Chapter 5:   Family Connections

Midafternoon on Saturday found Harry and Hermione in the living room of their flat. Earlier in the day, they completed household chores, ran errands for Dan and Emma, and did some grocery shopping. They were now relaxing and quietly reading.

"Hey Harry, you there?" said Ron's voice from the fireplace.

He put the quidditch magazine he was reading on the tea table, got up from the chair, and went over to the fireplace. "Hi Ron. Yeah, I'm here."

"You remember that you and Hermione are coming over here tomorrow at five for your birthday dinner celebration?"

"Yeah, Hermione has reminded me about it too. Tell your mum not to make a fuss."

"Are you kidding me? You know my mum. You'd get a right large piece of her mind if she heard you say that."

"Okay, okay, I get the picture. We'll be there at five."

"Okay mate, see you tomorrow."

He went back to the sofa and sat down next to Hermione. Still reading her book, she turned and arched her legs over his lap. He put his hands on her knees and rested his chin on them. After a moment, she looked up from her book and saw a thoughtful expression on his face.

"What are you thinking about Harry?"

"I'd like to go to Godric's Hollow tomorrow and see my parents' cottage." He looked at her. "Will you go with me?"

"Yes, of course."

"Do you think we might be able to get inside and have a look around?"

"I doubt it. Since it's a memorial, the Ministry will have defensive charms on it to keep people out."

He nodded. "You're right, but I'd still like to try. Maybe my cloak can help."

She thought for a moment. "We should go there about nine in the morning. Most people out at that time will probably be by the church. Less eyes to see what we're up to."

"Okay, that sounds good. Thanks Hermione."

She returned to reading the book. He picked up the quidditch magazine from the table, pulled her legs against his chest, and began to read.

Harry and Hermione stood on the walkway in front of the Potter cottage quietly discussing how to get beyond the gated fence. The fence, and a wall, surrounded the cottage for as far as they could see. They saw a garden trellis archway in the far back corner of the lot but it appeared to be choked and entangled by a large thorny plant.

With her wand mostly concealed, Hermione tried a few different spells looking for any weakness in the defenses. After a moment, she looked at Harry and shook her head. They were about to walk around to the other side of the cottage when they heard a gruff voice from behind. "Can I elp yea folks?"

Harry and Hermione jumped in startled surprise. They quickly turned to face an elderly man who looked to be in his seventies.

The old man pointed. "This ears the Potter memorial. It's the same as the night it all appened. I'm Wilbur Wallenby, the caretaker o this place. Can I answer any questions?"

Feeling a bit unnerved, Harry said, "Umm ... I'd like to go inside and have a look around."

"There's no admittance inside. It has Ministry o Magic security protections to hide it from muggles and keep people out. Ow'd yea think arry would feel 'bout folks carrying things off?"

"He wouldn't like it at all," said Harry in a firm voice. "But I was close to the family."

"Yur ardly old nuff fur that. Lotsa folks come round here sayn things like that. I personally knew the Potters. Right neighborly they wer. Evn eld little arry when he waz just a beby."

Hermione said, "Baby Harry was taken from here by Hagrid on a motor bike that night."

"Lotsa folk know that too. I got ter be goin."

Harry stepped closer, shifted his position so the sunlight was brighter on his face, and removed his glasses. "Perhaps, if you take a closer look at me."

The caretaker scrutinized Harry's face. A moment later, the caretaker's eyes widen and then he smiled peacefully. "Yea ave yer mother's eyes. Sorry, I didn't recognize yea. Welcome back arry."

"That's okay. But ... I still want to look inside."

"Well, see ins it's you, I'll let yea in. Just don't tell anyone at the Ministry." Pointing to Hermione he said, "She goin in with yea?"

"Yes. She is a very good and trusted friend."

"Okay. Gimme a few minutes. Then come round the back by that arch over yonder.

"Thank you," said Harry as the caretaker shuffled off.

"Each of yea step through ere." Harry and Hermione now saw a tight twisty path through the thorn plant.

"The arch will make a magical imprint of yea. Exit back out through ere. Don't take nothin or the alarm will sound and Aurors will come. Be careful where yea walk in thar. Also, befer yea leave, come by me ouse across the lane. I need te talk ter yea."

"Okay," said Harry. They carefully picked their way through the thorn plant and moved toward the back door of the cottage. The door creaked as Harry pushed it open and they stepped into the kitchen. Light filtering in through the tattered window curtains dimly illuminated the interior of the cottage. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust and they saw rubble lying on the floor. The calendar on the wall showed the month of October 1981.

They made their way through the kitchen leaving footprints on the dusty floor and stepped into the living room. The front door was cracked and looked to have been forcibly opened at one time. Most of the furniture was destroyed and lay in scattered pieces throughout the room.

Hermione bit her lower lip as she saw many books from the bookcase lying on the floor. There were burn marks on the walls, pictures hanging askew, and broken glass everywhere. They very slowly walked along a narrow path gazing in all directions. Crossing the room, they came to a staircase. After a brief glance at each other, they slowly ascended the creaking staircase to the second floor.

A badly damaged door, hanging askew by just one hinge, was on the left at the top of the stairs. They carefully slipped past it into the room.

On the far side of the room, they saw a crib broken in two. The middle of the mattress was lying on the floor. All manner of broken things were lying in pieces throughout the room. Light from the outside shown in through the partially demolished walls. Harry moved to the closet door and opened it.

"Lumos!" His wand light fell on a toy box and he squatted down in front of it while Hermione watched over his shoulder. He opened the box and saw many baby play toys, some with winking eyes and laughing faces. Toward the back of the box was a small toy broom in a separate storage tray.

Harry thought for a moment. Then he said, "This must be the broom we saw in the torn picture, the one I found in Sirius's room at Grimmauld place."

"Yes Harry, I'm sure that's it."

With delight he said, "This is a present from Sirius."

After a moment, he closed the toy box lid and stood. They made their way back out of the room and moved toward the door at the other end of the hall.

They entered his parent's bedroom that was mostly intact. There were many toppled items on the tables and shelves. Other items had fallen to the floor and lie in broken pieces. He saw a small wooden box on a nightstand by the bed. The box was ornately carved with musical notes. He sat on the bed and she stood beside him. He glanced at Hermione and she nodded. He carefully lifted the hinged lid of the box and a woman's voice began to sing. It sounded like a sweet lullaby.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high,
and don't be afraid of the dark,

At the end of the storm, is a golden sky,
and the sweet silver song of the lark.

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain,
though your dreams be tossed and blown,

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
and you'll never walk alone, you'll never walk alone. [1]

She sat down on the bed and put her arm around him. He slipped his arm around her, still looking down at the music box. Quietly he said, "Thanks to you and Ron, I've never walked alone."

She lightly touched his chin and guided his gaze toward her. She looked into his eyes. "That's because we both care about you very much." She kissed him on the cheek.

He hugged her tightly. "I care about you and Ron more than I'll ever be able to say. You are my best and truest friends."

After a moment, he closed the lid of the box. Looking at the nightstand, he saw a narrow drawer. It would have gone unnoticed if he were not this close; there was no drawer pull. He took out his wand. "Accio!" The drawer gently slid open revealing a locked leather bound book. The inscription Diary of Lily Evans Potter was visible on the cover.

He carefully lifted it out and placed it next to the music box. "Alohomora!" he said quietly. The diary remained locked.

"We'll have to sort that out later," said Hermione.

He moved to check the other nightstand but it did not have a drawer. They moved toward a dusty dresser set against the wall opposite the foot of the bed. It held many small objects on top of it. Above the dresser, a picture frame hung askew on the wall. He surveyed the many broken objects. There were small glass containers and figurines made of pottery.

"Harry, I can't straighten this picture frame. It seems to be stuck."

He looked up. "It's empty anyway. You don't need to bother."

"It just doesn't look right." She looked at him hopefully. "Will you please try?"

He smiled and she stepped back. Reaching up, he twisted the frame so that it hung properly. He looked at her. "It didn't seem stuck to me."

She gave a short gasp as a wide-eyed expression dawned on her face.

"Hello Harry," said a man's voice from behind him.

He quickly turned. Within the picture frame, he saw James and Lily standing with an arm around each other's waist. They were smiling at him.

"It's a magical portrait!" exclaimed Hermione. "Like in the headmaster's office at Hogwarts."

The image of James nodded approvingly. "Albus helped us make it about six months after you were born."

Lily said, "We can answer your questions about our family or give you a trustful opinion."

James said, "The portrait frame will only activate with your touch Harry. Flesh memory, like a snitch. You'll find our three hand prints on the back."

Harry said, "Who was the voice singing in the music box?"

"That's my voice precious one," said Lily. "I sang it to help you go to sleep."

"There is so much I want to ask both of you."

"We're here for you anytime," said James.

"Thanks Mum, thanks Dad."

James and Lily nodded approvingly and then vanish from view.

He turned to see Hermione beaming at him. She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "Oh Harry, I'm so happy for you!"

Smiling broadly, he hugged back and then gave her a big kiss. "Thanks for trying to straighten that picture frame."

She grinned. After enjoying their closeness for another moment he said, "I think it's time to go and see Mister Wallenby."

They walked up to the front door of the Wallenby home and knocked.

"O so glad ye came by arry. Both of yea please come in. Ow bout a spot o tea?"

"Yes Mister Wallenby," said Harry, "we'd like that very much."

"You two sit down thar and make yur selves at home. Be back in a jiffy." He turned and shuffled off toward the kitchen.

They looked around the room from where they stood and whispered to each other. Cabinets and shelves around the room contained many dusty knick-knacks. There were a few magical photos on the walls. One photo had a picture of Wilbur and an elderly woman. There was a small glass case with a few ribbons and trophies. A number of storage boxes were set between the furniture around the room. A well-worn chair faced across the room to a window that showed the Potter cottage. Harry and Hermione sat down in the love seat next to the chair.

Wilbur returned with a tray containing a teakettle and cups. He placed it on the low table in front of them.

"Elp yur selves." He sat down in his chair with a small grimace.

"Thank you Mister Wallenby," said Harry.

"Snuff formalities. You and yur lady friend there can call me Will."

"Thank you, Will," said Harry. "This is Hermione."

"Pleased to meet yea," said Will.

"A pleasure to meet you Will," said Hermione as she finished filling a cup and handed it to him. "Is that woman in the picture your wife?"

"Yea, Evelyn. She passed on about a year ago."

With a sorrowful expression she said, "I'm so sorry to hear that."

"Married fifty-two years the missus and me ... we ad a appy life together."

They all took a sip of tea. "Owd you two get on over there?"

"Good," said Harry. "There are so many broken things. It's hard to imagine it was once my home."

"Aye, indeed," he said as he looked out the window.

"The missus and me would sometimes sit on the porch and watch folks comin and goin. Asked yer mum bout it once, just friendly conversation mind ya, but she didn't say much. Just that they were tryin to elp friends get through some ard times. Folks waz always welcome at that ouse. Yer parents waz kind and genrous."

Will took a sip of tea. "Then you came along and things waz different. Wern't as many folks comin round; cept of course when yea waz christened. Me and the missus war invited too; ad a great time that day. Saw one or two that we wurn't too sure bout, but folks seemed right nice.

After that, the missus would go over most days and help yur mum take care of yea. The missus liked to fuss over yea. We sat yea a few times when yer mum and dad had to go off somewherez. Made my missus appy. Me and the missus waz never able to ave kids of our own so I think you elped er in that way."

"Few weeks befer it all appened, Albus stopped by. We adn't seen im in ages. Use ter live the other side of town yea know."

A blank stare came to Will's face. "Tragic what appened to the Dumbledores. So tragic".

After a short pause he said, "Anyways, Albus said that y'all were in danger and asked if we would keep a look out. Said special charms ad bin put on yer ouse. I told em we'd always bin a lookin out for yea but that we'd be extra vigilant. He said to call im straight away if we saw anything. E gave us a specially charmed phoenix. ... That's it over yonder."

Will pointed to a figurine about four inches tall on the table under the window. It looked just like the phoenix statue that guarded the revolving staircase leading to the headmaster's office at Hogwarts.

"E told us ter just touch the wingtips an say is name."

"We'd bin anding out treats to the kids that evening. Wern't too many cuz folks were worried bout things. Waved to yer dad when the kids crossed over to yer ouse. Yur dad ad on a disguise and was trying ter play tricks on um. Mostly he just made um laugh.

Me an the missus ad turned in an just gone ter bed when it appened. There waz a flash of green light and a rumble. We ran ter the window and saw yer ouse just as it is now. Told the missus ter call Albus straight away. I ran out the door. But I couldn't get into the ouse; some magical shield all around the ouse waz there."

"Albus arrived a moment later. I'd always known him ter be a kind and jolly feller. But I'd never seen em more angry and full of rage. Someone else dressed in black robes arrived a few seconds later. E waved is wand and then rushed through the shield into the ouse. Albus said fer me to keep watch from mih ouse; said there waz still danger. Then e started walking round the outside of the shield with is wand and hands raised mutterin spells; e seemed ter be lookin fur somethin."

"A short while later, agrid showed up on that motor bike. Albus and agrid both went into the ouse. Never did see that other feller again."

"We waz standin on the porch and after a long while, Albus came over ter us. He said your mum and dad were dead but you were okay. The missus cried. Albus said you waz bein taken to your kin folk because it wer the only way ter keep ye safe. Said e couldn't tell us where that waz. Gave us some things ter take care of. Told us not ter mention ter anyone about the things e gave us. Said ter just watch the ouse til the Ministry folks came. That waz the last we saw of Albus for a long while."

Harry's head was down and his eyes were closed. Hermione had her arm wrapped around him and her head was on his shoulder. She was holding his hand.

With some effort and a grimace, Will stood. "Be back in a bit." Taking the tea tray from the table, he shuffled back to the kitchen.

Harry and Hermione didn't speak. With a lot of sniffing and wiping of their eyes, they recomposed themselves. At the sound of a door opening, they looked up to see Will descend into what appeared to be the cellar. After a few minutes, Will shuffled up the stairs holding a medium size box under one arm. He closed the door, shuffled over to his chair, and placed the box on the table.

Will said to Harry, "I always oped that one day you'd come by. What's in the box is fer you ter take with ye. Is there anythin yer saw at the ouse you want? It's all yours now but ter take anythin out officially requires lots o Ministry approvals."

"Yes. There's an empty picture frame on the wall and a music box and diary on the nightstand in my parent's room. In the closet of my bedroom, there is a toy broom in the toy box. I'd like to take them with me if it's okay with you."

"I'll go an fetch em. You two just wait ere a bit." Will went to the door and stepped out.

Harry drew the box close and took off the lid. The box had an undetectable extension charm on it. Hermione put her head next to Harry's and looked into the box. He pulled out a small figurine of a phoenix that was the same as the one on Will's table.

"That must be the one that belonged to your parents."

He pulled out some frames containing magical pictures of the original order members. A group picture, like the one that Sirius had given him, was there.

He pulled out a large envelope bearing the words Ministry of Magic; Personal Items of James and Lily Potter. The signature of Albus Dumbledore was also present. He opened the envelope, withdrew two wands, and admired them. He would need Olivander's help to identify them. There was a pair of round frame glasses and a watch. He withdrew a smaller envelope and dropped its contents onto his hand. Two gold wedding rings still glowed. The diamond on the smaller one sparkled even in the subdued light of the room. Another small envelope contained a gold necklace with a pendant in the shape of a griffin. The two eyes of the griffin were set with garnets.

Also in the box was a folder that contained James and Lily's Hogwarts diplomas, Harry's birth and christening certificates, documents for the cottage, and other Ministry forms. Finally, there were two picture albums. One album had a picture of James and Lily on the cover; Lily was in a wedding dress. The cover of the other album had a picture of Sirius holding baby Harry.

Hermione had been sniffing and wiping her eyes frequently while he looked at these things. With a heavy sigh, he returned everything to the box. As he was finishing with the last items, the door opened and Will entered with another box and placed it on the table.

Hermione held opened her beaded bag and Harry placed both boxes into it.

"Will, I want to thank you very much for keeping these things safe for me all of these years. They mean more to me than you can imagine. I am indebted to you. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask."

"Ah, twern't nothin."

Harry and Hermione stood. Harry said, "We've taken enough of your time today. I'm sure we'll see you again."

Will said, "Sorry fer makin yur day so sad fer yea, thought yea'd want to know."

"You've made this the best day ever. I'm happy in ways I never knew. Thank you again." He extended his hand and shook Will's hand.

Hermione said in a sweet voice. "Thank you for the tea and everything Will. You are a kind and generous man."

Harry and Hermione stepped out the door. They stopped at the edge of the lane and exchanged a somber look at each other. Then, hand in hand, they turned and walked toward the church.

He conjured wild flowers of every color and she helped arrange them. They stood in silence, with an arm around each other's waist, looking down at the flowers and the headstone. He quietly said, "Thanks Mum, thanks Dad, for all that you did. ... Thank you too Hermione." She squeezed him.

After another minute, he took her hand to leave the graveyard. They had only taken a few steps when he felt her hold him back. He looked at her and saw she was gazing at the ground beside them. He followed her line of sight to a simple grave marker engraved with the name Evelyn Wallenby. He took out his wand and caused a white rose to appear on the grave marker. After a moment of silence, they continued out of the graveyard.

They walked the lane out to the edge of the village. Finding a secluded area, they disapparated together.

[1] - Lyrics from "You'll Never Walk Alone", 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

Bond of the Spirits is an original fanfiction story based on the seven book series 'Harry Potter' written by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter, the characters, names and related characters are trademarks of Warner Bros., Inc. Harry Potter publishing rights © J.K.R. This is an unofficial, not for profit site and is in no way connected with J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros., Inc. This site is not endorsed by any of these aforementioned parties. Rights to characters and their images is neither claimed nor implied. This fanfiction story is owned by the author and subject to copyright law under transformative use.

Copyright © 2012-2019 Don Buczynski
San Diego, California
Published: 6/24/12
Last Updated: 8/31/19