"The Fickle Hand of Fate"
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is property of JK Rowling, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros, et all. I make no money from this and I own nothing, don't sue.
Summary: [LV/HP] Harry Potter died in 1981, but in 1993 Harry finally arrives at Hogwarts. No one seems to know he should be dead, except Dumbledore, who stole someone else's son to replace the Boy-Who-Didn't-Live.
Warnings: Slash. Sirius/Barty Jr. AU. Pre-Slash LV/HP. Violence. Character Death. Azkaban. Manipulative Dumbledore.
A/N: There will be four parts. I'm not promising that they will all be long, or all short, or otherwise, but there will be four. And there MIGHT be a sequel… But there might not be.
Albus frowned as he looked around. His mouth was turned down, his forehead and eyes heavily lined. The ever present twinkle in his bright, blue eyes was missing, as he gazed across the room in horror.
They had managed to stop the fire, but the evidence of its existence lived on, proven by the blacked walls and the soot on the ground and the ceiling that was caving in around them. Furniture and possessions had already been devoured by the flames, and what was left of them was unrecognizable.
James' body had been sprawled by the front door, wand still clenched in his hand, his eyes wide open and mouth set in a determined line. He hadn't even had time to be afraid before Lord Voldemort had struck him down.
Lily was found in their son's bedroom. Her eyes were frozen forever in horror and her mouth was open in a silent scream. Her red hair spread around her head like a halo, and Albus sighed again, leaning down to press his fingers to her eyelids and pull them shut. He kept accidentally meeting her eyes and each time he did a horrid clenching feeling would overcome him and his stomach would roll and he would remember how terrible he had felt while watching Arianna fall lifeless to the floor, unsure whether or not he had been the one to kill her. He had still been responsible somehow for her death though; in some small way he had contributed to the murder of his own sister. And similarly Albus Dumbledore could not help but believe he had killed the Potters too. He had cast the Fidelius Charm after all, he had picked the secret keeper, and unless they had changed secret keepers without telling him it was his fault that Sirius Black had betrayed them.
Albus closed his eyes. He took a deep breath and opened them again, taking one hesitant step towards the overturned cot at the back of the room. The window above it was open, and smoke from the fire wafted through the room buffeted by the wind that was blowing in. There was no sound in the room but for Albus' breathing. And the unheard, anxious beating of his heart.
He reached out, his fingers gnarled and wrinkled with age, and he peeled back the soft fleece baby blanket that hid a small lump in the middle of the over turned mattress. Harry didn't move or make a sound. He lay curled in a ball, right where he had fallen when Voldemort shot the Killing Curse at him. Harry's hair smelt of smoke and when Albus reached to down to pick him up ashes fluttered to the ground. The three Aurors who were waiting in the threshold gasped, eyes wide and mouths moving without sounds, as they looked from one another and back to Albus.
"Is he dead?" One asked, breathless.
Albus used one hand to trace the fresh cut on Harry's forehead. It was shaped like a lightning bolt, and the blood had clotted around it, making it look worse than it really was. It wasn't what had killed him Albus knew. Neighbours had mentioned that Harry had been screaming, crying as if he were in terrible pain or anguish for a while after the explosion had torn apart the upper level of the cottage. None of them had dared entered the house to check on the boy, not after seeing Death Eaters flee from the scene, especially since no one saw Lord Voldemort leave the house.
"You have Medi-Wizard training, do you not, young man?" Albus asked one of the younger Aurors without turning around. The man, merely little more than a teenager really, came forward slowly with his wand outstretched. He waved it over Harry's small body, mumbling spells and incantations under his breath and then he lowered his wand, his fingers numb with shock. It fell, rolling across the ground, and his hand flew up to cover his mouth. He looked to Albus. Dumbledore looked back and raised one white, bushy eyebrow. "Well, young man?" He asked.
"He was hit with the Killing Curse." The young Auror waited a moment, waited until his co-workers had stopped gulping in fright, and then he added, "He didn't die from the Killing Curse. He died from smoke inhalation."
The other two Aurors gasped again, muttering in shock and excitement to one another. Albus stayed quiet, rocking Harry's dead body lightly in his arms. The boy had defeated Lord Voldemort, the darkest Wizard of their time. The child had survived, the child should have lived. His neighbours had stood by and allowed the Boy-Who-Should-Have-Lived to die a slow and cruel death; they had listened to him suffer and had done nothing for fear that Voldemort might still have been alive within the home. They had let him die.
They had all failed him.
Albus opened his mouth, still trying to think of something to say when suddenly a silver, shimmery lynx came flying in through the open window above Harry's overturned cot.
"Albus," the Patronus said, its mouth not moving at all, and yet Kingsley Shacklebolt's voice escaped it. "Sybil has said something worrying. We need to speak, quickly. It's about a prophecy. There is another prophecy child, this time though he'll be the 'Dark Lord's equal', though I don't know if it means Harry as well or not. She mentioned something about Black."
Albus watched the Patronus disintegrate in front of him, turning to mist and vapour and then disappearing altogether. He thought about Kingsley's message. Could it have meant Harry? Then what did Black have to do with anything? He was Harry's godfather, but also his betrayer, and there were many, many others from the House of Black still living. Could Sirius have been raising a child in secret, hiding him all this time, teaching him to covet the Dark? Albus scowled at the thought. To think, he had trusted the man, he had loved him as he had loved James as a son, in fact. And to have been betrayed in the end, to have been lied to, it left a bitter taste in his mouth.
He had to move fast. He needed to meet with Kingsley and discuss this new prophecy child because it couldn't be Harry. Harry had been dead as Sybil Trelawney made her second true prophecy.
But… But, he thought, until their new Saviour was found, he needed to keep this mess a secret.
"Obliviate!" He cried, the Elder Wand pointed at the youngest Auror in the group. "Obliviate! Obliviate!" He cried twice more, pointing his wand at each of the others. "Harry Potter is alive. He has gone to live with his remaining family and he is perfectly safe. You were just about to start making your reports."
The eldest Auror, a woman, shook her head lightly. "Where was I?" She asked, sounding snappish. "Right, Potter defeated You-Know-Who. Sir, what have you got there?" She asked suddenly, turning on Dumbledore as he was about to slip out of the room.
Harry was clutched against his chest, half hidden beneath the bright orange cloak he wore. "I was just about to deliver young Harry to his aunt. Poor mite, he's been through enough tonight don't you agree?"
"Right, right," she agreed, blushing slightly, "take him along. The poor dear, he must be knackered!"
Albus left, presumably to visit Number 4, Little Whinging where Lily's sister was living with her husband and her own child. But, in fact, Albus went outside, through the kissing gate, and beyond the small grove of trees where a line of grey gravestones greeted him silently. He traced each name with his eyes, running from Ignotus Peverell, all the way to Arianna Dumbledore, and Albus knew that beside those stones would soon lie 'Lily and James Potter'. He waved his wand, and a clump of dirt rose into the air, more than enough dirt to hide a body of Harry's size. He laid the child in the makeshift grave, close to where his parents would soon rest, and covered him up quickly. With a heavy heart he walked away, glancing once more over his shoulder and offering a silent apology for the child whose death would never be acknowledged.
The world needed a Saviour.
Albus Dumbledore needed to find a new Harry Potter.
When Sirius had heard of his friends' deaths, he had almost gone mad with grief. Then he was overcome with rage, so much rage that his vision blurred and tinted grey and black at the edges. He felt dizzy and numb and stricken as Hagrid told him, standing outside of the ruined cottage in Godric's Hollow, both of them shaking and sobbing, but Hagrid could never truly feel what Sirius was feeling.
They wouldn't tell him where Harry was. They wouldn't even tell him if Harry was safe.
No one but Hagrid would even speak to him, and he didn't know why. So he left, he went to search for Peter Pettigrew; Peter, the secret keeper that Sirius had suggested they switch to without telling anyone, wary of being captured, wary of anyone telling Voldemort. How was he supposed to have known that Peter was a Death Eater for all of these years, even while Harry was barely more than two cells in Lily's womb, how could Sirius have known that Peter had betrayed them all?
Now it was time for Peter to pay for his sins.
Only, when Sirius finally managed to find Peter, he was ready, more ready for the fight than Sirius was. And Sirius was left, reeling, surrounded by the bodies of thirteen dead Muggles and a street that was little more than rubble and burst water pipes, and a consignment of Aurors with their wands trained solely on him.
"Stop right there, Death Eater scum!" One screamed at him, the same boy who the day before had pronounced Harry Potter dead, forgotten about it, and then hailed him a Saviour and survivor all in ten minutes. "Drop your wand."
He wasn't a Death Eater, he knew that. He didn't have a mark on his left arm and he would never have betrayed his real family, and all he needed was ten or twenty minutes in front of an audience to prove as much. So he went willingly, laughing to himself at how easy it would be for the truth to be proven, how simple it would be to convince the others to help him track Peter down, how sweet it would be to watch a Dementor kiss Peter's soul away. But in the end, Sirius laughed, hysterical and un-amused, at how easy it was for them to send him to Azkaban for life without even mentioning, not once, what it was he was supposed to have done wrong.
He found himself in a cell, barely the size of a storeroom, perhaps smaller. You'd fit three people inside at once, but it certainly wouldn't be a comfortable fit, and Sirius praised his lucky stars (what luck he had left, at least) that he got a cell to himself. He was dressed in Azkaban grey and black stripped robes, his feet in socks and no shoes, and his shoulder length hair loose around his face.
Grey eyes narrowed, and his breath fogged in front of his face, and Sirius straightened his spine and took a deep breath, then changed into his Animagus form – that of a large black Grim – just as a group of Dementors swarmed around the corner and down the hallway. And then they were on him, arms reaching through the bars of his cell, fingers scrabbling for his robes, and hideous mouths open wide, hoping, hopeful that Sirius would get close enough for them to kiss.
But he sat there, a great dog-like creature, as black as night, half hidden by his prison robes, and his legs trembled before giving out beneath him. And so he lay there, half hidden, trembling, as he relived his worst memories: though the effect was not as strong as the last time he had faced a Dementor as a human.
With his eyes closed, with his heart in his throat, Sirius prayed that Harry was safe… and that someone would come to save him soon.
Yeah I'm practically finished with Uni now, but I've applied for a full time position where I work (part time) as someone is leaving. But I doubt I'll get it. If I do, it means less writing time since I still need to focus on my thesis, at least until August. Regardless I have… about 7 one shots planned and then, of course, Through the Looking Glass as well. I'll get around to them all eventually.
There are three more parts of this to go. They'll probably get longer.