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Chapter Sixteen: The Third Defiance

As usual, the door opened before Harry had even knocked. Snape stood there, frowning down at him.

"It's Tuesday, Potter."

"I know," said Harry, brightly. "September the 30th."

Snape gave him a suspicious look. "We don't have a lesson on a Tuesday. Buy yourself a calendar, Potter, and don't interrupt me when - "

Harry smiled, and produced from behind his back a small box, wrapped in silver paper. "Happy birthday."

"How did you find out?" said Snape, clearly startled.

"I checked the school records," said Harry with a smile. Technically, he'd asked Hermione to check the school records. As Head Girl, she had access to all the information of Hogwarts, and it was easy for her to find out. He held the box out to Snape. "Happy birthday, again."

Snape gave him a half-exasperated, half-grateful look, and took the box, studying it as though he'd never seen one before. "You foolish little brat," he said, though it was in as fond a tone as Snape could manage. "Well, Potter, come in..."

He held open the door, and Harry stepped in, taking off his cloak. It was fairly late at night. It had been hard to wait for this long, as Harry had been keeping the present hidden for several long days now and he was interested to see Snape's reaction. He'd been careful to only come fairly late though, so that any straggling students couldn't catch Harry giving presents to the Potions master he was supposed to hate.

Snape took Harry's cloak, and hung it on the wall. They both sat in armchairs by the fire, which was lit for once, and Snape put a heavy book he'd been reading aside on the coffee table, turning to his present.

"If this tries to bite me, Potter, you're in a lot of trouble," he said, idly, undoing the ribbon carefully.

"No, I removed the teeth before I wrapped it up," said Harry. Snape looked at him quickly, and Harry smiled to show he was teasing. Snape gave him a reprimanding smirk, and undid the paper carefully, then the box inside. He sighed, smiled, and reached in to take out Harry's carefully chosen present.

"How thoughtful," he said. He turned it over to study the label. "Why, Potter, I didn't know you had knowledge of good wines."

Harry smiled. "I'm just surprise after surprise, huh?" Really, he didn't. Hermione had written to her parents to ask what the best wines were, then she even tracked a bottle down and ordered it, though Harry wasn't going to waste such a rare opportunity as praise from Snape.

Snape crossed to the cabinet in the corner, and took out two glasses. He carefully handed one to Harry, and poured him a small amount from the wine bottle. "I would give you more, though being the first person to go to Azkaban for giving alcohol to a minor would be rather undignified."

Harry chuckled. Snape sat down, poured himself a glass of wine and tested it, thoughtfully. Harry took a sip. He'd never really had wine or alcohol before, though it wasn't half-bad, he decided. Hermione's father had good taste in wines.

"Interesting start to the week?" asked Snape, lazily, studying Harry over the top of his glass. "I noticed you looked rather bored during Potions on Monday."

Harry smiled apologetically. "I've got History of Magic before Potions."

"Ah, I quite understand."

"We've started our NEWT project, and Professor Binns's idea of a fun piece of work is four pages of writing about the Egyptian wizengamot, and how muggles thought they were gods." Harry took another sip of wine. "My Potions project is going well though. Right?"

Snape gave him a wry smile. "It could be worse, Potter."

Harry grinned. "You'd have rather strangled yourself than say that three years ago."

"Indeed I would," said Snape, mildly, swilling the wine around his glass then taking another sip. "How times change."

They sat in front of the fire for what must have been an hour, talking about anything that came up. Snape refused to give Harry any more wine, in case he staggered back to Gryffindor Tower blind drunk and said something both of them would regret, though Snape himself had a few more glasses. He seemed to lose his intelligent way of speaking after an hour had gone by, and Harry counted various grammar mistakes that Snape didn't seem to notice.

Eventually, when the fire in the grate was dying and the clock on the mantelpiece read nine o' clock, Harry said goodnight to Snape and left his quarters. He hadn't noticed how dark it was getting. Pulling his cloak around himself, he drew his wand and murmured, "Lumos," just to light his way out of the dungeons. He had no idea how Snape could cope in the constant darkness, or how vampires could actually prefer it. Of course, vampires were naturally predators, while humans were probably prey. This thought didn't really comfort Harry.

He made his way out of the dungeons, into the entrance hall and up the marble staircase. He was just picking his way through one of the portrait holes when something moved to his left, and he tensed up, instinctively grasping his wand. The lighted tip fell upon three cats gambolling up the corridor towards him. One was the ginger-furred and bottle-tailed Crookshanks, and the other Harry dimly recognised as Professor McGonagall, though he didn't recognise the third, a long-haired tabby. They pattered past him, playing all the way down the corridor and out of sight. Harry carried on, and soon enough, he found himself climbing into Gryffindor Tower.

Ron was still awake, though barely. He was sitting stretched out on one of the sofas, scribbling away on a long piece of parchment, his eye-lids practically shut. Neville sat next to him. The pot plant containing Harry's fuzzy fungus was sitting on the table before him, along with a thick book.

"Hiya Harry!" said Neville, cheerfully. "I'm just working on your fuzzy."

Harry peered over his shoulder. The seed had swelled to an enormous size, and looked as though it was now made out of the same stuff as mushrooms.

"Lovely," he said, wryly.

"Professor Sprout says we've got to give it lemon juice, and it should open up," said Neville. "They don't like the dark, and I guess it was sort of dark at your house, so it didn't want to open. I've got a book up in my dormitory about them... but..." He looked troubled. "Would you come with me to get it? I don't like going up their on my own anymore, in case... in case she appears."

"Sure, I'll come," said Harry. He stood up, and Neville put down the pot, then followed him up the stairs.

"Thanks for this, Harry," said Neville. "I really appreciate it. Seamus and Dean think I'm being a bit of an idiot."

"I don't like it in the dormitories either," said Harry, reassuringly, as he grabbed the handle. He pulled it open.

Neville screamed as something white and shimmering suddenly loomed out of the room at them with a keening cry. Harry was so surprised that he staggered backwards and nearly ended up going head over heels down the staircase, but Neville grabbed him just in time. Professor Trelawney's ghost hovered before them, clutching at her throat and her heart, staring with wide, mad eyes.

"My dears!" she cried. "My dear, dear children!"

Neville screamed again and struggled, desperately trying to run away, but Harry grabbed him and held him back. Professor Trelawney gave a shuddering, ghostly moan and rattled her many bangles, making a sound like chains.

"You are both joined by the prophecy," she keened, her spindly fingers curling around her throat and her arms, as though she was wilting. "Both of you together, though you must find out more! I have returned from beyond the grave, to tell you to seek more information, and to warn you! There are people you trust that must not be trusted! People who have the faces of friends, yet the hearts of foes, and you must learn who these people are! I fear it could threaten your very existences!"

"Who?" said Harry, staring at her with wide eyes. "Who is it?"

She gave one last keening scream, and then flew upwards and out of sight, leaving just a jangle of her bracelets and the echo of her parting shriek.

Silence fell. Neville was breathing as though he'd just been kicked in the side, and trembling fitfully. Harry couldn't think of what to say. After a moment, Neville broke the eerie quiet, with a tremoring, "What... what does she mean, about a prophecy?"

Harry grabbed Neville by the shoulder, and started marching him down the stairs. "Come on, we're going to see Dumbledore. I don't like the sound of what she said at all."

"Ah, good evening, boys." Dumbledore smiled at them from his winged purple armchair as Harry and Neville both fell into the room, Neville still clinging to Harry's arm.

"Professor," Harry gasped. "We need to talk to you."

"Oh? What about?" asked Dumbledore, as he offered them a plate of mint humbugs. They politely refused.

"We've just seen Professor Trelawney's ghost in Gryffindor Tower, sir," said Harry. He managed to prize Neville off his arm and sit him on one of the stools before Dumbledore's desk. "She was in the dormitory. She was talking about the prophecy, sir, and how we've got to find out more... she said something about people around us that we trust, that should not be trusted... and - "

"Harry, Harry, please calm down," said Dumbledore, kindly. "I presume that you mean the prophecy of your birth made by Professor Trelawney some years ago?"

Harry nodded. He sat down, and at the second offer of a mint, he took one and unwrapped it.

"She said we were joined by the prophecy," said Neville, staring at Dumbledore with wide eyes. "Does she mean the prophecy that smashed, sir? At the Department of Mysteries? I don't understand what she was talking about... I've seen her before, twice, always in the dormitory."

"Ah, I thought this would happen," said Dumbledore, wisely. "Professor Trelawney was not the sort of person to let her soul rest, without coming to make my students paranoid one last time. I believe you mentioned something about trusting people, Harry?"

Harry quickly bit his mint into two, so he could talk. "She told us there are people we trust that should not be trusted. She said it could threaten our very existances. She also told us to go seeking information... I guess she means about the prophecy."

"What prophecy?" Neville squeaked. "If it's that one at the Department of Mysteries, it smashed, nobody knows what was in it. Do they?"

Dumbledore smiled slightly. "I see no harm in telling you the story, Neville, especially as our old Divination teacher is now haunting you... very well..." And he went into the story that Harry had heard more than two years ago now, about the prophecy made by Professor Trelawney, how a baby born at the end of July to parents who had thrice-defied Lord Voldemort would be marked by the Dark Lord, and one must die at the hand of the other. Neville sat completely still, listening to all this with a mix of horror and surprise on his face.

Once Dumbledore's story ran to an end, Neville said, in little more than a whisper, "I was born at the end of July... and my mum and dad... well, I don't know how many times they defied-... but..."

"It is not you, Neville," said Dumbledore, reassuringly. "The second part of the prophecy tells how Lord Voldemort marked the child as his equal, and gave him the powers to defeat him." Dumbledore reached out, and gently eased back Harry's messy fringe, to expose the scar. "Harry was the baby that Voldemort decided to mark and there is no doubt that the prophecy concerns him."

Harry was thinking about something he'd never really taken much notice of before. It had always seemed an unimportant part of the prophecy, about parents who had defied Lord Voldemort three times, though when Harry thought about it, he had no idea how his parents did defy Voldemort once, let alone three times.

"Um, sir?"

"Yes, Harry?"

"The bit in the prophecy... about parents who have thrice-defied Lord Voldemort. That's the only bit I don't understand." He looked up, and saw Dumbledore watching him with his twinkling blue eyes. "How did our parents say no to Voldemort three times?"

"I thought you would ask me that," said Dumbledore. He stood up, and looked thoughtful for a moment, as he gazed out over the school grounds. "I have wondered it myself, many nights, and I believe I have worked out all three times, Harry. Both your parents and Neville's were members of the Order of the Phoenix, and this was obviously a denial to Voldemort when they joined. The second time came merely moments before their tragic fates. Harry, your parents refused to give you up and let Voldemort take you. Neville, there were very few pieces of information that your parents did not reveal to the Death Eaters. One was the existance of the Order of the Phoenix, as they could not, under the fidelius charm. Though another fact that both their minds refused to give up was where you were at that time, with your aunt. Your parents sent you to live with her when they became suspicious of a possible Death Eater attack, and they refused to tell Bellatrix Lestrange and her fellows where you were hidden. Though for both of you, there is a third time in which both your parents refused to give in to Lord Voldemort's demands... which I believe is the information Professor Trelawney may be referring to."

"What happened?" asked both Neville and Harry, watching Dumbledore intently.

"As I was not there, I cannot give you a completely reliable picture," said Dumbledore. "Though there are three people who were all there at the time, and are still alive today. Perhaps they will be able to give you a better idea than I could..."

He crossed over to the fireplace, still looking thoughtful, and taking a small pot from the mantelpiece. He took out a pinch of floo powder, and cast it into the flames.

"Severus? Penny? Remus?" he called. "I wish to have a word, please come to my office."

Next second, a blonde head had come out of the fire, followed by a glittery blue torso and baggy denim jeans, as Professor Pebblebank crawled out, coughing. "Bit late for a staff meeting, isn't it, Albus?" she said, brushing soot off her clothes.

He smiled. "It is, Penny, though this isn't about teaching."

She straightened up, and smiled to both Harry and Neville, standing by the side of the fire as another person stepped out. Lupin climbed out of the fireplace, brushing himself down just as Pebblebank did.

"Something wrong, Headmaster?" he asked, glancing from Harry to Neville to Professor Pebblebank.

"Not quite," said Dumbledore. "There's something I wish you to do for me... ah, Severus, how nice of you to join us. I do hope I wasn't interrupting anything."

Snape looked a great deal less drunk than when Harry had left him, though he did look a little ruffled. "Apologies for the delay, Headmaster," he said, quietly, straightening out his collar. "I needed to take a sobering draft."

"I quite understand, Severus," said Dumbledore. "And I do hate to call you out of your birthday celebrations, though there is a favour I wish to ask... may I just check whether you all remember the final Hogsmeade visit of your sixth year?"

Lupin nodded straight-away, with a rather grave expression, and after a moment's thought, so did Pebblebank. Snape, however, rolled his eyes. "Dumbledore, if you dare - "

"Now, now, Severus," Dumbledore chided, gently, as one would with a naughty child. "There is a good reason for this. Harry and Neville have been asking about the first time their parents defied Voldemort, and as I wasn't there and do not have the memories, though I believe the three of you can create the whole picture between you. Are you willing to tell Harry and Neville?"

"Sure," said Pebblebank, smiling slightly.

"Of course," said Lupin, nodding.

"No," said Snape, flatly. "I will not relive it, Dumbledore. You can't force me to."

"True," Dumbledore admitted. "Though I would like you to willingly agree to show Harry and Neville an important part of their family history. Both boys deserve to know, Severus, and without your memories we can't give them all the answers. I promise you that nobody will judge you any differently once they have seen. I believe that Remus and Penny already know, and I'm sure that Harry and Neville will both respect your secrecy."

Snape's frown darkened, as though he didn't think so somehow, but Harry managed to catch his eye and give him a hopeful expression. Snape glared at him, then gave a very dramatic sigh.

"Oh, very well," he growled.

Dumbledore smiled pleasantly. "Ah, wonderful. Thankyou Severus. If the three of you could please come here..." He bent down under his desk and took out his familiar stone pensive, engraved with odd runes and symbols, full of water that moved like air. "... and kindly add in your memories of that day."

Lupin, Pebblebank and Snape stood by Dumbledore's desk, drawing out their wands, and adding strings of thought into the pensive bit by bit. Snape still looked immensely reluctant, but he didn't complain as he added his memories. A plume of silky air twirled off the surface of the pensive with each thought added, until all three of them were done.

"Thankyou," said Dumbledore. "Now I would like the three of you to take Neville and Harry back to that day, so they can see what happened for themselves. Please do not let any personal feelings stop them learning the truth. Severus."

Snape frowned. "I never said that I would, Headmaster," he said, coldly. He stepped forward, and didn't wait for any goodbyes, simply reached out and plunged his hand into the pensive. There was a flash of light and he vanished, taken back into the past. Neville went next, after encouragement from Professor Lupin that he wouldn't be alone with Snape for long, then Lupin himself, Pebblebank, and finally Harry. Before he went into the pensive, Dumbledore gave him a slight smile.

"Make sure Professor Snape knows that you do not judge him, Harry," said Dumbledore, kindly. "He's sensitive about his past."

Harry nodded, and then dipped his hand into the pensive. He felt a tug somewhere within his torso, as he found himself swallowed up, flying forwards into the pensive and whirling through time and space. He was just beginning to feel nauseous when his feet hit solid ground and he tripped. Snape grabbed him before he fell and straightened him out, as Harry gazed around at the Hogsmeade that had existed nearly twenty-five years ago.

The buildings were very much the same as they were in modern times, though there were subtle differences Harry was fascinated by. The main street of Hogsmeade didn't have shops on both sides, but the right was made up of rather old and dingy looking houses, decorated with seashells and ivy. The shops were different too, he noticed, a little like the ones in Diagon Alley. There was an apothecary directly across the road, and next to that was Honeydukes, just as Harry knew it. Apart from the different sweets in the window, it hadn't changed at all. And sitting in front of Honeydukes was -

"Dad!" Harry gasped.

James Potter was seated on the low wall in front of the sweet shop, along with his three best friends, Sirius, Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. They all had white paper bags and were eating fudge, jelly beans, chunks of nougat and other delicious looking things, laughing and joking. James and Sirius had a liquorice bootlace stretched between them, both growling and fighting over it like dogs with a string of sausages. Harry found himself grinning. He had a powerful urge to go over and join in, though of course, he didn't exist in this world. Not even born yet.

"Animals," he heard Snape mutter, watching James and Sirius fighting over the bootlace.

"Hey, look! There's my dad!" said Neville, pointing up the street. Harry turned to look, and saw a boy with a round face strolling towards the sweet shop, playing with a wizarding yoyo that flashed all the colours of the rainbow everytime he bounced it. As he came closer to James and his friends, they called out to him, waving.

"Frank!" said James. "Over here!"

Frank Longbottom grinned, and came over, sitting between Lupin and Peter. They started to chat about Quidditch. Harry and Neville were both subconsciously inching closer across the street, ignoring that people were walking right through them, until they were standing directly in front of James, Frank and all the others. Harry found himself gazing longingly at the scene. He hadn't realised how much he missed Sirius.

Lupin appeared at Harry's shoulder, smiling in a thoughtful sort of way. "I remember it well," he murmured, watching his sixteen-year-old self offer Frank a chocolate galleon from a bag. He chuckled softly, then sighed. "How I miss James and Sirius. Peter to an extent, I suppose."

"Come on, let's have a look inside!" said Penny, brightly. "I want to see myself!" She bounced up into Honeydukes, slipping through the door as though it certainly didn't exist. Harry had a last glance at his father, then followed her, with Neville shortly behind.

Inside, the shop wasn't as full as Harry normally saw it. In modern times, Honeydukes was always the most popular place and it was always packed full of people, though there was only one group of students in the shop at the moment, about five or six girls, all huddled near the chocolate counter and mulling over the choices. Harry's eyes were instantly drawn to the tallest girl, who stood in the middle, with long red hair down her back and bright green eyes.

"Mum?" he said, quietly, though to his surprise, he wasn't the only one who whispered it. He glanced at Neville, who was watching a girl with curly dark-blonde hair longingly.

"Is that your mum?" asked Harry.

Neville nodded, smiling, though there was sadness in his eyes. "Which is your mum?"

Harry pointed to Lily, who was now debating with Alice over whether to buy cherry and chocolate fudge, or get a selection of truffles. Neville smiled.

"You've got her eyes," he said.

"Thanks," said Harry, smiling proudly.

"That's me!" Professor Pebblebank said, pointing at the girl next to Lily. She was watching one of the male shop assistants out of the corner of her eye, smiling. "Look at how long my hair was..." Pebblebank sighed, gazing at the shoulder-length bob her sixteen-year-old self was sporting. She toyed sadly with a lock of her own cropped hair. "I don't know why I cut it..."

"Are we going to spend all day doing this?" said Snape, coldly, watching them all with a frown from near the blood-flavoured lollipops.

"Why not?" said Pebblebank, grinning, and bustling off to have another look at the shop assistant. "Damn, I'd forgotten how cute he was..."

"Who is it?" asked Harry.

Pebblebank sighed. "Arsenius Cohen. He was a Slytherin, and he was just the hottest thing on legs when I was at school... shame he turned out to be a Death Eater, really..."

"Do you know he tortured muggle children?" said Snape, coldly, watching her with a contemptuous frown.

Pebblebank nodded grimly. "Yes, but he was cute. Don't be so jealous, Sev."

"Where were you when this was going on?" asked Harry, looking up at Snape.

Snape beckoned him, and then swept out of the shop, back into the road. Harry followed obediently, leaving everybody else back in Honeydukes, and glancing fondly at his father outside for a moment before hurrying after Snape. The Potions master was heading for one of the darkest and dreariest houses, with a windowbox full of dead flowers. The curtains were drawn inside.

"What were you doing in here?" asked Harry, following him up the path and looking up at the house with a strong feeling of foreboding.

"Things I wish I never had," said Snape, simply. He stepped through the closed door and disappeared inside. Harry hurried after him.

He found himself in a dark hallway with peeling wallpaper that had been bleached of any colour long ago. Cobwebs hung in every corner, and the carpet underfoot was worn, dusty and old. Harry was at first sure that it was empty, until he saw a flicker of light from under one of the nearby doors and his ears picked up the sound of low voices. Snape stepped through the wall in the direction of the voices, and Harry followed, emerging in a dimly lit sitting room. A single candle stood on a table in the middle of the room, and around it sat about six boys, all between the ages of fifteen and twenty, all draped in long black robes and holding white masks. Harry felt a thrill as he realised this must be a Death Eater meeting.

The adult Snape wandered around the group of boys, eyeing them critically. He paused behind one boy that caught Harry's eye. He'd seen this boy before, in the pensive. The sixteen-year-old Severus Snape wasn't the sort of person you'd approach on the street. He was sitting hunched up, frowning darkly into his lap, chewing on one finger idly.

"A whole month," sighed Snape, glancing at his younger self.

"What?" said Harry.

"It had been a month since I fed," Snape murmured. "I think that's what motivated me to do what I did this day. Pure hunger."

"To do what?" asked Harry, walking around to stand next to Snape.

Snape shook his head silently. Harry's attention was caught as one of the boys stood up, and he glanced across at who it was. At first, he was sure that there was something going wrong, as he found himself face-to-face with Draco Malfoy. He opened his mouth, though Snape explained.

"Lucius," he murmured. "I'm reminded of him every time I look at Draco now."

"I can see why," said Harry, staring at Lucius. There wasn't a single bit of difference between him and Draco.

Lucius started to speak, in a voice Harry would have sworn was Draco's. "It's time," he murmured. "Let's go. Remember your plan - get the werewolf, only take on the others if they put up a fight."

The boys all stood up, pulling their masks on, and drawing hoods over their heads. The sixteen-year-old Snape fumbled with the catch of his mask for a moment, before Lucius Malfoy turned him around and did it up for him.

"Still hungry?" Harry heard him ask Snape, quietly.

Snape nodded ever so slightly. Lucius made a very non-committal noise, then said, smirking, "Well, I could put a few first years in detention if you like, Severus, I'm sure they wouldn't mind losing a few pints to you..."

"Not funny," said Snape, sharply.

"I think it's hilarious," whispered Lucius. He gave a low, dangerous laugh, then made his way out of the room, followed by the rest of the other boys.

The adult Snape gripped Harry's arm, and pulled him forwards through the front wall, back out into the road. Harry had the feeling something bad was about to happen. Across the road, he could see Neville, Professor Pebblebank and Professor Lupin leaving Honeydukes, watching James and his group of friends.

"What's going to happen?" Harry asked Snape nervously, glancing at the front door of the house as it opened.

Snape was silent, looking at the ground, refusing to answer. Harry knew that if Snape was even unwilling to talk about it, whatever was about to happen would not be pleasant.

The six Death Eaters stepped out into the street, sweeping into the road. All around, shoppers and passers-by gasped or screamed and started backing away, some even running. James and all his friends had jumped to their feet the moment the Death Eaters appeared, and the screams brought people running out of the nearby shops to see what was the matter.

Lucius Malfoy stood at the front of the Death Eaters, his wand in his hand, pointing it at James and his friends.

"Give us the werewolf," he said, dangerously. "Give us Lupin and nobody gets hurt."

James and Sirius moved forwards instantly, blocking the Death Eaters' path to Lupin, drawing their wands. Frank jumped up from the wall and ran to join them, standing in the way, and Harry could see his mother just outside Honeydukes, watching with her hands over her mouth.

"Give us Lupin!" Malfoy shouted again, brandishing his wand.

"Why would you want Remus?" yelled James, angrily, his fist tightening on his wand.

"Don't argue with us, Potter," snarled Malfoy. "Just give us Lupin and nobody gets hurt!"

"What are you going to do?" shouted James. "Fight us?"

"If we must," said Malfoy, lazily. "Though we won't have to, if you just give him to us now. The Dark Lord is waiting, Potter."

"If you want him," shouted James, "then come and get him!"

Malfoy's masked face turned to Severus on his left, and another boy on his right. He nodded. The Death Eaters moved forwards, wands rising, and as one all of Lupin's friends swarmed around him, blocking the Death Eaters away, drawing their wands as one.

"This is your last chance," Malfoy growled. "Give - us - Lupin!!"

"NEVER!!" screamed James, and with a bang like a gun shot, the cursing began. Jets of lights flew backwards and forwards as the Death Eaters attacked as one, with both their fists and their wands. James had taken on Malfoy without a moment of hesitation and the two were duelling fiercely, though James stood his ground, refusing to give up Lupin.

Lily and all her friends were running forward now, drawing their wands too, and running in front of the Death Eaters to help fight.

"Evans, no!" shouted James, trying to push her back, get her out of the way.

"Get off me!" she yelled. When James wouldn't stop trying to shield her too, she reached up, and slapped him around the face. "Stop being such a chauvinist pig!" she shouted.

"Get out of the way, girl," Malfoy snarled, turning on her, raising his wand.

"No! Stupefy!" screamed Lily, pointing her wand right in his face. The spell hit Malfoy right in the nose, and there was no dodging a spell like that. Malfoy simply keeled over and hit the floor, though instantly, one of the other Death Eaters reached down and grabbed him. There was a flash of light and both of them vanished.

Neville's parents, Frank and Alice, were hurrying Lupin backwards into the apothecary, fending off curses with their wands, and as a Death Eater ran after them to grab at their robes, Alice kicked him in the face and sent him flying. Frank gave her a rather fond expression, then they slammed the door of the apothecary and barricaded it shut.

The Death Eaters were definitely losing by now. Only three remained, and they seemed to have realised this, as one turned tail and fled up the street to get out of the fighting. James yelled, "Get the others!" to Sirius, and then went racing down the street after the Death Eater that was running.

With a flying leap that had no doubt been perfected by years of Quidditch, James tackled the boy around the knees and brought him crashing to the floor. The Death Eater gave a pained cry and struggled to get out, to keep running. James swiped at him desperately, though only managed to catch the edge of his mask, tearing it off his face.

James's jaw fell as Severus Snape started up at him, Snape looking just as horrified. Harry felt a strong rush of knowing, knowing that this was the moment which probably started a life-long bitter hatred between the two boys, and then Severus had struggled free, turned, and run up the street, stumbling over his robes to escape.

"I'LL GET YOU!!" James roared after him. "I'LL GET YOU, IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO!!"

There was a flash of light, and the sixteen-year-old Snape disapparated.

Harry turned back to the main fight, and saw the two remaining Death Eaters being tied up by Sirius. Everybody was cheering and clapping, praising the children for fighting off the Death Eaters so well. Sirius had a cut across one cheek, but he was grinning all the same as he did up the last ties of the ropes. Nobody seemed to have noticed James and Snape. Nobody except...


James spun around from where he had been watching the spot that Snape vanished. Lily stood there, looking up at him with a pained expression.

"Sorry I slapped you," she said, blushing a little. "I didn't mean to. You were just being such a macho jerk."

"It's okay," said James, who had turned scarlet now, ruffling his hair through instinct. "I mean, maybe I was. I guess I was just... worried about you. And Remus. Death Eaters, you know."

"Yeah," she said, smiling. She glanced up at him, and said, "You were really brave to defend him, you know."

James was slowly turning redder and redder, playing with his hair as though it was on fire. "Uh, thanks. I... well, you were too. That was some killer curse on Malfoy."

She grinned. "Thanks."

At Lily's smile, James twitched so badly his glasses slipped down his nose and he went cross-eyed. Lily laughed and pushed them back up for him.

"Listen, do you want to go and get a coffee or something?" she said, idly, playing with some of her hair.

James looked as though all his dreams had suddenly come true. "Yeah!" he said, enthusiastically, before deciding he clearly looked too eager. He leant back, ruffling his hair again, trying to look cool. "Yeah, sure, I'll take you for coffee."

Harry grinned, looking between them with joy and adoration. He quite wanted to stay and see how their coffee went, or to learn more about Frank and Alice Longbottom, but a hand was closing on his arm. He turned around, and saw Dumbledore there, smiling kindly at him.

"Come on, Harry. Time to go. You've seen everything you need to."

Harry took one last, longing look at both his parents as they turned and walked away up the high street, before he felt a tug in his torso, and he was being whipped out of the memory, back to the future.


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