A Proper Family

What if Peter Pettigrew hadn't escaped? What if, in Harry's third year, Sirius was found innocent? This is the story of what would happen if, starting in his third year, Harry Potter was raised by his godfather.

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8. Visiting Bathilda Bagshot

The minute Harry stepped into Bathilda Bagshot's house he was reminded very strongly of Mrs. Figg's house back on Privet Drive. Ms. Bagshot's house smelled very badly indeed, almost as if she had a dozen dead animals buried underneath the floorboards. As they crossed into the living room, Harry smelled a just as horrible scent, but this scent was of a perfume. Bathilda Bagshot sat in a pink satin chair in the corner. It looked as though it had been chewed on by a cat. Bathilda looked up, and her wispy blue eyes met Harry's. Hermione spoke up from Harry's right.

"Ms. Bagshot, it's so nice to meet you!" she announced eagerly. "Thank you for agreeing to meet us on such short notice." Harry nodded fervently and Ron grunted. He was still upset that Hermione made plans that involved changing out of his pajamas.

"Of course," Bathilda replied softly. "I'm always happy to discuss my work with students. Please, sit." The frail old woman gestured to a dusty couch across from her. The trio sat down, and Hermione began talking immediately.

As Hermione blabbered away, asking all sorts of questions about Bathilda's books, Harry stared around the room at the author's many photographs. There were several familiar faces. Harry caught glimpses of Cornelius Fudge and his bowler hat, Profesor McGonagall's square glasses, and Dumbledore's silver beard. Harry glimpsed at the photo nearest to him. It was a picture of a young boy, grinning lazily, with a mane of golden hair.

Harry was brought back to the conversation when he heard Bathilda address him. She looked at him inquisitively, and Hermione nudged Harry's arm.

"Harry, can you answer Ms. Bashot's question?" Hermione whispered at him.

"Erm..." Harry said, unsure, but Bathilda held up her hand.

"I am happy to repeat my question, Harry, before you make a fool of yourself." Harry blushed, but listened attentively as Bathilda spoke.

"During your summer here in Godric's Hollow, have you visited the house where your parents died?" Bathilda inquired.

Harry felt his heart squeeze. "No ma'am." he answered quietly.

Bathilda clicked her tongue and shook her head. "It is an incredibly important historical landmark, Mr. Potter." Bathilda said pointedly. There was a moment of silence, and then...

"So what?" Ron shot defensively. "If he doesn't feel like seeing the place where his mum and dad died then he shouldn't have to."

Harry felt grateful for Ron's outburst, but Hermione was livid. "Ms. Bagshot, we've taken up enough of your time. Thank you so much for answering all of my questions." Hermione said hurredily. "Have a nice summer!" She said cheerfully, all the while shooting daggers at Ron.

"Bye." Harry said with a wave as Hermione herded them out the door. Bathilda raised her eyebrows at Harry, and then proceeded to stare out of her window. As soon as Harry closed the door behind him, Hermione rounded on Ron.

"I cannot believe you did that, Ronald Weasley!" She said furiously. "That woman let us into her home, shared her knowledge with us, and then you go and yell at her like that!" Hermione finished angrily.

"What was I supposed to do?" Ron retorted. "She was going on about how Harry ought to go and see the house where his parents died. Do you really think he should feel obligated to go see that place?"

"Well of course not," Hermione responded. "But it was still quite rude of you-"

"Give it a rest you two." Harry snapped. Hermione and Ron stopped bickering abruptly. Harry spoke again, "I've decided what else we're going to do today, and I'd rather not have you both arguing while we do it." he finished.

"What are we going to do today, Harry?" Hermione asked softly.

Harry sighed. "We're going to see the house where my parents died." he said grimly. And with that, all three of them gazed down to the end of the row of houses. There, dark and massive against the bright sky, was the place where Voldemort had killed Harry's parents.

Harry sped up, and Hermione and Ron followed. Harry could hear their panting and Ron called, "Oi! Harry! Slow down, mate!" But Harry didn't care. He was focused on getting to the house, and focused on ignoring the sick feeling he had in his stomach.

As he approached the ruins, Harry could see that the hedge had grown wild all over the rubble-filled garden. The grass had to be up to Harry's waist. And as Harry became even with the front gate, he saw that the top right of the cottage had been completely blown apart. This, he figured, was where the killing curse has backfired.

Harry stood, barely breathing as Ron and Hermione caught up to him. He could tell that they were giving each other worried glances, probably wondering if they should speak. Then, desperate to hold onto some piece of his old home, Harry grabbed the rusted iron gate.

His touch seemed to do it. A sign rose from the ground in front of him, golden letters gleaming in the sun.

Harry read the words slowly, as if digesting every letter. "It's a monument. To us." he told Ron and Hermione. "To me." he corrected softly.

"Oh, Harry." Hermione said tearfully. Ron wrapped his arm around her, and she buried her face into Ron's shoulder.

Harry then noticed that the sign had been heavily graffitied. Most people had just written their names or initials. But a few had left Harry little notes, encouraging him, telling him that they were all behind him. Harry smiled slightly.

Then, he turned to his two best friends. Ron looked at Harry uncertainly. "You alright, mate?" Ron asked.

Harry nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Let's go home."

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