When In Doubt, Obliviate
Chapter One: The Rescue
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
It was mere luck that put Gilderoy Lockhart in the path of Sirius Black November 1st, 1981. It was hardly surprising, really, as luck, good looks, a complete and utter lack of regard for trifles like 'truth' and 'integrity', and memory charms were really the secret to all of Gilderoy's not inconsiderable success. Though Gilderoy would rarely even admit as much to himself, he was hardly what one would call talented in the magical arts. Still, he had been a Ravenclaw for a reason and so it wasn't as if anyone had to know that. Far from being seen as the barely competent Muggleborn he had gone to Hogwarts as, people looked at him and saw a heroic and legendary celebrity with a killer smile and a mysterious past. Well, of course his past was mysterious. Expecting any Pureblood or even most halfbloods to know anything about Muggles was like expecting them to believe any of the nonsense printed in the Quibbler.
Gilderoy had only been taking a leisurely stroll as he pondered the autobiography he was writing – tentatively titled Magical Me – when he had literally run right into a deranged-looking Black. Gilderoy recognized him, of course, as the disgraced heir to the most ancient and noble house of Black since he always made it a point to know who was who in the wizarding world.
Normally, Gilderoy wouldn't have wanted to get involved with someone else's personal problems but he had finally tuned his instincts over the years and he could almost sense the important story Black had to tell.
"Oh, Black, you startled me!" Gilderoy exclaimed. "Is everything alright?"
For a moment Black looked like he was going to ignore the inquiry and continue on his way but something stopped him and he turned to face Gilderoy. "Nothing is alright. Voldemort may be gone but-"
At this, Gilderoy started. You-Know-Who was gone? That was news to him. Most welcome news, though, as it was difficult to build a reputation as a fearsome champion of the light when one's own country was under regular attack by all manner of dark creatures and cultish pureblooded 'Death Eaters.' Gilderoy had never thought he would be grateful to be beneath someone's notice until You-Know-Who had deigned to let him live. "When did this happen?"
"Last night," Black informed him. "James and Lily are dead. Harry's still alive, though."
Gilderoy could only presume that this 'James' was James Potter, Black's close friend. Lily was his wife so that must make Harry that child of his. Looks like it was a son, then. Probably. 'Harry' could be short for Harriet or something. "How did Harry survive?"
"No one knows," Black replied. "He's not old enough to talk, his parents are dead, and it looks like Voldemort was there alone. People are already starting to say that Harry must have done something to defeat him, never mind he's only an infant." Black shook his head in disgust at the stupidity of the general populace. "But never mind that, I have to go find-"
"Wait," Gilderoy interrupted. "Do you have any idea where Harry is now? It…It might not be safe for him. You-Know-Who must have a lot of very angry followers right now and poor Harry is just a baby, how could he defend himself?"
Black waved his concern off. "He's fine. I waited with him until Hagrid showed up and he said he was taking Harry to Lily's muggle relatives, the Dursleys. Anyway, Dumbledore will be there. It'll be fine. Now, if you'll excuse me-"
That was as far as he got before Gilderoy quietly cast Obliviate on him. He had a plan, you see. Dumbledore was probably leaving Harry with Muggles so that witches and wizards couldn't find him and try to kill him. Obviously, the boy would have to be hidden until he was old enough to attend Hogwarts but why should he have to live his life in obscurity? They could help each other out. Young Harry would get to grow up in the magical world and Gilderoy…well, Gilderoy would get an unbreakable tie with the child that had 'defeated' You-Know-Who. Gilderoy very much doubted that Harry had had anything to do with it (presumably his parents had done something) but who was he to deprive the public of their hero?
Lily's family being Muggles meant that Gilderoy could find their address in the phone book. It might have taken less time had he managed to narrow down the general area the Dursley's lived in – if Black even knew – but it would have been too risky and he wanted to avoid raising Black's suspicions so he could Obliviate him in peace. Since he was planning on rescuing Harry form a good decade of being deprived of the world of his birth, it would be for the best that no one knew that he knew where Harry was and so he could not be implicated.
Now, Gilderoy was tempted to just leave Black where he was but if he did that then someone, maybe even Black himself when he woke up, might realize that he'd been attacked and while Gilderoy didn't think it could be traced to him he didn't want to take any chances. If Gilderoy took Black to St. Mungo's then no one would suspect that he had anything to do with putting him there and he might even be able to boost his reputation. Besides, Black had unknowingly just did Gilderoy a huge favor and so he was feeling rather charitable. That was a dangerous thing, to be sure, but he had no doubt that it would pass soon enough.
St. Mungo's was more than aware of You-Know-Who's defeat if the pandemonium in the entrance hall was any indication. Gilderoy was eventually directed to the Fourth Floor for Spell Damage and met with a harried-looking blonde whose nametag identified her as Julia Bloxam.
"We've had quite the influx of spell-damaged patients in the last few hours," Bloxam explained. "All these celebrations, you understand. People are getting carried away. They're not really paying much heed to the statute of secrecy, either, but that's not exactly my specialty and I've got more than enough to do already."
"That's quite understandable," Gilderoy remarked. "I do so admire your ability to keep your head during all of this chaos."
"I've helped out at Hogwarts in the weeks leading up to exams," Bloxam said by way of explanation. "So what seems to be the problem? You're not the one with spell damage, are you? You brought someone in?"
Gilderoy nodded. "Yes. I was going out for a walk when I happened to find this man lying unconscious on the ground. Though I don't really know him personally, I recognized him as Sirius Black and so brought him here. I'm no healer, but I didn't see anything physically wrong with him and so I thought it might be spell damage."
Bloxam waved her wand over Sirius and nodded. "Good instinct. This man has had a memory charm placed on him. We'll know more when he wakes up. It's good that you brought him in. We don't know how much he's lost but the thought of him wandering around all alone out there with no idea who he is…"
Gilderoy flashed her a toothy smile. "Always happy to help."
Taking Black to St. Mungo's had been a risk, of course. He knew that there were ways to counteract memory charms and recover lost memories but also that some of the stronger memory charms couldn't be broken without permanently damaging the patient's mind. Gilderoy had had plenty of opportunities since graduating Hogwarts to refine his technique and his charms were just barely below the level where the person he cast them on would be forever forgetful. Sure, St. Mungo's could break his memory charm and see what had happened but not without destroying Black's mind and so he rather felt that he would get away with this.
Professional ethics…he really did pity those that were burdened with them.
Gilderoy's luck continued to hold as the very first phone book he looked through was the one for Surrey. There was one Dursley family listed at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging. Of course, it had been entirely possible that this Dursley family were just relatives of Lily's family or completely unrelated. Once Gilderoy Apparated to the neighborhood, however, all doubt was removed for there on the porch of 4 Privet Drive was a small bundle.
Gilderoy looked around to see if anyone was there to see him but he appeared to be alone. He made his way to the bundle and discovered that it was a sleeping baby with a lightning-bolt shaped scar. It was a pity, really, as scars tended to mar one's looks and Gilderoy wasn't sure how the boy's parents could be so irresponsible as to let him get injured and then not even take him to a healer to get rid of any scarring. Oh, well. Maybe they could claim that it was a result from his 'epic showdown' with You-Know-Who? While it would need to be hidden for the next ten years, it would eventually serve as an easy identifier.
There was a note with the baby and though it was addressed to a 'Petunia Evans', Gilderoy felt no compunction about ripping open the note and scanning it.
Well, what did you know? Apparently young Harry had survived a killing curse. Nobody survived a killing curse. That was certainly impressive…if it were true. As Black had pointed out, there weren't any witnesses. Public opinion was that the lightning-bolt scar had been the result of surviving the killing curse that was famed for not leaving a mark on the body, however, and so Harry was now known as the Boy-Who-Lived. Nice title, wizards absolutely adored hyphens. Oh, yes, Harry was even more valuable than he had thought.
Dumbledore seemed to think early fame would be bad for him which was part of why he was trying to place him with Muggles who wouldn't worship him which made absolutely no sense to Gilderoy. Fame could never be a bad thing, especially for something so positive as ridding everyone of the Dark Lord that had been plaguing them for years. Dumbledore may be wise but even he could make mistakes and leaving Harry here with the promise of no contact from any member of the wizarding world until the time came for him to go to Hogwarts was clearly one of them. Even if Gilderoy hadn't been planning on shamelessly taking advantage of Harry's fame, if he had found out about Dumbledore's plans for the boy he would have had to have rescued him out of sheer altruism.
Gilderoy pocketed the note and picked up the child. Petunia Evans or Dursley or whatever her name was might never even realize that she was supposed to have custody of her nephew and, with any luck, Dumbledore would never realize that she didn't. And if he did, well, Gilderoy intended to be long gone by then.
It would appear that his time in Britain was coming to a close, at least for the next few years.
Switzerland was famed for its neutrality in both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and so that was Gilderoy's first destination in case his rescue was noticed prematurely. Before he left he was summoned back to St. Mungo's and he didn't dare ignore it lest someone think he was acting rudely or suspiciously or, worse, someone realized what he had done to Black and could connect him to Harry's disappearance from Little Whinging. He didn't take Harry with him, of course, as that was just asking to be caught no matter how well he disguised the child.
His agent may not have been at all pleased to have to watch over the heavily-glamoured Harry (his talent with glamours was not something he usually mentioned because it wouldn't do for people to think he was accentuating his natural good looks with glamour even if he always did) but she would do it. Better still, she would do it without asking any questions.
Julia Bloxam met with him again as well as – to his surprise and horror – Albus Dumbledore himself. It had been a difficult decision but Gilderoy never met Dumbledore's gaze. On the one hand, not looking someone in the eye made it look like he had something to hide. On the other, he refused to believe that someone as celebrated and powerful as the Great Albus Dumbledore was not a skilled legilimens and Gilderoy had far too much to hide and not nearly enough faith in his skills as an occlumens to take any chances. It was far better to look guilty than to prove yourself it.
"You really are a hero, you know," Bloxam greeted him earnestly.
Gilderoy made sure his surprise did not show on his face. That…hadn't exactly been the reaction he had been expecting. "I did what anyone would have done under the circumstances." Well, anyone with an ounce of sense and a healthy instinct for self-preservation, at least.
"You sell yourself short," Dumbledore said gravely. "You have prevented a great miscarriage of justice and for that you are to be commended."
"I…don't understand," Gilderoy confessed. There were few phrases that he abhorred more but it wasn't like he had any way of knowing what miscarriage of justice he had prevented by attacking Black and so it seemed appropriate.
"Not much of Sirius Black's memory seems to have been erased," Bloxam explained. "No more than a few minutes. We can't recover those memories without seriously risking permanent damage so unless they come back on their own, we may never know. Just the same, if you hadn't brought him in then when he woke up he would have continued doing what he had been doing before his attack."
"And that was?" Gilderoy prompted.
"Lily and James Potter were in hiding," Dumbledore informed them. "They had the Fidelius Charm cast upon them which means that unless their chosen Secret Keeper revealed their location, Voldemort could never find them."
"And since he did, their Secret Keeper must have betrayed them," Gilderoy surmised.
Dumbledore nodded seriously. "Indeed. I had been under the belief that Sirius himself was their Secret Keeper but it turns out that that was all a ruse to keep their real Secret Keeper, Peter Pettigrew, safe. Sirius claims that he was the only one besides Peter, James, and Lily who knew of this and so he was going to hunt down Peter and kill him."
Gilderoy could see where this was going. "And if no one else knew that Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper and you yourself thought that it was Black…"
"Sirius would likely have been falsely condemned a Voldemort supporter and Peter would have either died a martyr or completely gotten away with it," Dumbledore confirmed. "You saved a man's life tonight, Gilderoy. I've spoken with the Minister and she intends to award you with an Order of Merlin, Third Class for this."
Gilderoy didn't bother to hide his surprise this time. "An Order of Merlin? I-I don't know what to say."
Bloxam smiled at him. "Say you'll accept it, of course."
"Well, certainly, if the Minister sees fit to bestow it on me," Gilderoy said proudly. So it seemed that he had done Black a favor, as well. This could certainly prove useful.
"It may take a few weeks to organize given the understandable upheaval Voldemort's downfall has caused," Dumbledore cautioned. "Will you be around?"
"I was actually planning on going abroad," Gilderoy revealed. "But if you owl me with the details then I can make sure to be back in London for the ceremony."
Dumbledore nodded and shook his hand and then Gilderoy was on his way. He was face-to-face with the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot not long after he had rescued little Harry Potter and cast Obliviate on Sirius Black and Dumbledore had suspected nothing. He quickly made his way back to his agent to collect the child and then took an international Portkey to his new home in Switzerland.
It looked like he was really going to get away with it.