A/N: Hello all.
In October of 2005, I began an expanded rewrite of Intromit's marvelous "Harry Potter and Fate's Debt". With Intromit's blessing and help (he betaed this story for some time), I wrote this story to some acclaim.
In the spring of the next year, for personal reasons, I abandoned my work. By that time, my story, "Fate's Debt and the Philosopher's Stone" had diverged so significantly from Intromit's original that they shared only very few similarities.
At the end of 2007, having emerged from a sort of self-imposed exile, I decided to rework this story with the help of a friend and noted beta. The plan was for her to take full editorial control over the story, cutting words, lines, scenes, chapters, and plot lines in order to create a slimmed-down, more coherent story with little true involvement on my part, save rewrites where she deemed them necessary.
It is now the last day of August as I write this, and I have received no feedback from her regarding our little endeavor; that's fine, I'm sure she's vanished for good reason and I hold no grudge. But I consider her now to have abandoned the project. That in mind, I'm looking for someone to fill her shoes. Please contact me if you are interested.
In the meantime, this is (nearly!) the original "Fate's Debt and the Philosopher's Stone". I will post all of this story, chapter by chapter until number twenty-five, the last I ever wrote of this. When I have a new partner in crime, I will also begin to post the new version.
Oh. And if you think it's terrible, there's really no reason to tell me; this story has no greater, no fiercer critic than me. I am far and away this story's greatest detractor. Hopefully the redux will change that.
Anyway, this story is "Fate's Debt and the Philosopher's Stone" and it's for Z. I hope you enjoy your stay.
Fate's Debt and the Philosopher's Stone
In the small, Victorian-styled village of Godric's Hollow, all was quiet. Apart from the sound of the rustling wind and the occasional squeak of the large windmill — situated in what could only be thought of as the centre of the town — there was not a sound.
The village was of a sort not at all uncommon considering the state of the times. Throughout the country the most peculiar things had been happening. Indeed, these odd things — mysterious gas leaks, obscure diseases that induced catatonia, and the recent bomb explosions in London — had been occurring on and off for the past decade.
The gas leaks and odd diseases that had been happening over the last several years had been, assumedly, freak-accidents. Nothing to be done about it; they were simply unpredictable acts of tragedy.
The recent London bombings, having had occurred less than a fortnight from this very night, had been blamed on Islamic extremists. Swift justice had been assured to the people by the government, although the lack of clear-cut evidence was disheartening to all.
Most of the inhabitants of Godric's Hollow were of the cautious sort and, because of the accidents and bombings having had occurred during the night nearly exclusively, stayed indoors after the sunlight hours. The villagers had taken to holing themselves up in their homes as soon as dusk fell upon their village. During their hole-ups they passed the time exchanging stories and playing innocuous games of merriment. Typically, this consisted of unceasing sessions of chess, card games, and the occasional drinking game for those still up to such things.
That is why on this particular night, a night when children should be out and about collecting tooth-rotting sweets from the neighbors and donning the dress of monsters past, all was silent.
As the last of the lights were extinguished from the sleepy, unsuspecting Hollowers (as they had taken to referring to themselves), the all-encompassing darkness of night took hold of the village. For now all was right; children slept, their heads full of the resentment of innocence and yet-to-be broken promises of sweets in the morning; the few teenage inhabitants of Godric's Hollow angrily slumbered, dreams of the unfairness of it all unceasingly occurring; the adults of the town fell into the same slumber as the night before, preparing for the monotonous tomorrow, whilst secretly hoping for an act of debauchery the following day; the old-people (they held a strong dislike of the term Hollowers and had opted for titles such as 'wizened' and 'elders', whilst being called 'soon-to-be's by the 'disrespectful' teenaged populous) slumbered peacefully, dreams of unnecessary lectures that they had yet to have forced upon the young people.
However, this peaceful scene was not destined to last. The tranquility of the night was broken by a soft pop heard only by those in the immediate area. None of the residents of Godric's Hollow registered the sound, too far in the realm of the dreaming to comprehend the tribulations of the sentient.
Had the populace of Godric's Hollow been in the realm of the living, they most certainly must have felt the presence of ultimate evil that had culminated in the exact spot where the pop resounded. The form of man stood there where nothing had been before, this man emanated an air of hideous, unspeakable power.
The moonless night that was in the sky, or rather ino/i in the sky, at the moment was very much advantageous to this atrocious figure. The figure ambled slowly, but with a terrible sort of grace, through the main road of the quiet, peace-loving village. The figure continued on up the road, passing the homes with odium in his very stride.
This abomination of existence continued to stride down this lonely road until he, quite abruptly, came to a halt. For a moment he simply stood and gazed at the wall in front him. Then, quite as suddenly as this repugnant man appeared, a house did just the same. It came into existence with neither herald nor preamble and stood the same as the surrounding homes.
It was an unremarkable structure. It bore the same subtle signs of age as the contiguous homes in the vicinity. The only feature of this home that set it apart from the others was the light that could be seen permeating from behind the heavy, black curtains that shielded the inside from view by the non-existent spectators.
The sin of a man outside of the newly-existing house let out a high-pitched, piercing laugh, devoid of all signs of mirth, and confidently strode toward the door of the house. He withdrew from the inside of his shapeless cloak a long, thin cylinder of wood. Upon pointing the offending object at the keyhole of the door, a yellow light shone before quickly dying out as the door creaked open.
Mere seconds after the figure of evil withdrew into the house, shouts, shrieks, and screams heralded the accompanying bright flashes of multicoloured light that began to permeate beyond the black curtain that hid the origination of the light-show from view.
Flashes of sickly green, bright yellow, deep red and brilliant gold were visible from the outside of the home. Shouting had been occurring since the evil being entered the house and now the shouting gained a tone of superlative urgency. The words were skewed and not immediately discernable to any potential spectators, but their meaning was clear: Run.
After several minutes of flashes and shouts, the black curtains shielding the ensuing battle of light burst, seemingly by an act of spontaneity, into flame. The scene revealed through the large windows was one of unadulterated chaos and destruction. The room revealed looked like a bomb had been exploded in it. The sections of the walls that remained in the room had great black scorch marks that appeared to have been attacked with an over-large blow-torch.
Several parts of the room, mostly furniture, were on fire. The floor was covered in ash and blood. A window to the right-side of the room was broken and the walls surrounding where the lone frame was looked to have been knocked out with heavy machinery.
Standing in the centre of the room were two men, arms raised, both bearing wooden shafts. One of the men was the one of indescribable evil, standing with his knees bent slightly in crouch, his gleaming red eyes fixed on the man in front of him. The other man stood straight-backed and proud, despite the fact that he had a large gash that extended from his left shoulder to right hip. The man had unruly black hair and vibrant brown eyes, although his hair was now singed and both eyes had taken on red edges, evidently having had blood leak into them. He looked straight into they eyes of the vile creature in front of him in an act of defiance. The battle of lights raged on.
Both men would shout a word or phrase and immediately following the bellow, a jet of coloured light shot out of their wooden shafts. The man of all-encompassing evil, of strenuous terror, was quite obviously winning this duel of light. He was not nearly as injured as the man opposite him, and he was fighting with finesse that would not be out of place at a ballet.
The men continued to wage war against each other, the man of darkness slowly winning. Then, the man of pure hatred pointed his shaft at the man opposite him and said two words. Following these two words was a light of sickly green, the sound of the opposite man's impending death was heard even from the curtain-less window and when the other man was hit with the light, the life seemed to recede from his eyes as his body slumped to the floor, defeated and spread-eagle.
For a moment all was silent, no sound was heard, no movement made. The silence was so absolute it rang loud and clear. And then the man laughed his mirthless, cruel laugh, thereby breaking the terrible silence with a sound all the more terrible.
The man of heinous evil turned away from the body of the fallen hero, a final display of superiority, before walking up the stairs where the man's supposed companion had fled earlier.
Outside of the house of the fallen hero, all was quiet. The air was thick with something akin to anticipation. A terrible, evil anticipation; anticipation of the terrible deed to come…. And then, it happened. A scream could be heard from within the house, screams not of pain or fury, but of pleading.
The companion of the fallen hero was pleading with the man of despicable evil; pleading for something more precious and selfless than many before her. For the person pleading with the man was surely a woman, her voice the octave of one that was frantic and hysterical.
The man laughed his cruel laugh and the same green light and rushing sound was heard. The death that awaited her was absolute, terribly irreversible. The man laughed his terrible, high-pitched laughter once more before the same green light that had surely ended the previous two was cast out of the wooden object.
Then, something most unexpected happened: a flash of brilliantly white light, a shriek of agony beyond anything that words can describe. And then, quite as suddenly as it happened, it stopped. The crying of a baby could be heard in the house of the fallen heroes.
The house itself was very much beyond repair: only two support beams held it together and the walls were nearly all knocked down.
The Hollowers had evidently heard the crying of the baby, for several began to poke their heads out of their doorways and windows trying to get a glance at what had caused the noise. That was when they saw the house, on fire and demolished and the baby's cry emanating eerily throughout the town.
None of the villagers thought to wonder where this house had come from, they simply rushed into the street outside of the house and looked on with morbid fascination as the house burnt and crumbled.
As if coming out of a deep trance, several of the villagers rushed into the house at once, hoping to save the crying child. Before the villagers could cross the threshold of the home, however, a man of enormous size rushed into the house, seemingly having appeared out of thin air, to do what he could.
The man emerged from the house a moment later, carrying a bundle of charred, ashen blankets with a small baby wrapped in them. Just then, a man called out from the crowd.
"Hagrid! Hagrid, what's happened? Are—" he stopped his barely formed question as he looked more closely at Hagrid. The adults of the house had not emerged, the baby however, had. He realised what must have happened.
"Hagrid, I'm his Godfather, I'll take him." the man spoke with determination.
"Can' let ya take 'em, Sirius. Professor Dumbledore tol' me ter come down 'ere and get Harry 'ere ter his aunt's." the man called Hagrid said in a gruff, broken English.
The man referred to as Sirius gained a look of defeat and his shoulders slumped. That was when a look of understanding, determination, and uncontrollable rage overtook him.
"Take my motorbike, Hagrid. I won't need it anymore," Sirius said, rage building more completely in him than ever before. The look in his eye was one of murderous resolve. This man had a plan, and this plan was going to have someone hurt.
Hagrid nodded, and said to him, "I'm sorry, Sirius. I know how much they meant ter yeh." Tears began to well up in his eyes having seen the destruction. He gave Sirius a strong, firm hug, thanked him for lending him his motorbike, (he knew how much he prized it) and took off in the direction of Surrey.