CHAPTER ONE: Carmus McGill

June 14, 1990
1:37 p.m.
Surrey, England

Carmus McGill stopped in front of #4 Privet drive and sighed. Pulling out a small notebook, he read through the paragraph again. It was the same as always. In a minute, he would knock on the door and go through all these steps. Smiling, he placed the notebook back in his coat pocket. Checking his pockets for the recorder, he switched it on and stepped up to the door. Knocking, he waited.

I've never been so thankful that Sean wasn't one of those lyrical Seers.

A few moments later, a middle aged woman of impressive neck length opened the door. She stood still in the doorway, taking a long look at the quality of his clothes before stretching her mouth into a wide smile and inviting him in.

"Hello, may I help you."

"Hello, Mrs. Dursley, My name is Sean Hayes. I am conducting an interview survey for the Department of Home and Families. We are interviewing average families to get an idea of the average British family. This information will be used to set policy. May I please come in?

"But of course! We're always pleased to help the government as all good citizens are."

"Of course." Carmus stepped in and rolled his eyes as she shut the door.

Only for you, Sean, only for you.

Carmus followed her, his eyes casting over the obscene amounts of photographs papering the wall. Each photo showed off the various stages of a horribly overweight dirty blonde boy. The child obviously took after his father, who alwso starred in many of the photos. The father was morbidly obese. Carmus felt a bubble of amusement flow up within him, Jack Sprat and his wife had somehow switched places and reproduced. She offered him tea and he accepted gracefully. A simple question about the young man in the pictures distracted her long enough for him to pull a vial of Veritaserum from his pocket, pouring 3 drops in her tea. Sitting back, he waited for it to take effect.

A half hour later, Carmus was furious; no, he was beyond furious.

"Now, I have records on the children living here, there are two, correct?"

"Well, our precious Dudders." Petunia smiled happily before her top lip twisted in disgust, "and the Freak!"

"Uh, The Freak, ma'am?"

"My abnormal sister's freakish child. Despite everything we did for Lily, she took up with a man who was a drunk and a drug addict. It drove my parents to their deaths! To our, my husband and I, dismay… Lily and her worthless husband had a car accident. They killed themselves and left their child orphaned. There is obviously something wrong with him. Likely she drank and did drugs while she was pregnant. We really weren't equipped for such a special needs child. We would have sent the child to the orphanage except someone had seen us pick him up off the doorstep. Yes, they dropped off on our doorstep where everyone could see him. With the way the neighbors gossip, within a day everyone would know about him, so of course we had to keep him. Now, we didn't want him contaminating our precious son with what would obviously be bad behavior and trouble. I mean, Dudley will one day be as great a man as his father, a man known and respected by his neighbors. We can't have him really connected with The Freak, so we keep it in the cupboard under the stairs."

"I see, and what about chores. Most average families give their children chores to help build character and an awareness of the value of hard work. What sort of chores do the… children do here?"

"Well, Dudley keeps his room neat as a pin. You should see it." Petunia led the way upstairs and hesitated before a door. "The rest of the house is The Freak's job, not that he does it well. Now, I know it seems like a lot however, we must take a firm hand to him if we ever expect him not to be like his parents. Who knows what addictions and depravities they have passed onto him. I have to get it up at three in the morning and all it does is complain that it's tired, then when Dudley finishes his room that awful useless Freak comes and ruins it."

Carmus looked at the woman and nodded sympathetically. Waiting for her to turn around, he pulled the vial from his pocket and checked the label. There, in his beloved friend's hand, was the label 'Veritaserum'. Pouring a drop on his hand, he rubbed it for texture. It appeared alright. So obviously, it's working right. This… female believed everything she was saying.

"However, it's been outside since nine this morning, so perhaps he hasn't managed to be cruel. No matter how many times we whip him, and trust me he deserves every whipping we give him, he still tries our patience." She opened the door to show a room that was an ordinary room. Toys, computer games, and other things were all over the shelves and desk. The bed was made up and for the most part the floor was clean. "See, neat as a pin."

Carmus nodded and closed the door. "And what about… the Freak's room? Where did you place him, surely not in the same room as Dudley?"

"I should think not! If not for common decency, I'd kick the Freak out! Alas, instead I keep it confined in the storage cupboard under the stairs. If you don't feed Freaks, they stay small. If I had my way, I wouldn't feed it at all. I guess I just can't help it, I'm too soft a person for my own good."

"Yes, yes, I see. Well, that should be it. Thank you, Mrs. Dursley, ever so much."

Petunia simpered and nodded at him. He gestured for her to go first, as befit a gentleman and as soon as her back was turned, a hand slipped into his pocket to turn off the recorder. Petunia stopped suddenly, caught in a spell's grasp and relaxed.

"You are a vile, disgusting piece of offal that masquerades as a human. In two minutes, you will check on Harry, deciding he is doing well enough. You will then go upstairs, take a bath, and nap for a couple hours. When you wake up, you will make dinner for your family and not notice Harry is missing. If anyone comes asking about Harry, you will ignore them and change the subject. Go Now!"

Carmus watched as Petunia Dursley, neé Evans walked up the stairs. Stepping out of her site, he allowed an illusion to hide him. Flipping open the notebook, he looked again at the Prophecies. The first one, the most important one.

Carmus, my dear one,

The 'one who stole a seat' at the table has wrapped about the place old and ancient wards. Wards of love, blood, and intent. Intent, on his part to control his movements. Love, on his mother's part to protect him. Blood, on his aunt's part to strengthen and hold the wards. However, he misread the signs. To protect him from all who wish him ill, to hide him from those who would free him, the thief needs a different Blood, Intent, and Love. Love that binds a true family together, the willingness to shed Blood if it takes that to hold a family together, and the Intent to never lose that family. His 'family' is willing to shed his Blood for no reason save their own ire and would not shed one drop of thiers in his protection. Their Intent is to destroy him mind, body, and magic. To destroy, not protect. Their Love does not exist. The wards do not exist except in their extant state. They were laid but never raised. Please, my friend, my love, my other self; rescue him.

Sean Alistair Hayes Daton

Carmus headed towards the back of the house and looked out the kitchen window. The small boy was hunched over the ground. His back was red and his head lowered. His hand moved slowly from before him to the side, dropping weeds in a small pile. Carmus noticed that this was perhaps the twelfth such pile. Growling, he placed his hands on the sink and tried to calm himself down. He would scare the boy with his anger. Exiting the house, he crouched down. "Harry."

Harry stopped and turned slowly. He was smaller than Carmus had thought.

"Harry. You can stop weeding. Come here, please." Carmus sat still, trying not to frighten the young boy. "Harry, do you believe in magic? In things happening just because? Of things that fly?"

Harry looked at him, the green eyes staring through him. "I used to dream about a flying motorcycle, but Uncle Vernon says they can't fly."

"Oh, some do. I promise you, Harry. Some of them do, but right now, it's time for us to go. Both of us, and you'll never have to come back here. I promise you." Carmus stood up and held out his hand.

Harry slipped his hand into Carmus' and let the older man lead him through the backyard fence. Suddenly Carmus stopped and turned to look at Harry, his own dark brown hair falling in his eyes. "Harry, how do you know that I won't hurt you?"

"I don't." Harry stared down Privet Drive.

"Now you do. I'll protect you." Carmus put one hand on Harry's back as they walked down to the end. Knowing that no one would see them, he stepped forward and disappeared with Harry. If there had been someone around to see him, they would have not heard any crack of air from disapparation, nor would they have seen someone rise in the air. In fact they wouldn't be able to say what they saw, that it might have been a mirage that melted away.