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Author Notes:

Once again, The Ubiquitous Note:

Some of you may recognise this story as looking just like one that a writer named Liz Harrison wrote. Same name, even! The reason is that she has given me the story to see what I might do with it. She has dropped off the 'net for a while, and wanted to see this one finished.

In other words - I have her permission to be working with this story.

The first chapters are the ones written by Liz. From Chapter 8 on, you begin to see my work. (I picked up from where she left off in Chapter 8.)

You'll be seeing this note until I reach the first chapter that is completely mine, mind you. You'll even see it on the chapter that was never released to the public, because it wasn't finished yet.

Wishful Thinking

Chapter 3 — The Head of the Noble House

"And why, exactly, do you need to stay with Harry, Charles?" Dumbledore asked, peering at the man over steepled fingers.

"He could benefit greatly from a bit of fitness training, Professor," Charlie replied without a hitch. "You’ve already told me I get a few weeks off, so I was thinking I could stay with him for a week or two, maybe get him up to snuff. He’s a pretty scrawny kid, Professor."

"Yes, he is that," Dumbledore agreed, smiling. "However, I’m sure you can understand my concerns, Charles — if Voldemort were to find out—"

"With all due respect, sir," Charlie interrupted, "if You-Know — V-voldemort finds out I’m there, you haven’t warded the area very well. And my family is already at the top of his Hit List. I won’t let that stop me from helping him."

"But staying with him, Charles?" Dumbledore asked, leaning forward. "Do you really think that necessary?"

"Quite frankly, I do," Charlie replied, "discounting all other reasons, it’s a good idea for security purposes alone."

"Hmmm," Dumbledore murmured, and he spun in his chair, turning to stare out the window. "Were it your younger brothers coming to me with this request, Charles, I would likely be less sympathetic. But as I understand your concerns, and as I know you understand my own, I will grant this request. Please see to it, however, that you do not practice magic on the premises; I’m afraid Cornelius would be quite happy for any reason to prosecute — or persecute, as the case may be — young Harry."

"Don’t worry, Professor, I’ll be careful," Charlie soothed, smiling at the elderly wizard.

"Excellent!" Dumbledore smiled brightly. "I’m sure Harry will enjoy your company — see to it that his next few weeks are productive. Shall I see you out?" he added, rising.

"Oh, no, Professor," Charlie replied, and he clambered to his feet, waving the professor back into his seat. "I’ll just be on my way. Thank you, Professor."

"Not at all, my boy, not at all!" Dumbledore smiled jovially and, as Charlie left the office, turned back to the large pile of paperwork teetering on his desk.

Charlie waited until he was in the Entrance Hall before speaking again. "‘Scrawny’, my arse," he muttered angrily. "Malnourished and abused is what he is. I swear that man is blind…"

Shaking his head, Charlie wandered out of the school and made his way slowly to the gates, apparating away to the Burrow to pick up his things.

He’d packed the night before, after all. If Dumbledore had refused his request, he would have gone anyway.


"Is Charlie in place yet?" Remus asked absently, glancing up from the notebook he was reading.

"He’s on his way," Tonks replied as she turned a page. "Look at this," she muttered, shoving her notebook Remus’s way. Sitting up slowly, Remus shifted until he was sprawled next to Tonks on the plush rug, and read the last page of the notebook aloud.

" ‘July 30, 1995

Walked into kitchen and found DD sitting there, staring at the wall. Didn’t notice me so I backed up and listened from outside the door. Muttered something about failing everyone, sacrificing too many. Said something about stealing something from H… I’m getting worried.

Aside from H’s childhood and peace of mind, I’m not sure what else DD has stolen from him... Afraid to find out. DD seemed more stressed about what he was muttering about than he was about sending H to PD. Can’t be good.

I’m scared for H.’ "

Finished reading, Remus leaned back, shock and confusion warring on his face. "What has he done now?" he demanded, staring at the notebook. "What else could he have done?"

"I don’t know, but I need to get to work," Tonks replied, pushing herself to her feet. "I was late yesterday and Dawlish nearly killed me. Good luck," she smiled grimly, rushing out of the room.

"Yeah, nice talking to you too," Remus muttered. Sighing tiredly, he reached for a new notebook, having exhausted the one he’d been reading. The night before, he, Kingsley and Bill had carefully gone through all the scrolls and notebooks, arranging them in chronological order. Moody had begun with the scrolls from immediately after Harry’s third year. Arthur, his hands shaking, had begun with Harry’s forced entrance into the Triwizard Tournament.

From that point onward, Sirius’s records increased greatly in number, and the group had been forced to divide the records from Harry’s fifth year among Tonks, Bill, Kingsley and Remus. Remus had quickly seized on to the notebooks chronicling the summer between Harry’s fourth and fifth years — he remembered wondering what Sirius had been doing, writing so often. But somehow, Tonks had ended up with one from his pile, and continued reading rather than replace it. Swearing under his breath, Remus rifled through the pile, searching for the notebook which followed after the one Tonks had showed him. After a few moments of frantic searching, he found it and opened to the first page, reading hurriedly.

July 31, 1995

Happy birthday, H. Went to Gringotts today, checked H.’s finances. Whatever DD’s stealing, it isn’t money. Have a bit of an in with the goblins — promised they’d watch H’s accounts carefully. Turns out DD is the executor of the will of L&J. Doesn’t sound good, but goblins say nothing fishy has happened with H’s vaults, transactions, etc. Asked to be notified each time money withdrawn from H’s vaults, goblins agreed.

Whatever DD’s stolen, it isn’t material. I’m getting very worried.

He turned the page.

August 1st, 1995

Got in a bit of a row with DD today. H’s birthday was yesterday and DD said he’d be moved last night. H still isn’t here, no attempt to get him has been made.

Hr frantic — says he’ll feel betrayed, wants to talk to him. Trying to think of a way — should have given H my other mirror when I met him. Could be very useful right now.

Following a paper trail. DD accidentally forgot some things here this morning — records, scraps of To-Do Lists… It looks like he’s hiding someone in an Unplottable location. Who?

Going to try to get into DD’s personal Pensieve Room sometime during the school year. If I can find that —

Heart racing, Remus flipped quickly through the notebook, stopping on the next page that mentioned the word "Pensieve".

August 31st, 1995

Had a perfect opportunity, so decided not to wait. Got into the Pensieve room, but it was empty. DD’s watching me carefully now. Think he thinks I’m cracking. Found nothing new to suggest he’s hiding anyone. Don’t know what to think.

H leaves for Hogwarts tomorrow with friends. I don’t know if he’ll be safe there…

He wasn’t sure if he should be relieved or disappointed. Slowly, he flipped back a few pages....

August 12th, 1995

Hearing was this morning. H got off. Looked extremely forlorn when returned, though — asked Hr, she didn’t know why. DD hasn’t even come to the house yet — wonder what he’s up to.

Somehow, I think he’s the one who put that confused expression on H’s face.

August 24th, 1995

Thinking about pulling H out of Hogwarts. Found out today that D.U. will be teaching this year. DD tried to block, but should have done something. H should be warned. I’ll find some way to tell him without saying it outright. He needs to be warned. He’ll be her main target. DD says say nothing.

Unfortunately, as an escaped prisoner, I have no legal right to pull H out of school.

If only L&J were here…

Eyes prickling with tears, Remus leaned back, staring at the notebook. How many times had he wished the very same thing?


The sound of the doorbell chimed softly through the small, tidy house. On the front stoop, a stocky red-haired man waited patiently, his eyes roving around the property as he stood there. After a moment, a thin, bony woman came to the door, peering nervously at him. "Can I help you?" she asked hesitantly, and Charlie smiled.

"My name is Charlie Weasley, ma’am," he said, watching her carefully. "I’ve been sent by Albus Dumbledore."

The woman looked as if she’d swallowed a lemon. "I see," she said shortly. "My name is Petunia Dursley, Mr. Weasley; please come in."

And she opened the door all the way, turning and stalking off.

"What a welcome," Charlie murmured, and he stepped through the open doorway, closing the door behind himself, and followed the woman into the kitchen.

Fred and George had described the house as unnaturally clean — an opinion Tonks had seconded the night before — and Charlie could see why. Peering around the kitchen, he saw no signs that anyone lived in the house; it looked like a show-piece. Biting back a resigned sigh, he turned his gaze on the woman glaring at him from behind the kitchen counter.

"Well? What do you want?" she spat, her face darkening.

"A pleasure to meet you, ma’am," Charlie murmured, trying hard not to snicker. "As I said, my name is Charlie Weasley, and I am here on on behalf of Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix. We would like to maintain a presence here, ma’am, to ensure that no one is harmed in any way in this household."

Petunia Dursley went pale in record time. "Are you suggesting that we—"

"Of course not!" Charlie soothed. "I’m simply here to humor some of the higher-ups, you see; personally, I’d rather be off in Romania right now. I work there, you know, training dragons."

"Drr-dragons?" the Dursley woman repeated, her face, if possible, even whiter.

"Yep!" Charlie replied. "Of course, I’ll pay rent and help with paying for the food — I’m hoping to be able to convince Dumbledore that this is unnecessary in about a fortnight. And it would be best, honestly, if you didn’t mention this conversation at all — were Dumbledore to feel I wasn’t taking this seriously, he might remove me and send someone less… sympathetic," Charlie finished, his voice low and concerned. As he finished his impromptu speech, he reached into the pocket of his coat and withdrew a large roll of pounds, placing them on the counter in front of the woman without ever breaking eye contact.

"Very — very well," Petunia Dursley said slowly, her eyes sliding down to the bills on the counter. "The boy’s in his room, up the stairs and to the right."

Check, Charlie thought behind his kind smile. "You don’t mind if I look around a bit, do you?" he asked politely.

The woman swallowed. "Not at all," she said stiffly. "Just please stay out of the bedrooms — except the boys’ and the guest room, of course."

"I’m afraid I’ll have to stay in Harry’s room, actually," Charlie grimaced. "I don’t much look forward to having to share my space, but at least it’s with a decent kid, and it’s on Dumbledore’s orders anyway."

"That’s quite all right," the Dursley woman replied, looking almost relieved. "Perhaps you would be willing to help us make him do his chores? He’s such a lazy boy, so ungrateful after everything we’ve done for him. It’s just small things, of course, weeding the garden, doing the dishes…"

"I’ll do what I can," Charlie smiled. "Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. Dursley," he added, and quickly swept from the room, heading through to the living room to get a feel for the layout of the house.

The first thing he noticed was the photographs around the house. Gazing around the living room, he couldn’t find any sign that more than one boy lived in the house. There were pictures of a large pink beach ball lining the mantle, a large, round blond-haired boy on a tricycle, and a boy opening his presents with a mountain of others surrounding him. There were a few family portraits as well as some pictures of the boy with his mother alone and with his father alone.

Harry wasn’t included in any of them.

Shaking his head, he walked quickly through the remainder of the bottom level, pausing before the cupboard under the stairs. His hands shook slightly and his jaw clenched as he stared at it — he’d seen all too much of the place in the memories his father had shown him…

All that time, the boy had been suffering alone — and they’d done nothing.

Turning on his heel, he walked up the stairs, glancing back at the cupboard as he went. He’d be sure to leave the Dursleys a going-away present when he took Harry away. With that thought in mind, he smiled as he walked up the stairs and knocked on the door to Harry’s room.

It wasn’t hard to pick out the right one, after all. Fred and George had told him the summer before Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville’s second year that there were locks on the outside of Harry’s bedroom.

If only he’d believed them.

A somewhat bemused Harry Potter opened the door, staring at the Weasley man. "Charlie?" he asked, gaping, and the second-eldest Weasley son grinned.

"Budge over, Harry," he said cheerfully, and he slipped by the younger boy, shutting the door behind himself. With a wave of his wand, he cast a few detection charms that Bill had taught him, smirking slightly as he saw the results. "Nicely done, Dad," he murmured. "Right!" he added jovially, turning to face the stunned black-haired boy, shutting the open window with a spell as he went. "I’ve been sent by Dad, Remus, Tonks, Moody and Shacklebolt to stay with you until we can get you out of here. Dumbledore knows; he thinks I’m here to teach you personal fitness — which I will do. Dad’ll be coming by the day after tomorrow for your next Occlumency lesson, and he’ll be teaching me, as well. Oh, and Sirius left everything to you in his will."

Blinking in shock, Harry sat down hard on his bed.

Charlie smiled. He loved having that effect on people.


It was a quiet day at the Burrow. Charlie had left only twenty minutes before to go stay with Harry, Mr. Weasley had left for work ten minutes earlier, Bill was off at Gringotts and Fred and George were at their shop. Sprawled around Ron’s room, which they had made their de facto headquarters, the five teens read quietly, searching for something to help their friend.

"If they had any wards based on the blood of friends," Neville said quietly, "a ward powered by blood sacrifice, but not blood of the dead, we could do that."

"But there are none that we’ve found," Ginny added miserably. "And as much as we need to keep Harry safe, we can’t kill someone to do it."

"I know," Hermione replied wearily, rubbing her hair from her face, "but we need —"

A knock at the door interrupted them, and Ron quickly invited the person in, turning to see his mother standing in the doorway.

"Hermione," Mrs. Weasley said nervously, "there’s been a firecall for you. Remus wants you over at Grimmauld Place."

The others looked up, gazing at Hermione. The brown-haired witch nodded quietly, smiling tightly at the others. "I’ll let you know," she murmured and, picking up her sweater and bookbag from the back of Ron’s desk chair, and sliding her wand up her sleeve, she followed Mrs. Weasley from the room.


Remus stood back as the fire turned green, watching as Hermione stepped out from the flames. "Thanks for coming," he said tersely, and Hermione frowned.

"It’s nothing, Professor, but what’s the problem?"

"Remus," he corrected immediately, "I’m not your professor any longer." Without telling her any more, he led her up the stairs to Sirius’s bedroom. When he shut the door behind them, Hermione frowned again and gazed around the room.

"This was Sirius’s room," she said softly. "Professor — Remus — what’s going on?"

When he waved her into a seat, she perched uneasily on the edge of the desk chair, so Remus settled on the dresser top. "We’ve been watching Dumbledore for a year," he said quietly, "Moody, Tonks, Kingsley, Arthur, Sirius and I. Bill and Charlie have been helping, too," he began slowly.

"You have to understand, Hermione," he continued, "for Sirius and me, Harry has always been the first priority. James was the only one of us to have any children, and despite what Peter did, the four of us were brothers. James’s son is the Marauder’s Heir, and the responsibility of all of us, whether we like it or not.

"We swore a blood oath, Sirius, Peter and I, to always look out for Harry. We’ve paid dearly for our failures — Pettigrew, Snape told us, nearly died himself after the end of the Third Task, because he went against his blood oath. He harmed Harry quite grievously. Sirius suffered for thinking of revenge before Harry back in 1981 by spending twelve years in Azkaban. And I —"

He cut himself off, looking away. "Needless to say, Arthur loves Harry like a son, and you like a daughter. Bill, Charlie, Fred and George all see the two of you as siblings — for some reason, Percy never did. They’ve never sworn an oath, but it wasn’t necessary. And Tonks — she likes Harry. So does Kingsley. They both want him to be safe and happy. And as for Moody — he doesn’t like what he’s seen lately. We all know things would be better if the Potters were alive — but that’s just wishful thinking," he added bitterly.

He paused there, glancing at Hermione to gage her reaction. "Sirius, especially, was livid last summer about the way Harry was being treated. We found a pile of records underneath his bed, and his will — we’re all going through them right now, but I’m the only one who really has time to do it. Dumbledore’s pulled me off active duty to let me grieve. So I need your help — you’ll know what to watch for."

Hermione nodded silently as his voice trailed off. Moving to kneel on the floor, she picked up a discarded notebook and began to read.

Sighing in relief, Remus settled in beside her, feeling a weight lift off his shoulders.

"This doesn’t bode well for us," Hermione murmured, gesturing to a passage from a notebook Remus had already read.

July 17th, 1995

Found book, found wards. Called Ara Sanguinis — Protection by Blood. Uses the shared blood between L and P to protect H as long as he calls PD HOME. Second he speaks of it as the D’s home, not his, protection disappears.

"How long have you given yourselves to get him out?" she asked.

"Two weeks," Remus replied, "starting the day Dumbledore showed up at the Burrow."

"You don’t have that much time," Hermione replied. "Harry hates it there, and with his current mood, it won’t be long before he explodes and brings the wards down."

"Unfortunately, that’s not our only pressing problem," Remus said in a strained voice. Pulling another notebook over, he opened it to a marked page and passed it to the young witch.

July 30, 1995

Walked into kitchen and found DD sitting there, staring at the wall. Didn’t notice me so I backed up and listened from outside the door. Muttered something about failing everyone, sacrificing too many. Said something about stealing something from H… I’m getting worried.

Aside from H’s childhood and peace of mind, I’m not sure what else DD has stolen from him... Afraid to find out. DD seemed more stressed about what he was muttering about than he was about sending H to PD. Can’t be good.

I’m scared for H.

Blinking in shock, Hermione looked up. "Are there more like this?"

Wordlessly, Remus turned to the next incriminating passage, then the next, then the next. When he had finished, Hermione leaned back, a look of fright on her face. "‘Whatever Dumbledore’s stolen, it isn’t material,’" she quoted. "What could it be? His inheritance?" she asked, glancing at Remus, who shook his head.

"Harry can’t legally touch the Potter vaults until he’s seventeen," he explained, and Hermione bit her lip, frowning. "Besides, that would be material."

"Not if you take it to mean his legacy," Hermione murmured, then shook her head. "It doesn’t fit. What—?"

"I think it has something to do with Harry’s placement," Remus said quietly. "It’s unusual for Dumbledore to be involved in the custody case of an orphan, and I know the Potters wouldn’t have wanted Harry anywhere near the Dursleys—"

Hermione blinked, staring at him. An orphan. Funny, she’d never thought of Harry as an —

The thought screeched to a halt, and Hermione paled. "No," she whispered, "oh no, oh no, oh no…"

"Hermione?" Remus questioned nervously, getting slowly to his feet.

"No," she shook her head. "It can’t—"

She ran, crashing through the doors of the Black family library, and immediately raced to the section about magical artifacts. Rifling through the books, ignoring Remus, who ran in behind her, she finally found the one she was looking for. Setting it down on a table nearby, she flipped through the pages quickly before stopping and skimming a passage midway through the book.

Remus stared, confused, at the heading.

The Mirror of Erised

"Go to Gringotts," Hermione said, paling even further. "Ask about Harry’s inheritance. I have to go to Hogwarts — Professor Flitwick will let me through — I think… oh, I hope I’m wrong!"

She raced from the room without another word, leaving Remus staring after her in shock. A moment later, he heard her call out "Filius Flitwick’s Office!", and the house was silent.

Sighing, Remus went to get his cloak. He didn’t know what the girl was on about, but he knew it’d be best to do as she asked.

She was a rather bright witch, after all.


As she had expected, Professor Flitwick had accepted her explanation that she needed to look up some things for Harry. Glancing around nervously, listening for any sound of the Filch or his cat, she came to the seventh floor corridor and stopped, pacing back and forth over a blank stretch of wall three times.

I need to see the current Potter family tapestry, she thought. I need to see the current Potter family tapestry. I need to see the current Potter family tapestry…

A door appeared, and holding her breath, she stepped through it.

It was a little known fact, Hermione mused as she stared at the black tapestry weaved with gold, shutting the door behind her, that the names of deceased members of the family faded somewhat. Walking across the room, she stopped before the hanging tapestry, skipping down to scan the bottom…

…and staring at the three glittering names.

Raising her wand, she tapped it against the first glowing name.

Unplottable, the label appeared.

She tapped her wand against the second.


The third.


She stared. Eyes sparkling with rage, she thought clearly, I need the walls soundproofed.

And screamed.


The goblins rushed Remus into a private room off the lobby, their black eyes glittering nervously.

"I must say, Mr. Lupin, this is an unusual request," the head goblin began.

"I understand that, and apologize," Remus said lightly. "However, Harry Potter has asked me to check into his finances, and I would ask that you inform me of his status and any inheritances he may have."

"This is most unusual," the goblin stalled a bit longer. Finally, shifting nervously, he asked to see Sirius’s’ will, which Remus held out to him. After scanning the will, the goblin looked up.

"I still don’t see why you’re here, Mr. Lupin," the goblin replied, his voice now sounding as if he were extremely bored. "The bulk of Sirius Black’s estate does not fall to Harry Potter."

"What?" With a shaking hand, Remus took the will back from the goblin, reading it again.

‘The remainder of my estate, including all properties, titles, and possessions, I leave to the current head of the House of Potter.’

The current head of the House of Potter.

Trembling, Remus looked up, swallowing nervously. "May I use your fireplace?" he asked, and the goblin nodded.

When Remus had gone, the goblin smiled nastily. "May your gold always flow, Wolf-Wizard," he murmured, feeling a weight disappear from him. There was a soft sparkle in the air and a glow of green.

The secrecy charm has been circumvented.

The goblin smiled.


He wasn’t sure he remembered where the Room of Requirement was, but nevertheless, Remus raced through the school, skidding to a halt at the landing of the seventh floor. It was somewhere nearby, he knew…

He jogged the halls for a few minutes, searching, before he finally came to the right door. Nervously, he tried the handle — it was unlocked. Taking a deep breath, he stepped inside, shutting the door quickly behind himself.

Hermione spun, tears streaming down her face, and pointed her wand at him for a moment before dropping it when recognition set in. Choking back further tears, she turned and, raising her wand once more, blasted a poor, helpless figurine into oblivion. Remus blinked, admiring her aim for a moment before crossing the room to grab her arm.

"You found out, then," he said, his voice low. "How?"

Hermione shook her head. "I wasn’t certain," she said softly. I need books on the Mirror of Erised, she thought, and a shelf of six books appeared. "Harry found this mirror for the first time over the Christmas holidays in his first year. He… he saw his parents in it. Dumbledore made him promise to stay away, and it was moved after Harry saved the Philosopher’s Stone at the end of the year.

"This book," she continued, picking up an old leather-bound tome, "says that the Mirror can show you where to find that which you most desire, if it can be found, and you can figure out how to work it. But Dumbledore made Harry stay away from the Mirror — then I remembered the Black family tapestry, so…"

She shrugged, setting the book down, and turned away.

"What are we going to do?" she whispered, her shoulders shaking.

"We’ll find them," Remus promised.

Nodding, Hermione drew in a breath, staring ahead. Harry needed her help.

I need books on magical tracking, she thought, and the room morphed once more.

Before settling in to work, Remus glanced at the tapestry again, his throat tight as he gazed at the three names…

James Potter ┬ Lily Evans Potter

Harry James Potter


The house was still and silent, as it always was those days, as the red-haired woman gazed out the window. Tears stinging in her throat, she sat in the rocking chair in her baby’s nursery, his blanket clenched between her shaking hands. Softly, she hummed a lullaby under her breath, broken every few seconds by her sobs.

That was how the black-haired man found her when he entered the room fifteen minutes later.

"It’s not right," she whispered, tears sliding down her face. "It’s not right, we shouldn’t be hiding like this!"

"You know Dumbledore said this was for the best," the man replied, his hazel eyes sad and tired. "They’re all gone—"

"But they’re not!" the woman whispered, springing to her feet. "They can’t be!"

"Lily," the man began, but the woman continued on.

"They’re not dead, James!" Lily shouted. "I can still feel him!"

James winced, looking away. "Lils, it’s just wishful thinking."

But Lily wasn’t listening. Rushing past him, she ran down the steps and out the front door, and James stared after her.

"Lily?" he called, and he ran to the window. Cursing as he watched her race across the grounds, he ran down the stairs and after her. "Lily?"

She came to a halt at the base of the altar they had built, all those years before. Head in her hands, she knelt before the altar, weeping quietly.

Swallowing, James knelt behind his wife, wrapping his arms around her from behind, and he smiled slightly when she leaned in to him.

"I can still feel him, James," she whispered, sobbing. "He needs us. We have to go to him."

Biting back a sigh, James replied slowly, "Lily, dear, he’s—"

"We have to check!" Lily insisted, turning to face him. "What if he’s alive, James? What if Dumbledore was wrong?"

"He would have told us by—"

"What if he didn’t?" she demanded. "What if he wanted to keep Harry away from us for some reason, what if—?"

"Why?" James leaned back, perplexed, trying desperately to follow his wife’s train of thought.

"The prophecy," she replied, and she clenched her hands into fists, blood springing up beneath her nails. Carefully, James pulled her fingers away from her palms and held her hands between his.

"He told us the whole thing, Lily," James said. "There was no reason anywhere in there to take him away from us."

"He didn’t," Lily said desperately. "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And he hesitated there, James, he stopped! And then he kept going — The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…"

James was silent. Absently, he picked p a leaf and twirled it between his fingers. "Are you certain?"

"Yes," Lily replied without hesitation. "There’s at least one line he didn’t tell us… What if the missing line says Harry has to suffer in childhood to win? What if it says he has to be taken away from us?"

"I doubt that," James began, "but it might — might, mind you — say that he’d be guaranteed victory if he grows up in a horrible home."

"We need to check," Lily insisted, gazing up at the stars.

Leaning back to recline in the grass, James stared at the altar, remembering the day when they’d given everything they had—

"All right."


Miles away, Harry Potter looked up from his bed in Little Whinging, Surrey. He glanced over to the conjured bed beside his, where Charlie Weasley was snoring away, and at Hedwig, who was watching him closely, and got to his feet, moving to the window to gaze out at the stars.

There was nothing unusual out there — somewhere below, his latest guard lingered, and as he watched, Dudley walked by with his gang, their voices floating up through the still air of the summer night.

Harry stared up at the stars.

And he wondered why he suddenly felt so much safer.

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