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Harry covered his mouth that was hanging open in surprise. They had heard him! All of it! No one seemed to know what to say, Ron was looking very distraught, and Hermione and Ginny stared in wide-eyed shock. Peter also looked very surprised, and Remus a little lost. Sirius looked outraged, but James looked rather dazed. “So, so that’s the big secret of the future?” James finally got out. He looked very pale, as though he were really about to die. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. Hermione was very close to tears from the hollow voice he spoke in. Harry didn’t know what to say. He didn’t say anything. It was obvious he’d said too much already. Instead, he nodded. “Lily, too? Dead?” James asked, this time in a whisper. Harry nodded mournfully again. James sat down slowly on one side of the bed, across from where Harry and Ron stood. No one spoke for several minutes, the silence was unbearable, but wasn’t broken. It was James who found his voice. “How am I going to die?” He wondered aloud, and Harry glanced at Hermione, just to make sure it was okay to tell him. No more harm in telling him now. “Like a true hero.” Harry croaked, finding that his throat seemed to be constricted. “Trying to save Lily, and defending my life, too. You and Lily both did. That’s really the only reason I’m alive today. You saved me.” James studied Harry’s face carefully, his eyes coming to rest on Harry’s scar. “Is that what that scar is from?” Harry nodded again, no longer capable of any speech. James fell silent, and Remus spoke up. “You never really knew your parents, then? It happened when you were a baby?” Remus asked, in a smaller than normal voice. Harry nodded again, and was dimly aware of Hermione letting out a dry sob. “Twelve years? Azkaban?” Sirius said aloud. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny nodded. “What did I do? Why?” “You were innocent.” Ginny told him simply, and the explanation was left at that. They still didn’t know that Peter had betrayed the Potters, and had then been responsible for Sirius’s prison time. And Harry wasn’t sure he could bring himself to tell them, not after seeing their reactions. “M-m-memory charms?” Hermione suggested, and Harry’s heart lifted for a second. The faces of the Marauders, however, remained the same. “Won’t work.” James told her shortly, and Hermione frowned. “It won’t?” She asked. “Not on me, at least.” James replied heavily. “Certain charms, like memory charms and the imperious curse, I’m immune to. It’s a rare gift. Not even Lily Evans could perform a memory charm on me in our 5th year.” “Harry’s highly resistant to the Imperious curse!” Ron declared, linking the two with a look of triumph. “Like father, like son.” James smiled weakly. “Who put the Imperious curse on him?” Remus asked, alarmed. Ron went his customary color of scarlet. “Our insane Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in our Fourth year. He wanted us to have constant vigilance.” Ron explained, and the Marauders exchanged looks. Harry and his friends sure had unusual adventures. “James, I’m sorry. I-” Harry mumbled, unable to look any of the Marauders in the eye. He wanted to curl up and die, right there. “Don’t be sorry.” James sighed heavily, and Sirius and Remus nodded in agreement. “It’s not your fault I’m dead, and it’s not really your fault that we found out.” Harry couldn’t nod this time, he felt too guilty. Almost as much guilt as he felt after Sirius had died. Well, at least Sirius didn’t know he was going to die. One thing he hadn’t blown. “I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and change things?” Remus suggested, and Hermione shook her head in a sad way. “At least I’m going to go as a hero. A noble death.” James tried to smile, though he failed miserably. “We won’t change anything, I promise.” After several more minutes of uncomfortable silence, Ron halfheartedly suggested that they eat the food the Marauders had brought, but by now everyone had lost their appetites. Instead, Sirius asked if Harry would tell them a little more about the future, stuff that wouldn’t hurt to know. Harry explained some of his scar’s properties, and things like transfer of powers from Voldemort to him, such as the parseltongue. And told them about living with his aunt and uncle. With help from Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, Harry recounted the adventures of his first year, when they had saved the Sorcerer’s Stone, and in their second year (well, Ginny’s first), with Tom Riddle and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry left out their third year, when Sirius had escaped from Azkaban and Peter had rejoined Lord Voldemort, but told the Marauders about the Quidditch World cup (minus a few important details), and some good times with Hagrid. He did, however, tell them a little about Voldemort’s rise to power, and that it was Voldemort that had killed Lily and James. It was an unusual experience, telling the very subdued Marauders good-night. It was obvious that the Marauders were very rarely subdued. After they had gone, Harry avoided the gaze of the others. “Don’t say anything, Hermione. I know.” Harry said, looking at his hands. “Stop it, Harry. They would have found out some other way.” Hermione rebuked him, trying to take away some of his guilt. But it didn’t work. So instead of trying to converse any longer, Harry rolled over onto his bed, fully clothed, and buried his head in his pillow. After a moment or two, Ginny and Hermione muttered their goodnights, and Ron also got into bed. After awhile, Ron fell asleep, but Harry remained buried under his pillow, his eyes wide open and his mind fully awake for several more hours. Finally, he too fell into an uneasy sleep. *** “Harry! Ron! Get up!” A voice urged them gently but persistently. Blearily Harry opened his eyes, finding himself face to face with Ginny. Hermione was opening the curtains on the window, letting in sunlight. Groggy, Harry sat up, trying to remember why he felt so miserable. Oh yeah, I shouted my father’s death last night, along with everything else, he reminded himself glumly. Once Ron was also up, the four of them left the guest rooms and headed for the Great Hall. It would be their last meal in 1971 with the Marauders and Lily. He had wanted to warn his father, to prevent him from dying, not tell his father so that James would have to live with the knowledge of his premature death. As Harry sat down at the table with his friends, a little apart from the current Gryffindor students, a sneering voice spoke up from behind him. “Found a new social circle, Potter?” Harry whipped around, finding himself face-to-face with the 16 year old Snape of 1971. Snape apparently though Harry was James. “Or did Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew abandon you?” Harry chose not to respond to the comment, and this seemed to aggravate Snape even more. “And where are your friends, Snivellus?” James asked, entering the Great Hall with the Marauders. Snape looked dumbfounded, looking between Harry and James with a look of bewilderment. “We’d never abandon James.” Sirius said fiercely, Snape shrinking back as he spoke. “Not in the past, not today, and not in the future.” “We wouldn’t let him be the only one with knowledge of the future, we’re going to be right there with him.” Remus added, though looking in the direction of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny as he spoke. “If he has to live with the knowledge of what’s to come, so are we!” “Yeah!” Peter piped. Snape was now completely confuddled. He had no idea of what Sirius, Remus, Peter, and James were going on about with all this knowledge of the future stuff, nor did he know why there was another James sitting at the table, along with three other people he’d never seen in his life. Thoroughly spooked by whatever was going on, Snape bolted towards the Slytherin table. The Marauders, Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron all laughed as he ran. “Thanks, guys.” James smiled at his friends, as he took a seat next to Harry at the table. “We meant every word, Prongs.” Sirius grinned, while shoveling some eggs into his mouth, spraying Peter with them as he spoke. “Erm, could I interrupt for a second?” Everyone turned to look at who was speaking. It was Lily, holding what looked like a camera. “Any time, Evans!” James said brightly. It amazed Harry how much James’s mood had improved at the sight of her. Lily smiled nervously. “Well, as Harry’s representative for his tour around Hogwarts, I’m supposed to take his picture for the records, and it will be hung in the hallway of the Guest Rooms. Every guest has their picture taken.” Lily explained. “How about a group shot?” Harry suggested, motioning to his friends, as well as the Marauders. “That would be great!” Lily said, and everyone stood up. After several rearrangements had been made, (Ron was too tall to be in the front, he blocked Peter, then they had to squeeze everyone in to get it all in the shot), Lily got ready to shoot. Harry tried to smile naturally, one arm around Sirius, the other around Ginny. “Smile!” She instructed them, leaning back to get a better angle. POOF! In a haze of purplish smoke, the picture was taken, and everyone relaxed. James was joking with Sirius about something, and Lily was about to walk away, when Harry had a sudden idea. “Lily! Wait!” He called out, and Lily looked back at him. “Would you mind if you and James were in a picture with me?” Lily smiled, and nodded. She handed the camera to Remus, while she and James got on either side of Harry. A real family picture, Harry thought to himself. He smiled easily this time, arms around his mother and his father. “One, Two, Three!” Remus counted out. POOF! Once again, a cloud of purple smoke emitted from the camera, engulfing them. After Remus had handed back the camera to Lily, Harry enveloped her in a tight hug, surprising himself and everyone around them. “What was that for?” Lily inquired politely after they had broken apart. Harry gave her another smile, seeing Dumbledore heading towards them. “Just for good-bye. In case I don’t see you for awhile.” Harry told her, and Lily gave him an odd look. “I have this strange feeling that we will meet again.” She answered, before giving him one last smile and walking away. “Is everyone ready to go?” Dumbledore asked, and Hermione, Ron, and Ginny nodded. Hary didn’t say anything, he was trying to hold in every last detail of his mother. Dumbledore led the way back to the time chamber, with the Marauders and Harry and his friends following. “The Time Elevator is completely fixed, now. You’ll be able to go home.” Dumbledore smiled at them, and everyone hoped that he was right. “I assume you’ll be using the same memory charm as before on me?” Hermione stepped forward and performed the memory charm. Dumbledore was such a good sport about it. Meanwhile, James pulled Harry aside. “It was really great meeting you.” James told him. “I’m glad I finally really got to know you.” Harry sighed. “I just want you to know, Harry, that any father would be proud of you. I’m glad, that since I won’t be around much, that we got to have an adventure together. It’s going to be worth dying for this.” Harry hugged his father one last time, concentrating the way he had with Lily on memorizing everything about him. He then hugged Remus goodbye, gave Peter a fleeting hug for politeness sake, and finally it was time to say goodbye to Sirius. “You are one crazy guy, Harry.” Sirius beamed as Harry hugged him. “You and your friends get into more trouble without trying than James and I get into when we do try.” “Thanks, Sirius.” Harry told him. “You’re going to be an amazing Godfather one day, and a really good friend.” Sirius smiled, then looked at Harry very, well, seriously. "I have to know one more thing. You said that one of James's friends was going to betray him. Please tell me the truth. Is it going to be me?" Harry could see that it would torture Sirius for the rest of his life if he didn't know. "No, it's not you. James knows it too, you'd rather die than betray him." Harry told him honestly, and Sirius looked greatly consoled. Sirius seemed to ponder the possibility of being a Godfather as Harry stepped into the Time Elevator with the others. After a farewell with Dumbledore, Dumbledore began to reach out for the lever. This time, he didn’t trip, and the upward whirlpool sucking sensation that everyone had become accustomed to began to carry them away. It would hopefully be the same time they had left what felt like forever ago, the normal 1996. No James, no Sirius, no Lily. Normal. “I think this time we’re really going home!” Ginny exclaimed as the spinning continued. Everyone sincerely hoped that this time they were going home. Therefore, you can imagine the horror that they felt when the spinning stopped, and they found themselves in a darkened Time Chamber, very similar to the darkened Time Chamber they had arrived in during Alternate 1996. With a sickened feeling unrelated to the spinning from the Time Elevator, Harry stepped out, aware that the Time Elevator was broken again. Feeling as though he were about to pass out with the thought of being back in Alternate 1996, Harry pushed open the door, and stepped out into the hallway. Harry nearly passed out again, when he saw where he was. “We’re home! We made it! We’re back!” He whooped, feeling so relieved. Hermione shrieked excitedly, jumping up and down with Ginny. Ron also let out a triumphant holler, dancing around as he did. Sure enough, Draco Malfoy came sauntering down the hallway, throwing them dirty looks as he passed. For the first time in his entire life, Harry was happy to see him. Harry felt so relieved to see the familiar hallways of Hogwarts in 1996. And of course, Hermione made a comment that really deflated the mood. “Did it really happen? It feels like it was all a dream!” She said to them. Ron frowned. But Harry was sprinting down the hall as quickly as he could. With a quick exchange of bewildered expressions, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny broke into a run to follow him. Down the corridors he ran, through several tapestry shortcuts. After a few minutes, Ginny began to realize where Harry was taking them. And sure enough, Harry skidded to a halt in front of the statue of the Traveling Troll, and stuck his wand in the left nostril. Ginny and the others entered the hallway after him, and found him standing at the other end, apparently searching for something on the wall. When they had reached him, he was smiling with a far away look on his face. “There’s your proof, Hermione! It wasn’t a dream!” Harry said proudly, pointing to one of the many photographs on the walls. It was a picture of them, taken what had been a mere thirty minutes ago, but the date read “October 6, 1971.” Waving from the photograph were Hermione, Ron, Sirius, Ginny, Harry, Peter, and James. It was a weird feeling, seeing them all standing there. If one didn’t know better, it would be impossible to tell that any of them in the picture were from different times. “We should find Dumbledore. He probably wants his memory of the event back.” Ginny reminded them, after some time of staring at the picture and remembering all they had been through. “What?” Harry asked, tearing his gaze away from the Sirius in the picture, who was putting up bunny ears on an oblivious Peter. “Oh, yeah. Dumbledore.” Everything in Hogwarts during their own time felt odd. Like everything was the same as they had left it, but with a newness or quality that made them appreciate it more. As they passed one of the corridors, a large crater remained smoldering. They really had just arrived right after they had left. Ginny smiled, remembering how Sirius had blasted a hole in the hallway, rather than through the fabric of time. “I wish I had that picture, the one Remus took of me, James, and Lily.” Harry said out of the blue, halfway to Dumbledore’s office. They hadn’t seen that picture hanging in the Guest Room hallway. Who knows where it had gotten to throughout the years. “We could always go back in time and get it!” Ginny teased, and everyone groaned. Some things, after an adventure like that, just weren’t funny.
A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry for the long delay. Anyways, some of you may have noticed that in this chapter the Marauders came from 1971, while in some of the earlier chapters, I was saying 1972. I goofed. It took me this long to figure out that in like Chapter 6, I originally said 1971, but then in like Chapter 16, somehow I started saying 1972. So, sorry for any confusion, the year is 1971. (it has to be 1971, because 1996 is 25 years after 1971!) And one more thing. Unfortunately, I have to cut out the letter from the Marauders to Dumbledore, the one in Chapter 3 about there being two sets of Marauders running around the future. It’s one of those things I hate to do, but I have to do. If I kept it in, and let the story go along a it originally was planned, it would be about 10 chapters longer, all of which would have been pointless in regards to the rest of the story, and the end result would have been the same, though it would have been a lot of wasted confusion along the way. This story has been drawn out way too long, so by eliminating the letter from the Marauders, I’m cutting out the extra ten chapters or so. If I ever did a sequel to this story, or wrote another time travel fic, perhaps I will be able to use the letter idea there. So, I’m sorry that I’m having to cut something out that I already published, but it’s better this way. Anyways, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll take the time to review. And no, this is not the last chapter, in case I confused people with the last part of the author’s note about the letter. I know, I know, it’s weird for me to end a chapter with out a cliffhanger. So, okay, I’m going to stop now. :D

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