James took a few more steps towards his son, drinking him in. “Yeah. It’s really me.” He breathed, darting forward to pull the boy into a crushing hug.
Harry jerked slightly as he felt a spell hit him. It was like a door opening in the back of his mind, flooding it with images – growing up running wild at Wolf Haven Sanctuary; nights sitting at a table with James and Remus, patiently learning how to read and write; his first flying lesson with his dad, darting around and making the pack mothers scold him for dive bombing the chickens, amid James’s background laughter; their flight home on a Muggle airplane, excited about seeing Britain and getting his letter to Hogwarts; that trip to Diagon Alley with his dad disguised as Remus, with the sun shining so bright and everything sparkling with new promise and hope…
“Three years.” He growled. “Dad, what happened?”
James sighed. “I don’t entirely know, Mini-me. But it was Dumbledore. He hid me at a Muggle hospital as a coma patient, and modified your memories so you believed that you were meant to live with the Dursleys-“
“You’ve been alive all this time…Dumbledore! But why—I’ll kill him myself!”
“Whoa! Harry, calm down and listen! You can’t kill the Headmaster.” James exclaimed, grabbing the struggling teen by the arms and forcing him to a standstill.
“But he made me believe you were dead! And I didn’t even recognize Uncle Remus all year! And he made me go live with the Dursleys!” Harry snarled, still struggling.
“Harry James, control yourself. Now.” James ordered, making his voice firm, though he was completely on his son’s side. If he didn’t already have plans for Dumbledore and his minions… “Enough!”
The teen subsided, sulkily. James blew out a breath, cursing his own stupidity. Part of Harry’s extreme reaction was just teenage hormones and adrenaline, but some of it was a result of the overstimulation caused by the memory blocks being removed. He waited a few more moments.
“Harry!” A young female voice called, making James blink, because it sounded a lot like a young Lily Evans.
The young woman who stepped warily out of the trees, wand drawn and pointed steadily at James, was similar enough in height and build that it made his heart jump for a minute. Her hair was curly and dark, where Lily’s had been red, and her skin a soft brown, though her voice still had that familiar cadence and tone.
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed, moving over to her. “It’s okay! This is my dad! I really did see him!” He glanced over to where his earlier self and Sirius were still slumped. “It was just a glimpse, before I passed out. I thought it was before the Patronus, but that was me casting it. He came after. Dad, this is Hermione Granger, my best friend and the most brilliant witch I know. Hermione, this is James Potter. My dad.”
“Pleasure.” Hermione said faintly.
“Son, you’re rambling.” James said fondly, though he didn’t move; Hermione still hadn’t lowered her wand. “Miss Hermione, I really am James Potter.” He let a small smile curl his lips. “I so solemnly swear, on my honor as a Marauder.”
That got her to lower her wand. “But – you’re dead!”
“Right to the brink and back again.” He replied cheerfully. “Twice, actually. But that’s an extremely long story and we don’t have time for it yet.” He looked across the pond. The bodies were gone now, having been picked up by a small group of people that included Dumbledore, if the sparkly magenta robes were any indication. He made an educated guess. “Unless you want to use your time-turner again?”