Title: The Boys Who Lived

Author: Shara Lunison

Beta: Batsutousai

Rating for this Chapter: T

Pairings: Harry/Henry (OMC), several others—none of them canon
Warnings: SLASH, twincest, slightly manipulative!Dumbledore, grey Harry/Henry, OoC-ness, major character death

Summary: The Potter twins are attacked by Voldemort and somehow defeat him. Now the Dark Lord has returned and they have to choose between light and dark. SLASH, Twincest, rated M for later chapters.

Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A/N: I've joined Pottermore. If you'd like to add me as a friend, my username is FelicisLeviosa29841. I'm a Slytherin. :D (And Bats is somehow the Ravenclaw…we got switched up somehow. Ah well, I always thought of myself as a Slytherclaw anyway.) If you *do* add me, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a review or a PM with your username so I can assign you a nickname on the website. Makes it much easier to manage these things. (I've also posted this to my profile for easy access.)

Chapter Thirty-Four—Tactics

On the first of June, Harry and Henry came downstairs into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place and stopped dead at the sight before them.

The long wooden table, chairs, most of the floor, and even some of the counter space was covered in sheets of parchment. In the middle of it all, Hermione was standing with her normally frizzy hair puffed out around her head as she tugged it in obvious frustration.

"It's. Just. Too. Long!" she snarled to the empty room.

"Er…Hermione?" Henry asked.

She spun to look at them, her eyes wild. "It's the list. From Madame Bones. Eighteen thousand five hundred and sixty five wizards and witches born between December twenty-second and January tenth! From every country. All of them still living. I don't even know where to start!" Her hands went into her hair again as she surveyed the mess around her, and Henry thought he saw her wand stuck in the frizz toward the back of her head.

Henry stepped forward, neatly avoiding the pages littering the floor so he could take Hermione by the arms. "First, you don't have to do it alone. Second, why don't we break it up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable?"

"Smaller pieces…" Hermione nodded, still wide-eyed.

"For instance," Henry said a little more forcibly, giving her a slight shake so she would look at him, "The prophecy says he will have a power the Dark Lord knows not, so right there we can knock out half those people, probably more. And I think we all agree this bloke is more likely to be British. So we can pull those people's names first, and sort them alphabetically by day born. Then each of us takes a stack and we look for likely candidates."

"'Born to those who have thrice denied him,'" Hermione said, nodding excitedly now. "Oh, Henry, thank you! I was about to go mad in here."

He let her go, smiling ruefully. "We're not in school anymore, Hermione. This isn't like a homework assignment you have to solve by yourself. We're here to help you."

She blushed slightly, her own wry smile mirroring his.

"Still, the spellwork for all that sounds tricky," Harry put in. "I think I'll leave you two to it." His grin belied the statement. He was just being too lazy to help.

They gave him identical exasperated looks before turning to face the mess. Henry pulled out his wand and watched with amusement while Hermione searched for hers. "It's, er…in your hair," he finally offered.

"Oh." She made a vexed noise as she wrestled it free. Sirius had told them that the wards on Grimmauld Place prevented the Trace from alerting the Ministry of any underage use of magic. It was apparently standard pureblood practice, much to Hermione's irritation. "Right. First, we take out all the witches." A wave of her wand and thousands of lines of text on each page lifted free and vanished in a rush of golden light. "Then, we condense what's left…" she muttered. Another wave and the lines all wriggled to fill up the smallest number of pages possible. The blank pages were vanished, leaving the counters and the floor empty. The remaining list still spilled off the table onto the chairs.

"Then we sort them by country," Henry continued, waving his own wand. The lines wriggled between pages again, then settled into neat individual stacks that once again covered most of the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, the stack for Britain was one of the largest. "I'll stack the other countries alphabetically and set them aside." He did so, and they were left just with the several dozen pages for Britain sitting in the middle of the kitchen table.

"And then it's just alphabetical by day!" Hermione chirped, looking much more enthusiastic now that the project was manageable. She swished her wand and the lines wriggled onto separate pages again, dividing into twenty new stacks of parchment.

"How many names are left, then?" Harry asked, moving into the kitchen now that the sorting was done.

Henry cast a counting charm on the parchments and they all grimaced at the number that hovered in mid-air over the table: 876.

"T-that's ten percent!" Hermione gasped after doing some quick math in her head. "Is the wizarding population really that concentrated in Britain?"

"Britain is the center of wizarding history," Draco said, coming into the kitchen with his blond hair sticking up slightly, clearly having just woken up. "We were the first to focus on training our magic to be more effective. The Orient and Africa probably hold a large percentage as well, given the age of their magical traditions."

"I'd have thought America would be the largest, though," Hermione mused.

Draco smiled lazily at her. "They have sheer numbers, of course, but their magical traditions are an amalgamation of dozens of different cultures. You have to remember that most Americans originally came from somewhere else, or their families did. But most of those families weren't magical to begin with, so the concentration of magic is still fairly low. I think most American magic has been inherited from the Native Americans."

"That makes sense," she said, nodding thoughtfully.

"So how should be divide this up?" Harry asked, studying the stacks. "There's twenty of them and only six of us."

"I think we should start with those names closest to the New Year," Hermione said.

"I'll take December thirty-first and you take January first," Henry decided. "Then Harry, you take January second, and Draco you take December thirtieth. We'll give stacks to the others later."

They each grabbed their assigned stack and set to work. It was only a couple of minutes before Draco asked, "What exactly are we looking for, here?"

Though the answer should have been obvious, it clearly wasn't.

"Well," Harry said slowly, "The prophecy says that the person's parents would deny Voldemort three times. So I guess we're looking for someone whose family Voldemort wanted on his side, but they never joined."

They were all quiet for a moment, thinking about that. "Then, aren't we looking for a pureblood family, or a Dark family?" Hermione asked hesitantly.

Draco frowned. "Maybe the Dark Lord will be defeated by someone who is or should be loyal to him?"

They all exchanged excited looks. That certainly narrowed it down.

"I wouldn't rule out anyone not Dark or pureblood, though," Henry said with disappointment in his voice. "The Dark Lord himself is a halfblood. It's possible this person is as well. Though it does seem incredibly unlikely that they would be a muggleborn."

They went back to their lists, armed with quills and an idea of who they were looking for now. The arrival of Ron, Remus, and Sirius interrupted them before any names could be circled as possibilities, though.

"What's all this?" Ron asked, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

"The list from Madame Bones," Draco told him warmly. "Good morning."

A chorus of good mornings followed as the remaining three members of the house joined them around the table.

"Has anyone seen the Prophet yet?" Remus asked as he made a pot of coffee.

"Not yet," Hermione said. "I've been up the longest, and except for the owl from Madame Bones there hasn't been any post."

"Strange," Remus frowned. "It's late."

Just then a tapping came from the kitchen window and he hurried over to let in the Prophet owl, dropping five knuts into the pouch around the bird's ankle. As soon as the bird had left and he unfurled the paper, he let out a low whistle.

"No wonder it's late." He turned the paper so they could see the headline. "Special edition."

Lucius Malfoy Admitted to St. Mungo's!

Authorities say that Lord Malfoy has remained mentally unstable

since his arrival in the hospital late on the night of May 21st.

Draco had turned white, his fingers clenched around the pages in his hands so that they crinkled loudly in his hands. Suddenly he stood and ran from the kitchen. They heard the distant sound of the fireplace roaring to life and the distinct whoosh of the floo.

"Draco…" Ron whispered, half-standing from his seat.

"Go, Ron," Hermione told him urgently. "It's not safe for him to go alone. And I can't go."

He nodded, and ran after his boyfriend.

The remaining members of the group studied the paper in the silence left behind.

"I wonder what happened to him," Hermione finally murmured. There was a photo of Malfoy on the front page. He was staring wide-eyed out of the frame, his mouth open in a silent scream. It was terrifying, to say the least.

"I don't know," Harry shrugged. "We haven't had any visions since leaving the school."

"It worries me," Henry admitted. "It makes me think that Voldemort is up to something. And judging by Malfoy's condition, it's nothing good."

"I wonder if there's any way for you to tap into the connection to spy on him," Hermione said thoughtfully.

The twins exchanged a long look. Finally, Henry shook his head. "If there is, I'm not sure we should try it. Voldemort is aware of the connection, but not the extent of it. If we start actively trying to use it, he might be able to use it spy on us."

"It's too bad," Sirius said darkly. "It would be nice to know what old snake face is up to."

"Well, in the meantime..." Hermione plopped down stacks of parchment in front of Remus and Sirius, explaining what they were looking for. "The sooner we make a list of possible names, the sooner we can defeat the Dark Lord."

Remus started on his list without complaint, but Sirius sighed gustily. "Can't we eat breakfast first?" he whined.

Hermione's lips twitched as she resisted an indulgent smile. "Oh, all right. But there are only about nine hundred names. We could have a feasible list in a day or two if we try."

"What about the other countries?" Remus asked.

Hermione nibbled her lip as she considered the much larger stack sitting on one end of the table where Henry had left it. "I suppose if we don't find any real possibilities in these pages, we can start on the next most likely countries—France and Bulgaria."

"Sounds good," Harry said, flipping to the second page in his stack.

Sirius got up from his chair to pour himself a cup of coffee. He snapped his fingers and Kreacher appeared at his feet, giving him a morose glare.

"How can Kreacher help Master?"

"Would you make us some breakfast, Kreacher?" Sirius asked, teeth clenched. He was making an effort to be nicer to the elf, but the miserable old thing still had no respect for him. It was infuriating to watch him fawn over the Malfoy heir.

"Certainly, Master," Kreacher said, giving a passable attempt at an ingratiating smile.

The elf set to and Sirius ignored his stack of pages in favor of reading the Prophet. He gave a crow of delight when he reached the Sports section. "Listen to this!" he said. "The Quidditch World Cup will be hosted in Britain this year! Ireland versus Bulgaria!"

Hermione's head snapped up, her eyes narrowed. "Who will be there?"

"Everyone who's anyone!" Sirius told her incredulously. "Britain hasn't hosted the Cup in almost fifty years!"

"Will the Minister be there?" she asked persistently.

Harry immediately saw where her thoughts were going. "That's it, then, isn't it?"

They all looked at him, everyone somewhat confused except for Hermione. He elaborated, "That's when Voldemort will strike. When everyone is distracted by the Cup, he'll take over the Ministry and Hogwarts. Britain will be in the palm of his hand, and he'll crush us."

There was silence around the table. Sirius looked more than a little crestfallen. "It's not fair," he muttered.

"What isn't?" Henry asked.

"I was hoping we could go to the Cup and blow off a little steam, but if Voldemort is going to attack then, I'll be stuck in the Ministry helping to protect it."

Hermione pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Sirius, be honest. What are the odds of us being able to stop Voldemort from taking the Ministry?"

He shrugged uncomfortably, looking down at the table as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Slim to none," he admitted.

"Then there's no sense in so many Aurors losing their lives in a pointless fight," Hermione decided. She stood and started to pace along one side of the kitchen. "I think we need to start seriously considering our plans for the war. Once the Ministry falls, we'll have to be in hiding and on the run. Voldemort will want to wipe out any remaining opposition. He'll also be able to start enforcing the laws that he wants in place, so muggleborns will be in great danger." She nibbled her lip and continued to pace back and forth across the kitchen.

"Guerrilla warfare," Harry said decisively.

Hermione stopped dead and stared at him.

"Hit and run tactics. Never let them lure us into a pitched battle. We can identify key targets and make sure they never get the supplies they need to develop an advantage. We'll need safe houses—lots of them. For us to hide in as well as muggleborns and their families. We have Madame Bones on our side, so she can get us the Aurors. We'll leave the Ministry unprotected on the night of the World Cup. Voldemort will have an easy victory, but he'll be uneasy not knowing where his enemies have run off to. He'll be frustrated when the Death Eaters can't find us. Then, when they least expect it, we strike. All we have to do is keep them off balance while we find the rest of the horcruxes and sort through this list."

"Slughorn," Henry said excitedly. "He has a whole network of Slug Club alumni. He can get us trustworthy people to hide muggleborns and the Aurors."

"There are quite a few other Black properties," Sirius volunteered. "The Black Manor is big enough it could house all of Hogwarts. We're definitely not going to run out of space."

"You say it could house Hogwarts?" Hermione asked, moving to lean on the table with excitement. "Because I've been thinking—that's the key to Voldemort's success. If he has control of the children, their parents will just go along with what he wants. But if we can intercept them before they get to Hogwarts at the beginning of the school year…"

Remus' eyes lit up. "We can move the students to a new school where they will be safe and protected! The parents will know they're safe, and they won't cooperate so easily."

They all fell silent, the enormity of their plans finally hitting them. It was perfect.

"There's only one problem," Sirius said grimly. "We need an absolutely foolproof way of determining if someone is trustworthy. One spy and this all falls apart. All our safe houses, the children, everything. And the Fidelius Charm can only do so much."

"We have time," Hermione said firmly. "We can work on it."

"In the meantime, there are these lists," Harry said ruefully.

"Breakfast is ready," Kreacher said, levitating plates of food over to the table. They all set aside their papers in favor of food.

Sirius stared at the little elf for a long moment, before saying, "Kreacher…"

The elf looked up at him with his head cocked to the side.

"You've just heard all of our plans. What do you plan to do with that information?"

Kreacher looked at him seriously. "Master will not swear Kreacher to secrecy?"

Sirius hesitated, then shook his head.

"Kreacher will keep Master's secrets. Master will defeat the Dark Lord and fulfill Kreacher's promise to Master Regulus. That is enough for Kreacher."

Sirius, for the first time in his memory, smiled at the elf. "Thank you, Kreacher," he said sincerely.

Kreacher stared at him for a long moment, before bowing low. "Kreacher lives to serve you, Lord Black."

Sirius inhaled sharply, almost a gasp.

"What just happened?" Harry asked.

"Kreacher acknowledged Sirius as Lord Black," Remus said, giving his lover a fond and proud look. "Sirius finally proved himself worthy of the title."

"Hey!" Sirius said, giving the werewolf a mock-glare.

Remus just raised an eyebrow and went back to his breakfast.

Henry continued going through his list as they ate and the dishes were magicked away by Kreacher. He was determined to get through his first stack as quickly as possible. He had only circled a few names so far, which was encouraging.

And then he reached "R" in the list and he stopped dead as he read the one name he had not been expecting to read.

"Tom Marvolo Riddle," he said softly. "Born December 31, 1926."

"But that's…" Hermione started.

"The Dark Lord," Harry finished.

"It's impossible," Henry said resolutely, crossing out the name. "The man has devoted himself to living forever. He's not going to off himself."

"Plus, there's the whole 'thrice deny him' thing," Harry agreed.

Henry paused, his pen hovering over the page. "His family did deny him. I don't know if it was three times, but…remember our lessons with Dumbledore, Harry?"

Harry nodded. "His father left his mother while she was pregnant, so that's once he was denied. And we know he found and killed them in his sixth year—that's how the ring was made into a horcrux. So that's at least twice."

"It's possible he may die unintentionally, rather than actually killing himself," Remus reminded them. "I'll admit, it's an unlikely ending, but I don't think we should completely write it off."

Resigned, Henry circled the crossed-out name and continued down the list.

"I wish Draco and Ron would come back," Hermione muttered. "This would go faster with their help."

Harry, sitting beside her, reached over and grasped her hand. "They'll be fine. They can take care of themselves."

She squeezed his hand, hard, and didn't let go for a long time.

-o-0-o-

Ron watched on from a little distance away as Draco approached his father in the bed in Ward 49. Lucius' wrists were bound to the bed at his sides and he was restlessly shifting his head back and forth, staring around with wide eyes as though expecting his worst nightmare to manifest beside him at any moment.

"Father?" Draco said softly, moving close enough to stand in Lucius' path of sight. "Father, it's me, it's Draco."

"Draco…" Lucius whispered. The wildness in his eyes calmed slightly and he stared intently at his son, no longer shifting his head in search of enemies. "Draco. You're alive."

"Yes, Father. I'm here." Draco reached out and gently grasped his father's hand where it lay bound. "I'm here."

Lucius' eyes filled with tears, and he blinked furiously to clear them so he could see his son. "Draco. Alive. I told him…I told him…"

"It doesn't matter, Father," Draco whispered. He sat in the chair beside the bed and tightened his grip on his father's hand. "I'm alive, and I'm here. You're going to be all right."

Lucius' face flooded with relief and his eyes closed. Sobs wracked his body and his fingers turned white with the force of his grip on Draco's hand. "Draco. Draco…I told him…I couldn't…I can't…"

"Shh…" Draco hushed him, reaching out his other hand to smooth Lucius' long hair away from his face. "It's all right. It'll all be fine."

"I love you," Lucius whispered fiercely, opening his eyes again. They were red-rimmed and intense as he stared at his son. Draco froze. "I love you. Never…never said it before. Proud of you."

Draco's head bowed and Ron quietly backed away and left the room. He would leave the Malfoys to cry together in peace.

He didn't go far, not trusting Draco to be safe alone. There were some benches in the hallway and he paused there to sit and wait for Draco to finish with his father.

"Ron?"

Turning, he was surprised to see Neville. "Hey, how's it going?" he asked, standing once more to clasp hands with his roommate.

"Good, good," Neville said distractedly, looking at the door to the ward. "What are you doing here?"

"Draco is visiting his father. I thought I would step outside to give them some privacy."

Neville blanched. "M-Malfoy is in Ward 49?"

Ron nodded, confused.

Neville rushed to the door and entered the ward. Ron followed him, curious about his friend's odd behavior. Neville had run to the end of the ward and stopped between two beds. One held a pretty middle-aged woman, and the other a man of the same age who looked remarkably similar to Neville.

Ron felt his breath stop. Neville's parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, were in the same ward as Lucius Malfoy. Neville's parents, who had been tortured into insanity by Death Eaters. No wonder the other boy was so worried. What had they been thinking, putting Lucius in the same room?

He walked hurriedly down to the end of the ward in time to see Alice Longbottom hand Neville a gum wrapper with a gentle smile. Neville folded it carefully and put it in his pocket.

"Is everything all right?" Ron asked him.

Neville nodded. "They don't know any better," he whispered. "Maybe it would be different if it were Bellatrix in here instead of Malfoy, but I think it's safe to say we'll never have to find out."

Ron clasped his shoulder and turned to check on Draco and his father. They were still sitting where he had left them, and it looked like Draco was speaking quietly to his almost-normal looking father.

He looked around at the other residents of the ward and grimaced. What would happen to them when the Dark Lord took over? Would he keep St. Mungo's running? He would be a fool not to, but…

"Hey, Neville," Ron said without thinking. The other boy looked at him expectantly and he scuffed his toe against the floor. "I don't know how much you know about what happened at the end of the school year, but…I would make sure your parents are in a safe place if I were you."

Neville considered him seriously before looking at his parents again. "You're saying that St. Mungo's might not be a safe place soon?"

"Yeah…"

Neville nodded. "I'll talk to my gran about it. She ought to be here shortly, she sent me on ahead."

Ron nodded, and shuffled his feet awkwardly. Perhaps it was time to leave again. He turned to go, but Neville's voice stopped him.

"Hey, Ron?"

He turned to look back and found Neville giving him a look of respect and appreciation. "Thanks."

Ron nodded, a little surprised. "No problem, mate. If I hear anything, I'll let you know."

Neville nodded and turned back to his parents.

Ron left the ward, sitting heavily on the bench outside. He felt…determined? No, resolved. He had made a decision, standing there with Neville's gaze weighing heavily on him. There was no more time to be afraid. He knew what he wanted, and he was going to reach for it with both hands. He settled in to wait for Draco, an absent smile lingering on his lips.

Now was the time to stand up and become the person he wanted to be.

-o-0-o-

A/N: With all this introspection and talking going on, this is getting to be a longer ending than I had intended. Ah well. All the better for it. I think next chapter I'll be back on track, so maybe we're still looking at around 36 chapters, but maybe longer. We'll see. Please review and tell me what you think!