Author's Note 1: As of 17 April 2022, this story has been rewritten. For details of the changes made in overview, you can find an outline document linked within the Victoria Potter resources on my AO3 profile.

Author's Note 2: This story has been written to be read in the 1/2 width format.

Victoria Potter and the Houses of Hogwarts

The Girl Who Lived

From its proud position perched on the side of a hill, Hidebound House overlooked the village of Little Whinging in Surrey. Reachable only by a narrow country lane, it was a generously sized house, surrounded on all sides by gardens and separated from its neighbours by tall hedges. Ivy grew up its stone walls, and if you took a stroll through the back garden you would eventually find an old wooden gate leading out into a field inhabited by sheep.

The house was home to the Dursley family. It was a rather nice house for such a young family, but Mr Vernon Dursley came from money, his parents owning a reasonable amount of land down in Sussex. Vernon himself was a large, beefy man, even at thirty-years-old, and had a bushy moustache which was about five decades out of fashion. His wife, Petunia, was quite the opposite: skinny, blonde, long-necked and horse-faced, she was several years younger than her husband and had worked as his secretary before they had got married. Their one-year-old son, Dudley, took after Vernon, red-faced and chubby around the neck and cheeks, but he had his mother's blond hair.

The fourth of November 1981 dawned on Hidebound House much as any other November day: cold, dark, and wet. As always, the Dursleys were up early: Vernon because he needed to get into London, where he worked as the managing director of his own company, a small but growing manufacturer of drills; Petunia because Dudley started crying at five o'clock and wouldn't stop wailing until he had been fed three times.

Their morning routine was familiar and efficient, and Vernon was in his Mercedes-Benz by eight o'clock. As he drove off, he did not notice a cloaked figure standing at the end of the drive, looking up at the house, nor did he notice the way the rain seemed to bend around the figure, leaving their cloak dry. Even though the stranger was standing in plain view, Vernon's eyes slid over them as if there were no-one there.

The cloaked figure was known as Locke, and she was an Auror.

The Guild of Aurors were bounty hunters, the elite of the elite, and usually spent their time conducting the most dangerous missions, calling for high levels of stealth and, if necessary, combat expertise. More often than not, the Ministry of Magic paid them to track down and capture dark wizards, but sometimes their unique skills were needed outside the criminal sphere.

Locke's most valued skill was that of legilimency, the power to look into people's minds. It was an obscure form of magic—not exactly a secret, but one which many witches and wizards were ignorant of, and the Ministry of Magic preferred to keep it that way. However, it was undeniably a useful ability, and Locke was particularly good at it. Intelligence work was her specialty, which had made her the natural choice when the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had been looking for someone to scout out the Muggle—or non-magical—Dursley family and assess their suitability for a very important task.

Locke had been watching the Dursleys for over a day now, and she didn't much like what she saw.

The mother, Petunia, was the worst of the bunch. There was venom in her mind, and a deep-seated hatred of magic borne of resentment of her younger sister Lily, who was more talented, more beautiful, and, crucially, a witch. As a result, Petunia was obsessed with Muggle normality and respectability; appearances mattered more to her than anything else.

Her husband, Vernon, was a simpler creature. Beneath layers of self-interest, greed, and false confidence, Locke discovered a remarkably weak will. He was that most pathetic of small-minded men, someone whose bigotry came about not through strong belief, but simply because it was the easiest route. Where Petunia led, Vernon would follow.

Even their young son made Locke's lip curl with distaste. Though his mind was still fuzzy with youth, she could already make out the first strands of gluttony and cruelty in his character, seeds planted and nurtured by his parents.

All in all, the Dursleys were the last family in the world to whom Locke would deliver a magical child. It was a pity, then, that this was precisely her task.

She could still scarcely believe it. A week before, wizarding Britain had been engaged in a shadow war, a decade-long struggle for the soul of the Ministry of Magic against Lord Voldemort, a known murderer and quite possibly the most powerful wizard who had ever lived. He was supported in his quest for power by a cabal of dark wizards known only as the Death Eaters. Their membership was shrouded in secrecy, but they were quietly supported by no small part of the wizarding population—an unlikely alliance between traditionalists, who sought a return to the days when the old families had monopolised power, and radicals, who dreamt of a new golden age of wizardry isolated from Muggle influences.

And now, against all the odds, Lord Voldemort was dead. The moment he had been destroyed, those under his enchantments had suddenly found themselves free from his influence, able to speak out and name the Death Eaters—or at least, some of them. Finally, after years of frustration and setbacks, the Ministry was making arrests, including some of the most prominent individuals in magical society.

But the most extraordinary thing was how Lord Voldemort had died. He had not been defeated in some grand duel with Albus Dumbledore, his only real competition for the position of most powerful wizard in the world. Nor had he been tracked down and killed by Aurors in the Ministry's employ. No, Lord Voldemort had been defeated by a baby girl.

The details were still under investigation, and it was probable that the full story would never be known, but some things were clear: on Halloween, Lord Voldemort had gone to Godric's Hollow to murder James and Lily Potter; after killing them, he had turned his wand on their young daughter, Victoria; there had been an explosion, and now Lord Voldemort was gone.

Somehow, against all the odds, Victoria Potter had survived.

Her parents were still dead, however, which meant the one-year-old child was in need of a new home. That was why Locke was spending her day in the rain, hidden behind a Muggle-Repelling Charm, and why she was looking into the Dursleys' minds: Petunia Dursley was Victoria Potter's aunt and last living relative.

Locke continued to observe the family as the day wore on. She watched as Petunia set her son down in front of the television while she busied herself with applying nail polish. She watched as Dudley ate a lunch consisting of nothing but chips and ice cream. She watched as a neighbour visited with her own young son, only for the two women to forget entirely about their children as they exchanged gossip, neither of them noticing that Dudley had discovered the joy of kicking his younger, smaller friend in the face.

It wasn't long before the sun began to set—the days in November were short—and soon after that, Vernon returned home, whistling to himself as he parked his car. Once again, he failed to perceive the figure standing in his driveway. If he had noticed her, he might have had some warning that his good cheer was not to last.

The world grew dark, and that was when Locke's client turned up. Bartemius Crouch appeared with a whisper, materialising out of thin air with enviable poise and precision. He was a man of middling height and middling age, his neat black hair and toothbrush moustache flecked with grey, and he wore business-like black robes. At first sight, it would be easy to mistake him as a Ministry bureaucrat, one of the endless undersecretaries obsessed with paperwork and process, but Locke knew him to be a powerful wizard and a ruthless politician.

"Auror Locke," he said, finding her in the darkness without any difficulties. "Report."

She cut to the chase. "They are entirely unsuitable. In fact, they're barely capable of taking care of their own Muggle son, never mind a young witch." She then explained to him all that she had observed.

When she was done, Crouch just sighed. "This is an unfortunate turn of events. The girl's already on her way."

Locke raised her eyebrows. She was not used to having her work dismissed. "It's your money, of course. But if you don't mind my asking, what was the point in paying me to watch them if you were just going to ignore my findings?"

Crouch snorted but took no issue with her tone. As independent agents, Aurors were generally free to speak their minds, even if the Ministry was their biggest customer. "Matters have developed since we last spoke. We may no longer have the luxury of choice. You will understand better once—ah, yes, here they come."

Two more figures appeared from thin air, a man and a woman. The man was tall and elderly, with a lined face and a long white beard, and he was wearing a purple cloak—the only one of their party not wearing black. The woman next to him was considerably shorter, with coiffed grey hair and a severe, thin-lipped expression. She also happened to be the Minister for Magic.

Crouch stepped forward. "Good evening, Minister Bagnold. I believe you know Auror Locke?" Locke shook the Minister's hand, sensing recognition from her mind. "And of course, Locke, you will be familiar with Professor Dumbledore."

Locke nodded. Who didn't know Dumbledore? The man was old enough that he had probably taught transfiguration to Bagnold and Crouch back when they had gone through school; by the time Locke had arrived, he had moved on to the position of Headmaster.

Dumbledore gave her a warm smile. "A pleasure, Persephone. It's been quite a few years."

"Yes, yes, we all know each other," the Minister said, waving her hand impatiently. "Now isn't the time for formalities. What has Locke found, Barty?"

"Nothing good, I'm afraid," Crouch said, his gaze drifting to the house. "They are the worst sort of Muggles. As you know, the sister is already aware of magic, but if anything this makes the situation worse. She seems to have developed something of a dislike of wizards."

"To put it mildly," Locke interjected.

Minister Bagnold glanced at Dumbledore, and Locke could feel her uncertainty. Dumbledore, however, was inscrutable, and his mind felt completely silent.

"So where does this leave us, then?" Bagnold asked. "Can we really place the girl here? The Wizengamot won't be happy, I can tell you that. They're already calling her the Girl Who Lived for what she did. They'll want a proper wizarding family to take her in, and I can't say I disagree—last living relatives or not."

Dumbledore stroked his beard. "Normally I would be in full agreement with you, Minister. All things being equal, a magical family would be preferable. However, in the circumstances…"

"Circumstances?" Locke asked.

It was Crouch who answered. "To put it simply, she will soon become the Girl Who Died if matters continue as they are. There's been two attacks in as many days, in spite of our best protections. This very afternoon, Rosier and Travers tried to take her."

Locke gasped, the revelation shaking her to the core. "Rosier!"

Evan Rosier was an Auror, and one of the most talented duellists she knew. To think that he had been a Death Eater all along... well, there had always been rumours that one or two of the Aurors had taken contracts with the Dark Lord, but kidnapping a child was not something the Guild would tolerate.

"Indeed," Dumbledore said, though his voice betrayed no distress. Locke wasn't sure that anything could phase him. "The last few days have started to reveal the true extent of Lord Voldemort's network, and I'm afraid to say it has surpassed all expectations. Travers, too, is a great blow..."

Minister Bagnold shook her head. "The Travers family have served the Ministry for generations! I just can't comprehend it."

What she left unsaid, but was quite clear in her mind, was that the Travers family were among her most public political supporters. The fact that their heir was also a Death Eater would do her no favours with the public or the Wizengamot.

"Comprehensible or not, Travers will be tried in the morning. The Council of Magical Law is already drawing up the papers," Crouch said firmly. He was a keen supporter of swift justice, and an even keener supporter of anything which might increase his chances of replacing Bagnold as Minister for Magic. "Rosier, however, got away. We've got Robards on the trail, but Rosier knows how the Aurors work. It may take some time to track him down."

"Which brings us back to the reason we are here," Dumbledore said. "The Ministry cannot guarantee Victoria Potter's safety. Nor can I. The only people who can are those residing in Hidebound House."

Locke frowned. "Muggles? How can they do anything?"

"There is a spell," Dumbledore explained, "one based on the bond between those of the same blood, which—"

"Oh, spare us the theory!" Minister Bagnold snapped. "I had the Unspeakables explain it to me, and even they could barely get their heads around it." She looked to Locke. "Let's just say it's a spell which only works if the girl lives with her mother's blood, which means here."

Locke's thoughts went to Petunia Dursley and her poisonous mind. "But surely there are other spells? I heard about the Potters—can't you use that one again? Obviously not with Black, this time…"

"Alas, I fear not," Dumbledore said. "I think recent events have exposed the weaknesses of the Fidelius Charm. And even if they had not, I would not recommend it. The power of the Fidelius is based on secrecy and obscurity. It does not itself provide protection from harm, an oversight which can be exploited by a cunning wizard with time and resources. Sirius Black is still on the loose, and we know that there must be a number of Death Eaters out there who have yet to be unmasked. No, this is surely the best way."

Minister Bagnold sighed and looked back up at the house. "Well, at least she will not lack for anything. They seem to be well off—for Muggles at least."

"Indeed," Crouch said. "We will also arrange for Mr Dursley's business to succeed, to compensate them for any additional costs."

"Well, it seems that we have little choice," Bagnold said, but Locke could tell that her mind was still fluid with indecision. "Bring her in."

There was a quiet pop, and with it a fifth person appeared in their midst: Mad-Eye Moody, a Master Auror. He was a scarred, grizzled man, with a mane of long brown hair, but the most striking thing about him were his eyes. One of them was completely normal, but the other was a bulging, electric-blue, whizzing around to look in all directions. His nose was recently bandaged, with blood beginning to seep through the white linen, and in his arms he carried a sleeping baby girl.

"Are you well, Alastor?" Dumbledore asked, his eyes lingering on Moody's bandaged nose.

Moody grunted. "One of Rosier's—only just missed me. Took a proper chunk out my nose, though... I'll have it looked at later. Can't leave the girl until she's safe."

All eyes turned to the baby in his arms. At a year old, Victoria Potter was on the verge of becoming a toddler, her hair still wispy with just the faintest hint of black. She was sleeping peacefully, but on her forehead there was an angry red scar in the shape of a lightning bolt.

"Fascinating," Dumbledore said, and he brushed his fingers against the air in front of the scar. "There is powerful magic in that scar—Lord Voldemort's magic."

Crouch looked at it uneasily. "Is it safe?"

"The Bond of Blood should contain any ill effects," Dumbledore said, still focused on the scar. "And with Lord Voldemort gone, one would expect his lingering magic to fade over time."

Bagnold shook her head. "It is still hard to believe that he's dead, and at the hands of a baby no less. Looking at her now, she seems like just another child."

"Good," Dumbledore said, finally withdrawing his hand. "For that is what she is. Let her have a normal childhood, or as close to one as possible without her parents. At least here, in the Muggle world, she will not be hounded by the papers and the public."

"And if she displays magic?" Bagnold asked, her uncertainty rising again. "She's a metamorphmagus, according to her birth certificate. The Muggles won't know how to handle that."

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "Having second thoughts, Minister? I have full confidence that the Ministry will deal with any accidental magic efficiently, as it does with Muggleborns. As for her metamorphmagery, I understand that it is largely latent in nature. You can see that for yourself—she has not changed once in the time we have been speaking. I am sure it will be fine."

Crouch clucked his tongue impatiently. "The decision has been made. Agonising over the risks will not change the fact that there is no alternative."

The Minister looked between Crouch and Dumbledore, and finally Locke felt a decision form in her mind. "Very well; I can tell when I'm outvoted. And I suppose they are her only remaining family. You may proceed."

"Thank you, Minister," Dumbledore said, and he withdrew his wand from under his cloak. "May I?"

He waved his wand and their clothes shifted around them. No longer were they wearing cloaks, but smart Muggle business wear—an impressive transfiguration, even if Dumbledore's suit was still purple.

"Shall we?" Dumbledore asked, and Crouch stepped up to the front door of the house.

With three sharp knocks, the Dursleys' world was changed forever.