East of Eden

by Clio
Spring 2001

Please, dear readers, don't quit my story after looking at the prologue. It will all make sense. Maybe not right away, but later it will. There will be more chapters coming!

I did some thinking after HP& the GoF and I came up with a weird melodramatic story of my own (that's how I like them, plus I can't write funny dialogues).

When this was written, the 1st, uncorrected edition of GOF was still around. In that the ghost of James came out of Voldemort's wand before Lily's ghost. (You remember, the big duelling scene on the graveyard?) Like many others I deducted that James had somehow been killed after his wife. This story is my theory to explain that mystery.

This story is set in Harry's fifth year, and it is focussing on Harry Potter and Severus Snape.

Any kind and constructive criticism is appreciated! Forgive me my poor choice of words. English is not my first language (I'm German) and I am a scientist, not a writer.

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Disclaimer
Everything, every location, every character belongs to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury Pub., Warner Brothers or whoever might currently hold the rights of Harry Potter. There are exceptions - the title is taken from a John Steinbeck novel (go and watch the screen adaption and read the book), the Prologue is quoting the Holy Bible.
The Life Shield Charm and the transmitter owl are mine.
I swear, I don't make money out of this. Wish I would.

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Prologue

[...] Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.

[...]
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? [...] If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Lord said, "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.
Now you are cursed from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from
your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

Cain said to the Lord, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, [...]; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

But the Lord said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over."
[...]

So Cain went out from the Lord 's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Genesis 4.1-16 (slightly abridged)







Chapter 1
Well maintained lies

By Clio

Minerva McGonagall sounded very angry. "I can't believe you are willing to perform that cursed spell again, Albus!"

The Deputy Headmistress of Howarts, known as a controlled and stern person among her students and colleagues, jumped to her feet, knocking over her chair in the process. The three other people present in Dumbledore's office- the Headmaster himself, Harry Potter and Severus Snape - looked at her in surprise. It was certainly a strong reaction to Dumbledore's seemingly innocent proposal to perform a certain Life Shield Charm on Harry.

Outside the cold December rain was pouring down onto the deserted grounds of Hogwarts. It was the beginning of the Christmas Holidays, and almost all students besides Harry were gone. Their parents wanted to have them home for Christmas in these troubled times of Voldemorts second reign of terror.

After Voldemort's rebirth, which Harry had witnessed in July of his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Voldemort's power had increased day by day. In the beginning the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had denied any sign of You-know-who's return.

He still insisted that he was dead when Igor Karkaroff's horribly mutilated body was found hanging from a tree in front of the Ministry of Magic in London at the end of September. Officially Karkaroff had committed suicide, but the rumors about Lord Voldemort's return could not longer be held at bay.

Throughout autumn people had mysteriously disappeared like leaves from the trees, most of them former Aurors and witnesses from the trials against the Death Eaters. Some bodies of were found, but the most victims seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. Voldemort and his followers had started their revenge on old enemies.

Professor Snape, who had resumed his role as Dumbledore's spy among the Death Eaters, now feared for his life every waking minute. His welcome into the Death Eater's fold had been cold, and his rank among them was low, much lower than it had been once. He could only make educated guesses about who would be the next victim.

The open war against Voldemort had begun on a crisp winter day two weeks ago, when Cornelius Fudge was cruelly murdered while working overtime in his office.

When the Dark Mark hung above the Ministry of Magic the return of Voldemort could no longer be denied. Dumbledore had called this urgent meeting at the beginning of the Christmas holidays, because it was very clear that Harry would be one of the Dark Lord's next victims.

Harry had already been sitting in Dumbledore's office for hours now, listening to the endless exchange between Snape, McGonagall and Dumbledore. He was bored. He hardly understood their arguments on various inefficient protection charms and spells, and his mind had wandered off. Now his attention had snapped back to the discussion. Dumbledore's last proposal, a Life Shield Charm, seemed to have sparked horror in Harry's ever-so-controlled Transfiguration teacher Minerva McGonagall.

" I'm surely not the only one who remembers what happened last time we used it." Minerva McGonagall looked over to Snape, who had remained silent for a while now. "I just can't believe you would agree to this, Serverus! This is insane! You both must be insane even to think of this!"

Snape shifted his weight uncomfortably in his chair. "Well," he began in a low voice, "it certainly would be a very desperate measure." McGonagall threw her hands up and sat down again.

"Minerva is right to oppose the Charm." Snape looked a bit apologetically at Dumbledore. "Even if we decided to perform it, we couldn't do so. It takes a lot of experience in dueling and a lot of jointly training for both protectors on the team. In our current situation we can't spare any wizard from the Order to let him take the practice, let alone allow him or her to take such an uncalculated risk, which it undeniably is without the proper training. You know that I, for example, would have the necessary magical background and the appropriate training, but my hands are bound in this matter, since I already ... " Snape trailed off and shot an annoyed look at Harry.

"Does the boy have to be here?" he asked Dumbledore, who only held up a hand a and nodded.

With a sour smile Snape continued. "Well, as I said, we don't have time for finding and training someone from outside the Order. With all due respect, I agree with Minerva. This is not a good idea, Headmaster."

Harry frowned. He wished the adults in the room would finally explain to him what in the world they were arguing about. After all this meeting was held to address his safety. Ever since Dumbledore had mentioned that Life Shield Charm to protect him from possible attempts on his life, the atmosphere in the office had grown tense.

So far Harry had understood only this: The 'Life Shield Charm' would be performed by two wizards, who essentially would protect the third one by simultaneously casting a charm over him. This charm would build up an extremely strong shield around the protected wizard, which would block any curse thrown at him, including the Unforgivables. A feat, which he had been taught to be impossible in his regular Defense against the Dark Arts class. He has also learned that this action needed practice and blind understanding between the two casting wizards, and that it was dangerous for all three of them. Also every wizard could only once in his life act as shield wizard for another one.

Harry interrupted Dumbledore, who was calmly defending his proposal against his teachers. "Sir, I don't quite understand. Why wouldn't Professor Snape be able to perform that spell on me?"

Dumbledore coughed delicately. "An excellent question, Mr. Potter."

"He hasn't done it before, right?"

"Ah, Mr. Potter, but he has. It's been a long time ago." Dumbledore glanced over to Snape, who rolled his eyes and seemed to say 'I knew this would happen.'

Dumbledore quickly turned towards McGonagall again. "Minerva, we have a good idea of what went wrong back then. This time the risk would be minimized. Believe me, I have done a lot of research in all these years."

Harry was still pondering Snape and the mysterious charm. "Sir, er, sorry to interrupt you again, but when was this Life Shield thing performed? I don't remember it."

The room fell silent. Dumbledore looked pensively at Harry with his ever so blue eyes. Snape, whose face was unreadable, stared down on Dumbledore's wooden desktop as if seeing the veining for the first time in his life. Professor McGonagall looked nervously from one to the other. The only sounds to be heard were the rain pounding on the window, and the crackling fire in the fireplace.

In the silence comprehension dawned on Harry. When he was an infant Voldemort had attacked his parents' house in Godric's Hollow. He had tried to kill him, but the curse had rebounded and stripped Voldemort of his powers, which until recently he had not been able to restore. His mother had protected him with his love and he had survived the Killing Curse.

What if it not only had been her love that had protected him as Dumbledore had explained to him numerous times? What if she had used the Life Shield Charm?

She would have needed a partner to perform it. His father? Or Snape? Could it possibly be that Snape had been present at Godric's Hollow that night?

Did he witness what had happened at Halloween 14 years ago?