Chapter 1: The Scar
Harry lay flat on his back, breathing hard as though he had been running. He had awoken from a vivid dream with his hands pressed over his face. The old scar on his forehead, which was shaped like a bolt of lightning, was burning beneath his fingers as though someone had just pressed a white-hot wire to his skin.
He sat up, one hand still on his scar, the other hand reaching out in the darkness for his glasses, which were on the bedside table. He put them on and his bedroom came into clearer focus, lit by a faint, misty orange light that was filtering through the curtains from the street lamp outside the window.
Harry ran his fingers over the scar again. It was still painful. He turned on the lamp beside him, scrambled out of bed, crossed the room, opened his wardrobe, and peered into the mirror on the inside of the door. An average boy of fourteen looked back at him, his bright green eyes puzzled under his untidy black hair. He examined the lightning-bolt scar of his reflection more closely. It looked normal, but it was still stinging.
Harry tried to recall what he had been dreaming about before he had awoken. It had seemed so real...There had been two people: one he knew, and one he didn't ...He concentrated hard, frowning, trying to remember...
The dim picture of a darkened room came to him...There had been a snake on a hearth rug...and a cold, high voice...the voice of Lord Voldemort. Harry felt as though an ice cube had slipped down into his stomach at the very thought...
He closed his eyes tightly and tried to remember what Voldemort had looked like, but it was impossible...All Harry knew was that at the moment when Voldemort's chair had swung around, and he, Harry, had seen what was sitting in it, he had felt a spasm of horror, which had awoken him...or had that been the pain in his scar?
And who had the old man been? For there had definitely been an old man; Harry had watched him fall to the ground. It was all becoming confused. Harry put his face into his hands, blocking out his bedroom, trying to hold on to the picture of that dimly lit room, but it was like trying to keep water in his cupped hands; the details were now trickling away as fast as he tried to hold on to them...Voldemort had been talking about someone they had killed, though Harry could not remember the name...and they had been plotting to kill someone else...him!
Harry took his face out of his hands, opened his eyes, and stared around his bedroom as though expecting to see something unusual there. As it happened, there was an extraordinary number of unusual things in this room. A large wooden trunk stood open at the foot of his bed, revealing a cauldron, broomstick, black robes, and assorted spellbooks. Rolls of parchment littered that part of his desk that was not taken up by the large, empty cage in which his snowy owl, Hedwig, usually perched. On the floor beside his bed a book lay open; Harry had been reading it before he fell asleep last night. The pictures in this book were all moving. Men in bright orange robes were zooming in and out of sight on broomsticks, throwing a red ball to one another.
Harry walked over to the book, picked it up, and watched on of the wizards score a spectacular goal by putting the ball through a fifty-foot-high hoop. Then he snapped the book shut. Even Quidditch - in Harry's opinion, the best sport in the world - couldn't distract him at the moment. He placed Flying with the Cannons on his bedside table, crossed to the window, and drew back the curtains to survey the street below.
Privet Drive looked exactly as a respectable suburban street would be expected to look inthe early hours of Saturday morning. All the curtains were closed. As far as Harry could see through the darkness, there wasn't a living creature in sight, not even a cat.
And yet...and yet...Harry went restlessly back to the bed and sat down on it, running a finger over his scar again. It wasn't the pain that bothered him; Harry was no stranger to pain and injury. He had lost all the bones from his right arm once and had them painfully regrown in a night. The same arm had been pierced by a venemous foot-long fang not long afterward. Only last year Harry had fallen fifty feet from an airborn broomstick. He was used to bizarre accidents and injuries; they were unavoidable if you attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and had a knack for attracting a lot of trouble – or looking for it, as his sister would say.
No, the thing that was bothering Harry was the last time his scar had hurt him, it had been because Voldemort had been close by...But Voldemort couldn't be here, now...The idea of Voldemort lurking in Privet Drive was absurd, impossible...
Harry listened closely to the silence around him. Was he half expecting to hear the creak of a stair or the swish of a cloak? Harry sighed and shook himself mentally; he was being stupid. There was no one in the house with him except Remus, Isadora, and Violet, and they were plainly still asleep, their dreams untroubled and painless.
Remus and Izzy were old friends of the Potters. In fact, the four of them had gone to school together. When Harry and Violet – Harry's twin sister – were born, Isadora Tonks and Remus Lupin were chosen as Violet's godparents by their mother, Lily. When James and Lily died, Remus and Izzy took the twins to raise together, as muggles – non-magic folk – until they were old enough to attend Hogwarts.
They may not have been their real parents, but the home in which Remus and Izzy raised Harry and Violet in was a loving and happy one. It was clear that, although they were not their own, that Remus and Isadora still loved them as though they were. It was because of this that Harry did not want to worry them with news of a bad dream of Voldemort, followed by his scar hurting.
It had been because of Voldemort that Harry and Violet had come to live with Remus and Izzy in the first place. If it hadn't been for Voldemort, Harry would not have had the lightning scar on his forehead. If it hadn't been for Voldemort, the twins would still have had parents...
They had only been a year old the night that Voldemort - the most powerful Dark wizard for a century, a wizard who had been gaining power steadily for eleven years - arrived at their house and killed their father and mother. Voldemort had then turned his wand on Harry – Violet was staying with Remus and Izzy for a few days, until the cold the twins had been passing back and forth to one another went away.
Voldemort had performed the curse that had disposed of many full-grown witches and wizards in his steady rise to power - and, incredibly, it had not worked. Instead of killing Harry, the curse had rebounded upon Voldemort. Harry had survived with nothing but a lightning-shaped cut on his forehead, and Voldemort had been reduced to something barely alive. His powers gone, his life almost extinguished, Voldemort had fled; the terror in which the secret community of witches and wizards had lived for so long had lifted, Voldemort's followers had disbanded, and Harry Potter had become famous.
It had been enough of a shock for Harry and Violet to discover, on their eleventh birthday, that he was a wizard and she was a witch; it had been even more disconcerting to find out that everyone in the hidden wizarding world knew Harry's name. Harry had arrived at Hogwarts to find that heads turned and whispers followed him wherever he went. But he was used to it now: At the end of this summer, the twins would be starting their fourth year at Hogwarts, and Harry was already counting the days until he would be back at the castle again.
But there was still a fortnight to go before he went back to school. He looked hopelessly out the window. What would his friends say if Harry wrote to them and told them about his scar hurting?
At once, Violet's best friend, Hermione Granger's voice seemed to fill his head, shrill and panicky. "Your scar hurt? Harry, that's really serious... You need to tell Izzy and Remus! And I'll go and check Common Magical Ailments and Afflictions... Maybe there's something in there about curse scars. . . ."
Yes, that would be Hermione's advice: Go straight to his guardians, and in the meantime, consult a book. Harry doubted very much whether a book could help him now. As far as he knew, he was the only living person to have survived a curse like Voldemort's; it was highly unlikely, therefore, that he would find his symptoms listed in Common Magical Ailments and Afflictions.
Then Harry thought of his own best friend, Neville Longbottom. He would likely just agree with Hermione. "Your scar hurt? After a dream about Voldemort? Have you told Remus or Izzy?"
Neville was a short, round-faced, chubby boy that both twins had grown up calling their friend. Like Harry and Violet, Neville had been raised not by his parents, but by his grandmother. The Longbottoms were still alive, but had been driven insane to the point of not even knowing who their own son was, and had been institutionalized in St. Mungo's – a wizarding hospital.
Like the Potter twins, Neville had been raised as a muggle for his own protection. Lord Voldemort may have disappeared, but his followers could still come for the three children to finish his work for him. This didn't just mean living among muggles, until they were old enough to attend Hogwarts, it meant living as a muggle. The children would know nothing of magic or what really happened to their parents. They couldn't even visit the wizarding world, which included St. Mungo's.
It was hard on Neville, knowing they were alive, but not being allowed to visit. But his Gran always told him that their doctors believed it would only add stress onto his parents to see him. Knowing they had a son who needed them, but unable to remember anything about him…? It was also surely to be harder on Neville. Being so young and in need of his mother and father, only for them not to recognize him.
Given their similar circumstances, Remus and Izzy thought it might be nice for the trio to be friends. It would certainly make things a little easier on them, once they started school. Through the shock of being tossed into a new world and Harry's fame, they'd have each other. Violet was sorted into a different house than the two boys, but knowing they were there for one another helped all three of them adjust and make it through.
Harry then tried to imagine his other best friend, Ron Weasley's, reaction, and in a moment, Ron's red hair and long-nosed, freckled face seemed to swim before Harry, wearing a bemused expression.
"Your scar hurt? But ... but You-Know-Who can't be near you now, can he? I mean ... you'd know, wouldn't you? He'd be trying to do you in again, wouldn't be? I dunno, Harry, maybe curse scars always twinge a bit... I'll ask Dad. . . ."
Mr. Weasley was a fully qualified wizard who worked in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office at the Ministry of Magic, but he didn't have any particular expertise in the matter of curses, as far as Harry knew. In any case, Harry didn't like the idea of the Weasley's knowing that he was getting jumpy about a few moments' pain. Mrs. Weasley would fuss worse than Hermione, and was likely to tell Izzy, anyway.
Harry kneaded his forehead with his knuckles. What he really needed was someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him, who had had experience with Dark Magic…
Harry thought of Sirius. He had only found out that Sirius was his godfather two months ago. They had been writing each other fairly regularly, but Harry almost hated to bother him with this.
Sirius had been in Azkaban – the terrifying wizard jail – for the past 12 years. Yet Sirius had been innocent - the murders for which he had been convicted had been committed by Wormtail, Voldemort's supporter, whom nearly everybody had believed dead. Everyone, except Marlene McKinnon.
Marlene had also been friends with Remus, Izzy, and the Potters, as had Sirius and Peter Pettigrew – Wormtail. Marlene had even attended Remus and Izzy's wedding the summer before Harry and Violet's second year.
The night that the Potters were killed, Pettigrew sold them out to Voldemort, telling him where they were hiding. Everyone had assumed it was Sirius, since only he was to be entrusted with such a secret. But at the last minute, to throw off Lord Voldemort, they changed it to Peter, and told no one.
When Sirius found out what Pettigrew had done, he tracked him down to kill him, but never got the chance. Pettigrew faked his own death, framing Sirius for his murder. It was 12 years later, before they – Remus, Izzy, Marlene, and Sirius – found him posing as a rat for the Weasley family. After some debate, it was decided that Sirius' best option was to hand Pettigrew over to the Ministry for Magic in exchange for his own freedom.
Sirius had a lot of catching up to do, now that he was a free man. Not just with Remus, Izzy, Violet, or even his godson Harry; but with Marlene. They had been in love before he was arrested. And, unbeknownst to him or anyone else at the time of his arrest, Marlene was pregnant. Sirius had a daughter – Aurora – who would be starting her second year at Hogwarts this year. Perhaps it was best if Harry didn't bother him with this right now.
This left Harry with one option. There was only one man truly qualified to tell Harry what he needed to know about Dark Arts, because he taught defense of it at their school. There was only one man who could help him with his fear, because he had raised Harry as his own. There was only…Remus.
Of course there was no better than Remus. He was quite knowledgeable in Dark Arts, and had the parent part down. But was this really worth bothering him and Izzy over? His scar hurting usually had some kind of reasoning behind it, but it seemed it was only a dream this time.
Voldemort couldn't be here. Remus and Izzy would never have allowed him to get so close. So perhaps it was just the dream. Maybe seeing him so vividly, and hearing his voice so clearly…maybe it had simply triggered a reaction in his brain. Maybe just seeing him and hearing his voice was enough to make Harry's scar hurt.
Deciding that it was probably all Remus would tell him anyway, Harry lay back on his bed, and did his best to fall back asleep.