Also available as: Epub
Stories from the Vault
The Exchange - Act 1 - Scene One
See the notes at the bottom
Godric’s Hollow – October 31, 1981
Life at the cottage was boring. It was a relief at first after skirmishes and escapes from not-quite-dead things, but although it was supposed to be safe, it was tedious; every day was the same.
The wireless was some relief, but it worked on batteries, and once her hoard of batteries were exhausted, she’d have to figure out how to resupply. She reckoned that Remus would know what she meant if she asked for “D-cells” but she hadn’t seen Remus for months, and James didn’t seem to be particularly fond of Remus at the moment.
Life really stank when you couldn’t know for sure who was on your side and who would sell you out in a heartbeat.
Harry was happy though, he enjoyed meals and bath time and the snuggles that would come afterwards as she’d dress him in jammies and rock him to sleep before putting him in what Sirius called the “wizard containment bin.” She wasn’t sure it was such a good idea to try to conceive again, but what else was there to do after putting Harry down to sleep?
The squirmy baby was finally limp against her shoulder. She sat still in the rocker. As she stood to put Harry in the cot, she could hear noises from downstairs – James was still cleaning up in the kitchen.
She felt an unnoticed piece of magic snap and then felt a different piece of magic settle into place before she heard her husband bellow.
Lily put Harry in the cot and then moved toward the door that she’d shut to cut down on the distractions from the bed time routine.
“Lily, he’s here! Take Harry and go! I’ll hold him off.”
There was a bang and a splintering sound, followed by a high-pitched cackle.
Lily began chanting the invocation for the protections she’d scratched into Harry’s skin a week ago. James had never agreed with her plan, but in the end, he didn’t have any better ideas.
Given the flash she saw around the edges of the door and the crash she heard from below, whatever James had in mind to “hold him off” wasn’t meeting with much success. Lily finished the invocation and held her hand over the cot. She could feel a buzz of magic as the protection snapped into place.
Sudden darkness, silence like being in the cellar when Petunia would turn out the lights when they were children. The silence was odd, as she was certain she’d just heard footsteps on the stairs. An odd slippery light then filled the darkness and she was aware of someone else in the room. As her eyes adjusted to the weird light, she saw a short figure in a black cloak, hood drawn. She suppressed a chuckle; she’d always expected Death to be taller.
“So, this is it, then, eh Death?” Lily asked the figure.
“I suppose it all depends on what you mean by it ,” the figure replied, pulling back the hood. The hood revealed a woman with pale hair and skin and protruding eyes that gave off a look of surprise.
“Pandora?” Lily asked, trying to figure out how Pandora Lovegood had managed to find the cottage.
“No, that’s my mum,” the figure replied. “You were closer to being right the first time though.” She made hand motions at the door and then turned to Lily.
“My name’s Luna,” she said. “We need to talk.”
“Not a particularly auspicious time for conversation,” Lily replied.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” The woman who called herself Luna but looked like her old friend Pandora peeked into the crib.
“Oh, Harry, you were such a pretty baby,” she gushed. She turned to Lily. “You might as well sit down, time is stopped right now.”
Lily sank back into the rocker, thinking furiously.
“You’re from the future, you know Harry?” Lily guessed.
“Right on both counts – he was probably my only friend at school, we kept in touch afterwards and he ended up naming one of his children after the two of us, Lily Luna Potter, a very sweet girl, so unlike her mother.”
“So, why are you here?” Lily asked.
“We’re in a bubble right now, and time is passing very, very, very slowly,” Luna explained. “When the bubble breaks, the man you know as Voldemort, which is a rather silly name, given that his given name is Tom, Tom Marvolo Riddle Junior actually, will come in here, kill you, and attempt to kill Harry.”
“I suppose there’s no getting out of here?” Lily asked.
“Not in the way you’re thinking,” Luna replied.
“So what’s your plan?”
“You, Lily Potter will die here, tonight; Tom Marvolo Riddle then casts the Killing Curse on your very beautiful son. The curse for all intents and purposes bounces, and disintegrates Tom’s body. In less than half an hour Sirius Black and Rubeus Hagrid show up and have a brief argument as to who is to take Harry; at the end of that spat, Hagrid takes Harry to Dumbledore, Black hunts down Peter Pettigrew. Peter Petrigrew manages to fake his own death, Sirius Black is thrown into Azkaban without a trial, and Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore hijacks the magical protection you’ve provided to Harry and ties it to your sister, Petunia Dursley. He grows up with the Dursley family as a scorned, abused child until it is time for him to start Hogwarts.”
“So you’re coming back to change things for Harry?”
“Not directly, although almost anything would be an improvement over the life Harry lives after tonight,” Luna explains. “Your body will certainly die tonight, but if you give your consent, your spirit will go back in time, where you will take over from another woman who is at the end of her life, and if you’re as clever and persistent as I know you to be, you’ll change things.”
“Am I going back to stop Voldemort?”
“Not directly, the real problem is Dumbledore.”
“Let’s talk then,” Lily says, hoping that this isn’t a bad dream.
“So, we are agreed?” Luna asked.
“I’m not seeing a lot of better options,” Lily said, pushing herself up from the rocker. “Let’s do it.”
Lily felt compression, cold and darkness, something like Apparation, but worse. She then saw the room as if she were behind an oily curtain, watching Luna turn into a twinkling mist that merged with the frozen body of Lily Potter. The woman who looked like Lily snapped her fingers and the room was now filled with normal light. The door exploded, sending a shower of shards into the room. Harry woke with a scream and began to cry.
“Stand aside, woman,” he said.
“No, kill me instead,” she begged.
“I won’t ask again.”
Kokopelli again - this is a story arc that came to me recently and I started playing with it. I won't be writing the full story, but I thought I'd write some pieces. As usual, JK Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe, but against the rest of creation, this story is mine. Copyright (c) 2020 - all rights reserved - firstname.lastname@example.org