Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my beta Umar for his work on this story. Additionally, a massive thank you is extended to Fezzik. She became a beta for me at a later date and has graciously agreed to assist me in revising these early chapters.
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"You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that…"
(J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, 1997)
Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Prologue: The Kiss of Destiny
October 31, 1981
"Lily, it's her, run! Take the twins and go! I'll hold her off!"
Lily wanted to protest, but she knew it was the only hope for her two sons, the two things she loved more than life itself. Quickly, she scooped up the both of them and rushed up the stairs, barricading herself in the room above as she cast every locking and protective ward she knew upon the already barricaded door.
Meanwhile, downstairs, James felt the wards crumble as the front door swung leisurely open, admitting Lady Voldemort herself. She was unnaturally tall, standing several inches taller than James, who was almost six feet tall himself. She was slim, with an angelic face and long dark hair that fell down her back. Her blue eyes shone in the light as she stepped inside, looking as if she were doing nothing more strenuous than walking the dog on a Saturday morning.
"Good evening, Lord Potter," she greeted, even going as far as to politely shut the door behind her.
James snarled and slashed his wand. A stunner exploded from the end of the implement, crackling across the room like a bolt of lightning. The magic in the air was palpable and for a moment, James thought for sure that Voldemort would fall. Instead, she merely waved her hand dismissively in the air, causing the spell to fly off course and smash into the far wall. James made to chain several more spells together, but he wasn't fast enough. With a hand gesture that looked much like the swatting of a fly, James flew backwards, smashing hard into the wall and slumping to the floor in an unconscious heap.
Back upstairs, Lily heard a loud crash and could only hope for the best. Moments later, she heard slow, leisurely footsteps as she felt something immensely powerful slam against her wards. She cried out, doing everything in her power to hold them together, but it was not enough.
The explosion of magic caused by the collapse of her wards blew apart the physical barrier, sending Lily's wand flying, and in stepped the Dark Lady herself. What horrified Lily perhaps above all else was the fact that Voldemort didn't even appear to be carrying a wand. She had bested James wandlessly!
"Good evening, Lady Potter." Voldemort's greeting practically mirrored the one she had given James, but of course, Lily was unaware of this.
"Please, not my children! Take me, kill me instead, but spare them!"
Voldemort simply shook her head. "You and I are both well aware that is not an option. I give you two choices, for you have no wand and no way of even attempting to defend yourself or your twins. You can step aside and allow me to strike down your children, in which case I shall allow both you and your husband to walk away unharmed. Tell Dumbledore, tell the Ministry. Do whatever you like; the rest of your life is yours to do with as you please.
"Or, continue to oppose me now, knowing that your opposition will do nothing for your children, who would die in spite of your sacrifice."
"Go to hell!" Lily snarled, getting to her feet once more after being thrown to the floor due to the magical backlash of her wards being shattered.
"Lady Potter, this is your final warning."
"I will never let you hurt my children!"
Lily thrust her hand forward, sending a wall of flames rocketing towards the very taken aback looking visage of Voldemort. They engulfed her and Lily almost cried out in joy. That was before they were snuffed out as suddenly as they had appeared and before Lily could do so much as look surprised, Voldemort's wand was aimed for the first time.
Lily made to dodge, but her eyes widened in shock. Her only thought before her body became enshrouded in green light was that she had never seen a spell move so fast.
As her body hit the floor, the two boys in the crib behind her reacted for the first time. One of them began to cry, clearly uncertain as to the origin of the bright light, and doubtlessly wondering why his mother had fallen. This boy would grow up to be the spitting image of his father, with dark messy hair and warm hazel eyes.
The other boy also reacted, though he did so in a very different way. He put his small hands on the top of the crib and pulled himself to his feet, wobbling a bit as he did so. Instead of crying, he simply looked curiously up at Voldemort. His green eyes almost seemed to glow in the darkness, and Emily Riddle was reminded all too well of the curse that had just left her wand. She could sense an odd aura emanating from the green-eyed boy in particular, though the other child clearly possessed it as well. There was something different about him though, something that she could not quantify through words or thoughts.
Carefully, Voldemort stepped forward, scooping the green-eyed child up into her arms and inspecting him with genuine curiosity, trying to feel the magic around him as best she could. It was lively, even at his age. It seemed to cling to him as if it were a group of moths being drawn to an open flame.
"Shhh," she whispered, softly stroking his raven hair in an effort to calm him. "It will be quick, I promise. Such a waste, you could have been such an ally, or perhaps even a worthy challenger. But no, the prophecy had different ideas for you, didn't it?" Gently, Voldemort placed a kiss on the head of the boy before lowering him back into the crib, straightening up with genuine regret.
She raised her wand again, taking aim at the green-eyed child. Just as she did so, the other boy sprang up next to his twin, trying to shove him out of the way as he too looked at her.
The jet of green light left her wand and Voldemort would never know which of the boys it struck, for a second later, she felt pain like she had never imagined, pain beyond belief as she knew, somehow, that the curse had failed. She felt as if she were literally being ripped from her body, and only a moment later did she realize that was exactly what had happened. Her only cognitive thought through the haze of fury and agony was to escape this place. To run far, far away from the Aurors, from James Potter and most of all, from Dumbledore as she awaited one of her loyal followers to find her.
Later that night...
With a crack like a gunshot in the night, Peter Pettigrew appeared in front of the cottage in which his best friends lived. He saw that the cottage was in ruins, and if truth was to be told, he wasn't entirely sure how to feel about that. It looked as if it had been burning but had been recently extinguished. He had come at once, come as soon as his other work had allowed. As soon as his old friend, Evan Rosier, had contacted Peter, speaking of how his mark had burned more painfully than ever before.
That wasn't the part that concerned Peter.
The part that concerned Peter was the mark itself. Rosier had stuck his arm in the Floo for Peter to get a good glance, and it appeared as if the mark itself had faded from a vivid black to a dull grey on his arm, now resembling a muggle tattoo that had been exposed to the sun for years on end.
Peter was no fool. He was no Merlin with a wand, but he had always understood magic. He thought he knew what he would find at Godric's Hollow, but he had to be certain. He had to know what to do in order to proceed.
Peter quickly rushed into the home, keeping one hand on his wand. When he entered the room, even he was surprised at what he saw.
James was standing in the middle of it, looking for all the world like he was completely and utterly lost. When the door opened, James whirled around, his wand snapping up for a second before he saw Peter, and the man watched the fight literally seep out of his best friend as he seemed to physically deflate. "Oh, Wormy, it's you."
"J-James?" Peter asked, letting his surprise flow easily through his voice. "James, what happened?"
"Voldemort! She-she came." He then looked at him for the first time, and Peter could now see how bloodshot the man's eyes were. He had only seen James cry once, and that had been the night when his mother and father had met their own ends at the hand of the Dark Lady. "L-L-Lily, she's d-d-d-dead."
Peter blinked several times, staggering backwards as best he could manage and slumping against the wall, letting his very real exhaustion at other events that night seep through him. "No," he moaned quietly, looking at James with wide watery eyes, seeming to the other man as if he were imploring him to pull the plug on whatever horrible excuse for a joke he was playing.
James only nodded solemnly. "The h-h-healers are looking at them."
"Looking at whom?"
"The twins," said James, prompting Peter to become legitimately surprised for the first time.
"They-they're alive? Both of them?"
James nodded. "I'm waiting for the call to be briefed on what they think happened. I-I was waiting here for Dumbledore and I couldn't just l-leave-" his voice trailed off, but Peter didn't need him to finish. A split second later, an owl flew through the open front door, depositing a letter in James's hands. He took a deep breath and opened it, peering at it intently as his eyes went wide.
"What is it?" Peter asked, doing his utmost best to sound comforting and concerned.
"That's impossible," breathed James, his voice completely flat.
"Charlus, he-he survived the killing curse."
This time, Peter's mouth really did fall open, his mind going completely blank with shock. "W-what?"
"He survived the killing curse. They think that's what destroyed her."
Peter couldn't believe it. He was not willing to allow himself to be certain of the Dark Lady's defeat. Peter always had to plan for every outcome, especially in drastic situations. If he planned for a world where the Dark Lady was no more and she returned… well, that would be a rather dangerous world for Peter to live in. At the very least, it appeared, for now, that she had been vanquished. Vanquished nonetheless, by the very curse that had been supposed to bring her the ultimate victory she had desired for so long.
"He'll be a hero," Peter whispered, the gears turning inside of his brain. "He'll be famous, James. Every child in our world will know his name. They'll write books about him, they'll fawn over him, they'll bow to him."
"I don't know if I can do it, Wormy. I don't know if I can raise both of them without her. Especially not now with Charlus being-being-" his voice died again, and Peter placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Of course you can, Prongs," Peter assured him. "The Dark Lady is gone, there's no pressure."
"On that, I am afraid we must agree to disagree," said a familiar voice from the entrance, though it was graver than Peter had ever heard it before.
"James," Dumbledore said heavily, "I am so, so sorry for your loss tonight. Only a small amount of people in our world can imagine the pain of loss. Alas, an even smaller number can truly appreciate the agony of losing someone whom you truly loved."
"Albus," Peter said carefully, trying his best to hide how interested he truly was, making sure that his Occlumency measures were firmly in place. "You said you disagree. With what exactly?"
Dumbledore sighed, looking pityingly at James before he spoke. "Lady Voldemort is, I am afraid, very far from finished once and for all."
James's head snapped up and he looked as if he had just been slapped. "But her body, it's upstairs-"
"Oh, I do not believe she poses any threat at this time, but I do not believe she is gone for good. She is, in what sense or form I admittedly do not know, very much alive. Likely very weak, likely without any essence of her powers, at least for now, but I am almost certain that she is alive."
"How?" asked James, his voice now carrying none of his earlier sorrow.
"Severus. His mark has faded, though it is still very much present. If Lady Voldemort had perished for good, such a mark tied so closely to her would no longer exist at all. Of that at least, I am certain."
"Lily died for nothing." When James bit out these words, his voice suddenly carrying an odd note of danger.
"For goodness sakes, no!" Dumbledore exclaimed, his own eyes welling slightly as he stepped towards James, placing a firm, comforting hand on the man's shoulder. "Lily died in the only way a mother ever wishes to die — protecting her children, ensuring that their lives would not end so soon after that of her own."
"W-what do you mean?"
"Sacrificial magic is one of the most powerful branches of the thing itself, rivalled only perhaps, by intent and love. Lily had all three of these things tonight, and in combination, I believe that they served as the catalyst for your sons' survival. I also believe they will provide the child of prophecy with the weapons needed to finish Lady Voldemort once and for all."
'Prophecy?' Peter mused, internally.
"It's Charlus," James said flatly. "The Healers think he survived the killing curse." James looked to Dumbledore. "What do we do? Should we train him? Prepare him for when she does come back?"
"Perhaps. For now, all you can do is assure both him and his brother Harry that their mother's sacrifice was not made in vain. They should know what happened to their mother, and they should know what she would want. A world free of prejudice and revolutions. A world in which her sons could grow up safe and sound. A world where Lady Voldemort poses no threat at all."
"I don't think I can do it," James admitted, echoing his earlier sentiment. "Albus, I don't think I can train Charlus, keep him a decent human being with all the attention and bullshit he's going to have to deal with and still raise Harry decently." He shook his head. "At best he'll hate his brother for all the attention he gets, and that'll be before I have to start preparing Charlus. At worst, he'll be neglected, not on purpose, but I don't want to chance it. I'll have to spend too much time with Charlus."
"James," Dumbledore said softly, "never underestimate the power of love. Those driven by it can do incredible things, things they would have never thought possible."
If James was more perceptive, perhaps he would have noticed the same thing that Peter did, a rather odd, rather brief flash of… something in the old wizard's eyes.
"I-I don't know Albus," moaned James. "I-I really don't think I can."
Dumbledore sighed in what appeared to be sadness; he knew that James's mind was already set. When he next spoke, his voice was heavier than ever. "I cannot force you to raise your son, James. I can advise you to do it, but I cannot force you. There are, of course, others who would gladly take him as their own, but what of his heirship? What would you do about such a dilemma?"
"I would welcome him back into the family when he's older," James said without hesitation. "When she's gone for good, maybe even earlier. Maybe when they're Hogwarts age; — I don't know, but I don't think I can give him the life he deserves, Albus, but I don't want him to hate me."
That was when the gears clicked in Peter's mind, a plan coming into form that the Dark Lady herself would have been proud of. "Well, I think the solution's obvious," said Peter, sounding every bit as grave as Dumbledore. When he received nothing but puzzled looks, he continued. "If he's raised in the magical world it will cause problems, so why not have him raised in the muggle world? Sure, he might still resent you when he finds out the truth, but at least he would be at an age where he could see reason." He paused as if to think. "Does Lily not have a sister? Could you not leave Harry with her? I'm sure she'd take good care of him. He is family, after all."
James shook his head. "I'm not sure, Wormy. Lily's sister was always jealous, even spiteful of her magic."
"I imagine a combination of time and the shock of losing her sister will be a strong motivator for Petunia to turn over a new leaf," Dumbledore theorized. "Peter's plan is viable. He could be protected there, protected by wards forged directly from the intent of his mother's sacrifice. Wards that I doubt even Lady Voldemort herself could penetrate." Dumbledore scratched his beard. "He would be raised by family, something that would only play into the magic protecting him."
James sighed. "I s-suppose it's settled then?" Both of the other two men nodded, both smiling internally for very opposite reasons, though neither showed the expression openly on their faces.
November 3, 1981
The Ministry of Magic
The members of the Wizengamot were buzzing like feral bees as they awaited the beginning of the most ground-breaking trial that any of them had ever sat in on. From his spot at the podium, Albus Dumbledore wondered very much if he was going to have to stop any of them from cursing those on trial.
The Minister, Millicent Bagnold, cleared her throat, snapping Dumbledore out of his stupor and causing him to bang his gavel hard on the podium to call for order.
"We must pass the motion to commence this most urgent meeting," he said. The usually present twinkle in his eyes was absent, and his voice was softer and less jovial than any in the courtroom had heard it before. "All in favour?" Every wand in the room rose into the air and lit up as one. "Very well, let the emergency Wizengamot meeting of November the third, nineteen-eighty-one commence." He turned to his left, peering at a rather livid looking Barty Crouch. "As Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I believe it is you who shall take over from here. To you, Bartemius Crouch, I concede the chair."
Crouch nodded stiffly and stood, his jaw clenched tightly as he barked, "Bring them in!" to the two Junior Aurors guarding the doors. One of them disappeared for a moment, and when he re-entered the room, he did so leading a procession of beings.
Three wizards were led into the room, each having one of their arms clasped tightly by a tall, hooded figure that emanated an ethereal chill and a sense of dread that could not be ignored. Aurors in the plural flanked the procession, leading them into the circle.
Two of the wizards being led in by the dementors looked rather similar to one another. They were both tall and lean, well-muscled, but in the way a long-distance runner might be. Their hair was short and dark brown, and their dark, almost black eyes roamed casually over the audience, completely unphased by the waves of hatred that were being directed their way.
In the middle was another man. He too was tall and built in much the same way as the others, though he was more well-muscled than the other two and not quite as lean. He had rugged, aristocratic features with high cheekbones, pale grey eyes and long, black hair that flowed casually down his shoulders. He, like the others, seemed unphased, even going as far as to smile lazily up at those in the stands.
The three of them were led forward and forced to sit in chairs that quickly bound their wrists.
"May we begin?" Crouch asked, his eyes narrowing upon the three as he glanced towards Dumbledore, who nodded.
"Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange!" he thundered. "You are being charged with affiliations to the Dark Lady who went by the alias of Lady Voldemort." Most in the courtroom flinched. Crouch, on the other hand, did not so much as pause. "On top of this heinous crime, you both are accused of the torture of Franklin and Alice Longbottom; an act that sent them to the long term care wing of St. Mungo's, where they are unlikely to ever return from." His voice dripped with venom that he made no attempt to withstrain, and many in the audience jeered at the three prisoners. "How do you plead?"
"Guilty," both men answered, not seeming to be overly bothered by the fact.
"Very well," Crouch declared with a predatorily, "all in favour of life sentences in Azkaban?" Every last wand in the crowd lit up, and Crouch glared down at them as Dumbledore banged his gavel, making the motion official. He shot a look towards the Aurors. "Make sure that they are taken to the high-security wing of Azkaban." The Aurors nodded, and with the help of several dementors, the two were led off, ignoring the jeers of the crowd as they left. Both of them were glaring up at Crouch with a look that seemed to promise retribution.
"Sirius Orion Black!" Crouch bellowed once the crowd had died down, causing them to rise to new levels of anger. "You are being charged with the same crimes as the Lestrange brothers, with the exception of the Longbottoms' torture. You are also being charged for the murder of Marline Mackinnon and thirteen muggles in the streets of London on November the first, a crime that also violates the International Statute of Secrecy. In addition, it is believed that you are responsible for betraying the location of Lord James Charlus Potter and his wife and children to the Dark Lady, how do you plead?"
Sirius Black just sat in the chair and did the last thing that any in the large chamber expected him to do. He threw back his head and let out an echoing, bark-like laugh that took the entire courtroom by surprise.
"Is that all, Crouch?" he asked arrogantly, shaking his head with what seemed to be exasperation. "If I'm going to Azkaban, at least give me full credit for the work I've done to get there!"
The crowd began to stand, furious at the pride that seemed to accompany his insinuations but Dumbledore raised his wand, conjuring a silver dome of energy around Black to protect him. He also shot off several fireworks into the air, forcing the crowd to reluctantly fall silent.
"And," asked Crouch, seeming to spit every word at Black with murderous intentions, "what else is it that you have done, Black?!"
"I was no mere servant of the Dark Lady. I was her honoured lieutenant, the one and only person who she trusted wholeheartedly." The crowd was screaming obscenities at him now, but Black merely laughed again. "Oh, and you think Malfoy and his lackeys were her valued followers? Valued above me?" He laughed once more. "Malfoy and his puppets served the Dark Lady because of me." He smiled that same, arrogant smile. "No amount of money can protect you from the Imperius Curse."
"Are you claiming to have placed Lucius Malfoy under the Imperius Curse to serve the Dark Lady?"
"You sell me short again, Crouch," laughed Black, looking positively gleeful now. "Malfoy, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle, Avery, Macnair and," he smiled predatorily up at Crouch, much the way the man had done to his companions, "Barty Crouch… Junior."
The courtroom broke into mayhem as several curses did fly towards Black, though they all sparked harmlessly off Dumbledore's shield. It took far more fireworks this time to have the court under control and Crouch was almost past coherence now, so Dumbledore himself spoke, his voice shaking with rage in a way that nobody had ever heard it do before.
"Those in favour of sentencing the accused to life in Azkaban?" Again, every wand rose into the sky. "Motion passed!" He glared in a most uncharacteristic way down at Black, hardly daring to believe the man he had trusted and allowed into his order would commit such despicable crimes. "Take him away!"
"You think this is over, old man?" cackled Black as he was dragged to his feet, hardly caring that the dementors were gliding towards him. "This is far from over. The Dark Lady shall return and your pathetic reign over Britain will be over. You'll be her first victim." He sneered. "First after the Potter brat, of course."
He said no more, choosing instead to laugh openly as he was led from the court by the Aurors and guards of Azkaban, leaving a near-riot in the courtroom behind him.
Chapter 1: Prologue.
Chapters 2-18: Year 1: The Forsaken's Ascension.
Chapters 19-? Year 2: The Sacrificial Slytherin.
For future reference, speech will be denoted by double quotations, internal dialogue by single quotations, parseltongue via bold lettering and in-story text, alternate languages or words I would like to emphasize with italics.
I'm sure all of you are smart enough to figure that out, but I thought I would lay it out right here.
This AN is ridiculously long, but future AN's will not be. Most at the end of a chapter will just feature a short comment or two and the release date for the next chapter.
You will have to deal with Harry and the others being very advanced for their age, both in terms of dialogue and maturity as well. There is no way I can write a 100% accurate depiction of an eleven-year-old, as I literally spend none of my day to day life with anybody within even a few years of that age. And quite frankly, trying to portray that in a perfectly realistic manner would greatly limit my options. I figured the best policy would be me being upfront and honest about that.
I want to get one other thing out of the way right now.
Just because I have labelled this as a "WBWL Story" does not mean that Harry is the BWL. It doesn't mean that he's not either, but the whole BWL matter is actually rather ambiguous in this story and will not be revealed until MUCH LATER, though I will of course be foreshadowing along the way. I simply chose to label the story as I did because it does follow many of the tropes commonly associated with WBWL stories, even if I will have a rather different spin on them in time. This story will certainly total at well over a million words when all is said and done, so needless to say I have a lot planned.
Building on that, Charlus will not be an incompetent, hyperbolized personification of all that fanon has labelled as the worst of Gryffindor house. He will have a rough introduction, but I am planning for a lot of character development where he is concerned, and his arc will be a rather wild ride to the finish.
Thirdly, I will be trying to write most characters fairly in character, at least when viewing their mannerisms. Their intentions may be different, as there is a lot more in play here than in the books, but my goal is to have Dumbledore read like Dumbledore, Snape read like Snape (sort of) and so on, so forth.
This story will be paced very slowly. If you do not like that, fair enough. But please do not complain about it in the reviews just because you don't like it. If you think a scene I wrote off put the flow, or anything of a similar manner, of course bring it up. The first five or so chapters of this are inevitably a bit cliche. I do intend to subvert a lot of tropes, but to do so, I need to establish them first. I promise it does pick up after that though. If you don't like this fic by the end of year 1, that is probably a good place to give it up.
As for updates, this story is currently updated every Saturday at approximately 3:00 PM EST.
Before I sign off, I wanted to shoutout the fics that have had the most influence on this one, so here we go:
Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin by The Sinister Man
Limpieza de Sangre by TheEndless7
Harry Potter and the International Triwizard Tournament by SalientCasualty
Harry Potter and the Boy Who Lived by The Santi
A Cadmean Victory by DarknessEnthroned
The Mind Arts by Wu Gang
Sarcasm & Slytherin by sunmoonandstars
Departure From the Diary by TendraelUmbra
Please read and review.
Additional Author's Note:
I am going through the early chapters of this fic and doing some much-needed revision with the help of some lovely people from my Discord server as well as my beta Fezzik.
This chapter was revised with the help of Discord editors Asmodeus Stahl and rawmeat898.