The Lost Twin
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born as the seventh month dies...
On the 30th of July of the year 1980, on the maternity ward of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, a boy was being born. Now, while this is always a momentous occasion for the friends and family and most certainly the parents involved, this particular birth marked the beginning of a particular chain of events which would change the world into which the young child was born irreversibly. Now, the obvious conclusion from this is that it was the child himself who had just been brought into the world that was the one who would bring about such drastic times. But it was not. In fact, the boy grew up to be an altogether unremarkable child, one who learned and loved and married and passed a stable and enviable life. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
No, the truly remarkable thing that happened had little to do with young Neville Longbottom at all. In fact, it had everything to do with his Great Uncle. You see, Neville's Great Uncle Algie, the brother of Neville's father's mother, was something of a klutz. And in all of the excitement of wanting to see his new nephew (who he was sure would grow to be a famous and powerful wizard who would Do the Family Proud), he knocked into the clock on the wall. The clock trembled on it hook before being quickly righted by the generally bumbling Algie, during which process one of its hands was unknowingly shifted to be one minute fast. On an unrelated note, Algie stumbled on into his sister Augusta, who in turn was sent tumbling to the floor, and ended up staying a further night in hospital to allow the firm cementing of her broken hip.
While Augusta was being seen to and visited by her brother, son and daughter-in-law and her new grandson, a second couple moved into the same room that the Longbottoms had just that morning occupied. A young red-haired woman was joined by her husband and three friends for the birth of her twin sons, Daniel and Harry. The medi-witch who assisted with the births recorded the times carefully, first of the elder son, Daniel Andrew Romulus Patrick Potter, and then for the younger son, Heron James Orion Evans Potter. The mentor, ex-headmaster and friend of the Potter couple had requested that they check the times of the births carefully for reasons that he would not explain. And so, faithfully, Peter Pettrigrew, one of the friends and consequently the one whose middle name had been taken by the eldest son in honour of that friendship, watched as the elderly witch wrote in clean black ink that Daniel was born at six minutes to midnight on the last day of the seventh month, while little Harry was delivered at one minute past midnight on the first day of the eighth month.
To some, this difference of a mere 60 seconds would seem negligible.
But to the Potters, and to the boys in question, it meant everything.
"Where's Lily?" James asked as he swept out of the fireplace into the headmaster's office of his old Alma Mater and nervously ran his hand through is already untidy hair, a tell that his wife knew meant he was nervous about something. It was a gesture that she had seen countless times during their youth just before James attempted some ridiculous stunt to impress her.
"Right behind you," she answered him with a question in her eyes as she entered the room from the door. James just smiled faintly and kissed her cheek before drawing out the chair next to him for her, a sign of his engrained (however unwilling) pureblood upbringing before seating himself and grabbing her hand tightly.
"What's going on James?" Lily asked, quite worried now. Tension was not a foreign emotion for anyone during these times of terror, but Lily had always admired her husband's ability to put on a brave face for her. He and his friends had become masters at making light and fun in even the darkest of moments, a talent that they had been unknowingly training for during the entirety of their childhoods. Now, however, she could clearly seen the strain in James' face and the stress in his eyes. She looked to the man who had been sitting, watching the scene before him, and saying nothing.
"Albus. What's happening?"
"Lily, my dear, I'm glad you're here. James and I have been talking this morning, and while at first he disagreed with me, he has come to see my point of view on certain important matters. Matters pertaining to your family arrangements."
"Family arrangements? Albus, what are you talking about?" Lily asked, completely lost. Why was her old headmaster so interested in her family anyway? And their 'arrangements'? What arrangements? Did this have something to do with their babysitter? "I know not everyone agrees, but Remus is a very good babysitter, and he could really use the job. He has to eat somehow," she said frowning.
"This, my dear, is a far graver matter than a simple one of allowing a werewolf to watch over one's children. Speaking of which, who is watching them now?"
Lily's frown remained fixed on her pretty face, and she glanced out of the corner of her eye at James. He looked ragged, she noted. Ragged and guilty. Her brows furrowed deeply. "Sirius is, if you must know. But he was most anxious that we get back as soon as possible, Peter was supposed to meet him earlier but he never showed up and he's worried. So am I, in fact, so I'd appreciate it if someone would get to the point?"
She glanced at James again. His silence was making her edgy. It was so unlike him.
Albus sighed heavily, glanced over his half-moon glasses at the dark haired man once, and then turned back to Lily. In a deep, solemn voice, he intoned,"Several days before the birth of your children, a prophecy was made..."
"Are you out of your mind? Give Harry away? What do you mean, give Harry away? Your mad! James! James, say something! Tell him that he's being ridiculous!" Lily was backed up against the wall in an unconscious move of self-defence at the words coming out of her trusted mentor's mouth, words that set her maternal instincts ablaze and screaming in offence. "James?"
Lily turned to her husband, the man she had sworn to stand by and love and make a family with... "DON'T YOU LILY ME! THIS IS OUR SON, JAMES! OUR SON!"
"You think I don't know that! You think I like this any better than you do! Daniel is the Chosen One, Lily, don't you see it? He's not after us, He's after Daniel! That's why we're in hiding! But Harry doesn't have to go through that, he can have a normal childhood like he should have! If Daniel's going to save the wizarding world than he's going to need all of our attention and dedication! There can be no distractions!"
"DISTRACTIONS? IS THAT WHAT YOU CONSIDER HARRY, A DISTRACTION? HOW ABOUT A PERSON? AND WHAT ABOUT DANIEL? HE'S NOT ALLOWED A CHILDHOOD? YOU WOULD TAKE HIS BROTHER FROM HIM? HOW DO YOU CONSIDER THAT A NORMAL CHILDHOOD?"
"For Merlin's sake, Lily, will you just calm down and think rationally!"
"RATIONALLY? YOU WANT ME TO GIVE UP MY SONS AND YOU'RE TELLING ME TO THINK RATIONALLY?"
"Lily! For Merlin's sake, that's not what I'm asking you to do! You're twisting everything around..." James trailed off, looking miserably into his wife's blazing green eyes. Seeing the unmoving, unrelenting fire in her face, he knew that his hopes of getting through to her were too slim to be seen by the naked eye. He continued on, however, if only to convince himself. Albus had explained everything so much more reasonably earlier... "Lily, think about it. If Daniel's really the only chance we have of defeating Voldemort, then a little sacrifice on the part of the boys isn't really such a big thing..." She looked entirely unmoved by his speech. If anything, she looked angrier than ever. This frustrated him a little. "Lily. Is it really worth all of our lives to not put them through this? I know that it will be hard, but really, is it worth dying for?"
Lily shook her head slightly, as though denying to herself the words that were coming out of her husband's mouth. "Ask yourself this James. If that is something that you're willing to do to your own sons - is your life worth living?"
She looked straight into James' dumbstruck eyes, her face as serious as he'd ever seen it. And as sad.
"My dear girl," Dumbledore, who had been entirely forgotten by the couple in the heat of their argument, began. "I know that this must be incredibly difficult, but one must think about the greater good in cases such as this one..."
Dumbledore trailed off as he came face to face with a look that he had not seen in quite some time. It was a look of betrayal. Of hatred. And it was at the other end of the wand that was aimed straight for his heart.
"Don't you dare. Don't you fucking dare."
"Lily - " James breathed, shocked at his wife's behaviour.
"No." Her words came swift and cold as shining steel. "I'm done here." She looked into her husband's eyes. "We're done here."
She turned around. She left. And it looked like she would never be coming back.
When James finally followed Lily through the floo to their home, Sirius was gone and his wife was packing. He panicked.
"What are you doing?"
"Leaving." Lily's voice was calm and professional.
"But - Lily. Please think about this!"
"There's nothing to think about." She turned and left the room, dragging the trunk that she had been packing behind her and entered the room next door where their two infant sons lay sleeping. James followed her and watched as she began to systematically pack two pairs of everything into another of the trunk's compartments. In his state of upset, it took him a few moments to really realize that she was now packing clothing for Daniel and Harry. And what that meant.
Striding forwards, he slammed the lid of the trunk shut, placed both hands on it and looked at his wife. For the first time that evening, James was truly angry. "No."
"Excuse me?" Lily turned from where she had been reaching into a cupboard for a pile of nappies and looked at her husband coldly.
"I said no. You are not leaving. You are not taking my children. And you are not giving up on this family."
Lily's eyes tightened, and her mouth thinned into a line of fury. "Family? I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that you knew what that word meant."
James' face contorted with hurt and anger at her comment. Before he could reply, however, an enormous explosion rocked the house to its very foundations.
Lily and James stared at each other in shocked silence for a moment, just listening. The sound of debris from where the front door used to be being moved aside by a silent spell, shifting and creaking as the splintered siding broke, ended the metaphorical spell upon them. Together they began to move, James towards the hall, Lily towards the twins. As James peered around the edge of the door, trying to assess the situation on the floor below, Lily snatched up both sons in her arms and spun on the spot. The nausea-inducing feeling of the pressure that anti-apparition wards created pressed down upon her, burdening her on top of her already horrendous fear. She quickly grabbed the locket that James had given her at their graduation, the silver one with mother-of-pearl lilies on it, murmuring 'activate, activate, ACTIVATE!', even as she felt that the anti-portkey wards were cutting off that route of escape as well. Just as she'd known they would.
Nearly whimpering with panic now, Lily turned towards the door to see her husband finishing his last animation of the couch downstairs from the top of the landing. All thoughts of their previous disagreement seemed to have flown off like a snitch in the last minute, and Lily could remember only why she had married him in the first place. He chanced a glance back at her, catching her eyes and holding them, saying with them everything that she didn't know how to with words. With a last look for his children, James squared his shoulders and rushed down the now severely damaged stairs. That act marked the beginning of the last two minutes of his life.
Listening to your husband die, Lily thought as she frantically placed her two children in one of the cribs that stood side-by-side under the window, had to be the worst thing that she had ever gone through. Working quickly, she was just about to start setting up some strategic defenses (pointless though the action seemed, she was never one to bow to inevitability, particularly when her children were threatened) when the door was blown in. Caught by the blast, Lily was tossed like a petal to the opposite side of the room, where she crumpled to the carpet, unconscious and buried in a pile of shattered wood and gyp-rock.
Lord Voldemort entered the room slowly, sedately, deliberately. Each step and movement seemed calculated for maximum menace. He approached the crib where the two children lay crying, awoken by the commotion of the fight and the destruction. Voldemort gazed down at the tiny body of the one who was supposed to be his vanquisher, his equal. Wormtail had told him of the births of the two children, of how the elder of the twins, Daniel, was the one to have been born before the clock struck midnight. Raising his wand to the slightly larger of the two identical children, Voldemort pronounced the words to the spell with which he was far more familiar than was strictly wise.
Voldemort's aim was true. However, just at the moment when the spell was to strike his brother, Heron Potter let loose with a particular violent shriek of upset and flailed an arm (as babies often do) slightly into the green light's path. The spell, clipping Harry's palm and carrying on to strike down the infant next to him, flashed a brilliant white and bounced back like a boomerang to strike Voldemort in the chest. With a screech of pain, confusion, and unadulterated rage, Voldemort's mortal body incinerated in a puff of blackest smoke, leaving behind nothing but a smouldering cloak and a wand of yew.
Several minutes passed in silence from the three in the room. With a groan, Lily Potter awoke and heaved herself out of the pile of rubble in which she was buried and stumbled towards her children, heaving with fear and pain. Sobs broke out from her shuddering chest as she came across the broken crib and the body of her one-year old son Daniel. Still and quickly cooling, he had no pulse. Upon his chest, where his baby clothes had been blown right off, was a large lightning bolt-shaped scar. She clutched him to her breast, wordless with terror and grief. After a few moments, she turned to the still body of her younger son. Still crying, she reached out a hand to bring him to her. And froze. Harry was still warm.
In a flurry of movement, she gently laid down the body of her eldest while rushing to the side of his twin. Unconscious but alive, the only mark that she could find upon him that could stand as evidence of the attack's effect on him was a twin lightning bolt-shaped scar, this one smaller, across the palm of Harry's hand. Although raw and pink, it was closed. Crying with relief that she was not alone and something of her family had survived the odds of the brutal attack, Lily hurried to the side of her husband downstairs. Harry remained clutched in an unusually tight embrace at her side.
The devastation on the first floor of the modest home was a sight to behold. Banisters were blown to bits, scorch marks littered the walls, and James Potter's body could be seen, bruised and bloodied from the ferocity of the fight, lying next to the remains of his animated couch. The sofa in question was still trying pitifully to get to its two remaining feet and charge towards the front door. It was not getting far.
Lily bent to kneel by her husband's head, gently brushing back his bangs and settling his glasses delicately on the bridge of his nose. Even in death, she thought, he was handsome.
A crack outside on the lawn brought Lily back to reality. Harry. Harry, her son, was all that remained of her immediate family. James and Daniel were dead, dead at the hands of a madman, a powerful madman. A madman who knew where they lived. And the only way that he could have known where they lived, was from Peter. Peter who was one of their three closest friends. If she couldn't trust Peter, who could she trust? Sirius? Remus? The boys' godfathers? But hadn't Sirius just been there? Hadn't he left in a great hurry? Hadn't he said that he was going to meet Peter, but didn't? What did that mean? There was no way that she could afford to wait around and find out.
Placing the briefest of kisses on her dead husband's lips, Lily slipped off James' wedding ring and grabbed his wand from where it was still clutched, trustily, between his limp fingers. She flew silently back up the pulverised staircase to the boys' room, to snatch up the trunk that she had been packing earlier (had it only been that evening?) and had miraculously remained relatively unscathed in the corner of the room. Kissing Daniel's cold brow, Lily choked back a sob at not being able to provide either her husband or son a proper burial, before picking up the handle of the trunk in one hand and clutching Harry to her in another. She clasped the locket in the hand that held her son before whispering the word 'activate,' too quiet to be heard above the screams of shock and horror that she could finally hear on the level below.
So it was amidst screams and not silence that Lily and Heron Potter left their little house at Godric's Hollow. It would be many years before either of them were to return.
Ten years later...
"Harry!" Lily's voice rang through little house. "Harry, I'm home!"
A tallish boy with messy black hair and emerald-green eyes came scampering to the door. "Mum!"
Lily swept her only remaining son into her arms, clutching him tightly with the same gratitude that she felt every day that they were alive and together. As they moved into the kitchen so Lily could make dinner, she reflected back on the past ten years, from that horrible Halloween to this one.
After fleeing the scene of half her family's murder, Lily and her infant child had gone to the last place anyone would have expected her to go, and the one place that was guaranteed as being the safest from any wizarding interference: her sister's house. Petunia and Vernon had very reluctantly put them up for the night while Lily stayed up for hours, trying to think what to do, where to go, that they could possibly be safe. She knew that Voldemort's apparent disappearance meant little, for many of his followers could be just as cruel, if not quite as powerful.
Allies were seemingly thin on the ground. Her best friend and confidante, Alice Longbottom had gone into hiding with her own family around the same time that the Potters did. Peter was out, obviously. Sirius was still too dubious of a case to be trusted, as loathe as she was to admit it. Of all the Marauders, she would have doubted Sirius the least; his dedication to James was unparalleled in her experience. But then again, she never would have doubted Peter, would she? And James and Sirius had apparently begun doubting Remus' loyalty in recent days. That was the reason for Sirius watching the boys that night, rather than the werewolf. And Albus... well. There was no question that she could never go back to him again. And that, for some reason, hurt much more than she would have expected.
For so long, ever since she had first been introduced to the wizarding world, Albus Dumbledore had been a paragon of virtue and guidance, an unstoppable force of everything that was Good and Right and Honourable. But now... Now Lily was beginning to question the lengths her one time mentor and hero was willing to go for such ideals. And in realizing this, Lily realized something else about herself. She was always for what was Good and Right and Honourable. Just so long as what was Good and Right and Honourable for her family came first. And the Sorting Hat's thoughts about Slytherin suddenly seemed a little less ridiculous. Ravenclaw, she had always understood. Even Hufflepuff had made some sense. But this new and blooming sense of family-preservation, of family before all else, well. It was a combination of the two less-popular houses that made more sense than ever.
So. No friends to run to. And obviously no chance of staying here for any reasonable length of time. Lily thought quickly. The Potter vault... she and Harry would be the only ones with access to it, being the only remaining Potters. And the goblins would be satisfied with nothing less than an absolute proof of death before handing anything over to the ministry. Their best bet for funds would be to leave the country and access the vault from another branch, all of which were connected by magic to the single underground cavern.
Unfortunately, this meant a swift get-away was in order. If they wished to get out of the country undetected and set up somewhere, they would have to move fast. Even now, James' and Daniel's bodies (silent sob) would have been discovered, and a search for Lily and Harry might have begun. Which meant quick action. Lily heaved herself to her weary feet and picked up the now fed and sleeping Harry and said her goodbyes to her sister. Petunia was cold, but accepted the number for the Potters post box all the same, and promised to send warnings or pleas for help to that box, which Lily would check regularly. It was the only foothold that she would leave in wizarding Britain. Or in Britain at all.
From that night onwards, the small Potter family was constantly on the move, Lily fearful of pursuit and capture, by whom exactly, she could not say, but she wasn't about to take the chance.
Between the ages of one and eleven, Harry lived in more countries than there were years of his life. Russia, Italy, America, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Israel, Australia, the Netherlands, Egypt, and finally, France. Harry found that he had something of a talent for languages (aided somewhat by his mother's more brilliant translation charms), and managed to pick up a decent amount of whatever was spoken wherever they were living at the time. In addition, Lily drilled him mercilessly in Latin, for spellwork background, and the three languages of Ancient Runes, for which she had great respect: Celtic, Gaelic, and Old Norse. Needless to say, Harry had a wider array of swears at his disposal than your average eleven year old.
Harry was differed from your average child in other ways as well. For one, he absolutely and utterly would do anything to please his mother. Because of their constant tendency to move about, she was his one solid companion, the only real stable thing in his life. Some children might have become angry or resentful for the unreliable manner of living, might have lashed out at the one who could be perceived responsible, no matter how underserving. Lily, however, placed great faith in her child, and had told him as much as she could from the youngest age possible. For as long as he could remember, Harry knew all about the magical world and about the games they would play, the games of pretend and make-believe to fool their neighbours and friends.
Lily had come to trust Harry in ways that most parents might not their own children for the same reasons that he trusted her back: they were all the other had. Their solitary lifestyle had led her to depend on him almost as much as he did on her. Children being much more perceptive than they sometimes seem, Harry could pick up on this easily. And it was for this reason that he grew to love his mother and not to blame her. Their bond became much closer than that of the regular parent and child. And it was a good thing, too. For their lives were not often easy.
More than once they had to up and move quite quickly when something about their back stories was recognized as being not entirely truthful, or in one terrible case in Brazil, when Lily was sure that she had been spotted by one of her old Hogwarts roommates and Order member, Emmeline Vance, on holiday.
These were stressful times for them both, but for Lily especially. So brutally had her past shaken her that she had little to no faith in anything that could connect her back to her previous life.
Which was what had brought them to France for the year preceding Harry's eleventh birthday. Lily had taken up work as a researcher in one of the many beautiful universities in Paris. They were, as usual, sticking to the larger cities; it was easier that way to get lost in a crowd. Of course, this had meant a significant amount of moving about within the country itself, but Harry didn't mind. In fact, he was rather excited. For the reason that they had stayed within France so long was so that Harry could apply to attend Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Lily had become slightly paranoid of the past, and had decided that this was the best alternative to a Hogwarts education. She had been homeschooling Harry for the most part in the mundane subjects. In fact, she insisted that he finish his highschool mundane education by the time he graduated from magical school, meaning that he had had to condense a fair amount of his learning into these early years that weren't so taken up by magical studies. Lily herself had found it incredibly difficult to focus on both the magical and mundane subjects, and while she had received good marks in both, she had wanted Harry to be able to focus more fully on first one and then the other.
This intense schedule of study had led Harry to become a fast reader and something of a scholar. His favourite subjects were math and literature, and with all their traveling, it meant he was quite well-read. Of the sciences, he knew that biology would be most useful for transfiguration, physics for charms, and chemistry for potions. He studied these the hardest, knowing that any knowledge he had would be useful later on. This meant that Harry was actually quite advanced for his age in most subjects - he was, in fact, working at about a high school junior level in each, and more in some. Lily could not have been prouder, but she also learned to take it all in stride, and this led Harry to expect such success of himself.
Another difference in Harry was that, while a naturally quiet boy, he had grown up learning to pick up on the habits of others very quickly in order to both blend in and not to offend. Having grown up with a constant threat of discovery, he'd become a brilliant actor by necessity, and a fabulous imitator. This meant his manners were impeccable.
In order to blend in the most, to be utterly unnoticeable, it had often been necessary to join teams and such at the various schools that Harry attended. He and his mother had gone over their options together and picked out those talents which were most universal and easiest to practice with the least equipment necessary. They had come up with football and swimming for sports, and voice for music. He enjoyed both.
And so it was that Lily arrived home from work to find Harry doing the last of his Biology homework at the kitchen table the day before he was to leave for Beauxbatons. They had contacted the headmistress, Madame Maxime, several months earlier, explaining that while born in England, they had been forced to move frequently for Lily's work (as a contract researcher in physics... heh) and had been living for the past year in France and would continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Or, at least, that's what they said. But Madame Maxime had been most gracious when she saw Harry's test results on the entrance exam and had sent them his acceptance letter not two weeks later. That had been back around Harry's eleventh birthday, for which he had received a raven. Lily had researched it and discovered that while rather rare, magical ravens were the cleverest of birds, and as such would make for the best messengers. They could receive particular instructions such as, 'only give them the message when they're alone', etc. Lily named her male raven after the latin word for 'messenger', Viator. Harry named his Morrigan, after the Celtic Goddess who took the form of a raven over battlefields.
As per their cover, Harry, or Heron, as he was to be known (only Lily, James and Sirius knew of his full name), could not go by the last name Potter. So they decided to switch Harry's middle name Evans for his last name Potter, and Harry Potter became Heron Evans.
That night, as Harry lay sleeping in the small room of the Paris apartment that they were leasing, Lily quietly entered his room. She moved through the moonlight to the side of his bed and sat on the edge, running the tips of her fingers through his bangs as she so often did late at night when she couldn't bear to fall asleep in the big cold bed. At times like this, when she was missing James more than usual, she came to just be near Harry, and gaze down at his face. More like her own than James', Harry had high cheekbones, a straight nose, and big green almond-shaped eyes. His lips were his father's, however, pale pink and ready to twist up into a mischievous grin at a moment's notice. His hair, too, was like James, thick and black as ink, while his complexion was more her own, clear and extraordinarily pale. A pretty child, she thought, a beautiful child. His father would have been so proud. Long, long into the night, Lily sat watching over her child, her spirit, her life, just stroking his forehead, and wishing that dawn would never come.