IMPORTANT NOTE: This story, as written by me, has been discontinued, but has been taken up by another author known as LightningHunter. You can see the note I left in "chapter 9" for a bit more information, or you can go straight to the new story (links are in my profile).
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is property of J.K. Rowling, not me.
The large antique grandfather clock struck eleven pm, sounding eleven long notes to mark the hour. The soft ticking resumed as the last echo faded, and the pendulum continued on its endless path, back and forth, back and forth. All else was silent in the house at that moment. No snoring, no rustling of sheets, no whimpering from nightmares. Nothing. It was as if sound itself was warning them. The calm before the storm.
Outside the house, loud cracks broke the silence as several dark cloaked figures appeared literally out of thin air. A strong autumn breeze caused the uniforms to billow. The last figure finally appeared, wearing a large hood instead of the normal white mask of death eaters. A cruel grin could be spotted from beneath the shadows of his hood, making the form appear even more frightening. He spoke to his followers with a harsh, yet glee filled voice.
"Tonight, my loyal servants, is the end. The end of opposition. After tonight, no one will be able to stand in my way. No one! The muggle-loving fool Dumbledore doesn't have a chance against my power! After tonight, my reign will be supreme…" The figure trailed off as he immersed his imagination in his daydream for a moment. "But tonight, we kill the Potters." He reached one hand up and pulled back his hood. The face of a man that looked to have once been handsome was revealed. It was the face of the feared Dark Lord Voldemort.
As soon as the Death Eaters crossed the property line, one of the wards went off and a loud shrieking noise reverberated throughout the house, waking its four residents.
James and Lily Potter jumped from their bed, knowing immediately what the trigger had been. Peter betrayed them, and now the death eaters were coming to hunt them down. They grabbed their own wand from the nightstand nearest their side of the bed, and rushed out of the bedroom. Their swift descent down the stairs ended when they spotted the attackers. Colors from various curses flew across the dining room as the married couple, in only their sleepwear, battled the intruders. It was a surprisingly small group- only six. In the midst of chaos, neither James nor Lily saw the tall hooded man escape the room and head deeper into the house.
Voldemort finally found the right door, and opened it to reveal his prey. From within a single shared crib, two nearly identical boys stared at him- one from piercing emerald eyes and the other from deep brown eyes. Black hair that already showed tendencies of being exactly like their father's lay tousled on the heads of the fifteen month old twins- the Potter twins that had plagued his memory for over a year now. One of them was apparently destined to be his undoing. So, before they had a chance to grow powerful enough that one would destroy him, he would destroy the child. The problem was, he didn't know which one. In fact it may not be either of these boys. He made a mental note to take care of the Longbottom boy soon after this mission was completed. There was no sense in taking a chance. He would kill them all.
Leveling his wand, he prepared to take aim. The screams and shouts of the battle in another part of the house seemed to fade as he pointed his wand at the huddled forms of the boys. He pulled his arm back as if preparing for a pitch, and then flung his arm forward, screaming two of the most feared words known to wizards. "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
He watched in glee, as time seemed to slow down. A bright burst of green flew from his wand and headed directly at the young twins. The fatal curse's velocity increased as it traveled toward its innocent victims. It struck, and for an instant, time seemed to have actually stopped completely.
One of the boys, the boy on the right, pushed his twin down, protecting him with his body. The green curse touched his head, searing a lightning-bolt shaped cut on his forehead. The bleeding cut seemed to spark with energy, and the babe, clearly alive, looked straight at his intended killer. Not even a second later, a pulse flung itself from the bleeding wound. The killing curse was turned back on its caster, whose face momentarily froze in surprise and fear, before the spirit was ejected from the body, and the body crumbled and disappeared into ashes. The pulse, along with the remnants of the failed killing curse, caused the room to begin to deteriorate in stability. Chunks of the ceiling rained down on the room, and a fire started on the wall where part of the rebounded curse had struck. The boy on the right was exhausted, and fell unconscious in the crib as the new wound continued to bleed. The other pulled himself from under the body, only to deeply scrape the skin off the palm of his hand on some rubble, before crying himself to sleep. The unconscious twins lay still, just waiting for someone to save them.
"Lost a lot of blood…both…be ok though…dark magic…palm on this one!…definitely radiates some magic…must have…wandless!"
A five-year-old Harry Potter sleepily shook himself awake, wondering at the strange dream he had seen many times. He didn't know what it meant, but he thought it might have been a memory from the hospital when he was only a little over a year old. It was probably a few snatches of conversation he'd heard at St. Mungos after his twin brother Hayden had somehow gotten rid of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He also often experienced a dream with a yelling voice, though he couldn't make out what it said, and then a bright green flash.
Harry climbed down from the bed and left his room. He briefly looked at the door across the hallway, which belonged to his revered brother. The silence revealed that his brother was already up and somewhere else in the house. The door was decorated in all kinds of papers taped to it, with scribbles and wiggly letters spelling out 'Hayden' that his brother had seen fit to decorate his door with. He looked back at his own blank door and gave an odd sort of smile. He could have decorated it if he really wanted to, but he didn't want to draw any attention to himself. Harry had figured out that sometimes, it was best to be invisible. He always hated it when they were out in public and someone mistook him for Hayden. The disappointed and sometimes disproving gazes he received when they realized he was only Harry, not the famous and great Hayden, haunted him, made him feel inadequate and that he should have done more when Voldemort attacked them. Not that he could even remember what happened, having only been fifteen months old at the time.
James Potter walked down the steps toward the wonderful smells of breakfast his wife was cooking. As he did frequently, he admired the framed newspapers that lined the staircase hallway.
Hayden Potter saves us all!
The true story of the fated night
There were dozens more papers dictating the events when Voldemort was defeated at the hands of his son...well, defeated at the hand of his son. Hayden was found with deep, bloody cut marks on his right hand. Investigators had finally figured that he used some form of powerful wandless magic, and the exit through the hand of the undeveloped body caused the bleeding wound. His other boy, Harry, only had an odd shaped cut on his head. The investigators passed it off as an injury due to falling debris, since Hayden had also received a slight bruise on his head from a chunk of plaster.
James had wandered into the kitchen and was greeted by the boy he had just been thinking about. "Well hello there, birthday boy!" He greeted as he lifted the child into his arms and held him. "Ready for your big day? Five is a very important year, you know."
Hayden first responded with a great smile that threatened to split his face in two. "Yup! Mum says we're gonna have cake, and ice cream, and balloons, and- and presents! An' a big party too, with lots of peoples, like Moony and Padfootie!"
"Later, Hayden dear. Why don't you sit back down and finish your breakfast first?" Lily spoke up from the table where she was trying to feed their daughter, two-year-old Oriana. Hayden started squirming in his father's arms, before James finally let him loose and set him back down on the ground.
The hinges on the kitchen door squeaked quietly as the last Potter entered, trying to be as discreet as possible. He didn't want to do anything that could ruin or interrupt Hayden's birthday. It was his too, but that didn't matter. Harry knew he wasn't the important one, so it was ok if he just got a normal birthday party with the normal amount of gifts from his parents and their friends. He neither needed, nor wanted the load of presents and candy that witches and wizards from all over would send his brother. All he had asked for was a snitch to play with, and maybe a broom as well. It didn't even have to be a fancy broom, just something he could fly about twenty feet above the ground on, as that was all he and Hayden were allowed to do until they were older, or accompanied by and experienced flyer. Hayden had asked for a quaffle, as he was more inclined to being a chaser when it came to Quidditch.
Harry grabbed a few slices of dry toast and a glass of apple juice and retreated back to his room to pass the hours until the party away. He awkwardly shifted the glass into the crook of his other elbow, so he could twist the doorknob and push the door to his room open. He placed the food on the nightstand, and moved his pillows against the headboard of the bed. Harry grabbed his book from the side of the bed and propped himself against the pillows as he read the large print, occasionally taking a bite of toast or a sip of juice.
A few hours later, Harry shut the book. He had just finished it, and decided it was time to go down to the party, since he'd started hearing laughter and lively chatter start up a while ago. When he reached the main floor, he looked around in awe. A few banners and posters were hung announcing 'Happy Birthday'. Streamers and balloons of red and gold were attached all over the place, and a huge cake rested to the side of the room, displaying a simple 'Happy 5th Birthday!' in dark red icing.
As Harry marveled at all the decorations, a man he didn't know came up to him. "Well hello there, Hay-rry." The man caught site of the identifying emerald eyes and lightning bolt scar and corrected himself. The portly man with flyaway gray hair and a very prominent bald spot blinked a few times, but kept the straight face he had reverted to after realizing the boy was Harry, and remained silent. He averted his eyes uncomfortably, and caught site of Harry's brother in the process. A smile appeared on his face, and he strutted across the room to where Hayden was basking in the spotlight. Harry cast his eyes down and proceeded to walk to a dark corner hoping no one else mistook him for Hayden.
Contrary to what some might think, Harry was not jealous of his twin at all. Not one tiny bit. Hayden was actually pretty nice, and they often played together for long hours. Hayden could have the fame. He could have the attention. He could have the gifts people bought him. He could have whatever, as long as Harry knew his parents cared for him as well, and didn't forget about him. Harry did want a snitch though.
Harry continued to watch people from his corner. He occasionally caught site of Hayden showing witches and wizards who asked to see it, his famous scar. It was a relatively thick white scar that covered a good portion of his right palm in a very rough circular shape. Harry often thought that it must have been pretty painful to get all that skin peeled away. Harry had been told he was really lucky to get away with only the zigzag cut on his forehead.
Since it was a pretty warm day, being July 31, the party eventually migrated outside. Here, Harry took refuge in the shade under a long decorative tablecloth. He was content for the time being, to simply watch people's shoes and robe hems as different groups chatted around the punch bowl located on the table above him.
"--yeah, this is a great party. Hayden Potter even shook my hand! I can't wait to tell the guys at work that I got to not only meet, but actually touch the boy-who-lived's scar! Manny'll be so jealous-- he's wanted to meet the kid for ages! Oh, and Marie? I can't wait to see her reaction!"
"Same here Al. I think she's already got her wedding dress picked out! For the love of Merlin, the kid's only five! She'll be forty by the time he's old enough to marry!"
"Yep, she's an odd one alright."
"Hey, has anyone seen the other Potter boy by chance? Ehh…what's his name…Harry?" A new person spoke up, having just walked over to the group. "I got a little something for him too, but all I could find was Hayden's present pile."
"Er, nope. Haven't seen 'im, mate. Ask the parents—they're over by the cake table with Hayden Potter."
Harry crawled forward a little to get a look at the man who had actually brought him a present. He couldn't see the man's face though, just his dark blue robe and a bag of various treats. Harry smiled, and then suddenly started coughing as a cloud of pipe smoke drifted over to his table.
"What the-" The candy-bearing man spoke up again.
Try as he might, Harry could not stop coughing. The tablecloth was lifted and the group of men peered under it. Two of the men stood up quickly and looked across the yard to verify that Hayden was still there, and then went back to observing Harry.
"Ah, you must be Harry!" The man with the candy said. He reached an arm under the table and helped Harry out. He gave Harry the bag of candy, which was tied at the top with glittery ribbons. Harry finally quit coughing as a breeze blew the smoke away at last. "Happy birthday, kid!"
Harry smiled at the candy and then up at the man. Someone else actually remembered him! They remembered it was his birthday too!
"Hey, do you think you could introduce me to that brother of yours?" The man asked.
The question was asked innocently enough, but Harry's smile immediately fell as he caught on. He was being used! In a swift motion he gave the candy bag back to the man. "I'm not allowed to take candy from strangers." He waited a beat. "Hayden's over there." Harry said in a dull tone as he pointed to where his brother and parents had been for the past half-hour.
As the man's eyes instinctively followed the direction Harry's finger was pointing, Harry slipped away. With his back to the group of men, he bit his lip and began to worry it with his teeth. His eyes brimmed with salty tears as he mentally berated himself for allowing his hopes to rise for those brief few seconds. These people didn't care. No one cared. He was Harry. Just Harry. A nobody.
A shrill whistle carried across the yard, and everyone's attention was drawn to Lily Potter as she removed her fingers from her lips and smiled in satisfaction.
James clapped once, and then began speaking. "Ok everyone, its present time! If you could please gather 'round…yes, thank you."
Upon hearing the announcement, Harry sighed. He withdrew from the oh-so-very engaging task of pulling grass from the lawn and peeling it into strips, and walked to the cake table to join the rest of his family and open his share of presents. He still hoped he got a snitch…he really hoped.
"Now that we're all set, Sirius? Remus? If you will, then let's get started!"
Sirius took a deep bow and then proceeded to reach for the first present. His blue eyes sparkled brightly, unlike the haunted look they had taken for a while four years ago. At the attack on their house, James and Lily had suffered injuries from the Death Eaters. While they were recuperating in the hospital, he had been accused of betraying them and murdering the muggles when he confronted Pettigrew. With all the confusion, it had taken a week for James and Lily to receive news of his situation. He had been let out of the prison straight after they testified to his innocence, and a search was started for the traitorous Peter Pettigrew. For a few months after that incident, he hadn't been the happiest person, though. Dementors were certainly not nice.
Sirius removed a present from the top of the pile. "Aaaaand, here's one for…Hayden!" He placed the colorfully wrapped box in front of the five-year-old.
Sirius and Remus took turns passing presents over. Hayden….Hayden…Hayden…Hayden…Hayden. Harry didn't care. The presents on top were just the ones from all these guests, many of which were attending just for a chance to get to meet the boy-who-lived. The presents from his family and the people he knew would be on the bottom, since they had been placed before all the guests arrived. Hayden…Hayden…Hayden… "Harry!" He looked up as a present was placed in from of him. Unwrapping the package with the precision of a surgeon (which caused Sirius to roll his eyes at the slow and careful process), Harry got to the gift. There was a chocolate frog package taped to the sides of an envelope. Upon opening the envelope, he discovered a gift certificate for a muggle bookshop. Harry smiled happily at the audience, and saw Remus nod his head in acknowledgement. Harry couldn't wait to get the next book in the children's fiction series, Encyclopedia Brown. He always loved trying to solve the mystery before the end of each tale.
Harry kept searching the dwindling pile with his eyes, looking for a small package that might contain his snitch. He didn't mind not getting a new broom; the old ones in the garden shed would work fine. He had to get the snitch, right? It wasn't that expensive, and he had only asked for two things. So far, besides the certificate from Remus, Harry had received a new pack of cards for exploding snap, some wizarding candy, and a green robe. Hayden, on the other hand, had received pretty much all a child could dream of, due to the hero-worshipping guests.
Hayden…Hayden…Hayden… "Oh! This is a big one Hayden! I wonder what it could be?" Sirius said with a knowing look in his eyes. Removal of the wrapping paper revealed a dark brown chest. It was fairly obvious what it contained.
"Quidditch!" His brother yelled out happily as he flung the lid open to see the brand new set of game balls. The struggling bludger appeared to be made out of some type of foam-like material, but other than that, all seemed normal.
There was even a tiny golden snitch in there. Surely this present was meant for both brothers. Surely they hadn't forgotten how much Harry enjoyed the game, especially the seeking part. Surely they hadn't…
Harry looked down at the table and saw the tag stuck to a piece of the wrapping paper Hayden had just torn off.
TO: HAYDEN POTTER
Not Hayden and Harry, not the Potter brothers, not even the Potter twins. Hayden.
Harry flipped the tag over, just to be sure. The other side was blank. He looked over to the table, hoping to see the small box he'd been looking for. The table was empty. The Quidditch set to Hayden had been the last present.
Harry was fine though. After all, Hayden was the boy-who-lived. Harry was still just Harry. Just Harry. He repeated the mantra over and over again in his head. Just Harry, just Harry, just…
He had gotten a few presents, and some people didn't get any at all! He lived in a nice house, and even had a nice room to himself. He got food everyday. Some people didn't live in very nice places, and often barely had enough money for food. He had plenty, compared to some people, so he should just quit being so selfish. So what if he had only asked for two things, yet got neither? So what if Hayden got an insane amount of gifts, including one he wanted. One he really wanted. Harry really was fine, though. Perfectly fine. Absolutely fine. He wasn't upset in the slightest. Nope, not one little bit. Just fine.
A glass shattered nearby.
So maybe he was a little upset. Ok, maybe he was a lot upset. Maybe…maybe he was…
Harry heard his sister giggle happily from her stroller as she, and everyone else, watched Hayden practice releasing the snitch and catching it as fast as he could. Tears sprang to his eyes for the second time that day. He started to back away, but nobody noticed. As soon as he was a good distance away from the party, he began to walk quicker, until he reached the woods behind their house. Once he hit the edge of the woods, he ran. Harry went as fast as his little legs could carry him, his vision gradually becoming obscured by the tears that were filling his eyes. Deeper and deeper he ran, until his blurry vision and frantic running caused him to stumble on a protruding tree root. He fell to the ground and skinned his elbow on a rock. The tears spilled over, and Harry finally gave in and sobbed. He could only blame himself for this.
Ok, this was just a little idea for another alteration of the whole 'Potter twin' thing. I had it runnin' around in my head for a while, typed it up, and finally decided to post it and see if anyone was interested. Soooo...Please review! (No flames though! I couldn't bear that on the first few chapters!)
Thanks for reading!