Everyone was in the Great Hall enjoying the Halloween feast when it happened. A bright light overtook the whole Hall and when it disappeared, all the teachers were on their guard, wands out ready to protect their students. But nothing seemed to have changed. Everyone looked around in confusion until one student broke the silence.
"What the hell!" Harry exclaimed. A large package was now sitting in front of him but hadn't been there before the bright light.
Professor McGonagall moved quickly from the Head Table to investigate whatever it was that had startled Harry and was as shocked as everyone else to see a package sitting innocently in front of him. She cast many spells over the package, trying to work out if it was harmful in any way. All her spells came back clean, showing that the package truly meant no harm. However, when she tried, she found that she couldn't open it. By now, many of the other teachers had made their way down to the Gryffindor table to investigate as well.
"It won't open," Professor McGonagall said.
"It may be spelled so that only the intended recipient can open it. That wouldn't show up on any test to determine harmful spells," Professor Flitwick squeaked.
"Yes, that does make sense," Professor McGonagall agreed. The teachers all turned to face Harry rather than the package.
"Me?" he asked.
"It did appear in front of you, Potter," McGonagall said. Harry sighed, but reached forward and unwrap the package. Removing the paper that surrounded the package revealed a set of seven books, all different sizes and colours.
"Books? Why would someone send me books?" he asked, confused. If anyone was going to send the trio books, all three of them would have said they would send the books to Hermione. A few of the Professors around him reached past him to pick up some of the books to examine.
"The titles are blurry," Hermione noted, having picked up the smallest book, which was red and light blue.
"No, they have half a title," Ron pointed out, having leaned over the table to look at the book Hermione was holding.
"Oh, you're right Ron. I didn't see that," Hermione agreed. Harry sighed.
"What's the title?" he asked, although his gut was telling him that he wouldn't like the answer.
"It says, 'Harry Potter and the' and then goes blurry," Ron said, reading out the title. Harry groaned and put his head in his hands; he'd known he wouldn't like it. Of course, they were books about him.
"There's a note Harry," Hermione said, nudging him. He looked up and saw the note that Hermione was pointing to, sitting on top of the wrapping paper.
"Read it out loud Potter," Professor McGonagall said. Harry sighed but picked up the note and scanned it quickly before reading it out loud.
"Dear Hogwarts. Inside this package you will have found a collection of seven books. Four of these books are about the past four school years, one about the present school year, and the last two about the future two school years. We know how dangerous messing with time is, but this is the only way that we can think of to fix things.
"These seven books are told mainly from Harry Potter's point of view and are about his seven years of school, one book per year, as we already said. They are the complete truth about what happened and will happen, which you can verify by casting veritatem dicere over them.
"Hogwarts will be put into a time bubble as soon as the first book is started, meaning that no time will pass outside Hogwarts while you read so that none of the students miss classes and none of the visitors we ask you to collect will be missed. Due to this time bubble, any connection to the outside world, be it a mental or marked connection, will be frozen until the time bubble disappears and time moves with the outside world again, which will occur when it reaches the same time the first book is started after the last book is finished. Before you read these books, we ask that you gather the following people: Remus Lupin and his dog Snuffles; Nymphadora Tonks; Alastor Moody also known as Mad Eye; Arthur, Molly, Bill, Charlie, and Percy Weasley; Kingsley Shacklebolt; Amelia Bones; Minister Cornelius Fudge.
"We also suggest that calming draughts are supplied for everyone in the hall, due to the fact that what is read may be stressful for those hearing about it for the first time, or for those who experienced it to hear again.
"There is one last thing that we have to mention about these books. They are connected to Harry Potter and his magical core, which is how it is fully truthful and told mainly from his point of view – including his thoughts – although it does switch every now and then to his friends' point of view, but it isn't connected to their cores." He stopped reading there, skipping the next bit and reading that quickly to himself, since he knew from his scan at the start that he didn't want others to know what the next part said.
This connection means that any injuries or similarly harmful experiences included in the books will affect the Harry Potter in the present until the experience or pain passes in the books. If it were possible, we would have the books switch perspective more often, so as to allow Harry to keep some privacy, and to prevent some of the pain that will occur, but it would be very dangerous to attach anyone else's magic to the books; not everyone survives through these books and we don't want people dropping dead during the reading. Once he had quickly read that, he continued reading the note out loud.
"The titles of the books will reveal themselves when Harry gives the go ahead to read, since we understand that this is his life that will be read about and his secrets that will be exposed; if Harry decides that he doesn't want anyone to read these books, then everyone here will be made to forget that this happened at all. However, we truly hope that you will read the books as the affects that they will have will benefit the future and give people a second chance before they mess up their first one. HP, HG, RW, GW, LL, NL," he finished.
Harry looked up from the note and around the silent hall. He then looked straight at Ron who was opposite him, before turning to look at Hermione. They both looked very thoughtful.
Professor Flitwick waved his wand over the books, casting the spell that the note said to cast. The books all glowed white, and Flitwick nodded.
"The note is telling the truth. These books are entirely truthful," he said.
"We will read these books and expose Potter's lies," Umbridge said loudly to the silent hall. Almost as one, the entire hall burst in to noise as all the students gathered there started whispering, all of them wanting to know what was in the books. There had been rumours about some of the things the trio had done, but no one knew the truth even though everyone wanted to; the trio were incredibly secretive about their adventures, even around their families and dorm mates.
"You can't force us to do that," Hermione exclaimed loudly over the chatting hall.
"That's an invasion of privacy," Ron called just as loud. Dumbledore silenced the hall with a loud firecracker, making everyone fall silent and their attention turn to him.
"The note says that it is Mr Potter's choice if we read the books or not. However, I believe that it would be a good thing to read as it those who sent it clearly want us to change how things turn out and messing with time is not something done lightly. All students are to head back to their dorms for the night and more will be discussed tomorrow," he announced.
"We will be reading these books Professor Dumbledore," Umbridge argued.
"I am just as hopeful as you that we will read these books Professor Umbridge. However, it is getting late, and we wouldn't get through anything tonight. I also have to gather everyone that the note asked for, meaning we wouldn't be able to start reading until tomorrow anyway." Umbridge didn't say anything else, so the Heads of House started ushering their students out of the hall and up to their dorms. As they left, Harry collected all the books, that the teachers had put back in a pile, to take up to the dorm with him.
As they walked back up to the Gryffindor Common Room, Hermione, Ron, and Harry discussed what had happened, having lagged behind the rest of the Gryffindors to get some privacy.
"These books could be a good thing. Everyone will find out that Voldemort is back, and Sirius will be proven innocent," Hermione mused as they walked a way behind the rest of the Gryffindor students.
"And it could show us how to beat Voldemort and let us do it earlier than we would otherwise," Ron added.
"I think you're forgetting a few things though," Harry interjected quietly.
"What? I mean, I know it sounds bad that we'll hear all your thoughts but think of all the good things that could come out of this," Ron replied.
"I guess. But this will be all about everything we've done. Do you know how many rules we've broken?" Harry asked. Hermione and Ron stopped in their tracks.
"Bloody hell, I did forget about that, actually."
"I didn't even think about that. We've done so many things against the rules. Oh Merlin, I think we've even broken a law or two," Hermione said in shock.
"I know. And I didn't read this bit out loud, but I'll experience everything included in the book; all the pain that I went through that is included in the book, I will feel as we read it. I really don't want to go through everything again, especially since it will include all our end of year escapades." That caused both Ron and Hermione to turn and look at him in shock, both of them paling as they did. They both knew how badly Harry got injured during the school year from Quidditch and class accidents alone, let alone during the things that happened at the end of the year, often including Voldemort.
"What?" Hermione asked, not wanting to believe him, even though she knew he only lied when he had a very good reason to; or when someone asked if he was alright. Harry pulled the note out of his pocket with one hand, being careful not to drop the stack of books in his other, and handed it over for her to read, Ron moving to read it over her shoulder.
"Why didn't you read that in the hall? If they knew that they wouldn't make us read them," Hermione said.
"They'll insist on reading them either way. And I don't want people to know that I'll be hurt," Harry replied, making Ron and Hermione immediately understand. It had taken almost all of their first year before Harry would even admit he was in pain to them, and even then, he didn't like to, and tried to avoid it as much as possible, almost always just saying he was fine even when they could see he wasn't. And he tried to never show that he was in pain to others.
"We can't read them," Hermione whispered, scared about what her friend would experience again.
"But we have to. I don't want anyone to find out about my thoughts, or what we do that no one knows about. And I really don't want to relieve some of the experiences. But we need everyone to find out about Sirius and about Voldemort. We need to know what happens so we can change it," Harry said, sighing and beginning to walk again.
He didn't have many secrets, but the ones he did have were secrets for a reason and were secrets he wanted to take to the grave. Such as everything that happened in the graveyard or in the Chamber; no one knew he had experienced the cruciatus or that Voldemort had tried to Imperio him, or that he had been bitten by the basilisk.
"You could read it alone. Then you can find out about what you need to do to defeat Voldemort and only then tell us and anyone that needs to know. That way you get to keep your privacy," Ron suggested. Harry smiled but knew that that wasn't an option.
He only had to remember the things he went through; how he passed out after battling Quirrell; how he reacted when he came face to face with dementors; how his vision had blurred as the basilisk venom worked its way through his system; how much excruciating pain he had been in under the cruciatus; to know that he couldn't do it alone, to know that he wouldn't be able to read past the parts of pain, leaving him in pain.
"That is a good idea Ron," Hermione agreed, completely oblivious to Harry's thoughts. But Harry just shook his head.
"It wouldn't work. You know how I react around dementors; I wouldn't be able to read past that part, meaning I would continue to be affected as if there were dementors there," he said.
"Yeah, I didn't think of that mate," Ron said reluctantly.
"Reading them in the Great Hall really is the only option, isn't it?" Hermione asked reluctantly.
"Yeah, it is," Harry agreed, just as reluctantly. They all knew that it was the best option, the only option, but that didn't mean that any of them had to be happy about it.
"I guess we couldn't just read them all, just the three of us, could we?" Ron asked.
"No, I don't think we could. I mean, if we wanted to disappear, we could. Between the Map, your cloak, and how well you know the castle from your night time walks when you can't sleep, it wouldn't be hard. But I guess there was a reason they appeared in the Great Hall. And there wouldn't have been a list of people to gather to read the books if they wanted us to read it privately," Hermione said.
"Why is it always Halloween?" Harry asked as they reached the portrait whole. The three of them laughed dryly as they entered the common room, understanding what he meant and them completely agreeing.
The next morning the whole school were assembled in the Great Hall, everyone apart from the trio eager to start reading the books. Harry had brought one of the books down to the hall with him, the small, red and light blue one; the titles on all the books had appeared during the night, since he had reluctantly decided that they would read them, and he knew without a doubt that this was the first one. His only trouble working out which book was which would be for his sixth and seventh years; the titles were all about the major occurrence during the year, but he figured that he would work it out from the blurbs.
Everyone was eating breakfast when the doors to the Great Hall opened and all the people who had been named on the note the night before entered. The Weasleys, minus Percy, along with Remus, Tonks, and Sirius, as Snuffles, all headed straight over to the Gryffindor table, sitting down around Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny, who had all ended up sitting near each other. Those who didn't sit down at the Gryffindor table headed up to the staff table, where there was extra seating that had been put there during the night.
Once everyone had finished their breakfast and the food on the tables had disappeared, Dumbledore stood in front of the hall.
"If we could all stand please?" he asked. Everyone did as he asked, and the tables disappeared. They were replaced with lots of comfortable seating, as well as small tables scattered throughout the hall, with calming draughts and small platters of snacks, as well jugs of drinks and goblets. Everyone found themselves seats around the hall and got comfortable.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione grabbed a couch together near the back of the hall, while Fred and George got a couch nearby with Lee Jordan. Ginny curled up on a beanbag. Neville and Luna had also appeared, Luna sitting on a beanbag next to Ginny while Neville took a round single seater; no one said anything about their choice to sit with them; the trio quite liked Neville, even if they didn't talk much, and Luna was growing on all of them, even all of her unique opinions. Mr and Mrs Weasley shared a loveseat, while Charlie and Tonks settled on another couch. Bill took an armchair and Remus took a single-person recliner. Sirius, as Snuffles, settled down in front of the couch that Harry was on.
"Now, for those of you who have joined us, we are here to read books that tell of the past, present, and future, told from Mr Potter's point of view, about his seven years at school. They were sent from the future with the hope that we would be able to change things before it's too late," Dumbledore said. Remus and Mrs Weasley glanced towards Harry, concerned looks on their faces, while Snuffles rested his head on Harry's knee, whining slightly.
"The books are completely truthful, meaning we will finally be able to put an end to Potter's lies," Umbridge declared. Harry gave Snuffles a scratch on the head before gently pushing his head off his knee so that he could stand.
"I don't like what you're insinuating, Professor," he said. Everyone turned to look at him.
"What are you talking about Potter?" Snape demanded, sneering at the boy.
"I just don't like how you're all assuming you'll get to read the books. The note yesterday did say that it was my choice."
"Mr Potter, it is imperative that we hear what will happen so we can change things for the better," Dumbledore said in his grandfatherly voice.
"Oh, I'm not saying we're not going to read them. I just don't like how you all just assumed you were going to get to be present to hear them be read. I brought the first book down so we could start reading, but I do have some rules," he said.
"What are these rules, Mr Potter?" McGonagall asked.
"Firstly, I don't want anyone, student or adult, to get in trouble for anything that has happened in the past or the future, meaning no points can be taken or detentions given; they've either already happened so it should be too late to be punished and punishment would be pointless, or it hasn't happened yet, meaning punishment is, again, pointless," he said. He, Hermione, and Ron had decided on some rules last night before they went to bed, and that was the first one they thought of; they knew that they would probably get in a lot of trouble otherwise and they wanted a safety net.
"That is acceptable," Dumbledore agreed, making Umbridge scowl and Snape sneer; both of them thought that if Potter had had to set that rule, then there was reason that he should be punished.
"Secondly, I want everyone to swear that they won't speak of anything they learn in these books to or around anyone not present for the reading unless they are, or was previously, told about it from a source other than the books. It will be my private thoughts that are on display and I don't want people to simply gossip about them. If they don't swear it, I don't want them here to listen."
"That is perfectly understandable," Dumbledore said in agreement. "Everyone get out your wands and repeat after me but use your own name." Everyone pulled out their wands and looked towards the headmaster.
"I, Albus Dumbledore, do swear on my magic to not speak about what I learn in these books to anyone that is not present during the reading, unless I learn or have learnt about it from another source. So, I say it. So, I swear it. So, mote be it." The Great Hall became loud as everyone swore the oath, even those who didn't seem inclined to, such as Snape, Malfoy, and Umbridge; everyone but Ron, Hermione, and Harry, since they had agreed not to make the vow, as they had been through most things together and trusted each other completely, and Sirius, since he was currently disguised as a dog.
"That's everything," Harry said once everyone had put their wands away, sitting down again.
"How are we going to read it?" someone on the other side of the hall asked.
"I have a charm that will read the book for us. It will pause whenever someone talks, so comments can be made without anyone missing part of the story," Professor Flitwick said. "I just need to the book, Mr Potter." Harry nodded and allowed the charms professor to summon the book that he had been holding.
"How do you know it's the first book?" someone wearing Slytherin green called.
"The titles of all the books revealed themselves overnight and I can safely say that that is the first book," Harry replied.
"What's it called?" Remus asked.
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," Harry replied. All the teachers who had been at the school during Harry's first year understood immediately, with many of them, those that didn't know what had happened at the end of the year, wondering why that was the name of the book. They knew that the stone had been in the school but had no clue why or how Harry knew about it, or how it was involved so much that it was part of the title of the book.
"Shall we begin?" Professor Flitwick asked.
"Let's," Dumbledore agreed. Professor Flitwick murmured something, pointing his wand at the book and a bright light enveloped the book, before it started floating, the title of the first chapter being read out.
The Boy Who Lived.