Disclaimer: Anything you
recognize does not belong to me, however much I wish that it did. Instead, it
all belongs to J. K. Rowling. However, anything you do not recognize does
belong to me.
Summary: One night will
always be remembered in the world of Harry Potter. There was one night that
started it all --- a Dark Lord was defeated, a friendship was broken, and a
child was left an orphan, yet hailed as a hero at the same time. The night of
All Hallow’s Eve is recounted once again in this tale.
Note: A big “Thank You” goes out to PirateQueen for being my beta on
this. An earlier version was submitted to a challenge on a different web site,
but after submitting it, I found many ways in which to change it. Here is the
updated and better version of this one-shot. Now, for your enjoyment, I
present, A Single Miscalculation, a one-shot about the night that
started it all.
Chapter One (And Only)
The bright and nearly
full moon shown down on the shadowed forest floor, its light trying desperately
to penetrate the intense darkness of the trees and brush. However, the
moonlight was fighting a losing battle. Though it may eventually achieve in
overcoming the darkness of night in the forest, it would never succeed in overcoming
the darkness which was caused by the oppressing evil of the forest.
A stone building was
hidden deep in the shadows of these trees, beyond the sight of any prying or
wandering eyes. It was this very building that the oppressing evil emanated from,
its thick corruption choking the little life that surrounded the structure.
Intense flames sprung from the logs in the single stone fireplace, providing
the main source of light in the building’s room. There was only one piece of
furniture in this room, that of a high-backed leather chair, which sat with its
back to the door and facing the fire. It was in this single black chair, my red
eyes staring into the bright flames, that I waited on that night. I waited for
my servant to come, for he had information to give me. I knew tonight was the
For many months I had
planned for this. This single attack had been thought out more extensively than
any of my other endeavours. Everything — every last bit of information — was
accounted for. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could go wrong tonight.
Or so I had thought.
In all of the
detailed and careful planning, there was one, single miscalculation, a
miscalculation whose effects did not become evident until it was far too late
for me to do anything to prevent them. My hatred had reached a level it rarely
did, and I put more power into that one curse than I had ever done before, only
to have the bright beam of green light and all of that power hurled right back
Never have I felt so
much pain. It was beyond anything I had ever encountered before. The curse
caused my body to feel as if it was burning in the intense fires of hell, and I
felt the agonising pain of being ripped apart, like one would tear a piece of
parchment right down the centre.
But, even as I
encountered this great agony, I felt my lips stretch into a grin. Though the
attack had seemingly been thwarted, the fact that I could still feel the pain
proved that I had been successful in at least one of my earlier endeavours. It
was not yet the end.
I know what you are
thinking. Anyone would think the same thing. You want to hear the story, the
tale, from the very beginning. You want to know exactly what happened on that
Halloween night of 1981.
Very well. I can tell
you about the one night that I will never forget — the night of 31 October,
nearly sixteen years ago.
The night in the dark
forest was quiet and calm, and though the sky was clear and the moon nearly
full, the bright, white orb did not have the strength to penetrate far enough
into the forest’s deep shadows to expose me. Darkness was my sanctuary, and I
thrived in its embrace.
No sounds could be
heard coming from the trees in the forest. Very few living things dared to
dwell in the ominous surroundings. The harsh winds, which had been blowing
fiercely earlier, had ceased, immediately plunging the forest into silence. In
fact, everything would have been completely silent had my servant not been
kneeling before me. Wormtail, his head bowed, was breathing extremely loudly,
disrupting my thoughts. Still, as annoying and trying to my patience as he was,
my servant did indeed have his useful purposes.
“Where are they,
Wormtail?” I asked, focussing my deep, scarlet gaze on the traitorous coward in
front of me. He shivered as the fear ran the length of his spine, but still, he
answered my question.
“They are in Godric’s
Hollow, My Lord,” was the quiet response. Wormtail’s voice was barely louder
than that of a whisper, but with the intense silence of this night, I heard
every last word of his answer. A slight grin crossed my face at this news, but
it was quickly covered by an impassive expression, and I beckoned the short
Death Eater to rise from the ground with a motion of my right hand.
Victory was finally
within my grasp. Potter and his Mudblood wife had had extremely lucky escapes
from me in the past, and I had hunted them for years, seeking to destroy the
two that were so close to Dumbledore. But I knew I would succeed tonight, for
tonight, they were not expecting death to come for them, and in this aspect lay
“Come, Wormtail,” I
hissed, and the other man shuffled closer to me, though still with an
expression of hesitancy in his step. “It is time.”
“Master?” the Death
Eater asked, his head jerking up in a mixture of surprise and fear at my
statement. “What is it time for?”
whispered, glaring at my Death Eater, “we go to Godric’s Hollow.” And as the
bright moon finally succeeded in becoming free of the few clouds that had
appeared in the sky and piercing the shadows of the forest, the winds resumed
their harsh blowing, and Wormtail and I Disapparated away to the village of
We arrived at the
edge of the village, and as Wormtail muttered the Potters’ address, I watched
as the house appeared before me, seeming to almost drop from the sky. It was
not very large or extravagant. White paint was peeling from the side walls, and
the front walk was simple, made up of only a few large brown stones, none of
which looked the same. A small gate stood at the end of the walkway, though it
could in no way be considered an obstacle. The house’s appearance disappointed
me. I had expected more of Potter, blood traitor though he was, but the house
had an obvious Muggle stench to it, no doubt caused by the Mudblood.
Oh, well. At this
point, none of that was important to the plan’s success.
“Wait out here for me
to return, Wormtail,” I said, abruptly turning my gaze from the pitiful house
to the short man standing on my left. He jumped — typical — but nodded
his head anyway. “These deaths I will do alone.” My servant made no motion to
stop me, and I made my way out of the thick shadows, and through the white
gate. As I pushed the gate open, its rusty hinges creaked, but the sound was so
soft that it alerted no one. Reaching the end of the plain walkway, I climbed
the few steps to the red-coloured front door that led into the house of my
As I approached the
house, I could hear the family’s voices coming from the other side of the door,
steadily growing louder the closer I came. They were talking and laughing,
completely unaware that I stood outside their home, and completely ignorant of
their upcoming death. A slight grin began to form on my pale face as I withdrew
the precious thirteen-and-a-half inch wand from the inside pocket of my black
robe. Pointing the wand at the simple red door, I quietly uttered a spell and I
watched with mild interest as the door flew off of its hinges and crashed into
the room beyond amid great clouds of dust. A woman screamed as the door flew
in, and when the dust began to clear, I heard hurried movements coming from the
room, and a man’s voice shouting above the woman’s screams.
“Lily, take Harry and
go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off —”
Potter and his
Gryffindor stupidity, I thought to myself as the
woman ran from the room and towards the stairs, obviously to go to the child.
The great idiocy of Potter’s comment made me laugh, and the high sound of the
laughter echoed eerily throughout the room.
Stepping through the
destroyed and now door-less doorway, I entered the previously-clean room. “You
actually think you are powerful enough to fight me, James?” I whispered. My
eyes gleamed in triumph and my lips curled into a smile. This was going to be
shouted James as I came into plain view beyond the clouds of dust and dirt. The
curse had been hurriedly cast and was pitiably simple enough to dodge; I only
had to move two steps to the right. Raising my own wand, I returned Potter’s welcome,
though with a darker and little more powerfully cast spell of my own.
Potter would not have managed to thwart my plans to kill him three times if he
did not have some sense. Obviously prepared for the curse, James dived behind
an overturned red sofa. Though the Cruciatus Curse missed the Gryffindor, it
did hit the sofa and its power managed to destroy the piece of furniture by
blasting a large hole right through its back.
“It is feeble to
fight,” I whispered, calmly walking towards the demolished sofa. “You cannot
defeat me, Potter, and your death will not help your wife and son.” My opponent
did not come out from behind the sofa. In fact, there was no movement from
where I knew he had to be. However, a voice did speak.
“What did you do to
A laugh escaped my
lips once again that night. “Your friend came to me earlier tonight,” I
answered. “He told me where you were. . . . He betrayed you, James.” It was
after that statement that James rose from his position, his wand pointed in my direction
and a look of pure determination, mixed with anger, on his face. However,
whether the anger was directed at myself or his so-called friend was impossible
shouted. A bit surprised by his move, I barely dodged the Unforgivable that was
hurled in a desperate manner in my direction. As I dodged, however, I also
retaliated, sending the Cruciatus Curse at James for the second time that time.
Unlike before, he was not quick enough to escape the curse this time.
James Potter screamed
out in extreme agony as the torturous pain tore through his body, causing him
to fall to the debris-covered floor, writhing in agony. His pain and fear were
intoxicating, and as much as I enjoyed listening to the anguished cries of my
enemy — the foolish Gryffindor who had managed to escape from me three times —
I had other things to accomplish at this house tonight, things that were far
more important than listening to an enemy’s screams. Looking down at my
opponent, who had blood flowing from a gash across his left shoulder, and
levelling my yew wand at Potter’s writhing and tortured form, I whispered,
“Your Mudblood wife
and son will be joining you soon, Potter,” and as he cried out in a rage, I
muttered the spell that would end it all.
The bright green light issued from the tip of my wand, like it had so many
times before now, and abruptly snuffed the life from James Potter like the
flame is blown out from a candle. When the life had been taken from James, his
eyes were left open and staring blankly up at me.
Once his screams had
ceased, the house was immediately plunged into a thick and eerie silence. I
stood above Potter’s dead body, simply listening for any sound that would
disrupt the quiet. A door slammed shut, and I looked towards the stairs that
led to the upper floor of the house. As a pleased grin appeared across my face,
I stepped over James’s body and crossed the living room to the stairs. I knew I
was even closer to victory.
It was not difficult
for me to figure out which door on the second floor hid the Mudblood and child.
Climbing the stairs, which creaked with each step I took, I heard movements and
voices coming from behind the door at the far end of the thin corridor. Holding
my wand down loosely at my right side, I calmly passed the four other doors on
my left and the two on my right to reach the last one — the third, white door
on the right side of the corridor — and the second to last obstacle in my plan.
When I had reached
that final door, I placed my left hand on the doorknob and turned. It was
locked. I knew it would be. The Mudblood was intelligent; I will acknowledge
her that much, so I already knew that she would have charmed the door so that Alohomora
would not work. But, there is always more than one way to open a door,
especially with my kind of magic. Grinning, I raised my wand and pointed its
tip at the lock.
The door was not
difficult to open and, pushing it into the room, I walked into the room, my
wand still out and pointing at the figure in front of me. Potter’s wife stood
between her child and me, stoutly refusing to move and at the same time,
pleading for the child’s life.
“Not Harry, not
Harry, please not Harry!” she cried, streams of tears falling down her pale
cheeks. Her great display of emotion disgusted me, and arguing with her was
wasting my time. I had come to kill the child, and that is what I was going to
“Stand aside, you
silly girl . . . stand aside, now. . . .” I still held my wand loosely at my
side, not wanting to raise it, but my wand was not necessary to get my point
across. Though my voice was barely above the volume of a whisper, every word of
my command could be heard. Still, the Mudblood did not listen.
“Not Harry, please
no, take me, kill me instead —” I laughed at the woman’s foolish cries,
abruptly cutting her off in her plea for mercy. However, although it was quite
amusing to listen to the Mudblood as she tried to bargain and plead with me,
trading her own life for that of her son’s, none of it mattered. I would kill
the boy tonight, regardless of Lily Potter.
“Not Harry! Please .
. . have mercy . . . have mercy. . . .”
“Stand aside,” I said
again, my voice slowly continuing to rise in its volume, almost to the point of
yelling. “Stand aside, girl!”
She would not move
out of the way, and continued to shield her son from me. Even though her pleas
had greatly amused me in the beginning, I was quickly becoming tired of them.
When the Mudblood refused for the third time to stand away from the boy, my
patience finally ended with her. I raised my wand and, pointing its tip at the
foolish mother standing before me, the tears still streaming from her bright
green eyes, destroyed her as I had just done her husband.
Green light flashed,
lighting up the small room, and Lily Potter crumbled to the ground at my feet,
her green eyes still open in death and staring up at me like her husband’s had
done. With her death, my victory was even closer, for she had been the final
obstacle to the boy. Stepping over the Mudblood’s fallen body, I grinned. The
two who had dared to defy me were now dead, and their half-blood child would
soon follow. And, with the boy’s death, the prophecy would be fulfilled, and I
would become invincible.
As I approached the
crib on the far side of the room, I raised my thirteen-and-a-half inch yew
wand, pointing its tip at the baby child in front of me. For a brief moment, I
laughed as I glared at the child. The idea that this boy could ever have the
power needed to defeat me was utterly ridiculous. My scarlet eyes gleaming in
ultimate triumph, a victorious smile stretched across my pale face as I said
the curse that had destroyed so many others in the past.
The same bright green
light left the end of my wand for the third time that night, hurling towards
the small figure in the crib. Nothing appeared wrong in the beginning, but at
the moment that the beam of light hit the child, I knew something was
different. The Unforgivable Curse did not take the life from the boy like it should
have. Instead, it rebounded, almost as if it had hit a mirror rather than a
body, and hurled back towards me. I had no time to block it, and the curse hit
me squarely in my chest, causing me more pain than I had ever felt in my life.
My nerves were on
fire, burning in great agony, and I felt like I was being torn in two. The pain
was so intense that I could not hold back the scream that desperately pushed at
my lungs for release, and it came out in a howl of rage and pain.
Though it felt like
an eternity had passed, eventually the agony lessened, but when it did, I felt
completely devoid of any strength. I looked around the room and managed to see
a glimpse of my body as it was enveloped in the bright green light and, as the
light acted like a fire and leapt around my tall form, I watched as my body was
A kind of explosion
resulted from my body’s destruction. Around me, the floors began to shake and
the walls of the house began to collapse. Hot, bright orange flames leapt into
the air as they engulfed the Potters’ house, and thick black smoke followed the
flames into the sky, adding to the already heavy darkness of the night. The
sight was sure to attract the attention of neighbouring wizards, witches, and
Muggles alike, and it was a sure thing that Ministry officials and Aurors would
When the Aurors arrived, I knew I could not still be here — not in
this form, at least — for, devoid of strength and without a wand, I would be
incapable of fighting them. I was still alive in some form, proving that my
earlier experiments had apparently worked. Though, what exactly my form would
be called I do not know. I fled the falling and burning walls of the house in
Godric’s Hollow, and entered back into the night’s dark and welcoming embrace.
Author’s Note: This
is just a short one-shot that came into my head one day and would not leave me
alone until I wrote it out, and it worked perfect for the challenge on the
other site. I am currently working on the next chapters of my other, on-going story
--- Harry Potter and the End of All Things.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you
enjoyed it. Also, since this is my first one-shot, not to mention my first try
at a first-person viewpoint, I would really like to know what you think. Is it
good? Bad? Give me your opinion.