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Chapter Eighteen
The Return of Eustace Potter

“ Eustace?”

Eustace Potter grinned at his grandson and nodded his head, a wide grin on his face.  Harry let out a squeal of delight and launched himself at the man he hadn't seen in so long.  He wrapped his arms around Eustace, pulling him tightly to himself.  The older man returned the embrace eagerly, glad to have his grandson in his arms.  The last time he had seen Harry was when he was a baby, when he and Minh had left the human world for Falaryth to escape Voldemort.  He still felt an ache in his chest when he thought of James and Lily, who refused to go with them.  With one last squeeze, he pulled back to look at Harry's face.

“ You know, you look even more like your mother than I remember,” he said, a grin playing on his lips.  Harry blushed crimson.

“ That's not what most people say.  Everyone thinks I look like my father.”

“ Maybe you used to,” Eustace conceded, “ But now that you're older, I can see more of Lily in you than just the eyes.”

Harry gave his old friend a happy grin, and one final squeeze, before taking his hand and leading him to the table, where everyone was still seated in front of their desserts.  Dumbledore had the familiar twinkle shining in his eyes, and the other time travellers had huge smiles on their faces.  The rest of the table, though, was watching the pair with a mixture of shock and surprise.  The students, because they had never seen Eustace before, and certainly couldn't understand why the Boy-Who-Lived would be so enthusiastic about hugging him.  The staff members, and Fudge of course, knew who Eustace was, and were simply surprised to see him alive after he had been missing for so many years.

With a discreet wave of Harry's hand, a new chair appeared next to his, and Eustace sat down at the table, a bowl of Christmas pudding appearing in front of him.  Harry dropped down in his seat and poured cream over his own dessert, before turning back to his grandfather.

“ Eustace, where have you been?  And where's Minh?”

The older man swallowed his mouthful of pudding and turned to the emerald eyed boy, a small, sad smile on his face.

“ What do you know about what happened to us?”

“ Not a lot,” Harry said with a frown, “ Just that you went to visit my parents after I was born, and that you went into hiding shortly after.  No-one heard from you again after that.  We all assumed you were dead.”

“ Well, we did visit James and Lily, and we asked them to come with us, but they wouldn't listen.  It was a very emotional time for us, as we knew from what you had told us in the past that you were an orphan.  We knew your parents would be killed, and that you would survive, but we also knew we couldn't change anything.  If I learned anything from your jaunts through time, it is that you play a very important role in many key events in history.  No matter how wrong we thought it was, leaving James and Lily to die, we knew it had to happen.  I'm sorry.”

Tears were slowly making their way down Eustace's cheeks, and Harry placed an arm around him.

“ I think we should continue this in private,” he said, glaring down the table at the gawping students and pompous looking Fudge.  Eustace nodded his head slightly and Harry stood up, making his way to the wall of the Great Hall.  Seconds later, he pulled open a door into his room, and held it open as his friends, son and headmaster all went inside.

Once the door was closed, everyone was seated comfortably in front of the fire, and the ghosts had been summoned, Eustace continued with his story.

“ We knew we were a target, as we could be used to get to James and Lily.  Minh, after all, is an Heir of Gryffindor just as much as you and your father.  We went to the only place we would ever be a hundred percent safe from Voldemort.”

“ The elf world,” Harry said in sudden realisation.  Eustace nodded his head.

“ The elves let me in, on the understanding that I wouldn't endanger their world, or try and learn their ways.  I picked up some of their language, and customs, but was forbidden from learning their magic.  Before we left, we told James and Lily to contact us if it was safe to come back.  They must have died before that happened.  However, being out of touch with the human world, we didn't know what was going on here.”

“ How did you know to come back now?” Ginny asked.

“ Simple, really.  From what I understand, Harry met up with Lolide's daughters a few weeks ago…”

“ Mei and Lei!  Of course,” Harry exclaimed, “ They could have told you.  When I was there, they mentioned that they still sent letters to Lolide in the elf world.”

“ Indeed.  She was the one who told us that you had arrived back in your own time, and I felt it was time for me to come back.  In the letter, Leilani summarised everything you had told her about the downfall of Voldemort, and his current status.  I came back about a week ago, on a scouting mission.  I needed to corroborate what the twins told us, and make sure it was safe for me to reveal myself.  I learned all about the Boy-Who-Lived, the saviour of the wizarding world.”

Harry hung his head at that, sadness washing over him.  Eustace finally knew the whole story.  The pieces Harry had told him over the years finally made sense.  He knew the truth about his friend and grandson.  Harry wasn't sure how he felt about it, really.  He obviously knew that his old friends would find out about it some day, but his grandfather's reaction had been the one he was dreading the most.  He was family, after all.  Pushing his thoughts aside, he looked Eustace in the eye and asked something that had been bothering him since the man had turned up in the Great Hall.

“ Where's Minh?  Why didn't she come with you?”

Eustace relaxed at the question, having thought the worst.  He smiled at his grandson before answering.

“ She's still in Falaryth.  I didn't want to endanger her by bringing her here when it might be dangerous for her, so I told her I would contact her after I met up with you.”

“ As long as she's alright.”

“ Mr. Potter, if you and your wife wish to move back to the human world, I can offer you rooms in Hogwarts,” Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling merrily.

“ If you don't want to stay here, you can move into Domus Corvus Corax.  It might be a bit lonely, but it's just as safe as Hogwarts, if not more so,” Harry said.

Eustace thought about it for a few minutes, before turning to the headmaster.

“ If you don't mind, Albus, I think we'll probably move to Corvus Corax.  We'll be away from the public, and can stay close to the Order.  Thank you for the kind offer, though.”

Dumbledore nodded his head to the younger man and stood to leave.  

“ Well, I'd best return to my office.  No doubt Minister Fudge will be there waiting for an explanation.”

“ Professor, before you go, could my friends and I possible go to the Borrow this afternoon to see my family?” Ginny asked.

“ Of course you can, providing none of the other students find out.  After all, we wouldn't want me being accused of favouritism now, would we?”

As soon as Dumbledore left, Eustace turned to Glen and looked at him closely, a calculating look on his face.  Eventually, he looked at the rest of the assembled youngsters before looking back to Glen.  

“ You're a Potter, aren't you?” he asked the ancient boy.  Glen shifted uncomfortably in his seat, not knowing what to say to the man.  He had heard about Eustace from his father and friends, having been told all about their time travelling exploits.  He had never expected to meet him, though.  He nodded slowly, holding his hand out to be shaken.

“ Glenadade Harold Potter, Sir,” he said.

A large smile broke out on Eustace's face, and he clasped his great-grandson's hand tightly.

“ Well, well, well, Harry's son, I believe?”

“ He is,” the Boy-Who-Lived confirmed, “ He turned up at the start of September, as a result of a spell cast on him by the Dark Queen Lucifina.  He'll be around until the end of the school year.  We plan on using the amulet to send him back.”

Eustace's brow furrowed lightly as he thought over the implications.

“ That's a rather hit or miss method.  Is that the best idea you can come up with?”

“ At the moment, it's our only option,” Hermione explained, “ We don't know what sent him here, so we can't try to reverse it, and we don't know of any time travel device that works as effectively at the Amulet of Time.  After all, even time turners can't take people back more than a few hours.  We're talking about a thousand years, here, and at the moment the amulet is the best we have.”

“ He could end up anywhere, though.  I mean, you didn't know where you would end up when you used it.  He might not end up anywhere near his own time,” Eustace countered.

“ It's a risk we'll have to take, though,” Harry said, “ I know it's not ideal, but if you have any better ideas, please share them with us.”

Eustace pondered the question for several minutes before letting out a loud sigh.

“ I guess I see your point.  How do you feel about this, Glenadade?” Eustace asked the boy.

“ Please, call me Glen,” he said, “ And I haven't really thought about it.  I'm not looking forward to it, so I'm trying not to think about it until nearer the time.”

“ And it's not like he'll be on his own,” Harry said.

“ What do you mean?” Hermione asked in surprise.

“ Well, when we went back in time, there were four of us.  Granted, Glen is older than we were at the time, but at least we had friends to rely on.  We weren't totally alone.  I may not be a very good father, but I'm not leaving my own son to face Merlin knows what alone.  I'm going too.”

That admission caused an uproar.  Glen was protesting that Harry had been a perfectly good father, while Ginny was yelling about making big plans and not telling her about them.  After all, she was his girlfriend, and should have been consulted.  Hermione and Ron were both yelling about crazy Dark wizards coming up with harebrained schemes.  `Tea was worrying about Harry's mental state, and what another trip through time would do to him, Peeves was laughing his head off, and Eustace was watching the scene in amusement.  Harry had long since switched off to their protests and was having a rather interesting mental discussion with Sev about one of the potions in his Dark Potion antidote book.

Once everyone had calmed down somewhat, realising that the subject of their arguments wasn't even paying attention, Harry looked at each of then, a scowl firmly in place.

“ You can say what you like, I'm going with him.  As Eustace pointed out, he could end up anywhere, and I'm not prepared to leave my son alone under such circumstances.  Now, you are all welcome to come with me, but I won't make you do anything you don't want to do.”

His piece said, Harry sat back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest, waiting for this new information to sink in.  After a few minutes of silence, Ginny stood up and moved over to her boyfriend, settling herself comfortably in his lap and wrapping her arms around his neck.

“ Harry, I love you, and I'm not prepared to lose you.  If you're sure you want to go on this trip, then I'm going with you.”

Harry smiled widely and hugged the girl tightly.

“ Thank you.”

“ Hey, you're not taking my sister off on a wild trip without me to keep an eye on the pair of you!” Ron piped up, earning him a mock glare from the younger redhead.

“ I don't need a chaperone, Ronald Weasley!  What do you think Harry's going to do to me?  Or let be done to me?”

“ Well, nothing,” Ron replied indignantly, “ I just don't know if it'll be safe for only three of you to go.”

“ Well, if you're all going, then so am I,” Hermione said in resignation, “ After all, it might be fun if we do it voluntarily.  After all, the last trip wasn't so bad once we got used to it, and just think of all the things we could learn…”

The others let out a loud groan at Hermione's idea of fun, but inside Harry was pleased.  He had expected Ginny to agree to come, but not the other two.  After all, they had only just been reunited with their families, and it would be cruel to ask them to leave again so soon.

“ At least this time we can prepare better,” Ginny pointed out, “ I mean, last time was such a shock, at least this time we'll be able to pack everything we need, rather than being stranded there with only our school trunks.  We'll have to be careful about changing time this time around, but it could be fun.”

Once it was all settled, the group went back to general conversation, Eustace catching up with the four time travellers, and getting to know Glenadade.


That afternoon found Ron, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Fred, George, Glen and Eustace toppling out of the fireplace at the Burrow.  Molly Weasley was surprised to say the least, not having expected her Hogwarts children to be arriving home, even on Christmas day.  She was just about to scold them for frightening her when the eldest Potter made himself known.

“ Molly dear!  How lovely it is to see you again.  How have you been?”

The Weasley matriarch started when she saw him, her jaw dropping in utter shock.  Once she composed herself, she took a step forward and placed her hand hesitantly on his arm, as if testing he was real.

“ Eustace?  Eustace Potter?”

“ Hello, Molly.  Long time no see.”

“ Eustace!  It is you!” Molly said, before pulling him into one of her famous hugs.  When she released him, she excitedly bustled around the kitchen preparing tea and biscuits.  Twice she called for her husband, who appeared just as the younger members of the group were seating themselves at the table.  He grinned broadly when he spotted his old friend, and shook his hand firmly.

“ Eustace, what a surprise.  We all thought you were dead.  What happened to you?  And where is the lovely Minh?”

Over tea the older man told the rest of the Weasley family what he had told the time travellers earlier. They listened attentively, asking the odd question and getting him to clarify certain things.  Later in the afternoon, the group retired to the living room, where the time travellers pulled out some special gifts they had collected over the years for the red headed family.  Molly started to cry when Ginny handed her beautifully crafted necklace and pendant she had picked up in Hogsmeade a thousand years earlier.  The pendant was made up of a small crystal ball, which when tapped with the tip if a wand, acted like a penseive.  Ginny hadn't told any of the others about it, but had been collecting memories from their travels.  It was her way of letting her mother see some of their experiences, as well as allowing her to watch her children growing up.  It had been one of the things that had upset Molly the most about the whole incident; missing the last three years of her youngest children's childhoods.  Now she had a way of understanding what had happened to them, as well as seeing them become adults.

Once Molly had composed herself, Ron handed his father a newly unshrunken box of Muggle items collected from all three time periods.  Arthur's love of Muggles had never abated, only grown, and for him a sample of Muggle life through he ages was the perfect gift.  He became slightly emotional as he pulled out an array of tenth century medical apparatus, a gas mask, and a Showaddywaddy LP, among other colourful artifacts.

The best reactions, though, came from Fred and George.  When Harry and Ron handed them each a book with their names on the front, they were a little confused.  However, when they opened the crisp pages and looked at the title, they almost fainted.

“ Is this…”

“…what I think it is?”

“ What do you think it is?” Harry asked, cheekily.

“ My Latin's not that good…”

“…but it looks like a copy of…”

“…the quidditch rule book.”

“ That's what it is,” The Boy-Who-Lived confirmed, “ First editions, with your names embossed on the front, in the original Latin.  Over a thousand years old, and made especially for you.”

“ They must be worth a fortune!” Fred exclaimed.

“ They're priceless,” Ron told him.

Everyone laughed at the thoroughly shocked looks on the Weasley twins' faces before the pair fell into a dead faint.  The rest of the evening passed quietly, the group enjoying a decent family Christmas.

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