Disclaimer: I didn't create Harry Potter, nor do I own it, and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warning(s): There's some language and character death.
Chapter 1: Ding Dong, the Dark Lord's Dead
Voldemort strolled through the quiet streets of Godric's Hollow, his long cloak trailing along the ground behind him. It was just after midnight, at least according to the church's bells, and most of the resident's of the sleepy village were asleep in their beds.
The Dark Lord was on his way to pay a visit to the Potters, as they had been thorns in his side for too long. Not to mention that damned prophesy. Snape had been useful in telling him at least part of Trelawny's prediction, and Peter Pettigrew had been helpful in telling him the Potters' location.
But now both of those men were dead. Nagini had had a filling dinner last night.
Voldemort walked until he reached Number 8, Magnolia Lane. The lights were on in the two story cottage. The moment he stepped on the property, he heard James Potter yell, "Lily, it's him! Take Harry and run!"
Lily Potter wouldn't be going anywhere. With a wave of his wand, Voldemort raised anti-apparation and anti-portkey wards. Then he blasted open the front door.
James dodged flying bits of wood, before sending off a round of spells. "Impedimentia! Stupefy! Expelliarmus!"
Voldemort batted the spells away and said, "You're going to have to try a lot harder than that, Potter! Crucio!"
James narrowly ducked under the angry red beam of light and retreated up the stairs.
"Deprimo! Densaugeo! Obscuro!"
"There you go, Potter. At first, I was afraid this would be a rather one-sided duel. But now I must go deal with your wife and son. Avada Kedavra!"
James evaded the spell and it ended up blasting a hole in the wall behind him.
The last thing James Potter saw was a beam of sickeningly green light.
Voldemort stepped over James Potter's dead body and headed towards the room at the end of the hall, from which he could hear a baby crying.
When Voldemort stepped into the room, Lily was bouncing Harry up and down in her arms, frantically trying to calm him.
"Your husband is dead," the Dark Lord said. "Now hand over your child and I will spare your life."
"No, James," Lily whispered. She dropped Harry into his crib and stood in front of it, then sent off several spells at Voldemort.
With a flick of his wand, Voldemort sent Lily's wand flying across the room.
Lily spread out her arms protectively, as if daring Voldemort to move her out of the way. Harry had stopped crying, and was now peering around the bars of the crib.
"Don't kill Harry, please!"
"Move aside, silly girl."
"No, kill me instead."
Lily Potter got her wish. "Avada Kedavra." Her body was still in time before crashing to the floor, scattering Harry's multitude of toys. Her red hair spread around her like a fiery halo, although her fire had already been extinguished.
Voldemort turned to Harry, who was clinging to the bars of the crib with his chubby hands as he stared at his mother's corpse. Slowly, fat tears rolled down his round cheeks, but he didn't utter a sound.
The Dark Lord sneered at the crying baby before raising his wand and saying, "Avada Kedavra."
The last things he saw were the Avada Kedavra green eyes of fifteen-month-old Harry James Potter.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore had gone to bed early. He was fast asleep until one of the many instruments in his office began to wail.
He ran out of his bed chamber and checked to see what was going on. The instrument making the ruckus was the one monitoring the Potters.
He checked, double-checked, and triple-checked, hoping to see that he was wrong. It just couldn't be, but it was true. The Potters, as well as their secret keeper, Peter Pettigrew, was dead. He had failed.
Albus went to his fireplace and called Minerva via the Floo. Once she arrived, they set off for Godric's Hollow, England.
When they arrived at the Potter cottage, but the fact that they could see the Potter's home was a terrible sign that something had gone very wrong.
The front door had been blown open.
Albus and Minerva entered the house, and skirted their way around debris and Harry's toys and headed for the stairs.
Minerva gasped. "Albus, look." Lying on the stairs, with his glasses with his glasses off-kilter, mahogany wand in his hand, and expression of fear on his face, was the body of James Potter. Her favorite student in all of her years of teaching.
Albus closed his eyes and said gravely, "We must find Lily and Harry."
They continued to the second floor, checking all of the rooms until they reached the nursery.
"Merlin," Minerva whispered in shock.
In front of them was the body of one Tom Marvolo Riddle. They walked carefully around the body of the deceased dark lord and then saw the fallen body of Lily Potter, lying in front of Harry's crib.
"Albus, look!" Minerva had advanced upon the charming wooden crib to see if Harry was inside. Instead of finding a dead infant, she found a sleeping baby boy with a jagged, bleeding cut in the shape of a lightning bolt of his forehead. "He's alive."
Albus joined her after he finished examining Tom's body. "He's dead, Minerva. For good. It seems that that Lily managed to create a ritual that required someone to offer his or her life as a sacrifice for Harry. When Tom tried to kill Harry, he ended killing himself."
"We should take him somewhere safe Albus. Before the Muggles show up."
"Sirius is still helping guard the Longbottoms. I can't jeopardize their safety by sending Harry there, but I will let Sirius know what happened. Let's hope he doesn't do something rash. Harry's only other relative is Lily's sister Petunia, but from what I've heard, she was incredibly jealous of Lily, and she hates all things magical. Harry would not be well off living there."
"So what are you saying, Albus?"
"We can leave him here for the Muggle authorities to find, once they arrive. Hopefully, a family will adopt him. If not, he will end up in an orphanage."
"Albus, we must remember what happened to another wizard who grew up in an orphanage."
"Fear not Minerva. Harry was not abandoned. He will know that he was loved, if only for a short time. And hopefully, a family adopts him, or at least he is taken to an orphanage that is better than the one Tom grew up in."
Albus and Minerva collected Lily and James wands and sent them to Gringotts, from where Harry would be able to retrieve them once he turned eleven. They then took Voldemort's body and destroyed it. It wouldn't be good if any of his insane followers got a hold of it and tried to resurrect their lord.
As they apparated back to Hogwarts, Albus and Minerva heard sirens approaching 8 Magnolia Lane.
In Wiltshire, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy were sharing celebratory glasses of the finest red wine.
"He's finally gone." Lucius had awoken a little less than a half hour ago to excruciating pain, originating from his left forearm. After a few minutes of agony, during which Narcissa had silenced him so that he wouldn't wake up their son, Lucius had looked at his arm to see that the Dark Mark was gone, and that only a scar of it remained.
"But how are you going to explain everything to the Ministry? Several of the people you associated with wouldn't hesitate to let your name fall from their lips if it decreased the amount of time they would spend in Azkaban."
"I will find a way out of this, don't you worry, Narcissa. I'll find a way out for you and Draco."
Miss Elizabeth Britcher was woken before dawn by a loud knocking on the door. She managed the St. Nicholas Orphanage for Boys, even though she was quite young at thirty-three years old. 'Her boys,' as she called them, called her Miss Liz. She pulled on her dressing gown and herded a few sleepy-eyed boys back to bed.
She opened the door to find a woman dressed in a neat, smart suit, had a bag slung over her shoulder, and held a baby in her arms. She didn't seem too happy to be there.
"Can I help you ma'am?"
"I'm from Child Services, and you're one of the only orphanages in the area that isn't completely overcrowded."
"He was found in a home about an hour two away from here. Parents were dead. Don't know what killed them. They checked him over at the station, and he's fine, except for a cut on his forehead."
The woman literally dumped the baby into Elizabeth's arms and withdrew a file from her bag. Here's everything we know about him. His name is Harry James Potter. We'll check up on him in a month or two."
Elizabeth knew that 'a month or two,' meant never. She had heard it before. Child Services wasn't known for its attentiveness. After a month or two, they would probably forget that Harry existed.
The woman left, and Elizabeth closed the door to stop the flow of cold summer night air. A few of the other boys were still loitering in the hall, but a quick look from Elizabeth sent them back to their rooms.
As the room designated as a nursery was currently empty, Harry had the room to himself. Not wanting to leave her newest charge alone on his very first night, well, rest of the night, in an orphanage, Elizabeth slept in the rocking chair, which was only two steps away from the crib.
The Longbottoms were hiding not too far from Godric's Hollow. Although they had made Augusta Longbottom their secret keeper, the old woman had declared that some "half-cocked young upstart" wouldn't keep her away from her life. Consequently, she left the safety of their hiding place and went Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade several times a month.
Then she disappeared, and she hadn't been heard from for a month.
Frank and Alice Longbottom, as well Sirius Black, who was staying with them to help protect their family, waited in fear for the day that Voldemort would walk into their home.
But that day wouldn't come.
Sirius was a jumble of emotions as he walked into the small dining area. Alice was feeding the couple's son, Neville, with a shaking hand, while her husband moved eggs and sausages around his plate.
"Sirius, what's going on?" Alice asked. After all, their situation was rather dire.
"Albus just sent me a message," Sirius said in a shaking voice. "Voldemort's dead."
Alice and Frank stared at him in shock, before jumping up and down and doing an imrpromptu dance in the middle of the kitchen. Neville seemed to catch onto the festive mood, and he clapped his hands and wiggled his legs in his high chair.
Sirius let out a heavy sigh. "There's more. Lily and James are dead."
The Longbottoms stopped their celebration.
"Lily and James are dead?" Alice repeated. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. Harry's still alive though. Lily did some kind of ritual, and Harry survived and Voldemort didn't. Albus would have given Harry to me, but he said it would be too dangerous while some of Voldemort's followers were still out there. Albus said that he left Harry for the Muggle authorities to find, so hopefully, he's somewhere safe."
"At least he didn't leave Harry with Petunia. She's such a vile person, treating Lily the way she did," Alice said with venom. "I don't know what I'd do if my Neville was placed with someone like her."
"Good thing he won't be," Frank said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to stop hiding."
A mad cackle interrupted him.
"Bellatrix," Sirius said with a thunderous expression forming on his face. "Alice, Frank, I'm going to go call for help. Get somewhere safe. They're probably looking for a scapegoat for their master's unfortunate demise."
Alice plucked Neville from his high chair and then fled from the room, going down to the basement via a hidden staircase.
"Alice, love, I'm going to stay here and fight. I'm an Auror, and it's my job to fight evil like her. Take Neville and leave."
"There's no way I'm going to let you go back out there by yourself. But I can't leave Neville."
"You have that second portkey here, right?" The Longbottoms had turned the basement into a safe room, complete portkeys to different locations and bags packed for all three of them in case they had to leave in a hurry.
"It's Neville's best chance. If we leave, they'll hunt us down. The only thing we can do is try to stop them from hurting anyone else."
Alice let out a teary sniffle. "You're right. We'll do it for Neville."
She put her confused son next to a baby bag that was packed with essentials for Neville. She slipped a letter she had written a few hours ago into the bag, but not before adding a bit to the end. It made it so only the intended recipient could read it.
She clipped a portkey to both Neville and the bag, and five seconds later, her son disappeared.
"Now let's go kick some Deatheater ass," Frank said. They returned to the kitchen, from where they could hear spells being fired back and forth. "Sounds like more than one."
Sure enough, Sirius was dueling against all three Lestranges: Bellatrix, her husband Rodolphus, and her brother-in-law Rabastan.
"Nice of you two to join me," Sirius said between blocking spells.
Now that it was three-on-three, they had a much better chance. That is, until Bellatrix managed to get a body-binding curse past Sirius while he was taunting her. He fell like a board, and then the two Longbottoms were at the mercy of three Deatheaters seeking revenge.
Frank was hit with the Cruciatus first, blocking the one intended for his wife. He writhed on the floor while his wife continued to fight on until she fell as well. All Sirius could do was watch. Ten minutes later, husband and wife were still alive, but their eyes were rolling back into their heads. Sirius knew that it was too late for them. They would be better off dead. Moments later, they were.
"Now, wittle Sirius, it's your turn. Don't worry. Cousin Bella will make it quick and painless."
Sirius didn't hear what she said, but he felt a burning pain in his chest. He was unable to look down, but then he saw a puddle of blood spreading across the floor.
Then he heard something he himself had said many times. "Drop your wands, you're under arrest!"
Aurors came pouring out of the fireplace and Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan were quickly subdued. Sirius would have grinned if he could have. His insane cousin would finally be getting her due.
Unfortunately, it was too late for Frank and Alice, and probably too late for him. Someone undid Bella's body-bind on him, but Sirius didn't move. Yep, it was definitely too late.
Sirius turned his head to see the approaching Auror. Or Aurors. He couldn't tell. His vision was beginning blur.
"Hello there. Nice of you to drop in." He saw a mass of tawny hair and asked, "Is that you Rufus?"
"Yes it's me, you dolt. Let's get you to St. Mungo's."
"It's too late for that, Rufus. And is that you Williamson?"
The other Auror nodded. "You look like shite, Sirius."
"Good to hear how good looking I am on my deathbed."
"You're not dying, Sirius," Rufus said rather forcefully, as if he was trying to convince himself instead of the dying man in front of him.
"You know I am. Don't deny it. And besides, I'm on to the next great adventure, as Dumbledore calls it. And I'll get to see Lily and James again. Who know what kind of trouble Prongs and I will get into up there?"
Sirius Black died with a smile on his face.
Miss Britcher was finishing eating breakfast to the thirty two boys in her care when she heard wailing from outside. She sent one of the older boys out to see what was wrong, and he returned with a baby bag over his shoulder and a squalling baby in his arms. "Miss Liz, it won't stop. And it hasn't got a letter or nothing."
"A letter or anything," she corrected. "Hand him to me and check the bag he came with. Where was he?"
"On the front stoop, miss. Just wailing his head off." The boy lifted the flap of the bag and lifted out a folded piece of strange paper. "Here you go Miss Liz."
Elizabeth took it from him and said, "Why don't you boys help clean up and head to school. I'll deal with our newest little guest."
The boys that were school aged grabbed their worn backpacks and headed out the door. The younger boys cleaned up the dishes from breakfast. Once the baby stopped crying, Elizabeth took him and his things to the nursery. Harry had woken up early, but he was fast asleep again.
She put the bag down and held the baby in her arms while she read the letter. The writing was messy and rushed.
To The Caretaker at the St. Nicholas Orphanage for Boys,
This is my son Neville Franklin Longbottom. His father's name is Franklin Algie Longbottom. I am his mother, Alice Annemarie Longbottom.
I must say that this letter has been enchanted so that you cannot reveal the content by any means to anyone, except for my son. Yes, enchanted. Magic is real, as are witches and wizards. I am one, as is my husband, and our son is one as well. You will only be able to tell the content of this letter to magical children under your care.
I am sure you are aware of odd happenings in the Muggle world (Muggles are non-magical people, if you were wondering). A man who calls himself Lord Voldemort caused happenings. He is out to get rid of Muggles, Muggleborns (wizards or witches born into a Muggle family), and half bloods (a witch or wizard born to a witch or wizard and a Muggle) because he believes they are inferior. Because of this, the wizarding world is a war.
My family, and another, the Potters, who are close are in hiding not only because we strongly oppose him, but also because a prophecy was made that either my son or theirs would be the one to defeat Voldemort. Hopefully, neither of our sons have that weight on their shoulders.
If you end up caring for my son, or any other magical children, on their eleventh birthdays they will receive an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They must go to a place called Diagon Alley for their school supplies. I have enclosed directions from your general area.
Thank you so very much.
P.S. Voldemort is dead. He died because Lily Potter did some kind of ritual to protect her so, but he managed to kill her and James. I am leaving Neville under your care because we are under attack. If we survive, we will come for our son in a matter of days. If not, we expect him to be raised with a great deal of love and affection, as my husband and I would have given him.
Elizabeth was staring open-mouthed at the letter. Magic was real? And there was a man named Lord Voldy-thingie running around trying to kill people? It was farfetched, but she knew she had no choice but to believe it. She read the letter again and saw that the postscript had been written hastily. She had a sinking feeling that Frank and Alice Longbottom wouldn't be coming to collect their son.
And a name had stood out in the letter. Potter. The surname of the other baby in the room.
Elizabeth did what she should have done the moment Harry was handed to her. She picked up his file from where it rested in the rocking chair and sat down to read it, cuddling Neville all the while.
There was very little information inside the tan manila folder. Harry's mother was named Lily Alyssa Potter, née Evans, and his father was James Charlus Potter. According to the file, Lily's sister Petunia Dursley had promptly refused to have anything to do with her sister's 'spawn'.
Elizabeth couldn't believe it. Who wouldn't want a baby? Especially one as cute as Harry. She looked down and noticed that Neville had fallen asleep. She gently put him down in the crib next o Harry's. Hopefully, they would be as close as their parents were.
And there you go, the first chapter of my next story! Hope you enjoyed it, and don't forget to review!