Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I just like messing with J.K. Rowling's characters.
Plot Summary: Voldemort attacks the Potters when Harry is three-years-old, and Harry ends up with Regulus and his wife, who are loyal to the Dark Lord's cause, even though they are not marked Deatheaters. I think you can tell already, but Harry's going to end up being dark (not evil, though).
Note: "Speaking" / 'Thoughts'
Warnings: There are multiple character deaths in this chapter, as well as some mild torture (nothing too bad, I promise). And some language.
James Potter watched on fondly as one of his best friends, Sirius Black, conjured multi-colored bubbles for Harry's amusement. Harry, a happy and lively three-year-old, watched as the bubbles popped one by one. Normally, Harry wouldn't have been entertained, but he had had already had his bath, and his eyes were slowly drooping.
"Sirius, give him here," Lily said from the doorway.
James watched as the love of his life took Harry from Sirius' arms and disappeared upstairs so she could put her son to bed.
Sirius popped the last of the bubbles once Harry was gone. "Did you hear the happy news?"
"From the way you said it, this news doesn't sound so happy."
"Dear Reggie got married," Sirius said bitterly. "To some lovely lady named Julia Reid. A big pureblood ceremony, of course."
"Sounds fantastic. Probably plenty of Deatheaters there. Did you go?"
Sirius snorted. "What are you on Prongs? I found out through the grapevine. There was no chance that I would have gone, even if I did get an invitation. Apparently, Bella was there in all her insanity."
"Of course. What would a Deatheater wedding be without his right hand?"
"James!" Lily hissed. "I told you, can you not mention Deatheaters or You-Know-Who in this house? My nerves have been shot this past week. Things just don't feel right."
"Tell me where the Potters are, you pathetic excuse for a wizard."
The man writhed on the grimy floor of the dungeon, his already bloody fingers scrabbling for purchase on the slick stones beneath him.
"Tell me, or by the time I'm done, you'll beg for death."
"6 North Lake Lane. Godric's Hollow," the man gasped out.
A flash of green light ended his life.
Sirius stood up and stretched. "I should be getting home, Prongs. Goodnight, Lily."
And then all three adult felt a pulse go through them, and then dread trickled to the pits of all of their stomachs. The wards.
James jumped into action. "Lily, go upstairs, take Harry, and run. We'll hold him off." He then patted his pockets. His wand wasn't there.
Sirius dashed outside, and James saw bright flashes from spell fire. He ran to the kitchen, where he had left his wand on the counter, and then went outside to help Sirius.
But as he reached the door, he heard a loud cackle.
He kept going.
Outside on the, ground, was the body of his best friend. His brother in all but blood. He swallowed the bile that was rising up in his throat, and faced the Dark Lord.
"Ah, James Potter. We meet again."
"Nice to see you too, Moldyshorts."
"Tsk, tsk. Here I was thinking that you had overcome your days of schoolyard namecalling."
They traded spells back and forth. James felt himself being pushed back towards the house, and then he tripped over the threshold. He rolled out of the way just in time, as a bolt of bright green light struck the ground where he had just been.
All he could think of was Lily and Harry. They had to get out. They just had to. He let himself get distracted for a split second. All he saw was a beam of green light. All he felt was himself falling to the floor. And then there was nothing.
In Harry's bedroom, Lily Potter was preparing to run to safety with her son when she saw a faint green light come from near the stairs. And then she heard nothing. That could only mean one thing.
James. Her wonderful James.
Lily closed the door and cradled Harry closer to her chest.
She heard slow, deliberate footsteps as the one everyone feared approached the door. Harry began to stir, but she quickly shushed him back to sleep.
The door exploded, wood flying everywhere. Lily ducked her head and shielded her son as Voldemort stepped into the room. She quickly laid Harry on his bed, and stood in front of it.
"Stand aside, you silly girl."
"Step aside and I'll spare your life, you Mudblood."
"No, not Harry. Take me instead."
"Fine. Avada Kedavra!" Lily Potter crumpled to the ground at the Dark Lord's feet. "Foolish girl," Voldemort muttered. He leveled his wand at the sleeping boy, and said the same words that had ended his mother's life.
Voldemort wasn't prepared for the bolt of pure white light that was sent back at him.
He moved just in time, and saw the light hit the wall behind him, causing more debris to fly through the air. He could hear the pops of apparating wizards, and after he sent up his mark, he decided that it was time for him to go.
Albus Dumbledore approached 6 North Lake Lane in Godric's Hollow with a sense of trepidation. The Aurors had already arrived, and he could see several in their scarlet cloaks, milling about on the lawn.
Kingsley Shacklebolt, an Auror and a member of the Order of the Phoenix, approached him with a mournful expression on his face.
"Voldemort was here," the dark-skinned Auror said. "Sirius, Lily, and James are all dead."
"What about Harry?"
"He was found alive in his bedroom. Fast asleep. He's with the mediwizards now, but you can see him. But first, we need you to...identify the bodies."
The Auror led Dumbledore over to the body on the walkway first, and drew back the white sheet to reveal the face of Sirius Black. His eyes were open but they were devoid of life. Kingsley then took Dumbledore inside, to the living room. Not far from the door, lay another shrouded corpse.
After Kingsley drew back the sheet, Dumbledore said, "Yes, that's James."
They then walked up the stairs, where the real destruction lay. Dumbledore didn't need his friend's help to locate the place of Lily Potter's demise. The third casualty of Voldemort's attack lay in a room painted red and gold lay at end of the hall. He could already tell from the halo of dark red hair emerging from the sheet that it was Lily Potter.
"I don't need to see her, Kingsley," the headmaster said heavily. "Where's Harry?"
"In the kitchen. He doesn't know yet."
The two men returned downstairs, and Dumbledore went straight to the kitchen. The mediwizards stopped what they were doing when he stepped into the room.
"We just got him back to sleep," one of them whispered.
Dumbledore carefully approached the snoozing toddler, who lay on a makeshift bed on the kitchen counter. The old wizard could see the cut, shaped like a bolt of lightning, on the boy's forehead.
"We believe that You-Know-Who tried to kill him, by means of the Killing Curse."
"And he survived?"
"Then I believe that Harry Potter is now the Boy-Who-Lived."
Dumbledore brought the Harry, who was fast asleep, to the door of Number 4 Privet Drive, a perfectly ordinary house in a perfectly ordinary neighborhood.
He knocked twice, and eventually, a horse-faced woman in a pink dressing gown opened the door.
She hissed, "What in heaven's name are you doing here?"
"Your nephew is now an orphan, Mrs. Dursley," Dumbledore said. "You're his only family left."
"So? That doesn't mean that I have to take the little freak. Leave it to Lily to get herself blown up or something ridiculous like that!"
"Your sister, her husband, and your nephew's godfather were murdered last night by a man who most people in our world fear. You must take Harry in. You'll have my protection."
Petunia snorted. "Harry? What a nasty, common name that is. I don't need your protection because I'm not going to take the little freak. Good day." She then began to slam her door, but thought better of it, and closed it quietly instead. After all, she didn't want to give the neighbors something to gossip about.
Dumbledore sighed. He had no choice but to take Harry to the Ministry. He turned on his heel, and apparated straight to Amelia Bone's office.
"I'm sorry Amelia. I didn't mean to startle you, but I need your help. Have you heard about the Potters?"
The witch sighed. "Who hasn't? Everyone's been running around like mad. People who haven't left yet are. In droves. Everyone's either in hiding or they've left the country. The only people left are my department and Fudge, and he's considering going underground."
"Do people know about Harry?"
Amelia's attention shifted to the toddler in Dumbledore's arms. "Yes, I've heard. The Boy-Who-Lived and everything. Poor dear."
"Do you think you could take him in? Just for a day or two. I took him to his Muggle relatives, but his aunt wouldn't take him."
Amelia's face took on a pained look. "I suppose I could, and Susan could use a friend. But first, I have to look at the wills, and see who Lily and James wanted to have him."
And then screams could be heard from the hallway.
Amelia grabbed her wand and rushed from the room. Once she made sure that there was no imminent threat, she returned and said to Dumbledore, "I think you should see this." She took harry, and then Dumbledore ventured into the corridor.
On the floor was the badly mutilated body of Peter Pettigrew. His hands and face were bruised and bloody, and the Dark Mark had been carved into his chest. His light blue eyes stared out without any life.
"Take him to St. Mungo's," Dumbledore commanded the Aurors that stood around the body. He then returned to Amelia's office and shut the door. "Peter was Lily and James secret keeper," he explained. "I checked in on him yesterday afternoon. He was fine."
"It's not your fault Albus. It's You-Know-Who's. Why don't you take Harry to Hogwarts for the day, and I'll search the records. If we hand him over to Children's Welfare, he'll end up with someone like Lucius Malfoy. We don't want that."
"No we don't," Dumbledore agreed. "Good day, Amelia." He then gathered up Harry, and took him to the hospital wing at Hogwarts.
Poppy Pomfrey emerged from her office when she heard them arrive.
"Albus, how is he?"
"Fine, Poppy, he's fine."
At Number 12 Grimmauld Place in London, Regulus was enjoying breakfast with his wife when he felt a presence behind him. It could only be one person.
He and Julia dropped to their knees and said, "My lord."
"Rise. You are not among my ranks. I have come with a request for you, Regulus."
"The Daily Prophet has not come out yet, but you must know that I killed the Potters last night, along with your brother." Regulus sucked in a breath. "I have not yet seen the wills, but I highly suppose that your brother's status as the Potter boy's godfather has passed onto you."
"What? Harry Potter's alive?"
Voldemort sneered. "Unfortunately, yes. He managed to survive the Killing Curse. It was old magic, something that I couldn't have foreseen. They're calling him, the 'Boy-Who-Lived'. But no matter. I want the two of you to adopt him and raise him to be on the right side."
"Of course, my lord."
After that, the Dark Lord left, leaving as quickly as he had come, and Regulus allowed himself to exhale.
"I'm so sorry about your brother, Regulus. I know you cared about him," Julia said as they resumed their meal.
"I'll have to make arrangements," Regulus said vacantly. "Deal with his things and all of that."
Julia nodded, and simply ran a soothing hand up and down his arm.
Amelia Bones arrived in Dumbledore's office later that afternoon with several sheets of parchment in her hands.
"Hello, Albus. Here's the information you were looking for. I managed to make copies of all of the papers."
Dumbledore looked the papers over. "Lily and James left everything to Harry, of course. The only approved guardian they listed was Sirius, and said that under no circumstances should Harry go to the Dursleys. Did Sirius leave a will?"
Amelia shook her head. "I checked with the goblins. I even went to Godric's Hollow and searched the house. If he wanted to make one, he didn't have the chance too."
"So then what does this mean? Does everything pass on to Sirius' next of kin?"
"Yes," Amelia said, "but you won't like who it is. It's Regulus Black."
"How is that? Sirius' mother disowned him when he ran away his sixth year."
"I wondered that too, so I checked the records. He was never legally disowned, so for a while, he was actually Lord Black, even though he never claimed the seat. Regulus is Sirius' brother, so he's his closest living relative. After him is Bellatrix Lestrange, then Narcissa Malfoy. Andromeda was legally disowned, so Harry can't go live with her."
"So what do we do?"
"Regulus probably knows by now, and he's probably been informed that he's the new head of his house."
"We have no choice, do we Amelia?" Dumbledore asked after sighing heavily.
Once Regulus managed to wrestle himself out of his stupor, he put on a set of black and silver formal robes and prepared to go to the Ministry.
"Julia, while I'm gone, could you clear out anything questionable and put it in our Gringotts vault. I don't want anything happening if the Ministry decides to come knocking."
"Of course," she said. "Stay safe."
Regulus left the house and apparated to the visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic. After descending into the atrium via the red Muggle telephone booth, he walked straight to the Office for Magical Children's Welfare.
The receptionist asked with a bored look on her face, "Can I help you?"
"Yes, actually. I'm here to adopt Harry Potter."
The woman didn't bother to look up from her magazine. "I'm sorry, sir, but Harry Potter isn't available for adoption. You're the twentieth person today to ask."
"Actually, I believe that Mr. Black is fully within his rights as young Harry's godfather," a silky voice said from behind Regulus.
That cause the woman's head to snap up. She went from boredom to being on the brink of tears. "Of course, Lord Malfoy, I'm so, so sorry for the inconvenience. Please, take a seat while I get things in order. Could I get you tea? Coffee? Anything?"
Regulus chuckled to himself as the young woman almost tripped over herself in an effort to please Lucius. It was no secret that the platinum blonde man was a Deatheater, and someone you didn't want to cross.
"Have you gone to the Wizengamot yet to claim your lordship?" Lucius asked once he and Regulus were seated.
"I plan to, but I must take care of other things first. I need to get Harry home to Julia, and then I have to go to St. Mungo's to make an official identification."
"Ah, of course. You must arrange things for your brother. Wrong place at the wrong time, I suppose. What a tragedy."
"Yes, it is." Then a paper airplane came zipping through the air and landed on Regulus' lap. He unfolded it, and after reading it, he said, "I must go to the Auror Office and remove my brother's possessions."
"Of course, I forgot. Your brother was an Auror. This is truly a shame. Such a powerful wizard. And a pureblood as well."
"I know. Thank you for your condolences, Lucius."
"Anytime, Regulus. But I must be going. Narcissa expects me home in five minutes. She can only handle Draco on her own for so long."
"Yes, I remember him being rather...willful."
"Yes, he is," Lucius said with a fond smile. "Good day to you Regulus. I wish you the best of luck."
Eventually, the receptionist returned, bringing with her several forms. "You need to fill these out in order to adopt him. Do you plan to have an official ceremony?"
"That's a given." Whenever a pureblood family adopted a child, which was a unusual occurrence, they always adopted the child by blood.
"Then you have to fill out this form too, with the child's new name and everything. Then you're done and you can bring him home."
Regulus nodded. "And where's the boy?"
The woman gulped. "Actually, I don't know."
Regulus had a feeling of where Harry could be, but he had to milk this. "So the Ministry of Magic, the magical governing body of the entire British Isles, doesn't know where the Boy-Who-Lived is?"
"I haven't seen him. Rumor is that Dumbledore brought him in," the woman said, trembling.
"I believe that I must see Minister Fudge on this matter." Regulus quickly filled out the papers, thrust them at the woman, and then took the lift to the Minister of Magic's office. He stormed pass Fudge's surprised secretary and straight into the man's opulent office.
Fudge exclaimed, "What is the meaning of this?"
"Are you aware that your government has managed to lose a child named Harry Potter, who happens to be the Boy-Who-Lived?"
"And that he was last seen in the custody of one Albus Dumbledore, who is neither a relation nor the child's legal guardian?"
"And who are you? What claim do you have to the boy? We've been hearing from people like you all day, so don't give me any funny business."
"Regulus Arcturus Black. Son of Orion and Walburga Black, brother of the late Sirius Black. Within a few days at the most, I will be the new Lord Black, so I believe that you should listen to me."
"I apologize, Mr. Black. But once again, you have no claim to the Potter boy. He's somewhere safe, that's all I can say."
"Actually, I do have a claim to Harry. Sirius was his godfather, so as Sirius' next of kin, that responsibility is now mine. My wife and I will raise Harry, as it is our legal right and duty."
Fudge stared at him. "Then you have to go to the Office of Wizarding Children's Welfare and fill out the appropriate forms."
"That's already been taken care of. Now may please see my godson and take him home?" That sounded odd. He and Julia had wanted children, but had found out before their marriage had taken place that that wouldn't be possible. And they were young. He was twenty-one, and she was twenty.
Fudge called his secretary and had her send a message to Dumbledore. While he waited, Regulus then sent a message via his Patronus to Julia A half hour later, Dumbledore appeared in Fudge's office, cradling the Potter boy.
"Give him here, Dumbledore," Regulus said.
Dumbledore sighed heavily, but he had no choice but to hand the still sleeping child over to Regulus.
Regulus left the Ministry and apparated straight to the steps of Gringotts. He walked inside, and said quickly to a goblin, "My wife, Julia Black, should have asked to arrange a room for an adoption ceremony."
"Yes. Right this way."
Regulus got more than a few curious looks as he followed the goblin into the marble halls of the bank, but he walked until he reached the room where Julia was waiting. The goblins had already supplied everything, so they would just need to perform the ritual.
The goblin asked, "You do understand that once you perform the ritual, there will be no going back. You will become his family by blood. That will be the end of the Potter line."
"And do you understand that the wealth inside of his vaults and his properties in the land will disappear, and that no one can claim them?"
"Yes, I understand."
Regulus handed Harry to Julia, and then picked up the blood quill that lay on the desk in front of him. He winced as he felt it cut into his hand, but he still wrote on a piece of parchment 'Regulus Arcturus Black'. He then handed the quill to Julia, and she wrote 'Julia Danielle Black'. They then held the quill together and wrote 'Harrison James Aries Black'. They would call him Harry for short.
Once the blood on the parchment dried, Regulus folded it and inserted it into a vial filled with a black potion. The parchment bubbled and fizzed it dissolved, and then potion turned bright red.
Julia shook Harry awake. "Harry, dear, wake up."
The three-year-old blearily opened his bright green eyes. "Wha-?"
"Harry, drink this, please."
The boy didn't have a chance to object as Julia held the vial to his mouth and forced him to swallow. She then rocked him back to sleep.
"We should see the results in the morning. Let's go home."
They left Gringotts and returned to Number 12 Grimmauld Place with Harry, now Harrison, in tow.
"I had the house elves set up your old room for him," Julia said. She carried Harry to the second floor and Regulus opened the door for them.
The Black crest above the bed had been repainted. A smaller bed had been placed in the room, and had been made up with green and white sheets. The walls had been painted a light cream, and dark green velvet hangings framed the windows.
Julia waved her wand and changed the snitch and quaffle pattern on Harry's pajamas from red and gold to green and silver. Then she laid him in the bed, and gave him a kiss.
"We'll tell him everything in the morning," she said to Regulus.
Harry woke Julia and Regulus up at four o'clock in the morning by calling, "Mummy! Mummy!"
Julia shook her husband's shoulder and said, "Let's go."
They both rolled out of bed and went to comfort the distraught boy. Julia went into the room first, and Regulus followed her. Harry's cries stopped once he saw them enter.
He cocked his head to the side when he saw Regulus and asked, "Uncle Siri?"
Regulus shook his head. "I'm his brother, Regulus."
"Oh. Where're my Mummy and my Daddy?"
Julia sat down on the bed next to Harry and ran a hand over his dark hair. "Your Mummy and Daddy died, Harry. They're angels now. You see, a bad man named Dumbledore told them to hide, and a good man named Voldemort had no choice but to kill them."
"Bad man? Dumblydore?"
"Yes, Harry," Regulus said, sitting on the other side of the toddler. "Dumbledore is a bad man. He does everything for the greater good. He doesn't care about anyone else. He thinks Voldemort is evil, but he's just...jealous."
"Where's Siri? And Uncle Remy? And Uncle Wormy?"
Regulus had to stop himself from snorting at the boy's nickname for Peter Pettigrew.
"Sirius died too, with your Mummy and Daddy," he said as carefully as he could. "We're trying to find Remus and Peter so they can play with you." No need to tell Harry that he wasn't about to let him near a werewolf.
That day, Harry spent a long time crying for his parents and godfather. All the little boy could hope for is that his surrogate uncles would come along.
Once Harry had fallen back asleep, Regulus finally had a chance to examine that day's Daily Prophet. Pettigrew's death had made the front page. It was noted that a photo of the body was too grisly to print, so the paper had settled for publishing a picture from the Marauders' school days.
But with an ominous air, the Dark Lord appeared in their home again.
"My lord," Regulus and his wife both said, but they didn't bow this time.
"I understand that Harry is now in your custody?"
"Yes, he's upstairs, asleep," Julia said.
"I will not disturb him," Voldemort said. "But I must tell you that one Remus John Lupin may come looking for him soon. Dumbledore sent him on a mission for the Order of the Phoenix not long before the Potters' demise."
Regulus asked, "Do you want us to recruit him for the cause, my lord?"
"Yes. I believe he's already disillusioned with the Light, and he will be even more so once he learns that his three best friends are dead. When he returns, seek him out, discreetly, of course, and bring him back into Harry's life. I have ordered Lucius to do this as well."
"Yes, my lord."
With that, Voldemort swept back out of their home.
'So much for not allowing him around Harry,' Regulus thought to himself.
Sure enough, Remus Lupin returned to the Order of the Phoenix three days later.
He yelled, "Dumbledore!" as he swept into the headmaster's office, as Hogwarts was the Order's headquarters. Heads turned as he walked into the room. Never had any of them seen the kindhearted werewolf so angry. "Is it true? Lily? James? Sirius? Peter?"
"Yes, my boy," Dumbledore said gravely. "It's true."
"And no one thought to send me a message? Let me know so I didn't have to find out from an old paper and the pitying looks I got on the street?"
"We couldn't compromise the mission, Remus," Kingsley Shacklebolt said from Dumbledore's right. "It's imperative that we get the werewolves on our side."
Remus let out a choked sob. "Damn the mission! My best friends just died, and now you're telling me that the mission was more important? Well you can take your mission and shove it up your collective arses. I'm done."
With that, he left the room, jogging down the stairs that spiraled from the headmaster's office. He strode down the corridor, not looking right or left. And then he ran into someone who happened to be carrying a heavy cane.
Remus straightened himself up, but froze when he realized that he was staring straight into the eyes of one Lucius Malfoy. Shit. It seemed as if Malfoy had realized who he had just collided with, because he straightened his robes with a huff and said, "Lupin."
"What a surprise that I ran into you, of all people. So sorry for your friends. I just came from a Board of Governors meeting, and I realized, with Dumbledore as headmaster, the standards at Hogwarts are certainly lower than what they were when our forefathers attended this school."
"That could be true," Remus said carefully. After all, everyone knew that Lucius Malfoy's tongue was as slick as his hair.
"Well, you see, in a year or two, my son will require a tutor, and even I can recall your brilliance from our school years."
"I don't think so."
Malfoy leaned closer. "If it makes you more comfortable, we could continue this discussion at my manor. After all, everyone knows that they walls of Hogwarts have ears."
Remus realized that he had no choice. After all, he had no job, especially now that he had quit the Order. He was desperate. "Fine."
"Excellent. Shall we go find a fireplace, then?"
Lucius and Remus made their way back to the Board of Governors' meeting room, and used the fireplace to floo to Malfoy Manor in Wilshire.
"Hello, Lucius, how did the meeting..." Narcissa trailed off when she noticed their guest. "Lucius, why didn't you tell me you invited someone over? I would have had the house elves prepare tea."
Lucius waved her admonishment away. "It's not important, Narcissa. I invited Mr. Lupin to stay here and be Draco's tutor starting next year."
"What?" Remus exclaimed. "You never mentioned staying at Malfoy Manor."
"Well, it would make more sense," Narcissa said. "After all, another boy may be joining Draco for lessons."
"Harrison Black. Oh wait, you know him as Harry Potter. Regulus and Julia graciously adopted him a few days ago." Remus sunk into the nearest chair. "Oh, I do apologize," Narcissa said. "I was sure that you had heard. It was splashed all over the papers. Sirius' status as Harry's godfather passed onto Regulus, his closet living relative. So Regulus and his wife adopted harry."
"What's his name now?"
"Harrison James Aries Black," Lucius said. "An excellent name."
"Where is he? Can I see him?"
"Well, I guess I could see if Regulus and Julia have plans for the afternoon. Maybe they can come over for tea, and then they can bring Harry with them," Narcissa replied. "He should meet Draco anyway."
"I'll go ask them," Lucius said.
One floo conversation later, Julia, Regulus, and Harry were on their way to Malfoy Manor. The moment Julia stepped out of the massive fireplace with Harry in her arms, the toddler yelled, "Uncle Remy!" Remus caught Harry as the boy ran as fast as his little legs carry him. "Missed you."
"Missed you too, buddy."
"I miss Mummy and Daddy and Siri, and Uncle Wormy too. They're not coming back?"
"No, Harry. I'm sorry, but they're gone."
"It's the bad man Dumblydore's fault," Harry proclaimed.
Remus was startled for a moment, but he just held Harry tighter and said, "Yes, Harry. It's all his fault."
So what did you think? Read & Review (I accept anonymous ones, so feel free to click that button)! (And I'm sorry updates for Not Afraid to Live are going slowly...don't worry, a new chapter's coming soon to a computer near you.)