Chapter 1 : Here Is Gone
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By Angelina Johnson
Summary- AU. What if Voldemort had not marked Harry Potter as his equal, but instead had chosen Neville Longbottom? How would Harry's life be different if he had grown up with parents, a godfather, and people who cared about him?
It was exactly eleven years ago that it happened. An old man, with long silver hair, and a long silver beard to match, entered the Hog's Head Inn. It was cold, far too cold for June, and the area all around him was wet. His blue eyes twinkled in amusement as he looked down his long, crooked nose at the variation of people in the Inn. He spotted a man who simply looked too large to be allowed at a table alone-Hagrid, the Gamekeeper at Hogwarts. At another table, he spotted something that looked oddly like a vampire, and at another table there was something that looked just like a hag. Then, sighing, he looked for the one that he was here to meet. The woman's name was Sibyll Trelawney, and she was the great-great granddaughter of a Seer. She had wanted to apply for the position of Divination teacher at Hogwarts. While Albus Dumbledore was against even letting the subject continue at all, he was here out of politeness. He felt it would be wrong to just simply refuse.
In the corner he spotted the woman. She was a very thin woman, with large glasses that mad her eyes look huge. She wore infinite amounts of necklaces, most women did not even own as many necklaces as Sibyll Trelawney was wearing. She wore various assortments of chains and beads. On her hands, she again wore more rings than most women owned, and the same was true for bracelets. She looked like a glittery insect. She looked up at Dumbledore through those magnified eyes, and then she spoke in a misty voice.
"You are Professor Dumbledore. I have seen your arrival," she said. Albus looked down at her doubtfully.
"Ah, yes, it is nice to meet you, Miss Trelawney. Perhaps we can go to a private room upstairs? I have arranged for it," Albus said politely.
"I was prepared for your offer, and I accept. I do not often enjoy descending into the eye of the public. I find that they do not accept me for the all-knowing being that I am," Sibyll Trelawney said. Albus Dumbledore nodded politely, and then led her upstairs where he could interview her in private.
"Now, Sibyll, I understand that you ate the great-great granddaughter of a very famous, gifted Seer. You tell me that you have her same Gift. Tell me, what are some of the predictions you have made?" Dumbledore asked her.
"I See all. I predicted that you would meet me in this place, and I have predicted the questions you will ask me," Sibyll Trelawney responded.
"Would you like to share with me what those questions are? So that I might perhaps see just how accurate you are?" Dumbledore asked hopefully.
"Actually, Professor, I'm afraid I should not do that. It is not wise for one who is all-knowing to broadcast everything that they can see. It tends to make people nervous. I hope that you understand," she said in her soft, misty voice.
"Er, of course. Well, could you perhaps show me something else?" Dumbledore asked her. She nodded.
"Oh, of course. Please, allow me to see your palm," Sibyll said. Dumbledore extended his hand, and she began inspecting it.
"My dear man, your time runs short. You have already outlived your expectations! And you poor dear, I see that you have been very unlucky in love, and that you have had, and will continue to have, bad fortune. Dear, dear, this is not a happy palm," Sibyll said. Dumbledore sighed inwardly. This was not what he expected. Dumbledore knew for a fact that he had much longer to live, that there was some purpose he needed to fulfill.
"Er, well, thank you for the insight. Perhaps you could tell me what you See in the crystal ball, then, before I make my decision?" Dumbledore said. Thus far, he was disappointed with what he had seen, and unless she showed him something spectacular, he doubted that he would be hiring her.
"Of course. Let's see, then-there is peace very near, the Dark Lord will turn to what is right and leave behind what is evil, yes, and his servant will follow his lead. I see children-Hogwarts students. They are happy, and they are learning much. One of them goes on to do many important things, but one, the heir of Gryffindor, goes horribly wrong....." Sibyll said. Dumbledore sighed. This was highly farfetched, and he hoped that when she applied for another job, she would limit her imagination and at least try to make her predictions seem realistic. Dumbledore knew Voldemort, and he knew that he would never change his ways, that the only way he would vanish was if he was stopped. He also knew that there was no heir to Godric Gryffindor at Hogwarts.
"Well, thank you for your time, Sibyll. I am sure that you are very talented, but what I have seen tonight does not make me change my mind on where I stand on the practice of Divination. While you are qualified, I feel that there is no need for Divination to be taught inside of my school's walls. I hope that our paths cross again," Dumbledore told her gently, and he turned to go. However, as he was leaving, he heard a harsh voice begin to speak. He turned, and saw that Sibyll Trelawney looked to be in a sort of trance. She looked rigid, and her eyes were unfocused. After a moment, they began to roll.
"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...AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWERS THAT THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT...AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES...THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES..."
"Er, Sibyll? Are you all right?" Albus asked.
"Yes, yes, I'm quite fine, what on earth would give you the idea that I wasn't? I suppose I must have dozed off," she said.
"Well, if you still want the position of Divination teacher at Hogwarts, I have changed my mind. It would be a pleasure to have you teach at my school," Dumbledore told her. She looked at him gratefully through her large eyes.
"I will be honored to join your staff," Sibyll told him.
"Then I will owl you before term with instructions," Albus said, and he left, recalling her prediction in his mind. It had been real, he could tell by the trance that she was in. Now to find a boy who fit that description...
Some three hundred miles away, a Death Eater was returning to her master. This woman had just Apparated from the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade, where he had overheard something that he thought would be of interest to his master. Of course, the servant had been forced to leave midway through the prophecy. The servant did not realize that she had missed information that would have been of great interest. So she went to her master, to tell him her information, thinking it would help, rather than hurt him.
"Master," the Death Eater said, approaching Lord Voldemort. She bowed to the man, if Voldemort could be called that. He was unrecognizable. None that saw him realized that he had once been the brilliant, handsome boy called Tom Riddle. All they knew was that Voldemort had gone so deep into his powers that he was no longer truly human. He looked it. He was tall and thin, but his face was horrible and looked like a snake. It was white, and he had scarlet slits for eyes.
"What have you come to tell me, my servant?" the Dark Lord asked her with a wave of his hand, indicating that she could rise.
"I have just overheard, my Lord, something that may be of interest. Albus Dumbledore was in the Hog's Head tonight, interviewing a Seer that sought the position of Divination teacher at Hogwarts, and I was able to overhear a great deal of their conversation. The Seer, my Lord, has predicted your downfall," she said.
"And can you tell me exactly what you heard? Has my downfall truly been predicted?" he asked, his voice high and cruel. He sounded almost amused.
"The Seer said, my Lord, that 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..." the servant said.
"So the one who has the power to defeat me will be born soon? To those who have thrice defied me, as the seventh month dies? Well, I feel that I can surely take on a little baby. We'll watch those who oppose me, wait and see what will come at the end of July...Then, I will attack, and ensure that I will not lose my powers. A fully grown wizard does not even stand a chance against me when I wish to kill them-what hope is there for a little baby?" Voldemort asked, and he laughed. His servant laughed with him.
It was July 31, and in St. Mungo's, the wizarding hospital, there were two women who now proudly held little boys in their arms within the walls of the hospital. One was a woman with a round, friendly face. She held a baby that looked just like her in her plump, as her husband stood next to her, smiling. The woman's name was Alice, the man Frank, and the little boy, one of the two boys who could possibly be able to defeat Lord Voldemort, was called Neville. Neville Longbottom.
A few rooms away, a woman with red hair and green eyes was smiling as her husband, a man with untidy black hair and brown eyes, laid a hand on her shoulder. This woman, too, had a baby in her arms. This baby had a small tuft of jet black hair, and his emerald green eyes matched his mothers. Lily smiled to her husband James, and she held the other little boy that could possibly defeat Voldemort, the boy named Harry. Harry Potter.
In his office at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore was being alerted of these two births. He shook his head sadly, desperately trying to think of a way to protect the boys and their families. Three hundred miles away, the Lord Voldemort was also being alerted of one of the births. He, however, was delighted and quickly went to work coming up with a plan to get rid of the baby. He never realized that he had two boys to choose from.
A year and two months later, Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort both had plans. The Dark Lord planned to make his move on Halloween. Dumbledore planned to act sooner. He had to help the Longbottoms and the Potters. They were both valuable families, very set in their ways of good. They strongly opposed Voldemort, and they were very loyal to Dumbledore. They were some of the most prominent members of the Order of Phoenix, and Albus would hate to see anything happen to them. Even more, though, he would hate seeing the hope for their future be destroyed.
Dumbledore had previously spoken to his spy. Severus Snape had warned him, told him of Voldemort's limited knowledge. The spy had informed Albus that the Dark Lord only knew of one of the babies, and that the Dark Lord planned to eliminate the threat very soon. He also told Dumbledore that all he knew of the prophecy was '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...' Dumbledore had thanked his spy for the information, and allowed him to be on his way. Albus did not tell Severus what the rest of the prophecy said.
That afternoon, Albus called the boy's parents to his office. They arrived shortly past three o'clock, and they found Dumbledore sitting behind his desk, his blue eyes without their usual twinkle.
"Hello, Albus," the man said.
"Welcome," Dumbledore replied gravely.
"How are you?" the woman asked.
"Fine, fine. And where is your son today?" Dumbledore asked, trying to make friendly conversation. He hated putting the burden on these people.
"Oh, we left him at home with his godfather for a little while. That man needs to have kids, he's so good with ours!" the woman replied, happily thinking of her baby boy.
"Yes, I agree," Dumbledore said, and then he frowned.
"Albus, what's wrong? Why are we here?" the woman asked, concern in her voice.
"Well, it is a long story. Please, sit. You must be warned," Albus said. The man and the woman took seats in chairs across from the Headmasters Desk.
"Warned of what?" the man asked.
"Surely Voldemort's not after us again?" the woman said.
"Not after you, exactly. After your son," Dumbledore replied.
"Our son?" the man asked.
"But he's only a baby!" she exclaimed.
"What would he want with our son?" he asked.
"There was a prophecy made shortly before your son's birth. Allow me to show you," Dumbledore said, and he pulled out a bowl with odd symbols and a silver substance inside. He put his wand to his temple, and a strand of silver shot from his head to the bowl. Then, the figure of Sibyll Trelawney appeared, almost like a projection. The image began to speak.
"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...AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWERS THAT THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT...AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES...THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES..." The Seer's voice died, and Dumbledore returned the thread to his mind, and then the Pensieve to his closet.
"But.... Surely it could have meant someone else! There had to have been more than one boy born on at the end of July to parents that have defied Voldemort!" the woman said.
"Don't be ridiculous, what are the odds of that?" her husband asked.
"Actually, there was another boy born. It happens to be, however, that Voldemort has marked your son as his equal, your son as his threat. I am not sure he even knows of the other boy, but as a precaution I have informed them that it would be wise to go into hiding as well," Dumbledore said.
"But no one can hide from the Dark Lord!" the man exclaimed.
"There is a way," Dumbledore said.
"Not...Fidelius?" the woman asked doubtfully.
"Fidelius indeed. I assume you both know about the charm?" They nodded.
"Now, you will need a Secret Keeper, someone to hide your location. This must be someone that you absolutely trust with your lives, because there are many people on our side who have fallen to Lord Voldemort and are passing information. I myself would be willing to be your Secret Keeper," Dumbledore said. The man shook his head.
"No, that's not necessary. There's someone I trust with my life, someone who would never betray us. He's our son's godmother, and he was my best friend all through my Hogwarts days. He would never fall to Voldemort, nor would he ever betray us. I insist that we use him, and I'm sure my wife agrees," the man said, and the woman nodded, "We appreciate the offer, though, Albus."
"All right, if you insist. The charm will be performed tomorrow. Be ready, and have your Secret Keeper with you. You need to go into hiding immediately, for your safety, for your son's, and for the safety of the whole wizarding world," Dumbledore said gravely. The couple nodded, and left.
Halloween came quickly. The families were in hiding. The Secret Keepers were safe. The Dark Lord should have been seething. But instead, he was delighted.
"You will be well rewarded, my servant, for handing this family over to me. I appreciate your service," the Dark Lord said. His servant mumbled his thanks, and the Dark Lord left his hide out, preparing to destroy his competition.
An hour later, a family sat in their house. The mother was happily putting her son to sleep, and the husband was watching over her shoulder, beaming. Neither realized that they were in any danger.
There came a loud knock on the door. Outside, Lord Voldemort stood, hidden by his cloak. Inside, the man and his wife came down to the stairs. They both had a bad feeling about this-no one was supposed to be able to find their house, not even their closest friends.
"I think it's him. Take the baby and go," the man whispered.
"But..." his wife whispered. Her husband kissed her quickly.
"I love you. Go. I'll hold him off. Save the baby," he whispered. She nodded, tears in her eyes.
"I love you too," she whispered back, and she quietly ran up the stairs.
The Dark Lord knocked again, more violently. If the inhabitants didn't open the door soon, he was going to blow the whole house to smithereens.
Slowly, Frank Longbottom opened the door.