The Heir of the Founders, the Heir of Merlin, needs to set the future straight -- by going back to 1971. In this chapter, the first visits.
Wizarding Britain and Ireland were in an uproar. In the end, over 18,000 Petitions to Speak were submitted for the next regular meeting (at the September equinox) before the end of July. To the surprise of some Wizengamot members, the five Ministry members were overjoyed with Dumbledore's idea to pay just one Galleon for those willing to sign petitions. Their rational was in part simply to save money, the rest because they believed that this course of action would cause less trouble in the short run, and likely in the long-term as well.
The Wizengamot membership gave in on a close vote (27 to 23). In the end, the petitions ran 16,152 (79.79%) in favor, 4,611 (22.21%) against, with one signer (Dung Fletcher) disqualified for trying to sign both. Over 80% of those eligible to sign did so. This started a political battle which lasted over a year, but in the end, the expanded membership of the Wizengamot was approved (the final vote was 26-24), and the first two members were elected in late 1974, and took their seats in 1975.
"What's your problem?" Harry demanded. It was a glorious day in early July and the two brothers were flying around the Potter estate.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you've been sulking for weeks, and it's getting worse," Harry nearly snapped. "Don't you want our friends to visit?"
"Our friends?" James snapped back. "Sirius is my friend, and Remus is too, even if he's more your friend than mine. Evans and McGregor don't like me."
"Well for one thing, start calling them Lily and Ellen," Harry said. "For another, stop showing you're such an ass when Lily is around. I get it, James. You like her. Stop acting like an ass, and a pompous one at that, and stop acting like a prat, not just towards her, not just towards her and Ellen, but in general."
"You just don't understand the fine art of pranking," James said in a superior tone.
"Who turned all the Slytherins' teeth green for three days?"
"You did," James admitted.
"Who planned the prank that made all the Hufflepuff's brooms go backwards during their last practice before the Quidditch final?"
"You did," James admitted. "So why doesn't Evans, Lily, despise you?"
"Who dropped the chopped flobberworms down the back of her robes?"
"I did," James confessed.
"And the eye of newt down the front?"
"I did," James had to agree.
"And the. . . ."
"All right, all right, I get the idea," James yelled. "I don't know why I do those things."
"And how about why you pulled Pettigrew's trousers down at that League meeting?"
"Sirius dared me!"
"Pettigrew can't stand up to you, me, Sirius, or Snape. Picking on him in front of Lily is like picking on an ugly puppy. She doesn't like it, but still feels sorry for it. And picking on the weak ones makes you look like an arrogant bully."
"Face it, when you and Sirius get together, sometimes the pair of you are exactly that -- arrogant bullies. It's not the dominant parts of either of your personalities. If it was, you'd be in Slytherin."
James winced at that as well.
"Still, combined with how you act around Lily, it's no wonder that she thinks those are your dominant characteristics, along with showing off."
"When. . . ."
"Who danced on a broomstick?"
"I did," James confessed.
"Who did cartwheels and backflips all the way to dinner?"
"I get it! I'm an arrogant, bullying, showoff, and Lily Evans likes you better," James pouted, resentfully.
"She likes me as a friend," Harry said. "She tries to mother me, and I realized before the end of term that she'll never be more than just a friend to anyone she has to mother. I'm the brother she never had. She replaces the sister I lost. It will bring us closer together, but it will never be more than that."
James considered those ideas, and decided, if they were true, he could live with Harry and Lily being close.
"In the meantime, stop showing off," Harry said. "Stop trying to get her attention. Trust me, you've got it. Treat her more like you treat Remus and you might get to be friends by this time next year."
James thought about that, too. "Well . . . maybe. . . ."
Snape's mother had been surprised at her son's plans for the summer, and even more surprised when a rather doubting representative of Magi-Watch! arrived to inspect the first batch of potions in the first week of July. She had helped her son, and was able to assure the representative (who had actually been a Ravenclaw in the year behind her, and so she knew the Prince reputation for Potions).
In the end, Magi-Watch! had not only bought the first batches of the three potions, but Mrs. Snape had found herself a sub- contractor, producing potions for the company. While she would not move from Spinners' End, the dreary house would gradually be transformed into a home on the inside. This time, Mrs. Snape would not fall into a deep depression and commit suicide in 1977.
Severus Snape of course could not know all that as the Magi- Watch! rep paid them nine Galleons that first Wednesday in July and made the suggestion that his mother supply potions. He just knew that life had gotten better.
He also knew that he owed one person for this chance -- Harry Potter. And Severus Snape was grateful, because this was not charity. This was a chance to earn his way. When his mother learned of his deal with Potter, she had agreed to help him, on the same terms.
When they solved the problem of inter-mixing the ward potions together in 1975, their income was assured.
The sextet was first brought together at the Leaky Cauldron on Thursday, July 6. They would stay there until Saturday afternoon, and then floo to Potter Manor. Ellen and Lily would leave the next afternoon, while Remus would stay another week and Sirius would stay two.
The Potters arrived in the late afternoon, and saw that Sirius was already waiting for them. He and James were hoping to bunk together, but the Potters quickly vetoed that idea. They had a good idea from Harry of the potential for mayhem the pair could create, and wanted it contained at their Manor, where the house elves could help prevent major disasters. The pair therefore contented themselves to toasting a vast quantity of crumpets, although that did force Tom to chase them away from the public floo back to the regular fireplace repeatedly.
Ellen and Lily came in, having been dropped off by Mrs. Evans, just in time to see Tom chase the boys back to the regular fireplace once again, this time after a witch wearing a bottle- green robe and a hat with stuffed vulture on it emerged from the floo and had been covered with crumbs and even some butter. Harry offered them the choice of cold butterbeer or lemonade while watching the entertainment.
Remus arrived in time for dinner, although James and Sirius were rather full. The six friends were allowed the run of a small parlor after dinner. With just a little encouragement from Harry, James and Sirius filled the other three in on all the shops of Diagon Alley. Remus and Lily had each only visited the Alley once, and Ellen only three times.
Since they would be shopping all the next day, there was no reason to hurry or just hit the stores they needed to visit to help along their summer homework. They could dawdle and investigate. When James and Sirius both expressed a hope that the group might sneak a peek down Knockturn Alley, Harry merely commented that the two of them might stand a better chance of getting in unobserved without the other four tagging along. Harry wondered to himself, for close to the fortieth time, at how much James and Sirius reminded him of Gred and Forge.
Remus, Lily, and Ellen all admired at how Harry had adroitly spared them the chance of getting into trouble, while manoeuvering James and Sirius into having to make a dash at Knockturn Alley or be thought braggarts or cowards. Harry had not actually thought of that, but he had done so much that the three sometimes endowed him with a reputation nearly equal to Dumbledore.
Since James and Sirius had stayed up late, joking and laughing, they were the last two down for breakfast. Still, they were told to be down before 8:00, and having made it to breakfast at 7:57 refused to feel repentant about being more than half an hour behind the others.
"Nothing much opens before Eight-thirty anyway," James finally said.
"I just thought you'd want to spend some time looking at the broom displays, since each of you is getting a broom," Harold said with a shrug.
James and Sirius' jaws hung open for a moment, and then they finished off their breakfasts in less than two minutes.
While the pair was slaughtering what was left on their plates, Harold turned to the other three guests. "I know these two and Harry are planning on trying out for Quidditch. How about the three of you?"
The three admitted that they had no real interest in playing. "That's fine," Harold said. "You should still have good brooms. Racing brooms are great short-term items, but they rarely last more than five years. Then the stabilization charms start to go. That's part of the trade-off for being stable at high speeds. A good family broom can last thirty years if they're treated right. The Germans and Americans make some nice ones, and the Japanese have a new model that is supposed to have superior notice-me-not charms, so that you can fly in Muggle areas. We'll see what they have."
Therefore, the first and one of the longest stops of the day was at Quality Quidditch Supplies. James and Sirius each opted for the latest Cleansweep. Harry, however, went for the Nimbus 777. Lily, Ellen, and Remus all preferred the Japanese A-Ko. Harry noted that it was similar to the old broom Remus had flown from Privet Drive to Grimmauld Place, and wondered how he had acquired it in the original time line.
The rest of the morning was spent poking into all manner of shops, before lunch at an outdoor cafe. After lunch, they spent over two hours in Flourish and Blotts, for all six were readers.
The group went back to the Leaky Cauldron for a light tea, and then the friends were sent off to dress in Muggle clothing. They spent the rest of the afternoon shopping in the Muggle district around the area. Harry smiled, as he saw that this was designed in part so that Ellen, Remus, and especially Lily could act as tour guides to Muggle products. Sirius became instantly fascinated by the hard rock being played in one of the record stores, and came away with fifteen albums, once the Potters assured him both that they could be easily enchanted to play and that they needn't ever cross the threshold of Grimmauld Place, where they would be instantly pointed out by Kreacher and destroyed by Sirius' mother. Lily had all the albums she liked, but was happy to guide Sirius and Harry, as she liked all sorts of popular music.
Remus and Ellen both preferred classical music, while Harry was eclectic and liked most genres, although he had been turned on by big band music by Hermione's father after the War. The three of them also picked up some albums. James was the only one who was somewhat indifferent to music.
The next morning, the group went to Harrod's. Harry hadn't known that they had a small magical section, and also had a number of Muggle-raised witches employed to help the more lost members of the magical community blend in. Unlike most magical people, the three purely magical pre-teens could now easily blend in with Muggles.
After lunch, the group went to Potter Manor. It was not startling in any way to Sirius. It was a bit larger than his cousins' country house, and a bit smaller than Malfoy Manor had been. It was a great deal cheerier than either of those two manor houses, however.
To the other three, it at first appeared more of a palace than a house. When Lily said that, however, Mary Potter merely shrugged and said, "It only has ninety-six proper rooms, dear. It's hardly a palace."
Remus wondered if it had only needed four more rooms to qualify as a palace, but said nothing.
Despite being allocated a room of his own, Sirius and James announced that they were 'camping' together. Remus therefore was allowed to stay in Harry's room and Ellen and Lily decided to share a room as well. When they saw the size of the rooms and the beds, the visitors all knew they would not be crowded.
That night, as Lily brushed her flame-red hair and Ellen brushed her long wavy light brown hair, Ellen asked, "So, what do you think of all this?"
Lily's eyes darted around the luxurious guest room. "Well, when Harry said the Potters were part of the magical aristocracy, they weren't kidding!"
Ellen woke up early the next morning, having set her new magical alarm wrist watch to vibrate at 6:15. She was still too late to see Harry start off on his morning run, but it turned out that most of his route was on the huge side lawn of the manor, where the breakfast room had a grand view. When an elf inquired if Miss wanted breakfast now or wished to wait for the others, Ellen asked for a pot of hot chocolate. Seeing where Ellen's attention was directed, the elf merely nodded and disappeared.
Dobby brought the hot chocolate a few minutes later. Placing it near the girl. who thanked him, Dobby dared to ask, "May Dobby ask Miss a question?"
"Sure," Ellen said. She had of course long heard of house elves, but had never seen one before the previous night.
"Miss is friend of Master Harry?"
"Is Master Harry happy?"
Ellen frowned and looked at the elf. She could see that the elf was indeed concerned. She looked back out onto the lawn and scowled in thought. Was Harry happy?
"That's a difficult question, isn't it my dear?" Mary Potter said, coming into the room.
Dobby made a squeak of worry and surprise. "You may stay and listen, Dobby," Mary said. She turned to Ellen. "Dobby is Harry's elf, and he is devoted to Harry's welfare even more so than is common." She poured out hot chocolate for her guest and for herself. "Harry often appears happy, but there is always the underlying feeling that he is carrying some great burden, and that he's smiling to make us happy, rather than being happy himself."
"Exactly," Ellen agreed with relief.
"I feel it. Dobby feels it. Apparently you feel it as well. Does anyone else?"
"Remus and Lily," Ellen admitted.
"And if I talked with you about this, will you share with Remus and Lily?" Mary asked.
Ellen looked out the window and saw Harry go from a dead sprint into a series of dives and rolls, mimicking a magic attack, before leaping up and going into a determined run again. Harry was driven. "I won't share," she said, "not unless you or Harry tell me I can."
"Good," Mary said, "because I do ask you to keep this to yourself, at least for now. I can't tell you all I know, of course, and I doubt I know most of the details in any event. Still, how powerful is Harry?"
"I don't know," Ellen admitted, "but I do know he is very powerful."
"He is likely the most powerful wizard alive, and will only grow more powerful," Mary said, actually down playing how powerful Harry really was. "He is not, by nature, as studious or even as intelligent as James, although he is closer than he believes himself to be. However, he is driven to prove himself worthy of his gifts."
Ellen merely nodded.
"Think of his character. How would you define it?"
Ellen thought hard, and came up with, "Noble. Self-sacrificing." She blinked, a bit surprised she had come up with that second term.
"Ah, you've realized something."
"Harry loves Mars bars," Ellen said. Seeing a slight confusion on Mrs. Potter, she explained, "A Muggle chocolate bar. But even though he's shown that he can get treats for us from the Muggle world, he won't get any for himself." She frowned. "You know Friday, when he bought those three big band albums? That's the first time I ever saw him do something just for his own pleasure, and he certainly looked uncomfortable doing it."
"He did not buy those albums," Mary said. "I insisted he pick some out, and I bought them for him. Harry does not feel worthy of his great powers, and that makes him feel unworthy in general. He is still amazed he has such good friends." Mary grimaced, and said, "He should have died a year ago May, and instead he lived and somehow came into this great power. He believes he was spared for some great task, which both frightens him and drives him."
"That's about the only sort of thing I can imagine frightening Harry," Ellen said.
"True," Mary agreed. "Now because he feels unworthy, he is surprised when anyone actually cares for him. He doesn't remember much from before the attack. He accepts that his father and I love him, but we were unable to really show him how much last summer, as his sister, aunt, and grandmother had all been killed in the attack, and his grandfather was dying. All that took up much of our attention. James loves him, but Harry went from 'junior twin' to what he is now, and James is still off- balance in dealing with him. Remus now provides true fraternal support, more than James does, although James seems to have lost nearly all the jealously he had developed, and regained most of the brotherly feelings he had. Sirius is a good friend. Lily seems to treat him, and Remus, well. . . ."
"She calls them her 'lost boys'," Ellen said. "Do you know the Muggle play Peter Pan?"
"No, I can't say as I do," Mary said.
"I'll send you a copy. Lily is treating them like little brothers, and both adore it, because they both need the affection, even if neither will admit it." Ellen smiles. "Both claim that they go along with Lily's pampering so that the other won't feel embarrassed."
"And that leaves you, my dear," Mary said with a smile. "How do you regard our little paladin?"
Ellen blushed and looked away.
Mary smiled and looked at the near-teen, who was just starting to develop some serious curves. She guessed that Ellen would barely reach average height, if that, and would turn into a rather curvaceous teen. If her mother and the photos of her grandparents were any indications, Ellen would also be amazingly top-heavy.
Her hair was light brown, and had a few natural blonde and even red highlights amongst the long, thick waves. She had brilliant cornflower blue eyes, which nearly matched the brilliance of Mary's own and Harry's. She had a cute nose, and looked like she would retain her very kissable cupid's-bow lips. And she seemed very nice.
"Muggles do not understand that people, even Muggles, can sometimes form a magical bond with another, even at your age," Mary said. "I do not know if you and Harry will form such a bond or not. I think your mother is afraid of it, and that Harry's social position would prevent him from entertaining acting on such feelings."
"Not to mention how bloody noble he is," Ellen said, and then colors from embarrassment. "I'm so sorry. . . ."
"That's alright, dear," Mary said, secretly amused. "Now, if Harry were the oldest, and if Harold and I made a great fuss out of it, Harry would feel obligated to make certain to marry a Pure-Blood, or at least a Full-Blood, and from an important family for that matter. However, we have never made much of a fuss about that, and Harry isn't the oldest. So, if things move in that direction for the two of you over the next few years, don't have any qualms."
Ellen smiled. "Thank you, Mrs. Potter."
"You're quite welcome. Oh, and here," Mary took out her money bag and handed Ellen a Galleon.
"What's this for?" Ellen asked.
"Have your father exchange it for Muggle money, and make certain that son of mine has some Mars bars next autumn." Mary decided that Ellen had a very pretty smile.