FORMERLY RICKMAN'S GIRL:
Howdy all. It's been a while since I've been on the fanfic scene, so I'm gonna take it slow for now. This is just an idea I kicked around for a while before I decided to post it. Let me know what you think, if I should continue, whatever.
First and foremost, this story is an AU or Alternate Universe. If you like the characters as they are, I encourage you to reread JK Rowling's wonderful novels. As I have taken artistic license, some characters will not be the same as in the novels. With that, good reading.
"No, please! Not Harry! Spare Harry!" Lily Potter begged for her son's life. But she knew in her heart that the madman before her would not spare her son, so she gave the only protection she could – her own life.
Severus Snape stood outside the Potter's home in Godric's Hollow, watching as a green light flashed once, then again in the upstairs window. He waited with bated breath, his face contorted in pain behind his mask. He knew, without a doubt, that his friend had just been killed, probably trying to save her son's life. As the third light flashed, he let out a deep sigh; Dumbledore would need to be informed.
But a scream pierced the air that he did not expect – a scream from his master. A bright white light shone from the upstairs window, and every Death Eater gathered that night watched in horror as the house shook and the light disappeared. No one moved for a moment, but a baby's cry forced them into action.
"The Dark Lord's been defeated!" Severus heard someone (MacNair, he thought) scream. A few apparated away immediately, and Severus mentally ticked off those who the ministry would need to round up.
"My friends, let's not be hasty," he drawled, "Perhaps our Lord has other plans for the child." But the others were too afraid that the lights had attracted attention.
"The Ministry will be here, Severus. We have to leave!" LeStrange squeaked out. Others around them seem to agree, and one by one they vanished until only Severus remained.
He heard the baby's wails piercing the night air, and like a shot raced into the house and up the stairs. As he burst through the doors, Severus moved to Lily and knelt down, pulling her into his lap. He refused to let a tear fall, but grieved the same over the loss of one of his only friends.
The baby's fussing drew his attention away from Lily, and he placed her body almost reverently on the floor before moving to the overturned crib. He moved aside some blankets before finding the child in the corner. The boy was just over a year old, and Severus' breath caught as he could see the angry red mark of the scar on the child's forehead; his mark that he had withstood a Dark Curse. The Dark Lord, it had seemed, had underestimated this child.
He heard the popping that signaled the entrance of Aurors, and he quickly stowed his Death Eater's mask and switched the color of his robes to deep blue. He cradled the boy protectively and made his way down the stairs, ready to face an onslaught of Aurors' questions and accusations. Thankfully, Dumbledore himself was waiting at the bottom of the stairs, as if he knew Severus was still here.
"Headmaster?" Severus questioned, but the old wizard merely shifted the bundle from Severus' arms to his own. "Albus, we were given no warning. We tried to alert the ministry, but we were being watched too closely. The Dark Lord, it seems, was aware he had a spy in his midst." Severus pursed his lips together grimly, his mind replaying the tortures everyone had had to endure to ensure their loyalty.
"James and Lily?" Dumbledore asked, though he already knew the answer.
"Defeated," Severus said curtly. "But it seems in his attempt to kill the child, his Killing Curse backfired. He was destroyed." Dumbledore looked contemplative for a moment before gazing down at the sleeping child in his arms.
"I am sorry for your loss; both of you. But we must now decide what to do with Harry." He carefully ran his finger across the red scar, taking in a deep breath as he realized the child had done what no wizard had done before; he had survived the Killing Curse. "He will be a hero," he whispered, but it seemed his companion had not heard.
"Lily's sister is his next of kin." Severus' voice was laced with contempt, and the Headmaster questioned him. "She's a muggle Albus. And she hates wizards and magic and everything the boy is. He would not thrive there."
"Then where? The boy has no wizarding family. Sirius Black is the boy's godfather, but that's hardly an option now." Severus grimaced at the name of his childhood enemy, but he schooled his features quickly.
"And why not?" he spat.
"Because Black was the Potters' secret keeper," Dumbledore stated calmly. "Peter Pettigrew came to me claiming he could not find Sirius and fire called James. When there was no answer, he came to see me. I was informed of the attack while he was in my office, and he left to find Black before I could stop him."
"He will be obliterated," Severus stated, "Black, though childish, arrogant, and reckless, is a skilled wizard." The younger man had a hard time believing Black would turn on Potter, but he supposed even the most loyal man could be tempted with the right offer.
"But why have you never seen Black at the meetings? If he did indeed inform the Dark Lord, he would have had to meet him before to give the Potters' location."
"The Dark Lord would not have wanted to tip his hand," he stated coolly, "He would have kept his meetings with Black private." Severus smirked almost happily. "So the Marauders were not so perfect after all."
"Severus, now is not the time for your boyhood bitterness!" Dumbledore spat, and the young man was taken aback – the headmaster had never raised his voice so suddenly in his presence. The boy stirred then, and started to cry, but the headmaster was ready with a calming incantation. The child quieted instantly, his green eyes looking up sleepily at his new guardians. After the boy's eyes closed, Albus looked back at Severus. "There is no one else. Minerva and I will drop the lad off this evening. Perhaps it's best if he grows up away from his fame." Severus could not fault the headmaster his logic, but he raised his objection just the same, knowing inevitably where it would lead – he hoped his friend would forgive him.
"Headmaster, the boy will be famous whether he knows it or not. He would have more an advantage were he to live here, in our world. I do not like speaking ill of the fairer sex, but Lily's sister is not the kindest of creatures." Albus nodded as if he knew this, yet had no choice. Severus took a deep breath and continued. "And Petunia is not the child's only relative."
"Severus?" When the younger man seemed hesitant, Albus played the only remaining card he had. "Lily would want her son given the best care. It is our duty to provide it now that she is gone."
"All the pureblood families are inter-married and, though distantly, two different families can be related. I myself share connections with several pureblood families that for generations have been Hufflepuffs or even Gryffindors." Albus nodded thoughtfully, wondering where his young charge was taking this conversation. "The Potters, whether they actively acknowledge it or not, are a pureblood family. Potter just recently lost his parents, so this child is the last Potter. However, James Potter's great great grandfather, Charles Potter, birthed a son and a daughter."
"How do you know all this, Severus?" Albus wondered immediately, thinking his obsession with his childhood rivals had peaked dangerously.
"All the pureblood families school their children from a young age of the nobility and prestige of their own family, thereby teaching also the history of other pureblood families. For some children, it is an interesting look at wizarding history. For me, it was instruction on with whom I should associate." Albus nodded in relief, indicating Severus should continue. "Now, Charles Potter's son carried on his father's tradition of tolerance and acceptance of everyone in the wizarding community, including creatures and beasts. However, Potter's daughter did not think her father's ways were correct. She thought herself too noble to deign to mingle with those not like herself. She kept only like company, attended only pureblood social functions (back when those still existed), and married a pureblood wizard with a sizable inheritance.
"Potter's son married a muggleborn witch. By not marrying a Muggle, he kept the Potter line purely magical, but his sister cut ties with him completely for his choice in spouse. Potter did not mourn the loss of his sister, and cut himself from her as well. They each birthed children, telling them nothing of the other side of their family. It was James Potter's father who discovered the connection, and tried to bridge the gap between the families, but by then it was too late. James grew up knowing who his family was, but did not meet his distant cousin until his first train to Hogwarts." He paused in his tale, waiting for Albus to ask the inevitable question.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy waited anxiously by the Floo for news of the recent Death Eater attack. The ministry had called him at once, but told him there was no need for him to come to work tonight. As a leader in the Wizengamot, he would be required to sit in any trials of suspected Death Eaters, but the minister himself had said those caught could rot in Azkaban through the weekend.
Though the Malfoy family agreed with the Dark Lord in beliefs, they did not share the same ideas on how to achieve their goals. Unlike her sister, Bellatrix, Narcissa despised Voldemort's methods of attaining pureblood domination of the magical world. Thankfully, her husband-to-be had made himself clear to his fellows in their seventh year at Hogwarts; and, being a Malfoy, no one argued. Thinking about her sleeping son, Draco, she wondered if he would grow up in a world where fear ruled the land, or if he would grow up in one where he was free to make his own choices.
Lucius tensed almost imperceptibly as the Floo flared to life and two figures emerged. Narcissa smiled almost instinctively at Severus' presence; he and Lucius had been friends since the moment they met at Hogwarts, but Narcissa had always been wary of the dark brooding boy. Once she started dating Lucius, however, they were almost always in each others' company. They had formed a tentative friendship; one that was being tested now that they had been separated for a few years since graduation. Rumors had been flying that Severus himself was a Death Eater, but Narcissa knew the headmaster would not allow him to roam free were that the case.
Moving to the headmaster, Narcissa's polite smile morphed into one of actual happiness. Her own home life had not really been pleasant, and the headmaster had comforted her many times in school when she received a reprimanding howler for seemingly no reason, or when her own Head of House excluded her from his "club." She moved to invite her guests into the sitting room when she noticed the small bundle in the headmaster's arms.
"Professor?" she reverted to the title automatically and he smiled knowingly at her. Lucius shot a questioning glance at Severus, but the other man merely shook his head and moved with the others into the sitting room.
"Lucius, Narcissa, how are you?" the headmaster greeted his hosts politely, and Lucius nodded.
"We are fine, Headmaster; enjoying a quiet evening. Draco wore himself out today tormenting the house elves." He took his customary seat in the high backed leather chair, forcing the other two to the much lower-sitting sofas as Narcissa moved to his side.
"Good, good. I'm afraid I have some grave news. You see, Lord Voldemort planned and executed an attack in Godric's Hollow this evening, and I'm sorry to have to report that James and Lily Potter are dead." He paused, allowing this information to sink in. Narcissa looked slightly terrified that Voldemort had attacked so openly, but Lucius was in thought.
"And the child? Harry, I believe?" He eyed the bundle in the headmaster's arms.
"Ah yes. Well," the headmaster uncovered the sleeping boy. Narcissa made to move forward but checked her progress immediately, eyeing her husband.
"I presume the reason you brought him here is the connection you've discovered between my family and the Potters?" He glared accusatorially at Severus, who had the good grace not to look Lucius in the eye.
"You are the only wizarding family the boy has," Albus cut straight to the point. "The only other option for him is Lily's family." Lucius' nose wrinkled in disgust.
"Muggles? Surely a wizarding orphanage would be better than those creatures." The headmaster sighed, his seemingly never-ending patience wearing thin so late in this trying evening.
"Yes, it would, were these circumstances normal. However, seeing as the boy has just saved the wizarding world from a terrible evil, I do not think an orphanage the best place."
"Saved? But Headmaster, he is an infant. Are you saying…?" Narcissa brought one hand up to her chest.
"Well, truth be told, I believe it was Lily's sacrifice of her own life that made the boy untouchable by the Killing Curse. It seems the curse backfired when confronted by such old magic, and Voldemort is no more. However, there are still followers of his dark ways that would seek revenge on this child." As the boy shifted, Lucius and Narcissa could see the scar on the child's forehead; a mark of the dark curse that had taken his parents.
"This child killed the Dark Lord?" Narcissa whispered, her eyes glued to the child's scar.
"He will be famous," Albus stated plainly, "and while I feel it would be prudent to keep him away from that life, Severus felt that the boy would have a greater advantage if he were to be raised in a wizarding family."
"There are plenty of families who would be willing to take him in," Lucius reasoned, trying to ignore the glare from his wife next to him, "The Weasleys just had their seventh, if I'm not mistaken. Surely another family could cope with two."
"Yes, well I'm sure any family would be happy to adopt the Savior of the Wizarding World. However, due to the old magic Lily invoked by giving her own life, Harry would be best protected by blood relatives. Her relatives would provide better protection due to the stronger connection, but Malfoy Manor would provide safety and security as well as education about the ways of the wizarding world." Lucius could see the reasoning in the headmaster's position, but his family had been at odd with the Potters for four generations. Could he put his differences aside and take in his cousin's child? He looked over at Narcissa, who looked almost ready to scoop the child into her arms. He stood purposefully and took the child from the headmaster, looking him over as if inspecting him. He needed changing, Lucius noted, but seemed otherwise healthy. He stared into Severus' black eyes, granting instant forgiveness at the contriteness he found hidden there. After the momentary exchange between friends, Lucius turned and handed the child carefully to his wife.
"Narcissa and I would be most humble to accept guardianship and care over Harry Potter. We will finalize the paperwork in the coming weeks."
"Excellent," the Headmaster stood and clapped his hands together with an air of finality. Narcissa rocked the child almost reverently, already thinking of the many things Malfoy Manor would need to cope with two wizarding children. Lucius escorted his guests to his first floor study and the Floo network. With a final goodbye and an invitation for Severus to join them for Sunday tea, the two men were gone.
Lucius entered the sitting room to find it empty, and immediately ascended the flight of stairs that took him to the residence wing of the Manor. Narcissa disappeared into Draco's room as he reached the landing, and he followed behind. She stood in the middle of the dark room, her eyes falling onto the old mahogany crib in the corner that held their own infant son. Lucius quickly pulled his wand and transfigured an end table into a cherry wood crib, placing it on the opposite wall. Narcissa smiled at him and moved to the changing table as Lucius pulled blankets and a small pillow from the wardrobe.
After Harry was changed into clean sleepwear, Narcissa laid him in the new crib, stroking his black hair away from his forehead.
"We did the right thing," she whispered, knowing her husband was standing a few feet behind her watching.
"For our sanity's sake, I hope so. Come Cissy, let's get to bed." He steered his wife out of the door, whispering goodnight to his two sons before pulling the door to.