MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Ministry For Magic, London, England, 28 July, 1995. . . .
"Harry James Potter, you are this day found guilty of the murder of Cedric Diggory. The sentence for this horrible crime is the Dementor's Kiss. But you have requested a different method. Please relay this to the court, so that they may deliberate on it."
Harry looked like hell. They'd been keeping him in Azkaban during this farce of a trial, and the Dementors were close to killing him anyway. His voice was harsh from screaming, and the only break he'd had was when Dumbledore had visited him and in here, during the trial itself. But he had a way out, one Hermione had found for him through constant research from the moment Amos Diggory had called for his arrest. She'd given it to him with tears in her eyes, knowing this would be the end for them either way.
"A friend who I will love for the rest of my life has discovered an ancient statute. Any convicted of a capital crime may call for the justice of the Veil. If the convicted is truly guilty they will be killed by it. If they are not guilty, however, it will whisk them away to a new world where they may live outside the reach of those who have wrongfully convicted them. It is the ultimate arbiter of justice, and either way, I will be gone from here. And when you find out that I did not lie to you, and Voldemort has taken over the wizarding world, if not the entire world, you will have no one to turn to. I will go to a new world and leave this one to its own devices, because it has killed me." He paused, hearing the shouting of several voices he knew well, voices who had consistently decried this injustice, and said, "To those few of you who believed me, I beg you to attempt no rescues. Let me go. I'm tired of being this society's whipping boy."
"Harry! No!" Remus Lupin shouted from the audience.
But the Wizengamut whispered among themselves, and in the end, all agreed that it was every citizen's right if convicted of a capital crime to be given to the Veil of Justice. "The petition is granted. The sentence of the Dementor's Kiss is lifted in favor of the Veil of Justice. Let Magic judge you three days hence. You are hereby remanded to the holding cells in the Department of Mysteries, and your departure will be witnessed by ten of the Wizengamut and three of your choosing." The Minister struck his gavel, finalizing all statements made to the record.
Three days later, Harry stood with Dumbledore, Remus and Hermione, the later leading a dog on a chain, who was Sirius Black. Harry understood. Sirius was coming with him, hopefully to the same world.
The Minister had invited the press, as well, fully expecting Harry to be killed by the Veil and wanting to use that to bolster his public standing.
Dumbledore was very ready to break Harry out. But Harry had given up, and he could hardly blame him. "Harry, are you sure about this? Fawkes could easily..."
"And then what? You told me the prophesy. But if I fulfill it, then there's nothing stopping any of you from killing him if you can get close enough. Take out those other pieces. The one in me should be destroyed by the Veil, for Voldemort is truly guilty."
Hermione was strangely silent, though tears were streaming down her face. Harry just reached out to hug her. Silently, she slipped his wand inside his robe, and he fought to keep his eyes from widening.
Then came the Minister's hated voice. "That's enough. It's time."
Harry closed his eyes, then moved away from his friends. Hermione loosed Sirius and he returned to his human form. The Minister shouted for guards, but Sirius shouted back at him, "Oh, shut up! I'm going with Harry. You never gave me a trial, so I was never given this choice. Well I'm taking it now, and I'm leaving you fools to rot. Dumbledore, you have the key to my vault, and when the Veil proves me innocent, the Goblins have to let you keep it. Feel free to use every knut to take that bastard out, and this one if you have time." That last he said with his thumb jerked in the Minister's direction.
So as to make sure they landed together, Harry and Sirius joined hands. They were surprised when a third hand joined them, but not at all surprised to see that it was Hermione's hand. Harry said, "Are you sure?"
"Yes," she said. "I don't want to live in a world that would kill you, or a world without you in it. I Obliviated my parents. They're on their way to Australia, with no knowledge they ever had a daughter."
Sadly, Harry nodded.
Without a word, Remus stepped up beside them. It was no surprise that Remus was coming with them if Sirius was going.
Together the four faced the Veil, and with Hermione on the left of Harry and Sirius on his right, and Remus on Sirius's right, they ran through it together.
The Minister fully expected to see at least two bodies on the other side of the Veil, or even four, since he didn't really believe it was the Veil of Justice, but the Veil of Death. But there were none. The Veil had declared all to be innocent.
The Minister was sacked within a week. But the damage was done, and the Wizarding world would have to move on with four less of its best and brightest.
Note: This is Harry's fifteenth birthday. When he was arrested, Dumbledore told him the prophesy, unwittingly spurring him into this decision.
Note: Hermione is almost a year older than Harry, her birthdate being 9/19/79. Bayverse is eleven years ahead of Potterverse, to the day.
They landed together, and that was a relief to all of them. That they could still feel magic on the other side of that jump was even more of one. This universe operated on the same basic laws as the one they'd just left. That meant they'd be able to figure things out, one way or another.
Harry let Hedwig go, then stood and pulled Hermione up with him. Remus and Sirius stood on their own, and they looked around. They were in a city, one built with steel and concrete, and they were in the middle of an abandoned construction site. Hedwig flew up to the rafters and began preening her feathers. It was daytime and the city around them was alive, but the site was quiet. It gave them time to get their bearings.
To Hermione, Harry said, "Thank you for my wand. I could have learned wandless, but this will make things easier. All right, I know you. You're the most obsessive person in the school, surpassing every Ravenclaw in the school for knowledge greed and planning ability." He nodded at the bag she was carrying. "What all did you bring?"
Hermione smiled at him. "Well someone has to be prepared."
"Don't let her fool you, Harry," said Sirius. "She's been shopping for a week, spending my money on various supplies. Dumbledore didn't object when she came with us because she's already had it out with him and the Weasley clan. You should have heard the row! Anyway, there's a wizarding tent, clothes for all four of us, food and water, her potion-making kit and cauldron, and a Muggle first aid kit, as well as two hundred feet of quarter-inch gold chain."
With a fond smile, Remus added, "And of course, this being Hermione, there's a library worth of books in there, as well."
Harry raised an eyebrow at her. "Gold chain?"
"It's for money," she said. "We couldn't be sure where we would land or what kind of currency they would take, but gold has intrinsic value, and we can exchange it for whatever they will be using. In some cultures, we can simply break off the links and use them directly. But wherever we are, I'm sure it will be worth something. Each link is about three and a half ounces by weight, so it's a lot of money."
Note: 2000 links, 3.324 oz./link (.85 oz. steel)
"That's if they're human, of course," said Remus.
Harry looked around. "Well this looks like it's being built by humans. I don't think we've landed somewhere all that strange. I guess the first thing we should do is find a good campsite, ward it, and stay put until tomorrow morning. We should nick a paper or something, find out where and when we are." He sighed. "I'm so glad to be away from the Dementors. I don't know how you survived eleven years in that place, Sirius, I really don't."
Sirius nodded sympathetically. "It gets better, cub, I promise."
They began to walk out of the construction zone, and found themselves in a warehouse district. They reached the edge of it, though and saw a busy street full of people. Once they were sure what fashions would be best to use, they stepped back into the shadows a bit and transfigured everyone's clothing to match. Sirius and Remus were in long-sleeved button down shirts, trousers and Oxfords, but not neckties. Harry and Hermione were in jeans, T-shirts and trainers. And Hermione's featherlight expanded bag became a backpack and was slung over both shoulders. It would be harder to lose that way and would look right, as well.
They found an abandoned newspaper in a public bin, and Sirius pulled it out before it could have someone's garbage thrown on it. The paper was the Oakland Post, in Oakland, California, and the date was 31 July, 2006.
Sirius said, "We're eleven years in the future and we're in the States."
"Are we still on the same Earth?" asked Remus.
Harry said, "I don't think so. There's plenty of magic here, but it feels different."
Knowing Harry was very sensitive to magical energies, Hermione took this in stride. "Different how?"
"Bigger, fuller, and it has a different taste, for want of a better word. Like the difference between tap water and bottled. It's cleaner, purer."
They went back to the construction site and pitched their tent, then warded the area around it to keep out the Muggles. They'd start a fire in the stove later, but for now they needed to plan a few things out. Remus was the only one among them who had worked in the Muggle world, so he had a lot to say. "Using the price I found in today's paper, we have well over four million dollars in gold. If we cared to, we could invest that and it would actually keep us comfortable for a long time. But we're also going to need to buy some things. We'll need to find a house, and I think we'll need to get our hands on some educational material to get everyone caught up to the Muggle world. We don't even know if they have wizards here."
Harry was sitting on one of the camping chairs staring at his wand. "I want to thank you all for helping me through this. I still can't believe they thought I'd kill Cedric."
Hermione put one of her hands on his, and he turned his head to look her in the eye. "They don't matter anymore, Harry. You'll never have to deal with them ever again."
He offered her a watery smile. "I know."
Over the next year, the four wizards learned a lot. They had come into a world where terrorists had hijacked huge passenger planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York. Their arrival, which should have tripped alarms if there was a magical community to hear them, went unanswered, making them realize they were the only magicals in the country. Sirius had tried to liken Harry and Hermione to Adam and Eve, which had just gotten him smacked by Remus for making assumptions.
Hermione'd had the brains, not that anyone doubted them, to bring the recipe for the Wolfsbane potion with them, and the first thing they did was get the ingredients together for it. Hermione was also the best potioneer of all of them, so when the day of their first full moon hit, they were ready. That was when they found out that she had stored and brought with them her entire home library and the entire seven years' curriculum of Hogwarts. It made all of them laugh, but none of them could gainsay the action, as those were the only books on magic they would ever have with them unless they wrote their own.
The first full moon, which was August 9th, went off without a hitch, Sirius and Remus running in Joaquin Miller Park. Harry decided then and there to learn the Animagus transformation.
They all had to go to the immigration office to get papers and IDs. Wanting there to be as good a paper trail as possible, he found out all of the steps required for permanent residency and got as many of them filed as he could. He found out that it was a long and drawn out process, but he got business visas for himself and Sirius, and minor student visas for Harry and Hermione. He had both of them enrolled at John Marshall High School for the next term, which began in August, giving them no time to play catch-up with their Muggle Studies, so they had work extra hard on their homework. For once, Harry didn't complain about Hermione's study habits, and was very grateful that she had kept up with math and science over the summers. She knew more than the other three put together on those subjects.
Remus got a job as a transcriptionist in a hospital, his background in Latin and Greek coming in handy. He confessed he'd done such work before to make ends meet, in the years before he taught at Hogwarts. He wanted Sirius to get a job, as well, but he was just as behind as the kids in Muggle subjects. He decided, instead, to try and open a shop, selling transfigured wooden furniture and art pieces. That worked out pretty well, and soon, Remus stopped working at the hospital and came to work in Sirius's shop because he needed help due to the brisk business he was doing.
Harry wanted to try out for the school's footie team, soccer they called it here, but with the studying, he didn't have the time. He did, however, make a friend, Sam Witwicky, who ended up being invaluable when it came to learning about American culture. During winter break, Sam asked Harry to come over and hang out. Remus and Sirius allowed it, knowing Harry was going a bit stir crazy. Hermione thrived in the heavily academic environment, learning everything they could about this new world, but Harry needed something extra, and a little downtime to just be a kid.
He came up to the front door and politely knocked. Sam answered the door. "Hey, Harry! Hey, Mom, Harry and me are gonna hang out in my room, okay!" And he tried to rush Harry past his parents to avoid their parental weirdness.
But they were too fast for him. "Hold it!" called his father. "You know we want to meet your friends, Sam." He turned to Harry with his hand out to shake. "Hi, I'm Ron Witwicky, also known as Dad for some reason." That last was said with a glare at Sam.
Harry shook his hand and said, "Harry Potter-Black."
"How come the double last name?"
"Potter is my family name, but I was adopted by my godfather, Sirius Black after my parents were killed."
Ron looked like he'd swallowed a shoe. "Sorry, I didn't mean to-"
But Harry shook his head. "Not a problem. They died when I was very small. I don't really remember them. Sirius might as well be my Dad, though Uncle Remus is really the only adult in the house."
Sam's mother came up to them, and Ron introduced them. "This is my wife, Judy."
Judy asked, "Are you staying for dinner, Harry?"
"I didn't think about it. I'd hate to impose-"
"Oh, you're not imposing! No, really, we want you to stay so we can learn all about you. And wow, your eyes are just gorgeous!"
"Mom! You're gonna scare him off."
"Why? There's nothing wrong with having gorgeous eyes!"
"Because he's a guy and guys don't talk like that. This is as bad as that collar you bought for Mojo!"
"Oh, don't be ridiculous! There's nothing wrong with saying things like that!"
"It's okay," Harry broke in. "Everyone tells me I have my mother's eyes. I'll just ring home and let them know I'm staying, then." He pulled out his flip phone and called the Dog House, which was what they had come to call their flat. Remus answered the phone. "Remus? Yeah, Mrs. Witwicky asked if I could stay for dinner."
Meanwhile, Sam continued to rail at his mother for embarrassing him.
But Remus didn't have a problem with it, so everything quieted down and Sam ran Harry up the stairs before she could say something else stupid like that. "Geez, I'm really sorry about that."
"It's fine. Definitely not the worst thing that's ever happened to me or been said to me."
Sam's room was a mess. It was a combination of normal teenage messiness and the fact that he had a Chihuahua living in the room with him, who apparently liked to shred things on occasion. But he didn't really seem to notice. "So, you and Hermione. Are you like, a thing?"
Harry felt his face heat up. "No."
Sam noticed his blush. "But you want to be, huh?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "I swear, you're Parvati Patel in disguise."
"A girl at my last school. She only wanted to talk about relationships. To anyone. Ever."
Sam frowned at him. "I'm not that bad. I just figured if you weren't, I could take a swing at having something with her."
Harry snorted. "Yeah right. You've been staring at Mikaela Banes, forever according to Wade. At least as long as I've been in the States." He stared at him for a moment or two. "We're both pathetic, aren't we."
Sam grinned and tossed a foam American football at him. He caught it easily. "Yes, yes we are. So, what is the deal at your house? You've got your godfather, plus your Uncle Remus, and Hermione. How does everybody fit?"
"Remus is Sirius's brother. And Hermione is his goddaughter. Hers is the same situation as mine, really, but she only lost her parents recently."
"Man, that sucks. I mean, my parents are nuts, as you just saw, but it'd still suck if they weren't around." Sam thought about it for a minute, then changed the subject. "So are you trying out for the soccer team? I heard soccer is really big in Europe."
"I've got to worry about my academics this year, but I plan to next year. You should try out with me."
"No. I tried out for football this year. It was bad." Harry could virtually see the bad memories float across his face. He shuddered.
"Footie, sorry, soccer isn't as bad in the physical violence department. Not unless you're in the stands, anyway."
They talked about sports and American pop culture for the rest of the afternoon, and then Remus came and got Harry after dinner to bring him home. "How'd it go?" Remus asked.
Harry grinned. "It was great. Did you know, I've never been to a friend's house, other than the Weasleys, before today? Of course, that was because I wasn't allowed to have friends in school before I started at Hogwarts."
Three days later, it was Christmas, and the small family gathered to celebrate the season as best they could. They had a small turkey, with all the trimmings, plum cake and apple pie, and they made their own crackers to pull since they couldn't find anywhere to buy them. They exchanged small gifts, nothing extravagant, but meaningful to each, and then Sirius poured everyone a glass of the non-alcoholic sparkling cider that he'd found at the grocer's. He held his up and said, "To all those we left behind."
Remus said, "To Hogwarts."
Harry said, "To the Weasleys."
And Hermione, with tears running down her cheeks, said, "To Manny and Helen Granger."
Sirius solemnly finished, "May they all find peace without us."
They all drank their cups, and Hermione started crying in earnest. Harry sat his glass down, and took hers from her hand, then wrapped her in a hug, letting her cry herself out on his shoulder.
Note: Just a few quick notes. The wizards are actually pretty well off here. At 2006 prices, that much gold is worth about $4.23 million. But they're trying not to glut the market, hence the jobs. And this is the year before the movie. First, because it syncs Harry's age with Sam's. Second, because it gives them all time to get used to things before everything goes to hell in a Camaro.
When you review, let me know your thoughts on Sirius Black/Maggie Maddeson. Just a thought I've been having. I may or may not go there, but your thoughts would surely help me with the choice.