Summary: Two and a half years
ago, James Potter's life ended when his wife was captured and declared dead.
After intense mourning, his friends forced him to move past it, and resumed
living without Lily. But an anonymous tip that brings Lily home sends his life
into a tailspin once again.
Disclaimer: I own Penelope but
that's pretty much it. I'll let you know on the rest. So, until further notice,
JK Rowling owns pretty much everything in this fanfic
except the plot, which isn't entirely mine either(see
dedication). Please don't press charges, I have to pay $400 bi-annually for
car-insurance, I can't afford anything big.
Dedication: The idea for this fanfic is from the case of Lt. Commander Michael Scott Speicher, a United States naval pilot, who has been missing since January 16, 1991. His status has been changed from Killed in Action to Missing in Action. This by no means is a representation of his life, only of a presumed dead soldier. This is for all the soldiers who haven't made it home yet.
Author's Note: I've rewritten chapters one through four, just to change the tone a little bit.
Part One-The Break of Dawn
I have felt darkness lead me by the hand over the hill to greet the singing dawn.
When James Potter heard the pounding at his door at three in the morning, he expected many things. The wizard wouldn't have been surprised if one of his friends wanted a late night visit, his wife had a medical call, or even if Lord Voldemort, the most evil wizard in the century at his door. However, nothing had prepared him for the visitor with the message, one he had dreamed of during a long year, then began to dread.
His wife usually answered the late night visits, since as a mediwitch she often got calls at all times of the day and night. When she returned upstairs, she wasn't rushing, but she looked distinctly ill. Penelope quietly shook him into consciousness and whispered in his ear, "Someone to see you."
"Who?" James asked groggily, wanting only to return to his pleasant dreams of a red-haired woman swinging in a park, but reached for his glasses.
"The head of the Department of Mysteries."
His eyes flew open, and he bolted out of bed, ignoring the fact he was only half clothed. James skipped the stairs three at a time, then remembered what exactly could happen when he met his visitor. This one visit would change his life; because either way, the news would damn him, and he didn't know what he wanted the verdict to be.
"Mister Potter," a tall, dapper man announced gravely, but of course, this was unnecessary. Harold Croaker had been working on Lily's case from the very hour they lost track of her. James's father had hired him to search, being the best of the best. "I am Harold Croaker, head of the Department of Mysteries. I have been working on the case of Lieutenant Colonel Lily Potter, your…wife." Croaker had faltered at the word wife. "We have discovered…Lieutenant Colonel Potter's location." This was an uncomfortable situation indeed, having two Mrs. Potters
James started shaking uncontrollably, and he sat down before he fell down.
"We are about ninety percent certain she is still alive, and we are planning a search and rescue operation. We at the Department are looking forward to bringing our most treasured of Hit Witches home again."
James had broken out in an all-over sweat, and his ears were ringing, and his vision was blurred, either by tears or sheer stress and panic, he didn't know.
"Had it been my choice, I wouldn't have notified you, but it is Department regulations." Croakers looked down his nose at James, letting him know exactly what was thought of him by the Department in particular.
"W-When?" James asked, forcing himself to look up.
"The operation is going on as we speak."
"How long will it take?"
"A few hours if things go well. A few days if it doesn't. You are allowed to join us at St. Mungo's to await her, if it is your wish."
"Very well then."
"No, I mean don't take her to St. Mungo's. Lord Hubert's is far superior."
Croaker held the faintest of smiles on his face. "I agree with your decision. I shall make the arrangements. Will you be joining us?"
"I-I don't know yet. Can I think on it and meet you there?"
"Give your name." Again he turned cold and disapproving, and glanced briefly and Penelope. "Good evening…Mrs. Potter."
"He was one of Lily's friends, wasn't he?" Penelope asked after the friend in question left. She had come up to James with two cups of coffee, one of which she handed off to him. Penelope put a hand on his shoulder, and leaned near him.
"I'm sorry." James said quietly, "I didn't know."
"Of course you didn't. And of course, you have to visit her. It would look poorly if you didn't.
"I know…I need…I need to get ready." He slowly pulled himself from the couch and dragged down the hallways of their one-floor house to the bathroom, where he tried to let the stingingly hot water help him forget everything. He just wanted to forget, that was all, it wasn't like he wanted a million galleons, or a new broom, or anything material. He just wanted to have Alzheimer's Disease at age twenty four. James needed to forget. He needed to forget his life with Lily. He had Penelope now. Or did he? There had to be legal ramifications for the return of a supposedly dead wife. "Oh my bloody hell! I'm a bigamist!" James hit his head against the side of the shower, wondering if he could purposely bring on a case of amnesia. After Penelope askedthrough the door if he was okay, he resorted to putting shampoo in his eyes. "I am great. I wait and wait and wait for those duffers at the Ministry to find my missing wife, they tell me she's dead, I remarry, and now she's suddenly alive!" James threw a bar of soap at the bathroom wall, enraged at life in particular, and nearly fell as he stepped out of the shower.
"James, dear, are you, uh, trying to kill yourself?" Penelope called from the door, which began to open before James launched himself at it in order to keep it closed.
"Fine, fine, just cut myself."
"Maybe I should look at it."
"No, no, no, I can handle it, don't worry about me. I would like to be alone for a few minutes if you don't mind."
"I'll make a pot of coffee."
"That would be just hunky dory." James told her, and started beating his razor against the sink, because of course, this was all his razor's fault. He kept muttering to himself as he shaved, which apparently Penelope could hear.
"You're going to cut yourself."
"Maybe I'll slit my throat." He murmured, then said louder, "Penny, dear, don't worry, I was just commenting that I need a hair cut."
"Just admit that you're rattled, and get to the casualty." Penny walked in and started buttoning his shirt to speed him up. "You're obviously very concerned, so just get it over with, you silly goose."
"Please don't call me a silly goose, I hate that."
"Are you going with me?"
"I'm not deciding. You decide."
"Then you'll go alone."
"No. I don't want to go alone."
"Then I'll go with you."
"Just get dressed."
James, in time, managed to get dressed in matching clothes, his nerves affecting his color vision. So, by the time he actually got ready to leave, the fifteen minute process had taken up an hour, and he felt distinctly ill.