Chapter 1: What A Difference A Few Years Make
For those who have followed my previous work - Blood Doesn't Make Family (Continuation) - thank you for sticking with me.
For the new readers - my initial work was written as a continuation to the work of MusicDefinesUsAll. Unfortunately, as a new writer at the time, I didn't ask for permission nor did I clarify enough that it was simply my interpreted continuation of the work, not plain 'highway robbery' as it was inferred by some.
Thankfully, me and MusicDefinesUsAll managed to resolve the issue and ended it on good terms.
After a few days of messaging and talks, I asked for permission to use CERTAIN elements used by MusicDefinesUsAll to write my own original story from scratch.
So while my work may have some similarities, I plan and I will make it my own. Any possible similarities to MusicDefinesUsAll will be unintentionall or used with consent.
Please enjoy this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2
To the very astute of Harry Potter readers, you may notice some similarities of this work with the very first chapter published by JKR - this is intentional so as to make the differences more apparent
It was a happy day for the magical community of the world. After a decade of conflict and death, the Dark Lord, He-Who-Could-Not-Be-Named, the horrid Lord Voldemort, was slain. But at what a price it came – the Boy-Who-Lived, alone, without a family to call his own. The last of the Potters, with no other choice evident and in need of protection against the Death Eaters that remained, Albus Dumbledore made the weighty decision to leave behind the poor little Harry with the only family he had left. His mother Lily had a sister, who married a muggle named Vernon Dursley and had a child named Dudley. Albus didn't look too far into their being – Harry was no orphan if he had some family left in the world, even if they were Muggle. He had no choice but to deliver him to them. He was against it, but Lily somehow cast a Sacrificial Protection on the boy, which would only last through the Bond of Blood. The boy had to be taken willingly by the Dursley's, or he will never be safe. He expected that the Dursley's would care for the boy as they would their own.
How very wrong he was.
The Dursleys were drifting into an uneasy sleep on this restless day – with all the owls, strangely dressed people, and unusual weather in the world - but the cat on the wall outside their house was showing no sign of being tired. It was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all.
It was at midnight that a man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. He was tall, thin, and ancient, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This was Albus Dumbledore. A man who didn't realize that his very presence was unwelcome at Privet Drive.
But he did seem to realize he was being watched because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him.
He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known."
He took out what seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter from one of his pockets and began to flick it open, hold it up in the air, and click it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. He clicked it until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. He looked down at the cat, but after a moment he spoke to it.
"Fancy seeing you here, Minerva."
He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead, he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was dressed in a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled.
"How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly."
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Minerva.
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here."
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
"Oh yes, I've celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no —even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls…shooting stars…Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent — I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for a long time."
"I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors. At this rate, we would be doing Carlotta Pinkstone's job in repealing the International Statute of Secrecy."
She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A beautiful thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared, at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore? Nothing of him remains in the physical plane? No fragment left over? No offspring to call his own?"
"It certainly seems so, and we have checked. He may have some sort of magical contingency to advise his followers, but to return from death? Doubtful. If he does have a child, we will find him - or her - in one school or another soon enough," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?"
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of."
"No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone —"
"My dear Minerva, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense — I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name. Its is not as if his name is under the Ministry Taboo Watchlist."
"I know you haven't," said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of."
"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have, nor dare to use."
"Only because you're too noble to use them."
"It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs."
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what they're saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him? About what happened in the Potter home."
It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.
"What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are — are — that they're — dead."
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.
"Lily and James…I can't believe it…I didn't want to believe it…Oh, Albus…"
Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know…I know…" he said heavily.
Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke — and that's why he's gone. His power…his being…it all just broke."
Dumbledore nodded glumly.
"It's — it's true ?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done…all the people he's killed…he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding…of all the things to stop him…but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?"
"We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know."
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very unique watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
Professor McGonagall was petrified at this statement.
"You don't mean – you can't mean the people who live here ?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore — you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"Do you have other options available for the boy, Minerva?"
"We could have checked the will! He is a Potter – he is a legacy! His father must have written something down in such a circumstance."
Dumbledore could only sigh in resignation, "I am afraid that it is out of our hands. I have not been able to locate the Potter will even with all of my connections and the Ministry sharks are already searching for the boy to take him in as their own – I don't have to remind you were the Death Eaters are, do I Minerva? In any case, the magic has already laid its claim. The link of blood and soul will ensure that only he and he alone will get access to it and guarantee its continuation. If Harry ever dies, then the will and the last of Potter's dies as well. That, or will find another Potter that is somehow alive elsewhere in the world."
"But…that's ridiculous! There could be information in the will pertinent to what happened to his parents. There is also all the land that the family has – someone has to take care of them! Then there's all their financial holdings, books, artifacts, and everything else!"
Dumbledore quickly raised his hand to stop Professor McGonagall, "All their land is magically taken care of and hidden from the Muggles; the Potter elves will take care of the lands for now and feed off the magics of the land to sustain them. All the physical belongings are being registered, marked, listed, and stored by the goblins at a secure location associated with Gringotts or within its walls. All the financial holdings are stored securely in Gringotts itself, with a special dispensation account set up for Harry in the future when he starts Hogwarts – for his needs. It's is unfortunate that no one – except for possibly Harry himself – will get access to the will. Do not worry, though. I made sure Griphook personally delivered the Potter will to the Head Goblin of Gringotts."
Minerva was relieved, "Good, we can trust Griphook. So, Harry is truly safe here – away from the magical world?"
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous — a legend — I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future — there will be books written about Harry — every child in our world will know his name!"
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it? Plus, no pure-blood supporter will even consider searching for him in the Muggle world. To them, it would be the equivalent of searching through animal droppings and the like. "
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes — yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Albus?" She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it.
"Hagrid's bringing him."
"You think it — wise — to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
"I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore with iron in his voice. "He may be a simple man, a bit… accepting… of others, but he has never failed me.".
"I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to — what was that?"
A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky — and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
If the bike was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as an average man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," said the giant, climbing carefully off the bike as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir."
"No problems, were there?"
"No, sir — house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarming around. He fell asleep as we were flying over Bristol."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead, they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where —?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"I am afraid I can't – it was created as a result of Voldemort's magics. Knowing that Voldemort has magically altered himself over the years and with Harry's unknown immunity, I have no idea how the two have mixed. I also don't know what repercussion could arise if I do remove it. We will have to wait and see if anything comes of it in the future, but I do suspect that it may be some sort of remnant of the man himself."
"A remnant? What do you mean, Albus?"
"It is as you said Minerva – nothing of Voldemort is left on the physical plane but on the spiritual one… I am just not sure. The Dark Lord knew the foulest of magic and secrets. I find it hard to believe that he didn't have a plan of some sort of a spell already set up in such a situation."
Minerva and Hagrid both blanched at that notion.
"Even if I could remove it, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well — give him here, Hagrid — we'd better get this over with."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house.
"Could I — could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his great, shaggy head over
Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "You'll wake the Muggles!"
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it —Lily and James dead — and poor little Harry off to live with Muggles —"
"Yes, yes, it's all sorrowful, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor
McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be taking Sirius his bike back. Goodnight, Professor McGonagall — Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street while professor McGonagall was comforting Hagrid as he was approaching the bike. On the corner, he stopped and took out the silver lighter. He clicked it once, and balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and was about to apparate away with a swish of his cloak, when he paused and turned back to two of his closest friends. As he slowly started to take out his oddly shaped wand of elder wood, he thought of the ramifications if his actions after today were ever discovered.
"Minerva… Hagrid… Forgive me for this… but the less people that know about Harry's location, the safer he will be."
"Albus," asked Minerva as she finally noted the Headmaster's wand, "What are you…"
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be taking Sirius his bike back. Goodnight, Professor McGonagall — Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar, it rose into the air and off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Minerva," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply before apparating away. Dumbeldore followed soon after with a swish of his cloak.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours' time by Mrs. Dursley's scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley... He couldn't know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: "To Harry Potter — the boy who lived!"
If Dumbledore only knew how big of a mistake he made.
He suspected that the mark was 'evil', but he had no idea how bad it truly was.
He couldn't have known at the time that the mark was an accidental Horcrux created by Voldemort – he only stumbled upon such knowledge much later on. Even with his knowledge of the arcane, there were just some topics he never looked into during his studies of the darker aspects of magic.
He couldn't have known that the mark created a disease, an infection that spread an 'evil' to others if they didn't protect themselves from its influence.
He couldn't have known that the already Muggle-personified Dursley would be infected by the dark mark.
He couldn't have known that their inhibitions would falter and their darkest instincts would rise to the surface.
He couldn't have known that they would simply become vicious at the one thing that brought a significant change into their lives – Harry.
He couldn't have know that the scar – without any other form of safeguards – would become a lightning rod for other types of darkness in the world.
He couldn't have know that someone, somewhere, would have been strong enough to actually detect and find the source of such pure evil.
He couldn't have known that someone would actually be strong enough to get past the barrier surround the Dursley's home.
He couldn't have known… of what would happen.
(1) Lelimency, Obliviate, and Enervate are already known spells in the Potterverse. 'False Memocreo' and 'Ne Memoria' are simply Latin translations of 'false memories' and 'new memories.'