Harry spent the night at the pub, tossing and turning from the
stress of the day. Several times, he woke up in a cold sweat, clutching
his wand and fearing for his sanity. He finally dragged himself down to
the bottom floor of the building at four in the morning. He found
Malfoy, Moody, and Rosmerta already awake.
"So, your father is most likely to do this, based on your experience?" Rosmerta was asking. She pushed a beer cap across a map.
Malfoy responded. "He may be powerful, but he's also a coward. Ottery
St. Catchpole is too well defended. Godric's Hollow is the same way. If
I were my father, I'd probably go after Hogsmeade.
"Hmph. Lucius has pulled courage out of his hat before. Remember the time the Death Eaters attacked Hogwarts?" Moody said.
lead to Sirius' becoming Headmaster. If I didn't know better, I'd swear
the castle itself seems to have an affinity with him," Rosmerta said
"I doubt anything would dare touch the school, in that
case," Harry said. Moody chuckled and Rosmerta gasped. Malfoy dropped
out of his chair and into a roll, coming up with his wand pointed at
"Merlin's beard Harry! Don't do that!" Malfoy shouted.
Draco, seeing as you've probably risen half the dead, I'll start on
breakfast," Rosmerta said, throwing Malfoy a disgusted look. Sure
enough, it wasn't but a minute or two before an angry patron stumbled
down the stairs.
"Curse the lot of you! What's the meaning of all this noise?" the man said.
noise, Billingsly? Best lay off the good stuff for a while, or you're
liable to start seeing things as well," Moody cut in.
shook his head, muttering, "Stupid alcohol. Why does it have to be so
good?" He then turned around and trudged back up the stairs. Another
man appeared a moment later.
"Did someone die?" the man asked,
sitting down at a table and resting his head in his arms. Without
waiting for a response he continued, "Whatever you're cooking smells
wonderful. A plate, if you please."
"Coming up," Rosmerta said.
"Didn't like the sleeping accommodations, Potter?" Moody asked.
"Nothing wrong with them. I just couldn't sleep," Harry said, yawning.
"Sirius will be here later, along with your parents. They'll take you home," Rosmerta called from her stove.
"Damn!" Harry spat. This reaction clearly shocked Moody, who was standing near Harry.
"What was that, Potter?" Moody asked.
"I said, damn!" Harry reiterated.
"Something wrong with you, boy?"
"No, there's just something wrong with everyone else!" Harry yelled.
"Really," Moody said sarcastically.
I wake up yesterday in a totally strange environment, surrounded by
people who are either not themselves, or alive when they should be
dead!" Harry complained.
Moody narrowed his eye so much it
almost disappeared. The magical eye swiveled in its socket. "Maybe
you'd better tell me the whole story, Potter."
By the time Harry was finished, Lockhart had joined them, and Moody was frowning.
"This isn't the first time I've heard something like this," Moody said.
"It isn't?" Harry sputtered.
shook his head gravely. "No. Years and years back, there was a wizard
who was to be executed for the murder of several Muggles. He was
strangely quiet up until the day before his death. He never said
anything other than, �"What's done is done. This is the path I set and
this is the path I'll die on.' The day before his execution, he started
screaming about how this wasn't his world; he was a successful
businessman and he'd never killed anyone. He said the whole world had
gone crazy and he hadn't done anything. He kept claiming he was
innocent right up until the Dementor's Kiss. We thought he'd cracked
and that the stress of knowing his death was coming had pushed him over
"And if it wasn't?" Harry shuddered.
were numerous reported sightings of him for about five years after his
death. The Ministry never took any of it seriously, though," Moody
"Good God," Harry muttered.
"This is all
classified, Potter. You're not to repeat it to anyone save perhaps
Dumbledore, your parents, or one of your father's friends. This is a
magical agreement," Moody said sternly, holding up his wand.
touched the tip of his wand to the tip of Moody's wand. Both glowed for
a moment, before becoming normal. Moody then repeated the same order to
Lockhart, who seemed to take it very seriously.
Sirius arrived a moment later. Harry's heart nearly stopped, seeing him again.
"Something the matter, Harry?" Lockhart whispered to him.
"Sirius is dead in my universe," Harry said, his voice thick. Lockhart didn't comment.
"Harry?" Sirius spoke up, "Are you all right?"
Before Harry could say anything, Moody answered, "No. Have you ever heard of case file alpha alpha seven zero?"
Sirius' face constricted instantly. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," Moody replied.
Sirius exchanged a short glance with Rosmerta, who nodded. "The upstairs meeting room then. Now."
Harry found himself behind a door which had been sealed and rendered soundproof less than a minute later.
"You know why the Ministry takes this case seriously, Sirius," Moody spat.
know. We can't afford to have another person shift like the last one.
Imagine if Voldemort managed it? He would probably try to build power
in the other place, and then come back here with an army of
duplicates," Sirius said coldly. He glanced at Harry for a moment, and
then took a vial out of his vest pocket.
"Harry, this is
Veritaserum. I want you to repeat your story under its influence. I'm
going to use a Quick Quotes Quill to record everything. You can be sure
it will record exactly what you say."
Harry conjured up a goblet of water, and Sirius spilled three drops into it. Harry took a swallow, a grimace on his face.
"Tell me what happened and how you came to be here," Sirius ordered.
was testing an experimental Portkey--" Harry began, relating his entire
story word for word once more. Sirius' face was dark when he finished.
return in a few minutes. Moody, watch Harry," Sirius said, before
Apparating away. He was back in about ten minutes, with Remus,
Wormtail, James, and Dumbledore in tow.
"You're absolutely certain, Sirius? You used three drops?" Remus was asking.
"Yes, Moony. Three drops," Sirius said.
still fail to understand what it is you are trying to say, Sirius,"
Dumbledore deadpanned. Apparently, this universe's Dumbledore wasn't as
well informed as Harry's own had been.
Sirius handed Dumbledore the parchment that contained Harry's story.
"It seems to me like Harry has an overactive imagination," Dumbledore said, handing the parchment back to Sirius.
"We have reason to believe Harry is telling the truth, Chancellor."
eyes lost their twinkle. He was suddenly all business. "If Harry is
truly not of this universe, the consequences could be...severe."
"We need to try and recreate this enhanced Portkey," Sirius replied. James frowned.
"So this young man really isn't my son," James muttered, sounding lost.
Harry's face clouded up. "Can I speak with James alone for a moment?"
Sirius glanced at Harry, but then nodded. The others left the room, one by one.
James looked at Harry for a long moment. "I guess I sounded pretty mad, telling you to quit scaring your mother."
father died when I was less than two years old. You don't know how long
I've dreamed of hearing him...you...him...say something like that. I
don't know if I'll ever have another chance to speak with...well, some
one who could have been my father. I just wanted to tell you that I
think you'd have made a good one."
James smiled, and reached toward Harry, but then faltered. Then he repeated the motion. Harry took James' hand.
"I'm glad I got the chance to meet you," he said. James nodded.
The others came in a moment later, after receiving a signal from James.
"James, Remus and I have a plan for this Portkey. But I'll need the Potter seal," Sirius said.
"For Harry, anything," James replied.
"We'll meet you at Hogwarts," Remus instructed them.
Harry nodded, "That's probably the safest place. As long as you've sealed the Chamber of Secrets."
"The Chamber is a myth, Harry," Remus cut in.
"Yeah, sure," Harry retorted.
"I suppose you can prove it?" Remus wondered aloud.
"Yes. I think so," Harry told him.
"And I suppose you know what the monster is?" Remus asked gently.
"A basilisk," Harry explained. Sirius suddenly looked a lot more distressed.
"Alastor, d'you mind if I just take him now?" Sirius asked.
"Under the circumstances, no," Moody said flatly.
was running up the path from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts moments later,
trying desperately to keep pace with Sirius. Once they stepped into the
main entrance, Harry took the lead. Several minutes later they stood
outside the girls' toilet. Sirius cracked the door.
there's anyone in here, hurry up and get out!" he said. Harry looked
sideways at him. Clearly the post of Headmaster had done a job on
Sirus' "all business" side.
One girl gave a terrified squeak
and ran away. No further noise came from the room so Harry and Sirius
stepped into it. Sirius turned around and sealed it magically
afterward. Harry approached the familiar sink.
What if this doesn't work? He thought. I
don't have my scar, so it's possible I can't speak Parsletongue. On the
other hand, my mind seems to be intact. Maybe the change is only skin
He looked at the sink, narrowed his eyes, and imagined the snake craved there was moving. "Open up."
enough, the strange hissing noises caused the sink to begin to move
downward into the floor. From the looks of things, Sirius was not pleased about this development at all.
"I thought you already knew this was here," Harry told him.
did. But I couldn't open it, and I thought no one else could either.
Except maybe Voldemort. There's a basilisk in there?" Sirius demanded.
"Yes. It's sixty feet long," Harry confirmed.
"What happened to it in your universe?"
killed it. Ginny Weasley was down there because of Voldemort's diary.
He was trying to use her life force to come back to life. I stopped
him," Harry explained.
"In our universe she was killed," Sirius breathed.
mood turned grave. "I know," he whispered. "As long as no one closes
it, the entrance to the chamber will stay open. But there is another
doorway down there that needs opening, and I'm afraid that might wake
the snake up."
"I'll take care of that. Just teach me how to say that phrase," Sirius replied.
"I'm not sure how safe that--" Harry began, but Sirius grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around.
"We're talking about lives, Harry; about my students. I don't give a damn how safe you think it is!"
Harry unsealed the door and held it open. Sirius crossed though with Harry behind him.
"Well?" Sirius asked.
"Wait," Harry muttered, as they walked away from the loo. "Ok. Now I think we're far enough away. The phrase is, "Open up," he finished in Parsletongue. Sirius repeated it to himself, with Harry coaching his pronunciation.
"I think you've got it now."
"Okay," was all Sirius said.
"Do you think you'll be able to send me home?" Harry wanted to know.
honestly don't know. I think we can duplicate the process, based on
what you told us about how the key was created. As to whether it will
work like it should, I have no idea."
"Oh," Harry said, dejected.
"Do I have a double?" Sirius asked.
Rather than go into the details about Sirius' death, Harry replied, "Yes."
"Do the other Marauders?" Sirius pressed.
"Have we ever let you down?" Sirius continued. Harry thought about this for a moment, and decided, "No. I suppose not."
You got yourself killed, but this you doesn't need to know that.
"Then trust in us. We'll do our best," Sirius said, clapping Harry on the back.
Nearly six hours later, Harry was shaken awake by Sirius.
"I think we're ready. Are you?" he asked. Harry nodded.
Harry, I don't know for certain if this is going to work. It may be
better for you if you just stay here. I mean, from what you've told me,
you have it pretty well off in this universe, what with James and Lily
here, and Hermione so attached to you."
Harry turned and
looked at Sirius, though his mind really wasn't on the man before him.
"I know. Things do seem to be better for me here. I can't say
otherwise. But they're not better for everyone, are they? Ginny's dead,
Professor McGonagall is as well. The wizarding world has been at war
now for how long?"
"Almost thirty years," James answered before Sirius could respond.
years too long. As much as I want to stay, to help where I can--this
isn't my world. This isn't where I belong. James and Lily--as wonderful
as they seem--aren't the parents I lost. You aren't the godfather I
grew to care for, and Remus isn't the professor who wanted so much for
me to succeed. I appreciate all you've done for me, but I have to go
"As you wish, Harry," Sirius replied.
Harry approached James and Lily. They looked at him as they held hands, and a single tear escaped Lily's eye.
"You would have made wonderful parents."
"Thank you," James whispered. Lily reached for Harry and drew him into a hug.
"You be careful. Don't forget," she said.
"I won't. I promise." Harry whispered in her ear. Then he turned to Sirius.
"Here's the Portkey. Good luck."
Harry grabbed the Portkey. A flash of blue light filled his vision, and he hurtled toward oblivion.