Uhhhh, hi? Long time no see? Eheheh...he...he…
Yeah, I'm super sorry for the delay; I started college, and no one ever really tells you how much of a crapper college is going to be, ya know? Regardless, though, things have FINALLY slowed down, and I can start writing and uploading chapters again. (By the way, I'm SUPER sorry about leaving y'all hanging with the last chapter like that; it'd been awhile since I did anything with this story, and hooooooweeeeee, even I cringed at that chapter. And, ya know, Cedric. #RIP.
Anyways, I'm going to do my best to make this a good chapter (content-wise and length-wise lol) to try and make it up to y'all (it's not gonna look like a fun chapter, but bare with me). And I'll do my best to try not to leave you on a cliffie again. (I make no promises, they seem to be an automatic thing with me, ahahahah.) Also, while this may seem like a filler-chapter, I think it's emotional progress. However, that isn't to say it's going to be the most exciting chapter, eh?
Text directly from one of JK's Marvelous Books; Spells
There will also be mentions of Reincarnation in here; I'm not trying to make this overly religious, but it's always interesting to throw some in every once in awhile.
Now, Onwards with the Story~
Breakfast had been a rather somber affair for the group of Gryffindors. Harry hadn't meant to make it so depressing, of course not; he couldn't help it, though. Over the years, Harry had had his share of shit thrown at him: from his classmates, from his "family," the Ministry, and, of course, from Tom himself. However, while Harry was expecting nightmares⎯he'd totally jinxed himself the other day⎯ he hadn't been expecting one of the magnitude he'd had. Cedric was never a pleasant topic, and even now years after Cedric has passed, Harry was still haunted by the memories of their torture; he didn't think he'd ever forget it.
Honestly, Harry wasn't sure what he'd done to piss of the beings-of-a-higher-existence, but he must've done something horrible in his past lives to have had such a miserable life in only seventeen years. (The Patil Twins were quite kind and fountains of information⎯after he had apologized for smushing their toes in, that is.) Either way, though, sometimes he brooded over what he'd gone through, and this was one of those times. Of course, since he was just a toddler, it probably looked like he was pouting, but when he was older, people would stay away.
He had tried to make it easier on his parents⎯oh how even thinking that made a tingle of warmth flow through him⎯by trying to eat his breakfast. However, after a nightmare like last night's, he could hardly keep anything down. Harry had always been that way; it drove all of his friends nuts over the years, trying to get him to eat. It never worked, and they'd always end up fighting, which usually just made him feel worse and eat even less. After a while, his friends had learned to back off some, and there weren't as many arguments had. Unfortunately, he was in the past right now, without any of his friends, and even more unfortunate, it wasn't his friends trying to get him to eat: it was his parents.
"Come on, kiddo, you need to eat something," James coaxed again, pushing the fruit towards him.
Harry just shook his head; he knew better than to eat: it'd all come back up, and that would just cause more problems.
"Harry, sweetie," Lily tried, putting a small apple slice right in front of him, "I know you don't want to eat, but can you try? Just a bite?" Harry frowned, but nodded tentatively; he would regret it later, but he couldn't stand the sad, miserable look Lily was giving him. He grabbed the apple and took a small bite before immediately putting it down and shaking his head. His stomach lurched, and Harry wrapped his arms around this middle, grimacing at the feeling. He looked up at Lily with a pleading look, begging her not to make him eat anymore. It must have been effective, because Lily sighed but nodded, taking the food from his high chair and moving it to another plate. James then lifted him up and placed him in his lap, wrapping his left arm securely, yet gently, around Harry so that he wouldn't fall off of his lap. Harry turned and snuggled into the hollow of his's dad's neck; there was just something about being held in his father's arms that calmed him down and gave him a feeling of great security. Sighing softly, Harry closed his eyes and dozed off, feeling safe and secure.
Harry really didn't know how long he'd been asleep for, but he gradually woke up as his warm pillow began shifting.
"Why pillow move," Harry murmured, burrowing his nose further in. He felt his pillow shaking, and frowned.
"Pillow don't shake," Harry said, confused. He opened his eyes to see a blob of peach. Blinking a few times, the peach-blob turned into a neck, and Harry realized that he was still holed up in James' arms. That meant that the shaking pillow was not, in fact, a pillow, but rather his Father, who was trying to control his laughter.
Harry narrowed his eyes and gave James a deadpan look (well, as close to deadpan as a toddler could get, anyways).
"Sorry to wake you, Harry," James grinned, not sounding really sorry at all. "We were just gonna put you to sleep in the room." Harry paused at that; while it would certainly be nice to go back to sleep, he didn't think he'd be able to get anymore for a little while.
"No," Harry said, "I stay with you," Harry also realized that it'd be probably be better to stay with his parents than to be left alone; he didn't need to brood more than he had. He watched as his Father through his Mum a look, the two communicating without speaking aloud. 'It's almost like Gred and Forge,' Harry mused. The twins had been rather adept at throwing each other brief glances and causing mass chaos, after all.
"Alright then, kiddo," James agreed reluctantly, "But we're not going to be doing much today, probably just sitting out by the Black Lake. It won't be a lot of fun."
At the mention of the Black Lake, Harry's eyes sparkled. He could see the Giant Squid again!
"Lake! Lake! Lake!" Harry demanded. It was somewhat childish, but as he was, in fact, a child, he totally made use of that for going.
Harry's sudden enthusiasm surprised his parents, especially since he had been so upset before. However, he must have seemed genuinely excited to them, because they started smiling, too.
"Why don't we make it a picnic, then?" Lily asked, her eyes lighting up at the thought. "We can swing by the room to get Harry toys to play with, and then by the kitchens to pick up food and a couple of blankets!"
At the mention of food, Harry's stomach gurgled hungrily. It looks like it had rapidly calmed down. That was unusual, as normally it took at least half a day to calm down, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. His parents looked surprised, but Harry could also see the relief in their eyes that he'd be able to eat again.
"How about we split up, then, Lils? I'll go get the food from the Kitchens, and you can go swing by the room and get him toys to play with. How's that?" James' grin was already spreading widely on his face, and Harry couldn't help but grin along. He loved seeing his parents happy.
"That sounds fine, James. Harry, do you want to go with myself to pick out toys, or with James to the Kitchens to make sure he doesn't eat everything in the basket?" Lily asked, her eyes glinting mischievously.
"Hey!" James cried out in protest. "I wouldn't do that!" James began to pout, much to both Harry and Lily's amusement. Harry giggled⎯how else do you laugh at silly things at such a young age?⎯ before nodding his head.
"I go to pwotect food!" Harry declared, matching his mother's mischievousness. James' shoulders slumped in defeat, and Lily laughed along with Harry, and soon enough James began chuckling, too.
Meanwhile, in the Great Hall, although the three of them were unaware of it, those eating at the tables, and even the Staff currently at the Head Table, all thought something along the same lines:
They would make a good family.
Lily hummed as she made her way back to the Head Students' Dorms. She was so incredibly relieved that Harry had managed to come out of the horrible bout of depression he had been experiencing. It didn't matter that he was only a toddler, or that it had lasted for a few hours; Harry had been so sad that his normal, vibran, almost-avada-kedavra-green-eyes had dulled to where they were almost a muddied see such eyes on someone so young and new, it had just killed Lily. To see her boy so heart-wrenchingly sad had almost killed her inside.
'Wait, my boy? When did I start referring to Harry as mine?' Lily wondered to herself. She shook her head; that little boy had them all wrapped around his pudgy little fingers, and to be honest, Lily didn't mind that so much. He'd come into their lives like a miniature tornado, his mischievous, bright eyes enrapturing them all within a matter of minutes.
'If this is what it's like to have a child,' Lily mused, entering the Dorms to fetch Harry plenty of toys to play with, 'Then I hope my child is just like Harry.'
Walking to the kitchens, secure in his Father's arms, Harry sneezed.
"Awchoooo!" Harry sniffed as he rubbed his nose. He wondered if someone was talking about him. James wiped his nose with his handkerchief before bopping it lightly, making Harry giggle.
Lily sighed in exasperation as she made her way back to the Great Hall to wait for Harry and James. At first glance, most would be wondering what had Lily sighing as she was. She looked rather nice, really, wearing knee-length pastel yellow skirt, a lovely white blouse and a light cardigan. Lily was also carrying a white bag, one that rather looked like a diaper bag (which made sense, since she was taking the toddler out to the lake.
However, it was what was in this white diaper bag that had Lily so exasperated: there was so much stuff in there! This diaper bag had been one of the pre-packed bags that Malfoy had insisted on getting, among other things. It had, of course, packed some diapers and pull-ups, a small first-aid kit with some Pepper-up Potion, A Dreamless Sleep Draught, and a Pain Reliever (all for children, of course), and then a little coat, just in case the weather turned a bit cold. And then there were the toys. Dear Merlin, there were so many toys in that bag! Lily was beginning to wonder if Malfoy had bought this bag not for the essentials, but for the sheer amount of toys in there. When she had first walked into the Commons Area she and James shared, she was just going to pack a few toys from the bin they kept there and make her way back out. However, she remembered the "Wonder-Pack" that Malfoy had insisted on buying, and decided that would make it easier on her.
Oh how wrong she was.
She had decided to take a look at it on the way to the Great Hall, wondering what toys Harry would get to play with. And that's when she saw how many toys were in there. There had to have been at least twenty different toys. Twenty! Lily just hoped that they didn't accidentally spoil Harry rotten; Malfoy was already on his way there.
"Hey Lily!" A voice called out, and Lily smiled, hearing the voice of her best friend: Alice Prewett. Lily turned around and was a little surprised to see that she was being accompanied by half of the 7th year Prefects.
"Hey guys," Lily greeted, "What're you up to today?"
"We thought we we'd chill by the Black Lake, Evans," Mark Knight, the male Hufflepuff Prefect, replied, his hand going up to ruffle his curly brown hair. "It's a nice day out, and the last before the term begins."
"Yeah! We thought it'd be awesome ta go out and relax, and that's what we were doin' when we saw Lupin and Prewett! So we were like, well why not? An' we invited them!" With a large grin on her face, Alexa Stone recounted their story. Unlike her more easy-going partner, Alexa was bouncy and full of life, something Lily appreciated in these darker times.
"Well James, Harry and I were about to have a picnic down by the Lake as well, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind the company!" Lily hummed. "I'll just shoot James a message to let him know that we need more food."
"Hello," A quiet voice said, just as Lily was about to cast her patronus. The group turned around to see the quiet Roberta Johnson and her partner Matthew Clemens, the two seventh year Prefects of Ravenclaw.
"Hello Roberta," Lily smiled warmly. Roberta was in Ancient Runes with her, and while she was rather quiet, she was very pleasant conversation.
"What're you up to?" Matthew Clemens asked, an arm wrapped loosely around Roberta's shoulders. They were dating, Roberta and Matthew, since the middle of their 5th year at Hogwarts. Roberta and Matthew were still going strong, despite the war happening outside of school. They were relatively happy together, and that made Lily happy.
"Long story short, we're headin' to the Black Lake for a picnic! Ya wanna join us Johnson, Clemens?" Alexa asked, bouncing in place.
"A picnic?" Matthew mused. "What do you think, love?" He asked Roberta, leaving the decision to her. Roberta smiled happily at that.
"If you don't mind, then," Roberta said, smiling at Lily.
"Of course not!" Lily beamed, "The more the merrier! Wouldn't it be funny, though, if Malfoy and Moon were to come over and join us."
"What of us, Evans?" Malfoy asked, coming up the stairs from the dungeons, Selena Moon by his side.
"Speak of the devil, yeah?" Mark grinned, looking at the two approaching Prefects. Malfoy raised his eyebrow.
"James, Harry and I were planning to go down for a picnic at the Black Lake, as were Alice, Remus, Alexa and Mark. We just ran into Roberta and Matthew here, and they agreed to join us." Lily explained, laughing a little at how random it turned out. "Would you two be interested in joining us, Moon, Malfoy?" Lily asked.
"I see," Malfoy replied. "I do not see why not, as it is an opportunity for us to acquaint ourselves with one another better. Selena?" Malfoy queried, glancing at his fellow Prefect.
"Yes, I agree. It is also a lovely day," Selena replied, "Shall we go get food from the Kitchens?"
"Ah! I almost forgot." Lily said, pulling out her wand. "Expecto Patronum!" A soft, warm glow emanated from her wand, and out came a beautiful, silvery doe.
"I'm impressed, Evans," Malfoy said, an undertone of slight surprise in his tone, "A fully corporal patronus is not an easy bout of magic to accomplish."
"Thank you," Lily humbly replied. "Unfortunately we live in times where it was imperative to learn this spell, so I thought it prudent to do so." She smiled at her Patronus, who came to her with light clip-clops. "This will be going to James Potter, alright?" Her doe nodded.
"James," Lily said, beginning the message, "We need a little more food. Enough food for about, oh...11 people?" Lily asked, getting confirmative nods from the other Prefects. "Yes, food for 11 people. We'll meet you out by the Black Lake. Make sure to bring plenty of blankets!"
And off Lily's doe flew, quickly making it's way towards the intended recipient of her message.
Harry and James had fun walking down to the Kitchens. Or at least, Harry did. Every so often his Dad would poke his belly, and Harry couldn't help but giggle every time he did so. At one point, though, Harry randomly sneezed.
"Awchoooo!" Harry sniffed as he rubbed his nose. He wondered if someone was talking about him. James wiped his nose with his handkerchief before bopping it lightly, making Harry giggle.
"Gotta make sure you stay clean, kiddo, otherwise Lils will have my hide," James grinned at Harry, tickling Harry's belly this time. This made Harry shriek in laughter, unable to contain his squeals.
"Ahh, here we are, the Kitchens!" James exclaimed, arriving at the portrait for the door. "Now all ya need to do, Harry, is tickle the pear. Do you want to try?" James asked, and Harry nodded, He'd already done this multiple times as a student himself, but he loved doing it anyways.
James leaned down so that Harry could reach out and tickle the pear, and allowed them them access to the Kitchens. And the House Elves.
As the pair walked in, about half of the House Elves looked over to them, their eyes growing wide. Then, they rushed over.
"What can we's be doings for you, Master Jamess?" One House Elf asked, looking excited.
"Well," James began, "My little buddy and I" here he poked Harry's belly again, "are going on a picnic. So if you wouldn't mind throwing together some⎯"
James was interrupted by a silvery doe appearing right besides him, Harry, and the House Elves.
"James," Lily's voice came out of the doe, making Harry realize this was his Mother's doe! "We need a little more food. Enough for about, oh… 11 people?" Lily's voice tapered off.
"11 people?" James asked aloud. "Why so many?"
"Yes, food for 11 people. We'll meet you out by the Black Lake. Make sure to bring plenty of blankets!"
"'We?'" James asked, while Harry reached out for the doe. The doe walked over to Harry so he could try and pet her.
"Well, if you wouldn't mind…" James began, looking at the House Elves. There was a massive squeal, and Harry looked over from the doe to see the House Elves throw themselves into a frenzy trying to get everything together. James sighed, and Harry giggled; he'd been through this many times before with Hogwarts' House Elves and knew when to give in and let them have their moments.
James wandered over to a table plopping Harry on his knee facing him. Harry saw the doe dissipate, as its job was done, and frowned. He enjoyed feeling his mother's magic like that.
"Cheer up kiddo," James said, seeing Harry's pout, "the real thing is outside waiting for us." James gained a slightly goofy look on his face, and Harry giggled.
A House Elf appeared with some apple slices and juice for Harry, and he gladly ate the snack. He was pretty hungry from not really eating breakfast, after all. Occasionally, James would bump his knee, sending Harry into the air and making him squeal and laugh. Not too much later, though, the House Elves came over with a giant basket.
"Here's you is, Master James," the same elf from before said, handing the basket over to James. "There be lots of food for you's and your friends! And Tiffy packed lots of blankets too!"
"Thank you, Tiffy," James smiled kindly at the House Elf, now named Tiffy, and accepted the basket. He looked over to Harry. "You ready to go, kiddo?"
"Yeah!" Harry cheered. "Lake! Lake! Lake!" James laughed as he settled Harry on his left hip, the right holding the enormous picnic basket.
"Let's go!" James cheered. "To the Black Lake!" And Harry threw his hands in the air, super excited about this afternoon, the memories of this morning at the very back of his mind.
Harry and his dad were walking amiably towards the Black Lake, enjoying the warmth and sunlight that came with early Septembers up in Scotland. When they were nearer to the Lake, Harry saw that the reason why Lily had requested so much food was because there were more people joining their picnic. All of the Prefects were standing down by the lake on the part where the grass gave away to the water. Harry started waving, grinning at having such a fun time. Inwardly, his 17-year-old self was wary of so many new people; his toddler side, however, wa so happy at having so many people to play with him. Harry really couldn't blame himself for that: the Dursleys certainly hadn't given him any. He was pleased when many of them waved back, though he couldn't remember their names. Was he ever told their names?
Harry didn't put much thought into it, though, as he and James finally arrived at the spot. He was passed over from James to Remus as everything was set up. He looked up to see the warm, amber eyes looking down at him.
"Hello Cub," Remus greeted Harry, a warm smile tugging at the werewolf's lips.
"Hi Moo'y," Harry grinned, snuggling up to Remus. After Sirius had died, he and Remus had become extremely close; it didn't matter if this Remus was younger and less tainted than the one that became Harry's Uncle, he was still Remus and that's all that mattered.
"How are you feeling, Cub? Better, I hope?" Remus asked gently, sitting down against one of the trees, the blankets already set up.
"Mmhmm," Harry replied, not thinking about what had made him go into the funk earlier. Remus seemed to recognize that, and let the subject drop. "Do you want some food?" Remus asked, looking over to the...feast that the House Elves had prepared in such a short amount of time.
"Yeah!" Harry exclaimed, he was still really hungry. Remus chuckled, but waved his hand, floating food over to the two of them. A plate or two of crisps, a plateful of small sandwiches-ham and cheese, roast beef and cheese, and plain cheese, by what Harry could see⎯ that were cut into triangles, and a bottle of Butterbeer and a sippy cup, filled with juice. Harry looked at Remus with wide eyes; since when could he do wandless magic? He'd never shown Harry that before!
Seeing Harry's amazed look, Remus put a finger to his lips, a mischievous glint appearing in his eyes that reminded Harry that Remus was as much a Marauder as his dad and Sirius were.
"Let's keep that a secret, okay Harry?" Remus grinned, full of mischief.
"Otay!" Harry cheered, reaching for a sandwich. That was, of course, until he saw the Giant Squid. He paused, staring at it as it approached. Remus noticed this, and glanced at the Giant Squid.
"Harry?" Remus asked, reaching out to comfort the small child. However, at that moment, Harry shot up and ran towards the Black Lake and the Giant Squid, squealing.
"Harry!" Remus cried, garnering the attention of the other Prefects as he scrambled to his feet. "Come back here!"
The Prefects and Head Students all looked towards where Harry was running to, and paled.
Harry laughed again, reveling in the chaos he was making. After all, wasn't he the son of a Marauder?
And there...we...go! I hope y'all enjoyed this installment. I sincerely hope that there isn't a 1.5 year gap the next time I try to upload this, ahahaha. I probably don't deserve it, but I love receiving reviews! To be honest, it was seeing all the review I'd received in my email that made me push my lazy butt to work! They're also the reason why y'all have a new chapter, ehehehe.