A flash of green and most of the class gasped, whether in surprise or amazement Harry couldn't tell. He didn't even pay attention to the acromantula, which had instantly collapsed limply. The green light was intensely familiar, and reminded him of something… images came surging forward from the back of his mind, overcoming what Professor Lupin was saying as he turned to face the class once again.
Harry glanced around the room he had suddenly found himself in. There was a small bed, a little toy broom in the corner, stuffed animals lay strewn about, and it had an incredibly comforting feeling. And standing next to the bed was his mother. She looked beautiful, Harry thought; her long red hair flowed down her back, and the simple muggle clothing she wore was paint-spattered, but it still looked perfect on her.
"Lily, where's Harry?" His father entered from the hallway outside the room; he looked good too, jet-black hair and bright hazel eyes, with a roguish grin across his face even now.
"He's hiding from me under the bed; he doesn't want to go to sleep. Can you help me get him out?"
"Of course, dear. Harry! Harry my boy, don't listen to your mother. Come to me, I'll help you fly your little broom."
A small boy, no older than one or two, scrambled out from under the bed towards Harry; no, towards James behind him. Harry felt a pang of sadness as he saw the smile across his younger self's face. As the boy left the safety of the bed, Lily's arms snatched him up and dropped him in the bed.
"No!" the young Harry yelped. "No sleepy! Fly!"
James chuckled, coming to stand with Lily over the little boy. "Sorry, kid, your mother has spoken. Bedtime."
Lily smiled. "Now then, what story do you want to hear tonight? How about…"
Suddenly, there was a crash and an enormous bang from downstairs, and James's head snapped around. "He's here," he whispered.
"But how?" Lily cried. "James, what about the Fidelius–"
"Treachery," James growled. "Take Harry and run, my love, I'll hold him off." And before she could respond, the black-haired man had whipped out his wand and rushed downstairs.
Lily bent over young Harry, tears beginning to leak from her eyes, as the sounds of magical battle began to come from downstairs. "Damn that–" she snarled. Harry tried to hear the name she hissed, but couldn't make it out, as a huge blast and roar came from downstairs. "I knew we shouldn't have done the sw–" another blast and roar, and a large chunk of the roof came flying off, crashing down into the yard. A moment later, a scream came from downstairs, and Lily raised her head.
"James," she whispered, tears still streaming down her face, and rushed downstairs. Harry followed, somehow feeling that he had no control over what was happening or what he was doing, and didn't notice his younger self escaping from bed to follow with wide eyes.
The ground floor was completely destroyed, and James lay against the wall, missing most of his stomach and both legs. The bottom of his body appeared to have been reduced to ashes below him, and his wand lay limply in his fingers. Lily gave an agonized scream and raised her wand at the figure who stood in the middle of the room.
Voldemort was surprisingly human-looking; somehow, Harry had imagined a far more hideous form for him, more snakelike. The Dark Lord, though, was merely a tall, handsome man, with thin features and a pleased smile on his face, and his robes were basic black Hogwarts-style robes with green trim. He looked more like a young man who had just gotten into college than a mass murderer. But his eyes… they were simply wrong. Out of place, inhuman… Harry couldn't really describe the feeling he got from them. They were a light purple, and the pupils were far too large, leaving only a thin ring of purple around the edge with only a large black mass in the middle.
Voldemort easily batted aside Lily's first spell, a bright orange burst of fire, and said in a smooth and oily voice, "You don't have to die, girl. You are quite talented; you could join me instead."
Lily shivered at the sound of the Dark Lord's voice and tried again, a thin beam of green light that disintegrated the chair Voldemort deflected it into. "I'll never join you," she swore. "Never!"
"You still do not need to die," Voldemort said calmly, disarming her with no apparent effort. "All I want is the boy. Allow me him, and you may take your dying husband to St. Mungo's and then flee the country. I bear no ill will to you."
"Mummy!" said the young Harry from near the stairs, causing Lily to freeze in place. "You make mess!"
Lily dove for Harry, knocking him out of the way of a blast of flames. "Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!"
"Stand aside, you silly girl... stand aside, now!"
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead…" Lily sobbed, still clutching onto the young Harry's confused form. "Not Harry! Please... have mercy... have mercy..."
Voldemort laughed, a disturbingly pleasant sound that rang in Harry's ears. "Foolish woman. I truly would have spared you, but you clearly will not see sense. Avada Kedavra." Lily screamed as the green light flashed again, and then she was still.
"…no…" James whispered from the wall.
"Still alive?" Voldemort asked, glancing at him. "I think I will allow you to bleed out. It will be fitting; you've just seen me kill your wife, I will kill your child too, and now you can simply contemplate your failure. Yes…" he mused. "Perfect." The Dark Lord turned back to Harry and raised his wand.
"…my wife…" James murmured. "…you bastard."
"Yes, yes," Voldemort said absently.
"Ignis."James whispered, causing Voldemort to stiffen and turn to face him as he flicked his wand in a compass shape. "Fotia. Kasai. Huǒ."
"You idiot!" Voldemort shouted, turning his wand towards James's prone form. "Even I would not use Fiend–"
"Fire." James finished, causing bright red flames to shoot from his wand toward Voldemort, taking the shape of butterflies and miniature dragons as they moved. "Burn, you bastard!"
"Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort shouted as he dived away from the flames, and with another flash of green light James was still and the flames died away.
Voldemort stood and dusted himself off. "Fiendfyre," he muttered to himself. "My, what fools these mortals be." He turned back to the young Harry, who was trying to cower away from him against the stairs. "Now then. One last time." He flicked his wand three times, down, to the side, down again…
The flash of green light faded away to show a glowing green humanoid; it looked like the young boy had been replaced with the light. It slowly faded away from most of his body as Voldemort looked on with fascination and the boy screamed, the light seeming to collect at his forehead. A moment later, green light flashed again, and Voldemort fell to the ground as Harry collapsed, unconscious.
Harry opened his eyes and saw blur with a glint in the distance. The snitch! He thought, and reached out to grab it.
He grabbed the glint, but it didn't feel like a snitch. It felt like… oh.
Harry put on his glasses, blinked, and looked around. He was in the Hospital wing, probably still the same day he got in considering that he was still wearing the same robes as earlier. Remus Lupin was sitting in a chair next to him, dozing.
"Remus!" he cried, waking the auror up. "What happened!"
Lupin blinked a few times, waking up. "Oh, you're awake. Good,” he said, sounding relieved. “Madam Pomfrey didn't think that it would be permanent, but–"
"Didn't think what would be permanent?"
Lupin shrugged. "I didn't understand most of it myself. But it seems that my casting of the Killing Curse caused you to enter a memory; probably the memory of your parents death. I'm very, very sorry about that."
Harry shivered, remembering the handsome figure in the dark robes. "Yeah," he agreed. "But it was weird. I wasn't seeing it from my body, I was watching as though I was in my own… if that makes sense."
Remus nodded. "I think I understand," he said. "There is a device called a Pensieve which allows a wizard to enter a memory in a similar fashion to what you're describing. I suppose your internal magic warped how you saw the memory, probably because your body back then was so different."
Harry sighed. "Okay, so I went into some coma-thing and remembered the night Voldemort was defeated. It's already fading, though. But… what happened here?"
"You just went sort of… stiff," Lupin said quietly. "I had your friend Mr. Weasley take you to the Hospital wing, and finished my lecture."
"Can I hear it?"
Lupin shook his head. "We don't have time. The rest of it wasn't very interesting anyway; it was just how the curse works, then I told the class that it was taught in seventh year Defense. Nothing much."
Harry cocked his head to the side. "How does it work?" he asked. "It seems like it's just a flash of light and boom. Dead."
Lupin nodded in agreement. "That's what it seems like, but it's more complicated than that. Put simply, it just makes your brain stop working. Some people are dramatic and think that it severs the soul from the body or some such nonsense, but no, it just shuts down the brain. No pain, no nothing, just green light for a moment before you die."
"Can it be blocked, or dodged?" Harry asked.
"Not blocked, no. Well, not really. It goes right through any magical shield. Physical shields shatter like glass or burn up. But it can be dodged; the spell is like lightning, you see, very fast and bright, which is why you see just green light when its cast. But it is a beam, and it can be dodged if you move before the incantation finishes."
Harry swallowed. "And it bounced off of me," he whispered. "Why?"
Lupin closed his eyes with a sigh. "I don't know," he said. "There are only two people who know exactly what happened that night, and you're one of them. Voldemort–"
"–is the other," Harry finished. Then he frowned. "Well… is there any way to show what I saw?" he asked. "Like that pensieve thing you mentioned, is there a way for me to give my memory?"
Lupin nodded. "Yes, the spell for memory giving isn't hard. I think that perhaps you should, so that the Headmaster can see." Harry yawned. "But later, perhaps. I'll mention it to Albus before I leave, and he'll teach you the spell."
"Good-bye, Mr. Lupin," Harry said, lying down and yawning again. "Write me soon, okay?"
"Remus, Harry," the scarred auror corrected gently. "And I will."
Some time later, Harry woke again, and found that the Headmaster was sitting in the chair next to his bed.
"Hello, Harry," Dumbledore said with a benevolent smile. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine, Professor," Harry said respectfully. "How long have I been here?"
"It is November 1st, the morning after Halloween," Dumbledore told him. "You're excused from morning classes today, but you should be able to return for Charms this afternoon."
"Oh, good, I won't miss much," Harry said, relaxing. "So…"
"Remus suggested that, rather than having you tell me what you remembered, I simply teach you the spell to extract a memory," Dumbledore said. "It's simple. Take your wand, it's on the table next to you…" As Harry reached out and grasped the slim rod of wood, Dumbledore waved his own wand and a wide stone basin floated up. "This is a Pensieve, which I will use to view your memory. So, extract it; the spell is Duramemor, and must be spoken while your wand is touching your forehead and you are concentrating on a memory. Like so." Dumbledore tapped his forehead and said "Duramemor," and as he drew the wand away from his head a silvery string of gassy stuff followed. He deposited the memory in the pensieve, then looked expectantly at Harry.
"Oh, yeah," Harry said. "Let's see…duramemer. No, no… duramimor?"
"Duramemor," Dumbledore repeated, speaking slowly and clearly. "It's derived from a Gujaratian word, rather than the Atlantean most of our spells are from, and…" The old man coughed. "But perhaps this is not the time. Duramemor, Harry."
"Duramemor," Harry said, thinking of his strange experience, and slowly drew his wand away from his forehead. The silvery thread looked somehow heavier than Dumbledore's strand, and moved sluggishly as he dropped it into the pensieve.
"Thank you, Harry," Dumbledore said with a smile, and leaned forward so that the tip of his long, crooked nose touched the silver memories, and he went very still. Harry stiffened for a moment, afraid that he was dead, but no; the Headmaster's body was rising up and down slowly, as he breathed. Harry would just have to wait.
After about half an hour, Dumbledore seemed to rouse himself and sat up straight, setting the basin of thoughts aside. "Well," he said, heavily. "I am very sorry that you had to see that, Harry."
Harry shrugged. "It wasn't really that bad, not while I was watching," he said truthfully. "I couldn't seem to think properly, I was just watching. And I suppose it's not like I really knew my parents," he added bitterly. "But…"
"But why was Voldemort trying to spare Mum?"
Dumbledore sighed heavily, apparently making a difficult decision, but shook his head. "There is a good reason for that, but it is not my secret to give. I think, though, that it was his undoing," he said thoughtfully. "It seems that your mother, when she chose to die for you instead of fleeing and living, created a protection on your that Voldemort could not breach. A powerful sort of blood ward, tied to her family. Interesting. Very much so…"
Harry waited, but the Headmaster didn't seem inclined to speak anymore, just sitting next to Harry and staring up at the ceiling, lost in thought. After a few minutes, the old man shook himself back to reality. "Ah well. I cannot wait around here all day, hmm? Good day, Harry."
"Good bye, Headmaster."