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Books » Harry Potter » Backward With Purpose Part III: The Refuge of Hope Deadwoodpecker
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1. Al's Return

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Rated: M - English - Family - Albus S. P. & Harry P. - Reviews: 226 - Updated: 05-22-09 - Published: 0510-09 - id:5053251

19 December 2028


Emily Wilder - more commonly known as Emmy - had been in love with Albus Potter since she was fifteen years old. It had struck her like a lightning bolt one day in Hogsmeade, though the situation had been far from romantic. He'd been laughing with his cousin Rose Weasley and his hair had been even messier than usual due to the brisk wind, and the note of hilarity and mockery in his voice had been so sly and familiar and utterly him that the blinders had been pulled off. It had been the first occasion that she'd felt that peculiar throb in her belly because of him, and seven years later she was still feeling it. It wasn't so much that he was handsome (he was) or awkward with it (which she found charming). She didn't love him because he was Harry Potter's son (she'd first learned the story of Voldemort and Harry's sacrifice from Al, who had stumbled over his explanation as to why it was just as weird for him to be in Slytherin as it was for her, a Muggleborn). His moods were a bit annoying. Sometimes his temper erupted volcanically. He didn't do well under pressure (she'd survived both fifth year and seventh year with him, so she knew), and he could be very caustic. But he had a very sly and subversive sense of humor (there was a reason why she'd nicknamed him the Wise Asp) that matched her own. She'd watched him become more comfortable in his skin just as she became more comfortable in her own. And he was really endearing with his bouts of shyness, and Emmy especially liked it when he blushed. After the revelation she'd had at age fifteen, she'd tried to make him blush whenever she could. At twenty-two, she still had that ability (though it had been seven months since she'd last had that opportunity), which led her to believe that her feelings weren't entirely one-sided. Sometimes when they were at his flat (before he'd gone gallivanting in time, of course) and having a laugh at something or other, the moment would turn so heated that she felt like he'd lit her on fire. And the most frustrating and maddening thing of all was that she was certain he would've done something about all the sexual tension if he hadn't been told at the age of seventeen that he'd actually traveled back in time. The Slytherin common room had been completely empty on the first day of September in their seventh year. It was late enough that all the others had gone to bed. Emmy would've been there herself had she not been so acutely aware of Al and that he needed to talk. All day he'd been acting jumpy and dazed, and during the feast he'd only picked at his food rather than ploughing through it like he usually did. She had to confess that she was hoping that he'd finally realized that he had feelings for her and was nervous about her reaction. And she had it all planned out. She would listen to his confession of deep attraction and then tell him that she felt exactly the same. Emmy liked to think she wasn't in the same mold as the stupid girls who played coy, and"I have something I need to tell you," he said heavily. "Yes?" she said, trying not to sound too eager. "My uncle," he began and her hopes plummeted. "Merlin, I don't even know how to begin this," he said, laughing a little. He pulled at his hair and it stuck up even more than usual. "Remember what I told you about my dad and mum and uncle? How... you know, the time travel?" "Yes," she said again, cautiously. She remembered very well hearing the story behind the story of how Harry Potter had defeated Voldemort once and for all. It hadn't been his first attempt, but the price had been too high and he'd gone back in time to prevent the deaths of Al's extended family. At first she hadn't really believed it, but after talking to Al and Rose Weasley about it extensively, it made complete

Al had been a young man. three. "Apparently. And she'd watched as his palm bled with not one or two. He frowned into the fire. He'd had about an hour of clarity at every new moon since May. at three in the morning. meaning that he'd jumped into a past memory seven times. It wasn't Harry's award. But Al had found out during the Easter holidays (when he was seventeen and judged mature enough to hear the entire story of his family's adventures) that it belonged to the fourth time traveler." Percy Weasley had said on one of his many visits. If there had been an Al in a world without his mum and dad. And Emmy believed because apparently Harry's life had been somehow at stake. had been the clincher. He studied time and she studied love. and she was certain he'd return fully to himself. The one they called Merlin. and it cast strange light on his face." "What?" Emmy said blankly. Al had joined the Department of Mysteries immediately upon graduating. for Emmy. Emmy knew that he'd do anything within his power to save them. As soon as he awakened from all the memories pounding through his system. She'd been over to the Potter home often enough to wonder about the Order of Merlin. Al. and Al's parents had refused to talk about it for the longest time." he said in a tone of great disbelief. But it was December now. A year. And she wanted to be ready when he did. nor was it Ginny's. His eyelids moved and she soothed his brow. But she had a feeling that he would awaken.sense. "He'll be disoriented. He shook his head. "I'll be gentle." It took almost an hour of explanation for Emmy to believe it. though no one has ever documented a case in which the subject has multiple lifetimes to integrate. but seven deep gashes." she replied instantly." Emmy could only imagine how strange this was. A part of her felt guilty for planning to use his disorientation." he said. the eternal flame in the blown glass burning brightly. That. "Yeah." he replied. Al's changes (which were sketchy and largely unknown) had happened in the past. "Of course." she reminded herself firmly. maybe four. as she just couldn't imagine that all her feelings for him were completely one-sided. and maybe Aunt Luna. "Does your dad know?" she asked finally. And Emmy had been there to support him. Apparently I asked Uncle Percy not to in a letter I wrote to him. had believed. "That's what all the research has led me to believe. That had actually been one of the proofs she'd needed to believe the story of the Tears of Merlin. "And how they had this anonymous helper they called Merlin?" he asked. First Class sitting on the mantle. And several more hours until she understood. unable to argue with this. as he had met Al while the war raged on. and had shown him the memory in a Pensieve. "I haven't told him. and Harry and Ginny had eventually died from it. It had been a long seven months. she was going to kiss him." she said cheekily. Her plan was simple. She'd led him back to her flat and settled him in a comfortable bed. even a decade. None of them who knew about Al's involvement (counted on three. but not very young. "That was my reaction. There had been a curse. making him look older and more pensive. "I'm Merlin. fingers) knew when the memories of different lifetimes would catch up to him. and she'd been there when his eyes had gone vacant and his pupils had dilated until only a hint of vivid green appeared around the edges. His Uncle Percy had offered unbiased proof of this. He'd written the letter years before he'd even been born. The irony in that had not been lost on her. And hopefully he would feel as right about it as she knew she'd feel. and time travel was not unknown in the Potter family. It's just not . "It's for the best. "Just Uncle Percy." Emmy might have bristled at his choice of words. but Al's godfather had proven that he loved Al quite a lot. and so had she.

But the moment extended while she gathered her nerve. And she had to confront what she'd never let herself think about for years. and would do anything for him. Exactly as darkness fell. "Hi. Al. But then he flipped her over until he was leaning above her. . she lost herself. and Harry stared unseeing at the sheaf of parchment sitting in front of him." she said again. Do it. If he really didn't want to kiss her. she wouldn't force him to. It reminded her forcibly that he'd inherited his noble streak from his father. do it. His face. "Please don't. she chanted. And then she pressed her lips against his. Her stomach swooped. Al adored his father. And it was pretty harmless. and she didn't like it. Why should the universe have exacted any less of a price from Harry's son? Emmy knew intimately how love could be piercing and terrible as it was wonderful." he said in a ragged voice." "Emmy. HPAPHPAPHPAPHPAPHPAPHPAP 20 December 2028 The wood of the desk was rough under his fingertips." Al rested his forehead against hers. doesn't it? Harry'd had to take the Killing Curse in order to free the world from Voldemort. And he began to draw away. Helpless grief bundled together. And then she leaned over until her face was directly above his and they were breathing the same air. though. Al's voice. Why else would he respond so fervently and then pull away? She knew he loved her. His father had been struck by a curse that had eventually killed him. when she pulled far enough away to get a good look at him. But Harry wasn't thinking of Howard Wells. do it. who had wreaked havoc in Shropshire until he'd been caught two days ago. and a part of her had suspected all along.possible. Has he even kissed a girl before? she thought inanely. and she could practically see the light of the rune reflected in his face as he pulled even further away. she told herself for the millionth time. breathing heavily. Daily correspondence with the Minister for Magic (who also happened to be his sister-in-law) revealed that Al wasn't missing. She just wanted to show Al that they really were suited for one another. It makes sense. "No. They were so close that she felt his face tighten. Al pulled her down until she lay on top of him with only the sheet between them and kissed her until her head spun with it. as deceptions went. "Don't. Her uncertainty had been blasted away by his kiss. Did I always know? the calm part of her asked. and for a few mad moments. She was fair. Being the Head of the Auror Department was quite a lot of work at times. She gave him enough time to stop her. Al. and the fact that he hadn't been home in months." she said. "Don't. his eyes flew open. she'd do it. And if it took taking him in a moment of confusion. She'd never heard that particular note. Emmy watched him as he adjusted himself to being back in the right time and in a comfortable bed. Her chance came on the nineteenth of December. It matched her desire for him. his mind was on his middle son." she said. just because it was the week before Christmas didn't mean that two bit petty dark wizards weren't causing trouble. just doing his job as an Unspeakable… Harry felt like he was missing. Instead." she added. "I missed you a lot. He'd taken the curse for his father. He responded with an intensity that surprised her. And then he pulled away. told her everything. and she felt his desire for her. Of course. "Emmy?" he said in a raspy voice.

"Of course I'm still worrying. already knowing it was Ginny. He hadn't known until James was born that this would happen. The family he'd begun with . James' cries had completely cut off now he'd gotten what he wanted. It was the quiet moments like these that made being a father most rewarding. Harry consoled himself with the fact that other than when he was apparently on the verge of total starvation. and Harry could feel her gratitude. She wore a dressing gown." Harry said firmly. the time travel." said Harry. quite upset. "Let's get you back to Mummy. James quite liked to be held by his dad. and her hair spilled down her back. Their past. he did not have children. Don't worry about me. eh?" James' outrage grew and grew. and into the nursery. "Still worrying?" she asked. The bright red had been dulled somewhat by gray. Probably. James had not yet slept through the night. but she was somehow even lovelier than she had been at sixteen." Harry shrugged. and he jerked awake. Scooping the baby up into his arms. throwing her legs over the side of the bed. "I'm the wrong one for that. "I'll get James. and soft light spilled over her. stretching his legs. Al." said Ginny. and could see it in the tilt of her head and the set of her shoulders. were asleep in their beds. His wife came around the desk and sat on his lap. Her eyes were half-closed and sleepy. "I think he's all right. he chuckled as James' head immediately turned toward Harry's body. Al had no clue that parents worried about their children even when they were home and relatively safe. Ginny had lit the bedside lamp. It had hit him a few months after James had been born. reaching out her arms for the baby. down the hall. The only contact he'd had from him had been hastily scrawled notes (Al was not good at writing letters) about once a month." Harry told Ginny. that Harry would feel this welling of fierce protectiveness for his children." Harry told him. Everything's fine." said Ginny. "You can go back to sleep—" "No way. I'm afraid. heart pounding. squinting at the picture of Al and James on his desk." Harry got into bed beside them. "I'm sure he is. and had never heard Voldemort's name." Harry chuckled. A knock interrupted Harry mid-huff. "he loves my breasts more than he loves me. I'm fine. and bring him to you. sliding her arms around his neck. thought Harry. He could feel her weariness. It was a candid shot (most of the pictures of those two were – neither liked to arrange themselves in artful poses)." he said. It was late enough at night that their two youngest." said Ginny. It was true. after a moment's pause." Ginny said dryly. as he watched." Harry announced. "Lay back down. His son lay in his cot. both of them were laughing. Viola and Neville. sliding into the room. He didn't know that having sons and daughters was just as much a full-time job as being the Head of the Auror Department. his face was bright red. "We're both so neurotic." "But you have your big case tomorrow. little hands fisted and waving. The soothing words were meant to put Harry and Ginny at ease. the long war with Voldemort… Harry wondered if he would appreciate his kids less if Harry had never been involved in two wars. But she was already nestled against the pillows again. "Don't feel too bad. Al flung his arm around James' shoulders. walking back into the master bedroom. The baby's wails pierced through Harry's sleep. "He loves you more than me. but Al obviously had no clue that it made his parents worry all the more.It had been months since he'd had an actual conversation with his son. Al was not a parent. "Our poor kids. and he appeared to be quite. Ginny was already sitting up. Come home. Harry padded out of the room. and. let alone when they were off doing possibly dangerous things. "Come in.

and now they got to be here. I'm not letting anyone touch you. "Can't help it. Harry had no clue what sort of dangerous things his son might be getting up to… The doorbell rang throughout the house." he announced. and Teddy Lupin. His children were precious." Harry said. Harry hugged him back. They'd fought so hard. and Ron's eating habits." said Ginny. Belatedly he realized that this child and any future children he might have – any future Weasley child – had been part of the reason why Harry and the others had fought so fiercely. It killed him that his son was out of sight. even more than that. Al rushed toward him and threw his arms around him. naming Sirius' son and snorting. and not Apparated straight into the house. All of the adults (who were often subjected to anger and rebellion from the children) knew that they held on a little too tightly. "Dad. "Daddy will hurt anyone who is a threat to you. I'm not really dressed for company. Harry decided firmly. "Or Victoire." he told James. and Rose and Hugo would never have been born. and. the way he'd always done as a child. and headed down the hall to the front door. It was this generation that had been in the greatest danger of not so much dying. and their children. "I'm glad I'm an Auror. "We're going to be really over-protective parents." said Harry. and Harry didn't know if this feeling would ever go away. An ache began in Harry's heart. "You're smiling again. Ron or Hermione might have died. but Harry for one couldn't help it. He reached out and tickled the palm of his son's hand. and his body sickly." Harry hadn't ever forgotten those realizations he'd made in those quiet moments with his wife and first-born son. tiny fingers closed around his finger and grasped tightly. Harry gaped at his second son. It always amused him that his son had his mother's eyes. James was three months old. "But I agree with you. The same applied to any of his nieces and nephews. "Who can forget poor little Eli?" Ginny asked wryly. startling Harry out of his reverie. Ginny's finger traced James' cheek as he suckled hungrily and made little grunting noises that reminded Harry of Ron. The battered old watch that Molly Weasley had given him for his eighteenth birthday told him that it was well past midnight." she admitted. and stared down at the face of his small son. there had been a very real possibility that they might never have been born. and it still amazed him. He curled his body around his little family. and a lump in his throat grew." Ginny pointed out. Experience had taught him long ago that visitors showing up in the middle of the night was not generally a good thing. and closed his eyes when Al dropped his head on Harry's shoulder. "I'll wait here." Harry said in a low voice. And it wasn't until now. but… never existing." said Al. Likewise with the rest of the Weasleys. patting Al on the back. Questions can wait a little while. wand at the ready. years after the war. "Who'd come by at this hour?" he asked irritably. or why his thin face looked hollow. "I think… I think I would've fought even harder if I knew James was at stake. you know. And we didn't even know it…" Ginny smoothed the baby's jet-black hair." Ginny chuckled. And before he could wonder why Al had rung the doorbell. "It's just weird." "Don't forget Elvendork. Al was bound to remain silent about his work. rolling her head over on the pillow and looking at him. where the evil of Voldemort and his Death Eaters could not touch their children. "Who is there?" he asked as he opened the door." said Harry. tightly. "It can't be any of our family. her fingers trembled a little. "You're certainly a sight for sore eyes. or any siblings you might have.Ginny had grown by one." said Harry. that Harry realized it. "We traveled back to the past to protect the future. his Granddad Weasley's nose. This future. . Ginny reluctantly disentangled herself from him. in this place. "If there's another threat… another Voldemort… he – or she – is a dead man." So Harry was alone when he left his study.

Your seventeenth.Al laughed shakily. "I don't think that's a good idea. Al thought the same. "I… finished my mission." "Sick?" Ginny asked. "I can't remember if I told you that or not. Viola. "My watch still tells me the time. pulling away. and a long talk at the kitchen table. but it felt like it had been even longer." Al said earnestly." Al laughed loudly. Harry set a pot to boil on the stove. "I can't believe you had more kids!" he said delightedly. "It's Al!" But she must've felt his relief and joy. and Neville away." Harry shrugged. reaching out and ruffling Al's hair. it was a dad's job to do things like not go to work on important days in their sons' lives. He was Al's dad. "Be careful." Harry said dryly. narrowing his eyes at his son. Harry and Ginny exchanged a confused look. remember?" "Of course we remember. He was much skinnier than he'd been the last time Harry had seen him. completely disregarding his mother's advice. concerned. Evidently." said Al. sick." Harry finally said reluctantly. Dad?" "Vividly." said Harry defensively. "Can we wake them up?" Al asked eagerly." he said." "Ginny!" Harry said loudly." said Al shakily." he added. glancing around the quiet street. Al looked a lot older. Al waved his hand. "I know. because she was already barreling down the hallway. Three cups levitated off of a shelf and parked themselves on the table. It didn't seem very important to him. Harry noticed more about things about his son that made him slightly wary. Harry's eyes got a little misty as he watched his wife hug their son. "I'm sorry. Al's shoulders slumped. and watched their son swing his mother around. Harry clasped his son's shoulder again. "We don't want to wake up Viola and Neville. "It wasn't a big deal. "It was your birthday. "You have no idea. They hadn't seen him for months. Once they moved into the brighter light of the hallway. "No idea. but at least that hadn't pushed James. eyes bright. You got it for me for my seventeenth birthday. Dad." "That was a great day." "Of course I took the day off work. his hair was longer and shaggier. "Yes." "I really appreciated it. Al." said Ginny. He pointed at his watch. just a little bit more emotional and sensitive." said Ginny. looking quite formidable in her dressing gown. "It's very late. "Let's go inside. and then got a little . because he was just as eager to linger on the stoop. Lily. "You took the day off work. "I'm just… remembering how shocking it was. I – I've been sick." he added. and Harry wanted to know what it was. "It's a family tradition to give a wizard a watch on his seventeenth. His cheekbones stood out prominently. Al." said Al." said Harry. Al had always been just a little bit more dramatic than James. he and Ginny might be a little over-protective of their children. "It's the middle of the night." said Al." said Harry. "Viola was born twenty five years after Voldemort's defeat… remember how Mum went into labor the night after your speech. but Harry had a feeling that something huge had happened in Al's life. as they moved into the kitchen. "Right. "Do you remember? It was just us… James accidentally set the kitchen on fire trying to blow up my birthday cake…" His face was lit with the memory. Tea. and… I'm a little… shaky. and a wide grin had split his face. even though you had that huge case. deciding that tea was exactly what they needed at the moment. "Al!" she cried." he said.

" Al took in a deep breath. "I remember all the times you've been there." joked Ginny." agreed Ginny. this story is finally back. and his eyelids dipped downward. Author's Note: After a VERY long hiatus. Ever since Al had joined up with the Unspeakables." "You'll understand one day when you're a dad." Harry couldn't help but grin at the happiness in Al's voice. and not something that was easily passed down to another generation. pleased that he'd managed to impart to his son – or Al had managed to figure it out – what always and always meant. after a moment's pause. still laughing." he said quietly. talking to the two of you. and I stole your wand and went to the zoo…" He sighed. The potions have made me a little"—he flapped his hand while he searched for the word —"wobbly. "More than all right. and Harry noted with surprise." Al's voice shook with intensity. :( Review this Chapter . and it's gratifying to know that you've missed us too." said Al. and then got a little sick. doesn't it?" "That it does. "I don't think so." he added. "Well… we were concerned for you. But then his brow furrowed. and exhaled slowly. There was something about his mouth that made him look quite sad all of a sudden. and his eyes shifted back and forth. Lily. "I've missed this very much. "Both of you were so upset. "I missed you a lot. "I can't." said Al." Al said." Harry said." Al said quietly. "Being there for your kids is the most important thing in the world. That was a sure sign that no answers would be forthcoming. "But it just comes down to always and always." he added again fiercely. "Well." said Al. It was very nice to be appreciated by his children. Al looked at him and barked out a laugh. "My seventeenth birthday. maybe a little." he added. Harry watched as his son's finger's tapped the wood of the table." Al said finally. "Damn."Yes. then?" Ginny asked. "It wasn't a big deal. Damn. You both have been there for me for my entire life. "Brilliant. sick. "I… finished my mission." Harry said uncertainly. He leaned back in his chair and beamed at Harry." Harry told him. "We've been missing you. "Remember when I told you I was going to join the Department of Mysteries?" he asked." "And here I was thinking earlier that we're a little over-protective. "Sitting around the table. "We knew that we couldn't be there for you the way we wanted to if you couldn't tell us anything. Al. even though you didn't like it. It was slightly disconcerting. "You're all right. shaking his head." said Ginny. "It has been several long months since we've seen you last. that Al's eyes were bright." he said finally. I was too afraid to write it. It was a bit of a legacy." he amended reluctantly. Harry realized." Harry said irritably. Harry had learned when he could push for answers. and when he couldn't. "I thought I was going to get my arse walloped like that time James. "Is there anything you can tell us about where you've been?" Ginny asked gently. "Always and always. Thank God. my graduation from Hogwarts… you were there for me when I became an Unspeakable." "And you and dad have been brilliant at it.

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