A/N: The first Journal entry is a first person version of a story titled "Stargazing" by harrystwin1 on SIYE. I got permission from her to use the idea after reading it for myself. Her story is truly entertaining and well worth the time to read. In other words the idea is hers, and I couldn't improve upon it, so I wrote my version of her story within my own. I give her full credit for the idea, and thank her for permission to use it.
One thing older Harry had suggested to his younger self was that he keeps a journal. This would let him compare memories of the first timeline with events that happened in this one, and help him take note of any changes. Of special note were three entries which showed prominent changes from the previous timeline:
June 19, 1993
It has been three weeks since I killed the Basilisk, and I am still having trouble sleeping. I came so close to losing Ginny that day; it leaves me having nightmares about not getting to her in time. I have taken to wandering the castle at night when this happens. It helps seeing that there is no longer a monster to deal with. The danger is over for now. But I still can't get over feeling guilty that I didn't see the difficulty she was going through.
As with the other nights since the chamber, I awoke last night from what has become my usual nightmare. So I decided to go for a walk. Putting on my invisibility cloak, I slipped out through the portrait hole, and spent the rest of last night wandering the halls.
For some reason, I felt drawn to the Astronomy Tower; I knew there wasn't a class tonight, and climbed the stairs to the top. When I got there, I found Ginny sitting in the middle of the floor. She looked so lost as if she wasn't sure about what to do. I stood by the door and waited to see if she would react, but she just sat there looking at the stars. I noticed her hair and how it hung down around her shoulders. The moonlight made it glow in a way I had never seen before.
Suddenly, she turned her head to look in my direction. Strangely, she was looking right at me, and for a moment I thought she could see me there. After a moment that seemed to last an eternity, she returned to stargazing and I carefully moved to sit beside her.
I sat watching her for what felt like hours. She eventually pointed toward some constellations, and was apparently talking to herself as she told the stories of the people they represented. She also spoke of some childhood memories, and in that instant, I saw again the innocent little Ginny that had come down the stairs my first day at the Burrow.
I turned my attention back to the sky and recognized some of the stars and constellations from Astronomy class. I was surprised at how they really resembled the things they represented. She started to speak again and said, "Star light; Star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish, I wish tonight."
She sat silent for a very long time, and I began to think she had fallen asleep. Deciding to reveal my presence and make sure she got back to the dormitory alright, I began to reach up and remove the cloak when she abruptly stood up and walked past me. Softly, so softly, that if I hadn't been listening with every fibre of my being and if it hadn't been so quiet, I'm sure that it would have been impossible to hear her say, "Thank you, Harry, for saving my life." I sat dumbstruck till the sun began to rise, painting the early morning sky in gold, pinks, reds, and purple. I then rose and went back to the dorm in order to dress for class.
The next was:
June 23, 1993
Older Harry has shown me memories of his second year, and asked me to keep a journal of changes that I have noted on my own. After a month of doing this, the only real changes I have noticed are:
1) Ron seems more interested in his schoolwork than he was in the previous timeline
2) Hermione seems more at ease around Ron and happier as well
3) Neville has become more outgoing
4) Ginny seems to be a bit more relaxed around me
I attribute Ron's behaviour partly to his need to keep up with not only his own, but mine and Hermione's class notes as well. He has matured in ways that the other timeline did not see until late in his fifth year.
This seems to please Hermione as she has begun a campaign of making Ron admit that he has feelings for her, while not openly acknowledging her own for him. She is desperate for him to make the first move. I am guessing that she considers it more romantic than asserting her wishes.
Neville was someone I really didn't get to know until later in school; in this timeline he has become a good friend and we sit talking about anything that seems interesting. His knowledge of plants is something that has really come in handy helping Ginny revise for her exams. Surprisingly, he is a rather good chess player, and although not as good as Ron, he can give him a bit of a challenge.
Ginny's behaviour is the real change I have seen. She has stopped blushing around me, mostly. I find that I can still get her to blush if I pucker my lips and mime blowing her a kiss. She's fun to tease as long as I am careful to avoid any mention of the chamber. We can sit for short amounts of time talking about random things, but this is usually at night. She has horrible nightmares, and I am doing my best to hurry with the amulet I am making to help her deal with them.
July 2, 1993
Other than the change of having to deal with training at Hogwarts, there was one other thing that is different; Uncle Vernon was actually civil when he spoke to me this morning. Older me says that he never knew Vernon Dursley to act civil toward him, unless there was a wizard's wand shoved under his nose making him do so. Rather than randomly assigning chores, the Dursleys have decided that I will be given a list each Monday morning, and will start at the top and work my way to the bottom. And when I finish, if there is no trouble, I am free for the rest of the week. This helps because I can work at my own pace as long as I finish all of them by Saturday afternoon. This surprised me at first, but I am already happy with this arrangement.
I hate Portkeys, so I am planning to travel to the school by Knight Bus instead. At least on some days. I have got to keep up appearances for the Muggles after all.
~ * ~
Harry sat in his room at Number Four Privet Drive studying the book he had received the previous night by owl post. It had been two weeks since his return from the school year. His older self had spent every afternoon and evening teaching him everything he had learned from the High Council of Magics. They had taken a break this evening because younger Harry had to finish some extra chores. So now that the house was calm, he took an opportunity to review the old book.
He diligently searched the old tome on magical creatures until he finally found the passage he was looking for:
Of all the creatures that have been misunderstood throughout history, the Grim has received the worst reputation. It is believed to be a harbinger or foreteller of death. In actuality, the Grim is a guardian who watches for and opposes evil. They are night creatures, usually frequenting the fringes of human habitations or burial grounds. A Grim will appear in one of three forms: a large black cat, a large black dog, or a large black owl.
Each Grim must stay in its chosen form for the entire night. During the day, they may become ethereal and choose a new form the next night, or choose to become mortal and remain in their chosen form indefinitely. Each Grim radiates a sphere of magic that protects it from evil, causing pain or discomfort to any evil or Dark creature/wizard that enters the Grim's presence. The Grim is also rumoured to have the ability to detect any evil intent within its area, a distance that may differ from ten foot to one mile. This rumour comes from the fact that no evil/Dark creature/wizard can surprise a Grim.
Though they tend to avoid fighting directly, Grims will assist in the battle against evil/Dark beings if the target of said enemy is a child/youth.
He sat pondering what he had just read, trying to understand why he had wanted to read it. Older Harry's voice came calmly through his thoughts saying, "You will learn the reason in a couple of weeks, but for now we have training to do."
"Why do I have the feeling this is supposed to be a surprise?" younger Harry asked.
"Because it is," came the reply. "And also this is going to help maintain the timeline. When you see the news report on our birthday, you will understand everything about why I wanted you to read up on this." Older Harry finished with a soft chuckle before saying, "This is all rather like a swell prank. No one knows what to expect, and you get to mess with everyone's sanity."
It had been the same for the entire time back from Hogwarts. Get up in the morning to fix breakfast, then wash the dishes and do the other chores; next he would travel to Hogwarts via Portkey where he would spend four to six hours training before returning to Privet drive. He would eat the meagre meal set out for him by his aunt, and after doing the evening dishes, he would end the day studying before going to bed where his older self would transfer the memories he would need for training the next day.
However, the night of July 15th was different; settling into bed, Harry quickly drifted off to sleep. In his dreams, he stood overlooking a vast field. A huge city could be seen on the other side of that field, and Harry smiled as he was approached by people he did not know but felt a kind of kinship with. He had seen some of them in the mirror his first year and knew that he was related to them; some of them he didn't know, and these were the ones that fascinated him the most.
Looking to his side, he saw his older self standing beside him. He smiled back and said, "This is a message from our family and I was told to share it with you when we were close to finishing the training. It is for our… your birthday. I know it is early, but I felt now was the best time for you to see it"
When they had all arrived, a red-haired woman of about twenty stepped forward first, and embraced him in a hug. "Oh, Harry. Look at you, growing into such a handsome young man," she whispered.
"Careful Lil' or you'll have his head too big to fit through a doorway," a man standing nearby said.
"You hush, James Potter," the woman scolded. She looked back at Harry and continued, "Poor Ginny will need to make a distinct claim on you before others notice what she has already seen. You've done well so far, son. I'm sorry about the Dursleys, and how they treat you, but no one else was available to take you in." While she was saying this, James stood behind her rolling his eyes and making funny faces behind her back. She quickly turned around and began scolding him again.
Older Harry commented to his younger self, "When I finally met their friends, they were often compared to Ron and Hermione." His soft chuckle made his feelings about that quite clear.
Harry just shook his head and called his parents' attention back to him. "Mum, dad, you have nothing to apologize for. You both did your best, and died trying to protect me. Professor Dumbledore is the one who made the decision of where to put me, not you. So if anyone must apologize, it is he." He scanned the rest of the group and then asked, "Who are all these people?"
In response, older Harry said, "Keep watching, and interact with them as best you can." He then began to introduce everyone beginning with his grandparents. "Harry, the reason you are able to meet these people is because a small part of each of them is carried within you. These two people are Charlus and Dorea Potter. They are dad's parents."
The introductions continued for many minutes. Then younger Harry took a deep breath and began greeting all of them. The discussions ranged from his favourite Quidditch team to his family heritage. Harry learned that each person had their own likes and dislikes to teach him of.
After what seemed both an eternity and too short a time, Harry found himself alone with just his parents. James began, "Harry, the time for joking has ended. You and I need to have a serious talk."
"Umm… O…kay," Harry answered. "What do we need to discuss… Dad?" he asked cautiously, desperate for the contact with the father he'd never known and hoping he wouldn't say anything wrong.
"Two things. First there is an item that you will need to help you to solve a dilemma you will soon face. There is a man who was imprisoned for crimes he never committed and he needs your help to be freed. That item is the "Marauder's Map" and it is currently in the possession of Fred and George Weasley. The password for regular operation is 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.' There is a second phrase that we used to keep track of only the four of us; it is 'Marauders Rule!' You have to tap the map twice with your wand while saying it. When you do this, it will only display the Marauders who are at Hogwarts along with their names next to them."
"Who are the Marauders?" Harry whispered.
"They… We were a group of pranksters that terrorized the school. It was made up of me, your godfather, our close friend, and unfortunately the person that betrayed our family to Voldemort," his father explained.
Harry nodded and noticed that his mother had moved off a short distance. "Does she not approve of my getting this map?" he asked.
"No, she just wanted to give us some privacy."
Harry looked quizzical and wondered aloud. "Why would we need privacy?"
James smiled and said, "Some things fathers need to tell their sons without a woman around. Now the second thing we need to discuss is how a young wizard should treat a young witch…"
The conversation lasted for a short time and Harry found himself blushing many times as his father talked about proper etiquette for dating, friendships with a young woman, and even being respectful while having sexual relations.
As they finished, Lily rejoined them and hugged Harry tightly. She smiled and kissed James before saying, "Son, it is time for us to go now; you need to wake up soon. Please tell Molly and Arthur that we appreciate them taking you in and caring for you as one of their own. Take good care of yourself, remember to have fun, but study hard and do well in school. We will see you again." She kissed him on the forehead.
After hugging Harry, James took Lily by the hand and said, "Come on, Lil'. Let's go find someplace private so we can…" He raised his eyebrows suggestively while placing his hand on her bum. Both Harrys groaned in unison and the dream ended.
Harry woke that morning and looking at the clock saw it was only 5:30. He collected his journal and quickly wrote down everything he remembered.
July 16, 1993
Last night, I had a wonderful dream.
In it, I got to meet my parents and grand parents going back ten or twelve generations. Although some of them were not as happy to know me as others, they are all family, and that is the most important thing to a boy who had never really been part of one. Phineas Nigellus Black was one of the most outspoken. He is my third great-grandfather and truly a grumpy old man. But he soon warmed to me when I mentioned that the Hat had wanted to place me in Slytherin House.
Many of them were fun loving and I noticed a strange fact. All of the female Potters had a varying shade of red hair, and at least two of them were Weasleys. I also learned of some vaults at Gringotts, belonging to families long-thought dead of which I am the only living heir. Guess I will always have enough money.
~ * ~
Working late in the evenings, Harry finished the amulet he was making to help Ginny with her nightmares only five days after returning to the Dursleys for the summer. Despite her not saying anything in the letters she sent, Harry learned from Ron that his sister's screams had awakened the family more than once in that time. He had hurried as much as possible and sent the charm along with a hand-made card and a letter to Mr and Mrs Weasley. Hopefully that would help to prevent any more interrupted sleep.
With that project completed, younger Harry had thrown himself into his training whole-heartedly. That night, older Harry introduced him to the art of Jujitsu and modified the exercise routine that was already being followed. The stretching younger Harry had already been introduced to by his older self had made the other exercises less painful and more helpful.
~ * ~
While doing his chores, Harry would practice his meditation, and often found his work easier to do. Working on his Animagus forms was among the top priority. The first one he chose to work on was the housecat. The process of learning this form was tedious, and he practiced it every chance he got. By the twenty-ninth of July, Harry was able to change into this particular form. He knew that this was much faster than normal because he had already learned the techniques; he just had to remind his body how to transfigure into this other form. The memories older Harry had given him made it clear that most people learning to transfigure themselves would normally need more than a year.
His housecat form was small with black fur, and had his emerald green eyes. No matter how hard he tried though, it had a tuft of fur that always looked poorly maintained. "Oh well, guess I will always be stuck with that," he commented wryly to himself. He smiled as he considered all the opportunities for creating mischief that were now available to him. He settled in for the night happy with his progress and looking forward to his birthday in two days.
~ * ~
Harry sat up late on the 30th waiting for midnight to celebrate his birthday. He was sitting by the window, trying to stay calm by reading one of his old textbooks, but had spent the last hour just flipping through it instead. The thought of receiving birthday presents for the first time in his life made it too hard to concentrate. As had happened in the first timeline, Hedwig and a Hogwarts owl arrived, carrying not only their packages and letters for Harry, but a thoroughly exhausted Errol.
The latter was clinging desperately to a parcel and letters of his own for Harry. Taking pity on the poor owl, he removed the items from him first before placing him in Hedwig's cage for some much needed rest. He then removed the packages from the other two, and after offering the Hogwarts owl some water let it out and closed the window.
He quickly opened the packages and letters; they contained birthday cards and presents as expected. Harry also received his school letter, and it contained the permission note for going to Hogsmeade on approved weekends. The package from Hermione was the broom care kit, and from Ron he got a Sneak-o-scope. He was ready for the book from Hagrid, and stroked the spine before he opened the package completely.
Ginny had also sent him a card, much to Ron's chagrin and Harry's amusement. He quietly chuckled at the drawings she included of him as a knight in shining armour. "If that is what she expects me to be, life will get interesting rather quickly."
"This year should be fun, if all goes well," Harry muttered to himself as he put his new belongings away, wished Hedwig and Errol good night, and curled up to rest the few hours before he would be awakened to prepare breakfast for his relatives. "Happy birthday to me," he mumbled as he went to sleep.
As he slept younger Harry joined his older counterpart in the room they had built in their mind. Older Harry began, "This next week will make it difficult for us to go to Hogwarts. You will have to work really hard to control your temper. I know this is will be challenging, but I have a reason for you to stay here for one more week. There are some preparations that need to be made, and this time will allow me to visit with you more before our last visit to the school."
Older told younger of the traitor responsible for his parents' death, and of the imprisonment of his godfather for crimes he never committed. They discussed Sirius Black and what they should do about him; they also spent time talking about Peter Pettigrew and what needed to be done with that traitor.
When it was almost time to wake up, they discussed one final subject for the night. "I know you thought that Gryffindor's sword was useful, but the next time we visit Hogwarts, you will be making your own blade."
"Why would I need to make my own when I can just use Gryffindor's like you said?"
Heaving a sigh, older Harry finished his explanation. "It will not only serve to strengthen and tone your body, but will help forge your soul and mind into a stronger more capable wizard. Though it is not as bad as it could have been, both your mind and soul have been damaged by living with the Dursleys. They need to be repaired, and have problems and impurities beaten out while they are made stronger. This will involve a lot of effort on your part. So I want you to begin to prepare now. It's time to wake up. Happy birthday."
~ * ~
Harry's thirteenth birthday was entirely as enjoyable as the first timeline had been. At breakfast there was a report of an escaped criminal who was believed to be armed and dangerous. Then, Uncle Vernon refused to sign his permission form for Hogsmeade. Finally Uncle Vernon's sister, Marge, had arrived about ten o'clock that morning and immediately begun her own campaign of harassment to make his life miserable.
Indeed, he was forced to send the owls to the Weasleys and stop going to Hogwarts in the afternoon for training. When it all got to be too much though, he would transfigure into his housecat form and prowl the neighbourhood, in order to blow off some steam.
This continued until the last night of Marge's visit.
~ * ~
Harry was in a towering rage. "How dare that… foul woman compare my mother to one of her useless dogs? Breeding, indeed! If breeding is so important, then Dudley is the one with poor breeding." He growled as he dragged his trunk along Magnolia Crescent.
Finally he reached a point where he decided to stop and consider his options. Placing his trunk on the ground, he sat on it and began to review this day in the previous timeline. He noted that it had been identical up to this moment, then looked up and said, "Uncle Padfoot, I know who the traitor is and I know where to find him. That worthless rat still has his uses, so I can't let you kill him, yet."
A large black bear-like dog, which resembled nothing save a Grim, cautiously slinked out of its hiding place, tilting its head as it slowly approached Harry. Looking around it as if searching for a trap, it startled when the boy said, "You know, Padfoot, life on the run would be a lot easier if I had a friend along. If you're hungry, I can get you something before I summon the Knight Bus to London. No one else knows to look for you in your current form, and I am sure that you're in need of a warm bed and a hot shower."
The dog whimpered, and Harry continued, "Uncle Padfoot, my parents trusted you with my life. Well, my dad did at least. Mum wasn't sure if she could even trust Dad, much less a mischievous old dog like yourself. If you will remain in your Animagus form, I can get us a place to stay, and decent food for the rest of month. Then we can discuss everything I need to tell you. I am currently in the middle of the prank to end all pranks, and could really use the help of a Marauder." The dog's ears perked up at the promise of some fun and his expression changed from one of caution to one of interest.
Harry concluded by saying, "We both know that Remus wouldn't help, because he would be too afraid of what might happen if someone got hurt. Well, that isn't going to happen. This prank is one that can be worthwhile to many people. Will you please come with me to London and spend the next weeks with me? I need your help, and you look as if you could use a good meal, or ten. What do you say? Will you join me in London for some fun and prank planning?"
Padfoot still seemed hesitant, so Harry added, "Your choice, chicken or steak. Also, part of the help I need from you will require some explanation. I am sure that you want to know how I know about Wormtail being the person that betrayed my parents to Voldemort."
An affirmative bark and happy tail wag was his only answer. "I'll take that as a yes," Harry said. "Now calm down and let me get this collar and leash on you. It will help you hide better than your act of being a loveable stray." After accomplishing this, Harry took out his wand and held it out in his hand. "Now for the Knight Bus and we can see about getting a decent meal for you."
With a bang, a violent purple triple-decker bus appeared and screeched to a halt right in front of Harry. When the doors opened, a pimple-faced young man stepped out and started an obviously rehearsed speech. "Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard…"
That was as far as he managed to go before Harry interrupted him. "Hi, Stan, how much for me and my dog to go to the Leaky Cauldron, please?"
"Oh hello, Mr. Potter. Fancy meeting you here at this time of night. That will be twenty-two Sickles for the both of you; but for twenty-four you get an 'ot water bottle, and for twenty-six you can get a cup of 'ot cocoa and a toothbrush in your choice of colours."
Remembering the ride from the first timeline, Harry decided, "I'll just take the trip to London." Quickly digging around in his moneybag he gathered one Galleon and five Sickles, which he gave to Stan before he moved to one of the beds where he sat along with Padfoot. The ride went exactly as older Harry's memories had shown. The only exception was that Padfoot was along for the ride. After an eventful trip, they arrived at the last stop in London.
"This is your stop Mr. Potter, do you need help with your trunk?" asked the young conductor.
"Yeah, I could use some help please," Harry answered as he took one handle and waited as Stan lifted the other end and guided him off the bus.
As expected, Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, was waiting at the curb to collect him for his own safety. "Harry, so good to have found you safe…" he began.
"Excuse me sir, but… who are you?" Harry feigned ignorance. He of course knew who this man was, but he wasn't supposed to have been in Hagrid's hut that day. Then he remembered that the Minister had been in Dumbledore's office during Lockhart's interrogation. He continued, "Oh sorry, Professor Dumbledore introduced you as the Minister for Magic, when that worthless ponce, Lockhart, was being interrogated. Please excuse my lapse of memory, I was rather distracted at the time, and didn't remember your face."
"Not a problem, Harry my boy, I was also a bit distracted that evening. If you would please follow me, we can discuss a few things before seeing to a place for you to sleep."
"That would be agreeable, sir, as long as we can be finished quickly. I have had a rough week, and my friend, Knickers, is hoping for a decent meal before bedtime," Harry responded, acknowledging Padfoot for the first time while using the name they had agreed during the ride would help to hide the true identity of his godfather.
The Minister paused to glance, and then did a double take, followed by an obviously nervous triple take at the large but nearly skeletal Grim/dog seated beside Harry. Looking back to him he said, "Yes, of course. Right this way." He led the way to a room he sometimes used when he was away from his office for the day.
Harry followed the man and accepted the chair he offered. "Sit down, Knickers," he instructed Padfoot. The large black dog moved in front of Harry and, sparing a glance for the Minister, seated itself in front of his master, assuming a protective stance.
"A very well-trained animal," the Minister commented.
"Thank you, sir. I have been working with him whenever I had a spare minute for the whole summer," Harry responded.
After that, the meeting went almost identically to the previous timeline. When Harry asked about his permission form, the Minister explained that he would be better off not going to Hogsmeade this year. He concluded by requesting him to stay in the Leaky Cauldron or Diagon Alley, and not go out into Muggle London.
Harry calmly agreed to the request and then said, "One more thing sir. I have been meeting with Professor Dumbledore all summer. He has been helping with a problem I have been having with accidental magic. It was apparently caused by dealing with the individual calling itself the Heir of Slytherin. When I destroyed that cursed book, I began to have surges of magic. I have kept them under control by working with Dumbledore, but I haven't been able to meet with him for the last week because of my Uncle Vernon's sister being in the house. I normally travelled to meet him at the school via Portkey."
"Okay, Harry, I don't see a problem with this. You can continue your lessons with Professor Dumbledore, that should not be a problem."
Harry continued, "Sir, I will need to remain there for a few days because of the lack of opportunity to practice self control over the last week. That woman is absolute evil incarnate, and seldom left me alone for more than a few minutes. I had no time to calm and order my thoughts, and that is most of the reason I lost control this evening."
"Exactly how long will you need to remain at Hogwarts?"
"I'll be at least three and not more than five days. Being at the school seems to add a calming influence and makes meditating easier. That is why I will need to remain there for a few days."
"Very well, Harry. I see no problem with you being there, as long as you have Dumbledore let me know of your progress. Also let me know when you arrive back here at the Leaky Cauldron."
"That should be easy enough, sir," Harry replied.
With Harry's agreement, the Minister called Tom the innkeeper, and asked him to show Harry to his room. As they departed, Harry said, "Tom, would it be possible for me to get two steak dinners this evening? Knickers here is hungry, and I must admit to feeling a bit peckish my self."
The old man looked from Harry to the dog and back twice before he nodded and said, "Not a problem. Let me get it for you. Then we will get you settled into room eleven. Your things are already in there." He moved behind the bar and after a short time returned with the requested meals, and drinks.
"Here you are, Mr. Potter, two steak dinners and some drinks to wash them down; also a Butterbeer for yourself, and a bowl of water for your canine friend." The old innkeeper turned and then glancing over his humped shoulder added, "Let me know when you are ready and I will show you to your room." With that said, he left them to their meals and returned to the everyday task of running the tavern.
Harry sat eating and seeing that Padfoot/Knickers was rushing his meal, chided, "You should take time to enjoy it; it's not everyday you get a real dinner on the Ministry's tab." The great bear-like dog slowed, and seemed to be enjoying the meal a little more.
After they finished their meal, Tom returned and led them to room eleven. "You have a smart owl there Mr. Potter. She arrived about five minutes before you did," the old innkeeper said.
Harry replied, "Good, I have a very important letter for her to deliver. And it needs to get there soon." Then turning to Hedwig he said, "Rest up girl; you're heading back to Egypt tomorrow."
After Tom pointed out the facilities in the room, Harry said, "I will be away for the next few days, but would like to leave my trunk with my belongings in this room. That way, I won't have to carry it everywhere I go."
Tom replied, "That would be fine, Mr Potter. Just be sure to let me know when you return." Harry nodded affirmatively, and Tom left.
Softly as if talking to himself, he said, "There are probably monitoring charms on this room. So if anyone tries to hurt me, they would likely be easily captured." He gave Padfoot a meaningful glance.
The large dog merely nodded, and Harry changed into his pyjamas and followed what had become a nightly routine, before settling in for the night. After making sure he left the window open for Hedwig to go in and out, he said aloud, "Good-night Hedwig, good-night Knickers."
~ * ~
After a night of uninterrupted sleep, Harry awoke to the sound of London's traffic. He took a moment to look around himself and smiled. Three Dursley-free weeks, he thought. Glancing at his two roommates, he said, "Morn'ng, who's up for breakfast?"
Both seemed to be pleased at that thought, so Harry hurried to dress and they went down to the tavern and ordered an extra large helping of eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast. He gave part of the meal to Padfoot, and pieces to Hedwig.
When everyone was finished, he said, "Alright, I need to get my school shopping done, and then I will need to go to Hogwarts for a few days. Hedwig, I have a birthday card for you to carry to Ginny, and you will need to wait for a reply; you will also need to drop a letter off for Hermione and take one to Ron." He tied the three letters to her leg before bidding her, "Have a safe journey and thank you."
Looking as if to say, "Where is the gift?" Hedwig stared at him waiting for a package for Ginny. Harry answered the unspoken question, "You carried it to her last month. She knows I sent her birthday gift early so she won't be expecting a package. Now please hurry so you won't be late getting her birthday card to her."
Her glare was enough to have Harry laugh before saying, "No, I didn't forget, I have included a receipt showing that she has a ten Galleon credit with Madam Malkin's for whatever she needs for school clothing. It will be a surprise present for her."
She hooted softly, nipped his finger affectionately and took off to deliver her cargo of letters.
After watching Hedwig vanish into the distance, Harry pulled out his school list and said, "Come on Knickers, time to get my school supplies." And with that they sat off for a morning in Diagon Alley. He admired the Firebolt, got new robes as his were now too short, refilled his potion kit, bought owl treats for Hedwig, and visited Flourish and Blotts to purchase his books.
When Harry entered and handed the clerk his schoolbook list, it looked as if the man was going to cry, but he perked up when Harry said, "I already have the Monster Book of Monsters."
The relieved look that crossed the man's face was almost comical. Then Harry told him about the trick of stroking the spine to calm the books and make them docile. The manager of the store overheard this and immediately assigned two recently-hired staff to the project, and they quickly settled the entire cage of books. After getting his needed books, Harry purchased a couple of extra on the topics of defence and potions. The latter was to help with his pranks, the former to deal with Tom Riddle.
As they wandered around Diagon Alley, Harry talked both to Padfoot/Knickers and himself. They decided after some discussion that it would be best if they brought this secret to Dumbledore so he could help with hiding Sirius during the school year. Harry knew he would need to tell Sirius everything he was able to in order to have his help in keeping the twins guessing.
With his purchases in hand, Harry made his way back to his room where he stored them in his trunk, and then gathered himself and Padfoot before activating the Portkey to Hogwarts.
~ * ~
Harry arrived in the Headmaster's office, and was immediately met by Dumbledore. "Harry, welcome back. What do you need today?" came the enquiry.
"I am going to need to remain here for about five days in order to complete the final stage of my training. Can you allow me to do so?" Harry asked.
After a few seconds to consider, the Headmaster replied, "That shouldn't be a problem. What arrangements do you need concerning food and sleep?"
"I will remain in the Room of Requirement the entire time, and will take what meals I can in there. Also I will be accompanied by my new friend, Knickers, as he is here to help protect me from unnecessary danger, or dangerous people." Harry's obvious reference to someone dangerous was not lost on Dumbledore either.
"I see that you are aware of what Minister Fudge is trying to keep secret from you."
"Absolutely," Harry answered. "But he doesn't have all of the information I do. So he is unaware that the real murderer has been sleeping in the dorm with me for the last two years disguised as Ron Weasley's pet rat."
Dumbledore was obviously surprised to learn this; he glanced at the dog beside Harry, drew his wand, and asked, "Is that a fact?"
Stepping between Padfoot and Dumbledore, Harry said, "Yes, that is a fact. Now please lower your wand and let me explain to both of you what is happening and what I know of the coming year." The look of determination on Harry's face told Dumbledore that he wanted to hear what the thirteen-year-old was going to say.
Pausing only a moment to consider, he waved his wand and two cushioned chairs appeared. He then put his wand on his desk and seated himself. "Very well, Harry. By all means please explain."
Nodding his thanks, Harry sat and said, "Uncle Sirius, you will probably want to get comfortable. This story will take a few minutes to tell." The large dog examined both the boy and old man, then changed into his human form and sat.
"Are you sure about this, Harry?" he asked for the first time.
"Yes, Sirius. I know he gave evidence against you that helped send you to Azkaban without a trial. But then he didn't know the evidence he gave was false."
Returning his attention to Dumbledore, he continued. "As I said, it was Pettigrew who betrayed my parents and killed those twelve Muggles; he has been hiding with the Weasleys as a pet rat using his Animagus form. He will soon be exposed. Unfortunately," Harry said as he took in both of them with a glance, "he needs to be left alive, and reasonably unharmed."
Predictably, Sirius began grumbling about how he wanted to commit the murder he had been imprisoned for. This drew Dumbledore's attention away from Harry, and he again raised his wand believing Sirius was still dangerous, either to himself or to Harry.
Taking a moment to realize that he needed to provide a distraction, a thought passed through his mind, 'use the cat.' A loud plaintive "Yowllll!" drew both men's attention back to Harry; or rather, to a black housecat with eyes the colour of emeralds, which now sat where the young man had previously been. This cat had a problem with its hair, as evidenced by the untidy mass of curls on its head. Its repeated attempts to make this hair lie down correctly were comical. However, it had the desired effect.
Sirius was the first to react with a deep-throated barking laugh. Dumbledore was only moments behind him with his own chuckling laughter. The cat paused in its attempts to tame its wild hair, and after noting the reaction of both men, changed back into Harry.
"Learned to be an Animagus I see," Dumbledore said between chuckles.
Sirius was even more excited as he said, "Give it up, pup; James had the same problem with his Animagus form. Remus and I used to get a lot of good jokes out of that too." He turned more serious and thought it necessary to explain. "When we discovered Remus's problem early in our third year, James and I wanted to do something to help make it easier for him." The tone of his voice made it obvious to both of them that he was very proud of doing whatever it took to make life easier for a friend.
Dumbledore returned his attention to Sirius, and asked, "What has that got to do with why Harry feels you are not a danger to him?"
"It's a long story, sir; however I think I can tell a short version." Returning to his seat Sirius continued, "As I said, James and I wanted to do something to help make life a little easier for Remus. We researched, and found that lycanthropes only attack human beings, not animals, and we also found that Animagi were included among these."
"So that was your reason, but what does it have to do with this situation? Is that how Pettigrew learned to become an Animagus?" Dumbledore queried.
"Yes, he became one when we did. For the same reason, though he later used it to betray James, Lily, Remus, and me. That is why I broke out of Azkaban. When Fudge came around on his inspection, I saw a picture on the front of the paper he was carrying. I asked for the paper and told him I missed doing the crosswords.
"The person I recognized in the picture was Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus form. I read that he would be returning to Hogwarts with the Weasleys; I knew I had to try and get out so I could stop him. When I escaped, I had no plan other than committing the crime I had spent twelve years in prison for. However, Harry appears to believe that my killing that traitor is unacceptable." That having been said, both men turned their attention back to Harry.
Looking as innocent as he possibly could, he said. "I only know that he still has an important part to play in this timeline. Killing him now would not be advisable."
"What do you mean by 'this timeline'?" Sirius asked.
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at Harry who replied, "I planned to tell him eventually. Now seems to be a good time." Turning to Sirius, he asked, "How many Harry Potters do you see in front of you? And no this is not a bad joke," adding the last as an afterthought.
"What do you mean, 'how many do I see'? I only see one."
"Well, there are actually two of us sitting here in front of you. And before you go thinking I am crazy, this is the effect of a time-reversal ritual."
Sirius sat staring at his godson, mouth hanging open in surprise. Finally, Harry glanced at Dumbledore and said, "Perhaps you should note the date and time. After all, when was the last time that the great prankster Sirius Black was unable to think of a quick reply?"
This at least got the old Marauder's brain functioning, although he was only able to say one thing, "Explain."
Harry spent the next half hour explaining why the time-travel had been necessary, using the opportunity to give Dumbledore a basic idea of what to expect during the coming year. "Obviously, I can only give you a general hint of what to expect; however, knowing that Sirius is innocent will make everything that needs to be done this year a little easier."
Once they had finished the discussion, the two adult wizards followed Harry to the seventh floor hall containing the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. Calmly he paced back and forth in front of a blank wall. After the third pass, the door appeared and all three entered it. Sirius whistled as he looked around the large room. In one corner was an anvil. Beside it a vat of foul-smelling liquid, and about ten feet behind the anvil was a large coal furnace.
"I have not seen a blacksmith's forge in many years, Harry," Dumbledore commented. "I assume you know what everything in this room is, as well as what it does."
"Yes sir," Harry replied.
After a moment, an older boy joined them. He resembled Harry, but had materialized in the room. Sirius had stepped back in shock as an almost exact replica of his best friend appeared in front of him. "J… J… James, I am so sorry. I thought Wormtail could be trusted. He was always idolizing you; I never thought he would betray you and Lily. Please forgive me, please," Sirius begged.
The older boy turned more fully to face him, and responded, "You have nothing to feel guilty about. Mum and dad never held you accountable for what that rat did. However, they weren't too pleased about you leaving me at the Dursleys for all that time. Mum has some choice words for both of you when the time comes for each of you to join them." The evil grin that crossed his face said more than his words ever could to both men.
Older Harry then turned to his younger self and began describing what the room included. After twenty minutes of safety instruction, he handed the younger boy and Sirius a leather apron each, before putting one on himself. To Dumbledore he said, "Sorry sir, nothing personal but too many people in the room makes this task difficult. Feel free to have a seat," he motioned at a chair beside the entry door, "and to come and go as you please, but Sirius and I will be remaining for the entire time to assist my younger self in the final part of his training. This will be everything I have to teach him. And with very rare exceptions, I will never be heard from again." Dumbledore nodded and seated himself by in the chair provided.
"What am I supposed to do?" Sirius asked the older Harry.
"Heal a hidden wound. Though I was never able to admit it, forgiving you for leaving me to face life with the Dursleys alone was very difficult. This is just an opportunity to spend some time together for the two of you, and help him develop the emotional maturity I was never allowed or encouraged to."
Sirius nodded, stepped up beside younger Harry, and said, "Let's get to work then."
"First you will need to choose a lump of iron ore," older Harry said. "This is the raw ingredient for the item you will be forging. Each lump has its own good and bad points, but the best one will call to you, and as you hold it in your hand, you will be able to see what it desires to be made into." He pointed toward the table on which sat ten lumps of ore of varying sizes.
Younger Harry took this as an indication to make his selection. He approached the table and tried to pick up the first lump. It proved to be heavier than it looked. And he really got no feeling about it concerning what he should do, so he left it and moved on. The same thing happened with the next three.
As he reached the fifth lump of ore, he found him self looking at a very fine set of matching daggers with elegant slender handles, obviously made for a girl or young woman. Those are for Ginny, he thought; so he set the lump aside.
The sixth and seventh were like the first four; the eighth, however was the one for him because when he touched it, he saw a powerful sword easily beheading a large snake. He set this one aside also. The last two also gave no hint of what they might be, so he ignored them.
Turning to older Harry he pointed at the first one he had chosen and said, "When I touched this one, I saw myself holding a pair of daggers that were made for a set of small hands. I could only think that they were for Ginny." Then pointing toward the second one he said, "And that one is to be made into a powerful sword; I saw myself using it to behead a large snake." He then waited for instructions on what to do next.
"I was not expecting the daggers," older Harry replied, "but the sword sounds reasonable for this final lesson." Turning to the adults, he said, "You two may come and go as you like, but Harry will need to remain here for the duration of this visit."
With that, he returned his attention to younger Harry and said, "You will need to begin by filling this fire-pit with five shovels full of coal," indicating the shovel and pile of coal in the corner. "Then you will need to light the pit and get the fire hot."
While he waited for his younger self to do the task he prescribed, Harry walked around the room, familiarizing himself with every corner of it. He examined the table containing crucibles for melting the metal before pouring it into a mould, giving it the general shape of what it was to be forged into. In this case something long, thin, and flat. Younger Harry's comment of, "Now what," brought his attention back to his student.
"Now come over here and choose a crucible. You will need to select one that is not too small because it will need to contain all the metal from the ore. Wasting this metal is not a good idea." He patiently waited for younger Harry to choose the correct vessel, and then said, "Use the tongs beside the pit to carefully place the container full of ore in the centre of the pile of coal. Then add three more shovels full of coal around it."
Younger Harry completed his task and then said, "That can't be all. What else is there to be done?"
"Plenty," the older replied. "First, you need to familiarize yourself with tools you will be using. It will take about two hours for that metal ore to completely melt; you will need to add more coal at periodic intervals so that the heat will be maintained. About three shovels full per hour.
The first item you will use is the mould; it will allow you to shape the molten metal into a reasonably straight flat surface. You will then have something that resembles a blade. That will be your starting point to forging your sword.
~ * ~
Harry sat in his room at the Leaky Cauldron pondering everything he had been told during the previous four days. On the desk before him lay the journal he was keeping. Finally he took his quill and began to write about his final lesson from his older self.
August 11, 1993
Today is Ginny's birthday; I hope she likes the extra present I sent her. I wanted to give her something useful that also came from the heart, without giving away my personal feelings to her. Hope I succeeded. And I also hope she finds some nice things to buy with it.
The last lesson with my older self went well. I managed to forge the sword, and learned the proper method of using it. The merging is now complete, I am one person again. I can still sense the thoughts older Harry locked away in my mind, but I am unable to access them independently. He meant what he said about only being able to get them when they were needed. He did tell me that it as likely that I would have to teach Ginny how to forge the daggers for her self, rather than make them for her.
During the lesson, he kept telling me that I was like the sword. Being shaped and forged into someone better. Though the process wouldn't be easy, and would often be painful, I would definitely be a better person for it. I wanted to laugh at him about that, but his analogy made me consider my life. I have spent so much time with my memories this last week that I understand what could have been done differently. This included some harsh words for Professor Dumbledore. I know he thought that he was doing what was best, but being condemned to the Muggle version of Azkaban was truly not the happy childhood he said he wanted for me to have.
I managed to complete my summer homework while at school last month, which means that unlike last time, I have the rest of August to have fun; Knickers and I have so much fun planned, I hope we can do everything. Though he keeps saying that mum will return to life simply to kill him if he let me do everything I wanted to.
~ * ~
On August 30th, Harry stood in front of the mirror admiring his new look. In his ear, he had a small earring shaped like a stag standing guard over a doe and her baby. On his left shoulder blade, he had a tattoo of a stag, a grim, and a werewolf, all running in circles. On his right shoulder just over his clavicle was a heart surrounding, 'James and Lily Potter, they will be remembered.' The words James and Lily alternated with Mum and Dad.
Turning to the large black dog lying on his bed, Harry said, "I know, Knickers. Mum and Dad would probably have grounded me for life, but I needed to do this." He returned to the mirror to admire the third tattoo. This one was above his heart, and consisted of a Hungarian Horntail guarding a heart-shaped Snitch which was red instead of gold.
"Besides, only a few people will ever see these; I have nothing to worry about, yet," he concluded as an afterthought. The expression on the dog's face left no doubt how he felt about the matter.
Harry smiled at his developing muscular tone. He was exercising, but only enough to remove unnecessary fat and replace it with muscular development. Nodding as he spoke to himself, "I definitely look better than I did the first time. My other self never really got beyond that runty, underfed look. Guess this has been good for both of us."
With a final nod of satisfaction, Harry ducked into the loo for a shower and dressed for bed. As he settled in for the night, he wondered aloud, "Will Ron and Hermione even recognize me tomorrow?" This brought thoughts of mischief to his mind, and he settled into a pleasant night's sleep.