For summaries, warnings, disclaimers, etc., see chapter 1.
I wrote this chapter along with the last one, so it's been ready for a couple days, but FanFiction is still corrupting my files and I've only just had the time to sit down and try and fix the glitch. So, fingers crossed, it should be okay now (but again, there is a chance FF is mucking up the formatting so if there's any issues, let me know straight away please).
I just want to say, with no offense to J.K Rowling, that I find her sequence of events following Volemort's attack really unbelievable. I refuse to believe that Hagrid could just sweep in, take Harry and go. So I've decided to change things up a bit, this is fanfiction after all, and I hope you like the way I've set things out.
Oh, I've also used some quotes from the original book in this chapter, so please, just because you recognise something, continue to pay attention to what's written as there's still a lot of changes and twists from the original.
And now, a little snippet of my life I think you lot would love. Guess who visited my quaint little hometown? None other than RUPERT GRINT! And can I just say, he's actually a really nice person, took the time to speak to his fans and was happy to give out signatures. So yeah, this chapter nearly didn't come to you as I was this close *holds up thumb and index finger, tips about an inch apart* from dying of fangirl overdose.
Three pairs of eyes shot up to the second floor of the house as a bright green explosion ripped through one of the rooms, instantly shattering all the glass in the windows. The force of the explosion was fierce enough to cause the very air to tremble and for a moment the house looked very unstable on its foundations.
The trio of masked figures assembled into an attack formation without a single word being spoken between them. The largest headed directly to the front door, or more to the gaping hole where the front door used to be, flanked by the others.
Silently, Narcissa, who was flanking her husband to the left, drew a knife from her robe, slicing her finger open and giving her sacrifice to the symbol on the wall at the bottom of the stairs before handing over the knife so that the others could pass the blood seal.
They stepped over the body of James Potter as if he were just a piece of litter in the street, not even Pettigrew paying his once close friend any attention.
The door to the room that the explosion had taken place in was wide open, giving them a clear view of what was inside. Immediately they rushed to their master's side, casting diagnostic spells and checking for any sign of life. The atmosphere grew impossibly tenser, heavier, as no pulse was found.
Every revival spell that was ever mentioned in a book, as well as some that weren't, were cast over the still body, but it remained unmoving, lifeless.
Narcissa pushed her comrades aside harshly and knelt by her master's side, repositioning him so that his airways were open. Bringing her hands together and then placing them over his chest, she began to manually try and resuscitate him. She carefully counted thirty chest compressions before calling over her shoulder, "AIR!"
Peter was by her side in an instant, pushing his wand between the Dark Lord's lips and casting a spell that would release a breath's amount of air into the body. He repeated the spell when he was told to before getting out of Narcissa's way.
Narcissa repeated the cycle, beginning chest compressions once more. This went on, again and again, but still, each time Lucius cast a diagnostic spell, there was no sign of life in the body.
Lucius knew that they would be forced to give up soon; Narcissa, the only one who knew CPR, was tiring quickly and all of their efforts seemed to be in vain.
He cast a final diagnosis, ready to accept defeat when the results hit him like a bludger. "Stop! There's a pulse!"
Within a second the living yet unconscious body was supported between the two male Death Eaters. Their master was now stable enough to transport, and without wasting any more time the four disappeared with a whoosh of apparition.
Rubeus Hagrid was the first to arrive at Godric's Hollow. He landed Sirius's huge motorbike a little too quickly, the borrowed machine creating a crater in the soft grass as it came to rest from its almost freefall. But that didn't matter. He had a job to do.
Fighting his urge to rush into the house and find his friends, Hagrid started making his way around the perimeter. He had to leave the crime scene intact for the Aurors; his role was to check that it was safe for when the authorities arrived, looking out for any traps or lingering dark wizards.
When he got back to the bike he flashed the headlights twice. The first response team flew in (having been waiting on Hagrid's signal that it was safe), a silent, disciplined cloud of neat robes and brooms. After nodding towards the one that seemed to be in charge, Hagrid watched the team as they passed through the large hole at the front of the house.
The second set of people to arrive was the Order of the Phoenix (or at least those that were available on such short notice), followed soon after by a squad of medi-wizards. Minerva McGonagall made her way over to the Gamekeeper, putting a comforting hand on his elbow (the highest place she could reach), after seeing the tears the half giant hadn't even known he'd begun to shed.
"Is Sirius here?" Dumbledore asked, sad eyes landing on the flying motorcycle.
Hagrid shook his large head, surprised Dumbledore didn't know exactly what was going on. "No, he leant me it - well, he say he's givin' it teh me, but ya know what he's like. Said he got some business wi' Pettigrew."
Dumbledore let out a heavy sigh, shoulders slumping in defeat. He knew that Sirius would figure out that Peter had betrayed them, and just prayed that the usually hot-tempered man wouldn't do anything dangerous or stupid.
A long, uncomfortable, tense silence fell over the group until a loud voice seeming to come from within the house resonated through the night. "MEDIC!"
The medical team rushed to the call, seeming to unpack their bags, ready their equipment and sprint all at the same time.
In too short a time two medi-wizards were re-emerging, white robes splattered with flaking blood. They carried a body between them on a stretcher. A moment later and a horrible, sickening déjà vu took place as a second body was carried out.
Everyone knew that the two were the elder Potters, but still, a member of the Order was called forward to identify the bodies for the sake of protocol. The poor woman nodded before stumbling away, collapsing to her knees as her stomach heaved and emptied itself. Filius Flitwick rushed to comfort her.
The four medics apparated away, taking the bodies to St. Mungo's before returning to the crime scene.
The last medi-wizard exited the house at that point, a bundle of blankets in his arms. He paused, shifting the weight and a shock of black hair became visible. He waved his hand, a hard look in his eyes as he shooed away the Order members beginning to surround him, a few choice words cutting off all of their questions.
"McCreed, you're up, this is your speciality. Bring over some bandages, the kid's losing a lot of blood, he's soaked through all my supplies already."
A young, slight girl was by his side in an instant, carefully unwrapping the blankets and assessing the damage before shifting the tiny body to unwind the bandages in place. She could smell violets on the child's breath and knew that he'd been sedated, meaning he had also been checked for concussion, which she was glad for as it made her job a lot easier as she reapplied bandaging.
After several more minutes of tending to the child, the two medi-wizards were satisfied that he would be alright. They came over to Dumbledore, who appeared to be the one in charge.
"He's doing okay, once he wakes up there should be no problems." The girl, McCreed said. "He lost a lot of blood from a large, deep wound across his forehead, but we've given him some blood replenishing potions and after his next feed he should be right back to normal. Physically, he's going to be fine, but Merlin only knows what kind of mental scars the poor kid is carrying now."
McGonagall was handed Harry when she held her arms out for him and the young boy stirred, but didn't wake. Dumbledore's attention returned to the medics as they turned to leave, his eyes caught by the girl.
"You look familiar, have I seen you before?"
The young woman turned sad, haunted eyes on him. "Yes. I was the midwife that tended to young Harry's birth. I met you when you and your Order visited the Potters at the hospital. I can't believe what's happened to them."
"Yes, it's been a very tragic night." He furrowed his silvery eyebrows. "May I be so brash as to ask why a midwife would be a part of this medical squad?"
McCreed let out a shaking laugh, "Don't let my age fool you. I am a midwife, but I am also a qualified paediatrician. I've also spent a lot of time on A&E wards. So naturally, when an emergency team was being put together for a situation involving an infant, I was called upon." She smiled warmly as Dumbledore nearly gaped in awe. "Please excuse me, we must be going now."
The five medics apparated away almost simultaneously. A moment later and the Aurors were also preparing to leave, ready to report back to the Ministry.
Dumbledore gently touched McGonagall's arm, "Sirius has gone after Peter Pettigrew. We'll take Harry back to Hogwarts until we hear from him."
With a nod around the Order, everyone vanished from the area.
Harry Potter had been at Hogwarts for two days. Remus Lupin had taken time off from whatever it is he does during the day to stay at the castle to look after the child.
It was on the second day after the attack that the news spread through the wizarding population like fiendfyre.
Sirius Black had been arrested. He was charged for setting off an explosion in a muggle street, murdering twelve muggles. Although a body hadn't been found, a severed finger was enough evidence to say that he had also killed one of his closest friends, Peter Pettigrew. Rumour had it that it had been a mission set for him by the Dark Lord.
Only two people knew the truth; Remus and Dumbledore.
Remus had been prepared to go to the media, to tell the world the truth and fight for justice, but Dumbledore had stopped him. He had said that it would only cause more trouble. The whole wizarding population believed Sirius had done it, and there was a lot of evidence that could be used to prove him guilty. The Ministry would continue saying that Sirius had done the crime, for it hated to admit that it was wrong, and no one would take the word of a werewolf and an old man against that of the Ministry.
Dumbledore was in his office contemplating different ideas for what to do with Harry when a soft knock was heard from the door before it opened and Severus Snape drifted in. He quietly took a seat opposite the headmaster, head bowed towards the ground.
"Severus, my boy, from that look on your face I trust that you are up to date with current events?"
"You promised me you would keep her safe."
Dumbledore closed his eyes in realisation and went to put his hand on the other's shoulder but pulled back when the dark haired man flinched. "No, Severus, I never did."
Slow tears trailed down the potions master's sickly pale skin, over sharp bone, following the curve of sunken cheeks down to a sharp chin. Both men pretended they didn't notice.
"But he did. The Dark Lord...he swore to me that he wouldn't kill her. He swore it."
A silence descended upon the office, not awkward, but not altogether comfortable.
"He will pay for what he's done."
The older man nearly chocked. "He's still alive?"
Severus lifted his head slightly. "I don't know. We haven't heard anything from him. The Malfoys took him to his...to a safe place. They said that his body is on the brink of death, that it won't be able to hold on much longer, but...I know it will never be that easy. I know he will somehow find a way to survive. Even if his body was to die, I can't help but think he'll still be around."
Not letting his excitement show on his face, Dumbledore settled for an understanding expression. "He did always have an unhealthy fear of death." Shaking his head, Dumbledore moved onto a subject that he was a lot more interested in. The previous topic could be discussed in a lot more detail at a later date, once more information arose. "So, how do you plan to go about your revenge?"
Snape frowned harshly, lost in thought. He wanted to hurt Voldemort and his forces, definitely, but hadn't actually thought of anything along the lines of revenge. "What do you suggest?"
Dumbledore shrugged, looking up to the ceiling with a thoughtful expression as if he was actually thinking of ideas, when in reality he had been planning this moment since he first discovered Snape had a Dark Mark.
"You told me about Voldemort's plans due to him learning the prophecy that we were both witness to, and consequently his plans to attack the Potters, because you wanted to do something about it. But why don't we make that a more permanent thing? Passing on little snippets of information every now and then, if you get my meaning."
Severus fixed him with a hard look, "You want me to be your spy." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Think of it as being an observer, an informant."
Snape rose from his seat, heading to the door. Just before he vanished from sight he looked back, "The Death Eaters are meeting on Thursday to regroup and figure out our next move. I'll stop by your office on the way back to my own quarters."
Dumbledore smiled and even dared to wave goodbye as the man disappeared in a swirl of black. He'd done it. He'd finally pulled Snape to the light.
"Remus, you can go back home now."
The werewolf looked up from where he was flat on his back. He'd been play fighting with Harry and the boy was sat atop his chest, a huge, triumphant grin on his face.
"Harry will be going to live with Lily's sister, his only living blood relative."
A crestfallen look fell across Remus's face. He didn't know what he had been expecting to happen, but he had been hoping to spend more time with Harry. "I see. When are you taking him there?"
Dumbledore smiled down at him in what he hoped was a kindly fashion. "Whenever we're all ready."
Remus closed his eyes, sighing deeply before suddenly sitting up, letting Harry take a controlled backwards fall before catching him with strong arms and leaping to his feet in one fluid movement, laughing and twirling a couple times as Harry giggled wildly, his huge eyes bright with surprise and excitement.
"Come on then, cub, let's go get you ready."
A cat was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive.
A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out the ground. He turned to smile at the tabby but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman.
"Fancy seeing you here when you could have been celebrating. I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here."
"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right." She said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no – even the muggle's have noticed something's going on. A fine thing it would be if, when You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the muggles found out about us all."
The headmaster chose to ignore her, pretending to be focused entirely on his watch. "Hagrid's late."
Dumbledore had been a constant target lately, some darker wizards thinking he had a hand in their master's downfall, and he had thought it would be safer for Harry to travel with the half-giant.
McGonagall shook her head, still against Dumbledore's decision to leave Harry with the people that lived here, at number four. "I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people that are less like us."
"I've written them a letter."
The transfigurations professor spluttered in a rather undignified manner, but stopped herself from saying anything. She knew damn well that a simple letter wouldn't be enough to make the muggles just welcome the baby into their family, but she knew arguing with Dumbledore would be futile.
A low rumbling began to fill the air, steadily growing louder until Hagrid was hovering above the street on Sirius's flying motorbike.
Dumbledore smiled in greeting as the engine purred to a halt. "No problems, were there?"
"No, sir. He fell asleep as we were flyin' over Bristol."
Nodding, Dumbledore headed over to the bike's sidecar, lifting out the bundle of blankets within. He shifted the weight and Harry's sleeping face became visible, the mop of jet-black hair half covering a jagged, raw looking scar gashed down his forehead.
Once they'd all said their goodbyes, Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and made his way to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, tucking his letter into the blankets, and then came back to the other two.
They all turned, preparing to make their separate ways back to Hogwarts. Just as she was about to apparate away, McGonagall stopped Dumbledore.
"So you're just going to leave him on a doorstep until someone finds him?"
Dumbledore nodded happily to her, and as he vanished into the air, Minerva found herself questioning whether she was just that little bit too trusting with the man.
Remus jolted upright, not realising he had fallen asleep. He rubbed his tired eyes, wondering what had woken him. Another knock at the door was his answer.
Rubbing at his temples, and then the bridge of his nose for good measure, he stood, going to the front door to see who dare disturb him from his dream of one of his favourite Marauder memories.
He gasped as he opened the door, seeing a familiar yet unexpected face. The tall, thin frame seemed to crumple under the weight of his gaze and the man collapsed against his chest, pale, long fingers clutching desperately to the front of the werewolf's shirt.
Although the other man was a lot taller than him, Remus possessed supernatural strength, so neither was surprised as he swept the now weeping man up into his arms, carrying him bridal style into the front room, kicking the door shut behind them.
Remus fell back onto the coach, dragging the other onto his lap.
"He turned up to the meeting last night."
Remus brought a thumb up to wipe away the tears that he knew the man would hate to admit he'd shed. "Who did?"
"Pettigrew. He just turned up, like nothing had happened."
The brunette stifled a gasp and tucked the larger man tighter against his chest, rubbing soothing circles onto his back. He stayed quiet, waiting for him to continue.
"It was quite obvious what had happened. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Sirius was completely innocent wasn't he?" He let out a soft sigh as he felt the werewolf's hand run through his long black hair, playing absently with the ends. He sensed more than saw Remus give a nod.
Carding his hand through the glossy locks again, Remus let out a small sigh, "I guess we've both lost our best friends."
The tears seemed to have stopped by now, and the dark haired man let out one shuddering breath before replying. "I'm spying for Dumbledore now. I've had enough. I can't take it anymore."
Remus removed his hand from the other's hair so that he could cup his cheek, forcing him to meet his eyes. The utter pain and anguish in the black orbs broke the wolf's heart, and he could think of only one thing that he knew would banish that hurt, if only for a moment. Without hesitation he leaned up, claiming those sweet, soft lips for the first time since leaving Hogwarts.