Meanwhile Back in Sunnydale
Meanwhile, back in Sunnydale
Harry Potter woke up with a gasp and frantically looked around. His gaze took in the large, airy room, the Star Trek posters, the piles of comic books on the desk and floor beside it. There were also piles of colorful clothes on the floor, brightly illuminated by morning sunlight beaming in from a large, partially opened window.
Harry blinked a few more times and sighed happily before he plopped back down into the covers.
He was still in Sunnydale.
It had taken Harry a little while to figure out what had happened to him and he still wasn’t completely certain he hadn’t gone insane. Hermione had been the one to get him hooked on the Sunnydale series and he, along with thousands of other witches and wizards, adored the books and the characters within. He'd been waiting for the publication of the last book with great anticipation and now...well now it seemed as if he was going to get to see the whole series up close and personal.
Even though he’d finally figured out where he was, he still wasn’t sure *why* or even *how* this had happened. One night, he'd gone to bed in his lonely townhouse apartment in London, a twenty-five-year old Auror who had already seen more action than any of his commanding officers. The next morning, he’d woken up in a whole new world.
That last night in London, he remembered sorting through his owl post that had piled up over the past few weeks he’d been undercover and finding a letter from his oldest – and pretty much only – friend. Hermione had written from France that her second son had been born and she wished he’d been there. Looking at the picture of a beaming Hermione and her husband, Victor Krum, showing off their two-year-old son and his newly born brother, Harry had felt that deep, wistful feeling that surfaced every now and again.
Normally, he would push that feeling way to the back of his very organized mind and ignore it completely. None of his relationships had lasted more than a few months and he had to admit, it was usually his own fault. He just didn’t know how to have a relationship that was more than friendship and he knew he had major issues with trusting anyone. So, at the ripe of age of twenty-two, Harry Potter had given up trying to date anyone and focused on his career.
Now, however, looking at his very happy best friend and her family, for once Harry Potter had actually wished – out loud – words that expressed his deep wistful feeling for family. He’d wished that he had grown up with his mother and father, a very loving couple from all he’d been told, so that maybe he’d know how to have a family now.
The very next morning, he’d woken up a thirteen-year-old mostly muggle adolescent in the fictional town of Sunnydale California with memories of growing up here, making friends, going to school and family vacations.
Not even facing down Voldemort had freaked him out so much.
"Harry, it's time to get up!"
Harry glanced up at the door to his room as it swung open, revealing the smiling face of his mother, Lily Potter. "Don't think I'm going to let you sleep the summer away, young man," she said as she leaned against the doorway.
Harry just smiled up at his mother. "I'm just getting up, Mom," he replied, still unused to the blatantly American accept that slipped from his lips. "I'm going over to see Jesse and Willow this morning and we're going to go swimming at Jesse's dad's club."
Lily just nodded before she glanced around the bedroom with a raised brow. "That’s fine, honey, but you're going anywhere until you clean up this room," she said firmly and then grinned at his low groan. "Come eat breakfast and clean up your room. Then you can go see Jesse and Willow."
"But Mom, it's not too messy! I know where everything is," Harry whined just because he could. His mother just raised her brow and glanced around the room again before giving him a telling look. "Oh, all right," Harry grumbled though he couldn't help the smile on his face.
"And don't forget to ask Jesse and Willow about coming with us to Disneyland in a few weeks," she said with a nod. "James has already spoken with their parents and gotten the okay."
"Really?" Harry beamed as he jumped out of bed and hugged his mother around the waist. "That's great! A whole week at Disneyland with Willow and Jesse! I can't wait to tell them!"
He missed the grimace that crossed his mother's face at the thought of shepherding three hyper thirteen-year-olds through the huge amusement park. But her expression immediately relaxed into a smile as he looked up at her with happy green eyes.
"Breakfast, room cleaning and only then, off to see Jesse and Willow," Lily instructed firmly.
Harry nodded and dug into the pile of freshly laundered clothes he’d dumped on the end of the bed for some shorts and a shirt. A quick stop at his dresser for some clean underwear and Harry headed for the shower.
"I'll be down in a few minutes, Mom," he said as she stepped back to let him pass. Lily ruffled his messy hair as he passed and grinned at the irritated "Moooooom" that followed before she walked back down the stairs.
Harry watched her go for a moment before he ran into the bathroom, stripped quickly and jumped into the shower. He'd never looked forward to summers before. Summer had meant more interaction with the Dursleys and Dudley's favorite game of Harry Hunting. Even after he’d graduated Hogwarts and finally killed Voldemort, he’d never had much use for hot summer days that reminded him of the Dursley’s never-ending chores.
But now, Harry had better memories which overlaid his old ones; of long, bright days with his best friends. He also had memories of enjoyable family vacations with his Mom and Dad, all of which conflicted with what he'd read of Sunnydale and Xander Harris' deadbeat parents. And he was certain that he’d taken the place of Alexander LaVelle Harris if for no other reason that his best friends were now Willow Rosenburg – who looked amazingly like Ginny Weasley – and Jesse McNalley.
Harry had spent a lot of time the first several days after he woke up in Sunnydale thinking over what had happened and wondering why he was here. The only thing he could think of was that the heart-felt wish he’d made that last night in London to grow up with a loving family had perhaps been overheard by a justice demon and he or she had granted him this new life. But why he had ended up in this fictional little, demon-infested town, Harry had no idea.
After a few days of brooding about it, though, Harry had decided to just enjoy his time here. He would miss nothing from his old life except Hermione; he would miss her loving and bossy ways very much. But if it was one thing Harry Potter had always been, it was adaptable and he intended to make the most of this precious time he’d been granted with his parents and his best friends, Jessie and Willow.
He sighed as he thought about his other best friends, Hermione and Ron. Of the two, only Hermione would worry about his disappearance. Ron had long since drifted away from him after Harry had slain the Dark Lord in his seventh year at Hogwarts.
Taking up his family responsibilities and inheritances of the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Black had completely alienated his red-haired best friend. Ron never could let go of his jealous tendencies and when Harry had had to spend more time attending to his family responsibilities, not to mention his career as an Auror, Ron had decided Harry was ignoring him and nothing Hermione or Ginny could say would change his mind.
Pushing his heavy thoughts away, Harry washed his hair as he considered his new best friends. Though, according to his memories, they weren't new at all. Even the earliest of his new memories included the mischievous Jesse. Lily Potter had started babysitting for Jesse's mother shortly after Jesse had been born to allow the other woman to go back to work. The two boys had grown up together and Lily had some much-prized pictures of the pair of them in their playpen together which Harry endeavored to hide whenever his parents had company over.
Willow, he remembered meeting at school with Jesse. He remembered the yellow crayon incident from the Sunnydale books as well as standing up to schoolyard bullies with Jesse beside him. From kindergarten on, Willow, Jesse and Harry were a trio. Actually, when he thought about it, Harry remembered being friends with Jesse and Willow longer than he'd even known Hermione and Ron.
Harry finished up with his shower as he considered that thought. He knew Jesse was a little worried about why Harry had stayed in so much for the past week. He'd called almost every day to try and get Harry to come over but, until today, Harry had given excuses to stay home.
Ever since he'd woken up here and found himself living with his much-longed-for parents, Harry had taken every moment he could to spend with them. He'd thought that if it wasn’t a vengeance/justice demon who had dropped him into this life, then whatever spell that had misfired to land him here would be broken at any time and he'd be flung back into his old self and his empty life. It also didn't help that what he'd read about Xander Harris from the books was at complete odds with the life that he, Harry Potter, was living.
According to the books he’d read, Xander Harris had grown up somewhat neglected in a house with two drunks who blamed him as an easy scapegoat for their low-class lifestyle.
Harry's parents couldn't be more opposite. Lily and James Potter had moved to Sunnydale from England when Harry was a year old. James had gotten a lucrative consulting job in LA and while he traveled a lot, Harry's father didn't allow his job to overtake his responsibilities as a father. He always made time to spend with his family.
But it wasn’t just basking in his parents’ presence that had kept Harry at home. He’d also spent quite a bit of time during the following days organizing the two sets of memories in his mind - his own from growing up with the Dursleys and slaying the Dark Lord and the new ones from growing up in Sunnydale. He very much blessed the fact that eventually, he'd figured out the mind magic of occlumency, which helped enormously in organizing the new memories in his mind.
Now, though, he’d been here a week and his mother was giving him concerned glances. Normally, Harry’s memories indicated that during the summer, he spent as little time as possible at home during the day unless his friends were over. While he could tell his mother enjoyed his unexpected company, he knew she was getting worried as to why he was hanging around so much.
So, today he was going to spend time with Willow and Jesse and try to act like thirteen-year-old Harry Potter who, in this world, had never had anything more stressful happen to him than finals week last year.
He finished up his shower and toweled himself dry before scooting into his bedroom to finish dressing. He threw on his clothes and then thundered down the steps, grinning as he did so. He’d never been able to do that at the Dursley’s without getting punished for making too much noise though Dudley did it before every meal time. Now, though, his mother just looked at him in exasperation as he settled himself at the kitchen table.
“Must you sound like a herd of elephants coming down the stairs?” she asked as she set a plate of pancakes on the table and filled his milk glass.
Harry just grinned again as he loaded up his plate and picked up the bottle of syrup. His mother seated herself across the table and sighed again as her son drenched his pancakes.
“Would you like another pancake to go with all that syrup, Harry?” she asked as she reached over for the now half-empty syrup bottle.
Harry chuckled happily as he cut his pancakes into little squares and made sure each piece was coated with as much syrup as possible.
“That’s the best way to eat it, Mom,” he assured her before he stuffed his mouth full of sugary goodness.
The two chatted as they ate breakfast and Harry felt happier than he’d ever been before. When they were finished, he took his plate to the sink. Then he headed for the front door.
“Your room, Harry,” his mother called from the kitchen and grumbling happily under his breath, Harry veered towards the stairs again, making sure to thunder back up them, and walked into his room.
Half an hour later, he was trotting down the street, his swim trunks, a towel and a change of clothes in a bag over his shoulder, going to meet up with his best friends.
During the last week, Harry had thought a lot about how he was going to act with his friends. In August, they were all going to be starting the seventh grade at Sunnydale Middle School. In three short years, one Buffy Summers, Slayer, was going to show up in town and shake up the sleepy demon and vampire population, and, according to the books, Jesse was going to die.
Harry was going to do everything in his considerable power to make sure that didn’t happen.
From his Auror training, Harry knew quite a bit about physical fighting even if he couldn’t use magic here like he could at home. He’d tried a few simple spells which he’d been able to do wandlessly and the results had been...strange for the most part. Only the simplest spells would work somewhat normally. He would *accio* small books and use *lumos* for a faint light but it really tired him out and anything stronger just either didn’t work or completely backfired.
So magical fighting was out but he and his friends could learn how to defend themselves and by the time Buffy showed up, they wouldn’t be the sitting ducks they had been before. And maybe Watcher Giles wouldn’t worry *quite* as much when they started helping out his charge to fight the nightlife.
Now all he had to do was convince his friends that taking self-defense classes would be “of the good” as they spoke around here.
It hardly took Harry any time to reach Jesse’s house and he had something of a game plan in order to convince his friends to take the classes by the time he was knocking on Jesse’s front door. He would just make up an encounter with a vampire and go from there. They might not believe him completely but he hoped they would believe his sincerity at least.
The door before him was jerked open and his friends were standing there, Jesse with a mock scowl and Willow bouncing with a happy smile on her face.
“Hi Harry!” she said cheerfully.
“’Bout time you got here, loserboy,” Jesse said.
“Mom made me clean up my room before I could come over,” Harry replied, sounding very long-suffering. “It was trauma-inducing. I think I might need therapy.”
“Well, come on in,” Jesse said, his scowl changing into a smirk as he held open the door. “Maybe some time in the sun will help you get over it. I need to get my stuff together. Dad’s gonna be here soon to take us to the pool.”
Harry took a deep breath and followed his best friends through the door. He’d spoken with them every day this week but actually meeting them made this world, this very dangerous world, all the more real. He felt a rush of deep affection and love for his friends that he’d only ever felt for Hermione and at one time, Ron.
He was *not* going to let anything bad happen to them.