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Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past
End of Year One...
Harry’s stomach lurched and he almost let go of the snitch as he remembered the Tri-Wizards Cup and the port-key that whisked him and Cedric to Little Hangleton.
Fortunately, the jerking sensation continued as he swung forward and back. Harry realized he was being held up by the back of his Quidditch robes. He looked up and saw Fred and George grimacing as they tried to control their brooms with just their knees. Their hands were occupied by beater bats and handfuls of the back of Harry’s robes.
“Did you get it—“
Harry held up the struggling snitch, though that set him to swinging even worse.
“Right. No more-“
“. . .Bludgers to block.”
With that they dropped their bats and used their free hands to guide their brooms lower. When Harry was about ten feet off the ground, they let out a cheer and dropped Harry directly on top of the mass of Gryffindor students below. Harry never even made it to head level, as a dozen hands held him up above the crowd.
Oliver flew over, Harry’s broom tucked under his arm, but his face was pale. He handed Harry his broom without a word and Harry quickly climbed on to join his team-mates in a flying group hug.
Eventually, the professors got the majority of the students heading back to the castle. Professor McGonagall was a little bright-eyed, and rumpled from when Oliver threw his arms around her and kissed her on the cheek… to which she only responded “Oh do get cleaned up, Mr. Wood!”.”
Harry was a little surprised when he found Ron, Hermione, and Neville waiting for him outside the locker room. “Oliver said no autographs,” he quipped.
Ron playfully swatted him on top of his head. “Malfoy probably wants you dead right now, you know. That win put the house cup completely out of their hands.”
“I’m heartbroken, Ron, really I am.”
“He does have a point, Harry. This would be too good an opportunity for him to pass up,” Hermione” Hermione volunteered.
Ron glanced at Hermione, looking a little shocked.
Harry scratched at the back of his head, both touched and embarrassed at the same time. “Thanks,” he murmured.
As they made their way back to the castle, both Neville and Ron walked with their wands out, held closely to their sides. Harry was thoughtful as he noted the obvious signs of wear. As he recalled, Neville had his father’s wand and Ron was using Charlie’s old one. Neither had a wand that actually chose them, which seemed to be a considerable handicap. He’d have to do something about that as well.
Walking into the Great Hall on Monday and seeing it decked out in red and gold for the end of year feast really brought it home to Harry. Dumbledore wasn’t going to have to award Gryffindor a ton of points at the last minute to change the outcome. After Harry’s sharp words in the restricted section, he didn’t imagine the old man would be too likely to help him out anyway. But the fact that he didn’t have to was what made Harry’s heart lift as he took a seat with his friends.
Some things can be changed. Maybe what he was calling fate was just a coincidence after all.
It was both a scary and a liberating thought. Maybe he could make it all come out right… and maybe he could screw it up even worse. Still, he couldn’t be James and Lily’s son without at least trying. He smiled as he thought about the album with pictures of his parents that Hagrid had given to him earlier that day.
Thinking about his parents also reminded him of some other issues that were nagging at him. He knew he didn’t dare do anything to Scabbers this early in the course of events. The rat Animagus played an essential role in the resurrection of Voldemort. If he were exposed now, he might get away and seek out his old master even sooner than he did before. Harry needed that time to prepare.
But it also meant Sirius was still cooling his heels in Azkaban.
That thought alone threatened to spoil his appetite. As Harry tried to swallow a bite of mashed potatoes, his eyes wandered up to the high table and he saw Professor Dumbledore smiling down at him.
A plan suddenly formed in Harry’s mind; it wasn’t guaranteed, but it was better than nothing, He smiled and resumed eating while he listened to the table chatter and worked out the details.
The next two weeks had no exams or classes, and were usually handy for the older students to complete independent research projects. Harry and his friends turned to training with a will, working out two and sometimes three times a day. In between, Hermione practically lived in the library. She was working hard on her ‘summer research’, and since she didn’t have potions classes to attend, all she had to do was avoid Snape in the corridors.
After his morning run the day after the feast, Harry made his way to the headmaster’s office. As he approached the gargoyle it slid aside on it’s own as the headmaster’s voice bade him to enter.
“Hello Harry. Congratulations on the cup; that was quite a daring catch.”
Harry looked down, wondering why the old man was trying so hard to butter him up. “Fred and George deserve most of the credit sir. In my opinion they made just as important a catch that day.”
“I would be surprised if you felt otherwise. So what brings you here today? Would you like a lemon drop?”
Harry shook his head. “I wanted to talk to you… about something I was trying to look up in the restricted section. I wanted to keep it private, but I haven’t had any luck, and I think it’s important…” he let his voice trail off and looked up at the headmaster.
“Harry, I really do want to help you. I know it has been hard for you in some ways, but I would like to do what I can,.” Dumbledore said.
Harry looked at him evenly for a moment. He really did mean well. That’s what made him so hard to deal with. Once he thought he was acting for the best, he would take whatever steps were necessary. While Harry had to admire his drive, the fact that the man could also be frighteningly close-minded on certain subjects made him dangerous. His own portrait warned him of that once it was clear that Harry could not be talked out of returning to the past. Harry took a deep breath and tried to look uncomfortable. “I, well, I’ve been having nightmares.”
“I see,” the headmaster replied. His lack of reaction was not shocking. Dean and Seamus were not terribly close-mouthed, and the Hogwarts Gossip Network was frighteningly efficient. Plus all the portraits reported to the headmaster.
Harry took a deep breath. “At first the dreams were fairly short. I’d just hear some laughing and a bright green light would shine.” Harry noticed the headmaster’s eyebrows furrow just the tiniest bit. “N-now, I hear voices first. I think… I think I’m hearing my mum and dad… before they d-died.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that Harry,” the headmaster began sadly.
“It’s not the fact that I’m hearing them that bothers me so much as the fact that what they are saying doesn’t make any sense… I hear my father shouting “He’s here, Lils, he’s here!’ and then she asks ‘what about the spell?’ and he answers “I don’t understand, Peter was the secret keeper!”
Harry took another shaky breath. “Then there is an explosion and sounds of fighting. Then I hear my Mum’s voice one last time… Sir, what is this secret keeper they are talking about? I couldn’t find any reference to it in the books we checked.”
Albus Dumbledore went very still. “Harry that is a very old charm, and one not lightly used. Peter was a friend of your parents, one who died in the war.”
“What charm, sir?” Harry pressed. I’ve definitely shaken him up, he thought.
“Harry, I’m afraid I’m not sure what it means. I’m going to need some time before I understand the implications of what you’ve told me.”
Harry just nodded, struggling to contain himself. He knows very well what I’m talking about, he seethed.
“Harry, if you have any more dreams, or if you remember any more of that one, please let me know as soon as possible.” The headmaster’s voice was low as he tried to catch Harry’s eye.
The boy didn’t look up. Instead he sighed wearily and whispered “Yes, sir,” before he turned and left.
Once he was out in the corridor, Harry clenched his fists to keep from screaming his frustration. I’ve waited all this time, and this is the first opportunity I’ve found to clear Sirius without getting everyone else killed. And what does that old fool do? Nothing!
The rattle of metal jerked Harry out of his thoughts. The suit of armour he’d just passed was vibrating like mad. With great effort, he pushed his anger down before he triggered another burst of accidental magic. Maybe he will do something, maybe he just doesn’t want to get my hopes up. He took a steadying breath and began walking again. Maybe he’ll do something before I get strong enough to do something myself.
Their final exam results were not really surprising, except perhaps to Hermione. In the end, she was happy to receive independent confirmation of her utter brilliance and finally relaxed. She sat down with Harry and helped him map out a training regimen for each of them to follow over the summer holidays. All of them found they rather liked the martial arts they’d been practicing, and a sense of friendly competition was making itself felt.
Harry was now just barely holding his own against Ron, who had a little more reach than he did. Neville and Hermione weren’t far behind him either. Even the twins had joined them a few times, when they weren’t busy setting up one of their elaborate pranks.
His friends’ growing proficiency just complicated what he had to do next. He thought about just buying Ron and Neville new wands for their birthdays, but he knew how the Weasleys felt about charity. He wasn’t sure if Neville’s Gran might be even worse. A little acting might make it more palatable, though…
They always carried their wands with them while practicing. This was both to get used to them, and to avoid being caught unarmed by Malfoy or his allies. Harry kept his strapped to his forearm. Neville kept his in a breast pocket of his robes and Ron held his tucked against his forearm.
At one of their last practices the day before taking the Hogwarts Express back to London, Harry announced that he wanted to try out an escape move he’d read in a book. He had the two boys hold his arms behind his back and try to keep him there. When Harry jumped backward and twisted, his feet stumbled and he brought all three of them down in a pile. There was a loud snapping sound and everyone froze.
Harry’s knee had come down on top of Ron’s wand and snapped the shaft.
Harry apologized profusely as he helped the red-headed boy up. When they patted themselves down for injuries, Neville discovered that his wand had also broken in his pocket, probably when Harry landed on him. Their friend was horrified and would not stop apologizing until they let him lead them to his trunk. He had just enough in his money bag to hand each boy a stack of galleons to buy a replacement wand at Ollivander’s.
After dinner that evening, Hermione hung back to walk next to Harry as the boisterous crowd made their way to the Gryffindor common room.
“That was a nice thing you did,” she whispered.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said carefully.
“Harry, you are not that clumsy. I know a pratfall when I see one,.” she said quietly.
Damn. Harry sighed. “You know how using someone else’s wand handicaps you.”
“I understand it makes things harder, but they will eventually get their own wands, won’t they?”
“If it were done when it is done, then it were well it were done quickly,” Harry quoted, stalling for time.
Hermione looked at him. “When did you read Macbeth?”
“Er, I had to do a book report last year.” Great, I was hoping to divert her, not throw her another clue.
They walked a little farther, but Harry could feel a pair of brown eyes boring into him. “Is this… urgent, Harry?”
“Better to be prepared, yeah?”
“I think I’m going to start on my research project the instant I get home.”
“You do that,” Harry said, relieved that she wasn’t going to push any farther.
When they arrived at Gryffindor tower, everyone began packing their trunks for the trip back to King’s Cross. Unlike most of his classmates, Harry wasn’t looking forward to the summer. I suppose some things never change, he mused.
Still, he got everything squared away and spent an hour down in the common room, finishing one last letter to Ginny. He was a little nervous telling her everything that had gone on at the end of the term, but he wanted to keep as few secrets from her as possible. Like that’s going to make a difference, with all that you haven’t told her. She’s never going to trust you again after she finds out.
Harry stared at the end of his letter, lost in thought. He’d grown weary of the lies and deceptions, no matter how necessary they may have been. Did he really have friends, or just people he was manipulating into liking him? Okay, maybe that was a little harsh… he was just using what he’d learned about them over the years to help them… help them be happier, make them more likely to survive what was coming. But what gave him the right to decide what was better for them? Was he was starting to think like Dumbledore and his ‘greater good’?
The Boy Who Lived sat with his quill dripping ink on his fingers. He let out a sigh. The older me died for them. I remember him/me dying to come back and make it right. He’s as much me as I am him. I’m just going to have to muddle through the best I can. I’ll tell them as soon as it’s safe, as soon as I know they can keep my secrets safe. If they are angry then… well, they’ll have a right to be. But if they are still my friends, then they’ll forgive me.
Harry blotted his quill and looked down at his letter. He began writing again.
Ginny, you’re a smart girl, so you can probably tell that there are things I’ve left out of my letters. I already feel like I know you, and it bothers me that there are things I have to keep from my friends – but you most of all. I can promise you that this won’t be a permanent thing. We’re working on a way to keep our secrets safe, and once we do you will know everything. I’m sorry I’ve had to do things this way, but once it’s done, I hope you will understand and forgive me.
He stared down at the paragraph and grimaced. She’ll probably think I’m mental after reading that, he thought. All the same, he felt a little lighter inside. Just writing that down made him feel… cleaner, in a way.
After reading that, you probably think I’m mental. Or at least utterly paranoid and I wouldn’t blame you one bit. One of our friends, Hermione Granger, you know, the one Ron likes to argue with, figured out that one of our professors is using some kind of magic to get inside people’s heads and read their memories. He used it one too many times to get us in trouble and Hermione found him out. That’s the reason for all the cloak and dagger stuff. He has trouble getting into my head, for some reason, which is good because there would be a lot of trouble if he could see all my memories. Again, please keep this to yourself. Ron doesn’t know yet, but if you want to know what that professor is like, ask him about Potions class – just be prepared to cover your ears when he gets loud.
I hope to see you when I get off the train tomorrow.
Harry slipped out of the common room and pulled the invisibility cloak out of his bag when he saw the coast was clear. Everyone else must have been preparing for the end of the term, because he didn’t see anyone on his trip to the Owlery and back. When he returned to his dormitory, Harry had the longest uninterrupted night’s sleep he’d enjoyed since Boxing Day.
Harry and Hermione made a point of not letting Ron or Neville out of their sight while they rode the Hogwarts Express. Harry didn’t remember Draco trying to harass anyone after their first year, but the Malfoy heir had also been a lot more aggressive this year. Harry knew that it was his meddling that caused this, but he couldn’t really see that much he could have done differently.
He knew that submitting to Malfoy’s harassment would only lead to larger problems later on. The boy already had a large following in his own house, and if no one stood up to him Harry was pretty sure the other students would be cowed as well. He brooded about this while Neville was showing them sketches for the greenhouse he was to help organize during the summer.
Still, he had a whole summer to plot and plan and worry. This was his last chance to be with his friends for months, and he knew he should enjoy it while it lasted. So Harry joined in when Ron started talking about maybe trying out for the Quidditch team in a year or two. As all the current players were quite good, he reasoned, his best chance was to wait until Oliver Wood graduated year after next. Harry agreed, though he had to be careful not to appear too certain. To Harry’s surprise, Neville wondered aloud who’d be replacing the twins at beater when they left Hogwarts.
“Well, you should come over during the summer, Neville, and practice with them a bit,” Ron encouraged him. “It’s part of the senior team members responsibilities to make sure the reserves are trained up properly.” There was not a hint of mockery in Ron’s voice – he’d taken on that deadly serious tone he always adopted when discussing his favourite sport.
“Maybe,” Neville said thoughtfully. “I’m not well coordinated, though.”
Ron shrugged and grinned. “Neither were Fred and George. My oldest brother, Bill, tells me when they were toddlers they were always falling down. He and Charlie called them ‘Crash’ and ‘Bang’ until Mum made them stop.”
That got a laugh from the whole compartment.
“Seriously, though, I am going to ask Mum when you can all come over this summer,” Ron continued.
“Just don’t tell Fred and George first,” Harry said in a worried voice, and they all cracked up again.
Like all good things, their journey eventually came to an end. Harry was happy to note that he could shift his trunk a bit easier than he could at the beginning of the year.
He and his friends stood in the milling crowd at Platform Nine and Three Quarters, looking for their families. Neville’s grandmother showed up first, looking very regal and intimidating.
“H-harry, Ron, Hermione, this is my Gran,” Neville stammered.
Harry stepped forward and shook her hand. “I’m Harry,” he said.
“Augusta Longbottom, Mr. Potter. Nice to meet you,” she said, frowning down at him. “I must say, you do look remarkably like your father.”
Harry nodded. “As much as Neville looks like his mum. I’d like to thank you for helping him find that photograph; it means a lot to me.”
“Think nothing of it. I’m glad to see Neville finally making some friends.” Neville winced a little at that.
Harry shrugged, smiling. “Hard not to be friends with someone who goes toe to toe with a mountain troll and saves your life.” He ignored Mrs. Longbottom’s mouth falling open, and cuffed his friend affectionately on the shoulder. “Have a good summer, Nev.”
The Grangers were not hard to pick out of the crowd. They were dressed very smartly in the Muggle fashion, but were wide-eyed staring at all the oddly-dressed Wizarding folk on the platform.
“Mom, Dad!” Hermione cried, getting their attention. She quickly introduced her friends to her parents.
“So you’re the Harry that finally got my daughter interested in exercise?” her father asked, eying him speculatively.
I’m not the one you should be worrying about, Harry thought with amusement. “Well, we don’t really have any sort of physical education or sport class at Hogwarts,” he said soberly. Hermione gave her father an outraged glare.
Mrs. Granger simply watched her husband and daughter with amusement.
“Er, well it was good to meet you all,” Mr. Granger said. “Let me help you with your trunk, dear.”
Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry. “I’ll get right on it,” she mouthed before turning to follow her parents into the crowd.
“What’s that all about?” Ron asked.
“Just something to maybe get Snape off our backs,” Harry said. “She’s worked out some of what he’s been doing.”
“Ha! I knew if we could get her on board, she’d find something,” Ron practically crowed. “She’s brilliant, she is. That greasy git is in for it now.”
Harry just looked at Ron with amusement. The twins joined them, saying goodbye to Lee Jordan. Angelina and Katie, two of the Gryffindor chasers, waved to them and Harry and the twins waved back. Percy trailed behind, talking to a tall brunette Harry recognized as being in Ravenclaw.
“Any sign of Mum?”
“Not yet,” Ron replied, peering through the crowd. Finally, he climbed on top of his trunk and began waving his arms. “Over here!”
Harry smiled as he saw the Weasley matriarch emerging from the crowd. He saw Ginny trailing behind her and his grin got even wider.
“Ronald, you’re getting so tall!” she said as she drew her youngest son into a crushing embrace.
“Mum, gerrof!” Ron’s voice was muffled.
She let him go, a bit reluctantly, and gave each of the twins a hug they grudgingly accepted, though Harry didn’t think they were that embarrassed.
Ginny gave Ron a quick hug as well and then turned toward Harry. “Hello,” she said quietly, eyes a little downcast. She was wearing a floral print blouse and a knee-length green skirt that contrasted vividly with her hair.
“Hello Ginny,” Harry said, unable to keep from smiling. He’d spent thirteen years thinking he’d never say those words again. It was enough.
His voice made her reluctantly look up. Her eyes widened. When Harry changed out of his robes, he’d slipped the scarf out of his trunk and draped it across his shoulders. Harry coughed a little, holding the back of his hand in front of his mouth. “Picked up a little cold during morning run,” he said quietly, as her face turned pink.
“Well, are you lot ready to go?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “Harry, have you seen your family yet?”
Harry tore his eyes away from Ginny and looked at her mother in confusion. “Oh, they aren’t coming. I figured I’d just take the Knight Bus back to Surrey.”
Mrs. Weasley blinked. “Oh. I see. Well, we’re taking the bus back to the village as well, so you might as well follow us.”
Harry nodded and checked Hedwig’s cage before tilting his trunk onto the rollers and following the Weasleys out into King’s Cross. Ginny lagged behind a bit, walking next to Harry. He was visibly nervous, but at least she wasn’t avoiding him like she’d done until fifth year.
“I got your letter this morning,” She said quietly.
“Ah, good.” Harry didn’t know what else to say.
“About that part at the end, er, it’s okay. Really. You don’t owe me any explanations.”
“I don’t?” Harry said, as a cold ache began to spread in the pit of his stomach. “I, er, well… I thought we were friends, at least.”
She looked at him quickly, frowning. “You don’t want to be friends?” she asked in a hurt tone.
“No! I mean, yes I do…” Harry broke off as he manoeuvred around a luggage trolley. “I do want to be your friend, Ginny. I just don’t want anything else to muck it up.”
“Oh,” was all she said as she resumed studying the tile floor they were walking across. What Harry could see of her cheeks was nearly the same colour as her hair. He was only peripherally aware of passing through the barrier and heading out to the curb while Mrs. Weasley hailed the Knight Bus.
They piled onto the bus in order, and Harry was happy to find himself and Ginny sharing one of the rotating and sliding bench seats. She blushed crimson every time the seat’s gyrations made her slide into him, but Harry was not complaining.
Ron sat with his mother… though ‘fended off’ might have been a better description. She’d obviously missed him this year; Ginny’s letters mentioned her mom getting weepy at times when something reminded her of her absent sons.
The twins also sat together, planning Merlin knew what and staring at Percy sitting alone on another seat.
After a particularly good jolt, as the bus slid around a four car pile-up, Ginny nearly fell over in the seat. Harry reached out and grabbed her shoulder without thinking. He stopped her fall, but an instant later they were both blushing as he drew his hand back like it had been burned.
That’s really odd, he reflected, I’m certainly acting more like an eleven year old than a thirty year old – or even twenty if you split the difference. I suppose that’s my glands affecting my behaviour. The joys of puberty revisited, he thought sourly.
All too soon, Stan Shunpike stood up and announced they’d arrived at Ottery St. Catchpole. Ginny gave him a shy smile as she stood up. Her family was all gathering their things. Harry would give anything to be joining them, but it was impossible. “I’ll write you soon,” she whispered.
He looked up at her and smiled. “Please do,” he whispered back. She smiled again and followed her brothers off the bus.
Harry looked out the window and watched the Weasleys walk down the path to The Burrow, talking and laughing. He felt miserable and alone as the bus pulled away, heading down the road, and eventually, to Surrey.
End of year one…
Author’s Notes: This marks the end of Year One, as defined by the events of Harry Potter and the Sorceror/Philosopher’s Stone. If you have questions, or want to join in on the discussions regarding this story, my other fanfics, or my original fiction, please join my Yahoo Group, Viridian Dreams. The URL is in my author profile.
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