Lily Evans tapped the smoky glass orb in front of her with the tip of her wand, making a ping resonate from it. The smoke within the ball flared for a moment before dimming back to a neutral grey color. Lily nodded and tucked her wand behind her ear so that she could make a check on the clipboard in her other arm.
Sometimes being an Unspeakable was a horribly boring job. When Lily had graduated top of her class with recommendations from every teacher, she had been so eager to apply to the Department of Mysteries. She loved puzzles and discovery of new things. It was why she had been so excited when her Hogwarts letter arrived. But being an Unspeakable had its downsides, too; cataloguing the prophecy orbs, for one.
The prophecy orbs were used to store premonitions made be Seers. Entire shelves, each holding hundreds of orbs, were tied to the bloodlines of Seers dating back to the Oracles of Delphi. Many had died out but a few, like the Trelawney family, still had some kick in them. The prophecies were not supposed to see the light of day because once a prophecy was heard, it became set in time.
Lily made one last check on her list as she recorded the number of the last prophecy orb. That done, she turned on her heel and began the long walk back to the Unspeakable Headquarters. Maybe, if she was lucky, she could get off early and go see a movie in the muggle world or something. Perhaps she could introduce James to the wonders of Star Wars.
James Potter had been a blight to her for her first five years of Hogwarts. From young boy to teenager, he had maintained a deep infatuation with her that could outshine the sun. It had taken six years for him to finally get over it, when she acquiesced to him taking her on a date. It hadn't gone well; both were far too dominant people to ever engage in a peaceful relationship. But they could be friends.
The sound of footsteps tore Lily out of her thoughts. She looked up just in time to see a fellow Unspeakable, Jonathan Carter, dash around the corner ahead and run towards. His dark blue Department of Mysteries robe was torn and splattered with dark stains, and his cheek had a long cut down it.
When he saw her he stumbled to a halt, his blue eyes wide with panic. "Lily!" he gasped out. "What are you still doing here? They're coming!"
Lily froze, staring at him in shock. "Jon? What's going on? Who's coming?"
He glanced back, and Lily suddenly realized that she could hear distant shouting and running. "Death Eaters," he whispered, leaning closer to her. "You-Know-Who's led his Death Eaters on an attack against the Department of Mysteries." He glanced around them and Lily was thankful for the shelves hiding them. "They're killing all the muggleborns they can find! Lily, you need to get out of here!" he hissed.
Her grip tightened around her wand and she set the clipboard down on one of the shelves. "Like hell I'm gonna run," she snapped back at him, flicking a strand of dark red hair out of her eyes.
"Please Lily," he begged, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I want you to be saf-"
He was cut off when a sickeningly green light collided with him and he fell to the floor, eyes wide and unseeing. Dead. Lily gaze snapped up to meet the grey eyes of a madwoman. Black hair fell in ragged ringlets around her face, and her pale lips were parted in a dark grin.
"Bellatrix Lestrange," Lily spat. She watched as a few other Death Eaters, all wearing skull-like masks, stepped out from behind the shelves.
Bellatrix threw her head back and gave a throaty laugh. "Lily Evans," she cooed in a sickeningly sweet voice. "The ickle mudblood whore."
Lily narrowed her eyes slightly. "This coming from the woman who begs for Voldemort's attention? Prostrates herself like some bitch?"
Bellatrix's smirk morphed into a furious snarl as she raised her black wand. "Crucio!" Bellatrix screeched, the scarlet bolt of magic shooting out of her wand towards Lily.
At the same time Lily dropped to the floor and sent an Exploding Hex at the shelf besides Bellatrix. The Cruciatus sailed over her head as the shelf exploded, raining fragments of glass down on them and filling the area with smoke and dust. Bellatrix's shriek of rage was Lily's cue to take off running in the opposite direction.
Lily ducked into the Time Chamber, slamming the door behind her. Bellatrix wouldn't be held up for long, and she would return with a vengeance. Perhaps goading her while she had backup wasn't such a good idea…
A loud crashing sound emanated from the other side of the room, making Lily's head whip around.
"…can't believe that this is the great 'Department of Mysteries', eh Rookwood? I thought it would be better than a bunch of clocks and broken Time-Turners."
Lily cursed under her breath as she realized that she was sandwiched in on both sides by Death Eaters. She glanced around for a moment before she saw a large wooden cabinet off to the side, filled with distinctive objects. Time-Turners. She stepped over to it and crouched down beside it, wishing that there was enough space behind.
Just in time, too. A moment later the door she had come through exploded into slivers of wood. Through the door stepped Bellatrix and the three masked Death Eaters.
"Find her!" Bellatrix ordered them, her expression twisted and grotesque. "We'll show that little mudblood her place!"
Lily ducked down farther as the Death Eaters began to search. She hated hiding. Hated it. Hated it more than anything else in the world. She prided herself on being a fighter, someone who stood up against any injustice. People always underestimated her, but she used that to her advantage. Like the time Lucius Malfoy tried to take advantage of her.
He had cornered her, a big seventh-year boy against a small fifth-year girl. He had done it late one evening in a side-corridor, knowing that no one would be nearby. Lucius had probably expected it to be easy. She doubted that he expected 'sweet, kind, innocent Lily Evans' to punch him the nose, kick him in the balls, and send a Bone-Breaking Curse at him. To say that it was effective was an understatement—it had shattered the hip completely, and to this day he walked with a limp. Better yet, if he had tried to press charges she could have given up a memory and gotten him arrested for attempted rape. Thank god for the current Minister being a woman.
"There you are!" screamed Bellatrix's voice suddenly, making Lily's head jerk toward the woman. Just as she looked up the dark-haired woman launched a dark blue spell towards Lily. It sizzled as it flew and Lily's brain froze for just a second too long.
Lily tried to leap away, but the spell smashed into the cabinet of Time-Turners beside her. The entire thing exploded, pieces of glass, golden metal, and sand flying everywhere. Lily squeezed her eyes shut and put her hands over her ears as sound like a hurricane roared up around her. Winds buffeted her from all sides and the floor beneath her slipped away. She didn't even dare to open her eyes.
After what felt like an eternity the sound vanished, and Lily could once again feel the floor under her feet. She slowly blinker her eyes open and looked around, removing her hands from her ears. There seemed to be a fine coating of sand covering her entire body.
Then Lily got a good look around her. She seemed to be kneeling in a small alleyway, dirt ground cold under her. Using the wall she pushed herself to her feet and dusted herself off, shaking the sand out of her hair. She hesitantly walked to the entrance of the alley so that she could see where she was. Her eyes grew wide.
A smoothly paved street ran in front of her, cars from long before her time trundling down them. Men in suits and fedoras walked by holding briefcases, and women in poufy dressed and feather hats gossiped in small groups. The buildings were old-fashioned yet strangely new-looking, composed of flat grey sides and rectangular windows. Lily did a double-take as an honest-to-god ice truck drove past.
"Where am I?" she breathed.
The older man frowned as he read down the sheet of paper, glancing up at Lily every so often. She fought the urge to fidget, knowing that it never looked good to be nervous in an interview. Of course, she had never imagined being in an interview in 1940. It was all Bellatrix's fault.
As far as Lily could guess, Bellatrix had done more than destroy a couple dozen Time-Turners. Time-Turners were not dangerous items due to their inability to transport anyone back more than 12 hours. Once that point was surpassed the Time-Turner would not be able to withstand the paradox and shatter. The recipient would not be harmed, though they would have to pay a fine. Even the shattering could not harm them—Time-Turners held only a tiny fraction of dust, and the breaking of one would only displace someone by thirty minutes at most.
When Bellatrix had sent the curse at Lily and hit the Time-Turner cabinet, it had far longer-reaching effects. There were dozens of Time-Turners in that cabinet. Not only that, it was where Time Dust was stored after it was harvested from… wherever it was harvested from. Then Bellatrix's spell had added chaotic mix into the equation. Lily was lucky to be alive and still within her own century.
For now, Lily was stuck in 1940. She had permanently darkened her hair to a rusty brown, though the red tint was still noticeable, and vanished the green of her eyes under a brown illusion. After all, she didn't want anyone to be able to realize that it was her—she had seen Doctor Who—and had even changed her name. Margaret, for her mother, and Carter, for Jonathan, who saved her life with his warning.
The man, General Chester Phillips, sighed and dropped her transcript onto the desk. "I am afraid that I will have to reject you, Ms. Carter," he said as he looked at her. "War is no place for a woman such as yourself. Go home, get married, have a couple of kids. Leave the fighting to those of us who understand it."
That got Lily rather pissed. When she dropped out of the sky and learned that World War II was going on, there was no way in hell that she was going to ignore that. Men were fighting and dying for their families, and she had no right to stand back when she could help.
She leaned over his desk, placing her hands on top of his papers to support herself as she look him straight in the eyes. For a sudden moment he reminded her of her grandfather—old, tired, having seen too much death and destruction in his life. "Now you listen here General," she snapped, narrowing her eyes. "I am not some idealistic girl who wants to go overseas. I am not some foolish woman who will cower and hide at the first sign of blood!" She raised on hand to point at him, making him go cross-eyed.
"My name is Peggy Carter, and you better bet your wrinkly ass that I am going to do my part in this war!" With that she turned and stormed toward the door, slamming it open loudly. But she paused at the sound of clapping, and turned around to see General Phillips grinning widely as he stood.
"Now that's what I needed to see!" he cried with a small grin. Then, with Lily's confused gaze on him, he picked up his pen and signed the line on her papers marked permission. "There you go Ms. Carter," he said with another smile as he held them out to her. "Let's win this war, shall we?"
"Recruits! Attention!" called Lily, or, as she was now known, Peggy. Thanks to both General Phillips's trust in her, along with her own endless ambition (that had almost landed her in Slytherin), Lily had quickly moved up the ranks of the military. Many doubted her military prowess, her being a woman, but it never lasted long.
"Gentlemen, I'm Agent Carter," she continued, slowly walking down the line in front of them. "I supervise all operations for this division."
As expected, it did not take long (mere seconds really) for one of the men to get mouthy. His comment on her accent, followed by the innuendo, were all it took for her to punch him in the nose and send her to the floor.
When she stepped back and General Phillips began his little 'pep talk' she noticed Dr. Erskine, a genius like no other and a new friend of hers, watching one recruit out of the corner of his eye. Lily took a moment to look at the man. He was rather short, even shorter than her, with a very skinny frame, slight shoulders, and apparent lack of any muscle mass whatsoever. She would give him three days, tops.
One week later Lily was regretting that assumption of hers. In hindsight she really shouldn't have judged on appearance, especially when people did that to her so often. What Steve Rogers lacked in physical strength he made up for in strength of character. He was resourceful, loyal, and shockingly persevering. The incident with the fake grenade had proved that, more than anything, he was willing to do whatever it took. As she sat next to him in the car ride to the laboratory, she was not surprised that Dr. Erskine picked him.
Steve's voice startled her out of her thoughts. "I know this neighborhood," he realized, looking out of the window with interest. "I got beat up in that alley." He pointed to one narrow street they passed.
As he pointed out two more placed she fought the urge to either smile or sigh. He was so strong in character that it was sad to think of him never being supported. "Did you have something against running away?" she asked offhandedly.
His reply was surprisingly profound. "Once you start running they'll never let you stop. You stand up, push back… can't say no forever, right?"
"I know a little of what that's like." She was actually talking about being a muggleborn in a pureblood-only world, but knew that he would think it was because of her gender. "To have every door shut in your face."
As expected, he assumed that she meant the era's gender-roles. But as he stuttered out a bizarre mixture of compliment and question, she turned to look at him for the first time. "You have no idea how to talk to a woman, do you?" she asked him, the ghost of a smile on her face. There was something so endearing about Steve's clumsy approach. It probably stemmed from previously having very assertive males in her life before—James and Severus both had romantic interests in her, but both were the forward type. Steve seemed to be harboring a bit of a crush, however, he was far less confident. Perhaps she could help him with that.
Lily stood behind the famous 'Captain America', watching him sketch in his notebook. Before, watching him onstage, she had felt annoyed and a bit angry at what he had allowed himself to be turned into. But now, watching him sit alone in the rain, all she felt was pity. "Hello Steve," she greeted.
He turned around and his eyes widened. She was surprised that he could look so similar yet so different. "Hi," he answered, shocked.
She resisted the urge to snort. "Hi."
"What're you doing here?" he questioned in obvious shock.
"Officially I'm not here at all," she stated simply, sitting down on a box behind him. "That was quite a performance."
"Yea, uh… I had to improvise a little bit. The crowds I'm used to are usually a bit more… uh... twelve."
Lily could barely keep from sighing sadly. He hated this, it was clear as day. Steve was a fighter, a hero born in the body of a victim. Now he had been given a chance to become the hero he was meant to be and his one obstacle, like always, was confidence. He needed someone to believe in him.
"Looks like finding a partner wasn't that hard after all," Lily commented as she strode towards Howard Stark's 'study'. She didn't know why seeing Steve kissing the blonde military whore irked her so much, but it made her blood boil.
"Peggy, that's not what you thought it was," defended Steve as he tucked his tie back into his shirt.
Her eyelids lowered as she glanced at him. "I don't think anything, Captain, not one thing. You always wanted to be a soldier, and now you are, just like all the rest."
Steve stopped. "Well, what about you and Stark?" She turned around to face him. "How do I know you two haven't been… fondue-ing?" Then he gave her a look.
For a split second Lily had the urge to burst out laughing before she turned away and shook her head. "You still don't know a bloody thing about women."
As Lily watched Steve take a last sip of the alcohol, even knowing that it wouldn't affect him, she reached over and put a hand on his shoulder. He looked up at her, piercing blue meeting the dark brown covering her own green eyes. "You won't be alone, Steve," she repeated.
He gave her a small smile and she would later swear that his eyes were slightly teary. "Thanks Peggy," he said softly, placing the glass down on the table. "Thanks for everything."
Suddenly Lily had the insane urge to strip off her glamours. To let Steve see her as she truly was, to call her Lily, not Peggy. To know that he still saw her as his friend, even when she was someone completely different. But she couldn't.
"I'm here for you, Steve. I'm always here for you."
Lily knocked on the door to Steve's room, drawing her coat more tightly around her. Strictly speaking she wasn't supposed to be here, but tomorrow they were flying out to Schmidt's base and she couldn't do this with others around.
The door creaked open to reveal Steve. Shirtless. Sweaty. With bulging muscles. And a shocked expression on his face as he realized who it was. "Peggy?"
Lily tore her eyes away from the Adonis-like body in front of her to meet his eyes. He had been big before, but with the constant fighting and movement he was huge. "I-I wanted to say good luck," she stuttered out, drawing her coat tighter around her as a chill blew down the empty corridor. Seriously didn't they have heating!?
Steve obviously noticed her shivers, as he opened the door wider. "You're cold! Come in, please."
Lily hesitated for the briefest moment before giving in and stepping into his room. It was indeed warmer; the heavy warmth that came from a person, not a machine. She tried to ignore the half-naked figure of Steve next to her as she looked around his quarters. It was a good size, bigger than most of the others. There was a large bed against the wall (though it obviously had to be quite large), pushed aside as if sleeping was not important. In the corner was a punching bag hung from the ceiling, and spread out on the floor was a workout mat. If she had to guess he had been working out before she came in.
"Are you alright?"
Lily turned around and took a sharp intake of breath as her face stopped mere centimeters from his pectorals. Her gaze slowly rose to his concerned eyes. "Y-Yes, I'm fine," she stammered, quickly turning and moving to sit down on the bed. "Sorry, I… I'm just a bit tired."
Steve moved to sit next to her, his thick eyebrows furrowed in concern. He obviously hadn't yet realized that he was so… exposed, because he moved a bit closer to her. "Are you sure?"
Lily swallowed and nodded quickly before taking a deep breath to calm herself. "I'm just nervous for tomorrow," she answered, looking anywhere but at him.
A faint chuckle prompted her to turn and look at him. "You and me both," he muttered, scratching his jaw. She suddenly realized that his normally combed hair was mussed and the lower half of his face shadowed with stubble, barely noticeable due to the color and the lighting. In a way it suited him, though.
"Not that I should be," she admitted as a sudden guilt welled up. "I'm not the one risking my life to save thousands of people." She looked down at her lap.
Then a large hand was under her chin, turning her face towards him. Steve's expression was deathly serious, his face so close to hers. "Don't say that," he whispered as he looked into her eyes. "You have done more than I can ever do. You are a soldier, Peggy Carter; you always have been. Don't sell yourself short."
Lily was suddenly aware that his hot breath was ghosting over her lips and his face was so close to her own. Without even thinking about it she gently leaned forward and her lips brushed against his.
The kiss deepened as he leaned in further and one hand reached up to tangle in her hair. One of her hands circled his neck while the other ran down his torso, feeling the contours of the muscle. They were as solid as steel.
Then she began to lean back, forcing him to lean down on top of her. Her mind became hazy as he put one arm beside her to prop himself up and the other began to trail down her neck. Lily moved her hand from his chest to begin unbuttoning her blouse while the other pulled Steve down on top of her completely, his weight supported by his legs on either side of her.
She barely noticed it when Steve, impatience blooming, tore the blouse in half, scattering buttons all over the floor. Nor did she notice when his trousers and her skirt were removed. All she could feel was an entwining of love and passion, all centered on the man above her.
When he entered her it was painful, him being a very large man, but she endured it. His blue eyes gazed down at her with love and trust, both of which she knew were mirrored in her eyes. She kissed him as he began to move, faster and faster, until he was moaning into her mouth as he filled her with his seed.
Both collapsed, exhausted, onto his bed. Steve smiled down at her as he moved a stray lock of hair from her face. Then he lay down behind her, gently pulling her back into his chest and pulling the blankets over both of them. "I love you," he whispered into her ear as they drifted off to sleep.
"I love you to," she replied softly.
Lily picked up the folder General Phillips had left, opening it. She paused when she saw the edge of the picture within. A lone tear leaked from her eye and travelled down her cheek as she slid it out of the folder, seeing it. Steve, before he was Captain America. The young man who wanted to serve his country, who wanted to prove himself. And he had.
After glancing around Lily slid the picture into her blouse, making sure that no one could see it. Then her hand traveled down to her midsection, rubbing it softly. This picture would be who she would tell stories about. Stories to her unborn child, stories about his father, the greatest hero to ever live. About how Steve gave his life to keep everyone safe.
She placed the folder back down, closing it softly. Lily loved Steve. He was the first person that she had ever fallen in love with, and he had died a hero. There was no one she would be prouder to call the father of her child.
Lily took a great heaving gasp before bursting into coughs. Someone was helping her sit up and a glass was being put to her lips. She drank the water greedily, her throat parched and dry. Then she looked around.
There was a circle of men around her, all dressed in dark blue wizarding robes. It took her a few moments to place them—her job here seemed like a lifetime ago. "Lily?" said the voice from before. It took her a moment to focus on him—it felt like forever since someone had used that name.
"McCutchen?" she breathed, seeing the familiar face of the Unspeakable leader.
He grinned widely and nodded, his greying hair moving like a veil. "I'm so relieved that you are safe! It took us a month, but we finally managed to retrieve you. Are you alright?"
Lily's gaze shot from person to person before halting at McCutchen. "I'm… home?" she whispered.
For Lily, it was like being hit by a wrecking ball. Howard, Phillips, all of Steve's friends… they were gone. She was home… but then she wasn't. Her home was with them. Her home was gone.
And Lily cried.
Lily breathed heavily as she finally finished labor. It had taken twelve hours, but it was finally over. She watched the nurse pick up a blanket-wrapped object from the end of the bed and smile at it. "Congratulations, Mrs. Potter," the mediwitch said with a smile at Lily. "It's a boy."
Lily gave her a weak smile as she held out her arms for her son. The woman acquiesced, handing the squirming boy to his mother. When Lily saw her son for the first time she wanted to cry; he was so beautiful. Most wouldn't have said that about the squishy bald pink thing, but in her eyes he was the most precious thing in all of creation.
The creak of the door tore her eyes away from him to meet James Potter's. He was smiling softly at her as he entered.
"It's a boy," Lily said simply with teary smile. James's smile widened as he took a few hesitant steps towards the bedside and looked down at the newborn boy.
James had been a godsend to Lily. As her only real friend and confidant in her time, she had gone to him immediately. He had matured so much from the arrogant little boy who strutted around Hogwarts; he now listened to her and was sympathetic. He let her tell her story, laugh, cry, scream, and finally fall asleep. James had offered her a home, for as long as she would need it.
It was him who had come up with the plan. He married Lily, though neither of them held any romantic feeling for one-another. He married her to protect her, to keep her supported. And he did all of it out of the goodness of his heart. They planned to divorce after a year, allowing Lily to raise her son but also allowing James to live his own life. Lily had tried to dissuade him from giving her any money, but, according to him, 'He had too much money to spend in five lifetimes.'
"What are you going to name him?" James asked as Lily began to nurse the baby.
Lily raised her gaze to his and smiled softly. "I'll name him what I know Steve would have wanted. For his best friends: Howards James… Potter." The last part was said with some hesitation.
James just smiled at her. "It's a beautiful name."
Lily looked down at her son as he began to drift off to sleep. "He's a beautiful boy."
Lily grinned as she watched her now one-year-old son reach a chubby hand up in to grab the plastic keys she dangled above his head. He let out a squeal as he finally managed to grab them, though the effort made him roll backwards onto the rug.
While he may have been an unimpressive newborn, almost anyone who saw Howard Potter now would call him adorable. Not that anyone actually saw him—James and Lily had not allowed anyone else to see him, not even Sirius. The man had been sad but had trusted them.
"Up you go, Harry," Lily said as she pulled the baby up to a sitting position. She had started off calling him Howard, but it was such a mouthful that it had to be shorted. That, combined with constant baby-talk, had led to his name being shortened from 'Howard' to 'Howwy' to 'Harry'. Though Lily did hope that he would go by his proper name when he was older.
Harry gave her a gummy grin and clapper his little hands together. His mother was unable to resist swooping him up in a hug and kissing him on the cheek, making him giggle. Harry was the light of her life.
Even at his young age Lily could already see so much of both her and Steve in him. When Harry's hair had come in it was the same ash-blonde of Steve's. He had inherited Steve's toothy (or currently gummy) smile. But he had Lily's lips, her nose, and her wide eyes—the color of emeralds in sunshine. Of course he did have Steve's thick eyebrows, making it very amusing whenever he was concentrating and looking like Steve when the man was serious. The laugh was Lily's, the expressions Steve's, and the sparkle of life in his eyes all his own.
Unfortunately for him, the one thing he hadn't inherited had been his father's strength. A few hours after his birth the mediwitches had discovered that he had asthma. Hearing that had made Lily's blood run cold, especially as they quickly began to discover more ailments that afflicted her little boy. It appeared that, while he had his father's looks, he did not have Steve's health. Magic could do much, healing all sorts of ailments, but not many birth defects.
It was the very reason that no one had yet seen Harry. As far as everyone else knew, James was Harry's father. If anyone saw the blonde-haired boy they would instantly be able to notice the lack of Potter features in him. Lily also knew that Harry was fragile, delicate, and she wanted to keep him safe from the cruel world for as long as she could.
It was the very reason that no one had yet seen Harry. As far as everyone else knew, James was Harry's father. If anyone saw the blonde-haired boy they would instantly be able to notice the lack of Potter features in him.
Then there was the issue of the prophecy. McCutchen, the Unspeakable boss, had contacted her immediately to tell her that a prophecy had been spoken about her child. A prophecy about the fall of Voldemort. Lily was both delighted and horrified; she hated Voldemort and wanted him to be dragged down to hell where he belonged, but she would die before she let him anywhere near her son.
Suddenly a tremendous crash tore her attention away from her son. Her blood ran cold in her veins as a high-pitched laugh tore through the air, followed by the telltale words of the Killing Curse. Knowing what was happening, Lily grabbed her son and ran from the living room to the back door. However, to her shock and horror it was locked. No doubt Voldemort had warded the house against exit.
Lily dashed across the room to the back stairwell, hurrying up it as fast as she could. She and James had poured every warding spell they knew into the nursery; if there was one place in this house safe from Tom Riddle, it was there.
She entered the nursery and slammed the door shut behind her as she heard the tell-tale creaks on the stairway. Lily placed Harry in the crib and handed him his favorite stuffed teddy bear. Tears were leaking from the corners of his eyes; he was scared. He never cried like a normal child, snotty and loud; he cried quietly.
"Don't you worry, baby," she whispered, grabbing his little hand in hers and ignoring the tears coursing down her own cheeks. "Momma will protect you."
The sound of an explosion racked the room, forcing Lily to whip her head around. The Abomination entered the room. He was unnaturally tall, nearly seven feet. He was handsome like a vampire; pale skin, perfectly combed black hair, and a charming smile. The only thing that ruined the image was the blood-red eyes, slit like a snake's. "Ah, Lily Evans," he said softly, the 's' in her maiden name being drawn out like a snake. "Step aside, won't you? I only need to kill your child. There is no need for a powerful witch like yourself to fall, hmm?"
She shook her head. "Over my dead body, Riddle."
His smile twisted into an angry scowl. "Very well," he spat. "Then you shall fall." And he began to stride towards her.
Lily summoned all the magic in her body into her wand, beginning her silent prayer. If there was any good in the universe, if there was any being up there listening, she hoped that they cared. "You listen here you snakey bastard," Lily began, standing tall. "I don't care how powerful you are, because I have one thing you don't. One thing that you can never have."
He stopped right in front of her, looming over her like a giant. "And what would that be?" he whispered.
Lily met his red gaze and concentrated on her one wish. "Love."
And then gave herself up to him. The toxic green light filled her eyes and she felt herself slip away. The distant feeling of her body falling to the floor was barely noticeable. She had thought that death would be harsh and cruel, but it was… peace.
Lily Evans died that night. She did not live long enough to witness the results of her wish. Tom Riddle's Killing Curse was unable to kill her son that night. His Killing Curse rebounded because of more than magic, more than sacrifice. Lily Evans had unknowingly protected her son with her soul itself. For Voldemort, a being whose soul was shredded and twisted, his own magic rejected it. His body was destroyed, sending the monstrous wraith tumbling through the darkness of oblivion, yet still attached to the mortal world by a thread. Or rather, seven threads.