In the beginning…
Lily Potter nee Evans had a plan. She was both a piercingly intelligent and fiercely protective individual, and the knowledge that a madman would be after her only daughter spurred her into action. She’d be damned before the man that she had fought so long against and who had already taken so many friends from her (Marlene just this last month..) could lay one of his slimy hands on her baby.
So, she decided to invest in some protection.
She didn’t tell James. James, bless him, took Professor Dumbledore’s reassurances that the wards would be enough at face value. While Lily fully respected her old headmaster’s precautions, well, he wasn’t little Harri’s mother. Between Dumbledore, James, she, and many of their other friends, they had exhausted all of the Light magic possible; culminating in the fidelius charm. As much as she trusted Sirius, she couldn’t help the nagging feeling that something more would be needed.
So she turned to some not-quite-Light magic.
Sirius, even without his family home Grimmauld Place’s library, would have been an invaluable source to tap. Unfortunately, her husband’s best friend was very particular about anything that could have been verging on Dark or even Grey magic. As such, the red-head had to make do with whatever she could scrounge up in the Hogwarts restricted section and the library in Potter Manor.
Although the ancestral house of her husband was not currently inhabited, all possessions were left in place in anticipation for when James and she could come out of hiding. James had also never had the will to move out his parent’s belongings in the few years since Dorea and Charlus had passed.
Lily was quite certain that the two would approve of her using their sequestered knowledge to protect their only grandchild. Luckily for her, her late mother-in-law was a Black by birth, and kept some interesting reading material in the manor library.
After months of scrounging together information she pilfered through in stolen moments, Lily had her last defense. She discovered a blood ritual that allowed one to preserve an object within a bounded area. The ritual could be bound to an object and make items inside a provided set of parameters to the object nearly impervious.
Of course, the ritual did not specify exactly what Lily needed. From what she could discern the “object” preserved tended to be an inanimate one. Also, while it was possible that Voldemort would attempt to kill Harri via blood loss or bludgeoning, it was much more likely he would attempt to kill her with the Avada Kedavra curse.
While no one knows for certain what exactly the curse does, it is known that it deals no visible damage to the body. It is possible that the Unforgiveable causes instant system-wide shut down in the body; making the heart, brain, or all of the organs simply stop functioning. It is also viable that the avada expels the soul from the body while simultaneously shutting down the brain.
Corpses from the killing curse do not continue functioning like those of dementor victims, but they show some startling similarities. Wizards do not care overmuch for examining intricate biological functions of the body, Lily has learned, but they do care for the overtly obvious or inherently magical.
The rate of decay in AK corpses and soulless bodies left unattended are the same and different to those killed by other means. Rather than the neck, abdomen, head and shoulders initially turning green as a sign of decay, another marker is the first to appear. A distinctly black discoloration appears on the right side of the chest opposite the heart, hypothetical location of the intangible Magical Core and soul.
On top of this, instead of magic naturally seeping from the bodies, it appears to have left immediately and altogether. This is shown in the rate of decay in AK corpses and rate of aging in dementor victims. Witches and wizards enjoy both a longer lifespan and reduced aging process when compared to muggles. This is unsurprisingly attributed to magic. Even the corpses of magical humans do not start to decay until a week post-mortem, compared to the thirty-six hours of non-magical humans. AK corpses decay as if they were the bodies of muggles. Bodies that are left behind after the soul is sucked out of them age at a rapid pace, equal to if not greater than muggles. Even those that are only exposed to dementors on a regular basis, such as Azkaban prisoners, experience increased aging.
With these observations it is obvious to Lily that magic and the soul are related, and the avada kedavra curse somehow related to the soul. A ritual meant to protect a physical object may not entail a shield for the metaphysical soul. Meaning Lily had to somehow change that.
Luckily, the twenty, soon to be twenty-one, year old didn’t take Ancient Runes just for kicks. She also lived up to her professors hailing her during her school years as a quasi-genius.
So she spent many more months not-so-secretly pouring over runecraft. This was not an occupation she needed to hide, as next to potions, runes were always a subject that she held a particular interest in.
January thirtieth and her twenty-first birthday came and went. James made sure to throw as smashing a party as he could with only being able to invite a select group of their friends. Along with the rest of the “Marauders”, Alice and Frank came toting little Neville, who got along swimmingly with Harri, and Mary MacDonald her old dorm mate and friend since first year came to celebrate. Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Moody, and Kingsley all came by with their well wishes too.
Lily had a wistful moment that in another life Severus could be there too, but it soon passed. Her old best friend had chosen his path, and it was one that endangered both her and her child.
Another month passes and she begins to feel anxious, but she can’t compromise the fidelity of these runes for speed. She must get them right or Harri may pay dearly for it. James notices her stress and preoccupation, but he believes it is simply from the prophesy and impending threat over their heads. He’s not wrong, but even if he didn’t understand the full extent of her thoughts, he still managed to soothe them over with his attention. The man never failed to make her feel loved and laugh, no matter how much he also drove her up the wall.
May came and she believes she has found her solution. The rune array to ensure that the protection extended to a “living” object only took a few months to properly sparse out, but it was the matter of the “soul” that was tricky. Still, she feels that with the breath of passing time on the back on her neck that she has managed it.
Working around and winding in the runes at the bases of the ritual, she has embedded an array roughly translating to “soul be caught and bound”. An array that focused purely on protection or preservation of the soul would cause that of opposite “body” to become unsound, possibly trapping her daughter’s soul in a dead body. The command “caught and bound” should ensure that even if the AK did attempt to expel Harri’s soul, it would still return safely to her whole body. It takes a keen mind to modify or add runes to those already included in an intricate blood ritual, but it goes beyond this to add something so far beyond its bounds.
It is no wonder that Lily’s precautions did not proceed as she expected.
In early June, when James was out on a two day “boy’s retreat” that she had vehemently insisted on for both his sanity and her own, “you are driving me barmy with your pacing James Potter!”, Lily set to work. She made her daughter’s crib the binding for the ritual and carefully began painting runes in a mixture of her blood and ink. She then traced over each of the characters with her wand, channeling magic while simultaneously chanting the allotted words of the spell. By the end, a half hour later, her vibrant red hair was matted to her head in sweat and she shook with exhaustion. She felt a cool thrill of satisfaction as her tirelessly placed rune array flared with light then faded to seeming nonexistence, indicating a successful ritual.
She took a break to make Harri and herself some lunch and subsequently crashed on the couch for three hours, her black haired daughter dozing on her stomach. Lily woke up when the young Potter began tugging on her long hair and babbling nonsense in her ear. The mother caught up her daughter and began tickling her mercilessly, resulting in peals of laughter. The gummy smile and stunning green eyes identical to her own directed at her caused a burst of love to flourish in her chest. She would do whatever she could to protect her child.
Lily had hardly felt older than a child herself when she found out she was pregnant at nineteen; nonetheless James who had matured to be beyond a school yard bully a mere couple years earlier. On top of that, they were in the middle of a war where they could die at any moment. Yet as soon as their little Harriet Zinnia Potter had been born, James seemed to come into being a father before her eyes. When Lily, hair a mess from the long labor and more exhausted than ever before, held her child in her arms for the first time, the fierce love of a mother overcame her and she knew she would protect her child no matter what.
Almost two years later that love burned strong as she placed the last bit of her protection. She secured a spell layered on top of her array, set with the activation of the array as the trigger mechanism. The ritual would activate with an attempt to harm the object inside the crib, Harri, and her layered spell would subsequently zap whoever triggered it into smithereens.
Neither the ritual nor the spell were remotely in the region of Light magic, but Lily couldn’t find it inside herself to care. As much as the wizarding world had given her, it had equally taken away. She did not intend to let it take one of the most precious things in her life.
And so months passed, and Lily began to feel a bit more relaxed with her precautions. She allowed James to bully her into having her wand on her at all times, her own paranoia letting her tolerate his.
She enjoyed her time with her family and her friends when they came around. She felt a bit distressed when Remus began pulling away, but despite the other boys’ worry, she felt confident in the werewolf’s loyalty. She, James, and Sirius quietly celebrated Harri’s birthday on July 31st, and the young woman couldn’t help but feel that everything may be alright.
Halloween came around, and despite her hope, Lily was prepared.
“Lily, take Harri and go! It’s him! Go! I’ll hold him off!”
As she hears her husband’s parting words, she feels a lurch of fear. But as she races up the stairs, her daughter in her arms, to Harri’s room a sense of calm determination floods over her. She tests the wards around her house and senses the anti-apparition ward surrounding it. The knowledge that Peter must have betrayed them passes through her mind, and she feels a spark of stinging grief before smothering it with rage.
She carefully lowers Harri into her crib, the toddler just a few months over a year staring back at her guilelessly. The girl attempts to make her mother pick up back up with mutterings of “up”, but Lily gently pushes her back down. Harri, somehow sensing that something was wrong, begins to tear up. Lily soothes her, running her hand over her daughter’s silky black hair and placing a kiss on her peachy forehead.
“Don’t worry; momma made sure you’ll be alright. I love you so much my Harri, my heart.”
Lily hears footsteps and stands up, knowing in her heart that it is not her other half that is approaching. She stands resolutely in front of her daughter’s crib, flicking her wrist so that her wand slides out of her arm holster into her hand. The smooth wood of her wand acts like a balm to her soul, like her dearest friend makes this stand with her.
The door creaks open, a long pallid hand appearing to push it aside. The sight of the barely-human man makes Lily’s insides curl in both fear and revulsion, but solemn determination soon rushes back over her.
Voldermort’s red eyes bore into her and a sneer crosses his face. He speaks, hoarse and sibilant, “Move aside, foolish girl.”
It strikes Lily as curious that he did not kill her straight out, but she pushes this to the side. There was the slightest chance that Voldemort, being a Lord level wizard, may be able to escape her trap. To avoid this, she could prime it with his magic. Lily first weaves her wand to form a shield around her daughter, carefully leaving the edge of the where the array would be if visible exposed.
She hisses out her first spell and sees both surprise and irritation flash across her enemy’s pallid face as he easily deflects it. The following moments are intense as multi-color lights flood the room. Lily carefully diverts a purple colored curse from her opposition, feeling a swell of relief and satisfaction as she observes it out of the corner of her eye being absorbed by the array. Voldemort did not notice, not expecting it, and her having diverted the spell could be cause for any emotions she hadn’t been able to suppress.
Before a sickly green spell catches her in the chest, Lily is able to slide a slicing hex through the bald man’s guard, cutting the edge of his arm. Red blood hits the ground. The red head couldn’t help but feel a bit surprised, having supposed someone with such a demon-like visage would bleed black, or green as it may be.
But that was what this whole war was about, wasn’t it? Blood. Even someone who claims to be above the rest of humanity bleeds no different from her. For all her “dirty blood”, it is Lily here cutting the man where he hadn’t been injured in battle since he began avoiding Dumblebore. It is Lily who is going to have the last laugh when the fool man mistakenly goes after her daughter. Voldemort is much more mortal than he wants anyone to believe. A small vicious smile crosses her face as fury floods his.
It comes too fast and strong for her to block. But as Lily awaits those few moments before death, she feels only anticipation in seeing her husband and love for her daughter, the satisfaction in saving her and regret for leaving her.
Lord Voldemort steps over the crumpled body of the foolish mudblood that dare wound him and looks at her spawn, the only supposed threat to his immortality. The girl cries, a result from both the fight she witnessed and the unmoving body of her mother. She is weak and pathetic, and he cannot believe this creature could ever defeat him.
Yet, he will leave no chances for him to fall into Death’s icy grip and after that irritating showing he would not mince words. Feeling satisfied, yet not taking any time to gloat or consider that the rather powerful witch may have also been terribly clever, the dark lord raised his stark white wand. His bloodless lips move, forming the words of his favorite spell.
Green light fills the room. A ritual is triggered. A spell flares. Voldemort does not have time to feel any emotion before his body is destroyed and his spirit flees. The room is left in ruins from the outpouring of magic, blowing the roof straight off.
Harri Potter is saved by love. However, instead of being saved by her mother’s bloodless sacrifice as one Harry Potter was in another world, she is saved by her mother’s preparedness and magical skill.
But not all is as Lily planned.
The killing curse hits Harri Potter and her soul is expelled. The runic ritual does as commanded and reaches out to catch a soul. The acquired soul is then bound to the perfectly preserved body of Harri Zinnia Potter.
The toddler collapses from stress and all is quiet in the Potter house. The runes, the ritual complete, are gone without a trace. With the passing of Lily Potter, no one knows how the child survived where all others died. Dumbledore would later suspect it was through an act of love. He was not wrong.
Some time later Sirius Black would come to find his best friend’s house in ruins. He’d howl in grief over his brother in all but blood’s corpse before dashing upstairs in a desperate attempt to find a sign of life. He would find Lily, violently alive Lily’s, corpse strewn in front of the crib of her child. Despite all expectations, he found his still living godchild inside of the crib instead of the still body he expected.
He gathered her up in his arms, relieved beyond all words. But soon that relief would turn to rage, and Sirius Black tended more towards violent emotions than peaceful ones. He grew up in a house that cultivated negative emotions, and he will never be quite rid of that damage. Soon Hagrid, the groundskeeper at Hogwarts, would come and demand that Sirius give him Harri. Consumed by thoughts of revenge and securing his goddaughter’s safety, the man agrees and disappears from the girl’s life for years to come.
By the end of the night Harri Potter was placed on the doorstep of one number four Privet Drive. She would be found in the morning by her not-so-loving aunt, and be taken into their household out of fear.
And no one knew just how much changed that Halloween night.
I am dead. I know I am dead and I am moving through the universe. It feels as if stars are bursting behind my eyes and one moment something is there and the next it is gone.
I shake because I hope I see God and heaven and I remember my fear of forgetting. I try my best to hold on to myself as I move.
I do not know where I am going. I do not know where I am. Where I have been – I know that, right? The trickle of a memory tickles the back of my mind, but I am moving before it can form.
I am formless, but I remember form. I think I should hurry up and get to heaven because this is all just a bit much.
I meet death. I think. I can’t remember. I think I was somewhere; I remember a definite feeling after I was formless, and I think that must mean I was somewhere instead of nowhere.
I stop. I’m not moving and it feels as if I am caught up by a great pitiless force. It tastes like something I can’t describe and it roars through the veins of my being. I am suddenly stuffed into something and it feels overcrowded so I push down and out and try to break from this cage.
I breathe and it hurts. There is a bright green light and a man who is not a man but is familiar and there is a woman on the ground who should not be there. My thoughts do not feel all my own and it is uncomfortable and confusing, but then I am alone and everything is quiet.
I fade back to black and it is more comforting than I expected. I do not know what happens but I do not think that was heaven or hell. I think I might need a refund from death, because that was not a “peaceful rest” as promised. But my thoughts fade and I no longer worry about death or definiteness and I can sleep.
I do not know that will be the most peaceful I feel for a long time coming.