May 16, 1981
He was a light sleeper.
Never used to be, sleeping in a dorm with three other boys for seven years meant he slept through most things, but these days every little creek and sigh seemed to wake him. Tonight was no different, James woke to the shuddering breath of his wife as she slipped from the bed, the fluttering sigh of fabric as she pulled on her robe. He only saw her red hair as she left the room by the time he opened his eyes.
Lily slept just as lightly maybe even lighter, it wasn't the noises of an old house that kept her up she knew. It was the endless noise of fear she had in her head and heart that grew louder with the setting sun. James's fears were loudest during the day every person he saw an enemy, every animal a disguise and every bird a spy. For Lily it was more like she was a child again afraid of the dark.
Slipping on his own robe he followed her. She was exactly where he knew she'd be, sitting on the floor chin on her knees watching Harry sleep in his crib. Harry had not inherited his parents sleeplessness and was happy to be in his crib as long as you'd let him and sleep all day. He was a good baby, generally happy, would eat anything and was friendly with the few people who came to the house.
James settled beside Lily, waited for her to find words for the chaos in her heart. He watched a Harry's fingers twitches and his leg gave a little kick as he dreamt.
"How can he sleep so peacefully when I feel like we're in the slowly closing jaws of the big bad wolf?" Lily's soft voice came just as Harry wrinkled his little noise and gave his head a little shake. "I feel like my fears are all I can breath there clawing at my throat tills it's all I can think about and he's just sleeping."
James looked at her, her hair falling covering her face, he tucked it back behind her ear. "I didn't know I married a poet."
The smile that came to his lips couldn't be helped when she swatted his arm and huffed at him. "Don't tease I'm being serious." She was serious too as she said it but a hint of a smile peaked on the edge of her lips
Grabbing her hand he gave it a kiss and held it to his cheek, "I know," couldn't keep his own smile away though "you can wax your poetry to me any time babe."
Lily was smiling now too as she looked away from their sleeping son. "I love you." She kissed him as he said it back. "But I don't know what to do. Everyday he gets closer to us, I can feel it."
Entwining their fingers she lead against his body, her other hand gripping the bars of Harry's crib. James could only think of what they must look like to someone who was ignorant of their situation, they must look like a couple of teenagers overwhelmed with pretending to be adults. Married with a kid by 20, he hadn't planned on that but they were in love and there was a war so little things like age didn't seem so important.
Now with the worst dark lord in centuries hunting for them he wished he was older.
"You know I wanted to take a trip after graduation." Lily 'hmmed' on his shoulder watching Harry sleep. "I wanted everyone to come and we'd go to Asia or South America, a whirlwind adventure before coming back to start our real grown up lives. But then the fighting got worse and they put travel bans on dark creatures and I wouldn't want to go without Remus."
Lily nodded urging him on, "So instead I joined the Aurors right out of school, you started apprenticing at St Mungo's. Getting married seemed like the perfect thing to do, and have a baby,"
"The most perfect baby." Lily interrupted with, he agreed.
"Yes the most perfect baby." It looked like Harry might have had as his little face scrunched up before evening out. "I wish we'd been older, done more knew more cause now all I can think about is what I want to do instead of the right thing what I'm supposed to do." He felt like he was just rambling now, was he rambling? Just incoherent thoughts about the thing that's been plaguing his mind for weeks.
"What are you supposed to do?" Lily's hand tightened on the bar like she'd been having the same thoughts, her voice a whisper losing the humour it had when he was joking around. They hadn't talked about this though he was sure she thought of it as much as he did.
What were they supposed to do both as citizens of this world and parents of a child with a honest to god prophesied destiny?
"I'm supposed to fight corruption and discrimination and evil wherever I find it," he couldn't help the small smile that came to his lips "and I do want to do those things don't get me wrong. I hate what is happening and I hate him but-" this was it make a choice show her you're a coward or stop talking and never talk about again. There wouldn't be a second chance.
"But?" She prompted, like she knew they stood before a precipice and she was ready to leap. But was he?
"But I want to run. Change our name and never come back." James couldn't look at her, he was supposed to be a Gryffindor not a coward. "I would turn my back on this whole war if it meant I could be with you and Harry."
"I want that too."
So simple a reply that he was crying before he'd realized that there were tears in in eyes, his head dipped down and he gripped her hand tight bringing hard against his chest. They sat silently while he cried for another moment before getting up and going back to bed.
They lay on their sides curled together, foreheads touching, his eyes started to droop. James felt Lily's eyelashes brush against his cheek.
"I want to tell him the whole prophecy."
Her soft words sounded so loud in the stillness between them.
"Maybe he won't come if he knows it all. Knows it's self fulfilling, he won't want to kill Harry."
Looking at her he could see shame on her face, a proud and principled women brought low before the danger it her child.
He felt the same.
"I think about that too." If she was surprised she didn't show it, just closed her eyes and brought her hand up her pinky finger sticking out.
He couldn't help his smile. Sometimes you had to be childish in the face of soul crushing fear. James curled his pinky around hers.
"Harry first, burn the world."