Title: The Medallions
Summary: Lily Potter creates protective medallions for her family, but never was able to test them. Surprisingly, they work and James & Lily awake on Nov 1st/2nd to find out that Dumbledore has done a few things not to their liking, so they return the favor.
Warning: Unbeta'd, so typo's and thinko's probably abound.
James Potter opened his eyes, although there was no difference with them open or closed - everything was totally black either way. He felt a little stiff all over and sore in his chest. Taking a minute to ponder why he was in an unexpected place, his last actions slowly came to him and he realized where he probably was. His empty hands crossed over his chest gave him another confirming clue, as did the soft confines a few inches over him and the lack of elbow room.
Those idiots, he thought. Trying to be charitable, he considered that he might have been out longer than expected, but this was still highly unusual as it broke centuries of tradition.
Feeling inside his right forearm, his left hand found his hidden wand holder with his backup wand. He felt relief with its presence. As he drew it he considered his options for this unexpected situation.
After a moment, he transferred his wand to his right hand and cast a Bubblehead charm on himself, just in case. Then, hoping he was wrong about exactly where he was, he cast a Vanishing charm on the surface over him. Unfortunately, he was right about where he was and dirt fell down heavily on top of him making it hard to breath. Thankfully, his Bubblehead charm held.
"Bloody idiots!" he grunted inside his charmed area. As he was about to start the difficult task of casting Vanishing spells on the dirt with almost no ability to make the wand movements, he realized he had a better option. Thinking carefully about the front porch of their cottage, he willed himself there and Disapparated ... appearing a second later at the feet of his wife who started to chuckle at him.
"You always have to things the hard way, don't you?"
He kept silent at her rhetorical question, especially with the look which he knew that meant he had been stupid.
"You removed the lid of the coffin, didn't you?" She waved her wand over him.
He felt bits of dirt that he had brought with him disappear, grateful for her care despite her expression.
"And why didn't you arrive standing?"
He decided it was in his best interest to ignore most of the questions, so he sat up and looked at himself, pleased that they had at least dressed him well. Lily looked her usual immaculate self. "I was a little surprised to find myself buried," he told her as he rose. "I can't believe they moved that fast. Burials normally take two days, sometimes even three. How long were we out?"
"According to my watch, almost twenty-two hours, which is near the upper limit of my calculations." She pulled a necklace that was invisible to all but her family out of her robes and looked at the burnt disk hanging on it. "I'll have to make the next ones heavier to absorb more energy." She put it back under her robes as she'd want the chain again later.
"I have to say that I'm impressed, dear. I didn't think you could create something that would attract a Killing Curse and drain away most of it's magic so there wasn't enough to completely kills us, leaving us with only the appearance of being dead for a while," he said with a grin.
Lily shrugged. "I thought it would work, but testing it was the problem because what if I'd made a mistake? Now I'm glad I spent the time on it. But enough of this, we need to find Harry." She looked pensive. "Considering we were buried, I hope that ... that he..." She couldn't finish and her expression turned to one of dread.
James wrapped his wife in a hug. "He had the same protection we did, dear. We'll find him and I'm sure he'll be alive." He tried to be positive for her, even if he had his own doubts. "Sirius should have him; he knows he was to be responsible for Harry. We just have to find Sirius. I'd also like to find my real wand too."
She nodded and gave a tiny sniff. "You're right; we must go on."
He led her inside the house. They each surveyed the destruction.
"You put up quite a fight," she said.
"I did try to give you time to get away. Why didn't you? Accio wand!" He caught the piece of wood that zoomed out from under the sofa and put away his backup wand.
"I tried as well, but You-Know-Who put up Anti-Apparation and Anti-Portkey wards, as well as sealed the house - walls and all."
He nodded as he led her to the stairs. Voldemort was usually quite thorough. That they had escaped him three times prior was miraculous. Upstairs, they each surveyed the destruction of Harry's room, which was only in one area.
"You didn't fight so much," he commented quietly, doing his best not to sound like he was rebuking her.
"I only managed two spells before he disarmed me. I always did fight better when at your side." She gave him a loving look. "I always thought I complemented you, not replaced you."
He squeezed her shoulder in understanding as he stood with one arm around her; he always felt better with her at his side as well.
"Accio wand!" Her wand came flying to her from under the crib and she put her backup wand away. "Let's find Sirius," she told him.
"And Pettigrew," he spat. "I swear I'll lock him in is rat form and throw him in a room of cats."
"I'll find the cats for you," she said coldly. "I can't believe we trusted him."
James turned and led her down the stairs. Looking around, he saw the mirror on the side table where he had last used it - just as their front door was blown open. Grabbing it and touching his wand to it, he said, "Sirius Black!"
The mirror swirled a moment later and the face of his best friend appeared, looking shocked. "James? Is that really you? How did you survive? Did Lily make it too?"
"Yes, it's really me you mangy dog." James heard his friend's barking laugh at his most common friendly insult. He sounded insane and relieved at the same time. "I'll explain the how later, but where are you and more importantly where's Harry? Lily and I want to find him."
Sirius sobered instantly. "I'm tracking Pettigrew now," he growled. "I swear I'm going to force him into a meat grinder one limb at a time - slowly." His friendly look returned. "Harry survived, James. Rumor has it that You-Know-Who hit him with a Killing Curse and it rebounded and killed the bastard. It left Harry with a scar, but he otherwise looked fine when I saw him. Hagrid had him and wouldn't give him to me when I arrived - said something about orders from Dumbledore. Since Harry was safe for the moment, I gave Hagrid my bike and went after Pettigrew. I figured I'd get Harry later."
"Sirius Black! I swear I'm going to cut your tail off for abandoning Harry like that!" Lily yelled at the mirror.
James decided it was in his best interest to stay quiet. Sirius was his best mate, but Lily was his wife.
"We can always find Pettigrew later, but Harry's protection comes first," she told Sirius firmly.
Abashed, Sirius's face disappeared from the mirror for a moment. "I'm sorry, Lily. You're right that I failed. I'll come back and we can go find him."
She looked at her husband, who was standing there expressionless, but his body language gave away his thoughts. He looked tightly strung. "Go ahead and join him. I'll go after Harry and I'll meet you back here."
James appeared to sag in relief and he kissed her quickly. "Meeting in the safe room would be better."
"You're right," she agreed. "I'll pack a few things from here and meet you there later with Harry."
James kissed her again quickly, found out where Sirius was, handed her the mirror in case she needed to contact him, and left.
They didn't have much of importance here, but there were a few things. Lily went upstairs to their room. She pulled out their travelling trunk and packed some clothes into it as well as some clothes and toys for Harry. All the rest of their important things were already in the trunk. Finished, she shrunk the trunk and put it in a pocket.
Pulling out her necklace again, she cast a charm on it and said, "Harry." The medallion on it moved towards her son's medallion, in the direction of London. That surprised her because she thought Dumbledore would have taken him to Hogwarts. She visualized the outside of the Leaky Cauldron and Apparated away.
With a small cracking sound, she arrived on the Muggle street outside the famous Wizarding pub. Doing the directional spell again, her medallion moved mostly west. That puzzled her greatly as she was not sure who was in that direction that might be keeping Harry.
Not sure what else to do, Lily cast a Disillusionment charm on herself and Apparated to the west side of London. She kept going west to different places she was aware of and half an hour later found herself in Surrey when her medallion suddenly pointed in a different direction. He wouldn't, she thought as a truly awful idea came to her.
Another Apparation took her to the front porch of a house that looked like all the others around it, one that she had visited only three times before and only for a few minutes each time. At her feet was a basket with a blue blanket on top. Opening the blanket, she saw their son who now had a lightning bolt shaped cut on his forehead. She also found a letter on top of her son.
Reading the letter, she became incensed. "That bastard," she whispered fiercely. "I swear I'll strangle him with his own beard." At least there was a warming charm on the basket, but in her mind that didn't excuse the old Headmaster for what he had tried to do to Harry. Grabbing her son and blanket and putting them over her left shoulder, she shoved the letter into a pocket and Vanished the basket.
Fixing her destination firmly in her mind, she Apparated to the edge of the Potter property. In the moonlight, the ancestral manor house stood in the distance looking as it always had. She walked forward and felt the thickness of the wards as they washed over her and let her pass. Once inside the wards, she Apparated to the front door some distance ahead.
The front door opened for her with a touch of her wand and she entered. While the house as a whole was too big to be hidden with the Fidelius charm, she had hidden one room within it that only she and James knew about. She headed there now.
Inside the hidden room was a board on the wall displaying the status of the wards and a map of the property. A quick check of the map, just like the Marauder's Map for Hogwarts, showed that she and Harry were the only ones here. She turned on a few more wards, activating all but the most offensive ones.
Feeling safe for the moment, she walked over to a table and laid Harry on it so she could examine him. She found his hidden medallion and it was burnt as well, although not as badly, which she found strange. A diagnostic showed Harry was in a magical sleep from a potion. She could easily counter that, but decided not to for the moment as she didn't want to have to keep track of a recently mobile toddler while she had some very important things to do. An examination and diagnostic of his new scar gave her cause for worry. There was definitely something wrong with it and she would have to investigate more later.
She found a tracking charm on Harry and the first part of the blood ritual that Dumbledore had started. Lily removed the tracking charm and the base of the ritual from Harry.
Her anger burned anew as she thought about Harry being forced to live with her sister - a sister who hated magic and everything to do with it since she had been rejected from the magical world because she wasn't magical. She knew Vernon would have hated her son as well. She would have her revenge on Dumbledore for this. Of course, she was slightly angry at herself for trusting the old man so much, a mistake she wouldn't make again.
Looking at her watch, she found it to be after half past midnight. She wanted to call James on the mirror and see how he was doing, but she restrained herself as there was the possibility she could be calling at a bad time. Instead, she spent a little time doing some more packing from the items at the Manor.
A part of her wished that James hadn't sold the family's two house-elves because they could be very helpful now, but there really was no need for them when she and James had no plans to live here anytime soon. At least they had been sent to good homes.
By two in the morning, she was done and James hadn't returned yet, so she lay down in the safe room on a bed, holding Harry close to her. She would not be letting him go anytime soon.
A pinging sound jerked her back into consciousness. Lily rose and walked over to the display board. At the edge of the map, she saw "James Potter", "Sirius Black", and "Remus Lupin" quickly make their way towards the house. Their rate of progress indicated they were flying. She chuckled to herself. Leave it to her husband to find a way to fly when they didn't really need to. She grabbed Harry and left the room for the entrance hall, where she waited. The slowly brightening sky told her the new day was upon them.
A minute later, her husband and friends entered. When James saw her, he rushed over to them and threw his arms around them. "You found him," he whispered emotionally.
"I did," she returned, hugging him back just as tightly. When they released each other, she asked, "Aren't you missing someone?"
A feral and satisfied grin lit his face. "We found him hiding in London. We let Padfoot approach him as if he was the only one there. The rat started to accuse Padfoot of betraying us when Moony and I both stunned him from behind. We dragged him into an alley and then took him to the Forbidden Forest."
"And?" she demanded.
"Remember the big spiders there?"
"Yes." She hoped he was going where she thought he was.
"I locked him in his human form and dropped him into their nest with only his boxers. I'm not sad to say he didn't last long."
"Good!" she told him, not feeling an ounce of remorse. "We need to continue with plan B, although with a modification it appears." She nodded ever so slightly towards their friends.
"You're right," he agreed quickly. "They each have given me a magical oath that they support us and will not betray us. I only wish we had thought of that before," he said with regret.
"As do I, but it can't be changed now." She pulled her wand out. "Remus, put one hand on Sirius's shoulder." When he did so, she cast a Blindfold charm on each of them. "James will lead you to our room. We trust you, but the fewer who know where it is the better."
James walked over and made Sirius put his hand out and grab James's shoulder. He then merrily led them around the house randomly for a few minutes before he took them through the door Lily had opened to their safe room. When the door was closed, they were allowed to take their blindfolds off.
"Nice place," Remus said while Sirius was still looking around. "Why didn't you hide here?"
"Because this only works as long as people don't think we're here. Even with it hidden, they could eventually find the Manor house and destroy it, which would destroy this room too. It's still structurally part of the house," she explained. Pulling the letter that was with Harry out of her pocket, she handed it to her husband and said, "You need to read this. It will change a few things we do."
She watched him read the letter, his face darkening the more he read.
When he finished, he swore, "That bloody bastard. I wasn't sure I believed in that prophecy, even if it looks like it might be true. But this," he angrily shook the letter, "makes it look like it was part of some plan of his from the very beginning."
"Prophecy?" Remus asked.
"It's the real reason we went into hiding," James told his friends. "Dumbledore told us not to tell anyone, but too bad now. He said a prophecy had been made that fit either Harry or Neville Longbottom, Frank and Alice's boy." The two nodded. "Basically, it set up some events that claimed that whoever met them would either kill You-Know-Who or be killed by him. So we went into hiding to try to prevent at least one of those events from happening to Harry so he wouldn't be the one picked to be Fate's bitch."
"Sorry, dear, but the whole thing isn't pleasant." He turned to his friends. "So when we were prematurely buried and Harry kidnapped, because you were supposed to raise Harry…"
"I know," Sirius acknowledged.
"…then Lily found this letter with Harry…" James thrust the letter at them.
As they started to read, Remus asked quickly, "Petunia, as in your sister we met a few years ago?"
"Yes," she acknowledged frostily. As they returned to reading, she pointed at the ward display. "James, I think we need to turn the rest of the wards on."
He considered it for a moment. "It will complicate matters a little for the next few hours, but I think you're right. We'd need to turn them on anyway soon." He walked over to the display and pulled his wand and powered up a few runes. "There, not quite as good as Hogwarts in some ways, but better in others. I'd like to see Dumbledore get through that quickly," he said with an evil grin.
Sirius handed the letter back to Lily. "So, he planned on dumping Harry with your sister that hates magic, hoped she raised him as her own, and let her explain that Harry was a Wizard at the 'right time'?"
"I liked the implied threat about how if she didn't, then her family could be in danger too," Remus added sarcastically. "Why did we trust him so much?"
"I can answer that for you, Moony, as you had a special reason" James told him with a caring tone. "I think the rest of us were young and naïve, not to mention caught up in something that we thought could allow us to change the world for the better."
Remus shook his head. "You're right that I had an extra reason to be grateful to him, but apparently I was too naïve as well." He sat down heavily on a chair. "Knowing this extra information makes me look at what we've done, what he's done … everything in a new light."
Sirius sat beside him. "And it's not a pretty picture, is it?" They all shook their heads to that. "So, what's the plan?" he asked.
"Our original plan B was to move to a safer location and continue the war, but I think that needs to change now that we're removed a betrayer and seen our," James spat out, "glorious leader in a new light."
"And now that You-Know-Who is gone." Lily looked at her husband. "I think Sirius and Remus need to go run an errand for us, so we can 'stay dead'. You need to go to Gringotts in a disguise to move some money, while I stay here with Harry. I've already packed for us, but I really want to look at his scar some more."
"Right," her husband agreed. Looking at his friends he said, "How would you like to go prank Dumbledore one last time?"
"Love to," Sirius agreed quickly. Remus looked just as interested.
James explained the plan, led them out of the room blindfolded to the front door, and sent them off.
He grabbed an empty multi-compartment trunk, put on a disguise, and headed to Gringotts, where he planned to remove a significant fraction of his Galleons, plus enough to convert to a million Pounds. That would put a serious dent in the family fortune, but it was for a good cause and wouldn't really be lost - just invested differently.
While the men left to take care of their tasks, Lily worked over a still sleeping Harry. An hour later, she still wasn't sure exactly what had happened, but she was sure "something magical" was in his scar, and it seemed to have a mind of its own because normal spells had little effect on it. Fortunately, it wasn't really integrated into Harry, although it appeared to be trying. Therefore, she cast several spells around it to isolated it from her son.
Once that was done, she managed to transfer the "magic" to a quill. Placing the quill in the corner of the rock-walled room, she cast a fireball at it. At first, it wouldn't burn, but a second fireball caused it to start smoking. A third fireball, while the first two were still active, caused it to burst into flame and a faint screaming could be heard from it. When the fire went out, she Vanished the ashes. Lily was no wiser as to what that magic had been, but she was glad she had caught it before it had integrated itself with Harry.
With the foreign magic gone, the scar on Harry's forehead was easily healed, leaving a very faint pink line. She was sure that in a year or two, no one would ever be able to tell it had been there. Relieved, she sat down with Harry in her lap and cast an "Enervate" on him. He blinked his green eyes at her and then smiled. "Mum-ma," he called to her as he stretched his arms up to her neck. Lily pulled her son close to her and hugged him tightly, barely able to kept tears from falling she was so happy to hold him safely and see him unhurt.
Her husband walked into the room a few minutes later smiling. He ruffled his son's hair, which grabbed the boy's attention. "Da-da."
Lily offered him to her husband, who grabbed him and tossed him a few inches into the air, causing the boy to giggle. "There was something magical in his scar. I've removed it, although I have no idea what it was. It was hard to destroy too."
"But at least you got it," James said as he made a face at Harry, causing him to giggle again. "I need to sit down. The excitement's wearing off leaving me incredibly tired."
"Sorry, I forgot." She grabbed a small potion bottle. "Drink this. It's a half dose of Pepperup potion. I took one shortly after you left. That should hold you long enough for us to finish up our business here." He drank the potion and then continued to play with Harry in his lap, thankful that he could still do this.
A wolf Patronus bound into the room. "We're here and alone."
James handed Harry to Lily and adjusted the wards down. He then sent off a Patronus and left the room. A few minutes later, he returned with a blindfolded Sirius and Remus. James then turned the wards all the way back up.
"That took you longer than it should have," Lily said, eyeing them carefully, demanding an explanation.
"Well, we ran into a small problem," Remus started.
"But it turned out to be a lot of fun," Sirius said with a mirthful grin. "Let me tell you about it and you can imagine you were there…"
Sirius and Remus Apparated to their flats and picked up the essentials they couldn't leave behind and packed their belongings into trunks, then shrunk them down for easy carrying in a pocket. From there, they went to the gates of Hogwarts and started walking towards the school.
"If we're lucky, he won't be here," Sirius lightly commented.
"Perhaps with all the turmoil everywhere, we'll get lucky, but don't count on it," Remus replied. "Do keep your mental shields up, or at least what you have."
Sirius sighed. "They're not much, but at least I'll be able to tell if he tries something. Remember when we filled the Slytherin common room with three feet of strawberry Jello? I'm sure he tried to read me then and I avoided it by not looking at him."
"Ah, the good times we had," chuckled Remus. "At least I'm immune to Legilimency."
"Yeah, thanks to your furry little problem," Sirius growled, causing Remus to chuckle more.
Soon they were at the front doors of the school. They weren't surprised to be met by Minerva McGonagall. "Professor," he greeted her in his friendliest manner.
"Merlin help us," she replied with exasperation at seeing the two. "We're trying to wind down the celebrations here and return the students to class, not restart chaos."
When Sirius started to reply, Remus lightly backhanded his friend on the arm to stop him. "Professor, surely you can trust me. I was a Prefect."
"Hardly, although it is good to see you both after … well, after the tragedy." She turned a stern gaze to Sirius. "Some will want to question you," she told him.
Sirius looked surprised. "Err, why? What do they think I did?"
She gave him her patented frown. "While you didn't say it, you implied you were keeping James and Lily safe." She raised an eyebrow for him to explain.
His shoulders sagged. "Not one of my best ideas." Remus snorted but Sirius ignored him. "I hinted at that to divert attention from the real person keeping them safe: Peter Pettigrew." McGonagall gasped. "But don't worry," Sirius assured her, "I have no doubt there's a special place in hell for betrayers like him and he'll be there one day." Like today, he mentally added.
"It's good to hear that you weren't the cause of their demise. Now, what can I do for you?" She looked at them carefully.
"I'm supposed to take care of Harry, according to James's and Lily's instructions. He told me not long ago that he had left something of his with the Headmaster and I thought I should get it so I could hold it for Harry until he was ready for it. It should be in Dumbledore's office." Sirius was at his most sincere, and he hoped most convincing.
McGonagall looked torn. "The Headmaster is not here as he's been called away to help at the Ministry. The Wizengamot is starting trials for the captured Death Eaters."
"For those who can't buy their way out," Sirius muttered, but clearly heard by the other two. After clearing his throat he asked, "Can you lead us to his office? We really do have other things to do and I think James's cloak will be easy to find."
McGonagall considered the request for a moment. "I suppose it won't hurt to look, although I don't remember seeing a cloak hanging up in there." She turned and led them in.
Remus looked Sirius and saw him wink. He was such a cad at times, the werewolf thought with a grin … although he did have to admit that Sirius was starting to slowly grow out of his irresponsibility.
The professor gave the password for the gargoyle to move aside and led them up to the office. She looked around for a moment. "I know his office has always been cluttered, but I would think a cloak would be obvious and I don't see one."
Expecting it to not be in plain sight, Remus pulled his wand out and cast "Accio James Potter's possessions!" A cabinet door opened up and a folded silvery cloth came flying out. Sirius caught that and put it into a pocket quickly, causing McGonagall to look at him suspiciously. However, she didn't have long to look as a drawer in the desk opened and an envelope came flying out too. Remus caught that.
Remus opened the envelope and found a small key and a folded letter.
"What's he doing with a Gringott key to a Potter vault?" Remus asked, scowling at the key and wondering how it fit into the plan.
"It must be James's or it wouldn't have come with the Summoning," Sirius reasoned. "What's the letter?"
Remus opened the letter and gave a light gasp. "It's James's and Lily's Last Will." He scanned it quickly until he came to the third and final page. "It's like you told me, old friend, you are to take care of Harry, if not you then Frank and Alice Longbottom, and finally if no one else is available," he looked at the professor, "Minerva McGonagall."
"What?" she questioned hoarsely, unable to believe what she had heard.
Before Remus could answer, there was a flash of light and Albus Dumbledore was standing behind his desk with his phoenix flying over to his perch. "My wards reported a non-faculty member was here and it seems they were correct." He eyed to two young men, but most of his gaze was on Sirius. "I'm sorry to have to do this," he pulled his wand out and pointed it at the young man, "but I'll need you to point your wand down and swear a magical oath that you didn't betray the Potters, or else I must call the Aurors."
Remus had never put his wand away and was glad for it. It was in plain sight in front of him, so he readied himself.
Sirius slowly pulled out his wand and pointed it at the floor. "Ego fides. I, Sirius Orion Black, do swear this Wizard's Oath on my magic, that I didn't betray the Potters and that I know that Peter Pettigrew did; so I swear, Ego fides."
Dumbledore's bushy eyebrows went up at that information in surprise. After a moment, he lowered his wand but didn't put it away. "Very well, thank you for complying. I take it that your implication of you being the Secret Keeper was a ruse?"
"It was, and a poor choice since it is now apparent that Pettigrew was a Death Eater and the leak within the Order," Sirius answered a little angrily, not liking being duped by the person he once thought was a good friend.
"Most unfortunate," Dumbledore softly replied. "We shall have to keep our eyes open for him. Now, what can I help you with?"
"We came to pick up James's cloak so I can give it to Harry later," Sirius admitted. "Since you're here, I can ask for one other thing." This had been Lily's idea. "I'm supposed to take care of raising Harry if something was to happen to James and Lily. Hagrid said he was taking Harry on your orders. Where is the heir of the Potters?"
Dumbledore shifted slightly but didn't answer for a moment. "He's in the safest of places."
When nothing more was said, Sirius took on a more determined look. "It's good to know that he's safe, but exactly where is he so I can go get him."
Slowly, Dumbledore replied, "I believe he's in the safest place possible and needs to stay there."
Remus was quickly losing his patience, and he was considered the calm one. "In addition to the cloak, we found that you also had a Potter Gringotts key and the Potter's Last Will. Why is that?" A twitch of Dumbledore's right eye was the only indication of surprise and Remus almost missed it.
"I was studying it to make sure it was fulfilled."
"Oh really?" Sirius replied slightly sarcastically. "Then why haven't you followed it and informed me that I needed to come get Harry? Why won't you tell me where he is? Or were you planning on sealing it so no one would know who was really supposed to raise Harry? Is that the official Ministry copy perhaps?" he accused the Headmaster, who didn't answer.
Remus glanced at McGonagall and noted that her eyes had narrowed as she worked through the allegations. "And you haven't explained why you have a key to a Potter vault?"
"I'm merely holding it until Harry grows up and starts school, likewise with the cloak. He'll need the gold to buy school supplies and such," Dumbledore easily answered.
"How about why you buried James and Lily so quickly, completely against tradition. You didn't even notify his closest friends so we could attend the funeral," Sirius accused him.
"There was no need to disrupt the celebrations with such grief and you weren't easily found," Dumbledore replied glibly.
"What a bloody lie!" Sirius retorted, causing a gasp from McGonagall. "You-Know-Who is dead so there was no way he could make them into Inferi, and I was always easily called with a single messaging spell, one you taught us."
"If you choose to see it that way, I don't," Dumbledore casually said. "There are still Death Eaters loose and proper care must still be taken."
Remus had had enough and shook the parchment in his hand. "It is very clear in their Last Will that if something should happen to both of them that Harry was to be given to Sirius, Frank and Alice, or Minerva. You are not on the list to take care of Harry, nor are you named as an executor of the Will. Therefore, legally speaking, you have kidnapped Harry James Potter." He glanced at his old head of house and saw her stern expression back in place, the one that meant students caught out of bounds would be in severe trouble. "Answer his question, where is Harry?" Lily wanted them to make the old man admit what he did and then answer why.
Dumbledore looked at the there of them for a moment before saying, "I'm sorry, but Harry really is in the safest place possible and he needs to stay there. Voldemort isn't really dead and will return one day. Harry needs to be safe until then."
With forced calm, Sirius asked, "You mean some place like with Petunia Dursley?" Even though Dumbledore's eyes widening was his only response, Sirius knew he had surprised the old man. "A woman, along with her husband, who hates magic and everything magical just like Death Eaters hate Muggles?"
The analogy wasn't lost on Dumbledore. "If Harry were there, I'm sure it would be nothing like that. They are family."
"Have you sat down and had a conversation with her recently?" Sirius asked, now genuinely curious himself.
"I have corresponded with her," Dumbledore admitted.
"As I understand, that means you shared one letter with her ten years ago," Remus supplied helpfully. "Have you talked with her face to face in the last, oh, three years?" When the Headmaster said nothing, Remus said, "I'll take that for a no, which mean you don't really know how bitter she is towards her sister. Petunia wouldn't even come to Lily's wedding. The birth announcement for Harry was returned unopened by Petunia. Lily told me the last three times she tried to visit her sister to reconcile, Petunia told her to 'get lost' and slammed the door in her face. That is the woman you wanted to raise Harry?"
Dumbledore said nothing for a moment. When he finally opened his mouth, he said, "I believe your business is done and it's time for you to leave."
"I want the location of Harry," Sirius demanded one last time.
Dumbledore slowly shook his head. "It is it in everyone's best interest, including Harry's, for him to stay where he is."
Sirius and Remus looked at each other and then slowly moved towards the fireplace, their wands still at their sides.
Standing in front of the connection to the Floo Network, Sirius grabbed some Floo Power, but held onto it for a moment. "If this is how you treat babies of important people, I hope the Board of Governors never finds out, because who knows how you really treat the students at the school when no one is looking. And I also hope the MLE and the Wizengamot never find out how you broke laws about the Potters or you can kiss your bid for Chief Warlock good-bye. Consider this my resignation from your little information gathering organization. I'm glad you never asked me for confidential information about the Ministry, although I suspect you did do that for others who were more highly placed."
"I'm grateful for you helping me attend Hogwarts, Headmaster," Remus said, "but I find that I can no longer trust you. Consider this my resignation as well. Sirius?"
"We'll find Harry and raise him." Sirius threw the powder into the fire and said, "The Leaky Cauldron." Remus followed so closely they went as a single delivery.
As they rolled out of the fireplace and into the pub, Remus shot a Flame Freezing spell at the fireplace, putting out the fire.
"Hey!" the barkeeper yelled at him.
"Sorry," Remus apologized as Sirius grabbed his arm and began dragging him towards Diagon Alley. "Someone was trying to follow us. If you would, let us leave before you relight it."
The portal was already open as a family had just come through. In the Alley, Sirius continued to pull Remus along.
"That was a good redirection for Dumbledore, but where are we going? We're supposed to be returning," Remus reminded him.
"I had an idea a minute ago. Lily would like it and you know it's a bad idea to disappoint Lily," he said jovially.
Remus pulled his arm loose, but kept pace with his friend. "You have a point," he admitted. A minute later, he was surprised to see Sirius leading them into the offices of the Daily Prophet.
Sirius walked in and strode past the receptionist, who shouted "Hey! You can't go in there without an appointment!" He opened the door to the senior editor and propelled Remus inside the small office before closing the door behind them.
The old man with thinning white hair looked at the pair before he fixed Sirius with a stare. "I thought I told your father I never wanted to see any of your family in here again."
With a grin, Sirius chuckled. "I believe I do remember that. He's dead and my mother doesn't care about you, so most of your wish is granted. However, if you want to turn down a lead story that will sell extra copies, we can leave and you'll never see me again too."
"I don't care about your pranks, Black."
"That's nice, Whittenburg. But do you care if Dumbledore is made Chief Warlock? I understand he plans to try for the position soon and I know a few things that might prevent that," Sirius dangled the info.
Terrance Whittenburg, senior editor of the Daily Prophet, studied the young man carefully. "You've got one minute to convince me."
"Oh, I need less than that," Sirius said with a roguish smile. "I have information that Dumbledore has broken traditions and the law, enough so he'll never be Chief Warlock if presented correctly. Also, if you're careful, you might be able to remove him as Headmaster."
"It'll never stick," the editor replied.
"Even if Dumbledore admitted his wrong-doings?"
Whittenburg pursed his lips and let a hungry look out. "All right, you have my attention."
Sirius leaned forward and placed his hands on the desk to look the editor in the eye. "Promise me you'll print the conversion from the memory I give you word for word on the front page and it's all yours. You can spin the commentary anyway you want it, but I want all of the the world to see Dumbledore for how he truly is: a controlling old man."
"A memory you say? How do I know it's true?" Whittenburg was skeptical.
"I'll swear a magical oath. There was another professor there as well. You can ask her, assuming Dumbledore hasn't Obliviated her, of course." Sirius watched the man think for a few seconds before he reached into his drawer and pulled out a small Pensieve.
With a triumphant grin, Sirius put his wand to his head and pulled out a copy of the memory from the time he walked into Dumbledore's office with McGonagall to when he left in the Floo. To uphold his end of the bargain, he swore a magical oath that the memory was true.
Whittenburg dove into the Pensieve and when he came out, he was howling with laughter. He eagerly gave his own magical oath that he would print the story on the front page tomorrow.
As they walked out of the offices of the Daily Prophet, Remus asked Sirius, "How did you know he'd print it?"
Sirius chuckled. "As you can guess from his greeting to me, our families have run into each other before. While we generally don't agree on much of anything, I know for a fact that he hates Dumbledore and would do a number of immoral things to print dirt on him. All I really had to do was get him curious enough to look at the memory; from there, victory for me and revenge for Lily was assured."
Remus chuckled too. "That article will make Lily happy."
"I hope she'll be happy enough to make Prongs happy and give us another Pronglett to spoil in nine months," he said with a grin, causing Remus to laugh.
Sirius retrieved some money at the bank and they returned to the spot James at left them. Remus sent a Patronus message in so James would lower the wards and they could come in.
"And that what happened, honest!" Sirius swore with a happy grin.
"You really did that?" James asked, barely able to get the question out because he was laughing so hard.
"Believe it or not, that's what happened," Remus said with his own large grin.
Lily was quietly laughing as well. She grabbed two small phials and handed one to Sirius and the other to Remus. "Drink up. It'll give you a little extra energy for the next few hours until we're somewhere else." Trusting her completely - at least in this situation - they both drank.
"Time to go then," Lily said, picking up Harry who was quietly playing at her feet.
James grabbed a yardstick from the shelf and slung a small backpack over his shoulder. Blindfolding his friends again, he led them out of the house. Once they could see again, the five of them left the Potter property, grabbed the yardstick, and James activated it. A long moment later, they landed.
"Looks nice, where are we?" Sirius asked.
"Welcome to the Emerald Isle," James told them and led them into the magical area of Dublin. "We need to find someone who can help us find a property to buy. How do you feel about sheep, pigs, and whatever other farm animal we decided to raise?"
"And what about during my time of the month?" Remus asked quietly.
"You can either use a pad in your knickers like Lily does, or we can probably find a stone shed for you," James quipped, earning him a slap on the arm from his wife. Sirius howled with laughter, while Remus gave him a look of long-suffering.
"And the problem we just left behind?" Remus asked.
"We talked before you returned and Lily and I have decided the prophecy was a fake. If it really wasn't, then I suppose Fate will have to find some unusual way to resolve it. Otherwise, it's Dumbledore's problem," James said as if he really didn't care. "For now, we're going to create some new names for ourselves and start a new life. If Dumbledore is no longer Headmaster in ten years, we'll consider sending Harry there. If he's still there, there are other schools Harry can attend."
"Right," Lily agreed, "so let's go find ourselves a farm."
"And maybe a good woman for each of us?" Sirius asked hopefully.
James laughed and Lily just shook her head at their antics. Harry looked around wide-eyed, happy in his mother's arms.
(A/N: A twist on the classic "James and Lily live" story line, which implies that Sirius doesn't go to Azkaban. With James and Sirius going after Peter, it makes sense to pull Remus in so it's all the good Marauders against the betrayer. I also can't see James taking Peter's betrayal easily.
I let Lily "fix" Harry's scar because I do believe Dumbledore should have done something when Harry was a baby, but JKR needed a Horcrux there as a plot device. I'm sorry, but it's not logical to me for Harry to be a Horcrux. The explanation in book7 didn't work for me. For that to be true, shouldn't Voldemort have lost part of himself every time he murdered someone as he did with Harry? While I suspect JKR would say it only happened this time because of the interaction with the "old magic" that Lily invoked and Voldemort himself wasn't alive for the "piece of soul" to return to, the explanation still doesn't work for me. I guess she doesn't live under the "1 soul living in a person" rule that I do (temporary possession doesn't count as that's not "living").
Another problem I have with the books is that the Last Will for the Potters is conveniently ignored. Book7 makes it clear (to me) that Lily knew that Petunia didn't like magic after Dumbledore's rejection letter, therefore she'd never want Harry going to Petunia. That should mean that the Potter Will would specify people other than Petunia, and like all normal people (especially those with a lawyer/barrister helping them), there would be a list of people to take Harry. If Sirius had a Will, then the Potters (also being an "old family") should have had one too. James was raised in a magical family and his parents had died not long before, so between having been a recent heir and also that he knew he was living in a war, I feel sure that he would have had one and it would have mentioned more than only Sirius to raise Harry. If true, then Dumbledore kidnapped Harry and broke the law by ignoring the Last Will.
So, in the end, I have them fleeing to Ireland to become farmers/ranchers and leaving a mess for Dumbledore to escape out of. If this story were to be continued, then Dumbledore's mess would have to be worked out, and the question of if Harry ever goes to Hogwarts. Also, what would the Ministry of Magic do with Dumbledore's words (I had him say Voldemort isn't really dead)? Remember, at this time, Bagnold is the Minister and Crouch is the Director of the MLE.
Would the Longbottoms still get tortured into insanity? It would be easy for the Sirius to go visit Frank and Alice and tell them to "leave town" before the Death Eaters get there; maybe even have them come to Ireland for a while until everything settles down.
Anyway, that was my idea. I hope you enjoyed it. - Kevin)