The moon cast a dim light on the "road" that led up the west slope of the mountain. It had swiftly degenerated from pavement into a rough track that wound its way ever upward. They passed small thatched roofed buildings that looked as old as the rocks themselves. A pasture on the left held sheep who glowed a ghostly white in the dark.
"Where is our guide?" Harley turned to wait for her grandfather to catch up.
"I don't know." He huffed. "Let's take a rest here for a minute." They took a seat on the low stone fence that lined the pasture. Only the bleating of the sheep broke the thick silence of the night. "I hope we can trust that fellow."
"I trust him." Harley countered.
"What makes you so sure?"
"I'm not sure really." She replied simply, "Just a feeling."
A loud crack split the night and Harley jumped to her feet and pulled her wand in one smooth motion. She scanned from left to right and stopped when her wand was grabbed by an outstretched hand. "Let's not point that at me." Mr.White's calm voice eased the tension in her chest.
"Sorry, you scared me."
"Never have gotten the hang of getting the noise down on apparition." He shrugged. "I've told Minerva you're coming. Her place is just up the hill a little further."
"Jolly good." Aaron stood up.
"Hopefully she can clear up a few things for you." Mr. White looked behind him.
"You won't be coming with us?" Harley asked.
"No, I have some other matters to attend to." He nervously replied, "But I will see you again."
"We'll see about that." A smooth female voice came from behind Harley. She spun around to see the red headed woman from the bar standing in the middle of the road a few yards behind her, a wand pointed straight at her heart. Mr. White pulled his wand. "Oh, I don't think so. You so much as budge and you can kiss the girl goodbye."
"I should have known one of Malfoy's thugs would show their ugly face eventually." Mr. White's voice filled with venom.
"Wait, Malfoy?" Harley blurted. "As in Scorpios Malfoy?"
"That pathetic boy?" the woman laughed, "As if he is of any use."
"Funny, all I ever heard was how pathetic your boss is." Mr. White sneered.
"Watch your mouth Potter." The woman spat. "You made a big mistake coming back. You should have stayed in whatever hole you crawled in to."
"Potter?" Harley mouthed.
Suddenly the woman screeched and flew backwards as a spell hit her. "Harley go! She won't be alone!"
She grabbed her grandfather's hand and they turned and started running up the road. Sure enough two men appeared out of thin air to either side of them.
One man was hit square in the chest but the other blocked and Harley just managed to duck beneath her own spell. Another red jet of light flew over her shoulder and hit the man in the face.
"Go!" a voice roared behind her.
Harley took off, her trainers pounding beneath her. Her grandfathers labored breathing behind her. Suddenly out of the gloom in front of her loomed a two story cottage perched at the top of the road. A severe looking woman with a hawkish expression was walking off the porch.
"Gracious what is going on?" Minerva McGonagall exclaimed.
"Get inside!" Mr. White came flying up the road behind Harley.
"Yes inside. Quickly." McGonagall lead them into the small entrance hallway. As Mr. White flew through the door it slammed shut of its own and the whole cottage shuddered briefly. "That will only hold them for a few moments, what is happening Mr. Potter? And why in Dumbledore's name is Harley here?"
"How do you…?" Harley began to ask.
"No time, we need to move." Mr. White looked out the window. "There's five of them now."
"I know somewhere we can go, but we must hurry." McGonagall grabbed Harley and Aaron's arm. "Come Mr. Potter."
Mr. White grabbed her other arm and just as the door burst off its hinges Harley felt her feet leave the ground. She had only apparated a few times in her life and the pressing sensation all around her only increased the pounding in her head. Her feet slammed into the ground in front of a street sign that read "Abbot's Place".
"Quickly." McGonagall shooed them to the end of the short street where an empty lot sat. "Listen carefully as I can only risk saying this once. The safe house in Canterbury is located at number eleven hundred and seven Abbot's Place."
As soon as McGonagall finished a large two story house began to appear out of nowhere. It stretched until it nearly filled the once empty lot.
"Inside." Mr. White pushed them.
They all made their way down the short walk and through the front door, McGonagall walking backwards and repeating incantations. The door shut behind them and lights automatically came on, illuminating a homely sitting room to Harley's right and a dining room to her left. There was a small doorway in the dining room that lead to the large kitchen in front of her and a staircase against the wall to the right.
"Now, we should be safe for the time being." McGonagall sighed. "Now care to explain what is going on?"
"The two of them were attacked in their home; they went looking for you on aunt Hermione's instructions. I followed them and was trying to lead them to you when we were ambushed by Malfoy's cronies." Mr. White replied quickly.
"Oh dear." McGonagall heaved another sigh. She turned and her expression softened when her eyes met Harley's. "You must have so many questions….why don't I try and answer a few while Mr. Potter here prepares some tea?" McGonagall gestured to the dining room. Harley walked and took a seat, her grandfather sitting next to her. McGonagall took a seat opposite her and folded her hands on the table.
Harley tried to get her head to stop spinning. "I....I want to know why you and that woman called Mr. White "Potter"."
"That's because that is his name. Albus Potter."
"But, my grandfather told me my name was Potter. Harley Jane Potter." She stammered.
"Yes, that is correct." McGonagall shook her head. "And yes, you are correct in assuming then that Mr. Potter is your brother."
Harley's mouth hung open. "H….How is any of this possible?" Harley had heard the name "Potter" plenty. Students at Hogwarts had always told tales about a man named Harry Potter, who supposedly saved the wizarding world many years before, but Harley had never been able to find anything about him in the school library. "Potter….it can't be like the Potter? As in Harry Potter? That was just a legend….a myth the students talked about. None of the teachers….."
"None of the teachers are allowed to speak of Mr. Harry Potter. In fact, he is all but erased in magical record." McGonagall took her glasses off. It made her look much older and wearier.
"So then is he my father?"
"Yes. Harry Potter is your father and Hermione Potter is your mother, as I'm sure you know by now." McGonagall nodded to her grandfather. Harley's head felt fuzzy, she pinched herself just to make sure this wasn't all some sort of crazy dream. "I realize this must be a lot to take in." McGonagall reached across the table and took one of Harley's hands. "I must say, you have them written all over you: your father's eyes and spirit, your mother's hair and academic talent, and courageous as them both."
Albus came into the room and sat a tray down laden with tea. They each prepared their own cups in silence, Aaron preparing Harley's as she was still stunned into inaction.
The Harry Potter. Real. Her own father. For the briefest moment, Harley longed for the simplicity of muggle parents killed in a car crash. For long walks in the park and watching a father push his daughter on the swing. She stole a look at Albus sipping his tea and a question formed in her mind. A hope started to rise up in her chest.
"What happened to my father?" she blurted out.
McGonagall and Albus both froze and looked at one another. Albus closed his eyes and shook his head. "He died right after you were born." Albus answered quietly. Harley felt the hope in her chest die. "King Gwyn had him killed."
"And who is this King Gwyn?" her grandfather asked, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Albus opened his mouth, but McGonagall stood and raised her hand. "That is a story for tomorrow. It is already late and I'm sure Harley's mind could use some rest." Albus and McGonagall traded looks before he nodded his head.
"It's too risky to try and retrieve anything from your camp, so I hope you have all that you need." Albus stood to his feet. "Are there owls here?" he turned to McGonagall.
"Yes, upstairs and to the left." McGonagall answered.
"Great. This changes everything. The others need to be informed." Albus came around the table and stood beside Harley. His matching emerald eyes met hers and a genuine smile burst on his face. It took years off of him. "It's been nice to finally meet you. I've looked for you for a very long time."
Harley felt a bit of warmth spread through her chest. "I'm glad to have met you too."
Albus turned and made his way up the stairs. Harley turned to face McGonagall who was wiping a fresh tear from her eyes. "I think it is high time for some rest. I'll show you to your rooms." Harley and Aaron followed her up the steps. McGonagall lead them to adjacent rooms to the right of the stairs in the hallway. Harley's had its own bathroom. After her grandfather bid her goodnight and departed for his room, McGonagall hesitated in the doorway. "I thought you might like to know that Albus is the very image of your father, in case you had trouble picturing him."
As McGonagall quietly closed the door behind her, Harley couldn't help but feel stinging behind her eyes. For the first time in her life, Harley could think of her father's face. The charm on her necklace had never felt so warm before.