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Author Notes:

Need I say it again - that Liz Harrison wrote the Prologue and first seven chapters? And that she gave me permission?

Wishful Thinking

Chapter 5 — The Cottage in the Woods

The group gathered in the Black family library for the third day in a row. His face set, Harry sat at a large round table near the back of the room, piles of books scattered all around him, with Hermione to his right and Ron to his left. Luna sat next to Ron, Neville next to Luna, and Ginny next to Neville. The group had gone through hundreds of books on tracking, but found nothing of use. All of the spells required a non-magical possession of the subjects of the charm — which let out both the Marauder’s Map and Harry’s invisibility cloak, the only possessions of his parents that he had.

Harry dove into the research with a frenzied energy that none had ever seen him possess. He often had to be dragged out of the library for meals, and on one occasion, Remus had even been forced to perform a Full-Body Bind and carry the frozen boy down to the kitchen to get him to eat. The night before, it had taken Bill’s threat of locking Harry out of the library to get the driven teen to go to bed.

It was nearing noontime and Tonks leaned back in her seat beside Remus, watching as Harry plowed through book after book with single-minded determination. The boy was hunched over a single text atop a pile of haphazardly strewn books, pages marked here and there. He scanned the text carefully before tossing the book aside and grabbing yet another, quickly hunching over it and beginning to pore through the pages. He had done this a dozen times already in the past hour, and Tonks wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for.

Remus laid a hand on her shoulder as she sat there, watching the teen anxiously. Her face blank, Tonks turned to look at Remus who sighed and immediately shook his head. There was nothing they could do. But after a few moments, another began watching Harry in concern and Tonks nearly sighed aloud in relief. Hermione would take care of him.

"Harry," the bushy-haired witch began, and Harry glanced up from his book to raise a questioning eyebrow at his friend, "it’s nearly lunchtime. Perhaps we should take a break?"

But Harry shook his head. "I can’t," he said quietly. "I’ve almost found—"

"You need to eat, Harry," Hermione cut in gently. "You were here before any of us this morning. Did you even have breakfast?"

"This is a bit more important than—" Harry began angrily, and Tonks held her breath, waiting for the boy’s legendary temper to erupt. Don’t get emotional, she pleaded silently to the younger girl. When you get emotional, he explodes. Don’t do it…

"I know that, Harry," Hermione said softly, "but you still need to keep up your strength." Behind her, Tonks let out at audible sigh of relief.

"What I need is to have my parents back!" Harry shouted suddenly, flinging his chair back as he shot to his feet. "Everything else can wait!"

"Oh, bloody hell," Tonks muttered as tears sprang to Hermione’s eyes. "Everybody out!" she ordered and grabbed Ginny by the arm, glaring furiously at the youngest Weasley when she opened her mouth. "Wake up, Ron," she added, shaking the slumping boy. Neville grabbed Ron’s arm and pulled the other boy to his feet. Quickly, Tonks herded Ginny, Ron, Neville and Luna from the room, and Remus followed slowly, watching the two teens as they stared at each other. Harry looked furious, Hermione hurt and worried.

Silently, he wondered if Tonks would be willing to bet him on the outcome. He could use a bit more cash…


The moment the door shut behind Remus, Harry flung himself back into his seat, breathing hard as he glared at Hermione. The witch swallowed nervously but met his gaze, and she flinched when Harry snorted and turned away form her, picking up yet another book.

"Put the book down, Harry," Hermione said softly. "Come get a bite to eat. Please. Even if you just bring it up here with you—"

"I’m busy," Harry said quietly. "When I find them, I’ll—"

"You can’t just stop eating until we find them!" Hermione gaped at him, shocked, and drew back when Harry glared at her.

"I’m busy," he said shortly. "If you’re going to distract me, leave."

"No! You can’t do this to yourself, Harry! When I’m working too much, you always drag me down to the Great Hall for a bite to eat or outside for a snowball fight — you don’t let me run myself into the ground, and I won’t let you!"

Silently, Hermione thanked the high Heavens that Harry hadn’t exploded yet — it seemed that his hair-trigger temper from the year before had, thankfully, become slightly less volatile. But if the tightening in his jaw was any indication, Harry was about to get very, very angry with her.

Good, she thought decisively. It’d be the most emotion he’d shown in days.

Harry stared at her for several moments, opening his mouth and then closing it again before jumping to his feet, storming off a few steps and spinning to face her again. "You have no right—"

"And you do?" Hermione demanded immediately. "Don’t be a hypocrite, Harry. Why can’t you just take a break for a while?"

"Because the second I do, I’ll fall apart!" Harry snapped, and Hermione stared at him. "Think about it!" he continued angrily. "Think about how much has happened since June! We fought Death Eaters — all of you for the first time. I was attacked by Voldemort again, and Sirius died! And then I go back to Privet Drive and now they’re dead! And then I find out that hey, guess what? I didn’t even need to be there in the first place, because Dumbledore made me think I was an orphan and made Remus think all of his friends were either dead or traitors!"


"I have no one, Hermione!" he shouted, and she jumped, tears springing to her eyes. "No one! Yeah, the Weasleys are great, but they have seven kids of their own! Sirius is dead! There is no one in the world that puts me first."

He finally stopped shouting, breathing heavily, and stared at her with wild eyes. Hermione had backed up a few steps, her hands pressed to her mouth. Harry gazed at her, confused, as she choked back a sob. "You’re wrong, Harry," she whispered, blinking rapidly. "You’re wrong."

Turning, she fled from the room and ran up to the room she had moved into three days earlier. She had left the Burrow to stay at Grimmauld Place with Harry, thinking he would like more than Remus and Tonks for company.

Apparently, she’d been wrong.

She flung her bedroom door open and ran into the room, immediately wrapping her arms around her legs as she sat on her bed. She blinked hard, trying not to cry, rocking on the bed. The door creaked, and she looked up, startled.

Tonks slipped into the room quietly, coming to sit beside Hermione on the bed. "Let it out," she murmured softly, and the bushy-haired witch burst into tears.


Three more days passed with no progress. Tonks had gone with Bill to Gringotts to ask the goblins for help, but nothing had come from their request. In a fit of desperation, Harry had even summoned Dobby to him and asked the house-elf to bring his parents to Grimmauld Place. The house-elf had returned five hours later, bawling, and thrown himself at Harry’s feet, begging forgiveness for his failure.

Though Harry had tried to comfort the house-elf, Dobby had sobbed over his feet for over half an hour, declaring that he was not fit to serve "the great Harry Potter, sir." When Hermione, watching them with a frown, had pointed out that Dobby worked for Hogwarts, not Harry, the house-elf had begun to sob even harder.

He wasn’t quite sure how it happened, but by the end of the night, he was feeling very dizzy and Dobby had somehow been hired to take care of "the great Harry Potter," his properties and his family.

The following morning, Harry jerked awake when he heard movement in his room. Reaching for his wand, he slowly sat up, looking quickly around the room.

"Harry Potter sir?" a hesitant voice asked, and Harry jumped.

"Dobby!" he exclaimed, and he reached over to turn on his bedside lamp. "What are you doing?"

"Dobby is fixing Master Harry Potter’s clothes," the house-elf boasted, and he moved aside to let Harry see the pile behind him. "Dobby cannot let Master Harry Potter wear rags that aren’t even fit for a house-elf," the elf declared.

"Don’t call me "master," Dobby," Harry said quietly, then stared, his jaw dropping, at the pile of clothes before him.

They’d certainly fit him much better than they had before, but that was their only high point. Piled at his bed were a collection of neon orange, yellow, lime green, pink and purple shirts — as well as some that were all five. His pants had not yet been touched, but every one of his socks had been transformed into mismatched pairs.

"Er…" Harry began, searching desperately for something nice to say. "They… they look…. Hermione!" he called. "Hermione!"

She must have already been awake, because his door opened two minutes later and Hermione ran in, stopping short as she saw Dobby standing nervously beside the pile of clothes.

"Oh, Harry," she murmured, grinning, and Harry shifted nervously on his bed.

"Help me," he hissed, and Dobby’s face crumbled.

"Harry Potter is angry," Dobby muttered, his ears drooping. "Dobby goes now. Dobby displeases the great Harry Potter."

"No!" Cursing under his breath, Harry jumped from the bed — never more grateful that he still wore pajamas to bed — and knelt next to Dobby. "You don’t, Dobby. You’ve done an excellent job and you’ve always helped me. It’s just — it’s just—"

Trailing off uncertainly, he turned to look at Hermione for help.

"Harry just doesn’t like vivid colors like that, Dobby," Hermione said quietly. "How about some more — subtle colors? Dark blues and forest greens, things like that?"

"Dobby changes colors?" the house-elf asked, his ears perking up hopefully.

"Yes, Dobby," Hermione said patiently. "I’ll help you, all right? I’m sure we can come up with some good colors between the two of us."

"Dobby never knew!" the house-elf shouted, and he began to weep. "Harry Potter is great and good, and his Wheezy is the same, but Dobby never knew that Harry Potter’s Hermy was so kind, so selfless, so—"

"Why don’t you move these clothes to the parlor?" Hermione asked, kindly. "I’ll be there in just a moment."

"Dobby does as Hermy asks!" Dobby declared, and with a snap of his fingers, he had vanished, taking the pile of clothes with him.

"Well," Hermione said after a moment, "that was interesting."

"Thank you," Harry murmured, staring at the spot where Dobby had been. "I don’t know what he would have done if you hadn’t come in here."

"Oh, don’t be so dramatic, Harry," Hermione rolled her eyes. "You just would have had to keep him from crying, that’s all."

"And we all know how easy that is," Harry muttered, and Hermione smiled before turning to go.

"Wait," Harry said quickly, and Hermione stopped, puzzled. "Can I — can we talk?"

"Weren’t we just?" Hermione asked, but she perched on the end of his bed regardless, and Harry moved to sit beside her.

"I wanted to apologize," he said quietly.

"For what?" Hermione asked, blinking, and Harry frowned.

"For making you cry," he replied.

Hermione smiled at him. "Harry, that was four days ago," she said gently. "I’m fine."

"I know that," he assured her, "but…" He shifted nervously, hands clasped in his lap. "It took me this long to figure out why you were crying," he said, "and I gave it some serious thought. After our third year — when Remus never contacted me, I just assumed he didn’t care. But a lot more people care about me than I’d realized. I never would have thought that Remus, Tonks, Kingsley, Moody and the Weasleys would defy Dumbledore for me. I wouldn’t have thought that Dobby would leave Hogwarts for me," he smiled wryly, "though that should have been fairly obvious."

"What are you saying, Harry?" Hermione watched him carefully.

"I didn’t mean to say what I did," he said quietly. "I didn’t mean to make you feel like I take you for granted. I don’t, Hermione. You’ve done more for me than anyone—"

"Harry," Hermione smiled, touching his arm. "It’s all right. I know."

"Good," Harry sighed in relief, "because I really need you to."

She smiled at him again, her eyes oddly misty. "Now," she said, clearing her throat as she stood up, "I suggest you get dressed and get downstairs, before Ron arrives and eats all the omelets."

"Omelets?" Harry asked, perking up, and Hermione nodded.

"Charlie and Remus are making them — well," she paused, grinning, "Remus is making them; Charlie’s just trying to sneak jalapeños into them while Remus’s back is turned."

"Get out, then," Harry grinned back, "so I can get dressed and get something to eat before Charlie ruins my appetite."

"I have to go see if I can convince Dobby to take a break until after breakfast, at any rate," Hermione muttered, and she waved absently before turning and walking out of the room.


Remus and Charlie were gone from the kitchen when Harry arrived, but a plate sat at his usual place at the table. Smiling, Harry sat down next to Tonks and greeted her cheerfully, in a much better mood that morning than he’d been for nearly a week.

Remus walked into the kitchen when he was finishing up his breakfast with Hermione on his heels, arguing with her in low, hurried tones. When the pair saw Harry and Tonks sitting at the table, watching them curiously, Hermione flushed and Remus cleared his throat nervously.

The Marauder pulled several rolls of parchment out of his robes and tossed them onto the table, scowling angrily.

"Dumbledore’s been owling me every other day, Harry," the wizard said, tossing himself into a chair across from Tonks. "He wants to see you."

Harry blinked, staring at the man, and sat up straighter. "Do you think he knows where they are?" he asked, and Remus snorted.

"Do you think he’d tell you if he did?" Lupin asked, glaring at the parchment rolls.

"It’s likely," Hermione replied as she sat across from Harry. "He knows he’s crossed the line one too many—"

A crash sounded, and the group turned to see Dobby standing at the sink, a pot dangling loosely from his hand, quivering. The house-elf stared at Hermione before moving his gaze to Harry.

"Dumblydore betrayed Harry Potter?" he asked quietly, and Harry flinched.

"It’s not that simple, Dobby," he began helplessly, but Hermione frowned at him.

"Yes, Dobby," she agreed. "Dumbledore betrayed Harry."

The house-elf snapped his fingers, disappearing immediately, and the pot fell to the floor.


Snape sat across from Dumbledore, gazing at the man over the rim of his tea cup. He had joined the headmaster for morning tea, as he did three mornings a week, and had arrived to find the man sulking at his desk yet again. Something was bothering Dumbledore, and he wanted to know what it was.

The only things that really bothered Albus Dumbledore these days were life-and-death situations.

"I have the feeling you’re hiding something from me, Albus," he said finally, setting down his tea cup. "What is it?"

"Are you certain I’m the only one hiding things?" Dumbledore immediately countered, his gaze sharp as he looked up from the sugar bowl. "Peeves tells me that Arthur Weasley has been in and out of the dungeons daily for nearly two weeks now. What are you doing down there?"

"Nothing of consequence," Snape dismissed, waving his hand absently. "Weasley merely insisted that I teach him a bit of NEWT Potions. He seems quite convinced that his youngest son won’t make the cut for my class."

"And you agreed to this?" Dumbledore raised an eyebrow, and Snape smirked.

"It’s a small price to pay to keep them from complaining to the Board of Governors," he scowled. "Augusta Longbottom was just placed on the board, you may recall, to replace Lucius. And with Longbottom’s newfound friendship with the Weasleys, Granger, Lovegood and Potter, I had… concerns that they might try to force me to accept the boy."

"Now, Severus," Dumbledore began, but Snape shook his head.

"I will not lower my standards, Albus," he snarled. "I cannot afford to have such a demanding course bogged down by miscreants and dunderheads."

"Very well," the headmaster sighed, and he stroked his beard thoughtfully.

"What are you going to do about Lupin, Headmaster?" Snape asked quickly, and Dumbledore jerked his gaze up to Snape’s, shocked.


"The werewolf, Albus," Snape said impatiently. "The one who has been quite rude to you lately. The one who—"

"I know of whom you speak, Severus," Dumbledore said tiredly. "I’ve been trying to get in touch with him, but he has not replied to any of my missives."

"Then go find him, Albus," Snape snarled, and Dumbledore shook his head.

"I fear I am no longer welcome at Grimmauld Place."

"Why the bloody hell not?" the Potions master ground out, his eyes flashing, and Dumbledore sighed.

"I’ve made an error," the elderly man replied tiredly, "a grievous error, and Remus has discovered it. I must prevent him from—"

"From what?" Snape asked immediately, but Dumbledore shook his head.

"You don’t need to know, Severus."

A stunned silence followed his pronouncement.

"Both yourself and the Dark Lord are playing a high stakes game, Albus," Snape finally said smoothly as he steepled his fingers under his chin. "He is gambling with people’s lives for his own benefit, and you for ours. But you would do well to remember, Headmaster," Snape continued, and here he shifted, eyes flashing as he leaned forward, "in a world such as this, the only true division between yourself and the Dark Lord was that once, you would ask rather than order. Has that changed?"


"Tell me, Dumbledore," Snape insisted, gazing at the headmaster, "what exactly is this grievous error?"

The only sound was the ticking of the grandfather clock Dumbledore had collected the week before. Snape stared at the old man, willing Dumbledore to —

"The Potters never died," Dumbledore whispered, his face ashen, and Snape felt all of his strength leave him. "They are in—"

"What?" Snape asked. Paling, he grabbed the arm of his chair and clenched his fingers around it. "All this time, you let me think that—"

"I had to," Dumbledore replied, though the old man looked violently ill.

"Why? What could justify that? What could possibly—" Snape gasped, shaking.

"Severus, I—"


"Severus, I had to — the prophecy—"

"Not that bloody prophecy again!" Snape screamed. Turning on his heel, he swept out of the office, his robed billowing behind him. He slammed the office door and strode down the steps, never seeing the tears that streamed down Dumbledore’s face as the door shut.

Fuming, the greasy-haired man walked down several flights of stairs, his mind far away. All these years, he’d thought he’d killed the Potters — thought he’d made their son an orphan —

"You shall help Harry Potter!" a squeaky voice declared, and Snape spun around, startled. "You shall come with Dobby!"

"What are you on about, you crazed elf?" Snape demanded angrily, glaring at the house-elf who was staring up at him from under a teetering pile of hats.

"You shall help Harry Potter!" the elf declared again, and grabbing Snape’s arm, he snapped his fingers and disappeared.


They reappeared in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, Snape immediately falling to his knees. The prideful man wrapped his arms around his torso, trying desperately not to regurgitate the crumpets Dumbledore had given him. When his stomach had settled, he looked up to see the crazy house-elf smiling in satisfaction as four people stared at him.

"Dumblydore’s Snapey shall help Harry Potter," Dobby said proudly. "Dobby makes certain, Harry Potter sir."

"Er…. Thanks, Dobby," Harry said nervously, eyeing Snape, and Dobby beamed. "But how can Snape help—"

The Potions master groaned. "Keep that thing on a leash, Potter," he muttered angrily as he got to his feet. "Famous Harry Potter can’t even control a house-elf…"

"You shall not talk about Harry Potter that way!" Dobby shouted, rounding on the professor. "Harry Potter is noble and brave and kind and—"

"Yes, yes, all right," Snape said impatiently. "Now what do you want from me, you deranged creature?"

"You is talking to Dumblydore," Dobby said, smirking happily. "He is telling you things. Dobby saw."

"You broke into the headmaster’s office?" Hermione gasped, gaping at the house-elf.

"Well done, Dobby," Remus murmured, smiling at the elf, and Dobby’s smile grew wider yet again.

"You is telling Harry Potter sir what Dumblydore said," Dobby ordered, shaking a finger at the man. "You is telling Harry Potter sir right now, you is…."

"I "isn’t" telling Harry Potter sir a thing—" Snape began scathingly, but Dobby cut him off.

"Snapey is very mad, he is," Dobby whispered, gesturing to Harry to bend over so he could whisper — quite loudly — in his ear. "Snapey swearing, he was. Snapey yelled at Dumblydore, he did, Dobby saw…"

"Is Snapey?" Remus asked, grinning. "Well, Dobby, why don’t you just have Snapey tell us what he knows."

Snape scowled thunderously at Remus, who smirked back at him.

"Snapey is telling," Dobby waggled his finger at the man, "Snapey is telling right now, or Dobby is getting angry, he is..."

"Very well!" the Potions master straightened his robes, huffing angrily, before turning to Harry. Grudgingly, he muttered, "The Headmaster knows where your parents are, Potter."

Harry dropped his goblet on the table, pumpkin juice spilling everywhere. "What?" he breathed. "Where? How?"

"I didn’t ask, Potter, I wasn’t in the mood to stick around!" Snape shouted back. "Now, if you’ll excuse me—"

"Why were you angry?" Harry asked his brow furrowed. "You hated my parents, why would you—"

He broke off, his face darkening, and glared at Snape. "You."

The Potions master eyed him nervously.

"You told Voldemort the prophecy," Harry continued, his hands shaking.

"What prophecy?" Hermione asked, gazing at him, and Snape swallowed before smirking.

"You didn’t tell her, Potter?" he asked delightedly. "Trouble in paradise, is there?"


"Snapey is going now!" Dobby squeaked, and he snapped his fingers, the professor vanishing before their eyes.

"Harry, what prophecy?" Hermione asked, staring at him, but Harry shook his head.

"Later," he said shortly. "It doesn’t matter now. Dumbledore knows where they are, Hermione."

"I heard," the witch swallowed. "Dobby, would you go get Neville, Ginny, Ron and Luna, please?"

The house-elf nodded, still glaring at the spot where Snape had stood moments earlier, and vanished.

"Remus, I suppose you should call the others," she swallowed nervously, "so we can — can confront Dumbledore…"

Remus nodded and pulled his amulet out from around his neck, immediately pressing in the stone. A moment later, Tonks hissed as she felt the amulet burn, and Charlie and Bill came clambering down the stairs.

Dobby reappeared a moment later, and Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna, Fred, George and Arthur walked into the room, dusting soot off of their clothes. Less than thirty seconds later, Moody and Kingsley Apparated into the room.

"Right," Remus murmured. "We’re all here."

"We’ve had a lead," Remus announced. "It turns out—"

"Dumbledore knows where Harry’s parents are," Hermione cut in quickly, and Remus sighed, rubbing his face tiredly as the others stared at her.

"Why must you do that?" he asked exasperatedly.

"We’re wasting time!" Hermione cried. "Snape obviously caught Dumbledore at a weak moment, and the longer we delay—"

"Agreed," Moody said gruffly. "Let’s get over there before Albus regains his sanity."

"Don’t you mean before he loses it again?" Tonks scowled, and Kingsley smiled slightly.

"Are we all going?" he asked. "Shouldn’t we—"

"There isn’t much point any longer," Remus said quietly. "We were going to have to reveal ourselves at any rate, we might as well show the man how much support Harry really has."

"Can we go now?" Hermione asked impatiently. "Come on, Harry," she insisted, grabbing his arm and dragging him forward, and she watched as Kingsley made a plate into a Portkey.

"On three, then," the Auror said quietly, "One… two… three."

The entire group vanished, Dobby following right behind them.


They reappeared just outside the gargoyles guarding the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. Quickly, the Weasley twins ran through a list of sweets and the gargoyles moved aside, allowing them passage into the office. Remus went up the staircase first, with Arthur at his side and Tonks right behind them, followed by Moody, Kingsley, the Weasleys, Luna and Neville. Harry and Hermione came last, with Dobby at their heels.

The procession was rather somber, and made Harry feel even more nervous than he had already been. Glancing over at him, Hermione smiled reassuringly and squeezed his hand.

"Remus!" Dumbledore exclaimed happily from behind his desk. "To what do I owe the—"

His voice died as he stared, brow furrowed, at the group of people filing into his office. Seeing the direction of Dumbledore’s gaze, Hermione grabbed Harry’s hand again, squeezing it harder, and Ron moved to stand behind them, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Quickly, Neville moved to Harry’s other side, with Ginny joining him and Luna patting Hermione’s arm in comfort.

But it was Dobby who made the most blatant show of support. The house-elf placed himself in front of Harry, arms crossed as he glared at the headmaster, who was more than a bit disconcerted from the fury in the house-elf’s eyes.

"Where are they, Dumbledore?" Remus asked, and the elderly man’s gaze slid across the room, to where Arthur Weasley and four of his eldest sons had gathered. Moody stood silently by the door, Kingsley to the other side, and Tonks moved to stand next to Remus.

"What are you talking—?" Dumbledore began, and Remus cut him off.

"I’m not in the mood for your little games, Dumbledore," Remus replies, eyes flashing. "Where are they?"

"How?" Dumbledore asked helplessly, sinking into his seat behind the desk. "How do you—?"

"Really, Dumbledore, did you think we’d never find out?" Remus asked scathingly. "Enough stalling. Where are they?"

"I don’t—"

Remus raised his hand, pounding it on the edge of Dumbledore’s large, ornate desk and the wood creaked ominously. "Where?"

Dumbledore flinched. He turned his head to look at Harry, who was staring at him with hope, fury and betrayal glittering in his eyes. "The Potters may be found at 1 Griffin Lane, Godric’s Hollow," he said softly, and Remus turned on his heel.

"Come on, Harry," he muttered, taking Harry’s arm, and Hermione hurried along beside them. The others filed out after them, Moody eyeing Dumbledore with no small amount of disgust.

The door shut behind them, and Dumbledore dropped his head down onto his hands, tears falling once again. A hand touched his arm and he jumped, reaching for his wand, but sighed tiredly when he saw the face of Luna Lovegood watching him curiously.

"Yes, Miss Lovegood?" he asked, blinking away the tears.

The odd Ravenclaw smiled. "It’s not too late, you know," she said quietly, and she patted his wrinkled old hand once before turning and walking away.

Dumbledore stared at the door long after it had closed.


"We still need to find them," Remus said anxiously. "Now that we know the Secret, we can get in, but Godric’s Hollow is likely still warded by so many spells—"

"What if it’s not?" Harry asked as he tossed a book aside. "What if they don’t remember me, or they just don’t want to leave?"

"Dumbledore wouldn’t take the chance, Harry," Tonks pointed out immediately. "He couldn’t risk them finding out that you’re still alive. So…"

"He likely has the place good and layered," Bill put in. "Maybe a few charms to cause confusion, memory charms all over the exits to the estate. That way, even if they got out, they’d forget why."

"It’s damn cunning of him," Charlie added, "and those wards must be strong, to have held them for fifteen years."

"Lily must know," Remus said, shaking his head. "It’s likely that she hasn’t stepped foot outside the gates since they got there, but she’s been sending James to do it instead — that way one of them will still remember…"

Bill shuddered. "I just hope he isn’t brain damaged, if that’s the case. Repeated memory charms? Not good."

"Lily would know how to fix it," Remus murmured, and Harry felt a sudden surge of pride and love. His mother would know how to fix it — she was the smartest witch Hogwarts had seen in years, everyone told him that….


"Hold still, James," Lily murmured softly. "I need to check you for any lingering side effects."

"I’m fine, Lily," James muttered, fending her off with both hands. "Don’t tamper with my mind,"

"I’m not going to tamper with your mind!" Lily replied angrily, her emerald eyes flashing. "I’m trying to make sure Dumbledore didn’t do any damage!"

"He didn’t!" James said angrily. "He couldn’t, because then you’d notice even though you’ve been charmed too!"

"Ah….," Lily looked away quickly, and James stared at her. "Well… you see…"

"You’ve been sending me though that thing?" James asked incredulously. "Lily!"

"One of us had to remember!" she said quickly, tears sparkling in her eyes. "And you don’t know enough about charms to—"

"All right, all right, I get it. But why didn’t you tell me?"

"I did," Lily sniffled, "the first ten times…"

"The first ten times?" James jumped to his feet. "How many times have you sent me to get my mind scrambled?"

Lily looked away again, mumbling something under her breath, and James frowned. "What?"

"Twenty," she whispered, looking down.

"Twenty?" James began pacing up and down the room, sending glares at her every few seconds, and Lily flinched. "Well, have you gotten anything out of it yet?"

"The wards seem to be wearing down a bit," she said slowly. "But it’d probably take at least twenty more tries to get through it, and it’s just not safe to do it any more than once every six months."

"At least you’re thinking like a Marauder," James muttered, scowling. "I don’t look forward to trying to go through that thing again, mind you…"

"We’ll have to figure out another way, that’s all," Lily soothed quickly. "What if we—"

Frowning, she spun around, staring up at the ceiling. "Did you hear that?"

"Hear wha—?" James frowned. It sounded a bit like static in his head — like one of Lily’s old Muggle radios when the stations weren’t working…

We just need to find a proper Point-Me spell, the voice of an unfamiliar girl sounded. If we can find that, maybe we could fly to Godric’s Hollow.

Yes, but how would we find the house? A male voice replied, and Lily and James gasped.

"Remus?" James whispered.

If we could catch Pettigrew, another male voice said darkly, maybe he could lead us there…

I don’t know, Harry, I doubt Dumbledore told Pettigrew where the Potters are…

"Harry?" Lily breathed, gazing at the ceiling. "James, it’s Harry!"

James quickly shook his head. "No, it’s not, we’re hearing things, Lils. It’s just wishful —"

"It is not!" Lily cried. "It’s the bond! It must be able to feel us trying to reach each other — it’s trying to help!"

"Harry!" she began shouting. "Harry, can you hear me?"

"Lily, stop it!" James grabbed his wife by the arm and tried to swing her around, but she quickly shook him off.

"Harry? Harry, answer me!"


Harry jerked in his seat, grabbing the arm of Hermione’s chair to pull himself upright. "What?" he muttered, staring at the tabletop, and Hermione gazed at him.

"Harry, are you all right?"

"Mum?" Harry whispered. "Mum?"


"He can hear me!" Lily said excitedly, turning to smile at her husband. "He can hear me, James!"

"No," James breathed. "It can’t — he can’t—" Taking a deep breath, the black-haired man licked his lips nervously. "Harry?" he asked uncertainly.


"Dad?" Harry breathed. "Hermione, I can hear them!"

Hermione had already gotten unsteadily to her feet, but at this, she sank to her knees at his side. "Harry, are you certain?" she asked nervously, as Remus stared at them, thunderstruck.

"Yes! Mum, Dad, tell me something that only Remus would know," he said quickly, his eyes alighting with excitement.


"James, hurry, think of something!"

"Ah…," the man scratched his head. "Oh! I know! Remus used to have this old stuffed wolf his mother had gotten for him — once I enchanted it to tap-dance on his bed to wake him up in the morning — let’s see, I used to call his lycanthropy his *"furry little problem" and Sirius went around telling everybody he owned a vicious were- rabbit…"


In Grimmauld Place, Harry looked up at Remus, his eyes sparkling with amusement. "Your furry little problem?" he repeated incredulously, and Remus blanched.

"Oh lord," the aging werewolf muttered, sinking back into his chair. "It can’t be—"

"Some bonding rituals," Bill muttered, "I read about this — they can enable long-distance communication, but I never read anything specific."

"Apparently," Ron said wryly, "telepathy counts as "long-distance communication"."

"Mum, Dad, where’s Godric’s Hollow? How do I find you?"

After a moment, Harry looked up, his eyes wide. "They said to Apparate to a town called Sancreed," he said nervously. "Do you know where that is?"

"Right by the Drift Reservoir, isn’t it?" Remus asked. "Of course! I remember now!"

"They said yes," Harry replied quickly. "They’re just about a mile from the reservoir."

"Right," Remus agreed. "Harry, take my arm. Tonks, take Hermione, Arthur, take Ron, Bill take Ginny, Charlie, take Luna and Kingsley, take Neville, would you?"

"Can we follow you like that?" Arthur asked, frowning. "I wasn’t aware—"

"No, you’re right," Remus sighed. He led the group to a viewing room and quickly, placed an image of a secluded wood near Sancreed’s town center in the pensieve. When the others emerged, he grabbed Harry’s arm and Apparated away.


The others reappeared only a moment after Harry’s feet settled on the ground. He looked around curiously, peering out of the woods. All he could see was a tiny little town — a village, really — with a wide, slightly crowded main street running through the center.

"Right," Remus said nervously, "stay in the woods. We’ll have to walk."

He led the large group along a slightly worn path in the woods, making his way steadily through the foliage. Harry and Hermione followed not a step behind, Ron, Luna, Ginny and Neville following directly behind them. The adults of the group hung back, wands at the ready, and studied their surroundings carefully.

Twenty minutes of walking got them to Godric’s Hollow, and they skirted around the small village carefully, making certain to remain in the woods. Finally, they reached an area where they could see a small cottage through the trees, and Remus stopped and stared.

"I didn’t think," he began, swallowing convulsively, "I would ever see this place again."

Nervously, he stepped forward, crossing onto the property with his eyes closed. After a moment, he opened his eyes and waved to the others. "You can come through," he said quickly. "Dumbledore must have taken down the—"

Harry ran by him, racing across the grounds until he came to the walkway to the cottage. There he froze, staring up at the house anxiously.

"Harry!" Hermione shouted, and she ran after him, grabbing his arm to steady herself when she nearly tripped and fell.

"This is it, Hermione," he whispered. "This is where Voldemort—"

"Harry, forget about Voldemort," Hermione said softly. "This is where your parents are."

The door opened a creak as Remus joined them, the others stopping a ways back. Harry watched the door nervously, his breath caught, and a moment later, it opened all the way.

A woman stood there, with long red hair and emerald eyes not unlike Harry’s own. She was about Hermione’s height and slim, wearing a pair of emerald green robes. Behind her was a man who looked just like Harry, with black, untidy hair, wire-rimmed glasses and hazel eyes. The couple froze on the front steps, staring at Harry and Remus.

"Harry?" Lily breathed after a moment, and Harry nodded, swallowing and grabbing Hermione’s hand.

"Harry!" Lily shouted. "James, it’s Harry!" Grabbing her husband’s arm, she dragged him down the steps and, weeping, pulled Harry into her embrace. The black-haired boy stiffened momentarily before closing his eyes and clinging to his mother. James looked as if he wanted to join them, but when he looked at Remus, his jaw dropped.

"Remus," James murmured, "what—?"

"Later, my friend," Remus replied. "Get reacquainted with your son for now."

James gazed at him, his eyes misty, and grabbed the other Marauder in a hug before turning and embracing his wife and son.

No one spoke. Glancing to the right, Hermione saw Tonks step forward and slip her hand into Remus’s, leaning her head against his arm. Silently, she turned back to see Harry still standing with his parents, his eyes sparkling happily, crying without the slightest bit of shame.

She stepped back and went over to the rest of their friends, ignoring the concerned glances of Remus, Tonks, Arthur, Bill, Charlie and Kingsley.

"Oh, Hermione," Ginny whispered, and she hugged her friend.

"He doesn’t need us anymore," Hermione whispered, blinking back tears.

"Yes he does," Neville said quietly. "He always will. You have nothing to worry about, Hermione. Look at him. He’s so happy. I’ve never seen him like this."

"Now all we have to worry about is that bloody prophecy," Ron scowled. "I’m just glad you managed to drag it out of him, Hermione. I have a funny feeling he was never going to tell us."

She nodded absently, straightening up when she saw Harry grab his mother’s hand and drag her and James toward them.

"Mum, Dad, I want you to meet my friends," Harry was saying excitedly. "This is Luna, she’s a fifth year Ravenclaw… and this is Ron, he’s been one of my best friends since first year. He’s a Gryffindor like me. This is Neville, also a Gryffindor in my year, and Ginny, a fifth year Gryffindor and Ron’s sister. And this is Hermione Granger," Harry smiled at Hermione, "sixth-year Gryffindor and the brightest witch at Hogwarts."

Hermione flushed. "Don’t exaggerate," she said quietly as the Potters greeted the other students.

"I didn’t," Harry smiled.

"A pleasure to meet you, Hermione," Lily smiled, hugging the girl, and James smiled at her.

"We should go," Remus cut in. "If anyone sees us—"

"Where’s Sirius?" James asked suddenly, looking around, and Harry flinched.

"We should go," Remus repeated, and he took Lily’s arm, pulling her back. "Fred, George, can you get Harry and Hermione back to Grimmauld Place, please?"

"Certainly," the twins replied with mock bows. Fred taking Hermione’s arm and George taking Harry’s, they vanished with a sharp crack.

"Grimmauld Place?" James spun around, staring at Remus. "Isn’t that where his house was? Is he waiting for us there?"

Remus shook his head. "Tonks, take Lily, will you?"

Nodding, Tonks gestured to Lily, who, looking slightly frightened, took the metamorph’s arm. "Remus, what happened?"

"Not here, Lily," he said tiredly. "Moody, would you take James?" Waiting silently, he watched the ex-Auror nod and move forward, and Tonks and Moody vanished with a crack, taking Lily and James with them. A moment later, the others followed.

Remus paused, waiting silently, and a moment later, Bill and Charlie reappeared.

"What do you need us to do?" Charlie asked as Fred and George appeared behind them.

"Lock it down," he replied. "We need to be able to bring them back to get their things," he replied, "without anyone getting in here to steal them or torch the place."

The four Weasleys nodded and immediately set to work, Bill directing his brothers on what wards to use and where to place them. As they worked, Remus gazed into the trees, where he had seen movement not two minutes before.

Albus Dumbledore met Remus’s gaze without flinching, his eyes heavy and sad. Without saying a word, the elderly headmaster spun on his heel and disappeared.

*from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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