"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies …"

He stood before the house in Godric's Hollow and imagined that he could hear Lily singing her newborn baby to sleep. James was on the first floor working in their small library. He often took work home from the Aurory. Sirius had made fun of James' determination to deal with the threat of Voldemort.

"Really, James, he's just a jumped up tin soldier with all his little army of minions kissing the hem of his robes. Voldemort is nothing. So, give it up. We could use a night out.

James paused. That interval had been last night when Padfoot stopped by to drag him, once more, to the Hog's Head. As always, James politely refused. If it wasn't work, it was little Harry. Thinking of his beautiful little boy he paused, and smiled.

And like a bare breath upon the night's slight breeze, the wards fell.

She lay, a doll broken, upon the floor in front of Harry's crib. His legs could no longer hold him, and his knees folded, drawing him quickly to the ground.

"Lily..." was all that he could gasp as he lifted her into his arms.

She was cooling warmth, an unyielding sandbag of heaviness, yet he held her tight and close. His cries to gods long dead were silent but his grief was plain.

It was the boy's cry of pain that shook him from his grief. For a single moment Severus spared a glance for the babe; blood trickled from a jagged wound on the child's forehead. He thought he ought to take the child, but a large shadow intervened between him, Lily's body, and her son.

"'Eadmaster wants ter see yeh, Snape!" Hagrid bit out gruffly as he drew the small boy gently into his arms. "Go on. Git," he ordered without rancor. Hagrid was desperately trying not to see the broken Lily.

"You promised you'd keep her safe!"

Severus, pain radiating from that night's grief and the pronouncement from the Headmaster that he would be turned over to the Aurors in the morning, growled darkly at the bright flames in his fireplace. Albus had the child's best welfare in his hands. "Trust me, my boy," the old wizard had said before leaving Hogwarts.

"You promised you'd keep her safe!"

Severus blended with the shadows as he made his way through the Muggle world. It was not that foreign to him, but he knew how to hide, from anyone, and to do so well.

Morning had come to Hogwarts, bringing with it four Aurors to take the Death Eater Snape into custody. Severus Snape was nowhere to be found. And, Albus Dumbledore fumed with anger.

While the Muggle couple, who looked like Jack Sprat and his wife, Petunia and Vernon Dursely argued sharply in their kitchen, Severus stole silently into their house. The small boy had been placed on the sofa with nothing to keep him safe. Just as the boy rolled from his back to his front, Severus caught the child before he struck the floor.

Harry giggled at the shadow that caught him and now held him close amongst the earth and spice aromas of a black cloak. The wizard left the perfect little Muggle house as silently as he had arrived; his treasure was tucked securely into his arms.

"You promised you'd keep her safe!"

Henry Pane rode his bicycle up the street with the wind caressing his face and tousling his long, shoulder length hair. His teacher at Primary hated his long hair, but his dad had long hair, so he did, too. He pumped the bike onto the driveway, alongside the old black 64 Chevy. Henry's dad really liked black! Finally reaching the front porch, Henry leaned his bike against the wall, and then burst into the house.

Henry's father was in the kitchen preparing a new batch of herbs, flowers, and some yucky things, for drying. The counters were covered with plant, wings from flies, beetle shells; all manner of things to dry.

"Hey, Dad!"

The tall, slim man in dark jeans, a white cotton shirt, and a black vest, turned slightly. His eyes were dark, and he did not smile (Tobias Pane never did) but all his smiles, his love for his son, shone in his eyes. Tobias paused a moment, re-tied the leather tie to hold back his straight hair at the nape of his neck, and then settled all his attention on his eleven year old child.

"You appear excited about something, Henry. What might it be?"

Henry beamed and handed his father an elegant, cream envelope that had been torn across the top. He removed the card that was inside and read it. He then smiled, ever so briefly, but it tickled Henry.

"It's my letter from Salem! I'm a wizard, Dad!" Henry carefully leaned his elbows on the counter, his chin upon his hands. "I can go, can't I?"

Tobias nodded. "We are not that far so your portkey travel will be very easy." Henry's eyes widened and Tobias chuckled. "There is a portkey amulet in here for you to use to get to school and come home at night. And, in case you were wondering there is a nearby portkey station maintained by the school." He folded the letter and put it back into the envelope which he tucked into a small vest pocket. "Tomorrow we'll go to Dormer Way and get everything you need..." Tobias swooped down like a great black bat to pick up his son into his arms. Henry squealed and giggled. "And, we'll get you your very own wand!"

"You promised you'd keep her safe!"

That long ago night in Godric's Hollow when Albus Dumbledore had made the greatest sacrifice the wizarding world would never known, haunted him forever. The memory resisted the Pensieve Spell and so it remained, alive and accusing, in his memories. Ever since he had heard the Prophecy spoken to him by Sybill Trelawney he knew it must come to pass. Harry Potter would lose his parents and with Albus carefully orchestrating the boy's life and training, he would become the Chosen One.

However, Severus Snape had known the old wizard had played him for a fool, and he would do the same to an innocent child. Snape had thwarted Dumbledore's plans leaving the old man with an Order of wizards who were captured by his every word. The old wizard did defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort with the last of his strength. The dark wizard's death had demanded one more sacrifice before leaving this earth permanently; Dumbledore, as old as he was, succumbed to magical exhaustion.

"You lied to me, Old Man..."

In a cottage on a hill above the bay, and just a short portkey from the Salem Institute for Witches and Wizards, Tobias Pane read The Daily Prophet from England. The front page was awash with the glorified obituary of Albus Dumbledore, yet a headline was spared for one Tom Riddle.

As usual, Henry slammed into the house, his cheeks rosy from the fresh air and a bike ride from the school portkey station. Only months from his eighteenth birthday, Henry swept into the kitchen, hugged his father, kissed his cheek, and began babbling on about his friends, his girlfriend, his future education, and Quidditch.

Tobias Pane smiled.