Voldemort used dark magic to create his new body. Now someone has found a new use for his ritual, and Harry is their target. A darker beginning to Year 6. SLIGHTLY DISTURBING; not my normal fare by any stretch.
SPOILER / WARNING: Can only be considered mpreg in the same way that the alien-embryo-implant from the movie Alien can be considered mpreg. In other words, no sex / body transformations / yucky 'how'd it get in-out of there' issues to deal with.
OF STORKS AND GRIMS
Takes place right after Harry's first detention with Snape in Sixth Year – details of the detention have been changed to protect the innocent flobberworms.
"Oh you're right, alright, Sir," Harry Potter muttered to himself as he shuffled along the darkened hallway. "A right arse, that is, Sir." He was on his way back from his very undeserved detention with Snape for daring to have a sense of humor and the injustice of the entire situation was still setting his blood to a slow boil. "I can't wait to see what the curse has in store for you, Mister Dark Arts Professor. Sir."
There was a certain thrill to finally voicing what he'd been thinking all night, as he'd copied word after word and page after page of Sir Rathburn's Guide to Manners for Young Witches while Snape stood behind him and droned on and on and on about how insolent his father had been. Any second now, one of the portraits could overhear or a ghost could drift by and he'd no doubt find himself in Dumbledore's office explaining himself.
"Greasy, grimy, git."
A crunching sound, like a boot squishing a beetle, was his only warning that someone was behind him. He began to turn – his wand was in his hand and already coming up – when he felt a blast of power hit his shoulder and his world went dark.
Everything hurt. Even as he thought it, Harry wanted to snort at the cliché except that in this case, it seemed true. There wasn't a part of his body that wasn't throbbing in some level of pain; not his lungs, which felt like they'd rather he not breathe too much; not his pinky toe, which he didn't think he'd ever been as aware of as right at this moment; and certainly not his gut, which felt like it was full of leftover parts from one of Uncle Vernon's drills which were bumping and grinding into each other and were quite possibly on fire.
A loud groan caused him to snap his eyes open a split-second before he registered that the noise had come from himself.
"Easy, Harry. Try not to move too much … Madam Pomfrey feels your nerves have been overexcited. The longer we can let them rest the quicker they will heal."
Once he'd separated the sound from a memory, Harry recognized the voice. He blinked a few times, trying to force the world to come into focus without his glasses so he could confirm that, yes, it was Dumbledore sitting at his bedside and offering him comfort.
"Professor …," he managed to say, much softer than he'd wanted but he didn't feel he had the ability to be any louder.
The word drew the attention of the school nurse, who appeared at his side and forced potions down his throat while asking silly questions. At least she was kind enough to put an extra pillow under his head so he could see the room better. She handed him his glasses before leaving him with the Headmaster with orders to "not overtax himself" - as if that were possible lying in a hospital bed.
The first thing Harry focused on was Dumbledore, looking tired and worn and the epitome of 'death warmed over' with his droopy and drawn face and that dreadful blackened hand. Feeling he was seeing something he wasn't meant to see, Harry averted his eyes to instead examine the very interesting vase of fern-like leaves sitting by his bed.
He counted the stems and the leaves and even tried to count how many shades of green were on each leaf when at last the Headmaster began his questions, as Harry had known he would.
"Your wand and bag were found on the sixth floor near the bust of Ethelred the Ever-Ready, where presumably you were attacked. Do you remember anything of the attack?"
"No, Sir. I was on my way back from detention when I heard a noise … but I wasn't quick enough."
"Perfectly understandable," Dumbledore assured him. "Even I had not anticipated an attack on your being before the first month of school has even ended."
Harry could appreciate that; attacks normally came at the end of the school year, not the beginning. As his side gave a painful throb and he felt his insides … wiggle … he paled and asked the only thing that seemed to matter. "What happened to me?"
"You disappeared, Harry," Dumbledore said in a very matter-of-fact way. "Four days ago, you left Professor Snape's classroom but failed to return to your Common Room. When you had not returned by midnight, Miss Granger and Mister Weasley alerted Professor McGonagall and the castle was searched. Your wand and bag were found, as I've already mentioned, but there was no sign of you. When there was still no sign by morning, I began to fear the worst and the Order was called in. Even the Ministry has been searching for you. And then, yesterday, Remus Lupin received an anonymous tip and found you in the Shrieking Shack unconscious, bruised and bleeding, but with no life threatening injuries. Something I find perplexing, but am nonetheless thankful for."
"Yesterday?" Harry croaked.
Nodding, Dumbledore explained, "You've been resting here for a day; and I have been waiting patiently by your side to see for myself that you would be fine."
"And question me," Harry was bold enough to add.
"That too," Dumbledore added with a slight grin, his first of the day. He helped Harry take a sip of water before asking, "Do you remember anything of your captivity?"
"Not much," Harry said with a slight shake of his head. He closed his eyes for a moment and searched his memories, involuntarily moaning as he relived little snippets. "I know I was in pain but I can't remember what caused it."
"You don't remember being cursed?" Dumbledore asked in surprise.
"No, I nothing like that. It must have happened, though. I mean, I got this way somehow, right? To be honest, I don't think I was all that aware. I think I was drugged or something. I had trouble getting my arms and legs to move when I wanted them to and there were times when felt really happy ... I mean really, really happy. Oh, and I remember discussing potions theory with my shadow at one point."
"Won't Professor Snape be pleased?" Dumbledore chuckled. "Aside from the fact that you could see - and apparently converse with - your shadow, can you tell me anything else of your surroundings?"
Harry closed his eyes as he described, "The bed was a lot like the beds in my dorm, actually, but not nearly as comfortable and only one side still had a curtain. There was a small candle floating next to my bed - that's how I could see my shadow. I couldn't see anything else in the room. Not even any walls or anything like that - so maybe it was a really big room or it was just really dark. But every once in a while there were these flashes of strange lights - but that could have been from the drugs. I - it was cold and drafty. It smelled ... wet."
Dumbledore nodded as he took in Harry's clues. "A cavern or one of the old family crypts, perhaps? We know you were not in the Shrieking Shack the entire time. It was one of the first places checked when we determined you were no longer inside the castle. Can you remember any sounds or any people?"
"There was a voice … it was almost familiar but I could never place it … I think he was trying to reassure me, as mad as that sounds. When I first woke up and you were talking, I almost thought you were him."
"Yes," he replied without waiting. "I'm certain it was a man, but I can't tell you anything about him."
"Can you recall what he was doing … how you were injured?"
"No," he said as he sucked in a deep breath and clenched his eyes shut. He didn't want to remember those three days, he didn't think, but just thinking that thought brought more flashes to his mind.
"Like I said, I don't remember anything being done to me. All I can remember for certain is drinking stuff and throwing up a lot. And I was in lots of pain. Especially in my scar – I remember that most of all. I think I tried to rip it off at one point and he held me down to stop me."
Dumbledore looked ready to ask another question when Harry's stomach gave a particularly nasty twist and his hand flew to the area, coming in contact with a bloated stomach that kicked it away.
Shocked, he cried out, "What the …"
"He needs to be calm, Headmaster," Madam Pomfrey admonished as she took hold of Harry's hands and moved them back to his sides. "Try not to touch, Mister Potter. The area is very tender."
"Area?" Harry repeated, suddenly lost in the conversation and not at all certain he wanted to be found.
"There's a bit more you need to know, Harry," Dumbledore said in a slow voice. "It appears you've been …," he paused and cleared his throat loudly, " ... you seem to be … harboring another being of some sort."
"What, you mean like when Voldemort was inside Quirrell?" Harry asked in a panicky, higher-than-normal voice.
"Oh no, nothing like that," Dumbledore assured him in a voice that was anything but reassuring. "You are … for lack of a better word … gestating."
"Incubating would be the more accurate word, Headmaster," Snape said as he appeared from the shadowed area beyond Harry's bed. "And the bad news does not end there." He turned his head to Harry, his face blank. "This will be hard to hear, Potter, but I do not believe it would do any of us any good for you to not understand exactly what this is."
"Severus…" the Headmaster began, but Snape glared as he cut him off.
"Your information from the wolf was correct, Headmaster. Potter's house elf is dead and his body is indeed missing an ear." He briefly glanced at Harry as he added, "Flesh of the servant, you could say. It was likely struck by the Killing Curse shortly after the removal. Godric's Hollow was likewise as you expected. James Potter's grave has been opened and the body vandalized."
"Bone of the father," Harry mouthed as Snape said the words.
"While I cannot prove it at this time," Snape continued as if he hadn't just brought old nightmares to the surface, "I suspect one of Potter's enemies has recently been relieved of a sampling of blood. However, as they are vast and varied, I believe it unlikely we will find proof on that count."
Ignoring the thrum of pain and instant nausea, Harry pushed himself to sit upright. "That's the ritual Voldemort used to create his new body!" Looking at his swollen, moving middle, he hesitated to ask, "You think someone used it to – twisted it to get me … make me … what … pregnant?"
It was Snape who responded. "Can you really call it a pregnancy when it was created, not conceived; when it grows in a cocoon, not a uterus; and when it will be removed, not born? It is more accurate to call it a tumor than a child."
"What Professor Snape is trying to say is that you aren't technically pregnant," Pomfrey stepped forward to explain. As she gently pushed Harry down to his pillow she explained. "You're still a male, dear. No uterus or other female parts. Of course, that means we'll have to remove it when the time comes."
She was probably going to use more technical terms but Harry's sudden pallor reminded her that he was, above all else, still just a sixteen-year-old boy with sixteen-year-old sensibilities.
"You don't appear to be supporting it," she added as she sat on the bedside and checked his pulse. "From what I can tell it is entirely self-sustaining. That's good for you; less stress on your body. It also seems to be developing at an accelerated rate. When you were first brought in, I would have estimated gestation at about 12 weeks. And in the day you've been here it's progressed roughly another four weeks."
"That's a month's growth for every day, Harry," Albus explained from over Pomfrey's shoulder. "That means we can deliver—"
"Remove," Snape cut in.
"Monster, more like."
"Severus, please," Albus finally ground out as he gestured with his head to the clearly overwhelmed Harry. "We can remove the child in five days, Harry," he finished.
"What?" Harry squeaked. "NO! Take it out now … I don't want this … I can't do this …"
"I don't think you have a choice, Harry dear," the nurse said as she firmly held his shoulders to keep him from sitting up again.
Harry knew things were bad when Pomfrey used pet names. Rather childishly, he closed his eyes and turned his head away as if he could hide from whatever horrible news came next.
"I'm afraid we've already attempted to remove it, Harry," she said as she brushed his hair from his face. "We weren't successful. The more we tried, the more distressed your body became. Whatever means were used to put it there, they afforded it strong protection. I don't think it can be removed until the incubation is complete."
"Five more days, Harry," Albus gently added. "It should all be over in five more days. Now, you look tired. Why don't we let you get some more rest, hmm? Perhaps a nice nap will give you a fresh perspective. I'll come check on you in a couple of hours."
"Can I see it," Harry asked as Madam Pomfrey finished her latest check-up. Since it was growing at such a rapid pace, she refused to go more than six hours without checking him over. He wondered if she knew he was so lonely he welcomed the exams. Since he'd awaken, he'd been kept in the the most private corner of the infirmary, cut off from all outsiders - friends included.
In the last few hours Harry had decided that his stomach was starting to take on that watermelon shape he'd often heard associated with pregnant women. Aside from the obvious mental effect (he was certain he'd had several mini-breakdowns in the last two days), the growing mid-section was making it near impossible for him to deny there was 'something' in there. His curiosity had finally beaten his fear into submission and taken control.
"I'm certain you are capable of lifting your gown and looking at yourself," Pomfrey clipped back.
"No, the actual baby – thing. Can I see it? Muggles have these machines they can use to take a picture of it while it's still inside the mum. Aunt Petunia carried on over dinner one night about a neighbor lady that kept showing her picture to everyone. Called it indecent … but my point is, if Muggles can manage it, surely wizards can."
Finally nodding her understanding, she replied, "You want a foetogram? Why?"
"So I can see that it's really a baby, of course."
Pomfrey didn't want to do this for him; she'd made it clear to Harry that she didn't consider the thing growing inside him a child. She didn't go to Snape's extreme of calling it a monster, but she certainly wasn't comfortable with this entire situation. Harry could relate.
"It's dawned on me," he continued when she didn't move, "that this is a bit like being raped. I didn't ask for this to happen … I certainly wouldn't have agreed to it if I'd been asked, but … this baby – if it is a real baby – it didn't ask for this either. So I shouldn't hate it for existing. If it's really a baby. I think … no, I need to see it to know if it's real."
"Very well," she finally conceded before leaving to collect the required potions and parchment. Fifteen minutes later Harry was looking at the strangest picture he'd ever seen. It looked like a pencil drawing – a drawing of a tiny person sucking its tiny thumb, its other tiny hand clenched in a tiny fist. Its tiny eyes were closed but every once in a while its tiny cheeks moved and its tiny foot kicked out.
Pomfrey was also mesmerized by the drawing. "If I weren't seeing it with my own eyes … it's your son, Harry. You're carrying a boy." To prove her point, Pomfrey pointed to the one tiny detail Harry's eyes had missed.
The picture wasn't strange because it had been made by imprinting his balloon-shaped stomach and it wasn't strange because the baby had no umbilical cord; it was strange because it was a baby – a perfectly normal baby. And it was growing inside him – a guy – and that made it his.
The thought nearly made Harry dizzy. "But is it really mine?" he blurted out. Seeing Pomfrey's odd look, he rushed to continue, "I mean, is it really a part of me? When Voldemort did the ritual, it recreated his own body. Whoever did this used my Dad's bone, my house-elf's flesh– and that's not even human," he paused to shake off the sour face that thought caused, "and some unknown person's blood. So whose body is being created?"
"Perhaps I should field this one, Madam Pomfrey," Snape smoothly said as he slid into the area.
Harry turned to gawk at the man, wondering for not the first time if Snape made it a habit to stand outside doorways waiting for an opportune moment to make a grand entrance.
Pomfrey didn't look the least bit surprised to see the man. "Ah, I see you have Mister Potter's specialized pain formula. Excellent timing, Professor. I believe I shall take you up on your offer as soon as I've seen my patient take his medicine." It was clear even to Harry she was grateful to be excused from that discussion.
Once alone, Snape scrutinized Harry from head to blanket-covered toes while Harry relaxed into his pillow, his aching body temporarily going numb.
"The being, Mister Potter, will most likely be a miniature you." The sneer on Snape's face proved how little he cared for that thought. "You do recall that, despite the elements used, the body the Dark Lord created was his own."
Harry nodded his agreement. "But wasn't that because he put himself into it?"
"What are you blathering on about?" Snape asked as he looked down his nose at him.
Realizing that Snape probably hadn't read Harry's account of the rebirthing ritual simply because it was from Harry, he explained. "There was this weird baby-thing that was … well, him. His mind and his ability to use magic, at any rate. To be honest, I never really understood how he went from a homicidal shadow to a talking puppet, but it was definitely him. And after the potion was made Wormtail dropped him into it."
When Snape didn't immediately respond, Harry looked up to see that he had picked up the drawing of the baby and was looking it over with the same critical eye he used to give to sliced frog spleens.
Noticing the silence, Snape looked up to see Harry watching him. "Ah, yes. The 'baby thing'. Presumably the one element that is different in this case. The Headmaster is of the opinion that having the being inside your skin imitates that step in the ritual." Seeing that Harry still seemed confused, he added, "rest assured, this thing shall be as much a Potter as you yourself are. But make no mistake, Potter – this is not some sweet babe born of love and goodness." He gave the drawing a little shake to emphasize his point. "It was created from dark magic for a reason, and though we do not know what that reason is, I think it safe to assume it is not to give you an heir."
Horrified, Harry put his hands over his lump. "You think whoever did this to me wants the baby?"
"I think it would be unwise of you to assume it is yours to keep."
"Go ahead, feel it," Harry urged his only friendly visitor to date.
Ginny Weasley reached her hand out and lightly placed it on the big bulge in Harry's abdomen. Even through his lightweight sleep shirt she could feel his body heat and then … the quick tap on her hand where the baby kicked.
"Yeah," Harry agreed with a goofy grin.
"Hermione's going to be so sorry she missed this," Ginny said as she moved her hand to find the baby again. "Of course, she'd be full of questions you probably wouldn't even understand, so maybe it's just as well she's not here."
"Where are she and Ron? I thought I'd see them by now."
"Oh," she replied turning her attention to Harry's face. "They want to see you Harry, truly they do. But, well, we're not allowed. Officially, you're not even here. You're at a safe house recovering from your ordeal according to the Daily Prophet. You've got to know they've tried to get in a couple of times to see you anyway – Ron's even gotten himself detention with Filch for getting caught in the corridor."
"But you made it in," Harry said as invitation for an explanation.
Ginny's warm laughter filled the area. "Fred and George deemed me worthy of their vast knowledge."
The laughter was medicinal and Harry suddenly felt lighter than he had since the entire ordeal had begun just one week ago. As it died down, Ginny's hand crept back to Harry's stomach. "So tomorrow's the big day?"
"Yeah, some time in the afternoon, I think. They haven't given me a lot of details, which I suppose is a good thing. And Madam Pomfrey says that once he's been removed, I should be good as new in a matter of hours."
The baby shifted to the left, earning another giggle from Ginny. For a moment Harry was distracted by what was rapidly becoming his favorite sound.
Finally he continued, "She said I'm eligible for a short medical leave – kinda like a maternity leave – so I can spend some time with it. Him. They think he'll grow like a normal kid does once he's out of me. That's just a guess, of course, but Dumbledore's guesses are usually right. So … I think I might take her up on it. And Professor Dumbledore said he would contact your Mum about taking him in until I'm, you know, out of school and done with Voldemort.
"That's a great idea," Ginny absently said as she continued to be enchanted by Harry's strange body. "Mum loves babies." She finally looked back to Harry and asked, "So, you'll be keeping him, then?"
"Er … yeah," Harry stammered back. He could feel his face heating under her attention. "I mean, he's mine. It doesn't matter how he got here; not really. He's still my son. I may not make the best parent right now, but I can learn."
"You'll make a great dad, Harry," Ginny assured him. "Do you have any names picked out?
Feeling his goofy grin reappear, Harry nodded enthusiastically. With little else to keep him occupied, he'd given this a lot of thought. "I've got it narrowed down. Not James – Snape says he'll probably look just like me, which means he'll look a lot like my dad. No need to give him the name and really confuse things. I think I want something simple, like maybe Alan or Lewis. Or maybe more magical, like Lionell. Or something really unique, like Joruus."
"Joruus? You're making that one up …"
It was over. Or maybe, Harry realized, it had just begun.
He was half-sitting, half-reclining in his hospital bed, his arms full of a bundle of blue blanket and wiggly baby he couldn't stop staring at. Ignoring his own discomfort he caught the little hand that was waving around and counted the perfect little fingers that had wrapped themselves around his thumb. It still seemed unreal to him, except he was holding the living, breathing proof it had really happened.
Bright green (not blue as Pomfrey had told him to expect) eyes with just the slightest tinge of dark orange around the edges were looking back at him.
This, Harry thought, was love.
"One more potion, Potter," Snape grumbled as he shoved a pewter goblet into Harry's line of sight. Carefully shifting his bundle so it was supported with one arm, he accepted the drink and forced down the sweetly thick concoction.
Seconds later he was sound asleep.
When next he awoke, Harry looked around to find Snape sitting in a chair next to him. He was holding the baby, who must have been sleeping he was so quiet, tightly in one arm.
Uncomfortable seeing Snape holding his child, Harry tried to reach for the babe, but he was still weak and lethargic and all he managed to do was grunt and wave his arms. But it was enough to let Snape know he was awake.
Without shifting his gaze away from the baby in his arms, Snape began to speak in a soft, almost polite voice.
"The Headmaster, as I am certain you already know, likes to think that he and he alone can solve the mysteries of the world. He thinks only he was able to put all the pieces together. But he is wrong, Potter. I did it. I figured it out as soon as I saw – felt – what was in your mind."
Harry neither knew nor cared what Snape had figured out, and he very much wanted to let the man know just how little he cared about the mysteries of the world, but the man was holding his son so he swallowed his harsh words and carefully shifted so he was on his side. At least that way he could watch over his child until he had the strength to rescue him.
"Such a shame to see Lily's eyes poisoned," Snape continued as he traced the child's face with one long, stained finger. "I was certain it would work, but confess that until I saw those eyes, I harbored the slightest bit of doubt. But those eyes … they were all the proof I needed."
"Give him to me, Professor, please," Harry begged as he stretched his arms out.
Snape briefly glanced Harry's way, but ignored the request as he turned his attention back to the child.
"You overlooked an important detail in the Dark Lord's rebirth, Potter. The 'baby-thing', as you so eloquently refer to it, contained more than just the Dark Lord's self. It contained a piece of his soul. A simple yet important distinction. Without it, the being created would have been nothing more than a mindless drone, no better than an Inferius. This child of yours likewise needed a soul. Luckily, Potter, you just happened to have a spare piece to give … isn't that right, Headmaster?"
"Severus …," Dumbledore began as he stepped into the area. He stopped when he was standing directly behind Snape and looked down into the bundled blanket in the man's arm. "What have you done, Severus?"
"I've done what no one else had the nerve to do," Snape growled, looking over his shoulder. "You should be thanking me! Potter will survive and another piece of His dark soul is gone!"
Harry felt a chill run up his spine that had nothing to do with his flimsy gown. He looked from Snape to the blanket clutched the man's arm to Dumbledore … and when he saw the great sadness in the older man's face, saw the glimmer of wetness in the corners of his eyes, he began whispering "no … no … no ..." He wanted to jump up and grab his son, but weakness and fear kept him frozen in place. Fear that the babe's silence had an entirely different meaning.
Snape straightened in his seat and began re-arranging the blanket in his arms, as if tucking the child in for a nap. "I suggest, Headmaster, that you revise your grand plan. You cannot afford to squander your remaining time on foolish dramatics. I can no longer be a part of this madness – I've found a foolproof way to escape that thrice-damned Unbreakable Vow – a way to end it on my terms. I'm afraid you'll have to deal with the Malfoy spawn and his little assassination plot on your own."
He turned his attention away from the blanket and looked over his shoulder, finally meeting Dumbledore's eyes with his own. "The fate of our way of life should not be left to chance. Potter needs to be prepared, not have his mind filled with fluffy emotions and sketchy plots. And I dare say that after today, Potter will be able to handle anything you have for him."
Beyond horrified, Harry mustered his strength and pushed himself up on one elbow. Looking between the two men, he pleaded, "Sir …," unsure who he was begging.
"My time grows short," Snape said as he finally turned his cold black eyes to Harry. "It works slower on fully grown adults but I assure you it will do it's job and I will be in hell where you'll damn me very soon."
"If you will excuse me," he said as he stood. "I have a few remaining items to put in order." He bent forward and placed the bundle in Harry's arms and their eyes met one last time. "I did warn you not to grow attached, Potter."
Snape stood and moved toward the doorway, barely noticing as Dumbledore collapsed into the chair he had just vacated. A pain-filled cry of "God, no!" filled the area as Harry pulled the soft blue blanket and its precious contents tightly to his chest.
Snape's step faltered as Harry fell into his grief and began sobbing in earnest and Dumbledore moved over to take the shaking boy in his arms. Under his breath he prayed, "I've kept my promise, Lily, the only way I could think of to ensure your boy's survival." Louder, to be heard, he added, "My sympathies on your loss, Potter."