Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and settings belong to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: This story is AU and will not completely follow canon. I will be changing or ignoring events in canon to fit the plot. Also a warning for OOC.
To Love and Protect
It was late October and quite cold, even for the season. In Godric's Hollow a two story cottage had a warm fire burning in the sitting room where a man and woman sat, each quietly lost in their own readings. In the corner of the room, there was a playpen where a toddler sat playing and babbling to his stuffed animals, completely content.
Lily Potter looked up from the thick book she had been studying for the past several days and set aside all the notes she had made. She was surrounded by charms books and old texts that she had located several weeks ago. "James, I think I found a way," She said softly. She had been looking for a charm to ensure her family's protection for weeks and she believed she had finally figured out a way to do just that. Unfortunately it would not work on all of them.
James Potter looked at his wife and went to stand beside her. She looked exhausted. She had dark circles under her usually bright green almond shaped eyes. Her skin was pale and her long dark red hair was pulled messily into a ponytail. She had been doing her research nonstop for over a month. "Lily, I don't know why you are putting yourself through this. We are completely safe now." James insisted for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
Lily sighed. This was a familiar argument between them. He believed they were safe under the Fidelius Charm and she wanted extra insurance that they were. "Voldemort won't stop looking for Harry. He will not stop until he finds us and kills him." She said firmly. "If that does happen, I want to be sure that Harry will survive it."
James ran his hand through his messy hair. "If Voldemort does somehow find us, which I do not believe will happen; there would be no way to survive the killing curse." He said slowly, wondering if she had forgotten that fact.
"Why do you think I've been researching these old books?" Lily snapped. She shook her head and rubbed her eyes tiredly. "I'm sorry; I'm just really stressed and tired." It didn't help that her husband obviously thought she was ridiculous for doing the research.
James sat down and put his arm around her. "I know you are. I also know this is scary. But we are safe. Only one person knows our location and Voldemort would never think that we would make Peter our secret keeper. It's the perfect plan." He said confidently. He thought his best friend Sirius Black was brilliant for thinking of it. Voldemort would go after Sirius who was already prepared to lead the evil wizard on a wild goose chase, thus ensuring that Albus and the Order would have more time to find and destroy the objects that would weaken Voldemort.
"I agree it is a good plan but Voldemort is a very powerful wizard and I think a back-up plan is in order." Lily said stubbornly. She would not take chances with her son's life. She looked over to the playpen where Harry was now happily playing with blocks. As soon as she and James had heard that Voldemort had targeted Harry, she had started devouring all the old books on protection charms that she could find. What she had finally discovered was quite ancient and apparently not something many people knew of unless they researched deep into this type of magic. She was determined to not only make it work but to make it even stronger.
James shrugged and leaned back against the sofa cushion. His eyes glanced at the extensive notes that were littered all around her. Whatever she had been researching, it was obviously quite in depth. "So you said you found something?"
Lily nodded. "It is an ancient magic. Sacrificial magic. It calls on love and sacrifice for the ultimate protection against the one doing the cursing. I plan to enhance it with a spell and potion to make it even stronger and to be sure that it will protect Harry from Voldemort. In doing so, it will also protect the one who casts it although in a slightly different way." Lily hesitated for a moment. She knew how crazy this all sounded. "That person will have to enchant an object with a special potion, something that they will be wearing. A necklace or bracelet would be best and I think I know just the right object. The spell will protect Harry from any curse Voldemort casts and the caster would be consumed into the enchanted object. Any curse, which will likely be the killing curse, will rebound on Voldemort and hopefully be strong enough to either destroy him or greatly weaken him so that he can finally be killed." She held back a sigh at the look on her husband's face. He must think I am completely mental, she thought tiredly.
James stared. "Wait, what?" He asked with wide eyes. "Cursed into an object?"
"No, not cursed. Protected." Lily corrected him. "There will be a spell and potion to release the caster out of it. Whoever is with Harry after the attack will be able to make the potion and help him say the right words that will do just that. Harry has to be the one to say them in order for it to work as he will be bonded to the magic and the caster." Harry should be able to repeat the words as long as someone helped him, even if he wouldn't know what they meant it would still work.
James shook his head in disbelief. "This sounds too dangerous and complicated. Why does the caster have to be transported into a charmed object?"
Lily glanced down at her notes. "It's the only way to make it work." She looked back at James and tried to explain. "The bulk of the magic will be used to shield Harry and it will be connected to the object. For a time, the caster and the object will become one which is why the caster would be consumed into it. It will be extremely powerful. After the curse is cast and Harry is safe, the object will automatically find safety in our vault at Gringotts where it will stay until Harry is safely residing with his guardian. I will also have to bind a letter to the object explaining what we did and what to do next. I mean, Sirius will be his guardian if the other person doesn't…" She paused and a look of grief flashed across her face. "The only thing is…"
"What?" James prompted.
Lily's eyes filled with tears. "I can't find a way to make it work for all of us! It would protect Harry and whoever is with him and says the spell. It wouldn't protect both of us." She said in frustration. "Even if we both incanted at the same time it would only take one of us and I don't know which one. The object will only connect to one person's magic and then connect to Harry, shielding him."
James was quiet for a moment. He didn't really understand how this could work and honestly, he didn't think it would. But he didn't want to fight about it. "Then it will protect you and Harry." He said easily.
Lily shook her head. "What about you?" She whispered, her eyes filling with tears. "If Voldemort finds us, chances are you won't survive it."
James took her hands in his. "Lily, I want you and Harry safe. If that mean invoking the spell, even if I do not survive it, then so be it."
The tears spilled over. "No, I have to find a way for it to protect all of us. Harry needs his father."
"He also needs his mother. And Harry needs to survive and live a long happy life, as do you. If you believe this magic will ensure that then be ready to cast it in case Voldemort does find us." He met her emerald eyes with his hazel ones. "If I do get killed, promise me that you will be happy. That both of you will enjoy life to the fullest. I would want you to find someone who will love you and Harry as much as I do." He said earnestly.
"James, I can't even think that way." Lily said looking away from his gaze. She didn't want to think about anything happening to her mischievous, fun loving husband. They had started dating in their seventh year of school, much to her surprise. She had not even liked him for most of their school years. She remembered how surprised she had been to learn that James had been made Head Boy. Then one day he had found her in the library and it was the first time she realized he had done some actual growing up.
Lily was sitting in the library, studying her charms text when someone sat across from her. She looked up briefly, rolled her eyes, and returned to reading.
"Yes, my day is going well, thank you for asking," James said as he took out his transfiguration book. "And how is your day going?"
"It was going just fine," Lily remarked.
"Ouch," James winced. "You really don't like me do you?"
Lily glanced up and looked at James thoughtfully. He had mellowed a lot since fifth year, when he had been at his worst. They had been partners in some of their classes their sixth year and had worked quite well together. From what she could see, James wasn't the bully he once was. He was playful and fun loving, smart when he wanted to be, and had a confidence about him that she actually admired. Before it had been arrogance but now it appeared James Potter was maturing. "I like you," She said finally.
James hazel eyes brightened. "Yeah?"
"I like you now," Lily said. "You've changed…for the better I might add." She smiled.
James smiled back. "Well, I'm trying," He admitted. Sirius had moved in with his family and after seeing the pain his friend was going through it had changed how James viewed certain things. He still enjoyed a good prank but not to the point of embarrassing someone, other than a certain Slytherin occasionally but he wasn't about to tell Lily that. "You still seem sad." He noted.
"What do you mean?" Lily asked.
"I noticed last year too, your eyes don't sparkle like they used to." James said softly. He hesitated. "I know you aren't friends with-"
"We've gone our separate ways," Lily interrupted, not wanting to hear his name. It was painful enough when she saw him during classes or in the hallways. Fifth year he had looked sad and resigned and last year he appeared even more closed off than usual. It was like he had completely buried his emotions. Not that it is my business anymore, she thought sadly. She missed him…a lot. All she wanted was for him to tell her he wasn't going to join You-Know-Who.
"I can't say I understand why," James said carefully. "But you're obviously unhappy that you two aren't friends anymore. I just want you to know if you need someone to talk to, I'll listen. And I'll try not to say anything bad about him." He added hastily.
"Hmm, maybe you do deserve that Head Boy badge after all," Lily teased him.
"Yeah, it shocked me too. Sirius is sure it must be a mistake," James laughed. His gaze landed on her charms book. "I wish I was a natural like you are, I still struggle some in that class."
"It's my favorite subject, along with potions…" Lily trailed off. She cleared her throat and nodded at the book James was holding. "Transfiguration isn't the easiest for me, to be honest."
James drummed his fingers on the table. "Here's a deal, I'll help you with Transfiguration if you help me with Charms."
Lily tilted her head as she studied his hopeful expression. "All right," She said finally.
James gave her a brilliant smile. "So what are you having trouble with most in Transfiguration?"
Lily smiled at the memory. They had tutored each other and quickly became friends. Halfway through the year he had asked her to be his date on a trip to Hogsmeade and she had agreed.
Before James she had cared for someone else but he had chosen another path, a darker path that she would not be a part of. When he had called her a horrible name in anger she had been very hurt and upset but knew it was out of humiliation and had believed that he had not meant it. However, finding out what path he had chosen to follow had confirmed that he must have meant it and believed exactly what he had called her. She had been devastated at losing someone she had not only been best friends with for so long but had started to feel more than friendship for. In moments when she was truly honest with herself, she knew she had been in love with him. However, she had not even gotten the chance to tell him of her new feelings before their friendship fell apart. In time, James had helped heal her heart and she had seen there was more to him than being the spoiled arrogant bully he used to be. Although a part of her heart had closed off, James had managed to find a place for himself there as well. They were happy and content, especially with their precious son.
"No, I mean it Lily. I want you to promise me that you will be happy and open to finding love." James insisted. As an Auror he knew there was a possibility of him being killed and now with Voldemort after them the possibility was stronger, although they had never really talked about it. He hated the thought of her being sad and a widow for the rest of her life. They both were still so young, only twenty-one. He had been meaning to tell Lily this for awhile and figured he might as well do it now. He knew she would want the same for him if their roles were reversed. He said as much to her.
"Of course I would." Lily said automatically. She looked at James with a serious expression. "If the worst happens and that monster finds us, promise me you will get away. Harry and I will be protected so all you will need to do is find safety."
James gaped at her and then he rolled his eyes. "You really are tired. What do you think I'm going to do? Invite Voldemort in and then run out the door?"
"Yes," Lily nodded and her eyes were serious. If Voldemort found them there wouldn't be anything James could do except get himself killed. If he got himself to safety, as Harry was the one who was Voldemort's main target, then he could help Harry invoke the spell to help her return and they would all be reunited. She narrowed her eyes as James shook his head.
"Gryffindors don't run like cowards," James scoffed playfully yet he meant it. He had never run from a fight in his life and wasn't about to start now, especially when the threat was against his wife and son. Besides, although he was serious about wanting Lily to move on and be happy if he didn't survive, he still thought she was worrying for nothing. He wondered if being stuck in the house was making her have cabin fever as it was to him. If only Dumbledore didn't have my invisibility cloak, he thought ruefully.
"Some self-preservation would not be amiss," Lily glared at him. She could tell he wasn't taking her concerns as seriously as he should. She also knew he would have to fight that pride of his in order to get himself to safety in the face of danger. "There would be nothing you could do anyway. Harry and I would be protected so all you would need to worry about is getting yourself out of the house." She said, hoping to convince him. Harry began to fuss just then so Lily stood up and went to get her son. "Hush little one." She crooned softly as she held him. Harry immediately stopped fussing and relaxed in his mother's arms.
James watched them with a smile. Harry looked a lot like him yet had Lily's beautiful eyes. He thought about what Lily had said and knew he could not just run. He was an Auror, fighting evil wizards was what he did. He could never just run away from a fight. Besides, what if the ancient magic Lily was relying on didn't work? It actually sounded pretty unbelievable to him; he had never heard of anything like it before. He couldn't tell her that though as it would hurt her feelings, especially after all the research she had done into it. If it would give her peace of mind to think he would find safety during an attack then that was all that mattered.
"Well?" Lily sat back down next to him, Harry on her lap with his soft blue blanket she had made him. She looked at him, her emerald eyes apprehensive.
James ran his hand through his son's hair as Harry's eyes began to close sleepily. "All right," He said finally. He knew he had made the right decision to lie to her when Lily visibly relaxed.
"Thank you James," Lily smiled at him as she patted Harry gently on the back.
"What object do you plan to use?" James asked curiously, hoping to distract her so she wouldn't catch on to his deception.
Lily smiled a little. "The necklace my parents gave me when we graduated Hogwarts. Remember? It is of a doe. I had written to them and told them that I finally had mastered the Patronus Charm so they thought it would be a fitting graduation present." She looked down at Harry. "It is time for bed little one," She said softly as Harry gave a big yawn.
James sat back as Lily went to put their son to bed and sighed. Lily was a powerful witch, there was no denying that. But this ancient magic didn't sound like something that could work. He was an Auror and knew of all sorts of spells and had never heard of anything like it before. Besides, he doubted the need for any other plan than the one they were already doing. Voldemort couldn't find them here. They were completely safe and Albus and the Order of Phoenix were getting closer to destroying Voldemort every day. Lily was simply overreacting. They were well protected here, he was sure of it.
A Week Later
Lily held her son close as she stood in his nursery. She knew without a doubt that James was dead. She had heard him shout for her as Voldemort blasted his way into the house and instead of finding safety as he had promised her, James had tried to fight and Lily could only listen in horror as the killing curse was cast followed by high pitched laughter. A wave of grief went through her but she had to put it in the back of her mind. Voldemort was coming to find them now and due to the Fidelius Charm she couldn't apparate. Their secret keeper must have betrayed them. Lily took a deep breath and looked down at her son, their identical eyes connecting. She was prepared for this, had known that no matter what precautions they took Voldemort wouldn't give up on finding a way to Harry. "We won't be separated for long if this goes the way I hope. You will be protected," She whispered to her son. "I love you, little one."
Harry blinked and put his tiny arms around her neck. "Mummy." Hearing Voldemort right outside the door, Lily kissed the top of Harry's head, tears falling.
The door burst open and the monster known as Voldemort entered, his red eyes glowing in triumph. "You and your husband should have joined me when I gave you the chance," He said in a smug voice. He gave her a considering look. "You still can, you know. All you have to do is prove your loyalty to me by stepping away from the whelp." He offered in a mock generous voice.
Lily's eyes flashed. "Never!" She hissed and then began chanting. "Amare et custodiat semper," She repeated it over and over under her breath, channeling all her magic even as Voldemort laughed in a high cackling laugh and called her a fool. She met his red eyes defiantly and held Harry even tighter all the while still chanting as the necklace she was wearing started to heat up and glow. While chanting, she concentrated on how much she loved her son. How she had felt when she first held him in her arms, how her heart swelled with pride when he said Mummy for the first time, rocking him before bed, feeding him, playing with him. Her heart was filled with love for her child. As she heard Voldemort start to cast the killing curse she moved to put Harry down in his crib and then there was a flash of green light from the curse and she fell to the ground. Thinking she was dead, Voldemort stepped over her and cast the same curse on Harry and before Lily felt herself slip away, the glow of the necklace becoming even brighter and swallowing her up, she heard the monster's cry of rage as the curse rebounded.
The power behind the killing curse and the even stronger power behind the protection spell caused instant destruction, the house exploding. All that remained was piles of rubble and bits of furniture, everything else had been desecrated. All except for a crib with a baby who lay crying, a lightning bolt cut on his forehead. As soon as the curse had rebounded, a shield from the necklace had risen up and protected Harry Potter. The necklace that had been on the floor after the creature had cast the curse was now residing in the Potter's vault along with a letter, waiting to be discovered.
TBC: Sooo….what do you think? *fingers crossed for good thoughts!* =)