This fic was written for the 2013 HP Dark Arts Horror Fest. Please heed the warnings. Enjoy!
Title:The Good Son
Prompt: Being possessed by a piece of Voldemort's soul does more damage to a person than anybody could have guessed. Harry and Ginny have gone ahead and tied the knot; little do they know what will happen when two former vessels of Voldemort's soul fragments produce a child together.
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Harry/Ginny, James Sirius, Albus Severus
Word count and/or medium used: 9900
Warnings: Character Death, Extreme Gore, Minor Sexual Content
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: He had always thought his first born son was different. James wasn't normal, and Harry refused to believe the worst of him, until it was too late.
A/N: I took some creative liberties with the timing of things to work for my idea. This is most definitely AU, so please heed the warnings. I hope I did alright with this prompt. Thanks to KedavraNox for the lovely help she gave. For you QueenieMab.
The Good Son
Harry had always heard that newborns cried a lot, and they slept even more so. He considered himself blessed since James' birth nearly five months ago. His newborn son never cried. He was awake more than Harry would have thought possible for an infant, but he was never any trouble. The boy was always content and happy it seemed, although he rarely smiled.
James' dark brown eyes held a certain wisdom in them, reminding him of Dumbledore. He was always thoughtfully watching his parents, especially Harry; an unreadable expression on his tiny, pink face. It unnerved him to see such curiousness in such a small creature, but he passed it off as not knowing much about children in general.
The only child he had spent any amount of time with had been Teddy, and he couldn't compare his son to just one other. He didn't think other children would lie awake in their crib at night and stare at you from across the room without moving; tiny eyelids fluttering slowly in the dim light. But Harry didn't have the experience with babies to know if that was normal or not, and Ginny never seemed to notice, so he kept his reservations to himself. He decided to just enjoy his new family. It was all Harry had ever wanted, and he was proud of his new son, even if he was slightly apprehensive.
The sky was already starting to darken when Harry arrived home. He was running late, which was a usual occurrence these days. Exhausted and hungry, he hurriedly made his way up the dirt path home, enjoying the last of the Autumn air. Winter would be arriving soon, and the air was already chillier than normal. The sun had set, but what little light was left lit his way as he approached the fence near the side of the house. He could just make out the twinkling of the stars as they came out in the waning light of evening.
He was opening the polished, bronze gate when he stopped in his tracks. His son sat in the dirt under the White Willow that grew near the pond. James' dark eyes shone brightly at the scene before him.
Harry's heart raced wildly as he watched his son wave his small hand over the two snake's, that looked very much like Adders. The larger of the two reptiles lifted its head towards James, its tiny tongue flicking in his direction rapidly. Harry reached for his wand, ready to blast the poisonous snakes away from his son.
It was with much surprise, Harry saw the snake give his son a bow of his head, before turning to strike the second, smaller reptile. His eyes wide with fear, he stood motionless as he watched the snake attack, and eventually devour, the smaller one. It was a gruesome affair to watch, but more disturbing was the look of unconcealed glee on his son's face.
Harry's frozen body could do nothing but watch with horrified eyes as his son turned in his direction; the remaining snake slithering off in the grass. James stood, staring at his father for several moments. A hundred responses to his son's behavior sat on Harry's tongue, but nothing would come out.
It wasn't until Ginny's voice called from the back door announcing dinner, that either of them moved. His son turned and made his way up the steps and into their kitchen, as if nothing had happened, leaving Harry to stare bewildered after him.
He was never quite sure why he didn't mentioned the incident to his wife, or why he never confronted his four year old son. He knew it was something he should have addressed, not approving of James' behavior, but he wouldn't have known how to even start the conversation.
That night, the nightmares started, distracting him from the events of the day before. Harry hadn't dreamt of Voldemort since he'd killed him, but he never forgot the red, vicious eyes or the snake-like features he'd once stood before. Apparently, his subconscious decided he needed the reminder nonetheless. The next morning, as he wiped the cold sweat from his brow, he could still feel the razor sharp nails and clammy skin of his old enemy wrapped around his neck.
He was worried. The dark circles under his wife's eyes were getting worse. Pregnant with their second son, she looked sickly instead of the glowing vibrancy he remembered during her first pregnancy. Her pale skin was nearly ashen, and her eyes were always red, bloodshot. He tried to do what he could for her, but she refused much of his help. Stubborn woman.
He had been concerned for her health for weeks, and was not surprised when he arrived home late one evening to find her curled on the sofa, although it did cause his heart to skip a beat. Her normally beautiful, red hair hung like straw in her tear-streaked face. His arms were immediately around her.
"What's wrong?" he asked, hoping that nothing terrible had happened. She clung to him, her small, fragile hands gripping his robes so tightly her already pale knuckles turned even whiter. He cuddled her close, giving her time to get herself together. Conjuring a glass of water, he placed it in her hands and waited patiently for Ginny to speak.
The flames in the fireplace were dwindling, the temperature in the house dropping as the freezing wind outside blew strongly through the trees. He made a mental note to put more wood on the fire after he tended to his wife.
"He bit me," she finally whispered, causing Harry to startle.
"What, where? Are you alright?" His emerald eyes searched her body for marks as he pulled away. He found the bruised skin, along with a perfectly formed set of teeth marks on her upper arm. Horrified, he examined the bite, noticing the ring of bloody punctures impaled into her flesh. They didn't look like normal teeth marks.
"I"m alright, although it hurt like hell." She tried to smile, but her dark eyes looked too haunted for it to be affective. Her hand lay gently atop her swelling belly, Harry moving one of his to place over hers.
It was past James' bedtime, so he knew the boy was sleeping peacefully upstairs. Harry was flabbergasted. Other than the incident with the snake, which was disturbing enough, his son had never shown any sign of physical violence towards anyone or anything.
"I found him with your Invisibility Cloak. I don't know how he knew where it was, but I walked in just as he was pulling it out of oak chest you keep it in." She took a sip of the water he had handed her before continuing, her voice soft, shaking.
"I know it's just an Invisibility Cloak, but I also know how dangerous it can be in the wrong hands. I told him to hand it to me..." she paused, her eyes filling with tears.
Harry also thought he saw fear in her eyes, which frightened him. She should not have anything to fear from a four year old child, after all. Rubbing her hand gently, he encouraged her silently to continue.
"He stood up and started to place it on his shoulders. I panicked, Harry. All I could think was that he'd put it on and then I'd never be able to find him again, so I grabbed for it before he could disappear. I know it was irrational to fear him using it."
"Is that when he bit you?" Harry asked, shocked that his son would bite his mother without warning.
The way she answered him, her eyes wide and confused, her voice soft and brittle, didn't sit well with him. He knew there was more to it than what she was letting on. He wasn't sure if he wanted to know, but being an Auror, he felt the need to examine the situation closer; to find what lay beneath the surface.
"There's something else; something you're not telling me." He wasn't accusing. The tears fell slowly down her cheeks, breaking his heart with each new drop.
"You'll think I'm off my broom if I tell you," she whispered. His brows furrowed, not understanding why she would say such a thinking.
"Ginny, you know I won't." He cupped her cheek gently, forcing her to look at him. The smile on his lips felt at odds with the frantic beating of his heart.
"He didn't just bite me. He... he changed."
"How so, love?" He tried to keep the shaking out of his voice, but he was certain he failed.
"He wasn't our little boy, Harry. His eyes glowed. They were... red, and his teeth, they... were sharp, like fangs. Like... Voldemort's," she whispered the last word, as if saying it too loud would make him appear before them.
Harry's eyes widened, disbelief rushed through his mind. His heart thudded painfully in his chest as he tried to control the rampant terror that coursed through his veins.
"That's impossible." His voice was harsher than he intended it to be. He watched his wife flinch at his accusation, but didn't tell her that he acted more out of fear than disbelief.
"I know it is, Harry! I know how crazy it sounds, but, it's true. He was not our son. The way James' eyes glowed, the teeth... all I could think of was him."
A violent shiver ran down her spine. "When he... possessed me, back in first year, I could always feel the... evil... in him. It was like a cloak, wrapping around me. I've only ever felt like that when he was near. I haven't felt like that since; not since today."
Ginny started to sob again, her fragile shoulders digging deeply into Harry's chest as she clung to him. He gripped her tighter, feeling like he was trying to hold himself together more than comfort his wife.
"It'll be alright, Gin," he said, even though he wasn't so sure it would be. "He was having a temper tantrum for the first time over not getting what he wanted, and that's a new experience for us. The fear you felt was probably from his actions being so unexpected."
He knew he was trying to rationalize the experience out loud, a side effect of being friends with Hermione for so long he guessed. He wasn't sure if it was for her benefit or his, but she did seem to calm down slightly from his words.
Honestly, he had been concerned before, but now he was terrified. For his son, his wife, the child that grew within her. He didn't know what to think, or do. All his worries over his son, all the little things that had happened over the years, were racing through his mind.
He wasn't sure if he was ready to give any of the theories that were forming in his thoughts any credence, yet. He needed to be sure before he said anything to Ginny. Being seven months pregnant was hard enough, and she definitely didn't need anymore stress at the moment. Keeping her calm was a top priority for him, at least until he figured out what the hell was going on.
After healing his wife's arm, and promising to talk to James in the morning, he tucked her exhausted body into bed. He lay his hand over their unborn son as she drifted off to sleep. Giving her a soft kiss on the forehead once she was snoring softly, he made his way to his son's room.
Standing at the door, Harry watched his son's tiny body move gently with every breath he took. He slumbered peacefully, his pink eyelids standing out against his pale skin in the moonlight. Walking to the side of his bed, he leaned over James, giving him a gentle kiss, much like he had Ginny; his heart swelling with sadness and love.
"I love you, James," he whispered as he swept a piece of dark hair off the boy's forehead.
He continued to watch his son sleep long into the night. His mind full of questions as he analyzed the things he'd cataloged since his birth; never quite believing he hadn't seen things clearly before.
Feeling his eyes start to get heavy after his long day, Harry quietly made his way towards the door, wanting to sleep off the day's horrors. He never saw the boy's eyes open as he shut the door, or the eery glow of red they reflected.
The next morning, Harry, bleary eyed and exhausted from the nightmares that had plagued him, sat his son down and asked about the day before. He was nervous how James would respond to his queries, but knew he couldn't make the same mistake he had in the past.
Harry worried that his lack of attention to the snake incident had somehow contributed to his behavior, but he wasn't going to continue making that mistake.
The tears in James' eyes as he apologized for lashing out at his mother startled Harry, making him feel foolish for having such dark thoughts. But then, his mind would go back to the way Ginny had looked as she told Harry of what had happened, and his guard came up.
He wasn't sure how to handle the boy, but when he climbed in his mother's lap, giving her a hug and telling her how he would never do it again, Harry's heart swelled. It was a touching sight, and Ginny's smile eased his tension somewhat.
After kissing them both, he made his way to work, feeling inadequate as a father. Kids lashed out all the time, didn't they? They just needed discipline and a loving hand to help guide them along the way. Harry vowed to do better in that regard. He was away a lot lately; his work as an Auror was always busy, and only seemed to increase as the days carried on. He was determined to make a better effort of being around his family more, especially with Albus on the way.
Yet, every time he remembered the pointy teeth marks in his wife's skin, and her admission of what had happened, he tried to play it off as lack of sleep, knowing deep down he was being a fool for doing so. He was too terrified to admit he knew the truth.
Harry took his wife's cloak as they stepped from the floo, placing it in the hallway closet with his own. The night had been exactly what they had needed. It had seemed like forever since they had spent a night, just the two of them, having fun. Dinner had been delicious, and the walk in the park relaxing. His wife's slow steps making him smile as she hobbled along the stone path.
They had been under so much stress with Albus' impending arrival, Harry's busy work schedule, and Ron's wedding to a woman they all hated, that they hadn't had a chance to breathe in the last month.
When Molly had informed them that she'd be home alone, Arthur having out of town business for the Ministry, and that he'd be away for three days, Harry and Ginny eagerly accepted her invitation for James to spend the weekend. They knew that Molly adored spending time with the grand kids, and it kept everyone else from worrying about her being alone. She didn't get to spend much time with James, so the situation was perfect for some time alone.
James, however, had not been as eager as they had. His disapproving scowl surprised both of his parents.
"But, I don't want to go to Gamma Molly's," he had whined, something he never did.
"Why not, James?" Ginny scooped him up into her lap, kissing him lightly on the forehead.
"I want to stay with Daddy." James then hopped off of Ginny's lap to hug his father's leg. Harry's heart had constricted at seeing his son's reluctance. He knew he had to convince James it was a good idea to stay at his grandmother's for a couple of days. He obviously needed time apart from his parents if he was so clingy. It wouldn't help when Albus came along and he was forced to be apart from them.
"Hey, it's alright," Harry said as he knelt down to look in his son's eyes. "I bet you anything that you'll have lots of fun together. If you're really good, maybe she'll let you help her make those treacle tarts you love so much."
James looked skeptical at his father, and Harry had the sneaking suspicion that James knew he was buttering him up. He smiled as his son wrinkled his nose at him in thought.
"Those are your favorite, too, Daddy."
Harry nodded. "They are buddy. Maybe you can convince Gamma to make a few extras for me and mommy when we pick you up on Sunday?"
James sulked, looking at his shoes and not at all happy. He scuffed his little foot against the tile floor of the kitchen where they were sitting and huffed. He looked back up at his father with a determined glare and nodded his head.
"That'a boy." Harry ruffled his hair, making James scowl deepen and his parents to chuckle.
Harry and Ginny had dropped James off at Molly's the night before. He had been eerily quiet, even when Molly had announced her plans full of fun for the weekend. He had clung to Harry, but eventually let him go; glaring at his grandmother as they left. They had no doubt that Molly would have James spoiled rotten by the time they picked him up on Sunday.
Returning home that night, too exhausted to do much else, they had promptly fell asleep. Harry had woke Ginny early with grand plans for the day, ending with the dinner and walk they had just returned from.
"I'm exhausted," Ginny said, settling herself on the sofa comfortably; kicking her flats off and pulling her feet up beside her.
Harry smiled at her and went into the kitchen, retrieving a glass of water for them to share before joining her side. He pulled her feet up into his lap and began to rub them gently, loving how she moaned softly at his attention. Although, the sound of her groaning was starting to stir long neglected parts of his anatomy.
"Oh, damn, that's good, Harry."
He shifted uncomfortably, trying to relieve the pressure from his growing erection. The action didn't go unnoticed by his wife, however. He caught her eyes, and watched the wicked smirk spread across her lovely face.
She removed one of her feet from his grasp, and gently trailed the tips of her toes over his thigh. His cock twitched as he watched her foot make swirling patterns over the fabric of his trousers, inching ever closer to where he wanted her to be. Her toenails were painted a dark,Gryffindor red, which only caused his arousal to heighten.
It was his favorite color.
He let out a satisfied hiss as her foot pressed over his cock, caressing him firmly. His hands, that had yet to stop rubbing her other foot, clamped down on her ankle. Her hooded eyes and ragged breathing were all the invitation he needed.
He was up and pulling her off the sofa in a heartbeat, being mindful of her large, growing belly, and leading the way to their room. Having the house to themselves for the night had major perks and he planned to take full advantage of them. There was no telling when they'd have a chance like this again after the birth of Albus.
Ginny had just wrapped her perfect, bow-shaped lips around Harry's cock, causing his eyes to roll towards the back of his skull, when they heard the floo activate. They both froze for a whole second before Ron's frantic voice could be heard calling them both.
Something was wrong.
Ron never showed up unannounced, and he definitely never came upstairs unless Harry or Ginny asked him to. His heavy footsteps echoed through the quiet house, sending them both into a frantic dash for their clothes. He tossed a sheet over Ginny and himself just as a wild-eyed Ron burst through the room.
"What the fuck..."
They flooed straight to the Burrow, terrified of what they would find after Ron had delivered the devastating news. Harry and Ginny were also both extremely worried for their son, knowing he was all alone in the house.
Ron had given no explanation as they hurriedly dressed and raced down the steps for the floo, so when they landed in the sitting room of the Burrow, they were not prepared for what they saw. Harry's arms instantly went around Ginny as he saw her sway at the sight before her. All he could do was stare, holding his pregnant wife as her body began to shake uncontrollably, and take in the horror before his eyes.
The curtains were drenched in the red, sticky liquid - the sofa was not in much better condition, but the floor was the worst. Harry's eyes were glued to the rug in the center of the room; the multicolor threads were now scorched black, as if a fire had been started and quickly put out. A wet, squishy noise brought his attention to the floor as he took a step forward - he was standing in a puddle of blood.
He could feel the bile rise in his throat as, with sudden and crystal clarity, he realized this was Molly's blood they were standing in. His mother-in-law was not only dead, but something unspeakable had happened to her. Panic began to well up inside him as his thoughts shifted to his son and if he was still alive.
Being an Auror, Harry quickly pulled himself together and handed Ginny, who was now sobbing and muttering incoherently, off to Ron to search for James.
"Harry, don't go in there," Ron said, his voice uncharacteristically strained.
"I have to find James!" He didn't wait for Ron's reply as he headed towards the kitchen. The moment he opened the door, he instantly wished he had listened to his best friend.
Molly's body, or what was left of it, lie on the kitchen table. Her arms lay straight out on either side of her mangled body, her wrists hanging limply over the edge of the table. She appeared to be waiting with open arms; offering one of her infamous hugs.
It was all wrong.
His knees became weak, forcing him to hold onto the door frame. A strangled moan left his lips as his eyes traveled her body. There was a trail of blood that led from the sitting room to the kitchen, as if she had been drug through the house. Her chest had been completely torn open; from the looks of it, she appear to be attacked by a wild animal. There were long claw marks marring her skin; the bruised flesh proving she had put up a struggle.
Harry had to close his eyes and breathe deeply through his nose. His stomach protested violently, causing him to be sick all over the floor. He could hear Ginny trying to break free of Ron's grip behind him as he struggled to compose himself. He was sick once more; staring at the chunks of steak that he had eaten only hours before with an odd sort of fascination.
His body was starting to go into shock, and Harry knew he had to pull himself together. He couldn't let Ginny see her mother like this. Once he could breathe properly, he slammed the door shut behind him just as Ginny broke free of Ron's grasp.
"Stay out of there, Gin. We need to find James," he had nearly screamed as he warded the door heavily.
She bolted for the stairs calling their son's name; her footsteps sounded on the wooden planks frantically as she began the search. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for the task ahead. The thought of finding his own son in the same state as Molly twisted his gut, and spurred him into action.
Harry made his way from the kitchen door up the stairs after his wife. Each room was searched completely as they called out for their son; both parents terrified of what might have happened to their boy. The panic through the house rose with each new room that was discovered, causing Harry to lose any hope of finding his son alive.
The thought nearly made him sick all over again.
After searching each of the bedrooms and bathrooms on the previous floors, Harry made his way to the last level of the home. He stopped when he overheard Ginny's strained whispers coming from Ron's old room. He rushed in and found Ginny sitting on the floor, holding James tightly in her arms, rocking back and forth.
"Tell me what happened, James, please..."
Harry didn't understand the strain in her voice, not until he stepped closer to his family and saw that James was covered in blood.
"Physically, there is nothing wrong with him, Harry. I can't speak for his emotional well being, but the Mediwizard assures that he'll recover from this." Kingsley's calm, rational voice did little to reassure Harry's fears.
He looked to the far side of the room where his son slept peacefully, unaware of the conversation going on. Harry thought about how small his son was; his tiny arms wrapped around the teddy bear a Mediwitch had brought him earlier. He shook his head and turned back to his old friend.
"Then why won't he speak... and why was he covered in Molly's blood, Kingsley? There were no breaks in the Wards, I know because I set them myself after the war." Both men flinched at the reminder of the hell they'd lived through not so long ago. "I checked the Burrow. No one had come through the floo until Ron arrived. No one else was in that house."
Kingsley's eyes widened. "What are you saying, Harry? Surely you're not suggesting your five year old son had anything to do with this?"
Harry breathed deeply to get control of the fear that swept through him. "Of course not. The idea is as insane as it sounds, but none of this makes any sense."
Kingsley eyed Harry wearily before clasping him on his back in a fatherly manner. The gesture reminded him of Arthur; the shattered man who had lost the woman he had loved for so long. He'd never forget the absolute breakdown he'd witnessed on the front lawn as Bill broke the news to his father. Author's expression alone was enough to fuel nightmares for years to come.
Harry was thankful that his father-in-law would never see what he had at least. He wasn't sure the man would have been able to take it. Luckily, Kingsley had ordered the Burrow to be guarded by Aurors and only a select few were allowed inside until they gathered all the information they needed. Even Molly's body was still in the house. The thought made Harry shudder.
"The Wards weren't set for animals. With the manner of... death, and the nature of the crime, all evidence points towards a wolf attack of some kind..."
Harry nodded his head as Kingsley related the theories his colleagues had shared upon their investigation. He didn't believe any of it for a second, but his boss was convinced that his Aurors were right in their findings. If Harry protested, he knew Kingsley would just make it harder for him to investigate on his own, so he kept silent.
"I know you're family is going through a difficult time right now. Hell, we all are. Molly was... she was family to all of us; taking us in and caring for all of us even when we didn't realize how badly we needed it." He watched as the older man's eyes glistened with unshed tears. It took a lot to unnerve Kingsley; he'd damn near seen it all during his career.
"But you need to hold it together. I'm putting you on leave for a few weeks. You need to try to get some rest. With Ginny so close to giving birth to Albus, she's going to need you right now, and so will James."
Harry didn't argue; he was grateful, for not only the time off, but also to look a little further into his own fears. He was wrong, he had to be.
You're an Auror. You've seen this sort of thing before. You can do this. Don't think of Molly. Detach yourself. Do what you must.
He brushed the tears from his eyes, and breathed deeply as he calmed himself. He had asked to view the scene before Molly could be removed from the house. His position at the Auror's Office allowed him the privilege, even if Kingsley had tried to talk him out of it.
Making sure the door was firmly shut he turned around and took a step closer to her body. He had been trained to handle this situation at the Academy, and immediately brought that training to his mind so he could catalogue all the details.
The first thing he noticed was that her heart was missing; seemingly ripped from her chest. He had to almost bite his tongue to keep from being sick again; instead he studied the claw marks on her neck. They looked rather deep at first glance, but taking a closer look, he noticed they were actually wider across than they were deep. He didn't know any kind of animal that could make those sorts of marks, especially not a wolf.
Moving from her neck towards her face, he saw that her jaw hung open, but it was at a strange angle. He was positive, by the bruise on her cheek, that she had hit something, or something had hit her. It must have been rather hard to cause it to fracture that way.
As disturbing as all this was, the thing that unsettled him the most was her eyes; they were missing completely. Dried blood dripped from the edge of each socket, making Harry shiver in disgust. He would have rather looked into her lifeless eyes than the horror before him. If he didn't recognize the pattern on the tattered clothing she wore, he would not have even known his mother-in-law lay on the table before him.
His breathing came in quick bursts, his vision blurring as he continued to take in every detail, every claw mark, every bruise, every drop of her blood that was spilled before him. He felt like he had walked into one of the horror pictures that he'd seen Dudley watching as a child; the kind that had made his vile cousin wet his bed and awake to screams for days afterward.
This can't be real. This can't be real. This can't be real.
Harry's thoughts became jumbled, his eyes watering from the tears he fought back. He braced himself against the table as his head swam with dizziness; never noticing the blood that soaked through his skin, even after one of the Aurors drug him away.
Harry had always liked the rain; the smell as it approached, the feel of it as it ran across his skin. It had always made him feel energized after the clouds from a storm had passed; like it washed away all the death and carnage that had followed him since he was a young boy.
Today, however, it didn't help. The rain only caused his dark mood to spiral deeper into the gaping black hole he felt he was trapped in. He hadn't felt pain like this since the war, or maybe, come to think of it, not even then.
He looked at each of his family members; his grief mirrored in their faces as the rain soaked each of them. The only Impervious Charms that were cast had been over the children; no one else seeing the need to keep themselves dry. The cemetery was packed, not surprising to anyone in attendance. Faces Harry hadn't seen in years, some not since the battlefield at Hogwarts, were present; warming his heart for the love they showed for the only mother figure he'd ever known.
A single tear slid down his face; Harry tried to fool himself into thinking it was just a drop of rain, not proof of the feelings swirling within his chest. The thought that he'd never be able to hug Molly again squeezed at his heart. He'd miss the silly sweaters she had made him for Christmas ever since he had been eleven. Knowing she'd never meet her new grandson who was due in mere weeks made the tears fall faster.
The grief, the overwhelming sadness and feelings of hopelessness that came with it, he had expected, but the terror that iced his veins he had not.
Death was a natural process for all humans. Witches and Wizards lived longer than other humans, but there was no escaping the inevitable in the end. Death took everyone, but that didn't make the situation any easier, especially when Molly hadn't just died - she was murdered.
He didn't believe the official cause of death, and he wasn't quite sure how so many Aurors that were trained to know better had bought the report, either. It made no sense for an animal to drag Molly onto a table and lay Molly's body out the way he had found her.
Coincidence my arse!
How did an animal attack explain the scorch marks on the rug, or the fact her eyes were gone but no claw marks were found on her face? What about her fractured jaw? Harry didn't understand why no one else seemed to be asking these questions? How could the entire Auror department, along with Kingsley, not realize none of this made any sense?
Harry's eyes drifted to his son standing beside his wife; watching as the rain reflected off the Charm he'd placed over James before the ceremony started. James' expression was oddly blank as he stared at Molly's tomb, making Harry wonder what his son was thinking? Was he remembering the details of that night? Would he talk to Harry if he forced him to?
James hadn't spoken about the incident since it had happened, and the MidiWizard who had overseen his son had specifically said not to force the details from him. Harry thought that was complete shite, but kept his opinion to himself. James was the only one who really knew what had happened that night, and he had refused to speak of it.
For the first time since Snape had kicked him out of his office all those years ago, Harry found himself wishing he had stuck with learning the skills Occlumency and Legilimency. If given the chance, he wouldn't have hesitated to search his son's mind; he was so desperate for answers. Harry was scared of what he might find deep within James' mind.
The Potter's were the last to leave the cemetery, even though the rain still fell heavily around them. James had been rather quiet since they'd found him lying on Ron's bed covered in Molly's blood, but he had been especially so today. Neither of his parents thought much of this and gave him a moment beside Molly's tomb as they turned back towards the Burrow.
If they had been paying closer attention, they would have seen the small smile that played upon the boy's lips as he watched his grandmother's tomb magically seal shut. But they only saw the same blank expression in his bright green eyes as he turned back towards his parents; not the dark red they were a moment before.
James was normally rather clingy when it came to Harry, a fact that chafed Ginny immensely, even if she tried to take it in stride. Harry secretly wondered if that's why she had been so adamant about having another child, but he never voiced his opinion. He actually found the whole situation amusing.
Since Molly's death, and subsequent funeral a week before, James had been the complete opposite. He always wanted to be near Ginny, never leaving his mother's side except for frivolous things such as sleep or using the loo. It didn't bother Harry when she would gloat and spoil their son for his actions. She thought it had to do with the fact that Albus' birth was so close, but Harry wasn't so sure.
He sat on the sofa, looking into the kitchen where the two could be seen. Ginny was trying her best to cheer James by making one of his favorite desserts. James didn't really seem to be interested in all the details, or the Pumpkin Pasties for that matter. He watched Ginny with an almost predatory gleam in his eyes that unnerved Harry. James' sudden obsession in his mother would normally make any parent proud, but the way he watched Ginny, like she was a prize to behold, caused alarms to ring in the back of Harry's mind.
He didn't join them like he usually would, instead choosing to watch from the sitting room unnoticed. The knots that twisted in his stomach as James climbed into his mother's lap and stroked her neck never went away, even as he finally drifted off to sleep later that night. The nightmare's he had that night were worse than they'd ever been.
He knew Kingsley would kill him if he found what he was doing, but Harry didn't care. The details of Molly's death kept swirling in his mind and he needed to see the details for himself. The reports were strung haphazardly across his desk; each new detail he discovered mounted his fears.
The pictures had been the first thing he studied, wanting to get those out of the way before he lost his nerve; he had been sick twice. He thought seeing them in real life would have been worse than the moving images before him, but after seeing one of the Auror's measure the gaping hole where Molly's eye had been, he decided it wasn't.
The reports from the three Auror's who were in charge of Molly's case all said the same thing. Claw-like marks, missing heart, multiple bruises, fractured jaw. The uneasy feeling that sat deep within his chest as he read all three accounts, as if they had been copied from each other, the wording only slightly different from the previous. He had read many reports during his time as an Auror, and had never seen two of them read the same, much less three.
As he reached the end of Thaxton's, the head Auror in charge of the case, assessment of the crime scene, his heart nearly stopped. He reread the paragraph twice before placing the folder down on his desk with shaking hands; his eyes still glued to the loopy writing of the man he knew so well.
... puncture wounds found on the left arm, just under the victim's shirt sleeve. Diagnostic testing have shown no match for this particular wound, therefore, we have classified it as an unidentified mark. Since the wound pales in comparison to the others inflicted upon the victim, we have concluded it as insignificant. It is semicircular in shape, much like a human bite mark, but no bigger than that of a child's mouth... Photograph enclosed.
The grandfather clock Hermione had given to the Potter's as a wedding gift struck 3AM just as Harry stepped through the floo. The house was completely silent, which was to be expected at this time of night. The fire had gone completely out, casting his home in total darkness as well. The hairs on the back of Harry's neck stood on end as he registered his surroundings.
With the picture of the unidentified wound still clutched tightly in his hand, he silently made his way upstairs. His heart was pounding rapidly as he made his way to the bedroom he shared with his wife.
Pushing the door open gently, he gasped when he saw his wife was not where he had left her. He knew she wasn't downstairs; he would have noticed her when he came in if she was. Quickly, yet still quietly, he made his way to James' room, praying to Merlin she wasn't in there.
It was empty as well.
Immediately, Harry knew he'd find James in the attic room; he wasn't sure how he knew, but he did. His footsteps were soundless as he slowly made his way up the last flight of stairs, a small sliver of light from under the door was the only illumination on the staircase. He gripped his wand a little tighter as he climbed the last two steps, peering through the small opening into the room.
His son sat completely still, his back towards the door, as he stared towards something Harry could not see. The sound of silent chanting, the words sounded like Latin, carried to Harry's ears and caused a chill to flow down his spine. James' voice did not sound like his own; the timber too deep to belong to a five year old boy.
He watched for a moment, trying to calm the pounding of his heart, unsure of what to do now that he'd found James. How does one go about confronting your five year old son about murdering their grandmother?
He could feel his hands shaking as he raised them to the door, wanting to find the courage to just push it open, charge in and demand some fucking answers - but he couldn't. Harry was petrified of what he might find on the other side of that door, the things he couldn't see in that room, and now that he was so close to discovering the truth about his son, he felt nothing but terror. He didn't know where Ginny was, but the dread that had slowly took over since he had seen the picture of the unidentified wound told him more than he wanted to admit to.
He had seen that mark before on his wife's arm only weeks early, made by his own son's teeth. Despair didn't even begin to cover what Harry had felt when he pulled the picture from the Auror's file. All his unbelievable suspicions were confirmed with one simple photograph.
He just wanted his child back, his sweet, quiet boy who had sometimes been slightly odd, but had always been a good son. He knew, in that deep, dark pit in his stomach, that place that horrible truths are kept to wait silently until it was too late to see reason, if he pushed that door open, his entire world would come crashing down.
Yet, he had no choice. He was Harry Potter and this is what he did - fought against evil. He had done this very thing since he was a child himself, and he knew, even though this was his very own son, he had to destroy the darkness that lie beyond the door.
Finding his Gryffindor courage, Harry finally pushed the door open, stifling a gasp when he saw a dagger in James' raised hand; the very tip stained with blood. He didn't appear to notice Harry as he slowly, hesitantly, entered the room.
There was an odd shape drawn on the floor, a semi-circle with two connecting stars,that glowed bright red. Black candles sat at each star's point, the flames flickering in a vivid dance, as if they were mocking him. The air was cold, deathly cold, but Harry knew the shiver that ran down his spine was not from the temperature. He could feel the dark magic pulsing around him; the very air he breathed was filled with it.
The absolute stillness of his son as he sat in the middle of the oddly drawn shape, dagger still suspended above his head, was so unnatural that Harry had a hard time believing what he was seeing. The only movement James made was the slight rise and fall of his shoulders as he breathed in and out. James didn't even turn to face Harry when the floorboards creaked. He was caught in the act of something very dark, yet, he didn't seem to be bothered by Harry's presence.
Harry raised his wand, his hand shaking, as he stepped further into the room. Sweat formed across his brow as he heard a strange whimpering sound he had not heard before. It wasn't until a subtle movement in front of James caught his attention did Harry gaze draw away from his son.
It took him a moment to realize what he was looking at, or more accurately for his mind to register the tiny, naked baby that lie upon the floor. All the color drained from his body as he saw that the babe was covered in blood, the umbilical cord still attached to the fleshy placenta that lay beside the child.
"James?" His voice shook as he unconsciously called out. Fear nearly overwhelmed him as he looked at the surreal scene before him.
"You are not supposed to be here, Harry," a voice, frighteningly familiar hissed from his son's mouth, but it did not belong to him.
His hand shook as he pointed his wand at the boy. He knew that voice; it had haunted his dreams for as long as he could remember.
"I killed you." Harry's voice nearly cracked from the fear that coursed through his veins.
He watched as the child lowered the dagger. The hand that held his wand shook violently.
He took a few steps closer, hoping he could protect the unknown baby. There were so many questions on the tip of Harry's tongue as he slowly made his way around the side of the room. Where did the baby come from? It couldn't be more than an hour old, if that. Harry knew from James' own birth that the first thing the Mediwitch had done while delivering him was to cut the umbilical cord, so why was it still attached?
His throat was constricting as his mind formed around a possibility that was too horrific to consider. But it couldn't be, Ginny was safe. Maybe he had just missed her downstairs. She liked to sit at the kitchen bar in the dark sometimes and think. She was downstairs making a cup of tea, that was all.
He fought back tears as his mind tried to rationalize the situation, but the further he rationalized, the more he realized there was only one possibility. Harry didn't know anyone else that was expecting a child. They lived in a neighborhood full of elderly couples, and none of their children or grandchildren were pregnant. The only person that any of them knew who was expecting a child was his wife, who was not tucked snugly in their bed where she should have been.
A sinister smile spread across the child's face as his eyes flicked to the open closet door Harry had not paid any attention to until now. All of his carefully crafted excuses came crashing down as his eyes took in the site before him. His wand dropped from his hand, dropping noisily against the wooden floor.
Ginny's nude body hung upside down from the rafters, her feet bound by a black cord. Her stomach was ripped completely open, leaving a gaping hole where his child should have been. Blood covered the entire lower half of her body, all the way to her shoulders, where another open wound could be seen clearly, exactly where her head should have been.
The scene was so horrifically alien to Harry, that he would not have known that body was his wife, now dead, hanging from the ceiling, if her severed head hadn't sat below her body on the floor. Her eyes were still wide open, the fear she must have felt during the last moments of her life clearly etched upon her beautiful face. He could clearly see the tear marks that ran down her cheeks.
He had dropped to his feet and emptied his stomach on the dusty floor before he even realized what he was doing. His Auror training, every single fucking scrap of it, went out the window. His wife was dead, brutally murdered, just like her own mother had been weeks before, and by the hands of his own son.
"Have you ever wondered, Harry," the wispy voice he knew so well spoke quietly from across the room, "what would happen... if two people, each with a broken piece of soul that still lived within them, created a life?"
Harry stared in horror at the body that was once his child. Skin too thin, razor sharp teeth, glowing red eyes, fingernails long and jagged. It made all made perfect sense now. The boy that he had loved since the first moment Harry had held him in his arms was just a reincarnation of the things he thought he had once defeated. While he had destroyed the diary, effectively killing the piece of Voldemort's soul that lived within, he never realized a piece of that soul had latched onto Ginny and never let go.
The Horcrux that had resided in Harry for the first eighteen years of his life had been destroyed by Voldemort himself... or so he thought, until now.
He fought against the tears as pure rage swelled in his chest. His heart began to race as he thought of his newborn son, whom he hadn't even met yet, helpless against the evil he had helped create. His wife had been horrifically murdered, much like her mother, by the child they had made together out of love.
"I killed you once, I'll do it again." Harry grabbed his wand and pointed it at the abomination that sat before him, but before he could speak the Killing Curse, a tiny arm, still gripping the bloody dagger raised to the infant's neck. The challenging gleam in the monster's eyes held Harry's gaze, keeping the words from leaving his lips; one move is all it would take to kill Albus.
"Do you know what I did with the blood traitor's body?" It took Harry a moment to realize he was speaking about Molly. His teeth clenched in anger as each of the pictures he had viewed only an hour before flashed through his mind.
"I ensured my place in this world once again..."
Harry swallowed convulsively to keep the bile from rising in his throat as the implications rang through his mind. Horcruxes. The soul fragments of Voldemort, that had lived inside Harry and Ginny, had taken over his son and was once again making Horcruxes.
"Why can't you just die?"
A shrill laugh echoed off the walls; red eyes danced with amusement. "Greatness never dies, Harry."
Harry's teeth clenched, wanting to kill the monster inside, but seeing James before him was causing him to hesitate. He knew it was irrational, knew his son was not inside that body. It was the only way to finally kill the bastard that lived within, but he couldn't conjure the nerve to speak the curse.
"Why do you think it was so easy, Harry? All these years I've lived inside, waiting to be let free. You suspected but could never bring yourself to realize the truth. That's what I've always liked about you. You have always been so easy to manipulate."
"Shut up." Harry's voice was quivering with anger. Deep down, he knew the words were true, and he hated it.
"What will the world think when they find that the great Harry Potter, didn't really defeat me at all, but instead, brought me back to life?"
Harry felt sick again, hating that he was letting this monster bait him. He could feel the magic within him wanting to lash out, growing to the point where Harry wouldn't be able to control it. His fear and anger over losing so many he had loved, and the need to stop his childhood enemy once again was making him irrational. He had to think of Albus.
"You've always been weak. You never defeated me, you've only managed to set me back. You never were the chosen one, only a vessel to be manipulated, even by his own enemies."
"Shut up!" Harry's hand was now gripping his wand so tightly, his knuckles were turning white. His entire body was shaking with anger, but he still did not speak the curse. His eyes trained on little Albus, knowing he was all that he had left in this world and needing him to be alright. He'd die to protect him, even if it meant killing his own son.
He watched the dagger with a morbid sort of fascination, ready to act if he saw the slightest movement at his newborn son's throat. Sweat, thick and sticky against his skin, formed on his brow as he analyzed every possible outcome. His heart was racing frantically as his mind raced, trying to find a way to save Albus.
"Take a good look at your son."
Harry couldn't keep his eyes from darting to Albus' tiny body, shivering from the cold. The newborn's quiet whimpers from a few moments before had turned into a loud cry, obviously from the need to be held and warm. The sound shattered Harry's already broken heart.
"Do not despair, Harry. You'll soon join him in the afterlife, along with your wife and her mother."
He could feel his mouth forming the words of the killing curse, just as he saw the dagger start to slip across Albus' throat. His tongue, while thick in his mouth, worked furiously to get the right sound to leave his lips as he prepared to cast the spell. He could sense all the anger and hatred he had ever felt towards the soul that had taken over his son's body course through his veins. He was going to kill Voldemort once and for all.
But before he could make a sound, a vibrant green light shot through the room and engulfed the James' body. A flicker of surprise crossed his face, before he fell forward; eyes open and staring at nothing. The dagger toppled to the floor, but the sound of it's fall could not be heard over Albus' cries, or Harry's heart beating in his ears.
Not understanding what had happened, he looked towards the door, where his best friend stood. Her hands were shaking slightly, but the look of complete determination on her face, overshadowed any other emotion she might have felt.
"Hermione?" Harry didn't understand what she was doing in his attic at half past three in the morning, but he felt overwhelming relief regardless of that fact.
Her determined gaze turned towards him upon hearing her name. Lowering her hand, but still gripping her wand firmly, she crossed the room in four giant steps to engulf him in a hug. He was too stunned to do much else but hug her back.
"I fell asleep in my office, and when I woke and headed for home, I saw you'd left your light on in your office. I went in to see if you were still there and found your notes. The still warm cup of tea told me you hadn't long left, so I got worried and came straight here," she explained frantically, much like she normally did when she was nervous.
"I heard everything." Her voice was shaky as she spoke, and he knew she was trying to hold it together. He wasn't faring much better himself, but he was grateful beyond words for having such good friends.
Another loud cry from Albus brought him back to his surroundings, and he immediately let go of his Hermione and raced to his side, needing to know he was alright. Slowly, as if he was terrified of breaking him, he lifted his newborn son into his arms for the very first time.
Funerals were awful to attend at anytime, but more so when you bury your own wife and son. The worst part for Harry had been having to lie to everyone he knew about what had happened. After Kingsley had been contacted and informed of the events that had taken place, along with a heavy dose of Veritaserum given to both Harry and Hermione, he had decided it was best that no one else knew what had really taken place; a fact that made Harry uneasy, but he agreed to all the same. Having all of Wizarding Britain thinking Voldemort had returned after years of peace was not the best of ideas.
He still wasn't quite sure how he had made it through all the questions about the "accident" that never really happened, but he had... just barely. Having Albus to take care of was probably the only saving factor for Harry. The attention of a newborn, especially without Ginny at his side, was demanding and kept his mind off of that horrible night. He hadn't let his son out of his sight since he'd first held him in his arms.
Even now, after nearly a year, he still kept Albus' crib beside his bed; watching his tiny chest rise and fall with each new breath as he slept. He'd always kiss his head before crawling into his own bed and watching his son sleep peacefully. The experiences that he'd had with Albus were so different from when James was a baby. He remembered clearly how James would watch him from his crib at night and how odd he thought it was, but Albus always slept soundly...at least, until Harry fell asleep.
Thanks for reading!