AN: Okay, so here is the first chapter of my Harry Potter story, "Before the Dark Times". I decided to rebrand and edit some of these early chapters because to better illustrate what my overall goal of this fanfic is. This fic casts a darker shadow on the Wizarding World, while also putting focusing on the wizarding families that are casting that shadow.
This is a Grey!Harry story with Slytherin!Harry. There are several OC characters as you can only rehash the story so many times with the same characters. I hope you enjoy. This story will go through all 7 years and maybe a bit after.
Pairings: Harry Potter and Daphne Greengrass (3rd/4th year), James LeStrange and Astoria Greengrass (4th/3rd Year), Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger (beginning 5th year), Sebastian Nott and Tracey Davis (6th year), Sirius Black/Amelia Bones
Prologue: Before the Dark Times – Operation: Give Prongslet a Childhood
Late Night, October 31st, 1981 – Godric's Hollow
There was a soft pop as Sirius Black apparated to the front steps of the Potter's Residence in Godric's Hollow. It was eerily quiet, only punctuated by the muffled wails of a small child. The cold wind brushed against the twenty year-old's face, causing his hair to stand on end and his dark black locks to swish behind him. It was October 31st, 1981. Halloween as the muggles, and some wizards, called it. To Sirius, it would be the night he would remember as the night his whole world fell apart.
As he entered the humble home, the signs of battle were evident. The front door stood wide open and his best friend, James Charlus Potter, lay on the floor; his life extinguished by what looked to be a Killing curse. The man who he had spent the last ten years of his life with, spent numerous hours pranking, laughing, and scheming with to get Lily's heart, was now dead. His life snuffed out by Dark Forces unknown, but Sirius knew it had to have been the Dark Lord himself. As he rubbed his eyes, Sirius knelt down and passed his hand over his friend's eyes, closing them slowly. He looked one last time before standing and solemnly walking up the stairs…
Sirius reached the top of the stairs and the cries of the child became louder. The cries were overshadowed, however, by a cry of a man's voice. It was a deep voice, not unlike his own. James is dead! Who else could be here? Sirius thought as his wand shot from his wrist holster into his hand. He slowly walked down the hall towards Harry's room.
The results of the Dark Lord's attack were apparent. Debris was everywhere with pictures on the ground and ash about. The walls, which once were adorned with family pictures of Harry, James and Lily with their friends, were now scorched which looked like battle damage. Sirius would have to come back and grab some of these things if Harry was indeed alive…
He reached entrance of Harry's room, its door blown off its hinges. He could see right inside and was shocked by what he saw: a black clad man holding the body of Lily Potter.
"SEVERUS! HOW DARE YOU!" Sirius screamed at the sobbing man, his wand already aimed right at him, "HOW DARE YOU HOLD HER!"
Severus Snape, the Death Eater turned spy for the Order of the Phoenix and Albus Dumbledore, didn't have enough time to react before a Bone crushing cruse slammed into his head. He slumped to the ground, his skulled having been caved in and bleeding. Sirius looked at the body before using his foot to push Snape's now mostly dead body off Lily. He looked at his best friend's wife, desperately trying not to cry. The woman who had become his sister, his confidant, and his friend. Her face was just as pretty as he remembered it and he slowly pushed her red hair off her face.
"Lily, please come back! I don't think I can live without you and James, Lily. Please, I'm begging you…" Sirius said as he fell to his knees and picked up her body, cradling it in his arms. Tears were now streaming down his face as he finally allowed what had happened to affect him. His best friends were dead.
"I'm so sorry Lily. I'm sorry I couldn't stop him. I should have been here!" he slammed his fist onto the floor as he cradled her body. A soft wind blew through the house almost whispering to him. He felt as if there were two hands on each of his shoulders. As he turned around however, the feeling was gone. He looked to where the he had felt the Potters, and saw their son. Harry Potter…
The one year-old had stopped crying and was staring at his Uncle Padfoot. Sirius smiled as he looked into the eyes of his godson. "Did anyone ever tell you that you have your mother's eyes?" He smiled as he rubbed across his eyes with his right sleeve, removing the tears that had been streaming down his face. Sirius gently laid Lily back onto the floor of the nursery before standing and making his way over to the cradle. He picked up the small child and cradled him in his arms. "It's okay Pronglet, Uncle Padfoot is here. I'll take care of you, I promise."
Sirius sat down in ornate rocking chair that he had seen James and Lily use to rock Harry to sleep time and time again. Memories flooded back to him as he sat. The day Lily had brought Harry back from St. Mungo's, his first words, his first steps… He was still holding the little boy and began rocking with him, singing a song he had heard Lily sing once before.
Leaves from the vine, falling so slow, like fragile tiny shells, drifting through the foam. Little auror boy, come marching home, brave auror boy, come marching home.
As he looked down at Prongslet, who was fast asleep, Sirius again let himself go. He began to sob for everything that had happened. His best friends were dead. He would get revenge, on everyone who had ever stood against him, but not that night. Tonight, he had to ensure Harry's safety.
Suddenly, he heard a loud bang from below him on the first floor followed by an "Ouch". Hagrid. Merlin help me. He continued to rock back and forth with Harry in his arms as he heard the oaf creak his way up the stairs. It seemed that the Half-Giant was attempting to be sneaky, but was failing miserably. Kind of hard to be sneaky when you weigh 30 stone, Sirius laughed lightly as Hagrid made his way into the room that contained Padfoot and Pronglet.
"Oh, Sirius. Wasn't expectin' you being 'ere." Hagrid said in his heavy accent (which Sirius barely could understand) as he looked from Sirius to the body of Snape and Lily, "Oh Dumbledore isn't gonna be happy about that. Not in the slightest."
"Is that all you're worried about? Dumbledore's response?" said Sirius, venom coming off his tongue. "Two of my closest friends are dead, dying to protect their only son. Another of my 'friends' betrayed them, allowing the Dark Lord access to their safe haven! How dare you!"
"Sirius, I 'ave orders from Dumbledore to take Harry to 'im. 'e must be protected." Spoke the half-giant as he reached for Harry.
"You're not taking him anywhere! This is all Dumbledore's fault!" His voice could barely croak out the words, barely holding back his tears, "I am his Godfather! I will protect him!"
Hagrid was taken aback by the refusal but pushed harder, "Dumbledore knows what's best Sirius, you of all people should know this." He reached for the child once again, but this time was met with a wand aimed at his throat.
"You. Will. Not. Touch. Him." Sirius spit out as he held Harry close to his chest.
"Sirius. You must trust 'im. It's for the greater good." Hagrid said as he almost lunged at Sirius.
"EXPULSO!" Sirius screamed and pushed all of his magical power into the spell. The spell slammed into the chest of the half-giant, throwing him through the wall into James and Lily's room. Sirius swore under his breath as he panted for a moment. Why do giants have to be so big? He thought as he peaked into the master bedroom, making sure that the half-giant had at least been knocked out.
"Well Pronglet, looks like Dumbledore knows we're here. We better get out of here before more of his friends show." Sirius said as he poked the tip of Harry's nose with his index finger, "I know the perfect place for us to go lay low for a bit."
He walked out the room, leaving the two dead bodies, the unconscious half-giant, and a bleeding Severus Snape behind, and walked down the stairs. As they neared James' body, Harry cooed out a "Dada!" as he looked at his father.
"Yeah, Pronglet, we'll avenge them. Don't you worry." He said as he walked out the front door. As they reached the street, Sirius looked back at the house, "I'll protect him until my dying breath. Don't you worry." He smiled as he apparated away…
Early Morning, November 1st, 1981 – Potter Manor
Sirius arrived at the old Potter Manor, a house he had fled to a mere five years ago. It seemed like home to him, much more than the Black Manor at 12 Grimmauld Place. The Potters had allowed him to seek refuge from his evil mother, Walburga Black, and had took him in when he was sixteen. They did it with no questions asked, however he did tell them about what had happened. Charlus Potter about marched over the Black Manor himself, before Mrs. Potter had stopped him. It was the greatest summer of Sirius' life. The Potters were the greatest people ever; Sirius had thought at the time. They didn't judge him, berate him about getting sorted into Gryffindor, or even yell. They seemed like the perfect family.
As he walked towards the gate, he could feel the power of the wards. They were some of the most powerful he had ever seen, barring those at Hogwarts. Some were as Ancient as the house itself (and lethal), while others were much newer and protective. He stopped at the gate. I should still be keyed into the wards, plus I have Prongslet with me! He thought as he gently placed his hand on the gate. When he did so, the hand print slowly turned a bright gold before disappearing. The gate slowly began to open to Sirius and the little Lord Potter.
"Welcome home Harry, welcome home…" he trailed off as the pair made their way up to the Manor.
A short walk later…
"Geez, Harry. When did you get so big?" Sirius said as he adjusted the one year-old for the fifth time, "And since when was Potter Manor so far away from the gates? Merlin. I'm getting old."
The manor slowly loomed into view as he had walked the quarter-mile from the gate to the house. It was even grander than Sirius had remembered… It was a beautiful dark red brick color with massive white-circular pillars lining the front of it. It stood an impressive three stories tall with a few towers jutting into the sky. It was truly a sight to be seen. As he neared the front door, a small house elf appeared with a pop.
"Misters Black has returned! Oh, Nibby is being very happy!" Nibby, the young house elf said as he smiled up at Sirius. The little elf wore the traditional garb of a House of Potter elf, a green shirt with green pants. Sirius had once remarked to James that they looked like fatigues from the Muggle military. James had just laughed and transfigured a nametag onto the front of the uniforms so they would look even more like it.
"Hello Nibby, you remember Harry Potter right? Say hi Harry!" Sirius said as he leaned Harry down to the level of the elf.
"Hi Harrys! Nibs hasn't been seeings yous for ages! Where bes Master and Mistress Potter?" Nibby asked as he tickled the little Harry Potter causing the little boy to giggle.
"Nibby, can you please call the other house elves…" Sirius said as he became very businesslike. Nibs popped away for a moment then returned with three other elves, "I'm sorry to tell you that Lily and James Potter have been killed." All the elves began sobbing, wailing, and grabbing on Sirius' legs, "But, Harry is now the last Potter so you will now serve him. Is that clear?"
"Yes, Misters Black. Nibby and the other elves bes readys to serves Lord Potter," Nibs said as he wiped his eyes with his clothing.
"Okay," Sirius sighed as he looked up at the Potter Manor that would now be his and Harry's home for the foreseeable future, "Nibby, can you go and find the old safe in the Manor and bring me James and Lily's will?" The small house elf nodded and popped away as Sirius slowly pushed open the door to the Manor.
For no one living here for a year, it feels very warm, Sirius thought as he walked into the massive entry way. It was just as impressive as it had been when he had first seen it. The marble walls and giant Potter banners with their motto, "Audentes Fortuna Iuvat" (or "Fortune Favors the Bold" as Charlus had always translated it) hung on opposite sides of the grand staircase leading up into the second floor. The Potter coat of arms was also printed onto the marble floor below him.
Sirius was pulled from admiring the manor when Nibby popped in front of him, "Nibby bes bringing Master James' will, Misters Black!" The elf smiled and handed Sirius the paper.
"Thank you Nibby," Sirius said as the elf almost died from excitement of being thanked, "could you prepare a room for Harry and myself?"
The elf nodded in the affirmative and apparated away once again, obviously to gather the other elves to fix up the house. The house hadn't fallen into disrepair, as the Potter elves had remained even when James and Lily left and keep the place up, but there was still dust on many of the beds.
Sirius walked through the house towards the library, still holding the little Harry Potter and the will of his late parents. The halls began lighting up with the magic that was contained within the walls. As they reached the door to the house library, Sirius stopped and pushed it open. Suddenly, all the memories of his teenage years came flooding back: Marauders sitting in the chairs reading everything they could about charms to help build their infamous map, Charlus Potter giving them the "talk" about girls at thirteen, and James proposing to Lily where they had spent most of the summer together after their seventh year…
As he set down Harry on the couch and sat down next to him, Sirius unfolded the will and began to read…
In the event that the Lord and Lady of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter are found to be deceased, the following actions shall be taken by the solicitors of the House of Potter.
Harry James Potter is to be placed into the care of his godfather, Sirius Orion Black. In the absence of his godfather, he is to be placed with his godmother, Amelia Bones. If both are unable to care for Harry, he will be placed into the care of his appointed magical guardian.
Sirius Orion Black is to be named Regent of the House of Potter, with all rights and obligations that come with his title. If Sirius is unable to take Regency, Alexander LeStrange will be named Regent.
Harry James Potter will be named Lord of the House of Potter when he reaches the age of the majority, with all rights and privileges granted therein.
We bequeath 25,000 galleons to Remus Lupin for him to use as he sees fit and it shall be transferred into a vault that is accessible only by him.
We bequeath 25,000 galleons to Peter Pettigrew for him use as he sees fit and it shall be transferred into a vault that is accessible only by him.
We bequeath 25,000 galleons to Sirius Orion Black for him use as he sees fit and it shall be transferred into a vault that is accessible only by him.
We bequeath 25,000 galleons to Alexander LeStrange for him use as he sees fit and it shall be transferred into a vault that is accessible only by him.
All properties and investments shall be maintained by the Regent of the House of Potter until the time when the Heir reaches the age of the majority.
The Regent of the House of Potter shall retrieve a letter from the Potter Vault to be given to Harry Potter when he receives his Hogwarts letter. The Regent shall also retrieve a second letter from the vault that is addressed to them.
This is my and Lily's last will and testament, may Merlin bless you and keep you safe.
When Sirius finished reading, he was already in tears. He knew that Lily and James had named him as the Regent of the House of Potter if anything happened to him as they had talked it over, but reading the will just made it all much more real. He wiped away his tears and stood, "Diggy!"
Another small elf appeared before Sirius. It was much older than Nibby, but was still able. The chosen 'leader' of the Potter house elves, he was fiercely loyal to the house. "Diggy has beens called." He said as he bowed to Sirius, "How may Diggy bes of assistance?"
"Diggy, you will take Harry to bed. I need to go to Gringotts and execute the Potter's will. You are to protect Harry with your life. Stand guard over him until I return." Sirius said as he patted the elf on shoulder, "Allow no one to enter the residence beyond myself."
The house elf nodded and apparated away. Sirius felt the wards suddenly change for a moment, becoming much more charged with magic and he felt the anti-apparition and portkey wards being raised. Several other more powerful wards were enacted, obviously by Diggy to prevent any unwanted visitors.
Sirius looked at the young child sitting on the couch that had played host to his parents and friends for many years before and smiled, "Okay Pronglet, Diggy will take good care of you okay? Uncle Padfoot will be back in a little bit." Sirius patted Harry on the head and kissed it.
Diggy soon reappeared with a blanket, "Okay Master Harry, times for bed!" He picked up the one year-old, and began walking up to the large room that had been prepared for both Harry and Sirius. Sirius watched as Diggy exited before apparating to Gringotts.
Three Hours Later…
The early morning meeting could have gone better, but at least he was able to convince the goblins that Peter Pettigrew was the traitor and didn't deserve the bequeathment he was given. Sirius was named Regent of the House of Potter and was named the young child's magical guardian.
As Regent of the House of Potter, Sirius now had access to all of the Potter wealth and properties. Not like that really mattered to him though, all that mattered was Harry. He had made sure that the Goblins understood that Sirius wanted them to make quality investments in order to gain back some of the gold that was spent on the war effort. As he exited the bank, the sun was barely creeping over the horizon. He took in the early morning air before apparating back to Potter Manor.
When Sirius disapparated, he was standing on the front steps. As he entered, he felt the wards shift to his control, a side effect of being named the Potter Regent. He walked towards the study within the library, Charlus' study. He was never allowed inside when he was a teenager and just hanging out at Potter Manor, not saying that he didn't try to get it. One time, the wards on the room had actually hexed him! But, as he was now Regent, he might as well try to enter.
Sirius reached the door to the study and slowly reached his hand out towards the handle. Anytime now, Sirius thought as he grasped the handle, turned it, and pushed the door open. Wow, it didn't hex me. This is exciting.
He looked around the medium sized study and was immediately drawn to the Potter crest located on the wall opposite the desk and above the fireplace. As he crossed the threshold towards the crest, the fire roared to life followed by the candles being lit. Sirius paid no attention to these changes and slowly placed his hand onto the crest and it glowed gold before going back to normal. Sirius suddenly felt a wave of magic cascade over him, telling him which wards were active and which are inactive.
As the cascade faded, he reached up and placed his hand once again on the crest. He whispered to the crest, "Fidelius, I am the Secret Keeper". Sirius felt the Fidelius charm come over the Manor and finally felt safe.
Early Morning, November 1st, 1981 – Godric's Hollow
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, the self-proclaimed "Leader of the Light" and Headmaster of Hogwarts walked into the ruined house of his former students. He had sent Hagrid to retrieve the young Potter child some hours ago, and yet the half-giant hadn't delivered him yet. This had surprised the aging wizard, as Hagrid was loyal to a fault and never disappointed. However, when he arrived, he had discovered why the man was held up; he had been thrown through a wall into the now destroyed bed of the Potter's, obviously unconscious. Albus chuckled at the unfortunate situation that Hagrid had found himself in. As he approached, he quickly used the "Ennervate" spell that quickly woke the unconscious half-giant.
Albus allowed Hagrid to stand and regain his bearings before questioning him. However, in the intervening time, he checked the room which had been a nursery. It was mostly destroyed, but the only thing Albus was worried about was the one thing missing: Harry Potter. His worry was also compounded by the mostly-dead man lying next to Lily Potter. Severus, you fool, thought Albus as he looked at the damage to his spy's head, did you think you could really stop anything? Albus quickly transfigured a portkey and whisked away the mostly-dead Severus to the Hogwarts Hospital before continuing.
"Hagrid, please tell me where young Harry is." Albus spoke as he walked back into the hallway staring at Hagrid with a twinkle in his eye.
"I'm sorry Headmaster, Sirius Black was already here when I arrived. I told him that you wanted to take care of Harry, but he won't let him go. That's the last thing I remember," Hagrid said as he dusted off his tunic from laying in the slightly destroyed hallway.
"Do you know where he took Harry?" He was sure Hagrid wouldn't know the answer, but might as well ask.
"No Professor, but he seemed to be exceedingly distraught over the deaths of his friends."
"They were friends of us all Hagrid, but they died to bring an end to this war," Albus said, patting his old student on the arm before walking to the outside of the house, "Now to find them."
Three Weeks Later – Potter Manor
Sirius sat on the couch in the Potter Library with his godson on his lap while they looked through the picture book that Lily and James had created before their deaths. He flipped through the pictures, some of Harry's birth when Sirius had been freaking out over the fact that James wasn't there yet, or when Harry and Neville had had their first playdate. Everybody was smiling back then, even in the middle of a war, there was still joy. Everything had changed when Lily and James were killed… Alice and Frank were rendered insane, by way of the Cruciatus curse, a week later. Neville was now just as orphaned as Harry.
The funeral for Lily and James had been two weeks before and, as much as Sirius wanted to say goodbye with Harry, he didn't want to risk Harry being taken away or attacked. Plus, Albus Dumbledore would be there, and he had NO intention of trying to deal with that white-whiskered wanker.
Albus had been looking for Harry and Sirius for the better part of the last three weeks and had even tried to say that Harry had been kidnapped. However, with Sirius being named magical guardian and regent over Harry, Albus had no real authority. Gringotts had also confirmed that Sirius Black was indeed taking care of the young boy, but wouldn't disclose anything more. The Fidelius charm over Potter Manor also prevented anybody from finding them, but Sirius had sent in his resignation to the head of the DMLE, Barty Crouch Sr., earlier that week so he was now free to just take care of Harry.
"Nibby!" Sirius yelled after walking and taking Harry upstairs for his nap.
"Nibby bes here Mister Black! I is ready to help!" Nibby excitedly said as he popped in from whatever he was doing.
"Nibby, where is James' invisibility cloak?" Sirius questioned the elf, but he already knew the answer to that question. James had given it to Dumbledore for some reason that year, and he planned to get it back.
"Master James' invisibly cloak bes with Professe Albus Dumb-door, Mister Black!" Nibby responded, trying to be as helpful as possible.
"Is there anything else Dumbledore has of the Potter's?" asked Sirius, genuinely curious as if Dumbledore had taken anything else.
"Dumb-door has Potter family pensieve and ze liberary is missing twelve books!"
"Could you retrieve those things from Albus for Harry, Nibby? I would be eternally grateful!"
The elf nodded quickly before apparating away to where ever Albus had hidden the Potter heirlooms. Sirius understood that James had let Albus "borrow" them, but now that his best friend was lying dead in the ground, it was time for the Potters to reclaim them. Plus, if he had the pensieve back, Sirius could show Harry memories of his parents…
It was quiet now in Potter Manor, much like it has been when Harry was napping. The only thing making ambient noise was the fan Sirius had charmed to always run. Keep the air circulating, he had always thought.
He made his way to the study were the letter he had picked up from the Potter vault in Gringotts was laying on the desk. He hadn't had the courage to open it yet, not wanting to know what Lily or James had to say to him. As he slid the ornate letter opener through the opening and broke the wax seal, he watched as two letters slid out…
I'll try and keep it short and simple, but you know me. If you're reading this, then we didn't make it. I don't know when we might have bit it, but in the end, we did. That means that you should be the magical guardian of Harry and regent for the House of Potter. Take care of the Potter fortune and my properties so Harry can inherit them later.
Sirius, I just want say that there is no one I would rather have raising my son. You may be a goofy and unserious man, but I know you'll do right by me and Lily. Take him as your own son and teach him how to be a man. Tell him about our adventures at Hogwarts and how the Marauders used to prank everyone. Tell him of how I tried for years to get his mother to love me. Tell him how his parents died, Sirius. Tell him that we care for him and we will always love him. He was, and is, the greatest gift I have ever gotten, besides Lily, and make sure he knows he had his mother's eyes.
Take care of him Sirius, but don't just bundle him up in cotton and hide him away. Let him find himself, let him have fun. Take him to the park every once in a while. Put him on a broom and see if he is as good at Quiddich as his old man. Teach him magic and how to be a Lord. Promise me that you'll be the father that I couldn't be, Sirius.
As Sirius finished the letter, he felt his heart almost shattering. He picked up the other letter, obviously from Lily as it smelled like lily flowers. He began reading once more, preparing for more waterworks.
As I sit here with James writing these letters, I can't bring myself to think that Harry may grow up without us. I know it's selfish of me, but I want to see him grow up. I want to see him get his Hogwarts letter. I want to see him go out on his first date. I want to see him get married. But, since you're reading this, I won't. Merlin Sirius, I hate this. I thought about making this letter super long and telling you how to raise him and everything, but it really doesn't matter.
Please make sure he grows up into a fine man. Teach him to respect women and make sure he doesn't become one of those muggle-haters like everyone seems to be these days. He's a smart boy, make sure you tell him every day that education is important. Teach him to be a great wizard like his dad and DO NOT LET HIM NEAR A BROOM! Love him, take care of him, and treat him as your son.
Please keep Harry safe, teach him well, and, most of all, love him as your son.
Love you and Harry forever and always, Lily Flower
Sirius finished reading and was red with anger and tears. It was all Dumbledore's fault. Everything. He had been told about that prophecy. He had been the one to put the Potters in danger. He had tried to take Harry away from him.
Sirius remembered the quote his grandfather, Arcturus had used in regards to the Wizengamot, "Fealty is best declared from the knees of a defeated foe. Those who stand against the House of Black will always be defeated when it has a strong Lord."