Harry stared at the enormous man before him, and then at his aunt and uncle. At last, he found his voice. "My Mum and Dad were blown up? You told me they died in a car crash!"
"CAR CRASH?" yelled Hagrid, outraged. He glared at Harry. "How could a car crash kill Lily an' James Potter?"
"Well, a car crash could kill anyone, if it was bad enough," Harry replied.
"Not a witch an' a wizard as good as that!" Hagrid countered.
"Then what did kill them?" asked Harry. He was not entirely sure that he wanted to hear the answer, but another opportunity to ask the question might never come.
"You-Know-Who," said Hagrid in a fear-filled voice.
"No," said Harry. "I don't know anything about my parents."
"That's obvious. These lousy Muggles never tol' you anything. That's why I'm tryin' to explain about 'em."
"So who killed them?"
"You know who," Harry corrected.
"I mean, you can tell me his name."
Harry decided that it would be better to try a different tactic. "Were my parents' obituaries reported in a newspaper?"
"Naturally, they were."
"And you know who killed them, according to the newspaper?"
"Of course! They could hardly put the blame on someone else."
"Well, he did have some followers," said Hagrid thoughtfully.
"You know who had these followers."
"That's what I said."
Harry wondered if he was caught in an odd dream. The giant had told him nothing about his parents' deaths. Perhaps it was only wishful thinking that he would ever learn anything about them. "Who blew up my parents' house?"
"So." Harry had never before had a chance to garner such information, and he began to warm to the task of ferreting out the truth. "Who gave me this scar?" he demanded.
"Why do you keep saying that?"
"Yeh keep asking."
"You know who killed my parents," said Harry flatly.
"Yes," agreed the giant.
"Then why won't you tell me?"
"I jus' did. Now, You-Know-Who killed your parents."
"No, I don't know who killed my parents."
"Yes, yeh do. I just told yeh."
Harry's eyes narrowed in frustration. "Are you serious?" He was startled when the giant paled beneath his tangled beard.
"How-- how-- do you know about him?" Harry remained silent, so Hagrid kept speaking.
"I told you, my name is Rubeus Hagrid. I'm not your godfather. Understand? I'm not like your godfather."
"I didn't say you were," said Harry, sensing that he had upset the giant but not knowing how he'd done it. He thought it best not to mention that he didn't have a godfather.
"He'll never get to you. Now, I don't know how you didn't know about You-Know-Who but you know about Black--"
"Well, it would be hard not to know about black. Everyone knows about black." Harry was relieved that the giant was finally saying something he understood. He wondered, though, why this visitor would ask about something like a color. Perhaps things were different in the world from which he had come.
Hagrid leaned forward. "Just what do you know about Black?"
Harry gestured at the far corner of the room, where his uncle, aunt, and cousin were huddled away from the bright flickering of the fire. "Well, black is . . . dark."
Hagrid stared at Harry's pseudo-family. "They told you that?"
"Well, yeah, I guess. It was pretty obvious."
"Obvious that Black was Dark? I tell yeh, no one at the time thought it was obvious. It was a great shock."
"But it's obvious in hindsight," said Harry tactfully. Wizards probably didn't need much common sense if they couldn't die from things like car accidents.
"I guess it is," replied Hagrid. "Now, come with me. We'll get yer things fer school." Harry agreeably left with the giant, deciding that even if he could not have a sensible conversation with the man, time spent with him would be better than time spent with the Dursleys.
Harry fell asleep that night still thinking over his conversation with Hagrid; and he began to consider that perhaps Hagrid had been talking about a person named "Sirius Black." In his dream, he saw a tired-looking prisoner conversing with-- was that James Potter?
"James," Sirius murmured hoarsely. "James, you're here. You've come back to life? You can't come back to life. Surely-- surely you must be joking?"
"I'm dead, Sirius," said James witheringly. "And don't call me Shirley."
"Why are you here?"
James shrugged. "I'm just a hallucination of yours. I thought I'd tell you that your godson is getting ready to attend Hogwarts. But there's a problem at Hogwarts."
Sirius looked alarmed. "Hogwarts! What is it?"
"It's a big wizarding school that we graduated from, but that's not important right now," said James. "Listen, Voldemort is going to try to take over again. You need to escape from here. And I know for a fact that you will."
"I will? When?"
"I can't tell," James admitted.
"You can tell me. I'm stuck here anyway."
"No, I mean I don't know."
"Can you at least guess?" begged Sirius.
"In a few years."
"You can't guess for a few years?"
"No, you'll escape in a few years."
Sirius sighed. "Will Harry be all right until then?"
"Yes," assured James. "Listen, I'll even tell you a little bit about his first year." And suddenly, Harry was able to see himself through the eyes of Sirius and James. It was a month or so into the future, and Harry was sitting at a long table laden with food. Beside Harry was a tall, red-haired boy who was conversing with what could only have been a ghost.
"I don't think I've introduced myself?" the ghost was saying. "Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service."
"Hey! Wait! I know you!" said the red-haired boy. "You're Nearly Headless Nick! I've heard about you!"
"I would prefer that you call me--" the ghost injected, but the boy ignored him.
"I think you're the greatest, but my brothers say you don't work hard enough at controlling Peeves. They say that your head doesn't even come all the way off--"
The ghost looked around cautiously, and when he saw that Harry and the others were distracted, he grabbed the red-haired boy by the throat. "Listen, kid," he said. "I've been hearing that for almost five hundred years. Don't you think I wanted them to make a clean job of it? Tell your brothers to listen to Sir Patrick the Properly Beheaded all day long!"
Roughly, the ghost released the boy, and Harry awoke from his dream within a dream. It was nice, he reflected as the dream vanished from his memory, that Sirius Black was going to break out of prison just to protect Harry.
If only Harry knew from who.
Disclaimer: If Harry Potter and his friends weren't fictional, they'd be very thankful that I don't own them. And that JKR does. The author shares ownership with Raincoast Books, Scholastic, and Warner Brothers, among others. "Who's On First" is an Abbott and Costello routine. I own no Abbott and Costello routines. "Don't call me Shirley!" and the jokes following it were borrowed from the movie "Airplane!" which was written by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. I do not own "Airplane!" except on VHS. I am making no money by playing with other peoples' toys.