"Bellatrix come." Voldemort instructed.
"Yes my Lord." she responded eagerly.
She followed him into the night and they disappeared with a pop. They reappeared outside a small village and quietly began to walk. Bella was extremely curious about what was going on but she knew better than to question the Dark Lord about it. He would tell her when he was ready. They stopped by an empty lot and waited for a moment. A rustle in the brush behind her made Bella turn around with her wand drawn. A rat scurried out of the brush and stood up to become a man.
"Tell usss your sssecret." Voldemort demanded.
"James and Lily Potter live at 1624 Blueberry road, Godrick's Hollow." Peter shakily gave the information.
Bella turned and saw the house come into view. Grinning madly she followed the Dark Lord into the house. The fight was nonexistent and James Potter fell to the floor dead. They heard the mudblood pound up the stairs and they chuckled knowing she was trapping herself. Bella waited outside while Voldemort blasted his way into the room. The woman was begging for mercy and she was sure her Lord would show none. However Bella was surprised when he told the woman to step aside all he wanted was the baby. Her refusal to move brought her a swift death and the Dark Lord stepped out of the room.
"Bring the brat." he instructed, "He will be useful in my ritual chamber."
"Yes my Lord." Bella scrambled into the room and picked up the baby. Her senses were assaulted by the smell of him. He smelled just like her own baby. But her baby was gone. Her Lord had demanded her presence and Rodolphus was supposed to be with the baby while she was gone. But the idiot and his brother had gotten drunk and her precious baby had died. Shaking the thoughts out of her head she stepped out of the house and made her way to the ritual chamber as she had been told.
"Put him here." Voldemort indicated a table in the middle of the room. Complex runes were written on the floor in an even more complex pattern and candles flickered at the sides put at specific intervals. He moved around the room waving his wand in and chanting.
Bella laid the baby on the table and stepped away. Voldemort turned his wand and made several sweeping gestures at the baby and then at himself. After nearly an hour of wand movements and chanting the child began to glow and a bright golden light flew out and struck Voldemort who let out a piercing scream then collapsed. Bella was confused, she wasn't sure if she should attend to the man or do something else so she waited. The baby was still on the table but he was laughing and gurgling as babies do. On the ground Voldemort stirred. Sitting up he pulled his wand and tried to send the killing curse at the baby but nothing happened.
"Get that brat out of my sight and kill It." he ordered, "Make it hurt."
"Yes my Lord." Bella scooped the baby up and took it away. She walked swiftly to another room and began to think, "Surely this will convince him to mark me. He can't put it off any longer I am too good at this."
She sat the baby on the table, pulled her silver knife and her wand. Ready to cast the first curse she looked into the face of the baby and stopped. She was frozen in place. The baby was grinning and laughing and making all the baby sounds. He was so cute that she was stuck; she couldn't kill him he was just like her own baby. The little boy stood up and toddled across the table to her with his arms out. She dropped the knife and grabbed him up hugging and snuggling with him just as she had with her own baby. Without thinking too closely about it she turned and left the room. She left the house and then with a quick turn she was gone. It took Voldemort months to recover from his near death enough to ask Bella about the baby. He wanted to make sure it was dead. No one could find the woman in question, not even her husband.
*** Nearly eight years later ***
"Sit still." Bella admonished, "Your hair is going to look even worse than normal if you don't sit still."
"It always looks terrible." Harry complained, "No matter how you have it cut. My hair has a mind of its own."
"No doubt about that. But your squirming is going to make it lopsided and even messier." she shook her head.
"Sorry Aunty." he tried to sit still he really did.
The woman cutting his hair tried to hold in a chuckle, "You know the cut you're asking for goes against the natural spike in his hair. If we change the cut it will work with it."
"Whatever it takes to calm that hair down." Bella answered, "I would like it if it was easy to duplicate the style after it has been washed."
"This will make his mop easy." she answered as she cut his hair, "It naturally wants to stand up so this will allow it to do so with just a little hair gel."
"But that's girl stuff." Harry shuddered, "I don't want to put girl stuff in my hair."
"Lots of boys us this stuff." she chuckled, "Did you see the teenage boy that was in my chair just before you?" Harry nodded, "He uses gel all the time. There all done."
"Finally." Bella muttered and went to pay the woman and even give her a tip. She didn't normally do that but the woman was the first to make Harry's hair look like something other than a wreck. They left the store and stepped out into the hot July sun. This was the kind of day that made her appreciate muggle clothes. She could wear shorts and a tee shirt instead of the stifling hot robes, "The work for the day is out of the way. The rest of the day will be fun. Happy ninth birthday. What are we going to do for fun?"
"I want to go to that place we went to for Mark's birthday." Harry grinned, "Pizza and games."
"Alright then. Your wish is my command." they boy laughed at her dramatic bow. The two hailed a cab and jumped in. Harry tried to sit still as his aunt gave the address and sat back.
Harry thought his aunt Bella was the best person in the world. He knew she hadn't always been because she told him so. Last year for his birthday wish he had wanted to know why. Why he lived with his aunt? Why had his parents died? Why did the bad wizard want to kill him? And most of all why couldn't they stay in one place very long? She had answered all his questions as best she could. He understood that a dark wizard wanted him dead because of a prophecy. He understood his parents had died trying to protect him. He understood that his "Aunt" had a change of heart and whisked him away to safety. And he understood why they moved every three months and used different identities. Up until last year he was always Harry. He'd been Harry White, Harry Smith, Harry Green, and Harry Turner. Now that he was older and understood he didn't always go by Harry. He was currently using the name Mike Carter. Likewise his aunt rarely used the name Bella and she never used the name Bellatrix. Currently she was using the name Mary.
Mary and Mike Carter enjoyed the rest of their day. Just like with names Harry never celebrated his birthday on the same day. This year is was actually only three weeks until his real birthday. They normally shared a small cake on his birthday but they were never anywhere really fun. Usually they spent the two weeks around his birthday hiding, this year it would be even more. There was always an article in the wizard paper on his birthday with the picture of him and his parents. Harry was beginning to look very much like his father and they didn't want anyone nearby knowing who he was. Luckily he didn't have any distinguishing marks of any kind, just his father's messy hair and his mother's green eyes. Bella wanted to be sure and be gone from the area well before the paper came out and they wouldn't show up anywhere else until school was ready to start.
The day after his 'birthday fun' they spent packing up all their belongings and moving. Once they had reached their destination they unpacked and Bella made them dinner. The night was quiet and the next morning she asked, "What do you want to do first?"
"Practice." Harry grinned. He loved to practice his magic. It always felt like a warm blanket wrapped around you on a cold night. He liked the colors too.
Bella had been training him from the moment he could talk. Back then it had only been memorizing words. She had always been told it was easier for younger children to learn other languages. That's the excuse her parents had used for training her and her sisters when they were young. As he grew she added wand movements and a description of the outcome of the spell. It had only been in the last year that she had actually let him start performing some of them and he was good at it.
"Alright but theory first." Harry groaned but sat up straight none the less or she would never continue, "Ok, levitation?"
"Swish and flick with the incantation Wingardrium Leviosa." Harry answered, "This will cause the object you point at to float in the air. It can then easily be pushed into a different place or you can lift it higher like putting something on a high shelf."
"Yes correct. Now how about…" Bella continued naming every first, second and third year spell. All of which he knew the wand movement, the incantation, what happened and could give instances where it would be useful. She also knew he could do all of them and she let him practice for a while, "Well done now you are ready to start year four spells."
"Yes." the boy cheered.
Bella laughed at his enthusiasm, "First though I have a surprise for you that I don't want to wait until your real birthday to give you."
"What is it?" Harry asked bouncing on the balls of his feet. Bella handed him the newspaper. The headlines on the third page were in bold letters. The one she meant for him was read aloud, Sirius Black's trial starts tomorrow. The paper was dated for the previous day.
The short article was from a reputable French wizarding news paper and read:
England has finally agreed to give Sirius Black the trial he should have gotten eight years ago. He was put into prison based on the rumor that he was the secret keeper for James and Lily Potter, parents of the Boy-Who-Lived Harry Potter. "England has always been a bit backward on things." one high seated man in the French Ministry claimed, "They still use dementors to guard their prison. Can you imagine anything so terrible?" You may ask why France is concerned with an English prisoner well we have the answer. Someone has been sending anonymous letters to the English ministry claiming Sirius Black is innocent. The letters gave testimony that Peter Pettigrew was the true secret keeper. For five years the English Ministry has ignored these continuous letters.
The writer of the letters altered their course and began contacting several member countries of the ICW including France. The letters sent over the last three years were denounced as unimportant, but they kept coming. The French Ministry got so tired of all the letters that they took the matter up with the ICW. Albus Dumbledore of England was at the meetings and was confronted with thousands of letters. He claimed that he had no knowledge of the letters and would definitely investigate the matter. The letters to the ICW nations never stopped. So it is at the bequest of our Minister that we print this so that the person or persons will see that they can stop writing letters now. We will also bring you any information that is released from the trial.
"I knew you could do it." Harry yelled and hugged his aunt, "Now he'll be free and they can start searching for the rat. Do you think he'll visit us?"
"Oh Harry." Bella stroked his head, "We can't let anyone know where we are. You know that."
"But he won't tell will he?" he asked.
"I don't think so but that's not the problem." she hugged him, "If we let ourselves be too visible the bad man will find you before you're ready."
"Aunty Bella, what's going to happen when I go to school?" Harry asked worriedly.
"I'll send you to England for school. Hogwarts is where I learned." she smiled.
"But, I won't see you anymore." he continued, "Where will they send me for the holidays?"
"That's why we're working to free Sirius." she stated, "He'll be your legal guardian when he's free. They'll send you to live with him. Remember he's my cousin."
"But I want you to be there." he was trying not to cry. He was nine after all and nine year olds didn't cry."Won't Sirius let you live there?"
"If I return to England I'll go to Azkaban." she reminded him.
"They have dementors guarding the prison." Harry frowned, "It said so in the paper. I don't want you to go there. But I don't like the idea of never seeing you again. How can we get around it?"
"We'll find a way." she said, but she wasn't convinced herself.
That night neither of the two fugitives slept well. However Sirius Black did in his first night in eight years not spent in Azkaban. His night was great but the news he received the following morning was not as pleasant.
"What do you mean you don't know where he is?" Sirius yelled at Albus Dumbledore.
"He was kidnapped before we got there." Albus stated.
"But Hagrid was there." Sirius argued, "He was going in to get Harry. He said you sent him."
"I did." Albus confirmed, "But Harry wasn't there and you had already left to go after Peter. We had hoped you had taken him and that you would ransom him."
"Do you know who took him?" Sirius demanded.
"So he's dead then." Sirius said in a low voice, "Why didn't you just leave me in Azkaban, it would be preferable to this."
"He's not dead." Remus clarified, "Voldemort lost him."
"What?" Sirius was stunned.
"Something happened to injure Voldemort in his ritual chamber. From what we've been able to gather he was hurt by Harry and then Bellatrix spirited him away." Remus stated, "We've not seen any sign of the two of them since and neither have the death eaters. She's wanted by everyone."
"Why is she hiding from the death eaters?" Sirius was confused.
"Because Harry's alive and she was supposed to kill him." Albus replied, "On James and Lily's request I had made a few trinkets charmed to follow Harry's magical signature. The one designed to measure his power broke the night he was kidnapped. The other two tell me he is alive and happy."
"Why did the one meant to measure power break?" Sirius asked.
"We don't know." Albus sighed, "Several things could have happened. The spell Voldemort used on him could have any number of consequences it would depend on what he did. One of those consequences could have been to drain Harry of all magic which would have broken it. Another idea stemmed from gossip among death eaters. No one had seen Voldemort actually perform magic for more than two years after the accident. He can do so now but they've not seen anything extraordinary. It could be that when he tried to do whatever he tried to do it backfired and gave Harry all his magic. That much magical transfer could also be the reason the item broke."
"So you're saying Harry is either a squib or ultra powerful and either way Bellatrix is taking care of him and making him happy?" Sirius stated, "It's hard to believe either way truly."
"Well she could have had a change of heart." Albus said, "It has been known to happen. Severus said she had a baby die due to Rodolphus' lack of intelligence. He thinks she took him to raise him as her own. Teaching him dark arts and preparing to bring him back and give him to Voldemort as a new death eater."
"So we are in really deep trouble." Sirius finished.
"Not necessarily." Albus said, "If she had a change of heart he may be the same sweet boy he would have grown up to be. We need to find her and see just what is going on."
"How are we to do that?" Remus was the one to ask this time.
"I have several people out looking." Albus stated, "I think we may be close. When we find her you have a talent that just might help."
"I do?" he asked.
"I understand you are a dog animagus." Albus smiled, "What nine year old boy doesn't want a dog?"
"Alright." Sirius agreed, "You find them and I'll find out everything I can about them."
"I'll just send the two of them a quick message." Albus smiled.