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I couldn’t do it.
Why not? Why, after all those Muggles, Mudbloods and blood traitors, could I not raise my wand to him?
It’s not that I didn’t try. I did, I tried so hard. My hand was shaking as I attempted to keep it trained on him, my throat constricting as I tried to say the words.
They wouldn’t come.
He just stared at me, completely oblivious to the fact that I was trying to kill him. Stared back at me out of big amber eyes.
No, mine are hazel. But close enough.
I couldn’t do it. Some part of me knew the moment I was given the order. I knew I couldn’t carry it out.
Why not? I never wanted children. I was only picked for the job because Narcissa was already pregnant. She was never the maternal woman either really, but Lucius wanted an heir, so …
It wasn’t like that with Experiment H.R.Y.
The clue is in the name. The thing sitting before me was nothing more than a failed experiment on Marvolo’s part. He wanted to try out an old spell that created life from magic donors. That part worked perfectly, as H.R.Y is proof of. But what Marvolo wanted more was to find a way to render a human emotionless from birth. Well, free of the weaker emotions. If the experiment worked, he would be trained and end up a powerful weapon against Dumbledore and the Order. But it turned out there was no way, and, as the carrier of the experiment, he left it with me to deal with.
So why could I not dispose of it, as I was ordered?
I could feel some part of me awakening. Some instinct I had never experienced before. Some emotion that, until then, had been reserved for only one person, but now overcame rational thought, drowning all the things I had been taught.
It was an alien feeling. It was strong, even stronger than my love for Marvolo.
It scares me.
I’ve dropped my wand, and now I slide down the wall, shaking, wondering what to do. H.R.Y’s face crumples and lets out a shrill wail, waving his tiny fists at me. I stare at him. Such a small, insignificant being … but the hold he – it – has over me is so terrifying.
“Sh,” I whisper urgently. I can’t let anyone hear and come. They will know I failed. “Be quiet.”
Still he cries, still he waves. Why is he doing that?
He just wants to be held, I realise.
Maybe if I oblige, he will shut up and allow me to think.
I crawl slowly across the stone floor towards … it. The cry fades to a whimper, and two tiny, delicate hands are held out to me. Begging. Like a Mudblood before Marvolo. Only this thing – this child – has no desperation about it. It has no idea what I have been ordered to do.
“You … want to be held?” I ask hesitantly. It’s the first time I’ve addressed it. Him.
“Ahm-na,” he responds incoherently. Well, it’s only a baby, after all. I take that as a yes.
Do I dare?
It cannot hurt.
I’ve never touched it before, not since he was plucked from my womb and placed in the Dark Lord’s hands – cold, unfeeling hands, and I would know. I have made no attempt to bond with this weak excuse for a human being.
And yet …
Something takes ahold of me, and before I know what I’m doing, I’ve clumsily raised him and settled him in my arms.
He sighs and closes his eyes. He likes it.
What am I doing?
Anyone could come along now and that would be it. I would be dead for failing. But I can’t put it down.
Miniature fingers enfold and clutch a corner of my robe. I stiffen, waiting, for what I’m not sure, but nothing happens. He’s got his eyes closed. He may even be asleep.
I need to figure out what to do.
And he needs a name.
I don’t know. He just does.
It has a name. H.R.Y.
H.R.Y is not a name.
My baby is left on a doorstep. I am too cowardly to seek out a home for him. Instead I choose an ordinary Muggle neighbourhood and leave him.
I cast a charm to protect him from the cold. I wrap him in his blanket, one I stole from Narcissa’s son’s cot; and tuck inside a note.
My name is Harry. Please find me a good home.
How was I supposed to know the couple I left him with were parents of a Mudblood?
How was I supposed to know said Mudblood would adopt him?
How was I supposed to know that, one day, my own child would be the sworn enemy of his own father and the only one with the power to kill him?
How was I supposed to know?