A/N: Standard disclaimer applies. I don't own Harry Potter.
A slightly enhanced version of this chapter featuring a Longbottom family that doesn't die in one paragraph
October 31st, 1981.
The half-blood Dark Lord who had taken the name Lord Voldemort had learned months ago that there was a prophecy concerning his conquest of the world. A prophecy in which there was a future champion that would have the ability to bring about his downfall. A child Born at the end of July to those who had defied him thrice. That was all he knew, had he known more his actions might have varied drastically. There were only two children who could potentially fulfill the crack pot seer's prediction. After all so few people lived to defy him even twice much less a third time. Tom Riddle had always been practical, even if he was a bit insane now, and his current plan was perfectly logical. There were two children that fit the circumstances of the unknown champion. Both children were marked for death and would perish at his hand. It was only practical after all. He had been more than willing to fracture his soul into multiple pieces; what was the death of two infants to the greatest Dark Lord to ever live and breath?
The Dark Lord had chosen to attack the Longbottom family first in an attempt to destroy one of the two who could one day lead to his defeat. Nobody save the Dark Lord would know why the Longbottom would be the first to die. He had made the decision alone in his sanctuary and had told no one. For him it was a practical decision; the Longbottom's were less defended. The Potter family by contrast had more aggressive magical defenses and an additional pair of wands ready to come to their aid. The Longbottom family on the other hand depended more on the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, a department that was exceptionally easy to panic and divert. Both family's would perish tonight and it was only practical to conserve energy for the harder fight.
Frank Longbottom felt a layer of magic surround his home before he moved with the practice precision honed as auror in a war. Frank's wand flashed out sending two silver mists that blurred away with all possible haste. One patronus raced for the head of the DMLE to request back up, a second to the head of the order of the phoenix. Frank didn't know how much time he could give his family or his friends. One on one his only real hope against the dark lord was a delaying action and reinforcements arriving in time. Alice had already made it to Neville's room and was preparing her last stand and preparing to do what any mother would for their child.
Having already set wards that would disable all means of magical travel Alice and Neville Longbottom had no chance for escape. She knew that and it wasn't worth wasting time trying. The house had been sealed magically; no doors or windows would open. That was a standard practice for Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Seal the house and burn it while the family was trapped inside. A nice painful death was a horrific and effective message to send to other families who might consider defying him. The wave of magic had interlaced with their own home's wards preventing all rapid egress methods.
The only way in or out of the house was the front door that Voldemort was about to blow open. She could try over powering the sealing spell and blowing out a window to escape but Alice had always been more about control than blunt force power. Maybe Dumbledore could have done that had he been here or if he showed up in time but her time was precious and wasting it on something that she didn't believe she could do wasn't an option. No what Alice was going to do was exactly what her and Frank had planned for months ago, she was going to try and turn Neville's room into an impenetrable panic room.
Frank knew what his role would be here. He was the delaying action; a tactical withdraw to a dead end that would cost the Dark Lord the time he needed to execute his assassination on little Neville. Moments after his wife had left the room towards their child's nursery Frank had started his part of the worst case scenario plans. He transfigured every door in the room, save the one he was going to use, into part of the wall before applying notice me not charms and repelling charms to them. Than all the furniture was likewise transformed into tactical cover to aid in his escape. The transfigurations weren't perfect or flashy nor would they last as long as he would have liked but a couch into a brick wall wasn't exactly mastery level work.
Voldemort blew the door off the hinges driving it into the opposing wall with an effortless wave of his wand. He bated away a stunner, a disarming hex, and a full body bind before he had even crossed the threshold of the entry room. He responded with a wide sweeping severing hex that tore apart half of everything in the room before firing off three jets of green light.
Frank jumped backwards through the door while doing his best summon everything in the room into the paths of the killing curses. The curse may have been impossible to stop with any shield charm but it exploded rather violently when it meet something solid. It also destroyed anything solid it hit and peppered anyone or thing behind it with shrapnel. Frank's body had reached it's fight or flight stage as the adrenalin rushed to his brain, heart, and every muscle in the body. It was an odd moment of clarity where the world seemed to slow down for him and allowed him to do things he normally wouldn't of been able to do.
Sealing the door magically and leaving it untransformed Frank summoned everything in the room towards him while rolling forward and continued to turn his house into a labyrinth that lead away from his son's room. He finished by using a Disillusionment Charm in hopes that he could get a few free shots off before being forced to retreat.
Voldemort grinned in spite of himself. So few of his followers were able to entertain him the way the foolish Dumbledore supporters could. He was very much like his favored snake familiar, he truly enjoyed a good hunt against a challenging foe. Even though he had given the patriarch of the family the benefit of attacking in the bears den so to speak he could respect the man's tenacious defense. It wouldn't change the outcome, it never did, but it did make the game so much more enjoyable for the heir of Slytherin. Feeling the magic blocking his way through the door he flicked his wand and vanished it and everything behind it before unleashing a vortex of flaming Fiendfyre into the next room. Riddle had nothing to fear from his own flames having long since perfected his control of the searing heat.
Frank was not nearly so fortunate. The barricade had been erased as if it had never been there and then the flames had started consuming both the oxygen in the room and the magic that permeated the manor. Even with the seconds they had been active they were chewing through the protections on the house like flames through kindling. Retreating once again brought Frank into a hallway lined with suits of armor that he hoped could act as a choke point that would slow down the dark lords advances. Animating each statue as he passed in a near run Frank turned and knelt at the end of the hall and transformed the carpet into a dark gaseous mist before banishing it towards the door he had just left.
The Dark Lord's patience was beginning to wane as he smothered the flames from his curse and once again followed his prey through door he had fled through like a coward. Opening the door he was forced backwards by a battle axe that was attempting to sever his head form his shoulders. Releasing the killing curse at the armored guardian forced the suit of armor backwards into the black gas where the sparks from the impact erupted into a detonation. The Dark Lord brought up a shield while simultaneously suspending the shrapnel that had flown in his general direction. Moments later several spells splashed against his arcane protection. The auror's tactics had proven effective against his minions but now they were just predictable. His response however would not be.
Frank watched his cloud of explosive mist perform exactly as he had expected before firing off the incarceration spell chain. A disarming spell, followed by a full body bind, a high powered stunner, and concluded with a Incarcerous. Ideally the blast had blinded his target and now he would be ready for transport to a holding cell. Frank never expected to hear a second explosion before seeing fragments of rocks headed his way that were shifting from rocks to metal blades. Nor did he have time to fully react and took six lacerations to his arms and legs and three to his stomach. Bleeding, crawling, and gasping in pain Frank made his way into the kitchen knowing it was going to be the room he died in.
Ignoring his pain he flicked his wand towards the door applying the same binding spells he had before. They hadn't stopped the Dark Lord before, they wouldn't now, but maybe they would annoy him. Besides any magical power he had to use now was a bit of power he couldn't use against his family. He flicked his wand towards the drawers willing each of them to open and the cutlery to fly out and elongate into four inch blades. Maybe half the utensils in the house obeyed his flicking command. Making it to the back wall he turned and rested his back against it before magically pulling the table on to it's side and in front of him. Gripping his wand in both hands he prepared his last spells not carrying in the slightest they were lethal.
Riddle reduced the door to splinters before walking in and seeing the first person who was going to die at his hand tonight. Watching the poorly transfigured cutlery fly towards him he whipped his arms apart willing everything that was air born into walls of the room. The red eyed monster side stepped an explosive bombardment spell, deflected a Reductor Curse into the counter, allowed his own shield to take a piercing hex that was aimed for his head, and finally reflected a bone breaking hex back into Frank Longbottom's chest.
Laying there coughing blood, bleeding from nearly a dozen wounds, and having trouble breathing Frank Longbottom had a single last act of defiance in him. His family's safety depended on it. Longbottom Manner wasn't as large as some estates but it was large enough for this purpose. But it wouldn't be if the Dark Lord made eye contact and ripped his mind to shreds to find where his wife and son were hidden. Clutching his wand next to his chest with the tip under his chin Frank muttered the last lines of his life. "Legilimens this you bastard." With that Frank Longbottom, Patriarch of the Longbottom family, reduced his face, eyes, and most importantly his brain into a find red mist.
Alice Longbottom felt the wards of the house snap to her command, diminished that they wore, she knew exactly what had happened. Likewise her marriage band burning, cracking and falling from her finger confirmed what she feared. Her husband was dead and it had only been three minutes. Logically speaking even with all the distractions and misleading Frank had done she doubted she had even five minutes before Voldemort found where they were hiding. She had no idea at all how long her defenses would hold beyond that. She hoped it would be enough for Dumbledore or the DMLE to arrive. Frank had given his life buying them time. All she had was the hope that his last purchase was not in vain.
She flicked her wand to the door she had already transfigured into the wall. Wood wouldn't do anything to help them, not against him. Matches to needles seemed so long ago but the idea was the same even if the scale had never been bigger for her. Flicking her wand back and forth all four walls of the room were replaced slowly with steel. Than all the furniture, save the crib, was against the wall and being transformed into brick walls from floor to ceiling. Alice was getting desperate and was doing everything she could to ensure her child's survival. Pulling and condensing all the magical energy of the wards she focused them on the single most important room in the house.
One of her best friends Lily had once told her that she believed that all magic was about belief and intention and every bit of magic required sacrifice. Most of the time that sacrifice was nothing more than a bit of energy a person would get back within a breath or two. For a more potent spell a person would need a bit of food to recover what had been lost. The math in these respects were easy to figure out. More power required more sacrifice; the more she offered the more her son could be protected. She would offer everything she was and everything she would ever be.
It was a bit like casting a Patronus Charm except she had no words to say. She pointed her wand at her son and willed everything she had to protect him. All her magic drained from her magical core, every last bit of emotion she had ever felt poured from her heart, and than her eyes got heavy and she knew she was going to join her husband. Even if Voldemort never found them she wouldn't be able to survive the night. She watched as her son pulsed and glowed with a white light like she had never seen before as it settled around him like an aegis against all the evil of the world.
She felt the walls rip open as the monster terrorizing the magical world found their panic room. None of the magic she had worked had even phased him. "Stand aside and I will let you live."
With a steadfast resolve she extended her arms and placed her self directly between her son and the man who wanted him dead. "Never."
"Than die." A flash of green light and her final spell was complete.
Magic is a strange and mysterious thing. Maybe the ancient magic of the land heard the mothers final spell. A spell she never verbalized but willed to happen none the less. Maybe it was her acceptance and willing sacrifice to be a lamb at the slaughter in her child's place. Maybe it was fate's intervention that night when the spirit realm was unnaturally close to that of the living. Many things about that night are unknown to any living being. What is known is that the next spell the monster that once was human cast left nothing but a mark and instead of driving young Neville to grace tore the spirit of Tom Riddle from his body.
Unknown to the Dark Lord he had made a flawed decision and in his arrogant belief that he was unstoppable he had had given his greatest enemies that which they needed most. His mistake would allow them the time and eventually the tools to become more then he himself would ever be able to handle. Neville Longbottom would be a potent wizard and a steadfast and loyal friend who would have fought tooth and nail for that which he believed in. Protected by the most potent magic to ever exist his mere touch would incinerate his greatest adversary. Unfortunately without his mother and father there to shield him from an overbearing grandmother the boy would be cowed and lack confidence in his ability. But that in itself would never break the boy's spirit.
Likewise ,Harry Potter, the second child who was marked to die that same night, was spared a life of a house elf. Two boys with indomitable wills that would never be broken. But had the dark lord destroyed the Potter family on that Halloween night much the same would have happened. He would have been reduced to shade stuck between the cross roads of life and the beyond. One child's life would have been destroyed and the other's family would be attacked. Had the Dark lord been driven away by the sacrifice of Lily Potter the young heir to the family name would have been magically orphaned. A fate that would have left him whisked away from the magical world and left in the hands of his abusive muggle relatives. Ten years of abuse would have weakened the boy to the point where only a series of lucky circumstance events stringed together would lead to the Dark Lord's downfall. He, like Neville, would have never stopped fighting for what he believed was right but he would lack the skills, upbringing, and support to challenge Riddle on his own.
Instead, a week following the disappearance of Voldemort the Lestrange family and Barty Crouch Jr. launched and attack on the Potter residence expecting a blood traitor and his mudblood whore to be stupidly celebrating the Dark Lord's downfall like the rest of the wizarding world. They were very much mistaken. Inside the house guarded by a Fidelius charm were three of the marauders and a charms mistress who were offering thanks and remembrance to their lost friends. It was also the misfortune of the last marauder, a traitorous rat, that the four adults inside the home were the only four apart from Wormtail who knew the secret. Or so they thought. Needless to say when the perimeter ward informed the young couple that four people were approaching the house and their own secret keeper was unaccounted for, they knew what had happened.
"Did you feel that Honey?" a nervous looking James Potter intoned to his beautiful red headed wife.
"Yeah I did, the charms and wards are still good and there shouldn't be any way that four people are coming here. Can you see who they are? There should be four of them; Maybe Peter told Dumbledore and some of the professors from school?"
Sirius was the first to the window and what he saw forced his blood to run cold. "Black robes and white masks: Death Eaters." With a sudden loathing he continued, "The rat's a dead man; they either killed him to get the information or he gave it willingly and we'll kill him for that."
It was James who spoke next, "Lily take Harry and get out of here. We can handle this."
"James, you're an idiot if you think I'm leaving my husband and our friends to fight for their lives. Besides, you fool, there are certainly wards preventing us from getting out of here using magic."
For the first time since the Death Eaters had crossed the ward lines the werewolf of the group spoke. "Bicker later, we have unpleasant company to deal with first." He was arguably grumpier then he normally was; after all the full moon was just four nights way and his inner wolf could taste the threat to his pack. A threat that had to be destroyed.
The Lestrange trio were exceptional torturers and executioners and with their family backing, better known as gallons, they had been made a part of the inner circle early in the uprising. However let it be clear that under no circumstances were even the three of them a match for their Dark Lord. Even on Voldemort's worst day he could take six or seven of his best followers and thoroughly thrash them; often without being winded. However the four people inside the house the Lestrange's were currently stalking up to had on three occasions driven the Dark Lord off when working together with just three of the four. Lily with her charms, James with his transfiguration, Sirius with his hexes and curses, and Remus with his werewolf tenacity and his own masterful dueling style were a frightening quartet. And they had home court advantage in a field that Lily and James had prepared especially to defend and repel Voldemort.
There are simple rules that everyone who went to school with the Marauders should have known. One should never allow them to prepare the battlefield ahead of time. And more importantly never allow them to work together. One of the rules could be overcome with enough people and brute force; but with both of them the four approaching Death Eaters didn't even have a third as many people as they needed for their idiocy to succeed. One thing that nobody ever seemed to tell the Death Eaters was that fear only worked so far for so long and only up to a point. Fear became an inert emotion to a parent when a child's life was on the line. Death Eaters would and could never understand that threatening a parent's child is likely to turn them into a force of nature to be reckoned with.
The battle, if it could be called a battle, was short, violent, and brutal. It was more like a slaughter than a battle but not the slaughter the Death Eaters had been expecting. The opening salvo was fired by James when he started transfiguring all the rocks surrounding the house into animals. Big mean animals that had lots of teeth. This was followed by Lily animating all the statues and lawn decorations that she had so painstakingly selected. At this point Remus and Sirius opened fire, one from each window on opposite sides of the house, with curses, hexes, and various other spells meant to disable or in some cases maim their targets. The opening salvo from the Potter residence sounded and looked like an old British firing line. Flashes of fire and light, explosions, animal roars all appeared in under 2 seconds.
On the outside of the house, just inside the fence, the four death eaters were suddenly surrounded and under attack by large felines, wolves, wolverines, boars, and bears. Bartemius went down when a blasting curse landed at his feet and drove him into a charging bear that on impact turned into metal chains and wrapped him from head to toe barely leaving a means for him to breath. Rodolphus had his wand arm severed at the elbow from a particularly savage cutting curse and than found himself under a four hundred pound lion that was dragging him by the neck while he was trying to stop the bleeding. Bellatrix was able to destroy four of the ten animals with killing curses before a wolverine caught her from behind which distracted her long enough for a grizzly bear to shatter her clavicle and render her unconscious when she impacted the ground with the back of her neck. Rabastan dispatched the three animals that headed for him and was the only one of the four to exit the opening salvo in fighting condition. The next twenty eight seconds he shielded, dodged, dived, rolled and wasn't so much as able to think of an offensive spell. In the end he simultaneously lost his wand to Lily, was stunned by Remus, wrapped in chains by James, and petrified by Sirius. The battle of Godric's Hollow lasted a scant thirty seconds.
Moments later Sirius was out the door first, James was checking on Lily who had went to check on Harry. "Mr. Padfoot says that was fun, But really Mr. Prongs should have told us he had arranged for the entertainment tonight; What say you Mr. Moony?"
"Mr. Mooney concurs Mr. Padfoot, although Mr. Moony is more concerned about Mr. Wormtail under the present circumstances."
"Mr. Prongs says we'll worry about Mr. Wormtail tomorrow; he's either dead or he's dead to us. Let's get the Aurors here and get this mess cleaned up on the double." James spoke as he was coming out the door. "We certainly followed the Marauders code on this one." And then as one they spoke again.
"Strike hard, Strike Fast, and Leave chaos in our wake."
A/N: When I first posted this story I didn't know if anyone would have wanted to read it. In my lack of experience I made several assumptions which I shouldn't of made. I would like to take a moment and offer some things that might make the story easier to read and understand.
First and foremost I'd like to say that I don't intend for this to be a children's story. Make no mistake I have no intention of making or posting explicit sexual scenes within the story. I don't feel the plot needs them and if I ever get the inkling to write one I'll post it under a different story with a proper warning. But that doesn't mean this is a fairy tale by any stretch. There are aspects of the story that are grim, gritty, and most importantly realistic. Death Eaters are terrorists and criminals; I treat them as such and I do my best not to sugar coat the reality of the situation. Not everyone gets a happy ending, those on the wrong side of the fence won't survive the aftermath.
As a writer I believe it is my responsibility to entertain you the reader. If when you close your browser or move away from my story you can say that it was time well wasted then overall I am satisfied. My true goal is to make you think and feel something. If at the end when you close your browser you have laughed, cried, been happy, angry, or sad then I have succeeded.
A person is predominantly a product of their environment and their genetics. By changing the former Harry in effect becomes a different person. It's like looking into a carnival mirror, all the pieces are still there but they manifest differently. Some things are more mutated while others are more extreme. Harry will say and do things in a different manner than what is considered normal. Likewise any person he interacts will change accordingly. Ripples in time create a new world with new people as the ripples touch them. Those at the epicenter change the next instant, those further out change last. But everybody changes.
For the purposes of this story I'm estimating that the wizarding world represents at most .1% of the population. For the UK that's roughly 60,000 thousand people.