The Sugar Quill
Author: Dark Princess  Story: A Single Miscalculation  Chapter: A Single Miscalculation
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A SINGLE MISCALCULATION

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.

Author’s 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.

 

 

A SINGLE MISCALCULATION

By Dark Princess

 

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 night.

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 at me.

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 my victory.

“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?”

“Tonight,” I 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 Godric’s Hollow. 

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 enemies.

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 enjoyable.

Impedimenta!” 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.

Crucio!” 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 Peter?”

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 to tell.

Crucio!” he 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.

Avada Kedavra!” 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 do.

“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.

Avada Kedavra!”

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.

Avada Kedavra!” I shouted.

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 destroyed.

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 arrive soon.

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.

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