The third and final in the Sacrifice Trilogy, after 'Sacrifice for the Side of Light,' and 'The Demter Guardian.'
This story contains adult concepts, and will be enjoyed more by adult readers than by teenagers. Sexual content is minimal.
The series diverges from Canon a few days after the Triwizard Tournament, when the original Prophecy was made public. While it is preferable that readers have read the first two stories in this series, it is not essential, as there is an explanation in Chapter 2, when Harry tells Sarah what he is.
The story begins Christmas Day, when Harry is 18. He has been adopted by James and Vera Chase, and goes by the name of Lee Chase. His false birth certificate shows his age as 15 months younger than his true age. He still has some contact with the Wizarding World, but keeps his Muggle identity very quiet. There are those who want revenge for the 'Cerlikh Catastrophe,' when Voldemort was killed, and every Marked Death Eater either killed or knocked unconscious. He is thought to have lost his magic.
He currently attends University at Falmouth, (Cornwall.) His adoptive parents, James and Vera Chase, live at Traynor, a small coastal town, 23 miles from Falmouth. The previous year he was at Kreighley Beach Boys' Home, and retains an interest. Kreighley is just 3 miles from Traynor.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his world is owned by J. K. Rowling.
Vera Chase glanced proudly to her left, where her three sons sat. They were all so different, and she treasured each one. She thought she couldn't love them more if they'd been born to her. Jason was the newest, the adoption only finalised two weeks before, though he'd been staying with them for several months as a foster child. And now it was Christmas Day, 1998, and all three sons were with her, listening to the Christmas morning service. She amended that, - Dan might have been listening to the service, but Lee was looking abstracted, and Jason frankly bored. Dan had been brought up to the expectation of regular church attendance, while Lee denied having any religion, and Jason… Jason had come from a home where Sunday was probably spent recovering from Saturday's drinking binge and resultant fights.
James was sitting to her right, and looking almost as bored as Jason did. He always asserted that Father O'Brien had his year's supply of sermons, prepared decades before, and simply started again every January, with occasional mention of anything on the news sufficiently dramatic that it caught his attention.
She had to admit that he just might be right. She was sure she'd heard this particular sermon before, if not the previous Christmas, certainly the Christmas before. She still liked her Sunday mornings, and Christmas would not be the same without the morning service. The quiet hour taken up by the drone of the sermon was for her a time for reflection, and these days, a time to count her blessings. She had a family. For so many years, she and James had tried for a baby of their own, and by the time they'd decided to adopt, were declared too old to adopt a baby. Babies were too much wanted. Older children were available, especially those deemed 'in special need.'
Daniel was their first, the son of some acquaintances. His family had been wiped out in a car accident. Jason was Daniel's close friend. She didn't think she would have had the confidence to take on Jason if not for the experience of Lee first, Ricky as he'd called himself then, and his disreputable friends. He'd pointed out that boys who grew up in poor homes simply could not be expected to know the rules of polite behaviour, as Daniel did.
Lee himself spoke well, and she assumed a middle-class background, but Jason's speech was undeniably very lower-class, though he tried hard not to swear. There was the odd coarse word slip out, but James pointed out that every teenage boy swore, as if it was a declaration of toughness. Jason still seemed insecure with them, sometimes pitifully eager to please, while Dan was beginning to take them for granted, calling them Mum and Dad as if he was truly their son, though he was still called Daniel Lye. He'd loved his parents, and hadn't wanted to change his name to Chase.
Jason was Jason Reed, as his father had only agreed to give up parental rights if the surname was retained. Sam Reed was in gaol, and would be for another sixteen years. Jason's mother was long dead, - an overdose of drugs.
Lee had taken their name. He was now legally Ricky Lee Chase, always called just Lee Chase. When they first knew him, he'd been called Ricky Drayton.
She glanced over at him again, and smiled. The black roots of his hair were beginning to show. He probably already had an appointment at the hairdresser to have it re-dyed blonde. He was very careful to keep his disguise. There was a faded scar on his forehead, scarcely visible under the make-up he used to cover it. Lee's background was a mystery, even to themselves. They knew there were powerful men who wanted him badly, they knew he was very much afraid of being taken, but didn't know why, or not for sure. The general conclusion was that he'd been used for sex, that someone, someone very powerful, must be obsessed with having him. He'd escaped twice that they knew of, once when he'd first arrived at Kreighley Boys' Home, and once just the previous year, when he'd vanished for several weeks, and returned a nervous wreck, with restraint marks around his wrists.
Lee Chase, real name Harry James Potter, was trying to remember when he'd last been to church. He knew it had been a Sunday routine when he'd been small, - there had even been a quite respectable set of clothing for the occasion. Maybe the Dursleys had thought there was hope of making him 'normal' then. Up until he was about eight, he thought. Maybe right up until he'd asked the policeman if his uncle was really allowed to whip him all the time.
For the first time, he wondered if Dumbledore had intervened on that occasion. Instead of being removed from his relatives, he'd been punished again, brutally, but by the time he'd woken, not only were the most recent injuries completely cured, but the old scars were gone. It had to have been magic. There had been quite deep knife scars, as well as the scars on his back. He'd seen the scars of whippings on a couple of the Kreighley boys since. Such scars didn't just go away. He guessed that the old man, the 'Leader of the Light,' would not have wanted the Boy Who Lived to show the scars of serious abuse, not when Dumbledore was the one responsible for placing him with the Dursleys. He'd still been knocked about now and then afterwards, but there was nothing that could have left him scarred or seriously injured.
He stifled a yawn, and tried not to shift restlessly in his seat. He knew Vera was thrilled to have them all with her, a family together for the Yule Service. It was special to himself as well. Not church maybe, but being together. He smiled contentedly. He'd always wanted a family, and now he had one. A Mum and Dad, though he called them Vera and James, and two brothers. He had a girlfriend as well. He treasured Sarah, wanted to marry her, but worried that it would not be fair on her, and anyway, he was only eighteen.
There were complications. He was Anirage, a wizard, not quite the same species as those he loved as family. He had no intention of telling them. It was not because it would be in breach of the Wizarding Statute of Secrecy, though it would be; rather it was because he worried that they could be in danger because of him. He was declared 'Protected' by the Ministry of Magic, but a large proportion of the Aniragi population still blamed him for the 'Cerlikh Catastrophe.'
If they knew he still had his magic, there would be more enemies, those who deemed him too powerful. No-one knew he still had his magic, and he didn't plan on telling anyone else, ever, that he'd absorbed Voldemort's power into himself. Not only his power but his knowledge and his memories. Harry Potter was not only a uniquely powerful wizard, but with a knowledge of magic that no other eighteen-year-old could possibly have.
Harry was also a young man who'd been deprived of a family for almost all his life. It was very special to him later that morning to be part of a gathering around a large Christmas tree, for the distribution of gifts. There had already been something, first thing in the morning, - a Christmas Stocking full of small gifts such as toiletries, a small paperback book, stationery, and chocolates, even though Vera admitted that this particular tradition was really for younger children. For Harry, it was his first Christmas Stocking ever, and it was now folded away carefully. He planned to keep it forever. For Dan it was nothing new, and for Jason, Christmas treats had been erratic. Jason's Christmas Stocking still had most of his gifts in it, and now he squatted on the floor, a big grin on his face, and his eyes suspiciously moist.
Vera cast a glance at her boys, and decreed that Dan should distribute the gifts as he was the youngest. She'd meant it to be Jason, but had a feeling that he was already close to tears. Boys were invariably convinced that to cry was to be forever disgraced, though she'd seen each one of her boys in tears on occasion. She wondered if Lee still had nightmares, and scolded herself when there was a furtive hope that he'd need comforting in the night. He was a self-reliant boy, with a quiet dignity and an air of confidence, in spite of his terror of those monsters in his past. He was doing well at University.
Daniel presented the gifts one by one, and each time waited while they were opened, always with polite thanks, whether sincere or not, and often hugs and kisses. Jason and Daniel had combined to present her with a vividly coloured red blouse, though she mostly inclined to quiet colours. She gave them both a hug, and said that she'd wear it the rest of the day, and maybe it would be just the thing for the New Year's Eve party. She was very happy these days, and maybe it was time for a change of style.
From Lee, it was an old book, in surprisingly good condition considering its age. Vera had a string of 'Antiquarian' bookshops, and almost forgot to thank him as she studied it. It was genuine, she was sure, but she didn't think this particular First Edition was even supposed to exist. Lee asked anxiously whether she liked it, because he didn't really know, just that he hoped, and there was another present in case. She smiled at him, "This is a treasure, my dear. It is unique, and I love it."
Lee gave her a grateful smile, and said, "It was in a box of old books, just a backyard sale."
Vera wondered if he was lying. He had access to money, she knew. It was something from his old life, before he arrived at Kreighley Boys' Home, and long before she and James had taken him into their home. But they'd agreed right at the start to let him keep his secrets. She was quite sure that they were not good secrets. Whatever his life had been, he'd fled from it. And now he was their own treasured oldest son.
Jason was opening a present from Lee now, and he was tongue-tied. Vera hadn't realised that a camera could make him so happy. Jason was a worry sometimes. It was not that he stole for money, as he was reared to do, - he'd once admitted he'd known how to hotwire a car since he was ten. But he still stole. It seemed sometimes as if he couldn't help himself. Not things very valuable, but little things, which he said were to help him remember. He'd taken a toy car from a basket of small toys that had been in the waiting room of the government building the day the adoption was finalised, and had been convinced he'd be thrown out when it was discovered. Lee said casually, "Photos are souvenirs you see, Jase. That way, you can leave other things alone."
Jason didn't answer, but he caressed the camera, and then picked up the instruction booklet, and became immersed, at least until Dan told him reprovingly that he had to participate, and it was Dad's turn next.
A traditional English gentleman's deerstalker hat, which James wouldn't be seen dead in, she thought. But he thanked Dan and Jason gravely, and put it on his head. She guessed that James was to have a change of style as well.
Hermione Granger was also enjoying Christmas at home. The Grangers didn't attend church, but they put a lot of importance on Christmas. There had been a couple of times when their only daughter had chosen to be with her wizard friends at Christmas, instead of home. It had been a hurt, though they'd tried to understand that she belonged to a different world. They were proud that they'd never even hinted to any other normal person that magic existed, or that their daughter was a witch.
They didn't know that their discretion was helped by a pendreiya imposed by one of the faceless 'Unspeakables' of the Ministry of Magic. They were the only ones with the skills necessary to perform the unconscious and binding instruction without causing damage to the victim. Since the Cerlikh Catastrophe, only one was left with both the power and the knowledge to perform the needed intervention. Three had turned out to be Voldemort's supporters, and had been killed, and the only other one just couldn't quite muster the power to make it totally binding. Strong-minded Muggles had been known to break pendreiyas. There were worries that word was spreading, especially in America. With Muggle technology increasing at a frightening rate, it was becoming extremely difficult to keep their world secret. There were growing fears of another Holocaust. Wizardkind had been nearly wiped from the face of the earth before, more than once.
On Boxing Day, Sarah arrived at the Chase's place to pick up Harry. She was to join her father and brother for a few days, and wanted him with her for some moral support. Both her father and brother looked down on her, she said, just because she wasn't goodlooking, as they were, (the bastards.) And she was to meet her father's live-in girlfriend, who was probably goodlooking as well. 'He doesn't like plain women.'
Vera smiled to herself after they left. He'd given her a quick, awkward hug, and she was sure he'd nearly called her Mum. Lee was beginning to loosen up with them. If only she could have had him earlier in his life. He'd once said that he didn't know how to have parents, and it was true, she thought. He'd been sixteen when she'd first met him, certainly well-mannered, but always reserved. It hadn't been until he'd had a nightmare and had allowed her to comfort him that she'd started to see the needy child beneath the surface.
But then Jason was insisting that he had to take a photo of her in the kitchen, pretending to make dinner. She protested that she hated cooking, but Jason explained that he was going to make a photo album, and when they visited his father next, he could show him. There was a sudden mischief in his expression, "He might not like it much, - that you're so much better parents than he and Mum ever were."
Vera said casually, "He's a good enough Dad that he wants to give you your chance."
Jason thought about it, before concluding in a satisfied tone, "He does, doesn't he?" Jason could remember too many thrashings, and yet he still wanted his father to care for him.
Sarah's father had arranged for them to be taken by private plane to a small landing strip near his place in Kent. They were met there, and Harry was introduced to Sarah's father and brother, Alexander Tremaine Lassiter, the 'Tremaine' emphasised, and Roderick Lassiter. Harry was polite as was his habit, and greeted Mr. Lassiter as Sir. Lassiter gave him an indifferent nod, and then Roderick said to Sarah, "This is the boy from the Home?"
Sarah answered him, quite coldly, "I met Lee at Uni."
Harry glanced at her. It was best if Ricky was not linked with Lee Chase, but he resented the contempt in the young man's tone, and he said coolly, "Roderick, I believe."
Roderick glanced at Sarah, who was looking daggers at him, and he said, "Sorry, Lee. Call me Roddy."
Harry nodded, still annoyed with him, "Roddy."
It was a short drive to the home, a large house on several acres of manicured lawn and carefully tended lawn. Waiting for them was the girlfriend, Aimee, reed slim, with a pretty face and very blonde hair. She looked to be in her mid twenties. She was friendly enough, if a little distant, and showed them to their rooms, which were conveniently next to each other, and said, "Once you're unpacked, we'll be in the Blue Sitting Room." Her eyes drifted over them both with an air of condescension, and she added, "Dress for dinner of course. It's expected, but you can stay in your casual clothes for now."
Once she'd left, Sarah said, "Dad's getting more snobbish every time I see him."
"How often do you see him?"
"Once or twice a year, mostly. I guess he thinks he should make the effort."
"It's a nice place."
"He's lived here about ten years, shortly after he left Mum. Roddy went with him, and I stayed with Mum."
"You'd scarcely know your own brother."
"Probably a lot less than you know Daniel and Jason."
Harry smiled, "Christmas with my own family. It was a bit weird sometimes."
The rest of the day, and the next, was undeniably awkward. Sarah's father and brother talked almost exclusively to each other, ignoring both Sarah and Harry, and Aimee's light conversation was interspersed with small barbs at Sarah, that there was a really good new diet that she thought would work wonders for her figure, that she should decide whether she wanted to go blonde or brunette, as mouse brown was really not an option, that she'd adore to take her shopping, as her wardrobe was crying out for an upgrade.
Sarah never once retaliated, and when Harry started to make a sharp retort, she stopped him with a word, and even accepted Aimee's offer to help her with her wardrobe, with the words and a kind smile, "There's no denying that you have a sense of style."
Aimee preened herself, and looked thoughtfully at Sarah, "We might need to look at different stores than I usually patronise, maybe even have a dressmaker. Tomorrow morning then."
In private, Harry said to Sarah, "She's bullying you. You have to hurt back when you're being picked on, or it just gets worse."
"That's probably true in the main, but Aimee… She's hurting, you can see it. Dad's had a dozen girlfriends like her, they've been together for around six months, and it appears to me that she'll soon be dismissed and she knows it. Also I think she loves him."
"She's very shallow. Does she love?"
Sarah said quite sharply, "She may not be very bright, but there's no reason to think that she can't be sincerely in love."
"I guess not." Harry shook his head, and said, as he had before, "You're the most amazing person, Sarah. I wish…" Sarah raised her eyebrows, but Harry only said softly, "I love you," and didn't say what he wished, that he could spend the rest of his life with her, maybe raise a half dozen kids together.
After a pause, Sarah asked, "What about yourself? You don't have many clothes, and hardly any good ones."
"Will we ask Aimee's advice then? I have plenty of money."
"The Chases are generous?"
"They'd like to be, but I've been resisting. I have a lot of money inherited from my real parents, and it doesn't seem right to take too much from them."
Sarah turned to him in blank amazement, and he reddened. It was just that he wanted to tell Sarah properly, everything. And yet he shouldn't, he knew he shouldn't.
Sarah asked, "Is it dangerous for you to access your money?"
"I don't think so, but it's hard to know."
"You still say that one day you could vanish."
"It could happen. I've told you that. Maybe killed, maybe just a prisoner. There are people who want that."
"The usual story doesn't quite make sense."
"It's a bit more involved that that, but telling you… I want you to stay safe, Sarah. Just being with you puts you in more danger. I sometimes think I should just hide myself away from anyone I care about, just in case."
"Are you quite sure that you're thinking rationally about the danger you're in?"
Harry smiled ruefully, "In some ways, possibly not. I can defend myself a lot better than they know, and I shouldn't really be so frightened of them. But I can't help it."
Sarah hugged him, "Tell me or don't tell me. It's your choice. But know that I am committed to you, even if it does put me in danger."
Harry hugged her back, "It's good being able to sleep with you all night. I don't have nightmares when you're there."
Sarah laughed, "A Dad who cared about his daughter would hate that, - even if I am eighteen, we're not married. But then, neither are he and Aimee."
On Saturday morning, Aimee didn't say one nasty word about Sarah's lack of fashionable glamour as she decided first on a flattering style, and then found several individual garments to fit. "Stick to your look, show a little cleavage but never too much, and whatever you do, don't go too plain. You're not plain."
Sarah smiled. She knew she was plain, but she had no intention of making herself miserable because of it, and if her body was naturally more voluptuous than was fashionable, she wasn't going to war with her own body. She was fit and healthy, and she had someone to love. One day he would tell her his story, she thought, and maybe one day there would be a future. He'd told her that he didn't know how to love, how to trust, but he loved and trusted the Chases, she was sure, and he loved and trusted her as well. There would be a future together. One day she would have his children.