The crowd was ecstatic, people were cheering at the top of their lungs. There was a long procession and triumphant music in the background. Everyone seemed so happy.
Padfoot lifted me on his shoulders, so I could see what was happening. I looked all around and I saw a couple kissing (Eww...), two friends sending each other the biggest grins they could make, their arms around the two girls between them. I saw another little boy who, just like me, had been placed on solid shoulders. He looked like he was about three years old and was clapping on his father's head as the man was swinging with the music. There were merchants making their way through the crowd and selling candy, balloons and toys. Confetti was thrown in the air and raining down on the pavement. It looked like a scene in a fairy tale.
I was eight years old, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, I was loved, I was happy.
And then it all came crashing down. My godfather looked up to me and made a sign with his finger to ask me to bend down to him. When I did, he said in a voice of barely controlled fury:
-We're not here to have fun, Harry. This is serious! Look at the man in the middle of the procession. Remember his face well. You are the Chosen One, and he is your prophesised enemy...
I observed the man. His dark hair was reaching his shoulders as befitted the Lord of a Noble family (Siri had taught me that). He was talking and smiling to another man, blond this time, who looked pure-blooded and rich as well. Nothing like the ill-fitting rags people were wearing back at our camp. The Dark Lord had piercing eyes scanning his surroundings perpetually, always alert even when he seemed engrossed in his conversation. From time to time, he would lift a hand a wave to his loving subjects. That's what it looked like. A ruler deeming his subjects worthy of a smile and a wave. Like in the stories. I imagined then that he was the perfect balance between Merlin and King Arthur (because he looked too young to be Merlin, but he was a wizard like him!). A just monarch who made everyone around him happy.
In the meanwhile, Padfoot was ranting...
-Look at him, he appears like a good man, but it's just a smokescreen! He's rotten inside, he makes everyone miserable, he oppresses the wizarding population, he despises Muggles. He's a real monster. He killed your parents, Harry! My best-friend James and his poor, sweet Lily. Look at him, look at him well. That's why we came here and took the risk to leave our protected home. So you could recognise him and know who you will kill one day to liberate all of us. He's not just a dreamed-up character in your head anymore. Focus on his face, memorise all its lines. One day, this bastard will be dead and we will be free.
It was the anniversary day of the Dark Lord's victory. On the 3rd of April 1984, exactly five years ago, the Dark Lord Voldemort had seized control of the Ministry, St-Mungos, Hogwarts and nearly all the other strongholds of the British Wizarding World. Well, that's not accurate. They were handed to him with a tired sigh of relief after his triumph over Albus Dumbledore, the then Leader of the Light.
After so many years of war and devastation, after the death of so many friends and relatives, many abandoned the cause and accepted the new regime. When people saw that most regulations were reasonable and that most changes might actually better their lives, a majority of the remaining fighters lowered their wands and returned to what was left of their homes and families, to live in peace.
However, a minority refused all compromise, knowing better than anyone else the horrors that this "benevolent" new leader had committed. They preferred to live in uncertainty and in fear than to bend their morals and principles and bow down to the charismatic monster.
My godfather is among them. And they are counting on me to end their misery. To kill a man. To kill this man.
As if he had heard my thoughts, the Dark Lord Voldemort suddenly turned his head towards me. He looked at me in the eyes for a second and I felt like everything had stopped around me. Suddenly, there was no more cheering, no more confetti, the couple from earlier had disappeared. I felt my eyes widen and I gasped involuntarily.
He had beautiful eyes.
He gave a hint of a smile and looked away. The world righted itself.