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Chapter 22 : An Unlikely Benefactor
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Though his curiosity did not need any more fuel, the note that had been sent with the memory had added some intrigue in to what was apparently the final memory they would be receiving. Harry remembered the note that had been wrapped around the memory, the faded blue glow of it being hampered by the piece of brown parchment.
This is the last memory you will receive. After this, you will have the knowledge and know the great importance of the Eye of the Posterus and the lengths you parents went to in order to preserve it. It is imperative that you find it before the Death Eaters do. Flamel’s capture was not coincidence. You must not let him fall in to the hands of the Death Eaters.
‘OK, Harry. Fill in these letters in the message,’ Hermione had said that morning as they were waiting for the Snitch portkey to activate, pouring the Swelling Solution over the face of the parchment. ‘R, fifth position... E, ninth position... T, fourteenth position... R, fifteenth position... That’s it.’
‘What’s the dodgy little riddle again... the one underneath the vague, unhelpful, extraordinarily frustrating message,’ sighed Ron, placing his hand on his forehead and rubbing it hard, his eyes squinted as Harry spoke.
‘Some men interpret nine memos... Yeah, I have no idea,’ said Harry dejectedly, laying the enlarged parchment with the water-marked letters on the long, dark table of the secret room. He glanced at the piece of parchment that he was using to fill in the indicated letters.
_O_G RE_AER_ E_ T RO_
‘If this is the last memory we’re getting,’ said a defeated Harry as the Snitch began to glow blue that morning, ‘then we’re never going to solve this little puzzle.’
‘There must be something we’re missing,’ whispered Hermione almost to herself as she began perusing the other two messages that had been sent with the previous memories.
‘Well, we can do that later,’ interrupted Ron, pointing to the glowing Snitch. Hermione sighed as she left the messages behind.
‘Whoever is sending these things sure has a creative way of doing it,’ she said, reaching for the Snitch. ‘Doing so in a setting crowded with people is incredibly daring.’
‘Maybe they don’t need to be careful?’ posed Ron as he too got up from his seat.
‘That’s more scary too, when you think about it,’ returned Hermione as the trio grasped the Snitch that whisked them away to Hogwarts.
Harry made a left down a corridor, Professor Flitwick not even noticing the trio’s presence as he was intensely conversing with a pair of older students about the day’s lesson. Ron and Hermione increased their effort to catch up with Harry, Hermione calling out to him in the hope that he would slow down.
‘Whoever was impersonating me must have done a good enough job to fool you.’ Harry stopped, pausing before speaking in a low voice so that only his friends could hear him.
‘Being in a rowdy Quidditch stadium didn’t exactly allow me to hear or really focus on you – well, whoever was impersonating you – very well. Still wish that I hadn’t mentioned the memory – or the Eye, for that matter. Now that I think about it, you did seem a little... off. Didn’t think anything of it though.’
‘Wasn’t your fault mate,’ Ron said quietly. ‘Who would want to impersonate Hermione? And how did they get part of you to use in the Polyjuice Potion?’
‘And how did they know that Harry and not myself was going to be there?’ added Hermione. Harry shook his head in frustration.
‘We can’t do anything about it. Let’s just view this memory and hopefully, we can answer some questions. If this is the last one we’re being sent then there shouldn’t be any questions left after we’ve seen it.’
Harry was let in to the spiral staircase which led to the Headmistresses’ office by the two winged-gargoyles who guarded it. After reaching the top, Harry knocked on the door twice, waiting for a response. He glanced sideways at Ron after a few moments, knocking again to no avail.
‘Should we just... go in?’ Harry asked to his friends.
‘I don’t see why not,’ answered Ron shrugging. ‘McGonagall did say we were welcome at anytime.’
‘Never thought I’d actually think that breaking in to McGonagall’s office was something that she encouraged, but anyway...’ Hermione thought out loud, eliciting a grin from Harry as he opened the door.
As he suspected, the office was devoid of any presence. He looked upwards to see the portrait of Dumbledore was sleeping silently as he took out the memory and message which he laid down on the small desk beside the pensieve.
‘We’ve decided that both of us are coming in,’ said Hermione aloud.
‘Yeah – now that McGonagall knows we’ve been coming to use the pensieve, I don’t suspect she’d be outraged now,’ added Ron.
‘Sounds good – should we get right in to it then?’ replied Harry, barely listening to his friend’s justification, his focus and excitement with the memory overpowering his senses.
‘Don’t see why not – hopefully by the time it’s over everything will be much clearer.’
In moments, Harry, Ron and Hermione entered the pensieve, seeing the familiar, slow materialization of their surroundings erect around them. Harry’s heart was pounding as the scene began to slowly form. As the images around Harry became more concrete, Harry could make out his parents sitting together on a couch, a comfortable looking living room with a roaring fire materializing around his parents. His heart skipped a beat as he watched them fully appear. Even though this was now the third time he had perceived them in such a manner, seeing them in such a full, realistic way was something that never failed to touch his heartstrings.
‘Are you sure that you don’t want to do it, Sirius?’ asked Lily. Harry noticed that sitting across from them was his deceased godfather, his handsomeness still evident. His appearance’s gradual decline was something that at this moment in time, he had not been faced with.
‘I don’t trust myself with such a responsibility!’ cried Sirius exasperatedly. ‘I’m not fit for something like that, nor do I deserve the honor.’
‘Oh, Sirius, of course you are!’ answered Lily in a loving fashion. ‘But we’ll respect your wishes, of course.’ Sirius shifted in his seat, unnerved by Lily’s showing of understanding. Harry could feel the staring eyes of Ron and Hermione behind him – he knew that they were beginning to clue in to what the conversation at hand was actually about.
‘I know Dumbledore’s... great and all,’ managed Sirius, ‘but are you sure it’s the right thing to do?’ James was nodding before Sirius had even finished.
‘I don’t like the idea of going in to hiding Sirius – believe me. But Dumbledore has specifically told us to find a Secret Keeper because You-Know-Who is going to try to uphold this prophecy that he believes, is about Harry here.’
Instantly, Harry looked in to the bassinette that he just realized was sitting beside Lily. Inside, he could see his infant, sleeping self. Lily leaned over to check on him, taking the blankets and shifting them upwards in order to better cover her baby.
‘So that only leaves Peter,’ continued James, adjusting his glasses as he sat back, placing his arm around Lily. ‘You were our first choice, Sirius. Remus is obviously out – he’s got more on his plate than even he could handle.’ Sirius bowed his head in apparent shame.
‘I just... I don’t want to let you down. I love you two too much. You’d be mad to place all your trust in me like that – I can barely stand on my own two feet.’
‘Listen, Sirius...’ said Lily leaning in. ‘We’re not going to make you do anything you’re not comfortable with. Things are going to get better with you – you’ll find what you want to do and everything is going to turn out just fine. You’ll see.’
Sirius could only hold Lily’s stare for a moment or two, his eyes flashing around the couch where Lily and James were sitting. He took a deep swig of his drink, looking out of the window that was letting in the day’s last few rays of sunlight.
‘So what do you think Sirius,’ piped up James suddenly with his characteristic grin. ‘Do you think I could get Harry on a broom before we go in to this hiding business?’
‘I think it goes without saying,’ replied Sirius mischievously.
‘Lily thinks he’s a bit young –’
‘A bit young?’ Lily interrupted jokingly, playing in to her husband’s half-sarcasm.
‘See what I mean?’ continued James. ‘Bought this little, self-steering broom from Diagon Alley the other week. Never too early to learn how to ride!’
‘Especially if he’s going to break all your Gryffindor Seeker records at Hogwarts in eleven years’ time,’ interjected Lily which made Sirius laugh out loud.
‘One thing at a time, Lily,’ answered James, his hands out in front of him in a defensive fashion. ‘Those records are very prestigious – they could stand the test of time! If I do recall, their impressiveness got me my first date with you...’ Lily let out a sarcastic, short laugh.
‘You had to beg me to go out with you! And I don’t care about those silly Quidditch records. Harry here is going to go to work for the Ministry. Spread some real good and defend those that can’t defend themselves.’
‘My boy’s not going to work for those propaganda-spreading, lying politicians!’ replied James laughingly. ‘He’s going to be a star.’
‘Well why don’t you be a star and change Harry’s diaper...’ replied Lily quietly after sniffing Harry’s bassinette.
James, Lily and Sirius joined together in brief laughter. Soon after, the quietness of the living room took over once again. It was as if they could not escape the very grave undertones that characterized their entire lives; even conversation was not safe from the situation at hand. Sirius coughed, his eyes scanning his two friends as he thought of a way to restart the conversation that seemed to be preying upon his mind. Harry saw his parents shift in their seats, focusing on Sirius as if they knew what was coming because it was on their own minds as well.
‘Prophecy,’ Sirius snorted, leaning back in his seat. ‘Basing your life on the word of some batty old witch? I hope Dumbledore know what he’s doing...’
James looked at his wife uneasily, tilting his head at Lily, pressing his lips together and raising his eyebrows. Lily shot her husband a tired look in response.
‘I don’t believe in that rubbish – only reason why I’m not tearing a strip off you two for abiding by it is because Dumbledore is the one mandating the ruddy thing! And I still don’t like it!’
‘That’s exactly what I said Sirius,’ replied James while leaning in closer. Lily wore a discontented look on her face as she absent-mindedly adjusted the blankets of the bassinette once again. ‘Dumbledore’s always got his secrets... how do we know he’s telling us the full truth about this prophecy? We didn’t hear it!’
‘I’m going to take Harry out for some fresh air.’
Lily suddenly got up from her seat, slowly picking up Harry out of the bassinette and carrying him out of the room to the silence of James and Sirius.
‘L-Lily?! Harry’s sleeping!’
After a moment of no response from his departing wife, James hastily got up from his seat, Sirius slowly following his friend but pausing at the threshold of the living room. James met up with Lily as she began to pull on her autumn jacket, Sirius standing with his back to the wall of the living room as James and Lily began conversing by the front door.
‘Hey! You want me to come with?’ asked James cheerily. Lily’s expression did not change.
‘If you’d like.’
‘Is er... is something wrong?’ James pressed as Lily made sure Harry was settled in his stroller. Lily merely looked up at James who sighed. ‘OK, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, alright? We’ll take every precaution possible.’
Lily shifted closer to James who took her in his arms, Lily smiling slightly which made James laugh.
‘We all peachy then?’ said Sirius through a turn as he made his way out of the living room.
‘You want to come for a walk with us Sirius?’ said James quietly as he released his wife.
‘I would but... but are you sure it’s wise to go walking about at night... providing the circumstances.’
James raised his eyebrows at Sirius’ uncharacteristic stress on safety. Sirius shifted uneasily, looking at his feet as his two friends began laughing.
‘What? I’m not getting on Lily’s bad side, James. You saw what happened when we had to cook dinner last weekend...’
‘Well said, Sirius – if only James can clue in to that logic, he’d be perfect!’ Lily playfully tapped James on his forearm as she opened the front door, James letting Sirius exit before himself, clapping him hard on the back before closing the door behind the trio.
Harry walked directly through the door, the outer street of Godric’s Hollow appearing before him. James was holding open the gate for Lily to push Harry’s stroller through, Sirius hopping the waist-high gate altogether. Harry quickly caught up with them, looking behind him
briefly to see his old house fully intact.
‘Cold night,’ said James softly.
Harry instantly felt a cool rush encompassing his body which shocked him greatly, taking a deep breath as he was momentarily engulfed in the wind. Being quite familiar with memories and pensieves, Harry came to his own conclusion that this was the memory’s way of setting up the scene; whoever the memory had belonged to had obviously noticed how cold it was at this very moment after James had indicated it was so.
‘Hope I brought enough blankets for Harry...’ muttered Lily as she examined her son.
James, Lily and Sirius walked in silence for a few minutes, venturing down the sidewalk which led them pass a series of townhouses and eventually, the Hollow’s pub. Harry could see the small clouds of his parents’ and godfather’s breath in the cold air; the cloud appeared from their noses and mouths for a brief moment, the visual, foggy breath disappearing as quickly as it had appeared before Harry could fully recognize it. Sirius spoke abruptly as if his thoughts had been building up for a few quiet minutes.
‘Well there has to be a reason for this so-called prophecy and for Harry’s place in it – there is a reason for everything! Nothing just... is.’
‘Dumbledore doesn’t even know,’ continued Lily quietly. ‘All we know is that Harry is the one who You-Know-Who believes will fulfill the prophecy that has foretold his demise. Nothing about why this is... this all according to Dumbledore.’
‘And how does Dumbledore know what Voldemort thinks?’ asked Sirius skeptically. James merely shrugged his shoulders, while curiously, Lily focused on Harry, trying to pay no attention to Sirius’ question. ‘I’d... er... very much like to stay with you two once your protective enchantments with Wormtail have been finalized,’ continued Sirius, Lily looking up with wetness in the corners of her eyes. ‘From what you’ve told me, I’m not going to be able to visit you anymore once the enchantments have been cast if I live away from you. I... I don’t think I could bear not seeing you for any elongated period of time.’
‘Look, Sirius –’
‘I’m sorry,’ interrupted Lily, James taking a sideways glance at his wife’s interruption. ‘But... y-you can’t stay.’ Her stammering, coupled with the tears that now began falling down her cheeks took both Sirius and James (as well as Harry, Ron and Hermione) by surprise. ‘It’s... too dangerous for you to stay. I’d never forgive myself if something ever happened to you.’
‘Nothing would happen to me, Lily!’ replied Sirius as he tried to cheer his friend up. ‘I want to do my part in protecting you! Having Wormtail as your last line of defense is something I don’t feel comfortable about, with all due respect!’
‘No, Sirius. I don’t want your life to be defined by a prophecy that is already defining ours. It’s –’
‘My friends,’ retorted Sirius strongly, ‘are my life. You’re all I have and I’ll be damned if I’m just going to sit on the sidelines and watch events unfold! It’s wrong for me to be your Secret Keeper, but I can sure as well give everything I’ve got to protect you from that animal and the evil he brings!’ Lily only shook her head, offering a very quiet response as James comforted her, stopping the stroller as Lily looked upwards in to Sirius’ face.
‘No... It... It can’t be done. But thank you. We’ll always... We love you very much.’
Lily held her look with Sirius for a moment or two before continuing to push Harry, James nodding his head in agreement with his wife before following her. Harry strode past his father and godfather, jogging to catch up with his mother. She came to a stop, walking a few paces off the pathway in to a small, forested area, sitting on a bench as she continued to cry. Looking around him, he could see that they had entered the graveyard of Godric’s Hollow – the very graveyard that in modern times, housed the graves and the final resting place of Harry’s parents.
He sat on the same bench as his crying mother as she wiped her eyes with her sleeve, looking around her after she had done so. She took a deep breath and looked down at the infant Harry and smiled sweetly, yet another tear sliding down her cheek; she furrowed her eyebrows and wiped it away while kissing her teeth. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ron and Hermione in the near distance, Ron placing his arm around Hermione as they watched Harry from afar. He left a little distance between him and his mother, the stroller that held his much younger self being a mere few inches way from where Harry now sat.
‘I’m sorry you have to see me like this Harry,’ she said softly, sniffling after she had finished her sentence.
Harry’s eyes were drawn to his mother’s caring face. Even though he knew that she could not see him, he felt as if she was speaking directly to him as the angle that his mother was taking in speaking to his infant self made it appear so. Though she was not directly looking at him, Harry’s focus remained directly on his mother who – fighting through tears – continued to speak to her son.
‘I’d be lying to you and to myself if I said that I was not scared at all. I think your Dad is... does a good job of hiding it though.’ Lily smiled sweetly yet again. She did not even bother to wipe yet another tear that gracefully drifted down her cheek and fell to the cold bench. ‘But I want you to know Harry – you need to know that you’re worth it. You are worth every bit of it. Never feel as if this is your fault... because your father and I... we love you so very much. And whatever happens – whatever arises out of this... will all be worth making sure that you, Harry, get through it all okay.’
Harry watched as his mother leaned in to give his infant self a small peck on the cheek. Harry could see that he stirred inside the stroller, his eyes fluttering as he was momentarily disturbed from his slumber. Lily beamed down at her son, looking sideways to see that both James and Sirius had entered the graveyard, strolling towards where Lily sat with her son. She leaned in close to her son, Harry having to do the same to pick up on his mother’s soft speech.
‘We’ll get through this together. As a family. And one day... when this is all over... me... and you... and your father and Sirius and Remus and everyone... we will all be a proper family again. I promise.’
‘You alright Lily?’ asked James who sat beside his wife on the bench, looking at her with concern.
‘I’m fine,’ she answered earnestly. ‘Just... hard, you know?’ James seemed to understand, placing his hand on his wife’s and smiling broadly.
‘Shall we go back to the house then?’ asked James, looking between his wife and Sirius. ‘I’ve invited Sirius in for the night and then tomorrow, we’ll bring Peter over and ask him to be our Secret Keeper.’ Lily nodded with a mixture of happiness and reluctance.
‘We should get Harry in to bed and out of this cold as well.’
As Lily got up from the bench, a small popping sound echoed throughout the still graveyard. Harry saw his father and Sirius instinctively reach for their wands as they searched the dark area for the source of the sound. Then, a few more popping sounds reverberated from seemingly all around them. Ron and Hermione jogged over to Harry as they curiously looked around them as if they too were in the same time frame as Harry’s parents and godfather. Then, a voice that Harry had unfortunately grown quite familiar with rose over the darkness. Its charisma, feigned cheeriness and stress on every harsh sounding syllable was magnified by the extreme quietness of the scene, giving Harry goose bumps.
‘Good cold evening, gentlemen... Oh! How my manners have escaped me... to the exquisite damsel as well!’ Rabastan turned to Lily, giving her a small, courteous bow as he continued speaking. ‘Living among savage brutes such as those who have accompanied me here tonight, one’s gentlemanly conduct can have momentary instances of suspension.’
Appearing out of the darkness were four other Death Eaters dressed in dark robes, silver masks hiding their identities from Harry.
‘Rabastan Lestrange...’ growled Sirius, his wand extended. James was shielding both Lily and Harry, his own wand pointed at a pair of unidentified Death Eaters. ‘Why don’t you do yourself a favor and take your cronies out of this graveyard before I get a chance to kill them.’
‘Your philanthropy is duly noted and well received,’ replied Rabastan, his eyes closed and his hand raised. He still had not retrieved his wand as he spoke. ‘Though I have to say I am quite off-putted by your... lethal brand of problem solving. I am only here tonight to ask you a simple favor. That boy,’ Rabastan pointed at Harry, not taking his stare off of Sirius, ‘must come with me tonight... And all your lives will be spared.’
‘You’re mad if you think we’re just going to hand over Harry!’ called James bravely. ‘You’ll have to kill us if you want him and believe me, we have no intention of dying here tonight.’
‘Well...’sighed Rabastan, ‘Doing the good work of the Lord, I was hoping that the evening’s events would not have to come to such a standard... but alas...’ Rabastan placed his hands out in front of him. Harry noticed that his dark eyes and hair seemed even darker, his face more full than what he had seen in Rabastan during the Auror mission. ‘I feel it inhumane to not point out your present circumstantial predicament that you have somehow, incredulously, failed to realize. There are one... two... three of you... and there is – currently – ... one... two... three... four... five of us! I’m no Muggle mathematician but it appears as if we have a slight numerical advantage. Now... if you do not want to die a tragic and most painful death in this graveyard that can quite symbolically become your permanent home, then I suggest you take my most final offer and hand over the child. Let diplomacy have its day.’
‘The only way you’re taking my son from me you bloody psychopath,’ began Lily seriously, Rabastan turning his head in her direction, ‘is if you pry him from my deceased hands. And like my husband said to you... we have no intention of that happening.’
Rabastan sighed once again, glancing behind him at his cronies and smiling. When he turned around, his smile had faded, a serious, ugly expression characterizing his face.
‘That will be remembered as the last mistake you ever make...’
In a flash that made Harry’s heart skip more than one beat, Rabastan retrieved his wand expertly, sending a flash of red light directly at Lily’s head; the only part of her that was not shielded by James.
Sirius fired a pair of stunning spells at Rabastan but he was able to apparate away from them just in time, one of the spells connecting with one of the Death Eaters whose wand was raised above his head.
‘JAMES! HELP ME! Protego!’ Sirius exclaimed, blocking a trio of spells that came from three separate directions.
‘Confundo!’ cried James from his crouched position as he shielded the fallen Lily who was yet to stir after taking the brunt of Rabastan’s stunning spell.
James’ spell hit one of the Death Eaters in the head, knocking him to the ground. Quickly, he dodged a disarming spell from one of the other Death Eaters, Sirius hitting him with a disarming spell of his own a half-second after. James wheeled the stroller behind a gravestone a few feet away, shooting more spells over the stroller as he did so. The Death Eater that had been hit with the Confundus Charm had now gotten up dizzily, looking as if he was about to topple over at any moment.
‘Ah!’ cried Sirius as he winced over in pain. Harry looked around to see a Death Eater’s wand that was still pointing in Sirius direction.
‘Stupefy!’ cried James, his curse connecting. James ran over to the downed Sirius, helping him up.
Behind them, Rabastan had reappeared. Harry opened his mouth, wanting to yell a warning to his father and godfather, but he caught himself, realizing that it was pointless. He watched helplessly as Rabastan – devious grin and all – inched closer to the pair, Sirius wincing as he got back to his feet. He raised his wand, his mouth opening, his eyes wide.
Rabastan was knocked in to a gravestone by a bright white light. The confused Death Eater had hit Rabastan with a spell, continuing to fire various curses all around him in a disjointed circle. The Death Eaters all ducked for cover, two of them apparating away after they narrowly dodged a third spell. The only remaining, conscious Death Eater snuck up behind the confounded one, grabbing his arm and apparating him out of the graveyard. Rabastan was coming to by the gravestone, his eyes opening wide as he realized that he was the only Death Eater remaining.
The gravestone behind him cracked by the force of a spell. Lily had reawaken. Her wand was outstretched in front of her from her lying down position. Though she had a trickle of blood that blended in with her already reddish hair, she looked defiant and sharp as ever, her curse having nearly made contact with Rabastan. His wide-eyed look turned in to snarl as he got up in pain.
‘Good luck,’ he said threateningly. With that, he apparated from the graveyard, Sirius crumpling to the ground after he had left.
‘You alright, Sirius?’ asked Lily as she got up too, making her way over to the carriage that held Harry.
‘Fine, just took a Severing Charm to the leg. Good thing it didn’t hit any tendons... How are you?’
‘Never better...’ she replied after making sure that Harry was alright. ‘Probably going to have a bit of a headache the next couple days, I suspect.’
‘Sirius – I think we need to fetch Wormtail right away,’ said James seriously, glancing in to the carriage and viewing his now awake son. ‘This needs to be done tonight.’
‘Yeah... Yeah, I guess it does,’ agreed Sirius. ‘I’ll go now.’
He apparated without another word, James marched over to Lily who pushed the stroller back on to the narrow pathway. His foggy exhales were beginning to come in less frequent bursts as he regained his breath.
‘Hopefully that doesn’t leave a scar,’ he said, pointing to his wife’s head. ‘Is this still going to be a good enough location to hide away? Now that they apparently know where we live, I mean...’
‘According to Dumbledore, yes it will be,’ replied Lily while rubbing her head. ‘As long as the exact location has not been given away... we’ll be fine...’
Harry looked to Hermione whose eyes were glistening, Ron staring at Harry’s parents in a trance-like state. He watched as his parents slowly got everything in order after the surprise attack by Rabastan Lestrange and the Death Eaters. A minute later, they appeared to be ready to leave, the stroller being pushed by James as Lily clung to his forearm. However, once again, a small popping noise interrupted their retreat.
‘James and Lily Potter... be so kind as to remain in my company. Your presence here is still of necessity...’
Harry knew who had delivered the low, whispery, hissing voice before he was able to see the body that the voice matched up with. As the dark cloaked figure emerged from the shadows, Harry saw that the appearance of the man seemed fuller and less snake-like than what he had been accustomed to. No longer were the red slits for eyes that characterized his complexion and his face – though ugly and inhumane as if his inner ugliness had somehow seeped to the outer surface of his skin – no longer showed a trace of the handsome young man who Harry had previously encountered inside Dumbledore’s pensieve. His hair was thinning and his fingers were as white as his pale skin as if he had not seen the sun in years. His nails overgrown, a pointy, toothy smile characterizing his face, Lord Voldemort stepped in to the moonlight of the graveyard.
‘We’re not giving up the boy, Voldemort!’ called James bravely, stepping in front of Harry and Lily who stepped to the side of her husband, drawing her wand as well.
‘How brave of you to use my name like that, foolish as it may be...’ hissed Voldemort, drawing his own wand from his cloak. ‘This wand,’ he continued, examining his wand that he held up above his head, ‘has taken more lives and has been the instrument of insurmountable power that the two of you cannot even fathom. Do not make me add to that total here tonight. Give me the boy and I will show you mercy.’
‘Never!’ cried Lily. Harry saw that slowly, a couple of tears were cascading down her face.
‘You’ll have to get through the both of us!’ added James.
‘Oh, I have no doubt. That much is inevitable.’ Voldemort’s care-free, simplistic answer sent a chill up Harry’s spine. Voldemort changed course. ‘It is to my knowledge that the two of you were integral in securing Nicolas Flamel in a secret location almost one year ago. The location of Flamel is something that I would very much like to know...’
‘Look we’re not giving you Harry and we’re not telling you where Flamel is, got it?’ roared Jams defiantly. Voldemort merely chuckled.
‘If you’re not going to tell me where Flamel is, throwing away the chance at saving your son’s life in the process... then – for your own sakes – I implore you to tell me where he is keeping the Eye of the Posterus. Being a merciful Lord, I give you one... last... chance... to give the right answer.’
‘We’re not fools, Voldemort! We know you’re word means nothing! You honestly think we’d simply tell you where the Eye is? Do you think we’re mad? We’re not cowards – we’re not afraid of you! A mad man such as yourself in possession of the Eye? What makes you think we would give in to this?’ James was smiling now in his defiance and frustration of Voldemort. ‘You’re just distressed because there are things in this world that you... don’t... know. You’re powerless to time – it rules you! We fought to keep Flamel and the Eye safe from your clutches. People died in doing so. Good people. Something you wouldn’t understand. We wouldn’t want to give you unlimited power and throw all of that sacrifice away by simply handing over the Eye, now would we?’ Voldemort looked as if he was about to explode with anger but somehow, he kept it inside, scowling as he replied to James.
‘It is true that I thought you would be more cooperative, understanding the circumstances... but even someone as intelligent as myself can be wrong from time to time... it is only fitting that I kill the boy first... make you watch him die right in front of you!’
‘Why do you want Harry?’ asked Lily somewhat pleadingly, her wand defiantly held out in front of her. ‘He’s just a baby! He hasn’t done anything!’
‘But he will, as foretold by the prophecy,’ answered Voldemort in a hiss. ‘Though I find it hard to believe that anybody could conceivably stand up to my powers, this has been foretold. The boy must die. And the boy must die... now.’
‘Stupefy!’ yelled James, a scowling Voldemort easily dismissing the Stunning curse with a wave his wand.
‘Your defense is useless!’ ridiculed Voldemort.
‘We are not letting you take our son!’ retorted James. Voldemort snorted quietly, shaking
his head before replying.
‘This is the very reason why I know I am correct in knowing that you are the correct birth-givers.’
‘Wh-What?’ stuttered a confused Lily. Voldemort clenched his fist in frustration, but quickly launched in to a furious, angry speech.
‘The prophecy spoke of a child born at the end of July and to those who have defied myself three times. I am right in knowing that the prophecy applies to the both of you because even I must admit, your fortitude is more than what my usual victims show. Only the most powerful and resilient parents could possibly produce such a threat to my powers. However... no prophecy can rule Lord Voldemort’s fate. That is why... tonight... I seek to destroy the prophecy before it even has the chance to be fulfilled. The two of you have escaped me twice thus far, meaning that as of now, your son cannot hope to bring me down, foolish as that notion may be. As of now, the criteria of the prophecy has not been fulfilled. Tonight, I intend to kill you both before you can defy me for a third time... thus, rendering the prophecy obsolete. Once again, Lord Voldemort will reign supreme. My power is so great... that not even something as commanding as a prophecy has the power to influence me. I choose what is and what is not! I choose my own fate and the fates of those around me! And I choose to kill the Potters here tonight!’
Voldemort sent two stunningly quick curses at James and Lily that connected in full, knocking them both to the ground. Voldemort sneered, quickly walking over to the both of them, their scared eyes staring up at Voldemort who angrily stared down at them. Voldemort peered in to the carriage, his wand mere inches from Harry who was beginning to cry in his carriage. Voldemort smiled insanely, his mouth opening and his wand raised.
‘Not so fast, Tom!’
Voldemort wheeled around, his wand pointed out at the darkness. His eyes scanned the immediate area, panic characterizing his face. Harry’s carriage instantly disappeared, appearing on the opposite side of the graveyard not even a second later. A great white figure emerged, wand arm extended. The first thing Harry noticed were the piercing blue eyes that currently, were not full of kindness and warmth like Harry was used to, but of intense focus. Dumbledore’s long white beard was tied at the end, a long white and gold cloak standing out in the moonlight. Dumbledore placed a hand inside the carriage, examining Harry who had stopped crying.
‘Step away from the Potters, Tom... and leave Godric’s Hollow with your pitiful life still intact.’
‘P-Pitiful?’ asked Voldemort rhetorically through a disbelieved cackle. ‘I live a pitiful life? How about yours, Dumbledore? Babysitting a castle full of Mudblood children, let alone looking after every need of those around you? Someone with as much power as yourself... you’ve rendered yourself... insignificant. You’re a blip, Dumbledore. You have become... nothing. Unimportant... Useless... Powerless... That’s your life, Dumbledore.’
‘Look at yours... chasing down an innocent boy and his family? Despite your best efforts, they all still remain and will remain far after you, I may add. There is still much that you have to learn, Tom, before you can rightfully claim the titles that you so confidently instill on yourself. Only then will you have the so-called power needed to achieve all of the nasty business that you wish to accomplish. As of now... you’re nothing, Tom. I’m giving you a chance – leave tonight and your life as you know it will be spared.’
Dumbledore’s speech seemed to incense Voldemort whose face was one of extreme infuriation. He seemed to be breathing so heavily that he was having trouble in forming any coherent speech, Dumbledore calmly yet seriously pointing his wand straight at Voldemort’s chest. Both Lily and James had painfully moved while Dumbledore was speaking, taking refuge from behind a couple of gravestones after retrieving Harry’s carriage. Voldemort had no retort other than a destructive one.
Amazingly, Dumbledore somehow stopped the jet of green light with a wall of golden light which appeared to take much strength on the part of Dumbledore to cast. After a moment, the wall disappeared, the graveyard becoming dark once again. Voldemort sneered, pointing his wand at the ground, casting what had to be a silent curse. The ground began to crack all around Dumbledore, fire appearing in the cracks beneath him. Waving his wand calmly, Dumbledore extinguished the fire, another wall of golden light repairing the cracked ground which was pieced back together after the light had vanished. Voldemort’s panting could be heard in the silence, small puffs of cloudy exhales shielding his face from being plainly seen. After a moment of silence, Voldemort sent at least a dozen non-verbal curses (including many of the killing variety) at Dumbledore, but in a lightning quick fashion, Dumbledore was able to stop or dodge them all, flashes of light ricocheting the curses in every which direction. A pair of gravestones erupted, breaking apart at the force of the curse, debris showering Dumbledore. Dumbledore waved his wand, a grand tidal wave emerging from his wand tip and showering Voldemort. Voldemort did not budge at the force of the wave, the water never touching his cloak as it fell harmlessly to the ground with a simple wave of his own wand.
‘We could do this all night, Tom! I’m prepared to do so. Are you?’
Voldemort and Dumbledore stared at each other unwaveringly. After what felt like a full minute, Voldemort let out a painful scream, disappearing from the graveyard in a puff of black smoke. Dumbledore turned to where Harry’s parents and the stroller were, a look of concern on his face. However, the memory began to deconstruct as Dumbledore strode over to them, Harry looking to his parents for one last glance at them. However, the memory did not appear to be ending as evidenced by the fact that he was not sent out of the pensieve and back in to the Headmistress’ office at Hogwarts. Instead, he appeared back in his parents’ house in Godric’s Hollow. Judging from his mother’s still bleeding head, he deciphered that this was still the same night as the Voldemort encounter.
‘Wormtail’s on his way,’ Harry heard Sirius say. ‘I guess this is goodbye, for now...’ James gave Sirius a hug after nodding, Sirius making his way over to Lily and giving her a small peck on the cheek.
‘Look – Sirius,’ said Lily softly as he began to make his way to the door. ‘I want to tell you something. James and I... if... anything was to happen to us... we’re counting on you to take care of our boy for us –’
‘Lily, nothing’s going to –’
‘Can you promise me, Sirius? Can you promise us that you’ll make sure Harry is OK?’
Sirius glanced at James who was sitting on the arm of the couch nodding his head. He closed his already squinted eyes and bowed his head.
‘Of course I will... I’d die for that boy. I promise I’ll look after him.’
Harry watched as his father and Sirius made their way to the front door.
‘Look after Moony.’ Harry could tell that James was trying to be light-hearted, but the way his sentence came out made him sound extraordinarily gloomy as if every bit of life had been sucked out of James.
‘I’ll miss you James.’
Sirius and James shook hands strongly, Sirius taking one last look at his best friend before turning and leaving the house altogether.
‘I think I’m going to go lie down for a few moments, if that’s OK. I’ll put Harry down before Peter gets here.’
James nodded as he sat down on the couch, already lost in the very grave thoughts that were occupying his mind. Harry, Ron and Hermione followed Lily up the stairs as she carried Harry in her arms. She took a left at the top of the hall, making her way in to the bedroom. She laid Harry down in his crib, sitting down in her wooden chair by her desk by the open window that was letting in a very soft breeze. Harry glanced at his friends, indicating to them that they should go back down the stairs, the memory’s importance possibly taking place back in the living room, but a soft popping sound interrupted these thoughts. The trio looked at the window, the curtain fluttering in the breeze. Lily looked upwards silently, her eyes wide as she slowly peered out of the window.
‘It’s OK. The coast is clear.’
After a moment, a dark figure appeared outside the window, a long, dark-cloaked leg emerging over the sill, the foot resting upon the desk. A second leg plopped down beside its twin, the bottom of the figure resting on the ledge of the window. The man’s pale face appeared in the open window, his hands guiding him down to a comfortable position. The man’s shoulder length black hair and large hooked nose appeared in Lily’s lamplight.
‘You haven’t visited me in a while, Severus.’
‘The Dark Lord is keeping a close eye on all of his followers – it is a time of great unrest.’ Harry’s mouth subconsciously opened slightly, gazing at the much younger, former Potions master at Hogwarts that Harry had learned to hate so much over his schooling years. ‘Moments of escape are few and far between.’ Snape’s eyes fluttered to the bloody head of Lily. ‘Did he hurt you? Are you alright, Lily?’ The affection in Snape’s voice did not fit the personality that Harry was so familiar with.
‘I’m fine. We don’t have much time. I wanted to see you because we’re about to cast the Fidelius Charm on this house. You won’t be able to see me for a while after this – until we’ve defeated him at least.’
‘Oh, Lily,’ Snape gulped, looking down at his feet, his eyebrows raised and his mouth slightly agape as he looked back up at Lily. He quickly resumed his previous expression. ‘I hope you have put your trust in the right person to do such a thing. I wish I could do it...’
‘Well, you can’t, so no good in talking of that,’ sighed Lily as she rubbed the side of her head painfully. ‘I know your time is short, so I won’t keep you. I was wondering if you could so something for me. I know I can trust you.’
‘Anything... anything at all,’ assured Snape.
‘I want you to take my memories... memories of my childhood... memories of the work James and our friends have done... memories of Harry... I want you to take them just in case... in case James and I don’t make it. In case anything happens to us during this dangerous time. That way... one day... you can show our son his parents and all the things we have done. And how much we loved him. Could you do that for me, Severus?’
‘Why... yes, of course I will!’ replied Severus who was taken aback by Lily’s request. ‘But... why me? Why not give them to Black or any of James’ friends?’ Lily closed her eyes, extracting some of her memories and placing them in a vial which she had retrieved off of her desk.
‘Because...’ she said handing him the memories. ‘I want you to have a relationship with Harry, one day. Sirius, Remus... they will all have their time with him. But it might not be so easy for you. If you can send him these memories... it might convince Harry of the good person that I know that you are. Hopefully, he can see through the influence that James and the rest might put on him. I want him to see the real you. For everything that you are... and everything that you’ve done for me.’
Severus grasped the memories in his hand tightly, a small tear falling down his cheek as he hugged Lily briefly.
‘Send them to him when the moment is right. And if You-Know-Who lives longer than the pair of us... use them to give Harry the information that only few of us know that can be extremely useful in bringing him down. I’m counting on you Severus.’ Snape nodded tearfully, locking himself in a stare with Lily. Just then, Harry heard footsteps from the stairs.
‘You’ve got to go now!’
‘Lily – I promise I will do this for you if the occasion arises. I-I love –’
‘GO!’ urged Lily whisperingly, ushering Severus out of the window sill as she said so.
The memory began to de-materialize as Snape exited the window sill and Lily resumed her position at her desk. Harry could only look at Ron and Hermione as he felt the memory’s end coming, their shocked expressions matching his own. Ron managed a few words before being taken out of the pensieve entirely.
‘Is Snape... alive?’
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