Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Nightmare Before Hogwarts

Chapter 13

by USA_Tiger 0 reviews

n/a

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover,Fantasy,Humor - Characters: Harry,James,Lily - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2017-11-20 - 4395 words

1Exciting
The Nightmare Before Hogwarts

By: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling. The Nightmare Before Christmas is the property of Touchstone/Disney and Tim Burton. Corpse Bride is also the property of Tim Burton and Warner Bros. Pictures. Beetlejuice is also property of Tim Burton.

This chapter has been betaed by Werejaguar of Halloween Town

Edit 5-24-18: This chapter betaed a second time by The Patient One.

Chapter 13

The Potter family cemetery had had little use in recent generations, as the Potters had been buried at St Jerome’s graveyard in Godric’s Hollow a few miles away. There had been some consideration of relocating those laid to rest and turning the cemetery into something more practical, and while James had been all for it in his lifetime, he was eternally grateful in his un-lifetime that it had been left untouched.

After all, the still-standing graveyard was what allowed him to enter the grounds of the ancestral Potter home. Lily was supposed to originally come with them, but instead had opted out to stay in Halloween Town to properly meet the witch sisters who kept insisting they wanted Harry as an apprentice of sorts. This left only Jack to travel with him.

“Looks the same as it always did, just a little shabbier… I haven’t set a foot in here since my parent’s death,” James said quietly.

“How did they die?” Jack asked as they headed towards the house.

“Dragon Pox... When Lils was pregnant with Harry…so they never got to meet him,” James said solemnly. “Couldn’t bring myself to live here after that, though I wish I did. The wards here are strong, it might have been safer than Godric’s Hollow. But then again...maybe not. Death Eaters have gotten into older places and with stronger wards than here.”

“Death Eaters?” Jack asked curiously. “What a funny name, how does one ‘eat’ death?”

“That was what Voldemort’s followers were called,” James explained. Then he saw the perplexed look in Jack’s eye sockets, and added, “The dark wizard who killed us and tried to kill Harry, he called himself Lord Voldemort.”

“Voldemort,” Jack repeated carefully, as if analyzing it. “’Flight from death’, it makes it sound like he feared it.”

“Well, if he did, then he was too good at hiding it,” James said with a snort. “Me and Lily fought against him three different times, he was insanely powerful… and he’s still somewhere out there.”

“What?” Jack asked in shock. “But I thought he was gone.”

“He’s not making everyone’s lives a living nightmare anymore—no offense, Jack.”

“None taken,” the skeleton assured him.

“—but if he had died when Lily’s magic saved Harry, he would have wound up in the Land of the Dead right behind us. And he didn’t. Which can only mean that he’s still somewhere out there.”

James paused as they reached the back door that led into the kitchen when Jack grabbed his shoulder, his empty eyeholes boring into James’s eyes.

“Among your magic… are there methods to achieve immortality?”

James frowned. “…I only know of one guaranteed method: the Philosopher’s Stone. It was a myth for the longest time until Nicholas Flamel made one. The stone can turn any metal to gold and it produces the Elixir of Life, which prolongs the drinker’s life inevitably. Nicholas and his wife have used it to stay alive for centuries now, but he keeps it under tight guard. I’d bet anything that the Dark side of magic has a few ways to fight off death, but I wouldn’t know.”

Jack nodded slowly. “And this Flamel, what does he do?”

“Ah… I think that he’s just enjoying a quiet life with his wife and his studies,” James responded in confusion.

Jack nodded, his expression lightening a bit. “It’s just that Grim isn’t fond of resistance, but the less trouble he’s causing with his longer-than-it-should-be life, the less likely it is that Grim will have him high up on the harvest list.”

James considered continuing the conversation but refocused his attention on the house. “We’ll pick this up later. For now…”

The wizard wasn’t sure if the wards would still recognize him, dead as he was, but he sighed in relief as he felt the wards pass over him when he touched the door. “We’re in luck, even with me dead the house is letting us in.”

The door swung open with a loud creak and the once-dead sconces on the wall flared to life, filling the room with light and the scent of burning dust and cobwebs. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust, and the curtains rattled and swayed, likely infested with Doxies.

“Well, the wards keeping pests away didn’t last,” James sighed as he eyed the curtains. “It’ll take an army of House Elves to clean this place if Harry takes up living here when he’s grown.”

“So, what are we looking for?” Jack asked as he poked the curtains, laughing as a Doxy darted out and bit a bony finger. It had a surprised look on its face as Jack held up his hand to get a better look. “What is this?”

“Doxy, little pests is what they are,” James said. “They’re related to fairies, venomous, but I guess that doesn’t affect you any.”

“May I take a few back?” Jack asked poking the Doxy with his other hand. The Doxy had had enough and let go of Jack, darting back into the drapes.

“Well, I certainly don’t want them here,” James said, thinking to himself how they—Lily and himself—would have to ward the house against the little buggers. It certainly wouldn’t do to have them biting Harry, now, would it?

Jack beamed happily, he loved these new creatures and was already thinking of ways they could fit into a future Halloween. “I’m sure there is a cage somewhere we can put the buggers in. Now, where was I… ah, yes, what are we searching for?” Jack asked again as they moved out of the kitchen.

“First, Dad’s office, I know he kept some money there,” James said as he traced the old route to the office used by Fleamount Potter when he was alive. “Then we’ll see what we can find in the attic, and maybe grab some books from the library,”

The portraits on the wall were covered with dusty film, giving no witness to the passage of the two undead through their home and emphasizing that there were no House Elves on the property. The elderly pair that used to work for the Potters had passed away around the same time as James’s parents. Nobody was there to witness as James and Jack moved through the house. Nobody but the pests.

When they reached the office, James took a moment to look it over. The room looked so empty now; his father’s large wooden desk was bare except for an old oil lamp and a dried up inkwell. The shelves that lined the walls stood empty, all the books moved to either the library or Gringotts. The rest of the furniture and the portraits were covered with dust cloths…

James shook his head and then walked over to the far wall, pulling a dust cloth down. Under it was a portrait of a unicorn next to a pond, a man in patchwork blue clothing leaning against the unicorn’s side. Both were asleep, and they remained asleep as James pulled the painting open to reveal the wall behind it.

James placed his hand against the wall then recited, “/There are no happy endings, because nothing ends/”. A section of the wall shimmered and then changed into a safe that James opened, barely giving a glance before scooping out a few clearly marked bags of galleons, sickles, and knuts.

“There, this should last us for a while,” he said as he dropped the bags into a mokeskin bag that was also inside the vault. The vault was then closed and portrait pushed back into place, the dust cloth flying back up with a wave of James’s hand.

“Attic next, can’t wait to see what sort of pests have moved in there,” James said with a roll of his eyes as he locked the office door.

“It’s a nice house, but it could use a few more spider webs,” Jack mused as they moved upstairs. James just laughed, the king of Halloween would think that.

“Most wizards wouldn’t agree with you, mate,” James said, stopping a moment outside the door and pushing it open. “My old room… Should have been Harry’s if we lived here…”

“There’s no sense of lingering on regrets,” Jack said as he laid a bony hand on James’s shoulder. “Trust me when I say I speak from experience.”

James sighed and pulled the door shut, staring unseeingly at the wood grain before moving to a door at the end of the hallway.

“I know… Still… I can’t help but wish we did something different. That we moved here instead of moving from house to house, not trusting Pettigrew, maybe even leaving here all together. We knew that madman was after our son, yet we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave,” James trailed off as he opened the door to the attic.

It was dark, the large round window at the end of the topmost level of the house so covered in dirt that barely any light shone through. James conjured a quick Lumos spell and had it hanging above them as they walked.

“Mum bought a bunch of toys for Harry when she learned Lily was pregnant, it was her first grandchild after all, but most of them were either destroyed that Halloween night or stolen. And Harry would be too old for that stuff anyway...she never got the chance to buy older kid toys,” James started shifting through boxes. “But she should have packed away some of my old toys somewhere up here.”

Jack walked around, curiously poking at various items and boxes. At the far end of the room was an old wardrobe that rocked side to side as Jack neared it.

“There’s something in here,” Jack called. James abandoned the box he had been poking through and walked over to see what Jack was talking about.

“Must be a Boggart,” James said. “They like dark places.”

“Oh, now I /do /know about Boggarts! I haven’t seen one in years,” Jack said brightly as he reached to open the door.

“Wait!” James tried to stop Jack, but was much too late as the doors slammed open.

Out of the wardrobe rolled Harry, dead to the world without a breath in his body. James’s body seized, brown eyes wide and if his heart wasn’t still it would be beating wildly. He knew that Harry was alive and well in the back of his mind, but the shock of seeing his little boy dead chased away any thought of using the counter-spell against the creature.

In truth, this only lasted about three seconds; the moment that Jack processed the situation, he hooked his bony fingers into his mouth and pulled his face into a petrifying expression, letting his magic flare up around him as he leaned over the Boggart and roared unholy.

The Boggart squealed in fear, instantly losing the form of a dead Harry with a pop. James felt like a marionette with his strings cut as he fell to the ground and landed on his arse with wide eyes, his glasses askew on his face.

“What the bloody hell?!” he yelped. There was no more horrible illusion of Harry to be seen, but now standing in front of the open wardrobe was a downright ugly pint-sized creature that stood on cloven hoofs, covered in a thick, dirty, shaggy, brown fur and had tiny spiral horns on its head, goat-like ears, eyes as wide as saucers and a long whip-like tail. It was cowering in fight, gibbering in a language James didn’t understand. (1)

“You should be ashamed of yourself, taking on a form like that,” Jack was back to normal looking, looming over the Boggart as he firmly scolded it, jabbing a bony finger. “A little harmless fear is fine, but that went too far! Now apologize to your host.” Jack pointed at James.

The Boggart whimpered but moved to stand in front of James, its shoulders hunched around its ears. It gibbered something in that other language, truly looking sorry as it toed the floor with a hoofed foot. James took noticed that when it talked, it sounded like multiple voices speaking at once, all in that gibbering language.

“Bloody hell…” James said in disbelief. “Is that what a Boggart really looks like?” No one knew what a Boggart looked like, as shape shifters they were only seen in the form of a person’s worst fear or whatever humorous shape the Riddikulus charm forced it into, never in their true form. James would have never guessed it looked like a strange cross between a gremlin and a satyr. It was almost cute…in an ugly sorta way.

“Yes, and it’s very sorry for causing you stress,” Jack said his arms crossed over his chest and tapping his foot, giving the Boggart a pointed look. “Aren’t you.” The Boggart quickly nodded its head, its already wide eyes seeming to become even wider.

“Merlin… no one is going to believe this,” James laughed as he stood, brushing the dirt off his pants. Was he mad about what had just happened? Yes, of course he was, at least somewhat. He hadn’t even been sure a Boggart could still affect him; after all, what could he have to fear? He was already dead so he couldn’t be killed, or physically hurt. No, James’s only fear was Harry’s wellbeing. So yes, seeing the Boggart as his dead baby boy made him angry. But he also knew that was the Boggart’s nature and it couldn’t help it, and oddly enough it really did look regretful.

“Alright fine, I forgive you,” the wizard nodded. “Just don’t go changing into that ever again.”

The Boggart gave James and Jack a grin, mouth full of sharp fangs. Jack looked satisfied and was smiling again, the same type of grin Jack had when he saw the Doxies.

“Oh, Merlin, you want it as well, don’t you?” James laughed. “Whatever, mate, it’s your realm.” He shook his head and went back to continue his search through the boxes.

James finally found a bunch of his old toys in the corner of the attic, of which he had a lot to choose from as a very spoiled only child born late in his parents’ life. James picked out one of the many trunks in the attic, emptying it of its contents and putting some of the toys he thought Harry would like inside. Old stuffed animals that would need their animation charms refreshed; a set of wizarding dolls that featured the likes of Merlin, Morgan le Fay, and even the Hogwarts founders; gobstones and exploding snap cards; and some wizarding board games. Thankfully, the Boggart was the only surprise in the attic; Jack had kept it entertained while James worked.

A further search revealed a selection of child brooms that were still in excellent condition despite their age; the elder Potters had spared no expense on buying the best brooms on the market. James clearly remembered how Harry loved flying; the baby toy broom Sirius got him had been his favorite toy of all, flying it all around the house and scaring the life out of Lily’s cat. James absently wondered what had happened to the cat, he had no idea if it had been killed during that Halloween night or if it had escaped.

“Alright, done here,” James said snapping the trunk close and casting a wandless floating charm on it, having it follow behind James.

“We may have a bit of a problem,” Jack said. “The Boggart is insisting we bring the wardrobe too.”

“Why?” James asked with a raised eyebrow. The Boggart was crossing its arms over its chest as it stood protectively in front of the wardrobe.

“It claims that it’s its home,” Jack explained. James sighed and shook his head, the Boggart’s home indeed, then took a closer look at the wardrobe. He didn’t really remember this one, not that he went around memorizing the furniture in his childhood home. If it was up here then he figured that no one really wanted it.

“Fine, I’ll shrink it and bring it with us then,” he offered. The Boggart seemed to consider this and nodded its head eagerly. James sighed again, an amused smirk on his lips, and shrunk the wardrobe down to doll size and tossed it into the trunk.

The last stop was the library where James loaded up several books that would be useful for Harry and those they could use. Lily told him about the spot of darkness she felt in Harry’s scar and they wanted to figure out what it was and what had really happened to Voldemort. Also in the library was an old birdcage his mother use to keep songbirds in, which James handed over to Jack who happily stuffed the disgruntled Doxies into.

Night had fallen by the time everything was said and done, and as they left the Potter homestead, the wards snapped back into place behind them.

****

Helgamine and Zeldaborne’s shared house looked like, at least in Lily’s internal opinion, a stereotypical witch’s house like in a book or film; nothing like any of the wizarding houses she been in, but more along the lines of what Muggles would think a witch’s house might look like. It was dark, covered in dust and spider webs, with shelves everywhere stuffed with ingredient jars, potions bottles, spellbooks, and skulls. Empty cages hung from the ceiling and in the middle of the room sat a cauldron over a roaring fire that brewed a potion that she’d never seen the likes of. And considering that she was skilled enough in the subject that she could have gotten a mastery of it, that was saying something.

Candles sat everywhere in tall, gothic candelabras or on top of the skulls, giving the room an eerie glow. They even had a black cat curled up on a table, which Harry was gently petting as the feline purred steadily. It made Lily miss her own cat.

“So why exactly do you want to teach Harry so badly?” Lily asked turning to face the witch sisters.

“He’s powerful,” Zeldaborne said from where she stood on top of a tall stool so she could stir the potion.

“It would be a crime not to teach him magics that haven’t been seen in years,” Helgamine added as she dumped what looked like…toes...into the cauldron. “That he’s the ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ is even better.”

“So… you know what is going on in the Wizarding World?” Lily asked as she sat down beside Harry at the table. His head was pressed against the cat’s side, giggling as he listened to its purr.

“Of course we do,” Helgamine said. “We’re still witches and we need to pick up fresh ingredients we can’t get here.”

“And we like to keep up with the gossip,” Zeldaborne added. “We’ve gone back and forth between the Wizarding World and this world since we were brought here by Jack.”

“How long have you been here?” Lily asked curiously.

“Oh… Since the Salem witch trials,” Helgamine said after thinking about it for a few minutes. Lily blinked in surprise and gaped.

“That was nearly 300 years ago!” She exclaimed. “You’re that old?”

“Yep, look good for our age, don’t we?” Zeldaborne snickered with a wink.

“The magic of this place changed us. It changes most everyone to some extent,” Helgamine explained. “We’re tied to the holiday itself, in all its forms.”

“That has made us near immortals,” Zeldaborne tapped the comically large wooden spoon against the edge of the cauldron. “It’s a hell of a lot better than what we went through in Salem.”

“You were a part of the witch trials,” Lily guessed.

“Of course,” Helgamine said. “Lived a pretty peaceful life, kept to ourselves in the forest.”

“Then those damnable Sanderson sisters mucked everything up,” Zeldaborne spat.

“Who?” Lily asked, looking over at Harry as he got up to explore. “Sweetheart, don’t touch anything.”

“Okay, Mummy,” Harry said.

“The Sanderson sisters, Winifred and her two idiot younger sisters Sarah and Mary,” Helgamine dipped a finger into the potion then stuck it in her mouth to taste it. “Hmm… needs more pickled aconite.” (2)

“Hey, boy, hand me that jar there,” Zeldaborne pointed at a jar sitting on one of the side tables. Lily watched Harry pick it up and cradle it close to his chest to carry it over to the shorter witch. A handful of the pickled aconite was tossed in after Harry handed over the jar. “Awful wench she was, that Winifred, sold her soul to the devil, she did.”

“Had a powerful spell book, claim the devil gave it to her,” Helgamine was over at the shelves tossing bottles and jars over her shoulders. “Dark magic in that book, I was always kinda jealous.”

“Then Winifred got it into her head one day that it was a good idea to kidnap a couple of the kids from Salem, stole the life force of one of them to make her and those two idiot sisters of hers younger and no one knows what happen to the other one,” Zeldaborne caught one of the flying jars, popped the top and dumped whatever it was inside into the cauldron. The potion let off a large booming puff of colored smoke, rolling violently in the cauldron until another ingredient was poured inside.

“That got the town’s people riled up and they really started up their witch hunting,” Helgamine seem to find what she was looking for as she came over with a jar in each hand. Harry found the witch’s brooms leaned up against the wall, glancing over at the women who didn’t seem to be paying attention to them, then picked one up.

“We were some of the unlucky ones,” Zeldaborne grabbed a jar out of her sister’s hand. “We were set to be hanged when we were caught, but luckily for us, Jack was in town. He took a liking to us and offered us a place here.”

“We would have been stupid not to take up that offer,” Helgamine said. Harry’s laughter caught all their attention as he flew past them on the broom then raced around the room.

“Oh Merlin!” Lily yelled as she jumped up. “Harry James Potter!”

“Mummy, look, brooms really do fly!” Harry giggled.

“The boy’s got good control,” Helgamine said as she ducked when Harry buzzed past her.

“He loved to play on the toy broom his godfather got him for his birthday when he was a baby,” Lily said with a sigh, watching as Harry flew past the cat whom arched its back, hissing then moved to hide under the table. Lily was hit with a wave of nostalgia as she remembered those tense yet carefree days when they were a little family trying to get what enjoyment they could while hiding from a certain dark lord. A baby Harry on a broom had terrorized her cat back then too but he had been so happy. Even so, however…

“Harry, come down here right now,” Lily said sternly, pointing at the ground.

Harry seemed to realize that he made his mother mad and the broom floated to the floor slowly. He climbed off and walked over with his head bowed. Lily knelt and pulled Harry closer to her, stroking his hair.

“Sweetheart, you shouldn’t just pick up another person’s broom like that and start flying around, especially not in a house,” she scolded softly.

“I’m sorry, Mummy,” Harry said in a whisper.

“I know, baby, I’m not mad, I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Lily said as she moved to sit at the table again holding Harry in her lap, rocking him gently. “That was a very dangerous thing to do; you’re too small for a big person broom. Next time you should ask if it is alright, you don’t take other people’s stuff okay?”

“’kay,” Harry said, sniffing softly.

“Now go apologize,” Lily said watching as Harry climbed off her lap and shuffled over to the sisters.

“’m sorry,” he said, twisting his hands in his shirt, a nervous habit of his.

“No harm done, boy,” Helgamine awkwardly patted the top of his head, making Harry shyly look up.

“Your mother is right, little unsafe in the house, but you didn’t break anything,” Zeldaborne agreed as she started stirring the potion again. “We’ll call this one even.”

Harry gave a shy little smile as he was forgiven and ran back over to Lily, snuggling close as she picked him up. She kissed the top of his head and mused that Harry would have plenty of opportunities to fly; there was no doubt that her broom-crazy husband would be bringing some home for Harry to play on. It was also nice to see Harry have a little rebellious, mischievous moment for once and that Petunia and her awful husband hadn’t stomped it out of her baby boy.


******


(1) Since there is no known form of a Boggart in the Harry Potter series, I’ve pulled inspiration from various folktales and other stories for what a Boggart’s true form would be.

(2) For the sake of not getting flagged, anything related to the movie Hocus Pocus belongs to Disney.
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