Chapter 1: Prologue
I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters.
This has been rolling around in my head for some time blocking work on other stories. So, I sat down and wrote this in about half an hour one night. It was late and I was tired; I tried to proofread it but I'm not sure how well that worked. Please point out any mistakes/problems.
Oh, and I know the Dursleys will be OOC. Since I'm changing something so fundamental to their characters in the book, canon for Harry's home life is getting defenestrated.
This is the last letter I will be able to send you for quite some time. I really shouldn’t even send this one but I did not want you to worry when you don’t hear from me. The war is heating up; I feel that it will soon be over, one way or the other. It has intensified enough that James and I are finally going into hiding. Sirius has agreed to act as a diversion while Peter is the true Secret Keeper. Dumbledore will be coming this evening to cast the charm.
I fear this will not be enough, Tunia. Peter is a weak man and has been acting increasingly nervous though James is convinced it’s only my imagination. I would feel much more comfortable if Remus or Sirius were the Secret Keeper but Sirius swears that he is too obvious and Dumbledore is persuaded that Remus’ condition will drive him to support the Death Eaters.
You should be safe at least. I’ve made sure never to mention you and while it is well-known that I am a muggleborn, very few are in a position to find out whether I am an only child. Those who already knew of you, I, well I suppose “convinced” is the best word after all, convinced you died in the same accident that killed our parents. James and Dumbledore know the truth but only James knows that I correspond regularly with you.
I suppose I should get to the point of this letter. I’m very uneasy. Dumbledore has become obsessed with a prophesy that he swears tells of the end of the war though he refuses to tell us the whole prophesy. More than that, he is certain that it is Harry who will destroy the Dark Lord! The very idea is ludicrous but I am frightened to think of what Dumbledore might do to force it to fruition. I can no longer trust Harry’s safety to him.
I have taken steps to protect Harry. I had been researching ancient magics in an attempt to find something that could be used against the Death Eaters but I changed focus once I learned about the prophesy. Many of the protection spells have precise requirements but I will have time to fulfill them once we’re in hiding. As a precaution, I’m sending you a copy of my research though I sincerely hope it will be redundant. Part of the protection is that if anything happens to James and me, whoever takes Harry will feel compelled to leave him with you. With luck, Sirius, Remus, and Peter will be able to help raise Harry but I know you will be able to handle the task regardless.
Give my love to Vernon and Dudley. I hope I will be able to see all of you soon.
Your Loving Sister,
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
You’ll never guess! Vernon has proposed! I hardly know what to do I’m so excited. Obviously, our engagement will be several months since I refuse to get married without family present and I haven’t counted those second cousins we have on Papa’s side as family since what they did at the funeral. I was thinking our wedding would be in August so you could help me organize it and Vernon is amenable to the idea. Luckily, his sister Marge is unmarried since she would insist on “instructing me” and I shudder to think what the wedding would be like then. Oh Lily, I hope…
* * * * *
The morning was still and cool when Petunia Dursley prepared to go on her morning constitutional. It was early enough that Vernon did not yet have to get ready for work so she was quite happy to leave Dudley in his crib sound asleep. She loved the little darling dearly but she couldn’t help but treasure the peace and quiet that came with what she had claimed as her “me-time”. Besides, it was good for Vernon to take care of Dudley in the morning; it greatly strengthened the father-son bond and prevented the type of stiff, remote relationship Vernon had with his own father.
When Petunia opened the door, she almost tripped over something on the step. When she realized exactly what that something was, her shriek threatened to wake the neighborhood. It did wake the infant asleep in the basket on the step who let out a cry of his own. The sound broke Petunia out of her shock and she quickly scooped up the baby to comfort him.
“Pet, what’s wrong? What’s happened?” Vernon had almost levitated out of bed and had flown down the stairs to go to his wife’s aid when he had heard her scream. He was in no way prepared for the sight of Petunia bouncing a baby in her arms, cooing at him.
“Oh, Vernon! I’m sorry if I woke you. Be a dear and grab the basket. Maybe there’ll be a hint as to who this sweetie is and what he was left on our doorstop of all places. You’d think if someone was abandoning a baby they’d look for a hospital or a church.” She gave an indignant sniff. “We could be serial killers for all they know.”
Shocked by both Petunia’s words and the sight of a baby in her arms who was undeniably not Dudley, there was little he could do but follow her directions and follow her into the house to the kitchen. As his befuddlement eased, he moved the blankets in the basket around in hopes of finding some sort of id for the little tyke. He froze when his fingers brushed what felt like heavy parchment. Vernon knew that parchment almost always meant wizards but the only magical family who knew him and Petunia… He peered at the baby boy peeking up from just above Petunia’s shoulder. Startlingly green eyes met his and he inadvertently let out a gasp.
“What is it dear? Is there a note?” Petunia didn’t pause in her one-armed preparation of a bottle of milk. Luckily, she had plenty of practice due to Dudley’s habits.
“Is that… could it be… Harry?”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Though her movements stayed gentle, her voice was sharp. “Just because this baby has a passing resemblance is no reason to jump to conclusions. Even if Lily and James let Harry out of their sight despite all the danger they’re in, do you truly think that they would leave him unattended on a doorstep on a cold night? If I remember what Lily told me correctly, warming charms have to constantly be renewed. It is not Harry.” Her tone was adamant but Vernon could detect just the slightest quiver of fear. He realized that she had already comprehended the possibility. He knew their trepidation could be ameliorated by reading the latter but he feared Petunia’s reaction if it confirmed his barely-voiced suspicions. Steeling himself, he finally opened the letter.
Voldemort finally succeeded in killing Lily and James. Harry survived. For your own well-being, provide hearth room until his majority. The wards I have placed depend on it. Without them, Death Eaters will find and, no doubt, kill you.
“Petunia, sit down please. You know the baby is Harry and this letter just confirms it,” Vernon choked out, his eyes blurring with tears he refused to let fall. He had to be strong for Petunia. “I’ll call in to work; they can do without me for a few days.”
Petunia groped almost blindly for a chair before sinking gratefully into it. Her arms tightened around her nephew as if she could retroactively protect him from what must have occurred. His soft cry made her start before loosening her grip and returning his bottle to him. Her mind felt numb, frozen, as if by refusing to grasp her husband’s words, they would not be true. Another cry, this time from upstairs, had her struggling to her feet. Vernon beat her to it. After somewhat awkwardly pushing her back into her chair he left to get Dudley ready for the day.
Petunia sat mechanically holding Harry, her mind slowly thawing from the frozen state it had entered. She almost wished it wouldn’t as her thoughts began to race. She and Lily had put safeguards in place in case the worst happened but actually implementing their plans would not be easy. Luckily, the hardest parts were already taken care of. The Ministry of Magic, as much as the top officials wanted to ignore the fact, was under the authority of the British crown and, as such, all official documents such as birth and death certificates were filed for the magical community just as they were for the muggle one. Documents such as wills were, of course, meticulously edited. Lily had carefully (and legally) charmed copies of both Lily and James’ death certificates and muggle versions of their wills to appear in the Dursleys’ safe. This was done so Petunia could do all the necessary paperwork without getting the notice of the magical world in the slightest. However, that still left the muggle bureaucracy with which to deal.
Vernon interrupted her frantic musings by carrying Dudley down the stairs. Dudley, who was quite proud of being a big boy and felt he could dress himself and climb down the stairs without help, was very put-out. He completely forgot his ire, however, when he caught sight of another boy sitting in his mother’s lap. A considering look covered his face; he was obviously trying to decide whether to object to this intruder or view the intruder as a baby who needed to sit in a lap instead of being a big boy like he was. This argument would have been more convincing if he did not still enjoy sitting in his mother’s lap. Before he could come to a decision, Vernon sat down, pulling Dudley into his lap and Petunia spoke.
“Dudley, this is your cousin Harry. His mummy was my sister. His mummy and daddy can’t be here anymore so he’ll be staying with us. It’ll be just like having a brother. You’ll have to share daddy and me but you’ll have a playmate.”
“Same to you Harry,” Vernon continued. “I know you’ll miss your mummy and daddy but I’m sure you’ll have fun playing with Dudley. And your Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, that’s me, will look after you like your mummy and daddy wanted.”
By the time Petunia and Vernon were finished talking, Dudley had come to the conclusion, with as much thought as a sixteen-month old could put into any subject, that sharing his parents would be worth it for a playmate who couldn’t be taken away. Harry just hid his face in Petunia’s shoulder.