Halloween of 1981 was a dark day in Godric's Hollow, and the weather seemed to know it. Wind whipped fat raindrops against the window panes as James and Lily Potter got their one-year-old son Harry ready for bed. The crack of apparation sounded outside once, twice, three times. James peered through the curtains and his heart dropped as he laid eyes on Voldemort, flanked by two masked Death Eaters. "Lily, it's him," James was shaken. "Take Harry, I'll try to hold him off as long as possible."
Lily gave James a kiss. "We'll do whatever it takes to protect Harry," she replied, looking into his eyes for what she knew would likely be the last time. Their gaze said the goodbyes that their voices couldn't, and Lily took Harry and ran to the nursery while James sent a patronus to alert the Order.
All too soon, the door to their cottage was blasted open, and spellfire could be heard. Lily diligently checked the protective charms set around Harry's crib and placed him inside. "Harry, baby," she whispered, "Mummy has to put a mark on your forehead baby. It will hurt but it will keep you safe." Harry whimpered, eyes filled with tears, and Lily cast a silencing charm on him. Carefully, she carved the rune Sowilo, which resembled a lightning bolt, onto his forehead. The blood and the rune activated the protective spells woven into the nursery just as Lily heard her husband fall. While Voldemort climbed the stairs towards them, Lily wrapped her child in the Potter's invisibility cloak and drew her wand.
"Where is the child?" asked a high, cold voice from the doorway.
"You're too late," replied Lily in a shaking voice. "He isn't here, the Order came and got him."
"You lie!" Voldemort's eyes flashed dangerously. "Tell me where he is and I'll spare your worthless life."
Lily met her enemy's eyes, and spoke with a new conviction in her voice as she raised her wand. "Never."
Lily's severing charm and Voldemort's killing curse flew past each other in the air, both striking true. Both bodies collapsed to the ground, Voldemort's head rolling into the corner of the room. Lily's death ended her silencing charm, and for a moment all that could be heard were Harry's cries. Lily's spirit sighed in relief as she gazed on the body of the darkest wizard of the age. If she had to die to save her son, she could have a peaceful afterlife knowing that she took him with her. She watched as Severus held her body and wept, and a little of the resentment she'd held onto since their fifth year eased. She lingered until the Order arrived to collect Harry, and watched in confusion as Albus sent Sirius away. Confusion turned to horror as she watched Dumbledore give a letter and her baby to Hagrid and tell him to go to Surrey. Well that just won't do. With a thought, Lily's soul latched onto Harry, cutting off its journey into the afterlife. I'm sorry James, but it seems like my work isn't done.
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore." she ground out as she materialized between the two men. Her tone combined with the shock of seeing her standing there silenced them both. "I did not just die so that my son could be dropped off on my sister's doorstep - against my and James' express wishes without so much as a word about what is to be expected." Dumbledore continued to stare at her pale form, his mouth opening and closing without sound. "James and I explicitly stated in our will that Harry should never be sent to my sister, Albus! There was a reason for that!"
Finally, Albus found his voice. "Lily," he began sadly. "Blood relatives are the safest choice for him. I can set wards at your sister's house that will build on the blood protection you and James have given him."
"Harry has a blood connection to the Black family through the Potters, Albus! Sirius is a blood relative!" Lily couldn't believe that her mentor and leader was trying to justify this - not to mention he completely failed to address the fact that he hadn't planned on so much as speaking with Tuney.
"Alas, Harry's relation to Sirius is too distant. Petunia is the only one who qualifies."
The look on Lily's face darkened as she considered her options. The Fidelius charm had somehow failed her and James, and even without their leader the remaining Death Eaters may come after Harry again. He would need the strongest protection that could be provided. "Fine," she spat out at last, "But you are going to Surrey, and you are going to knock on my sister's door and explain to her what has happened. I don't care what charms you use, you are not leaving my son on her doorstep like a parcel!"
Albus nodded, and took Harry back from Hagrid's arms. He knew better than to argue with Lily Potter, dead or alive.
"And you will be checking on him, Albus, won't you?"
"My dear Lily, he will be very closely monitored throughout his childhood, I assure you."
Appeased slightly, Lily nodded. Albus Dumbledore held tightly to Harry Potter and apparated to Surrey, pulling Lily's spirit along.
Throughout her conversation with Dumbledore, Petunia barely glanced at the whimpering one-year-old in his arms. Her disgusted looks were reserved for the headmaster himself as he ignored her claims that they couldn't take her nephew. Lily chewed on her lip, a nervous habit, and worried for her son. Despite Petunia's arguments, Dumbledore was gone within the hour and Harry and Lily remained at Number 4 Privet Drive.
"Oh, shut up, you wretch." Petunia growled at Harry, who lay swaddled on the sofa as Petunia had refused to hold him. When Harry did not stop crying, Petunia gathered one of Dudley's old crib mattresses and a threadbare blanket, shoved them into the cupboard under the stairs, and unceremoniously placed Harry on top, slamming the door on him.
"Albus, I knew this was a bad idea..." Lily moaned. "Oh, Harry, my baby, I'm so sorry."
"Mummy hold," whimpered the tiny boy.
Lily habitually tried to brush Harry's fringe out of his eyes, but her hand passed right through him and Harry shivered. "Mummy can't hold you anymore, baby. But Mummy still loves you and Mummy isn't leaving." Lily wondered if there was any way she could help her son, but as they were muggles her sister's family could not hear or see her, and she couldn't wander far from her boy or cast spells, making sending a message to the Order impossible. At a loss, she offered baby Harry the only comfort she could, and began to sing until his cries subsided and he fell asleep.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word..."