A Different Halloween

A/N What can I say about the response to this story other than 'WOW!' – no pressure on chapter 2 then? I have no aspirations or illusions about becoming an author and write purely for the pleasure it gives me, however it's nice to know that my efforts are appreciated. As always – thanks for reading.

Chapter 2

Hermione was predictably overjoyed at the thought of her new best-friend staying in her house, the little girl's excitement was contagious. All the adults began to relax at the sight of two toddlers being just that, toddlers. Harry though was playing-up from all the attention and wanted to ride on 'Paddy's' back. Sirius could never deny his godson anything and transformed, Harry was soon on his back with his mother holding him on. Of course Hermione had to be next.

Like children the world over, when they're getting all their own way, they instinctively know to push the boundaries. He now wanted to ride on his father's back but Lily was putting her foot down. "No Harry, there's not enough room in here. You know that's only allowed outside."

Harry looked toward his father, knowing that not to be true. Harry was far too young to grasp that activity was only allowed when mummy wasn't in the house.

Dan was intrigued, "Why is James different from Sirius, is he a St Bernard or something? The hall should be big enough for him as I definitely want to see this."

With both kids jumping up and down in anticipation, Lily was easily outvoted.

Hermione's eyes were the size of saucers as she watched the transformation. Like any young child, she associated any animal of this shape with only one thing. With an expression of utter bliss on her angelic little face, she said the first thing that came into her head. "Santa!"

Remus and Sirius fell about laughing and Lily was having a hard time containing her giggles. The thought of James pulling Santa's sleigh proved too much and she was forced to surrender to her laughter.

Emma was too busy staring in amazement at this magnificent and noble creature to explain the difference between a stag and a reindeer to her daughter.

Sirius was trying to speak while gasping for breath, "Oh that is so much better than Bambi, let it be proclaimed that Prongs shall be known as Prancer from now on!"

This cracked the two marauders and Lily up until she noticed Harry beginning to get agitated, he was standing impatiently waiting to be placed on his father's back. Lily plonked her now laughing son on the stag's back and then plopped Hermione right behind him. The little girl wasn't frightened in the least and immediately wrapped her arms around Harry. With Hermione clutching Harry, Lily was easily able to hold both children steady as Prongs pranced around the hall. This again had Remus and Sirius in fits of laughter and it appeared the name Prancer might actually stick.

Dan was standing behind Emma with both arms around his wife's waist as he kept telling himself that their daughter was perfectly safe. It was hard to refute that idea while the children's laughter was loud and plentiful as both rode this great beast around their hall. It was also hard to refute the existence of magic after what they'd witnessed tonight.

Dan thought he also understood all the laughter and pandering to the children's every whim. These people were basically reaffirming they were all still alive and attempting to place what could have happened behind them. He'd rarely seen his daughter happier so had no problems with this understandable behaviour. It was also understood that all the adults would be sitting down to do some serious talking after the children went to bed. They were letting off steam now before that discussion brought the events from earlier crashing home once more.

-oOoOo-

Hermione had insisted that Harry James should sleep with her and the two mothers were standing watching as their children snuggled into each other. They may have had loads of excitement today but they were also exhausted. Emma had been about to offer a pair of Hermione's pyjamas for Harry to wear when Lily waved her magic wand and the child's clothes became little red and gold pj's, of course Hermione had to have the same.

Emma was left wondering just what else magic could do. "Is Harry off nappies already?"

Lily could only smile in way of an answer, "Harry is wearing pants that have very specific charms on them. They will keep him dry and clean while banishing any little accidents. They even change colour when the charms are wearing out and he needs a new pair. The magical world doesn't do nappies, for which I am eternally grateful."

Emma couldn't help but wish that pants like those had been available from her nearest Mothercare store. "Lily, I don't know how to say this, so please excuse me for asking but were you insured? You're most welcome to stay here until you get things sorted out only I just realised you must be standing there in everything you own. Do you need clothes, money..."

The young redhead couldn't help but hug this woman who'd already done so much for them. "Thank you Emma for even thinking about us but you don't need to worry. The Potters are quite a wealthy family and we are the last surviving branch. We were hiding out in that cottage against my better judgment. Harry's grandparents thought they were safe behind the protections of the Potter ancestral home, that didn't work either. Where we go from here is one of the things James and I are going to have to discuss."

Emma was relieved, she had visions of the young family being destitute. Another thought though had her mentioning something else to Lily. "Bill and Tracy Jennings live next door and are selling their house to downsize, their family are all grown and it's actually bigger than ours."

The thought of staying close to Emma and watching their two children grow together was a very attractive one, unfortunately there was an immensely powerful homicidal maniac trying to ensure that would never happen. Until he wasn't a factor in their lives, their only option was to leave the country, telling very few people where they went.

With both children now asleep, the baby monitor was switched on and they headed off to join the gentlemen awaiting them. There was a story to be told and questions to be answered, this could take all night.

-oOoOo-

Lily may have been in a strange bed but was very familiar pair of arms that held her close, she was basking in the comfort they provided though Lily knew it couldn't last. The next subject was sure to be a heated argument yet there was no dodging the issue as far as she was concerned.

Remus had left earlier to owl Augusta Longbottom. Frank and Alice needed to know this charm could be defeated, Augusta was their best option for getting that information to their friends. Sirius was currently patrolling the house in his Padfoot form, ready to alert the occupants at the first hint of trouble.

Lily gathered her courage and pushed on, "James, we may have tried to warned Alice and Frank. I can't help but think he'll go after another couple with a young child."

James held the woman he could have lost tonight and felt her tense, he also felt unable to deny her anything. She was expecting an argument but he didn't have the heart to give her one. "I know love and I understand, we'll go tomorrow."

Lily had to kiss her husband for that. They should be able to leave Harry here and get the visit over with, then it would be back to trying to figure out what they did next. Leaving Britain was rapidly appearing to be the only viable option open to them.

-oOoOo-

Petunia Dursley opened the door of number four Privet Drive and almost shut it again at once when she discovered who had rang her doorbell. Only the steely conviction in the well-remembered voice stopped her slamming the door in the couple's face.

"Now Petunia, you don't want to force me to take my wand out and open this door, do you? The neighbours might even see me do it!"

Petunia stood aside and allowed Lily and James Potter to enter her house, thankfully for all of them Vernon wasn't home. They entered the living room where baby Dudley was currently contained in his playpen and rapidly working his way through an entire packet of biscuits.

Petunia was exceedingly unhappy at them being here and, now that the neighbours could no longer see, made no attempt to mask her ire. "What are you doing here? I thought I made it quite clear the last time we spoke that I never wanted to see you again. You've made your bed and now you have to lie in it."

Lily tried to hide the hurt her elder sister's words caused, "Petunia, last night nearly had us lying in wooden boxes. The house we were staying in was attacked and it's mainly down to luck we made it out with our lives. We're being forced to leave the country for our safety and I'm worried about leaving you behind. Britain isn't a safe place to be at the moment."

Petunia let more of her anger out, "Why the hell should we be forced to move? Your type can kill each other as much as they like, it doesn't concern normal people like us."

Lily tried once more, "Petunia, this animal is killing everybody! He doesn't believe that normal people like you have the right to live. Killing your family would mean nothing more to him than pulling the wings off flies. If he should discover you're my family, he will come for you."

Petunia was showing signs of worry now. "I would just tell him that you and I don't speak. He wouldn't harm us then?"

"This wizard doesn't listen to anyone Petunia, he would kill all three of you."

James understood he was there purely to provide moral support for his wife. Anything he said would only harden Petunia's attitude against them. He was sure now they were hearing the real reason behind her point blank refusal to listen.

"Vernon would never leave, not because of some wizard. He just wouldn't do it."

Lily had tears forming in her eyes now, she recognised the truth in her sister's words. Vernon would think he could order Voldemort out of his home and the evil wizard would politely apologise and comply. Vernon could get them all killed. "Petunia, there must be some way to convince him? You know I wouldn't be here if the situation wasn't deadly serious."

Petunia could only dejectedly shake her head, "Mentioning this to him would only result in hours of ranting and Vernon digging his heels in even deeper."

Lily couldn't hold back the tears as she shifted her gaze to her only nephew. "Petunia, would you give your life to save your son's?"

"What kind of a stupid question is that? Of course I would."

"I'm sorry sis, I know you would. I'm just trying to convince you how serious this situation is. We may not be able to convince Vernon to move but, if things go really badly I might be able to offer you a chance to save Dudley. It uses magic yet leaves no trace, Vernon need never know."

This peaked Petunia's interest, "How can I do magic, I don't have any?"

"You're my sister and we share the same blood, Dudley is my nephew by blood. We can offer him a chance to live but it's pretty drastic, a real last resort."

"Will it hurt my baby boy?"

Lily shook her head, "It might be the only thing that keeps him alive!"

Lily knew that the only thing able to overcome her sister's pathological hatred of magic was the wellbeing of her son. Whatever Petunia's faults, she adored her son and would do anything for him.

It was a different Petunia who quietly asked, "What would I have to do?"

This was really hard for Lily to say but it had to be said. "If the worst comes to the worst, move in front of Dudley and tell them to kill you instead."

Even though this was the most morbid conversation she'd ever had in her life, Petunia had no trouble imagining herself doing that for her precious son. She didn't think she was anything special, any parent would do the same. "What else do I have to do? Will this keep my son safe?"

Lily was steeling herself for the next bit, "We have to perform some magic on him that Vernon need never be told about. It won't affect Dudley at all and I truly hope it's never needed."

Petunia couldn't miss the concern in her sister's features. "You think it will be needed though, don't you?"

"Petunia, Harry is currently being looked after by some friends and I can't think of anything other than this that would get me to leave his side. I performed the same magic on my son but it's useless unless I'm there beside him. Every minute that I'm apart from my baby is precious but I also love my nephew. You are the only family I've got left Petunia and this could be the last time I see you!" Both sisters were now softly crying. "If circumstances force you to do this, it will place a protection over Dudley that should kill this madman if he tries to harm him."

Petunia couldn't see a reason not to do this, she prayed it would never be needed but might sleep sounder knowing it was there. "What do you need me to do?"

James wasn't too sure about this idea but had been married long enough to know now was not the time to mention it.

Lily returned from the kitchen with a sharp knife and a saucer. "Relax sis, we both need a little cut on our thumbs, nothing more. James here will heal the cut in an instant." She cut the ball of her thumb and collected half-a-dozen drops of blood onto the saucer before James healed her. Petunia got a bit of confidence from watching this and quickly repeated the process.

Lily was all business now, "Ok sis, I want you to take Dudley's top off. I need to draw some symbols on my nephew and then cast a spell. We'll know if it's worked because the symbols will disappear, leaving no trace and no reason for Vernon to get upset."

Lily used the mixed blood to etch runes on Dudley's chest, each arm and his forehead. Petunia sat with a giggling Dudley on her knee, he liked this game. Lily then got ready to cast the spell, she took Petunia's hand in her free one. "I truly hope this is never needed Petunia, please do everything you can to convince Vernon to move." Petunia nodded but Lily was highly doubtful if her sister would even mention it to her husband. Lily cast the spell and the runes were absorbed into Dudley's not so little body.

James now had his arm around his crying wife as she was effectively saying goodbye to her sister. "Petunia, if the worst should happen I'll know, even if we're on the other side of the world. We'll get here as quickly as we can."

Petunia was hugging her son while contemplating the situation, after weighing up the options she knew what she wanted to do. "Lily, if the worst does happen, would you take care of Dudley? Marge may know everything about raising bulldogs but she knows nothing about raising baby boys!"

Lily bent down and kissed her sister and nephew on their foreheads. "You know I would Petunia, just like I know you would care for my Harry if you had to. Goodbye Petunia, I need to go and hold my own son close. In these times, it's not just the babies that need cuddles."

The Potters let themselves out and James couldn't hold back any longer. "With you using your blood to power that spell, you do know there will be a price to pay if Voldemort comes calling?"

Lily nodded but was unrepentant. "I was ready to give my life so our son could have one, there can be no higher price than that!" She suddenly stopped because her feet refused to move, the thought she just had froze her body. "Do you think that's what Dumbledore intended? The both of us dead and Harry left on his own?"

James tried to provide comfort but it felt like someone just walked over his grave. "We know Sirius would have looked after Harry."

"James, there is no question Sirius loves Harry but can you be sure he wouldn't have chased after Peter first?" A new and even more terrifying thought hit Lily. "Oh James, have I just done the same to my sister? Set her up to take the fall so we can live? I never meant to, you know I never meant to?"

James was able to be totally honest in his answer this time as he offered the necessary comfort to his wife. "Lily, you tried everything short of kidnapping to get Petunia and Dudley out of that house. We both know why she wouldn't leave Privet Drive. If it had been just her and Dudley, I'm sure we could have convinced her to come with us. That husband of hers is an arrogant, bigoted, small-minded arse of a man. You provided your sister with a chance to save her son and are prepared to pay whatever price magic demands of you. I couldn't be prouder of my wife and promise you to raise Dudley as my son if the worst does happen."

Lily had both arms around her husband as she spoke softly to him, "You are so good to me. Let's get back so the other Potter man in my life can cuddle me too. I think I need a lot of cuddles today."

James tried to raise a smile from his wife. "Since Harry James's bestist friend is bound to be there at the same time, you should get your quota of cuddles today. Bear in mind, I'm always available to meet any shortfall."

Lily kissed her husband. She understood there might be a price to be paid later but, as long as she had the two Potter males in her life, she would consider it a fair deal.

-oOoOo-

Severus Snape was dealing with lying on a cold stone floor, while contemplating the price he was currently paying. Severus was caught between the two most powerful wizards in the world and suffering badly for it. One continually made cow eyes at him and clearly wanted to cuddle Severus to death, the other cast the cruciatus curse on you as way of issuing a welcome greeting.

Severus was shortly going to be forced to choose a wizard because trying to play both sides was going to get him killed! As he struggled to gather his wits from a very angry Voldemort's greeting, he couldn't help but imagine what his life would be like under either of these totally different nut cases. At the moment he was leaning heavily toward putting pink ribbons in his hair and changing his name to Shirley, that could be the aftereffects of the powerful cruciatus curse though.

Voldemort's cold words rang around the room. "Well Severus, I hope you have some information for me? Otherwise, I shall become really displeased."

Severus noticed Peter Pettigrew lying shaking in the corner. As a visual aid to what happened to you when the dark lord became really displeased, it was a totally unnecessary accompaniment. Severus removed a scrap of parchment from his robes, "My lord, the location of the Longbottoms. Their son required a salve for a rash and I insisted on delivering it personally." This was of course a lie as Albus had given the secret to him for this very purpose, Bellatrix took the parchment from his hand to present it to her master.

Voldemort though didn't appear any calmer, "That's fine but it's the Potters I want. What information have you for me on them? Just what is the old fool up to?"

This was not good, when the dark lord asked you a question your health depended on having the answer he wanted. His already bad mood was about to get worse. "Dumbledore has no idea what happened at Halloween. Wherever the Potters have fled to, no one inside the castle knows anything about them."

"Oh that's too bad!"

Voldemort lifted his wand to curse Severus again when the potions professor blurted out the first thing that came into his head. Anything to avoid the pain of that curse again. "She has a sister! Lily Potter has a muggle sister!"

Voldemort's voice was now as smooth as velvet. "Ah Severus, I knew I didn't kill you for a reason. Unlike some others, your information is always relevant and accurate. Come closer and tell me more of this sister."

-oOoOo-

James had proven quite accurate in his prediction, Lily currently had two children cuddling into her. She was also hoping to have more luck convincing the Grangers than she did the Dursleys. "Emma, today it felt as if I said goodbye to my only sister, I don't want to lose you too! Please take our warning seriously, I couldn't bear to think of anything happening to this beautiful girl here."

Emma attempted to reassure her, "We are taking it seriously and think we will also be leaving Britain. We don't have the same pressure of time that you have bearing down on you but Dan was contacting our lawyers about selling our practice and this house. The prices we get for both will determine where and when we can move."

James had heard from his wife about the conversation she had with Emma last night. Leaving aside the debt the Potters owed this family, James would still want to help them. "Emma, any help you need, financial or otherwise will be available to you. I can't have my son missing his bestist friend."

Harry may have no idea what the grown-ups were talking about but he recognised that last bit. "Hermi!" was shouted like a chant and lightened the adults' mood.

Moving abroad was a daunting thought and Emma could appreciate the benefits of already knowing some people there, especially since Hermione was already so comfortable with them. "Have you decided where you're going yet?"

James nodded, "My family owns a large house near Wellington in New Zealand, that seems like a good place to start. We will of course keep in touch and you're very welcome to join us there whenever you want. Whether we stay there or settle in another part of the world is something we can decide at our leisure when we don't have to worry about our safety."

Lily appeared to snuggle into the children even more, "I won't feel safe until we're all out of the country and out of the reach of that madman, I'm just glad you listened to us."

-oOoOo-

Petunia knew Vernon wouldn't listen to her concerns, Vernon never listened to her, Vernon wouldn't be listening to anyone ever again. This fiend was worse than any Halloween monster that Hollywood had invented, he'd laughed while mercilessly torturing Vernon until her husband was foaming at the mouth. A green light hit her husband and Vernon Dursley was no more. The creature had repeatedly asked Petunia where the Potters were and her continual denials of that knowledge ended Vernon's life. They now appeared ready to accept that she genuinely didn't know where her sister was hiding, that didn't mean her ordeal was over.

From the instant they were rudely awakened in their bed, Petunia had known deep within herself that she was going to die. That Severus Snape was also in their bedroom with this animal told Petunia that fact, she couldn't be left alive to identify her attacker. Petunia was all screamed out, a calmness seemed to be creeping over her mind. She had accepted she was going to die but had an opportunity to save her son and maybe take this bastard with her, Petunia would be eternally grateful to Lily for Dudley's life.

Voldemort was attempting to make the best of a bad situation. "It would appear you are telling the truth and your sister didn't trust you with her location. Nevertheless, we can still use this situation to send her a message." His wand tracked to the loudly crying child in its cot, only to see the mother throw herself in front of it.

"Not Dudley, not Dudley, please not Dudley!"

"Stand aside you silly girl...stand aside now."

"Not Dudley, please no, take me, kill me instead..."

Severus was well aware it was incredibly risky to interrupt the dark lord but it was also glaringly obvious that Petunia had recognised him. Should she be left alive to deliver the dark lord's message, then Severus was as good as dead. James Potter would take it personally and Lily would kill him on sight, even Dumbledore wouldn't be able to save him from the redhead's wrath. Trying not to let his voice shake too much, Severus spoke out. "My Lord, a dead sister sends its own kind of message."

Voldemort paused for a second as this woman begged for mercy before firing the killing curse at her. He then turned quickly to his servant. "Interrupt me again Severus and you will experience first-hand just what kind of messages my wand can administer."

Severus had noticed the faint glow that left Petunia and entered her child's body. He briefly thought of risking his life to bring this to his master's attention but his well-honed sense of self-preservation quashed that thought ruthlessly.

Voldemort whirled back around, determined to shut the crying brat up. "Avada Kedavra!"

Severus felt himself flung off his feet and smashed into the bedroom wall, he barely had time to register the dark lord was blown to pieces before the force of the collision saw him losing consciousness.

The mild notice-me-not and silencing charms the attackers had placed around number four Privet Drive were blown away by the magical backlash, so were all the windows, a large portion of wall and a fair bit of the roof. Within moments, the nosey neighbours of Privet drive were out their beds and gawking at the ruin that used to be number four. As multiple 999 calls were made, one brave soul risked his own life by diving into the house to rescue the crying child. The entire house appeared in danger of collapsing at any second and the other bodies that he saw there would just have to wait until the emergency services arrived. The child was safe and that was enough of a miracle for one night.

-oOoOo-

Lily shot straight up in bed screaming, the whole house must have heard the haunting cry of 'Petunia!'

James was once more trying to comfort her when she appeared to get control of herself, "We need to get over there as quickly as possible."

He was about to object when Lily interrupted him. "I need to go too! Don't look at me like that James, they will be more inclined to hand that baby over to his aunt than his uncle." They had an audience by this point and it was to one of them that Lily spoke next. "Emma, I hate to impose on you more..."

Emma was standing at the door in her nightdress, along with Dan, Remus and Sirius who had all responded to that scream. She didn't give Lily time to finish, "Go! Dudley will be welcome here and of course we'll keep an eye on Harry until you get back." Both Grangers headed straight for their daughter's bedroom to check on the kids as the other four got ready to leave.

Lily appeared so exhausted just by getting ready that James had to apparate her to the little park at the end of Privet Drive, they were soon joined by Sirius and Remus. All four were bathed by the flashing lights of the police, ambulance and fire brigade vehicles that appeared to be breeding like cockroaches. A British Gas Emergency Response van also added its lights to the macabre carnival ahead, they were soon having to push their way through the rubbernecking crowd.

There was also an auror presence as James and Sirius recognised a face or two, Sirius headed off to gather information from them while Remus canvassed the crowd. James had a full time job just keeping his wife upright, first sight of the house they had visited yesterday had Lily's legs giving out. It was only when Remus returned with some news that Lily appeared to come back to life.

"Dudley's alive and currently in a neighbour's house while they work out what to do with him, he's in number seven."

They shoved their way over to the house and knocked on the door, only for it to be answered by a policeman. Lily pushed right past him and the policewoman currently holding the child fared no better. The female officer was left with little option but to relinquish her grip on the toddler as the crying woman wrapped her arms around Dudley. Her male colleague though had correctly read the situation. "Can I assume you are related to the child?"

James was left to answer as Lily grieved for her sister while holding the precious boy. "We're Dudley's uncle and aunt, my wife here is Petunia Dursley's sister. We've just arrived and rushed over here on hearing the child was pulled from the building, can you give us anymore details?"

The policeman reckoned there was no harm in giving the basic details that most folk standing out on the street already knew. "We found both Dursleys dead and another man in some sort of strange robe badly injured. We have suspicions there may have been a fourth person present but have found no trace of them yet. The gas supply has been shut off to the entire estate and the team from the gas board are currently searching for the breach."

Sirius arrived with some more news that he quietly passed on to James and Remus, "It would appear a certain dark lord is no more. One of his death eaters was also in the house, a certain Snivellus finally showed his true colours. I can't think how else his master would have found out about Petunia, even the rat didn't know any more details than Lily had a sister. Snape knew her though, didn't he?"

The marauders didn't know she'd been listening but it was Lily who answered. "Yes he did. We grew up together and we were still friends when she married Vernon. I can't believe he would sell us out?"

It was Remus who quietly answered, "We thought exactly the same of Peter, ten years of good friendship wiped out in an instant."

Both police officers suddenly realised they had something to do elsewhere and left the house, the group then found themselves joined by Barty Crouch. "Is this the child responsible for ridding the world of the dark lord? Is it really a muggle?"

Lily was in no mood to pander to pureblood politics tonight, "It has a name! He is called Dudley and yes the child is non-magical."

Barty ignored the bad manners and lack of respect, the woman had just lost family. "Do we have any idea how this happened?"

James chose to deliberately misinterpret the question. "Yes! Severus Snape was a childhood acquaintance of my wife and her sister, Petunia. He must have led his master straight to them. Before tonight, even our closest friends didn't know Petunia's married name far less where the Dursleys lived."

Dumbledore chose that moment to make an entrance, leaving James wondering just how long the old wizard had been listening before making his presence known. The group found themselves distrusting Dumbledore more as each new fact revealed itself.

"Severus Snape has been my spy throughout this conflict, I will personally vouch for him. I shall take my potions professor back to Hogwarts where Madam Pomfrey is more than capable of administering to his care. I really should take the child and have him checked as well?"

Lily Potter was exhausted and had a child in her arms, anger and loathing lent her speed and strength. Before anyone could even think about stopping her the little fireball had lashed out with a clench fist. It was a thing of beauty and the blow caught Dumbledore squarely on his crooked nose, his long beard was soon tinged with bright red highlights.

"You come anywhere near my family you bastard and I'll kill you myself! Where does this leave your blasted prophecy now old man? I said from the very start you were full of shit and I've been proven right. Our house on Halloween, Petunias house tonight, anyone like to lay odds the Longbottoms were next? You come anywhere near my boys and I swear you'll pay."

James had his arm around wife and nephew, purely because he didn't want her to fall over. His other hand held his wand that was directed at Dumbledore, Sirius and Remus had their wands trained on the same target. It was time for James to use his pureblood heritage to do some good. "Barty, Severus Snape has been implicated in the murder of two members of my family. I won't stand for him being released into anyone's custody, I want him arrested and tried as our laws dictate. Peter Pettigrew is also implicated since he willingly led his master to our house last night. I assume that house is in much the same condition as this one, we didn't hang around long enough to find out." James voice was filled with power as he continued. "These cases will end up being tried in our court, with the public in attendance, otherwise I shall start evoking some old laws. It doesn't take too much imagination to see a few blood feuds escalating into another war, I'm assuming no one here wants that to happen?"

Barty recognised that this wasn't the auror James Potter that was talking here, rather Lord Potter. That he happened to agree totally with the opinions this young man just expressed handed him an ally he didn't expect in his push for the minister's job. "Lord Potter, it would be my intention to prosecute everyone involved in death eater activates. That most certainly would include a marked follower found at the scene of two murders. Albus, if your boy is as innocent as you claim, then there is nothing for you to worry about. It will take every drop of veritaserum our potion masters can brew but the guilty will be going down."

Albus was horrified, he needed to put a stop to this at once. "Barty, don't you think that is a tad severe? Our world will need time to heal, this could reopen a lot of old wounds and pit brother against brother."

"Albus, we've suffered under a dark lord so powerful, the population were afraid to say his name. That same dark lord has just been destroyed by a muggle baby, a little boy who doesn't appear to have a scratch on him. Our world shook in terror yet a boy with no magic saved us all. I say we owe it to that child to clean our world up, we can't count on another ridding us of the next dark lord." Barty was quite pleased with that effort and could see that quickly becoming part of his campaign slogan. That his most serious competition for the post probably had tattoos on their forearms was a bonus he intended to cash-in.

James was quick to answer, "Barty, you have the complete support of House Potter in this matter. Now I need to get my family out of here. Dudley is my nephew and a ward of House Potter, I'll be in touch to sort any paperwork out later."

Barty nodded his acceptance, Lily was clearly the boy's closest blood relative and the child would need their protection until he could get all the death eaters dealt with. "Where are you staying at the moment?"

James looked directly at Dumbledore, "Barty, I'd rather not say. I don't trust everyone present with that information."

He apparated them out of there, the two marauders right behind him.

Albus removed his wand to heal his nose and clean his beard, he also made another attempt to influence Barty. "Once you start down this path Barty, there can be no turning back. Who knows what it will unearth."

Barty's mind was made up, he saw this as his path to the big prize. "This is the way it has to be, our world changed forever in that bedroom tonight. Sorry Albus."

Barty left and missed Dumbledore's parting comment, "You will be Barty, you will be!"

A/N Thanks for reading.