Forgiven Yet Not Forgotten
How can a person be a Portkey? was the irrational thought that sprang to Harry's mind, before realising the sensations he currently felt were nothing of the sort. Something big was happening, though he could scarcely discern what. It was clear that Madam Adonna was somehow caught up in the midst of it, too.
"Give me your other hand," she said with utmost urgency, "and be quick! Do it now!" It was practically an order, and her tone was such that Harry reached out for Donnie's free hand before full thought for the act even registered.
The healer made a heart-wrenching noise between a sob and a gasp as they completed the action. Before Harry could ask what was going on, he saw Madam throw her head forward, so that it was buried in the back of Jamie's shoulder. Her long raven hair spilled over her face and for a time, the only indicator that Donnie was still conscious was her laboured breathing.
Harry stared in amazement as Donnie's hair changed to a deep of shade chocolate and shortened slightly in loose curls. He also felt Donnie drawing out powers from him. Madam's hands had also begun shifting in appearance; the fingers grew longer and more slender, the nails more sculpted, and her skin softer and more rosy. Harry was equally sure the rest of the healer's body was undergoing a similar transformation, as he finally grasped the full realisation of what she was doing. Madam Adonna had found her transfiguration ability again.
She didn't stop at gathering her morphing ability, however. Adonna had also started to draw Jamie's physical pain away from him. Having barely recovered from the Veritaserum, Harry knew that the healer's already overtaxed systems could hardly handle this type of thing, but she was doing it anyway. Harry tried telling her to please stop, she was only hurting herself needlessly, but something prevented him from speaking.
The entirety of the combination transfiguration-transference lasted perhaps a minute; Adonna slouched lower and lower to the dias as it was completed. Finally, she just collapsed fully. Harry crawled over to her across the stage as Jamie extricated himself from Madam's arms.
Harry and his other half were so caught up in their situation, they both failed to notice that everyone else around them had become completely still; their ecliptical gateway had become partially opened. The two boys and Adonna were the only ones able to move in this otherwise frozen moment in time.
As Harry bent around Donnie, he saw she again had a woman's profile, a woman's face.… Harry attempted to speak to the healer again, to ask if she was all right, but still found himself unable to do so.
"Be good to him," Donnie smiled weakly and told Harry, "he doesn't understand yet." Then she blacked out altogether. Still it was good to hear her speak in her own contralto once more…it fit her so well.
An amazed Harry looked up at an amazed Jamie. Jamie had actually managed to pull himself off the platform and stand up without assistance at all. Regardless, the novelty quickly wore off as Jamie remembered who was with him.
Harry watched the requisite loathing and hatred contort his twin's features, as he got good and angry with Harry yet again. Jamie's fists contracted and he commenced shaking in fury over a kneeling Harry; it didn't take a telepath or a genius to guess what was going to happen next. Harry shut his eyes tight and braced for impact.
WHAM. With strength worthy of a pile driver, Harry felt Jamie's backhand fist strike him fully across the face. Harry spun sideways and his glasses snapped only to fly off his nose. Fireworks blossomed behind his vision and as the taste of copper filled his mouth, it was only Quidditch-ingrained reflex which prevented him from hitting ground. Ginny was right—he did pack quite a punch. Big-time ouch.
Harry would've laughed at the irony; all of his missing mortal senses were at last returning to him again, and he had happily welcomed any and all lost sensation. This still held true even if his own counterpart chose to inflict physical pain upon him. It was almost funny, having made it this far only to fail at the hands of his doppelganger. Although Jamie didn't know it, this was one time Harry knew he dared not fight back. Again he would have laughed, but Harry could make no sound come out of his throat. His voice had simply left him completely.
Carefully, Harry pushed himself back to kneeling position and threw his hair from his eyes. Jamie's eyes sparked with chartreuse flame and blind rage. Harry prepared himself for another blow.
"WHY DID YOU HAVE TO LEAVE!?" Jamie screamed excruciatingly to a shocked Harry. Leave? thought Harry. Leave what? Leave whom, where? he wanted to he knew where his voice had gone; Adonna must have somehow transferred it to Jamie, and he was making full use of the switch.
Rather than hitting him again, Jamie whipped around so his back was toward Harry. The angry boy appeared to be struggling greatly with his emotions. Harry watched the taught fury ease from his shoulders to be replaced with disparaging weariness.
"No," Jamie said to himself, "I will not hit—no. I'm not like them." Harry had a mental picture of the Dursleys flash across his mind as Jamie personally resolved to not strike him anymore.
He turned back around and said to Harry sorrowfully, "I already know why you left me, you know. He told me why—Snake Eyes did. He told me it was because you hated my weakness." Jamie got a catch in his throat and nearly broke down, "He told me how you got mad and were better off without me. And he was right. I mean, look at you now." Tears glistened in Jamie's pain-filled eyes. "No wonder you rejected me," he whispered disconsolately, wiping his nose across his sleeve.
No, I didn't! I would never do that! Harry eyes widened as he tried desperately to yell aloud. He hadn't wanted to leave, anyway…it just sort of happened. And Jamie used the term 'Snake Eyes'. With only Voldemort for company, Jamie's unbeguiled, simplistic mind had been exploited and filled with utter lies. Harry gritted his teeth. What else had the serpentine man been telling him?
"I'm sorry. For disappointing you," choked out Jamie. "Snake Eyes hurt me bad after you left. Real bad, in here."
Jamie held a hand up to the lighting bolt scar on his forehead. For Harry, observing him speak was like listening to a 5-year-old version of himself. "And I already missed you so much," Jamie's face twisted with the memory, "but I knew you wouldn't want to come back. Not to me, not ever. That's why I started trying to…not…live… anymore."
Jamie peeled back his sleeves and looked down at his arms, swathed in Remus's bandaging. It was over the agony of being forced to live without your soul…
Harry's pained facial expression now mirrored Jamie's. Finally, he was beginning to comprehend why Jamie had done what he'd done. The worst part of it was that he essentially had no way of conveying reception of this message to his double. It was flat out cruel. Harry felt his own eyes start to fill with tears at the unfairness of it all. To be so close, and yet so far…
"Why won't you talk to me? Do you still hate me that much, even now?" Jamie asked him devastatingly. He managed to look even more crushed, as if that were possible.
Briefly throwing his arms outward in supplication, Harry shook his head vehemently. All of these new gifts Harry had at his disposal, yet he would trade them all in an instant if he could just find the means to…speak to himself. Tears of pure frustration began leaking from Harry's eyes and he buried his face in his hands. You didn't fail me, he thought at Jamie as loudly as he could, it's just the opposite.
Subtle nuances of body language and facial expression may have escaped Jamie's level of comprehension, but he did understand one thing. He knew that Harry's tears were bad, and that he was hurting inside. As a result, Harry found comfort and reassurance in the most unimaginable place possible.
"What's wrong?" Harry's twin inquired, deeply concerned. "Is it that you can't speak?"
Yes! Harry mouthed the word to Jamie. He scarcely believed his twin had managed to figure out his dilemma.
"So then, you do wish to talk to me?"
The tone of hopefulness in Jamie's voice sliced Harry to the quick. Only more than anything. Not knowing how else to express himself, Harry nodded up at Jamie, and mouthed the word, "please."
Indeed, the word seemed to carry a magical connotation as Jamie knelt on the platform in front of Harry, carefully making sure he was level with him.
"We can do this, then!" A completely unanticipated streak of enthusiasm lit up Jamie's face as he smiled blindingly. "It's okay, you don't have to be sad. You don't only just talk from here, you know," he said, pointing to Harry's throat. "You can talk like I do," then he pointed to the centre of his chest, "from here. I'll show you how."
Harry paid rapt attention as his twin astoundingly taught him a thing or two about nonverbal communication.
"First," began Jamie, "you have to listen and know who you're speaking to inside."
Reaching out for Harry's hand, Jamie placed it palm-flat against his own sternum. "You don't have to do this, but it usually helps you concentrate. Close your eyes, 'cause it helps you hear the beat."
Harry shut his eyes and just focussed on Jamie's heartbeat, as his double began to tap the rhythm against the back of his hand. Harry concentrated fully and lost himself within Jamie's internal percussion. As he did, a voice seemed to spring up from this carnal quasi-music; it sounded like a cross between the roaring of a lion and…Buckbeak's cry in flight.
Harry's eyes snapped open and he found Jamie staring at him attentively. "Did you hear it?" Harry's twin asked him with excitement. Harry nodded with equal enthusiasm as Jamie inquired, "And do you know what it was?" Harry shook his head.
"A griffin," answered Jamie, and struggled to find another term, "Griffin…Pride…Pride Master—protector."
If Harry had ever wanted unshakable evidence that he was indeed a Gryffindor, the proof had just been presented to him. He'd take the title of "Pride Master" over "Prime Minister" any day.
"This is how I spoke to the Pack Master," Jamie explained as a picture of Remus blazed through Harry's mind. "I was afraid when he was touching my cuts, so his—he called himself 'Alpha'—Alpha told me it was okay, because he'd hurt himself before too, and that he was only trying to help." Harry vividly recalled Jamie's tracing of Lupin's scars in the chamber.
"He considers me—well, you—" Jamie's face showed confusion at trying to figure it all out, "—he considers us to be his cub—cubs. He's a protector, too." As fascinating as it was to listen to Jamie explain his means of communication, Harry was just as eager for his lesson to continue.
"I'll let you just listen now," continued Jamie, still holding Harry's hand to his chest.
Closing his eyes once more, Harry again let himself sink into shared rhythm. As he did, a series of images opened itself to him. It was literally like switching channels on a television remote, as he could flip through and focus on that which he chose…
Jamie wanting to walk out of the chamber and show Harry that he was still strong and worthy, to make him proud…Voldemort repeatedly scouring his twin with a psychic Cruciatus Curse, even when he was too weak to stand…being lied to by the snake-eyed man over and over…shivering because of the surroundings and dementors…cold, so cold…Wormtail choking off Jamie's throat and throwing him to the ground—Jamie had fractured his ankle and recracked two ribs upon impact—it made Harry wince…and Jamie's crying, weeping in utter despair, certain that his soul would never come back…such intense pain, not coming back… Jamie's meaning for life and all reason for living it had simply evaporated by the necessity of Harry's temporary departure. How could Harry have ever thought of him as weak? Tears of remorse threatened to spill from his eyes.
And yet how had he treated Jamie when they found him in the chamber? Harry had rejected him outright, just as Voldemort had intended. Jamie was many things, but stupid was definitely not one of them. Considering the source, it made perfect sense Harry's opposite knew implied abandonment when he saw it. It was no mystery Jamie couldn't stand to hear his own name and later struck Harry out of sheer hatred. Harry would've been furious beyond all reason, too.
Something gave him even greater pause than this, however. In times of greatest agony, the times when Jamie had attempted suicide—and consequently times Harry had originally mistaken for insanity—somebody else had been with him in his prison. Voldemort would push Jamie to the edge again and again, not only vengefully but in attempt to lure Jamie's soul back to him…for without Harry, Jamie had no real means of self-defence. But when Harry's double found his only action was to let go and plunge for darkness, someone had caught and held on for him instead. Harry zeroed in on one incident in particular…
"YOU! NOT AGAIN! YOU MEDDLESOME GIRL, STAND ASIDE!" loudly shrieked an ethereal image of the Dark Lord in the chamber.
"NO!" answered back a very real, very solid Lily Potter.
Harry's mother was the very vision of angelic personified. She was on the floor cradling and covering a bleeding Jamie within the folds of her voluminous glowing robes.
"That only worked the first time, Tom! I cannot, and I will not leave him anymore! It's you who must do as I command! Now depart, and leave my Jamie alone!"
It was only then that Harry learned the true value of blood protection, for Voldemort had no choice but to obey Lily. His apparition fumed, lingered for a few seconds and finally vapourised.
Looking down into Jamie's face, Lily soothingly told him, "It's okay Jamie. He's gone for now. Look into mum's eyes, just keep looking—that's it…and I can help you hold on…just hang on and look at me.…"
Harry wept with the knowledge that somebody had been there to protect him in the chamber, even if for small amounts of time. He should have guessed his mother would never abandon him in his darkest hour…he should have known. And what was it she'd called Harry? She addressed him as Jamie, because she knew being associated with his spirit had been too painful to bear.
The connection slowly ebbed as Jamie disengaged Harry's hand from against his chest.
"I think that's enough listening for now," he told Harry seriously and patted his hands as a small child would. "Sometimes this hurts people more than others. You need a break, I think," and he nodded knowingly.
It surprised Harry to see Jamie acting almost…parental towards him. Harry had come to the cemetery tonight fully expecting to be the educator, not the educated. On the other hand, just as Harry considered Jamie the more needy half of him, Jamie had considered Harry the lost one; the wayward spirit who had needed the most help or assistance. The Prodigal Soul, Harry thought regretfully.
After Harry was able to compose himself, Jamie proclaimed it was Harry's turn to try and "talk" his way. To better facilitate this, he had placed his hand against Harry's chest as well as placing Harry's hand on his.
Ever the instructor, his double still personally held Harry's hand up to his sternum, as he said, "Okay, now this will make it easier since I'm going to be listening to you. Please tell me everything, I'm quite good at it."
Harry smiled at him. Of course Jamie was good at it—it had been his sole means of communicating until…just how much time had elapsed since they'd started, anyway?
Concentrating fully once more, Harry felt his innermost being read by his twin. Rather than feeling invasive, it was calming, reassuring…it felt good, as if he'd come up from going far too long without air. Jamie wasn't kidding when he said he was good at this. He was practised enough at it to punctuate the experience with pointed comments as well as continuously keep listening to Harry.
Within the first five seconds, Jamie's eyes opened wide and he sucked in a breath through his teeth. "Shadow phoenix," he diagnosed about what he sensed within Harry, "hissing phoenix," then he concluded his sentence by saying, "wounded phoenix," in Parseltongue.
Instead of being alarming, the hissing words were as a healing salve to Harry as Jamie closed his eyes again and continued in snake language, "He hurt you, too. In here. I'm sorry."
He and Harry recommenced their sharing, and just as Jamie had instructed, Harry told him everything. Harry told him about the Fright Bus, about his leaving it, and how he didn't know he was dead, finding people hurting and mourning for him in the graveyard. Jamie tensed a lot during this.
Harry then sensed his twin's inward smile as his teenage friends had summoned him in the graveyard, dashed through London, and came to St. Mungo's. He practically fainted with joy as he watched Harry blast the chamber door open, and he exclaimed, "You did that for me!" Harry grinned and nodded affirmation.
As he watched the memory of the dementors according to Harry's recollection, something about Jamie's character changed entirely. He watched the soulless creatures fight with Harry's friends, how Harry hadn't even been able to defend himself… Harry couldn't describe Jamie's reaction anymore accurately than saying it was a mental click of a missing piece slide into place.
"You couldn't stop them either, just like me!" Jamie dropped his hands and cried out in utter horror. "Even if I was with you then, we still couldn't have stopped them! That's why you had to leave! The dementors were going to get you!"
Jamie leaned forward and seized him in a fierce embrace as Harry nodded to him once more.
"I'm sorry, I should have known you'd never leave me on purpose," sobbed Jamie, holding him as closely as possible, echoing certain thoughts Harry had about Lily earlier.
"To think those dementors would have got you, and you'd be gone forever…what would I do then?" Jamie then buried his head into Harry's shoulder and cried as if he would never stop.
Trepidaciously, Harry hugged Jamie in return, half-sure he was going mad. Jamie had been overcome by what he had seen, and responded to the situation just as someone ten years younger than Harry would have done. It was appropriate, considering Harry felt to have aged a good decade in the past two weeks.
So the not-quite-twins held each other in the balance, neither alive nor dead, mortal nor immortal, yet unable to heal or progress without the other. Be good to him, Adonna had said.
As a last-ditch effort, Harry tried speaking aloud once more. "It's all right," he reassured Jamie softly, "I'm here now.…"
Suddenly, their memories began to blend into one…sweet phoenix song swirled around them…
He tried to kill Harry Potter and me!…It's all right, I heard you and I'm listening…He left you because he hates your weakness, you know…Harry, Ministry says you wanted to kill the Dursleys…Wantittohappen!…Maybe you're not really dead…Harry James Potter!…Stand aside, girl!…NO!…Who's your friend?…That's where the Imperius Curse comes in...TEN DAYS you made us feel this way!…EXPECTO PATRONUM!…Dear lord, is he…Why won't he die? How can you stand there and profess that you should feel nothing?…Just do it! Go!…I can see where you end and he begins…What is wrong with her?…You're a Psychromancer now Harry, the most powerful one ever known…you're a true changeling, due to your godfather's defence of you…the ones who love us never truly leave us…the romance part Harry, she knows it too…the memories you've held within you have no place in the flesh…but I don't want to forget!…you are stronger than you can possibly imagine...So, now we're even…Kill him…back down, I beg you…Harry Potter is not dead!…we don't want you nor your intolerance…prove your quest for truth does not end here, it starts here!..Long live Harry Potter, long live Harry's friends!…Lumen naturale et spiritu de veritate…Never forget.…
Slowly Harry came around, only to find he was face-down and clutching a piece of shimmery white fabric. He also felt unspeakably tired…almost sick in a way, but it was still good somehow. It was akin to the feeling he got after playing freezing cold Quidditch match in the rain proceeded by thawing out in front of the Gryffindor common room fireplace. The pins and needles feeling hurt like crazy, but the warm flame, squashy armchairs, and hot chocolate helped that horrible sensation ease away quickly.
Harry had just been in the middle of a very bittersweet dream, but the scenes seemed to be fading away more quickly than he could grasp them. Achingly, he rolled himself over.
As he stared upward, he noticed beautiful rainbow patterns of light. The ribbons of energy almost rivalled aurora borealis. The sight of them stirred something within his mind.… But his vision wouldn't seem to clear up, annoyingly. Several familiar faces swam into focus, hovering into his field of view. A calm, yet concerned voice inquired, "Harry, are you all right? How do you feel?"
Shading his face with a hand, Harry replied wearily, "Almost like I've fallen off a broom at a thousand feet," and a few chuckles answered him. "Why? How should I feel? What happened…R-Remus?"
Whoa, that felt…strange. Since when have I addressed Professor Lupin by his first name? Fortunately, the man didn't seem to mind; it made him smile, in fact. Harry gradually sat up, circle of his friends still gazing at him with faces full of deep concern.
"What happened?" he repeated, getting a titch unnerved by all the attention. "You guys all look like somebody just died or something," said Harry lightly, attempting to improve the sombre mood that seemed to have eclipsed them all. Nobody laughed that time. It made him feel quite awkward.
"Harry, we can't explain everything now. I hate to rush you, but time is really of the essence," Remus—no, Professor Lupin told him.
He held out his hands and assisted Harry to his feet. Without thinking, Harry went to take a step, but as he did, pain shot through his right ankle and he nearly crumpled back to—what was he standing on, anyway?
"Been walking long, Potter?" he muttered in embarrassment as Fred and George caught him before he could fall all over himself. "Thanks," he mumbled sheepishly as the twins nodded and stepped back from him again.
When they had, Harry noticed throngs and throngs of people surrounding them on…a stage? Harry and his friends were on a stage? He was sure he'd dreamt the whole thing.… What were all these people doing here watching them? Slipping into near panic mode, Harry demanded, "What is going on? It was a…dream…just dreams, wasn't it?" He held a hand to his forehead in effort to stave his racing memories and heart.
Harry was hopelessly confused. Had his death, his sentencing to Azkaban, torture...not been a nightmare after all? Everybody kept soothing him and offering reassurance—especially Remus, Dumbledore, and Mrs. Weasley. It didn't seem to be helping, however. Seeing the crowds had violently awakened something inside of Harry that just wouldn't be abated.
Suddenly, in the midst of all the voices…he discerned one that he knew should be there, but wasn't. He turned around, motioned Dumbledore aside, and finally figured out who it was.
Ginny Weasley was standing alone on a corner of the vast platform, her back toward him. Harry gritted his teeth and painfully limped in her direction, stopping about six feet away. Something about the dark red stain on the back of her hair screamed the word catalyst! at him but he hadn't the faintest idea why. He also didn't know the reason he said to her gently, "Tiger lily."
She froze at the sound of his voice so close to her, and turned around to look at him with luminous pain-filled eyes. The expression on her face made Harry go all mooshy inside and he inched still closer to her. Then another phrase came to Harry and he said, as if transfixed, "Never forget."
Ginny blinked back tears and nodded at him. Struggling for means to ease the girl's suffering, Harry was filled with an overwhelming need to just…kiss it better.
Therefore, he proceeded to do just that. Harry cupped Ginny's chin in his hand, closed his eyes, and tenderly kissed Ginerva Molly Weasley full on the lips in front of Godric and everyone. Twice.
Each time, more memories of what had happened about the last two weeks returned to his mind. Amazing what can happen all with a simple little kiss. Hmmm. All right, maybe the second one wasn't so little. Okay, nor was the first.
"Now we're even," he smiled and told her softly.
Ginny sniffled. Harry's eyelids flew open as he said in total dismay, "Oh no. Not you, too! I must be Georgie Porgie incarnate! What happened? Did I do it all wrong?"
The wide-eyed girl looked at him and stuttered, "Georgie w-who? W-what?"
"Georgie—oh, never mind. It's a Muggle thing. Just tell me, do they have monasteries in the wizard world? Because the next time I kiss a girl and she cries, I swear by all that's Harry that I'm booking a spot—"
Unexpectedly, she threw herself around Harry's neck and pulled him into another kiss. Finally she drew away, eyes twinkling, "Shut up, Potter," Ginny said through clenched teeth, trying not to smile, "you're embarrassing yourself."
Then Harry suddenly remembered exactly where he was, and exactly what he had just done in front of them all. Harry was certain he'd never blushed such a spectacular shade of red in his whole life. Thankfully, nobody said anything sarcastic though. Not even Ron or the twins. Each person on the dias and in the audience seemed content to just let he and Ginny be happy, if more than a bit humiliated. Harry had never seen such a collection of people smiling at him before.
"I think it's time for you to go," reminded Ginny reluctantly after a short time. "Donnie's waiting."
"Right," said Harry, turning and looking at the healer curled up on the platform. He didn't want to go, but he needed to, seeing as how he was currently on borrowed strength from someone else to begin with. Somehow Adonna had known the only way for Harry to rejoin his body was to force he and Jamie into seeing things from the other's point of view. It was no secret to Harry the best thing to help him look past his own pain was by seeing somebody else that was hurting more, and Jamie had reacted precisely the same way.
Harry and Donnie had also only completed stage one of their manoeuver. There was still no telling how much he and Madam might be able to remember, but the latest happenings gave him a new spark of hope. Harry had, with Jamie's help, managed to keep most of it together and beat the odds yet again. With hand to his heart, Harry reverently saluted the child inside him.
Haltingly, he walked back over, knelt down and carefully leaned Donnie against him the same way she had leaned Jamie against her own chest. "Thank you," he told the sleeping healer.
Heart starting to race again, Harry held his and Donnie's arms up together, wands raised to the sky. It was ultimate irony that he was using Voldemort's wand, ultimate irony that he was still alive because of it. After all, it had been one of the biggest keys to finding the clues…
"Ready?" asked Dumbledore eagerly.
"Yes, all set."
"Priori Incantatem!" the headmaster said, even more loudly as it was two wands that needed his influencing this time.
The two wands sprayed forth their phantom spells, but instead of ending shortly after the tips, the power was drawn upward.
Twin bolts of magical power spiralled together and pierced the centre of the aurora-dome, and a colossal column of light erupted from within and poured upward to the stars. Harry chanted to himself over and over, "Never forget, wantittohappen…"
Quite fittingly, he and Adonna disappeared from sight in a blazing flare of light.
Anybody who looked outside and happened to have a view overlooking that section of London that night would have seen what looked like a combination of several multi-thousand candlewatt search beacons in the distance, pointing straight into the sky.
Had the wandlighting ceremony not been a success, Dumbledore still had ready the precise manufactured excuse he would not-so-humbly have urged Cornelius Fudge to tell the Muggles…
The 'strange light' any of you claim to have seen last night is actually quite explainable. Atmospheric build up of gases combined with the heat of summer consequently ignited an extremely unusual concentration of highly combustible smog particles.
Amusingly enough, Friday the 13th of July was the also clearest night infamously smog-filled London saw all summer.
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