For those that have continued to gently help me through mistakes and editing, you are wonderful, and thank you so much for your help!
Also, I don't usually write about the memories the Order watches in the Pensieve, but it seemed that a lot of readers wanted the first hand experience of everyone finding out what happened to Harry: so, enjoy :)
* The italicized sentences come straight from the original story.
"You have got to be kidding me," Ron stood rooted to the ground and looked over Natara slowly.
Charlie grinned and Harry leaned against the trunk of an ancient tree in the Forbidden Forest. "I didn't know what I was doing," Harry shrugged.
Ron shook his head incredulously. "Honestly Harry." He laughed suddenly and folded his arms over his chest. "A bloody dragon. Thought fourth year'd have turned you off from them."
Charlie rubbed his hand down one of Natara's healing wings expertly and whispered a spell under his breath that made his hands glow over her sides. Harry watched small injuries heal over and missing scales grow back faster than he'd ever seen before. "Like I said," Harry answered distractedly, "I didn't know what I was doing then."
Charlie pulled his hands back, wiped sweat from his forehead, and stood back. Harry felt Natara's flash of satisfaction as she stretched her wing experimentally. Ron yelped as the wing came close to his head and stumbled several steps backwards. He felt her satisfaction at Ron's fear as well.
"Be nice," Harry walked to her, and laid his hand on her warm scales. Exasperation rolled through their connection and Harry grinned. Charlie was watching them, and Harry acknowledged the older wizard cordially. "Would you mind teaching me how to do that? What you just did..I think I ought to know in case-" Harry shrugged.
Charlie nodded easily. "Yeah, I get it. Sure." He looked up at Natara familiarly and opened his palm towards her. Harry felt her shift and he knew she was studying the wizard closely before she leaned towards the touch.
With both Harry and Charlie's hands against her scales, Charlie moved closer. "Now, listen closely."
The day after the Order learned of Ginny's betrayal, the Pure Prophet published that the entirety of the Potter family was a public enemy. For two weeks afterwards, Harry barely heard from Dumbledore, let alone sit down with him long enough to go over his memories from seventh year or have a meeting with the Order. Harry just stayed out of the way with Ron as the Potter family and the Order responded to the rest of the Wizarding World turning their backs on them.
The Potter family's properties had to be placed under emergency Fidelius charms with separate secret keepers. Harry knew that money had to be moved, protections had to be placed, and information had to be gathered now that the Potters weren't technically apart of the Wizarding World, and Harry didn't kid himself that he knew half of what was going on with the rest of the Order. Instead, he kept close to Gabby, Nicole, Jonathan, and Ron as the adults left to fight the new crest in the war.
Ron had elected to stay with Harry and the other Potter children at Hogwarts. Harry spent more time than ever before with the Potter children and found himself in their company almost every moment the younger children were not in class. It didn't mean however, that Harry had nothing to do while the Order was away. Harry was determined to locate, acquire, and destroy the remaining horcruxes as fast as he could. If not for his sake, then at least for Ron's. So they went to the only place they could gather information about the differences in this world; the library.
Professor Flitwick had found both he and Ron in the library the day after every Order member had left the castle, and instead of leaving them to do their research for the missing horcruxes, he'd given them battle scrolls from his past dueling days when he'd been an unmatched champion.
"I know it's not much for the both of you, but you shouldn't just be here doing nothing," Flitwick had said when he'd floated a stack of scrolls larger than he in front of both boys.
"Were not-" Ron had started, moving his previous book out of the way from the landing of the scrolls.
"Order business will have to wait until there is an Order to talk to," Flitwick continued. "In the meantime, you have work to do," he eyed the mound in front of them all. "I've seen how you duel Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley. From what happened in your memories and at the Battle of Hogsmead, I have judged that while you have the power and conviction in your spellcasting, you lack the limpid precision of accomplished dueling. In other words Mr. Potter, you are lucky. "
He raised his wand and the scrolls began to organize themselves into smaller sectioned stacks before them. "Since you cannot leave the castle until the Order has returned, as ordered by the Headmaster," he pointed out, "I'm going to have you work on these. The seventh floor where you've previously held lessons should be a good place to practice - not just spells mind you. There are meditations and intentions I want you to memorize in my works, they are meant to help the mind in silent casting and layered spellcrafting. Very important in split second decisions in a duel."
The professor regarded the young wizards gravely. "I should tell you, this information is not part of Hogwarts curriculum. Nor will you find these in your everyday library. I have collected knowledge from every place I have ever been and from every teacher I have ever learned from. Some of what you might find in here could be labeled as Dark Magic under the right light. Do not take what I am giving you lightly. This is for the demise of the Dark Lord."
Harry was speechless in his seat. The often gentle spirited teacher he'd known growing up was hidden behind the tempered steel of the short wizard before him. The blaze of his words floored both wizards where they sat, and Professor Flitwick hardly minded them shortly before turning away to leave.
Harry scrambled to his feet. "Professor!"
Professor Flitwick peered over his shoulder and placed his hands behind his back. "Yes?"
"I-" Harry sputtered, "-I mean, thank you."
"I would like those back when you're done," the shorter wizard replied.
"But what if we've got - questions?" Ron got to his feet beside Harry. "We've never had to learn so-"
"You know where my office is."
Glances were exchanged between the young men. "Yes Professor," Harry acknowledged.
"Thank you Professor," both young wizards said together.
The half-goblin sighed, and walked out of the library.
"I can't believe he just gave this to us," Harry said, sitting back down at the library desk and surveying the scrolls in front of him.
"All of his work," Ron said, shaking his head unbelieving. "A dueling champion! Hermione's going to have a fit when she finds out," he chuckled.
Harry choked on a laugh as well and reached for the first scroll in front of him. He read the top of his teachers obviously spiked notes and turned to Ron. "Hang on... what's combat magic?"
Ron bemoaned the fact that they hadn't seen or heard anything from their friends from home since he'd arrived, and that they didn't have Hermione's clever mind to help them sift through and memorize Flitwick's battle magic notes. In the two weeks of silence from the Order after the Potter family's dismissal from the Wizarding World, Harry and Ron had done more reading in their time then they had ever before, and it was wholly uncharacteristic of them without their missing friend.
This worlds Hermione split her time between sitting with the boys in the Room of Requirement while they did their reading and practicing of new magic, and spending time with the very much awake Ginny and Dean in the Hospital Wing. She was slowly becoming fascinated with the process of response from magical intention with their wands, and made to ask questions nearly every time she saw them poise to try a spell.
She was not very happy on the other hand, with the way that Ron looked at her. It seemed to Harry after the first few days of Ron ogling Hermione's counterpart, that she realized it didn't have to do with her but with another version of her, and she snapped.
"Would you stop it," she hissed at Ron, causing the young wizard to nearly drop his wand in shock while they were practicing a time slowing charm that was meant for layering spells in an attack. "I get it, but Jesus I'm not her."
"Sorry," Ron flushed red immediately. "I know you're not, you just-"
"Oh piss off," Hermione pitched angrily, and rolled her eyes. She marched over next to Harry. "And you're saying it wrong. It's Latin for Christ's sake. Con-moro, not con-mooro," she glared. "And lift your bloody wrist! You've just told me how important wand movement is, right? You can't properly cast that with a sodding limp wrist can you?"
Harry glanced at Flitwick's notes and nodded at Hermione. "You're- yeah. Right," he swallowed and raised his wand. "Again Ron!"
After that, Harry noticed that Hermione didn't spend time with Ron alone. In fact, the young muggleborn didn't spend time with anyone unless it was with Harry, Ginny, or Dean. And as the days passed, Harry watched her slowly begin to sit in with he and Ron while they learned new spells, rather than stay behind in the Hospital Wing with the young couple. By the end of the next week, Harry felt as if he had a shadow in Hermione, as she was around him so much.
"Do you want your own wand?" Harry asked her late one evening sitting by the Gryffindor common room fire together. Ron had gone to bed a little before then, and it had left only the two awake at such a late hour.
"My own wand?" she repeated incredulously.
"To practice your magic," Harry answered. "I know you can do things wandlessly, which is honestly amazing by itself, but a wizard or witch's wand is their medium. It's a lot easier to start if you have something chosen to help your magical core."
"You say 'chosen' like a wand has a personality."
"Well it does," Harry agreed, his mind immediately taking him back to his first visit to Ollivanders when he was eleven. "'The wand chooses the wizard' or witch. It was one of the first things I ever learned about the wizarding world when I was young. Although it's known as a mysterious line of spellcrafting, a wandmaker creates wands that are attuned to a witch or wizards strength of character and passion in life."
"A piece of wood can do that?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "It's magical. I dunno much else about it, but from what i've gathered, the combination of type of wood, the age of it, and where it grew, can all be factors for how it acts and what it wants for a user. The magical core of a wand is something else completely, but I know that it has alot to do with the magical creature it was given from and then its connection to the wood."
Hermione glanced at Harry's wand. "Who gave you your wand's magical core?"
Harry twisted the piece of wood in his fingers. "A phoenix gave the wand maker one of it's feathers. That's what makes up my wand core," he answered. "Its only ever given one other feather for use, and so mines considered a little ... different."
She nodded. "Is it only ever a magical animal that fills the core of a wand? Something that can give consent in yielding a bit of it's magic?"
Harry had honestly never thought of it before. "I... well actually, I dunno. Maybe?" he shrugged. "I've never heard of someone who didn't have a magical animal for its core, but I'm also not a wand maker."
She frowned. "Hmm. So wands can identify traits that reflect the attitude of each and can what... tell the future? What you'll end up being like and what you'd be good at?"
Harry shrugged. "Partially I guess. But people change, and when they do then their wand might need to change as well. My godfather was in prison for 13 years for a crime he didn't commit. When he got out, his wand needed to be replaced because he was no longer the same man when he went in. It happens."
"Have you ever had to change your wand?" Hermione asked nodding to the thin piece of wood in his hands.
Harry twirled the wand in his fingers again. "This one isn't even mine honestly, and it doesn't respond the way that it should because it wasn't me that won it from Draco Malfoy at the Manor where I first met you."
"You mean that's the wand from the blonde git I hit over the head with a rock?" Hermione asked, looking over the wand closely.
Harry laughed at the sudden imagery, and swallowed past the initial guilt of the man's murder. "That's right. You stopped him from using the cruciatus curse again when he was torturing me." Harry rolled the wand over his fingertips before offering it to the muggleborn. "Technically, this actually belongs to you. You won it from Malfoy when you disarmed him." He shrugged lightly. "That's why it doesn't feel entirely right when I use it. It's not mine to wield."
Hermione studied his offering and reached forwards suspiciously. "They can be won from another?"
"If they feel like it."
Hermione furrowed her eyebrows at him, and Harry half shrugged. "Like I said before, it's a mysterious branch of magic. But here- take it. See how it feels."
Hermione studied the wand carefully before wrapping her fingers around the handle of Draco's old wand. An iridescent sheen of purple and grey magic seeped from the tip of wand and lit the air between them. Hermione's breath caught in surprise and awe, and Harry watched as the magic faded away, and then dissolved to nothing.
"That was-" she started, staring at the wood between her fingers.
"There," Harry said with a small smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Now you're a real witch."
Hermione tore her gaze away from the tip of her new wand. Sadness flicked through her eyes, as well as surprise, and then a flash of anxiety. She blinked, her emotions flushed away from her face like smooth stone, and she eyed Harry's robes warily. "Does that mean I've got to wear those now?"
Harry glanced at his worn robes, at her ratted jumper, and then laughed.
A month had passed from Ginny's attack by the time that Harry was summoned back to the Order.
Jonathan was not allowed to come, much to his disappointment, but Ron was allowed into the meeting at Grimmauld place with Harry, and he sat awkwardly across from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley while other Order members began to trickle in. Hermione had opted to stay in the library, as she was practicing some of the first year spells under Flitwick's tutelage.
James and Lily sat on either side of Harry, and the latter swept a warm, delicate hand through Harry's hair before making herself comfortable on the couch cushion to his right. "When's the last time you've had a decent cut?" she asked, eyeing the near shoulder length of his hair.
Sirius sat down at a chair to James left and blew out air from his cheeks. "Lily, leave the poor man alone! I think it looks rather good," he winked at Harry. "Just like his dogfather - keeping it long attracts all the witches."
Harry snorted, and tried to think back. "Honestly, it's probably been just over a year," he answered. "Hermione was cutting my hair while we were on the run, but after a while it just didn't feel like something we needed to do. Then the battle came and went, and then the clean up started, and then the fame, and I just .. didn't go." Images from the Battle of Hogwarts filled his mind, and a long silence followed him.
Ron cleared his throat. "Didn't stop Witch Weekly from capitalizing on it though, did it?" he snorted and shook his head. "Made front page for weeks. Couldn't find a hair growth potion in all of Europe for a while there."
Laughs filled the air and Remus grinned politely as he sat down next to Sirius.
Ron scoffed. "You laugh, but it was absolutely mental!"
Harry forced a grin at Remus when the older man got comfortable and made eye contact. The older wizard nodded shallowly between their gazes, and tipped his lips upwards. A real warmth filled his yes, and Harry released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He returned the genuine smile, and then looked over to the man he was so often compared to.
Surprisingly, James was already focused on Harry when he turned. He had a small furrow between his brows, and the hazel of his eyes swept across Harry several times, like he was trying to memorize him. "This is when it gets bad, isn't it?" James asked lightly, just over the noise of the others in the room.
A cold pit settled inside of Harry, and he nodded. "The memories I'll be showing ... I think i'll be adding more memories of that year than any of the others. A lot happened."
Harry glanced to Ron, and found the taller wizard leaning forwards in his seat with his elbows on his knees. A hardened, violent light reflected through his eyes, and Harry would've bet on all the chocolate frogs in the world that his mate was thinking of the day that the foul words currently carved into his girlfriend's arm took place.
Ron had been glad to hear that Harry had burned this worlds Malfoy Manor to the ground with magical fire so that nothing could ever arise there again. Honestly, Harry had too. He'd only wished that his Hermione had done it instead.
"I know it must have felt difficult for you both," Lily said, looking over the morose wizards. "Worse than difficult at some points. Probably impossible."
Harry swallowed, and Ron looked up from under the shadowed fringe of his ginger hair.
"But know that whatever happened, no one is here to judge you," Lily continued. "We've lived through this War too. We know what it means to find yourselves in situations that come back to you in the middle of the night," she said. "And I know that the Order only wants to know about the Horcruxes, yes, but I want to know about you." She put a soft hand over Harry's arm. "Whatever memories you're willing to share. Big or small, if you've lived them I would like to walk that path with you."
Harry let out a soft breath, and he folded his hand on top of Lily's, letting the warmth of her seep through him. Then he released her. "I know," he said. "There was just- a lot."
"And it only happened a few months ago," Ron agreed.
Lily removed her hand from him as well. "You're grief is valid," she sighed with a nod. "Those who were lost to you, and what was done to you will never be forgotten." She motioned to the rest of the Order members surrounding them. "We have all been in this War long enough to know that pain. That desperation." She smiled sadly.
Harry opened his mouth to say something further, but he was cut off by Dumbledore. "Thank you, thank you my friends, for gathering here tonight again," he said, and an immediate hush fell across the room. "I know when last we spoke, our moral was stronger, and our world less shattered, but I am glad to be standing with you here today after our hardships so that our future can live on not only for us, but for our future families as well." A deep silence filled the room, and the depth of Ginny's betrayal to the Order seemed to drop the temperature of the room. There were Order members who would never have the chance to be here again because of her.
"We've doven through six years of Mr. Potter's memories to find more information on you-know-who and his horcruxes, and this final session will reveal to us, not only what those remaining items were, but also how they were destroyed. We are one step closer to winning The War." Dumbledore's heavy voice filled the corners of the room, and a thunderous applause from the Order members echoed after him.
Dumbledore motioned for Harry to come forwards, and handed him his wand. Harry closed his eyes and thought back to the day of Bill and Fleur's wedding. He began to dispense his memories.
When he was done, the Order members surrounding him had pinched lips and shadowed eyes. Harry had given them much more that the previous years, and the gravity of the upcoming information sat heavy over them all.
Harry returned Dumbledore's wand. The older wizard motioned to Ron. "Will you both remain while we venture back?"
Harry exchanged several looks with Ron, and then towards Lily, before shaking his head. "This time ... Albus, we'll be coming as well."
Several expressions crossed over Dumbledore's face before Harry could decipher what they meant, but the leader of the Order smiled after a few silent moments. "Of course, Harry," he nodded back. He flicked his wand to the pensieve, and dozens of fragments exploded outwards towards waiting Order Members hands.
Harry plucked his from the air, and sat back down next to Ron and Lily.
Ron caught his cup of memories as well, and motioned for a cheers. "Ready mate?"
Harry huffed a dark laugh.
Lily's hand folded over his shoulder and gave him a slight squeeze.
He smiled slightly at her, and James nodded at him from behind his wife.
Harry sighed, long and hard before nodding. "Yeah, let's get this done with," Harry said, before plunging into the golden sheen of his own memories.
It began on Harry's seventeenth birthday party at the Burrow.
Ron appeared next to Harry in the memory, seeming to fall in from the sky, and several other Order members were already clumped together around, somehow all fitting in the dining room.
Mrs. Weasley from Harry's memory looked to be glancing at the back door in worry while trying to keep conversation with Madame Delacour.
"Your 17th birthday!" Ron recognized the scene he was in, and the Snitch-looking cake his mother had made for the occasion. "And look!" he said, pointing at the memory of himself, standing next to Harry at the table. "It's me and you! Blimey, it's weird to see yourself like that, isn't it?"
Harry nodded distracted while Mrs. Weasley from his memory sighed, and turned towards the rest of the party. "I think we'd better start without Arthur," she announced. "He must have been held up at - oh!"
Mr. Weasley's Patronus landed in front of the crowd, and announced the Minister was coming to the party with him. The memory of Remus and Tonks spoke to memory Harry quickly, and disappeared from the party.
Remus and Tonks from Harry's current world glanced at each other, noting the relationship. However, nothing was said between them.
An instant later Mr. Weasley and Rufus Scrimgeour, the old Minister of Magic, appeared from the garden and made their way inside.
"Is that-?" Sirius said squinting his eyes at the Minister. "-it is! Why in Merlin is Rufus Minister of Magic?" he asked. "Who made that decision?"
Harry shrugged, and scanned the Order members in his memory. The man in question wasn't among the Order members. Was he a Death Eater? "Dunno, do you know him?"
"Knew him, we all did. He died last fall in a Death Eater ambush," Sirius answered. "Trying to save a bunch of muggles from a collapsing building."
Harry grimaced. So he'd died in both worlds then.
They all watched as the memory Minister asked for a private audience with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and then started the conversation of Albus Dumbledore's Last Will and Testament.
"Albus's Deluminator?" Lily recognized the small device that Rufus handed to Ron, and furrowed her eyebrows.
"'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'?" Remus asked as well when it was Hermione's turn to be handed her gift. Other Order members around the room murmured between themselves at the odd objects handed down.
"It'll make sense in the end," Harry said to them, pausing only to glance at this world's Dumbledore, who as watching the scene with intense eyes.
When it finally came for memory Harry to receive what his professor had left for him, the room was silent.
"To Harry James Potter," Rufus Scrimgeour read from the Will. "I leave the snitch he caught from his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts, as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance, and skill."
Lily's frown fell further.
"Huh," James said. "Well that's clever."
His wife turned to him. "What is?"
"Well it's a snitch, isn't it?" he answered, and Lily looked about to strangle him. James raised his hands in defense. "It's got flesh memories!"
Lily shook her head. "What's that got to do-"
James acknowledged Harry. "Didn't you swallow the snitch from your first match?"
Harry nodded. "Nearly ate it."
The people in the memory seemed to be on the same thought process, and watched as Harry grasped the snitch from the Minister with his bare hands. The entirety of the room came to a tense silence, watching the snitch carefully, but moments began to pass, and nothing happened.
Lily let out a breath. "Well, that's anticlimactic."
"Lily love," James said smiling, "Harry nearly swallowed the snitch the first time. He needs to do more than just touch it with his skin." James turned to Harry. "You did figure that out didn't you?"
Harry grinned, and held back a wink at the older man, "Course."
The memory unfolding around them turned violent as the memory Minister announced that the sword of Godric Gryffindor would not be bequeathed to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Memory Harry was shouting at the Minister, "People are dying - I was nearly one of them - Voldemort chased me across three counties," Order members around the room flinched at the name, and glanced around the memory like the Dark Lord would arrive right there before them. "He killed Mad-Eye Moody!" Harry continued to shout and Order members gasped. "But there's been no word about any of that from the ministry, has there? And you still expect us to cooperate with you!"
Scrimgeour jumped to his feet, eyes in slits.
Sirius grinned. "Takes balls to yell at a Minister. Good on you, Harry."
Remus rolled his eyes. "Sirius."
"You go too far!" the memory Minister shouted, and memory Harry jumped to his feet as well. The minister shoved the tip of his wand against the younger wizard's chest, and a burning hole, like a lit cigarette, singed the middle of Harry's T-shirt.
"That bastard!" James roared, taking a striking step forwards.
Lily immediately held on to the sides of his robes, and tried to pull him back. "It's a memory James, it's only a memory!"
"He's still a student!" Sirius argued hotly, right next to James.
"Oi!" memory Ron yelled and jumped to his feet. He raised his own wand, but memory Harry raised a hand to stop him.
"No! D'you want to give him an excuse to arrest us?"
The anger leached from James and Sirius, and memory Ron lowered his wand.
Scrimgeour was breathing hard, close to Harry's face. "Remembered you're not at school, have you?" he asked, a sneer crossing his grizzled face. "Remembered that I am not Dumbledore, who forgave your insolence and insubordination?"
Hot anger climbed through Harry at the memory, the unfairness of the situation, sinking to the pit of his stomach.
"You may wear that crown like a scar, Potter -"
"Oh, that fucking dou-" Sirius said under his breath.
"- but it is not up to a seventeen year old boy to tell me how to do my job! It's time you learned some respect!"
Remus said something derogatory besides Sirius as well.
"It's time you earned it," memory Harry said back evenly.
"Tosspot," Ron snorted under his breath, beside Harry.
Lily furrowed her eyebrows again. "What did you mean when you said that you-know-who chased you through three counties earlier? And how did May-Eye end up dead?"
Harry and Ron grimaced at the same time, and a flash of memory from Hedwig falling from the sky crossed his mind. But before Harry could answer her-
The scene changed, and slipped into something new.
Hand to God, I'll update soon. I'm on a roll :)
(Those of you also reading my other story, I WILL be updating that here soon as well)