Just a little something I knocked up for the Veriaserum February 2008 one-shot challenge. Thanks to IP82 for the initial idea, AFC for comments (as usual) and Veritaserum for the challenge (which I won!).

The challenge rules:

You have the opportunity to grant one person who was killed during the series a second chance at life! That's right, you may bring back one character (and one alone) who was killed throughout books 1-7! You may not bring back characters who were dead at the start of the series, so James and Lily are off bounds. There's more. You must balance the continuum. One character who survives in canon must be dead in your fic. So, in short, bring back someone who is dead and kill off someone who is alive.


Death of a Nobody

There was a crash behind them and Uncle Vernon came skidding into the room. He was holding a rifle in his hands -- now they knew what had been in the long, thin package he had brought with them.

"Who's there?" he shouted. "I warn you -- I'm armed!"

There was a pause. Then -- SMASH!

The door was hit with such force that it swung clean off its hinges and with a deafening crash landed flat on the floor.

A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair.

The giant squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just brushed the ceiling. He bent down, picked up the door, and fitted it easily back into its frame. The noise of the storm outside dropped a little. He turned to look at them all.

"Couldn't make us a cup o' tea, could yeh? It's not been an easy journey..."

He strode over to the sofa where Dudley sat frozen with fear.

"Budge up, yeh great lump," said the stranger.

Dudley squeaked and ran to hide behind his mother, who was crouching, terrified, behind Uncle Vernon.

"An' here's Harry!" said the giant.

Harry looked up into the fierce, wild, shadowy face and saw that the beetle eyes were crinkled in a smile.

"Las' time I saw you, you was only a baby," said the giant. "Yeh look a lot like yet dad, but yeh've got yet mom's eyes."

Uncle Vernon made a funny rasping noise.

"I demand that you leave at once, sir!" he said. "You are breaking and entering!"

"Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune," said the giant; he reached over the back of the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon's hands, bent it into a knot as easily as if it had been made of rubber, and threw it into a corner of the room.

At least, that's how it should have gone.

"I demand that you leave at once!" he said. "You are breaking and entering!"

"Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune," said the giant as he reached over the back of the sofa towards Vernon.

BOOM

The sudden noise from the gun seemed to startle even the storm outside into submission, and absolute silence reigned. Harry felt something warm and wet splash his face and automatically reached up to wipe it away. His hand came away red and sticky.

The massive man seemed to learn back into the sofa, but he didn't stop falling once he was fully seated again, and slowly toppled face first onto the ground.

The massive thud of his body crashing into the floor made the other occupants of the room jump, breaking them out of the stunned stupor they had been locked in.

Petunia shrieked, covering her mouth as if she was trying to stop herself but was completely unable to contain her panic. The still smoking gun tumbled from Vernon's hands to clatter on the floor, just as the storm returned in full fury.

Dudley sat flicking uncomprehendingly glances at the prone figure of the intruder and his parents.

"You shot him!" yelled Harry, running over to the limp giant.

He tried to roll the man over, but it was a futile task for a boy as small as him.

"Vernon!" screeched Petunia, looking at her dumbfounded Husband. "What are we going to do?"

"Help me!" yelled Harry, desperately trying to do something, anything to help the man.

Vernon didn't move, staying just as still and looking just as confused as his son, except to open and close his mouth almost convulsively.

With a mighty heave, Harry managed to roll the giant over onto his side. A thick pool of blood lay underneath the unmoving man, and with a sinking feeling, Harry knew it was too late.

"He's dead," said Harry, looking directly at Vernon.

It was several days later before anybody thought to check up on Harry Potter. Only after the initial furore of the first ever, successful Gringotts robbery had died down, was it discovered he had not responded to his Hogwarts letter.

Albus Dumbledore had already spent many futile hours trying to track down his most loyal and faithful friend, and was far too concerned with the fate of the Philosopher's stone to make a side trip to the boy's Muggle relative's house.

When he finally did make enquiries, via Arabella Fig, he discovered the whole family were currently absent, and most likely on a vacation. Content to let Harry enjoy a few more undisturbed days of his holidays with his family, Dumbledore concentrated on attempting to locate where Hagrid was waylaid, certain he had reached Harry to deliver the letter.

It was only when Minerva McGonagall herself brought up the matter that Dumbledore finally sent somebody to deliver a new letter to the boy, only to discover he no longer lived with his relatives.

"Ungrateful brat ran away," snapped Petunia Dursley testily, before slamming the door shut in the surly Potion Master's face.

By then another crisis hit. The D.A.D.A teacher, Professor Quirrell, failed to arrive at his designated time. He was last seen in Diagon Alley on the same day as the tragic loss of Nicolas Flamel's stone, but that was surely coincidence.

Other disappearances were also being reported, ringing alarm bells in the minds of many people who had lived through the last war, not the least of who was Albus Dumbledore.

Perched on top of solitary rock in the middle of the freezing cold sea, was the most miserable little shack you could imagine, and inside that shack, trembling with cold and hunger, sat an abandoned Harry Potter.

Clutched in his tiny, freezing hands, he held a crumbled and soggy letter pilfered from the pocket of the dead man he had helped roll into the sea.

"I am a wizard!" whispered Harry croakily to himself, not for the first time.

The words were small comfort, but they were all that he had.

Finite Incantatem.

Hagrid dies and Quirrell lives to get the stone for Voldemort: Nothing would be the same. I might one day make this a chaptered fic since the possibilities are huge.