I own nothing.
A/N: As a warning, this story features a powerful OC and much of the beginning of this story is used to set up his character. HOWEVER, this is still a story about Harry Potter and the trials and sacrifices he makes for his family. And while I am an amateur writer and not immune to mistakes, I do feel that this is a story not often seen in today's fanfiction world. Trust me when I say, this is not your typical sibling story. Read my profile if you want more details.
With all that said, please enjoy and review.
August 23, 1980
It was just before midnight on a warm August night when the sound of wails filled the air. Lily Potter held the newly born Daniel Benjamin Potter in the prepared nursery. The newborn had a healthy set of lungs and was letting the world know it. James Potter stood next to the bed, observing his new son proudly. Beside James, two year old Harry Potter marveled at the new life before him. James looked down at Harry and lifted him up to the bed to sit next to Lily. Harry reached out and placed a finger over Daniel's outstretched palm. Daniel instantly stopped crying as he grasped Harry's finger. Lily and James locked eyes and smiled, knowing Harry would be a magnificent big brother.
"He's small," observed Harry. "Was I small, Mummy?" Harry's green eyes moved to the matching set of his mother's.
"Smaller, I think," smiled Lily.
Harry puffed out his chest. "But I'm big now."
"Yes, you are," grinned James, before he lifted Harry and perched the boy atop his shoulders. "And now, he is the smaller one and it is going to be up to you to look after him."
"Because you are the big brother and it is the responsibility of the big brother to always look after their little brothers. He is going to look up to you and follow your example, so it's very important that you stay as good as possible."
As James spoke, Harry looked at Daniel with determination. He leaned forward and James placed him back down next to Daniel and Lily. Harry reached out and grabbed Daniel's hand. "I am going to be the best big brother ever!"
"I have no doubt about that, Harry," said James as he placed his hands on Harry's shoulders. "And when he gets older, you'll be able to teach him all sorts of amazing things like casting spells, riding brooms, playing Quidditch-"
"And pranks?" Harry interrupted.
Lily's eyes narrowed as she glared at James. Under his wife's penetrating gaze, James chuckled uneasily and softly whispered in Harry's ear. "We'll discuss that part later…."
James tentatively glanced back at Lily, who looked about ready to throttle James, if not for the baby in her arms. "…In private," James added, making Harry smile.
"You will do no such thing, James Charlus Potter. I will not have you corrupt our children with your immature schoolboy fantasies," hissed Lily. Her voice was low as she was careful not to disturb Daniel, who had finally fallen asleep, but her disapproval was not lost on anyone.
"I seem to remember a time when you thought my childlike enthusiasm was endearing!" James stated with indignation, deciding to play with fire against Lily's heated gaze.
"You were cuter then," Lily quickly retorted, suppressing a smile.
Harry giggled. He looked between his parents with mirth. He always enjoyed the battle of wits that ensued between his parents whenever pranks were mentioned.
"Did you hear that Harry?" started James with a playful grin. "She-"
James paused abruptly as two loud bursts of sound shook the house. The loud noise quickly woke Daniel, who began crying once again. The alarm was a warning that someone had breached the wards protecting the house. James quickly produced his wand and handed Lily's to her from the nightstand next to the bed. He gave a quick kiss to her forehead and they locked eyes.
"I'll be right back."
Lily nodded back and held Daniel closer to her bosom and tried to sooth his crying. Harry, meanwhile, positioned himself on Lily's lap to whisper words of comfort to Daniel. Not thirty minutes into being a big brother and Harry was already trying to live up to his earlier declaration.
As James descended the staircase, the proximity wards alerted him to an intruder near the front door. He stealthily moved through the living room to the window. He peeked out, but only managed to glimpse the trailing silhouette of a robed figure steadily approaching the main entrance. James promptly moved to the hallway and positioned himself to attack the intruder. The keyhole glowed as the invader disarmed its locks. As the door knob began to turn, James prepared his first offensive curse.
"Lacero," James quietly cast aiming for the neck. As the yellow lighted curse raced towards the unknown figure, a bright blue shield appeared to block it.
"An excellent Cutting Curse, Mr. Potter, but I suggest performing it silently next time," Albus Dumbledore calmly stated as he stepped into the hallway's dim light. Dumbledore began to slowly make his way into the house but halted when another Cutting Curse landed before his feet.
"Thanks for the advice. Now, don't move another step or next time I won't miss," James warned. He kept his body mostly behind the wall that left only part of his head, left arm, and wand exposed. Dumbledore raised his arms in surrender. "Prove to me right now that you are Albus Dumbledore," demanded James anxiously, keeping his wand steadily aimed at Dumbledore's chest.
"Of course," said Dumbledore. "You became a stag animagus in your fifth year in order to accompany Mr. Lupin during his monthly transformations."
Satisfied with the answer, James lowered his wand and moved from his position to more appropriately greet his visitor. James extended his hand and firmly shook the old man's hand. "Professor," James greeted.
"An unregistered animagus, if I recall correctly," Dumbledore teased with a small smirk on his face.
"Got to have a few surprises, don't I?" James joked back as the tension left his voice.
Dumbledore chuckled softly. "I agree-"
"James, what's going on!?" Lily yelled from upstairs.
James looked back towards the stairs and answered, "It's just Dumbledore, dear! Get some rest!"
"Tell him he's an arse!" Lily called back.
James looked back to Dumbledore and rolled his eyes good-naturedly. "You're an arse."
Dumbledore continued to chuckle. "Yet another name to add to my long list of titles."
"Not that it isn't good to see you, Professor, but isn't it a little late for a social call?" James asked, trying to get to the heart of the matter.
"I'm afraid I do not come with good news," Dumbledore answered gravely.
"Is it about Peter?" James looked to Dumbledore fearfully.
"No. Unfortunately, there is still no news about Mr. Pettigrew's whereabouts."
"You should never have sent him on that mission. You know he isn't as strong as the rest of us," argued James angrily.
"I felt that his animagus form was more than adequate to conceal himself from any danger. As a rat, he can find out more than any of our spies," defended Dumbledore, though he mentally agreed with everything James had said. "We must find out what Voldemort is planning in Albania."
"I still think you should have sent Sirius with him," insisted James.
"Sirius is needed elsewhere just like you are needed here and Remus with the werewolves," said Dumbledore with finality.
James sighed in defeat. "If it's not about Peter, why are you here?"
Dumbledore looked seriously into James's eyes. "I'm afraid that your family is now in far more danger than before," he said solemnly.
A few months ago, the Death Eaters had begun a campaign against the ancient pureblood houses that had allied themselves with Dumbledore. The Potters, including James's parents and grandparents, had planned to move to the ancestral home of the Potters, known simply as Potter Cove. The wards of Potter Cove were exceedingly more advanced than their summer home, where they resided for numerous years, and would provide sufficient protection. James's father, Charlus, had reluctantly taken the mantle of Head of House in order to open the ancestral home and activate the wards.
The Potter family had been without a Head for the last fifty years as James's grandfather, Richard, had refused the position. James and Lily had also planned to move there, but setbacks such as Lily's pregnancy had forced them to remain in Godric's Hollow. The wards of Potter Cove, accessible only through magical means, would be too dangerous for Lily in her advanced stage of pregnancy.
Unfortunately, the summer home was attacked before James's family were able to escape; the house and all its occupants had been destroyed. James and Lily were forced to remain in Godric's Hollow unless James became the Head of House: a title he did not want. The deaths of Charlus and Dorea Potter were especially hard on James and even Sirius had trouble grasping their tragic departure. Sirius had felt closer to the Potters than his own family, having lived with James's family since he was sixteen years old.
"What has happened now?" James questioned worriedly.
"Let me show you," Dumbledore answered cryptically.
James gestured to the living room. Once there, Dumbledore produced from his robes a small box that he quickly enlarged and placed on the ground. The box steadily grew to the size of a large pedestal. Dumbledore removed the top to reveal the silvery contents of a Pensieve. With a swish of his wand, the misty liquid cleared to show the dining room of the Leaky Cauldron.
"After you," Dumbledore motioned to James.
James nervously leaned into the Pensieve. He pushed aside the unsettling feeling of falling and steadied himself to take note of his surroundings. The room bustled with activity as wizards, witches, and even a few goblins enjoying a night out. He took note of every person he saw but didn't notice anyone with known ties to Voldemort. The only thing he couldn't see was a loud stag party going on in one of the private rooms.
It took a moment but James finally found the memory version of Dumbledore seated in a corner booth drinking what appeared to be an apple martini. The real Dumbledore appeared next to James and noticed the small smirk on James's face.
"An apple martini, really?" James joked.
"I see nothing wrong with enjoying a flavorful drink every now and again," Dumbledore defended.
"Is this the horrible news, your awful taste in beverages?" James asked as he tried to hide his nervousness.
"I'm afraid not. It is something far worse."
Dumbledore gestured towards a middle-aged woman seated at a small secluded table off to the side. Without warning, she kicked out her chair and upended her table as she rose into the air. Her eyes turned completely white and her head shot up in a silent scream. Slowly her head lowered back down and her expression turned completely calm.
"Is that Abrielle Delacour, the French seer?" James questioned.
"Death shall find the false immortal.
A child is born when the haloed moon is at its peak.
It will bless the child with the power to destroy that which is unnatural.
Only then shall he that fears death face mortality."
Abrielle slowly fell back to the ground. When her feet touched the floor, she appeared to regain control of her body and stumbled as she regained her footing. She quickly composed herself and looked to the person closest to her. "What did I say?"
"Y-You s-said that-that a-a c-child will b-be b-born that will defeat an f-false immortal," replied a terrified man seated nearest to her.
"That is all." Dumbledore took hold of James's shoulder and lifted them from the memory. Back in the living room, James fell back into the couch as his exhaustion from the night's events finally began to take its toll. Dumbledore waited patiently until James collected himself.
"As you just saw, a prophecy was made that foretold the end of a false immortal. It was made in clear view in one of the most popular places in Magical Britain." Dumbledore walked to the window and stared up into the sky before continuing. "The Ministry, as well as myself, have interpreted it to mean the end of Lord Voldemort."
"Should I not be thrilled to hear that this war will end? This isn't quite what I imagined when you claimed to bear horrible news," said James impatiently.
Dumbledore ignored James's comment and continued to look out the window into the sky. "The prophecy said that a child will be born on a night with a haloed moon. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when such a phenomena will occur."
James rose from the couch and grabbed Dumbledore by the robes, turning him around and establishing eye contact. "What does this have to do with my family?"
Dumbledore said nothing and simply turned to gaze at the sky. James's eyes slowly followed Dumbledore's.
"Dear Merlin," James gasped as he witnessed the full moon surrounded by a bright ring of light, creating a halo.
"The Ministry keeps a registry of all magical births in Britain and at 11:34 PM your son, Daniel Benjamin Potter, was born just as tonight's moon peaked." James stumbled backwards at Dumbledore's revelation. "We will have to wait to compare our registry with those from other ministries but it is extremely likely that your son is the child of the prophecy."
"No, no, no, no…" James pleaded.
"I'm afraid it gets worse," continued Dumbledore, causing James to fix him with an incredulous stare. "Fudge, in an effort to boost morale and his own popularity, decided to reveal your son's name to the public. Undoubtedly, Voldemort and every one of his Death Eaters now know Daniel's name."
"That bastard," muttered James. "How that buffoon ever got into office is beyond my understanding."
James paced quickly back and forth and yelled more curses about the current Minister of Magic. Dumbledore remained still, allowing James to vent his frustration. James suddenly stopped and became very quiet for a moment. Turning towards the stairs leading to the bedrooms, he asked despondently, "What am I supposed to do, Albus? What am I supposed to tell Lily?"
"I believe you already know what you must do, James," replied Dumbledore knowing the difficult choices James would have to make.
James's shoulders sank and he lowered his head in defeat. He slowly turned to Dumbledore. "I have to become the Head of House."
James once again turned to look back towards the upstairs. He knew that his decision would change things for him and Lily; for to become the Head of House they would no longer be married. According to the old laws, the Head of House can only be married to a pureblood. The reason was the archaic belief that only a pureblood witch could produce a strong heir. It was the reason he never wanted to become the Head, he loved Lily too much to even contemplate ending their marriage. Harry and Daniel would still be legitimate heirs but Lily would not be allowed to be the Lady of the House and wouldn't have the protection of the Potter name. It was an archaic tradition but, unfortunately, was embedded in the magic of the position. James's father was the only one who could have taken the title and not have to dissolve his marriage since James and his grandfather were married to a Muggleborn and half-blood, respectively.
In addition, James would have to undergo certain rituals in order to activate the wards of Potter Cove. Consequently, the rituals would result in a constant drain of James's magic. It wouldn't have any negative effects on James; it just meant that his magic would be used to blanket the estate and allowed all those under it to remain hidden. It's also what allows a Head to know when a person enters or leaves the wards. However, should a person stronger then the Head threaten the wards from within it would cause immense, possibly fatal, harm to the Head.
"There is an alternative, James," Dumbledore said, interrupting James's thoughts.
At James's inquisitive look, Dumbledore smiled. "You, Lily, and your son can come to Hogwarts." Dumbledore walked towards James and lightly grabbed his shoulders. "Come to Hogwarts and the staff and I will keep you safe and help you raise your son."
"And Harry, too."
"Harry? Yes, of course, Harry too." Dumbledore replied quickly, too quickly.
James was about to agree when he noticed the twinkle in Dumbledore's eye. It made him feel a bit unsettled as he recognized that look. He had witnessed it a number of times while watching Dumbledore interrogate prisoners. James never knew how but through this look Dumbledore could manipulate even the most iron-willed of prisoners to do exactly as he wished. He swallowed hard; until then, he had never thought Dumbledore would ever try to manipulate his own people. A sudden realization that this may not have been Dumbledore's first attempt at influencing him led to James glaring angrily at the Headmaster of Hogwarts.
"Leave Dumbledore, I will become the Head of House. Lily and I will take the boys to Potter Cove and we will be safe." James gestured towards the door stiffly.
Dumbledore sighed and moved towards the door. As he opened the door, Dumbledore turned. "Forgive me, James, I only wanted to help." With that Dumbledore exited the home and disappeared with a pop.
James's legs felt like lead as he slowly ascended the staircase. He came to the doorway of the room where his family resided and took a moment to watch them sleep. Lily slept with Daniel and Harry curled on both sides of her. They looked so peaceful that James's heart sank with the knowledge that this peace would not last long. James crept into the room and approached the bed. His hand shakily brushed a strain of hair out of Lily's face and he leaned forward to give a soft kiss to her forehead.
Lily stirred softly. "James?"
"Shhhh…honey, go back to sleep," James softly cooed, tears in his eyes.
"Mmmh, what did Dumbledore want?" Lily continued with her eyes still closed.
James couldn't bear to tell her, knowing that she would not be able to sleep with this knowledge. "Nothing that can't wait 'til the morning."
Lily shifted slightly and returned to her dreams. James sadly smiled and looked at his new son. Daniel was securely wrapped in a bundle of fabric and snugly tucked in Lily's left arm. James's mind marveled at how such a little thing could carry such a large destiny. His eyes then drifted to the sleeping form of Harry, who practically slept on top of Lily's right side with his arm outstretched towards Daniel. It seemed he had fallen asleep with his hand still holding Daniel's but had drifted away as they slept. James closed his eyes and wiped his tears. He and his family had an uncertain future in front of them but he was determined to do whatever it took to protect his family. With that in mind, he moved to the nearby chair and quickly fell into an uneasy sleep.