AU OneShot. Lily and James survived Voldemort's attack that Halloween night, but not everything is going well. Character Death. Inspired by the song, The Little Girl.
He Was There
Things had changed since that night when Voldemort had come to kill little Harry and Harry had rebounded the Killing Curse back at the Dark Lord. At first things had seemed to be fine despite the fact that the Potters had to continually look over their shoulders for any lose Death Eaters who might seek revenge. Lily and James were a bit overprotective of Harry as all good parents should be, but then things started to change. When Harry was five, James started to go out more and more while Lily would fall asleep on the couch as she waited for her husband to come home. Pretty soon after that Lily stopped telling stories and singing to Harry and she no longer wanted to play or give kisses and hugs, preferring to fall asleep on the couch after downing potions.
Harry never even really saw his father anymore when James wasn't drinking and knew not to approach the man. Instead he would sit quietly in his little chair in a corner and look at a book, scampering behind the couch to hide when his father came home and his parents started fighting. The drinking and fighting just got worse every night, and behind their couch Harry would be hiding, watching it all. And true to fate, just like it always does, the bad got worse; every shout, every slap, then the flashing light of curses. Harry was a witness to it all. Watched as his parents abused each other, but refused to separate because it would present a bad image to the Wizarding World and that public image was all they had left.
Then, in a drunk rage one night, James turned his wand on his wife, but the words he uttered weren't the usual ones that sent her flying, but the words of the Killing Curse. Peering out in horror from behind the couch Harry watched as his mother's body seemed to fall in slow motion to the floor, her face frozen in shock from the sickly green light that haunted his dreams at night when he managed to sleep. Slowly Harry's wide eyes moved up from the still form of his mother to gaze upon his father. James was as still as stone except for his hand, his hand that held the wand trembled and the trembling was even scarier than the stillness.
For a second their eyes met, but James seemed not to see Harry. Then that trembling hand rose, turning the wand around until it was shakily pointed at James' own throat and he took his life. Harry could only stare as his father fell to the floor in parody of his mother. He seemed not to make a sound as he hit the ground, but to Harry the echo of that wand clattering against the wood floor seemed to be the loudest noise in the world. With a small sob he dragged himself further back behind the couch into the safety he had found there, pulling his knees to his chest and burying his face in his arms so that he could no longer see the wand just lying there.
~~ ~~ ~*~
"Blessed Merlin," the voice roused Harry enough that he raised his head slightly, but he didn't move from his spot, "I knew something was wrong when James didn't come to work, but I hadn't thought-was it Death Eaters?"
"I don't know," this voice was older; Harry recognized it as Grandpa Albus, but he still couldn't bring his frozen body to move and look out into the room, "I had best go and Floo the Auror Headquarters, they'll need to come out."
"Alright," a third, soft voice, answered Albus, "we'll stay here and see if we can find anything."
"Where's Harry?" The first voice, Sirius, was suddenly panicked as he realized the third Potter wasn't anywhere to be found, "you don't think-"
Sirius' voice trailed off as his footsteps moved rapidly away through the house to begin searching the other rooms. Harry could hear Sirius' feet thundering through the house, could hear his name being called, but he didn't want to have to leave his spot. It didn't take Sirius long to search and he was back within minutes, Albus right behind him as he finished his Floo call.
"I can't find Harry," Sirius panted, wild panic in his eyes at the thought of losing yet another beloved person, "he's not in any of the rooms. It must have been Death Eaters. They must have him. We have to go save him!"
"I don't think it was Death Eaters," Remus' voice was full of heavy sorrow as he moved about the room, careful not to touch anything, "look around you. There's no real sign of a fight, no scorch marks from missed spells, and the way James' wand is laying-"
Remus trailed off as he bent down as if to touch James' wand, but then thought better of it as he remembered the Aurors were on their way. Slowly he started to straighten back up, the suspected knowledge on what had happened weighing heavily on his soul, when his eyes locked onto a pair of green ones hidden in the shadows behind the couch.
"Harry?" The question was a half-sobbed whisper as Remus moved closer to the space between the couch and wall to make sure; he too had been dreading the loss of their Cub.
"Where?" Sirius whipped his head around, following Remus' actions until he too could just make out Harry's huddled form.
"It's alright Cub," Remus whispered softly as he awkwardly twisted his body to fit behind the couch so he could reach his arms out to Harry, Sirius attempting to crowd him to fit as well, "we're here now. Everything will be alright. Nothing's going to hurt you now."
Remus kept up the soothing banter as he carefully pulled Harry into his arms, allowing his little Cub to hide his face against his chest as he shoved Sirius away and moved them out into the main room. All the while he stroked Harry's unruly hair, moving his body so that Harry didn't have to see the still forms of his parents as Remus moved towards the kitchen to sit down. Reluctantly Sirius stayed in the living room with Albus to deal with the Aurors as they arrived, everyone talking in hushed voices as the scene was examined and picked apart. The only thing Harry really heard of the whole event was one Auror picking up James' wand to perform the priori incantatem spell, but Remus' sensitive ears heard every last detail of the investigation.
While all this was going on Harry stayed snuggled up in Remus' arms, unspeaking and barely moving except to sip at the hot chocolate Remus had made them all. The Aurors hadn't come to question Harry at all, not wanting to traumatize their savior even further despite the fact that he was the only witness; besides, James' wand had done all the talking as it was forced to reveal the last spells used. Only once did Harry glance out the kitchen door and into the living room while the Aurors were still there, and that was only when he heard one of the Auror's mention moving the bodies. Harry watched as first his mother and then father were lifted off the floor and carefully wrapped up in their best cloaks to be born off to the Ministry to be prepared for the funeral. After what seemed to be an eternity Remus heard Albus escort the final Auror out the front door and heard the Auror promise that the only report they would make would be that Lily and James Potter had been found dead in their home that morning.
"It's the least we can do for young Harry," Remus heard the Auror speaking with Albus, "that little boy doesn't need to suffer anymore and doesn't need the world knowing what really happened here. He'll be taken care of?"
"Yes," Albus replied, "his godfathers will take him in and will give him the good home he needs."
Hearing Albus' last statement, Remus turned his head so that he could gaze down into Harry's fathomless eyes, "it'll be alright Cub, I swear to you that it'll be alright. Sirius and I will take care of you now."
Standing and letting Harry down to the floor, Remus walked out to the living room to join Albus and Sirius. Remus regretting leaving Harry in the kitchen, but he didn't want to bring Harry back into that room.
"Why don't you two take Harry back to your flat," Albus' twinkling eyes were unusually dim, "I'll pack his things up and bring them over later after I finish up here. We'll figure out a more permanent home for the three of you later."
"Alright," Sirius nodded, "we'll take Harry out the back way then, so he doesn't have to walk through here."
"I think it's a bit late for that," Albus inclined his head slightly in the direction behind Sirius and Remus.
Turning, the two godfathers saw Harry standing next to the couch he had been hiding behind earlier, his hand upon the back of it as he peered into the shadows that concealed him so well as if he was searching for something. Blinking away tears, Sirius walked over to Harry and picked the unresisting boy up.
"Come on Prongslet," his voice was gruff as he remembered where he had gotten Harry's nickname from, "let's get something to eat and then take you home. We'll decide what to do next when we get back to the flat."
Slowly Harry nodded and allowed Sirius to carry him out of his house, his eyes never leaving the shadows behind the couch until the front door closed behind them and he couldn't see it anymore.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Three Months Later...
Remus, Sirius, and Harry walked down the main street of Hogsmead as they headed for their home, the newly renovated Shrieking Shack. It had been a difficult three months for all of them, but Harry was gradually starting to open up to them being his new guardians more and more despite the fact that he never wanted to talk about his parents. Remus and Sirius had vowed not to push Harry into speaking about any of it despite their yearning to know the truth of the matter and spend most of their time making sure the little boy knew what it was like to have fun and be loved. That was one of the reasons for their trip today, they had promised to take Harry to both Zonko's and Honeydukes after lunch.
They had nearly made it home when Harry let out a small sound, almost a gasp, and Sirius and Remus realized their Cub had fallen a few paces behind them.
"Harry?" Remus moved towards his little Cub in concern, noting idly that Harry had dropped a twitching and half-eaten Chocolate Frog to the ground and was clutching the collector's card for dear life; Remus only hoped he hadn't gotten one of himself or his parents.
"This man," Harry's eyes were wide and round, "who is he?"
Really confused now, Remus glanced at the card and saw that Harry had gotten one of the Merlin cards.
"That's Merlin, Cub," Remus said softly, "if you flip it over it'll tell you about him, but I know we've told you stories about Merlin before. I told you one as a bedtime story only a few nights ago."
"I've never seen a picture of Merlin before," Harry's voice was almost quivery.
"Why does what Merlin looks like bother you Prongslet?" It was Sirius' who asked the question, deciding that he couldn't leave everything to Remus.
"He was there."
"Where?" Remus and Sirius exchanged glances, "where was he?"
"He was there," Harry's voice was a whisper, "he was there in my old house and held me as I hid behind the couch. He kept me safe the night my parents died."
A single tear tracked its way down Harry's cheek as he held onto the Chocolate Frog card for dear life, Remus and Sirius too stunned for the moment to say or do anything. It wasn't until Harry looked down at the picture on the card and whispered to it that Remus and Sirius finally shook off their stupor enough to gather up Harry and hold him close.
"Thank you," Harry had whispered.