The Puir Laddie Who Lived
Harry woke up in the infirmary. Hermione and Draco sat beside him, but they did not notice he was conscious. They were too busy arguing with each other in loud voices.
“Children! That is enough! You’ll wake Harry up if you don’t keep it down,” Madame Pomfrey shushed them.
“Too late,” Harry whispered.
“Harry!” The two gasped out in surprise. “We were so worried,” Hermione threw herself into the other boy’s arms.
Draco snorted, smoothing his robes automatically. “Next time you go on adventures, I demand that you take me with you,” he announced.
Harry just smiled at him even as he patted Hermione on the back. “Thea told you, right? It was a good thing you weren’t there, or you would have gotten hurt same as me. Though both of you could have helped greatly through the other traps. I didn’t even know how to play chess.”
Draco smiled down at him unguardedly. “I’ll teach you,” he said in impulse.
“Now, now, enough of that,” Madame Pomfrey stood with her arms akimbo. “Harry needs to take some medicine, so run along you two. You can visit him tomorrow.”
Hermione sniffled a little, before waving goodbye. “I still have some homework.”
Draco stayed behind. He hesitated before clasping Harry on the shoulder. “Get better soon, ok?”
Harry nodded, “Um, how did I get out of there, anyway? Do you know?”
“We told Professor Snape where you went. He came for you.”
“Oh,” Harry tried to comprehend. “Thanks, Draco. You’re a good friend.”
Draco shrugged off his gratitude although he looked pleased. “I’ll see you.”
Harry watched them leave, before the mediwitch demanded his attention. “I didn’t teach you healing just so you could get into trouble, young man.”
He smiled sheepishly at her. “Sorry. Won’t happen again,” he mumbled.
“It better not,” Pomfrey ruffled his hair. “Now open up; this tastes like hippogriff piss.”
“I owe you a Life Debt, sir.” Harry Potter spoke from outside the other man’s quarters.
Severus Snape stared down at the boy impassively. “And don’t think I won’t collect, Mr. Potter.”
Harry nodded solemnly. “If I can, you may ask what you wish of me.”
Snape was silent for a moment. “For now, I’d rather ask you all about those two companions of yours. And the world they claim they come from.” Hobble and Killem All were sleeping off their drunken adventure in his rooms.
“I,” Harry hesitated, “I would also like some questioned answered, in regards to my father, and to Lord Voldemort. If you would oblige, sir.”
Severus Snape held open the door and beckoned him in. “I may, if you ask politely enough.”
Aside from fifty points to Hufflepuff for Harry’s bravery, Albus Dumbledore did not acknowledge what had happened. Professor Quirrell was merely taken away by Aurors, and a temporary replacement found. The shards of the mirror was incinerated then swept up under a rug with a powerful Notice-Me-Not spell.
Harry researched the stone he had seen, and discovered it to be the Philosopher’s Stone, said to give countless riches and immortality to its bearer. It had last been in the possession of one Nicholas Flamel before it disappeared. Rumors about it abounded. One book hinted that it had been destroyed by goblins after it threatened the economy of the Wizarding World thirty years ago. Others said that it had gained sentience, and hid itself rather than be used for evil. Nobody could say where it was.
The rest of the year passed by almost uneventfully. Almost.
Just before the end of term, Harry got another detention when Garbo managed to sneak into the Owlery and ruffle feathers, so to speak. He also terrorized other people's familiars. The population of kittens in all of Hogwarts had tripled since he had arrived, and the headmaster had already received several complaints from the other students and Argus Filch. So he ordered Harry to report to Hagrid with the cat in tow, for a little operation.
Good thing Hagrid was so strong. Even so, he sustained several long scratches on his face and arms before he finally got it done. Now Garbo, deprived of his usual extracurricular activities, had taken up a new hobby to fill his time: rat-hunting.
"Squeak?" Peter Pettigrew looked around in bewilderment. Where did that cat go? One moment it was grabbing him and the next... Then from the shadows of the Gryffindor common room, something wearing a black cowl approached him. It was carrying a small scythe in its bony paw.
Ron Weasley declared eternal hatred for Harry Potter after his beloved familiar, Scabbers, was found dead on the floor of his common room, with a distinctive scratch across its neck.
Then several minutes later, the body had changed into a chubby blond man with a missing hand. Twenty-four hours later, Sirius Black was exonerated and freed from Azkaban.
"I'm your godfather, Harry," the thin, pale man with slightly crazy eyes declared. "Your father was my best friend."
Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had been called to the headmaster's office, apparently to meet this stranger who claimed to have watched over him as a baby. The headmaster told him about the secret-keeper switch that had cost both his parents' lives and nearly his own.
"It's all my fault, Harry. I understand if you'll never forgive me." Harry was once again subjected to that piercing stare.
He slowly answered. "Oh but it seems you have already paid ten years of your life for something you have unwittingly done, sir. I would not dream of blaming you for such a mistake."
Sirius Black threw himself into Harry's arms and sobbed into his shoulder, much to the boy's discomfort. After he had calmed down, the older man cleared his throat. "I don't know about your current situation, Harry. But I would love it if you would come to live with me. I'd love to have the chance to make it up to you."
Harry smiled politely. "Thank you for the offer, sir. But I'm afraid I must decline it. I already have a home." He stuttered a little on the last word. Harry didn't know yet whether he should stay in Wizarding Britain or return to the Chalk after all this. He found he did not really belong in either world, at least not yet. His doubts must have shown on his face, because Sirius pressed once more for him to stay with the older man.
"I've quite an inheritance, so you won't lack for anything. And we'd have fun, Harry. I'll teach you Quidditch..." He went on and on, trying to sweeten the deal.
“Thank you sir, but no," Harry replied more firmly. He didn't know which world he'll end up choosing, but living with this man was not an option. He was definitely not going anywhere with a man who looked like a serial killer. No matter that he was deemed innocent by the Wizarding Courts.
Besides, he had heard all about Sirius Black’s exploits from Professor Snape, and he wasn’t impressed by the man’s flamboyant charm.
Albus Dumbledore rubbed his hands and wracked his brain for something to say. He found he didn't quite know what to think.
The Death of rats entered the study, climbing up the table before squeaking in front of the cloaked man.
“IS IT?” A silken voice asked. The cloaked man stood up and walked towards another room filled floor to ceiling with hourglasses. “Yes, I think I remember that one.” A very slim hand reached for one hourglass in particular. The sand in it was floating in suspension. “AH, IT’S ABOUT TIME.”
Voldemort was still laughing, when someone appeared behind him. The mirrors did not reflect its black cloak, or the scythe that it held.
“TOM MALVORO RIDDLE?”
A quick slash with the scythe, and the mirrors emptied themselves.
In another world, the sand in one hourglass finally fell prey to gravity, and it drained itself within seconds.
In a galaxy far, far away, a gigantic turtle floated in space with a strange gleam in her eye. On her back, four elephants stood, their trunks lazily swishing. They held immobile the flat, circular tabletop that is the Discworld.
We spiral down towards a little house in what is called Land Under Wave, where a young boy of twelve (Having finally learned his birthdate, he recently celebrated it with a rather rowdy party involving a case of sheep liniment and hundreds of drunk pictsies.) was looking up at the sky. He didn’t admit it to himself, but he was waiting for one particular delivery.
“He’s going, isn’t he?” Granny Weatherwax asked over tea as soon as the pleasantries had been bludgeoned to death by her bluntness.
Tiffany Aching reluctantly nodded. “The boy’s future is tied to that world. He may not be what that insufferable Dumbledee expects him to be, but he will reach his full potential only when he is surrounded by his own kind.” She smiled a little more brightly. “Besides, he’d made some friends.”
They both looked out the window as they heard Harry’s uncharacteristic whoop of joy. The wingflaps that accompanied it signaled the arrival of the transdimensional owl.
“They both brought me presents,” Harry said in embarrassment as he entered and caught the amused looks of the two witches. He was laden with boxes in brightly colored paper whose decorations seemed to move and change colors. “They remembered,” he said almost reverently. “Hermione and Draco remembered.”
A/N: Thanks for everyone who reviewed! Don't hold your breath for a sequel... (If it comes, it might be worse than this one...)