Hi all. This is my first posted story, and I would greatly appreciate hearing what you have to think about it. If you reach a chapter where you just can't keep reading, please let me know in a review so I can improve as a writer!
"Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."
-J. Robert Oppenheimer, from the Bhagavad Gita
"Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."
-Gellert Grindelwald, after reading a newspaper
Gellert Grindelwald once said, "Political power comes from the tip of a wand."
If the Lord Voldemort didn't despise Muggles, he would've known that Grindelwald had stolen that truism from the Muggle leader Mao Tse-Tung. Alas, Voldemort was a bigot who thought the only use for Muggles was getting them to kill each other.
He strode through the gate to the Potter's house, no longer covered by the Fidelius, his fingers light upon his wand. With the slightest twitch, he broke down the door.
Lily heard a scream. Then she realized it was hers.
James shouted, "Lily, take Harry and go! I'll hold him off!"
He hadn't even a wand, she knew, but she ran for it anyways, knowing that she was leaving her husband to his fate.
Lord Voldemort's shadowy robes billowed like mist seeping from a palette of ice. The very shadows deepened, and what light there was became crisp. Lily was suddenly acutely aware of the slightest currents in the air, the shifting of Lord Voldemort's robes as he glided forward, and the faintest hint of ozone. She could feel his very presence hammering at her resolve, striking at her very soul, demanding that she yield, that she roll over and beg for mercy from the inevitability that was Lord Voldemort, but she mustered her willpower and ran.
James, wandless, beautiful, brave idiot that he was, threw himself at Voldemort, giving Lily a chance to escape to the next room. The Dark Lord barely moved as he whispered the words that she never understood, and shot a bolt of emerald light, which hit James midjump. When he fell to the floor, he did not get back up.
Lily began to pray, to whisper to God for help. Usually, she wouldn't. Usually, she had faith that her actions were enough. But now, faith was all she had.
"Forgive him," said Lily, even as tears came to her eyes, for she knew that James was dead. "He doesn't know what he's doing. He doesn't know what he's doing."
She wondered whether she was lying to herself or trying to plead Voldemort's case before God, because it was plainly obvious that Voldemort thought he knew what he was doing. His myth, his power, the terror he struck into the hearts of Britain — everyone knew he was a cold, calculating man who would tear down heaven and earth for power.
The Dark Lord was taking his sweet time. He was lingering over James's corpse instead of pursuing her. In death, James's face was frozen in his final permanent defiance, and even beneath the shadows of Voldemort's robes she realized that he really did still look like the boy she'd fallen in love with.
Lily also knew that Voldemort could simply raise his wand, point it at her, and snuff out her life as surely as he'd snuffed out James's. Perhaps he knew that there was nowhere she could run. He was reportedly a sadist.
She chided herself. She was still alive, for now, and that was what mattered.
Poor James, she thought. We'll be together in the next world.
She entered the nursery and reached into the crib, caressing Harry, but not lifting him. There was no escape, and she'd be damned if her last act on earth was using her infant son as a human shield.
"Look at him," said the discordant voice of Lord Voldemort, sibilant as a storm, buzzing like a breaking wand, from every shadow and every place she could not see, every word simply wrong. "Behold your son, woman. Behold your mother, little boy. It is the last you shall see of her on this world."
She could feel his eyes on her back. She wondered why she was still alive. Voldemort wasn't known for his hesitance, nor for his mercy.
"Are you going to kill us?" said Lily.
Voldemort laughed, high and cruel. "Release him and stand aside. I just want the boy."
Lily's heart skipped a beat. He knew, and in that moment she saw her future crystallize. She could do this. He would live. She could do it, for him. For her son. "No!" she shrieked, letting her emotions boil over into hysteria, as she spun to face the Dark Lord. "Not Harry! Not Harry! Take me instead! Please! Not Harry!"
"Stand aside, silly girl, stand aside!"
"Not Harry!" she cried, as she raised her hands in supplication. But Voldemort hated when people raised hands at him, usually because they were trying to kill him. He twitched, said the Killing Curse, and she fell backwards, dead.
A death as mundane as any other.
"Damn," muttered Voldemort. He'd have been perfectly fine letting the woman live and just killing the boy, but he'd gotten trigger happy after years of duels and assassination attempts. He shook his head and returned to his purpose. Severus would just have to accept her fate.
The Dark Lord Voldemort approached the crib, stepping on Lily's corpse with a sickening squelch, fingers delicate upon his wand, six thousand years of magical lore simmering within his mind, as he pondered how best to deal with this situation.
Prophecies were always inviolate, or so the Unspeakables said. And there was a prophecy involving the Potter boy, that was undeniable. He doubted a half-blood child could possibly stop his plan to tear down the heavens themselves, but it never hurt to make sure. There was of course the risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the finality of death usually put an end to that.
He held in his hand a wand. A wand was the first symbol of the supremacy of man over nature, of man over the constraints of God. Wands elevated wizardkind above the dung of mortality, pared their branch from the Tree of Life and made them like Gods unto themselves. Wizards defied Nature simply by existing; there was no reason wizards couldn't similarly come to defy Time and Fate and God.
And surely, he traced out the sowilo rune, the Lightning. The Bolt of Zeus. The Hammer of Thor. The Fury of Baal Hadad. The Displeasure of Dyeus Pitar. The holy fire that descends the Sepirot, divinity condensed into the ultimate judgement.
The world became dust and tumult. Lily had remained, her spirit not yet passed to the next world for some reason unknown to her, and she shrieked in dismay. She had thought this plan would work. She had hoped that her mortal life would be enough to save Harry's. "God. God!" she whispered. "Why have you forsaken me?"
If she hadn't been severed from her body, she would've torn through the rubble to find her son. He couldn't be dead. He couldn't!
And then there was a cry.
Harry cried. He was scared and cold and thirsty, and she could not help him.
But he was alive.
She would have breathed a sigh of relief, if she had any remaining need to breathe, but deep within her was a great contentment.
"It is finished," she muttered to herself, and she knew it was her time to go on. And as she departed, both her spirit and her plan were in God's hands.
She was in a plain of endless white, and she was naked. She half-remembered a place like this, in what felt like a long-forgotten dream. She began to walk. This place was formless, but the further she walked the more she thought she saw patterns in the endless white.
After what felt like an eternity or no time at all, she saw a hollowed, twisting tree rising in the distance. She recognized it instantly. A long time ago, a young boy had appeared from the hollow of a tree and said words that had changed her life. But he was not here, could not be here; there were many goodbyes left unsaid, that could never be said.
For the first time, she wished she was clothed. A grey dress appeared from nowhere, and she pulled it on before moving forward. She recalled something forbidden about hiding her nakedness from the eyes of God, but no loving God would actually subject a good soul to an eternity of torment for petty sins.
She squinted. There was a man at a park bench, dressed in all white and sandals. He looked Middle Eastern, with olive skin and a bushy black beard. He waved at her and gave her a smile. As she approached him, she could see faint circular scars on both of his hands and feet, and a ring of scratches on his forehead.
"Hey, sis," said Jesus of Nazareth. "Been a while."