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Red Hair and Grass Blades

Chapter Text

Things had a rather nasty habit of changing. It’s probably why there are so many different alternate universes, and how there were thousands being created with a single choice or whim. Some poor fool called it the butterfly effect, about how something so insignificant could cause an immense effect on the world as a whole.

(We don’t talk much about how before that particular phrase had been coined, that idea had been once called the 'dinosaur stomping effect.' To put it simply, a dinosaur stomped in one particular area of the ground in which had killed a certain aspiring bacteria that would someday create a species of hyper-intelligent people called the Dumerufikins, who then had kept humans as pets. It was a nice lifestyle, to be perfectly honest. Anxiety hadn’t been invented yet. Quite an achievement. And then a dinosaur had decided that perhaps today was a good day to have a great stomping around and that particular universe doesn’t really exist anymore. Anxiety had been invented, and now we're just a bunch of hobbing creatures with a sense of impending doom reaching down on us. That and also NyQuil was invented as well. We don’t know quite sure how the two are connected, but alas we cannot determine it as that whole existence was shut down as a whole. Damn Jeffery the Velociraptor.)

As typically there are more universes than one can count, many small insignificant actions and choices could change the world as a whole. Or simply not really do any damage whatsoever. There is no in-between, really. If, for instance, a dinosaur named Jeffery hadn’t gone to a grocery store and managed to find coconut milk and eat it for breakfast, then possibly tissues would have never been invented. Because as anybody knows, Velociraptors get the sniffles if they eat coconuts. Handkerchiefs are still in, and nobody has really caught on how gross it is to use the same cloth every time you cough. And if Jeffery didn’t eat those tasty cocoa puffs that were mixed with coconut milk, then he would have had eaten an orange and who really cares about that. Nothing changed and he had the cocoa puffs in the middle of the night as he had stayed awake to think about space. And how scary those big rocks out there are just floating around. Because he’s a dinosaur. He thinks about his mortality.

Besides the fact that Jeffery is a bit of a pessimist and vaguely correctly guessed the way that most of the Earth would be wiped out at a 3 AM binge fest of cocoa puffs, that also didn’t have much of an effect on the world. Some actions tend to have big effects while others do not have any whatsoever.

Which brings us to our next point. As one Lily Potter was thinking about a Dark Lord and a war late one night, another Lily Potter had slept.

Sleep makes a bigger difference than what most mortals might think. That’s how the movie Back to The Future was made.

As a more well-rested Lily Potter had woken that morning and, feeling her mortal coil was close at hand (as one would do when waking up and wondering if they might die that day) decided to have a wonderfully active morning with her husband. There were a few more particular differences between the two universes. But they’re super gross and even narrators don’t want to get into them. But the main difference between one Lily and another was that one got pregnant a few days before the other.

And thus, in one universe, a vast difference was made.

In the original universe (well, as much as a universe could be the original), Lily Evans Potter had a small baby boy named Harry James Potter. And from that moment thousands and thousands of universes were created. Harry James Potter had an important role in his life. Chosen One, Horcrux, and general scapegoat. He was tricked, bamboozled, and repeatedly killed. In a few hundred universes, he went back in time and gained revenge against his once friends. In other realities he grew to love the man who aimed to kill him, in others, he married a redheaded woman with a glowing smile. He was the best at quidditch, the worst at potions (but in a few, he was pretty good), and in a sense, he was the main character in thousands of pieces of fanfiction that was posted on a website. Harry James Potter became the Master of Death, and that is one thing that Universes never changed.

And so, in the small offshoot change of a well-rested Lily Potter, the vast difference became apparent when Lily Evans had a little girl with red fuzz on her misshapen potato baby head. And thus, Harriet Lily Potter was born, and she lived a different life than one of Harry James Potter simply because of one neverending problem.

Sexism.

(Thanks to Jeffery, for making that. Again. Damn that dinosaur.)

A prophecy was made. That detail didn’t change much. Severus Snape crept by the door and listened for details that were lost but the most important pieces of information. Thrice defied parents, a child born near the end of June, and they would have the power to destroy the Dark Lord. Snape was then detained by a bar fight and was thrown out, unable to hear the rest of the prophecy that would change the world. And from there, the greasy hell bat when to his master and told him of the problem.

(There has not yet been a single universe in which Snape failed to tell Voldemort about the prophecy. Which speaks about his loyalty.)

And from there, the Dark Lord Fleeing-From-Death went down a list (not really) and figured who was pregnant and who would be the mother of his destined downfall. As for how he managed to figure out who was due to give birth is unknown. As most Dark Lords don’t really bother the maternity ward in St. Mungos, most were unable to give a clear statement as to what happened.

But trust me, I bet that day in St. Mungos was one of the weirdest they’ve had since bananas were made.

(Don’t ask about that story. It’s rather horrifying. Not funny at all.)

Two families were singled out. Both went into hiding, but through the rumors and the gossip mill (and two particular chatty midwives), the Potter and Longbottom families were the two candidates. And from them, two children could be his match. The power that he knows naught of. Taking no chances, as he was a superstitious Dark Lord, Voldemort took his time to figure out which one was the one who was his destined enemy.

It wasn’t long until he heard that the Potters had a daughter, not a son, did he throw that name into the garbage. Longbottoms had a boy, and truly only a man could take on the Dark Lord. A girl wouldn’t have the power, nor anything to be special to warrant Voldemorts attention. The funny part was Voldemort didn’t even second guess himself. Even though he had only moments prior been considering the Potters over the Longbottoms since their child would be a half-blood, like he was, Voldemort did not hesitate to dismiss the idea that a girl could be his match.

And thus, sexism, a blight across the world and several planar systems, shifted Harry James Potter’s fate onto another boy. A Boy-Who-Lived-and-Taled-the-Tale.

It also sealed Harriet's fate as well.

On October 31st, 1981, the Dark Lord Voldemort broke into the seaside cottage where the Longbottoms were living and tore apart a family. Alice and her husband Frank were killed and their boy faced a madman and was hit with a green light. It didn’t hit very hard and it bounced right off. Neville survived.

Two days later, on November 2nd, Death Eaters came into the home of Godric Hollow and tortured two bright people to the brink. They were taken into custody and Harriet’s parents were sent to St. Mungos to recover. A man with long greasy black hair and led the Aurors to the Death Eaters in hopes that he could save somebody. He did, but in the end, he lost them entirely as well. St. Mungos was optimistic after all, Lily and James could recover one day.

Spoiler alert: they didn’t.

Neville was taken in by his grandmother, a stern woman who longed for her own son instead of a wailing babe. Her sorrows drowned her and made her insensitive to the abuse in her home. Harriet was taken by her godfather who kept her for a few hours before handing her to a giant who promised to look after her. That night, Sirius Black disappeared, never to be seen again.

Plans were made. Plans bigger than just Neville Longbottom and Harriet Potter. They were all-encompassing. Things were set in motion, blind eyes were glazed over to the manipulations and worn lips spouted lies. “Voldemort is dead,” they might say. “He’s gone for good. Neville Longbottom is the Boy-who-Lived. The war is over.”

Wizened old eyes twinkled as they surveyed the battlefield and watched as his pawns began to recuperate from war and waited patiently for the next one to start.

And like every universe, Harriet was placed on a doorstep in the middle of the night. Her life had been torn apart that night. Everything once normal would never happen again, and her soft whimper as the cold bit her was masked by the wind. Harriet Lily Potter was left on her Aunt Petunia’s doorstep on the night of November 2nd, 1981. And yet, nobody could foresee the effects of leaving Harriet alone on the day of the dead.

Not even us.