Chapter 1: I did nothing
I remember the day we left the Potter boy with those muggles as if it were yesterday. I'd watched them all day and I knew that there was something wrong, I knew they shouldn't be entrusted with the life of the Boy Who Lived. They couldn't even be trusted with their own child, let alone one of the magical world. Their boy was a terror; spoiled and vile. I remember my fear as I recollected Lily Potter talking to James about her sisters' hatred of all things magical, of how she was taunted and bullied as a child. And I wondered whether her views had changed, I feared that the Potter boy would be facing the same abuse. And I did nothing.
I remember how horrified I was that Albus was even suggesting we entrust such a small, precious boy who had already come through so much with those people. I remember how I objected. I objected because they were nothing like us, would never be able to understand him, would never be able to help him grow. And I remember Albus' response like it was yesterday. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it? His exact words. And because it was Albus, the infallible, great Albus, I believed him.
We left a small child on the front step of those muggles on a bitterly cold November night, with nothing but a blanket and a letter to protect him from harm. I knew it was wrong, how could I not. You don't leave a tiny child asleep on a doorstep, you wouldn't even do that to a niffler. But we did. Myself, Albus Dumbledore and Hagrid all left that boy alone on a doorstep in a world that would never recognise him. Why? Because we trusted Albus, we have always trusted Albus. He is the leader of what is light and good in our world, he is the greatest wizard of our century and we would have followed him off the ends of the earth had he asked. We trusted him. Now I am wondering if we made a mistake.
Did he know what would happen? Did he actually intend for those muggles to be so cruel, so abusive, so neglectful? Can I actually believe that? Or was he just naïve. Did he think that Petunia would look kindly on the small child because she was her sister's orphaned babe? Because if he did he was sorely mistaken, and I can't believe that it has taken me til now to find out. Surely the man must have checked on him? Surely he went to make sure that everything had actually worked out the way he wanted? Surely the wizard who we would all die for didn't simply abandon the boy with no chance of salvation? Surely he couldn't have?
We knew that there were more cases of accidental magic in the boy than would normally be expected for one so young, and I just assumed that Albus would be keeping track of what was going on. We all know that accidental magic happens most frequently when a child is upset, scared or angry, but it happens for other reasons as well. I assumed that it was simply because he was the child of two of the brightest young wizards I have had the pleasure and misfortune of teaching. James may have been powerful, but he didn't always use it in the most mature of ways. I suppose Albus made him Head Boy to try to teach him some level of responsibility, it didn't have much of an effect at the time. Now though, I look back and wish I hadn't treated him so harshly.
I couldn't believe it when Hagrid told me that the boy had no idea that he was a wizard, no knowledge of Hogwarts, no memories of his parents. His relatives had given him nothing. And when he said that Potter had been told Lily and James had been killed in a car crash, I wanted to apparate straight there and knock some sense into them myself. Lily and James in a car crash? It's absurd. Hagrid repeated their words to me. We swore we'd stamp it out of him! I took it as metaphorical and though it made my blood boil that they thought of the hero of the wizarding world as some mere freak, I did nothing. I thought maybe, perhaps Dumbledore had been right. Maybe this was better for Potter. He hadn't grown up with an over-inflated ego and so would perhaps be slightly less inclined towards to his father's antics whilst at the school.
But when Hagrid knocked on the castle door and I swung it open I was almost rendered speechless. It took all my wits to give out the usual welcoming speech to the first years and I have to admit I was a little more brusque than usual. He was so small. First years are always small but the Potter boy was tiny in comparison to the rest of them. He was pale, thin and tiny. He looked so defenceless. His glasses were crooked on his nose and he was still squinting as if they weren't helping him to see that well. I turned away and started walking before I was caught staring, I couldn't be seen to show that kind of weakness.
But even so, I couldn't miss the slight limp as he followed the rest of his classmates, the limp that the Weasley boy had clearly missed. There was no mistaking a Weasley and it seemed those two had become friends. The Boy Who Lived could certainly have made a worse choice providing this young Weasley didn't follow in the footsteps of the twins. Having two set of pranksters in the school at once would be worse than when the Marauders were at large. And the Weasley's always ended up in Gryffindor, every last one of them so this one would be my responsibility as well. But the Potter boy…who could have treated this boy so badly. And how could I have done nothing?
I watched him as he walked towards the Sorting Hat after I called his name. I paid no attention to the sudden hissing of whispers and craning of necks as all of the other students heard the words POTTER, HARRY. I was too busy watching the way he walked, the slight stumble to his gait suggesting either weakness or pain. I couldn't take my eyes away from how gaunt he was, how thin. The hat never fit any of our first years, but it looked obscene on Potter. I looked at Albus briefly to find him scrutinising Potter in much the same way as I have been, but unlike my own there's no concern in the older man's eyes. Instead there's the trademarked Dumbledore twinkle.
My own house erupts as Potter is sorted into Gryffindor with the Weasley twins being the most raucous as would be expected, but still I pay them no mind. I don't even glare. I'm too fixated on the head teacher, the man I have given my life to willingly and without complaint. The man I have served. He's smiling. He's smiling like a kid with a new toy and he's looking straight at the Potter boy. With that twinkle. He can't have known. He can't have. It's not possible. And I did nothing. I look towards the Gryffindor table as I call out TURPIN, LISA and I can't miss the flinch the boy gives as he's clapped on the back by another student. By the time Albus gives his speech, which is just as crazy as he usually manages I'm fuming. I let Potter be placed in the hands of those muggles, I trusted the man sat at that table with that damnable twinkle.
And I did nothing. Am I still to do nothing now?