Through the eye of god we see no evil
It is but a veil of truths
We seek the all-seeing
One with the tongue of Jörmungandr
And the eye of Odin approaches
Born as the seventh month dies
He will be touched
By a son of Fenrir
And by the hellhound Garmr
He cries but no one will hear him
He will die and no one will save him
On the night of the last moon
His enemy will come to him
And Midgard will be drenched in his salts
A power the Dark Lord knows not
Resides in the heart of man
One to control and one to obey
One to die so the other may live
Born as the seventh month dies
A hero will walk through the nine worlds
To the Isle of Mists
Retrieve the raven Munin
Seek the volva
Beware the trickster's lies and the cane of mistletoe
May Thor receive you
May Odin own you.
Draco watched him. He had been doing nothing but watching for eternity.
Harry's hand was limp on the bedside, just like the rest of him. His chest rose and fell. His eyes remained shut, and every day that nothing changed Draco felt the same mixture of relief and despair.
He wasn't dying, but he wasn't waking up.
Lily and James were common fixtures in the infirmary. Harry had been settled in the school hospital, acquiring a bed all of his own. By now, it probably should have had his name on it. Lily, who for the past few months could not retain her teaching career and watch over her sick son, refused to allow his separation from her. Therefore, it had been decided that boy wonder would stay at Hogwarts. It wasn't like the nursing staff and healers at St. Mungos could do anything for him anyway.
Narcissa too was seen floating about the ward, helping Poppy with her own interrupted Healer training. He supposed now that the war was finally and truly over, his mother could return to her mastery. So many people were free. Severus' Mark was gone, and James, Sirius, and Remus no longer felt the overwhelming need to protect their loved ones.
So many people had been freed, but the one person who mattered, who deserved it more than anyone else, was still imprisoned in his mind. He had saved them all only to become trapped by his power, lost in his soul or his body or his mind or… Damn it! Anything!
Why wasn't he waking up? Why wasn't he celebrating their victory with him? Why wasn't he smiling, teasing Draco with the dark shimmer of power in those full beautiful eyes?
It wasn't fair! He had promised to be here. He had promised that he was going to love him, that they could be together. Why wasn't he here now? What made him think that this sacrifice would be worthy of Voldemort's destruction?
For the thousandth countless time, Draco felt hot tears burn his eyes. He grabbed hold of Harry's hand, trying not to feel the hurt when Harry did not grab him back. His hand was cold, so cold.
He was beautiful lying on the sheets. His hair was still richly dark, a swathe of night as vibrant as Draco's own platinum locks. He was pale, years of Scandinavian climate giving him a complexion much like its icy slopes and frigid plains.
He had the cold majesty of a mountain peak about him. He was strong, lean with his chores and the harsh exercise of frosty mornings and running track in the snow. He was Draco's size, his chest just a tiny bit broader, expanded to breath in high altitudes and icy winds. He was delicate too, like a glass sculpture, but his edges were sharp, his brow fine and his cheeks high.
Draco couldn't bear to see him like this. Harry had never looked weak to him. He had always had such regal bearing, even in the humiliation of servitude. He had always been so strong.
Sixteen, he had so much of the world to see. This was supposed to be the beginning, their beginning. It was never supposed to be this way.
Draco leaned over his lover's hand and cried. He felt his mother rest a hand on his shoulder, but it felt cold, too cold, and Draco had to wonder if perhaps he too were dying, having sat beside Harry so long that the chill had spread from one body to the next.
The thought was hallowing, but Draco dare not move away. His mother eventually left, but he maintained his vigil. He brushed the hair along Harry's brow, silently praying for him to wake up.
It had not taken long after their marriage for Lily to get pregnant. They had both wanted to wait until after the war before trying to rear a child. But as her belly grew, they had grown to love the creature toiling for survival inside her womb.
The birth was difficult, administered by Poppy Pomfrey during a thunderstorm at Malfoy manor. They had come to view Narcissa's own little boy when Lily had gone into labor two months early. The thunderstorm had disrupted the Floo connections, and it was impossible for Lily to apparate. However, Pomfrey was still on hand, continuing her commission in helping to birth her student's first child. School was out, and she was not needed in the infirmary so she had opted to stay to help Narcissa care for her newborn.
Narcissa's pregnancy had been a difficult one as well, but there had been nowhere near the same amount of blood. The men waited in the atrium, as Lucius tried and failed to calm the frightened father and husband. His wife's screams echoed through the mostly empty manor. House elves popped in and out, bringing towels, basins of clean water, and vial after vial of blood replenishing potion.
It was not a good sign.
After long and intense hours, a baby's wail was heard. James had not waited for Narcissa and Poppy to open the doors before he came barreling through the entrance. The sight of the bloodstained towels littering the floor made a red carpet for him to wade through. He pushed past nausea, searching desperately for his wife.
She was lying across a multitude of pillows, her hair plastered to her sweaty forehead. She was much too tired and much too pale. James was afraid to admit that she looked like she was on the edge of death. Her eyes flickered over him, and she reached weakly for him.
He rushed to her side, holding onto her hand as tears came to his eyes.
"I did it," she said triumphantly, her voice barely above a whisper and thick with exhaustion.
James was unable to speak and brushed aside her matted hair. She sighed and leaned back. For a second, he was terrified she had died and rushed forward.
"She's sleeping," Poppy said, placing a hand on his arm.
She gradually led him away so she could tend to the exhausted mother. James floundered, unsure of what he should be doing. Everywhere he looked, bloody sheets glared back at him ruefully.
"Would you like to see your son?"
An infant was curled inside a thick sea of quilts in Narcissa Malfoy's arms. He was pink and wrinkled, resembling more of a baby seal than anything human, but he was clean. James looked at him. He was so small. His eyelids were transparent and purple veins stood out over his skin. The tuffs of hair on his head were bizarre. They were dark black and seemed to be the only thing recognizably human about him.
"My son?" James croaked.
Narcissa gave him an understanding smile and moved forward, placing the baby in his arms. The child squirmed while Narcissa helped him readjust his grip. His eyes were still shut and his hands were curled lightly in front of him.
James sputtered, feeling this great weight in his chest. He rocked the child in his arms, unable to believe that such a fragile creature existed, that he had been one once and that this was the emotion his father felt when he first held him, terrified and immeasurably proud.
Lucius placed an arm around his wife as they beamed at the new parent.
"He's remarkably healthy for being so premature," Narcissa said. "His crown's not fully formed but his lungs are functioning extremely well."
James nodded, but he really had no idea what the woman was saying.
His son. He had a son.
Harry. He had a son.
Harry was an exuberant youth. He was easily able to keep up with Draco even though the boy was a few months older. The two fought over attention, but whenever Harry made Draco cry, he was always there to give him a hug, which the women cooed over. He was going to be a charmer.
Harry formed a fond attachment to Severus Snape of all people, who often came to visit his godson. Harry constantly wanted the severe man to pick him up and hold him. Severus of course griped at this, but he never denied the child.
Sirius doted upon the boy like an over-enthused grandparent. Lily constantly worried that her son would be spoiled rotten by excess stuffed animals, but Harry was happier playing with his godfather than harboring the toys. He was never shy in sharing his things with Draco and the Longbottom boy whenever he came over.
He was quicker to laugh than he was to cry, and all the adults adored him, even Severus, who was still rather shocked by Harry's fondness for him. Harry would be the Potter's only child because the birth had clearly destroyed Lily's womb. Lily and James didn't mind though. Harry was enough as it was.
For his first birthday, friends and family convened at the Potter manor. James' parents had recently passed away, and he had no siblings. Lily didn't really care for the long halls and empty corridors and was thinking of inviting Remus, Peter, and Sirius to live with them when disaster struck.
The wards on the manor fell. Death Eaters swarmed the mansion, and Severus was forced to flee before someone recognized him and successfully deciphered his allegiances. Narcissa grabbed her son and Harry and portkeyed back to Malfoy Manor. The waiting was horrible.
After what seemed like forever, her husband, James and Lily stumbled through the wards. Remus, Sirius and Peter soon followed. All of them looked the worse for wear. They collapsed into the closest chairs and couches, clothes singed and smoking, ripped and torn. Narcissa set her son on the floor and collapsed into Lucius' lap, not saying anything but holding onto his chest.
The Dark Lord had wanted to invite the Potters to his festivities. It was the third time he had extended the offer and the third time James had denied him. This was the first time however that it had turned to blows. The Marauders and Malfoy had held their own. Lucius, who had been conferring with the Dark Lord on the basis of neutrality, was forced to reveal his hand.
Voldemort had not taken two rejections easily. They had escaped mostly unharmed but the Potter Manor was destroyed. But worse, a new fear had been set into them.
Harry and Draco were both sitting on the floor, not understanding the situation but reading the melancholy mood that fell over their loved ones. They stared up into eyes suddenly filling with fear. Harry reached for his mother. She choked a sob, pulling the boy to her chest, where she clung to him desperately.
They started when Severus came through the Floo. He looked worse than they did. His body trembled with the aftereffects of the Crutiatus Curse, and he clung to the mantel for support. He stared at all of them, counting heads before he sagged.
He had come here directly from a session. Voldemort must have been pissed. Severus hadn't even been there (as far as Voldemort knew) and he had still been tortured. Narcissa stood, guiding the man further into the room. He leaned heavily on her shoulder. Remus and Sirius vacated the couch so he could lie down.
Harry squirmed in Lily's lap, trying to go to him, but she had kept a firm hand on her son. He struggled stronger and started to whine, his eyes trained on Severus' prone figure. Tears began to fill his eyes.
"Harry, enough!" Lily shouted.
Everybody stopped. Lily covered her mouth in horror. Harry sniffled.
"M' sorry," he said in gargled English and with his stuffy nose.
Lily stared at him and started crying. Those were his first words, and she had wasted them. She held him closer.
"No, I'm sorry, sweetie. I shouldn't have yelled at you. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
James rested a hand on her shoulder. She was so scared. She had dueled the Dark Lord tonight but it did not measure to the terror she saw when she looked into Harry's big green eyes.
"You're not alone, Lily," Sirius said. "You have all of us. We'll protect him."
She nodded and clung to her child, who did not understand the tears running down his mother's face. Narcissa held Draco near. Their family had now become targets, but she could not begrudge her husband. She would have done the same to protect Lily and James and beautiful, gorgeous Harry.
Under the instruction of Dumbledore, the Potters went into hiding. Severus revealed that Voldemort was searching them out more aggressively than had been his wont. He wanted something from them.
Voldemort had never offered a position in his ranks twice, much less thrice. There was something about the Potters that made him obsessed. The Malfoys remained behind the wards of the Manor, discussing battle tactics and protection spells with the Order. Severus attended more and more meetings, and each one was worn on his soul. The remaining Marauders hunted Death Eaters, following the Order's assignments.
Lily and James chafed at their confinement but mollified themselves by remembering that it was all for Harry. On Halloween night, Sirius was struck with a curse that put him on a deathbed. Lily and James were called to St. Mungos. They left their child with Peter since Remus was on an assignment with other werewolves.
Sirius was beginning to miraculously stabilize when they felt the wards around the house flare. They sprinted together to the Floo, but the connection had been severed. They called the Order, apparating to Godric's Hollow. The house seemed intact and peaceful, but they were not deceived. They ran to the entrance to be repealed by the wards that were designed to keep them safe.
They banged at the shield, yelling. The Order members gathered and shot spells, but the wards were too intricate. They were strong, created to withstand all penetration. How had Voldemort gotten past them? How did he know where they were?
Suddenly, red splattered the windows. Bits of flesh dripped down. Lily screamed. The silencing spell that had kept all sounds within the house broke. Harry's crying ripped through the night. They battled against the ward, but there wasn't enough time to dismantle them. They fought relentlessly.
Lucius poured magic into them, hoping to overwhelm the foundation stones, until he collapsed. Dumbledore's spells glided across the surface of the ward, absorbed and dissipated into the air. Lily was on the ground, crying helplessly. They could do nothing.
Green light shone through the window of the nursery. The crying stopped. Lily's wail ripped through them, filled with anguish, a horrible ripping, burning pain. James held her, his hands bruising her as he tried to contain himself.
The Order waited for Voldemort to appear, to flaunt them with his triumph and their despair, but he never came. Slowly, the house began to fall in on itself. The beams broke, and they watched as the roof caved as if something had imploded within it. The horrible creaking and cracking of the old cabin turned into wooden snaps. Magic squealed as it was sucked into the void.
They watched as the wards, the wards even Dumbledore could not break, snapped under the pressure. Magic swirled like a maelstrom, and sparks caught fire to the surrounding brush, burning holes through their clothes. Just as soon as it started, with a loud boom that knocked them back, the oxygen in the air was compressed, ripping the fire into dust. It haloed out, vibrated for a second and fell.
Nothing of the house remained. Empty air remained over a brown patch of dirt. There were no wards, not even the scented echo. Everything was gone. The house, Peter, Voldemort, and Harry.
The muggles in the town sang as they skipped to the next house a block over. Trails of trick-or-treat shadowed Harry Potter's departure from the world.