Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns all the Harry Potter characters in this. The rest are mine.
Since I know the summary is a little vague, I've decided to put up another, longer and somewhat more straightforward summary.
Harry Potter was supposed to be the son of Lily and James. His destiny was to become the Boy-Who-Lived and he was fated to be irrevocably connected to Voldemort. But what if something had happened? What if Harry wasn't James' son and he never had the chance to survive Voldemort's curse? What then? But when Fate is involved, a chance encounter between a boy and a Dark Lord can lead to a deadly duo and the end of the wizarding world as we know it.
Warning: This is rated 'M' so there will be some mature content. There won't be a lot of it and not for a while either, but I'm letting you know now. I'll post a warning on the chapters which have them.
As for general warnings this fic is going to be HP/LV, Grey!Harry, AU, Powerful!Harry, Creature!Harry and some other themes that fall under the 'M' category.
Chapter 00 - Prologue
Ministry balls were always extravagant occasions.
If there was ever any investigation as to where the surplus money from the year's budget had gone, the most likely place to point fingers would be at the organisers. That fact in itself was barely enough to cause any sort of controversy however and it was not like any of the participants would ever complain about it. A great many of the higher-up ministry officials were purebloods and were therefore used to such excessiveness. Those that were not of such clear-cut family trees tried not to attract attention to their lineage by pointing out the ridiculousness of the events.
On a normal occasion, a ministry ball would house the artistic furnishings of the latest famous magical interior decorators. Tastefully placed sculptures would dot themselves across the room, changing occasionally in size, shape or colour. Elegant crystal chandeliers would illuminate the area and everything in it, accentuating the sparkling sequins on the most expensive dresses worn by the most impressive witches. The dance floor always remained empty until the music started and the food would be laid out tastefully in a luscious banquet.
Ministry balls were always extravagant occasions.
Lily Potter had known this from experience and had come to expect a certain amount of excessiveness. However, if ministry balls were extravagant, she had no idea how to describe what she was experiencing at that moment.
Her intelligent green eyes scanned the ballroom anxiously. She didn't know what she was doing there. It was a private ball, held by an unknown patron. She had never felt as if she was any less important than anyone before, but now she realised that she was way out of her league. She was a nobody trying to stand next to the most famous and most accomplished people of the wizarding world; artists and inventors, geniuses and celebrities.
She warily witnessed them mingling around with each other.
The ballroom was practically painful to look at; shining and clean, glinting with unnecessary luxury. The floor was white, polished marble—gleaming, the walls were painted in real gold flakes. The murals on the ceiling were the most awe-inspiring things she had ever seen; full-figured women and athletic men laughing and crying, tearing at their faces in sorrow and illuminated in joy. The pictures told a story that Lily had no knowledge of, but felt full of emotion over nonetheless. Her breath hitched in her throat and she quickly looked back down, embarrassed, her hand clutching the small pearl on the end of her necklace.
She shouldn't be here.
Beautiful people swayed to the most breath-taking music Lily had ever heard, played by a symphony of fantastical looking creatures that she had only once read about. She couldn't even remember the names of those humanoid creatures, but their image was unmistakable; impossibly long necks between slim shoulders and willow-like bodies. Tufts of feathers rested on their heads and travelled down their necks and shoulders to the back of their hands, their white eyes closed softly as they played their surprisingly normal musical instruments.
Watching those strange beings temporarily took Lily Potter's mind off her devastating self-consciousness and transported her into a woozy world of serenity. But such things could not last forever and soon they stopped playing. A few stray notes lingered in the air as the musicians put their instruments down. The creatures stood up and left, their lilting stroll didn't attract as much attention as Lily thought they might and with a quick glance around, she realised that she was the only person watching.
Her mood plummeted once more and she lowered her eyes ashamedly, unsure why she was so upset. She hated the suspicion inside herself that she was here as some joke; everyone attending the ball was successful, famous, important. She was not. A Hogwarts graduate with good NEWT results, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and married to a certain Mr. James Potter. Not exactly ordinary, but not exactly amazing either.
Not like these people.
Lily sighed softly. This wasn't like her. She was just upset about what was happening with James. She shifted on her feet awkwardly as she picked up a flute of champagne that was offered to her by a waiter in smart white robes.
The only reason she had agreed to come to this place was to get away from her new husband for a while. She still didn't know who had sent her that invitation via an ebony feathered rook and she hadn't had any intention of accepting the nameless request of her presence. Yet fate worked against her plans and an almighty fight had broken out between her and James earlier in the day.
In an uncharacteristic move on her part, she had stormed out of the house and flooed to Diagon Alley, going into Twilfitt and Tatting's clothes shop. She bought the most expensive dress she found; a dress that she had to take a significant amount of money out of her and James' Gringotts vault to buy.
It was a red dress, a deep burgundy, simple yet stylish and the most beautiful thing she had ever owned. Compared to what these people were wearing though...
Lily snapped at herself in her head, a slight scowl appearing on her forehead. She had enough self pity for one night, thank you very much! The only reason she had come here was to get away from the sorrow and pain of her imperfect marriage. There was no point in attending this ball if she was just going to stew in her own feelings.
With a new feeling of determination, Lily tried out a soft smile on her lips.
It wasn't so bad.
"Why is the most beautiful woman here standing still and without a dance partner?"
Lily turned in surprise; she hadn't heard the man approach; neither had she felt his presence. She stared dumbly at him. Her eyes travelled upwards to see his face.
There was no doubt in her mind; he was the most handsome person she had ever seen. The man was easily six feet tall. He had strong, breath-taking features and jet black hair, styled as if he had stepped straight out of a 1950's movie. Lily was reminded of the old James Dean movies she and Petunia used to watch as girls.
But this was not James Dean. No. This was oh-so-much better and Lily had to make a conscious decision to stop herself from giggling like a blushing schoolgirl.
"I don't dance," Lily answered as soon as she remembered how to speak, "And I can assure you, flattery of such blatant insincerity won't impress me."
She hoped she sounded as sharp as she wanted to convey. Despite the promise she made to herself of optimism, Lily found herself agitated. What gave him the right to mock her, telling her that she was 'the most beautiful woman' there? Like she wouldn't know a hidden insult when she heard one; she was a muggle-born witch; she was used to such treatment.
Her tone clearly wasn't as unsociable as she hoped, however and the man's lips turned upwards into a grin, showing her his perfect teeth. "Madam," He said, "I don't have time for insincerity and I, like you, enjoy dancing. I want you to dance with me. Dance with me."
His voice was strong, but his tone was breathy and Lily found herself almost forgetting about James. She slowly shook her head, looking into the man's dark, dark eyes. "I don't know you." She said, instead of telling him that she wasn't interested, that she was married.
Giving a pleasant laugh the man suddenly flourished into a formal bow, "I am Paveh Drux and am most sincerely pleased to meet you."
Lily narrowed her eyes. "You're mocking me." She declared bitterly.
Unperturbed, Paveh Drux straightened and shook his head. "Not so." He murmured, taking a step forward. "Can I ask your name?"
"Lily Evans." She replied coolly, stepping back so that they were at their previous distance. A cold feeling spread in her stomach. Why had she said Evans? She was married now. Her name was Potter, Lily Potter, and she loved James. Why was it that she had trouble even remembering his name in the face of this man? He was good looking, but not that good looking. Well...maybe.
He smiled down at her. "Well then, Miss Evans, will you dance with me?" He held out his hand, palm up, waiting for her to put her own on top.
"There's no music."
He showed her more of his perfectly white teeth. "That's what the band is for." Paveh held up his free hand and snapped his elegant fingers effortlessly. Lily was going to ask why when the whole band of fantastic creatures arrived back into the grand room. Their figures made a dramatic impact on Lily and Lily alone.
"They're quite the sight, no?" Paveh said, leaning into Lily.
She wanted to roll her eyes. The figures had made a dramatic impact on Lily and Paveh Drux— apparently.
The limp hand at her side was suddenly engulfed in the warmth of his and he started to lead her to the centre of the room. She tried to keep the rising heat on her neck from her cheeks as she detected the first whispers of the other people in the room.
"Who is that witch with Paveh Drux?"
"He's way out of her league..."
"What do you think he see's in her?"
"Oh that's horrible; giving the poor thing false hope like that..."
They were watching her, him—them, together. Seemingly oblivious to her discomfort, Paveh spun on his heel to face Lily, one hand on her waist and one waiting for her own fingers to clasp. Reluctantly, and against her better judgement, her hand found his.
They fit together just right.
The first notes of the song drifted towards her. Lily wanted to close her eyes, to lose herself within the music, but Paveh Drux would not allow such a thing. His presence was impossible to ignore; it would not tolerate distraction. As if a testament to that, the grasp on her hand tightened securely and Paveh led the waltz.
And oddly, Lily's heart soared. She hadn't felt such an elation since James had proposed to her. But then, who the hell was James? Who was any man once Paveh Drux was in the room?
And so, she let herself forget about everything. About James and his fighting and their imperfect life that was less fairytale than it was camp-side horror story. And she danced.
At some time during the song, more people had joined them. Lily had some distant realisation that they were there, but paid no heed. As far as she was concerned, there was only the two of them. No people, no band, no gold plated walls and white marble floors.
No pain, no war, no reality.
And later, when the music stopped and the ball ended for the night, Lily was taken to the gardens by Paveh Drux and they talked. A perfect, fairytale setting; a stone bench in front of a still pond and elaborate topiary. Afterwards, Lily would not remember what they spoke about, or how it was that the man had leaned in and started kissing her—or even when she started kissing back.
A great deal of the night would remain foggy and unclear, but Lily would never forget the shame and horror when she woke up the next day in a bed beside the sleeping form of Paveh Drux.
She had hurriedly dressed into last night's gown, its beauty now sullied with the memory of her actions and fled. She arrived back home with shame burning at her cheeks and saw her husband asleep on the couch. A cold dinner was on the kitchen table.
If Lily wasn't so disgusted with herself, she would have cried at James' attempt at dinner and at making up with her. Instead, she lowered her head as she trudged up the stairs, slowly slipped off her dress and put on her pyjamas, crawling into bed.
When they met each other in the hallway some hours later, they didn't speak about what happened. James didn't ask and Lily didn't offer any information. Instead, he just apologised and they kissed and made up. Lily vowed to never utter a single word of what occurred. She vowed to forget about it and never bring it up again. It was in the past. It was a bad mistake that she would just forget about. James wouldn't be able to forgive her and she didn't want to ask him to try.
However, fate had other ideas and four months later, there was no denying the evidence of what had happened.
She never told James the baby wasn't his; he would be a good dad to her child and knowing the truth could ruin him. Besides, he was excited—more so than she had ever seen him. The idea of having a proper family seemed to appeal to him more than Lily would have thought. He began to plan their futures and soon, any relationship issues they had shared were forgotten. Their marriage became the ideal coupling like they had been before their wedding. The unborn child of Lily's unfaithfulness had healed their marriage. In a bizarre way, Lily almost felt it was oddly fitting.
Lily never got in contact with Paveh Drux again; she hadn't gone looking for him and he hadn't searched for her. That was probably for the best. She still didn't know what had happened that night to make her become unfaithful; she hadn't been before hand and she hadn't been after.
It was just for him.
Even thinking about him four months later, Lily found herself blushing in both resentment and pleased embarrassment. But James was her husband. He had not been dashing in the same way Drux was—and certainly not as captivating, but he was good to her and he was reliable. He rubbed her stomach and talked to the baby. He came home every now and then with baby things and he got rid of his study to make room for a nursery.
Paveh Drux had done none of those things.
The more pregnant she became, the less active she was in the Order. Eventually, she stopped working altogether. James still did, but Lily knew she had another life to protect as well as her own. Her life became pleasantly sheltered from the war. She would wake up each morning and talk to the baby. Wander around the house during the day and clean as much as she could, stop occasionally to rub her stomach. At night, she would hum her own childhood lullabies and drift to sleep with her hands over her bump. Her life was easy and pleasant and she fell into a strong sense of calmness as the days went by. What she never admitted to, however, was the guilt she felt every second moment.
The day she went into labour was one of the worst and best days of her life. On one hand she feared the baby would turn out nothing like James. She might be able to fool him while the baby was young, but what happened when it grew? She was terrified Paveh Drux would one day show up and destroy her carefully planned lie. Yet on the other hand, Lily couldn't wait to see her first child. Her parent's first grandchild. She could barely contain her excitement as she was rushed to hospital by a frantic James.
After a night and half a day of pushing and screaming, her son was born.
Joy. That was why she was crying. She had practically attacked the healer who tried to take the baby away for a more detailed examination. Lily saw her son and knew he was perfect. After a quick inspection of ten fingers and ten toes, Lily could examine her child. He had barely cried at first and had fallen asleep almost immediately in her arms.
Wrapped in a blue knitted blanket, Lily lightly stroked the crop of jet black hair her baby had been born with. It was his father's hair, but James wouldn't know that; he'd think it was his own. The baby's skin was pink now, but Lily could imagine it becoming as pale and perfect as alabaster when her boy grew. She had already seen a flash of green from between narrowed eyelids when her son had been crying so she knew there was no fear of him inheriting his father's dark, dark eyes.
He was perfect. Her son was perfect.
"What should we call him?"
Lily had forgotten James was there, standing next to her as he desperately tried to catch a glimpse of the child she was protecting so fiercely.
"Harry," Lily said with a smile, looking down at her baby, "Harry Potter."