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Chapter 1 : October 31st, 1981
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Disclaimer: It belongs to Jo. Not like you didn't know that.
Their Final Day
The sun had just come up over the hills of the small town of Godric’s Hollow, illuminating the houses with a golden glow. The neat hedges that bordered the small main street glistened with dew from the night before, and the flowers blew in the early morning breeze. The muffled sounds of apparition could be heard from many of the houses, the tell-tale sign that a new day of work had begun. The date was October 31st, 1981.
Unlike those around them, the occupants of a beige house on Main Street were still sleeping, until a happy, gurgling sound awoke them. The first to rise was a petite woman of about 21 years. She sat up, stretched and slipped into her dressing gown, stopping to smile at the sight of her messy-haired, drooling husband. She padded down the hallway, stopping at a light blue door. She cracked it open, and stepped in the room. At first glance, one would believe that a quidditch enthusiast had decorated the room, and well, they would be correct. The walls were painted with a 360 degree view of a quidditch pitch, with a border of quaffles, bludgers and snitches on it. Of course, it had been the woman’s husband who decorated the room as soon as they found out that their baby was to be a boy.
The baby was standing up, holding onto the bars of the crib, grinning at his mother. She smiled at his happy demeanor, and went to the crib, cooing to him as she walked. She picked him up, and determined almost immediately that he was in dire need of a new diaper. She set him down on the changing table, and after freshening him up, selected an outfit for him to wear. A small pair of pants and a long sleeved shirt would be appropriate for the chill of October, until later, of course, when he would be donning his Halloween costume.
The couple had decided to dress him up as a quidditch player this year. Well, the husband had decided, the wife had realized that it would be fruitless to argue, when he had two of his best friends on his side, looking at her with puppy-eyes. The baby’s godfather went out immediately to buy the costume, and came back with an Irish player’s outfit, complete with a mini broomstick. The child had clapped with enthusiasm after seeing the outfit, and the wife, only happy when her baby was happy, took the costume and put it in the closet to wear on Halloween.
A small creak made the woman jump, and she wheeled around, pulling her wand from her dressing gown pocket, ready to defend herself and her son against any intruder. But, it was no intruder, just her husband, rubbing sleep from his eyes.
The baby continued to smile as he caught sight of his father standing in the doorway, and reached his arms out to him. The man lifted him out of his mother’s arms and twirled him around a bit. The three of them then descended the stairs, eager to eat breakfast.
The woman went to the kitchen, and pulling out her wand, muttered a few spells to get breakfast cooking. Bread flew into the toaster, eggs into the pan and plates pulled themselves out of drawers. A box of cheerios poured itself into the high chair, and without waiting for the go-ahead, the baby began to eat them.
A few minutes later, the breakfast was made, and the couple sat down with their child to eat. Words were exchanged, coffee was poured and smiles were given to the child. But when the owl tapped on the window to announce the arrival of the newspaper, the smiles and care-free expressions were replaced with grim demeanors.
Both of them knew that horrors would be waiting within the realms of the newspaper. The only question was, ‘who would it be today?’ What friends of theirs, what families had been torn apart the night before? The Dark Lord’s raids had gotten more intense, and people were dying left and right. There was only so much that a young couple so deeply involved in the Order of the Phoenix could take.
The night hadn’t been as bad as usual, there were only two muggles and a former Hogwart’s professor killed. But they knew that no matter how many had been killed, there were still families grieving the loss.
It was hard for the two of them to imagine leaving each other and their child, it was their worst nightmare. Often, the woman would awake in the middle of the night, screaming. Her worst fears had come alive in her dreams, a shadowy figure killing her and her family, with a cold, mirthless laugh. She shuddered to think that her dream could have been reality…
It was a dark night, the street was silent. A knock came at the door, and a young woman cradling a baby in her arms looked through the peephole and opened the door to reveal a weary-looking old man. The man was her old school headmaster, nearing 130 years old at the time. His grim face had scared the woman, and she quickly moved aside for him to enter her home.
She yelled for her husband, who came running down the stairs with his best friend, the godfather of their child, hot on his heels.
“What is it?” he had asked, a look of concern flooding his handsome features.
The old man sighed. “I have bad news,” he said. “News that concerns the lives of yourselves and of your child.”
The woman went pale, clutching onto the infant in her arms tightly. “What is it?” she asked fearfully, staring into the old man’s blue eyes.
“It seems,” he started, hesitating a bit. “It seems that the Dark Lord has heard a prophecy, a prophecy detailing the way for his invincibility and total control.”
The woman gasped, and her husband rubbed her arm soothingly. She motioned for the old man to continue.
“This prophecy says that a child, born in July, to parents who have defied him three times, has the power to kill him. There are two families that this could pertain to, but we have sufficient evidence to suggest that he will be coming after the three of you.”
The woman began to cry then, and, leaning on her husbands shoulder, said “What can we do?”
He sighed. “The idea of using a Fidelius charm is the best option, but that would require you to find a secret-keeper very soon.”
The woman, who was very familiar with charms and their uses, smiled grimly and said “Whatever it takes. We can find a secret keeper in the next day.”
The man next to her husband perked up. “I can do it, sir” He said seriously. “I’ll be their secret keeper.”
The old man nodded. “I assumed that you would suggest that, though I’m afraid that you are the most likely person for the job, and therefore, the target for the Dark Lord.”
The child’s godfather frowned. He then suggested something, something that would take its course in history….
He suggested using their other friend, the rat of the group. He was the weakest, the most talent-less and the least likely to do the job. It was perfect. The Dark Lord would never suspect him, and therefore, the family was safe.
The old man stood up, and nodded briskly. After a quick tip of his hat he was up and out the door, ready to go and find the secret keeper, and perform the life-saving charm.
Back at the breakfast table, the man was standing up, getting ready to leave to go on patrol. Since he was quite wealthy, the need for a job was none, so he worked for the Order of the Phoenix full time, as did his wife. His best friend and himself would be patrolling Diagon Alley for the day, making sure there was no skullduggery afoot.
He kissed his wife and son good-bye, and with a turn, apparated out of the house.
The woman turned to her son. “What shall we do today?” She asked him, wiping the crumbs off his face. He smiled and babbled various ideas. She smiled, and said “How about a walk in the park?” He grinned, which she took for a yes.
After putting on his jacket and hat, the pair stepped out of the house and into the street. She carried him the short way down the street and after settling him into a toddler’s swing, began to push him, letting his laughs carry her worries away.
After an hour in the park and a short lunch at the small café on the corner, the pair headed home. It was naptime for the baby, and relaxation time for the woman.
Around four, the husband returned home, exhausted and in dire need of a shower. The couple discussed the afternoon, exchanging stories of park ambling and death eater dodging.
After dinner, the family headed upstairs, to the baby’s room to get his costume on. When he was ready, they took a picture and grabbed the toy bucket. The small family headed down the street, stopping at every house along the way.
After a fun two hours, they arrived back home. The baby’s eyes were drooping with exhaustion, and he was put to bed, after his nightly story. The couple flopped onto the couch and ate a little bit of candy, before a green flame shooting out of their fireplace alerted them of the child’s godfather’s arrival.
“Excellent!” he said as he spotted the candy, and he greedily dug in.
“That’s for the baby!” the woman chastised, though she too was smiling.
The man gave a puppy face, and she relented, telling him to be careful of the hard candies. He scoffed, saying “Tell that to the godson, not the godfather!” Her husband laughed, and they continued to dig into the sweets.
About an hour later, the godfather decided to call it a night, and they waved goodbye as his back disappeared into the fireplace.
A few moments later, the woman went upstairs to check on the baby. As she padded across the floor, a creaking sound made her stop dead in her tracks.
“James?” She said, descending the stairs a little. “James, what was that?”
Small thumps could be heard over the wind outside, and she went down a few more stairs, pausing just before the bottom. “James?” she called again, her green eyes crinkled in worry.
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”
Him? Oh no, it couldn’t be… They had a secret-keeper! They were safe, Voldemort wasn’t supposed to be able to find them! Unless… Unless Peter had told…. The Fidelius Charm could not be broken by Legilimency… Peter must have told! They trusted him! He was their friend, and he had sold them out to the enemy….
“You won’t get past me!” Lily heard James yell, and a cold mirthless laugh followed.
“You believe that you can stop me? ME?” a cold voice asked the sneer evident in its voice. “I am Lord Voldemort!”
A cry was heard then, and Lily heard the words she’d been dreading. “Avada Kedavra!” the cold voice laughed mercilessly, and the unmistakable thump of a body sounded through the house.
Time stopped just then. The room began to spin, and Lily felt her consciousness slipping away. ‘No’ she told herself firmly, straightening up. ‘James didn’t give his life for us so that I’d just give up.’ She ran into the baby’s room and went to grab Harry, but the sound of the door made her stop.
Lily slowly turned around, coming face-to-face with her fears. She stepped in front of Harry, visibly shaking. She swallowed, realizing that her wand was downstairs, next to the bowl of candy from the care-free night. If only…. If only they had known…. They could have left…
Lord Voldemort took a step forward, his eyes transfixed on the crib behind Lily’s body. She finally found her voice.
“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!” she yelled, tears now streaming from her eyes.
Voldemort stepped to the left, which she mirrored, still hiding the infant away from him.
“Stand aside you silly girl… stand aside, now….” He said.
Lily was momentarily surprised. The man, the monster, who had killed so many innocent people, was telling her to stand aside? She was wand-less, she was in the way, why didn’t he just kill her?
“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead!” She yelled again, her hands on either side of the crib behind her.
“Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!” Lord Voldemort said, looking agitated.
“Not Harry! Please…” Her voice had lost the fierceness, her actions were weak. “Have mercy…have mercy….”
Lord Voldemort was done trying to reason with her. He would have to break his promise that he made to a follower, and kill this woman who would not step out of the way. He raised his wand.
The woman cringed, shielding the child with her body. “Avada Kedavra!” Lord Voldemort yelled.
Lily fell, hitting the floor with a resounding crack. Lord Voldemort smiled. His path to the child was clear now. He stepped forward. The child was standing up in the crib, holding onto the top bars.
Lord Voldemort took a deep breath, preparing himself for the seal on his invincibility. He raised his wand, and said the words. The words that had killed countless others, not the mention the child’s parents a few moments before.
“Avada Kedavra!” he said, with finality in his voice.
He expected the child to fall against the mattress of the crib, and for the world to bow to the will of Lord Voldemort. He did not, however, expect this.
An unimaginable pain, ripping through his insides, more excruciating then the darkest curse. He felt as though his very bones were on fire, tearing up his skin, reducing him to nothing.
But when it was over, he was still something. Something not quite alive, but not quite dead. He was able to flee, off to Albania where he would wait, a long and painful 10 years for a young, ignorant man to stumble upon him, to attempt to help him on his ascent back to power.
If it wasn’t for that woman, Harry Potter would be no more. Instead, the infant would see both Hagrid the gamekeeper and his godfather, Sirius Black that night. Sirius would go off later to hunt for the traitor, the conniving Peter Pettigrew, on whom he would not get his revenge for another long 12 years. The rat would then seek out his master, and help him back to power, before ultimately bringing about his own end.
Harry Potter would also see Albus Dumbledore that night, the old man who had done everything he could to help the young family. Even in the depths of his intellectual mind, he never would have imagined that something like this could happen. He would talk with Professor McGonagall before placing Harry on his aunt and uncle’s doorstep, condemning him to 10 years in a home where no one noticed him…
When Lily and James Potter had woken up on that fateful day, they believed that they would eat breakfast, go to work and take their son out trick-or-treating, nothing more, nothing less. They didn’t know they’d be in the death section of the newspaper, the same one they had read together every morning. They’d only be two of the many casualties of the war.
The risks one family took to keep their son protected.
The betrayal of a supposed best friend.
The anger of another, willing to put himself in prison to get revenge.
The love of a mother, strong enough to save her son.
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