was five past three in the morning. He blinked a few times and looked at his watch again to be sure that he was not hallucinating. Now it was six past three in the morning, and only then did he realize how tired he was. This ‘Hank’ person was very verbose but also very descriptive in his accounts of what happened that day. With a sigh, Harry closed the diary and put it back in the pocket of his robes. He wanted to read more, but that would have to wait until the morning when he could be alone and awake.
“Nox,” he whispered and closed his eyes.
Harry awoke to bright sunlight streaming though the curtains and into his eyes. Turning over, he blinked away his sleepiness and looked at his watch. Mrs. Weasley must have left him alone since it was closer to lunchtime than breakfast.
He grabbed some clothes and quickly showered. Today was not an important day, but he did want to stop by Diagon Alley with Remus to get Ginny something for her birthday which was coming in about two weeks. He smirked before turning the shower knob to ‘cold’ and dashing any randy thoughts of the ginger-haired witch out of his head. No need to think about that now.
Fifteen minutes later, he finally descended the stairs to see Mrs. Weasley cooking lunch and his friends sitting around the table playing Exploding Snap.
“About time, mate. Are you all right?” Ron asked him as he got to the table.
“I’m fine, Ron. Didn’t sleep well again,” Harry said offhandedly as he sat down.
“There’s got to be something that can help that, I mean, you didn’t have nightmares last year.”
“It’s all right, they come and go. Don’t worry Ron. You worry just about as much as Hermione does,” he told Ron. While Ron’s ears turned a light shade of red, Harry asked, “Now then, a general question: where’s Remus?”
“He’s at Hogwarts for the day with Minerva,” Mrs. Weasley answered. “He won’t be back until later this evening. Why?”
“Just wondering. Thanks.”
He looked at his friends with a small grin on his face before joining them in their game.
When Mrs. Weasley said later in the evening, she was not kidding. Remus came in around ten and found Harry sitting by the fireplace reading a worn paperback book with furrowed brows.
“All right there?”
Harry jumped out of his chair and quickly put a slip of parchment to mark his place in the book.
“Don’t do that!” he exclaimed as he stood up.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Interesting book there, Harry?”
“This?” he asked holding the book up. Remus nodded. “It was something I found in the vault. No charms on it so don’t worry about it being hexed.”
“That’s good, although I wouldn’t worry too much about a charmed paperback book. Were you waiting for me?”
“Yeah. I was going to ask you if you could take me to Diagon Alley some time before Ginny’s birthday.”
“I could…any particular place in mind?”
“Must you ask? It’s nothing bad. It just may be another trip to Gringotts as well so I can get her gift.”
“You know she hates charity.”
”I know. It involves getting money out so I could buy her gift,” Harry told him before adding. “While we’re at Gringotts, we could work on the Potter vault again.”
“Smart thinking, but the vault may have to wait until much later. There have been threats on the bank so a quick run to withdraw would be best. I don’t need you in there in case there is an invasion. So how about tomorrow?”
“Fine. Good night, Remus.”
“Good night Harry,” he said as he headed up the stairs.
Harry went back to his chair and resumed where he left off.
…that I hate hiding. This is the fifth day hiding in trees, bushes, and ditches and I am tired of it. I was lucky to get out of there with my life and that’s saying a lot. At the moment, there is some time to breathe. I haven’t been able to write like this since we got to Normandy. I don’t sleep much, and I would be writing more if I could do some more of magic. Lumos and Never-Ending Ink quills would be helpful right now.
I have a mission to fulfill but that will happen soon enough. At least it’s not delivering messages this time, they’re using messenger pigeons for that…that is…they were utilizing this method of delivering messages around the time I left. It’s amazing how Muggles can train pigeons to act like owls in delivering messages. I should enlighten those Muggles one of these days when I get back; that is, if I get back. I still miss Frank. He would have been complaining like me, but at least the two of us would be able to have fun with it. Damn Nazis.
I somehow managed to get out of the line of fire with my mates firing on the Nazis as we went along. Out of all the soldiers in my unit, only about seven survived, including me. As we went along the terrain, we gathered more into our group who survived the onslaught of shells, bullets and shrapnel. There was a Yank we managed to meet up with after we moved away from the coast. The unit he was in was all killed in the fray and he managed to escape with his life. Now our group is at a dozen men, all worn and tired.
The Yank is civil enough with the rest of us as we make our way through the French countryside. His name is Ronald Myers, but I call him Ron for short. He has a family with two sons back at home that he worries about. He even has a picture of them in his front pocket that he showed me once. It’s one of those Muggle pictures that don’t move. They look similar to my brother and me when we were their age; one looks about three and the other is still a baby. He sometimes talks to me about why he’s here and why he’s fighting in this god-forsaken war…
“Well what, Ron?”
“Well. How’s it going for you? I mean, we got past the hard part of getting past the German fortifications.”
“I know, but I lost some good friends back there, and you still seem optimistic about the whole ordeal,” Harrison noted offhandedly while Ron looked off into the distance.
“I lost some of my friends too, Hank. We all did.” He sighed wearily. “We just got to keep going, you know? We keep on going until this war ends and we are at peace again. Hopefully, this peacetime won’t be too short. I hope that my children don’t fight in a war like me.”
Harrison looked at him and gave a small grin. Ron always knew how to help him out. He never let Harrison dwell on the past, but lifted him to the future and helped him keep on going. Not many people could do that, not even his brother. He hoped that if he got out alive, he would meet someone wonderful to marry; he would name one of his children Ron.
Snapping twigs pulled him out of his thoughts as the company gathered together to hear what the scout had to say. When the scout came, he had news of the troops ahead of them. The Germans were moving south and destroying towns on the way. News of what was happening beyond Axis borders was scarce and areas controlled by them were not willing to release information of their current status.
They were to stay on their current course eastward to Brussels and to not get captured. Other companies were to head to Paris and other towns to liberate them from German control. Harrison was skeptical of how the towns would be liberated, but he kept his opinion to himself as they gathered their belongings and headed down the hill.
“Hmm?” he muttered incoherently.
“Harry, wake up.”
Harry slowly opened his eyes and looked at his surroundings. He saw that he was still curled up in his chair next to the fireplace with Ginny looking at him in confusion. He figured that he must have slept there overnight unintentionally. Turning his head slightly, he glanced at the clock to his left to discover that he had indeed spent the night in a chair. He made a mental note to never sleep in a chair again as he got up to stretch. As he stretched, he felt painful cricks race through the muscles in his neck and legs from being curled up tightly overnight.
“Mmmm,” he mumbled as he rubbed his neck.
He turned to the chair and found his book on the floor next to the blanket. Ginny, fortunately, had not noticed him drop the book and went to the kitchen. He scooped it up, sauntered upstairs to put it back in his room, and soon got ready for the day.
I wonder if that journal talks about anyone else from the wizarding world Harrison left behind. Harry wondered as he bounded down the stairs and colliding with Remus who was on his way up. The two tumbled down the stairs finally coming to a stop with Remus at the bottom of the steps and Harry sprawled a few steps above Remus. Harry was first on his feet helping Remus while the other occupants who heard the commotion looked on with a mixture of concern and amusement.
After reassuring everyone they were all right, they quickly left for Diagon Alley without further trouble.
25 June 1944
My father will be celebrating his birthday today. I wonder if Jeremiah is there with him today. That would be a nice birthday gift for father, a son coming home for a while. It’s just a pity I can’t do the same. Not enough magic in me to Apparate. If I had that kind of magic, I would be with Jeremiah instead of here. Now is not the time to wallow in self-defeat.
No matter though, I am still in hiding. We have been heading northeast for a few weeks now with little success. One of the members of the company fell ill and we waited for him to recover. There is little time for writing and little time to ourselves since we have to be on the lookout always. Terrible.
We tried finding an inhabited village for shelter, hoping the people might offer us some assistance. Unfortunately, most of the villages were burned or abandoned by the citizens; useful for shelter from the elements, but worthless if you’re looking for medical supplies or food. Ron is a good doctor to my comrade. I never asked if he took a course in medicine though, it would seem too intrusive of a topic to discuss at the time. I, for one, wish that I had a basic knowledge of Muggle medicine; that would be useful in times like these. I should have looked at my brother’s notes on Potions and Herbology back when he still let me look at them. There are interesting-looking plants and mosses around here. I wish I knew more about Herbology. Maybe I could be of help to Ron...
Harrison was intently studying another lichen-covered rock and mentally kicking himself for not paying attention to his brother. Jeremiah had a knack for herbs and plants—he excelled in Herbology at Hogwarts—and whenever things went awry these days, Harrison found that thinking about his brother seemed to calm his thoughts.
He glanced over to Ron who was helping his comrade, John, with his continuing illness. John had become alarmingly ill shortly after they invaded Normandy, but he brushed it off. Now the disease was getting worse after a few weeks of walking in scorching sun and sleeping for only a few, if any, hours at a time.
Ron and a few others had tried to tell the leaders that they needed to rest for longer than half a day, but they did not listen until John collapsed into an old shell crater. It took most of the day to get John out of the hole since everyone was exhausted and spent. After John’s collapse, the entire group took shelter in the woods and John was now on the road to recovery.
That road, however, is a hard one to get to. No one could figure out what was wrong with John. Even Ron tried by asking him about injuries he got or medicines that he needed to take, but he could not answer them.
Harrison saw that Ron was getting a reprieve from his work by his other comrade William and saw Ron head to the tents.
“Yeah, Hank?” he sighed.
“I should have asked earlier, but how do you know all this information about medicine?” Harrison asked haltingly, hoping he wasn’t too officious.
“That’s it? Oh…I learned it from school. I went to a medical school before I married. I’m not a doctor in practice though. I wanted to spend time with my family more than anything else in the world.”
“I take it you miss them?”
“Yeah. I do,” Ron stated wistfully as he headed into the tent.
Harrison left the area around the tent to walk out onto the precipice where John fell and looked at the landscape before him. It was such a mundane question to ask, he thought. Why did I ask that?
There was more to his friend Ron than he thought.
“In a minute, in a minute. Let your brother finish kicking my arse in chess first and then I’ll talk,” Harry said as he moved another chess piece across the board.
He knew it was a losing battle, but at least he was going to try and finish it. Most chess games these days were either interrupted or postponed due to ‘other engagements’ Ron had with Hermione. He snorted at the thought and smirked despite himself. It was still strange to him to see his two best friends together like that. At least their rows are shorter now.
He and Ginny on the other hand were different; he couldn’t explain how or why it seemed different, but it made sense in his mind. There was something that sparked each time he was with Ginny, but he didn’t want to act too irrationally lest he get his heart broken. Now, it was he who had broken it off with her to protect her from Voldemort’s wrath.
He was scared that she would be hurt on his account for anything that involved Voldemort, but he wanted to be with her simply because he loved her. He closed his eyes and let his mind wander to when they were going out along with those moments at the lake whenever he did not have detention. The way her hands fit in mine, that soft, red hair…
“What?!” he retorted as his eyes snapped open.
“Your move,” Ron stated impatiently.
Harry looked at the board for a minute before moving his piece in what looked like a checkmate. Almost. Ron snorted a laugh and quickly cornered him with a brilliant move by his knight, thus ensuring another chess downfall for Harry.
“Shut it, you,” Harry muttered with a small grin.
Ron picked up the board and moved to another room leaving Ginny and Harry alone.
“You wanted to talk?”
“Sort of. It’s more like a question really.”
Uh-oh. “All right. What’s the question?” he asked not trusting his voice.
“Are you all right? You’ve seemed quiet lately.”
Oh, that. “I’m fine. Just got a lot on my mind lately; like going through the family vault, finding an end to the war, you knowing about the Horcruxes, and other stuff like that. It’s a lot to think about really,” he sighed before looking directly into her eyes. “Sorry if it seems like I’m aloof. I don’t mean to. If I do mean to, you’ll know and everyone else will try and stop me. Trust me on that one. I snapped at Ron and Hermione in fifth year for that.”
“I know. I just didn’t want that to happen again. I’m just letting you know—and I know you hear this a hundred times a day—that I’m here for you if you want to talk about anything,” she said, reaching for his hand.
“Thank you, Ginny. That means a lot. It really does. I don’t say it enough but I do appreciate it,” he said softly. He squeezed her fingers gently to reassure her.
“All right. Well, good night, Harry,” she said before walking up the stairs.
He was not about to tell her about the journal and how reading it took up most of his time. She hated journals after her first year and for good reason. This was definitely not something to tell her about, yet.
Yawning, he turned to the clock and noticed that it was close to midnight. Taking the time as his cue, he went upstairs to bed.
Fog. There was a lot of fog this morning. It was thick too. Seeing the camp was almost impossible.
He shook his head to clear his mind and looked around. There were others with him just waking as well. He noticed the sunrise off in the distance that would clear the air around him.
He got up and walked around, stretching his body from another night sleeping on the ground. He walked a little way into the woods and felt chilled. Chilled from a warm summer’s night? He looked around, squinting his eyes to focus better through the fog. It looked like someone was watching him.
He almost turned to the camp, but decided against it. Instead he walked slowly toward the person, or animal that was watching him. With each step he felt colder. How could a person do this?
He reached the person only to discover that it was just some dense brush. After investigating further, he decided that it was just his imagination playing tricks on him and started to head back to the camp.
The fog was clearing, so the camp was easier to find. He had to duck under some of the low-hanging trees and one of the branches snagged his shirt. Turning, he reached for the branch to disentangle himself and found a bony, long-fingered hand instead. Startled, he looked up to see a pair of blood red eyes staring back at him…
Harry quickly sat up, panting from his nightmare blinking rapidly in the dark room. After waking up fully, he detangled himself from his sweat-soaked sheets and thought about what just happened. Not again, he thought. His nightmares with Voldemort concentrated on seeing the world through his eyes and all the horrors he committed. This time he was hunted as Harrison. Couldn’t be. Voldemort would have been in school during this. The Chamber of Secrets was opened before the fall of Grindelwald so Voldemort couldn’t be in France at the time, he reasoned with himself.
He flopped back down onto the bed and looked up at the ceiling before reaching for the journal. It would be a while before he could fall asleep again; what would be a better way to pass the time than by reading. He found his slip of parchment and resumed his reading.
A/N: I want to thank my extremely wonderful beta Arnel for helping me work this story to its fullest creative potential. I have no idea how I would have made it without her.