Title: Harry Potter: Lily's Child
Rating: R (just to be safe for some violence and mild profanity, but will mostly be PG-13)
Category: A/U, Action/Adventure, Drama
Summary: What if Lily had survived and escaped with Harry in the attack on Halloween of 1981? How will Lily, who many believed to be the smartest witch of her generation, raise her son and how will he fulfill his destiny? The story will mostly deal with Harry in his 6th and 7th year.
Important Paring: HP/GW (for those that care) for
Version: 1.0 - Original
Version: 1.1 - Added Reg's Brit changes
((A/N: This story came about after an email discussion on writing with moshpit. In that discussion, I postulated that almost all of the good plot ideas/domains in the HP fan-fiction universe were already taken at this late date. In response, he gave me an idea and basically challenged me to consider it. I was intrigued enough to take it and run with it. Of course, with the amount of HP fan-fiction in existence, I'm sure there are stories with a similar premise; in fact, I think there is now one on SIYE, but I did not notice it until a couple of months after I started on the notes for this, and I have purposefully not read it. (Yes, I've been working on developing this story for a long time.)
In addition to the original idea, moshpit was kind enough to be an idea and plot consultant, as well as to encourage me to formally write universe notes, which of course forces you to think things through quite a bit more than I normally would have. Ignoring spells, plot ideas, and my outline, my notes on reverse engineering the HP-universe are nearly 90 pages of dense writing (few blank lines).
The resulting story should have a consistent environment and consistent characters. This also means the story will be A/U, potentially very A/U in places (although no aliens or alternate dimensions :-) as I try to "fix" a few things from canon. As I mentioned to moshpit, who agreed with me, woe unto authors who write complex stories for the younger crowd and then have them analyzed by adults. It gives the author plenty of chances to exclaim, "Hmm, I didn't think that through there, did I?" (Please don't think I don't appreciate JKR and all of her hard work, because I do appreciate her work and imagination. I just think she made some goofs with inconsistencies that her editors also missed.) Hopefully, my inconsistencies will be smaller and fewer. :-) Also, for the "canon police", this story will be based mostly on the facts from books 1-6, with the rare fact from book 7. Overall, stuff from book 7 will be ignored (for consistency reasons).
This story will also be different from my normal ones in that I have not written it all up front. Normally, I write the entire "alpha" version of the story, then upload it as it goes through the "beta" process, which makes it appear that I write very fast. As I tend to write stories that are 150K words or less, and are only of simple to medium complexity, that works just fine. This story will be longer and more complex; therefore, it is only outlined at this time and I'll be uploading it as I write it. That means slower updates than I normally do. Sorry, but that's reality. I'd like updates to come every three weeks, but I suspect they will be every three to six weeks. I now understand why some of those "big" stories I like so much update so slowly. :-)
What can you expect in this story? Like most of my stories, this will be a "more grown-up Harry" who has a clue about life. Unfortunately for him, that also means that Voldemort will also be a little smarter to match. There will be action and adventure, as that is what the HP series is about, but there will also be mystery and intrigue too. Because Harry is a teenager, he will also deal with teenage issues (e.g. thinking he already knows how life works, adults who tell him what to do, making friends, and girls), and have to figure out how to grow up in a world that is torn by war while being thrust into the center of it. Also, most chapters will be about this size, or at least that is my goal.
Last but definitely not least, a HUGE thanks to moshpit for the initial idea and consulting as a pre-beta, not to mention making me think more about what makes a story better and pushing me as an author. Also to my main beta JonathanAvery, who is teaching me more about writing. He also makes me look like a better writer than I really am. Reg will be making me sound more British than I am. Sovran is helping as a post-beta. I must also mention SquidTamer, who is acting as special consultant in a specific area, as well as helping me to learn about a very interesting culture (you'll know where when you finish this chapter). These guys are my wonderful beta team, and without them, you would not enjoy this story nearly as much. They all deserve a big thanks!
A few notes about writing in this story:
- I will follow the Strunk & White's rule 1: so this means that James's, Sirius's, Albus's are all correct.
- I'm going to leave the period off of many common title abbreviations: Mr, Mrs, Sr, Jr, ...
- Those who know me know that I'm not into (melodramatic) angst. I will have some very mild angst in this story, although if I do my job right, you'll only notice it if you're looking for it.
For those who have been wondering about my "epic" sized story, this is it. The alternate title for the story was "Driven", but "Lily's Child" won by a whisker. I think of this chapter as the Prologue, or chapter zero; alas, most places force you to start with chapter "one". I hope everyone enjoys this story. -- kb.))
Harry Potter: Lily's Child
Chapter 1: The End of War?
"…abbas amor." James Potter said, completing the ritual. A faint white glow consumed the smear of his blood on his son's forehead. After a few seconds, the glow faded from view. "There," he told his wife, "now I've renewed the charm for me, too. Are you sure about this?"
"As sure as I can be without testing it." Lily Potter had performed the same ritual just before her husband. "We'll need to do this every thirty days for maximum protection. Then, if something should happen to either one of us…" She had trouble thinking about that, much less saying it.
"We can only hope the war ends soon and that never happens." James wrapped his wife in his arms and held her as they both looked down on little Harry, their fifteen-month-old son. "I don't think we can be much safer than where we are; after all, only the Marauders, Albus, and Hagrid know where we live. As long as we're careful, we'll be all right."
"But, what about our safe house?" she countered, turning to face her husband. "We could go there. No one knows about it, not even Sirius."
James chuckled. "But if we go there, then we won't have a safe house to run to in case of trouble. You said it yourself, Lily, we need layers of defence. Take heart, my love, we'll be safe and we have all of your brilliant plans in case of trouble. Now, let's try one of my plans," he said with a smirk. "Why don't you go take Harry to bed, and I'll go turn on the wireless and pour a couple of glasses of wine. We can relax and enjoy the evening. Maybe we can even see about giving Harry a little sister."
"James!" Lily exclaimed with some exasperation. She swatted him on the arm before she leaned down and picked up Harry, who was struggling to his feet on the table. "You're so, so, incorrigible."
Laughing, James headed towards the kitchen while Lily carried Harry upstairs to his bedroom. She climbed the stairs and tucked him into his crib. His room was smaller and much more crowded than the old nursery, as it had been difficult to decide what to leave behind.
Not that Lily would complain about her new home. Perhaps it was not quite as nice as the house they had sold a few months ago, but it had an endearing quaint charm that she loved. Still, the house in Godric's Hollow could be a shack for all Lily cared as long as it protected them from Lord Voldemort. Although only a few of their friends knew about this home, the charms that she and Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, had wrapped about it were the true protection.
A few weeks ago, she and James had placed the rented house under the Fidelius Charm. The charm hid a secret within a single person, and only the Secret Keeper could reveal their location. That secret was known to a small and select group, which included the other three Marauders, who were their closest friends from school, Albus Dumbledore, and Hagrid, a close confidant. They had almost not told Hagrid, but Albus had recommended the large Keeper of the Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts as his duties gave him an anonymous freedom so that he could bring them supplies and news of the war.
Unfortunately, it left them almost completely isolated, but their son's life was more important than anything else. So, they remained within the small house and spent most of their time raising Harry and doing research for the Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards sworn to the defeat of Lord Voldemort.
Closing the nursery door, she headed back towards the stairs, where she could hear soft music playing below. They could have had a nicer house, perhaps even casting the Fidelius Charm on their old house, but the sale of their previous home had given them more options. Where Harry was concerned, Lily and James were more than a bit paranoid. They loved each other greatly, but both she and her husband had decided that for the duration of the war, Harry came first, no matter how painful that might be.
While all of their friends assumed that the extra money from the house sale was put into the bank for them to live off of, she and James had secretly bought another small house in a country far away from merry old England. They had used Muggle means to buy it and had told no one about it, leaving it almost impossible to find, for most wizards and witches were very unfamiliar with Muggle record-keeping systems. Even those familiar with Muggle records should have no hope of finding it as it had been purchased under a different name. It was their final level of protection, and she hoped it would never have to be used.
She descended the stairs, and her husband greeted her with two glasses of wine as she entered the living room. She took one look at the wine and then rolled her eyes at her husband. "Why, pray tell, do we have orange wine?"
"To celebrate Halloween, Love" he told her with a twinkle in his eye, as if the joke should have been obvious. "A toast… To All Hallows Eve, may the forces of Light prevail." They clinked their glasses before they both took a drink. James sighed, it was his favourite red wine, a decent Burgundy, despite its presently charmed colour.
Lily sank onto the couch, and her husband of almost two and a half years joined her. She watched him take her glass from her and set both glasses down on the low table in front of them. "Besides your tease, what are you up to, James Potter?"
"What? Me? Up to something, Lily? I'm hurt…" he placed a gentle kiss on her cheek, "that you would imply ..." and then on her jaw, "that I would ever be ..." her head titled as he descended to her throat, "up to something."
Though she was enjoying every second of his ministrations, Lily rolled her eyes. She knew "her marauder" far too well. After all, it was how she had found herself pregnant a little over six months after they were married. As he continued to kiss her, she stiffened as an icy chill went up her spine. She turned to face the front door.
James pulled back and glanced at his wife. "What? Did you hear something?" he asked with a concerned voice.
"Check out front while I check the back. I'd swear I just felt an Anti-Disapparation ward go up." Lily had the rare gift of being able to sense active wards.
James didn't hesitate. When it came to their security, he and Lily stopped at nothing. He bounded across the room to the front window and moved the curtain slightly. Lily was almost to the kitchen when he exclaimed, "Oh, shit!"
Lily stopped and looked at James, afraid to ask the question that was on her mind. There was no need to ask, the fear in James's eyes answered her. Voldemort had come for them.
"Wormtail's betrayed us!" James said as he spun and drew his wand. "Run, Lily! Get Harry and go! I'll hold 'em up to give you time."
Lily turned and bolted for the stairs and their sleeping son. She was at the stairs in four large steps when an explosion rocked the house. Looking over her shoulder, she saw the front door go flying by, blown inward off its hinges. Although shocked, she pushed onward, taking the stairs two at a time. She prayed that if she escaped fast enough that James would still be able to join her.
At the top of the stairs, she flicked her wand and charmed the stairs to turn into an almost frictionless slide when anyone was half-way up them.
"No, I don't care what you offer!" James shouted from the living room. "I will not leave my family to your so-called mercies!" Praying for his safety, she ran toward the nursery.
She cast a quick summoning spell as she entered the nursery. An emergency survival trunk zipped through the air and into Harry's room. A quick shrinking charm made it easy to catch, and she threw it into Harry's nappy bag as she slung it over her shoulder. Scooping up a deeply asleep Harry wrapped in his baby blanket, she summoned a very special teddy bear off of his changing table.
Lily touched her wand to the teddy bear and said, "Activate." Nothing happened. She tried again and then swore.
Muffled sounds of the fight downstairs echoed in the room and the floor shook from the occasional spell. She wished she could hear what was happening, but having survived three encounters with the monster already, Lily knew both he and her husband would be using non-verbal spells, as that made it harder on your opponent. Another blast shook the house.
Shaking all that from her head, she concentrated on her task. As soon as she left, the wards around the house should make a sound, and that would be the signal to James that he could leave, too. Until then, she knew he would literally do anything to give her time to get away with Harry. However, she had to get free first. Voldemort must have cast an Anti-Portkey ward as well; she hoped she did not have to take the time to break it.
For her first escape attempt, Lily fired a blasting hex at the window, hoping she could fly away. The glass glowed brightly for a moment as the energy dissipated, but it did not break. "Oh, bloody hell! I'm going to have to do this the hard way."
Running through her memories, she started trying every spell she could think of to break the Anti-Portkey ward. The problem was which variant of the ward prevented her exit. Dozens existed, and they had not planned for Anti-Portkey wards in any of their scenarios. She mentally cursed her short-sightedness as she cast another spell.
After the fifth failure, she heard James scream and then silence. A high pitched cold laughter echoed through the house, and Lily could only assume the worst -- her husband was dead. Her throat constricted and her eyes burned, but she held tight to her son. He needed her. With a desperate wave of her wand, she banished the door closed and then sealed it with the strongest charm she could remember. It was a vain hope that it would buy her more than a few extra seconds, but a few seconds could save her life.
She went back to work with a vengeance. None of the spells were working, but there were dozens of spells to choose from. As she made another attempt, she heard a loud noise on the stairs. "Damn! He's overcoming the security on the stairs!" she swore.
Trying to go faster, Lily continued to cast more and more charms to overcome the Anti-Portkey ward, trying to find the one flaw she needed to crack it. As she finished the fourth attempt of this new series, the door to Harry's room blew in and barely missed her. Spinning around, she clutched Harry tightly to her bosom. Voldemort stood in the doorway with a vicious smile on his face. Power radiated off of him.
"As I told your husband, you don't have to die, you know," he calmly said. "I only want to fulfill the prophecy. Just give me the boy and you can live."
"No!" She would sacrifice herself before she let this monster have her son.
"Foolish Mudblood woman! It is not like you could stop me if your pathetic husband could not." He gave an indulgent smile and raised his wand with a careless ease. "Avada Kedavra!" A sickly green beam shot from his wand.
Lily watched Voldemort's wand and slipped beneath the spell as she dived to the side. It was hard with a bag over one shoulder and a baby on the opposite hip. In desperation, she tried the only other way she could think of to quickly take down his wards. It had a major side-effect, but she was not going to be around to worry about it. She knew she only had a second or so before Voldemort would be able to cast the Killing Curse again.
She felt a surge go out of her as she cried out, "Signum pungo!"
The area now felt different to her, so Lily touched her wand to the teddy bear for one last try, praying that it would now work. "Activate!" she screamed, her voice filled with terror.
Relief flooded through her as the Portkey activated and she felt the familiar pull behind her navel. As the Portkey whisked her and Harry away, she saw the wand pointed at her body and a green light of the Killing Curse rushing at her. She twisted, hoping to protect Harry, but the diaper bag hindered her.
Gleefully, Voldemort saw the deadly curse hit the baby in the forehead just as the little boy and his mother left. However, his joy was short lived. In horror, he watched the curse rebound back towards him. It was so fast and he was caught so off guard, he never even tried to move out of the way.
Peter Pettigrew stared at the bloody corpse of his one-time close friend. "James, I'm s-s-so s-sorry," he said for the third time since his master had gone upstairs. "You have to understand, I-I didn't have a choice. You d-do remember wh-what you said to me back in school, don't you? And Padfoot, too? Y-you really shouldn't have done that. And when the Master asked, I had to tell him. Don't worry though, it's really for the best." He quietly giggled to himself and continued to look at his former friend, ignoring the fire that was now consuming the couch and the area rug from a Fireball spell which had hit them. "I'm s-s-so s-sorry…"
The sound of a gong reverberated through the house, and then a loud thump came from upstairs. With a smile on his face, Wormtail struggled to use the handrail to pull himself up the collapsed stairs. When he got to the landing, he found one door destroyed. Looking in caused him to be first confused, and then horrified. There was no-one standing and only one dead body on the floor -- his master. There was no evidence that he could see of Lily or Harry being there. There was only his dead master, with all the spell damage up there, too, and his master's wand on the floor.
At a loss to explain these strange observations and in the hope that he might gain some of his master's power, Wormtail picked up the Yew and Phoenix Feather wand and Apparated back to his master's hideout to think about what he should do next. Perhaps he should hide somewhere for a while...
The Portkey deposited Lily on the other side of the little village as there was no reason for anyone to suspect she would come here. She stumbled under the weight of the diaper bag and her screaming son, but she regained her balance before she could fall. The four-time survivor of Voldemort's wrath immediately started running. Twenty feet later, she was behind a large bush. Holding Harry tightly as he cried, she concentrated and Apparated straight into Sirius's flat.
Landing, she glanced about. The flat was dark, and no one was home. She could not decide if she was angry or glad that Sirius was out. Both Apparation and Portkeys could be followed if someone did not wait too long to do the destination revealing spell, so she had to hurry through more evasive manoeuvres. For stealth, she cast a sleeping charm on the screaming boy in her arms as she hurriedly walked to the fireplace. That was when she first noticed the bloody spot on his forehead. Still, he had been crying, so it should not be too bad, she hoped. As much as she wished to treat her son, the wound would have to wait for a few minutes.
She grabbed a small handful of Floo Powder and tossed half of it into the fireplace. "The Ministry of Magic," she said in a commanding voice, and she stepped into the green-tinted flames.
The right spell could force a Floo to reveal the last destination on it too, but that spell took longer, which would be a nice buffer for her. Plus, her pursuer would have to guess if she Apparated, took another Portkey, or used a Floo. However, even if someone followed her, the Ministry of Magic had the largest collection of Flooes anywhere on the British Isles. It would be easy to lose any pursuer there.
She came out of the fireplace in the middle of the atrium wall. Because it was late, the night guard was thoroughly engrossed in a magazine behind his desk at the other end of the hall, oblivious of her arrival. After all, it was late enough that he probably had not seen anyone else for hours. Lily turned away from the guard to hide her face, quietly walked over two fireplaces, and threw in the rest of the Floo Powder in her hand. "The Prancing Pony," she whispered. It was a small, out-of-the-way Wizard pub in the Western Isles that the Potters, and no one else they had ever asked, frequented. She and James had picked this place purposefully before they went into hiding.
As she came out of that fireplace, she instantly Apparated to an alcove at an underground station, not far from where her family had lived when she was young. Seeing a tube train come into the station on the other side of the tracks, she quickly Apparated to the other platform, the secrecy about hiding magic from Muggles be damned -- this was life and death. Coming out from behind a large sign, which masked some building work, she ran for the door of the train, reaching it as the doors opened. Hurrying in, she walked to the end of the carriage and sat. The only other passengers were at the other end and paid her no attention after a glance to see that she was not a threat.
Now that she had a minute, she took a deep breath … and almost lost it. No, she could not grieve now. She had to stay strong for Harry and herself until she reached somewhere safe. But, now that she had a few moments, she had something else to do.
Reaching into the baby bag, she pulled out the shrunken survival trunk, which was about the size of a half a loaf of bread. It contained all of her and James's personal journals, irreplaceable books, several changes of clothes, a few meals in cans, and various other items needed for survival, or things that should not be lost. Opening it, she used her fingernails to carefully pull out a very small sparkly square, before she closed the trunk back and put it away. Careful to shield what she was doing from the other passengers, she whispered the enlarging spell as she waved her wand over the small object. Seconds later, she was holding a hand mirror.
"Sirius Black," she whispered into the mirror. While she waited, she tried to think about time. How long had it been since she had used that awful spell to break and collapse every ward she had put on the house and then leave? She was not certain, but it had to have been less than two of the most terrifying minutes of her life. As the caster of the Fidelius charm and the other wards, she had overloaded all of her wards, which had caused a cascading failure taking down all of Voldemort's wards with hers. To anyone who checked the home, it would appear as if there had never been wards, or else she had died. "Sirius Black," she whispered again to hurry him up.
While she waited, she turned her attention to Harry. A film of blood covered his forehead. Lily dabbed at it with the blanket and found a small shallow cut above his eye. The wound was bleeding a lot, but it did not look life threatening. Still, she covered it up with the corner of his blanket and applied light pressure to minimize the bleeding. For a long half minute, the train rumbled down the tracks, and Lily took stock. Finally, the mirror swirled to life and Sirius's voice called out, "James?"
"Ssh, are you alone?" she quietly asked. She hoped the other passengers would think she was talking to her baby on her lap and not the mirror in front of the baby.
"Lily?" he answered also in a soft voice. "I'm at a party, but I stepped into a room when the mirror vibrated. What's wrong? You're not supposed to call on this normally."
"Sirius, we've been betrayed. That bastard Wormtail brought You-Know-Who to our house."
Lily had to cough to try to cover Sirius's shout. "Ssh, other people can hear."
"Where are you?" he asked, his voice an intense hiss. "And are James and Harry with you? Are you all safe?" There was no mistaking the urgency and worry in his voice.
"Sirius," she paused and thought, oh god this is hard. "Harry and I are alive." She glanced at the corner of his blanket that was starting to show a small bloody spot, but other than that cut her son seemed fine. "But I don't know about James. Will you please go over to the house and see about James? But be careful, they might still be there! I -- I don't know who to trust anymore besides you..."
"I'm leaving right now," Sirius said with determination in his voice and a grim face. "I'll call you shortly." The image in the mirror wavered, and Sirius's face was replaced with her own distraught face. She placed the mirror back into her bag, not wanting to see the loss in her own eyes.
A moment later, the train arrived at Piccadilly Circus, a busy place which suited her just fine. Getting off the train, she hid amidst the other passengers, but managed to hover near the back of the Halloween crowd. When she thought no one was looking her way, she Apparated to a little clearing in the Forbidden Forest, about a half-mile from Hagrid's cottage and outside of the school wards.
She knelt down and lit her wand. Once more she pulled out her survival trunk, opened it, retrieved a little stick, and then returned the trunk to her bag. Dousing her light, she tapped her wand to the stick, which grew into a full-sized old Comet Quidditch broom. She lacked James's passion for flying, but she flew well enough. Balancing the bag and Harry, she mounted the broom, Disillusioned everything, and pushed off. With infinite caution, she guided her broom toward the large castle rising above the canopy of the forest.
Taking care to hide from the Headmaster's tower windows, she skirted the castle battlements until she found a dark window tucked underneath the room in the north tower that housed the new Divination Teacher. She unlocked and opened the window so she could fly in. She lit the torches on the walls as she entered the room. The sputtering light revealed an unused classroom with no portraits, exactly what she wanted. With a quick wave of her wand, she cancelled her Disillusionment charms and set to work on securing the room.
First the door. Although a locking charm might suffice, having no door was better. Unfortunately, transfiguration was not her specialty, and so the glacial-paced transformation of wood to stone required all of her skill and concentration. Once complete, the now solid wall bore no evidence that a door had ever existed. Satisfied that she would be safe for at least a few hours, she conjured a bed with all the linens and laid Harry down on it. While conjured items eventually disappeared, she had enough magical power to make something of this size last for the night.
At the thought that she should be safe for the night, the results of being in a hyper-state for the last fifteen minutes or so caught up with her. Lily almost collapsed as the shakes from her adrenalin rush left her. She sagged down to the bed and leaned on it for a few minutes, taking slow deep breaths to recover. Knowing she must go on for a little while longer, she focused on her son's face as she recovered.
When her hands were mostly steady again, she tenderly peeled the blood encrusted blanket back and found the cut on her child's forehead, which still had not scabbed. Cleaning it revealed a thin cut in the shape of a lightening bolt with one jag in it over his right eye. Trying as hard as she could, she could not get it to heal like a normal cut would.
Perplexed, she ran through the night's events. The splinters of the nursery door had not come anywhere near her, and collapsing wards would not have cut anyone. Voldemort had only cast the Killing Curse… Lily gasped. It was not possible. No one had ever survived the Killing Curse, but it would explain the cut. Somehow her baby had miraculously survived. However, that meant that the protection charm James had done earlier that evening had worked. It had worked because he had sacrificed himself for Harry. A wave of grief swelled over her, and Lily had to struggle for a moment not to drown in the emotion.
She turned to her son and began to examine the wound more closely, but the mirror buzzed. She pulled it out of the baby bag. "Yes?"
"Lily, it's me. Oh god, Lily, I'm sorry. I got there just as Hagrid came out of the house with James's body." He had not known how to soften that blow, so he had not even tried.
Fortunately for him, Lily had been expecting that answer, though that did not make it any less painful. The woman hung her head as tears started streaking down her face. "I was afraid of that. James wouldn't have given up for anything, so when Voldemort came up the stairs, I knew it had to be true." She continued to try to force her tears not to flow, but they came anyway.
"You fought him again?"
"I dodged and got lucky," she clarified after a sniffle. "Listen, have you told anyone I'm alive?" A plan was forming in her mind. It was a variation of one she and James had come up with.
"No. I'm trying to find Moony so we can start hunting for the effing rat. He's not at his house."
This just might work, Lily thought. "All right, don't tell anyone I'm alive. Act like Harry and I are dead."
"Not even Moony?" Sirius asked incredulously.
"No, well, not unless you absolutely have to. The fewer people who know, the fewer there are that can spill the secret. Besides finding Wormtail, I have one assignment for you. Get James's wand, wedding ring, and his Invisibility Cloak. Albus will have the Cloak. Wrap those up and owl them to me before morning."
"I can do that, though Albus may want to know why when all three of you are supposed to be dead," Sirius pointed out, his face constantly changing as his emotions warred within him.
"Try not to, but you can tell Albus if you really must. No, wait, if you have to tell him, demand an Unbreakable Oath to keep it a secret from everyone, no exceptions. I want those things, especially the Cloak, and then Harry and I are going to disappear for a while until it's safe to come out."
The anguish on Sirius's face told Lily that he did not like hearing that. "Where are you going, Lily?"
"James and I have one more safe house. The less you know the better. I'll call you on the mirror on all of our birthdays at midnight. That's three times a year. Do not try to call me, I won't answer."
His eyes narrowed in dislike. "Are you sure, Lily? Perhaps there's some way I can help you... Or Harry. He is my godson..."
"I'm sorry Sirius, but I'm sure." Lily took a deep breath to keep the tears at bay. "Owl me that stuff."
He hung his head. "Are you at least safe for tonight?" he asked in a quiet voice.
"Safe enough. Don't worry, I don't expect anyone to find us tonight, but I can't stay here past morning. Just owl me the things I asked for, and I'll call you in a couple of weeks on your birthday." Lily did not have to ask for Wormtail's head. She knew Sirius would do that anyway.
Sirius looked like he wanted to argue, but Lily's tone stopped him. "Fine. I'll get the stuff you asked for and owl it to you. I better go now so I can find Moony, and we can go hunting. I'll keep the mirror on me, and I want you to call if you need anything, anytime, anywhere. Do you understand?"
Lily gave him a tired and forced smile. "Thanks, Sirius, I owe you. Keep Moony with you, don't split up. Good-night and godspeed, Sirius." She turned the mirror off and laid it down. A soft sob escaped. Sniffling, she wiped away the tears with the sleeve of her robe and turned back to her son. She had to finish with him before she could rest.
Casting various diagnostic spells on the new wound, she became perplexed. This was certainly not a normal wound. Worse, there seemed to be a bit of magic stuck there. Several spells later, she had isolated that extra magic so that Harry was protected from it, then she cast a magic draining charm on it. To her surprise and horror, the scar came alive and writhed for a couple of seconds before it went still.
Checking the wound again, she found nothing, not even her protective spell. Checking Harry, she found his magical core, but she swore it was stronger now than when she had checked on his birthday three months ago. In fact, it was significantly stronger. Something must have happened tonight, but she was unsure of exactly what. Still, at least she had removed whatever that residual magic had been in him. There was no telling what that would have done over time.
Now that Harry seemed to be a normal, healthy baby again, Lily cast another healing charm on the wound, and it closed up, leaving the faintest of lines that would all but disappear over time. As she changed his diaper, she considered what had happened to Harry tonight, and that it was a blessing for the scar to be that small, let alone for her child to have survived at all. Finally, she cleaned the blood off of his blanket with a cleaning spell and laid him in bed. He looked so innocent, wonderful, and cute, just like a child should. She smiled as only a mother could at her son as she kicked off her shoes and crawled into bed with him.
With a wave of her wand, all the lights in the room went off and she pulled the blanket over her and her son. Holding him tightly, as if to prevent him from being pulled away, Lily finally gave into the deep sorrow she had been holding back. The young widow, who was barely twenty-one, quietly sobbed herself to sleep over the next hour.
An insistent hooting woke Lily Potter. She looked at the window. A big brown owl was hovering near the window ledge. She went over and took the package from the bird and let it fly off. Opening the plain bag, she found her three requested items. "Thank you, Sirius," she said.
Returning to the bed, she watched Harry wriggle around and gurgle as he woke up. Looking at her watch, she saw it was nearly seven in the morning. She needed to get a move on if she was to leave without anyone seeing her.
As quick as she could, she changed Harry's nappy. Standing him on the floor and letting him hold onto her leg, she vanished the conjured bed. Then she turned to face the blank stone wall that had held a door, and she concentrated on the transfiguration and slowly brought the door back.
Satisfied, she picked up Harry, his bag, and her broom. With James's wand and ring in her pocket, and his Cloak around her and Harry, she flew out the window and closed it back. With care to hold onto Harry, she took her time reaching the forest. Harry giggled and chortled, enjoying the flying. She used to hate it when James or Sirius would take Harry flying, but now she appreciated them as those flights were working in her favour as her son enjoyed the sensation.
Nearly five minutes later, Lily landed in the same clearing she had used the previous night. While she juggled everything she was holding, she pulled out her wand and touched it to her wedding ring. "Secret Home." As the pull took a hold of her, she considered that what she was doing was illegal, as it was an unregistered international Portkey. But, since the Ministry had failed to rein in the Dark wizard who had killed her husband, she felt they had no right to hold this Portkey against her.
After a much longer than normal transit, Lily landed hard on her feet and then overbalanced and fell over from all the things she was holding in her arms, including a frightened baby boy. "Mumma?"
"There, there, it's all right," Lily said, patting her son's head. "Be a good boy just a little bit longer, Harry. I know we're home, but we need to leave, do a few things, and then arrive the right way." They had arrived in a plain little house that she and James had seen during their visit to Japan nearly three months ago, when the war had turned very personal.
They had loved the quaint place when they had visited disguised as Japanese Muggles. The people in the small village had been wary of them at first, but when it came out that Lily had studied medicine, there had been a little cautious acceptance -- although grudging tolerance might have been a better description. So they had bought the small house and hired an older widower neighbour to take care of the gardens until they could move in after James had finished his merchant-sailor job sometime in the future. It had been a good plan. A young nurse and her sailor husband without any extended family. It still was a good plan, just without her husband now.
Coming back to the present, Lily sat Harry down for a moment and then pulled her survival trunk out and expanded it. Lily pulled out clean Muggle clothes for herself and changed. She also changed Harry and made a bottle for him while she had a breakfast from her survival supplies. Then, using her mirror to check her results, she placed several glamours on herself and a couple on Harry to help them blend in with the locals better. She also cast a language translation spell on herself, pulled an amount of Yen from the trunk, and put the notes in her pocket. Finally she put everything else but Harry into the trunk and closed it. Scooping up Harry, who had happily toddled away to check out the house, she grabbed the trunk and Apparated to the common Apparation site in the country's capital.
Dragging the lightened trunk behind her, she walked to a nearby Wizarding hotel where she rented a room for the next month. After going up to their room, she transfigured an extra chair into a crib and placed little Harry in it. She bent down and kissed her son's ear and whispered, "Welcome to Japan, Harry. We'll be back to our new home in Heiwateki in a month or two. Mummy just has to do a little work to pick up a nursing certificate."
Lily unpacked their meagre belongings as she considered the hurdles still in front of her. On their previous trip, when they had purchased the house, they had also purchased identities in Japan. To the Muggle government, she was the daughter of an American sailor and a Japanese woman from Osaka. She and her Japanese husband had met through family friends. Her husband was, or had been, a merchant sailor for a Japanese company. Lily had all the legal documents required to live here and show a history of living and working in Japan, although that had cost them both a pretty Knut. Even with all that, she still had some fear at not fitting into a culture that strongly preferred conformance, adhering to tradition and family. The problem would be even worse as a woman with no family, sort of like a house-elf in a Pureblood household. But they had picked this country because it was so different and so far from England. Voldemort would never think to look here. If only they had come here first.
However, there was no time to dwell on impossible wishes. After she was unpacked and settled in, she took Harry and left the hotel. She made her way through the Japanese version of Diagon Alley to get a better idea of how everything was organized in her new homeland. After an hour, she stopped at a small place that did not look too busy and bought some food. She was hungry, but more importantly, she needed to test out her language skills. Fortunately, the translation spell worked reasonably well. Also, the more she listened to others, the more the spell helped her to pick up the language. She held her sleeping son as she finished the last of her lunch and thought about her new life.
It was going to be hard to adjust to life without James. She wondered how long she would cry herself to sleep at nights. She also was not sure how a young widow with a small child would be treated here, but she would do the best she could to start a new life. That new life was about protecting her son and getting him ready for what must come. "Damn Trelawney!" she thought to herself as she cursed the prophecy that made that duty necessary, but what choice did she have?
She also tried to work out who had told Voldemort the beginning of the prophecy and pointed the monster at her family. The Headmaster had only said a young Death Eater had heard the first part and run away. Not for the first time, she wondered if Albus knew more than he was telling. She also wondered what she was going to do about it.
(19 Nov 1981 - Sirius's birthday)
Lily thought she had everything set up like she wanted. There was a picture of her on the table in front of the magical mirror, and a white sheet obscured the wall behind the picture. No matter how hard Sirius looked, Lily was certain he would not see anything she did not want him to see. She stepped to the side of the mirror, just out of view, and called, "Sirius Black." It was nine in the morning on the 19th of November, approximately two and a half weeks after that fateful night. He should be expecting her call.
A few seconds later, Sirius's voice spoke from the mirror. "Lily? Why am I looking at a picture of you?"
Lily smiled to herself. "Because I'm trying to protect you, Sirius. The less you know about where we are and what we look like now, the better off you are."
"Do you really think I'd betray you, Lily?" He sounded hurt.
She sighed and closed her eyes, trying to hold back her feelings. "I'd like to say no, but to be honest, I don't know who to fully trust anymore. I, ah, I hope you understand."
Sirius sighed in a tired voice. "I do, sadly I do. I thought Wormtail was one of us." He paused and blew out a deep breath. "I guess I should start with an apology, for what little good it will do. I am so very sorry I suggested the switch, Lily. If I hadn't done that…" His voice cracked.
"Sirius, please stop it!" Lily was failing to hold her emotions in check as the tears started welling in her eyes. This conversation was harder than she had expected. "It's not your fault. James and I agreed with your suggestion. We could have said no to you like we had to Albus's offer to be the Secret Keeper."
"I wish you had. Oh god, I wish you had just told me to shut up."
"Me, too, but it's too late now." She paused and drew a big breath, trying to clear the tightness in her chest. "Sirius? Can I ask a big favour of you?"
"Anything, Lily, anything. I'd hide any secret you want and give you an Unbreakable Vow if I could."
Maybe this would not be so hard, she thought. "Will you give me a Wizard's Oath that you'll help me and keep everything secret?"
"Of course, Lily." He cleared his throat and made a few noises trying to sound normal. "Ego fides. I, Sirius Orion Black, do swear this Wizard's Oath on my magic that I will work in Lily and Harry Potter's best interest and keep their secrets until they release me from this promise. So I swear, Ego fides."
She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the bright flash on the hanging sheet. "Thank you, Sirius. You don't know how much that means to me."
"Anything for you, Lily," he sounded so guilty. "And just so you know, I haven't told anyone about you or Harry … not Albus, not even Moony. So tell me, how are you and Harry doing?"
"As well as can be expected. I'm…" she sniffled once, her emotions coming back with a vengeance as she thought about why she was in a new place. "I'm doing my best to fit in and make a new life here. We'll have to wait and see what happens. What's been happening there?"
A little bit of cheer crept back into his voice. "You'll be happy to know that no one other than me knows you're still alive."
"That's good," she said with relief, "that's really good."
"Dumbledore believes that because all of your wards and the Fidelius charm are gone," he explained. "What really happened?"
She blew out her breath, wishing she could tell him, but it was for his own good that he not know all the details. "Sirius, like James and I told you before, we can't tell you the full reason, but I'll tell you now that Albus came to us a few months ago and said that he had heard that Voldemort would be after us and the Longbottoms more than anyone else."
"Alice and Frank are still fine and in hiding," Sirius interjected.
"That's good to hear. Anyway, what we didn't tell you was that in mid-October, he came and told us that a spy had informed him that Voldemort was coming for us soon. That's why…" she started to lose it again and had to pause for a deep breath, "…why we put up the Fidelius charm and other wards to protect ourselves." She hated the fact that all the work had been for nothing because of one stupid rat.
"Do you know who the spy in Voldemort's group was?" Sirius asked.
"No, but I don't think it was Wormtail. Albus implied it was someone else. That it was someone who had had a change of heart, so probably a young Death Eater."
"I see. Then what happened on Halloween?" he asked hesitantly, as if he was afraid to find out.
Lilly closed her eyes and swallowed hard, knowing that Sirius deserved to know, no matter how much she did not want to relive that night. "We had just put Harry down for the evening, and James and I were enjoying some time to ourselves." She tried to block out the thought of not having any more times with James like that and was having a hard time.
"I felt an Anti-Apparation ward go up. James looked out the front and saw Voldemort and Wormtail." Her tightly controlled anger exploded at the memory of the betrayal. "I couldn't believe that he had betrayed us!"
She took a deep breath before saying the next part in almost a whisper. "But it was true, and we didn't have a plan for that. We had a plan for the wards failing, for one of us being gone, for everything but that." Unfelt tears streaked Lily's face. "At least we had a plan for if Voldemort found us, so we executed that plan. I went for Harry to get away while," she had to pause to sniffle again, "James delayed them to give me time." She had to stop again to sniffle, and Sirius did not interrupt.
"As soon as I left, it was supposed to signal James to let him know we were gone and for him to get away too, but that didn't happen because -- that -- that monster!" she screamed the last word before she paused and pulled her emotions back in order so she could talk. "He put up an Anti-Portkey ward, too. James was," she hesitated and took a few more breaths, "oh god, he was dead before I could break the wards. And then He found us before I could get away and," the words flowed and would not stop, like the tears that now clouded her vision, "I had to dodge one Killing Curse. I was desperate. I did a spell that overloaded all my wards in an attempt to take out the Anti-Portkey ward, too. We left just as he launched another Killing Curse." Her words stopped, but her tears did not.
In the near silence as she sobbed, Sirius commented, "That was close!"
She gave a sad and bitter laugh. "It was closer than you think. I think Harry got hit with the curse." The lie was bitter on her tongue, but she did it to protect her son. "But, because we were already Portkeying away, it didn't kill Harry. He has a small scar that doesn't want to go away no matter how I try to heal it. I think the scar will always be slightly visible." She did not plan to tell Sirius about the protection spell she and James had done. No one else really needed to know about that.
"And then I made my way here," she said in relief. Although she had dreaded telling Sirius, Lily felt somehow better after unburdening her guilt. So many nights she had lain awake wishing for someone who could comfort her or listen. Like draining a wound, telling the story would help her heal a little.
"By the way, thank you for sending my husband's things to me." Not saying his name helped a little.
Sirius snorted. "You won't believe what I had to go through to get them, though."
"Oh?" With Dumbledore, she could believe almost anything. He was quite brilliant, but over time, she had decided that maybe he was not playing with a full potions kit any more. That was why she had not wanted him to be their Secret Keeper.
"Yeah. I had to swear an oath that I was working in your best interest. Before then, I spent most of the night trying to find Moony, so by the time I made arrangements to go hunting with him, the sun was starting to come up. I made my way to Hogwarts shortly after that, only to be greeted by multiple hexes from McGonagall as I walked in the front door. She slammed me into a wall with no regard for my person, I tell you. It hurt like hell, too!"
A smile came over Lily as she listened to the story. It felt good to smile again, even if it was at Sirius's expense.
"Then she took me up to the Headmaster's office and Dumbledore told me he was going to have me arrested for betraying you. I had to do some fast talking and an oath swearing I didn't."
"Look on the bright side, Sirius. The plan to make everyone think you were the Secret Keeper did work." Lily mentally shuddered to think what might have happened if they had not believed Sirius. If they had thrown him in prison, she would have had to come out of hiding to rescue him.
"Thanks, Lily," he said with a slightly sarcastic tone. "Anyway, Hagrid pulled James's body out," Sirius's tone became sadder, "but he couldn't get up the stairs to check there, so that's why I could get the ring and the wand. I found out that Albus only knows that an adult died in your house. Apparently, some of your potions fueled the fire, and it burned so hot the Muggle firemen had trouble putting it out. The fire also burned the body so badly they couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. I assume that was You-Know-Who's body?"
"Yes," she confirmed -- there was no other logical answer. She knew the Killing Curse had hit Harry, so it must have rebounded back to Voldemort. "And Sirius, you can say his name; he's not going to come get you."
"I know, it's just habit. So they really do think all three of you are dead."
"I'm sorry you had to mislead them, but thanks, Sirius." Lily was thankful, but the memories of that night were starting to get to her again.
"Oh," Sirius went on, not seeing Lily's emotional change for the worse, "Frank and Alice are still safe, or so I'm told as I haven't actually talked to them since they went into hiding. I haven't heard when they plan to come out."
Lily nodded and responded automatically. "If they're smart, they'll wait until the Death Eaters are captured, or that's what I'd do." The memories and the emotions kept pounding at her.
"That could be a long time, Lily."
"Better safe than sorry." Lily said sadly. She wiped her very wet eyes with a handkerchief, something she had used a lot in the last few weeks. Reliving that night left her emotionally drained.
"So you've left to start a new life?" Sirius asked.
"Yeah, pretty much," she said in exhaustion, although her next statement was said with conviction. "Here I am, and I'll do my damnedest to raise Harry well and to prepare him for when He comes back."
"You think he'll really come back again? He's dead." Sirius sounded very surprised. "The body in your house, it was him…" He sounded so hopeful that the war had to be over.
"I know how you feel," Lily told him as part of her thought through the prophecy and how not all of it had been fulfilled. "I also wish he was truly gone, so that," but she had to stop for a moment. Her voice was rough when she continued. "So that James's sacrifice might mean more, but I don't believe it. I -- I can't prove it, but I believe he did something so he's not really dead and he'll return some day." It was a small lie of omission, but it was better for Sirius's sake. She could not explain that she knew because not all of the prophecy had been fulfilled.
"That doesn't make sense." Sirius sounded so confused.
"I'm sure it doesn't, Sirius, but just take my word for it. Call it a woman's hunch if it will make you feel better." She hated these little lies to her friend, but she felt like she had no choice at the moment.
"I really hope you're wrong, Lily, I want you to be wrong," he said with strength for the first time. He sighed a long and deep sigh. "I suppose it'll be ten years before I see you, won't it? I mean -- you know, when Harry has to come back for school?"
Lily shook her head, although she knew her friend could not see her. "No, Sirius. I'm really sorry, but it might be longer." She took another deep breath and tried to focus on a better future rather than the painful past. "We're not coming back until Harry can fully defend himself, or until I have a really good reason and know that Harry will be safe. Until then, Voldemort is the Ministry's responsibility." The thought of what she might be condemning the people of England to was hard to swallow, but her son was more important to her, and if the prophecy was right, he was more important to them, too.
Sirius chuckled, but it sounded forced and somewhat hollow to Lily. "Well, I have some good news for you there. Not only has it been reported that You-Know-Who not been seen since before Halloween, but Death Eater activity has been at an all-time low since you left."
A small smile, only the second since that night, graced her face. "That's good to hear, and I hope it stays that way. Sirius?"
"There was one other strange thing that happened that night." Only analytical thought saved her from more despair.
"When I examined Harry's wound, where the curse hit him, it was like there was some sort of foreign magic there," she said. In truth, she was still trying to think up an answer for the mystery.
"And? Don't keep me in suspense, Lily."
"That's the problem, Padfoot, I don't know what it was, and that scares me! The only way I can describe it is to say that it was in the family of spells that make our magical communication mirrors work, but I have no idea what it would have connected Harry to. He was only throwing Killing Curses around." Lily was frustrated as it did not make sense. But then predicting what happened when multiple spells came together was more often an art rather than a science, and there had been three sources of magic active when Harry had been hit.
"Is Harry all right? What are you going to do about it?" Now Sirius sounded very concerned.
"Fortunately, I managed to isolate it to protect Harry, and then I removed it that night." She heard Sirius breath a sigh of relief. "I've been checking him daily, and I still don't see anything different now, other than an overall magical core power increase. Thankfully, it appears I got rid of whatever the foreign magic was."
Sirius considered that before he asked, "Or else Harry's system absorbed it?"
"I suppose that's possible. I'll keep watching him." She took a deep breath to try to clear her worry about her son. The emotional conversation had begun to wear on her. "Anything else we need to talk about now?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Are you sure that you're OK, Lily? I could leave Moony my flat and come there for a while. I can take a leave of absence from work for a month or so." The charmer in Sirius was starting to show again as he tried to talk her into letting him help her.
"Thanks for the offer, Sirius, but I think we'll be fine." She hoped that was not a lie. "Take care of yourself and Moony. Don't let him run off by himself. I'll call you again on my birthday."
"If you're sure," he sighed. "Very well, Lily. Until midnight on the 30th of January…"
"Until then, Sirius…" Lily waved her wand over the mirror and broke the connection. She sat for a moment and kneaded her temples and then around her eyes. She needed to go wash her face. She hoped her crying would not be obvious to everyone she met that day. Of course, even if it were, the Japanese were too polite to mention it.
After cleaning up her face and the room, she went to check on Harry before she started on her daily work. As a student in a local nursing school, she was kept busy. It was an unexpected boon which she enjoyed as it helped her ignore her loss. Because of her Charms background and all the healing spells she knew, training to be a nurse was more memorization than hard work. A little extra money also had bought the proper work history showing previous nursing experience. That would speed up her schooling to become a Public Health Nurse. Over time, she could study to become a Registered Nurse.
Fortunately for her and her son, she had been able to hire an older witch to watch Harry when she was away. Between that, her time at the hotel, and the school expenses, her immediately available funds would not last as long as she had initially planned. On the plus side, she could transfigure or charm a lot of things, so her other expenses were quite low.
She expected to finish her schooling and have her Muggle nursing certificate by the end of the year. So, in another five weeks, she could move to the little house in the village that she and James had purchased. She expected it would take at least a few years for her to find any acceptance there, but as the only person in the small village with a medical background, she also hoped she would be accepted faster than a normal outsider would. Of course, if required, some discrete magic could help her, too.
A part-time job as a nurse also had the added benefit that she could spend a lot of time with her son, at least at the beginning. In a few years, everything would change, she knew. He would have to start going to school when he was six, just like all the other Muggle children in the village. Before then, she would teach him to read and write so he would be able to do everything the other students could do. She prayed she could keep his accidental magic down to small things she could easily hide until then. That was when she planned to get him a training wand and start teaching him a little magic. That should help him with control. Thankfully, Japan was more progressive than England. There was no Underage Magical Restriction, just the basic Statute of Secrecy from the ICW.
She had a lot to learn over the next ten to fifteen years so she could teach Harry all he would need to know. He had so much to learn before they could return to England and fulfill his destiny.
((A/N: There's the premise for you. When I think it useful, I'll put little "universe notes" and maybe questions here at the end.
Why did Lily move around so much when she was on the run? I believe that Disapparation and Portkeys should be able to be followed, if you can do the Destination Revealing spell fast enough and very near the point of departure. My thought is that like ripples in a pond show where the object entered the water and fade with time, so the change in the fabric of space after a departure can be traced if you don't wait too long. Also, by using some Muggle transportation, she hoped to throw off any Death Eaters following her.
Question for everyone to think about before the next chapter: What will it mean to Harry to grow up with his mother? This will cause some very large changes from canon!Harry. :-)
Bonus question for those who like to analyze stories: What will it mean for Harry when he returns to England, having been raised by an English mother in the Japanese culture? (You can't say anything SquidTamer! :-) (Who says "AWWW!" :-)
Note, if I've done my research correctly, there really is no such city as "Heiwateki, Japan", that way I can put it anywhere. :-) "Heiwateki" can be translated to "peaceful" with tranquility also implied. (Thanks ST!)
Chapter 2 is already drafted, so hopefully it will only be 2-3 weeks before it comes out … if I can get my act together and RealLife is kind to my betas. :-)
A dictionary of things I've made up:
"...abbas amor" - a father's love
"Ego fides" - I promise
"Signum pungo" - puncture a seal (sends a blast of energy into wards in order to bring them down, only possible by the creator of the wards)
Again, thanks to my helpers (in alpha order): JonathanAvery, moshpit, Reg, Sovran, and SquidTamer.))