AN: There were a few major problems I had with the plot in canon. First, why was Harry able to deflect a killing curse, burn Quirrell's body to ash, and be totally protected from Voldemort...but a piece of his soul could still enter Harry's body? Second, if Dumbledore knew that Voldemort wasn't dead and that Harry needed to be protected from remaining Death Eater's then why did he even let the story spread that it was Harry who defeated Voldemort. Both of these will be addressed in this story. My main goal is to branch out from the cliché plotlines that are overused, and use them as more of a background piece that is used only to reference where the story is at. There will be some canon events that play larger roles in this story however. I will try to work around any bashing while still pointing out the flaws of the characters and their decisions.
Disclaimer: I do not own or operate the world of Harry Potter, those rights belong to mainly JK Rowling. I am just playing in the sandbox.
A man who called himself Voldemort stepped over the lifeless body of a beautiful young redhead and made his way over to the crib that held the figure who was prophesized to bring his downfall.
The small baby, who couldn't had been more than a few months older than a year, based on its size, was standing up inside of the crib holding onto the bars for support. The boy had jet black hair and bright piercing emerald green eyes that stared right back into the man's vivid crimson ones.
"You would have made a powerful wizard, I can feel the magic rolling off of you young one." The man said to the baby, his voice coming out soft and in a slight hiss. He knew that the child couldn't understand him, having not quite reached the age where he would retain memories, even if he was probably very close. "Sadly, you cannot be allowed to reach your potential. After all, only I can live forever."
The man raised a pale white wand and pointed it at the baby's forehead. "Goodbye, Harry Potter. Avada Kedavra!" A brilliant green flash of light erupted from the tip of his wand and shot out towards the green-eyed baby in front of him. With a smirk, the man knew that once his spell hit, according to the prophecy, he would be truly immortal. No man would ever be able to defeat him.
However, the smirk was wiped off of his face when his spell rebounded off of the child and returned back towards him at nearly double the speed. Before the man could even process what was happening his battered soul was being ripped from his body. His body, which was more ritual and blood magic than human, disintegrated leaving nothing but ashes, his cloak, and wand behind.
His Horcruxes were the only thing that kept his soulbound-self anchored to this world as he fled from the half-destroyed house as fast as he could. He could feel each individual one as they fought to keep him anchored to this world. Unknown to both the now fleeing spirit and the crying baby, a piece of the man's heavily damaged soul had splintered off as it was being ripped from its body. With the soul-piece's owner fleeing from the scene, the soul fragment set its sights on the only other living person in the room.
The shard made its way forcefully through the baby's forehead, carving out a lightning bolt shaped scar as it burrowed its way into the baby's skin. It began to try and take over its new host. Fortunately, for the second time tonight the small baby was underestimated.
The arcane, and also illegal, ritual that the boy's mother had done months before to ensure the survival of her beloved son was two-fold. She had known that the man would most likely try and kill her baby boy with the same killing curse that had just backfired only moments before. After all, it was the spell she had seen the monster cast to strike down many of her friends during the few times she had seen him in action. The spell was one that destroyed the soul's connection to the body, killing the host body without leaving behind a scratch.
This effect was different than the Dementor's kiss. The biggest difference being that a Dementor would suck out the host's soul, not destroying the link to the body. This would allow the body to keep living, provided it was still being fed and watered. Of course eventually the body would die, but the soul would live on trapped and tortured by the Dementor, creating an eternal punishment to the victim.
The ritual that the boy's mother had used to save him was eerily similar to the ones that the now fleeing spirit had used to create his Horcruxes. In fact there was really only one difference between the two…the sacrifice. While the man's ritual was designed at cheating death, he had to steal life from another and offer an innocent life as payment. The mothers ritual was designed to protect life, she didn't have to steal the life of another but willingly give her own. The moment she had offered and he had taken her life in exchange for her sons, he had unknowingly activated the second phase of the ritual.
The moment the killing curse hit her and her soul was offered to death and destroyed, a blood protection was placed onto the baby that would always protect him from the one who had destroyed her soul. From then on it would recognize the magic of the caster and give absolute protection against it. There were only a few known ways to counteract the blood protection once completed.
As soon as the killing curse hit the baby the protection that was left in the boy's blood rebounded the curse back towards its caster, killing the man and saving the life of the child.
The moment that the small piece of the man's soul entered the baby's body and began to try and take over, the protection in the small boy's blood picked up on the threat and the two went to war. The magic of the man whose soul it belonged too was very strong, but the soul was also damaged. However, the protection in the baby wasn't strong enough to actually destroy the soul shard, but all was not lost. Knowing that it was fighting a losing battle, the blood protection made one last ditch effort to save its host from possession. Instead of trying to destroy the soul, the blood protection that was so full of love for the baby, decided to merge with the soul piece instead.
The soul shard tried to fight against it but it too was very weakened by this point and could not fight it off. The soul shard then tried to flee the infant, but the boy's protection latched onto it, not letting it go. The blood protection began to dig and worm its way into the heart of the soul shard; shredding, changing, and rebuilding it as it went. In the end the two had completely merged. The blood protection added to the damaged soul piece. While it would not be as healthy as a normal complete soul, it would at least not have the grotesque appearance that the original shard had.
The soul piece had changed and been rebuilt to increase its strengths and remove impurities, and would no longer belong to or be compatible as a Horcrux for its original owner. For the first time in history, a new soul had been created outside of natural child birth.
The love, left behind by his mother's blood protection, in the boy's blood had changed it during the creation of the new soul, took the best qualities of both the old soul shard and the blood protection of the boy's mother. This new soul still held the ruthlessness, power, and determination that its old owner used to have but it was now mixed with the mother's complete and undying love for the baby whose body it now shared. This new soul would always be there to love and care for the boy so long as it survived, and do whatever it took to see him be safe and become the best he could be.
The moment the new soul had been completed, the boy's body began to 'make room' for the additional life. The brain was a powerful tool, but one that is never used to its full potential. At any given time the human brain is only operating at one-third of its capabilities, as that is all that is needed to sustain itself and the daily functions of the human body. However, the brain, mixed with the child's magic, sensed the second mind occupying it and doubled the speed at which it was working in order to operate functionally. While the child would never have perfect memory or be able to complete any task without much thought, he would be advanced in comparison to the majority of people.
As the small boy was about to fall asleep from exhaustion, a rat faced man barged into the small nursery, not that the child would remember it. The man picked up an ash white stick from a pile of smoking robes on the floor before he fled the house.
As soon as the baby fell asleep, the new soul went into slumber as well where it would go unnoticed when the boy would be checked by a medical healer in just a few short hours.
A man appeared on the corner of Privet Drive, appearing so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. A cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.
Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore.
Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at a cat sitting on a low hung wall, which was staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known."
He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again, the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall."
He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled.
"How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly. And besides, I have seen you often enough during your first class with the new first years to recognize you by now."
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day." Said Professor McGonagall, ignoring the second part of his comment.
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have been invited to a dozen feasts and parties before heading here."
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating all right." She said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no…even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursley's dark living room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls…shooting stars…Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent…I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"You can't blame them." Dumbledore said gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
"I know that." Said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors."
She through a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone Dumbledore?"
"It certainly seems that way for now." Said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?"
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of."
"No, thank you." Said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone…"
"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense…for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name.
"I know you haven't." said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of."
"You flatter me." Said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have."
"Only because you're too…well…noble to use them."
"It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs."
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?"
It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever 'everyone' was saying, she was not going to be happy until Dumbledore gave her an explanation. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.
"What they're saying," She pressed on. "is that last night Voldemort turned up at Longbottom Manor. He went to find the Longbottoms. They're saying that he tried to kill the Longbottoms son, Neville…but he couldn't and that Voldemort's power somehow broke and that he is gone. I am curious as to why these are the rumors that are going around when you told me just this morning that it had been the Potters whose house he went too, and that young Harry was the one to defeat him!"
"Yes…" Dumbledore said sadly. "They are saying those things, because that is what I have told the ministry is what happened."
"Albus…I don't understand. If he is gone then what is the point in hiding the truth?" she asked.
Dumbledore sighed before removing his spectacles and rubbing the bridge of his nose, before replacing his spectacles back on his face. "Because I do not think he is truly gone…merely banished for now. Besides, we both know that the majority of his followers will likely worm their way out of Azkaban. Young Harry is more important than anyone can realize. For now there are only a very select few Death Eaters who know what truly happened as Voldemort kept this mission from even some of his most devoted followers. The three Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jr. were the only ones who knew that Voldemort went to the Potters last night, while they went to the Longbottoms and tortured poor Frank and Alice. All four have been captured and sentenced to life in Azkaban, but we both know that there are dozens more Death Eaters who would hunt young Harry down if they knew the truth."
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said. "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
"You don't mean…you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at Number four. "Dumbledore…you can't! I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son…I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here? Is it not enough that the poor boy won't even be recognized for his defeat of Voldemort, but you will banish him off to these Muggles?"
"My hands are tied on the matter." Dumbledore sighed once more. "If James and Lily had a will, I have been unable to locate it. You, as well as I, both know that the law says he must go to the next of kin. Besides, it is the best place for him," Dumbledore said firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him!"
"I must not be seen interfering with his life if I want to avoid questions. Harry is yet but a baby, and it best if he is hidden away from the wizarding world until he has grown old enough to be able to defend himself. Surely his aunt and uncle will not treat the boy badly, they are after all his family."
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes…yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" she eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it.
"Hagrid's bringing him."
"You think it…wise…to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
"I would trust Hagrid with my life." Said Dumbledore.
"I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place." Said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "But you can't pretend he's not careless."
"It would have been unsafe for him to floo or apparate while still so young, and besides…I had to prepare to place the wards that will protect him while he lives here…ah I believe that is him there!"
A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky. A huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild…long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in the leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid!" said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir." Said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me last night. I've got him, sir."
"Perhaps a silencing charm for the trip home?" Dumbledore chuckled before turning serious once more. "No problems, were there?"
"No, sir…little tyke fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where…?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes." Said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you or Poppy do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself over my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. I did have Poppy scan it, however. While you can detect traces of Dark Magic that still linger in it, it appears that it is benign and non-threatening at this point. Well…give him here, Hagrid…we'd better get this over with."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursley's house.
"Could I…could I say goodbye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall. "You'll wake the Muggles!"
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it…Lily an' James dead, an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles…"
"Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found out." Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and casting a spell over the basket to keep it warm in the chill November air. For a full five minutes afterwards, Dumbledore walked around the property waving around a stick he pulled from inside his robes, while walking around the house, muttering to himself.
Finally he came back to the other two and they stood looking at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"Well." Said Dumbledore finally. "That's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice. "I'll be takin' Sirius' bike back to Hogwarts. Don' figure he will be needing it no more after getting arrested today. G'night, Professor McGonagall…Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Wiping his streaming eyes on his leather jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a much quieter roar it rose into the air and off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall." Said Dumbledore, nodding to her. "And remember, it is imperative that what you have learned here tonight remains between the two of us. The fate of the world may very well depend on it."
Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out his silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once, and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry." He murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing that he would never be celebrated for a victory that he was not given credit for, not knowing that he would be woken in a few hours' time by Mrs. Dursley's scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next decade being used as nothing more than a slave and a punching bag by his aunt, uncle, and cousin…He couldn't know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and celebrating not him, but saying in hushed voices: "To Neville Longbottom…the boy who lived!"
AN: Just to explain where I am going with this in a little further detail. We know from the books that the Horcrux is damn near impossible to destroy but I could see the protection left by his mother manipulating it into something that would protect him, instead of hurt him. Of course for this story, the soul fragment no longer belongs to Voldemort, as it was changed by the protection to forge a new soul. I also wanted to change a few things that I thought should have been plainly obvious. If you wanted to protect someone who was invaluable to your entire future… keep it quiet, to protect Harry, that he was the one to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore created way too many enemies needlessly for someone he wanted to keep safe. Hence using someone else to take the spotlight away from Harry. I also didn't want this to turn into a bash fic, even with how I am going to have Harry portrayed later in the fic, by having Dumbledore 'ignore the Potter's will', so I simply made it to where his hands were tied on the subject. Lastly, I never did understand why he would just leave a baby to freeze on a doorstep in November, so I added the warming charm! Just for reference, the only people who know that Harry is the real BWL and not Neville are Dumbledore, McGonagall, the three Lestranges, Barty Jr., and Pettigrew. Dumbledore doesn't know that Peter is alive, so he doesn't think about him knowing and Sirius only showed up to the house after Voldemort was 'killed'. He knows that Peter betrayed James and Lily, but not who attacked them. Five out of the last six listed are in jail and Dumbledore has no immediate fears of them being able to spread the truth, or indeed finding out that there was a switch in the first place, and Peter is believed dead/innocent. The Longbottoms were attacked on the same day as the Potter's in this story. I am not sure if it was ever truly explained in Canon how and why Voldemort's forces were able to find the Longbottoms, but in here we are going to assume they too were under a Fidelus Charm that Voldemort had been able to get the location from their secret keeper. I hope things are making sense so far, and that I haven't made anything too cliché…any questions or comments, please feel free to PM me about them or leave them in a review. Thanks for reading! P.S. This should be the longest AN that you guys will have to suffer through in the future. I would also like to give credit to JK Rowling for parts of the second half of the chapter. Some lines were straight from the book with major changes mixed in.