Disclaimer : I do not own Harry Potter. JK Rowling does.
October 31, 1981
It had been a week since Lily and James made Peter their secret keeper. So far everything had seemed alright but they had had a strong feeling of foreboding all day. Harry also was unusually fussy, like he sensed something was about to happen. He would absolutely refuse to play with his rat plush, only cuddling the stag, wolf and dog. James and Lily found it rather odd because so far their baby had always been happy to play with any of the plushes in front of him.
The young parents had manage to distract Harry from his fussiness but it came back full force in the evening. When Lily tried to put him in his crib he started crying. It was not a cry indicating that he needed anything. For some reason he seemed terrified. She picked her son up and went in the living room. She rocked Harry for a while and he eventually stopped crying, but still look as terrified. She had not time to wonder about it as the front door was burst open.
« Lily, take Harry and go ! It's him ! Go! Run ! I'll hold him off ! » James screamed.
They now understood where their feeling of foreboding had come from. As he watched Lily go towards Harry's nursery, where a portkey to Hogsmeade was hidden, James reached for his wand but did not reach in time as Voldemort cast the killing spell. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. As he fell backwards he saw Voldemort heading to where his wife and his baby were. As everything went dark he could still hear Lily begging for Voldemort to spare Harry.
Then he heard no more and felt his body getting cold and numb. He thought the killing curse would have killed him instantly. He was no longer in complete darkness now. He could see small fragments of light. As he touched one, he saw himself reading his Hogwarts letter. Another one showed him talking talking to his soon-to-be best friends. He could see the pranks he played throughout the years. Numbly, he reached for other fragments. He knew he should be worried about Lily and Harry but he could not stop himself from reaching for those memories. He saw the day Sirius had run away from his crazy family. James also watched the memory of himself asking Lily out – the time she had accepted. It then switched to his wedding and finally to Harry's birth.
As the memories ended he was left to face the harsh reality he should have accepted the moment he heard Voldemort cast the killing spell : He was dead. He could not see or hear anything therefore had no idea what happened after he was killed. The idealistic part of him told him that his wife and son had succesfully used the portkey and were safe. The realistic part of him told him they had died. He did not have much time to wallow on this as he felt some of his senses comming back. Wich made absolutely no sense since he had died. In fact he could feel all his senses excepted for the touch. He was brought back to reality as he heard footsteps. Then he heard his son crying.
James could not believe his ears. Harry was alive. He moved towards the nursery where he had a second shock. Lily was standing next to Harry, trying to hush him, but to no avail. It was like he could see or hear his mother. He took a look at the room and saw the wall was blasted. Then his eyes landed on the floor. He was looking at Lily's body, yet he could also see talking to their son. The 1 year old seemed unarmed, except for a nasty lightningbolt-shaped gash on his forehead.
« Lily-How-You- » James stammered, frankly lost.
As she heard her husband's voice, Lily whirled around.
« James ! You're- » Lily started but interrupted herself, unsure of what to say.
As he moved his eyes to the body on the floor to his seemingly alive wife, it hit him.
« Lily, » he started « I think- »
But he didn't finish as the owner of the footsteps appeared through the doorframe.
James was utterly confused. Why was Peter here ? He was supposed to be in hiding but Voldemort had apparently found him. It was then that James realized the dark wizard was not in the room, only his wand was. As he observed Peter he noticed the plump man had not a single injury on him but seemed extremly nervous. As the man bent down and picked up the wand on the floor before disapparating, both James and Lily felt the cold reality sink in them. Peter had willingly betrayed them to a man who wanted to kill their son.
Peter had been the spy, not Remus. And now every action of Peter until now made sense. The wizard had missed quite a few meetings of the Order of the Phoenix. Peter had always been an airhead so none of his friends thought anything was going on. He had been the one instilling doubt about Remuus' loyalty, leading to James himself and Sirius distancing themselves from the werewolf. Now, James also realized he had not seen Peter without a long sleeved jumper in over a year. Of course now James knew why.
Another set of footsteps snapped him out of his toughts. The person who arrived was rather unexpected. Neither James nor Lily had told him their location, though as he was a Death Eater, Snape was bound to know it. The man was livid and the sight of Lily's body robbed him of any strenght he the greasy haired man walk through him, James shivered, not liking the sensation it sent to his body. Then Snape did something neither parents saw coming.
The man knelt on the floor, cradled Lily's body and cried, completely oblivious to the chaos surrounding him. James could not describe what he was feeling. Although he hated Snape – and knew the feeling was mutual, he did feel the man's sorrow. He glanced at Lily and saw she seemed saddened to his her former best-friend like this. Snape stayed like this for a while, but James did not know how long as he had left the room, feeling very unconfortable. And now he was staring at his own body. Snape eventually left and Lily came down, having realized they could reach Harry in any way.
« We became ghosts but they can't see us » James said « Why are we different from the ghosts in Hogwarts ? »
« I don't know... » Lily replied softly, still a bit shaken by the state her former best friend was in, « The last thing I remember thinking was that I wanted Harry to live but at the same time regretting not being able to see him grow up if he did survive... »
« I felt the same when I watched my memories. » James whispered just as softly.
They were heading back towards the nursery when they heard a motor. This time they knew who was coming.
They both watched as Sirius came into the living room. He was white faced and trembling. At the sight of his best friend – his brother, laying dead on the floor, he slumped down and rambled mostly incoherently. James understood that he was mostly apologizing, trying to convince himself this was not true, cursing Peter and himself. Suddenly he seemed to hear Harry and headed towards the nursery where he saw Lily's body, if he had any kind of strenght after seeing James' body, it had vanished. He seemed about despair again when Harry saw him and started crying out for him.
He shakily picked up his godson and rocked him gently. James smiled sadly as Harry started to calm down. Long after Harry had stopped crying, Sirius was still rocking him, and James could tell his friend had a very hard time processing what happened that evening. Slowly he seemed to steady himself and was about to apparate when another unexpected visitor arrived.
« Yeh have teh give me 'Arry. Dumbledore's orders » Hagrid stated.
Sirius, James and Lily all looked at Hagrid confused, though of course the half giant could only see one of them.
« Why does he want to take him ? » Sirius asked hoarsely.
« Sorry, not allowed to tell. »
« So you just expect me to hand over my Godson without knowing what's going to happen to him ? »
« I'd rather not take 'im by force but I will if I have teh. »
Sirius did not seem to find it within him to either give Harry to the man nor to argue and keep the baby with him. He seemed completely broken from the events of the night. Suddenly something flashed in his eyes and after giving Harry a long, tight hug, he gave him reluctantly to Hagrid. James had a terrible feeling. Both about why Sirius had given Harry to the half giant and what Dumbledore had planned for his son. He sincerely hoped he was wrong but one glance at Lily confirmed she seemed to share the same fears, at least about their son.
« I'll be taking him back soon. I just have to solve a little problem before » Sirius said, in a voice that James did not like in the least.
Hagrid said nothing, only nodded.
« You can use my motorbike to get Harry to Dumbledore. » Sirius told the older man.
Hagrid nodded and they both headed out of the house, Sirius closing his eyes as passed through the living room.
« James... » Lily said « I have a terrible feeling I know what Dumbledore has planned for Harry... »
« Same here. » James said shakily « I'm also afraid of what he'll do »
Lily knew who her husband was talking about. She was also worried about what Sirius was up to. She knew he would not have given Harry to Hagrid without a reason.
As both men parted ways, Lily decided to follow Hagrid and James to go after his best friend.
« Let's meet back here when we know what both sides are up to. » Lily said seriously.
« Alright, let's just hope neither of our fears are founded. » James said wryly.
AN : To be honest, I did not come across many fics with James and Lily as Ghosts and thought it was a pity. I did not represent them as hysterical because they knew and remember they died. I don't really know how far I'll go with this fic, but I'd say at least until Harry's 6th year. Please review, to let me know if you liked the this chapter, or how it can be improved.