His eyes bore a brightness that mesmerized his young mother in everyway possible. They lit up with laughter when she tickled his feet, they shone with mischief when he grabbed her hair and they sparkled with contentment when she held him close. Lily Potter was quite happy to sit and gaze into those big green eyes for the rest of her son’s life. And she planned to.
Gently bouncing the babe on her knee, she elated in his laughter and gently kissed his nose, only causing him to giggle all the more. They sat in the nursery, sharing a moment together as all mothers and children should. The toys had been cleaned up a long time since, the sun had set and all necessary bedtime arrangements had been completed. He smelt of baby creams, his thick, raven hair just a little bit damp despite Lily’s best attempts to towel dry it. She was tempted to use a spell, but had never been comfortable pointing a wand at her son.
His crib was ready for bedtime, his favourite toy, a stuffed stag, lay propped up against a small pillow. The magical mobile of stars and moons above the crib was already beginning to move, preparing to help a little boy sleep. On the table near the window were several pictures of the young boy with his parents, including one taken on the day of his birth. Both he and his mother lay cuddling beside one another in a hospital bed.
“Almost sleep time, my little man,” she cooed gently to her son.
He merely sucked on his little fist, looking up curiously at his mother, completely unconcerned with his upcoming trip into slumber land. Lily laughed a little, happy to see her child so content in such dark times. The smile never leaving her face, she glanced cautiously at the clock on the wall. It was nearly six thirty, the sun had set early in that late autumn evening and the crisp smell that came with November was already in the air outside. Lily was grateful for warming charms; she really couldn’t imagine how she had ever survived without them.
Born to muggle parents, Lily had first been exposed to the magical world upon meeting her one time best friend, Severus Snape, as a child. It had all been so new, so marvelously fantastical. Over the years, she had been introduced to more and more of the life she knew now. Once, she had thought there was nothing else that could compare to the gift of magic.
At least, until Harry was born.
She had never pictured herself as a mother at twenty-one. Especially not in light of the war and her own involvement in the Order. Having a child had seemed…impractical. She had always wanted one, but sometimes she wished the timing had been a little better. She wished even more so that Harry had been born a little later when she learned of the prophecy. It wasn’t what she would have wanted to place on any child and she prayed as often as she could that that fate would not befall her son. Her fingers drifted to her stomach, pausing for a moment. A dreaded stone seemed to drop there as she hoped her suspicions wouldn’t be proven to be true.
She hoped she wasn’t pregnant again.
She had been irregular lately and hadn’t been bothering to keep track of the days, but the stickling feeling that she was late stuck with her. She wanted to go out and buy a muggle pregnancy test to be sure, but leaving the house had been out of the question for weeks and she didn’t want to tell James, not until she was sure. While part of her elated at the thought of another child, she and James were having trouble keeping their first child safe. Not only that, but she was ten times more vulnerable when she was pregnant and she couldn’t afford to leave Harry unprotected.
Brushing away such thoughts, she turned her mind to happier things. It was Halloween night, so she began to picture the feast in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. All the fine foods and candies, the ghosts and the decorations. She missed it all so much sometimes, those happy days before the world became so dark. She hugged Harry closer to her and started to talk about Hogwarts. She told him about the lake and the forest, about Hagrid’s hut and Gryffindor Tower. She spoke of her favourite teachers and her interactions with the Marauders and their mischievous ways
“You’ll be there soon,” she said to Harry with a wink, “You’ll love Hogwarts, the castle, the ghosts, the portraits. No doubt you’ll be a trouble maker like your father, huh?”
Harry’s eyes seemed to sparkle in agreement to her last statement and as though to prove to her that she was right, he gave her shirt a little tug and laughed. Lily shook her head fondly.
“Just remember to keep your grades up,” she told him in her best motherly voice, tickling him under the chin and eliciting a giggle.
“Bit early to be lecturing him, isn’t it Lils?”
Lily looked round in surprise. Tall, messy haired and grinning from ear to ear, James Potter stood in the doorway of the nursery, leaning against it’s frame lazily. She got up from her chair, smiling at her husband. Within two strides he was right beside her and Harry and had his arms around both, hugging them tightly. Lily was a little taken back by his possessiveness and placed a comforting hand on his cheek.
“Tough day?” she asked him, concerned.
James sighed, kissing her gently on the lips and then on his son’s forehead. Harry made a face and reached out to be held by his father.
“Da!” he whined, clearly wanting James.
With a tired smile, James lifted Harry out of Lily’s arms. The small boy wrapped himself around his father’s neck, proceeding to attempt to climb all over him. With a chuckle, James subdued the wandering toddler.
“Easy there, buddy,” he teased, tweaking Harry’s nose, “You’re old man’s not what he used to be.”
Coming from her twenty-one year old husband, Lily snorted and James shot her a look of mock hurt.
“’I’ll have you know I’ve had a very strenuous training session with Sirius today, wore me out it did,” he defended indignantly.
“Poor baby,” she murmured, smiling knowingly.
“I’d best get some sympathy!” he shot her a roguish grin.
Lily shook her head, her expression becoming serious.
“You’re troubled,” she pointed out.
James looked down at Harry, gently stroking his son’s hair and laying a kiss on his forehead.
“The attacks are getting worse,” he said, “I just hope the Longbottoms are alright, they’ve recently moved locations again. I think we should do the same.”
Lily simply nodded, caressing James’ arm thoughtfully. They both loved Godric’s Hollow, but even with a Secret Keeper, staying in one place too long was dangerous.
Voldemort was after their son as well as the Longbottom’s child, Neville. Both boys pertained to the prophecy that so few knew about. Even James and Lily had kept it from their closest friends, Sirius, Remus and Peter. The fewer people who knew of the prophecy the better for everyone.
“I have a surprise, by the way,” said James, immediately brightening, “I thought it might cheer you up.”
“Oh really Sirius, be careful with those bags,” came an awfully familiar voice from down stairs.
“Yes Mrs. Evans,” the disgruntled voice of one Sirius Black floated up, then what sounded like a very meaningful cough and Sirius’ tone of voice changing as he said, “I mean Aunt Rose.”
Lily’s eyes widened and her face broke out into a huge smile as she turned to her husband and gave him a big kiss before she rushed downstairs. She rounded the corner to see a small woman with greying red hair brushing herself off from the fireplace and beamed.
“Mum!” she cried, rushing to her mother and throwing her arms around the older woman. Tears stung her eyes, partly from happiness, but mostly from relief. She needed someone to confide in.
Rose Evans smiled fondly at her youngest daughter and returned the hug. Recently widowed, but stronger than most, she still wore only black clothing in mourning of her husband, Lily’s father, Christian Evans. She was a small woman who always wore her reddish grey hair up in a bun, had warm blue eyes and a kind smile.
“Lily!” she gushed, stepping back a little, “Let me take a look at you! You look so thin! Have you been eating right?”
“Of course Mum,” Lily said, rolling her eyes.
“I should hope so,” said Rose, squeezing her daughter’s hand, “Now, where’s this grandson of mine, hmmm? I haven’t seen him in months!”
Lily laughed a little, just as James came down the stairs with Harry. The little boy gurgled happily when he saw Sirius, who immediately grinned and waved.
“Pa’foo woof, woof!” he yelled at his godfather.
“Harry!” the shaggy man cried back excitedly, immediately relinquishing him from his father’s arms, “There’s my favourite godson.”
“Your only godson, Sirius,” James couldn’t seem to help but point out.
He was duly ignored.
“Woof! Woof!” Harry repeated, tugging at Sirius’ hair demandingly.
The dog animagus gave his godson an offended look.
“Is that all I am to you?” Sirius exclaimed in mock offence, tickling the baby as he did, “A play thing?”
Harry’s answering giggles confirmed everything.
“Here,” he handed the babe over to his grandmother, “I see I’m not wanted.”
“Pa’foo!” the little boy whined.
Harry’s vocabulary was steadily beginning to develop and now each member of the family and extended family had a familiar sounding word they answered to; ‘Pa’foo’ for Sirius, ‘Da’ for James, ‘Ma’ for Lily, ‘Mooey’ for Remus, ‘Urmy’ for Peter and ‘Ganny’ for his grandmother Evans. There were other things he knew, the sounds of his favourite animals, when to call for food or story time and the names of his favourite toys.
Sirius looked pleadingly at James who shot him a look that clearly said ‘you’re on your own.’ With a sigh, Sirius made a great flourish with his hands and transformed into a dog. The great, shaggy black beast gave a loud bark, wagging his tail and pressing a cold nose to Harry’s little feet. The baby clapped and laughed loudly, reaching for Sirius’s ears. Sensing danger, Padfoot immediately stepped back and shifted into his human form.
“I’m not falling for it again,” Sirius told the little boy, wagging a finger at him, “I’m not a horse and my ears are not reins.”
James couldn’t hold back his laughter.
“Hey!” Sirius exclaimed, turning on him, “Next time, he can ride you around. You’re the one with the hooves.”
“No one’s riding anyone,” Lily crossed her arms, “What have you two been doing with my son? First that broom-”
“He loves the broom!” Sirius defended, “You shouldn’t worry so much, Lils.”
“Between you and James, I’m never going to stop worrying about him,” she scoffed irritably, “He’ll probably end up a reckless Quidditch player. Like you two!”
Ignoring the thoughtful grins of her husband and his best friend‘s faces, Lily turned to her mother and son instead.
“Look at those eyes,” Rose said, smiling when Harry gurgled at her with glee, “Just like when you were a babe. Your father always said they were lucky eyes.”
Lily gave a sad smile, the grey haired, green eyed man she had loved so much springing to mind. She wished Harry could remember him. There were times when he gave her the most patient, knowing looks, reminding her of Christian Evans’ gentle face.
“How’s Petunia?” Lily asked, it had been a long time since she and her sister had spoken and with the Death Eaters being after their family, she had thought it best to abstain all contact. Of course, Rose Evans would hear none of it and despite her husband’s premature death earlier that year, refused to cut off any connections with her youngest daughter.
“She’s doing well,” said Rose, a little stiffly, “I still don’t approve of that man of hers. Far too short tempered. Little Dudley is cute. Spoilt as anything though.”
“I’m glad to hear she’s alright,” Lily breathed, honestly relieved, “I haven’t seen her in a while.”
Four unspoken words passed between them, as loud as if they had been shouted from the rooftops of the entire village.
She still blames me.
“She’ll come round, she‘s a good girl,” said her mother knowingly, she looked at James and Sirius, “Now are you two going to show this old woman to her room or am I going to be standing around all night?”
“Of course not, my beautiful mother-in-law,” James chuckled, scooping up her bag, “We were just about to, weren’t we Mr. Padfoot?”
“Indeed Mr. Prongs,” grinned Sirius, giving Rose a mock salute and picking up her other bag, “The lady must be shown to her chambers.”
“Charmers, the both of you,” Rose said with a wave of her hand.
James gave her a boyish grin.
“Only in the presence of incredibly attractive red heads,” he winked, ignoring his wife’s bemused look.
“James, you-” Rose began only to be interrupted by a loud wailing sound that erupted through the house.
The reactions were instantaneous.
Lily moved closer to her son, James and Sirius dropped Rose’s bags unceremoniously to the ground and drew their wands. Harry, sensing the sudden tension in the room and not understanding the meaning of the loud sounds, began to fuss in Rose’s arms, trying to get to his mother. Lily was there immediately, taking her baby and gently rocking him in comfort.
“The wards have been tripped,” she explained at her mother‘s confused look.
“Is that bad?” Rose asked, her eyes wide as the wailing sound came to a halt.
“Even if someone has set it off,” James said, “They can’t find Godric’s Hollow. It’s protected.”
The Fidelius Charm. Lily hoped Peter was alright.
“We should still check it out,” Sirius said, already headed to the door.
“I’m coming too,” Lily began, already moving to hand Harry to her mother, but James stopped her.
“It’s safer here,” he told his wife firmly, “Stay with Harry. He’ll be too scared without you.”
She looked down at her son, biting her lower lip. She knew James just wanted her to stay out of danger, but he was clever. He’d played to her worry as a mother. She wanted so much to go with him though. James took everything on his shoulders, as though he thought he could deter the prophecy from Harry if he did more than anyone in the war effort. It made her worry. She wanted him to know that he wasn’t alone in this fight, she needed him to know that. Whenever she could, she wanted to be the one standing beside him, even if it was just to check the wards.
But she didn’t want to leave Harry either.
“Fine,” she said softly, then glared at her husband, “But you had better send me a Patronus if there’s trouble.”
“Marauder’s honour,” James swore, raising his right hand. He gave Lily and Harry a kiss each, waved to Rose and practically dragged Sirius out the door.
“Da?” Harry questioned, his eyes glued to the door.
“Daddy will be back soon,” Lily whispered, adjusting him on her hip, “Don’t you worry, little man.”
She felt a warm hand being laid on her shoulder and turned to smile at her mother. The older woman gave her a comforting look.
“You found yourself a brave man,” she commented.
Surprised by the observation, Lily found herself nodding in agreement. Her earlier anger sparking over her worry.
“An overprotective, reckless man who cares too much sometimes,” she muttered, before glancing at her son, “Don’t you turn out like that, you’ll make my hair grey prematurely.”
Harry just looked at her with his big, bottle green eyes, clearly not understanding her meaning.
“If he inherits half the traits I’ve seen between you and James, that boy will go far,” she said sagely, “You mark my words; Harry will do great things someday.”
Lily wondered at the prophetic tone in her mother’s voice. Rose Evans had always had a knack for knowing things, like when it was going to rain or whenever one of them was coming home after a terrible day. She always had a warm cup of cocoa waiting and an even warmer smile. As a small child and before her exposure to the magical world, Lily had thought what her mother did was magic, but now she equated it to experience. She would be quite happy if her son just turned out to be an average, healthy, normal young man. Well, as normal as a wizard could get, she supposed. She didn’t want him to do ‘great things’ if it meant he had to become part of some dead locked prophecy.
Dear God, please don’t let it be Harry.
She would pray again and again. She would beg and plead and she would worry. She would worry till the day she died, because she was a mother.
And it was kind of in her job description.
“A little serious, don’t you think?” she teased her mother.
Rose Evans only gave her daughter a knowing look.
“I think we should get you settled in,” Lily pulled out her wand, giving it a flick and sending the luggage up to the guest room, “And then it’s this little one’s bedtime.”
Harry may not have known every word in the English language yet, but he knew the dreaded ’bedtime.’ He shook his head, tapped his little hand on Lily’s chin.
“Nuh nah,” he said, pouting.
The two women laughed.
“How about Grandma tells you a story?” Rose offered, “Would you like that?”
The little boy’s eyes lit up, he started bouncing in Lily’s arms, clapping his small hands together and chanting in his little voice.
“Sto’y! Ganny sto’y!”
“One of us should have stayed with them,” James said, glancing back at the house about fifteen minutes later, “I don’t like this Padfoot, it’s been months since something tripped the wards.”
Everything seemed so quiet. James could see Jack O’ Lanterns shining on the gates of several houses and he wondered if any children would try their luck at Trick or Treating on such a chilly night. Their house was invisible to the world; there would be no pumpkins for them this Halloween. The cool chill of autumn air did little to comfort him. He and Sirius had to check the outside wards that run a hundred feet around the house in all directions, creating a neat perimeter. An early warning system. No one would be able to find the house, not with a Secret Keeper taking care of it. If there was anyone lurking around, James and Sirius would find him quickly.
They wouldn’t go far, true, but there were areas off to the side where they would lose visibility. James didn’t like that.
“Lily can hold her own,” Sirius reassured his friend, “She’ll send word if anything goes a miss and we’ll be there in seconds.”
James still had a bad feeling.
“Lets just be quick,” he said finally, “I really don’t like leaving them alone too long.”
“I checked on Peter earlier,” his friend said, “He was safe.”
James nodded, but he wasn’t really thinking of Peter at that moment. Another of their friends had his thoughts as he looked up at the full moon.
“This is going to be his first full moon in nearly six years without one of us there, isn’t it?” he said bitterly, “Sirius, you know I don’t believe Remus is the mole.”
“I don’t want to either,” Sirius sighed, “But even if he isn’t, at least he’s safe. I dropped by on Moony yesterday…he seemed to have everything under control.”
James felt guilty. One of them should be there for his transformation, one of them should be by his side, but instead they were all here without him. He knew it couldn’t be helped, but it still made his stomach squirm. At Hogwarts and even over the summer breaks, one of the Marauders had always made sure they were there during one of Remus’ transformations. When Hogwarts ended, the tradition had been kept. Someone always went.
Except for tonight.
He looked up at the moon again and hoped his friend was alright.
They reached the first warding point within minutes. Sirius ran a diagnostic on it with his wand, checking for tampering and strengthening the seal. James kept guard, his eyes on the house, his ears searching for anything drawing close. In the far distance, he thought he could hear a group of muggles laughing loudly as they made their way to the local pub. He shook his head in slight amusement. It had been a long time since he had ventured into a pub himself.
Fatherhood had changed a lot of things about James Potter. He liked to think it had given him a wake up call. Everything had still been a joke after Hogwarts. Fighting Death Eaters was just a fun thing to do. Sure, he had taken it seriously to a degree, but it wasn’t until the moment he learned he was going to be a father that everything just came crashing down. He couldn’t go on patrols with Sirius anymore, riding around on a magical motorcycle attracting trouble, he had to be home as often as he could. His life couldn’t be expendable because he had a family to look after. He couldn’t be reckless because he needed to take care of Lily. He couldn’t stop fighting because his son might be the only person destined to end this war.
He had to make sure that if that ever came to pass, he could take as much of his son’s burden as he could.
That was what James had decided the day he and Lily had been told of the prophecy, the day everything changed for them. Dumbledore had been reluctant to tell them why he wanted them to go into hiding, but James had insisted. As much as he trusted the older wizard, he thought that sometimes Dumbledore still saw them as his students who required protection.
Maybe on some level, that was true.
They’d barely been twenty the day Harry was born, nineteen when they knew of the pregnancy, married for even shorter a time before that and just turning eighteen when they had graduated Hogwarts. Life moved so quickly now. Harry’s first birthday had only been a few months previously and already he was stumbling on his feet, following James around the house. Already he was learning to talk and ride his little broomstick. It wasn’t so long now and James would be sending him off on the train to Hogwarts.
Life was going to move so fast and James wanted to be there for every moment of it. Even if Harry turned out to be the one, he was going to give his son the best childhood he could, he was going to stand beside him through everything, he was going to lessen any burden, take his place at any danger.
Harry would never be alone.
James promised himself that.
He glanced at Sirius.
He knew that if anything happened to him, Sirius would love Harry as his own. The two men had been friends most of their lives and James considered the dog animagus his brother. Or as close to one as he could get. After the deaths of James’ own aging parents from Dragon Pox, Lily and the Marauders had become his family in everyway that counted. Now he and Lily had a little family of their own and James knew he would always want his friends to be part of it.
“This ones alright,” Sirius looked round at James, shaking his friend from his thoughts, “The next one should be-”
A sharp, scuffling sound came from the garden of one of the muggle houses they stood in front of. James and Sirius immediately pointed their wands in the direction of the noise, their tips glowing, casting pale shadows onto the bushes.
“Show yourself!” James barked.
“It’s m-me!” a familiar voice squeaked, catching both men off guard.
“Wormy?” he asked, “Is that you?”
Sure enough, the short, pudgy figure of Peter Pettigrew shifted towards them in the darkness, coming into the light of their wands. He was extremely pale and very nervous.
“What are you doing here?” Sirius asked, lowering his wand.
“Someone was s-sneaking around n-near my home,” Peter said in a rush, he was fidgeting with his sleeve, “I thought I better come and see n-nothing was a miss. I was scared that…”
He trailed off, looking around nervously, his eyes moving to James.
It was then that James realized he still had his wand pointed at Peter. He reluctantly lowered his arm, not sure where his hesitation came from. This was Wormtail after all, a Marauder and a friend.
“Did you set off the wards?” he blurted out before he could stop himself.
Peter looked shocked, Sirius stared at him scandalized, but James knew the moment the question left his mouth that it was the right thing to ask.
“Why would Peter set off the wards?” Sirius snorted, “He’s keyed into them!”
“Your w-wards were set off?” there was still that nervous, unsure tremor in Peter’s voice, “Have you…found the cause?”
“Not yet,” James said slowly, that bad feeling was back, “I think we should go back now…”
“We haven’t checked the other wards yet,” Sirius protested, “What if-”
“I don’t care,” James found himself snapping, then took a deep breath to calm himself, “Sorry. I just have a bad feeling about this. I think we should contact the Order. I want Lily and Harry moved tonight.”
Sirius nodded slowly, but Peter looked oddly panicked.
“A-are you sure?” the rat animagus said nervously, “It’s such short notice and Halloween night is not the b-best time to do anything. It might be nothing.”
James looked at his friend oddly.
“I still want someone from the Order here,” he said finally, “I don’t feel right.”
“It’s your choice Prongs,” Sirius said, drawing his wand once more, “I’ll send a message-”
It was Peter who had spoken.
Both men looked at their friend.
“What is it?” Sirius asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Its just uh-” Peter licked his lips nervously, “It c-could be nothing. What’s the point in g-getting the rest of the Order involved? B-between the three of us, I’m certain we could find any intruder and deal with them.”
James’ brow furrowed in confusion.
“Peter, is there something you’re not telling us?” again, the words were out of his mouth before he could think about it. Peter was fidgeting with the one of his sleeves again, as though afraid of something. James had a brief, horrible thought.
He couldn’t be…
He lunged forward before anyone could move and grabbed Peter’s arm. The shorter man tried to pull away, but James had always been stronger than him. He just about ripped the sleeve off, but as soon as the tattooed skin came into view, he felt like ice was being poured through his veins.
“What is this?” he asked shakily, his grip frozen onto Peter’s arm, his fingers digging into his skin. Peter winced in pain, trying to pull away, but James didn’t care.
Peter was a Death Eater. The skin around the tattoo looked red and raw. a new addition then. But how long before tonight?
Sirius stepped forward, visibly paling when his eyes fell on the tattoo.
“It was never Remus,” James continued, trembling, “It was you. You’re the mole! How could you, Peter?!”
He didn’t respond.
Betrayal stung like a knife in his gut. Angry tears welled in James’ eyes, he was so furious he could have taken Peter’s arm right off. Beside him, he could hear Sirius yelling angry obscenities, but he didn’t seem to know what to do any more than James did. Peter was a Death Eater. Peter was their Secret Keeper. Peter was here, he didn’t want them calling the Order or going back to the house.
James’ stomach dropped.
“Lily,” he whispered, his eyes widening, and then yelled, “Lily!”
He released Peter, taking off at a run towards the house. He almost staggered when a flash of green light radiated through the upstairs windows, but gathered himself and surged forward. He briefly noticed Sirius running up behind him. He had no idea what his friend had done to Pettigrew and he didn’t care. He just had to get to Lily.
The door had been blasted open and it was dark inside. James was about to step through the doorway, wand drawn, when another flash of green filled the windows and the house shook as though an explosion had gone off. He was almost knocked off his feet.
He dragged himself into the house, the ceiling was cracking, and there was dust and rubble everywhere. He made his way into the entrance hall and screamed.
All he could see was a slumped figure at the foot of the steps and blood everywhere.
They had just been about to ascend the steps to Harry’s room when it happened. Someone blasted in the door, creating a loud crashing sound. Lily’s heart hammered in fear. Something inside told her who it was.
“Mum! Take Harry and hide! Go!” she thrust her precious son into her mother’s arms, pushing them both away. As soon as the two disappeared upstairs, she turned to face the doorway. He was coming in through the kitchen; she could hear his slinking footsteps. He moved as though he had all the time in the world. She braced herself at the base of the stairs. She would not let him through. No matter what, he would not pass her.
The door from the kitchen creaked open and she saw him.
It wasn’t the first time Lily had seen Voldemort, it wasn’t the first time she had faced him. Three times she and James had been lucky. Three times they had beaten the odds.
James wasn’t standing beside her now though.
Lord Voldemort was a handsome man. Well over middle aged, he still possessed his dark hair, his face bore few lines and his cold blue eyes could hold a man in place.
There was a reason he had so many followers. Voldemort was charismatic, attractive and appealing to those who wanted power.
Lily didn’t waste time staring though. She fired hexes at the man, but he was too quick for her. With a slice of his wand, he had knocked her backwards. She hit the steps hard; her wand flew from her hands and clattered to the ground. Disorientated, she sat up, her eyes searching for her wand, but it had rolled off somewhere.
“Lily Potter,” his voice was slick, “We meet again. Motherhood seems to suit you…where is dear Harry?”
He wore a cruel smirk. Lily struggled to her feet, her bottom lip had split open and she wiped away the trickle of blood on her chin.
“Leave him alone,” she ground out, her voice stronger than she felt.
Voldemort made a tutting sound.
“I can’t do that, mudblood,” he sneered, “Why don’t you just stand aside. I don’t need to kill you.”
Lily hesitated. Not because she was considering stepping aside, but because she was surprised. Voldemort hated muggle-borns. He shouldn’t even be talking to her. She was defenseless, no wand, no protector. She was all that stood between him and his goal. Why would he offer her life?
It had to be a trick.
Whatever his game was, she was going to be his hesitation. She was going to delay as long as she could and pray James and Sirius would return soon.
She had to protect her son.
“He’s just a baby,” she pleaded, not caring if he heard the desperation in her voice, “He can’t do anything to you! He can barely walk!”
Voldemort did not seem impressed by her cries.
“Step aside, girl,” he hissed menacingly.
Lily took a hold of the stair banister, her fingers gripping the wood tightly, every ounce of her trembling.
She shook her head.
“Please!” she tried again, if she had to beg this monster to spare her son’s life, then that was what she would do, “Kill me! Leave Harry alone!”
“Step aside!” Voldemort repeated, impatience and anger dancing in his cold, blue eyes, “I said step aside! You silly girl!”
“Please spare my son!” the tears were running down her face now, it wasn’t a delay tactic anymore, she was truly feeling desperate. Voldemort was getting so close now and every ounce of her was screaming to run to Harry. But she knew that if she dared turn her back on this monster, she would certainly never see her son again.
James, please come.
“I only want the boy,” Voldemort growled, taking a threatening step forward, “Now move!”
“No,” Lily screamed, holding herself firmly between the stairs and him, “You cannot have him! Take me instead, please!”
“Pathetic!” Voldemort spat, raising his wand arm, “I have no patience for you. Drown in your own filthy blood. Sectumsempra!”
For a brief moment, it felt like nothing had happened. Voldemort stood there, watching her with leering grin and she wondered why he appeared so satisfied. Then the pain. Like a hundred knives were cutting into her flesh. She doubled over, looking down at herself. They were everywhere.
Cuts. Deep enough to draw her life giving blood and they were all over her body. Her neck, her arms, her stomach, her face…
She gasped. Hot, acid pain erupted through each one. She felt delirious. She looked up at Voldemort again for one moment, his face blurred in her vision and the world span. She hit something hard, slumped down and in her pain filled mind only briefly registered that she lay writhing on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.
She tried to breath.
“A fitting ending,” she could hear his amused voice, “Now the world can see your dirty blood. Quick deaths were not made for muggles.”
She was gasping, trying to speak, but nothing came out.
“Don’t worry, dear Lily,” his voice was slick again, “I won’t make your son suffer…for very long.”
With that, he stepped over her body. In a desperate attempt to move, she tried to grab hold of his ankle, but he kicked her away and spat in her face, commenting again on her filth. He ended up getting away from her reach, she saw his blurry mass walking up the stairs, as casual as if he were just going up for a nap. She tried to call out, but something was rising in her throat, maybe blood, maybe bile.
There was so much of it.
Lily was suddenly unaware of anything but the warm, rushing life fluid pouring from her body. This spell. She knew it. From somewhere…
It was hazy now. Maybe a Death Eater had used it in front of her, maybe she had just heard about it in an Order meeting. But everything was fading away...
She didn’t even hurt anymore; the world was just growing dimmer, like she was falling asleep. She felt so tired, she wanted to rest, she wanted -
“Get away from him!”
Lily’s eyes snapped open. Voldemort. Harry. He had come for Harry. She couldn’t rest…her little boy…
Blood. All the blood around her. Blood protection. Harry.
She was dying, wasn’t she? Maybe she could buy her son’s life with her own; there was that magic, that old magic. She just needed to will it, if she concentrated hard enough, she didn’t even need her wand. It was all in her soul and in her blood.
For a horrifying moment, she remembered the possible life growing within her and felt grief like no other. She could only hope she was wrong. She couldn’t decide between her two children, not when she wasn’t sure one even existed. Right now, she could do something for Harry. She just hoped James would forgive her.
She closed her eyes and concentrated. She used the blood leaking from her veins as the focus and she concentrated on her son. With it, she sent her silent plea into the magic.
With my blood.
She could feel her strength failing, but she carried on, she could feel her magic gathering, she could see it encircling Harry.
Protect my blood.
It was settling on her son, she could sense it, the blood protection.
Use my life.
She poured all her love into the magic and she prayed, she prayed It would work.
The magic left her. The blood protection was sealing.
She heard her mother scream and then silence. The entire house shook a moment later, but she hardly noticed. She lifted a weary hand and rested it on her stomach.
I’m sorry, baby.
Right before the world faded into darkness, she thought she could hear someone calling her name.
The stench of blood was everywhere. It filled his nostrils with its coppery scent and made him want to gag. All he could see in the dim light was the bleeding figure of his wife; she lay motionless on the ground. Not moving, not asking for help, not even breathing. Shaking all over, he knelt beside her, his knees soaking in the blood.
He gingerly felt for a pulse.
For a horrible second, he could find none.
Then he felt it.
The faint rhythm beneath his fingertips, that beautiful heartbeat.
“You’re alive,” he breathed, feeling like at least part of his pain had been released; now he just had to keep her that way. Sirius was kneeling beside him now, his own face a mask of blind rage.
“Is Lily-?” he shook his head, “That rat! I’ll-”
He ground out a few nasty scenarios, but James was hardly listening. He was casting basic first aid spells on Lily. He had seen this curse only once before, it was a new one that the Death Eaters seemed fond of. They had barely been able to save the man who’d been unlucky enough to be on it’s receiving end last time. The spells he was using would prevent further blood loss for a little while and keep her condition stable, but it would wear off much too soon. She needed to go to a hospital.
“She’s alive,” James thought his voice sounded a lot calmer than he felt. Maybe it was the shock setting in. He was about to Apparate, when he remembered. It hit him like a well aimed Bludger to the stomach. He had been so utterly absorbed with Lily, he hadn’t even thought…
Panic and guilt took him.
“Take her to Saint Mungo’s now!” he yelled, picking her up and depositing her into his best friend’s arms. Sirius looked at him in pale confusion, Lily’s bloody form staining his own clothes.
“But Peter-” he started stupidly.
A part of James understood that this was beyond anything Sirius had had to deal with before and that going after Pettigrew would probably be the only thing he felt he could do right now, but James wasn’t in the mood to be understanding. He needed his best friend to do the hard thing now, and that was to ignore his first reaction.
“I swear to God Sirius,” James growled, his patience gone, his wife dying, “If Lily dies because you tried to argue with me about going after that rat, I will kick your bloody arse! Take her now!”
Sirius looked at him wide eyed, seeming to snap to reality. His pale face turned white and he nodded with grim intent, disappearing from where he sat with a sharp crack. James stood, fighting back the urge to cry.
“Please get there in time,” he whispered, turning to run upstairs.
He took them two at a time, his breathing becoming short from the urgency and his own blind panic. He kept chanting a mantra in his head, pleading whatever powers were listening that he would find his son alive.
There were stray flames in the passageway upstairs. James cast quick freezing charms as he went, to prevent them from spreading further. The explosion had collapsed in the door to Harry’s nursery and James had to blast his way through. What he found only made his heart sink.
The only person he saw in the room was Rose Evans.
Her body lay near the crib, shattered glass and broken picture frames scattered about her, the table they had been on knocked down. Large, vacant blue eyes stared up at the ceiling, forever robbed of the love and laughter he’d seen in them only a half hour ago. He knelt beside her, feeling for a pulse despite the obvious signs she had been hit with the Killing curse. With a shuddering breath, he gently slid a hand over her eyes, closing them one last time and silently stood, his eyes scanning the rest of the room.
He saw a heap of dark robes on the ground, charred and torn up, as though they had been part of the blast. He ignored them, continuing to search the rest of the room. He turned over the fallen dresser, looked inside the crib, opened the cupboards, looked round the corners, each time fearing he would find the tiny corpse of his infant son, but there was none there.
“Harry!” he yelled, combing the room from top to bottom, casting revealing and summoning charms every few seconds. The longer he searched, the more desperate he became. Finally sure he had turned every part of the nursery upside down, he moved on to the other rooms. Maybe Rose had hidden Harry somewhere and then run into the nursery.
He carried on with his spells, but nothing revealed any sign of human life in the house. He didn’t know how long he spent looking around the small house, but soon he was panting, looking in rooms he had already checked, each time hoping against all hope that his little boy had just crawled somewhere.
Dread settled in.
And no Voldemort.
A horrible idea occurred to him. What if Voldemort had taken Harry off somewhere to kill him later? What if the explosion had been a diversion? What if-?
He tried to calm himself down. It would do him no good if he lost it right then. He needed to figure out what happened. He needed to find his son.
The Auror training finally started to click in and he tried to think of the situation as though he was not a family member involved. He was sure old Mad-Eye would be proud.
Voldemort would have no reason to keep Harry alive, or to create a diversion. There was the possibility that he would take the body with him as a trophy, but even for Voldemort, that seemed…too psychotic and not very elegant. So Harry, or Voldemort, or both still had to be in this house. He remembered the pile of torn clothes and returned upstairs to rummage through them for clues.
All he found was a wand.
He picked up the foreign item carefully, his eyes narrowing. It wasn’t Lily’s wand that was for sure. Long and pale, he thought it was like touching bone. He didn’t like the feeling at all.
Taking a deep breath, he decided to see what the last few spells this wand had used were, in order to figure out who it belonged to.
“Priori Incantato,” he intoned, watching the wand’s reaction carefully and counting off the spells in his head. It was not the first time he had encountered them.
Avada Kedavra. Avada kedavra. Sectumsempra. Crucio. Mosmorde.
Not one of these was a spell an ally would cast.
Licking his lips, James gingerly placed the wand on the ground with the robes again, not willing to hold the offending item any further. If it belonged to who he thought it did, then it was the instrument of his mother-in-law’s death and his wife’s injuries. He looked around again, taking in everything about the room.
Voldemort’s robes and wand on the ground. Explosion. No sign of Harry.
The last line of the Prophecy suddenly thundered in his head with full force.
Neither one can live while the other survives.
No. Please no.
“Harry!” he yelled, “Harry!”
It was pointless; an awful part of him knew that, but James didn’t want to give up. His child, his sweet little boy couldn’t be…
He felt sick.
Swallowing hard, he took one last look around the ruins of Harry’s nursery, his lips trembling with grief and rage.
Crack. He Disapparated away.
Peter had dodged the spell Sirius sent at him, before turning his back and chasing after James, by transforming into a rat. Now, in the bright light of the full moon, he scampered through the gutter’s of Godric’s Hollow’s streets, his tiny ears twitching for any approaching sounds. He kept to the shadows, wary of the moment the Order members arrived, or Sirius decided to return.
If they returned.
He wasn’t sure what had caused the explosion only minutes ago, but he was certain that if the Dark Lord was still in the house, neither of his old friends would return. He felt cold to the knowledge, almost regretful.
Damn James! Why had he decided the one night Peter forgot to put a glamour on his arm to check for the Mark? It was terrible luck! The worst Peter had had in a long time. Images of consoling his friends and leading them to the ’right’ side were slowly slipping from his mind. Now they would be angry with him, distrustful.
They needed to see how pointless that was.
He would never be as smart as Remus, as brilliant as James or as popular as Sirius, but Peter had always known how to stay on top. Always known the right friends to make. He prided himself on having more common sense than his old friends. Surely they could see the war was pointless? One side was going to win and it would never be theirs. Peter would be the one with the plan this time; Peter would be the one pulling them out of trouble.
Harry was nothing but an obstacle and too young to ever be truly important. Surely they would forget the child in time, come to realize the benefit of obeying the Dark Lord? Remus would be with those of his own kind and finally respected in the armies of the Death Eaters. James and Sirius were from old, noble pure blood families, they would do well in the new world. Lily, though a Muggle-born, would surely be protected through her marriage to James.
And he, Peter Pettigrew, loyal from the beginning, would be rewarded and trusted. Valued and made powerful by his Master. He would be able to keep all his old friends safe. He would be the one on top and they would be the ‘tag-a-longs.’
Harry just had to die.
Maybe they would see it in time, no, they surely would see it in time. Lily and James’ first born was a sufficient sacrifice to appease the Dark Lord. They were both young, there would be more children, better children. Lily would get over the loss of her son and come to realize she was better off without him. Better off under the protection of those better than her.
They would realize that Peter had done this for their own good.
It was a satisfying thought, as he scurried through the damp leaves and refuse, after tonight everything would change for him. His Master had promised reward beyond his wildest dreams. Lily would be safe, all he wanted was Harry and that Muggle mother of hers would be an acceptable loss in the grand scheme of things. Yes, everything would fit in quite nicely.
He just needed to lay low for a while and give his friend’s a chance to cool off, then they would be the Marauders again and everything would alright.
He tried to forget the bright green eyes of the little boy he had played with only a few weeks before and the happy giggles and calls that had followed him in his dreams when guilt was finally able to sink in.
James stared down at his hands blankly, not even aware of the world moving around him. He noticed Sirius pacing in front of him, his feet clapping with a stodgy rhythm on the stone floors of the ward. St. Mungo’s was not James’ favourite place to be. The only good memory he ever had of this place was the night Harry was born and now here he sat, like he had many times before, waiting to find out if someone he cared about would die.
He’d sat in this very same waiting room with Lily once, waiting to hear if his father would make it through. He didn’t think he could have survived that day without her.
He looked up at the voice, it was Professor Dumbledore.
The older man looked ancient, his aging face pale and drawn as he approached the young man who had once been his student. James shot him a blank look.
“Any sign?” he asked, his voice so hopeful it might have broken.
Dumbledore shook his head sadly.
“We searched the house and the surrounding area, there is no sign of Harry…or Voldemort,” his adjusted his half moon spectacles tiredly, “I must tell you James, I do not believe we will find Harry anywhere near Godric’s Hollow. I have told the Order to widen the search perimeters.”
Sirius stopped pacing.
“You think he’s alive?” he sounded as hopeful as James had, “How can you be sure?”
Dumbledore gave his former student a sharp look, his eyes were not twinkling as they usually did.
“I have a theory,” he said slowly, “I do not wish to get your hopes up until I can confirm it.”
“My son is missing and my wife may be dying,” James gave a bitter laugh, “I don’t care if it’s false. I need that hope Professor. I need it more than ever.”
He and the Professor stared at one another for a very long time and for the first time, James saw a flicker of understanding in the older wizard’s eyes. The kind of understanding that came from experiencing a senseless tragedy and having no way of dealing with it. For the first time, James wondered what Dumbledore’s past had been like to garner such understanding.
He saw an old man where before there had been an untouchable wizard.
“I believe Voldemort is gone,” Dumbledore said quietly, “Not dead, but certainly defeated for now. It is thanks to your son that this is so. You wanted hope James, this is it…the prophecy. Neither one can live while the other survives. Harry Potter is still alive.”
“Then where is he?” James chocked, “Where is my son?”
“What prophecy?” Sirius asked at the same time.
The three of them were the only ones in that waiting room. Dumbledore took a seat, gesturing for Sirius to do the same. The shaggy haired man gave his best friend a wary look, before doing as the Professor ordered. James shot his Sirius an apologetic glance.
“I’ll explain later,” he said softly, “It’s a long story.”
Sirius opened his mouth to complain, but then apparently decided against it. It had taken fifteen minutes and an angry, distraught James to convince Sirius not to go chasing after Peter Pettigrew. He knew better than to push his friend at a time like this.
“It is possible,” Dumbledore murmured, “That when the Killing curse rebounded-”
“What?” both of the younger men exclaimed in unison.
“Ah,” Dumbledore coughed, “I should explain. Moody and I have examined the nursery and our initial investigation has concluded the manner of Voldemort’s demise and the cause of the explosion. He was hit with a rebound of the Killing Curse. It’s instability caused the explosion and the destruction of Voldemort’s body.”
“That’s impossible,” Sirius gaped, “There is nothing in this world that the Killing Curse could just-just bounce off of!”
Dumbledore said nothing.
“It was Harry,” James rasped, “It rebounded off Harry, didn’t it?”
For a brief, wonderful moment, James thought Dumbledore would tell him he was wrong. There was no way after all, no way at all, that his son could have survived the Killing Curse. It was foolish and impossible.
But Dumbledore nodded.
And James’ world came crashing down.
“That’s not possible,” Sirius breathed before James could utter a sylable, “No one has ever…how can you be sure?”
“Voldemort was the only one in that room capable of casting the Killing curse,” Dumbledore said gravely, “And I highly doubt he was pointing his wand at himself when he did so. I believe, and this still requires further enquiry, that the Killing Curse rebounded off of Harry and hit Voldemort, destroying his body and causing the explosion. It is also my belief that in a burst of accidental magic, Harry Apparated away to protect himself.”
James leaned back, running a hand through his hair.
“You think my fifteen month old son Apparated?” James didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “Merlin, you’re not joking, are you?”
“I will check again,” Dumbldore said, “But I am confident in my assessment. Harry is alive and…apparently a very powerful young wizard.”
“And you think that just because of this prophecy, he is still alive?” James questioned, growing impatient, “You have no proof!”
“You wanted hope and I have given you what I can,” Dumbledore said patiently, “Until I have looked into it further, I can give you no concrete answer.”
James licked his lips, nodding slowly.
“Sorry,” he murmured.
Dumbledore’s gaze softened.
“It’s alright, my boy,” he laid a hand on James’ shoulder, “You have had more sadness tonight than anyone your age should. I promise, I will not rest until I have the answers for you.”
James just nodded, fighting tears.
“But how could he have survived the Killing Curse in the first place?” it was Sirius who spoke, “What could have possibly made it rebound?”
James looked at Dumbledore expectantly, the question had been buzzing around his head too. Was it some magic to do with the prophecy? The power that Harry had but Voldemort did not?
“I believe Lily will hold that answer for us,” the headmaster said gravely.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” Dumbledore gave a sigh, “Some weeks after the prophecy was made, Lily asked me about certain…blood magics.”
“That’s dark stuff,” Sirius commented slowly.
“In some cases, yes,” Dumbledore agreed, “Lily might have used a blood ward, but whether or not this attests to Harry’s survival, I am not certain. We will have to wait for her recovery.”
James could only stare.
“So it’s Harry then?” he asked quietly, “The prophecy is truly about Harry.”
Dumbledore cast him a sympathetic look and nodded slowly.
“I believe that by choosing to attack Harry this night, Voldemort has marked him,” he looked troubled, “All our questions will be answered, no doubt, by finding Harry. I’ve had Arthur Weasley create a missing persons report for the muggle police, hopefully we will locate your son soon.”
“Arthur?” James dimly remembered the red headed man who had been several years above him at Hogwarts, he had had a massive fascination with anything Muggle related, “Wait, isn’t he Fabian and Gideon Prewett’s brother-in-law?”
“I remember him,” Sirius muttered, “He’s got six kids! Poor fellow.”
“Seven,” Dumbledore corrected, “Molly gave birth to a baby girl about two months ago.”
Sirius gave a low whistle, his expression forlorn.
“I didn’t know,” James said softly, “A female Weasley. That’s a birth that should have been celebrated.”
“These have been very dark days,” the headmaster said just as quietly, “Though, perhaps somewhat lighter now.”
James’ head snapped up and his gaze narrowed.
“Not yet,” he said firmly, “Not until we find Harry. I want to join the search.”
Sirius and Dumbledore both looked at him with surprise.
“James,” Sirius began, “Lily-”
“Is more likely to recover when she has her son in her arms,” James snapped, then shook himself, “Sorry. I just can’t sit here waiting…Harry is my son. I should have been there to protect him. I have to find him now.”
“I was there too,” Sirius laid his hand on his friend’s shoulder, making him look up at him, “Don’t you dare blame yourself! We were both fooled.”
“I should have let Lily come with us-” James protested weakly.
“Stuff and nonsense,” his best friend bit back, “The result would have been about the same, only Harry might be dead right now instead of missing and Lily would be tearing herself up about it.”
James looked into his best friend’s eyes, and nodded slowly.
“I just wish I knew where he was,” James muttered, “He must be so scared…”
Harry blinked, the world around him was so dark and cold. He hugged Prongs closer, tears already welling in his eyes. In his other little hand, he held the picture of his mummy. He’d grabbed it when the man had brought the ceiling down and made him fall. His knee hurt from where he’d hit it, his head felt funny and he was scared. So he did the only natural thing in the world, the thing that would make mummy and daddy come for sure.
His cries pierced through the air, a perpetual wail of despair and sadness. He wanted his mummy and he wanted his daddy; he wanted Uncle Padfoot and Uncle Mooney, even Uncle Wormtail would have been welcome on a night like this. He sat on the hard, cold ground, a street light over head cast him in shadows and he cried.
Harry didn’t know how long he sat there bawling his eyes out, he didn’t care, it could have been a few seconds or two hours, he just wanted his mummy. Then something disrupted his tears and he was lifted up from the ground and cradled by warm arms. Harry looked up curiously. A kind old face looked down at him, making hushing sounds. The face wasn’t one he knew, but maybe it knew where mummy and daddy went.
“Ma?” he questioned, “Da?”
“Oh you poor dear,” the voice was old, like his granny’s, “Did someone leave you?”
Harry didn’t understand, he just clutched his stag and photo tighter. He was moving all of a sudden, taken away from the street, up some stairs and through a door. The light blinded him for a moment and he whined. The next thing he knew he was being lain down, a warm hand running over his hurt leg, he gave a small cry.
“Its okay,” the nice voice said, “Matron Morgan’s going to make it all better. What‘s this?”
She tried to pry the photo from his hands, succeeded for a moment, but Harry only cried harder until he felt the photograph being placed hastily back into his hands.
“There, there,” she cooed, “Harry? Is it? That’s a nice name Harry, I have a cousin Harry. Welcome to St. Matthew’s Harry, I’m sure we’ll find you a home soon.”
She gently stoked his face, trying to soothe him. He looked at her with scared green eyes and paused as her eyes caught something.
“What a strange scar,” she remarked, “Like a bolt of lightning.”
Harry’s lower lip trembled and he hugged Prongs tighter, he just wanted his mummy to come get him.
It was the early hours of the morning, Mrs. Molly Weasley was rocking her two and a half month old daughter in her arms. She yawned, her pink night dress scraping a little on the floor as she tried to stay awake. Her husband, Arthur Weasley, wasn’t back yet from his rounds for the Order and to say she was worried was an understatement. Her sons were al asleep upstairs, her ten year old son, Bill, would be attending Hogwarts the next September and she could only pray that the world would be better by then.
“Go to sleep, Ginny,” she lulled the tiny baby, “Go back to sleep for mummy.”
But Ginny Weasley, youngest and only daughter of the Weasley’s, was restless that night and for the life of her, Molly could not fathom why. Her small brown eyes were wide and she stared up at her mother, seemingly on the brink of tears. Molly continued hushing the baby until she calmed down.
She turned in surprise as her husband rushed through the front door, a joyous look on his face. Molly frowned a little, about to ask him to hush up when she noticed that huge smile.
“Arthur?” she questioned, he was beside her in a trice, carefully hugging her and his daughter in delight.
“He’s gone!” he cried, “He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone!”
“You-Know-Who!” Arthur laughed, taking Ginny from Molly’s arms and swinging her around in happiness, the baby made a soft gurgling sound but didn’t cry.
“Are you sure?” Molly asked, wide eyed. She sat down with a thump on the living room coach, trying to take in what he was saying, “He-he’s gone?”
“Yes!” Arthur laughed, “I just heard it from Dumbledore himself and I rushed home as quickly as I could. I don’t know the facts yet exactly, but I know that right now, this minute, You-Know-Who isn’t hurting anybody.”
“Harry Potter,” Arthur said, his smile faded a little and he sighed, “I need to go back, I just had to come home and tell you.”
“Harry Potter? The Potter’s little boy? What does he have to do with this?”
“Everything,” Arthur said, handing Ginny back to her mother, “And he’s missing, I have to go. I’ll be back in a few hours with more news.”
“Arthur-” she began.
He smiled, kissing his wife on the cheek and backing away.
“Be ready to celebrate,” he said, “The Order has to do some damage control and start the search, but after that, everything will be alright again.”
With that, he departed the Weasley household, a skip in his step as he left. Molly watched after him, then turned to the child in her arms. Ginny didn’t seem any calmer, but her little eyes were starting to droop and she kept fighting to keep them open.
“Come on, sweetie,” she said, rising, “We’ll say a prayer together for little Harry and then go to sleep. I do hope they find him.”
Ginny Weasley have a small gurgle as though she too agreed with her mother’s statement.
Lily Potter was lost in her dreams; the pain in her body had long since faded and she felt almost at peace. Was this death? She wasn’t sure.
She walked along a beach, the sand crunching between her toes and the cool water of the sea brushing past her feet as its waves hit the shore. Above her there was nothing but the sky at sunrise, dull pink and gold shone above as warmth began to fill the land. She breathed in salty air as the wind tickled her cheek. She couldn’t quite recall what had brought her here, but it was wonderful.
She looked about, but there was nothing around, just the beach, the sea and rolling sand dunes in the distance. She was alone.
Her head snapped round, searching for the familiar call, but all she could see was the sea and the sky. Frantic, she started running in the direction the voice had come from, splashing into the waves.
“Harry!” she screamed, “Harry, where are you!?”
She was waist deep in the cool, salt water now as she tried to bob over the incoming waves.
Tears stung her eyes, as she trudged deeper into the sea. Eventually she couldn’t feel the sand floor beneath her feet and was swimming, spluttering every time a wave hit her face. Her tears mingled with the salty water of the ocean as she cried out, desperate to find her son.
A huge wave crashed over her, propelling her body deep beneath the surface. She screamed, the water filled her lungs and darkness enveloped her. Beyond the roaring in her ears she could still hear Harry crying out for her.
Her eyes snapped open to a brightly-lit room. There was an unfamiliar face leaning over her, calling her name. The voice echoed around in her ears briefly before coming into focus.
“Mrs. Potter? Lily, can you hear me? Can you see me?”
The voice was female. Lily’s vision blurred a little. She blinked continuously to clear it, thankful as the face finally came into focus.
But she wasn’t concentrating on that for long.
“Harry?” she gasped, trying to get up.
Firm hands pushed her back down.
“Hush now,” the voice was saying, “You need to stay still. You’ve lost a lot of blood.”
Her eyes went wide as the memories assaulted her mercilessly. Voldemort at the door, the pain in her body, Harry…
The blood ward, had it worked?
No, she was still alive. It couldn’t have worked.
“Harry!” she screamed miserably, feeling hot tears stream down her face, “No…”
Her heart felt like it was breaking. She convulsed on the bed, she had to go, she had to find her baby, and she had to know…
“She’s having a panic attack,” a clipped voice snapped, “Get a sedative.”
Something was forced down her throat, she was held down, still struggling, until she was forced to swallow. Slowly, her muscles seemed to relax and the world began to darken.
“Rest now,” the voice said sympathetically.
She slipped into unconsciousness, Harry’s cries still ringing in her ears.
While Lily lay recovering in the hospital, James and Sirius joined the countrywide search for Harry, barely stopping to eat or sleep. Remus Lupin, upon waking up that morning, was not only made aware of the terrible events of the night before, but of why he had been so secluded by his friends recently. Not giving away any feeling of betrayal or disappointment on his part, Remus joined the search without question, without explanation and without a second thought. Moody and Dumbledore, later joined by famous alchemist Nicholas Flamel, continued to investigate Voldemort and Harry’s disappearances, finally coming to a more solid conclusion to the events of that night.
Unfortunately, an avid young reporter by the name of Rita Skeeter, seeking to make a name for herself and willing to do just about anything, managed to mangle out this information. She acclaimed Harry as the defeater of the Dark Lord, revealing him to be the only known survivor of the Killing Curse.
All over England, people celebrated the fall of their enemy; people celebrated the name Harry Potter. Owls were seen in numerous flocks all over Britain and shooting stars had the muggles looking for an astronomical phenomenon. During the weeks that followed, every magical citizen of the United Kingdom was on high alert for the missing Saviour. No one was spared searching, but eventually, some gave up, certain that the small boy had died that night with Voldemort. But many, many people still chanted the name of Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived.