The Heir of the Founders, the Heir of Merlin, needs to set the future straight -- by going back to 1971. In this chapter, Christmas and the aftermath.
Saturday, Christmas, 1971
Harry woke up at 4:00 and summoned Dobby. "Master Harry?" Dobby asked quietly.
"We haven't had much time to talk, have we?" Harry asked rhetorically.
"Master Harry?" Dobby asked, confused. Why would a master want to talk with an elf?
"I like you, Dobby," Harry said. "I hope you will always work for me. I know it's unusual, so I'll just say that once I leave Hogwarts, you may continue to be my elf, as you are now, or I can give you clothes and you can still work for me, except for pay, or you may find yourself someone else you prefer to work for."
Dobby blinked. After more than thirty long seconds, he said, "Dobby does not understand, but Dobby does think Master wished to say something nice to Dobby."
"I do," Harry said. "First, this is for you, and no, it's not clothes."
Dobby took the soft package, and opened it warily. His eyes went wide as he saw a large piece of magical cloth -- which meant that it could easily take on any color and keep it. "You may continue to wear the Potter pillowcase, if you wish," Harry said, "or that should make two other coverings for you, in any colors you want. If you don't want it use it now, you can later on."
"Thank you, Master Harry," Dobby said sincerely.
"Now if you could, please deliver these presents? I have some special instructions."
"Of course, Master Harry," Dobby said with a smile.
"Happy Christmas, Master."
As usual, Severus Snape woke up early, just past 6:00. He had nothing to do, but decided to get up anyway. His progress to the toilet was stopped when he saw there were actual gifts at the foot of his bed. He rushed to do what needed to be done and came back, amazed that the packages were still there.
There weren't many, but that was hardly the point. His mother had sent him some utilitarian socks and underwear, needed but not very much in the holiday mode. A single Cadbury chocolate bar, Muggle perhaps, but at least striking the right note, made up for that, as did her note. There was also a card from Peter, which made Snape feel rather low that he had not thought to do the same.
Oddly, there was another, bulky package at the bottom.
Snape opened it, and was surprised to see a kit of advanced potion ingredients, with extra bicorn horn, boomslang skin, and, most oddly, pickled gillyweed. The note was even more unexpected: To one of the two people who helps me understand why potions work as they do. Many thanks -- Harry.
Snape froze and thought hard about this gift. Harry Potter understood potions as well as any other student in class, other than himself and Evans, and his actual brewing skills sometimes surpassed Snape's own. He did not need Severus Snape to get a good grade, yet was even nicer to him than he was to most other non-Gryffindors even if Potter didn't seem to actually like him. It also didn't seem as if Potter wanted anything from him, which was odd to Snape's way of thinking.
Of course, the Potters were some of the real nobility in magical Britain. For all Severus knew, this was how they had become so rich and powerful -- befriending talented people like himself early and then hiring them later on to work for the family.
Severus shrugged. He could never work for twits like James Potter or Black, no matter how charming others might find them.
Harry, however, might be different.
Remus woke up early because his werewolf's sense of smell had been tickling him for hours. When he sat up in bed, he started laughing. Remus had two food weaknesses -- chocolate and tea. And there was over twenty pounds of chocolate laying on his bed, along with his presents and cards. He also discovered tins and tins of various teas. Most of the chocolate and all of the tea was from Harry.
Dumbledore was nearly as pleased with his six pairs of thick, wildly colored socks.
Ellen woke up and smiled when she saw the gaily, magically wrapped package at the foot of her bed. She hoped it was from Harry, and was pleased that it was.
"What did you get?" Elaine asked sleepily. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Well, he's a friend and he's a boy," Ellen said, identifying Harry's handwriting.
"Let's see!" All their other presents were downstairs, under the tree.
Ellen was an excellent all-around witch, but she had a special interest in growing things. She was therefore very happy with the dozen packages of magically-preserved flower seeds, along with a Muggle window-box kit. She would take one package back to Hogwarts to grow on the window sill in the box and grow the others later. She also smiled at the chocolate frogs and funny card Harry had sent.
Lily awoke to screams coming from the twin bed next to hers. Lily sat up as their parents rushed in.
Petunia's parting gift to Lily in September had been a very ugly stuffed witch on a broomstick. ('Since that's what you're going to grow up looking like,' Petunia had sneered.) Lily knew she had left it back in a drawer at Hogwarts.
Now, however, it was attached to the foot of Petunia's bed by string, mostly flying around in a circle. The four Evans' blinked at it stopped and hovered facing Petunia and cackled in falsetto, "I'll get you, my pretty!" and then went back to flying circles.
Despite the falsetto, Lily recognized the voice as Harry's. She thought he must have gotten some older students to enchant the toy, although how he had gotten it here was also a mystery. Obviously, his dislike of bullies extended to the Muggle world.
Petunia screamed again, and pointed at Lily's bed. There was a gift there, and the reindeer on the paper were all dancing. Lily explained away the advanced potions kit by saying she helped tutor a very wealthy boy in Potions, but admitted she had no idea about how it, let alone the toy, had been delivered. "Father Christmas must be a wizard," her mother said with a smile.
Petunia swore then and there never to let any child of hers believe in Father Christmas. Then she remembered what the toy witch had said to her right before she had screamed the first time -- "If you ever abuse a magical child, we will make certain you are punished in your world . . . and by ours."
For some reason, she felt no doubt that voice could carry out the threat.
The Potter twins enjoyed their Christmas. There had been a party the night before, and Harry had met some of his extended family and many of his father's business contacts, and some of the political ones as well. Christmas day, however, was for the household only.
The elves were each given two new pillowcases before breakfast. The magical and Squib staff, who kept the grounds and livestock, were given their bonuses after breakfast. The Potters did not go so Muggle as to have a Christmas tree ('A German custom, and mostly a Muggle one as well,' Mrs. Potter had replied when Harry had asked the day before, 'not an English magical one'), but they did get small presents in magical stockings which they had opened after the staff had left, and there had been presents to open before they had had breakfast. All in all, Harry decided that while he would add a Christmas tree if he ever got the chance, he quite liked a traditional Potter Christmas.
There were only ten students and five staff at the Christmas feast, with Remus and Severus the only First years. To Severus, it was the most enjoyable meal he had ever had. Granted, he wasn't pleased when he opened his Christmas Cracker to find his hat was a rather dowdy thing with a small stuffed vulture on top, but other than that, he truly enjoyed the day.
Of course, he could never figure out why, over the years, every hat in every magical Christmas Cracker he ever opened was a rather dowdy hat with a stuffed vulture atop it, but in the end, he would decide that was one of those annoying mysteries of magic which would never be explained.
The next morning, James was sent out to play on his broom before the weather changed for the worse that afternoon. Harry wondered what his parents wanted to talk to him in private about.
Harry sat and watched his nervous 'parents' fidget. "Is there a problem?" he asked.
His normally shy and retiring mother took a deep breath and demanded. "Exactly who are you and what have you done with our son?"
Harry cocked his head and asked, "What makes you think I'm not Harry Potter? I am, you know."
Mister Potter frowned. "Leaving aside all the other inconsistencies . . . I know most of the family has been called egotistical at one time or another, but I do find it difficult to believe an eleven year old has made better investments than I have."
"Whoever you are," Mrs. Potter pointed out, "you are living in an eleven year old body. Of course your bank statements are copied to us."
Harry sighed and summoned Dobby. "Master Harry?" Dobby asked.
"Bring me the letter hidden 'under my mattress'," Harry said. There was no actual letter under his mattress, of course -- that was a code Harry had given Dobby to bring a letter that Henry James had left in Harry's care just in case Harold and Mary had become to inquisitive.
Dobby popped back, and Harry had Dobby hand it to Harold. It had been properly sealed, with both the family seal and Henry's personal seal. Only the addressee could open it.
The note was short, and very shakily written:
Please listen to Harry. He has a most remarkable story to tell, and oddly enough, it's true.
Remember, my boy, I do love you.
Harold looked at Harry. "Well?"
"I am Harry Potter," Harry said. "Harry James Potter. I was born, from my perspective, some thirty years ago, on the Thirty- first of July, 1980."
For the next hour, Harry told them briefly about his personal history, although he left off most of the names. Then, for almost half an hour, he told them about what he had done since entering the past.
"Well," Mary said, "as your fa . . . as Harold said, most Potters are accused of having huge egos. At least you have some good reasons for it."
"Do you object to a little more insider trading?" Harold asked.
"Not at all, sir," Harry said. "However, the more you follow my tips, the more skewed the market will become, and the less likely some of them will work out."
Harold had to acknowledge that.
Mary had a different concern, "Won't this set up a time paradox?"
"You mean, since I won't be going back in time again to reset things, I won't exist?"
"Something like that," she agreed.
"No," Harry answered. "Both Luna and Hermione agreed that either it wouldn't work, or I'd be setting up an alternative time stream. In the other time stream, they are mourning my death and the deaths of the other two and knowing them, wisely using the fortunes I left them. This time stream is safe."
"You seem certain," Harold said.
"They were two of the most brilliant witches in Europe, but they looked at everything from totally different perspectives. Whenever they looked at anything complicated and come up not only with the same answers, but the same reasoning, it was true," Harry answered. "I hope they're both born in this time stream. The magical world can use people like them."
"Do you think that likely?" Mary asked.
"Actually, yes, but not certain," Harry said. "Hermione's parents are a few years older than James and I are, and are Muggles. I shouldn't have any direct influence on them. Luna's father has already left Hogwarts, and is currently working in North America on a three year study program. Her mother is a Seventh year at Hogwarts and is already in a prearrangement with him, and even if she's heavily involved in the League, she's still planning on joining her fiancÃ©. The odds are, however, that I won't be born, as I am directly influencing James and my mother. They may or may not even get together."
"I hope you don't get together with her," Mary said.
Harry shrugged. "That could be odd. Still, biologically I am not related to her. Psychologically, well, I never knew her. I'm learning to know her as a friend."
"And you won't say who it is?" Mary asked.
Harry shook his head, "Not yet, but I don't plan on marrying my mother." Harry looked at Mary with puppy eyes. "Besides, you're the only mother I've ever really known."
Mary teared up, while Harold rolled his eyes. This boy was indeed a Potter. Most male Potters ran true to two types -- the arrogant, pure Gryffindors, like Henry James had been when younger, who often became heroic if they lived long enough, and the quiet heroes, like Harold himself. Both were often very charming. "Well, then, young Harry," Harold said, "if you have nothing better to do, why don't you come in with me to the office tomorrow. We'll talk business."
"Thank you . . . father."
Harold smiled and also gave into the puppydog eyes. "Harry, in some ways you might be my grandson, but you are still my son."
"Thank you, dad."
"So," Harold asked as he put away his paper work the next evening, "not very exciting, is it?"
"Compared to dueling or Quidditch, no," Harry said. "Compared to politics, yes."
Harold shook his head. At least he understood why Harry so often sounded so much older than 11.
"So tell me," Harry asked innocently, "when were you planning on telling your sons about the entail?"
Harold froze. After a few seconds, he pulled his wand and double-checked the privacy wards in office and then turned to Harry. "How. . . ."
"I ran the Potter Trust for over twelve years," Harry said. "I know that almost every piece of property is entailed." Which meant that it went to the oldest legitimate son. As Harry had been the last Potter, the entail had died with him. "I also know most of the money is tied up with the Trust, which the oldest son will control. Grandfather Henry left me every Knut he legally could. You won't be able to leave me much more, at least percentage-wise. Even if, say, a total of two hundred thousand Galleons is a fantastic lump sum, even twice that amount wouldn't provide for a luxurious lifestyle, considering there's a chance I might live to nearly two hundred, even if James gives me an allowance," he concluded.
"I knew that, of course, which is why I made the financial plans I did," Harry went on. "In fact, I wouldn't mind stopping by Gringotts and making some minor adjustments, and you can join in some insider trading."
"Very well," Harold answered. "I was thinking about increasing your allowance to three thousand Galleons a year, by the way."
"From a Galleon a week to three thousand a year? That's quite a jump."
"I think you can handle it, unlike most First years," Harold said drily.
"Good point," Harry admitted.
"Harry, do you know what happened to Mary and me in the other time stream?"
"I've been wondering about that," Harry answered with a frown. "I was told that you both died of natural causes around 1979 and 1980, but the impression I was always under was that you were both quite old, even elderly, that Mum was at the outer limits of childbearing age, which for witches is what?" Harry's eyebrows went up, "why that's only in their mid-fifties. Even then, Mum would only have been in her mid-to-late seventies. It doesn't add up."
"For Pure-bloods, no, it doesn't," Harold agreed. "We age slower than the Muggle-born, and even more slowly than Muggles." Harold looked like he was in his mid-to-late thirties, Mary around thirty.
"Somehow, I think something got covered up," Harry almost growled.
"Even Muggles, at least in Britain, do not die of old age under the age of seventy," Harold agreed. "I think we'll be on the look-out for poisons. You seem to have rushed the last ten years of this Riddle's attacks and all the counter-attacks into just a few months in a few respects. Some of his followers might become desperate."
"How about an attack on this Ministry Ball?" Harry asked.
"I'll drop a few words in the right ears," Harold said. He knew almost all of the MLES people, since he had been close to his father.
"If there's not an attack," Harry said, "it would also be a likely place for the all Darker, more bigoted Pure-bloods to show what they think of what's happened since August."
Harold nodded. "I'll ask around and see that most of the right people are there, too." He looked at Harry searchingly.
"I told you why I took their magic," Harry said. "I did not kill those students, not even Bellatrix Black, Marked as she was."
Harold was shocked to see that Harry's investment meeting took only ten minutes. The rest of the two hours they spent in Gringotts were with the original vaults, where Harry entered the vaults in turn. Before they left the area, Harry had a rapid conversation in Gobbledegook with their guides. At the end of the conversation, Harold's surprise went to new levels as the goblins bowed to Harry, who then bowed in return.
"Do I really want to know?" Harold asked.
"If you mean the conversation, we're just being polite to each other," Harry said. "As for the vaults, well, there are no negotiable treasures or currency in them."
'No,' Harold thought accurately as he got into the cart, 'but I bet there's knowledge.'
Harry got into the cart more than satisfied. He decided to mention his plans for Magi-Watch! to his father and the goblins before they left the bank. The goblins had told him that if his portfolio continued to perform as it had, they would ignore his age and honor him as a goblin friend. If it didn't, his power over the vaults and his acknowledgement that he was behind the Order of Founders would have them give him that same title when he came of age in the wizarding world. Harry knew he would only keep the title as long as the goblins saw that he was acting without prejudice in his relations with the goblins and other intelligent magical beings.
As for Harry, by actually accessing the lowest vaults for the first time in this lifetime (as opposed to being accepted by them), he would be able to access numerous magical sites across Europe and even parts of Asia and Africa. Harry had accessed these vaults in his other life, but knew that he could not risk accessing some of the sites without having been passed by the guardians stored in the vaults in this life as well.
Harry's mouth twitched as he fought down his feelings. Had Dumbledore allowed Harry full access to Gringotts the summer after his Fifth year, he would have been introduced to the vaults then, instead of the summer after his Sixth year. That would have given him, amongst other powers, the ability to control the Veil, to rescue Sirius before the time limit (rescuing any victim was possible when the next equinox occurred).
He would return to the vaults the following summer, Harry decided, and remove some objects for the first time in over 1000 years.