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Chapter Four
Back Again!

The four friends came in for a smooth landing on the Hogwarts lawn, right in front of the main doors.  Transforming back into their original forms, they strode up the front steps and pushed the heavy doors open, before making their way into the Entrance Hall.  They made to head towards Dumbledore's office, but Harry stopped them when they reached the bottom of the main staircase.  

“ Um…guys, I think we should go via my room.”

“ Why would we need to do that?” Hermione asked him.

“ Two reasons, really.  For one thing, we don't know the password.  I don't feel like wasting time yelling sweet names at the gargoyle until we guess the right one.  If we go into my room, we can create a door right into his office.  I also think we should get changed.  These robes are a little dated, and have the wrong House crests on them.”

“ Good point, Harry,” Ginny said, before moving to the nearest wall and creating a door to Harry's secret room.  After she pushed it open and entered, the others followed close behind; making sure it was shut properly.  They didn't want to accidentally leave it open, so that any passing student could walk in.  They all took out their luggage and placed it on the floor, enlarging it back to its original size.  The owl cages and Crookshanks' carrying basket were placed in the corner, and some of their books were unpacked onto the bookshelves.  After choosing some clean robes, each in the colour of the House they had been in the previous school year, they pushed their trunks to one side.  Hermione and Ginny went into the weapons room to put on their robes, while Harry and Ron stayed in the main room to change.  Once they were done, and had reassembled in the main room, Harry snapped his fingers twice and waited.  Seconds later, a House elf appeared with a small *pop*.

“ Mister Harry Potter Sir!  What is happened to you, you is all grown up!”

“ Hello, Dobby,” Harry said to the beaming elf, “ It's nice to see you again.”

Dobby's eyes welled up and he started pulling on his ears.

“ The Great Harry Potter is pleased to see Dobby!  Dobby is not deserving this from Mister Harry Potter!”

“ Of course you are, Dobby.  Anyway, I just wanted to ask if you could have these robes cleaned for us,” Harry said uncomfortably, pointing to the pile of discarded robes on the floor.  Dobby's eyes lit up at the prospect of work, and he started to bounce up and down.

“ Mister Harry Potter is a great wizard, and he is asking Dobby to wash his robes!  Dobby is honoured!”

“ Thanks Dobby.”

At this the small creature burst into tears, much to Harry's dismay.

“ Harry Potter Sir is thanking Dobby, as if Dobby is an equal!”

“ Yes, Dobby, I am.  Look, we really have to go now; we have to see Professor Dumbledore.”

“ Dobby is doing as Mister Harry Potter asks.  Will Mister Harry Potter Sir be visiting Dobby in the kitchens?”

“ I'll come soon, I promise.  Bye Dobby.”

Taking the hint, the small elf gave Harry a squeeze around the middle and disappeared, taking the discarded robes with him.  Harry let out a small sigh of relief before turning to an angry looking Hermione.  Realising what he had done, he tried to back away, but she simply started to advance on him.

“ Harry! I can't believe you did that!  You know how I feel about elvish rights!”

“ Hermione, stop,” Harry pleaded, “ I didn't do anything to compromise the rights you want them to have.  Dobby is already free, thanks to me, and it's not as if I ordered him to do anything.  I asked nicely, and I said thank you.  Didn't you see how happy he was?”

“ That's not the point….”

“ It is!  Dobby likes work, and he was happy to do it.  He's my friend, `Mione, I wouldn't take advantage of him.”

“ I guess…”

“ Hermione, just drop it.  I promise not to do it too often.”

“ Alright, just don't let me see you do it, or I'll get angry again.”

“ Can we go and see Dumbledore now?” Ron asked, “ It's nearly time for the other students to arrive.”

The others nodded in agreement, and the red haired boy went over to the wall, placing his hand on the rough stone and creating a door into the headmaster's office.  He was just about to open it when his sister laid a hand on his shoulder.

“ Ron, wait.”

“ Why?”

“ We don't know what he's doing.  We don't want to interrupt anything important.”

“ Good point.”

The elder boy waved his hand at the door, muttering slightly under his breath.  The door shimmered for a second or two before turning completely transparent.  Looking through the door, they could see Professor Dumbledore sitting behind his desk, a dish of Lemon Drops in front of him and a cup of tea in his hand.  Across from his sat Minerva McGonagall, equally equipped with a teacup and nibbling on a biscuit.  They seemed to be discussing something, but the time travellers all agreed that it didn't look like something they couldn't interrupt.  Turning the door back to its original state, they looked at each other nervously, brushing their robes to get the creases out.

“ Are you all ready?” Harry asked.

“ Yes.”

“ Yeah.”

“ As I'll ever be.”

Harry gave his three friends penetrating looks, trying to reassure himself that they were indeed ready, and weren't just saying they were to appease him.  When he was sure they were as prepared as they could be, he took a deep breath and turned the handle.


To say the two teachers were shocked was an understatement.  The four time travellers had to hold in amused laughter as they pushed the door open and walked into the office.  Dumbledore looked surprised for a second before a soft smile spread across his face and he sat back in his chair, eyes twinkling madly.  Minerva's reaction was a little more profound.  She took one look at them, gaped, and fell off her chair.  It took a lot of effort for the students not to burst out laughing at that point.  She stared at them in shock for a few moments before shaking her head thoroughly as if to clear it.  After a minute or two she managed to compose herself and stand up, sitting shakily back in her chair.  Harry sent her an amused look before waving his hand, conjuring four more chairs, two either side of the Transfiguration professor.  Harry and Ginny sat to her right, and Hermione and Ron sat to her left.

“ I see you are back,” Dumbledore said with a smile.

“ Yes we are, at last,” Hermione replied.

When Minerva recovered from the shock of seeing some of her students three years older than they were supposed to be, and the surprise she felt as her memories of them in the past came back to her, she asked them the obvious question.

“ What?!”

“ What what?” Ron asked with a grin.  Minerva spluttered for a moment before taking a deep breath and gathering her thoughts.

“ What's going on?”

“ Surely you remember us, Professor,” Hermione said with a frown.

“ Of course I remember you, Miss Granger.  What I want to know is what you, Miss Weasley and the rest of the Golden Trio were doing in the past!  And why couldn't I remember it until now?”

“ It's a long story, Professor,” Ginny explained.

“ I have time.”

“ I think it would be best if we left this discussion until we have everyone present, don't you agree?” Dumbledore interjected.

“ I think so, Headmaster,” Harry said, “ I think it would be best to wait for the rest of the staff and our families.  Do you think we could get them here before the students arrive?”

“ I think that can be arranged.  Is there anyone you don't want to tell about this today?”

“ Who's the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?” Ron asked.

Dumbledore's face darkened as he replied.

“ A witch by the name of Dolores Umbridge, who was appointed by the Ministry to make sure the school is being run properly.”

“ I don't want any Ministry people here that I don't know,” Harry said firmly, “ If they found out about my Dark Arts knowledge they'd have me in Azkaban before I could blink.”

“ That's a good point Harry.  Anyone else?”

“ I don't think so.  We can trust our families, and all of the other teachers.  I think we should ask them to start arriving in about half an hour's time.  It'll take a while for everyone to get here, and we'll need to discuss what we're telling them before they arrive.”

“ An excellent point, Harry.  After all, it may take a while for Molly and Arthur to round up all of their children.  Especially William and Charles.”

“ Yeah, I know what you mean Professor,” Ron said, “ It takes weeks for us to arrange a family get-together.  I dread to think what would happen if we gave them such a short deadline.”

“ Then I will contact them immediately.  Who are we inviting, anyway?  Specifically, I mean,” Dumbledore asked.

“ I would like Sirius and Remus to be here,” Harry requested, “ I think they are the only ones I would trust with this at the moment.  Unless you happen to know what happened to my grandparents…”

Dumbledore gave the young boy a mournful look that spoke of bad news.  Harry deflated at the look, realising that whatever the headmaster was going to tell him would not be what he wanted to hear.

“ Harry, I'm so sorry, child.  The last anyone heard of Minh-Minh-Lama and Eustace Potter was just after you were born.  From what I can gather, they decided to go into hiding, having chosen somewhere they would be safe from Voldemort.  They told your parents where they were going, and asked them to go as well, as they had you to think about.  Alas, James and Lily decided to stay here, and the elder Potters disappeared without a trace.  Nothing has been heard of them since.  I have always hoped that they found a safe place to live, and just never came back, but I am not hopeful.  Surely, they would have come back once the war was ended and your parents were killed.  If they knew, they would have taken you in.  I believe, therefore, that Voldemort or his Death Eaters must have found and killed them.  I'm sorry, Harry, I know you were close.”

Harry hung his head, a defeated look in his eyes and a deep sadness radiating from him.  In no time, though, he had pulled himself together and was ready to continue.

“ I understand, Headmaster, and thank you for telling me.  I had half expected it, anyway.  Why else had I never heard from them?  Anyway, who else will we invite?”

Everyone was glad to get off the topic of Minh and Eustace.  They had all been close friends of the elf and the Potter, and none of them wanted to dwell on the thought of them being dead.  It was like losing Ardwick, Christabel and Persephone all over again.  Ron quickly steered the conversation back to a safe subject.

“ I think we need to invite my parents and all of my siblings.  Even the twins.  They already know about us, as we met them on the train, and they have something in their possession that will make a certain escaped convict a very happy man.”

Dumbledore looked at the elder Weasley in curiosity, but decided to pursue the matter at a later date.  Right now, they needed to get this whole mess sorted out.

“ Anyone else?”

“ My parents,” Hermione said, “ I know they're Muggles, and probably will find it hard to understand, but they have a right to know.”

“ Very well.  I will contact everyone and tell them to come here in half an hour.”

Standing up, Dumbledore headed over to the fireplace and took a pot of floo powder from the mantelpiece and knelt on the floor.  Taking a pinch of powder, he threw it into the flames and called out the destination.

“ Remus Lupin.”

Moments later, the worn face of the former Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher appeared in the fire and looked around in curiosity.  Before his gaze reached the time travellers, they each turned themselves invisible, so as not to confuse him.  It would be bad enough explaining when the other Marauders were there in person, they didn't want to make it harder by being seen.

“ Albus!  What can I do for you?” the werewolf asked.

“ Remus, there's a matter we need to discuss in person. Would you please bring yourself and Sirius to my office in half an hour?  I'm going to lift the anti-apparition wards for ten minutes at that time, as we have several guests arriving, and as you know you can't floo into the school.  It would also take too long to make a portkey that will get through the wards.”

“ I understand, Albus.  What do you need to discuss with us?”

“ All will be revealed upon your arrival.  All I am prepared to say is that it has to do with certain events that took place in your fifth year.”

“ I see.  I think…We will be there, Albus.”

“ Thank you Remus.  See you later.”

As soon as the green once again became yellow and orange, the elderly headmaster took another pinch of floo powder and threw it in the flames, clearly calling out for the Burrow.  Moments later, Molly Weasley's head appeared, and she sent the headmaster an angry look.

“ What have they done this time?”

“ Who?” Dumbledore asked in confusion.

“ Fred and George!  They can't even have reached Hogwarts yet, and they're already in trouble!”

“ Molly, dear, this isn't about the twins.  In fact, it is concerning your two youngest.  Don't worry, they're not in trouble, but it is a matter that concerns your whole family.  I wonder, could you assemble them all in my office in half an hour?”

“ All of them?” Molly asked in confusion, “ Even Arthur, Bill and Charlie?”

“ All of them.”

“ What is this about, Headmaster?”

“ Molly, dear, how many times must I ask you to call me Albus?”

“ I'm sorry, Albus.  Old habits die hard.  But Sir, do you realise how hard it will be to get them all?”

“ Just do your best, Molly, for I cannot ask more than that of you.  Trust me, though, when I say it is of the utmost importance.”

“ I don't doubt it is.  I'll see what I can do.  How am I to get them there?  We can't floo in…”

“ I will be lowering the anti-apparition wards for a short time when everyone is expected to arrive.  You can apparate right into my office.”

“ Is it not dangerous to lower the wards?”

“ Very.”

“ It must be important, then.  I'll see you soon, Albus.”

As soon as Molly's head disappeared, Dumbledore stood and made his way over to Minerva and the now once again visible time travellers.  Turning to the Deputy Headmistress, he gave her a hopeful look.

“ Minerva, I was wondering if you could do a small favour for me.”

“ And what would that be, Headmaster?” she asked stiffly.

“ I would like you to go and inform the other members of staff about the meeting.  All except Professor Umbridge, that is.  Then I would like you to apparate to Miss Granger's house and bring back her parents.  After that, could you collect the Weasley twins from the Hogwarts Express?”

“ Of course, Albus.”

Just as she was about to leave, Harry stood up and called to her.

“ Professor McGonagall?”

“ Yes, Mr. Potter?”

“ Could you please tell Fred and George not to forget to bring my pet?”

Minerva looked at him in confusion, but nodded anyway before turning and leaving the room.  Dumbledore folded his hands in his lap and smiled at the four time travellers.

“ So, what are we going to tell them?”

“ The truth,” Ginny said, “ But just the basics.  We'll tell them what we have to, and answer things more specifically only if they ask.”

“ Agreed.  What about the rest of the school, and indeed the wizarding world?  We won't be able to keep this under wraps for long.”

“ I think we should tell the school that we went on a time travelling trip, but were sworn to secrecy.  That will explain away our appearance, and the fact that we will need to start on our seventh year,” Hermione said.

“ Are you sure, Miss Granger?  Can't we come up with another excuse for your change in appearance?”

“ I'm afraid not, Headmaster.  You see, Malfoy came into our compartment before we left, so he knows that we looked different getting on the train that when we got off.  I think it would be best to tell the truth, but tell them that we are sworn to secrecy, and therefore can't tell anyone anything.”

“ If that is what you want, then I agree.  I take it you will be back in Gryffindor now?”

“ Of course they will,” Ron exclaimed, “ They should never have left!”

“ I don't think so, Ron.  I mean, I'm glad I got to see how other people lived.  Yes, it'll be nice to a Gryffindor again, but I will miss the other Houses,” Ginny countered.

“ Me too.”  

“ So be it,” Dumbledore said, “ I will have your things moved to the seventh year dorms after the feast.  For this evening, though, I would like you the wear the robes you have on at the moment.  They make you look older and they will help you to gain more respect.”

“ As you ask,” Harry agreed.

The group continued to discuss the matter for another twenty minutes, before Dumbledore lifted the anti-apparition wards in anticipation of the arrivals.  The time travellers were all nervous and almost jumped out of their skin when they heard a pounding on the door.  Dumbledore smiled a small smile, and his eyes twinkled madly.  He looked at Harry, and called for the person at the door to come in.  The next moment, the door was thrown open and a dark, imposing figure strode into the office.

“ Albus, what is this all about…”

The deep, silky voice trailed off as an intense gaze settled on the time travellers and widened greatly.  Shocked black met emerald green.

“ Harry?”

“ Hello, Sev.”

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