Harry and Psyche

Late F
ebruary 2013

Andrew and JenniAnn were tidying up the basement at Serendipity when their quiet, serene afternoon was interrupted by a slamming door and a shout.


Andrew showily rubbed at his ears causing JenniAnn to laugh.  "Basement, Max," the angel of death yelled back.  He lowered his voice and grinned at his friend.  "Someone's excited about something.  And I really am digging your new name." 

JenniAnn smiled, still touched that Max had taken to calling her "Maja" which he'd blushingly informed her was a contraction of "mom" and Andrew's "Laja."  Before she could reply to Andrew, the young man came thundering down the stairs. 

Max paused when he entered the basement and tried to catch his breath.

"Max...  Aww, Max," JenniAnn cooed when she got a good look at him.  His face was flushed and his eyes were watery.  Before she could say anything more, he pulled her into a tight embrace.  Surprised, she looked to Andrew with a frown.

The angel approached and patted Max's back.  "Max, what's going on?  Your, umm, dad hasn't..."  Andrew sincerely hoped Rex Remus hadn't done anything more to rattle his son.   No one had forgotten the man's escapades in December. 

"No.  Still no word from my father.  Fine with that.  Like... love you better," came Max's voice, muffled by JenniAnn's shoulder.

Though touched, Andrew was concerned by Max's behavior.  The love-starved young man had rapidly taken to their affectionate ways but he didn't usually cling to people.

"Hon, let's go sit down on the couch," JenniAnn gently suggested. 

Finally, Max straightened up.  He lowered his head, feeling embarrassed when he realized how childish he'd probably looked clinging to JenniAnn with his face buried in her shirt.

JenniAnn took his hand and maneuvered him so when Max sat on the couch there was room on either side of him for herself and Andrew.  She kept hold of Max's hand while Andrew resumed patting his back.

"So are things with Rose okay?" the angel tried.

Finally a smile flickered across Max's face.  He nodded.  "She probably thinks I'm crazy but, yeah, they're really good."

"Why would she think you're crazy?" JenniAnn questioned.

"I started bawling over a bookmark."

Andrew shot him a quizzical look.  "A bookmark?"

"Psy-psyche's bookmark."

JenniAnn's head jerked up in surprise.  She hadn't yet introduced Max to the Tunnel world and doubted Rose had.  The two women and Andrew had decided to wait after discovering that Andrew himself had difficulty walking around Below.  Certain outer areas bore an unwelcome resemblance to some of the places he and Max had been help captive.  They knew they'd bring Max there eventually... just not yet.  JenniAnn supposed it likely that Max could have overheard a Tunnel dweller refer to her as Psyche during one of their visits to Dyeland.  But why would he be using the name Psyche when no one else in Dyeland did? 

"You mean JenniAnn's bookmark?" Andrew checked.

"I... I think so."

"Max, if you borrowed a bookmark and something happened to it then please, please stop feeling bad about it.  I have tons.  I even make them.  I could always make another."  JenniAnn smiled gently as she stroked his still uneven tufts of hair.  Inside she was lamenting that Max had grown up with such a cold, angry father that he would think she'd get angry at him over something as silly as a bookmark.

Max shook his head and finally looked directly at the woman.

JenniAnn bit her lip, wondering why Max was staring so at her. 

Andrew, too, noticed the way his former assignment was studying his "Maja."  Then, alarmingly, Max reached for a chunk of JenniAnn's hair and folded it so one side of her head looked as if she had shoulder length hair instead of her waist-length tresses. 

The man's eyes grew wide. 

The angel's brow shot up.  Something was amiss.  "Max, why don't you start at the beginning?  Tell us exactly what has you so concerned," Andrew prompted.

Max bowed his head again and released JenniAnn's hair.  He blushed.  "S-sorry."

"It... it's okay," she replied quietly. 

Still red-faced, Max met Andrew's curious gaze.  "I'm not really concerned.  I'm more... stunned."

"Stunned by what?  Max, you can tell us anything.  Ask us anything.  We're here to listen," JenniAnn encouraged.

The young man peered at her.  "Did you... by any chance... it... it would have been late 1998... meet a... a little boy in Macy's a-and give him a bookmark?"

JenniAnn searched her memories, trying to place which events went with 1998.  It seemed so long ago.  Pre-befriending Andrew.  Pre-Dyeland.  Junior year of high school.  She grimaced.  What an awful year that had been.  Her grandfather had died and in an attempt to help her cope with her grief, her parents had made plans to shuttle her off to New York for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Before she'd left, her friends had convinced her that she needed a slick new hairstyle for the big city.  In a weak moment, she had complied and ended up with her hair cut to her shoulders.  She had despised the style.  So many times, as she'd passed a mirror, her heart would leap and she'd spin around... looking for Cupid.  Her angel.  Andrew.  But it was only her hair, her reflection.  Thus, grieving and lovelorn, she had gone to Manhattan.  She remembered Catherine picking her up at LaGuardia.  Her cousin had promptly taken her Below where Vincent had tucked her cloak around her and warmly welcomed her back.  Two Thanksgiving dinners: one Below, one with Joe Maxwell and a cadre of Catherine's friends.  Most of the rest of the visit was a blur.  But, yes, she did recall a visit to Macy's.  Catherine and Tiva had taken her and the Levines' daughter, Becca, the Saturday after the parade.  They'd planned to get the two girls dresses for their respective winter formals but JenniAnn hadn't been in the mood.  At one point she'd wandered off and...

"Oh..." JenniAnn murmured.  Wide-eyed, she looked at Max and remembered.


November 1998


"Just let her go, dear.  She won't go far.  Sometimes, at this age, girls just need their space.  And we said we'd meet her at 2:00 at the cafe.  Psyche can manage herself for half an hour."

"I suppose you're right.  Oh... Becca, you look gorgeous!"

JenniAnn sighed with relief when she realized Tiva had managed to both calm and distract Catherine.  She felt badly for not caring more about trying on dresses.  She knew her cousin had been looking forward to it.  But right then JenniAnn felt as if she would scream if she had to consider the merits of one more satin or taffeta number.   It wasn't as if she was going to the dance, anyway.  Even if she'd had someone to ask, it would have been unbearable.  All those happy, giggly couples...  And there she'd be mooning over an enigma whose hairstyle she'd unwittingly stolen.

A rack of brightly colored skirts, some strewn with butterflies, caught JenniAnn's eye and pulled her out of her funk.  No doubt they'd be ridiculously expensive but there was no harm in looking, she reasoned.  As she rifled through the selection, a noise pricked at her ears.  Someone was hiccuping.  No.  More than that.  A kid was crying.  Or else doing that post-cry shuddering thing.  Concerned, the teenager looked around her.  She could only see other girls her age, some with parents in tow, breezing through the racks and shelves.  No children.  Yet the sound continued.  Then she saw a few skirts on a nearby rack swing, seemingly of their own accord.  She smiled when she spied muddy sneakers peeking out from beneath the circular rack.  She looked around her.  No one was paying any attention.  They were too wrapped up in their own shopping.  She could still see Catherine and Tiva several yards away, picking through dresses.  They wouldn't notice.

JenniAnn shrugged, crouched down, and parted some skirts hanging from the occupied rack.  She smiled sympathetically when she saw a little boy with his head rested on his knees.  He sat up and jolted when he realized his sanctuary had been compromised. 

"Hi.  Sorry.  I didn't mean to intrude.  I was just a lil worried when I heard someone crying.  You okay?" the girl whispered.

The boy only stared at her.

JenniAnn bit her lip, stood up, and again looked around.  Still no one was paying any attention.  She ducked into the rack and sat down, giving the boy as much space as she could.  "Are you lost?"

The boy remained silent but nodded, his unruly dark hair bobbing.

"Can't find your mommy?  What's her name?  I can ask around."

The child's eyes welled. 

"Are... are you not supposed to talk to strangers?" the sixteen year old ventured.  She smiled when the kid nodded.  "And you shouldn't.  But, ya know, it's also maybe not the best idea to be hiding alone in a rack of skirts.  I'd really like to help you.  So how about I introduce myself then we won't be strangers?  My name is Psyche."


JenniAnn was charmed by the tiny voice.  "So why ya hiding here?"

"My daddy told me to."

The answer alarmed JenniAnn.  "Your daddy told you to hide in a rack of skirts?"

The boy shook his head.  "He left me with the toys and told me not to... to leave the store.  He had to meet someone.  B-but then some big boys came and..."

JenniAnn set her hand on the little guy's shoulder.  "Did someone hurt you, kid?"

"No.  They said they... they would s-so I r-ran.  Hid."

The girl's heart broke when she saw fresh tears form in his eyes.  "Well, that wasn't very nice at all.  Listen, uh..."

The boy bowed his head.  "My name's Harry."

"Nice to meet you, Harry."

"Do you... do you have kids, lady... Psyche?"

JenniAnn laughed then quickly covered her mouth lest anyone hear her.  "Gosh no.  I'm only sixteen."

"Oh..."  The child's face clouded.

"Listen, Harry, how about we go talk to one of the security guards and you could wait with them til..."

Harry shook his head adamantly.  "Dad will get mad."

JenniAnn wished the kid's father would hurry and show.  She wanted a few words with him.  Better yet, she wanted Catherine to have a few words with him.  "So your dad just said not to leave the store?"

Harry nodded.

"Well, Harry, I dunno about you but I think this fort ya claimed is getting a little stuffy.  Have you ever seen the cafe they have here?"


"Ever been?"


"Well, how about we go there and have some cocoa and cookies?  My treat.  And you'd still be obeying your dad by staying in the store.  And I promise if those big boys show up and try to cause trouble again... I'll beat em up for you," JenniAnn vowed.

"Really?" Harry asked with a grin.

Relieved to finally see a smile, JenniAnn nodded.  "Really.  Now let's go."  She sidled out from beneath the rack, relieved that no one was there to see her exit.  "Coast's clear," she whispered.

Harry scooted out.

"This way," JenniAnn directed.  She smiled when, after a few paces, the boy grabbed her hand.  She looked wistfully over at him.  She'd always wanted a little brother or sister.

Soon they came to the cafe.  Miraculously, the lines were short and Harry and JenniAnn were soon seated at a table.  While the teen nibbled at her oatmeal raisin cookie, the child wolfed down a brownie before moving onto a sugar cookie.

"Harry, did you have lunch?"

The boy shrugged.  "I had some chips."

"That's all?"

"Yeah.  But they were good chips."

"Do you like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?"

"Uh huh."

"I'll be right back."

JenniAnn returned to the counter and placed another order.  Soon she returned with two sandwiches, a fruit cup, and a Rice Krispie treat.  "Here."

The little boy blushed.

"Consider it rent for the time I spent in your fort.  Rent's really expensive around here, ya know.  I probably owe you more than that."  The girl pushed the food nearer.

Harry smiled shyly.  "Okay.  Thanks, Psyche!"

"You're welcome.  So... what's your favorite subject in school?  And what grade are you in?"  JenniAnn prayed the boy was actually in school.

"Third grade.  And I like Reading best.  No.  Library."

"You like to read, I take it?"

Harry gulped down some cocoa and nodded.  "A lot.  The library lady gave me a new book around Halloween and I stayed up all night reading it.  It's called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  It's really, really cool.  It's my favorite book ever."

JenniAnn beamed.  "That's gotta be pretty cool.  Your name's in your favorite book."


"You said your favorite book is Harry Potter and your name is Harry.  I think that's neat."

"Oh!  Yeah!"

"So what's it about?"

Harry scarfed down another few bites off his sandwich.  "Harry if a orphan an he ives with awful aunt n uncle."

JenniAnn laughed.  "Maybe take a sip of your cocoa and try that again."

The boy obeyed.  "Sorry."

"No problem.  So this Harry is an orphan and lives with a bad aunt and uncle?"

"Yeah.  But then an owl comes and he finds out he's a wizard.  And then this big guy named Hagrid comes and takes him to Hogwarts.  That's the wizard school.  And he makes friends there and gets on the quidditch team and..."


"It's a wizard sport."


Harry sighed.  "I wish I was a wizard and could go to Hogwarts."

The longing in the child's tone grieved the teenager.  She patted the boy's hand.  "I'm sure it'd be amazing.  Maybe you won't be going to Hogwarts but I bet one day you'll find a place you love and you'll have lots and lots of friends."

Harry looked skeptically at JenniAnn.  "How do you know?"

"Cause I can tell you're a really great kid, Harry.  And that means great things'll happen to you.  Sometimes... sometimes there are just some rocky times first.  Like the book Harry with his aunt and uncle."  JenniAnn smiled encouragingly.  Then she noticed her watch.  It was closing in on 2:00.  She drew in a deep breath.  "Harry, is everything okay at home?  Does... does your dad hurt you?"

Harry shook his head.  "He... he's just forgetful sometimes.  But he doesn't hurt me."

JenniAnn still felt wary about the boy's home life.  "My cousin... she's kinda like a police officer.  And she helps kids out when they have trouble at home.  She's here in the store.  Headed this way soon, actually.  Maybe she could talk to your..."


The teenager looked down to where the boy had flung his hand over hers.

"Please don't, Psyche.  Don't have her say anything to my dad," Harry pleaded.  "I... I promise he doesn't hurt me.  Really he doesn't.  But I don't want to make him mad."

"All right.  But..."  JenniAnn reached into her purse for Catherine's card.  She smiled when her eyes landed on something else.  First, she slid the card to Max.  "That's my cousin's number.  Promise me that if you ever need help, you'll call her?"


"And here's this.  I made it and just happen to have it with me.  I want you to have it.  Maybe you can use it when you read your Harry Potter book." 

Harry eagerly took the bookmark made of various shades of blue yarn.  "Cool!  Really?"


"Thanks, Psyche."  The boy ran his fingers over the textured surface. 

JenniAnn looked tenderly at the boy.  "You're very welcome.  Harry, I'm really glad we..."

"Well, looks like someone found a friend."

JenniAnn saw a shadow, literal and figurative, fall over Harry.  She turned to see a tall man staring down at them with his arms folded over his chest .

"Hi D-dad."

"It's time to go, boy."  The man directed his attention to JenniAnn who had begun to pack what Harry hadn't eaten into a bag.  "I hope he didn't beg this from you, miss.  Fed him before we came but kids..."

"He didn't.  I offered," JenniAnn interrupted. 

"Well, that was very nice of you.  So what's a slip of a thing like you doing here alone?" Harry's father asked with a playful grin.  "You need a ride home, girl?"

Disgusted, JenniAnn shook her head and focused on Harry's treats.  "Nope."

The color rose in the boy's cheeks.  "Dad, let's go home.  She's with her cousin.  She's a police lady."

The man's demeanor changed instantly.  "Is she?  Well, you're going to make me late for my next appointment if you don't get off your butt, boy."

Harry reluctantly slid out of the chair. 

JenniAnn finished packing the bag then knelt down.  She handed Harry his leftovers and the bookmark.  "I put everything in there for you.  So don't throw that bag out.  You take care, kid."

Harry nodded.  "Thanks.  You too."

As JenniAnn squeezed his right hand, the boy's father grabbed his left and pulled him away.  The girl watched as Harry walked hurriedly to keep up with the man's pace.  He turned around once and smiled at her.  Then the two turned a corner and went out of view.

JenniAnn returned to the table.  She bowed her head and stared into her cocoa as she prayed that one day little Harry truly would find his own Hogwarts. 


Andrew sat with his elbows on his knees and his fingers rubbing at his temples.  He marveled at Max's account.

The young man excitedly paced back and forth in front of the couch.  "Rose... she... she took a book out of her purse and... I... I saw a bookmark.  It was red and gold b-but yarn... like mine.  The design was the same as the one this Psyche girl gave me when I was little.  So... so I asked Rose where she got it a-and she said that... that you made it for her, Ma-maja."  Max halted and knelt in front of the woman.  "So... did you ever give one to a little boy who said his name was Harry?"

Andrew let out a sigh, not needing to hear JenniAnn's answer.  Her face said everything.  He reached over and gently stroked her back.

JenniAnn finally roused from her awed stupor.  She looked at Max and nodded.

The angel watched, smiling with glistening eyes, as JenniAnn cupped Max's face.  He could tell that she was doing the same thing Max had been doing only moments before: trying to strip away the years and find the child. 

"You... you grew up really... really well," JenniAnn choked out.

"So... so did you." 

JenniAnn laid her hand flat against Max's.  "Your hands are a lot bigger now.  A-and your voice..."

Max laughed and swiped at some tears.  "Pretty different, I imagine."

The woman nodded.  "I wondered so... so often about little Harry.  Why did you say..."

"Pretending.  I wanted to be Harry Potter.  I wanted to find a place I belonged.  B-but I guess I had to be Max to find that.  You... Psyche... told me that... that one day I'd find a place I loved.  Friends, too.  You were right.  I... I did."  A smile spread across Max's face as he looked from JenniAnn to Andrew and back.  "Thanks for the food, Maja.  A-and... you snuck twenty bucks in the bag."

"Just in case..."  JenniAnn's voice trailed off.  The boy had faced far too many problems to be covered by twenty dollars.  Even at sixteen she'd known that but it had been all the cash she'd had.

"And I did keep Catherine's card for a long time.  Until I... I lost that and the bookmark at some point during a move."  Max frowned at the memory of discovering its absence.

JenniAnn let out a shaky breath.  "I'll make you a new one, Max.  You... you can even come pick the colors this time."

"Do you think... could you just make it in blues like my old one?"

"Of course, kid."

Max beamed.  "I love you."

JenniAnn leaned forward to kiss his forehead.  "Love you, too."

"Rose... I need to tell Rose.  She's at the Cafe.  I... I'll be right back."  Max jumped to his feet and rushed to the stairs then returned.  He kissed JenniAnn's cheek and hugged Andrew before running off again.

JenniAnn laughed and moved to the arm of the couch, perching near the angel.  She wrapped her arms around his neck.  "You... you brought him back to me."  She kissed his hair.

Even used to miracles as he was, Andrew was still awed.  He brought her hand to his lips.  "I'm very glad I did... for all our sakes."

"You have no... no idea how much I wanted to take that little guy home.  Now... now he is home.  With you.  And us.  Andrew..."

Andrew scooted over, pulled his friend next to him, and hugged her.  "Thank God."

The woman nodded against his shoulder.

Andrew couldn't stop smiling.  "The Lord really does move in mysterious ways, huh?"

"And wonderful ways," JenniAnn added.

"I'm glad our Harry found his Hogwarts.  And... I'm glad you did, too."

JenniAnn peered lovingly at the angel.  "Yep.  Only a few months after 'Harry' and I met.  And then about a year after that..."  She took his hand in hers.  "Someone better than Dumbledore and Snape and Harry Potter and Lupin and Hagrid and Sirius combined came."

Andrew blushed.  "Better not let Max and Rose hear you say that."

Grinning, JenniAnn nodded.  "Yeah, I may have overshot it by including Snape," she teased.  "Although..."  She gripped his dark gray cardigan and pulled the two sides closely together.  "You'd probly look pretty studly in his get-up."

Andrew burst out laughing. 

"But you have better hair."

"Even now?"

"Especially now."  JenniAnn caressed her beloved friend's still-too-short hair, evidence of what he'd done for Max.

Before any more could be said, they heard the front door again open and two sets of footsteps hasten through the hall.

"That... is... AWESOME!" Rose cried as she tore down the stairs.  "JenniAnn!  You knew mini-Max!"

JenniAnn laughed as she stood to hug her friend.  "Seems I did."

"So was he a cute kid?"

"Down right adorable."  JenniAnn beamed at a blushing Max.

"I bet..."  Rose looked dreamily at her boyfriend then frowned.  "Wait... if you think you're Harry... does that mean I'm Ginny?  But I don't want to be Ginny..."

Max laughed and wrapped his arm around the girl's shoulder.  "I'm Max.  And you're Rose.  And that's good enough for me."

"That's more than good enough for all of us," Andrew assured.  "How about we all head upstairs and have some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for old time's sake, you two?"  He looked to JenniAnn and Max.

They both nodded, still smiling giddily. 

"You three head up.  I'm just going to run home and grab a few things."  JenniAnn tilted her head in the direction of Willowveil then looked affectionately at Max.  "I have a bookmark to make." 

"You don't have to right now, Maja."

"I want to," she countered.  "Be back in five."

Andrew squeezed her hand, knowing she needed a few moments for herself and the Father.  "We'll see you then, Laja.  C'mon, Max and Rose."  He ushered them up the stairs.

JenniAnn stepped into the tunnel connecting Andrew's basement to her own.  She ran through it and to her room then stepped onto the balcony.  She stared up at the snow-laden sky.  "Thank You for bringing him back... a-and again for... for bringing them both back," she murmured.  "I love You."  After brushing away a few tears, she returned to her room and grabbed her yarn... all blues... and left to rejoin her friends.


An hour later the bookmark was finished.

Andrew and Rose, leaning against the counter, watched as JenniAnn reached across the angel's kitchen table and handed it to Max.

"For when you re-read your Harry Potter books," she echoed her younger self.

Max gratefully accepted it from her, holding her hand in his.

Rose blinked back tears and hugged Andrew.  She blushed.  "Andrew?"


"If Max and I get married... and I... I know it's a big if..."

The angel of death smiled.  He didn't think it was a very big if at all but he kept mum.

"Would you and JenniAnn sort of be my in-laws since you're Max's acting parent-types?"

Andrew chuckled.  "If you want us to be then sure."

"I do.  Although... we have a very strange family tree."

"Yeah.  But I like it."

Rose gave an enthusiastic nod. 

Max ran his fingers over the surface of the bookmark then looked to the window.  "It's snowing.  Puts me in the mood for cocoa and cookies and maybe a movie..."

JenniAnn laughed.  "And I don't suppose you have a movie in mind at all..."

Max and Rose both looked at her with sheepish smiles.

Amused, Andrew shook his head.  "Go cue up Harry Potter.  JenniAnn and I'll get started with the snacks."

The younger two hurried off. 

"Doing okay?" Andrew checked as he retrieved the milk from the refrigerator.

Taking down four mugs, JenniAnn nodded.  "Still stunned... but in the best way possible.  Ya know, I was never as into those books or movies as Max and Rose are.  But I did have a character I wanted to be."

"Who was that?"

"Molly Weasley," came her wistful reply.

The answer didn't surprise Andrew in the least.  Of course JenniAnn had picked the mom.  He set the milk down and hugged her.  "I'm glad you're Laja and not anyone else.  But if it makes you feel any better... I really think Max feels about you the way Harry did about Molly."

"Thanks.  It does."  JenniAnn squeezed his hand then grinned.  "I also wanted to be Molly because she was married to Arthur.  And I thought his fondness and love for the lowly muggles was endearing and sweet.  Actually... that sounds vaguely like someone I know..."

Andrew returned her smile.  "No one here is lowly.  Pretty sure about that.  But I do love the lot of you."

"We lot love you back."  JenniAnn stood on tiptoe to kiss the angel's cheek before loading up a plate up with cookies.

Soon the cocoa was finished and the movie started.  As wizards materialized on screen, Andrew looked around at his friends and marveled at how they'd all been brought together.  He bowed his head in gratitude to the One whose miracles surpassed all magic. 

The End

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