A FanFic by Darth Marrs
Author's Note Revised 10/4/2011: This story was originally titled Defense for Two, and was adopted with permission from "Detention in Defense", a one-shot by Perspicacity. What started out as an early-year story has turned into a multi-year epic (200,000+ words) that moved far beyond the original premise, hence the title change.
Like all HP fanfic, this story is based on characters and plot owned by J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This is a sometimes violent story which will later also have content of a sexual nature (when the kids are older). There is also in the latter half of the story non-consensual heterosexual activity enacted against a male character. There will also be a f/f/m relationship much later in the story. It is obviously intended for adult readers only. I hate warnings such as these, but given that Perspicacity's original was more of a kid fic, it is appropriate to let people know this story is not.
Posting will continue weekly as time permits until the story is complete.
Chapter One: Once Upon a Time
Godric's Hollow, 3 August, 1980
The party was long since over, such as it was. Sirius and Peter were both passed out drunk in the living room with Sirius's flame of the week on the floor by his side. Vectra or Vector, James thought her name was, though it was hard to keep track of how many women his friend went through.
James Potter stood on the edge of the living room and for the very first time resented his friends. At least Moony had the graciousness to go home and leave the two exhausted parents to their privacy. But even as he let the resentment flare, he quickly pushed it down again. Remus, Sirius and Peter were the very best friends he had ever had or could ever even imagine. They celebrated the first Marauder birth as jubilantly as James did himself.
Peter even wept a little when he got to hold Harry for the first time.
James bit his lip a little in an effort to hold the rush of emotion at bay; his son, his boy, his little Harry.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked over at an obviously exhausted wife. "I finally got him down," Lily whispered. She smiled a little as she adjusted her bra. "That boy already eats like his father. I swear he sucked me dry."
"Lucky little bugger," James said as he eyed his wife's swollen assets. The only thing that kept his hands off them was the knowledge they were sore and tender.
"Don't even think about it," Lily said in confirmation of his thoughts. She turned and looked at their three guests. "James?"
"Have you thought about what Albus told us? You were gone for almost five hours before the party. Did you go in?"
James's brows fell into a furrow as he remembered the headmaster's visit yesterday. "I went in," he confirmed quietly. "I checked with Control, and he confirmed it. The prophecy was legitimate. There are two potential targets—Harry and Frank and Alice's boy, Neville."
"Not calling them Oeagrus and Calliope anymore?"
"Calliope is a pretty enough name for Alice, and she does have a lovely singing voice, but Oeagrus? What was Control thinking when he assigned Frank's name?"
"Has Adonis done the Miltventor Test on Neville yet?"
"He tested 85th percentile; above average certainly, but not extraordinarily so. Frank and Alice are honestly a little disappointed in his readings. They're both above 90th each."
"James, it's rare for two purebloods to produce a child higher ranked than themselves. Alice is a half-blood and Frank's score was just a fluke. But 85th percentile is still good."
"True. Molly Weasley's youngest boy scored a 46th percentile."
Both of them heard the subtle tapping at their door. "Finally," James sighed. With a nod to his wife, James cast a sleeping charm on his friends and then opened the door.
The figure on the other side was completely hidden by a cloak with a heavy cowl that was spelled to show nothing but shadow. Until, that is, the man pulled the cowl back to show a young face with well-coiffed blond hair and sparkling blue eyes.
"Helios, Selene," the man said with a charming smile that quite ensured his nights would rarely be spent alone, even if he were not already married.
"Adonis," Lily said with a patient sigh. "Took you long enough."
The smile faded. "Remus and Romulus are dead."
Lily gasped while James paled-he knew Adonis did not refer to his friend Remus. "What happened?"
"Dumbledore happened," Adonis said with a growl. "Bloody fool sent a pack of idiots into the middle of our operation. We were on the verge of knocking the whole Lestrange clan out when your precious Order members came in tripping over their own feet throwing stunners to counter the Death Eater's killing curses. Gideon and Fabian had little choice but to play the part of loyal Order members and did the same. It was a no win situation. Control gave the order to retreat, but by then You Know Who showed up. He threw up an anti-apparition and anti-portkey ward in under a minute and had the whole lot of us trapped with twenty wizards. Aphrodite and I managed to fight our way out with Persephone and Hades, but we lost the twins. I swear Helios that Headmaster of yours is going to end up getting us all killed. Control is very seriously considering taking him out."
"He won't," James said with certainty. "Dumbledore is the only Sport we have right now, and the only one You Know Who fears."
"Why can't we just say the bastard's name?" Lily demanded with a huff.
"Control confirmed the taboo," Adonis said with an apologetic shrug. "It takes a lot of power to cast a taboo as broad as You Know Who did, but it's strong enough that if you say his name, even behind wards, he will know where you are. We've lost two agents because of it already, and the Ministry has lost eight aurors."
Lily paled. "He truly cast a Taboo on his own name? But that type of spell…"
"Requires blood rites using a magical child's sacrifice," Adonis finished. "Yes, we know. We suspect it was the Hastings girl. She was abducted four days before Control confirmed the Taboo was real."
Adonis took a long ragged breath before he nodded to the three bodies in the living area. "Are they out?"
"Silenced and sleeping."
"And young Harry?"
"Sleeping on the first floor."
"Then let's do it."
The three of them walked up the stairs. When Sirius, Peter or even Remus walked on the stairs, they creaked loudly. When Lily, James and Adonis walked up the stairs, they made nary a sound. In fact, James and Lily moved very differently around Adonis than they did in the presence of their friends, or Albus Dumbledore.
A bluebell flame cast a gentle, soothing blue glow over the nursery when the three of them entered. Four-day old Harry Potter lay sprawled on his back in the center of the cot. Through his thin eye lids all three could see his eyes moving as his lips trembled. Occasionally one hand would jerk for no reason.
"So small," Adonis whispered.
"You and Aphrodite should have one," James said. "He's been a miracle for us."
"Dite and I are happy just practicing for now," Adonis said with a wry grin. He reached into his large robe and pulled out a hoop of gold studded with pink diamonds. He tapped the hoop with his wand and then held it directly over Harry for a moment. When he let go, the hoop continued to hover.
A soft pink glow began to clash with the blue of their magical nightlight. The pink light concentrated in a cone that fell around the still sleeping baby. The light continued to strengthen in intensity until it began to blink. The blinking continued for five seconds before the hoop made a light tinkle, like a delicate bell.
The pink light inverted and began to rise in an inch-wide column.
"Here we go," Adonis said. He casted the measuring charm and beside the column,. a blue scale in integers of five appeared.
"Well, he's definitely above average," James noted.
"He should be, we were both above 99th Percentile and I'm muggleborn," Lily said.
The column continued to rise. "James," Lily whispered.
The column continued passed the top of the scale. "Merlin," James said.
The column continued, now twice the height of the scale, until it met the ceiling and both the pink column and the blue scale beside it disappeared. "I've done this test myself on dozens of babies," James whispered. "I've never seen this before."
"The last one was 31st December 1923, Tom Marvolo Riddle," Adonis said. "Before that was 3 August 1881-Albus Dumbledore."
The two Potters stared at Adonis in shock. "You mean Harry's a…" Lily couldn't finish.
Adonis nodded and completed the thought for her. "Harry is a Sport. He's completely off the scale magically. With a good environment and solid training, he could easily become a threat to Voldemort and Dumbledore."
Lily sought James's hand with her own. "The Prophecy," she whispered.
"There can be little doubt now," Adonis agreed. "James, you and Lily are on permanent detached duty. Your primary role now is to ensure that Harry is kept safe. I'd put you under the Fidelius myself right now, but we all know the questions that would raise. Instead, tell Dumbledore you've agreed to his suggestions."
"Sirius will serve as our secret keeper," James said confidently.
"Of course he would, and everyone would know it too," Adonis noted. "James, I know he's your friend, but Sirius is not a stable personality. He has too much emotional baggage and we know for a fact he talks in his sleep. Considering the number of ears that pass through his bed, that's a recipe for disaster. You might want to consider Lupin or Pettigrew instead."
"We have some concerns about Remus," Lily said sadly. "You Know Who's been making inroads with the werewolves. I can't imagine Remus would join him, but he might be under a lot of pressure we don't know about."
"Pettigrew it is, then," Adonis said. He looked carefully from Harry to James and finally to Lily. "Helios, Selene, I trust there is no need to warn you not to say anything about Harry's Miltventor score. The official record will be sealed as a state secret in the Department of Mysteries. If anyone asked, he scored a ninety. That's what will be publicly available. That is high enough to brag about in public and may excuse what will most assuredly be some incredible bursts of accidental magic. In the meantime, get Dumbledore to cast that charm. We need to be as proactive as possible."
"We will," James said. He took the other man's hand in a firm shake. "Thank you, Adonis."
"It is my pleasure, my friends. Dite and I always knew you would make incredible parents."He hugged them both. While they exchanged their farewells, no one noticed the scurrying rat-sized shadow that disappeared from just inside the door. When they returned down stairs, Black and his companion were still in the same place, while Peter had rolled onto his side and was snoring loudly.
"Be well," Adonis gave them both one last look before he disappeared.
When he was gone, Lily stepped into her husband's embrace. "James," she whispered, "we've engaged You Know Who himself three times. We've fought his death eaters as both Unspeakables and as Order members. We've fought his supporters and allies in three different countries. In all those battles, I've never been so scared."The last word ended in a half-swallowed sob.
James hugged her closer. "I know," he said. "Come on; let's get some sleep while we can. We'll floo Albus tomorrow and tell him we accept his offer. Peter's a great friend, and no one will suspect him as our secret keeper."
The two walked silently back up the stairs. Only when they were gone and the gentle click of their closing bedroom door drifted down to the ground floor did Peter Pettigrew sit up. In the dim light of the kitchen lamp, his cheeks glistened. He looked back down at Sirius, then lay back down once more and stared into the darkness of the kitchen while he wept in silence.
Ottery St. Catchpole, 15 August 1981
Molly Weasley looked harried; it was the only way to describe the mother of seven.
In a crowded den of a too-small house, Arthur and Molly Weasley held their newborn baby girl while around them ran ten-year-old Bill, eight-year-old Charlie, four-year-old Percy ("I'll be five in eleven days!"), three-year-olds Fred and George ("Look, Mama! Gnomes catch fire!"), and the youngest son, Ron, who was over eighteen months old and still had not taken his first steps. He was currently being held by his older brother Bill while trying to eat his foot.
Arthur had dark rings under his eyes, proof not only of the financial pressure of trying to support seven kids, but also the added pressure from his job at a floundering Ministry and his second position as a member of the Order of the Phoenix.
But that was nothing compared to the exhausted, haggard look of Molly Weasley, who just ten years ago was a young, vivacious, buxom young woman who caught the eye of nearly half her class. Now seven births had added permanent girth to her already flared hips, and rings and lines to her face. The deaths of her brothers left her heartbroken and constantly frightened for her family.
Aphrodite, looking at the chaos that was the Weasley home, vowed that she and Adonis would never, ever, have children. She absolutely despised the nasty little buggers.
"Dorcas, so good of you to come," Arthur said. "Please, have a seat. Oh, yes." He realized there was no place to sit and used a weak banishing charm to clear off a rickety wooden chair. "You've met Molly, of course. And we have the distinct honour of introducing our daughter, Ginevra Molly Weasley."
"A seventh child?" Aphrodite said. She never cared for her given name of Dorcas Meadows, and did not think of herself by any other name but the one assigned to her by Control.
"She is indeed," Arthur said. "For some reason, I was almost sure I was going to have a seventh son."
"You're a seventh son yourself, are you not?" Aphrodite asked.
"I am indeed. Of course, my siblings…well, you know."
She did know. Most of Arthur Weasley's brothers were squibs or died young. He lost three brothers to the dragon pox outbreak in the late fifties. Still, the seventh child of a seventh child, boy or girl, was arithmantically significant. The fact that the child was also the first girl child born to the Weasley family in three generations was also quite significant.
"Well, let's have a look, then." She took out the Miltventor gauge and activated it with a tap of her wand. All the children stopped their ongoing campaign of terror to watch as the pink column began to rise. Aphrodite saw immediately that the column was already past the ninetieth percentile.
She threw up a false scale, since the Weasleys were not authorized to see scales above the 99th percentile. Aphrodite herself was 99.2, the highest percentile of any member of her family ever. But this child…though the Weasleys were seeing a different set of numbers, what Aphrodite saw was truly astounding. The column finally stopped at the 99.7 mark. Ginevra Molly Weasley was one of the most powerful witches to have been born in a century.
"Well look at that!" Arthur said.
Aphrodite blinked, trying to hide her own shock.
"Yes, quite impressive," she managed to say.
"I'll say. Look Bill, she's right up there with you!"
"What does 75th mean?" Bill demanded.
"It means that you and Ginny are among the top quarter of magical potential in the entire magical world," Aphrodite explained to the handsome boy.
"Cool," Bill said with a nod. "I'd better take care of her, then."
"Yes," Aphrodite agreed. "You'd better."
York, 31, October 1981
Albus Dumbledore liked the sound of his own voice.
Aphrodite tried to hide her impatience as the old wizard rambled on and on about Voldemort's motives and recruiting. Though she had to admit his intelligence was surprisingly good, he took five times as long as necessary to explain the tactical situation. She could have summarized it in two words: Not Good.
Millicent Bagnold's election to Minister only happened when her predecessor, Augustus Rookwood, was killed in the middle of Diagon Alley by his own teen-age daughter, who was acting under the Imperius Curse. She killed herself shortly after when she realized what she had done.
Bagnold, Dumbledore told them, was proving to be much less open to suggestions and cooperation from the Order, though she had at least agreed not to try and arrest Order members.
Aphrodite knew of course that Bagnold was a tough-as-nails former Unspeakable and licensed barrister responsible for Control's own initial training, and was well aware of the mistakes the Chief Warlock had caused in his own ongoing crusade against Voldemort. The only thing that kept the Ministry assassins away was the fact that, bumbling aside, Albus Dumbledore was still an extraordinary powerful wizard.
She let her eyes wander away from the Headmaster to view the other Order members. As had been the case lately, Helios and Selene were missing. However, Sirius Black was there with his latest girlfriend, a woman named Septima who met the required attractiveness but seemed a little too intelligent for Black's usual sort of women. Given his history with intelligent women—such as his year-long debacle with Amelia Bones—she doubted he would have been willing to try again.
Remus Lupin lounged nearby, listening intently. Between the other two sat Peter Pettigrew. Aphrodite was about to continue her survey of the other members when she noticed something odd about the shorter man's expression. The Headmaster was describing Voldemort's overseas recruiting drives. When the old wizard said Voldemort's name, Pettigrew's right eye twitched. If it was not for the fact that Dumbledore was the only person who could afford to disregard the Taboo, she would never have noticed.
Aphrodite was trained in the interpretation of body language. In fact, among all his agents even Control admitted she was the best. She knew from two years of study that Peter Pettigrew was a rather timid man who was usually content to let himself be dragged along in the wake of his friends. However, in all that time she's never noticed any unusual facial tics or overly nervous gestures.
The tic was new, and was keyed specifically off the Dark Lord's name.
Peter, she knew, was the Potter's secret keeper—the Potters, whose son was a confirmed Sport, and who was one of two whose birth met the conditions of a prophecy that would put him directly against Voldemort.
She felt a stabbing cold sensation in her chest, but fought hard to keep it still as her mind immediately began analyzing all options and courses of action. The first and foremost priority was to determine if Pettigrew was under the Imperius or if he had turned. he kept her face a steely mask as Albus droned on. The meeting started at noon and it was already well past afternoon tea.
Finally, close to dinner, the meeting adjourned. The Order members began to disburse from Edgar Bones' stately home, which was under the Fidelius charm and served as the headquarters of the Order.
She saw Black and Lupin stand and naturally Pettigrew started to follow. She had to act quickly. "Peter?" she said.
All three men turned at the sound of her voice, and she saw them examining her as all men did. Though her given name was atrocious at best, she knew she was a beautiful woman, with shoulder-length almond hair, alluring hazel eyes and a long, luscious neck that Adonis loved to nuzzle for hours on end when she let him. The fact that she was wearing a dress with a low-slung bodice to accentuate her respectable bosom was not lost on the three.
"Er, yes, Dorcas?" Peter asked with a near audible swallow.
"I was wondering if you could walk me back to the apparation point?" she said. "I'd like to ask you something personal."
Black gave his friend a leering grin before Remus elbowed him. Septima rolled her eyes in barely concealed impatience.
"Of course," Peter said, a little too quickly.
"We'll leave you two to it, then," Sirius said, leering suggestively once more. "Peter, Ms. Meadows." With nods to each, Black finally left. Dumbledore had already gone as well, as had the other members. Aphrodite fell in beside the pudgy wizard and walked slowly. She timed her steps with his and walked right next to him, giving him an illusion of intimacy without actually touching him.
"How are James and Lily doing?" she asked.
His left eye ticked even as he smiled. "Oh, they're fine. Harry's quite the young wizard. He's already had a burst of accidental magic—never heard of such a thing so young. James said he made a book blow up. Guess he thought some of the pictures were too scary."
If she did not know Harry was a sport, Aphrodite would have been shocked. "He's a little young for such things, isn't he?"
"James said Harry scored high on his Miltventor test. Not surprising—James and Lily are both quite powerful."
"They are," Aphrodite agreed. They left the house and stepped into the cool early evening night. She could see the last of the Order members apparating out. They were nearly to the ward line themselves. "So tell me, Peter, have you already betrayed the Potters or are you planning to do it soon?"
His eyes gave it all away. They widened and he paled and gasped for air as if struck by a bludger. He tried to reach for his wand, but Aphrodite was expecting that move and easily slapped it away. She then spun about and slapped his face. She could hit and hit strongly, but there was nothing like a good, stinging slap to get someone's attention. "Traitor!" she snarled. "What were you going to do, Pettigrew? What was the plan?'
The man desperately tried to use his bulk to barrel past her. Aphrodite let herself fall back against his rush even as she pulled her legs underneath him. As she rolled onto her back with Pettigrew on top, she kicked out with all her might. The wizard let out a surprised yelp as he somersaulted over her and slammed onto his back.
Aphrodite flawlessly rolled from her back to her feet in one smooth motion. She kicked out the scrambling man's feet to land him on his stomach, and then stepped around with her wand out. His wand was several feet away.
"Talk," she hissed.
"I had no choice," Pettigrew said. He started to weep like a blubbering child. "He has my sister! He was going to kill her! I had no choice."
"What did you do, Peter?"
Pettigrew sobbed. "I…I gave him the secret. He knows where James and Lily are, and he knows about Harry."
Aphrodite fought to control the shaking in her wand. "Knows what about Harry?"
"That Harry is a Sport. He's going to attack tonight."
"Then there's time!" Aphrodite said.
"No there isn't," Peter said sadly. "Voldemort, my lord, hear me!" He lifted his arms and allowed the sleeve to his left arm to roll back and expose the Dark Mark.
Aphrodite's heart literally skipped a beat when she heard the tell-tale pops of multiple apparation behind her. She turned and stared at the line of black robes that stood on the edge of the wards. In their midst stood one wizard without a silver mask. His face was aristocratic and might have been handsome once. Now his skin had a strange sheen to it, which to muggles would be a sign of too much plastic surgery. Magically, though, Aphrodite saw the signs of dark soul magic.
"Hello, Ms. Meadows," Voldemort said with a sibilant smile. "Or should I call you Aphrodite?"
She braced herself for the fight of her life, but in her shock, she completely dismissed Peter Pettigrew. Thus the wizard who scored barely a 35th percentile on the Miltventor got the drop on one who scored over 99th percentile and cast a petrificus hex at her back.
Voldemort's smile seemed almost grandfatherly as he shattered the wards of the Bones home with a mere flick of his wand and walked casually up the path. She realized then that he must have had the secret of the Bones' Fidelius charm as well to even see her.
"It is unfortunate that you discovered Wormtail's secret," Voldemort said. "Even more unfortunate that we are on a tight schedule today. I'm sure my minions would have loved to show you how much they appreciate your efforts in the war. Alas, I have places to be, families to murder. So, Dorcas, or Aphrodite as you like it, I bid you adieu. Avada Kedavra."
Her last thoughts did not dwell on the pending deaths of her friends the Potters. She did not think about the treason of Peter Pettigrew. Aphrodite's last thought was what her beloved Adonis would look like when he learned of her death. Oh my love, she thought to herself as the green spell washed the life from her body.
Thank you for reading.