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Meeting Death Gladly. by Siriusly3

Format: Short story
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 7,552

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: General
Characters: Harry, Dumbledore, Snape, Lily, James

First Published: 03/11/2012
Last Chapter: 03/28/2012
Last Updated: 03/28/2012


 Harry knew the day would come, hell, we all did. Old, tired and thrust into a world that he has to learn about all over again. He's been here before, nearly a century has passed. Is dying worth seeing the dead?

Banner by ahoythere @ TDA :) 

Chapter 1: One.
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 First ever fanfic, so, yeah, don't judge me. Just review and that, doesn't even have to be nice things. :) Oh, shoutout to JK Rowling, who owns all characters, themes, plots and er, well everything. 


Harry opened his eyes blearily, everything was rather blurred. He seemed to be lying in a brightly lit hospital wing, dark brisk shapes swam in and out of his vision. He wondered if he’d had another Quidditch accident. He hoped dearly that no one had set Lockhart on him but he did indeed feel as if he had lost his bones, flat and rubbery and exhausted.  Had they made him down a bottle of Skele-Gro? He moved his neck an inch, a crowd of faces stared down at him.  

A healer bustled by, setting a vial of vivid green potion on Harry’s table. He stared at the vial before him, maybe if he closed his eyes he wouldn’t have to drink it again. He felt his stomach growl angrily, Ron and Hermione would have brought him some food, maybe a caldron cake or a chocolate frog. Madam Pomfrey couldn’t object to that surely? Harry opened his eyes, reached over for the potion and sat up slightly, if he was going to get in her good books, he’d have to drink it. It didn’t taste like Skele-Gro, or burn. His entire body was numb instantly. Ah, pain relief potion.

“Dad!” exclaimed Albus. “You’re awake!” Alas, thought Harry, no chocolate frogs then. 

“Oh, Am I? Lovely,” his feeble attempt at a joke was met with laughter. Of course it was, he was the 117 year old ‘Chosen One’, people always laughed along. He looked up, he could see his children, his beloved godson, Teddy, his nieces and nephews, his grandchildren, great grandchildren and a few great great grandchildren scattered around his bedside looking worried. Gathering that he was in St. Mungo’s, Harry got down to business. He was old and his family looked worried, he assumed it was serious.

“James, son, look for Hermione’s old beaded bag will you? Just under there,” He gestured pathetically, when did his arms stop doing as he told them? “Brill. In there’s my Invisibility cloak. You, Al and Lil are to share it, and pass it down through your kids too,” There was emphasis on the word ‘share’ which brought people to chuckle. When the kids were at Hogwarts they used to squabble endlessly about the cloak. Some of the grandchildren and great grandchildren looked thrilled at one day getting the cloak, and then they remembered to look sad. James nodded silently and returned it to the bag.

“Dad,” said Lily, her voice quavering. “What about your wand?” She drew it out carefully, fingers trembling and laid it in his hand; he gave it a flick and returned it to her.

“I think, maybe we should have it...buried with me. I adore my wand.” Lily’s eyes filled with tears and she placed it in the bag next to the cloak. Harry sighed and looked around. The healers didn’t seem busy, most were in awe of him. There was a crowd of people at the window, Harry felt a rush of sorrow and waved weakly. A Creevy relation snapped a photo and murmured to his Quick-Quotes-Quill which scribbled furiously, of course the Daily Prophet was getting in on this.  Harry smiled fondly, looked up at all the tear filled eyes for the last time and closed his own. Like his ancestor Ignotus Peverell before him, Harry met Death gladly, as an old friend and they departed as equals.

Harry saw black once more, there was a peaceful silence surrounding him, he felt a slight squeezing sensation, like mild Apparation, and then found himself lying on a ground of sorts. The ground had no texture, temperature or angle, it just was. Harry wasted no time in opening his eyes and sitting up. He was in a white translucent mist, which swirled around in indistinct shapes. Looking down, he was not surprised that he was naked, nor that he could see clearly without his glasses. His body was no longer scarred from his Auror days, it was no longer the body of an old man, he was 17 again. He seemed to be alone but assumed Dumbledore would arrive and for then Harry thought he’d prefer to be clothed, and then ,as if by magic, robes appeared. Pulling them on he chuckled to himself, ‘as if by magic’ what was he? A muggle?

Harry resolved himself to wait for Dumbledore, wishing for some company. He sat back on his heels and waited, peering out inside the ever-swirling mist. A black figure appeared on the horizon, striding forward at an alarming rate, cloak billowing out behind him, he looked almost regal. Harry peered at it, it was a man, and it drew closer. It was Severus Snape! Snape stood before Harry who said nervously,

“Severus, I mean... Snape...I mean Professor Snape, I mean...” Harry drew himself to his full height and looked Snape in the eye awkwardly, Snape smirked.

“Potter,” he said, with a hint of greeting in his tone. Severus Snape had been changed by death. His long black hair was shining; he was broader, seemed taller and was almost tanned. His face was not wrinkled or drawn but looked as if it could  The idea of that was so alien it was disturbing to Harry's brain.

 “I expect you have questions. Follow,” And with that he strode off, leaving Harry to scramble after him like a child, forgetting that he was over three times Snape’s age and in fact Harry Potter.

They walked swiftly and in silence until Harry broke it,

“So, we’re dead,”

“Obviously,” said Snape, curtly.

“And this is Heaven?”

“You speak of Heaven how you used to speak of mind reading, these are muggle ideas. This is not Heaven, this is after. After-Death. Do not expect to run into a wise man with flowing white hair and white robes. Unless of course it’s Albus Dumbledore,” Snape made a strange noise that sounded somewhat like a laugh.  Harry decided he liked the new Snape.

“And I wanted to say thanks, sir,” Harry continued, clumsily,

“For what, Potter?” Snape asked sternly,

“Saving humankind for Lord Voldemort,” he retorted bravely, Snape glanced and him and said,

 “No matter, Potter,” he almost blushed. “Thank you for erm, naming your son for me,”

Snape looked down and away, it was awkward and Harry wished he’d stayed quiet.  Looking around Harry could see the mist solidifying, it was becoming something,

“King’s Cross Station, of course!” Harry exclaimed, it was still white, but different shades of it. The ground was becoming porcelain white, hard and shining, the sky a glowing cloudy white. There was a spectrum of shades that weren’t a greyish white or a blueish white but just different shades of the colour, that were all real but all, blatantly white. The air smelled faintly like spring, cool, crisp, fresh and new, the light that streamed from all angles in never ending ribbons was almost blinding. Harry blinked, feeling somewhat like a trapped animal.

“Getting wiser for your years I see,” said Snape,

His eye twitched in what could have been a wink. Harry took it as friendly. They carried on walking.
“And what? I’m supposed to board a train?”

“Yes. There are three trains: Past, Present and Future. We all make this choice, which to take, do you want to leave an imprint of your soul, as a ghost among the living?” asked Snape with obvious disdain for that path.

“N-no, sir,” said Harry, with a rush of newfound respect for Nearly-Headless Nick, with a guide like Snape there was a certain bravery in being afraid of death.

“Right,” continued Snape, “So, you must board the train of Past,”

“Why, sir?”

“Because, to freely be in the future, you have to understand the past,” Snape sighed boredly,  turned on his heel and began to walk away.

“SIR, wait!” cried Harry “What are those?” he asked, pointing. There were bright spots of mist, they twisted and formed beings, like human patronuses. They were brighter than light, lighter than air and they danced and twirled like Veela. They all seemed to levitate towards different trains on the three stark white platforms. Each platform seemed empty to Harry but the shapes disappeared into invisibility, spilling into nothing like into a broken dam.

“The souls, Potter,” said Snape exasperatedly, as if it were obvious.

 Snape strode away, as quickly as he had appeared. He was gone. Harry watched the shapes, he was mesmerized by them. He assumed that they were like him, newly dead and awaiting guidance. He saw one flit on the train marked Present another to the Future. A train pulled up beside him, it was a deep claret red, like the Hogwarts Express. Harry tore his eyes away from the souls and searched for some kind of sign reading Past like there were on the other trains. There was none, but feeling lucky, like he was on Felix Felicis, Harry climbed aboard anyway.


A woman with strange, baby blue, long hair grabbed his hand and dragged him into a compartment. She gripped him in a bear hug.

“Tonks!” Harry cried. She didn’t seem to want to let go, Harry looked behind her and yes, it was Remus Lupin, looking younger and happier than Harry had ever seen him, his face split by a large grin. Tonks finally let go and Harry took a look at her, she looked the same as always, cheery and lovely. Her hair was suddenly flaming orange.

“Will you ever grow up and stop changing it?” Harry laughed, “You’re just the same as Teddy and Remus,”

“She is not the same as me,” Remus argued jovially pulling Harry into a hug,

“I meant Teddy’s son...” Harry explained, “Don’t you know about him?”

“Course we do, he’s pulling your leg,” Tonks said, grinning.

Harry plonked himself down next to her. The train was old fashioned, like the Hogwart's express, except they were the only people on it. They were sat in a compartment and there was more white mist outside the window. It was a rectangular room, bathed in the same bright light, the candles that lined the walls seemed pointless next to the dazzling window. The walls were deep, curdling mustard, Harry decided he didn't like the colour and they faded to a glimmering gold and that next to the royal red velvet seats, made Harry feel as if he were in the Griffindor common room, safe, at home. The train began to pull out of the station.

“So, you’ve been watching me?” he asked,

“Oh yes, you’re like muggle TV!” said Remus. “Congrats on the kids mate,”

“And thanks for watching over Teddy,” added Tonks, sounding almost sad.

Harry nodded.

“I hear you were met by none other than Snivellus Snape at the station,” continued Remus “Gives him a break from moping around after your mum, if James didn’t like him so much these days, he’d be showing us his knickers faster than you can say Levicorpus,”

Harry felt a twinge of guilt, having seen the last time he’d had that used on him,

“Don’t call him Snivellus, he’s a war hero, like you are,” Harry retorted “And since when did my dad like Snape?!”
The Mauraders hated Snape, it was common knowledge.
“When am I seeing the others anyway?”

“We know Harry, we like him really,” said Tonks softly, “We like everyone, you can’t hate people here. You can choose your emotions and you’re normally happy all the time. You’ll probably like Draco. You’ll see your Dad and your Mum soon, Sirius even sooner. You’ve got to learn about this place, newbie!”

“Anything else he should know?” Remus asked his wife fretfully, as if they weren’t doing a good job.

 “Ooh you can choose your age too!” and as if to prove it, Tonks shrunk into a 10 year old girl with lime green pigtails.

“Creeps me out when people do it though, Albus Dumbledore spends a lot of his time as a gurgling baby. It’s weird,” whispered Remus. Tonks grew back up again.

“You can only be as old as you died though,” she continued, she then stood and pressed a button.

“I can’t make it past 38,” said Remus wistfully.

And with this the train came to a juddering halt, outside the window was still misted but it was becoming shapes again.

“Your stop Harry, up you get,” said Tonks, pulling him to his feet and to the dimly lit corridor. The wide doors slide open for him and he looked tentatively outside.

“But where am I?”

“Godric’s Hollow of course,” they chorused and pushed him out. 

Chapter 2: Two.
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Harry found himself, again, on a strange ground. The mist was clearing now and they were right, it was Godric’s Hollow, a pretty little white village, the church where his parent’s were buried stood proudly, glittering white like the other buildings. The roads were paved in snow and Harry felt dirty just walking on them. He walked to the statues; they were not so shocking the second time around. His kind faced parents smiled down at him and the scarless baby was joyful.
“Yes, you were a cute child,” said a gruff, deep voice. Harry spun round and was met by a handsome young man with high cheekbones, deep eyes, scruffy hair and a beaming face.

“SIRIUS!” he yelled delightedly, throwing himself at him.

“Hello Harry,” he smiled. Sirius as young as Harry had ever seen him, happier and less scrawny.
“Come on, we have to walk,” said Sirius, like with Snape, Harry followed. “You’ve seen Remus and Tonks then?” he asked

“Yeah they took the train with me here. Not going to lie Sirius, mate, I’m confused,”

“I expect so, I was too at first. Everyone is,” they drew to a halt. Harry looked up. It was the house in which Voldemort had killed his parents, his childhood home that he’d seen when he came here with Hermione so long ago. A thought occurred to him, one that he hadn’t considered for years,

“Sirius, where’s Voldemort? I mean, he’s dead isn’t he? Is he up here with us?”

“No Harry, son, good question. It’s why we’re here. Let’s step inside, shall we?” Harry nodded and walked forwards, through the snowy mess of overgrown plants, opened the gleaming front door and stepped into his old home. He followed Sirius up the stairs to his old bedroom, complete with half a wall and remains of melted toys. Colours were flying into objects and although thick white mist was present, things were dank and dark.

“You see Harry, Voldemort’s soul was used to make seven Horcruxes,” began Sirius

“Yes, yes I know, locket, cup, diadem, snake, diary, ring and I,” said Harry impatiently,

“Obviously you know all about them, but Voldemort didn’t kill only seven times. He killed many people; he ordered people to kill and twisted great but impressionable wizards to darkness. Voldemort’s soul is frayed and broken into hundreds of pieces, probably more. Each time he killed, or a Death Eater killed, it would tear a little more. Voldemort had the darkest soul that ever was. We are dead, Harry. We have no body on Earth, but our souls live on. For Voldemort it was the opposite, his soul was destroyed beyond repair and his body could only survive without it if he had his Horcruxes. When you destroyed them, even the one in yourself, that sacrifice outweighed the one of your mother, she gave up her life for you, you tried to give up yours for, well everyone.

You could not be killed by him after that, the Elder wand was yours not only because you earned it but because, like the Philsopher’s Stone, you didn’t want it. You’ve had powers greater than He could dream of thrust upon you. You are the polar opposite of Voldemort in so many ways and the true master of the three Deathly Hallows. You have reached this, the After-Death, but he will never. He is trapped in an in between, Limbo. Limbo is like the Cruciatus curse forevermore, it is your own evil attacking you with no way of escape. It is, in short, what the muggles call Hell,”

Harry sat down on the floor, he felt as if Sirius was telling him things he knew already. He was not shocked or confused as he had been when Dumbledore explained the dark inner-workings of Voldemort.
“Well, he bloody deserves it,” Harry spat.

“And it’s not just him, Bellatrix, Wormtail, all the Death Eaters that showed no mercy and never came to our side are there, far away from each other. Feeling themselves what they’d do to others every single day,”

Harry grimaced a little, it was hardly a cheerful story. Sirius seemed proud of his knowledge, he liked to feel useful, Harry grinned up at his godfather who offered him a hand. Harry let himself be pulled up.

“Why did we have to come here to know that?” asked Harry, glancing around at the broken walls and the charred cot, it was a little depressing.”And can’t it be spruced up a little?”

“It’s a memorial of your parent’s sacrifice, but I agree it’s a little drab,” he answered, looking down at the rubble. “We came here because this is where Voldemort’s soul split so much his body could not take it, this is where he had his lowest hour. And one of your finest Harry, I must say,”

“Does everyone look at their past like I have?”

“Oh yes. I myself went to Grimmauld Place with James and Lily who told me how not all my relatives were evil and that blood purism is just a misguided belief,” Sirius spat at the ground as if showing what he thought of his family, “And they taught me that Kreacher’s a good elf and that I somehow brought my death upon myself,” Harry’s blood began to boil,
“YOU DIDN’T!” he yelled, taking Sirius by surprise. “Kreacher was rotten to you! People tried to tell me it was your fault, it was my fault Sirius. I’m so sorry,”

“Don’t be, it was fate my friend. I thought myself better than a wizened old Elf. It’s not your fault Harry. It’s Bellatrix Lestrange’s and she is stuck in Limbo whilst I am having a nice afternoon with my Godson,”

“Yes, delightful,” mumbled Harry, still angry.

“In any case, they didn’t say it like that. Anyway, I believe Ron was shown how great he is when he’s not being overshadowed by his brothers, you or Hermione, you know how he used to get about that,” Harry felt guilty for a second, Sirius continued “And George Weasley was shown how well he’d survived without Fred, how being a twin wasn’t his only thing, not sure what Fred was shown...”

“I get it,” said Harry, “Everyone gets a little look at their life,”

“Yeah, I’m glad I got yours, you’ve got a very interesting life,”

“Oh, thanks Padfoot. I suppose yours was rather dull.” Said Harry, ironically.

Sirius laughed and said jokily “Compared to you maybe. The almighty ‘Chosen One’...” Harry glared at him.

“Right mate, we can get out of here now, you have a train to catch,” he continued.

They sauntered along the road, which was becoming misty again. Harry was glad that he’d seen Sirius; he had forgotten how he’d missed him. They stopped abruptly as a train slowed to stopping front of them. Harry again found himself being hugged; Sirius smelt of dog, he always had.

“Bye mate,” he said, almost sadly. Then, like Snape, he walked away and disappeared. Harry clambered onto the train and found a compartment. He sat down, the compartment was exactly like the last one, he waited for Tonks or Remus to appear but they didn’t. He sighed and put his feet up.

Suddenly, the train began to spin, Harry’s own thoughts and memories grew bodies and swam and swirled in his face, Dobby’s death, his first Quidditch match, teaching his infant daughter to fly, scolding his teenage sons and repeating his last words.

Like a distorted mirror, images of himself began to fly and squeeze and change, flitting around him like enchanted birds. Harry young, old, as a baby, covered in his own blood, a looming image of himself, laughing eerily, took over his brain. Every colour that was possible to see was thrown into his face, including an indescribable extra colour, Harry recognized it as Resplendus, but how could he see the eighth colour? How could he know its name?

. He had a sudden wonder about wavelengths and muggle physics and the impossibility of it all, but before he could complain, Harry felt the squeezing sensation again and was spat, unceremoniously, onto a hard ground.

Harry picked himself up and dusted off. He felt for broken bones, but all was well. How many injuries could a disembodied soul sustain, anyway? He felt for broken glasses but he wasn’t wearing them, his eyesight may have been perfect but he felt rather naked without them. Harry was comforted by the fact that, shortly after this thought; they were perched upon his face again. He looked around himself. He seemed to be in a large circular room, the walls were tiled in transparency which Harry was having trouble seeing through, there was nothing to look through too. The walls were as high as he could see and seemed to get narrower the further up he looked. Harry was stood on a floating platform. He peered over the edge of it nervously, and immediately felt queasy; the room seemed to go down forever as well, it got wider and wider, he was stood in a humongous glass cone.

The walls were lined with mirrored selves that didn’t seem to reflect anything. On these shelves, as far as the eye could see, stood tall, gangly hour glasses, downy threads linked them all in a twisting maze of what looked like cobwebs. All Harry could hear was the sound of gently falling sand, multiplied millions of times. Each seemed to be labelled in a scrawling font. Harry knelt down and edged closer to the wall, intrigued, he searched for a second and found an hourglass labelled Percy Weasley, below his eyelevel. It was, like the others, thin, long and golden and had pure beige sand collected in the bottom, Harry’s eyes followed the white strand that led across Percy’s hourglass to one titled Aubrey Weasley (nee McDonald), her sand was also collected in the bottom half of the hourglass. Like a family tree, red threads trailed down from them to below the platform on which he knelt. He timidly ducked below the platform and followed the little red line to where it split, it firstly reached an hourglass labelled Molly Weasley (Jr.) and a little further down Lucy Weasley. These both still had sand trickling down them slowly. Harry scanned across and with a gasp found Rose Malfoy (nee Weasley), Hugo Weasley and the other cousins, knowing what he’d find, he looked across more and found Lily Scamander (nee Potter) Albus and James Potter- each with half their lives left, sand steadily filtering downwards. Following the blood coloured string up he found his and Ginny’s hourglasses, hers a little higher, joined by a thin white thread. They both looked empty, but on further inspection, Harry had a grain or two left.

The platform, obviously happy that he’d seen what he needed too, rushed upwards at break-neck speed, leaving Harry splayed out, clutching on for dear life, or the grains he had left anyway. It came to a juddering halt and Harry dared open his eyes again. He was at the very top of the room, and three pairs of hourglasses were on the very uppermost shelf. Wishing he had a mentor, Harry steadied his stomach and stood up, cramped under the tip of the cone, he shuffled over to the first hourglass. It read Antioch Peverell, next to it stood Marissus Blatch, the next glass read Cadmus Peverell, next to it stood Rochide Digbittery, the final hourglass was Ignotus Peverell, and his wife was Annetta Pratchett. Harry stared, confused, at the Three Brothers, blood lines linking them to one another. He stared down into eternity; surely this meant everyone was related to the brothers? Therefore, one another? Looking up, the top of the cone was filled with squat, wooden hourglasses, labelled with chunks of stone inscribed with runes, they seemed to spirall out of the top of the cone and away from Harry’s vision.

  He felt kind of sick again, he was getting used to it. He could feel time running out, he knew another grain would have dropped and he didn’t have much time left to make sense of this.

The platform threw itself down again; it was level with his own name once more. He had two grains left. Harry stared at the hourglasses of his parents, slightly above his head and willed them to show him something. Suddenly, the red lines that linked him to them widened and began to almost flow, his platform climbed upwards and he could see a definite river of blood feeding into his own name, his grandparent’s lines were flowing too, and the relatives above them, and above that. Names flashed red as his platform floated by them, the river of red was thickening and stretching upwards. Harry saw a name he recognized, and despised. It flashed brighter than any before. Torrents of blood splattered through the threads, or veins that lead to this name. Tom Riddle. Harry gasped as he saw the connections between himself and Voldemort. The veins were growing thicker and thicker, splatters of blood hissed and twined themselves around the hourglass that was filled with black sand. The hourglass began to shake and jump, the tunnels of red feeding directly into it. It spasmed and twitched and flung itself at Harry who dodged it and twisted to watch it fall, down, down into nothing.

 Harry steadied his breathing. The other hourglasses shuffled to fill the spot where it had been, the thin white wire between Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. broke, Tom Riddle’s hourglass faded away. The blood vanished and the veins contracted and were spindly threads once more. Harry heard a faint smashing sound, a whisper of pain and then nothing. Silence again.

Harry found himself on the floor of the empty train compartment. There was a knocking at the door, Harry opened it with caution and barely saw Dobby the house elf waltz in, followed by a cheery looking Kreacher, and a timid Winky.

“Harry Potter!” exclaimed Dobby, the first and last words he had said to Harry were re-echoed. Harry blinked, still trying to take in the hourglass adventure. He glanced up at Dobby who was wearing mismatching sock as always, not only on his feet but is arms and head as well. One was a vivid orange with a Phoenix rising on it, Dobby wore this on his head, he also wore a Chudley Canon’s sock, a purple and green striped sock, a blue and red spotted sock and a sock patterned with yellow teacups, on a pink background. That and his rainbow tie-dye robe like outfit were a lot to take in. Harry’s head hurt just looking at him.

“Harry Potter!” he squeaked again, “Dobby has missed you Harry Potter, Dobby is here to take you to home!”

“Kreacher is here too Harry Potter, he is coming with Dobby. Dobby brought Winky too,” croaked Kreacher, looking at Winky disapprovingly. Kreacher wore a white sheet like a toga and was clean and looked quite young and happy, he no longer walked like a hunchback. Harry shook the last incident out of his head and grinned at the house elves.

“Alright Dobby, Kreacher, Winky,” said Harry quietly.

“Winky is not drinking anymore Harry Potter. Dobby said Mr Crouch was a bad man and Winky agrees!” piped up Winky. She was wearing a pink kind of shift dress and purple matching socks which Dobby looked at shaking his head slightly. She was beaming.

 “Winky now serves the people of After-Death” she beamed up at Harry who wasn’t sure what to make of it.

“Why don’t we all sit down?” suggested Harry, the three house elves jumped onto a seat in pleasure. Kreacher especially was smiling at Harry with force.

“Dobby wants to say thank you Harry Potter for burying him and for being the best person Dobby knows,” Harry remembered the day and felt slightly sad, he quashed the emotion and replied

“That’s okay Dobby, thanks saving us. And Kreacher thanks for being so- helpful in Grimmauld Place. Winky you were fantastic after th-the Tri-Wizard Tournament,” The elves all looked as if Harry had given them a million garish socks to share, he knew they loved his stuttered compliments.

“Harry Potter we is here!” cried Winky, Dobby grabbed Harry’s hand and they walked into the corridor and off the train. Dobby had described it as home; Harry had never seen a more fantastic place.

Chapter 3: Three.
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It was Hogwarts, but it was not. It was the Burrow, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, and Lily and James’s house in Godric’s Hollow and the Lovegood’s house. It was a mash of all Harry’s favorite places, and all his friend’s houses. It stood on rolling meadows of space, the forbidden forest on one side, with the lake and the Quidditch pitch, on the other there were streams and waterfalls and mountains. Things seemed to morph and disappear as you wanted them too, the giant squid lifted a tentacle to wave, Buckbeak the hippogriff took flight, the forbidden forest grew larger and the streams swelled to rivers with bridges. The house elves were skipping quickly ahead because they had the freedom that they wanted, they all filed into a tiny yellow door on one side of the castle.

Harry opened a different door and found himself in the kitchen of the Burrow. Harry could smell treacle tart and a thirty year old Mrs Weasley was stirring a pot on the cooker with no wand, just jets of lavender light from her fingertips. A twenty year old Mr Weasley was flying a model aeroplane and Harry could see a plumber’s manual on his chair. Mrs Weasley turned from feeding a baby with a gingery fuzz of hair and saw Harry,

“Hello dear,” she said, quite unsurprised. “Treacle tart? I’ve just put a nice apple crumble in if you’d rather,” It was as if Harry had come to stay for the holidays. Harry realized he’d come to stay forever. He grinned and took a slice of treacle tart. A door on the far end of the kitchen opened and Ron burst out chanting a version of Weasley is our King:
“I took Granger’s King,
I took Granger’s King,
I didn’t let her bloody win,
I took Granger’s King.”

Hermione stormed out after him muttering to herself,

“Always let him win...Always goes to his head...Let him have my King...Don’t even like chess,”

“Alright guys?” said Harry nonchalantly,

“HARRY!” they cried and threw themselves on him.

Two more plates of treacle tart appeared at the table and Ron and Hermione threw themselves into a seat. They all tucked in happily, chatting a little and feeding baby Dumbledore pieces of tart. A stormy young girl with flaming red hair threw herself through the door, trailing a toy broomstick behind her.

“MUM, tell Fred and George to stop trying to-“began Ginny kicking her boots off and flinging herself into the chair next to Ron, she looked up,

 “HARRY!” she screamed jumping to her feet and growing up to his age.

“Never that excited to see me...” muttered Ron, a hint of jealousy in his voice. Hermione kicked him.

“Wotcher Gin,” said Harry, wrapping his arms around her, lifting her up and tenderly kissing her with the anticipation that they hadn’t felt in years. They felt as if they had marriage, kids and happily ever after to look forward to, they were young again.

Baby Albus made a noise that sounded like he was being sick, Ron chortled and Harry begrudgingly placed Ginny on her feet again. Fred, George, Sirius and Remus crashed into the kitchen from upstairs.

“Wotcher Harry!” they hollered.

“You’d think...” began Sirius,

“That with all the perfection around here...” said George,

“All the control...” continued Remus,

“None of the controversy...” said Fred,

“That there’d be no room for trouble?” said a deep voice that was hidden behind them,

“Exactly!” the four chorused.

“Mischief managed is it?” said the James, stepping out from behind Remus, a hand subconsciously reaching up to ruffle his hair. He was, indeed, the spitting image of Harry.

“Dad?” whispered Harry, the others watched on, spellbound. Harry shrunk to a toddler and leapt into his father’s arms. James held Harry with the support he’d dreamed of for a hundred and sixteen years. A beautiful woman  walked wordlessly down the twisting staircase, up which Harry longed to explore, her hair was a deep auburn and her eyes, well she had Harry’s eyes. She took her child from James and spun him around, kissing his cheeks feverishly. When she placed him down Harry grew into a teenager,

“Gross, Mum,” he said, wiping lipstick off his face and blushing. Lily grinned and turned to Mrs Weasley,

“Molly, anything I can do to help?”

“Course not, you know I love doing it or I wouldn’t be,” Mrs Weasley smiled fondly “Super will be three seconds if you’re hungry,” Harry felt his stomach growl in response. “Would you call the others?” Mrs Weasley asked kindly. Lily stepped outside and hit a large gong, the noise wasn’t unpleasant but it was so loud several birds flew out of the bushes. Harry flinched a little.

“Sorry dear, it’s all that will rouse them. Shall we eat in the dining hall?” They all nodded and trooped through to a large room, Harry found himself holding baby Dumbledore. It was all a bit surreal. The room was the Hogwart’s dining room, but with one huge circular table. There were candles floating over the head of each place, the house elves scurried and lit them, no one had asked them to, they just liked doing it. The sky was dark and lit with a hanging constellation, Canis Major, the brightest star was Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius Black glanced up at it and grinned,

“Bet none of you have a star,” he said, smugly.

“I’ve got a fist!” joked Fred, clenching it mockingly.

Harry laughed and plonked himself between them. He put baby Dumbledore on his lap but to his surprise he crawled off and away. Standing in his own space Dumbledore grew to about 40 and waved at Harry, then walked off to sit somewhere else. Harry shook his head in utter wonderment and then stared out at the faces that lined the massive table. There was the Weasleys, Xeno Lovegood and his wife, Luna and Rolf Scamander, Cedric Diggory and his parents, Colin and Denis Creevy, Dean Thomas, Cho Chang, Neville, Hannah and his parents and grandparents, Seamus Finnegan and his family, Kendra, Percival, Ariana, Aberforth and Albus sat together and Harry looked fondly at the family that could had been, pretty much everyone Harry had ever known and liked was there, laughing and joking, Remus was a little way away from him, sitting with Tonks, Andromeda and Ted, Severus sat with Lily and James who did indeed look like friends. All the teachers of Hogwarts sat, including an almost unrecognizable Minerva McGonagall and a gruff, cheerful Rubeus Hagrid. To Harry’s surprise, Draco, Narcissia and even Lucius Malfoy sat, smiling and chatting like the others. Harry supposed they’d been redeemed; he was in no mood to challenge it.

A steak and kidney pie appeared on a golden platter in front of him, alongside toad-in-the-hole, chicken and ham pie and many other glorious dishes, jugs of ice cold pumpkin juice, frothy Butterbeer, Mead and Firewhiskey materialized next to them.

“Like a huge Room of Requirement,” said Harry, dreamily,

“Wit’out  the five prini’pal ‘ceptions t’Gump's law of el’ment’l transfig’ation,” said Ron cheerily, through a bacon sandwich.

“Is it impossible for you to finish a mouthful for beginning a sentence?” snapped Hermione, wiping bacon spray off her robes.

“Jeez, you two argue like an old married couple,” Harry interjected, winking.

The supper dishes disappeared and were replaced by puddings, jellies, tarts, cakes and pastries, accompanied by custard or cream or ice-cream. Trays carrying mountains of Honeyduke’s best appeared, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Pepper Imps, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, Caldron Cakes, Ice Mice, you name it, it was there. Hagrid grabbed a square of his own treacle fudge, obviously not caring for his teeth the way they were. Harry was sure he spied George passing a puking pastille to Percy:

“No, it’s a muggle sweet I swear, They’re called Roundbush Fruits or something,” said Fred, smirking at Harry. Dumbledore took a Sherbet Lemon and winked at Harry across the table. Harry watched his parents split a Caldron Cake, Draco pull a card out of a Chocolate Frog and exclaim audibly,

“Drat, I have four Harry Potters already!” the whole table erupted into laugher. Harry caught his eye and smiled awkwardly. Draco self consciously waved back.

After supper everyone retired to doing whatever they felt like doing. Harry wanted to explore the castle and the Marauders (including Fred and George as honorary members) came along too, Harry tried to drag Ron and Hermione along but they were planning on playing Quidditch with the giant squid. Apparently he was a better keeper than Ron had ever been.

Harry found the castle to be everything he’d hoped for. It was Hogwarts without Filch (who Harry assumed had become a ghost), Hogwarts with drooble plum trees and Nargles and Crumple Horned Snorkacks which Luna, Rolf and Xeno discussed excitedly. Harry ran round with the newly founded Marauders all night: looking for trouble in the forbidden forest; playing violent Quidditch; waging war on Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Slytherins;. Harry found himself able to become an animal, a stag like James but with green eyes and different markings, Fred and George became identical monkeys and Remus became a gentle, dreamy wolf.

Albus Dumbledore was just the same here as he was before death. It took Harry a few days to speak to him alone, his time had been taken up with mostly causing trouble, hanging out with Ginny and generally spending days as he used to. Every now and then he was grow up a little and chat maturely to his friends and family but he was usually either James and Lily’s doting young son or a teenage Marauder making havoc. Dumbledore caught him as a 30 year old man, quietly fishing in the lake for no particular reason.

“Hello Harry,” said Dumbledore, commanding the same attention with his gentle tone as he ever had.

“Professer Dumbledore!” said Harry, a little taken aback,

“Call me Albus, dear boy. Heavens you’re as old as I am,” he replied, kindly. “How are you finding after-death?”

“Oh, brilliant. Just brilliant! Better than life!” exclaimed Harry before he could stop himself.

“Yes,” laughed Dumbledore calmly. “We all seem to have found that. Luckily I didn’t tell you the first time you-well...crossed over or you’d have...”

“Topped myself then and there?.

Dumbledore gave a soft chuckle, “Perhaps,” he replied. “How was it? Your, well, for lack of a better word... journey here?”

“Oh,” Harry’s mind flew back to the conical room and Tom Riddle’s last attack. He had pushed it far away from himself. He found himself looking into Dumbledore’s dazzling eyes. He knew, of course he did.

“I don’t suppose you care to explain why I found myself alone, in a room full of hourglasses? Or why you didn’t escort me from living to dead?” Harry felt a little betrayed,

“Ah, Harry. We’ve enlightened each other so much, the universe allowed your other fans a turn,” his eyes twinkled behind his half-moon spectacles. He continued,

“I knew you’d have visited the Pyramidis Aenigmatis. It is a place where only the most acclaimed wizards can see, the purest, not in the sense of their blood, but their heart and values. Yes, I myself took a trip there,”

“Albus,” Harry said the name awkwardly “I’m not sure I understand. Are we all related to the Peverell brothers?”

“Well, yes. I was as confused as you are to begin with. There must be two rooms in existence, where all the lives of everyone are stored. One for muggles, one for wizards,”

It’s obviously not as simple as that,” he continued, “Magic is finicky. It jumps generations and turns up in the most unusual places. Everyone who has magical ability is descended from the first wizards. The Peverell brothers,”

“But, what about Squibs, and muggleborns?” asked Harry, amazed.

“Muggleborns are children descended from generations of Squibs, where magic has skipped a generation. These Squibs have forgotten about the long ago magic that courses their veins. Squibs are more plentiful that we thought, when they marry Muggles the magic is dilute but it never fades. Muggles are descended from apes and evolved. The Peverells descend from muggles. I don’t know how they became wizards but they did, the universe chose them and gave them objects of rarity and magic. The Deathly Hallows. They married muggles and passed on the ability,”

“So, no one is a pureblood? No one at all?” asked Harry,

“No, there is no wizard alive without a drop of muggle blood in them,”

“Wait, ‘til I tell Malfoy! He’ll wet himself,” exclaimed Harry. Dumbledore gave a fond smile. There was a heavy silence as Harry contemplated how to express his next concern.

“ And...” he began, shakily, “Tom Riddle’s hourglass kind of, connected to mine in the family tree with er...ropes of blood. And then the sand turned black and it threw itself at me,”

Harry felt mental just saying the words. It was all so unbelievable.

“Well, most of us are a little related. You had a strong connection to Riddle, being his Horcrux and a strong blood relative. Even now, as he wallows in Limbo, anything related to him cannot stand you. He would rather destroy himself than see you win, and that is what happened,”

“I, I don’t want to be related to Voldemort,” said Harry childishly.

“It is not our blood that defines us, Harry,”

“Speaking of blood,” Albus continued “How are your family? I hear you have a lovely son, with a delightful name. Don’t you find yourself wondering about the living? I always checked up on you,”

Harry felt a rush of guilt but quickly suppressed it, he hadn’t thought about any of his living family since he’d arrived. What had happened to his children without him? Were they okay?

“How can you view them?” Harry asked quickly.

“I’ll show you,” and with that Dumbledore crossed the lawn to a small hut Harry hadn’t seen before, once again leaving him trailing behind.

The hut was larger inside than outside and smelled faintly of damp. There was a large Pensive –like object in the centre, an ornate stone bowl filled with tumbling white mist. Harry crossed the room swiftly and with a glance at Dumbledore said,

“A Pensive?”

“No, I’ve named it a Quixotic. I just like the word,” replied Dumbledore.

Harry leaned far over the basin and gently lowered his face into it, and saw a scene from the Burrow at Christmas. The family had adopted it as a holiday home for special holidays and gatherings. Harry fondly watched Albus and James fight over the last turkey leg, noticing wrinkles and lines on their middle aged faces he’d never noticed before. He saw his great-great-grandchildren being tricked into eating sprouts and his daughter Lily serving out potatoes. He smiled to himself and watched the children squabbling over presents and the whole family playing an impromptu game of backyard Quidditch. He watched for what felt like hours until the family were asleep and he felt a gentle hand on his back.

Pulling his face out he turned to Dumbledore and quietly thanked him. He looked up at someone he considered the bravest person he knew, looked at his bright blue dancing eyes, half-moon glasses perched on his long crooked nose, the tall thin build, flowing robes, his long silver beard tucked neatly into his belt, and his face, lined with age and wisdom. Feeling it fitting, Harry grew to his full age of 117. Harry had short steel-grey hair, round glasses, a battle worn body and a sharp mind. A face lined with age and wisdom and a scar showing all he’d fought for. Harry felt a flash of fear, he was really dead, he was really old. There were no more secrets to find, no more stories untold. And, as if he knew everything Harry had ever felt, Dumbledore turned to Harry and repeated solemnly,

“Remember Harry, to the well organized mind, death is just the next adventure.”