Disclaimer: All together now: HP belongs to JKR!
Written for the Potions and Snitches 2009 Challenge Fest. This is actually my second attempt at the challenge because the first attempt tried to become a novel. In all honesty, there’s enough material in this idea to make a novel as well, or at least a novella, but let’s not get carried away...
AU of Philosopher’s Stone. This may or may not be DH compliant in its way (I’ve only read DH once so I’ve forgotten most of it). And I would like to point out that it was not my idea to have Hermione in this, but she wouldn’t leave.
Dedication: Dedicated with thanks to those organising this Fest. I had a blast writing for it and I’m going to enjoy reading the stories others have written. Thanks for giving us all the chance!
1. Running Away by Bil
Severus let loose a flame curse with a snarl of satisfaction, incinerating a pile of Harry Potter’s mail with such force that the burning fragments fluttered up in the air like startled pigeons. Crisping words floated down around him on grey ash, glowing faintly as the magics in the ink gave way to the fire.
How dare you be sorted into—
—no wonder you could defeat You Know Who if—
—only another Dark Lord could have—
—and you are a shame and a crime—
—you should be dead!
He tried not to read them, moving onto the next pile of letters stacked neatly by the house elves in this unused classroom. All those stupid, idiotic people, writing with such vindictiveness to a child. Hating him for being sorted into the house appropriate to him. Turning on him just because he wasn’t what they’d expected him to be.
Severus had always despised people but it never pleased him to be proven right.
Angrily he attacked another pile of letters, wishing he could have their writers in front of him instead of just their cowardly outpourings of illiterate hate. Ash clouded around him.
It was a good thing Albus had decided to divert Potter’s mail, even if he’d only done it initially to stop the brat getting a swelled head. Not that there was any chance of that now. There was no Gryffindor’s Golden Boy, no legendary hero, no noble vanquisher of He Who Must Not Be Named. And because the sheep of the wizarding world had expected there would be, they retaliated angrily on the boy who was none of those things. One house elf had been diverted from other duties just to deal with the howlers.
A scrap of singed paper landed on his arm. —hope you die you little—
How could anyone pour such poison on an eleven-year-old boy? Severus had worked himself up to loathe the brat for the arrogance, stupidity, and general Gryffindorishness he had to have inherited from his father... But even Severus wouldn’t have dreamed of attacking him the way these people did – and he was supposed to be a nasty Death Eater while they were the good and normal people!
He tried a Reducto on the next pile, which was highly satisfying. It also had the added bonus that since he was furious the power of the spell didn’t leave chunks of paper big enough to make out letters, let alone sentences the way the fire did. A Reducto turned the next pile into confetti as well.
Idiots! Morons! Cretins! Hypocrites!
Before long every letter in the room, and there had been a lot, was destroyed. Harry Potter would never receive this mail. Severus was glad.
Only now he’d finished his mail duties he had to go and talk to the actual boy, since the other teachers demanded that he be the one to find out why Potter had refused to cast any magic during the two weeks he’d been at Hogwarts. He’d wanted one of them to do it, but the unarguable argument had been made: Potter was his responsibility. Potter was a Slytherin.
Damn it all.
“You what?” was all Severus could say when Potter finally admitted the true reason for his defiant refusal to obey his teachers.
The boy looked up at him tearfully. “I can’t do magic! I can’t! I tried, really I did, but I just can’t! Please don’t send me back, please don’t make me go back! I’ll do anything! I can cook and clean – and even Aunt Petunia says I’m good at weeding. Please, I’ll be useful, I promise, I won’t be in the way and I won’t do anything you don’t like, I just don’t want to go back there!”
Potter cringed like a beaten cur and huddled in on himself, but at least he stopped babbling.
Severus glowered at him. No magic? The boy had to be mistaken. This had to be some kind of elaborate practical joke, some stupid, idiotic stunt to get some sort of pity from the people who hated him. Potter had magic. Of course he did.
But unlike Albus, Severus liked to test his assumptions before he accepted them as fact, and he cast several diagnostic and measuring spells on the boy, who stood there shivering and trying not to cry. The spells told him exactly what the boy had: Harry Potter had no magic. He was as magical as a Muggle teapot. There was magic on him, though, and Severus knew those magical traces for he’d seen them too many times. Avada Kedavra.
Surviving the Killing Curse, he reasoned swiftly, staring at the cringing boy in front of him, could have eaten up the boy’s magic. All right, so it wasn’t something he’d heard of happening except in old and not necessarily trustworthy texts, but no one had ever survived the Killing Curse before, had they? And what did it matter how the boy had no magic when it was clear that it was true? The boy who was supposed to save Britain from Voldemort’s inevitable return was a squib.
A squib. Bad enough a boy had been ordained by prophecy to face the Dark Lord of a generation, but now he was supposed to do it without any magic?
And despite the hate that had been aimed at the Boy Who Lived since he was sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor the way he was ‘supposed’ to be, the boy still thought Hogwarts was better than where he’d come from. That didn’t bode well. A quick skim with Legilimency over the boy’s surface thoughts, shuddering distastefully because he hated touching other people’s minds, proved Severus’s suspicions right. A deeper look was completely unnecessary. The Dursleys were not the kind of Muggles to have custody of children, let alone children with magic.
And Albus had to have known because Albus took great pride in knowing everything. But he hadn’t told Severus because he knew that after what Severus had grown up with there was no way he would allow even the son of James Potter to be treated like that. Had Albus also known Potter was now a squib? All those big plans for the future, all the ways Albus had meant to guide Potter into saving the world... All the cheerful assurances he’d given to calm Severus down, had they all been based upon lies?
Because this cowering boy, allowed to be this way despite Albus’s ‘protection’, wasn’t able to save himself, let alone a world.
Something inside Severus snapped.
That. Was. It.
He had had it with grand, half-baked plans, with sugar-fuelled ideas, with the lunacy that Albus considered necessary for running the world. (And anyone who thought Albus wasn’t running the world, or at least magical Britain, was as much a headcase as Albus himself.) Severus had put up with it because Albus was the only opposition to Voldemort, but he’d never enjoyed it. Now all that planning and waiting, all the relying on prophecies and the Dark Lord’s stupidity, had finally become too much. He wanted out and he wanted it now.
He glared at Potter. “Is there anything in your dorm you want?”
“N-no. Not without... Hedwig.”
Severus’s glower deepened. The boy’s owl had been killed a couple of days into school. No one had found out who did it, not even Albus, for there were just too many suspects. Everyone hated the boy, either for being the Boy Who Lived (and the slayer of the Dark Lord) or for being sorted into Slytherin (and therefore clearly a Dark Lord in the making).
“Good,” Severus snapped. “Come on.” The boy followed meekly.
As simply as that, Severus left. He was on a plane out of Britain before the day was over, taking nothing but the Muggle clothes he wore, a wallet containing his life savings, and a boy who clung to him as the one good thing in the whole world.
DEATH EATER KIDNAPS BOY WHO LIVED! read the newspaper headlines across magical Britain.
But no one actually cared except for one small Ravenclaw girl who had been the only child Harry’s age not to hate him. Hermione Granger looked around at the students discussing the news over breakfast and scowled so darkly she looked strangely like Snape. They all assumed Snape was taking Harry to Voldemort to be trained as his successor or (if they believed Voldemort was dead) that Harry was going to be groomed by the remaining Death Eaters to be Voldemort’s replacement. Or another theory as stupid as those. They were all stupid.
None of them had bothered to find out who Harry was, to realise he was just a scared little boy who never meant anyone any harm and who was always hated for nothing that was his fault. Stalking out of the Great Hall, unable to face breakfast surrounded by those hateful people, and ignoring a seventh year who ordered “Watch it, mudblood!”, Hermione went to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, already known to her as the most private place in the castle if you didn’t count Myrtle. Locking the stall door, she carefully pulled the sheet of parchment out from where she’d hidden it under the inner sole of her shoe. She already memorised it, of course, but she liked to read the real words again.
Dear Hermione, it read, I am going away because I’m not really magic so I don’t belong here. But I’m going to be okay because Professor Snape is taking me to be safe and I’m not going back to the Dursleys. Thank you for being my friend. You’re the only friend I ever had. Harry.
Hermione sniffled quietly to herself. Then she made a decision.
Two days later Hermione had left Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unlike Harry and Snape’s departure, her leaving didn’t make the newspapers and the only person who actually noticed was Professor McGonagall, who’d been austerely fond of her.
Britain’s wizarding population, feeling smugly superior, had no idea they’d driven away the three people who could have saved them from Voldemort’s return.
“What an adorable little boy! Is he yours?”
“Yes,” Severus said shortly, glaring at the woman. She didn’t seem to notice, leaning cheerfully over the back of the bus seat to look at Potter properly. Harry shrank away from her gaze and huddled into Severus.
“Oh, he’s just gorgeous. Those eyes!” How she could tell what the brat’s eyes looked like when Potter was burying his face in Severus’s jersey was beyond him. And couldn’t she take a hint? “You’ll have all the girls after you in a few years, young man!”
Luckily a friend of hers appeared then and ‘Amy’ was distracted by a gossipy discussion in which names were tossed around like confetti, liberally punctuated by giggles. At any other time Severus would have been irritated at having to listen to it but right now he was just thankful that she was occupied with something other than Potter.
With a crash of gears the bus took off, weaving its way out of the city and out across the countryside. Severus glowered out the window, hoping to avoid any more ‘friendly’ people. They were in New Zealand, after randomly chosen plane trips that had taken them around the Pacific, and now headed for a randomly chosen city by a method few wizards would think to follow. Even Muggleborn magic-users usually immersed themselves so fully in their adopted world that they forgot how to survive in Muggle situations, but Severus had always known he might one day need the ability to escape and he had never neglected any skill that might one day mean survival.
Perhaps this paranoia was excessive, but Severus hadn’t survived this long by ignoring his suspicious side. Even if Harry was now hated by the world that had spent ten years worshipping him, people could come after him (after all there was the prophecy and Albus was never one to easily give up on his plans). Then of course there were the people who might come after Severus, Voldemort’s followers resenting him for abandoning them or Albus determined to have everything work out just how he planned. That was one of the reasons he hadn’t left before now, the knowledge that leaving probably wouldn’t be as simple as just going. Still, he’d planned for this, worked it all out, built up escape routes...
He just hadn’t anticipated a tagalong.
The boy in question slowly built up the courage to shift away from Severus’s side. Over the past few days he seemed to have decided that even if Severus was going to hurt him eventually at least he would protect him first, and his fear of everyone else was far greater than his fear of Severus (but if Severus thought about that too much he would become blazingly furious). Looking down at him, Severus found himself meeting wide green eyes,
“Did you mean it?” the boy asked in a whisper, scared to ask the question but apparently even more scared not to know the answer.
“Mean what?” he whispered back, checking that Amy was still busy.
“That I’m yours.”
Severus stared at him.
Potter decided this meant no and shrunk down into himself. “Sorry!” he mumbled. “Sorry, sorry, sor—”
“You are mine,” Severus said, and his voice was no less sharp for being a whisper. “You are mine and no one will take you from me. Do you understand me?”
One wary eye studied his face. Then slowly Harry uncurled himself and the faintest glimmer of a smile jumped across his lips as if it wasn’t sure it belonged there but couldn’t help but try. He nodded.
New Zealand suited Harry. There were wide open spaces for him to run around in, there were trees for him to climb in (and fall out of), there were places for him to explore... And no one who knew the name Harry Potter. No one who knew the meaning of a lightning bolt scar. No one who cared about what Hogwarts house he’d been sorted into.
Severus rented a house and installed the pair of them inside. They danced around each other uncertainly, the man who had never had any family and the boy who had never had anyone, but because it was them against the world they stuck together and somehow they found themselves a balance.
They ventured into the magical community warily, but the name Voldemort was here just a name dimly remembered from old newspaper articles. The Dark Lord might have been huge news in Britain but here he was practically a cipher; the Antipodean magical community, made up predominantly of outcasts and the unwanted, cared little for the distant troubles of the mother country that had sent them away. Harry and Severus fit right in.
Away from the Dursleys, away from Hogwarts, Harry thrived. So too, to his own surprise, did Severus. Here he was accepted simply as he was. No one here cared about some strange tattoo on his arm; his past was in the past, and people here welcomed him in a friendly fashion and asked no questions. For the first time he made friends (or almost friends) with people not because he came from the same house or because he shared magical abilities with them (fully half the ‘magical’ community here was made up of squibs, and a surprising number of Muggles knowingly patronised magical stores) but just because he happened to get along with them.
Harry slowly started asking questions, all the questions his relatives had never allowed him to ask – and they were good questions, because the boy wasn’t stupid. And despite a complete inability to do magic, Harry became, through his curiosity, extremely adept at understanding magic. He was helped in this by the local magical community, who didn’t see why a lack of magic should mean a lack of understanding. A surprising proportion of local researchers were as magic-less as Harry but that didn’t stop them knowing exactly how to study and teach magic. Here magic and Muggle methods were mixed freely; these wizards used ballpoint pens and had figured out how to run lightbulbs on magic. More, these people weren’t of the Old World, steeped in tradition; they were of pioneering stock, and they were not satisfied with ‘because this is how we’ve always done it’ as an answer to ‘why?’ They asked questions: why do it that way, what makes it work, would another way work better...? Harry fit right in, and Severus was startled to realise that, magic or no, if given the chance the boy probably could have found a way to defeat Voldemort if he’d stayed in Britain.
Some scars would never heal for either of them, of course, but Harry and Severus relaxed into a new and better life and learned how to smile. If he’d ever met up again with the people who’d driven them away, Severus might almost have been tempted to thank them (after, of course, hexing them so badly there was nothing left to thank...).
Still, some shadows hovered over them. Trust was difficult for both of them, and probably always would be. Paranoia would likely stalk them for the rest of their lives and neither of them would ever be ‘normal’. Luckily, neither of them cared to be normal. ‘Normal’ people were the ones who had driven them away from their homeland.
As Harry learned that he wouldn’t be punished for the slightest infraction he began testing the world around him, and the boy had absolutely no care for his own skin – Severus blamed the Dursleys for that and seriously considered the possibility of long-distance curses – and no fear except of people. Normal things, like heights and pain and broken limbs, didn’t scare him in the least. After every hair-raising stunt Severus wished there was some way of making him scared. The blasted boy had somehow become important to him and he wasn’t prepared to lose him. Not to Voldemort, not to Albus, not to his own stupidity.
He’d told Harry the truth, even if he hadn’t known how truthful it was at the time. Harry was his.
“Severus! Severus! Look who I found at the park!”
Severus looked up to see Harry, at fifteen bidding fair to rival him in height, come racing into the sitting room dragging a girl about his age behind him. He raised an eyebrow. Harry willingly touching anyone other than Severus was a minor miracle in itself but Harry being excited while doing it was unheard of. The wizarding world’s reception of the boy had put the final cap on a lifetime of abuse and Harry would never truly trust anyone new, no matter how they tried. And people had definitely tried.
But perhaps this wasn’t someone new...
“Miss Granger?” he demanded incredulously, rising from his seat. “How in the world—”
The girl blushed. “Hello, Professor Snape.”
Harry beamed between them. “She lives here too! Can we stop moving now, Severus?”
And that was another surprise. Severus and Harry had come to New Zealand simply because it was as far from Britain as you could get without actually leaving the planet but since they weren’t quite sure whether anyone was searching for them and because old fears died hard, they never stayed more than six months in a place – mostly, these last few moves, because Harry started getting antsy and imagining he saw people coming for him than because Severus felt there was any real need.
“If that’s what you want,” he said, and looked at the girl. She’d been the one person at Hogwarts who had treated Harry as a friend after his sorting despite the derision of the others, the one person who’d been kind to him when everyone else hated him. Unsurprisingly that appeared to have left a mark. “How do you come to be here?” It was disconcerting to see a face from the old life they’d left behind on the other side of the world.
She smiled at him, a little nervously. “After what they did to Harry I just couldn’t stay at Hogwarts. Besides, even after a couple of weeks I could tell the magical world was full of prejudices. Not just all the house rivalries, but the ‘pureblood’ and ‘halfbreed’ rubbish as well. So I left and went back to a Muggle school and my parents hired me a tutor for magic. But there were signs Voldemort was coming back—” Severus lifted an eyebrow at her clear pronunciation of the name “—and I could see that things were getting dangerous, especially when I was a known ‘mudblood’. So my parents and I left Britain. I did some research—”
Harry laughed and Severus snorted. Even after having her for only two classes, Severus knew that Miss Granger always did some research. She blushed.
“I did some research and I found out that New Zealand and Australia were among the places where the purebloods used to send all their squibs if they were too squeamish to kill them, to get them out of the way so they weren’t an ‘embarrassment’.” She scowled. “I reasoned there must be some sort of magical community here that wouldn’t be as...”
“Stupid?” Harry supplied. “Hidebound? Moronic? Inbred?”
She laughed. “Yes. So we came here. We moved to this city a couple of years ago.”
Harry grinned at her. “I’m glad we came here.”
And seeing the happiness in the face of his adopted son, Severus could only be happy as well.
Harry’s delight in Hermione’s presence never faded and Severus found himself fighting pangs of jealousy. He was used to being the only one Harry was comfortable around, the only one Harry would look at without some faint, half-felt fear. He knew he shouldn’t feel jealous, knew he should be glad. After all, he’d been trying to convince Harry for years that not every single person in the world was going to hate him (an uphill battle, since that had in fact been Harry’s life for ten years). This final, long-awaited reaching out should gladden Severus’s heart (Harry assured him he did in fact have a heart) and make him feel relief.
Not this stupid jealousy.
But he was jealous. Harry was his, Harry had been his for five tempestuous years, and Severus had never had a rival in the boy’s affections. He couldn’t even wish she hadn’t come back into Harry’s life because she made Harry happy and Severus knew Harry needed a real friend his own age instead of just his mates from the rugby team who never guessed Harry was secretly scared of them. Harry needed that and Severus couldn’t deny it to him. But he wanted to wish she hadn’t come.
The tiny worm of jealousy ate at him; he should never have brought Harry away with him, he should have just run on his own, then he wouldn’t be feeling this now. He should have known it would end like this, everything he loved (and he had to admit it now, he loved the brat) was taken away from him. It was just happening all over again.
Maybe he could leave. The Grangers could take Harry in (though he wasn’t comfortable with Hermione’s parents and probably never be; at least Severus had that triumph) and Severus could go far away and this time he wouldn’t let anyone trick him into getting attached to anything.
He should have known Harry would pick up his mood, should have known Harry would never let it go.
“What’s wrong, Severus? Please, tell me what’s wrong.”
Severus glowered across the table at him and stabbed his fork into his dinner, knowing full well that saying ‘Nothing’ wouldn’t stop Harry. Once he’d finally got a hold of the idea he was allowed to ask questions Harry had been full of questions, as if making up for the time when he’d been forbidden to speak them.
“Can’t I help?” The plaintive tone made Severus wince. That was the little boy that would never fully go away, desperate and scared... and still wanting to help Severus. If Albus had managed to earn the boy’s trust Harry would have done anything for him, braved anything for him, been the hero for him. But it wasn’t Albus who’d earned that trust, it was Severus, and so Harry just wanted to help him.
Given Severus’s squirming jealousy that was a little hard to bear right now.
He scowled at his dinner. Harry had cooked it; it had taken a long time for Severus to accept Harry’s cooking because he hated what it said about the boy’s upbringing but Harry liked cooking for him. Harry liked that this was something he could do for Severus.
He looked up and met Harry’s wide, hopeful eyes. And jealousy fled before the green fire in that look, because it didn’t matter how strong Hermione’s hold of Harry became, Harry was still Severus’s. Harry still loved him, looked up to him, wanted to help him. Harry’s heart, he suddenly understood, was more than big enough for two.
And for the first time in his life Severus realised that he could share.
“Yes, Harry,” he said, “you can help.” He smiled. “You just did.”
“Grandpapa! Grandpapa, look how high I go!”
Severus gave the appropriate encouragement as Harry’s three-year-old daughter determinedly used her feet to get the maximum amount of height out of the swing. He wasn’t worried about her falling off; Alice had long since proven that her ability to get into trouble was matched by her magic’s ability to get her out of it. Her father might be as Muggle as her other grandparents, but he’d had the potential to be a powerful wizard if Voldemort hadn’t attacked him and those genetics, added to her mother’s, had produced a brilliant child.
Of course, Severus would still have adored her if she’d been a squib; she was Alice. His granddaughter in all but a strict hereditary sense. And though he despised children as a group (of course he did, he’d been a teacher after all) he’d been forced to admit that when encountered individually some of them could be quite... acceptable.
“I’m going to touch the clouds!” Alice shouted excitedly. “Watch me, Grandpapa!”
“I’m watching,” he assured her, keeping his eyes on her as promised (and no, that wasn’t a smile on his face... it just looked like one). Even a chuckle behind him didn’t make him look around. There was only one person it could be, after all.
“She has you wrapped around her little finger, Severus,” Harry chided. “You’re ruining your reputation.”
“That was ruined long before Alice came along,” Hermione said as the couple came to stand beside Severus; she had one hand tucked into Harry’s arm and the other resting on her swelling stomach where another grandchild grew. Around them Muggle and wizard children alike played on the playground equipment, enjoying the bright summer’s day. “You ruined his reputation.”
“Oh?” Severus asked with silken dangerousness. “And would you care to test that assumption, Mrs Potter?”
Years of exposure had blunted his ability to cower her, though. “Sorry, Severus, but we all know you’re just a big softy.”
He spluttered indignantly.
“Hermione, love,” Harry scolded, “don’t say things like that, you’ll give the man a heart attack. He’s a big bad potions maker, remember? He haunts the nightmares of children everywhere.”
“Grandpapa, catch me!” Alice jumped off the swing at the highest point of its arc and Severus leapt forward swiftly to catch her before she could hit the ground.
“Don’t do that!” he ordered, clutching her to him and waiting for his heart to start beating again. Knowing she wouldn’t be hurt was one thing; it was quite another to watch her doing things like that.
“I think,” Hermione said dryly, “that children haunt his nightmares rather than the other way around. Alice, what did I tell you about jumping?”
Her daughter, still in Severus’s arms, looked around for help. None came. “Not to do it,” she admitted.
“So why did you?”
Alice brightened. “Because it’s fun!”
Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose. “I give up. Harry, she’s definitely your daughter. You deal with it.”
Harry kissed her cheek and winked at Severus (who rolled his eyes) before looking at Alice with mock severity. “Alice, if you stop doing things that scare Mum and Grandpapa, I’ll take you go-karting.”
“Yay!” Alice bounced up and down in Severus’s arms excitedly. “I promise, I promise!”
Severus and Hermione glared at Harry. “Go-karting,” Hermione said, “is not a safe activity for a three year old.”
“You want her j-u-m-p-i-n-g off the s-h-e-d next?” Harry asked pointedly. “At least this is in a controlled environment. If she’s an adrenaline junkie then there’s no stopping her.”
“You would know,” Severus said dryly. “I blame all my grey hairs on you, Harry.”
“You don’t have any,” Harry dismissed, “don’t be so melodramatic.” He tapped his chin thoughtfully as if trying to remember something. “Now, I seem to remember Grandpapa making someone a certain promise...”
“Ice cream!” Alice picked up on the hint. “Ice cream, Grandpapa!”
“Oh?” he asked her. “And you truly believe you deserve ice cream?”
She smiled winningly. “Please?”
“Oh, just give in, Severus,” Hermione said with a laugh. “You know you will anyway.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Hermione,” he said with a sniff. Tossing Alice up onto his shoulder (something he was not going to be able to do for much longer if she kept growing so fast), he headed across the park towards the dairy, Harry and Hermione following him. His family. He’d never expected this; he’d expected his life to be full of wars and spying and being hated until one day someone managed to hit him with the wrong curse. And instead he’d kidnapped a boy and run away, and now he was something he’d never expected to be: He was happy. Sometimes running away was the best thing you could possibly do.
At about the time Severus had been watching his adopted son marry Hermione Granger, Voldemort had started to seriously make his mark on wizarding Britain. He’d taken his time about it because he’d been worried that Dumbledore had hidden the Potter boy away to train him, and without his who-knows-whose-side-he’s-really-on-but-at-least-he-tells-us-stuff spy he had no way of finding out just what Dumbledore knew about Potter’s disappearance. But eventually he’d ventured out of hiding and restarted his takeover of the country. In fact, from his perspective the wait was the best thing that could have happened because he’d spent the time wisely, building up a following and gathering his strength.
Resistance had been mounted, of course, but it had failed. Hit wizards had been sent to attack Voldemort but their most lethal attacks had failed. Dumbledore’s attempts to destroy the horcruxes ended in his death after the second one and since he hadn’t trusted anyone else with their secret Voldemort was unstoppable (at least until that incident with the salamander, the manticore, and the hippogriff, but that wasn’t for another hundred years). Death Eaters had started roaming the country at large. Muggleborns had started fleeing the country in droves. Other countries had begun placing embargoes and sealing their borders, not wanting anything to do with the chaos in Britain.
Meanwhile, the boy who could have found a way to save them all if they’d just treated him with a little kindness was finding out he was going to be a father.
Voldemort toppled the Ministry and placed his own version in charge of the country. Muggles went about their days unaware, though a little annoyed at the rash of gas explosions. A government commission was set up to investigate the matter at the cost of millions of tax payer pounds.
The girl who would have supported the hero so that he could save the country was giving birth to her first child.
Muggleborns were now taken from their families and placed in wizarding homes or slaughtered like unwanted puppies. Squibs were abandoned on Muggle streets or quietly killed. Magic users of mixed heritage were second-class citizens, unable to have any say in the running of their country. No Muggle was allowed to know magic existed.
The man who would have given his life to grant the hero a chance to destroy Voldemort was helping his granddaughter take her first steps.
Magical Britain turned inwards, asking for no help, offering no assistance to anybody. Only smugglers could get things or people in or out and there were few of those. No one wanted to go in. Magical Britain was dying slowly, stagnating in the mire of its own superiority.
The three people who could have saved them were living happy, contented lives on the other side of the world, serenely unaware of what their fates should have been.
The rise of Voldemort was to mean the rise of the purebloods, the end of innovation, and, in a few centuries’ time, the complete disintegration of all magical society in Britain. The Muggles, busy with moonbases, trips to Mars, and walking talking computers, didn’t notice that magic had left their country.
The Potter family became known for living long, full, and above all happy lives.
(And yes, most of them were daredevils.)