A/N: Hey, this is my first fanfiction. It's AU and changes around a lot of the events of cannon (hence the title, which I'm hoping to change once I think of something better. Any ideas, let me know!). It will eventually be H/G and was originally based on the Swan Princess (the reason for most of the changes) but then it took on a life of its own. I wasn't planning on posting this until it was finished, but it looks to be getting pretty long and I was getting impatient. So enjoy!
The Consequences of Change
James Potter smiled as he placed his 15 month old daughter in her crib. Smoothing the short, frizzy dark hair off her forehead, he kissed Hermione's cheek, before turning to his wife. Lily Potter was holding their son Harry, and smiling as she gently placed him in the cot next to his twin. She turned to James and he wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder.
"They're perfect, aren't they?" she asked and he nodded in reply.
They were pulled from their moment as the watch on James' wrist began flashing brightly. He swore softly, and pulled away.
"What can Albus want now?" Lily questioned as they both headed downstairs to the fireplace in the lounge room.
"I don't know, but I shouldn't be long." He paused "I don't like leaving you alone with just the babies, but it has to be important if he's calling me away after everything he said about not leaving the house."
"We'll be fine, James. Nobody can find us here."
He still looked undecided, so she smiled reassuringly and handed him the small container of floo powder. He sighed.
"I'll call you as soon as I know anything." He promised and with a lost look, and a shout of "Order Headquarters!" he threw the powder into the fire, stepped into the glowing green flames, and vanished.
Lily busied herself with making a cup of tea, and had just sat down with a book, when James' head appeared in the fire.
"Lil, the Death Eater's are attacking Diagon Alley, and they need as many people as possible. I'll be back as soon as I can." He sounded harried, but there was a familiar spark of excitement in his hazel eyes; she knew he had been bored cooped up in the house for so long.
"Is there anything I can do? I can call Molly to come and look after the twins, and be there in ten minutes." James was already shaking his head.
"Arthur's with us. Molly's going to have enough trouble taking care of her own lot." He gave a wry grin, "I know you hate it Lil, but you need to stay there. I won't be gone long; I'll be back in a couple of hours."
Lily huffed, knowing he was right.
"Just be careful. If you get yourself killed, I'll never forgive you." He grinned at her and blew a kiss before his head disappeared.
Lily had just placed her book down and walked into the kitchen some time later, when she heard the sounds of the front door opening. Puzzled, she cautiously moved her hand to her wand as she stepped back into the lounge room, peering through to the hallway. The house was under the Fidelius charm, so they could get no visitors, and James never used the front door.
Before she had a chance to do more than level her wand, a stunning spell was shot towards her, impacting on an armchair as she dived for cover. Glancing up from behind the couch, she spied four Death Eaters in the hallway, and quickly shot out two stunners of her own. Knowing the twins were just upstairs, completely unprotected, Lily used the cover of her spells to head into the kitchen, hoping to lead them away from the stairs. In the middle of the kitchen, she turned to take her stance, pleased to see that all four of her attackers had followed her. She ducked a sickly green curse and fired off two stunners in quick succession. Her targets dropped, and she shifted her attention to the remaining two, narrowly avoiding a cruciatus. She spared a thought for Peter. Surely if the Fidelius had been breached, then Peter must've been attacked.
With a vicious yell, she blocked an ominous purple curse, and felt a small thrill of satisfaction as it rebounded on its sender, who immediately seized up and dropped to the floor. Now there was only one, and as they took a moment to warily assess each other, she chanced asking some of her more pressing questions.
"How did you get in here?" she spat.
"Why Lily, I'm hurt you don't recognise me."
Lily froze in shock. She knew that voice.
"Peter" she gasped "how could you? What are you doing here?" She was horrified to find her voice shaking, but she couldn't help it.
"I'm ensuring that my master will remain the most powerful wizard in the world." Peter sneered, roughly pulling off the mask covering his face.
Lily felt herself gripped by an overwhelming anger.
"Your master is nothing but a cowardly bastard!" she spat, but Peter only grinned with a sick triumph.
"My master is currently upstairs, killing your brats!"
Lily gasped in horror, lunging for the door with a guttural scream, but even as she did, she felt the floor move under her as an almighty explosion ripped through the house. As the walls began to crumple, she threw a quick stunning spell at Peter and ran through to the hallway and up the stairs, sobbing in terror. She skidded to a halt in front of the nursery, and nearly fainted in relief as she heard the loud cries of both of her children. She hurried towards them even as she felt the roof shudder, side-stepping the pile of robes in the middle of the room. With a cry, she gathered both Hermione and Harry up into her arms, pausing only briefly to register the jagged lightening-bolt cut on her son's forehead, before dashing back down the stairs and out the door.
Once safely standing in the street outside, she watched in desperate awe as the whole house seemingly collapsed in on itself. Trembling with a mixture of fear and relief, Lily hugged her children to her as she registered the full implications of everything that had happened. Peter was a traitor. Voldemort had nearly murdered her babies, and had now seemingly disappeared. And James. She had to tell James. But the idea of attempting to move either of her children in order to reach her wand was unthinkable right now, so she merely watched, softly reassuring them, as their beautiful cottage was destroyed.
It was only minutes later that a desperate James appeared, with Sirius, Remus, Arthur and Dumbledore behind. As soon as he saw her with Harry and Hermione, he sighed in relief, and embraced them all fiercely.
"Thank Merlin you're alright." He whispered into Lily's shoulder. "Dumbledore said the wards had been tripped and I didn't know what to think. What happened?"
Lily gently passed Hermione into his arms before she began, turning to speak to all of them.
"Peter is the traitor. He was working for Voldemort." She paused to allow them to digest the news. These four men and Molly Weasley were the only people who knew of the ruse with the Secret Keeper. Sirius and Remus had been told immediately after they enlisted Peter's help, and Dumbledore, Arthur and Molly, soon after. Of everyone they knew, these were the people she and James trusted above all others.
Their reactions were predictable. James, Sirius and Remus all had a strange mixture of anger, shock, and denial showing on their faces. Arthur was torn between anger and grief. Molly's mother had been the best friend of James' mother, and Molly and Arthur had always been close to the four Marauders.
Dumbledore looked merely resigned as he spoke.
"I think it may be best if we returned to my office and you can tell us exactly what happened, Lily." But Lily was already shaking her head.
"I left some Death Eaters, including Peter, unconscious in the kitchen when the house collapsed. We should capture them or..." she trailed off.
James took one look at her conflicted face and wrapped his free arm around her.
"Lil, it's not your fault. If they were killed when the house collapsed, it's their fault for being in there in the first place." He said firmly.
Glancing down, he noticed the gash on Harry's head and caught his breath. Seeing where he looked, tears started to coarse down Lily's face but before she had a chance to explain everything that had happened, Dumbledore spoke up.
"Sirius, Remus, Arthur, please go and see what you can find-"
"I'm going too." James interrupted. He turned to face Dumbledore defiantly as he continued, already passing Hermione back into his wife's arms. "I want to make sure Peter didn't get away."
Dumbledore surveyed him over his half-moon spectacles before nodding his assent.
Lily waited out the front, cuddling Harry and Hermione to her as the four men searched the house. After twenty minutes, she heard a shout and Sirius used his wand to levitate a body into the air.
"It's Macnair. He's still breathing. I think the table copped most of the damage." He moved the limp form onto the pavement before returning to help the others.
After a further ten minutes of searching, they had uncovered all but Peter, and Dumbledore had sent the attackers to the Ministry via portkey, with a signed note accompanying them. As the men reassembled on the street, Dumbledore turned to Lily.
"I think it may be best if we went somewhere else before you tell us what's happened, my dear." his face was grave, but he gave her a small smile.
"Albus if I may," Arthur interrupted "Maybe it would be best if we went to The Burrow. Lily and James, you're welcome to stay with us, I know Molly would insist, and we've got more than enough room. You can put Harry and Hermione down and then tell us what happened."
James looked at Lily, who nodded. "If it's no trouble, then that may be best, thank you." He smiled gratefully at Arthur as Dumbledore nodded and tapped his wand to a quill from his pocket.
"Everybody take hold."
There was a flash of light, and the street in Godric's Hollow was silent once more.
"The one thing I don't understand," Remus began "is how Harry managed to survive the curse." They had spent the better part of an hour at The Burrow's kitchen table, as Lily recounted the events of that night. Harry had been put into a crib in Ron's bedroom and Hermione in two-month-old Ginny's room, and now both Weasley parents, the Potters, Sirius, Remus, and Dumbledore, were trying to understand everything that had happened.
"I think it may have been the protection charms we placed on the twins when we first went into hiding." Lily suggested, staring down at the cup of tea resting in her hands. The repercussions had only just begun to sink in, and she was feeling rather exhausted.
"But those charms were completely untested!" Sirius burst out.
James only shrugged. "What else could it have been? We developed those spells based on ancient magic, utilising our love for the twins. There's no way of knowing what they're capable of."
"So does that mean You Know Who's really gone?"Arthur asked.
"I don't think so," Dumbledoor said pensively, "I can't be certain, but if I were to hesitate a guess, I believe that when Voldemort cast the killing charm at young Harry, the protection charms caused the spell to rebound back onto him. I don't think the rebounded spell would have been strong enough to kill him; not after the measures he has taken to become immortal, but I believe it is safe to say that he in a severely weakened state, and won't be returning any time soon."
There was a pause as they all digested this information.
"Does that mean that the war is over for now?" Molly asked.
Dumbledore nodded and Sirius let out a loud whoop of joy, throwing an arm each around Remus and Arthur's shoulders. In the minutes that followed, there was much hugging and relieved laughter, as they revelled at the end of the nightmare of the last few years. When they had all settled down, glasses of fire whiskey in hand, Dumbledore spoke.
"I will have to inform the ministry. There will be no way of disguising Harry's part in Voldemort's downfall, and I'm afraid Voldemort will one day regain his strength. In the mean time, however, while we must remain vigilant, we can finally live in peace."