'See you soon' she says, then drops another chapter a year later. yea, sorry bout that.

*throws chapter at you and flees* Hope it meets your expectations!

NOTE: we do not fuck about and ignore Slytherins in this household fuck you very much JK Rowling. That said, I absolutely messed with the storyline here by mix-and-matching both the book and movie and Frankensteining alot of shit... And some stuff I added in for funsies to shit on the original work entirely (I'm looking at you empty Slytherin table before the Battle).

So. Yeah. 30+ pages later... Jesus Christ folks, buckle in.

Witches and wizards of the Order of the Phoenix gaped.

Pandemonium had echoed when the flight of the dragon first started. Absolute madness. The Order, Harry found quickly, was especially vocal at how insane he and his friends were- they went on about it- for themselves, the goblins, the muggles. How treaties would be broken, how the muggles would have seen it- the consequences of their poorly laid plan. How they could never attempt such a thing. It was a loud, overwhelming amount of noise that pounded an ache in Harry's head.

However, he kept silent through it all. Ron, an immovable wall. Their respective parents and members of close family stood tall at their sides- and by then it was clear that a line in the sand was beginning to form between both parties. Those with Harry and Ron and those who were not.

Harry didn't know how to feel or what to do about it. He let it be.

But as the flight of the dragon went on and Harry and Ron made no move to answer the Order's mounting criticisms, so too did their overlapping condemnation.

Their feelings of the matter were slowly wrung from the crowd as their grasp of the conflict turned into appall. None spoke as the dragon holding the three teenagers soared out of magical London and through the countryside atop tattered wings and the remains of clinking chains. They gaped.

Harry felt winded just from taking a backseat in his own memory. He knew that the magnitude of what they'd seen was mind-boggling. He'd heard it all before in his world too. No one had ever broken out of the English branch of Gringotts before. They had stolen from goblins for the first time in their history- and worse than that, they had lived .

"The consequences of this …" Marlene whispered, breaking the silence and looking truly horrified at Sirius's side. "The goblins won't just dismiss this for a wizard's war."

Harry tried not to freeze as her declaration chased a chill down his spine. She looked scared. Not at what had already been done- but for Harry currently - as if something more were yet to come.

"You're right," Bill agreed with her, and his words came down on the Order like a stack of books in a still library. As the closest thing to a representative of the goblins they had- apparently, goblins were not Order members in this world, no nonhuman type was - his words carried weight. All stopped at his attention. "The goblins will forever see this as an assault against the Horde."

Bill looked terrified. His face was pale, eyes watery, and his hands clenched at his front. Harry couldn't look away. It had already happened, and they were fine now, weren't they? It was over.

"They will-" Bill shook his head. "This is a declaration of war. Against their reputation, their livelihood… their honor." He turned to Harry, and he froze beneath the older wizard's gaze. "They will call you Foe and sharpen their blades in your presence. Regulate your investments with Claws and Blood. No magic of your House will be sacred beneath their walls."

Merlin. Another chill swept through Harry. Currently, it sounded like he meant. Like- all of what he said was about right now, in his world.

Lily squeezed his hand and James his shoulder, much harder than necessary, but their touch grounded Harry in the suddenly sinking ground he felt himself succumbing to. Call him Foe? His House?

Harry clenched his teeth. Bill was wrong though, he had to be. He wasn't there in Harry's world and didn't understand- the goblins and he were fine. They had worked together after the break-in and were fine.

He was fine, wasn't he?

"They do not take slights lightly and you have delivered a blow that will last for centuries. You have to understand, they will harbor this against all of your families for the rest of your lives," Bill warned.

Harry heard white noise. His throat felt swollen. This all sounded terribly Bad and Formal, something that made him want to hike his shoulders and duck away. It was all made with words and intentions Harry had never dealt with before.

He suddenly remembered the day he had been kidnapped from his world when the reporters had been swarming him. One had called him Lord. This… did not seem to be coincidental now.

The icy bite of fear pierced his chest. It had been four months since the fall of Voldemort in Harry's world and never had the Goblins said anything against him. Never once while Grimmauld Place was being rebuilt, the Black Family Block being instated, survivorship negotiations, or anything else of the sort. With all that had needed to be done after the Battle of Hogwarts, he… well, he'd thought that they'd understood why he'd done what he'd done. It seemed like they had.

He swallowed at the severe lines on Bill's face. The fear on Marlene's. He couldn't look at Lily or James' reaction. If it was true here in this dimension, it might be as well there. Harry suddenly felt as if he had made an enormous mistake.

He turned to look at the only other person from his world. "Ron?" he asked layers of questions unspoken.

His closest friend looked just as distressed as Harry felt. He shook his head. "I dunno, mate. With all that was going on- I guess I just figured Bill had it handled."

Bill, who they both knew was recovering from the loss of a brother, the near collapse of the wizarding economy, and a freshly pregnant wife to boot.

… Shit.

"When-" James started and Harry turned to him only to escape the sudden drowning feeling in his chest. "-when you get home," he said with a strange pause and a quiet lingering in his eyes, "reparations will be needed for the goblins to appease what hasn't yet been started."

Harry's eyes flickered between his hazel. Picking apart words was never Harry's strong suit, but he was better than he was even a year from now. "You think they're waiting," Harry realized, "to what.. go to war with me? Over this?"

The infinitely patient look returned on James' face made Harry's stomach drop even further.

"Bloody hell," Ron whispered. They traded sickened grimaces.

"If that happens," Charlie stated beside his Prewette uncles, "know that at the very least the Dragon Tamers of the Eastern Chapter will stand with you in your world against the Hoard." He nodded once in solidarity of some kind that went over Harry's head. "With the release of that dragon beneath the bank, you've broken an oppression that many have wanted to do for centuries."

Again, shit.

Harry felt that he was stepping into a very dark, very deep, political pool he was in absolutely no way ready to dive into.

They were talking about Ancient Houses, agreements, and another war on the brink that may already be there.

It was too much. He swallowed and fought back the urge to retreat from their gazes. Harry couldn't do all that. He had no right, no business. He didn't know how, or enough. He was just… Harry.

"Just Harry."

From nowhere, and all at once, a memory of Hagrid's warm voice curled within his mind like a Weasley blanket, easing his rising anxiety. It protected his descent into his own fear and hopelessness.

Because, Harry had done what was necessary when he'd been called up before, hadn't he? He'd taken up his place in the wizarding world. Honored his mother and father's memory. Had won the whole lot of the War. As himself. Just Harry.

He felt Lily and James' hands ever steady on him, and he drew extra strength from their position. He'd do it again, then, if he had to. Stronger this time too. Whatever came next. Goblin War, or not. With his friends, what was left of the Order… the public. He would do it. He swallowed, determined in the split second he'd been drowning in the moment before.


"You know that those dragons were placed in Gringotts because they could not live in the sky where they belonged," Sirius said, cutting through Harry's thoughts and aiming at Charlie.

"And you know that they would then belong in reservations. Protected by the abuse they receive otherwise." Charlie shoved a hand out at the memory of the blind dragon flying towards a lake. " Look at him. It's foul!"

Before Sirius could reply, the three teenagers on the back of the dragon readied themselves to jump.

"What the-" James started.

"NOW!" Harry yelled and slid over the side of the dragon, plummeting feet first toward the surface of the lake.

"Christ," the American wizard from earlier said.

They watched as the trio made it to the beach of the lake, where Ron and Hermione lay grasping on the ground and Harry drudged himself up to cast the now usual protective spells.

"Well, bright side-" George started, sighing heavily.

"- you lived," Fred finished.

"Downside-" Gideon Prewett said.

"- you lost the sword," Fabian Prewett ended with an exaggerated wince.

"Bit of a pain, that," George agreed.

The trio applied dittany to their wounds and began to change out of their sopping robes in the memory. The sun was beginning to set.

Even to Harry, he could see their exhaustion. By this time it had been hours since they'd last eaten. Months since they'd slept well. And by midmorning of the next day, Voldemort would be dead.

It preluded that even in the crescendo of history taking place, worse then, was yet to come.

"What are we going to do?" said Hermione. "He'll know, won't he? You-Know-Who will know we know about his horcruxes."

"It was only a matter of time, wasn't it?" an Order member nodded.

"Time well spent," another agreed.

"How could he not feel parts of his soul being destroyed?"

"But the sword is gone," McGonagall frowned. "Even if another horcrux is found-"

In the memory, Harry pitched forward and fell to his knees. His jaw dropped and his face scrunched, choking on a scream he couldn't release, and his hands flew to his forehead. His connection to Voldemort was beginning again.

"Egh," Lily let out in a ragged, pained, breath. She clutched Harry's hand tighter, eyes on the memory of him being tortured in the sand. She looked as if she could weep for him.

All of the Order then saw whisps of what Harry had seen in his connection with Voldemort: a goblin reporting that a goblet had been stolen from Bellatrix's vault, the killing spree of Voldemort's rage, and then they heard his twisted thoughts as he recounted where the other parts of his split soul now resided: The vault held the goblet, the lake had the necklace, the shack had the ring, the diary had already been destroyed, Hogwarts was hiding the diadem, and Nagini- the snake- was his sixth.

It was everything the Order wanted, and they watched with bated breath in every agonizing second of Harry's torture with it.

Disgust churned Harry's stomach. There. They had them now, and how to destroy them. All but one. Unease mixed through him, and he breathed slowly out his nose.

All but one.

When the memory of Harry fell back into his own consciousness, the Order turned within themselves to strategize.

Harry couldn't help but listen in. They bounced ideas back and forth seamlessly, experienced in their rapid communication. Were the items still there? Could Voldemort have created something different in this world with the time spent under different circumstances? Did he-who-must-not-be-named have more than six? Nagini was alive here too- his most beloved pet - did that mean she really was a horcrux? Could Harry find out?

At this, Harry nearly choked. Remus's head snapped to the side at the wizard who'd asked the question, and all conversation stopped. Lily stepped forward and a bit in front of Harry like she was going to physically put herself in between what came next. James seemed to stop breathing.

"That… is a very troubling question, indeed," Dumbledore said lowly, reaching over the crowd and stopping their momentum. The headmaster locked eyes with Harry from across the wizards and witches between them, and Harry froze beneath his twinkling gaze.

This was dangerous territory now. It meant whether or not Harry was a horcrux in Dumbledore's mind, because surely, he knew . If Harry had a connection with Voldemort in this world, then it meant he was a horcrux again. It meant he could find out the Order's questions because he was connected. And that inevitably meant that Harry had to die, again.

"I don't know," Harry answered honestly, voice loud amongst their silence. Then a lie. "I haven't felt anything from him since I got here." Nothing except for when I first landed. The pain Harry had felt when he'd arrived in the world was exactly like how it felt when Voldemort was throwing a fit in his later school years. "I don't know if that's how it works now."

Harry stared at the center of Dumbledore's eyebrows. The Headmaster didn't blink. The Order switched between them, and tension rose amongst its members.

"He knows." Harry's voice sounded strange and low after Voldemort's high screams. "He knows, and he's going to check where the others are, and the last one," he was already on his feet, "is at Hogwarts. I knew it. I knew it."

The headmaster did not believe him, and Harry knew that. He could see it in the lines of his wizened face. Dumbledore believed Harry was a horcrux again. And Harry… he didn't know if that wasn't true.

"What?" Ron was gaping at him; Hermione sat up, looking worried. "Did you see where in Hogwarts it is?" he asked, now scrambling to his feet too.

"No, he was concentrating on warning Snape, he didn't think about exactly where it is —"

"This is the war at Hogwarts you'd said had happened in your world," James interrupted Harry and Dumbledore's staring, looking on over the scene with an expression Harry couldn't name. "This is it, isn't it?"

Order members heard James and turned to Harry as one, the tension from earlier slowly receding as new information was placed forward. Their gaze was hungry and focused. It made the hairs on the back of Harry's neck stand up.

"By lunch the next day," Ron nodded at the scene before them, causing the focus of the Order to shift, "Hogwarts will be crumbling around us all and you-know-who will be dead for good."

Everyone seemed to breathe out as one. This was it then.

The flapping of enormous wings echoed across the black water: The dragon had drunk its fill and risen into the air. They paused in their preparations to watch it climb higher and higher, now black against the rapidly darkening sky, until it vanished over a nearby mountain.

Harry remembered something suddenly and leaned forward to get Charlie's attention. The older wizard caught his gaze and Harry motioned to the fading dragon. "This was the memory I used with Natara when I spoke with her for the first time."

Charlie's ginger brows rose, and he snapped his head back to the memory. Then slowly, softly, he turned back to Harry and smiled. A true smile that reached all the way to his eyes. "I understand why she did what she did," he said and then relaxed his shoulders. "Natara picked a good one with you, Potter." Harry froze. "Don't mess it up."

Harry didn't know how to respond, so he nodded back in agreement. He hadn't thought much about his and Natara's relationship so far, and he had even less of an idea about what to do should he bring her back with him to his world. It was another thing he'd been putting off until he had to deal with it.

He felt a headache coming on and turned away from the dragon trainer. In the memory, the trio of students made a plan to get to Hogwarts. By the time the mist dissolved around the Order and those watching, they had an outline of what they needed to get done. It wasn't perfect, in fact, it wasn't really a plan at all, but everyone felt the pieces of sand in the hourglass of Voldemort's incoming rage. They just had to keep moving and survive.

Then the mist reformed, and the trio was running into a dingy, terribly lit, and grimy bar. The Hog's Head. A piercing whistle, some kind of alarm, stopped and died at the same moment that it was heard by those watching. Someone had saved them.

Harry's attention was caught by something on the mantelpiece: a small, rectangular mirror propped on top of it, right beneath the portrait of a girl. The barman who'd taken them in entered the room. "You bloody fools," he said gruffly, looking from one to the other of them. "What were you thinking, coming here?"

The man was known by all. "Aberforth," Dumbledore said first, wide eyes drinking the frame of his brother in. Order members whispered things among themselves.

Harry stared intensely at their savior, looking past the long unkempt strands of his hair. "It's your eye I've been seeing in the mirror." There was silence in the room. Harry and the barman looked at each other. "You sent Dobby."

"Well that makes a load more sense then, doesn't it?" George elbowed his brother.

"He deals in secrets and intelligence there too," Remus mused, closer to earshot. Harry noticed that he and Tonks stood very near each other, though not touching.

"Is he alive here then?" Ron asked back, ginger head on a swivel for the wizard amongst them.

That was right, Harry hadn't yet seen the wizard in the Order. Had he been killed at some point in this world?

"My brother lives," Dumbledore confirmed without a glance toward them and Harry felt unnoticed tension leak from his own shoulders, "but he does not stay within Hogwarts or even Europe's borders." His eyes did not leave the form of the wizard in Harry's memory. "Aberforth chose to live his days in the shadows of other countries in benefit of the Order."

He was a spy, Harry deduced easily, or he led the spies of the Order for Dumbledore. The Headmaster looked upon the imprint of his brother as if he was the last mouth of water he would ever drink. Harry did not think they were close in this world either.

They watched as the memory of Aberforth tried to convince the trio of young magic wielders to leave Hogwarts and abandon their mission. Harry hadn't noticed it before, he was so wrapped up in the moment of getting into Hogwarts, but the elder wizard looked more hopeless than angry. As he snapped back short responses, urging them to turn away from Dumbledore's suicide mission, Harry watched as the wizard's eyes seemed almost pleading.

"I knew my brother, Potter. He learned secrecy at our mother's knee. Secrets and lies, that's how we grew up, and Albus… he was a natural."

The Order dared not breathe at that. Harry didn't either. In this world, Albus was all-powerful. He led with twinkling eyes that greased iron fists. His word was law and though magic-means-might was not used in the same context as he with Voldemort, the product was identical. No one dared say such things out loud. To undermine Dumbledore's white knight light before everyone like this was a horror and a target for backlash.

Harry watched Dumbledore from the corner of his glasses as closely as he could. He did not want to be at the end of a wand for bringing forth the opinions of a shadow of his brother. Others in the Order did the same as Harry, but probably, for very different reasons.

It made Harry wonder if anyone knew the wizard at all, truly.

Then, because the universe hated Harry and wanted him to suffer, they all heard the story of Arianna Dumbledore together. How their father was sentenced to Azkaban for going after the muggle boys who had destroyed the mind of a six-year-old. How her magic turned inward and twisted, was then unpredictable and would lash out, and how she accidentally killed her own mother some years later with it.

Through it all, no one said a word. Everyone was immersed in Aberforth's words. No one had heard of this before it seemed.

Harry did not look at the memory, but squarely on the Headmaster. Preparing for… him to strike? Curse him where he stood? Harry wasn't sure, but the old wizard did not move as the story went on. Other than to bow his silver head and let the shadow of his hat cover his face, he did not acknowledge what was said. He looked almost… in pain.

Something ugly twisted within Harry when he realized that.

"And he did alright with just Arianna in the house for a few weeks… until he came."

Dumbledore flinched. A minuscule movement beneath the crease of his eye, but one the same.

Harry tensed.

When the Order heard of Dumbledore and Grindelwald's friendship. How they were looking for the Hallows to bring about a new society for wizarding kind. How Albus was working towards the greater good .

Lily had released Harry's hand at some point, probably to give him space, but when it came about that the argument between Dumbledore's closest friend, himself, and his brother caused the death of a fourteen-year-old girl, she clutched at the arm of his robe. James's face twisted in horror and anger, looking at his leader as if he had never seen the man before.

Some in the Order were stone-faced about the development, either uncaring or had already known, Harry didn't know, but most of the Order that Harry had pegged as being in the British side of it shared the same look across their face as James.

Something shifted in their eyes.

Dumbledore's jaw locked. His eyes were already closed as if in pain, and in the back of his mind, Harry had a horrible single thought: Was this real, or was it an act for the Order?

Aberforth seemed lost in contemplation of his own knotted and veined hands. After a long pause, he said, "How can you be sure, Potter, that my brother wasn't more interested in the greater good than in you? How can you be sure you aren't dispensable, just like my little sister?"

And like an unpleasant boil popping, there it was. As that very question had been sitting in the back of Harry's mind for some time.

With those words, knowing what came next, knowing that all along Dumbledore had in fact known that he would have to die- Harry suddenly felt nothing but hot, burning rage. An edge that sliced like hatred.

"I don't believe it. Dumbledore loved Harry!" said Hermione fiercely.

And the blade sunk deeper. Harry had thought that too. His grandfatherly touch- advice- smile- he had even seen him in the aftermath of Harry's own death . But being faced with this moment and knowing - this was a stark reminder. Even if Albus had loved Harry, he had still put him through all of this- everything- with no help except a children's book that guided him in hand to his own death. His love had only sharpened the betrayal that settled in Harry's soul. He had known all along and had still loved him.

"Why didn't he tell him to hide, then?" shot back Aberforth. "Why didn't he say to him, 'Take care of yourself, here's how to survive'?"

It was Harry's turn to flinch now. Aberforth's words felt as if they were pouring from his own mind.

Ron ducked his head, unable to watch - probably thinking along the same thing- seeing what must have been his limp body in Hagrid's arms when he'd thought Harry dead.

"Because," said Harry, righteous and blazing in his anger before Hermione could answer, "sometimes you've got to think about more than your own safety! Sometimes you've got to think about the greater good! This is war!"

Lilly let out a ragged breath- half a strangled sound of pain.

"Pup," Sirius whispered brokenly.

The Order watched in deathly silence.

Harry forced himself to not look away. Not to tremble at the fierce gaze of his own eyes in the memory. Not to grimace at his own unyielding belief.

What a fool he'd been.

"You're seventeen, boy!"

James's hands clenched into fists at his side. Remus's locked jaw tensed as if he was stopping from snapping at the air.

"Your brother knew how to finish You-Know-Who and he passed the knowledge on to me. I'm going to keep going until I succeed — or I die!" Harry promised.

"No," Lily rasped.

"Don't think I don't know how this might end!" Harry's eyes burned fiercely.

Harry couldn't bear to look at his own justified passion.

"I've known it for years."

James looked over his shoulder at Harry like he was checking if he was still there. Eyes caught over his face, his eyes, his cheeks, his hair- guilt drowned in his hazel. Harry wanted to reach forward and touch , but didn't know how. It hurt to see that kind of pain in the reflection of his own face.

Sirius looked suddenly very sick beside James, like something had come together in his head, and found it horrible. He slowly turned from his wife. "No-" he said, slinging his head to Harry. "No, you-"

Lily felt no sorrow in the moment of tears and fear with everyone else, but anger. "No- you are a child ," she spit venomously. "Death- This is madness! I can't-"

Ron straightened, looking over the head of his other mother, and stared at Harry with bloodless lips. To make such a declaration of being ready for death when they knew all that was coming… It looked like it was crushing him.

Harry tried not to flinch. Lily held the sleeve of his robe tighter, and he offered his hand instead. She held onto him as if her hand had always belonged there.

Aberforth signed heavily and then turned to the portrait of Arianna. "You know what to do," he told her, and the young girl turned around in her portrait. She walked into the greenery behind her as if following a pathway in the distance.

"He decided to help," Fred stated, breaking the massive weight over everyone's head.

"Getting a teacher?" George questioned.

"A knut it's McGonagall."

"You're on."

Sirius refused to turn back to the memory for a moment, intent on making Harry squirm beneath his unusually grim gaze. "You and I will talk," he ordered Harry. He motioned at the memory in a vague way, but Harry agreed with a nod.

Sirius didn't look exactly pleased, but less tense. When he did turn back to the memory, his gaze crossed Dumbledore and his lips pulled back like a dog would growl.

"But what . . . ?" said Hermione, frowning at Ariana's picture.

The Order squinted their eyes.

There was somebody else coming back with her now, someone taller than she was, who was limping along, looking excited. His hair was longer than Harry had ever seen it: He appeared to have suffered several gashes to his face and his clothes were ripped and torn.

Alice Longbottom gasped.

Larger and larger the two figures grew until only their heads and shoulders filled the portrait. Then the whole thing swung forward on the wall like a little door, and the entrance to a real tunnel was revealed. And out of it, his hair overgrown, his face cut, his robes ripped, clambered the real Neville Longbottom, who gave a roar of delight, leaped down from the mantelpiece, and yelled, "I knew you'd come! I knew it, Harry!"

"Gods and Gargoyles," someone commented lowly. "Look at him."

"Been beat to shit," another agreed.

"He's so… tall," Alice spoke softly at the same time, eyes gentle as if in a trance. In the memory, Alice only came mid-chest to him. He was taller than even Frank. She held the younger wizard in her gaze like he was the most precious thing she'd ever seen.

"Got your dad's nose," Frank Longbottom agreed, unblinking and devouring him as she did. He had his hands over her shoulder in silent support, but his attention was captured entirely by the reality of the young man breathing and laughing before them.

"And your eyes," Harry heard her smile back. He turned in time to see tears welling in her own.

Lily's mouth turned upward with Harry's, and then as one, they gave the couple whatever privacy they could by refocusing on the memory.

By that time, the trio had joined Neville in the hallway that obviously led to somewhere deep in Hogwarts.

"Has this passageway been sealed?" Tonks asked. "I don't recognize it."

"I've never known there to be one in Hogs Head," James concurred. "Mad-Eye?"

The wizard's magical eye flicked about in his skull. "No," he stated seriously. "A security measure I'll be fixing immediately."

"But what have you been doing?" Neville asked with a smile, highlighting the nasty purple and black bruise around his left eye. "People have been saying you've just been on the run, Harry, but I don't think so. I think you've been up to something."

"You're right," said Harry, "I- we are, but tell us about Hogwarts, Neville, we haven't heard anything. How's it been?"

Harry and Ron exchanged a heated glance over the shoulders of their respective parents.

Then the Order learned the horrific truth about what Hogwarts was like under Voldemort's rule. As Neville explained their worst nightmares come to life, parents paled, families stood closer, and every single other Order member swallowed their disgust behind locked jaws and clenched fists.

"Jesus Christ," the tall American wizard Harry had yet to name breathed out. "He wants this everywhere."

Harry understood. This was what they were fighting against currently, victorious in the failure of Harry's world. They never wanted this to come to pass.

James looked ready to rip the memory apart with his bare hands as the battered face of Neville continued relaying his abuse as if it were normal. "They used the Cruciatus Curse -" he fumed.

"Fucking Snape," Sirius snarled.

"Torturing students ," McGonagall spit with disgust.

"-That's when they decided there was only one way to stop me, I suppose, and they went for Gran."

Frank Longbottom choked on a laugh. "I mean, Merlin-" he sputtered when Order members turned to him incredulously, "-That's awful of course, but good luck to 'em. Mum's not the type to be bossed about by anything or anyone. You-Know-Who himself doesn't go head to head unless he really wants to."

Harry gaped. He was sure Ron did as well.

"Anyway," Neville laughed, "Dawlish is still in St. Mungo's and Gran's on the run. She sent me a letter," he clapped a hand to the breast pocket of his robes, "telling me she was proud of me, that I'm my parents' son, and to keep it up."

Many in the Order laughed then blinked in surprise at their own outburst.

"Oh," Alice smiled instead with a sharp exhale and reached for her husband's hand on her shoulder. "Look at him. Look at him," she said, and he smiled too. They held each other quietly, watching the most injured of the quartet carry on with pride in his eyes.

Harry had never known just how similar his mate looked to his parents before that moment.

They turned a corner and there ahead of them was the end of the passage. Another short flight of steps led to a door just like the one hidden behind Ariana's portrait. Neville pushed it open and climbed through.

As Harry followed, he heard Neville call out to unseen people: "Look who it is! Didn't I tell you?"

The Order followed behind.

As Harry emerged into the room beyond the passage, there were several screams and yells:

"Merlin," Remus's eyes widened at the sight before him. Jaws unhinged from the crowd of Order members too.



"It's Potter, it's POTTER!"



The memory of the trio were bombarded: hugged, slapped on the back, and crowded by never-ending handshakes from their disheveled peers- twenty of them at the very least.

Looking around the room, witches and wizards of the Order stared incredulously.

"Okay, okay, calm down!" Neville called, and the crowd backed away.

No one recognized the room. It was enormous and looked like the inside of either a tree house or a ship's cabin.

"Where are you?" Lily scrunched her brows together.

"Where else? Room of Requirement," Ron answered with a grin.

Multicolored hammocks were strung from the ceiling and from a balcony that ran around the dark wood-paneled and windowless walls, which were covered in bright tapestry hangings of all four houses.

More faces peered over in their makeshift beds with glowing smiles. Fifty in all? Maybe more.

"Surpassed itself, hasn't it?" Neville grinned. "The Carrows were chasing me, and I knew I had just one chance for a hideout: I managed to get through the door and this is what I found! Well, it wasn't exactly like this when I arrived, it was a load smaller, there was only one hammock and just Gryffindor hangings. But it's expanded as more and more of the D.A. have arrived."

"Slytherins too," Lily remarked, a half smile lifting her face. The green of the Slytherin house banner shone with the other house colors and Harry smiled. A bit of pride for his home world warmed him.

"Not all were bad," he agreed.

"So many children," McGonagall said, turning slowly on her spot, taking it all in. "It's all..."

"Dumbledore's Army," Harry finished. The words tasted bitter on his lips. Ron put his hands on his hips and smiled at the memory. McGonagall frowned.

"What are we going to do, then, Harry?" asked Seamus. "What's the plan?"

"Plan?" repeated Harry.

Looking at it in the third person, Harry could see what Hermione had meant about his fame never leaving him. At this moment, he could see how.

The Order and the D.A. all looked to the 17-year-old as one and waited for his response. The memory of Harry looked dirty, exhausted, underfed, and a little wild- but when he stood tall and told the D.A. of the missing item he was looking for, it was like feeling the magic of a fable coming to life. The trust in the eyes of the students, and the expectation of the spectators, filled the room with a presence that sang in the very air.

Heavy, but bright. Focused, but freeing. They looked to him for leadership and it was reverent.

"You… Merlin, you were a general," Lily whispered.

Harry blinked, stunned, realizing how she saw the moment. Beyond her, Tonks nodded. Sirius and Remus exchanged a loaded look. James frowned but didn't comment. Ron grinned even further.

"I was just trying to keep us all alive," Harry clarified.

"This is …insane," Fred concluded.

No other comment was made within the Order, no criticism or idea. They watched in silence as Dean and Luna arrived behind the trio, then more people - all who had already graduated, were in hiding- but coming back to Hogwarts, to Harry, as they were called to war.

An army truly was forming before them.

"Stay together until I get back," Harry told the room before he and Luna left for Ravenclaw Tower. Fred and George saluted him sloppily.

"But what of the teachers? They would help too," Lily frowned.

"They didn't against Snape," Mr. Weasley argued and Harry's mother quirked an irritated eyebrow.

"It's amazing how quickly it all came together don't you think though?" James broke in. "Look at them. I can't say that even we share unity like this DA... A children's campaign maybe, but it's well done."

Harry saw Mad-Eye and Sirius nod with James in agreement. Something in McGonagall's clenched jaw twitched.

Harry had absolutely nothing intelligent to say to that, so he went back to the scene.

Eventually, he and Luna made it into the Ravenclaw Tower. The two students stood in the empty chamber looking up at a statue of Rowena, more specifically, at the circlet upon her head. Harry stepped out from under the invisibility cloak in the empty room.

Unbeknownst to them, someone from behind let go of their disillusionment spell. Their eyes lit up in glee.

"Shit," James whispered.

"Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure," Harry read aloud.

"Which makes you pretty skint, witless," Alecto answered.

Harry whirled around, but the witch already pressed her wand to the skull and snake branded on her forearm. Harry convulsed at the pain that shot through him and dropped to his knees. They have the boy, Voldemort's inner thoughts echoed. The older witch smiled savagely.

"Shit. Shit. Shit," Sirius said.

A loud BANG brought Harry back to his feet: watching as Alecto fell forward and crumpled into a heap on the ground. From behind her, Luna shed off the invisibility cloak and wound in over one arm. "I've never Stunned anyone except in our D.A. lessons," she said sounding mildly interested. "That was noisier than I thought it would be."

She was right, it had been very loud. Before long, Ravenclaw students of all ages ran down into their common room to the sight of their fallen professor, and not long after that, both Amycus Carrow and Professor McGonagall stood at her feet.

Amycus raged and threatened. He knew the Dark Lord was coming, that his sister had summoned him, and that he didn't see Harry bound for his Lord. His fear turned aggressive.

"We can push it off on the kids," said Amycus, his piglike face suddenly crafty. "Yeah, that's what we'll do. We'll say Alecto was ambushed by the kids, and we'll say they forced her to press her Mark, and that's why he got a false alarm. . . . He can punish them. Couple of kids more or less, what's the difference?"

Disgust, hatred, and fury filled the void between Order members.

Harry frowned. "Is he-?"

James answered without Harry having to finish. "Alecto died last year- shot I believe by witch hunters- but Amycus still lives."

"Only the difference between truth and lies, courage and cowardice," said Professor McGonagall, who had turned pale, but stood taller. "Let me make one thing very clear," her voice rang out across the dormitory and the huddled students shivered. "You are not going to pass off your many ineptitudes on the students of Hogwarts. I shall not permit it."

Sirius and James's heads snapped to the other in a single moment and shared a grin as if an untold joke was spent between them. It happened so quickly, without making an actual sound, and it eased James' hand on Harry's shoulder and Sirius' stance next to his wife.

Harry blinked in confusion- then understanding- and then sorrow for his own dead godfather from his world.

Harry and Ron had never had that sort of relationship- he didn't know anyone who did other than Fred and George- but to see it firsthand was to understand the missing limb from his own world that Sirius had suffered through.

A small understanding in a flash- but Harry felt the bottom of his stomach drop out from beneath him. Inside, he grieved.

"Excuse me?" Amycus moved forward until he was offensively close to Professor McGonagall. "It's not a case of what you'll permit, Minerva McGonagall. Your time's over. It's us what's in charge here now, and you'll back me up or you'll pay the price."

And he spat in her face.

People around Harry either choked or hissed in outrage. Some blinked as if they thought the wizard in memory would spontaneously combust. Dumbledore's jaw clenched.

Harry pulled the Cloak off himself, raised his wand, and said, "You shouldn't have done that."

Sirius snorted.

Everyone else waited in suspense. Rage painted over the younger Harry's face, and the Order's patience was rewarded quickly.

Harry's eyes glowed under the lamplight of the darkened dormitory. Once green - bright but human- turned vibrant like stained glass through sunlight. Unnatural and intense, they flashed through a spectrum no human eyes could understand.

Amycus Carrow followed his instincts and took an involuntary step back.

A chill swept down Harry's own arms at the sight, and James froze next to him.

"Merlin," Remus breathed.

"You look-" Lily started.

Harry did not know his way around a thesaurus the way Hermione did, but the closest word he could have chosen for his own reflected face was wrathful.

As Amycus spun around to run, Harry pointed his wand, locked his elbow, and shouted, "Crucio!"

Lily flinched and then cut herself off.

The Death Eater lifted off his feet. He writhed through the air like a drowning man, thrashing and howling in pain, and then, with a crunch and a shattering of glass, he smashed into the front of a bookcase and crumpled, insensible, to the floor.

The Order gaped, again.

"He flew while being-," George reflected.

"Crumpled, mid-air," Fred agreed.

"The power that would-" their uncle Gideon added.

"Blimey," Mr. Weasley finished, looking pale.

"I see what Bellatrix meant," said Harry, a tick in his clenched jaw the only outward appearance of his rage, "you need to really mean it."

The magical night light behind the younger Harry's eyes vanished.

"Potter!" whispered Professor McGonagall, clutching her heart. "Potter — you're here! What — ? How — ?" She struggled to pull herself together. "Potter, that was foolish!"

"He spat at you," said Harry, simply.

"Jesus Christ, kid," the American huffed.

McGonagall in the memory seemed to agree to the unheard statement and flushed a brilliant red. Before she could start in on him - or before the Order members could comment on the usage of Harry's Unforgivable, the memory of himself went ahead.

"Professor McGonagall, Voldemort's on the way."

Many in the room flinched.

"Time's running out, Voldemort's getting nearer. Professor, I'm acting on Dumbledore's orders, I must find what he wanted me to find! But we've got to get the students out while I'm searching the castle — it's me Voldemort wants, but he…"

Harry didn't listen to himself urgently pass on what needed to be done and why he was in the castle. Instead, he watched Luna take off the Invisibility cloak and the faces of his Ravenclaw classmates. He'd never noticed before how most of them had shuffled the younger behind their bodies and watched in fear back at him. He'd never seen their hesitance and mistrust before.

"You're acting on Dumbledore's orders?" McGonagall repeated with a look of dawning wonder. Then she drew herself up to her fullest height. "Then we shall secure the school against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named while you search for this — this object."

"Here it comes," the American said- and Harry really needed to get this wizard's name, he was standing too close to his family to just be another Order member.

"Even dead," Sirius commented, "just throw Dumbledore's name out and about, and suddenly people are snapping to."

"Well it is Albus," McGonagall replied waspishly, jaw tensed and breathing shortly through her prim posture.

They all watched as Harry and McGonagall spoke quickly about Voldemort being on his way to the school, making a stand against him, and getting the innocents out to safety. McGonagall tied both of the Carrows up, took their wands, and levitated them out of the dormitory.

"Come. We must alert the other Heads of House. You'd better put that Cloak back on."

Before he left, Harry turned to the frozen Ravenclaw students. "Get dressed, quickly," Harry ordered, and some jumped at the sound of his voice. "I don't know what'll happen next, but get ready."

The younger students turned around and raced away without question. The older students, however, turned to their Professor. They didn't blink at the bodies by her side but eyed Harry with mistrust.

"A year in hell here, how many do you reckon will fight for it all?" an American witch with an actual cowboy hat on said next to the wizard of their nationality.

He shook his head but didn't answer.

"Do it. Alert the rest of your classmates. And quickly now!" McGonagall marshaled. "We'll have to-" She stopped as a Peregrine Falcon patronus suddenly dove from the ceiling and landed on an end chair.

"Heads of Houses, professors, and children are to report immediately to the Great Hall as ordered by Headmaster Snape," came the voice of Filius Flitwick from the falcon.

"I'd no idea his patronus was a bird of prey," James commented.

"Makes sense though," Ron grumbled, likely thinking of the rolls of combat magic their professor was famous for waiting for them to wade through back at the castle.

Every student scrambled. The Patronus vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.

"You have no armies," Lily whispered, brow furrowing. "The government is against you - what then? Only the Order will come? A handful of the population?"

"And the children," James nodded.

Many in the room frowned harder.

Then, soon enough, all were standing in the Great Hall amongst the memory. Teenagers and children outfitted in pajamas and hastily thrown over cloaks. Every one of them held themselves in military stillness, perfect rows made and sectioned by House. All seemed to hold their breath.

The memory of Harry stood amongst his peers, hidden under his cloak and standing by the Gryffindors.

The Order swiveled their heads, taking in the gaunt faces of the next generation and the wounds they nearly all bore. Dumbledore frowned at a Ravenclaw first-year whose eyebrow had been bisected from some sort of nasty looking cutting charm.

"'Zey are babiez," Fleur said, swallowing heavily.

It was Harry's turn to frown. It was getting ridiculous. They had seen everything that he'd been through at Hogwarts throughout the years, hadn't they? They had to know that being a child didn't save anyone. Why keep focusing on the single fact that they were children as if it was a great travesty?

"It's war ," Harry reminded them all.

Tonks flinched. Many of the Order shifted uncomfortably on their feet.

"He killed a generation of children , Harry," James reminded him under his breath.

Harry turned but said nothing. Voldemort had wiped out Harry's generation in his paranoia in this world. They'd been through this. So?

"He slaughtered a generation's worth of followers, heirs, workers… the foundation of our community," James explained softly. "When it was done and everything settled, everyone had lost someone. Somewhere. The whole world looked to us and grieved. No one wanted to be next, and so no one stood up against him. The queen of the muggle world here couldn't even help- their Minister as well- too much had been lost. It crippled the world. The unthinkable happened and it changed the way we look to our young here, Harry. How they are cherished." James didn't look him in the eye at the last part. He nodded at the memory, and Lily settled her eyes there too- distancing herself within their small space. "You may see soldiers standing in this room, but we- most see- something Unforgivable. Your leader's … teachers' failure as the cloaks of the unguarded. Their gamble ."

Harry… understood. To a point. They were kids. Taking away the fact that Harry must've been the exception to the rule here, he understood what James meant. He'd been through too much. His classmates as well. But to compare their worlds like that- to take away that it was his choice to do this- "Yeah?" he bit back. "And who cloaks the muggle-borns here then?" Harry said, unkindly. "The Order? Because I think Dean and Hermione might disagree. Ginny too."

The adults around Harry made noises of protest, flinched, or simmered in anger. Harry found the hypocrisy of it all turning his stomach uneasily.

In the memory, in a shroud of darkness, hands crossed behind his back and face dour, Headmaster Snape stalked to the front of the hall and previewed the rows of his gathered students.

"Fucking Snape ," Sirius hissed, and everyone's attention went back to the memory.

Remus peeled his lips back like he was going to snarl at the sight of his once-schoolmate.

Many among the Order commented both under their breath and aloud without reservation. He was a hated man already amongst them, but with this new perspective, he was detested even more.

"Many of you are surely wondering why I have summoned you here at this hour," he started with his signature drawl, eyes flicking across the Hall.

His students remained deathly silent. If he wondered where his two teachers had gone, he made no mention of them.

Instead, he prowled forward, cloak rippling, and condemned the rest of the night. "It has come to my attention that earlier this evening … Harry Potter was sighted in Hogsmeade."

Excited murmurs rose throughout the students.

Their Headmaster ignored the noise and started on a speech about how he and his 'select' teachers had always thought Harry would come back to Hogwarts and how he would stop him, and on and on…but Harry ignored it. He ignored the outrage from the Order, the fear from the students in the memory, and the actual words of the wizard himself.

All he could do was watch- no, stare at the man. In silence and with no little - Merlin, he was going to say it- wonder . His childhood nemesis. The same wizard who both despised him and who had saved his life more than nearly anyone else in the world.

Loathed, feared, and forgotten but in hate, Severus Snape stood in front of scores of witches and wizards who would've liked nothing more than to set him on fire and watch him burn all without fear. He knew how they looked at him, and still, he played this …part, to perfection.

Harry watched and knew. Severus protected, maneuvered, and suffered. Consistently, and without thanks. All to defend a terrible decision made in childhood. For a girl- then a woman he'd loved his entire life- and then even after death. For sixteen years after. Sixteen .

And Harry, well, a little bit of him was in awe- especially looking at the wizard now and knowing what Harry did. After everything that had happened, it was almost refreshing to know that Harry felt no great anger at him as he had with Dumbledore.

Because Severus was a bully and immature in the worst of ways- to hold hatred solely at the son of his tormentor, and perhaps to enjoy retribution taken from the same blood- but he had been himself with Harry. At least, in the end, he had been truthful.

He did not claim to love Harry, to choose Harry above all others, and then subject him to the cruelty of a camouflaged injustice and claim it heroism. He did not take what broken parts Harry had with both hands and shatter them further with emotional manipulation and concealment.

At the very least with Severus- he was himself to the very end. Filled with poison, bitterness, anger, shadow… redemption.

Harry had a lot of feelings for the wizard addressing the crowd, some of them still bitter and tinged with disbelief- but most with gratefulness, guilt, and the need to do something for the man. To … give back.

"How dare you stand where he stood."

Harry swallowed and watched as students in the memory parted for the other Harry no longer hidden amongst the crowd. His younger self held nothing but malice in his eyes.

Lily's fingers tightened in his hand.

The memory of Snape faltered. Plain as day, a slip of the facade, but Harry could see it now. Fear. Not for himself, but for the teenager who had announced himself for Voldemort to find. Then it was gone- all emotion- quick as a blink.

Harry raised his wand and pointed. "Tell them how it was that night," he demanded for all of the Great Hall to hear, righteous, and filled with fury. "Tell them how you looked him in the eye, a man who trusted you- and killed him."

Harry winced. James locked his jaw. Lily stayed silent, and those of the Order simmered in their hatred.

"TELL THEM!" Harry yelled.

But Snape was a mask of indifference. The rest of the Hall had frozen in anticipation, waiting for something to change , and then Snape reached for his wand.

A calculated move, Harry understood now. No Death Eater teachers were with him, no way to play the villain without someone seeing him try- and fail. He needed to go back to Voldemort, to know what would happen next, what was going on, and he couldn't do that in the position he held.

Like Harry was finally seeing the wizard for the first time, Harry watched as the memory of McGonagall flung herself in front of Harry. He saw Severus falter at that again, just for a moment, knowledge of what he had to do- and do it to pass through his eyes, then he raised his wand at his colleague and let a bit of Hell play out in front of the next generation.

"Get him," someone in the Order hissed.

"Kill him," another echoed.

Harry watched it all under a new perspective, with new eyes, and grieved a little for the fallen wizard.

Snape deflected McGonagall's spells, perfectly and without hurting a single other person in the room, and then disappeared into darkness personified out of the back windows of the Great Hall- making a very loud and dramatic retreat from the school.

" Coward !" Both McGonagall from the memory and Sirius yelled.

Everyone watching the memory was furious.

"Didn't even fight-!"

"Slinking back to his Master, no doubt-"

Most of the students cheered. Others buckled, horrified. Teachers and students crowded each other in the moment of madness, and Harry ignored the slaps on his back and the greeting from his former peers. He rushed towards the gathered professors who were quickly reigning in the chaos of the celebration.

Dumbledore laced his fingers together and frowned. "Voldemort should not be able to breach Hogwarts wards easily."

Uninvited, Harry remembered the shields around his childhood home and the thousands of spells that reigned down it before it crackled and fell. The endless assault.

"He had Snape for the wards. And he had an army for after," Harry reminded him, "and we had us. A fraction of-"

"Barely trained witches and wizards," Mad-Eye interrupted. "A pisspot of magic against the greatest evil since Grindelwald."

Harry stopped himself from clenching his jaw. "And the Order."

"Right," the scarred wizard answered with a dryness that challenged a desert. "There's that. With no leader, no plan." His real eye went to Harry, looked him over like he was making sure he was real, and then frowned even further. "And you'll live."

Harry made a fist instead of doing something much more reckless. Before he could respond, a ginger head turned from his mother and glared at the wizard.

"We won ," Ron snapped back. "People, good people , died for it. Don't you cheapen it." He towered over the stocky older wizard across the room with just the tone of his anger. "We did it unlike you lot." Moody grimaced at that, and several members swung their heads into the conversation with degrees of anger. He stared back at them all defiantly. "We were outnumbered, had no defenses, no support from the Ministry, and didn't have a chance in hell at it, but we won. You keep your mouth shut about who's fighting and how, and watch. You might even learn something."

Harry's eyebrows were probably on top of his head at how surprised he was. Speechless, like the rest of the Order. Sad and hurt because he was speaking of Fred, Remus, Tonks, and the others lost. Then amused and confused in quick succession.

Ron had looked at the moment entirely differently than Harry. While he himself was off trying to prioritize finding the horcrux, Ron had been strategizing. Looking at the numbers of it all and on a plane of thought that Harry didn't even recognize.

Merlin, he felt like he was watching his best mate for the first time too.

"Professor, we've got to barricade the school, he's coming now!" Harry shouted, then stumbled from a vision- a knowing- from Voldemort to him. He was coming. He was coming to Hogwarts and he was enraged.

His new Headmistress did not question Harry and nodded. Those around Harry froze. "Very well. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is coming," she told the other teachers. Sprout and Flitwick gasped; Slughorn let out a low groan. "Potter has work to do in the castle on Dumbledore's orders. We need to put in place every protection of which we are capable while Potter does what he needs to do."

No one watching made a sound. All were caught up in the moment; the beginning of the end.

"Most students must be evacuated," she continued. "Though if any of those who are over age wish to stay and fight, I think they ought to be given the chance." Her staff nodded their agreement.

"They welcomed students?"

"Ah, fuck."

" They're of age."

"They haven't even graduated!" Voices of the Order overlapped.

Before anyone could say another thing, the doors of the Great Hall swung open wide and slammed against its ancient walls with an echoing BOOM. Students and professors alike were silenced. In the hall opening stood a crowd.

"LUNA!" a young Hufflepuff yelled in delight.

"NEVILLE!" a Gryffindor echoed.

"That was fast actually," the American wizard commented.

The Order, Dumbledore's Army, and members of Harry's old quidditch team had arrived with Luna and Neville at the head.

Like a storybook, Harry thought to himself. Both of the quietest students in school stood out in front of a growing army like they belonged there. Leaders and ready for something greater.

Mr and Mrs Longbottom gaped at their child.

The next bit of memory was chaos. The younger Harry was greeted by the arriving Order and the returning students. Those not of age amongst the four houses were ordered to the basement. Ginny and several others in her year demanded that they be able to fight to the clenched jaws of those watching. Others in the Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and less than a handful of Hufflepuff students had to be escorted by Slughorn to the dungeons with the younger students as they were opposed to fighting Voldemort and could not be trusted to not sabotage current plans. Plans that were thrown about between Order members and professors in a wild mix of communication and wand-slashing.

People called to Harry to ask what was happening. To Ron and Hermione at where to go. Remus arrived and offered to show those who saw him a picture of his newborn child. Percy Weasley arrived and begged forgiveness from his family for his ministry-loving ways. All at the same time- revolving around each other.

Harry saw Tonks and Remus of this world sprint closer to view the photograph that the other Remus was offering. He watched as Tonk's face broke at the sight of the chubby little baby and then cry silently at the proud new father who smiled at the impending battle with nothing but joy. And he saw her wish , with a strength Harry recognized and knew well. He had to turn from her at that point, from Remus too who carried an echo of the same look, or Harry would get caught up in old feelings he didn't have the time for.

And now — Piertotum Locomotor!" cried Professor McGonagall. And all along the corridor the statues and suits of armor jumped down from their plinths, and from the echoing crashes from the floors above and below, Harry knew that their fellows throughout the castle had done the same. "Hogwarts is threatened!" shouted Professor McGonagall. "Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!"

They turned as one in the silence that followed, an army of metal, and marched. Their procession like a flag before a race.

"Oh my," McGonagall breathed with wide eyes. "I- I've always wanted to do that spell."

"Wicked," Fred and George said together in awe.

"Where's Ron?" asked Harry, looking around. "Where's Hermione?"

"They were just here," Mr. Weasley called over his shoulder. "Ron? Ron!"

"They said something about a bathroom," said Ginny quickly, ducking the lines of students evacuating, "not long after the Order arrived."

"A bathroom?" Harry frowned. "You're sure they said bath — ?" But then his scar seared and the Great Hall vanished: He was looking through the high wrought-iron gates with winged boars on pillars at either side, looking through the dark grounds toward the castle, which was ablaze with lights. Nagini lay draped over his shoulders. He was possessed of that cold, cruel sense of purpose that preceded murder.

Marlene stepped back against Sirius. "He's here," she said.

"The students," McGonagall nodded nervously.

"There's no time," James whispered.

Harry's words were drowned as a different voice echoed throughout the Hall. It was high, cold, and clear: There was no telling from where it came; it seemed to issue from the walls themselves. "I know that you are preparing to fight."

"What fresh hell is this?" Charles Weasley asked, swinging his head around the room. "Sonorous?"

Lily shook her head. "Activated within the walls? No. Some sort of direction-"

"Quiet," Mad-Eye ordered, scowling at the scene.

There were screams amongst the students, some of whom clutched each other, looking around in terror for the source of the sound. "Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood."

"Liar," Alice Longbottom hissed in answer, enraged. She stood by Neville's side, who was looking at the ceiling of the Great Hall in horror, with tears in her eyes. Lily gripped Harry's hand tighter. Harry did not have the heart to look at the other families in the room.

"Give me Harry Potter,"said Voldemort's voice, "and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."

The silence swallowed them all again. Every head turned, every eye in the place seemed to have found Harry, to hold him frozen in the glare of thousands of invisible beams.

"Shite," James summarized.

"Fuck," Sirius agreed.

Then a figure he recognized as Pansy Parkinson raised a shaking arm from her House line on the way to the dungeons and screamed, "But he's there! Potter's there! Someone grab him!"

Chaos erupted, a great number of bodies moved as one-

And the scene moved onward.

"No-" Lily leaned forward as if she could grab the memory back. "Who-"

"A civil war is the last thing you'd need," Mr. Wealsey frowned.

"Nothing happened," Harry stated as those watching made sounds of agreement. "Some of the Slytherins fled. Some stayed. But the- my house protected me. My friends." His world had done so for him during the battle.

He couldn't help but compare his to this one as they all waited for the next scene to show.

This world had … helped, sure, when he was in trouble - the battle of Hogsmead had proven that. But people in his world had died for him. Even though he hadn't had a clue about the next horcrux he'd been looking for at the time. They went to war for him. Believed in him.

And this world still didn't know that Harry had been the seventh horcrux. Might be currently. He didn't think that they would fight for him as his world had. He didn't know if they wouldn't do something to-

Harry shook himself before he could follow down that line of thought. James and Lily wouldn't let anything happen to him like that. Sirius and Remus either. Ron was here too.

Harry swallowed. James looked down at him and hazel eyes flashed behind familiar circular frames. "Alright?" he seemed to say.

And when had Harry learned James's face so well that he knew what he was saying without words? When had he let himself keep Lily's hand within his? When did he start thinking that this all meant- Harry turned from the older wizard, a mix of emotions crowding his head.

As the next scene materialized, Harry found himself before a ghost who floated elegantly before the memory of himself in a lone corridor.

" Helena Ravenclaw," Lily breathed, recognition lit up her eyes.

"The smart house founder?" The American witch asked.

"Her daughter," Remus answered, eyes glued to the floating witch.

"And . . . and the diadem?"

"It remained where I had hidden it when I heard the Baron blundering through the forest toward me. Concealed inside a hollow tree in Albania."

Before someone could ask for context, Dumbledore raised his voice. "The diadem of Ravenclaw is said to enhance the wisdom of its wearer, something Rowena and her House valued above most other attributes. It looks as if her daughter, Helena, stole it from her, and hid it before her death. Then told the dark lord where he could find one of his future horcruxes." His eyes twinkled over his half-moon glasses at Harry when he concluded with a, "Correct, Harry?" And Harry nodded back without a word, lost for a moment in the similar grandfatherly attention in his eyes instead of the memory continuing on.

"I can't believe it's real ," Lily said, shaking her head. Harry dropped his eyes from the elder wizard.

" Was ," James corrected lightly, leaving over to his wife, and coincidentally, Harry too, a warmth seeping into his side. "Harry found it early on and has been destroyed. Nothing but a crumple of metal now."

"It's a shame," she lamented softly. "The loss of such a relic."

He grinned. "You going to mourn for the cup and locket too or is it just the crown for my favorite swot?" Her husband teased back, and a corner of her mouth ticked upward.

"Bite me, Potter."

"Hmm," he grinned something dangerous- something absolutely disgusting - "Maybe I will Mrs-" and Harry shoved himself backward from the sandwich between them.

"No," Harry grimaced as James fell forward into Lily without his buffer, "No. Absolutely not. No," he repeated. Disgust rolled through his stomach, and both the witch and wizard looked over their shoulders in a moment of surprise before they burst into laughter at him.

Heat filled the tops of Harry's cheeks. He swallowed and looked away, but James reached out and pulled him back in between the couple with another startlingly warm laugh. "No flirting with me now Lils, he might duck out again- did you see? Fast as a phoenix. Just-" Lily shoved an elbow at James, managed to get Harry in the side as well, making his own elbow catch the older wizard straight in the solar plexus, "-ooof."

James wheezed.

Lily snorted. "Serves you right."

And Harry laughed between them. The scene changed and whisked away the remembrants of Helena Ravenclaw.

Harry ran down a lone corridor, turned a corner, and slammed face-first into an enormous chest.

"Harry, yer here! Yer here!" Hagrid stooped down, bestowed upon Harry a cursory and rib-cracking hug, and then stepped back with a wide smile. Beyond Hagrid, past a broken window out in the dark night, Harry saw bursts of light in the distance and heard a weird, keening scream. He looked down at his watch: It was midnight. The battle had begun.

"Look at it," James whispered, horrified, watching Harry and Hagrid as they both then descended farther into the school and deeper into the battle emerging.

Harry skidded around a final corner and with a yell of mingled relief and fury he saw them: Ron and Hermione, both with their arms full of large, curved, dirty yellow objects, Ron with a broomstick under one arm. "Where the hell have you been?" Harry shouted.

"Had a fight in the sewers? Look at em," someone commented. Before Ron could answer for himself, his past self grinned and did it for him.

"Chamber of Secrets," said Ron.

"Chamber — what?" said Harry, coming to an unsteady halt before them.

"What?" James echoed the memory, dryly.

"Oh, shit," the American wizard followed.

"It was Ron, all Ron's idea!" said Hermione breathlessly. "Wasn't it absolutely brilliant? I said to Ron, even if we find the other one, how are we going to get rid of it? We still hadn't got rid of the cup! And then he thought of it! The basilisk!"

"They didn't," Tonks gasped.

"Smart," Mad-Eye nodded along.

"Something to get rid of Horcruxes," said Ron simply.

"Broom makes sense now," Fred commented.

His twin nodded. "Had to fly up out of there after, didn't he?"

Harry's eyes dropped to the objects clutched in Ron and Hermione's arms: great curved fangs, torn, he now realized, from the skull of a dead basilisk. "But how did you get in there?" he asked, staring from the fangs to Ron. "You need to speak Parseltongue!"

"True," Sirius agreed. "Speak a new language now?" he raised an eyebrow at the current version of Ron. Ron grimaced in reply.

"He did!" whispered Hermione. "Show him, Ron!"

Ron made a horrible strangled hissing noise. "It's what you did to open the locket," he told Harry apologetically. "I had to have a few goes to get it right, but," he shrugged modestly, "we got there in the end."

"My ears," Fred blinked.

"Never again," Gideon mimed shaking something out of his head and Harry grinned.

"So we're another Horcrux down," said Ron, and from under his jacket he pulled the mangled remains of Hufflepuff's cup. "Hermione stabbed it. Thought she should. She hasn't had the pleasure yet."

"Genius!" yelled Harry.

"Four down then?" Mr. Weasley asked.

"Only a handful to go," McGonagall agreed. "The diadem, the snake.. and whatever the seventh he's hidden."

Harry didn't offer any information though some in the Order turned to him, Ron neither. James clenched his teeth. "It's not like we won't all find out together," Lily said to her peers, buying time.

Harry felt Dumbledore's eyes from across the space they were in. Digging. Certain. Something cold slid down Harry's back. Trepidation and unease curled in his gut. He wasn't used to looking at the wizard and feeling such things, but he knew that his Dumbledore, even with all of his flaws, was someone he trusted loads more than the one here. He wasn't certain of what came next, only that eventually they would reach the end of the memories and something would have to happen.

He would have to find out- somehow- if he was what he'd already killed. The seventh Horcrux.

Last part of this re-watch ends in the next chapter, thank you all for your patience :)