If They Lived


"Oh, god," Lily said suddenly. She shut her eyes tightly and leaned against the banister in the foyer, massaging her temples with one hand and gripping her wand tightly with the other. "Oh, god. James, what if they're… what if they're shagging?"

"They said they weren't together!" James said, pacing the length of the hall in four long strides. "Do you… do you think they lied to us? Do you think Harry lied to us?"

"I don't know, I don't know!" Lily hated how unsure she felt about their only child, about their perfect, sweet sixteen year old baby. She rounded on her husband. "He's your son! Would you put it past him?"

James made a strange noise in his throat, but did not contradict her. "What should we do? Should we look for them? Should we- should we call Molly and Arthur?"

"What? No! What would we tell them?"

"'Your daughter lured our son out of bed-'"

"Ha! That's likely!"

"'-and we're really, really sorry, but it seems we lost them. Help?'"

"Oh, god."

After several tense minutes of silence, James said abruptly, "I don't want to be the one to tell her."

"Tell whom what?"

"Tell Molly that our son has besmirched her youngest and only daughter."

Lily stared at him. Besmirched? Besmirched? Her lips twitched. She couldn't help it. James knew how to make her laugh, even unintentionally. But she reigned in the little amusement she felt about this entire situation. Harry and Ginny could be in trouble for all they knew.

Dread flooded through her, and suddenly she felt very weak.

"James," she said desperately, "James, what if something's happened to them?"

He stopped pacing long enough for her words to sink in, then he turned on his heel and started to the front door. "Right. I'm going to look for them."

"I'm going with you," she said hastily.

"No," he said firmly, turning to her when he reached the entrance to their home. "The other two are upstairs. You have to stay with them."

"Should I wake them? Maybe they know something we don't."

"Doubt it," James said. "If Harry was going to take Ginny out for a ride on his broomstick, Ron would be the last person he'd want to tell."

She wrinkled her nose in distaste at his terrible innuendo, but decided now was not the time to scold him about it. "What about Hermione?"

Lily could practically see the cogs working overtime in James' Auror-trained brain. "If I'm not back in thirty minutes-"

He never got to finish that sentence. James threw the door open, and there stood Harry and Ginny, guiltily springing apart in the darkened doorway, each gripping a bag of Muggle fast-food.

"Shite," Harry said upon seeing the look on his father's face. Then Lily pushed around James, and he winced. "Fuck."

"You're bloody right, shite and fuck!"

"Lily," James sighed in relief. "They're fine. Harry's fine."

"He won't be after I kill him!"