Chapter 5: Young Memories


“Now remember,” Moody said, taking out the Pensieve that was property of the Auror office and setting it a bit roughly down on the table in front of them. “These are a child’s memories you’re diving into- not an adult’s. They will be disjointed, filled more with shapes and colors and less with words and details. Children remember things in different perspectives; a normal man may seem like a giant to them; things get distorted and magnified.”

Harry and Elle looked at each other uneasily.

“But if these memories are so unreliable, how will we know if they’re true or not?” Harry asked Mad-Eye.

Moody rolled back his magical eye, so that he was staring behind his head at Calla and the small boy, who were sitting next to each other on the floor behind him. Calla seemed as if she were trying to keep the boy from running over to the desks and hurting himself with some magical object.

“Because the memory of a child is the most pure memory of all,” Moody explained. “You just have to look closely. They can’t hide things, or tamper with memories yet- what they see is real, even if they may seem strange to us.”

Elle sighed. “Well, this is out last chance to find out the truth of who he is,” she said anxiously. “Let’s see what he remembers.”

She walked over to the boy and gently knelt down to his level. The boy stopped trying to struggle out of Calla’s grip and remained still, his wide green eyes locked with Elle’s. Elle tried not to look away or hide her surprise- this boy had the same eyes as their whole family; how had she never noticed that before?

Slowly, she reached out her wand, pushed back the boy’s sandy blond hair with her free hand, and brushed his forehead lightly as she extracted thin wisps of what seemed like smoke from the boy’s temple. Luckily, the boy didn’t seemed afraid or try to squirm away. Calla was looking on in amazement. She had never seen a Pensieve in use before, or what a person’s memories looked like.

Once Elle thought she had collected enough memories, she walked back over to the Pensieve and deposited the memories inside. The insides of the Pensieve began to swirl very fast.

“Can I come too?” Calla asked at once, noticing how her parents were readying themselves to dive in.

Harry gave her an apologetic smile. “Sorry kiddo, but we need you to keep on eye on the boy for us, alright? You’re the best babysitter we have.”

“I’m the only babysitter you have,” came her sulky reply, but she didn’t argue the matter.

“And we need YOU to keep an eye on both of them,” Elle said, addressing Mad-Eye. “Please, Alastor.”

Mad-Eye gave a curt nod. “Whatever you say, Madam Minister.”

Elle grinned, and gripped hands with Harry. The next moment found them both dipping their heads lightly into the surface of the Pensieve, and in the next moment they had tumbled down into what looked a busy, crowded room. As Moody had warned them, most faces were a blur, and everyone seemed very, very tall…which, according to a child, was what they were.

“Where are we?” Elle asked, looking around for the boy. “And where is he?”

“There,” Harry said, pointing to a corner where he sat, about a year younger than he was in the present, surrounded by other little kids. He spotted a sign on the desk by the door and tapped Elle’s shoulder. “I think we’re in a muggle orphanage.”

Elle narrowed her eyes. The grown-ups were becoming a bit clearer, though still looked like giants. They were all dressed in white, and were hurrying to and fro, carrying things like medicines, pillows, and toys.

“So…he’s an orphan,” Elle said sadly. “Calla was right. He doesn’t have a family.”

Suddenly, a voice called out and made both Harry and Elle jump. “What have I told you!” the woman exclaimed, picking up the little boy and removing him from the circle of kids on the floor. “We don’t play like that! Into your room, up you get.”

The boy had been laughing, but now his face was white as a sheet. Elle peered even closer at the circle, and saw that the toys the kids had been paying with were all glowing. The boy must have been making them glow and, according the nervous look on the woman’s face, this was not normal behavior for a child in a muggle orphanage.

The boy’s face dripped with tears as he was carried off, but the woman paid no mind. Two other women nearby started muttering in low voices.

“There’s something funny about that boy,” one said clearly to the other, who was nodding vigorously.

Harry and Elle followed the boy as he was carried to a corridor, all the way to a solitary bedroom down at the end.

“I just don’t know what we’re going to do with you, James,” the woman sighed, setting the boy down on the bed and walking out of the room, leaving the boy crying behind her as she slammed the door.

Elle looked horrified. “They can’t treat him that way!” she said indignantly, looking as though she wanted to strangle the woman. “The second we get out of here, I’m calling child services and telling them to scope out every orphanage in London for signs of abuse and neglect.”

Harry agreed with her, but his mind was stuck on another fact they had just learned. “Elle, did you hear what that woman called him?” he asked, sounding slightly bemused.

Elle’s eyes widened. “James,” she whispered. “His name is James.”

Harry nodded. “My dad’s name,” he said.

They both stared at each other briefly, before the scene around them shifted.

This one was more distorted, and yet drearier than the one before. It involved a lot of grown-ups with red-tinged faces shouting at a small boy as he cowered in the corner, blaming him for making things happen; apparently, beds were levitating in the night and scaring the other children and possessions went disappearing. But it wasn’t the boy’s fault; he wasn’t evil, he just had powers he couldn’t control. He was a young wizard with no parents, and had somehow landed at a muggle orphanage. Obviously he had been brought there as a baby, past the point where his memory could reach.

After scene after scene of this, just when Elle thought she couldn’t stand it any longer, the scene shifted and they were out of the orphanage, on a secluded street in London, early morning. The boy was alone, his clothes tattered; it seemed that he had run away and was now lost. He looked a year older; around three, probably the same age he was now.

Two men came upon the scene, speaking in low voices. The boy couldn’t understand them, and therefore neither could Elle or Harry. But they recognized what the boy couldn’t.

“Westley!” Elle shrieked, grabbing Harry’s shoulder. “That’s my opponent! What is he doing here?”

Harry narrowed his eyes. “I recognize that other man, he’s from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical creatures.” He looked around him. “And this is the visitor entrance to the Ministry of Magic, I recognize the phone booth.”

Elle bit her lip. “What is Westley doing, talking to someone from that Department?” she asked, but her question was answered for her as the man drew his cloak aside, revealing a small dragon in a cage. The boy noticed this too, and started following the two men into the phone booth. Harry and Elle followed as well, and soon they were all being lowered down into the Ministry.

“Harry,” Elle said shakily. “This is the morning we found the dragon in the Ministry- the boy followed the men because he wanted to see the dragon, and then probably got scared and hid.”

And she was right- they watched the scene unfold before them as the man took out his wand, whispered “Engorgio,” at the dragon, and stood in stupefaction as the dragon grew to an enormous height, breaking out of its cage and letting out a large roar. The two men disapparated, and the lobby became filled with screaming Ministry workers. Harry and Elle saw themselves rush out and encounter the dragon.

Harry didn’t need to see anymore. He knew what happened next. He grabbed Elle’s hand, and the two of them rose up quickly, landing on their feet back in present day, staring at Calla and Mad-Eye.

“What happened?” Calla asked instantly, rising to her feet. “What did you find out?”

Harry looked at his daughter, but addressed Mad-Eye. “His name is James,” he said quickly. “Calla was right, he’s an orphan. He ran away from the orphanage and followed Westley and another man into the Ministry.”

He and Elle retold the story to Mad-Eye, and both his normal and his magical eye narrowed.

“So your opponent thought he and his friend could illegally transport a dragon into the country, and then let the creature loose in the Ministry, eh?” Mad-Eye said darkly. “They must have been trying to discredit you after your speech, Missy- by showing everyone that magical creatures are dangerous and should be banished. That you were wrong. And what’s better, now we have proof. The boy’s memories will hold up in a trial, I’m sure.”

Elle shook her head vigorously. “No, Mad-Eye,” she said. “His plan, however nasty, didn’t work. The dragon didn’t hurt anyone- it was a baby, and was scared, just like James. He had been enlarged and brought here against his will. Whatever Westley was planning, it backfired.”

She looked towards her husband, pleadingly. “I don’t want to confront Westley about this,” she said. “At least, not yet. We have our next debate in a few days, and I…I want to prove that I can beat him on my own, without playing dirty. I’m not stooping to his level.”

Mad-Eye growled in annoyance. “Potter, what do you think?”

Harry sighed. “I agree with Elle,” he said, “but hold on to those memories, just in case. If this is how he’s going to react after every debate, who knows what he’ll do next? If we have to arrest him, we will. He could have hurt someone.” He glanced down at his wife’s determined face. “But he didn’t,” he continued. “Because Elle is right- the wizarding world needs to learn more about magical creatures and treat them with respect, for this very reason.”

Elle grinned. Moody rolled both of his eyes and scooped the memories into a vial.

“Fine,” he muttered. “It’s your choice. But I never liked a coward who would endanger hundreds of people just to prove a point.”

He stuck the vial into his pocket. “By the way, you two now have another problem to face,” he said to Harry and Elle. “Now that we know the boy is an orphan, and you two are the ones that found him…he’s in your care until you decide what to do with him.”

Harry hesitated and looked at Elle. “We can’t put him back in that orphanage,” he said. “They were mistreating him, that’s why he’s so scared to talk. All the grown-ups he knows always yell at him.”

Elle nodded. “I know,” she said. “But Harry, can we really take care of another child? What about our jobs, what about Calla?”

“I’ve always wanted a little brother,” Calla piped up, grinning. “And people with demanding jobs have kids all the time. Plus, I’m sure Ron and Hermione will help.”

Harry raised his eyebrows at Elle. “Your daughter’s a smart one,” he said, starting to grin a little himself. He saw Elle’s dubious look and sighed. “Come on, Elle,” he said. “Calla said herself that the boy has got a connection to us. He has my father’s name, he’s soothed by you…if my aunt and uncle hadn’t taken me in when I was young, I might’ve ended up in an orphanage just like him.”

Elle’s face softened. She was an orphan too, but she had been fifteen when her parents died. She could see the looks of growing excitement on the faces of her family, and gave a begrudging sigh.

“Alright,” she said. “James will stay with us.”

Calla smiled, and grabbed the little boy’s hand. Mad-Eye raised his eyebrows.

“Congratulations,” he said. “You two just became parents. Again.”

Harry and Elle swallowed uneasily. They were all silent, ingesting this life-altering news.

“Well, at least this was easier than the first time,” Elle said after a bit, trying to ease the tension.


The four of them, once again, made their way out of the Ministry, with plans to buy James everything he might need- a small bed, clothes, medicine- it had been a while since they had had to care for a young child, so they were a little rusty. Harry and Elle planned to borrow and ask a lot of help from Ron and Hermione. Calla offered to share her room with James for the time being, since she would be going back to Hogwarts in a little less than a fortnight. Elle wondered when this enthusiasm of hers would change, either into jealousy or annoyance.

“Potter!” shouted a voice behind them. “Elle! Wait up!”

Harry and Elle both turned around and to their surprise, found Malfoy hurrying towards them.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked.

Malfoy stopped and panted a little. “Ginny told me what you two were up this morning,” he said. “The two of us had a little surprise this morning as well, and as your advisor-“ he nodded to Elle- “I thought I should tell you about it.”

Harry tried not to think of what Malfoy and Ginny were doing together so early in the morning.

“Hang on,” Harry said. “Why did you tell that Max bloke where our address was? You know that’s not safe, Malfoy. He came over to our house this morning trying to convince us to trust him.”

Malfoy glared at him. “That’s why I came here,” he said angrily. “I didn’t tell Max anything. We were visited this morning by that woman…the leader of the group…what the hell was her name, damn it…”

“Mara?” Elle asked, curiously.

“That’s the one!” Malfoy exclaimed. “Anyway, she came to see us and gave us some speech about how she respected our decision as your advisors, and blah blah blah…basically she wants us to convince you to train with them, and join their little powwow.”

“Well, that’s not so surprising,” Elle said. “She seems kind of nosy.”

“Not only that,” Malfoy continued. “She asked for your address, and of course I wasn’t idiotic enough to tell her. She kept trying to touch me, so she could read my mind, but I wasn’t having it. Me and Ginny both told her to get out.” Malfoy paused, and then sighed. “However, I accidentally bumped into her as I was showing her the door, and before I knew what I was doing, I was telling her your address.”

Harry and Elle both gave him startled looks.

“Malfoy, what the hell!” Elle exclaimed loudly, then remembered they were accompanied by two small kids, and said, “I mean, uh, what the heck? Why would you do that?”

Malfoy gritted his teeth. “Because Mara doesn’t only read minds,” he said slowly. “She controls them.”

Elle looked even more startled than ever. This was not good, not good at all.

Malfoy seemed to know what she was thinking. “Elle, you can’t train with this woman,” he said, and actually sounded concerned.

“She’s trying to control you, and use you as her puppet for taking over the Ministry. Stay away from her.”

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