Oy, the lines in this place, you'd think there was only one WC on all the isles. I'm glad to see you're still here, and I'm even more glad to see another Butterbeer in front of my seat. I take it you want to hear more? Jolly good. So, the Vaults. No, I already told you that part. Where was I? Ah ha! The story of James and Lily Potter.
I assume you already know the beginning of the story. Voldemort killed Lily and James a few years back, their boy lived, went on to kill him, and the whole Wizarding world lived mostly happily ever after. Mostly is the key word in that sentence. I know you know the story of Harry's defeat of Voldemort. Harry plays a part in this story as well, but no more than three Wizards know the story of James and Lily's grave down in the Vaults. It takes some time to get to that part, so if you'll bear with me, I'll get to it as fast as my old mind can carry me. The story really has to start with Harry, and I believe it all started after the fall of Voldemort.
When Voldemort fell, Harry was, of course, elevated to a status that few Wizards ever achieve. The Order of Merlin, First Class was only the beginning. Books, articles in the Prophet, interviews, and the like followed him for many years. He began to wear thin after a while, and after his patience was tested again by that awful Skeeter woman, he disappeared. He left without a trace, and he took his friends with him. Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Ginny Weasley were all gone too. What happened while they were gone is what eventually brings us to the South Bridge...
"We're all set to leave," said Hermione to the group.
"Has everyone got their coordinates?" quizzed Harry.
"For at least the thousandth time, YES!" chimed Ron.
"Good. Let's get on the move then. I don't want to appear while anyone's there," said Harry, ignoring his mate's sarcasm.
"Where, exactly are we going again?" asked Ginny.
"Somewhere far away, where they won't find us," said Harry with a touch of deja vu.
"Great answer there, but I could use something like a name," huffed Ginny.
"Yeah mate, Mum'll kill us if we don't tell her where we're off to," said Ron, sounding worried.
"I already talked to both your parents, and they're well aware of the fact that we're going on extended holiday for a few months, maybe more. They asked you both to write often and be careful," spat Harry as he handed Ron and Ginny bags full of sandwiches and a new sweater each.
"I reckon you really did talk to Mum then mate," said Ron as he looked distastefully at the sandwiches.
"If you are all quite finished then, can we go? This trunk is heavy," said Hermione.
"Right then, off we go," said Harry.
After everyone looked down at their collected things one last time, each one Disapparated with a small pop.
So they all got to where they were going, and there they stayed for almost a full year. Harry found himself in the arms of Ginny Weasley after a few weeks, and Ron and Hermione were already together at that point. They came clean about it several days into the trip. Young people will put anything off. Minor details though. Where they went is the important part. They went to a place that they were assured anonymity. St. Andrews, Scotland. There are almost no Wizards in St. Andrews. Too many Muggles and their gorf, or whatever that silly sport with the walking and the sticks is called. Not to mention the University. Can't have too many Wizards about when you have that many people of an influential age about.
So they went to St. Andrews in the middle of a November night. There they posed as University students for almost a year. They had some hard times, but when you're a Wizard, and rich to boot, as young Harry is, there isn't anything you can't do. They spent their days in small coffee shops and their nights in smaller pubs. Hermione spent most of her time actually at the University, but that was to be expected. Draco Malfoy caught up with them once, but those details of St. Andrews are for another time. Harry was on his way to discovering something.
At the end of his time in St. Andrews, Harry met an old man in a pub one night. The old man told Harry all kinds of stories. The barkeep told Harry that the old man was nothing more than a nutter for claiming to be a Wizard. Harry decided the two should get a private booth at the back of the pub so as not to be overheard by the Muggles. What the old man told Harry is what leads me to James and Lily...
"So, you've probably never heard this one, but I'm gonna tell ya anyway," slurred the old man.
"Please do," urged Harry. He was afraid the man would pass out or away before he would ramble out the amazing story he had been promising.
"So, I know you know who Harry Potter is. What Wizard doesn't, am I right? Well, Harry had parents, as most, hic, people do, yeah? Harry's parents were dead though, see? Killed by some, hic, Dark Wizard name's Holdevort, yeah? Well, I heard that this poor lad up and killed Holdevort one night, but see, the thing is, he never found out what happened to his, hic, parents. Well friend, I know what happened to his parents, yeah? Want I should, hic, tell ye?" said the man in rapid, drunken tones.
"I'd like that very much," said Harry coolly. He couldn't let his temper or his anxiety get the better of him. After four pints he felt alarmingly sober.
"Well, see they had Lily and James' bodies carted off after the whole thing happened, yeah? But nobody knew where, exactly they were carted to, except me that is. I used to work for the Ministry, yeah, and I was on the Magical Clean-up Squad. I got sent to G...Godric's, hic, Hollow that night, and it weren't pretty. Some of that stuff was impossible to clean up, it was. Their bodies were perfectly, hic, in tact, but the house was bloody messed up," said the man.
Harry's heart skipped a few beats and his breathing got deeper as he urged the man on. "Continue," Harry said evenly.
"This large fellow wanted the bodies to go to that school up North, whassat? Hogfarts? But this old chap wasn't hearin' of it, no sir. This older chap said they were to go, hic, straight to the Ministry for examination. So that's where I took 'em. Lily and James went to the Ministry one last time. The boy, he went to some Muggle and grew up there. I don't even think he went to Hogfarts, but I dunno about that," the man finished.
"So that's it then?" breathed Harry, "All you can tell me is that Lily and James Potter went to the ministry?"
"Yeah, but that's not the only place they went after they, hic, died," said the man in a low voice. Harry bristled for the next sentence. "They got buried somewheres in Edinburgh, see? But James, he couldn't leave Lily ta fight Holdevort alone, so he chose ta come back, see, as a ghost ta see if he could help Lily. The story goes that he was, hic, too late, but I heard that he's still protectin' poor Lily somewhere, trapped in his...his...hic," the man trailed off as his head made a loud thud on the table.
Harry's eyes watered from not having blinked for a while, and when he finally realized that the man was passed out, Harry started breathing again. Bloody hell, thought Harry, I've got to get to Edinburgh!
After Harry rushed out of the pub and down the street, the old man stood up, dusted himself off and promptly paid the barkeep. In his haste, Harry had forgotten to pay his bill. The old man had counted on this though, so he left a rather large gratuity for the barkeep. Quite sober, the man walked out into the night towards the South Gate. Nobody ever saw that man again, but my sources heard the barkeep call him Al on his way out that night. I have my suspicions.
Needless to say, the four got to packing that very night. They were headed for Edinburgh, and since Harry decided to preface the trip with an excuse of sight seeing, everyone agreed to go. It was Fall again, and St. Andrews was still balmy anyway. Everyone packed eagerly, chatting about the sights of the capital.
"Can we go to the Elephant House?" asked Ginny.
"'Course we can, love, but won't the zoo be closed this time of year?" replied Harry.
"You git, the Elephant House is a coffee house off the Royal Mile. I read a tourist book about Edinburgh for Muggle Studies one year," huffed Ginny with a small smile on her face.
With pink in his cheeks, Harry replied, "As long as they have good shortbread, I'll be sound as a pound."
Ron and Hermione just laughed as Ginny giggled and Harry blushed. What the three didn't know was that Harry was on somewhat of a mission. He could care less about shortbread.
So on a chilly October night they arrived in Edinburgh. They would do a great deal of sight seeing, and Harry would look in every place for hints about ghosts. Harry spent several weeks searching for a place to find his parent's graves, but he kept coming up short. The Ministry would give him no answers, and Dumbledore played dumb to the whole story. Remus had no idea that Lily and James' bodies were ever buried. Not even his friends had any advice, once he told them the real reason for the trip. After many weeks of searching, Harry and Ginny were on a simple walk one night when they stumbled upon a sign next to the Mercat Cross. Ghost Tours it said. Harry convinced Ginny to take the late tour that night. The tour was for the Vaults. They got to the entrance when Ginny's spine tingled.
"I don't wanna go in there Harry," said Ginny in a small voice.
"But Gin, it's just a place. It can't hurt you. Of course, I can't vouch for everyone down there," said Harry in a light voice.
"Not this time Harry! Get Ron to go in the stupid Vaults. This midnight stuff is for the birds! You pick an earlier tour and I'll go then, now let's GO!" said Ginny emphatically.
Harry agreed, making a mental note to come back to the Vaults another time.
Little did he know that I was in that very same tour. I didn't know then what I know now, but I found out soon after. Excuse me for another moment and I'll tell you more. Order me an Ogden's this time, will you? This next part gets a little hard to recall sometimes, and not because of my memory. Back in a flash...