Harry snickered quietly as he listened to the realtor try to put the best spin on the old manor they were looking at. “I‘ve heard it‘s haunted.”
The young man chuckled, “Mere rumors, the townsfolk are a superstitious lot.”
Sirius snickered, “How many acres does it include?”
The man smiled as he finally had something good to say about the place. “It used to be half the valley and town but some of it was sold previously. Currently the manor comes with about two hundred acres of land, fifty of that is well maintained gardens. The other one hundred and fifty acres used to be farmlands.”
Sirius thought that calling the gardens well maintained was a might generous but at seventy something the muggle that maintained the gardens did a passable job. “I think this is just what we’re looking for.”
The realtor stared at Sirius in surprise. He hadn‘t expected anyone to buy it as the asking price was around twenty percent over the market value for a piece of land that size. Factoring in the massive costs to renovate the manor and you were looking at a colossal money pit, “You’re serious about buying the place?”
Sirius normally wouldn‘t have bothered buying a place as rundown as this but the part of him that was Xander thought the price wasn’t too painful besides it wasn‘t his money he was spending. With a lot of magic and some effort he could have the place restored to a livable condition in a couple of months at worst. All things considered he wouldn’t have wasted the money but Hermione had plans for the place. “I’ll drop the money off at the office this very afternoon if that‘s acceptable?”
The man was delighted to get such a large commission for a single drive out to the country. The office hadn’t really expected the place to sell so they had assigned their youngest agent to the job when a man had called up expressing interest in viewing the property. He was fairly sure that the owner just kept it on the market as a strange tax write off. “Yes. Do you want to see the inside or are we done?”
Sirius shook his head, “The inside isn’t all that important to me. I saw the pictures that were posted.” The main point wasn’t how nice the place was now, it wasn’t even how nice it would look after they finished. No, the main point of the purchase was that they could turn Riddle’s birthright into a muggle tourist trap. He briefly considered seeing if the Dursleys wanted to move there once they finished restoring it just to see if Riddle would come and kill them but he figured that Lily might complain about him trying to kill her sister before she had her shot at her.
“I’ll meet you back at the office then.”
“That would be fine. We‘ll probably grab some lunch on the way back so if you want to get the paperwork ready for when we get there.” He was hoping to get all of the business done in a couple of days so that he had plenty of time to hang out with Harry before school.
Harry watched the young man run off to his car so that he could leave to go make the calls that he had to make in order to sell the property. “You know, it’s so much faster when you don’t have to deal with banks for loans.”
Sirius chuckled, “True. Let‘s go blow up a shack.”
“That works for me.” He walked over to their expensive rental car. “I’m almost going to miss this thing.”
Sirius laughed, “I’m not but people take you more seriously if they think you can afford a hot car and the five hundred thousand dollar mansion that you’re bidding on.” He would have rather bought an old sports car and fixed it up with magic than rented a new sports car but they only had a limited amount of time to get everything looked at and dealt with before school.
“Just because you wanted a blue or red sports car rather than a green sports car.”
He looked at the green car with silver highlights, “It looks like something a Slytherin would drive if they even consented to drive something so very muggle.”
Harry chuckled, “It served its purpose.”
Sirius reached out and grabbed Harry’s hand and apparated with him to the graveyard they had passed on the way in. “Can you deal with Riddle’s bones from here or do we have to dig them up?” He really didn’t want to be seen digging up someone’s bones in the middle of the day. Not that he really expected someone to come by the old graveyard but there was always a chance.
“A little warning next time.” Harry shook his head to clear it of the weird feeling of getting pulled through a narrow and twisted pipe. “If we can find his gravestone then I should be able to deal with his bones without digging him up.”
Sirius snickered as he took a sealed jar out of his pocket that was charmed to be larger on the inside than on the outside. He had also stuck several unbreakable charms on the jar so that it didn’t break in his pocket. “I still think we’re not being perfectly authentic here.”
“Dog shit or horse shit, it’s still shit.” Harry didn’t recall which fic that Willow read that the caster transfigured shit to look like the bones of Voldemort’s father but he liked the idea. They were planning to kill Voldemort before he could actually use the ritual that recreated his body but at the same time it didn’t hurt to be prepared in case their plans took longer to implement than they wanted.
After walking around a bit and looking at the various graves, Harry stopped at one of the tombstones. “This one. Thomas Riddle.” He reached out and used magic to get a sense of the bones in the ground. “Open the jar then step back.”
Sirius set the jar down then waved his wand at the jar and levitated the lid off after taking a couple of steps back.
Harry gestured toward the horse shit filled jar and pulled a large pile of it out with magic. A duplication spell changed the shit into a copy of the bones in the grave then a swapping spell swapped the two sets of ‘bones‘. He snapped his fingers and ignited the real bones that were now resting on the ground.
Sirius jumped back as the skeleton lit on fire. “What?”
“I’m making sure they can’t be used.”
Sirius frowned, “I think burning their bones only works on Supernatural.”
Harry shrugged, “It can’t hurt.” He gestured and used telekinesis to crush the flaming bones into a mess of broken and blackened bones.
Sirius looked at the burning bones, “We should have brought marshmallows.”
“You’re horrible.” Harry watched the burning bones with amusement, “On second thought, we could probably conjure some just so we could truthfully tell Voldemort that we roasted marshmallows over his father’s bones.”
Sirius laughed, “We could but they wouldn’t have any nutritional value.”
“They’re marshmallows, it’s not like they have any anyways. The conjured marshmallows would probably be healthier.”
Sirius pulled out his wand and transfigured a rock into two marshmallows and two short sticks into two decent looking marshmallow sticks. “I don’t plan to eat them but I do like the idea of honestly being able to make that claim.” He picked the marshmallows up and stuck them on the sticks then handed one of the sticks to Harry.
“You have a warped sense of humor, you know that right?” He held his stick over the burning bones.
“So your father told me many times.”
Harry watched the marshmallows roast, “On second thought.” He waved his hand and teleported the roasted marshmallows to Dudley’s room. “Better him than us.”
“Where did you send them?”
“To my cousin’s room.”
“Nah, it’s payback. I wonder if the barrister is done with them yet.”
“We’ll have to ask him the next time we’re in Diagon Alley.”
Harry smiled as they quietly watched the bones to turn to ash. He gestured toward the remains and teleported them into the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. “Done and done.”
Harry glanced off toward the direction he knew the Gaunt shack was, “Yeah. If I recall the gold box the ring is in is trapped as well as the ring.”
“Can you deal with it?”
“I should be able to.” Harry headed for the shack.
Sirius sealed the jar of shit back up and placed it in his pocket just in case he needed it again for a prank.
Luna looked over her father’s books about vampires while he worked on his article for his paper. She stared at the pages blankly wondering what to do about Buffy’s memories and knowledge. On the one hand she was a slayer on the other hand she was pretty sure that Harry was supposed to be the hero. It would have been better if she could have actually figured out if vampires were evil or not. It didn’t seem like they were all good or all bad. Then again wizards had magic and vampires liked to stay alive so wizard interactions were bound to be more cordial than vampire human relations. She didn’t really want to ask her father about vampires as she vaguely recalled that he didn’t really have a problem with them other than that they were part of some strange conspiracy that the ministry was part of. She sighed as she watched her father typing away at his typewriter. She had tried to talk him out of several of his theories but he had taken that as a challenge to convince her that he was right. She glanced toward the window, “Dad, can I go visit Ginny?”
Her father looked up, “Sure you can.”
“Thanks dad.” She darted out of the house before her father could tell her to be careful of some fictional monster. Normally it was nice when he did that but ever since getting Buffy’s memories she wasn’t sure how sane her father was. It frustrated her because there wasn’t anything she could do to help him. She wasn’t exactly old enough to go into Diagon Alley by herself and talk to the healers. She made a mental note to talk to the school nurse about it on the off chance that she might know someone that could help.
Harry gestured with his right hand and used a touch of magic to open the door of the moss covered shack. The door fell off the hinges after opening a foot.
Sirius snickered as he backed up a couple of steps from Harry, “Paranoid?”
“Considering who owned this place? Hell no. It‘s not paranoia if they‘re really out to get you.” He gestured at the floor of the cottage and ripped it apart with a blast of magic. He floated the gold box that had been hiding under the rotting floorboards out of the building. “Do you have a better idea than just melting the box?”
Sirius shrugged, “Having the gold turn to liquid would probably destroy the charms on it. Normally you would have to worry about the stuff in the box but in this case I think it’s safe to say that it will survive.”
“True.” He conjured a shield between the shield and where he was standing then reached out and poured magic and heat into the box until it started melting.
Sirius took another step back and conjured a shield of his own with a wave of his wand..
Using a trickle of magic Harry lifted the Gaunt family’s ring out of the half melted box. “I should really thank Anya for this next spell.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Why is that?”
“Because it came out of one of the Magic Box’s spell books that Willow drained.” She concentrated on the ring, held out her hand and spoke as clearly as she could, “Anima pellat.”
Sirius gulped as he heard a fearsome shrieking sound followed by a dark presence trying to leave the ring only for it to be pulled back into the ring by the bindings that held it. “I don’t think that worked.”
Harry glared at the ring and poured magic into his building spell and shouted, “Anima pellat!”
Sirius watched as Voldemort’s soul fragment shredded itself as it was ripped out of the ring while parts of it were still bound to the ring. He tried to plug his ears as the unearthly wailing of the tortured soul got louder and louder. Sadly, it didn’t seem to help. Luckily the wailing died as the last of the tiny pieces that were clinging to the ring dissolved. “What the hell was that?”
“A spell that’s used on particularly annoying ghosts.”
“You can destroy a ghost?”
“No, it‘s just a spirit banish spell. It normally just physically repels the spirit. You only run into problems if the spirit is tied to something.”
“That’s a bit freaky.”
“Useful though.” Harry took a deep breath then exhaled.
“Are you okay?”
“More or less, I put a lot of magic into that.”
“Do we need to rest?”
“I’d rather get things done and get out of here.” Harry pointed at the door and transfigured the doorknob into a human hand.
Sirius stared at the hand as it twisted and twitched though it couldn‘t go anywhere because it was still attached to the door. “What the hell is that?”
Harry floated the ring onto the hand’s middle finger. “A way to test something.” She stared at the hand as it turned black and diseased before their eyes. “Nasty curse. It might take a bit of work to break this one.”
Hermione smiled brightly as she opened the door to her parent’s house to reveal Sirius and a female Harry. “How did it go?”
Harry snickered, “What, no good to see you or come in for some tea or something.”
Hermione mock glared at him, “Spill or I’ll sick Crookshanks on you.” She smiled as she gestured for them to come in.
Harry walked in and looked around wondering if the cat was going to jump out at him or anything. “You got him?”
“This morning, I wanted a pet and we both know that he’s smart.”
Sirius stepped in and closed the door behind him. “As for how it went, Harry roasted some marshmallows and destroyed the soul fragment in the Peverell family ring.”
Harry took the ring out of his pocket and showed Hermione, “I want a curse breaker to give it a last once over before I put it on but I think I de-cursed it.”
“Don’t put that on until you’re sure…” She didn’t want Harry to get cursed with something that would continually kill him or worse.
“Have a little faith.”
“Fine.” Hermione looked Sirius, “Did you get the properties we wanted?”
Sirius shrugged, “We didn’t get Blair castle, they weren’t ready to sell but we got the Yester house and castle along with the land around them, five hundred and thirty acres.” He was glad that the musician that had owned it was willing to sell the place.
Hermione smiled, “That’s great, did you get Riddle’s manor for me?”
“We did, all two hundred acres of it.”
“That’s a lot.” Hermione was surprised that there was that much land attached to it until she remembered that the Riddles had been rather wealthy before their deaths.
Harry grinned, “Not as much as the Dalchully Estate.”
“Wasn’t that four hundred and some acres?”
Sirius snickered, “Harry also purchased the rest of the lots that we didn’t know were on the market.”
“How large were the other lots?”
“The other lots bring the property up to five thousand and one acres.”
Hermione stared at Harry, “That’s rather insane… you could turn it into a magical creature preserve at that size, well if you wanted to.”
Harry chuckled, “True enough, we’ve got more land than a couple of tiny countries. I don‘t think the farmers next to it would appreciate that but it might be fun. What are you going to do with the Riddle house?”
“I’m thinking a muggle bed and breakfast or something suitably muggle.”
“He’s probably going to be pissed when he finds out what you’ve done.” Harry knew that as much as Voldemort tried to downplay being a half blood the Riddle property was still important to him otherwise he would have never went back there.
“This wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if I thought that Voldemort actually had a decent shot at killing me for disgracing his family home.”
Harry laughed, “Lucky you.” He was seriously considering creating and wearing some enchanted armor on his neck that was invisible and as unbreakable as he could make it.
“I’m sorry that you couldn’t get Blair castle but it’s probably for the best. You wouldn’t want to split your attention too many ways.” There were probably some other castles that they could pick up eventually if they wanted to expand but for now it was probably better to work on what they had.
“True, besides I think that Sirius is going to have enough work to last the rest of the year just restoring the properties that we did buy.”
“It should be fun.” Sirius blamed Xander’s memories for his desire to restore the various properties. That and the fact that he wanted to keep busy and practice his magic and this gave him the perfect excuse to do both.
Hermione asked innocently, “Have you picked up any books on building wizard homes yet?”
Sirius whispered, “You just want an excuse to go back to the bookstore so that you can spend money that your parents don‘t know about.” He had a couple of books on the subject in the family library but nothing all that impressive or recent.
Hermione glanced in the direction of her father‘s office. “Maybe a little, I picked up my school books with my parents but I want to get a couple of other books. I also want to take a tour of the new properties.” She hadn’t wanted to admit to her parents that she had a lot of money so she hadn’t been able to buy more than a handful of extra books when her parents had taken her shopping. Part of her wanted to just tell her parents but another part of her didn’t want to get grounded for life for sneaking into a casino and using magic to cheat. It seemed much more reasonable to pretend that her friend Willow was the one with the money for all of their projects.
Sirius grinned, “Well in that case, I guess we can head out if it‘s okay with your parents.”
“I’ll go ask.”
Harry winced, “At least I don’t have to cover the bill this time.”
Hermione stuck her tongue out at Harry then headed off to ask her parents if she could head off to Willow‘s house for the weekend.
Harry stared at the tower that rested where the Yestor ruins should be, “Hmm this doesn’t look anything like the pictures.”
Hermione laughed, “Apparently there is some truth in the founder of this place being a wizard.”
Sirius chuckled as he looked over the three story stone tower that looked in decent enough repair other than the missing roof and the moss covering a fair amount of the tower, “Or at least one of the previous owners was a wizard.”
Harry grinned as he clapped his hands, “Shall we go inside?”
“I guess we should.” Harry started to cautiously explore the tower.
Fred and George looked over the books on warding that Ginny, Bill and them had picked up for Harry. There were a number of interesting spells, though a fair number of the books weren’t readable thanks to the books being in Arabic. Fred frowned, “Do you think he’s found a translation charm?”
George frowned, “I didn’t know that was possible.”
“As far as I know it’s not but it’s Harry.”
Fred looked over at where Ginny and Luna were working on de-gnoming the garden. “It’s more likely that Hermione picked the language up somewhere and she’s translating for him.”
“She’s rather scary brilliant.”
“True.” He watched a Luna toss a gnome all the way over the stream. “Do you think there is something different about Luna?”
George shrugged, “She seems a bit saner than normal, why?”
“She’s just looking at me like I’m crazy.”
“Well you are crazy.”
“No worse than you.”
“I guess.” Fred tapped the page as he spotted something that had some interesting practical joke potential. “Did you see this?”
George leaned over and took at look at the spell his twin had found, “Oh, that looks interesting.” He jotted down a couple of notes for the spell so that he could try it once he got back to Hogwarts.
Sirius looked around the basement with amusement. The tower had been rather water damaged and overgrown with moss but nothing that a couple of spells couldn’t fix easily enough. The basement was an arched stone basement that a giant could have stood up in, if you could have gotten them down the narrow stairs or in by one of the other two iron grated entrances. The plus side was the entrances let in light, the downside was that it also let in animals. Something had damaged one of the walls and pulled the stones out and scattered them on the floor. He suspected that some local muggles had tried to quarry the tower at some point in the past and gotten freaked by the wards before they were done hauling the stones out of the basement. “We’ll have to clean the place up a little and reinforce the walls but it’s workable.”
Hermione stared out the openings picturing what the final house might look like, “It needs a bathroom… maybe a solarium and a couple of bookshelves. Not to mention a roof on the tower.”
Harry frowned, “We’ll probably have to bribe someone in the government to allow us to update it.”
Hermione stared at the damaged wall where she could detect a faint trace of magic. “I think the damage to the wall was intentional.”
Sirius frowned, “Why?”
“Because I can sense magic coming from behind the dirt.”
Sirius pulled his wand out and flicked it at the dirt. The dirt shifted to reveal a metal door showing a curious lack of corrosion for a metal door buried in dirt. “Interesting, Harry if you want to do the honors of trying to open it.”
“Because your name is on the deed, well Willow’s name but that’s you right now.”
“Oh, right.” He had forgotten that he hadn’t changed back after showing up at the Grangers. It had been nice to walk through Diagon Alley without attracting stares because he was Harry Potter. He had still attracted some stares because of his female form’s looks and the fact that he had walked down Diagon Alley in shorts and a t-shirt. He walked up to the door and tried the handle. To his amazement the door opened with very little work.
Hermione gasped as she looked through the door and saw what looked like it had been a fully stocked potions lab at one point in time. The center table looked to have been created from multiple river stones that had been haphazardly melted together on the sides and legs. The top of the dusty table was smooth stone as far as he could tell. There was a layer of dust on everything but it looked like it was well laid out. “I‘m going to have to go with wizard or witch.”
“Seconded…” Sirius trailed off as he looked over some of the strange equipment, “This looks like alchemy equipment.”
“That fits with the muggle facts about the original owner.”
Harry smiled as he stepped through the door and looked around the chamber. He was guessing that the chamber was twenty by thirty feet or near enough. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. The single wooden chair in the room looked old but not quite ancient enough to be original. Several of Willow’s memories placed it in a style from the seventeen hundreds. One of the first things he was going to do after cleaning the room was to sell the chair to a museum and get something more comfortable. He didn‘t see any other doors but that didn‘t actually mean anything in a wizarding home. Hagrid would have had to duck but the ceiling was high enough that even Dumbledore would have had a good bit of clearance. There was a couple of large glass faced bookcases filled with leather journals that he hoped were spell books or at least research books about alchemy. He could sense magic on the bookshelves that he hoped was some type of preservation magic. While there was a chance that nothing of any real value resided in what he was guessing was an alchemy library he was hopeful that there would be something of use in the books. If nothing else the library would probably keep Hermione busy for a good long while. Harry looked at Sirius, “How long do you think it would take to copy the library and have Dumbledore look over the copies?”
Sirius shrugged, “The Geminio charm should copy everything unless they’re spelled to prevent it.”
Hermione frowned, “What’s the chances?”
“The Geminio spell is a fairly new invention.”
Harry frowned, “How new?”
“Within the last two hundred years so there is a decent chance that we can copy the books.”
Harry smiled, “We have the deed, we own the land… I say we ward it so that people don’t come bother us.”
Sirius looked at Harry and asked, “What are you thinking?”
“If we line the outside of the property with no trespassing signs then we put muggle repelling charms ten feet into the property we can probably ward the rest of the land with the fidelius charm without any real problem.”
Hermione turned to look at Sirius, “Do you think you can put a fidelius charm on the whole area?”
Sirius considered for a couple of seconds, “I should be able to. I don’t think I could hide the Dalchully estate without help but I should be able to hide the five hundred and thirty acres here or at least I can if I‘m hiding it for the rightful owner. The old owner already collected his personal possessions out of the house so I don‘t see a reason not to hide it as well.”
Hermione frowned as she realized that she didn’t remember the books talking about the legality of the charm. “Is that even legal?”
“The ministry never actually banned its use.”
Hermione was a bit confused why they wouldn‘t ban its use considering how weird they were about other spells. “Why not? It seems like having people be untraceable would be something the ministry would want to avoid.”
“You would think. The trick is that most witches or wizards can’t actually cast the spell. It’s an extremely complex and difficult charm. Besides, most people would consider it overkill anyways as it makes it hard for people to come visit or for owls to deliver your post. My personal theory is that there are certain members of the Wizengamot that use the charm to hide valuables or rooms in their estate.”
“As long as I tell Hedwig where the place is I don’t really think the lack of owl service will bother me.”
Hermione wondered if they could create a ward that made something invisible only to a certain type of person such as people with the dark mark, purebloods or people with red hair. She had a brief amused smile as she considered all the fun she could have hiding things from Ron. She would have to discuss the idea with Harry and Sirius after they finished the spell.
Sirius chuckled, “In that case, let’s get started.”
Harry was personally hoping that he could learn something about the charm by watching it be cast. He knew his wand work wasn’t anywhere good enough to use such a complicated spell but if he paid attention he might be able to partially duplicate the charm with Willow’s style of magic.
Harry looked around the Yester manor’s informal dinning room, “The pink chairs have to go.”
Hermione chuckled, “True, I think the crystal is probably useable.”
“Most of the paintings could be sold.” He wasn’t a fan of the painting of the military man posing and most of the other paintings were probably worth way too much to have on the walls. As much as he appreciated certain types of art after getting Willow’s memories and exploring a number of French museums he didn’t really see the benefit of having an expensive piece of crap on the wall when you could have something that you liked hanging on the wall that was far less expensive. He didn’t have to impress anyone as far as he was concerned. He was hoping to make some of his investment back by selling most of the stuff they didn’t want. He knew that he would never make it all back but he wasn’t worried about that. He still had what his parents left him and he still had some of the money that he had fleeced from the various casinos on his trip to France. Even if he gave the gold his parents had left him back once he brought his parents back to life he would still have enough normal money to get by for a good long while as long as he didn‘t buy a bunch of expensive cars. He was also planning to supplement his income by robbing several death eaters. It was only fair that they paid for the war effort after all.
Hermione nodded, “I think a number of collectors would go wild for most of the stuff here.”
Sirius smiled as he walked back into the room, “Was it worth it?”
Harry shrugged, “It’s got space and doesn’t need tons of remodeling unlike the tower and Riddle’s house. If you’re serious about bringing your brother back to life then I really don’t want to stay at 12 Grimauld Place any longer than we have to.”
“All things considered I was a horrible big brother. Maybe if I had been better he wouldn’t have ended up following Riddle.” Sirius wasn’t sure if he could have stopped his brother from following the lunatic but he could have tried harder.
Harry glanced down at the crystal goblet that was resting on the table. Part of him wanted to use the ring and call his parents but another part didn‘t because once he summoned their shades and asked them it would be the end of his daydreaming. If they didn‘t want to come back he would respect that. He wouldn‘t be happy but he would respect their desire to stay dead. Still, he wasn‘t quite ready to face that so he changed the subject, “That reminds me, the Black family has a couple of goblin silver goblets. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble I’d like to see if we could make a sword out of a couple of them. I can’t depend on Gryffindor’s sword being available to destroy the rest of the horcruxes and the banishment spell takes a lot of energy to cast.” Mostly he wanted a sword because he felt uncomfortable not carrying one.
Sirius raised an eyebrow. Xander’s memories held a lot of cases of Willow doing some seriously impressive magic but he knew that goblin made silver was the next best thing to indestructible. “Do you think you can melt the goblets?”
“Maybe, nothing is completely indestructible. Even if I can’t melt them I can probably figure out how to duplicate the process that created the silver.”
Hermione grinned, “If you can do that then we could dip the swords in basilisk venom and we wouldn‘t need Gryffindor‘s sword.”
“I like that plan.”
Hermione jumped slightly as the clock struck nine o’clock at night. “I suppose we should see if a trip to the ministry is even worth it.”
Harry sighed, “I guess…”
“I thought you would be happy.” She looked at Harry in concern.
“If they decide to come back then sure, if not then I’ll be sad because they care more about their friends on the other side than they do me.”
Sirius snorted, “I can’t see that being the case. Just give it a couple of spins and ask.”
Harry pulled the ring out of his pocket and spun it around three times.
Lily and James Potter both appeared as rather thick spirits. His mother smiled at Harry, “Last I checked I had a son but I guess dying scrambled my mind.”
James snickered, “Obviously.”
Harry shifted back to his male form. “Oops.”
Lily smiled as she pulled Harry into a hug, “Hello Harry.”
“Hello mum…” He felt his throat trying to close up as his emotions got the best of him.
James rolled his eyes, “Am I a bad parent if I think he looks better as a girl?”
Lily reached over and smacked James on the head, “Ignore him. So you have a question to ask?”
Harry hesitated, “Do you want to come back?”
Lily grinned, “Of course we do, if for no other reason than to kick my sister’s idiot husband in the nuts repeatedly before I curse him.”
James shrugged, “Count me in.”
Harry stared at James, “Really?”
James looked at Harry with a smirk, “You have any idea how boring it is being dead?”
Hermione frowned, “What are they saying?”
“They said yes…” He giggled slightly hysterically, “They said yes.”
“Of course they did.” Sirius was happy that Lily and James wanted to spend time with Harry rather than hang out in the afterlife. He had been mostly sure but there had always been the chance that the stone just summoned a shade or something that wasn’t really them.
Lily asked, “I know you mentioned a plan to bring us back but you never really discussed details other than your new magic. We’re going to have a long chat about that.”
Harry tried to ignore the idea that his parents spied on his life, there would be time enough later to be mortified. “I know but I think I can open the path back if I use the veil of death in the ministry as a focus.”
Lily let Harry out of her hug. “That might work or it might rip us apart.”
Harry gestured toward Sirius with his hand, “He wants to use his brother as a test case.”
Lily laughed, “Tell Sirius that he’s a bad, bad wizard.”
Harry laughed, “Sure. Mum says that you’re a bad, bad wizard and you aren’t going to get a doggie biscuit.”
Sirius pouted, “Rats.”
“Not exactly what I said but it works.”
James sighed, “As much as I would like to stay and chat manifesting like this is a bit painful, is there something you need us to do on our end?”
“Not really, I’ll summon everyone once I’m at the veil and tell people that want to come back what they need to do.”
Lily smiled, “I know some people that want a second chance at life. If I can get them there would that be a problem?”
Harry wasn’t sure how long he could hold the door open or how if it would even work but he was determined to try. “As long as they’re waiting near the veil. They’ll have to be quick.”
“How long do we have to gather people?”
Harry looked over at Sirius, “Ideas?”
Sirius checked his watch, “It shouldn‘t take more than an hour or so to get there.”
James looked at Lily then back at Harry, “Take your time but we should be able to round people up in an hour.”
Harry grinned, “See you in an hour then.”
“I’m proud of you son.” James smiled as they faded away.
Harry sighed, “That went better than I thought. Now I just have to hope that I can pull off the impossible.”
Hermione pulled him into a hug, “I have faith in you.”
“Thanks.” Harry turned to look at Sirius, “Any idea how to sneak into the ministry?”
Sirius grinned, “I’ve got a couple of ideas. Can I borrow the ring to ask my brother if he wants to come back?”
Harry handed him the ring. “Of course.”
Harry was rather shocked that Sirius’s plan to just walk into the ministry had actually worked. Part of him had been sure that the ministry really wasn’t as incompetent as Willow’s memories said they were. Sadly or not depending on how you looked at it, her memories had proved to be accurate. They had used a glamour to look like older and different people then merely walked into the ministry and declared themselves squibs that needed to see Umbridge about her attempt to kill several of their friends. The badges that they were given listed their reason to be in the ministry as ‘A pointless quest‘. They had gotten into the lift and taken it down to the ninth floor and simply walked into the department of mysteries. Harry glared at the contents of the brain room, “We should try again.”
Hermione shook her head, “No, I want to copy some notes from the office. They might be useful if we ever want to enchant something like the sorting hat.”
Sirius checked his watch to make sure they had enough time. “I’ll do it otherwise we might not have time.” He really didn’t want to be caught down here as it would probably mean a life sentence in Azkaban if they couldn‘t escape. He pulled a bag out of his pocket and headed down to check the office for research notes being careful to avoid the brain tanks.
“Time.” Harry grinned, “We should steal a time turner.”
The part of Hermione that still thought that thievery was wrong wanted to glare at Harry but the rest of her thought that taking a couple of time turners and replacing them with fakes would be good. It wasn’t that she wanted to be a criminal but she knew that the ministry was terribly useless and that they would need every edge they could get. “Not a bad idea. We can also smash the prophecy while we’re here.”
“Good call, I don’t need Voldemort learning the full prophecy.” He figured that replacing the prophecy with a sphere designed to insult Voldemort if it was picked up would keep the destruction hidden.
Sirius quickly copied the notes and books with a couple of gemino charms then stuffed the copied notes and books in his bag. He hurried back to where Harry and Hermione were waiting by the door. “Let’s see what’s next.”
Harry twitched slightly as everything spun around after they exited the door. Trying one of the twelve doors showed that it was locked. “That’s obviously love. Let’s try something else.” He opened the next door and found that it was the room of time. “Let’s grab what we need.”
Sirius glanced down the hall at the door at the end of the room that led to the hall of prophecy. “You should go break the prophecy while I copy the notes from here.”
“Be back in a flash.” Harry headed off.
Hermione pointed to two silver time turners, “Can you make a copy of these?”
“They won’t work.”
“That’s fine, I’m grabbing the originals.”
“Ah, not a bad idea.” He copied three of the time turners then headed to the various offices to copy research notes. He knew that they would eventually have to copy the books and notes by hand but that was a worry for another day.
Hermione placed the replicas where the original time turners had been then looked around the room. She stopped as she spotted the large crystal bell jar that held a bird that was going from a bird to an egg and back again. She remembered that Willow had debated with Dawn for years if you could use the jar to grow younger as long as you got out of it fast enough. Willow hadn’t been sure it would work but Dawn had thought it might. Dawn had even written a fic where Hermione had used the jar as starting point in researching something like a sarcophagi on the Stargate show. It felt a bit weird to be looking at the jar now and thinking back to some of Dawn’s crazy ideas and wondering if they were possible. Of course the jar hadn’t existed in their old world so they had never gotten the chance to see if it would have led to something that they could use.
Harry poked Hermione’s arm which caused her to jump slightly, “What are you thinking?”
“I’m just thinking about a project.”
He glanced at the large crystal bell jar, “Anything I need to worry about?”
“Not right now.” She knew he needed to save his strength for forcing open the veil. She figured she would see if Sirius could stick a portkey to the bell jar when he came back as she really wanted to study the thing.
It had taken a couple of minutes and a lot of trial and error but eventually they had managed to get to the room that held the veil. The large stone arch seemed to call to Harry but he ignored the call as best he could. “Are we ready?”
Sirius sighed, “As much as we’ll ever be. We’ve spent way too much time here so we should hurry and be prepared to get out of here as soon as we’re done because this is probably going to make waves.”
Hermione stared at the veil, “You’re up Harry.”
Harry concentrated on his parents, their friends and several other people that he thought should have had a better shake in life as he spun the ring around three times in order to summon the shades. “Anyone that wants to come back step out of the veil once I reverse it.” He focused on the veil and Osiris and tossed magic into the veil and willed it open.
Hermione stepped back as the veil started blowing as if wind was coming out of it. She could feel the massive amount of magic Harry was pushing into the veil trying to force it open. “Is it supposed to do that?”
Sirius watched Harry wearily as his hair started waving in a wind that he couldn’t feel. “You and Willow are supposed to be the experts.” He held his wand up pointing at the veil. He was rather shocked when the saw his brother step out of the veil. Rather than the shadowy mostly solid ghost that he had been when he had talked to him less than an hour ago he looked flesh and blood. “Are you sane?”
“More or less.” Regulus Black stepped out of the way as a blond girl stepped out of the veil next.
Sirius didn’t recognize the vaguely familiar looking blond girl though he did recognize Fabian and Gideon Prewett as they jumped through the veil. He smiled as Dorcas Meadowes stepped out of the veil. “This is going to be interesting…” He stopped talking as half a dozen people poured out of the veil as a group. Four of them looked between five and ten years of age. He recognized them as the McKinnon family. “Marlene, good to see you.”
Marlene turned to stare at Sirius as a blond girl in her late twenties jumped out of the veil, “Lily said you were in disguise.”
“I am.” Sirius smiled at the old order member.
James and Lily jumped out of the veil. “Close it!”
Harry didn’t need any prompting. As he stopped pushing magic into the veil a black robed crazy looking figure jumped out of the veil.
Sirius took one look and the man before rushing forward and kicking him back through the veil. “No way, no how.”
Hermione reached out and grabbed Sirius to make sure that he didn’t get pulled in or anything stupid like that. “Let’s get out of here before they send aurors.”
Harry slumped and fell unconscious from exhaustion.
Remus stared at the group of wizards and witches that should be dead. They were all gathered at the Black family home. “I’m seeing it but I’m having a hard time believing it.” James and Lily both looked liked they hadn’t aged a day since the last time he saw them which he guessed was fair since they had been dead.
James laughed, “You’ll get over it Moony.”
“Maybe but it’s still weird, death is supposed to be permanent.”
“Tell that to the other side.” Lily smiled at Remus.
Remus smiled slightly, “What was it like?”
James shrugged, “We could tell you but then we’d have to kill you.”
Lily sighed, “Yeah.” After a couple of seconds she started snickering.
“You almost had me.” Remus laughed.
“It’s sort of like being a ghost only you get to spy on the living now and then. It’s not really something to rush toward and not something to destroy your soul to avoid. That said I don’t plan on dying anytime soon.” Lily squeezed her husband’s hand.
James smiled, “I plan to live for a good long while.”
Sirius chuckled, “Did you meet anyone famous?”
Lily grinned, “A couple of people, some famous wizards, three of the four founders.”
“Slytherin is a bit of an ass. Rowena has her head in the clouds researching even in death. Hufflepuff is about like you would expect. They haunt the other side at Hogwarts.”
Sirius frowned, “Why?”
“For something to do, they poured their lives into the school. There isn’t much to do when you’re dead other than party and learn interesting things. Speaking of interesting things. It turns out that Slytherin’s reason for not wanting muggle-borns to attend had more to do with security than some idea that blood purity mattered.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Really?”
James shrugged, “Mostly. He’s still a bit of a bigot toward Muggles but he was a product of his times.”
“Interesting, what about Godric?”
“Helga was the last person to see Godric and that was while she was still alive. If he’s dead he’s keeping a very low profile and has been for close to a thousand years.”
Lily glanced toward the stairs where she knew that Harry was sleeping, “Yeah. I’ll tell you more about it later but I want to go check on Harry. It’s hardly fair that he’s going to Hogwarts in three days.”
Sirius sighed, “I know. Go check up on him. I‘ll catch up with James.”
“Don’t believe everything he says.” Lily chuckled as she left to check on Harry.
“I rarely do.”
Albus Dumbledore stared at the fourteen year old girl sitting on his brother’s bar in shock. “Ariana…” He shook his head, “You’re dead.” He suddenly felt silly for accusing the young lady of being his dead sister but she looked exactly like he remembered his sister looking the day of the duel that killed her.
Ariana giggled, “I was dead, not so much anymore.”
Aberforth laughed heartily at the look of shock on his brother‘s face, “Finally speechless after all these years.”
Albus stared at the girl claiming to be his sister, “How?”
“I’d rather not say.” She really didn’t want to get anyone in trouble for sneaking into the ministry to spring her from death’s realm.
Aberforth smirked, “She hasn’t drank any potions in well over an hour other than the truth potion I gave her. As near as I can tell she checks out, even on details that no one else was around for.”
Albus stared at his sister as he tried to figure out how such a thing was possible. Dozens of worst case scenarios were bouncing around in his head each more unlikely than the last.
Dorcas Meadowes snickered from a darkened corner table, “I don’t think he even noticed us.”
Marlene McKinnon snickered, “Probably not.”
Regulus Black shrugged, “Beside his sister we hardly rate.”
Albus spun around and drew his wand on the people sitting around the tavern that were supposed to be dead. “What’s going on?”
Ariana giggled, “How long has he been mister grumpy robes?”
Aberforth sighed, “Since you died.”
“I blame Gellert for that, it was his curse, not that he meant to…” She shrugged as Albus turned back to look at her, “Still, water under the bridge and all of that.”
Albus started mentally checking back through his memories to see if someone had cursed him or something that would explain the impossible situation that he found himself in.
Molly opened the door to the Burrow absently as she wasn’t expecting visitors. The glass she was holding slipped out of her hand as she spotted two people standing on the other side of the door that couldn’t possibly still be alive.
Luna opened the door and stared at the person that looked a lot like her mother. “How?”
“Harry/Willow asked if I wanted to come back to life. I took them up on it.”
“Willow?” Luna stared at her mother and asked in a voice that sounded a lot more like Buffy‘s voice than her normal voice, “Mom?”
“Yep and yep.”
Luna/Buffy launched herself at her mother. She was going to have to get Harry a really big hug then yell at him for practicing dark magic again.
Harry looked up as his mother walked into his room. He wasn’t sure how long he had been asleep but he didn’t think it was more than a night because he didn’t feel starved or anything even though the plate filled with various types of sandwiches smelled delicious. “What time is it?”
Lily grinned, “Is that your way of asking how long you’ve been asleep?”
She chuckled, “James is the same way. It‘s ten o‘clock so about twelve hours or so.”
“Could be worse. That means that we still have a couple of days before we go back to Hogwarts.”
She held the plate of sandwiches out, “Do you want one?”
“That would be great.”
“I wasn’t sure what you liked so I made a couple of different types of sandwiches.” She glanced over at where Hermione was sitting on the large windowsill reading a book. “I have some for your guardian angel as well if she wants to eat.”
Hermione smiled at Lily, “I could eat.”
Harry twisted and stared at Hermione, “How long have you been sitting there?”
“All night, I wanted to make sure that you were okay.”
“That’s either really creepy or very cute.” Harry smiled at Hermione. With the number of pillows and blankets she had in her little nest it didn’t look too terribly uncomfortable.
Hermione stuck her bookmark in her book then stretched her arms, “I actually dozed off for most of the night. I woke up a bit ago when it got light.”
“Anything particular you want to do today?” Harry took a sandwich at random and bit into it. “Peanut butter and strawberry jam.”
Lily set the plate on the bed, “I wasn’t sure what you liked.” While she had been able to occasionally peek in on Harry over the years it hadn’t been as consistent as she would have liked. Sometimes she had gone months without being able to check on him. Halloween and the solstices were the only days where she had been able to consistently check on Harry. That meant that there were some very large gaps where she knew nothing about his life. “I don’t know. I’m supposed to be taking it easy as well. Maybe some stories?”
Harry glanced up at Hermione as she walked over and grabbed a sandwich, “What was on the agenda today?”
“I had planned on studying the books we found in the castle today but we could blow that off easily enough.” She took a bite of her tuna sandwich.
Harry nodded, “The only thing we really have to do before we head back to Hogwarts is buy a particular vanishing cabinet from a shop in the alley. I guess that leaves the day open to just relax.”
Hermione grinned as she swallowed the bite of her sandwich, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. We should leave him alone so that he can get changed.”
Harry asked in disbelief, “You’re letting me out of bed?” He was way too used to the nurse at Hogwarts thinking he was fragile glassware or something.
Lily laughed, “Sirius has assured me that you’ll be fine. Try not to prove him wrong.” She turned and walked out of the bedroom.
Hermione chuckled, “I’ll see you in a bit Harry.” She picked up another sandwich then headed out of the room with Lily.
Harry frowned slightly as he realized that for the first time ever Hogwarts was coming to quickly.