Yet another oneshot that came to me one night in a bought of melancholy. Wasn't sure if I would post it, but decided to go with it. I always felt Harry and Iris needed a moment to talk about their joint grief. And I get it. When you lose someone you love, like a mother or a sibling, every happy moment from that point on is always tainted with a bit of sadness. So I suppose this was a way for me to get that part of their story out, as well as to deal with my own grief. Quite cathartic actually.
This is set somewhere between 'A Life Worth Living' and 'Surviving Hogwarts.'
Iris took a deep breath as a lone tear streaked down her cheek. While the rest of the world - wizarding and muggle alike - took joy in Halloween, it held a bit of melancholy night for her. Even now that she had four children who were currently running around the house in costume, shrieking in laughter as their father and cousins chased them, she still needed time to herself.
It had been decades since she lost Lily, but that night was still etched so clearly in her memory.
"Daddy!" she heard her youngest, Daisy, scream in laughter. She looked through the window on the back porch in the house, seeing Daisy run through the kitchen in a tiny Puddlemere uniform being chased by her cousin James. "James says he's going to jinx me!" She smiled slightly before turning to look back to the moonlit backyard.
"Now Daisy, you know that James can't do magic yet. He hasn't got a wand," she heard her husband, Oliver, say soothingly.
"Seems our kids are enjoying the holiday," Harry said, stepping out onto the porch with two mugs in hand. Iris smiled at him and accepted the mug he held out. "Tea… with a bit of whisky in it."
"Could use some tonight," she said, truthfully before taking a sip. "The triplets are going to be the death of me. Thank Merlin they start Hogwarts next year."
"I'm glad we have a few more years to go, though I'm sure Ginny is ready for James to go," he said, chuckling softly.
"I can already tell that we're going to have the most troublesome children in the entire school," Iris said. The two stood silently a few moments, staring at the full moon.
"Thinking of them too, are you?" Harry asked, glancing over at his aunt. She nodded.
"I'm usually thinking of them often. But today… it's particularly hard," she said, her brow furrowed. "I spoke with Petunia today, actually." Harry looked at her.
"Is that so?" he asked. She nodded.
"Sent her photos of the children. Said that Dudley's expecting his first," she said. The two had attended his wedding a couple years before, though they opted to leave the children at home with all seven of them already unable to control their accidental magic. Daisy was constantly changing her hair color and Jamie still tended to blurt out everything he heard from people's minds. "They seem to be doing well."
"That's good to hear," Harry said. Another tear snaked down Iris' cheek as she moved to sit down. She sighed heavily.
"Is it wrong of me to somewhat dislike Halloween?" she asked, glancing over at her nephew. He smiled and moved to sit in the chair next to her.
"I understand why you would," he said. "Though, I suppose it's not the same for me since I can't remember it."
"You're allowed to be upset even if you can't remember, Harry. You lost your parents," she said, looking at him. He sighed.
"Yea… but you lost your sister," he said. "And you were there and remember it." Iris nodded, taking another sip.
"Alright, ready? One, two, three…" James Potter said, covering his eyes. Iris giggled as she took off, running through the house, searching for the perfect hiding place, her red curls flying behind her. Her older sister Lily smiled from the sofa in the sitting room where she had baby Harry in her lap.
"No cheating, Iris!" she shouted.
"I don't cheat!" Iris shouted back indignantly. She started for the stairs but stopped, she turned in the hall and looked around her eyes falling on the hall closet.
"30, 31, 32…"
She smiled as she stepped over and opened the door and stepped in. She closed the door behind her and then burrowed in behind the coats and cloaks as she listened to James finish counting.
"Can you believe she'll be at Hogwarts in two years?" Lily asked, glancing over at her husband. He smiled and peeked through his fingers at her.
"How much trouble will she get into, you reckon?" he asked softly. Lily laughed.
"None. She's my sister after all. Probably be top of her class," she replied as Harry giggled in her lap.
"Ah, but she has a touch of mischief to her," he replied, grinning. "Much more than you, I'd say."
"Where she gets it, I'll never know. Petunia was rather rigid and I've always followed the rules… within reason," Lily replied. "Shouldn't you be counting?" James laughed and uncovered his eyes.
"Ready or not, here I come Iris Evans!" he shouted. They both heard a faint giggle from somewhere in the house. James stood to his feet and started towards the kitchen.
"Not in here!" he shouted. He stepped into the hall and bounded up the stairs, looking around the second floor. "Not here either!"
He made his way back downstairs, seeing Lily in the kitchen preparing hot cocoa with Harry on her hip.
"Now where could she be?" he said loudly, stopping in front of the hall closet. He heard a giggle from within and smiled. But before he could take a step towards it, the front door flew open. James turned, the color draining from his face.
"Lily! Take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off!" he shouted.
From within the closet, Iris sat up, feeling the fear running through her tiny body. Part of it was hers from hearing James shout, but the other, she knew it was her sister's. She burrowed herself further into the closet, not knowing who or what was outside the door, hoping to stay the panic.
"Avada Kedavra!" she heard someone shout. There was thud as something large hit the floor. Iris shoved her fist into her mouth, trying not to make a noise as she sat petrified. There were footsteps. They moved in the house and she heard them go towards the stairs. She could feel the fear inside her heighten.
"Must protect Harry and Iris…" she heard in her head. She then heard her sister cast a disillusionment spell from upstairs on the closet where she was hidden. "I know you can hear me… stay there, Iris…Don't come out until I say so..." Iris could taste blood, she was biting her knuckles so hard.
She had heard her sister whisper with her husband about someone called the Dark Lord. She knew they had done some powerful magic to protect them and that a mousy-looking man called Peter was supposed to keep them safe. But something inside her told her that the bad man - whoever he was - had somehow managed to find them. And that something very bad was happening.
Iris gasped, feeling her sister through their connection. She started trembling.
"Please… spare my son," Lily shouted. Iris squeezed her eyes shut as she heard the shouting continue. Suddenly, the fear retreated and she felt a wave of resolve. She opened her eyes. Even though she couldn't quite comprehend what was going on, she knew in that moment that she'd never see her sister alive again. Tears streamed down her face as she heard the killing curse shouted. Suddenly, she felt such pain as she had never felt before. She bit into her knuckles again, trying to hold off the scream that wanted to break free from her mouth. She didn't want the bad man to find and kill her too.
Just as soon as it started, it was over and Iris felt as though something had snapped. Whereas she would always feel a small string connecting her to her older sister, she now felt an emptiness. Nothing. She heard another shout and a loud crash and explosion. Quickly, she threw her hands over her head as the house shook.
Then there was nothing. Just… silence. Iris looked up, not seeing anything in the darkness of the closet. She crept towards the door, listening. After a few moments, she stood and pushed the door open. It hit something that stopped it from opening completely. Iris looked through the opening and then pushed her way out.
Lying on the floor was James, his eyes lifeless and unseeing. She dropped down to his side, shaking him.
"James," she whispered. "Wake up. You need to wake up." She looked towards the stairs, waiting for someone to come charging down them at any moment. "Please, James. Please wake up." Iris hiccuped slightly. "You have to wake up James. We need you." A noise from upstairs got her attention. Iris jumped to her feet and did the first thing that came into her head. She ran out the still open front door.
She didn't know where she was going, just that she needed to get far away from the bad man. Tears streamed down her face and mixed with the snot running from her nose.
In a matter of minutes, her entire family was gone. Lily, James, Harry.
Iris ran down an alley and looked around, seeing some rubbish bins. She quickly hid behind them, pulling her knees up to her chest as she tried to quiet her sobbing. Rocking back and forth, she thought about everything that had just happened. She closed her eyes.
"Need find somewhere safe. Somewhere safe," she whimpered over and over as she heard the small town start to come to life with people realizing that something had happened. "Need to get far from here…"
Suddenly a loud shout jarred her eyes open. Iris looked around, noticing the alley had changed. She stood, looking around her. She didn't know where she was and it certainly didn't look anything like the alley in Godric's Hollow. She slowly walked to the end of it, eyes wide as she saw a busy street with wizards and witches rushing around.
Tears began pouring down Iris' cheeks. She was alone and utterly lost.
Iris sighed and wiped at the tears on her cheeks. It was a lifetime ago, but she could still recall everything at a moment's notice. That day lived in her memory in vivid color.
"I had no idea, Iris," Harry said softly from next to her. She looked over at him, unaware that she had projected her memory to him.
"I'm so sorry, Harry. I didn't mean to," she said. He smiled slightly.
"I know our connection makes it hard sometimes… But… In a way… I finally see a bit of what happened… and not just hear about it," he said. Iris nodded and looked out to the backyard again. "Did it… did it hurt like that when I…"
Iris whipped her head over to her nephew.
"No," she said immediately. "I'm not sure why, but there was no pain with you." He nodded.
"I miss them. All the time. Even though I never really knew them," he said.
"They were… my protectors," Iris said, not able to look at him. "I have so many happy memories of them even though they were only in my life a short time."
"But I assume that's why you and George became so close," Harry said softly.
"In a way. Lily and I weren't close the way George and Fred were… but… I could understand," she said. "Sometimes… I still feel so… angry." Harry looked at her.
"Myself as well," he admitted. Iris looked at him. "It just... When I look at James and Albus and Lily… they should be here. When Ginny and I got married… I was so happy, but at the same time… it was bittersweet." Iris nodded, thinking back to their wedding day. She and Oliver had stepped in to fulfill the roles of mother and father of the groom. But it wasn't the same.
"I know," she said softly. "It's not fair. They should be here for all of this. To share our happiness." Harry nodded. "Every time I look at Daisy… I just…" A muffled sob escaped her.
"She does look so much like you and Mum," Harry said. Iris nodded.
"She's got our spirit as well," she said. "And… she's so incredibly friendly. And wants to give everyone a chance. If that's not Lily, I don't know what is." Harry chuckled slightly. At that moment they heard a shriek of laughter.
"Mummy!" Daisy yelled as she flung the door open and came careening out. She leapt over Harry's legs and ran to her mother's arms. "Remus, Alan and Jamie tried to jinx me!" Iris chuckled as she lifted Daisy's face up.
"I highly doubt that. They don't have wands, darling," she said.
"They tried to sneak me one of Uncle George's trick potions!" she shouted. "Can't I stay out here with you and Harry?" Iris smiled and pulled her youngest into her lap.
"Of course you can," she said, kissing the top of her head. Harry smiled over at them. His smile wanned a bit.
"I suppose we should go tomorrow," he said. Iris nodded as she looked down at her daughter.
It was just the four of them. Ginny, Harry, Iris and Oliver. They left the children with Gran Weasley at the Burrow and came to Godric's Hollow. They avoided going on the 31st, knowing they would have more privacy. As they stepped up to the house, it transformed from a normal house to the ruin that it actually was. In front of the house, an oblisick also transformed into a statue of four people. Harry had insisted they add Iris to it.
Iris stopped and stared at it, reliving that night from so many years ago. Tears silently fell down her cheeks. She looked over at Harry as he reached out and took her hand. The two of them stepped up, taking a moment to themselves.
"You know they are watching over us," Harry said softly. Iris nodded, unable to speak with the tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I just wish they were here," she whispered. They stood there a few moments, lost in their thoughts. Iris looked up at the house. It wasn't the first time she had been there. A few months after she and Oliver had moved back to London, they made a trip. But it was never easy. Not with the memories it held - the good and the bad.
"We would spend the evenings in the front sitting room," Iris found herself saying. Harry looked over at her. "Remus and Sirius would often come by and play with you and me. Remus always brought sweets. Peter Pettigrew came as well… but he tended to sit to the side. Not really interacting with us."
Harry squeezed her hand.
"Lily would… cook amazing dinners for us every night. Though at first, she wasn't so good at it," Iris said, laughing softly. Harry chuckled. "She loved you, so very much." She looked at her nephew. "She would sing to you every night to get you to calm down and sleep. And she would read me stories. I would then read them to you." She looked back up at the house. "I would cuddle up with you in your room, a big book with colorful pictures that moved. You would squeal and giggle and try to touch them." She shuttered as a sob broke out. Harry pulled her to him.
"It's alright, Iris…," he said, letting his own tears fall down his face.
"It never gets easier," she whispered. "All these years and I thought maybe it would get easier."
"I know… you just… learn to manage, I suppose," Harry said. Iris looked at the house again.
"It's not fair… they deserved to live and be happy," she whispered.
"I think… they must look at us… our families… that must make them happy," Harry replied. Iris stepped back and looked at him.
"Does that help you? Thinking that?" she asked. He smiled slightly and nodded.
"It does… a bit." Iris looked back at the house and nodded.
"I think that too sometimes," she said. She looked back at Oliver and Ginny. "Thank Merlin we found them." Harry followed her gaze.
"And each other," he said. She looked at him and smiled.
"And each other," she murmured. "Come on." She led Harry back to their spouses. Oliver held his arms out as Iris fell into them.
"Let's go home."