"Oi, James! Hurry up and unlock the door, it's colder than a hag's teat out here!" The voice of one Sirius Black called outside the front door of James and Lily Potter's current residence.
"First off, thanks oh so much for the nightmares I'm going to have now, Black." James open the door, letting his closest friend inside. "Second, did you get it?"
Sirius pretended to be affronted. "Come on, James. What do you take me for, my mother? May she rot." He promptly took out a small box from his coat. It wasn't much bigger than a card deck, but the sight made James sigh in relief. "Where's Lils?"
"She's taking a nap with Harry right now." He replied, motioning for him to come on. "Quick, let's get this with the rest of the stuff."
"Remind me again why we aren't telling the others about this?" Sirius asked as he followed James down the hall to the basement door. "We both know that Moony'd help in a heartbeat."
"True, but he'd also tell Lily, and I'd rather not worry her about this. After all,this ritual isn't something you talk about in polite company. But if it'll stack the deck in my son's favor…"
"I know." Sirius barked out a laugh. "Hell, you'd go moon the whole Wizengamot if it'd give him an edge, with me getting cheeky right beside you. And Dumbledore?" He saw James tense a little at the name.
"That...that's kind of hard to explain. I know the old man wants to stop You-Know-Who just as much as we do, if not more. But, there's a lot that doesn't add up." Entering the basement, they headed to what appeared to be a storage closet in the back. "He warned us about this prophecy, but why does he seem so sure that it involves Harry or Neville? What if it's someone from somewhere else in Europe, or America?"
Sirius frowned; the man had a point. There were bound to be others who fit the criteria, aside from the Potters and Longbottoms. Why Dumbledore focused on just those two families eluded him.
"Also...and don't get me wrong; I have nothing personal against Dumbledore, but as personable as he is, his concerns are never personal." James sighed. "Every time we've talked to him, it's been about the safety of 'the wizarding world' or how something had to be done for 'the greater good'."
"Well, he has a point, Prongs." Sirius responded as they entered the closet, showing it to have been magically expanded into a room that now had several boxes and containers stored inside. An elaborate-looking array of runes, sigils, and symbols was etched into the stone floor. "Voldemort's already done a lot of damage, not to mention all the people he's had killed, Magical and Muggle."
"That's just it, Padfoot! His plans seem more about what he thinks is best for the Wizarding World, instead of the people themselves. I get the whole 'needs of the many', but I'm worried that he's forgotten that the 'needs of the few' is just as important. And as a father, Harry is the 'few' I'm mainly worried about specifically. From a commander, or general's point of view, I can see that making sense in a way...but to a parent?" He just shook his head.
"Well, when you put it that way." Sirius set the box on the floor and tapped it with his wand, canceling the shrinking charm and reverting it back to trunk size.
James whistled when he saw the contents, taking out a large jar holding what looked like dried beef, along with a long shard of bone.. "Wow, you got quite the haul this time." He said, looking at another jar that had a thick blackish-green liquid in it.
"Got lucky and found it already dead, not far from Dublin. Was a bitch to get the bits that weren't rotted, or already been nibbled on by scavengers."
He sat the jar down and looked at the other containers. "Well, I think that's enough. Ready, Pad?"
"I think so, but how are you going to get Harry if Lily's…"
"I slipped a dreamless sleep potion in her tea. She'll be sound asleep until morning." James didn't even have to turn to feel the look of disapproval he was getting from his brother in all but blood.
"You want to tell her we're about to use a somewhat less than socially acceptable and possibly borderline illegal ritual on Harry, even though it's to help him out, and that we've been prepping it without her knowing?"
Sirius paused for a moment. "Right. Sooo...I'll get things ready here while you get him, then?"
A few minutes later, James returned with Harry in his arms. "Got everything, Pad?"
"Almost." Sirius finished pouring the last of a smoky red fluid into a set of interconnected divots that ran through the array. More bone shards, like the one James picked up earlier, lined the innermost circle, surrounding an unrolled length of dark green/black material All around were jars, bottles, and small boxes, all opened and releasing a strange, meaty scent into the room.
"Ok, looks good." He gently placed his son on the material. "This won't take long, Son. When we're done, you're gonna feel like a new man...or boy, in this case."
Harry just gurgled and watched.
Standing outside the array on either side of him, they both began reciting something in Latin, with a smattering of Greek. As they chanted, the array began to glow, followed soon by the liquid, then the bone, material Harry lay on, and contents of the jars.
A hour or so later, the few people who were still outside could swear they felt the ground rumble slightly
"*cough* That was new." A disheveled Sirius coughed as he and James, again carrying Harry, stumbled out of the now smoke-filled room, brushing plaster and bits of powdered...something out of his hair. "Was the array supposed to blow up like that after we were done?"
"No idea. Heck of a light show, though!" James laughed, coughed, then laughed again, wiping some soot off Harry's face.
"That I can't deny. Hurry and get him back with Lily so we can clean this up."
The next few days went by without much ado, and James was thankful that Lily never seemed to suspect anything, aside from noting Harry seemed to be teething a little earlier than they expected..
Though he did forget that she was still nursing. He had to admit, that was one of the most impressive screams he ever heard, and it was VERY hard not to giggle at the bandaid. But life in the Potter home went on.
Then October Thirty-First arrived…
'Pettigrew, you bastard!' Lily thought as she rushed upstairs to get Harry. She cursed the rat-faced man with each step. They had just agreed to swap secret-keepers that very morning, thinking Sirius would be the obvious one while Peter stayed safe. No sooner did they do it, than the traitor vanished the rest of the day. Now Voldemort was right on their doorstep! 'James, Remus, and Sirius trusted you! I trusted you!' Finally reaching her child's bedroom, she barely had time to close the door when the hiss of 'Avada Kedavra!' reached her ears. "James…" Fighting back tears, she quickly made her way to the crib. In it, Harry was quietly sitting there, looking up at her with something akin to mild curiosity. "It's ok, Sweetie. Mommy's here."
"A touching scene." A voice called out, slightly mocking in tone. Lily whirled around to see Voldemort stepping into the room. "Step aside and you may live, woman." He ordered, his wand trained on her.
"No, not Harry." She quickly moved between him and her son.
Voldemort sneered. "How...noble. I said move aside."
"Over my dead body, you scaled son of a-!"
Unknown to her, Harry had heard the words downstairs, the same words the ugly man just said that made Momma fall to the floor, along with a green flash of light. And from how sad she was before, he'd done the same thing to Daddy. The ugly man had hurt his parents.
And Harry did not like it. He watched the ugly man step over Momma, who wasn't moving, and look down at him.
Voldemort snorted. "So, you're the one that's 'destined' to defeat me?" He looked at the child for a second. He was unsure why, but the way the brat was looking at him…if he didn't know any better, he could swear he was being SNARLED at...by a one-year old.
He quickly shook it off. "A child bringing about my downfall, what rubbish. Still, I did come here for a reason. Avada Kedavr-AHHHHHH!"
In his life, Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA 'Lord Voldemort', had prepared for many things, old age, the chance that he'd run into someone possibly stronger than him, even the risk of betrayal by his followers.
Having a toddler lunge at him like some unholy beast was not one of them.
"Dear Merlin…" Hagrid stared in shock at the rubble that used to the Potters' home. "James, Lily..." He wiped his eyes as he gingerly made his way through the wreckage. There barely seemed to be a chunk bigger than his forearm. A good bit of the building looked like it'd been just wiped from existence. And there was no sign of any bodies.
Until he pushed aside a pile of broken wood and was greeted to the sight of Harry Potter, sitting on top of a tattered black robe. He could hardly believe his eyes, aside from an odd-shaped mark on his forehead, the boy was unhurt. Actually he looked proud of himself for some reason. "Harry! Thank the stars!" He quickly went over to him, laughing lightly. "What're you doing down there" He faltered a bit when he saw Harry's face as the boy smiled. "...and why's there a feather up your nose...and wood in yer teeth...are you even old enough to have teeth?"
"Whats...oh…" The half-giant turned slightly green when he saw the finger Harry just spat out. "Ahh, maybe we better keep this between us for now, eh?"
Harry's smile widened.
Pain. That was all the fragment felt as it was ripped away from its main body. It knew it couldn't survive long on its own, but there was a viable vessel. The brat would be its new body! Once it took over, it could start searching for the rest.
Without wasting a moment, it dove into the mark, where it felt the best possible access. On entry, though, it realized it was not alone; something was already in there. Something that quickly made it known that the fragments presence wouldn't be tolerated.
The last thing the fragment of soul detected, before it was violently rent asunder, was the flicker of two green eyes, and lots of sharp teeth.