Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. This story is fanfiction. Therefore, characters are not mine. Everything proprietary belongs to JK Rowling.
The Life We All Deserve
A light supper was brought in by Rolf, and while a proper table was being set up, Lily tried to persuade Hermione to stay in the Manor.
"You will be safe here. We have so may rooms that no one will ever know you are here if you are worried about being seen." Lily gripped Hermione's hand. "Please Hermione. I know you had initially wanted to stay in Diagon Alley, but it would make me feel better knowing that you are safe and cared for."
Hermione shook her head, but Lily persisted.
"Please. Please, Hermione." She used a trump card. "For me." Her eyes intense as she pleaded.
Hermione hated to be in that situation; she was having a hard time saying no to Lily, but she just felt that it wasn't right. "It's just, I feel guilty of having to stay in your beautiful home when Harry hasn't even seen this place yet. It's just not right." Her voice was getting smaller by the end of it.
Lily understood the girl's hesitation, but she felt that the Leaky Cauldron was not safe enough for Hermione to stay in. She reached for the girl's shoulders, "He will understand, Hermione. I know he would want his best friend staying in one of the safest places on earth." She paused with a smile, "He would insist if he were here with us right now. From what you have shown me, my son cares deeply for you. "
Hermione slightly flinched at Lily's last statement; she hoped Lily didn't notice. She tried to think of another excuse but found none. She finally conceded, "Alright."
Lily squealed and gave Hermione a fierce hug. "Oh, thank you! Now we can talk to our heart's content. I will have Rolf send for your things and settle your bill with Tom at the pub."
"Oh, no!" Hermione exclaimed. "I don't want people to know that we are connected. I can't risk that. What if people become curious as to why you would know me in the first place? I have been there for months."
Lily stopped the girl's worries, "It's alright Hermione. The elves will arrange everything from the pub to your things. No one will know about you and me associating with each other. I promise you." She grinned at the girl, her voice getting an excited lilt. "And besides, now that you will be staying here, I will be able to talk to you about my son. I have so much to ask you; we can discuss your plans as well. I will help you help us."
Left with nothing else to argue about, Hermione finally agreed. Although subconsciously, she just realized that Harry's mother had just successfully manipulated her to accept, she couldn't discount the fact that the woman had valid reasons.
After dinner and while having afters at Lily's insistence, Rolf walked in to inform Lily that Hermione's things had been brought up to her room and her business with the Leaky Cauldron had been completed.
And so it was well into the night that they both continued to talk. Starting with something light, Hermione answered all of Lily's questions about Harry. She answered Lily's initial questions about her son, his personality, what he liked and disliked, and their early school life together and such. After extracting a promise from Lily that she would keep calm, Hermione went on to tell her about Harry's home life as much as she can from Harry's accounts about his life with the Dursleys.
When Lily couldn't withstand it anymore, she asked about what happened about that Halloween they died. She wanted to know what happened for her son to end up in a life of misery.
Hermione with second-hand information from Harry and from people who knew the Potter family before the Halloween attack, did her best to give Lily a picture of the said event. She decided that to start, Lily had to be informed about the prophecy, the very reason that caused them all grief, why the Potter family ended up hiding in Godric's Hollow, and why Voldemort insisted in getting rid of Harry.
Lily listened with rapt attention, only interrupting when understanding seemed to fail her at certain points. Hermione patiently explained every detail, never holding back. The bit about Snape overhearing part of the prophecy and passing the information to Riddle turned Lily's blood to ice. Hermione went on to tell her how Dumbledore kept Snape as a double agent, and how he urged them to hide away in Godric's Hollow under a Fidelius Charm and choosing Pettigrew as their ultimate secret keeper who, unfortunately, was a Death Eater and gave out their location to his Dark Lord. She included the fates of the Longbottoms under the Lestranges and Barty Crouch. Finally, Hermione told her about the night of the attack, how Lily had died to protect Harry from the Killing Curse and the unexpected rebounding off of the spell when it was turned to one-year-old Harry, leaving him with a scar as evidence of that failed attack. Hermione went on about everything that happened after the assault: how Sirius ended up incarcerated in Azkaban after unsuccessfully going after Pettigrew and finally, how Dumbledore brought Harry to the Dursley's doorstep was exposed.
Lily, for her part, kept her mind open. If she was perfectly honest, as she listened to Hermione, she felt like she was hearing someone else's life as it was being described to her. Only the fact that she saw Hermione's memories kept her from feeling unaffected. Knowing that all the things that Hermione was telling her had the potential to happen, and that they have the advantage in preventing them from happening at all, eased her heart and mind. But still, the disturbing fact was that after their deaths, her son still suffered instead of being properly looked after, brought up disappointment towards their leader.
She now felt blessed at having met Hermione. They now had facts about Voldermort that could help them end the war from this young woman. All she had to do was to make her safe.
At some point in their conversation, Hermione finally voiced out one thing that had bothered her since arriving at the manor in the early part of the evening.
"Lily, why would you end up in Godric's Hollow when the manor could have done a better job at keeping you all safe? Like Grimmauld Place had ward stones, and I'm just guessing here since the Manor belongs to an Ancient and Noble family, wouldn't it have the same safety features and if you add a Fidelius to it, wouldn't it become the safest place on this planet."
Lily was taken aback by the question but only because she couldn't answer it. She lapsed into silence for a moment lost in her thoughts. It was true, coupled with a Fidelius, the Manor would be an impregnable stronghold. "Why indeed?" she murmurs.
Suddenly Lily saw Hermione stiffen in her seat.
"Of course." her voice only above a whisper but seemed urgent.
Lily was in the process of asking Hermione to elaborate when she saw the girl getting angry rapidly.
"Of course!" Hermione yells, "He needed him to be!"
Lily watched in awe as Hermione jumped up and started pacing in front of the fireplace.
"He knew! That old wizard knew! Why didn't I think of that?"
Hermione was shaking her fist in the air, "He sent him to the Dursley's. Kept Sirius away and Remus too. He even didn't do anything to prepare Harry at all!"
To say that Hermione was seething in anger was an understatement.
"No trial for Sirius, and later kept him locked up at Black Manor."
Lily was getting worried that Hermione might be going over the edge with her angry mutterings that were getting loud enough for her to hear. She was about to reach for the girl when Hermione stomped her foot.
"He made them do everything he wanted, and they never questioned him at all!"
Hermione groaned her anger, and then yelled, "That manipulative bloody old fool! Greater good, my arse!"
Lily gasps, "Hermione!" apparently scandalized by the younger woman's language.
Hermione snapped from her furious haze and reddened in embarrassment, "Oh, I'm sorry, Lily. It's just I couldn't help myself," she sags back on to her previously vacated seat by Lily's side.
Lily couldn't help but chuckle at the girl. "It would probably make more sense if you tell me what brought this on."
Knowing that her outburst would need a thorough explanation she took a deep breath and started. She explained that she had her suspicions about Albus Dumbledore since the summer after the Triwizard Tournament when he banned them from writing to Harry throughout the summer holidays. Her questions as to why Harry's stay with the Dursley's never was monitored; he was the Boy-Who-Lived and yet nobody, not once, had anyone gone to see how he was, except for when they were supposedly guarding him, but they never intervened every time Harry was getting hurt. He was being abused and yet he was continuously sent back to the same house every summer. Then there was the reason why Sirius never got a trial in the first place, since he was part of the Order and being Harry's godfather, would have cared for him when his parents died. And why was Harry not informed of the prophecy as soon as he went to Hogwarts and then appropriately trained especially since as he was actively pursued by Voldemort every year?
Against her better judgment, Hermione told Lily her suspicion that Dumbledore, with the full knowledge of the prophecy; was preparing Harry to be an unlikely weapon. He allowed Harry to go through all of the horrid things in his life so that Harry would end up pliable; feel unwanted or undeserving that he would have no reason but to accept his destined fate. To face Voldemort, to fulfill a prophecy completely unprepared, ready to die if need be.
Hermione worried she searched for the older woman's hand and held it; she was still shaking with leftover rage, "I'm sorry, Lily. I know you must think I'm crazy. He is Albus Dumbledore, after all, he is the leader of the Light, the very man who founded The Order. It's just that I couldn't think of any reason why he had done all those things. If he wanted to defeat Riddle why did he keep from preparing Harry sooner or why to involve Harry at all. He is a much powerful wizard that Riddle himself fears him, he could have fought him instead of-"
"That bloody bastard!" Lily suddenly yelled, interrupting Hermione's rant.
Lily was breathing heavily, getting red in the face as she tried to control her rage. "We trusted him; he is our leader. How can Albus do this to us? As you just told me, we sacrificed our lives as he wanted and then he does the very same thing to our son? How can he be so cruel? Whatever for?"
Hermione reached for Lily's hand and squeezed it, "Please calm down, remember it hasn't happened yet. He will not be able to get away this time."
Lily nodded determinedly, "It won't happen, Hermione, not anymore. Not if we can help it."
Hermione smiled, "I knew I approached the right person."
Lily squeezed Hermione's hand back, "I'm grateful you did." She stopped to take a deep breath and calm herself to broach the next subject, "Hermione, you do realize we cannot do this on our own."
Hermione froze, uncertainty clouding her face. Seeing this, Lily quickly reassures her, "I know you want all of this to be a closed secret between you and me, but it will be difficult for us if we don't bring James and his friends in on the plans. They are our best chance at success."
Hermione shakes her head, "I don't know, Lily. Your husband and his friends idolize Dumbledore; they believe he is the leader of the Light. And I cannot be made known to him. If he finds out I'm from the future, he will swoop in and take my memories away, and I can't even imagine what he will do afterward. I can't risk your lives and sacrifice it for Dumbledore's twisted belief in the greater good."
"No Hermione, listen to me." Lily forced the girl to look her in the eyes and hopes that she will break through, "I will promise you that I will take the boys to our side. Once they realize that Albus is manipulating them for his gains, I assure you that they will not stand for it. We will not waste this opportunity. You have come to us to help us prevent our failed futures, James and I will protect you and Harry. I pledge you that."
Hermione looked apprehensive; she admitted to herself that getting the Marauders involved would make things easier than when she had to do everything, and besides they had resources that she could only dream of at the moment. But she worried that getting too many involved would result in a greater chance of mistakes. After giving it a few minutes of thought she agreed. It took another hour of conversations as they planned and agreed on how to tell the Marauders about time-travelling Hermione and the reason she was here, before Lily escorted Hermione to the prepared guest suite.
Lily bid the girl she now found to love in an unbelievably small span of time, goodnight and went to the master wing. Lily owled James a quick note telling him to hurry home as soon as he can arrange it for she has a million of important things to say him.
Lily laid awake after finding out earlier in the bathroom that the reason she agreed to talk to Hermione a while back in the bookstore is an actuality. She caressed her still flat stomach and spoke to her son.
"I promise we will stay together, my love. You, me and Daddy, we are going to stay by your side."
She smiled as she rubs her tummy as her mind drifts to the young woman in their guest room, "She is lovely, Harry. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful friend. We will take care of her for you, don't worry."
She felt the pull of sleep, "Goodnight, love." she whispered to her son, snuggled into her pillow and was asleep a minute later.
Lily woke up to soft kisses repeatedly being applied to her lips, she smiled and then started to stretch languidly. With her eyes still closed she hears a near gruff greeting.
"Good morning, Mrs. Potter."
"Hmm, good morning, Husband."
Lily opens her green eyes to a pair of hazel ones she adored so much, she looped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a proper kiss. Her husband elected to deepen the kiss that left her breathless a few moments later.
"I like waking up like this," she revealed in a rush, cheeks flushed, and eyes shining with love.
James Potter chuckled between kisses as he commandeered Lily's lips back, "I thought you would be used to them by now."
Her lips pouted, "You're not here that often anymore."
The accusation tugged at his heart, "I'm sorry, Love." James pulled up on elbows to look her in the eyes; he smiled lazily at the state he put her in, and he leaned down for a quick peck on the lips. "If you want I can ask Albus to include you in our missions next time. Then we can be together all the time. How's that?"
James was startled when Lily abruptly pushed him off her. She snorted in an unladylike fashion and scowled. "I don't want to hear about Albus in our bed!" She said it with so much force that his jaw dropped to his chest.
"Hey!" He complained when Lily sat up and stomped to the bathroom.
He approached the door that she had just slammed shut and took a deep calming breath. Clearly, there is something up, and he wanted to know about it. He rapped at the door and tried talking with a soothing voice.
"Love, is something the matter? When I got your note, I sensed you need to tell me something that couldn't wait. Well, I'm here now."
James jumped back when the door was whipped open. Lily walked passed him and perched on their bed.
James shook his head and approached his wife. Lily reached with her hand, and he took it. He sat down next to her before gathering her into his arms. He held her for a bit until she finally moved and he allowed her to face him.
Lily swallowed her nerves; she looked at her husband in the eye, "I know we had discussed that we wait to have a family."
James cocked his brow up at the statement.
"I'm pregnant, James." Lily blurted in a rush, "I did the charm last night. I just need to confirm it with our healer to make it official."
She waited for his reaction. He was staring at her, completely immobile, not even breathing.
"Love?" Lily was getting worried.
"You're p-pregnant?" James stammered, he took a deep breath and ran his hand through his always unruly hair. "You're pregnant."
Lily nodded, "Yes, I am." She was still watching her husband.
"James, are you alright?"
James stared back and suddenly lets out a bark of a laugh and the jumped up in the next moment.
"We're going to have a baby!" he whooped and hugged Lily and picked her up and swings her around in his arms, "We are going to have a baby!" he was now screaming with delight. He lets Lily back on her feet and pulled her back for a kiss. He pulled back and caressed her face, "I'm going to be a dad," he said tenderly, tears filled his eyes.
Lily nodded amidst her happy tears, knowing that the time was not perfect to start a family what with the war and all but she is just too glad to care.
"We are going to have a son." she declared.
James looked shocked, "Already? You know we're going to have a boy?"
Lily smiled for a moment and then shakes her head, "I'm just two weeks along, but somebody told me that we are going to have a son."
James laughed and pulls her back into a hug, "Who are you and what did you do to my wife?" he looked down at her and grins, "My Lilypad does not believe in divination," he pretends on to scowl, "You are my wife, aren't you?"
Lily smacked his arm as she laughs, "I AM your wife, you prat!"
After getting over her mirth, she gave him a serious look. "I met someone yesterday, and she told me a lot of things."
James kept his arms around Lily as he pulls her towards the bed, "I am sensing this is going to be a long talk."
Lily nods, "Yes it is going to be. I am just asking you to listen first and keep an open mind." she waited for him to nod, when she got it she continued. "I have brought her with me, and she is staying with us in the house." When she saw James open his mouth, the expression on his face a complete alarm, she grabbed his forearms in a vice grip to keep him from saying anything first. "That is why I asked you to listen and keep an open mind," she reminded him. "She is important to our son, and I believe her. If you concede to listen and keep your opinions to yourself until we finish our explanations, I will let you meet her so you will know why I believe her. If you do not," she said with utmost seriousness, "I will protect her from you and everyone else if it's the last thing I do."
James took a deep breath and just stared at Lily his eyes telling her she is asking way too much. He was preparing to argue when she added with a sigh, "Trust me, Love, it's for us. For our family." she leaned close and hugged James tight, "It's for our son."
Lily heard James sigh in surrender after a long minute, she grinned and kissed him passionately. "Thank you."
James smiled and pulls her back into another embrace, "Anything for you."
Hermione woke up momentarily disoriented. She looked around the elegant room with wide eyes, and it took a few moments before she remembered where she was. She allowed herself a few minutes before she decided to get out of bed and went into her ensuite bath to shower. She was already curled up in a chair by the window when a young female house elf softly popped in to inform her that breakfast was now ready and that Tippy, the house elf, would take her to the breakfast room.
Nervously, Hermione fussed with her appearance before following the elf down. She knew there might be a chance that the Lord of the House may be present; Lily had informed her that she would send a note to her husband last night. She walked into a room with floor to ceiling windows and saw Lily with a man seated at a round table.
"Good morning, Hermione!" Lily jumped up to greet her.
Hermione tensely smiled as she noticed the man she knows to be James Potter, owing to the uncanny resemblance to her best friend, carefully regard her as she walked further into the room. "Good morning, Mrs. Potter."
Lily engulfed Hermione into a brief hug and pulled her towards her husband.
James saw the tender exchange between the young stranger and his wife. He took his time to regard the girl carefully. If you ignored the scars on her right cheek, she would have been what people considered more than good-looking until you saw how her eyes brightened up, just like when she greeted Lily, she transformed into a beautiful young woman.
"Hermione, let me introduce you to my husband, James," Lily smiled, "James, meet Hermione Granger."
Hermione glanced at James, swallowed her nerves, "Good morning, Sir." she cringed when her voice came up as a squeak.
James stood up as Lily was greeting Hermione, he slightly bowed and then offered his hand to shake. He was impressed with the firm handshake but noticed that the girl shook slightly.
Hermione's legs quaked as she was led to a chair next to the one Lily just vacated to greet her.
"James, you are making her nervous," Lily admonished her husband as she took her seat.
James chuckled, "I'm sorry Miss Granger, it's nothing against you. It's just my wife managed to keep your presence from me until about an hour ago. I bid you welcome to our home."
"Thank you, Sir." Hermione managed to squeak out yet again.
James smiled warmly, "Call me James, please."
Hermione could not help it she took a deep breath in relief.
Lily giggled, "Relax sweetheart," she patted Hermione's hand on the table, she grinned at her husband, "It took a while for me to get her to relax yesterday."
James, starting to loosen up at his wife's demeanor, laughed, "Let me get it out in the open, Hermione. May I call you Hermione?" he waited for an answer, and when Hermione nodded vigorously, he chuckled, "It would be bad for my reputation if you are friendly to Lily and then incredibly formal with me."
Hermione managed to smile, "I imagine it wouldn't do for a Marauder."
James was momentarily shocked, but caught his bearing in record time, "Ah, you are familiar with the Marauders?"
Hermione's smirks behind the rim of her teacup; she nods, "Of course I am, Prongs."
Lily bursts out laughing as James choked on his tea. She thumped her husband's back as she tried to control her merriment.
James hurriedly cleared his throat, "How did you-" he coughed again, clears his throat, took a much-needed sip of tea and tried again, "How did you know I am Prongs!."
Hermione smiled rather sadly, "I heard it from a few people. Padfoot calls you that most often than Moony, er, Professor Lupin," she looks at the couple, James gaping at her while Lily listened interestedly. "I guess I could say that I was a grateful recipient of a Marauder artifact," she grinned. "The map has saved our hides so many times than I will ever care to admit."
James stops gaping and breathes in, "You have the map? How?"
Hermione shakes her head, "I don't, your son has it. The Weasley twins gave it to him; they already memorized where all the secrets passages in Hogwarts are, but they thought Harry would have a great use of it."
"Harry?" he turned to his wife, "Who's that?"
Lily rubbed her husband's arm; she turned to Hermione, "I haven't told him anything yet. I wanted you to be with us."
Hermione nodded, understanding straight away.
"I thought we could talk as we eat and then, later on, we can continue in the Library," she grinned when Hermione suddenly perked up in her seat. "We can make sure that no one can disturb us."
James just nodded, he was insanely curious, but he had learned a long time ago just to let the women run the show. It goes smoothly than when men muck around with it; that and, even if asked he would deny it, he was afraid of his wife's wrath.
Pleased at how things are going so far, Lily cleared her throat and both occupants around the table turned to her. She clapped her hands in delight, "Alright, the first order of business," she beamed towards Hermione. "I did the spell last night, and it says that I am in fact pregnant!"
Hermione smiles, her eyes brightening up the room, "Oh congratulations to both of you! I knew it of course!"
Lily laughed. "Thank you, sweetheart! I just need to see my healer confirm it, but I am pretty sure she will tell me just so." Lily gushed.
Content, James let the women talk excitedly, his heart filling with warmth as he watched the two talk women stuff. After the excitement had calmed down, they started on breakfast. Patiently he listened as he mechanically ate when Hermione, with Lily's help, started telling him how she came to meet his wife.
Later, as was promised, when they were in the library, and after Lily managed to calm Hermione down from her excited high upon entering the said room (James knowingly smirked when he realised his son was attached to a brilliant witch like his mother, maybe later, if he's just like his old man and prefers and falls in love with a smart and beautiful witch, he will just give his son a tip that worked on him with Lily: offer to buy all the books in the world. Hermione would be unable to resist him). Hermione told James the same information Lily had the privilege to hear the day before, the only difference was, Lily was now ready to defend everything Hermione said. The outcome was still the same; James, who was first initially wary about what Hermione was saying about his former Headmaster until both women presented clear arguments, vowed to protect his family not only from Voldemort's evil but also from Dumbledore's endless manipulations. He also took the responsibility of getting his best friends on board, minus Pettigrew of course.
They had brought Sirius and Remus on board their plans a few days later, Hermione vehemently stopping any more involvements at the five of them. It was hard for Hermione to meet the other two. It helped that they too were overly curious at first like Lily and James, it gave her an upper hand as they wanted to hear everything. It was another day of stories, sharing her memories and explanations used up to get the last two thoroughly informed of the plan, but it was worth it.
Beta: Mad Library Scientist