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Chapter 14 A Different Kind of Christmas Here you go another super fast update, but what can I say? It’s vacation, I’m bored, I wrote a bunch of chapters, and now I’m posting them. A lot of you have commented on my fast updating so if it’s a problem…I could always stop…hee hee. I’ve made a pact with myself that none of my chapters will be less that 3,000 words, and if they are, they must be posted with a double update. It’s like a little goal thingy. Anyways I lurv this chapter, just like I lurv all my reviewers, who by the way are the main reason that I keep writing this story. WE ARE ALMOST TO 100 REVIEWS! It’s time to break out the bubbly! This chapter is full of mucho friction…and what could be going on with Lily and James??? HMMMM, I wonder! Please r/r, and enjoy! * ** *** **** *** ** * A stream of sunlight wafting in through an open window woke Harry the next morning. He glanced over to the clock on his bedside table, to find that it was already ten o’clock. He sat in bed for a few minutes having an internal struggle with himself about getting out of bed, but then he remembered the events of the night before. With an audible groan he rolled out of bed, and made his way towards the shower. When he emerged from the bathroom, he rifled through his trunk until he found a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt, which he paired with a pair of black flip-flops. As he changed his shirt he noticed that his side was still bleeding slightly, so he wandered back into the bathroom and retrieved some gauze, which he wrapped around the cut, before pulling the black top on. As reluctant as he was to go downstairs and face everyone, he knew he had to. He was mad at them; each and every one of them. Except Brooke, he reasoned with himself, after all she was the only one who didn’t know about his parents and didn’t lie right to his face, but he still had to go down. He was determined to see what Dumbledore’s excuse for keeping him in the dark was this time. That was another thing that was infuriating him; Dumbledore. After Harry’s fifth year, he had come to trust the old professor again, and regarded him as his mentor once again, but then in the sixth year Dumbledore had once more gone to keeping Harry unaware of things that he should have been informed of. Dumbledore had not told Harry his decision to tell Neville the prophecy, so Harry had learned about his ‘mentors’ actions after reading about his own destiny in the paper. He hadn’t told anyone about the prophecy up to that point, not even Ron and Hermione; he could still remember the looks on their faces at breakfast when they had just set out to read the morning paper, but had instead learned of the prophey. Then another time during sixth year during the campaign to clear Sirius’ name, Dumbledore had ‘forgotten’ to tell him, about a meeting that was being set up to discuss the events of the years after Sirius had escaped from Azkaban, so Harry hadn’t even gotten a say in any of the proceedings that led up to Sirius’ name being cleared, even though he had been the one pushing the effort forward since it had started. When Harry had confronted Dumbledore about both incidents, the response had been almost identical each time, “I didn’t want your personal affairs to get involved.” He figured that would be the excuse now as well. And both of those times Harry had forgiven him, but now? Now was another story. Harry’s father who he had never known the way a son should know his father, his godfather who he had loved like a father, and who he had been mourning for the past two years had been here, and Dumbledore wouldn’t let him see them, because he might go ‘over the edge.’ “Well if I wasn’t over the edge before, I sure as hell am now,” he muttered to himself as he made his way down to the kitchen for some breakfast. When he entered the kitchen he received a round of, “Merry Christmas Harry.” Oh Crap, he had forgotten…it was Christmas. He really wasn’t in the best of moods for celebrating, but he didn’t exactly want to ruin everyone elses day either, no matter how mad he was at them. “How are you feeling this morning Harry,” asked Charlie. As soon as he asked everyone paused momentarily, anxious to see his reaction. “Just fine.” Replied Harry in what he hoped was a light tone of voice, “But I still would like to talk to Dumbledore before the day is over,” He said as he slumped into the nearest chair helping himself to a piece of toast. “He should be here soon. How did you sleep?” asked Mrs. Weasley, as she began to load eggs onto a plate for him. “Not very well, I had a weird dream.” He answered as he took the plate of eggs she was offering him. “Do you want to talk about it?” “Well it had to do with my parents, but it had to have been fake, because they were changing the past, or they knew what was going on…something like that, it was really strange.” As soon as the words left Harry’s mouth Ron froze, he hadn’t told anybody about the information he had relayed to James. “Yeah Harry, probably fake.” Ron said more to reassure Harry than himself. What if the Marauders had changed the past? “Oh well, now let’s not dwell on that, I was thinking after we open presents we could go into Diagon Alley.” Said Hermione trying to change the subject. “Why do you lot need to go into Diagon Alley?” asked Bill. “Well my parents sent me some money for Christmas, and I wanted to buy myself a nice new set of robes, and we have to get Brooke her school things.” Hermione answered. “Where is Brooke?” asked Harry as he noticed that she wasn’t sitting at the table. “She went to wake up Ginny” answered Hermione. “I haven’t seen Ginny since we got back from the hospital, where’s she been.” Ron turned around to ask Hermione. “I don’t know, but I think she’s upset about something.” Hermione reasoned. “What would she be upset about?’ asked Ron, but before Hermione could answer him Brooke entered the kitchen with Ginny in tow, the latter of the two quickly glanced over in Harry’s direction and grabbed the chair next to him. Harry turned around and watched as Brooke shuffled through the kitchen in a pair of over sized flannel pajamas, and her hair tied in a loose ponytail. He couldn’t look for long, however, because Ginny immediately engaged him conversation. Charlie who had been occupying the other seat next to Harry stood up, and excused himself, leaving only one spot at the table open, which Brooke took. Harry noticed Ginny staring in Brooke’s direction, so turned around and looked too. “Morning Harry, I like the look, very bohemian.” Brooke greeted, motioning at his flip-flops. “Uhhh…thanks.” He didn’t really know how to respond to that one. She chuckled lightly to herself, and took a sip of her tea, when she noticed Ginny glaring at her. “Morning Ginny, how are you?” she asked. “Fine,” Ginny snapped. Brooke raised an eyebrow at her, but didn’t say anything. Harry was observing the scene between the two girls with interest, and had no clue what was bugging Ginny, but like Brooke chose not to say anything. He just sat there while Brooke tried to start a conversation with Ginny, with Ginny only giving sharp replies, lost in a world of thought. Finally it seemed that everyone was together at the same time, and the twins yelled. “PRESENTS!” Harry allowed himself to be ushered into the sitting room, by Mrs. Weasley, as the twins excitedly ran up to the pile of presents under the Christmas tree like a couple of five year olds. “Mum this is yours.” “Here’s one for Bill.” “Hey Ron, come get this one it looks heavy?” Harry smiled around at his ‘family.’ Sure he wasn’t related to any of them, but they would always be his family, no matter what happened. He settled himself on the comfy couch, and turned to examine the snow that was falling outside. “Beautiful isn’t it” “mmmmmm.” He answered, turning around to see Ginny staring at him, an innocent smile playing on her lips. “I love Christmas time don’t you?” she asked as she settled down next to him. “Yeah, I guess.” “Did you hear Hermione, it’s decided that after lunch we’re going to go into Diagon Alley for Christmas shopping.” “Isn’t everything closed?” “Why would everything be closed?” “Well it’s Christmas, muggles close everything down, it’s like a day of rest or something.” “Oh it’s not like that here, it’s great really. I used to go into Diagon Alley every Christmas day with mum before I went to Hogwarts. All the shops are decorated, and the goblins at gringotts dress up like santas elves, and they have trolls singing Christmas carols.” “Sounds nice,” said Harry half-heartedly. “Oh it is, you’ll love it, and Weasley Wizard Wheezes is all set up, Fred and George are doing some sort of show, it should be great.” Harry soon found that he didn’t want to talk about how great Diagon Alley was at Christmas, he really needed to talk to Dumbledore, and he wasn’t getting any closer to that. He was saved from any more of Ginny’s babbling by Brooke who came over to where they were seated. “Hi guys!” “Hello” said Ginny in a cold tone. “What’s up?” asked Harry “Oh nothing much, I’m excited to go into Diagon Alley though. If there’s one thing I love it’s shopping.” Said Brooke. “Well it depends on what I’m shopping for.” Mused Harry. “Totally agree with you there. I love it though, there’s just a sort of excitement in the air, I like it best when I’m feeling down, it’s amazing how spending a little but of money can help you feel better.” “Well that’s stupid, makes you sound like some sort of gold digger” hissed Ginny, as she continued to glare at Brooke. “Is everything okay Ginny,” asked Harry, who was becoming a bit annoyed at how Ginny was treating Brooke. “Why yes Harry, everything is perfect,” said Ginny in a sickeningly sweet voice. “Uh huh…sure” “I was just telling Harry here, before you came over how wonderful Diagon Alley is at this time of year.” Ginny emphasized the fact that she was talking to Harry a Brooke, who was still perplexed at Ginny’s actions towards her. What had she done? “That’s nice.” Said Brooke, cautious of what she was saying to Ginny, desperate not to make her any madder than she already seemed to have done. “It is isn’t it.” She snapped. “Look Ginny, I can’t help, but think your mad at me, did I do anything?” “I think you know what you’ve done to me,” hissed Ginny, Harry was dumb founded at Ginny’s behavior; he didn’t think Brooke had done anything wrong. Quite the contrary, he thought she had done everything right. “I honestly don’t think I’ve done anything to you Ginny, at least not purposefully.” “Of course you don’t think you’ve done everything wrong, you think you’re so perfect. Well let me inform you missy, you’re not, and no one thinks you are. You just traipse in here like some sort of princess, thinking that you can take him away from me, but you can’t. You just can’t.” Brooke looked extremely taken aback, and extremely offended. “Excuse me?” She said, Harry could tell she was trying her best not to begin insulting Ginny, like Ginny was currently insulting her. “Are you really that dumb? No, don’t answer that. I would have figured that you would be smart enough to figure out that they way I was talking about him, that I liked him!” “Who?” asked Brooke, who was now even more confused at Ginny’s reasoning. “Harry, you IDIOT.” If looks could kill Ginny’s would have killed right then, “I told you how much I cared about him, and what do you do, you go off like some sort of scarlet woman, and flirt with him like there’s no tomorrow, ‘oh Harry let’s talk about our feelings now’” she mimicked Brooke in a very unflattering tone of voice. Brooke’s mouth was just hanging open, what was she supposed to say to this girl, who looked like she was about to tackle her, and curse her with every foul thing ever invented? “And it’s obvious it worked. It’s obvious he likes you too, so go ahead I hope you’re happy, because you won. I BET YOU”RE HAPPY NOW” With that she swept out of the room, and ran out the back door. The room was completely quiet now, and everyone was staring after Ginny, staring at Harry, and making awkward glances at Brooke in turn. “I, I…” Brooke tried to talk, but Harry saved her by putting his hand on her shoulder, and going after Ginny. He found her crying out in the back yard, snow flakes falling into her hair. “Ginny we need to talk.” He demanded, he knew he wasn’t being sympathetic, but he was mad at her for the way she had treated Brooke, who had helped him out a lot in the time he had known her. “Go away Harry,” she answered him through muffles sobs. “No, we need to talk about this. The sooner the better.” “And why do we have to talk about it soon,” she now wheeled around to face him, preparing to defend herself. “Because, Gin, I don’t want to lead you on.” “Lead me on how?” “I don’t have romantic feelings for you Ginny.” “Well obviously, that slut Brooke has seen to that.” “Ginny, believe me when I tell you I didn’t have romantic feelings for you even when Brooke wasn’t here.” “But you like her don’t you, I’ve seen the way you look at her Harry, you can’t pretend you don’t.” “It doesn’t matter what I feel for her.” “ I KNEW IT” “Merlin Ginny, stop being so selfish. You were really mean in there.” “I had the right to be mean.” “No you really didn’t” “Don’t tell me what I can and can not do, POTTER.” “Oh so now I’m Potter huh Gin, am I that bad of a guy now, just because I don’t reciprocate your feelings. MERLIN GINNY, I can’t make everyone happy all the time, sometimes people just need to take my feelings into consideration.” “Oh don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself, if anyone has the right to feel sorry for themselves it’s me. I have been worried sick about you, and how do you repay me? You just push me aside like I don’t even matter.” “But you do matter Ginny. You’re one of my best friends. I love you like a sister, but nothing more, and I’m sorry if I don’t like you back the way you like me.” “You don’t get it do you Harry?” “get what” “Just how great you are.” “Where did that come from, first I’m Potter, and now I’m great.” “Girls all around the world would kill to be with you, you don’t get that you’re famous, not just well liked Harry, you’re a bloody celebrity.” “What does that have to do with anything. You know how I feel about my ‘fame’ if that’s what you want to call it,” he spit out the word ‘fame’ like I was made out of pure venom. “Everything Harry. Any girl you meet out there is only going to want you because you’re a famous face, but me I really care about you. Does Brooke really care about you? You shouldn’t feel anything for her, you should be feeling something for me, because I really care about you Harry.” “Oh you are such a hypocrite, now you’re telling me what I can feel, when I can feel it, and who I can feel it for. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I plain and simple don’t have feelings for you. It doesn’t matter if everyone in the world knows my name, or if not one person in this bloody world knows I even exist. I’m still human, and have the same feelings as everyone else. I can’t make myself love a person who I don’t love in that way.” “Why are you doing this to me Harry? Did I do anything to you Harry?” “You never did anything to me Ginny, but you just need to realize that it’s not going to happen. It was never going to happen when you were in second year, it isn’t going to happen now, or ever for that matter. I can’t believe you Ginny. I thought we moved past this, you’ve changed you know that.” He turned on his heel, and headed out of the back gate, and began wandering down the road shaking with rage. He turned back once to see Ginny yelling at a very disgruntled looking Hermione, and an angry looking Ron. “Women,” he muttered under his breath. “Yes, interesting creatures aren’t they Harry,” he looked up and saw the twinkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore looking down at him, he kept walking, not acknowledging his professors presence. “I understand that you must be upset with me Harry, but please if you would just allow me to explain my reasoning.” “Oh just let me guess, you didn’t want my personal affairs to become a comflict, save it, I’ve heard it before.” Harry snapped, Dumbledore just smiled benignly at him and continued on in his infuriatingly calm voice. “Well yes, I must admit that I did consider how it would affect you if you were to see your father, and Sirius and then have them taken away again so quickly.” “Well did you think it would be any better if I just woke up and found out that I had missed out on probably the only chance I would ever have to see them again, and you just took it away from me. Because let me assure you, it wasn’t any better.” He shot a menacing glare in the professors direction. “On the contrary Harry I figured that this would probably be your reaction, and I don’t blame you for your hostilities, but you must understand that I had many a good reason for sending them back.” “Yeah I know, because of my personal affairs.” “There were others Harry.” “Well what were they then, because they better have been pretty good.” “Oh believe me, they were. Your father and Mr. Black were trying to change time.” Harry stopped dead in his tracks, and whipped around to face Dumbledore. “You mean they were trying to change time.” “That it what I just said, yes.” “but….why?” “Why do you think Harry?” “Did they find out about their futures?” “Indeed they did, but I am afraid that young Mr. Weasley relayed quite a bit of information to your seventeen year old father. I didn’t learn that he had done this of course, until after James and Sirius had left. I sensed something was disturbing him after we sent them back , so I performed occlumency on him, and discovered what he had told them. We sent them back with an outline of the future.” “Do you think they did you know…change it.” “I cannot say for sure. They all understood how important it was, that the events of your life and the night your parents died stay the same, and not only for their sakes, but for the fate of the entire world. But James asked me several times if I believed that everything happened for a reason, which makes me wonder…” “But professor if they had changed the future, wouldn’t it be different now, wouldn’t they be here with me.” Harry said sadly. “One would imagine.” “I had this dream last night.” “Care to share?” “Well it was about my parents, and it was Halloween night, I believe you know, which one.” “Naturally.” “My parents were there, so was Sirius, and me when I was a baby. And my mom was crying and saying how she was so scared, and something about not seeing me for seventeen years…it’s all kind of foggy.” “Just remember as much as you can.” “Ok, well she said they had researched something, I don’t know what, and she was scared it would go wrong, that it would backfire I believe. Then my dad looked at the time, and told Sirius he’d see him in seventeen years. Then they all said their goodbyes, and when Sirius went up to me as a baby he asked me that when we met in thirteen years, would I please not blow him to smithereens.” Dumbledore chuckled lightly at this, “Then for the rest of the time I watched from Sirius’ point of view. I was across the street when Voldemort entered my house, then there was a flash of light, then another flash of light, and then the whole house just collapsed, but I was still sitting there in my crib.” Harry paused for breath. “Then Sirius looked up at the sky where there were red sparks, then he looked at me and sent up green sparks. Then he got on his motorbike, circled around a couple of times, and landed, where he met Hagrid. Then I woke up.” “Puzzling” Said Dumbledore quietly, as he stroked his beard thinking. “Uh what’s puzzling?” “Oh nothing, I wouldn’t dwell on it too much you know, you were most likely reacting to the news of your father and Sirius being in our time, nothing more.” “Oh,” said Harry crestfallen, he was hoping that maybe his dream had really happened. His father had said seventeen years, he was seventeen now, he was hoping that they would just barge into the burrow at any moment, surprising them all. “It does not do well to dwell on the past Harry.” “I know” “Do you?” “Yes, alright I know.” Dumbledore merely gazed at the boy in front of him, and knew what he had to do, so pointing his wand at Harry, “OBLIVIATE.” He cried. Harry was knocked back into the snowy ground, where Dumbledore proceeded in helping him up. “What happened?” asked Harry, rubbing his head where he fell. “We were talking about the rest of the school year when you fell over, don’t you remember?” “Uh no, actually I don’t.” “Well we were just discussing Ms. Vener and how I hope as a fellow seventh year you will make her and all the new students feel welcome, as this is a time of uncertainty for them.” “yeah….right” said Harry still rubbing his head, he could feel a head ache developing. “Well I must be off, you should go inside, it’s awfully cold out, we wouldn’t want you to catch a cold, it might interfere with your recovery.” “Sure…” Harry just turned and walked somewhat aimlessly towards the house, still very confused about what had just happened. Dumbledore merely watched him go, a sad smile o his face. He knew that altering Harry’s memory so that he didn’t remember the dream or their conversation, was the best thing for him. He didn’t want him to build up hope that his parents were coming back, and then have those hopes crushed if they didn’t, and in fact were as dead as history had recorded. * ** *** **** *** ** * A/N: Now what could be going on with Dumbledore, and what does he know that we don't?!?!?! Look for another update soon, but let's see if we can get to one hundred reviews first!

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