Chapter 1 – The Boy Who Lived
Halloween. All Hallows Eve. Funny how the Muggles should take this
wizard’s holiday and make it their own, thought Frank Longbottom. Frank glanced over at his wife and fifteen-month-old
son as yet another knock on the door occurred.
“More trick-or-treaters,” he said.
“The price we pay for hiding out in a Muggle community, I guess.”
Frank got up to answer the door, and looked out the tiny view
port that showed him the front porch.
Sure enough, three children were waiting expectantly for the resident to
open the door, and an amused gentleman could be seen at the walk up to the
house. Frank shrugged, reached for the
bowl of Muggle sweets, and opened the door.
“Trick or treat!” the kids chimed in unison.
“Well don’t you all look scary,” said Frank. “What have we here? A vampire, a wolfman, and a witch. Oooh. I’m going to have
nightmares tonight.” The children beamed
at Frank as they each took a treat from the bowl.
The trio’s voices rang out “Thank you!” and they ran back to
the man. Frank followed for a couple of
steps and flagged the attention of the adult.
“Evening, Frank,” the man said. “Is something wrong?”
“You never can tell these days, Paul.” Frank spoke in a voice just low enough not to
be heard by the children. “Just make
sure you keep a sharp eye on your brood.
There’s evil afoot tonight.”
“Of course there is.
It’s Halloween! It’s the time for
spooks and goblins.”
“I’m serious.” Frank
put on his most stern face. “Look, I’m…
in a manner of law enforcement, and the rumors I’m hearing is that someone with
a bad reputation has been making threats, and that no one, not even Mug-, er,
normal people could be safe.”
Paul looked at Frank as if he had said the moon was made of
cheese. “Don’t worry, Frank. We’re just finishing up this street, and
heading home. Uh, thanks for your
warning, but we’ll be all right.”
“Good,” Frank said.
“Then, I won’t keep you. Take
care and lock your doors.”
Paul shook his head as he turned away. Frank watched Paul and his kids move down the
street, before he turned himself and reentered the house. “That’s all for tonight,” he laughed. “We’re closed for this year.” He set the bowl of sweets down, locked the
door, and turned out the porch light. He
pulled out his wand pointed it at the front door and incanted “Defigo.”
“We’re safe, luv,” cooed his wife, Alice. She reached up to touch his cheek. “We’ve taken precautions. Dumbledore has cast his Fidelius Charm on us,
and I really don’t think your mum will betray our secret to You-know-who. We’ll be fine.”
Frank enveloped his wife in a hug. “I guess you’re right. I just have this sense of foreboding
tonight. Voldemort is active, his Death
Eaters are on the prowl, and the air doesn’t feel right.” He glanced over at his son, Neville who was
trying to put a wooden block in his mouth.
“And I worry more than I ever thought possible, now that we have…” Frank choked up. “I…I can’t help it. I love you both so much. I’d lose my mind if something were to happen
to either of you.”
Alice gave him a soft kiss.
“We’re going to be fine. Between
you and me, your mum, and Algie and Enid, and now little Neville, our family
will always be here for each other. Don’t
forget that you have become a powerful Auror in your own right, and I’m not
exactly helpless myself. I’m so proud of
you, luv. I’m so proud of us. We fight for what is good and right. Yes, maybe we have got the attention of
You-know-who, but don’t forget that we also have powerful wizards like Albus on
our side, watching over us.” She held
Frank tightly. “We’re healthy and happy,
and we’re going to stay that way. Now
let’s put Neville to bed.”
Frank sighed. “You’re
right. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m just being morbid.” He took a moment to run his hand through her
hair, and look deep into her eyes. “Tell
you what. Once Nev settles down you can
cheer me up in front of the fire, and tell me what you have planned for
“You’ve got yourself a deal, Mister Longbottom. I’ll take Neville up and get him ready for
the night. You tidy up down here and
then join us upstairs until he’s asleep.”
Frank nodded and released his wife from their clinch. He looked around the living room as Alice
took the boy upstairs. Only fifteen
months, but the boy can spread toys everywhere, he thought. He took out his wand, and with several quick
flicks the toys were tucked away in a wooden chest in the corner. He let out a sigh, and headed for the stairs.
Out of nowhere there was a pounding on the door. Frank quickly drew his wand and started
cautiously toward the door. “Alice, stay
upstairs,” Frank called. He turned on
the porch light, and looked through the view port.
“Come on Longbottom, let me in,” said Alastor Moody. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know you were
home, and I know you see me. I’ve got
news that can’t wait.”
care of the magical lock, and Frank released the physical locking mechanism as
he opened the door. “Moody. What brings you here tonight?” Frank held the door open as the visitor
Moody looked Frank over. “You know, that’s why you are the best in the
Department, Frank. Only you seem to take
me seriously. I like that you used a
combination of magical and non-magical means to protect yourself. That’s my boy! Constant vigilance! Alice!
Get down here you need to hear this too.”
Alice descended the stairs with a whimpering Neville. “Hello, Alastor. Would you like some tea?”
“Nah. Don’t got time. But sitting might make this easier.” Moody took the comfortable chintz armchair
that Frank’s mum normally sat in, and the Longbottoms retreated to the sofa. Moody paused a moment collecting his
“Voldemort is on the move, and this time it appears to be
with a purpose. Rumor has it he knows
where the Potters are.”
The idea the Fidelius Charm might have failed sent shivers
down Frank’s spine. It hadn’t even been
two months since they were summoned to Hogwarts by a very anxious Albus
Dumbledore. The headmaster had been
present during a prophecy that would concern either Neville Longbottom or Harry
Potter. He wouldn’t elaborate except to
say that it was important that both families go into hiding. As the group worked out the particulars of
charm, both he and James had let slip the name of their probable Secret
Keepers. Neither seemed particularly
concerned with the lack of secrecy in the room.
Both Frank and James had proven themselves loyal to the side of good
several times over the past few years.
“It’s Sirius Black,” said Frank. “When Dumbledore told James about the Fidelius
Charm, he said they would probably use Sirius.
But I can’t imagine that Black would betray him. They’ve been closer then brothers for over
“Well that explains why my dark detectors are going nuts. How anyone could trust a Black after what
that family has done is beyond me.”
Moody stood up and started to pace.
“Since you already know the particulars here, I’m going to use you on
this. The fewer people involved the
better. What I need from you, Frank, is to
stay alert and prepared. Chances are
good you will be called upon to follow up before the night is over. Hopefully this will turn out to be a false
alarm, but my gut tells me otherwise.
I’ll be preparing your backup at the Ministry, just in case.”
With that Moody headed for the door. “Stay by the fire and prepare to Floo to a
point of my choosing. I’m sorry to take
him away on a night like this Alice. If
you weren’t still responsible for that tyke, I’d likely call you back into
service as well. This could very well be
the night that, for good or ill, will determine the fate of our world.” And with a nod, Moody was out the door and
The Longbottoms sat quietly for some time after that. Frank put his arm around Alice messaging her
neck and shoulders gently. In turn she
laid her head on his chest. Even young
Neville, resting in the cradle of Alice’s arm didn’t make a noise, and the
child eventually fell into a peaceful sleep.
“Merlin, I envy him,” Frank said, looking at his son. He took hold of his wife’s hand. “Maybe after tonight, we’ll be able to sleep
like that. Go on upstairs, sweets. Keep him with you tonight, in our room. I’m going to get ready, and hope that Moody
He was going over his equipment for the third time when
Moody’s head popped into the Longbottom fireplace.
“Longbottom, we’ve set up a Floo connection between your
house and a pub in Godric’s Hollow. I
want you to proceed directly there, and survey the situation. I will join you there as soon as
possible.” And with a pop, Moody’s head
Frank blinked and gathered up the equipment he felt he
needed most. He took an envelope out of
his pocket and set it on the mantle. He
pointed his wand at the envelope and incanted “Evanesco pension existo.” The envelope disappeared and it wouldn’t
reappear for twenty-four hours. He
should be home by the time when it re-materialized and no one would need to
know what the letter contained. He hated
writing these letters. But every time
there was a legitimate chance he wouldn’t return, he felt he had to. It would be important for both Alice, and
later Neville to understand what he was thinking, and how proud he was of his
family. He also knew he wasn’t the only
Auror to write these letters.
He reached into a small flower pot sitting by the fire, and
withdrew a handful of the magic powder that enabled him to travel through
flame. He stepped into the fire and
clearly spoke, “Godric’s Hollow.” He
zipped along the Floo network and emerged in an empty pub. An incredible racket was going on outside,
and he stepped from the pub into the street.
A fire engine sounded its siren and Frank followed it with his
eyes. Three houses down, an apparent
bomb had gone off. A two-story house had
been leveled, and the remains were on fire.
Frank broke into a run.
When he reached the scene of destruction, he was accosted by a
Muggle official He waved some fake Muggle identification the Ministry
had provided for him, and was granted access to the remains of the house. “Any casualties?” he asked the officer on the
“Two dead,” the officer replied. “We have the bodies behind the engine.”
“I need to see them.”
“Of course, but we have a problem. You see we pulled the bodies from the
wreckage, and now this big, black dog is watching over him. Must belong to the victims, but I’ve never
seen a dog so loyal after death. If you
can get by him, can you put the victims in body bags?”
Frank nodded, took two bags and walked around the fire
engine. Sure enough, there was a large
black dog, and the bodies of James and Lily Potter. He fought back the lump that formed in his
throat, and focused on the task at hand.
He studied the dog for a moment.
Damn, that almost looks like a Grim, he thought. And, Frank realized, the dog was studying
him. He approached carefully waiting for
the dog’s reaction, and finally came to a stop about ten feet from James’ body.
The dog carefully walked up to Frank and licked his
hand. Then, without warning, the dog
bolted off into the brush on the side of the house. Frank shook his head at the animal’s strange behavior
and began his examination of the bodies.
Sure enough, both bodies were clearly victim to one of the Unforgivable
“I wasn’t fast enough,” said a voice. Frank wheeled around, wand drawn and came face
to face with a grief-stricken Sirius Black.
“I tried…tried…but couldn’t…”
“Sirius, where is little Harry?” Frank asked warily. “I need to know”
“Ha…Hagrid took him.
Said Dumbledore sent him.” Sirius
appeared on the verge of a complete breakdown.
“I let him have my motorbike, to get him there quick and safe. Oh…Peter…How…Why…?”
“Sirius, what happened here?”
“Voldemort…couldn’t resist...oh Peter…Peter.” Sirius had a wild-eyed look about him. He was clearly struggling trying to get his
thoughts in order. “Frank, I have to
find Peter. I have to find him. Send an owl to Remus Lupin and Professor
Dumbledore. They’ll be able to work out
where he is. Tell them to meet me at…”
“I can’t let you go.
Not until I know exactly what happened.”
“It was Voldemort. He
killed James and Lily. He tried to kill
Harry, but something went wrong. Somehow
the spell rebounded and Voldemort was hit.”
Frank tried to piece the information together. “If Voldemort was hit, then where is his body? There are only two here, James and Lily. None of this makes any sense. You were the Potters’ Secret Keeper. You were the only way to find them. Sirius, I’m going to have to take you into
custody until we can sort this out.”
“NOOOOOO!” screamed Black.
“I have to get to Peter. It’s the
only way to make sense of all this.”
“I’m sorry,” said Frank.
“You’ll have to wait for Moody and the others.”
“I’m sorry, too,” said Sirius. “I always did like you. Please don’t take this the wrong way. Infusco!” Suddenly everything went pitch black. Frank couldn’t see his own hand in front of
his face it was so dark.
“Finite Incantatem,” Frank cried,
ending the darkness spell. But in that
moment, he knew he had failed. Sirius was
gone. All he could see was the black dog
running down the street.
By the time Moody arrived, Frank was in a sour mood. Moody set the Magical Catastrophes Squad to
deal with the problem of erasing any signs of the wizarding world. By morning, the newspaper would report a fire
had accidentally been set by a couple of squatters as the house awaited its new
occupants, and the firemen would be lauded for their bravery.
But for now, Frank was unwilling to quit.
“Let him go,” said Moody.
“I know Sirius. He’ll make a
mistake, and then we’ll have him. Black
won’t be able to hide for long.”
“But I had him. I had
him, and I felt pity. I’m not totally
convinced he did this. It just doesn’t
smell right. I’ve known Sirius Black for
the better part of eight years. Spent three years at Hogwarts with him. He is not the type to turn on his friend.”
“Now is not the time for recrimination or regret, my young
friend. I wouldn’t be surprised if he
fooled everyone during his school years.
His family is littered with Dark Wizards, many of whom were followers of
Voldemort. My guess is he’s finally
showing his true colors. That makes it
even more imperative that we track down the traitor Black.”
Twelve hours passed, and Frank neither slept nor ate. He was too busy. Reports had come in from all over England
about the possible whereabouts of Sirius Black, Rubeus Hagrid, and Harry
Potter, but so far none of them had come to fruition.
The Ministry of Magic was coordinating the search for the
fugitives using the combined resources of both the Department of Magical Law
Enforcement and the Department of Magical Catastrophes. He knew he needed a break, but refused to let
anyone else man his post. It’s my
fault. I let Black go. And who knows if we will ever find out the
“CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” he heard Moody cry from his
office. Moody rushed into the main war
room. “We found him. Your instincts were right, Frank. He’s going after Peter Pettigrew next. Remus Lupin has been warned and we have
dispatched guards for him. Frank, your
mission is to capture Black. Take a
squad of two dozen men. Fill out your
ranks with those from DMC if you have to.
You will leave from this room by Portkey in five minutes. Go. Now.”
Frank jumped to his feet and pushed the alarm. In four minutes and fifteen seconds, twenty-four
members of the Ministry of Magic were ready to go. “This rope has been transfigured into your Portkey,
so everyone grab hold” instructed Moody.
“You are to capture Sirius Black alive, and prevent the further loss of
life. The area you are going into is
crowded with Muggles, so remember, CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
The portkey flared to life and the small army was
transported, unnoticed into a grove of trees.
It was a small town, but it was bustling with activity. Frank signaled for the Ministry members to
spread out, and begin their search. They
had segmented this town into six sections, each to be searched by a four-man
“Remember, this is a Muggle community, so keep your wands
down, and act like police officers,” reminded Frank as soon as they arrived. “Be aware of Muggle customs and try to blend
in. We don’t want to create a panic, or
lead Muggles into potential danger. My
group is on section one, the rest of you know your
assigned areas. Move out.”
Frank set out on point, praying he would be the one to find
Black. Every time he thought of little
Harry Potter, all he could see was his own son’s face. Two boys, born less than a
day apart. He could remember
seeing both of them in the nursery at St. Mungo’s, remembered the rounds of
congratulations between James and himself.
The Potters represented all that was good in the wizarding world. Frank was going to make Black pay for his
Frank’s group had just finished searching their second
street and was beginning their third when the red sparks shot up. The location was two streets away, and Frank
broke into a sprint. “This way,” he hissed,
and his team moved quickly and quietly towards the signal. As they rounded the corner leading onto the street
the signal came from, he brought his group to a halt.
Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were arguing loudly at the
end of a dead-end street. Close to thirty
Muggles had come out of their homes to see what the ruckus was. Frank led the group of Ministry officials
down towards the pair, trying to keep the spectators at bay. Nobody was going to escape now. He tried to signal Peter to keep Sirius
With over sixty people crowding the street, Peter suddenly looked
as if he was beginning to panic. He said
a few more things quietly to the enraged Sirius Black, but then he lost
it. Frank sped up, but the Muggles were
all around him now, Pettigrew shouted, “Lily and James, Sirius. How could you?” Black took half a step back, and chaos
ensued. A deafening explosion sent Muggles
and wizards alike into the air. Frank
only caught a glimpse of the devastation before he crashed into a fence and the
world went dark.
He regained consciousness a few moments later, looking into
the face of a junior official of the Ministry of Magic. “Ah.
Mr. Longbottom. Glad to see
you’re alright. You remember me? Cornelius Fudge of the
Department of Magical Catastrophes?
Of course not everyone came through this ordeal in pristine physical
condition. We did manage to successfully
detain Mr. Black. Pity
about those Muggles, though. Eight
dead, fourteen injured. No wizard fatalities unless, of course, you count Mr Pettigrew.”
“Let me see him,” Frank rasped. “I need to see him with my own eyes.”
Fudge led Frank to where Black was being kept. The light had gone out of Black’s eyes, and
he wasn’t struggling against the Full-Body Bind he was being kept in.
“There he is,” Fudge whispered. He seems quite subdued now. Shouldn’t pose much of a threat at this
point, and of course, once he’s sent to Azkaban we won’t have to worry about
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” said Frank. “I have a feeling that there is much more to
Sirius Black then meets the eye. We must remember what Alastor Moody always says,
“Yes, yes,” said Fudge.
“I must remember that. We must
always be looking for evil plots to come at us at any and all times.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, Fudge, I’d like to go home. It’s been a very long day, and I am anxious to
get back to my family. After all, even
with these tragedies, it is still a day of celebration. Voldemort is dead, and a traitor is
captured. The cost was high, but you
have to say it was worth it to rid the world of such evil.” Fudge nodded, and Frank walked to a point the
DMC had cleared for Apparition. He left
the town with a “pop” and appeared in the garden in his own back yard. He entered the house, and found he was all
alone. Before panic set in he found a
note that read,
and I are at your mum’s. Clean up,
change clothes and come over when you are ready. Never forget that I love you. Alice.
The weight of the day’s events began to catch up to him as
the adrenaline ebbed from his system.
Tears started to form in his eyes.
“Finite Incantatem,” he said, and his
letter to Alice reappeared on the mantle.
“One more letter I get to destroy before you have to read it. I pray you and Neville never read one.”
After Frank was presentable, he used the Floo Powder to
travel to his mum’s. There was a party
going on, and everyone greeted him cheerfully.
When he was given a Butterbeer he lifted it in one arm, and his son in
the other. “Everyone, I have to give a
toast. To the Potters. Good people and a noble line, who died like heroes of the first degree. May we never forget what happened to them yesterday. And to
their son, who through a power unknown even to him, has given us a future we
dared not dream possible. A future without Voldemort.
Everyone, raise your glass to Harry Potter – the Boy Who Lived.”