Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Just copies of the books.
Author's Note: This is an AU where Severus Snape, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin raise Harry from when he is a few months before his fifth birthday and onward. Events of Harry's childhood will be shown in flashbacks as the story begins at the end of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts. This chapter is a prelude to the story showing the events that happen after James and Lily were killed and what led to Harry's adoption.
Severus blew down the door into the Potters home and found James Potter lying on the ground. His wand was a few inches from his hand, his glasses shattered and broken to his side and his hazel eyes dull and lifeless. Severus could not believe this was happening. James Potter was dead. James bloody Potter. The man Severus respected for his bravery and courage. The man Severus admired for his strength and ability to protect those he loved. The man whose skill in defending against the Dark Arts rivaled Severus's skills and knowledge of the Dark Arts. But at the same time, James was the man Severus loathed for bullying him at Hogwarts. The man Severus despised for winning the heart of Lily Evans.
Lily Evans. Severus dashed up stairs, crashing against the walls clumsily. His heart was pumping and mind was racing. Cold sweat dripped down his forehead as fear wrapped itself around Severus's body like a cloak. It was getting more difficult to move with each step of the stairs. His arms were trembling and legs were weakening, but Severus pushed on. Lily Evans.
Severus crashed through the door into the nursery. He hit the floor face first as his legs finally gave way. When Severus looked up, he saw a pair of green emerald lifeless eyes before him. The face was white and pale and the lips had lost its color. Red fiery hair fell messily over the face and on the ground. "LILY!" Severus screamed as some of his strength returned.
Severus got up from the ground and crawled over to Lily's sprawled out body before him. He pulled her close and brushed her hair away from her face. It no longer burned like the days in Hogwarts. "Lily..." he cried. Tears were pouring down his face as he cradled her in his arms. Severus came as fast as he could when he heard that Voldemort found the hiding place of James and Lily. But he was not fast enough. The only two people in the world Severus cared about were gone. Killed by the man he served.
Then a thought flashed through his mind. Sirius Black. He was the man who held the secret of where this house was located. Sirius would pay for letting this secret out.
Suddenly, Severus realized how much the branding on his arm burned. Where was Lord Voldemort? Was he not supposed to be here celebrating his victory? Severus knew the prophecy. The entire prophecy. He never spoke a word of it to Lord Voldemort. Someone else had, but it was only half of it. The second half Voldemort had not heard was that he would mark the boy as his equal.
A soft cry woke Severus from his deep thoughts. He turned around and found James and Lily's son, Harry, crying and wiggling on the ground. Gently, Severus lay Lily back onto the floor and crawled over to the infant. He picked up the child carefully into his arms and cradled the boy until it stopped crying. When the child opened his eyes, Severus found himself staring into the same emerald green eyes of Lily Evans. Severus almost broke down in tears once more, but held it in. Then he saw a lightning shaped scar on the boy's forehead.
"Merlin's beard!" Severus cried out. Lord Voldemort had indeed marked the boy. The prophecy had come to pass. Voldemort was still alive. Where, Severus did not know. Although his branding burned, it was not because Lord Voldemort was summoning him. Something must have happened to Voldemort.
Suddenly, Severus heard a noise downstairs. He drew his wand quickly and placed a Disillusion Charm around himself and Harry before creeping his way downstairs. It only took a moment to recognize the man staring at the deceased James Potter. Hardly anyone had a frame as large as Rubius Hagrid. With a wave of his wand, the charm was gone. Hagrid looked up and jumped in surprise.
"'ello, Severus. I didn't see you there!" But the shock quickly dissipated as he asked the next question. "What happened to-"
"You-know-who killed James and Lily," Severus spoke with a grim tone while cutting off Hagrid from finishing his sentence. "Harry survived. Where is you-know-who?"
"'arry survived? Blimley, that's good news!" Hagrid shouted as some of his usual happy nature returned.
Before Hagrid could say anymore, Severus asked again, "Where is Voldemort?" The use of the Dark Lord's name sent shivers through Hagrid's body and caught his attention.
"'aven't you 'eard? 'e-who-must-not-be-named is dead! Everyone's celebrating."
"Dead?" Severus asked. He was skeptical of that answer, since the prophecy had stated Voldemort would mark the boy as his equal, which had happened. Harry was marked with the lightning shaped scar on his forehead, but Severus doubted Voldemort had died. Wounded, perhaps, but not dead.
His thoughts were broken when another man entered through the door. Anger burst through his body as Severus tore downstairs and slammed the man against the wall. "SIRIUS BLACK! Why in the HELL did you give Voldemort James and Harry's location!"
The man's eyes flew open in shock, as did Hagrid's. "And what about you, Death Eater!" Sirius retorted. However, before any of the three men could start killing each other, an infant's cry brought them back from their anger. "Harry?" Sirius asked as he looked down at the infant.
"He survived," Severus responded as he handed Sirius his godson. "Both James and Lily are dead. The killing curse."
They all looked down sadly, as they felt the weight of dead friends. "I'll go bring Lily down," Hagrid spoke, breaking the long silence.
"Why did you tell Voldemort?" Severus asked with his wand drawn, but pointed down towards the ground.
"I wasn't the Secret-Keeper. Peter was..." Sirius's voice trailed off. "That bloody rat!" Sirius handed Severus Harry and dashed out into the rain.
"Sirius!" Severus shouted, but could not run after the man with Harry in his arms. Just then, Hagrid came downstairs with Lily in his arms. "Hagrid! Quickly put Lily down and take care of Harry!" Severus set Harry in Hagrid's arms and ran off in the rain in search of Sirius Black.
As he splashed through the puddles, Severus began to think back. He remembered Voldemort speaking of someone telling him the prophecy. The man who gave the Dark Lord the prophecy was not Severus, nor was he present. So Severus thought back further to when he first heard the prophecy.
Severus was sitting at the counter when Dumbledore and Trelawney entered the pub. He had his hood over his head to cover himself. Severus was not on duty that day, nor was he spying. He just wanted a break and went to the pub for a glass of firewhiskey. There was another figure in the room, but Severus had not paid any attention to. Until now.
Rain splashed against his face as he ran. It was getting dark and cold, but Severus had to find Sirius before he does something stupid.
Once more, Severus concentrated on the memory. He wished he had a pensieve. It would make this much easier, but time was working against him. Trelawney began to fall into a trance and spoke the prophecy, one that Severus ran through his head every night before the other person in that room reported it to Voldemort. Then a figure fell over to the side. Severus turned to see a sharp nose and hear a squeaky voice protesting as he was thrown out. The memory replayed in his mind, but no matter how hard Severus thought, he could not place a name on the figure. Not with just knowing the man has a sharp nose and squeaky voice.
Severus found Sirius in the middle of a street with his wand drawn. Sirius was chasing someone ahead. Severus turned to look and found the complete face to the figure he was trying to name. Peter Pettigrew. "Sirius!" Severus shouted as he dashed after the man. But it was too late. Screams echoed through the crowd and shouts of 'Murderer' rang through the air.
Severus found Sirius standing around fourteen dead Muggles laughing crazily. "Sirius!" Severus shouted as he grabbed the man by the arm and tore him away from the crowd. "Don't worry!" Severus shouted to the Muggles. "I am here to apprehend this man!" This was a flat out lie, but Severus did not care. The Ministry would be here any moment and Severus needed to get himself and Sirius to Dumbledore as fast as possible.
Severus dragged the broken man into an alley and apparated as soon as possible. They reappeared before the deserted home of James and Lily Potter. Only their bodies remained. Sirius's motorcycle was gone as well. Severus's mind raced for the most likely place they would take Harry. "Sirius! Wake up! Harry's not here!"
"Harry's gone?" Sirius shouted, waking up almost instantly. "Who took him? I thought I passed him to you!"
"Hagrid has him. Where could Hagrid have taken Harry?" Severus asked.
Sirius sat down, his grim and gloomy expression returned. After a moment of thought, Sirius replied, "To his only surviving relatives. Number 4, Privet Drive." Severus quickly grabbed Sirius and apparated once more.
When they arrived, they found the streetlights gone and no one around. Suddenly, four wands shot out and pointed at Severus and Sirius. "State your name and status," one commanded, but they all saw the rolled up sleeve of Severus's left arm, which showed the mark of a Death Eater.
Without a word, Severus dropped his own wand and surrendered without a fight. He nudged Sirius to do the same, but the man was so depressed that he fell over without Severus's support. "What is going on here?" a female voice cried out. "Severus!" the woman shouted in surprise recognizing his face. However, Sirius was face down on the ground wallowing in pain and sorrow that the woman did not see him. "Why do you have your wands poised at him? He's a professor at Hogwarts!"
"He's a Death Eater, ma'am," one of the men responded before hitting Severus with a stunner.
"What? That's a preposterous notion!" the woman nearly shouted. Her normal composed expression was replaced by fury.
"You may lay down your wands, gentlemen," a new voice spoke out. They all turned to see Albus Dumbledore arrive. "Minerva and I will take care of matters with the two men."
"But the Ministry-"
"Minerva and I will take care of matters with the two men," Albus insisted. Reluctantly, the four men gave in and with a crack, disapparated.
"Albus!" Minerva spoke demanding an explanation.
"Hagrid said that these two were at the Potters residence earlier. I would like to speak to them before the Ministry gets their turn. I doubt they would be as kind to offer these men an explanation." Albus replied as he walked over to Sirius to sit the man up.
"Albus!" Minerva said again.
"What? Oh!" Albus said realizing Minerva had not wanted an explanation for why Albus defended the two men, but for why he chose to leave Harry with his only living relatives.
"These are the worst possible people on the face of this planet. I have watched this family for an entire day and I must protest to your decision of letting them take care of Harry. He should have a wizard upbringing!" Minerva spoke angrily.
"I know what you say is true, but I am afraid that this is the only place where Harry will be safe for the moment. His legacy is far too great for any normal wizardry upbringing. Word of the-boy-who-lived has spread across the world." Albus stood up when he heard the sound of a motorcycle. They looked over and found Hagrid riding it down to the ground. In the half-giant's arms was a basket with the infant Harry Potter. The-boy-who-lived.
"What happened to Severus and Sirius?" Hagrid asked as he passed Harry to Dumbledore.
"Ministry Aurors accused Severus of being a Death Eater and then stunned him," Minerva responded. Her anger had not faded.
But before that conversation could continue, Albus raised his hand and said, "Hagrid, take Sirius and Severus back to Hogwarts. I will speak to them later."
Hagrid easily picked up both fallen men from the ground, carried them over to the motorcycle and flew off into the night. From his pocket, Albus took out a letter and placed it on the blanket covering the sleeping Harry.
"I hope you do not regret this decision later, Albus," Minerva warned with a deadly tone.
"I do regret to place Harry under their care, but there is a reason for this." Albus placed the basket before the front door and rang the doorbell. With a crack, he and Minerva were gone.
The door to Number 4, Privet Drive opened and a thin tall woman peered out. She found the basket and wondered where it came from. There was a letter addressed specifically for her on the blanket so she picked it up and read it. After reading it the first time, she clasped her hand in disbelief. Again, she read it, but the message was still the same. "Vernon!" she cried as she brought the child into the house.
Albus and Minerva returned to Hogwarts to find Severus awake again. But before either could get out a word, Severus showed his left forearm bearing the mark of the Dark Lord. "How long?" Minerva gasped in disbelief.
"Since graduation," Severus responded with his usual snide tone as he looked from Minerva to Albus. "Where's Harry?"
"Safe," Albus responded as Minerva cast Albus a deadly glare. It was obvious to Severus and Hagrid that Minerva still did not agree with Albus's choice of guardians. "Why have you given yourself up, Severus?"
"Because I wish to give up my services to the Dark Lord." Severus looked hard into Albus's eyes for he wished not to give a further explanation.
"Then you will resume your post as Hogwarts's Potion Master," Albus said lightly with a wave.
"ALBUS!" Minerva and Hagrid protested in unison.
Again, Albus held out a hand silencing the two. "Severus has secrets he wishes not to discuss at the moment, so I will place my trust Severus and expect all of you to do the same." As always, Albus Dumbledore had a way with words. "What happened to Sirius?" Albus asked as he turned back to face Severus.
"Peter Pettigrew betrayed the Potters. He gave you-know-who both the prophecy and the Potter's whereabouts. When Sirius realized this, he chased after Peter. When I got to Sirius, fourteen dead Muggles lay dead around him and Peter was gone. I dragged him out before the Ministry arrived," Severus answered. Minerva cast him a doubtful glance, but Albus nodded.
"I will have to confirm this with Sirius when he has finally snapped out of his condition, but I doubt your story is false. Hagrid, take Sirius to Poppy and Minerva, I must ask you to leave for I wish to speak to Severus alone."
Minerva looked as if she was about to protest, but held it and stalked off. "Voldemort did not know the full prophecy," Severus began and fully aware of which questions Albus would ask.
"Do you believe Voldemort is dead?"
"No. Wounded at least." Severus kept his answers short and precise. However, his worries were not about the interrogation, but who was left in charge of parenting Harry.
"What will you do when he returns?"
Severus looked at the old wizard. This was one question he had expected to be asked, but Severus had not thought about the answer. "I will fight by your side if that is what you are asking."
Albus just nodded in reply. Severus did not enjoy talking to Albus. It was difficult to read the old wizard's mind and expressions. "Then I will vouch in your behalf at your hearing." With those words, Albus Dumbledore left Severus alone in the Headmaster's office.
"Dammit Albus!" Severus screamed as he slammed his fist down on Dumbledore's desk. "Four years have we left Harry with the Dursleys! Four years! Have you not been there once to see what they do to the poor child?" Anger flowed though his body and boiled his blood. His normal composed and dark expression was gone.
"Severus-" Dumbledore began in a calm voice, but Severus was not going to listen to another excuse.
"Let me take care of him! Or Sirius! Or Lupin even! Let anyone BUT the Dursleys take care of the boy! He's malnourished, beaten and has a downright miserable life! Harry's working harder in the house than the House-elves work a lifetime!"
"Severus!" Dumbledore said more forcefully. There was a hint of anger and frustration in his voice, but Severus did not stop.
"Screw this, Albus. I'm taking the boy from that house whether you like it or not," Severus shouted as he turned around and walked towards the door.
"You will do no such thing, Severus!" Dumbledore shouted. Fear froze Severus where he stood. He had never seen or heard the headmaster angry before. "Sit down," Dumbledore said, his calm voice returning. "I will explain."
It took only a few minutes for Dumbledore to explain his reasoning for keeping Harry at his Aunt and Uncles, but Severus still felt it was not completely justified. "As for your suggestion earlier, it will not work out well. You have the position of Potion Master at Hogwarts, which would keep you here for nine months out of the year. Sirius has been forced into hiding even after presenting to Crouch the truth and Remus has his problem every full moon."
"Then I will resign my post," Severus blurted. It was the only route he could take. Protecting the only son of Lily was his primary concern. Nothing else mattered too much. "I doubt it is hard to find another Potion Master to replace me. As for Lupin, I can give him Wolfsbane. We can have Sirius locked up in a house such that the Ministry won't even find him."
Dumbledore considered Severus's new suggestion for a moment. "No. I need you here, Severus."
"For what?" Severus cried out. He could feel his anger returning. "Harry needs better guardians than a couple of Muggles with a superiority complex over Wizards. You know full well what happens to Harry in that house!"
"Yes I do, Severus," Dumbledore replied. He began to reconsider Severus's proposal again. Things were getting out of hand at the Dursleys. They had not treated Harry like a son as Dumbledore had asked them to in the letter. "Fine. I accept your resignation." He watched as Severus's face lit up. "However, you must settle your differences with Sirius and Remus. I will not allow this to pass unless all three of you are taking care of Harry. Several arrangements will be made before your arrival at Number 4, Privet Drive. When Harry has come to age, you are to return to your post as Potion Master."
When Severus left, happy that he could finally help Harry in his situation, Minerva walked into Dumbledore's office. "Are you sure it's alright for Severus to act as Harry's guardian? He was a Death Eater!" Minerva voiced her concern.
Dumbledore turned to face Minerva as he pet his phoenix. "Have you seen Severus this happy before?" Minerva's eyes narrowed, not liking Dumbledore responding to her question with another question. "He will teach the boy well. As would Sirius and Remus."