- Harry Potter and the Bridge of Dreams -
The Two Who Died
Some say it was because she died for him; because she was the only one ever given a choice – because she was the special one, and not really her son, who was only an infant bystander. And it was true - or seemed so - but then the boy had just begun to prove himself and he was as yet only a year old...
-From A Modern Wizarding History, by Datru Thov Depast
It had been a terrible night – a terrible night, and it was not yet over. In the darkness of a once-quiet neighborhood, not even the stars shone down on a ruined and broken house. Smoke still rose from cinders and smoldering fragments that had once been furniture, but the scene was utterly desolate. No one moved or stirred; the silence of the night was broken only by the wail of an infant.
In front of the house, quite suddenly, there was a sharp crack followed by the roar of a motorcycle. The crack was relatively faint; the motorcycle was loud and black and shining in the darkness, and on its back there was a man, wild-eyed and dark haired and panting.
The man was Sirius Black, and he was a wizard.
Sirius held a thin wand of pale wood at the ready as he threw himself off the side of the bike and let out a howl like a wounded dog at the sight of the smoking ruin.
"No! No – no, no, no..."
One hand came up to grasp his hair; the other hand was shaking, but still holding his wand – he wasn't sure why, it didn't look like there was anyone here to be wary of, anyone here to save.
This wasn't supposed to happen! They were supposed to be safe!
Tears were streaming down his cheeks and he wasn't even aware of it; he stumbled over the ruins at the edge of the blasted property, and his voice escaped in a croak, a cry that, had they been living, his friends would not have been able to hear.
In the absolute quiet that followed his words, Sirius heard a rustle, and then the howl of the infant that had been silenced by his arriving motorcycle. His eyes widened exponentially; if the house hadn't been in danger of falling further apart at the least movement, he would have leapt straight into it, seeking the source of that cry.
As it was, he had to restrain himself; carefully, he began to pace around the edge of the broken house, pinpointing the cry of the baby to a blasted, still smoking section at the back. It was only his complete and utter concentration that allowed him to hear, moments later, a crack very much like the one that had accompanied his own arrival.
Instantly, he whipped around, wand at the ready, eyes alight, teeth bared in an expression of canine savagery. After a moment a huge shape stepped forward from the shadows of the street, and then stopped, shocked, and let out a mutter of woe.
"You! Stay right there, you - ...Hagrid?"
The giant figure leaned forward at the sound of his name and squinted through smoke towards the young man standing by the rear corner of the house.
"Sirius...Sirius Black, what're yeh doin' here?"
At the sound of the familiar voice, the wild-haired young man let his wand drop to his side and wiped tears off his face, gesturing at the broken building beside them.
"I came to – to bring – the – the – but they're dead, Hagrid! James and Lily...James and Lily are dead!"
Hagrid's face was sorrowful, but confused; Sirius didn't give him time to think about anything but what was on his own mind.
"Hagrid, Harry's alive! He's alive in there, somehow - we've got to get him out!"
Hagrid nodded slowly.
"Dumbledore said he might still be alive, tha's why he sent me. I've got ter get him outta the house before all the muggles start comin' round. Charm won't last much longer with the house all broken up like that - Dumbledore wants me to bring Harry to Hogwarts, said he needed to see Madam Pomfrey right away. Do yeh know where he is, Sirius?"
Sirius was slightly dazed by the magnitude of Dumbledore's knowledge; as usual, he seemed to know everything almost before it happened.
But this! Even if he somehow found out about the attack, how could he have known...that Harry would survive?
For a moment he stood still; then the weight of a dustbin-sized hand on his shoulder, shaking him, snapped him out of his thoughts.
"Come on, Sirius! Harry - have yeh seen him? Do yeh know where he is?"
"I- no, but I heard him crying, he must be in the back of the house..."
He followed Hagrid as the huge man walked quickly toward the area in question, talking fast now.
"I was going to try to get him out, but the house is practically destroyed. I'm afraid anything I do would just make it worse - "
"Looks like we're gonna have to lift some of this outta the way – hang on..."
Carefully, stepping over the ruins of furniture and broken glass, Hagrid positioned himself at the entrance to a blocked door and began to pull away the debris. The front half of the first floor had been entirely blasted away, and part of the second floor had crashed down into the wreckage. Behind the living room, a beam had fallen from the upper floor, and was blocking off the stairs and part of the kitchen. Even Hagrid's enormous strength was not enough to move it.
"Sirius, I could use some help with this'n - "
He was straining to lift one end of the massive wooden beam, and Sirius hurried to stand beside him. Carefully, he aimed his spell.
With Hagrid guiding, they carefully turned the beam away and laid it to rest across the floor. The ceiling above them seemed stable for the moment, the stairs creaky but passable. Slowly, Sirius ascended, Hagrid behind him.
The door to Harry's room had been blasted half off its hinges, and Hagrid had to force it back, squealing, to make room for Sirius to enter. In the dark room, he muttered at the tip of his wand, and a faint illumination began to prowl the darkness.
At the end of the room, at the foot of an empty crib, the circle of light revealed horror.
Lily Potter was dead. Her eyes stared straight up at the ceiling, but did not see it; her features were fixed in an expression of desperate fury.
Voldemort, the self-styled Dark Lord, was equally dead. His body, like a wax mannequin, lay lifeless and still three feet away from Lily's body, his arms still extended, fingers curled as if around a wand - as if to cast another terrible spell.
But in Lily's arms was the miracle, the impossible survivor of this carnage; little Harry Potter.
He was no longer crying, just blinking up at Sirius and reaching with his chubby arms."
"Paff? Paff! Up, Paff!"
There was a cut on his forehead and blood on his face; his cheeks were still red from the wails he had being giving out, but otherwise he seemed to be fine. His mother's hands were still wrapped around his blankets.
Swiftly, Sirius crossed the room and picked Harry up, untangling Lily's gripping fingers with care. Hagrid's voice came from outside the room; Sirius could see his eyes glittering in the doorway as he peered in.
"I've got him, Hagrid, I'm coming out -"
He stood for another moment, looking at the body of his friend, and then he spat contemptuously at Voldemort.
"You bastard. I almost wish you weren't dead, so I could kill you myself!"
And he turned, and followed the light of his wand out the door.
"Lily...Lily's body is in there, Hagrid, and...His."
Hagrid's eyes widened.
"You-Know-Who's body is in there – yeh mean – yeh can't mean he's died?"
Sirius shrugged with difficulty; saying the words out loud made them real, and he felt suddenly light-headed and empty, and at the same time as if an enormous weight had been lifted off his shoulders. So much lost, so much gained...
"Well, tha's somethin', anyway. But yeh better give Harry to me, Sirius, so I can take him to Dumbledore."
"I'm his Godfather - "
"An' he's just lost his parents an' got cursed by the most powerful Dark Wizard in the world! Even Grindelwald didn' give Dumbledore the trouble that You-Know-Who did!"
Reluctantly, Sirius had to admit that this was probably the case.
"But you tell Dumbledore I'll be coming to get him – soon. I know damn well he's going to put Harry where he thinks is best, regardless of what's right, and I'm not going to give him the chance. It's my responsibility to take care of James' son!"
He would have continued to berate Hagrid all the way out of the house, except that this time, traveling by the light of his wand, he saw something he hadn't seen before.
"James! James -"
But a second glance was enough to tell him that his best friend, his all-but-brother, was as dead as the woman he had loved. Behind his glasses, James' eyes shone in the pale wand-light as if they were made of glass; his features were smeared with blood and sweat, but he had died smiling a hard smile, a spell on his lips. Across from his body there were whole sections of wall blasted away and scorch marks on the floor that Sirius recognized as the remnant of a particular favorite spell of James'. A hiccup of a sob shook Sirius, and he wiped at his eyes with the back of one hand.
"Now we're only three, James – a trio just won't be...a trio...won't be..."
Suddenly, Sirius' eyes were burning, and not just with tears. Hagrid looked at him in concern. Everyone – everyone – knew how close Sirius and James were.
"Sirius, are yeh okay? Yeh should - "
But Sirius wasn't listening. Careless now, he was rummaging through the room, running everywhere he could, peering by wand light. Finally, frustrated, he stood next to James' body and flicked his wand.
"Accio Peter Pettigrew!"
He expected to be hit by the flying body of his dead friend, but nothing happened. He felt the tug of the completed spell, but...nothing. His thoughts were racing suddenly, as if they were on fire.
Peter was...and if he isn't here, then how could Voldemort have...
The answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and his features contorted with rage.
"I'll kill him! I'll kill him! To betray James – James! Of all the people in the world, why, why, how could he do it to James..."
Hagrid was completely confused.
"Sirius? Sirius, yeh don't seem, uh - "
"Hagrid, take Harry to Dumbledore. Take my bike, if you want. Get that cut looked at, make sure he's taken care of. If I can..."
He paused, and Hagrid stared at him for a moment; the young man's eyes were burning in the dark shadows over his wand's faint light.
"If I can, I'll be at Hogwarts by noon tomorrow to...to bring him home. I've got...business to attend to. Or Harry won't ever be safe."
It would soon be midnight; Halloween would be over, All Saint's Day just beginning. Before Hagrid could say another word, Sirius stalked over to his motorcycle. With a flick and a wiggle of his wand, the bike doubled and then tripled its size.
"There. Take that to meet Dumbledore. Goodbye, Hagrid."
He peered briefly down into the bright green eyes of the squirming infant Hagrid held, and smiled faintly.
"'Bye, Harry. See you...soon."
For a moment, Hagrid wondered if perhaps little Harry wouldn't be best off with his Godfather after all – not just for Harry's sake, but for Sirius'. But then, his instructions from Dumbledore had been perfectly clear, and Dumbledore always knew what was best – great man, Dumbledore...
"Hagrid, you must go to Godric's Hollow immediately; the Potters have been attacked."
"You mean – James an' Lily an' Harry are -"
"James and Lily are most probably dead - but Harry has survived, Hagrid. First, read this paper, just in case."
Hagrid took a scrap upon which was written: James, Lily, and Harry Potter reside at Number Nine, Godric's Hollow.
"Now, take this portkey; it will bring you to just outside their house. Bring Harry to Poppy; it is most unlikely he has escaped Voldemort unscathed. I must get to the ministry right away -"
"On my way, Headmaster. Lily an' James..."
The portkey had dragged him out of the Headmaster's office while he was still shaking his head; so many deaths, and for what? A madman's dream. Hagrid was no genius, but he knew bad when he saw it...and worse.
He was brought out of his memory by Sirius' departure; with a quick step and a turn, there was a quiet pop, and Sirius vanished. Hagrid scratched his beard for a moment, staring at the spot Sirius had vacated, and then shrugged, looked down at the baby bundled in his arms.
"All right, Harry?"
Harry burbled and rubbed his runny nose against Hagrid's jacket.
"Guess so. Well, what d'yeh think about this, Harry? Wanna ride Uncle Sirius' bike?"
Hagrid eyed the machine for another moment, and then climbed on the enlarged motorcycle. With a thrum and a roar, it came to life; Harry started in his grasp, and then settled down again. Carefully, on the look out for anyone who might catch them in the act, Hagrid steered them up into the air, and then above the cloud level, where they were safe.
For an hour or so, they flew; when he next looked down, Hagrid saw that Harry's eyes had closed, and he was sleeping. With a sigh, Hagrid shook his head and reached up with one massive hand to wipe away a tear.
"Poor Harry...but at least yeh lived. That's good, yeh know – yeh lived, even though yer parents died, and so many other people...yer the boy who lived, Harry, the boy who lived!"
But no matter how hard he tried, Hagrid couldn't understand how – how an infant, not yet able to walk on his own, had defeated the Dark Lord.
A/N: And so it begins! This tale will attempt a few things, but first and foremost come a few chapters that deal with the horrifically mangled time-line of the night Harry became the Boy-Who-Lived, and the events surrounding and immediately following the first fall of Voldemort! And of course, dramatic changes start to accumulate almost immediately, in order to salvage both poor Dumbledore's reputation and Harry's childhood! It is my intention to make the characters into the people they were intended to be, which means motives that fit and cause and effect which runs in relative (they are wizards) sequence!
Spell Log: Leviosa Maximus: new: a stronger version of the canon Wingardium Leviosa spell; for lifting objects with a large mass and/or great weight.
Accio: canon: standard summoning charm; summons an object from a distance comparable Arithmantically to the power of the caster.