Preludium: Ruins of the Genesis
October 31, 1981
"To most wizards, the situation would have seemed hopeless. His wand lay at the other end of the Chamber, snapped in half. Salazar Slytherin's King Basilisk advanced, its exact position hard to say with eyes closed shut."
James Potter built up a minor dramatic pause before his son's wide, alert state. Silently delighting in his son's rapt attention, James continued.
"However, Godric Gryffindor was not most wizards."
Reaching behind him, James placed his hands atop his head, removing an imaginary hat and clutching it close to his chest, a hand below and above.
"With the King Basilisk bearing down upon Godric, he reached inside his hat. You see, Harry, Godric's hat was very special. It was charmed so that he could call upon his sword at anytime. When he put his hand into the hat, his fingers curled around the handle of the legendary blade."
James paused for a moment, making an exaggerated movement to mimic holding a barely concealed weapon. While James admitted to himself it didn't make a very convincing image, his son didn't seem to mind too much.
"The evil Basilisk was very quick, so Godric couldn't move until the last second. Since Godric had his eyes closed, he had to use the sound of the Basilisk's swift movements cutting through the air to figure out how close the foul creature was."
With a flourish, James withdrew the imaginary blade with a flourish, while making an exaggerated movement to the left. His eyes closed, he couldn't see his son, but clearly heard his cry of delight.
"Godric sidestepped left as the Basilisk was about to strike, bringing the Sword of Gryffindor up in a swift arc. The basilisk let out a mighty cry before it crashed to the ground, dead."
James opened his eyes as he finished the story, drinking in the sight of his son, with a smile stretching from ear to ear.
"Throughout the years, Harry, it has always fallen upon the Potters to carry Gryffindor's legacy into the future. To uphold the tradition of bravery and justice is what our family has always strove for."
Lily chose this moment to break in. "Thankfully you met someone who would be able to pass intelligence down."
James gave his wife of two years a mock glare, which turned into a smile at her saucy wink. The mocking retort on the tip of his tongue was broken by a tapping sound coming from his right. Glancing in that direction, the source of the noise was proven to be a large eagle owl.
The Potter patriarch rose to his feet slowly, stretching his arms high above him and letting out a yawn. This apparently wasn't the sort of hustle the owl was looking for, as it let out an indignant shriek.
"Quiet you" replied James, more to himself than anyone else. He leveled a cold gaze at the owl, trying to convey his displeasure with the loud noise in the vicinity of Harry. James supposed that the owl wasn't exactly terrified by his attempt at an intimidating look, as indifference was the owl's only response.
He reached the window, and opened it up. As soon as it did, the owl swooped in, dropped the letter on the table, and departed just as swiftly as it had arrived. By the time Harry fully released his amazed, gleeful cry, it was as if the owl had never been there.
"I suppose it wasn't interested in a reply." Lily mused, from her maintained position in front of the sink, causing a slight smile to tug at the corners of his mouth.
After favoring his happily drooling son with an indulgent smile, James picked up the letter. Inspecting the envelope exterior revealed not a single mark, almost unsettling in its unremarkable nature. The anonymous nature of the post, combined with unknown owner of the owl, raised the ire of James' survival instinct. There was something wrong here.
He placed the envelope on the table, and cast a detection charm on it, checking for any signs of magic. The white light washed through the yellow letter without incident, proving that it had not been tampered with. With a subtle movement of fingers, James broke the seal and reached inside to retrieve its contents. Inside was a single piece of parchment, folded in half, bereft of markings on the outside. His curiosity mounting, James opened the parchment, which appeared to have but a single sentence written upon it:
"The Potter residence can be found at Seventeen Peverell Way"
James found himself frozen for a second, his mind unable to grasp the meaning the letter implied. It was Lily's voice which partially broke him of his paralysis.
"Who's it from?"
"It's him. He's found us" replied James, his calm voice displaying that the full impact of their being compromised has not completely sunk-in.
Lily's dropped the plate she was washing. There was no mistaking who "He" was. The porcelain plate hit the floor with a crash, shards splaying across the beige floor. The breaking of the china cut through the haze like Lily's voice hadn't. They were compromised. The Dark Lord was on his way to destroy their family.
"Make sure no one comes through the back!" James yelled, as he started a sprint to the hallway, withdrawing his wand from his pocket as he moved. He caught a glimpse of Lily starting to rush to collect Harry from the kitchen table before he left the kitchen.
The pounding of James' feet on the hardwood floor sounded like hammer falls to him, his senses tuned to their utmost sensitivity.
Entering the foyer a second later, James moved into position, his back up against the wall to the right of the front door. His ears strained, trying to distinguish between the furious beatings of his heart and the imaginings of his paranoia. Only silence greeted his ears.
"Where the fuck is he?" James thought to himself. Given the Dark Lord's reported pride and self-confidence, he should have just gone through the front door. Mentally preparing himself, James inched his left hand towards the handle of the front door. His hand making contact with the cool brass, he pulled the handle down sharply, and threw the thick mahogany door open. Wand at attention, he swiftly moved into the doorway.
The front yard was awash in starlight, completely undisturbed. Turning his eyes to the road, he saw it empty, the only way in and out of his home. Eyes straining, he inspected every corner of the closely cut grass that filled the front lawn, as well as the edges of the thick forest that surrounded his home, searching for the tell-tale distortions of a disillusionment charm.
James' search turning up empty only deepened his sense of unease. Nearly oblivious to the night chill, he shut the door. He couldn't help but feel like he was animal caught in a hunter's trap. Where was the hunter though? Resigning himself to check the back yard as well, James started down the hallway. Halfway down the white-walled corridor James stopped, his instincts screaming. Had he heard something at the door just now?
Without warning, the front door was blown inward, ricocheting off the banister and landing askew against the hallway wall. The Dark Lord swiftly followed, stepping out of the darkness. James felt his insides turn to ice upon gazing at the serpentine face, the red slits of the Dark Lord's eyes narrowed, a cruel smile upon his face.
Smiling, as though what was going to happen was a foregone conclusion. As if James intended to make it easy for the Dark Wanker.
James wasted no time, and cast a bone-shattering curse at the intruder.
Voldemort reacted with a sweep of his arm, using his wand to swat the curse aside like a bothersome insect, quickly retorting a yell of "Avada Kedavra!".
James replied with a silent Wingardium Leviosa, immediately followed by a banisher. The door exploded upon contact with the sickly green curse, the following banisher sending the shrapnel back at Voldemort in a rain of mahogany splinters.
The Dark Lord swept his wand upwards, vanishing the wooden shrapnel as James flung another spell.
Voldemort lowered his wand, and spun around to the left of the bludgeoner, barely avoiding it. He waved his thirteen inches of yew as he was coming out of the spin, transfiguring the banister into a viper as the bludgeoner hit the rear wall, tearing into the plaster with a minor detonation.
James followed up with another bone-breaker, but Voldemort was already moving, ducking into the living room, the spell zipping harmlessly past him.
James quickly found himself on the defensive, with the transfigured viper bearing down upon him. With mere feet to spare, he snapped off a quick cutting curse, lopping off the serpent's head.
The snake disposed of, James turned towards the hallway table, turning it into a lion with a wave of his wand. He then compelled it to rush the living room. The lion complied, rushing down the hallway, James following right behind it.
The lion slowed at it reached the entry into the living room, its claws sliding on the floor. Before the animal had broken its momentum, a blasting curse from the living room struck the lion in the face, detonating the animal in a spray of red gore.
Heedless of the bits of brain and bloodied flesh sprayed on him, James blindly cast a blasting curse around the corner of the entryway, back in the approximate direction that Voldemort's curse arrived from.
James heard his spell impact on a shield, and saw it travel back the way it came. It passed in front of him, traveling into the dining room, where it detonated against the opposite wall in a spray of wooden shrapnel. His quickly conjured physical shield saved him from the deadly rain of debris.
Before he could lower the shield, he felt a cutting curse graze his neck. On his peripheral, James saw the cutting curse that missed his jugular by a mere two inches impact against the wall. Voldemort had almost finished him with a blind cast through the wall.
Backing up, he saw Voldemort turn the corner from the living room, wand raised, a killing curse upon the edge of his tongue.
A quick visual inventory revealed nothing left in the hallway to absorb the brunt of the curse. His choices slimming, James ran shoulder-first into the bathroom door. It yielded without resistance, James stumbling to the floor as the green light passed behind him, assaulting his senses with the sickly feeling of the darkest of magic.
Gathering his wits about him, James scrambled to his feet, using the marble sink for purchase. Steeling himself to re-enter the fray, Voldemort's Sonorous enhanced voice stopped him in his tracks.
"James, do I have your undivided attention!" spoke Voldemort, his voice seemingly omnipresent.
The silence stretched out for a moment, before being broken by a casting.
From the living room, the sound of an explosion assaulted James' ears.
"Did you hear that, James? Your fireplace is no more. That was your sole hope of escape. Your family will die tonight James. And there is nothing you can do to stop this."
James heard the confidence in Voldemort's voice. It wasn't even a question to him whether he would succeed.
"You have only two choices: A quick death by your hand or a long, torturous demise by my wand. What's it going to be, James?"
The fact that Voldemort thought a father would just lay down his life to spare himself some pain reinforced to James that he was dealing with a being devoid of all humanity. While quickly planning to strike back in the silence following the ultimatum, he heard Lily cast a banisher, followed quickly by a large explosion in the foyer. Lily must have used one of the explosive potions they had hidden in the kitchen.
James rushed out of the bathroom, his wand drawn, trying to breathe through the cloud of dust that inhibited the hallway. Choking on the particulate filling his lungs, he turned back to the bathroom, and cast three successive Reductor curses. The red spells struck the sink and toilet, pulverizing the marble fixtures. Water began to spray from the broken plumbing, the torrents creating a rapidly spreading pool.
His wand snapped back to the other end of the hallway, James backpedaled out of the dust cloud, into the kitchen. There, Lily embraced him from behind, providing a warm counterpoint to the chill of the night, which gained entrance through the window that had been blown out by Voldemort's missed killing curse.
Harry's cries brought James' attention off to the right, where he saw that Lily has placed their son in the spacious sink, to keep him out of harm's way. Turning himself around, he grasped Lily slightly above the elbows on both arms.
"Why didn't you escape!?" demanded James, furiously motioning to the broom closet at the far end of the kitchen.
"We couldn't!" Lily countered. "There's a whole bunch of Death Eaters out back! They've been doing an anti-flight chant ever since Vol-Voldemort came!"
Shifting his attention to the backyard, James saw six figures in Death Eater attire, synchronized voices performing the exact chant Lily described. The illusions he had harbored of holding off Voldemort long enough for his wife and son to escape on broom vanished.
He started to lose himself to anger before Lily shook him back to awareness, reminding him that he had a family to defend.
"The air's starting to clear." warned Lily.
Focusing his sight on the cloud, he did notice that it was becoming more opaque, the clouds of dust disappearing before his eyes. Voldemort was using filtering charms to clear his view of the two Potters. James turned to the side, and squared a quick look into the eyes of the woman he loved, steeling his determination, and seeing the same will to protect their son reflected back at him. His wife assumed a position beside him, and they both leveled their wands towards the quickly dissipating cloud.
James saw the form of Voldemort emerge from the living room; his dark cloak covered in dust, but physically unharmed, his crimson eyes ablaze with burning hatred. James wasted no time, and pointed his wand to the left, transfiguring two chairs into wolves. He heard his wife snap off two quick Confundus charms as James sent a compulsion at the wolves to attack the Dark Lord.
The wolves passed the two Potters at a sprint, heading down the corridor. Lord Voldemort's quick Protego appeared in front of him as James transfigured the bit of ceiling above Voldemort into sulfuric acid. Just as the charms bounced off Voldemort's shield, he raised his wand above his head, dropping the shield. With a wave of his wand he flung the pool of acid directly into the two wolves, which had made it halfway down the hall.
The acid hit the wolves with an audible sizzle, stopping them in their track, leaving them to thrash out their final, agonizing moments on the floor.
Voldemort snapped his shields back into place just in time to deflect Lily's two Diffindo curses. James noticed that she was varying the placement of her spells each time, to make deflecting them back very difficult.
A slight smile of pride reached his face as James twirled his wand in a complicated motion, causing a claw made from wood and plaster to materialize from the wall beside Voldemort.
The Dark Lord jumped backwards to avoid the claw swipe, the sharp tips just missing his midsection. He then sent a blasting curse at the giant claw, destroying James' construct.
Undeterred, James transfigured the remains of the wolves into a length of chain, which he then banished at Voldemort. The Dark Lord's cutter bisected the chain in two, sending the two split pieces flying behind him. Aiming his wand, he then sent a slicing curse at James. As soon as the grey curse left Voldemort's wand, the two shorter lengths of chain sprung to life, forcing his arms to the side.
Mentally thanking Lily for her quick thinking, James shot an ice spear at Voldemort. The slicing curse and the ice spear passed one another, above the spreading pool of water. James spun around to the left to avoid the curse, but he wasn't quick enough. As the slicing curse struck James in a spray of blood, he saw the ice spear hit Voldemort in the chest. The spear shattered upon impact, shredding his armor to pieces, but saving him from being impaled. The vast impact knocked him onto his back, just ahead of the shards of ice from the shattered spear that pattered into the thin layer of water.
As James collapsed onto his back, he saw his wife's attention snap from Voldemort to him. Lily appeared over him, lifting the split and bloodied shirt upwards. From the sharp intake of her breath, James could tell it wasn't good.
"Stay still James, I can fix this." reassured Lily, as she pointed her wand at his freely bleeding stomach.
"Cutis consuo" whispered Lily. James felt the flesh sealing spell take effect, his skin painfully stretched together, but at least the bleeding would stop and his guts wouldn't fall out. James sent out a smile of assurance to Lily, who exhaled with relief, shifting slightly.
Peeking around her right side, he saw Voldemort assume a sitting position, taking aim with his wand. Quickly wrapping Lily in a tight embrace, he rolled them both to the right, the killing curse impacting the floor they occupied a mere second ago. Tiny fragments of marble tile bounded harmlessly off tumbling forms, which came to rest four feet to the right, out of the hallway's line of sight.
Hearing Voldemort struggle to his feet, a still entangled James freed his arm, and started conjuring water, creating a pool in front of them. He stopped conjuring water when he saw the pool he created had touched the one formed from the broken plumbing, which had begun to snake around the corner. With the splashing sounds of Voldemort making his way towards them through the water, James leveled his wand at the joined water bodies.
A bolt of lightning jumped from James' wand, hitting the pool of water. James heard the scream of pain and anger as the lightning discharged into the water, quickly followed by a large crashing sound, and a body hitting the ground with a dull thud. With a small, grim smile, James realized that Voldemort had been blasted straight through ruined front wall, landing in the lawn. James knew that probably wasn't enough to kill Voldemort, but it would buy him some time, given the short paralysis that accompanied electrocution.
Lily scrambled to her feet, helping James to his. As she started to move towards the mouth of the hallway to resume the battle, James clamped onto her arm. Taking in her questioning gaze, he shook his head once, before speaking.
"Lily, take Harry and go! Run! I'll hold him off!"
Lily looked ready to rebel, but James saw her begin to fully take in the exhaustion that he was sure was reflected in his eyes, and in his stature. They had thrown their best at Voldemort, but James knew he didn't have a lot left to give. Their sole remaining hope was to at least give Harry a chance. He quickly pulled her close, and met her wanting lips with his own; attempting to send his unsaid everything through their last kiss, his undying love for her. They mutually broke it, only a fraction of a second after contact.
It wasn't enough, and James knew it. With regret and heavy heart, James watched the woman he loved scoop up his wailing son from inside the sink, and into her wanting arms. His last glimpse of his family was Lily running through the dining room entryway, her vibrant red hair streaming behind her, his son's bright green eyes looking at his tear-rimmed hazel ones from over Lily's shoulder.
Employing Occlumency to block out the tsunami of despair threatening to overwhelm him, he transfigured the kitchen table into a tiger, which he then called to himself. Rapping the tiger sharply on the head with his wand, eliciting a low growl from the feline predator, James disillusioned the tiger. Glancing into its eyes, James established a rudimentary mental link with it, ordering it to stay in the opposite corner of the kitchen, silent and waiting.
The command given, the tiger bounded off into the corner, a moving collage of shifting camouflage, awaiting the go-ahead to attack.
The sound of heavy splashing alerted James that his foe had risen to resume the fight. James pointed his wand at the pool of water, and flung another spell.
A blast of fire shot from around the corner, stilling James' mass freezing spell.
James was slightly amused to note that the first thing to turn the corner was Voldemort's bare, blistered feet, his boots probably burned off. Twirling his wand, James let loose with a curse.
With an expert twirl of his wand, Voldemort batted away the severing curse to his right, and replied with an incantation of his own.
James started to duck down to minimize the impact of the hurricane banisher, but the tidal wave of force moved too quickly, lifting and throwing him over the kitchen counter, along with every other object in the kitchen that wasn't secured down. He landed atop a motley collection of kitchen utensils that had been flung with him. While he felt several flares of pain from landing on sharp objects, he wasn't about to deterred. Using the counter, he pulled himself quickly to his feet, the translucent crimson of a Protego shielding him.
Reaching his feet, an unknown sickly brown spell impacted the shield, shattering it in a shower of sparks. The force knocked James backwards into the refrigerator, and elicited a gasp of pain, as the bonds holding his stomach together broke apart. Moving his left arm to cradle his midsection, he began to raise his wand.
Halfway through the motion, Voldemort's bludgeoner impacted James left shoulder, spinning him around, and sending him tumbling to the ground. He shot out his left arm to stop his fall, succeeding, but his guts kept on going, hitting the ground with a wet slap. Before James could react, Voldemort's next spell assaulted his ears.
Before James could react, his intestines began to un-spool from his stomach in a glut of blood; now outside the innate magical shielding the body produces to prevent organ summoning. In a scream of agony, James broke the compulsion preventing the tiger from attacking. Freed from its mental bonds, the disillusioned tiger sprang forward and clamped its jaws down on Voldemort's wand arm.
The grayish retreating rope went slack with Voldemort's attention broken, the length of intestine flopping to the floor. James heard the cracking of the Dark Lord's forearm splintering beneath the tiger's teeth. The spraying crimson wound revealed the outline of the tiger's head.
Looking towards the hole in his stomach, James fought through his pain, and leveled his wand at where his guts were trailing out.
"Diffindo" James whispered.
The curse struck at the wound site, lopping off the intestine that hung loose off his body. He then cast the sealing spell upon his stomach, closing off the wound yet again. Hearing a scream of pain and the clattering of a wand falling to the ground, James began to pull himself to his feet, using the counter heavily to gain purchase. He gained his feet just in time to spy Voldemort withdraw a knife from his robe, and plunged it through the eye socket of the tiger, killing it instantly.
Pushing away the pain, James brought up his wand and fired off a blasting curse. Voldemort reacted by pulling the limp tiger tightly to him, and spinning the corpse around. The spell intended to kill the wandless Voldemort hit the tiger center mass, detonating the corpse in an explosion of gore. James went to cast again, but Voldemort dove after his wand, the kitchen island blocking the Potter patriarch's line of sight.
Reaching below him, James wretched open a specific kitchen drawer, and withdrew one of the three spare wands he had hidden around the house. Upon backing away from the counter, he heard a door slam upstairs. Despite the intense pain wracking his body, James couldn't help but feel glad that his wife and son had made it upstairs. That meant she only needed about another minute to activate the wards. Time James had every intention of giving her.
Having made the decision to draw back and re-group, he backed through the doorway, into the dining room. Focusing hard, he raised the wand in his right arm.
"Clypeus clusa exeo!"
The translucent, blue, one-way permeable shield shimmered into existence. James could already feel the strain of the power-heavy spell, but held it in place, and raised his spare wand with his other hand. James knew he was edging close to magical exhaustion, on the brink of physical collapse, and double casting would only accelerate the both of them. Nonetheless, this is where he would make his last stand. Success or death, Lily needed time.
Voldemort stepped into the doorway, brandishing his wand in his opposite hand, as James finished raising the spare wand. James immediately opened fire, two severing curses followed by a jet of flame.
The Dark Lord swatted the first two curses with an expert twirl of his wand, finishing with a sweeping motion that transfigured the fire into ice. The deflected spells dissipated upon the blue shield. As the newly formed ice fell to earth, Voldemort replied with a dark grey curse.
The shield-detonating curse hit the shield before James could lower it, blasting apart the shield in a large explosion. The force from the detonation threw James backward onto the dining room table, his eleven inch mahogany wand wrenched from his grasp. He began to raise the spare from this prone position. A foot off the table, Voldemort's severing curse stuck his wand, lopping off all his fingers in a glut of blood, and cutting the wand in half.
Having no fingers to hold it with, the other half of the wand fell to the table with a small clatter.
Upon Voldemort's spell striking, James felt his arms forcefully stretched out to his sides, perpendicular to his torso, followed by an invisible blunt object being forcefully punched through his wrists, binding him to the table.
James let instinct taking over, and let out his screams of agony. Through the pain, he noticed the furious red eyes of the Dark Lord. His offensive campaign at an end, James sought a new strategy.
"My son is going to kill you, Tom" spoke James, attempting to keep the physical anguish out of his voice.
Searching for a reaction that would incite Voldemort to torture him and perhaps buy Lily more time, James found none but a small smirk pulling at the corners of Voldemort's mouth as he raised his wand, and slashed it vertically.
The spell left Voldemort's wand in a vertical column of dark grey energy, splinters flying as the magical equivalent to a chainsaw cut through the middle of the oak table. Despite the futility of the action, James spent what he knew would be his final moments of life struggling against the bonds of the crucifixion curse, his eyes blazing with a defiance that would make Gryffindor himself proud.
X-X-X-X-X-X -|- X-X-X-X-X-X -|- X-X-X-X-X-X
Lily could still taste the lingering red wine that her husband was so fond of upon her lips, her final memento from the man she loved. While she couldn't argue with the logic of abandoning her husband to the whims of the madman, guilt weighed upon her like a wet blanket.
Harry's body convulsed slightly in her arms, having an entirely silent tantrum, courtesy of her silencing charm. Not that she could blame Little Harry, since she had just left her husband to die. Fucking hell. In a burst of self-pity, she cursed fate for dropping that damned prophecy upon their laps.
Terrible as she felt at this moment, she wasn't going to let her husband's sacrifice go to waste. Rubbing Harry's back in a futile attempt to soothe him, she inched further into the dining room, all the way to the doorway into the foyer. She stood there for a moment, ears strained.
She heard the cold voice of Voldemort cast an Amovere typhonis, followed by the resultant crashes from the kitchen. Seizing the opportunity of Voldemort being out of the hallway's line of sight, she cast quick silencing charms on her feet, and then walked through the entryway.
The foyer was a ruin. Not a single wall had been untouched, peppered with various scorch marks and punctures in the wood and plaster. The front wall had almost been completely destroyed, letting in the chill of the late night. While for a second she was tempted to make a run for it on Harry, she thought better of it, the edge of the wards being too far away.
With one last look to the night outside, she approached the stairs. They had not been spared from the wrath of the explosive potion, the first two steps missing completely. Taking a large, unsteady step, she stepped upwards onto the third step. She landed off balance, and sidestepped to the left to maintain equilibrium. Her left foot placed itself directly onto a long wooden splinter, which stabbed directly into the heel of her foot.
In what Lily found to be an admirable feat, she successfully held back the mixed scream of pain and anger. Leaning herself against the wall, she took hold of the miniature wooden spear protruding from her heel, and ripped it out in one swift movement. Blood immediately began to well from the wound in a steady flow. Lily displayed her displeasure by throwing the malevolent piece of wood to the ground. She then moved to seal the wound, but thought better of it. She wanted Voldemort to know which room that they went into, so he wouldn't check the others too closely.
Settling for a numbing charm upon her foot, she continued up the stairs, leaving bloody footsteps in her wake. The condition of the stairs improved in appearance with each successive step, Lily was thankful to note. Gaining the top, she ran to the first door on the right, and entered.
Once inside Harry's room, Lily slammed the door close. Running over to the crib, she gently laid the silently bawling Harry into it. Turning, she pointed her wand at a seemingly meaningless patch of floor, and whispered "Accio."
A square cut of wood rose from the floor, and flew towards Lily, who caught it then tossed it aside immediately. She ungracefully fell to her knees, sacrificing grace for brevity. Inside the revealed space was a hollow, a cubic foot in dimension. At the bottom lay a circle of ivory, with a runic symbol carved into it, of Futhorc origin.
Lily's wand tip pressed to the ivory carving, she let loose with the incantation for rune activation.
With the final syllable spoken, a red light gathered at the tip of her wand. The crimson light spread to fill the runic symbol like a liquid filling a mold, and the intensified in brightness. As Lily began to shield her eyes, the light exploded in an expanding sphere, passing through her harmlessly, seeping into the eight boundary stones embedded into the wall. The entire perimeter of the room flashed a bright crimson before fading into nothingness, the wards completely swathing the room fully activated.
This had been the backup plan that the two elder Potters had concocted. As a last ditch effort against Death Eaters penetrating the house's defenses, James would hold off the intruders for as long as possible, while Lily activated the room's protections. For the persistent trespasser, they would receive a nasty surprise if they tried to hammer down the wards.
However, Lily had her own contingency plan. One that she had taken pains to ensure James had never discovered.
Rushing back to Harry's crib, she removed the shirt from the silently struggling infant. While she felt regret about leaving the silencing charm on her son, she needed complete silence and the accompanying effect on her concentration to even have a chance of not fucking this up.
Lily moved her want, pointing it at her arm. Taking a deep breath she then whispered "Diffindo"
The curse slashed into her upper arm, causing minimal splatter, as the spell had not been cast with an over-abundance of power. Lily smeared the blood welling from the cut onto her fingers, and lowered her fingers towards her son.
Taking a moment to visualize the rune that had been etched upon her mind by countless study, she wondered if it was all mothers that would strive to these types of magic in a time of need. Well, she hadn't been sorted into Gryffindor by accident. With a pang of regret, she whispers "Petrificus Totalus". She can't have Harry disturbing the rune once it's been drawn.
Using her fingers, in the fashion she had practiced in secret for the past year, she began to draw the rune. Due to her diligence in practicing this, the shape quickly formed upon Harry's chest, dexterous fingers dancing to her mind's tune.
After a minute of work, Lily looked down, satisfied in her craftsmanship. The symbol was a vivid red upon the pale skin on her son's chest, a relic from a time long since past, culled from deepest depths of the Potter ancestral library. It was one half of an equation, a destination for the sacrifice she long ago decided to make.
"Magic of the sacrificed, may you shield the innocent from harm."
The first line uttered, a slight glow began to radiate from the rune.
"Love of the sacrificed, may you shield the innocent from hate."
Upon conclusion of the second line, the rune intensified in brightness.
"Life of the sacrificed, may you shield the innocent from death."
The third and final line completed, the rune's luminescence intensified to the point of filling the entire room with light, before retreating back to its source.
The first half of the ritual completed, Lily moved to the full length mirror set into the closet door. Crossing her hands as she reached her hands down, she hooked her petite hands into the bottom of her shirt, and pulled it off. Creamy white skin met her gaze in the mirror, not mired by the cavalcade of freckles usually so prominent in red-heads. This was the part that Lily had spent the most time practicing, which had the smallest margin of error.
Inhaling deeply, she lanced another cutting curse across her upper arm, slightly to the right of the previous wound. She dipped her fingers into the blood from the new wound, and began her painting anew. Using the mirror-image technique that she had practiced ad-nauseum, she carefully drew the counterpart to the rune inscribed upon her son's chest.
Upon completion, she inspected her own work carefully in the mirror. Lily had to make sure there were no mistakes, for even the slightest divergence from the design could render all her efforts useless. Her inspections led her to the undeniable conclusion that it was perfect.
Before she could begin the chant, she felt the sickly drain of magic associated with the killing curse. While Lily knew the fact that Voldemort was saturating the wards was more important right now, fresh tears formed at the insides of her eyes as she knew that her husband must be dead.
A second curse striking the wards, accompanied by a sizzling from the wards broke Lily of the sorrowful reverie. She wouldn't let her husband's sacrifice be in vain.
Intent on finishing the ritual, she took up the verse again.
"I willingly sacrifice my magic, should harm befall the innocent."
"I willingly sacrifice my love, should hate befall the innocent."
Upon completion of the second line, the third killing curse struck the wards. The hiss of the perimeter boundaries transferring energy to the discharging stone met her ears, as the slight smell of ozone met her nose.
"I willingly sacrifice my life, should death befall the innocent."
The ancient words spoken, both runes written in blood let out a final flash, before sinking into their bodies, not a single mark or streak left behind. She exhaled heavily upon seeing the rune disappear into her flesh, secure in the knowledge that everything had gone according to plan. The ritual had but one act left for completion: a willing act of sacrifice.
A fourth Avada Kedavra struck the wards, causing the boundary stones to practically scream with the strain. This suggested the discharging stone was fully saturated, no longer accepting the, no longer converting the magical discharge sent from the boundary stones into heat. One more strike to the ward would overload it, detonating the discharging stone in a violent explosion.
Judging by the attack upon the ward, Voldemort hadn't bothered to fully investigate the nature of the discharging stone. Lily knew it was very unlikely that he wouldn't figure out it was in the closet of the room opposite to Harry's, but held out hope that he wouldn't scrutinize the discharging stone's housing more closely.
Not wishing to waste any more time, in the event that the secondary protections the Potters had placed upon Harry's room failed, Lily cast two flesh knitting spells upon her arm, then with a whisper of "Scourgify", cleansed her skin of all traces of blood. Moving quickly, she threw her own shirt back on, then moved over to Harry's crib. She forced his shirt back on his prone body, and then cancelled the two charms she had cast previously.
Harry was vocal in his displeasure with his treatment, and responded with cranky cries, waving his arms above his head with newfound freedom, tiny fists clenched in anger. Still feeling bad about her treatment of him, she leaned down and placed a kiss upon her son's forehead.
"I'm so sorry, Harry." Lily whispered.
The moment her lips left her son's head, the final Unforgivable curse struck the ward. With a loud sizzle, the wards blinked out of existence. Lily had a moment to feel fear and plant herself in front of her son's crib before a massive detonation ripped through the house.
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Voldemort watched impassively as the spell cut through the end of the table, and continued into the opposite wall, splitting the wall before the energy behind the spell exhausted itself. In the aftermath, the only sound heard was the steady rain of blood from Potter's crudely bisected body seeping through the split table.
While he would have liked to savor his victory over the Light wizard, who had turned out to be more formidable than anticipated, the woman had run too easily. More likely, there was some sort of plan in place that needed time to develop. Why else would James have tried to stall him with his pathetic efforts? As if the petty insults of a Mudblood lover such as himself were of any consequence to Lord Voldemort.
Sparing a glance to his ruined arm, he tried to move his fingers. He let out a sneer of disgust as the digits lay motionless. The tiger must have severed the tendons in his hand.
The Dark Lord pointed his wand at the table, transfiguring the set silverware into a shapeless blob. With a wave, the blob moved onto his arm, filling the bloody cavity left by the transfigured animal, stopping the bleeding. Forever losing the ability to perform Light based healing spells due to his total immersion in the Dark Arts was a trivial price to pay from the immense power granted to him, even if it was occasionally an inconvenience.
His arm hanging limply to his side, Voldemort strode from the dining room and approached the foot the stairs. He stopped before ascending and noticed the track of bloody footsteps leading up the staircase, beginning at the third step, quickly concluding that the foolish Mudblood must have forgotten to cover her tracks.
Following the trail up the stairs led him to the first door on the right. He knew that she had picked this room for a reason. With James' pathetic attempts to delay pursuit of his wife, it seemed correct to assume that she had needed time to activate protections upon the room.
Turning his wand upon his face, he hissed out an incantation.
"Trafero visi veneficus!"
The magical sight spell cast, he saw the physical world fall away, replaced with the magical one. In front of him was no longer a room, but a box shape in a translucent light red, with dark crimson foreign runes at the vertices of the opaque box. Directly in the middle of the room lay a larger red symbol, etched in familiar Futhorc runes, the controlling rune for the entire ward.
He recognized the scheme used. It was a simple box ward, which normally wouldn't have given him any problems, but the boundary stones were in a runic language unfamiliar him. The sound dampening nature of the scheme rendered his knowledge of Futhorc chants useless, since the deactivation command couldn't breach the ward.
While a simple scheme unto itself, he found the craftsmanship to be admirable. It was no easy task using runes from dissimilar origin within the same ward. However, if finesse was eliminated as an option, he was more than willing to exercise brute force, and hammer the wards down.
Raising his wand, he cast a killing curse at the barrier. The green curse hit the ward, being quickly absorbed by the protection, transforming the energy of the killing curse with a bright red discharge, into a sickly brown color, that was quickly sucked in the opposite direction. He turned his head, following the trajectory of the banished energy. It flew towards an area that he surmised was probably the closet in the room opposite the warded one, and then disappeared in a muted flash of red.
An unsettling smile found its way onto Voldemort's face. Did the Potter's have so little respect for his skills that they thought this would actually work? That he would just neglect to locate where the discharging stone would be located, that he would just let himself be consumed by the explosion of an overloaded heat sink?
A discharging stone was at the heart of most-small scale warding schemes. It served as an energy transformation mechanism, from magical to heat. Any spells impacted upon a ward tied to a discharger would be transformed into generic magical energy, before being attracted by the discharger. This was really the only way small scale wards could function, as the relatively small size of the boundary stones couldn't handle much excess energy before shorting out.
He had found, without fail, that there was no better curse for overloading dischargers than the Avada Kedavra. While discharging stones did tend to explode upon being overloaded, a quick conjured physical shield was more than adequate to shield one from the rain of deadly shrapnel.
With a wave his wand, he canceled the spell upon his eyes, the physical world returning to his sight. Before lowering his wand, he cast another killing curse. Upon impact with the ward, the boundary stones sizzled slightly with the strain of dissipating the immense magic of the Unforgivable curse.
He waited ten seconds before his next cast, not wishing to deplete himself magically should something go awry, and force him to fight his way out.
At the end of his self-imposed breather, he cast again. This time around, the wards flashed angrily, hissing with the effort of the transformation process. A slight smell of ozone hit his snake-like nostrils, implying the transfer was no longer completely efficient. He calculated it would only take two more curses to destroy the ward.
The next cast caused the entirety of the ward to flash a furious red, as opposed to a solitary spot, accompanied by the wards literally squealing with effort. The smell of ozone was much stronger this time around, adding further evidence that his calculation was correct.
One more Unforgivable, and immortality was at his finger tips, his only obstacle a Mudblood and an infant. Voldemort savored the feeling of inevitable success for a moment, before flinging the final killing curse. The green blight impacted with the ward, which then attempted to transfer the energy inert. It failed, the wards breaking apart in a shower of red sparks.
The moment the green light left his wand, he swung himself around, solid physical shield in place. Scant seconds later, the discharger detonated with an explosive crack. He heard the shrapnel tear through the opposite wall, and braced himself for the impending impact upon his shield.
He was wholly unprepared for the debris that punched through his shield like it was butter. The shrapnel shredded through his body, exiting in crimson tinged streamers, before embedding itself in the wall behind him. He stood motionless for a second, before his nerve endings cut through the haze of shock.
The Dark Lord hit the ground buried beneath an avalanche of pain, screaming in equal parts agony and rage. Never before had he been so fundamentally hurt, or outsmarted. It appeared that the Potters had placed large amounts of iron fillings, the most magically disruptive element in the world, in front of the discharger. He grew even more incensed by the knowledge that they had counted on him hammering down the wards.
Before his sub-conscious could mock him ever further for being so deftly outplayed, he slammed his Occulemncy barriers into place, blocking out the idle chatter. He was still alive, due to the protection his Horcruxes provided, but he could still pass out from blood loss. With a distinct lack of enthusiasm, he pulled off his robe.
His torso looked like Swiss cheese, miniature holes peppering his stomach and chest. Chunks of flesh had been punched out of his arms and legs, and a particularly pesky shred of shrapnel had torn off his thumb on the right hand. While he found it fortunate his working hand was still completely intact, there weren't a lot of positives to derive from his present situation.
Moving to prevent further blood loss, he held out his thumb-less hand, and pointed his wand at it. A jet of flame erupted from his wand, cauterizing and sealing the wound site. Resigning himself to how unpleasant this ordeal was going to be, he moved his wand upwards.
After several minutes, all his wounds were taken care of. The bleeding had been staunched, but he had never felt less charitable in his life. He felt like a cut of overcooked steak, his skin alternating between blackened, charred patches and white superficial burns, while the smell of pork clung to him like a parasite. Despite his assurances to Snape, the likelihood of Lily surviving the night was slim.
With a quick jab of his wand, the pockmarked door was thrown violently open. Voldemort stepped through the doorway, wand at the ready. The Mudblood stood before her son's crib, arms splayed wide in a futile protective stance.
"Not Harry! Not Harry! Please-I'll do anything-"
While for a second he contemplated the meaning of anything, and the accompanying humiliation and terror he could wreak upon her, more than anything he wanted this night concluded.
"Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!"
Voldemort's command went unheeded as Potter refused to move.
Her promised chance granted, he raised his wand without hesitation, green light gathered at the tip.
The killing curse struck Lily in the chest. She fell where she stood, hitting the wood floor with a dull thud, lifeless eyes turned to the heavens. The Potter heir starting bawling his eyes out upon his mother's death, fists clenched tight as he screamed.
Voldemort flicked his wand to the right, and Lily's corpse flew to right, hitting the wall with a crunch before landing limbs askew, red hair everywhere. His path to the crib clear, he approached.
Staring down, he felt as if this night was going to be strangely anti-climatic. This child, bound to him by prophecy, was supposed to challenge him? This foul-smelling baby who screamed with reckless abandon, would be the instrument in his defeat? It seemed that even fate would fall before his might.
Upon conclusion of the thought, he pointed his wand at Harry, and cast a jet of deadly green light at the child.
The curse struck the Potter heir on the right side of his forehead. To his astonishment, the curse seemed to diffuse around the child's body, enveloping it in a pale green luminescence, which was steadily growing in intensity. Unintelligible whispers struck his ears, seemingly without source. For the first time in many years, he felt an almost alien emotion tug at him.
Frozen, Voldemort saw a bright spot of green begin to spill from Harry's head. As the whispers intensified in volume, the green light carved a shape into the child's forehead, where his initial curse had struck. Scant seconds later, the fully realized shape of a lightning bolt was etched upon his forehead, spilling forth an unearthly green light.
He witnessed the pale green light that had cloaked Harry begin to drain, as if the mark on his forehead was absorbing the residual magic. The temperature then began to drop, and he felt suction upon his every essence, as if his magic was being drained.
His breath turning to vapor before him, panic struck him. Stumbling backwards, he saw the shining green radiance pouring from the child's head reach a painful intensity, before coalescing into a single point. As he reached the doorway, the light exploded and rushed towards him, a killing curse the magnitude of which seemed impossible.
Moving too quickly to avoid, the stench of death clogging his nostrils, the light struck him. He felt his body, his flesh disintegrate upon contact with the unknown magic, leaving only pain and a faint consciousness behind.
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"What the fuck have I gotten myself into?" Wormtail asked himself, for the third time that night.
It had all been so simple to start. The Dark Lord had given him a choice: betray the Potters or perish. What choice was he given?
With the Potters dead, both Voldemort and he would go to his apartment, in wait for Sirius. Once the Dark Lord had struck down Sirius, they could distort the situation to appear that Pettigrew had killed Black in a moment of rage over the betrayal of his good friends, the Potters. Then Peter could go back to his old life, his debt repaid to the Dark Lord.
Wormtail felt that plan start to go sideways two minutes into the night.
The setup had been perfect, with Voldemort barging through the front door, the Floo being his target. Wormtail had his six Imperioused Muggles under the Mindslave potion, in Death Eater attire, to perform the anti-flight chants. Disillusioned at the forest edge, controlling their vocal cord like some insane conductor overseeing a macabre symphony, he had felt confident.
That is, until he saw the Dark Lord blown clear through the ruined front wall, landing awkwardly on the front lawn. In a pile of black robes lay the Lord he had swore fealty too, black boots burned off his feet and the only movement the occasional muscle spasm. While Voldemort did rise after a minute's respite, his Lord's invulnerability seemed to be in question.
Wormtail made his way back to the rear of the house. While the fighting downstairs had stilled, he saw the tell-tale green flashes of the killing curse escaping the window in the hallway. Not being made privy to whatever defenses the Potters had concocted, Wormtail couldn't even venture a guess. Considering the skilled and powerful nature of the Potters though, especially Lily, it was safe to imagine they could have come up with some nasty precautions.
Without warning, the northwest corner of the house exploded, blowing glass and wooden shrapnel into the night sky. Two of the Muggles were cut to ribbons by the flying glass, while another sprayed blood from their severed jugular, their head nearly torn off by a flying doorknob. Snape more than lived up to his Potions Master reputation, as the remaining Muggles had not missed a single syllable.
The raining debris settling into the yard, Wormtail surveying the collateral damage from the forest's edge, a scream of agony and rage rung out from the upper level of the home.
Why was his Lord having such problems with the Potters?
He noticed the screams of pain had been cut out, so he stealthily moved closer to the house. He heard a female voice and his Lord conversing, too far away to discern any words. Their conversation came to an abrupt end with a cold voice intoning a killing curse. Wormtail surmised that the elder Potters were probably all eliminated. All Voldemort had to do was take care of the kid, and perhaps everything would work itself out, albeit in a far more obtuse form than originally conceptualized.
Staring at the open window, Wormtail waited for the final killing curse, awash in self-disgust. Here he was, actively hoping Voldemort was going to kill an innocent child. He spied a flash of green from inside the room, and closed his eyes. Due to his actions, an entire family was dead, of people that had trusted him. He had found it easier to justify himself leading up to his day, but now that it had occurred, all he felt was a crushing self-loathing. Was saving his own skin truly worth the price that had just been paid?
Thought weighing heavily upon his soul, Wormtail spied an eerie green light pulsing out from Harry's room. Was killing Harry not enough for Voldemort? Did he feel it was necessary to further gloat over his victory by performing some sort of ritual? Unconsciously, he began to back away from the house.
He had made it almost back to the tree line when a green light sprang forth from inside the house. It was almost otherworldly in its intensity, and he felt the drain on his soul. Before Wormtail could further ponder the nature of the phenomenon, a second explosion ripped through the upper floor of the house. The upper right floor of the house disintegrated in a flash of green fire, tearing the roof off and raining even more debris into the yard.
Wormtail was indifferent to any further aesthetic damage, as a terrible pain that seemed to reach all the way to his soul, wracked his body. He fell to the ground, arm in agony, clutched close to his chest. Pulling back his sleeve, he was the Dark Mark was inflamed, an angry red instead of the usual obsidian.
Tears clouding his vision, the pain cut out. Nothing like this had ever happened to the Dark Mark. While having no idea how it could possibly be so, he was left with only one conclusion:
Voldemort had been destroyed.
His betrayal had been for nothing. He started to sink into despair, knowing it was only a matter of time before Sirius came after him, a fight he had no chance of winning. Sirius would never stop hunting him, either.
He was broken from his mental anguish by a red glow surrounding the property. The glow intensified, the air itself heavy with magic. With a sudden crack, the magic discharged into the air in a red flash, before disappearing.
"Oh fuck." Wormtail moaned to himself.
The Fidelius anchor had just snapped, the damage to the property unmaking the charm. Anyone could be on their way now. For all he knew, one of the Potters might have been able to send out a final message.
However, then distraction had cut through his self-pity, bringing clarity. If he had any hope of deflecting all reason of suspicion, he had to act swiftly, erasing all evidence that Voldemort had needed any help.
He quickly turned to the Muggles, and cast three successive suffocation curses. Their oxygen depleting, he ordered them to start walking towards the woods. Gasping for air, his marionettes complied, dragging themselves forward in the final thrashes of oxygen deprivation. He summoned the previously killed Muggles, placing them next to their dying compatriots.
Sprinting over to middle of the lawn, he vanished the gore left behind by the Muggles. With a wave of his wand, he transfigured the cooling corpses into leaves, joining the ones that blanketed the back yard.
Calling upon his animagus ability, Wormtail transformed, the ground rushing up to meet him. The transformation complete, he bolted into the woods, keeping to the thick underbrush.
He had only scurried a few hundred yards when he heard movement deeper in the woods. He froze as the sounds of something large approached. Fear froze Wortmail, as the approaching sounds took on the unmistakable crunch of boots moving through the forest. "Shit! The Potters did contact someone!" he thought to himself.
Paralyzed by fear, Wormtail could only hope himself unnoticed. The steps came up right to him, before fading away again. Gingerly opening his eyes, Wormtail spied four people, of indeterminate sex, robed in dark cloaks, hoods pulled tightly around their heads.
Wormtail had never seen attire like this before, but whoever they were; they were headed towards the house. Vaguely wondering what use they could have for the three dead Potters, Wormtail's will to stay alive triumphed, and he continued on his path to reach the boundary of the Apparition wards, so he could get back to his apartment, and wait for Sirius' eventual arrival.
While he did wonder what use they could have for the three dead Potters, his survival was far more important. He continued north, towards the edge of the Apparition wards, so he could get back to his apartment, the first place Sirius would probably look.
And there Wormtail would be waiting.
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Sitting on a stool in the Leaky Cauldron, a temporarily victorious Sirius Black slammed his recently emptied shot glass onto the bar with a large exhale, and then let out his victory taunt.
"What's a matter Hagrid, can't handle your alcohol?!?"
The subject in question tried to formulate a response, garbled mumbling sneaking out from between his tangles of beard, before crashing forward onto the bar.
"Is he even still alive?" Tom asked, with a look of trepidation upon his face.
Tom's question was answered by Hagrid's snores, which wouldn't have been out of place during the Jurassic period. Sirius broke into loud barks of laughter, the noise echoing throughout the nearly deserted establishment.
Sirius' laughter was abruptly cut off by what sounded like a woman in distress. Taking a quick glance around, he re-confirmed that the bar only held three patrons, and not a single female.
"Sirius!" cried the female voice again, terror coating the three syllables. Where the fuck was it coming from? And why did it sound so familiar?
Realization struck him like a sledgehammer. Lily. The charmed mirrors.
Thrusting his hands into his pockets, he quickly withdrew the mirror, and beheld Lily's panicked face. The terror he saw shredded the haze of alcohol, forcing the world into sharp focus.
"Sirius, he's here! He's found us!"
"Lily, hang on, I'm on my way!"
Lily started to say something, but Sirius threw the mirror aside.
"Tom, Sobriety Potion, now!"
Tom reacted quickly to Sirius' frenzied roar, reaching beneath the counter and withdrawing a small vial, which he tossed to Sirius. Throwing aside the cork, he pounded the potion in one gulp, heedless to the intense pain the accompanied the first few seconds of the alcoholic purge of the bloodstream.
Sirius stormed over to the fireplace, grasping a pile of Floo powder in his fist. Throwing it into the fire, he yelled "Potter Residence!"
To his horror, the flames retained their hue. The Floo connection was destroyed. Spinning around, he marched back to the bar.
"Voldemort's found the Potters!" yelled Sirius at Tom. Heedless to the drain of color from the barkeeper's face, Sirius reached into his robes, withdrawing his motorcycle keys, which he slammed down on the bar.
"Get him some sobriety" said Sirius, gesturing towards Hagrid. He paused, hoping his next words wouldn't come, before continuing "Tell him to meet me at…."
The Fidelius anchor was still up. He couldn't tell Tom where it was. At least Hagrid already knew. "Tell Hagrid to meet me at the Potter's! Then go to the Ministry, get help!"
Sirius didn't wait for a reply, apparating before his last words had faded from the air.
He reappeared with a loud crack, shattering the previously held serenity of the night. Without thought he changed into his Animagus form, and sprinted up the road. He tore down the road, all fear and terror stricken from his mind, as the animal instinct for speed took precedence.
Ten minutes later, the road spread out into the clearing that housed the Potter ancestral home. Sirius changed back into human form thirty feet from the house, and fully took in the destruction with human eyes.
It was a miracle the house was even still standing. The foyer, living room, most of the second floor and the attic were almost completely destroyed. It seemed only Harry's room had been spared on the second floor. Still, there was no Dark Mark floating above the house. He allowed himself to hope that the Potter's had somehow found a way to hold out against Voldemort.
Sirius withdrew his wand, and whispered "Homenum Revilio."
His worst fears were realized as the spell turned up negative. There was not a single living person left within the Potter's home. Voldemort had triumphed.
Tears fell unimpeded from his eyes as he fell to his knees, but he was able to shunt aside his agony, locking his Occlumency barriers into place. He had failed the Potters in life, but perhaps he could do at least one final thing for them.
With an unsteady gait, he made his way to the ruined threshold of the house, into the foyer. Taking in the destruction about him, he felt the stirrings of pride. The Potters had not made it easy for Voldemort.
Upon entry to the living room, the air was pushed from his lungs, as he saw the man who was brother in all but name, split in two. James Potter's eyes had never closed, implying that he had continued to fight until the end, a Gryffindor to the very end. With a wave of his wand, he conjured a white sheet, and lay it gently over his fallen brother.
"Farewell, my brother."
He shambled from to the other rooms on the first floor, taking in the destruction wrought, terrible thoughts forming in his head. Hard as he tried to push it away, it was insistent. He kept on trying to tell himself that Peter had cracked under torture, that he had forcefully betrayed the location of the Potters. He would have to go find Peter after he had provided for his friends….to see if he had survived the torture. His mind wouldn't even acknowledge the other possibility, the one his subconscious continued to push at him.
Finding no other trace of the remaining Potters, he ascended the stairs and went to Harry's room, the probable last stand of the Potter family.
His heartache grew deeper when his glance fell against Lily's crumpled final form, treated like a piece of trash that had been thrown away. He moved over to her still form, and moved her dead weight to the middle of the floor, to lay her down peacefully. He conjured another white sheet for her, wanting to give her the dignity that Voldemort had denied her in death.
Steeling himself, he moved towards the crib. He didn't want to see his dead godson, a child that had never even had the opportunity to grow; damned by a prophecy he had no concept of.
Willing himself forward, he looked down into the crib.
It was empty.
Harry Potter had disappeared.
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I know this got rather tedious at times, not really breaking a great deal of new ground. The first proper chapter will be entirely AU events, so that should be more interesting.
I am in need of a beta, so any interested parties would be encouraged to contact me.
Any comments, suggestions or criticisms would be deeply appreciated. I'll make an effort to answer every review I get.
Thanks for the help in the planning stages:
Japanese jew, jbern, charmscharles, Nukular Winter, Perspicacity, Lilith Nocturne
Also thanks to the DLP crew who gave suggestions on the rough draft:
Meatzman2, Mr. Ripley, azrael91, Silens Cursor, Andromalius, KrzaQ, Dirk Diggory, Militis, Memory King
Thanks for reading.