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Life's Curse, Death's Gift

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Lily Potter quickened her pace, keeping her stride as smooth as possible as to not disturb the sleeping child in her arms. The chill of early dawn washed over her bare face, making her wish she had worn a heavier cloak. At least her child was well protected; he was all that mattered at the moment.

Lily glanced up the street, most of the houses looking as though the same blueprint had been used on each. Each house stood equal, except for the very last house on the corner. This house looked the same as the others underneath, but was covered by a spider of metal with a large hub on the roof. The bright, glowing green sign could not be easily missed either.

Lily gave a wry smile, slowing her pace as she neared the front steps. She gave the still sleeping child in her arms a light squeeze, and then walked up the stone steps. She paused for a moment, almost second-guessing the whole reason she was there that morning. This is for the best, she reminded herself. He would never look for him here, on another continent even. I can come back for him when this is all over. This is to protect him.

Giving one more look at her baby boy, she knocked on the front door. For most people, it would be far too early to make a house call, but Lily had informed its residents she would be arriving (though she had had to wake them up at three in the morning, their time), and was therefore expected. After a brief moment, the door opened, revealing another red-haired woman, this one dressed in a teal-hooded hazmat suit.

“Trick or treat?” Lily joked lightly, remembering the American tradition.

The woman at the door laughed. “A bit early for that, isn't it, Lily? We don't even have the candy in a bowl yet. But you are in costume, so maybe I should make an exception? If you stick around for a few hours, you can come Trick or Treating with us—”

“I’m sorry, Maddie, but I really am in a hurry.”

“Do you have time to come in for a little bit at least?” the woman, Maddie, asked, opening the door wider.

Lily glanced up at the sky, the sun peaking over the horizon. “I don’t have much time, but a few minutes shouldn't hurt.”

Hugging the small child in her arms closer to her chest, she followed Maddie into her home. Lily followed her into the kitchen where the two women sat at the bare kitchen table.

“So, what brings you here? And so early? I’m surprised you brought one of the boys,” Maddie said, staring at the boy still in Lily’s arms.

“He’s why I’m here, actually,” Lily whispered. “Maddie, the situation has gotten so much worse. I’m—I don’t know what else to do, this is our only choice—”

“Woah, slow down, Lily, what’s happened?” Maddie asked.

Lily took a deep breath. “He’s in danger. Both of them are. And I can’t in good conscience leave them in the line of fire. Voldemort has targeted my family, one of the boys specifically, and I can’t risk their safety. I—” Lily took another deep breath. I have to do this, she reminded herself. Hardening her gaze, she locked eyes with Maddie. “Maddie, I need you to do me a huge favor.”

“I’ll do my best, what do you need, Lily?”

“I need you to care for him, to raise him as your own child,” Lily said determinedly, holding her gaze.

Maddie gasped, “Lily, I can’t! He’s your child, why would you want—?”

“I don't want to, Maddie!” Lily sighed. “I don’t have a choice. I can't risk their safety, this is the only way. Once I return home, I’ll be taking Harry as well. James is watching him at the moment.”

“Harry's at home? So then this is—"

“Daniel, yes.”

“Lily, I—” Maddie took a long breath, running her hands through her hair. “Things must be really bad,” she said finally.

“I wouldn't ask this of you if the situation were any less dire,” Lily said. “I know you already have a child to raise, but this would only be temporary. I would feel so much better if I knew the boys were safe someplace else until this all blows over.”

“Are you sure he’ll be safe with us?" Maddie asked. "I’m not a witch, how am I supposed to protect him from a dark wizard?”

“Albus is going to ensure your protection,” Lily assured. “I believe he's already put the wards up. The strongest is the blood ward, he'll be safe as long as he lives under this roof. The fact that we share blood will be enough to protect him. The wards expire when he legally becomes an adult, but I should be back for him long before that happens.”

“But we’re only cousins. Will that be enough? Wouldn't he be safer with your sister?”

Lily shook her head. “I wouldn't trust Petunia with the boys. I love her, but her hate for the Wizarding World would not be good for them. No, you at least have an appreciation for our world, and more of an understanding of the threat Voldemort poses. Not that Petunia doesn't, but...”

“I understand,” Maddie nodded. “But why split them up?”

“I’m hoping it will throw him off, and I think the boys would be safer that way. Besides, I wouldn't want to load you with two extra children. Speaking of which, how is your daughter Jasmine? She must be getting up there, isn't she?”

“Yes, she’ll be four in January,” Maddie smiled. “I think she’d love a little brother.”

“You’ll take Daniel then?”

“You know I'd do anything for you, Lily.”

Lily smiled gratefully, and then glanced down at the boy in her arms, still sleeping soundly. He's going to be fine, Maddie will take great care of him, she assured herself. “I love you, Danny, never forget that,” she whispered, silent tears streaming down her cheeks. She leaned down and kissed the boy lightly on the forehead, and then handed him to Maddie. “Please take good care of him, Maddie,” Lily said quietly, still crying.

“I will, don’t worry,” Maddie nodded. “Be safe.”

“You as well. Goodbye, Danny,” Lily murmured, stroking the boy’s forehead lightly. I'll be back for you, I promise. “Thank you, Maddie.”

“Anytime. Goodbye, Lily.”

Twelve hours later, after Daniel had been introduced to the rest of the Fenton family, minus a few specifics of course, the baby began wailing uncontrollably. Maddie rushed to scoop the young boy into her arms, but Daniel wouldn't stop. It was then that Maddie noticed sharp glow coming from the boy’s right hand. Though the glow had been quick, it did not leave without a trace. On the back of boy’s right hand was a newly made scar, in the shape of a lightning bolt.

Over five thousand miles away, Daniel’s mother had taken her last breath, and his brother had become The Boy Who Lived.