A/N: "Professor Trelawney... announced... that Harry was not
going to suffer an early death after all, but would live to a ripe old
age, become Minister of Magic, and have twelve children." (OotP, pp 582-583, US)
This story takes place on the way to fulfilling that prediction...
Chapter 1 -- Death and Discovery
Aurors and Hit Wizards converged on the small cottage situated on one
of the tiny Orkney Islands with loud cracks. Stealth was not
necessary and would have only delayed their mission.
found the cottage in ruins: the roof had been destroyed, walls were
crumbling. Loud roars and crashes of more destruction filled the air as
a raging mountain troll demolished everything in its path. The
troll stood head and shoulders above what had once been the roofline of
the small house.
"Fire!" yelled Harry Potter, Head of the
Department of Magical Law Enforcement, to the four other
officers. At once five Stunning Spells hit the troll. With
one last roar the troll fell forward onto his face, knocking out the
remains of the back wall of the cottage. Dust and debris filled
the air; the hiss of running water from the ruptured plumbing was the
"Check for survivors," ordered Harry. He
wouldn't have been involved in this sort of field work ordinarily, but
he had taken call this weekend so his assistant, Seamus Finnegan, could
have a holiday. It also didn't hurt that he liked to keep a hand
in the field work once in a while.
"What the hell was a mountain troll doing here?" asked Meirs, one of Harry's best lieutenant Aurors.
idea. Bind him up and transport him to the Disposal of Dangerous
Creatures Department. Tell Adams to run some diagnostics. I
want to know if the troll came here under his own power or not, and
why. If not, I want to know whatever caused this event won't
"Will do," acknowledged Meirs.
stepped over some rubble to join the rest of the team in the search for
survivors. The cottage was a total loss; not a brick or piece of
thatch was left untouched. Pieces of broken furniture and
belongings were indistinguishable in the destruction. Harry and
his team went room by room searching for anyone who may have been
involved or victimized.
"Colonel Potter, there's a body here," shouted O'Neil from the rear of the cottage.
another here," shouted Smythe. She was the youngest Auror on the
team, only having finished training six months ago. Young and
eager, but willing and capable in any situation.
bodies were that of a young man and woman. They were holding
hands, the woman's with a gold wedding band. Both skulls had been
dented by the troll's club. Blood was spattered among the debris,
wetting the plaster dust and dotting the victims' clothing. The
man was clutching a broken wand.
"Colonel Potter, look here," said Smythe. When Harry approached her, she pointed to a destroyed child's cot.
Merlin," breathed Harry. He hated it when children were
involved. It always reminded him of his own ten, soon to be
eleven, and what he would do if any one of them were hurt.
spread out and look for a child," shouted Harry, as he frantically
started shifting rubble and broken boards, filled with dread but
desperately hoping for a miracle. The team joined him, taking
great care to avoid causing more damage as they searched.
minutes later Harry uncovered a small trunk in the corner of the
couple's bedroom. He almost overlooked it, only expecting papers
or household items. But as he wondered what he would have done in the same situation to protect his child, he carefully opened the trunk.
up inside the trunk in a fetal position was a young child, about three
or four years old. Harry reckoned a Silencing Charm had been cast
on the trunk because the child was screaming and he hadn't heard a
thing with the lid closed. He couldn't tell if it was a boy or a
girl as his or her arms were curled over his or her head.
Carefully touching the child's shoulder, he ran his broad hand softly
down the child's back.
The screaming stopped abruptly as the
child looked up at Harry. Tear-filled bright blue eyes stared
into Harry's, who tried to keep his own gaze as gentle as
possible. A girl, Harry thought, heart aching with love
for his own daughters. She had long, very curly disheveled
wispy blond hair, damp with tears, and was dressed in child's
robes. Seeing Harry she launched herself out of the trunk and
latched her arms around his neck and her legs around his middle.
With a small "Oomph" Harry stood up and regained his balance. The
girl buried her head in the crook of his neck, her heart-wrenching sobs
breaking his heart and her tears wetting his collar.
Mummy!" she cried. Harry jostled her slightly and stepped away
from the area where the girl's parents lay. The other team
members, seeing Harry had a live rescue, resumed their extraction of
the girl's parents and gathering the evidence needed to investigate the
"Meirs, contact St. Mungo's. Have a pediatric
Healer come to examine her. Smythe, can you take her?" asked
Harry, grateful for a woman on his team.
approached her Head of Department and tried to prise the little girl's
arms away from Harry's neck. The girl screeched and clung
tighter, choking him.
"No! No! No!" she screamed.
it," gasped Harry, moving further away from the debris and making
little movements he used when any of his children were colicky or
cranky, chivvying her to release her grip on his neck. Making
soothing noises and clucking softly, he wandered into the yard and sat
on a large boulder, cradling the distraught youngster and rocking back
and forth. He started singing one of Ginny's made-up lullabies
under his breath:
Lull-a-by sweet baby,
Night is slowly fading,
No monsters will dare to come in,
While Daddy holds his arms you in.
The nonsense song
soothed the little girl and her sobs faded to exhausted chuffs against
the side of his neck. As he continued to rock and croon, Harry's
thoughts churned. Who had sent the troll? They didn't
inhabit any part of the Orkney Islands, nor the Shetlands. What
was the motive? Harry fervently wished Adams' exam would reveal a
simple rogue troll and nothing more nefarious. And what about the
little girl? She didn't appear injured but Harry couldn't get a
good look at anything other than her back in this position, and she
clearly was not inclined to move at the moment. And where was
As Harry's thoughts continued to spin,
Smythe approached him carrying several documents. "We've
identified the victims, sir," she said softly, not wanting to upset the
girl. "Heather and Brian McFadden. Each just twenty-two
years old. Brian was a fisherman, Heather a homemaker. This
is Bridget Donohue McFadden. According to what we found she just
turned four. Her parents were magical but poor, neither went to
school beyond primary. No relatives, each were only children,
Harry nodded. No apparent
family meant the Department of Orphaned Magical Children would have to
be involved. Smythe stuffed the documents in his pocket.
tall witch in lime green robes approached and Harry held up a
finger. "Can you examine her without waking her up? She's
just now relaxed," he said quietly.
A sympathetic look crossed
the witch's face. "Of course I can, poor little ducky." She
waved her wand over the area of the child's back and muttered several
"No physical injury, extreme emotional upset, of
course. No permanent damage unless she suffers more psychological
Harry sighed with relief.
Potter, may I give you some words of caution? It looks like she's
latched on to you right well. If she does not willingly go to
another adult, if you force her in any way to release you before she's
ready, you may do more psychological damage."
"I'm sure the DOMC will be able to handle it," Harry said hopefully.
a skeptical look, the mediwitch Apparated with a soft pop. Harry
got to his feet, Bridget latched onto him like a tree frog, her grip
still strong even in restless slumber.
"Smythe, tell Meirs
he's in charge of the rest of the investigation and see to the
bodies. The Benevolent Fund should cover the funeral costs.
I'll take Bridget to the Ministry now. Keep me posted if anything
else comes up."
With that, Harry Apparated to the Ministry of Magic, Bridget still clinging to him like a leech.