A/N Updated 2/24/2014: Well, all the editing, revising, fixes, and minor changes for the entire story are all finished. Done! It only took three years, but such is a hectic life. There will still be some spelling and grammar errors found in the story. If anyone finds any and wishes to let me know, I will fix them as soon as possible. Thanks You again for your support!
A/N Updated 12/7/2011: My wife and I are going through revising and editing this story to fix all the grammar and spelling mistakes, which I realize are more than a few. Also, a lot of areas are being re-written for clarity and to make the story flow better. Nothing pertaining to the plot or characters has changed however. So far, we have only finished editing through the first four chapters, (which are currently posted) but my author link will have continual updates on future chapters when we finish.
A/N: Thank you for your interest in my story. This begins after Order of the Phoenix and is AU. The Harry/Susan relationship in this story takes a long time to develop. Also, there is a lot of Harry/Hermione intermixed before Harry/Susan are official.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, it is solely the work and ownership of J.K. Rowling. (It's her sandbox, fortunately, she lets us play in it.)
Prologue – October 1981
His footsteps echoed through the dark narrow hallway as the dimly lit lamps on the walls casted ominous shadows. They flickered as if welcoming his doom. Wiping the perspiration from his forehead, he knew he had finally crossed over the line, the line from friend to traitor. James and Lily Potter, with Sirius Black's unknowing help, had put their lives in his hands, his soon to be bloodstained hands. His heart hammered as he approached the door realizing that once he passed through, he could never go back. James and Lily and their newborn son Harry would soon die, all because of him. Conflict raged within him as he struggled to reason why he chose this path rather than stand with the Potters, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, and the rest of the Order.
He paused at the door trying to justify his actions. "I don't have any choice. If I don't do this, I'm dead. Besides, the Order is in shambles, chaos is everywhere, and it's only a matter of months before the Ministry collapses. Voldemort will no doubt be victorious whether I stand with him or not."
He rationalized these reasons within himself but nothing would give comfort. He prayed to whatever deity was listening that he would someday be forgiven. With one final breath, Peter Pettigrew choked back the tears starting to form and prepared himself for a lifetime of regret and torment.
"Wormtail…it's about time! I was getting…impatient!"
Peter Pettigrew entered the room slowly, as if expecting to be ambushed, and tried to remain calm as he approached the Dark Lord. His master was pacing back and forth in deep thought while staring at a gold cup he held in his hand.
"Did you gain the information I require? Do you have access to the Potters?"
Peter thought on this for a moment. Truth be told, he had been sitting on this information for a week when James and Lily made him their Secret-Keeper but he surely wasn't going to tell Voldemort that. He had been desperately citing every reason he could think of not to give the Potters up, but after failing and failing again…here he was.
"Yes, my Lord, I have all that you need. They are to be found in Godric's Hollow. I can take you there at your convenience."
"Excellent! You will take me there this evening; however, I have an errand to run first."
"My Lord, are y…you su…sure that it is the Potter boy? I mean, perhaps we should wait until…"
Peter's voice trailed off as he took in Voldemort's bemused yet dangerous smile.
"Wormtail, are you trying to convince me that I am wrong? Do you, perhaps, regret joining my cause?"
"Of course not, Master, it's just that I do not believe Snape may have heard what he thought he heard. What if he is wrong or is betraying you? The Potters are not going anywhere. They think they are safe, there is plenty of time…"
Voldemort sighed as he resisted the urge to permanently end this pointless discussion. Wormtail certainly had his uses, and until he became expendable, he would have to continue to endure his presence.
"I tire of waiting. Even if the mission to the Ministry fails then it is of no matter. Knowing the exact wording of the prophecy would be more helpful than relying on Snape's version, but the boy will not live to fulfill the prophecy."
Peter sighed to himself. He thought that maybe he could convince Voldemort to stall his attack, maybe even change his mind. He now hoped more than ever that the mission to the Ministry succeeded and the end result left the Potters out of it. Peter glanced up to see Voldemort lost in thought while gazing at the cup he was holding. At that moment, as if the fates obliged Wormtail's wishes, another Death Eater entered quickly one would have thought his life was at stake. He was still a teenager, probably a new recruit just out of Hogwarts or Durmstrang, with his head full of power-hungry images. Hendricks, Peter thought his name was. He had been part of the group responsible for infiltrating the Ministry. Hendricks' face was pale and his left leg twitched as he walked. Peter hung his head after one look at Hendricks, knowing the mission failed. He surmised that the young Death Eater was scared out of his wits and felt that the boy would not leave the room alive. Based on the fear-filled eyes, Peter wondered if Hendricks lost a wager on who would bring the information before the Dark Lord.
"My…L…L…Lord, we have done as you asked however there was a small problem…we…"
"Did you come all this way to waste my time in Telling Me That You Were UNSUCCESSFUL IN CARRYING OUT MY COMMANDS?" Voldemort words raised an octave higher until the last word echoed throughout the chamber.
Peter winced, inching as far off to the side as possible and knowing this would not end well. His obligation to accompany a bad tempered Voldemort to the Potters' house just made the day that much worse.
Hendricks stammered, "M…My L...Lord, we do have all the children necessary as you requested, however Rookwood has indicated that the Hall of Prophecies has been locked down. I'm sorry, Master, but you have failed in your attempt to retrieve the original."
Peter winced again, not for himself, but for the poor Death Eater who foolishly used the wrong word.
"I failed! I failed in our attempt? Don't you mean YOU FAILED?"
The look on Voldemort's face caused Peter to look away, knowing that it would not take long now. The Death Eater Hendricks realized his error and attempted to stutter an apology, but nothing came out. Voldemort had silenced Hendricks' voice with a Silencio spell without him realizing it.
"Oh, I apologize if I gave you the impression that that I am the one who failed here," Voldemort mocked, "Please tell me how I can make it up to you?"
Hendricks looked white as a ghost and gestured wildly with his hands, but Voldemort ignored him.
"Nothing to say do you?" sneered Voldemort, "Well, since as you say, I was the one who failed, I will so dearly try not to fail you again!"
Peter's closed eyelids protected them from the green glow of light that followed, but his ears still heard the soft thud of Hendricks body as it fell lifeless to the floor.
Voldemort hissed, "I hope that you will forgive me!"
Voldemort let a sigh. "The prophecy is of no matter. I have all the information I need. The infant Potter boy is nothing, his parents are nothing, and Dumbledore is nothing. I will wait no longer!"
Voldemort returned his gaze to the clutched gold cup while unknowingly voicing his thoughts. "I will get a second wand…I must! And when I do, then their children—my children—will gain that knowledge as well. I have been patient for many years; waiting a few more until the children are school-ready will not be difficult. After all," Voldemort mused, "what is 11 years compared to eternity?"
Voldemort turned back to Peter.
"Master, perhaps we should consult Snape again…"
Pain racked every bone in Peter's body as the Crucio spell ended the conversation. He barely heard Voldemort speak as the pain receded from his senses.
"Do you still question my commands? I know where Snape's loyalties lie. The real question, Wormtail, is where your loyalties are. I know of the conflict within you, the betrayal you now struggle with. The war is already over. The real question lies in which side will you be on, Wormtail?"
"Yours my Lord, always."
Voldemort's gaze returned to the cup a third time. "Stay here and prepare to take me to the Potter's tonight. I need to run an errand first down memory lane."
Walking out the door, Voldemort yelled, "And get rid of that boy's body! I suspect Nagini is hungry."