A Mother's Spell
A Harry Potter fan fiction by Zsenya
Disclaimer: JK Rowling created all of the characters. I'm just speculating. This is also partly based on Arabella's Sine Qua Non and my own A Sirius Visit.
PART I: Lily
Lily Potter placed her baby son on the blanket she had spread out on the floor of the bedroom and then, tugging at her robes slightly, sat on the floor beside him, legs tucked in. Harry rolled over onto his stomach and attempted to crawl away, but Lily grabbed one chubby leg and pulled him towards her, rolling him onto his back again. She tickled his belly and his knees and he laughed delightedly, opening his green eyes wide in amazement. Lily opened her matching eyes wide back at him and then leaned forward to place huge kisses on each of his cheeks and his unruly mop of black hair.
They played a while longer. Humming a lullaby, Lily scooped Harry up into her arms and placed him in his crib. He cooed softly, recently he had begun speaking in made-up sentences, and gazed at the circle of fairy lights floating above his head.
Lily slumped over the rails of the crib and felt a large tear roll down her face. She and James had been in hiding for only a week. Despite the assurances of Albus Dumbledore, she felt frightened and unsafe. They'd spent the last few days trying to make the cottage comfortable and had partially succeeded, but nothing could stop the nightmare that awoke Lily every night since their arrival. She shuddered as she thought about it. She and James had scoffed at Divination as a legitimate form of magic, but Lily knew that this was more than an ordinary sense of fear, brought on by worry. This was real, and either she was seeing the future, or she was going crazy, but she knew that regardless, she needed to take measures to protect her son, or else she would go mad.
Lily ran a finger over Harry's soft cheek; his eyes were now closed and his breathing regular. She reached under the crib and pulled out an old, tattered book. Propping it on the edge of the railing, she opened it to the page she had been reading earlier in the day. The book was entitled Spells of Love and Sacrifice and Lily had already placed two of them on her sleeping son. The first would shield him from death in the event that she herself died trying to save him; Lily knew that she would do everything in her power to save her son's life. The second would turn a spell meant to kill him back to the originator, causing death or, at least, serious damage. She wasn't sure that anything could kill Voldemort - he was barely human anymore. The third and final spell, which she would administer this evening, was perhaps the greatest of all in her opinion. Lying awake the night before, watching James twist and turn fitfully beside her, lost in his own nightmares (which he wasn't sharing with her in his usual attempt to pretend that everything was normal and calm), Lily came to a realization. It was not enough to protect her son's life - she must ensure that it was a happy one. She had never loved anything, not even James, as much as she loved her son and she wanted that love to carry on after her death. She had climbed out of bed and gone to look at Harry for a long time. She had pulled out the book, and found the perfect spell. She had spent the entire day practicing and she knew that she had to perform the magic tonight. The spell would transfer her love for her son, at the instant of her death, to a pure soul, most likely a newborn baby. That love would guide this person to seek out Harry and protect him throughout his life.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PART II: James
James Potter walked down the hallway with one towel wrapped around his waist and a second one in his hands, drying his unruly hair so that it stood out at angles even more unusual than normal. He padded toward the bedroom, but paused in the doorway, not making a sound. The room was dark except for a small light in a corner. Lily was crouched over the crib, humming a lullaby. James felt nauseous. He hadn't been sleeping well and he knew that Lily was having nightmares also. She wasn't sharing this information with him. He knew why. He absolutely refused to believe that anything was going to happen to them. They were more well-hidden here in Godric's Hollow than anywhere else in the world. In his heart, he knew he was wrong - his dreams - they had been horrible. He had seen his own death, as well as Lily's, right here in this cottage, and it was all his fault. If he wasn't who he was, then they would be able to live safe, normal lives. He had warned Lily when they were still in school, hadn't he? She had laughed softly and told him that she'd rather die with him than live a lifetime without him. That had been a fine thing to believe at first, but now they had Harry…
James felt a tear form in his eye. Harry. Voldemort would be after Harry as well, and Harry couldn't fight. He was only a baby. He had argued with Lily about Harry as well. James hadn't wanted a child because he knew that any child, especially a son, would be hunted just as he was. Lily had insisted - 'probably charmed me' - thought James with an inward laugh, although he knew that his wife would never do that. And when Harry had arrived, well, he hadn't been able to stop smiling, or to squelch the feeling of warmth and love that filled his heart when he saw his son. Now, he wanted to see his son grow up, wanted to give him his first broomstick, his first wand, see him off on the Hogwarts Express. He hoped that his nightmares were wrong. He hoped that Peter wouldn't reveal their hiding place, but he just wasn't sure.
Lily lifted herself upright and James retreated into the shadows in the hallway. He watched her pull a large book out from under Harry's crib and watched her take out her wand. She began muttering an incantation as she moved her wand in circles over the bed. Soon a rosy mist floated out of the wand and settled above Harry. After a few minutes, the mist cleared and Lily once again slumped over the crib, wand still clutched in her hand.
James cleared his throat but Lily didn't bother to look up. Instead, she said quietly, "Don't be upset James, I need to do it. It makes me feel better."
"What, exactly, are you doing?" he asked, striding across the room to stand by her side. She straightened and handed him the spell book. "If we can't protect ourselves, at least we can protect him. If we live to be ninety, then fine, all of this was unnecessary worry, but it can't hurt to be careful, can it?" Lily looked up at her husband with her large emerald eyes, now filled with tears, and he pulled her into an embrace. She sobbed against his shoulder. "I just want to make sure that he is loved! Where will he go? Who will look after him?"
"Shhhh, Lily… Sirius is his godfather…"
"Sirius isn't exactly safe from danger, is he? Your parents are gone, the only relation I have is Petunia and I guarantee you that she wouldn't consider giving our son a home, let alone the love that he deserves!"
"So," said James, attempting to lighten up the situation with some humor, "are you putting him in a hundred years' enchanted sleep, or leaving him with a glass slipper?" Lily gave a short laugh through her tears and took the book back from him. "Just three charms - the first two are meant to save his life and the third is to ensure that it has some light and happiness in it."
James read through the spells, pausing when he came to one of the spells that he knew Lily must have used. He looked at his wife in awe. She was almost as tall as he was and they were at eye level. "Lily, you're brilliant!" he whispered, pleased that he could still make her blush. She began talking very quickly, "I know that we are sad because we will never get to see him grow up, but I really feel now that our son was born for more than simply to make us happy. We already know that he will be a powerful wizard. I've done the tests, and if we can't defeat Voldemort, maybe he can."
"Do you really think it would work?" Lily shrugged, "We won't ever know, will we?"
Forgetting the other spells, James guided his sobbing wife towards the bed, hoping that they were wrong about everything, but unable to believe it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PART III: At the Weasleys
"But its Halloweeeeeennnn!" wailed Charlie Weasley, as his grandmother guided him down the stairs of the Burrow and into the kitchen. Percy was already sitting primly at the table, rocking the cradle that held baby Ron with his foot. Fred and George, the three and a half year-old twins were running around the table, hitting Percy on the head every time they passed. Everyone in the room (except for Grandmother Weasley, whose hair was snow white) had the same shade of crimson hair. It gave the impression that the room was on fire.
Grandmother forced ten year-old Charlie onto the bench. He had gone upstairs to see why his mother was not preparing the usual Halloween feast, which he looked forward to every year. "I'll bet Bill's having a feast at Hogwarts," moped Charlie, crossing his arms, "I'll bet they're having pumpkin tarts and apple pie and steak pasties and ice cream and…" his voice trailed off as he looked up into his grandmother's fierce gaze.
"You will sit here and behave. You need to set an example for everyone - Fred and George, SIT DOWN," she bellowed, grabbing one twin by the shirt collar and the other by the belt and forcing them to sit on the bench next to Charlie. She continued, wagging a finger at Charlie, "You are the oldest when Bill is away at school. Your mother doesn't feel well this evening and the last thing she needs is to prepare a Halloween feast. If you ask me…" Grandmother now seemed to be talking to no one in particular, "what she really needs is a husband who is a bit more sensitive than my son. What was he thinking - couldn't even wait six months after Ron was born to start again…" she stopped as the tall, thin figure of her son Arthur appeared in the doorway.
"Mum, I had very little choice in the matter," he said quietly. "I wanted to wait, but Molly, she seemed to think it was quite urgent. What else could I do - I did promise to love and obey her, didn't I?" Arthur shrugged, a small grin forming at his mouth. He walked over the cradle and lifted up Ron, who was not sleeping, due to all the racket, and threw him up in the air a few times. He was very attached to this boy - he loved all of his sons - but somehow he felt drawn to Ron like he never had been to the others. Ron blinked and smiled widely, clapping his hands together.
Percy, who was still sitting properly at the table said in a voice far too mature for a five year-old, "Mother is going to make a baby, isn't she Grandmother?"
"She's already made the baby, with some help from your ridiculous father, and now she's just waiting to … well, a baby needs to warm up a bit after it's made, and your mother is just waiting until it's done."
"Mum! You're making it sound like we're cooking a chicken!"
"That's all he needs to know at his age Arthur."
"You know, you're a fine one to talk, Mum. You have eight children."
Grandmother Weasley pursed her lips and said nothing, but marched over to the stove and started conjuring up some dinner. After clanging some pots and pans very loudly, she turned and said, "Well, why are you down here Arthur? Shouldn't you be upstairs with your wife? I will look after the children."
Arthur Weasley laughed at his mother, knowing that she was really quite happy about everything, and, placing Ron back in his cradle, he ran up the stairs, two at a time, to see his wife.
Molly Weasley was lying in her bed, eyes closed, trying to clear her mind. The midwife placed a cool rag on her forehead, and Molly smiled at her in appreciation. After six children and five deliveries, Molly was an expert at giving birth, and she was really quite relaxed.
She looked up as her husband entered the room and took his hand as he took his place on the other side of the bed. "What are our little angels up to down there? Is your mother handling them okay?"
"Well, whatever she can't handle, Percy will take care of," answered Arthur, a twinkle in his eye. Their middle son's intelligence and, well, overall good behavior came as both a surprise and a blessing to them. They weren't quite sure which relative had donated those genes, but there was a lot of joking between them about trying to inject them into their other sons. "So, how's little Ginny doing then?"
Molly laughed. This was another joke that they shared. They always prepared a boy name and a girl name with each pregnancy. Ginny had been rejected five, well, six times as one son after another was born. They had been unprepared for twins at Fred and George's birth and poor George's name was chosen simply because it started with a "G." Wizard law prohibited the use of magic in determining the sex of an unborn child, and anyway, the spells to do so were highly dangerous and complex. This child would most likely be their last - Molly felt that she could handle no more, and although they would most certainly love another son, they both were hoping beyond hope that Ginny might become a reality. She even had clothing. Prior to the twins' birth, Arthur had purchased a small set of baby robes with "G. Weasley" printed on the outside as a joke. When Fred and George appeared instead of a girl, the outfit proved very useful in telling the twins apart.
"Molly! What is it? What's wrong?" Arthur jumped up and looked intently down at his wife's face. The midwife snapped to attention and rushed over to Molly's side. Molly was a strong and sensible woman, and even the birth of Bill had been relatively easy for her. She screamed again, and her face had gone terribly white.
"Something's wrong…" Molly gasped, looking up at her husband and the midwife frantically, "I feel - something isn't right…"
The midwife instructed Arthur to call for the doctor, and he Disapparated immediately.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PART IV: Godric's Hollow
James' arm was falling asleep, but he didn't dare disturb his wife, who appeared to be sleeping peacefully next to him. He attempted to dislodge himself without waking her, but was unsuccessful, and Lily's eyes fluttered open.
He smiled at her, "I'm a bit hungry actually - I was going to see if we had anything to eat in this cottage."
Lily rubbed her eyes sleepily and then sat up in bed, "I think I will join you actually. I haven't been eating much lately and suddenly I'm starving."
"Well, I think I know what might have happened to increase your appetite."
"Don't flatter yourself." Lily punched her husband playfully in the ribs and then reached for her robes. James pulled his own robes over his head and stood up and reached for her hand to pull her out of bed. She jumped onto the floor and planted a kiss on his chin as she did so.
"You know," she said softly, "I love you James Potter."
"I love you too," he replied, kissing her softly. Harry stared at his parents through the railing of his crib. James and Lily laughed and Lily lifted him up into her arms, "do you want to join Mummy and Daddy for a midnight snack?"
They headed together to the kitchen.
"We don't seem to have a lot of food here, my dear…" James' head was stuck in the refrigerator, searching for something to eat.
"Well, I was a bit busy placing complicated protection spells on our son this week!"
"I'm not complaining! I just have a craving for something a bit more substantial than…well, milk."
Lily turned and smiled as her husband lifted his head and closed the door to the refrigerator. She started to make a joke about the number of ways one could prepare milk, when --
They were both startled by a loud noise coming from somewhere in the cottage. They froze. Then Lily reached for James, her hand digging into his arm so tightly that her fingernails were leaving marks. Instinctively, they each reached for their wands. Harry sat in his chair happily stuffing cereal into his mouth, not startled by the noise in the slightest.
"I think it must have come from the bedroom," whispered James, staring at the door.
"The fireplace…" began Lily, but stopped when they heard a slithering noise coming down the hallway.
Lily immediately reached for Harry, lifting her son into her arms. His eyes opened wide and he tried to struggle a bit, but amazingly, he did not start to cry.
Lily and James stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Both had known that this moment might come. Both had thought they were prepared to deal with it. Now that it was upon them, all Lily could think was, "I don't want to die. I want to live. It's not fair! It's not fair!" She knew that James was thinking the same thing. He strode over to her and with a sob, pulled her and Harry into a warm and all-consuming embrace. They heard a voice call in a mocking voice, "Mr. Potter! Where are you?!"
"Lily," James breathed into Lily's hair, "take Harry and get out of here, get out of here NOW!"
Lily could only stare at him, shaking, an expression of pure terror on her face.
James released his wife and son from the embrace and said in a more urgent voice, "Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off --"
Swiftly, he kissed her and tugged a lock of hair pulled behind her ear. This action seemed to jolt Lily back into reality. With a small cry, and then, a weak smile at her husband, she turned and stumbled from the room, Harry in her arms, and headed into the bedroom.
She heard the sound of the kitchen door flying off its hinges and landing against the opposite wall. She heard a gravelly, raspy voice breath, "Tut, tut, Mr. Potter. I wasn't invited to your housewarming party…Expelliarmus!"
Then, a moment later, Lily heard a high-pitched scream and the worst two words she had ever heard - "Avada Kedavara."
Lily stood rooted to the spot. She knew that she needed to get to the Portkey in the bedroom, but she found that her legs would not carry her. James was dead. James was dead.
Then she heard it again, "Avada Kedavara!" this time even louder and more piercing. James was fighting him off! He was still alive! With a renewed sense of courage, Lily ran towards the bedroom.
As soon as she reached the door, however, she heard a tremendous noise, smelled a terrible burning smell, and heard Voldmort's laugh resonate throughout the cottage. Despite herself, Lily screamed, and, forgetting about the Portkey, held Harry close to her chest. She knew now that her dreams had been true, Peter had betrayed them, and running away was not going to help her husband in the slightest. He was gone. Trembling slightly, she kissedthe top of Harry's head, breathing deeply to inhale his baby scent, and then placed him on the bed behind her and turned to face her destiny.
Voldemort appeared in the doorway. "Are you ready to give up the child?" he said with a sneer.
"No!" cried Lily, "Not Harry! Please, not Harry! Take me instead!"
"Stand aside you silly girl. Stand aside now…"
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead--"
"Give me what I want and I may even let you live."
"Not Harry! Please...have mercy...have mercy..."
"GIVE ME THE CHILD!"
"NO!" screamed Lily, even louder this time, "You'll have to kill me first!"
"I am not in the mood to play games with you Mrs. Potter - step aside and GIVE HIM TO ME!"
Lily stood rooted to the ground. Harry had awakened and started to cry as well. The corners of Voldemort's mouth turned up and he slowly raised his wand, pointing it at Lily. She closed her eyes, but could still sense a flash of green light coming towards her, as if in slow motion, and then…nothing.
PART VI: A Successful Birth
Arthur Weasley paced the hallway outside of his bedroom, sweat glistening on his forehead. His mother had managed to get all of the children into bed with minimal hassle, although Ron was still crying loudly. As if sensing trouble in the household, he had managed to wail continuously for at least an hour. Grandmother Weasley was with him now, pacing up and down and singing soothing melodies, but to little avail. In addition, the ghoul in the attic was reveling in the chaos of the evening and making more noise than ever before.
Arthur had been forced out of the room by the doctor almost immediately. He heard his wife's screams, heard frantic footsteps running around the room, spells being performed, and tools being clanged.
As he paced, Arthur suddenly became aware of a change in the atmosphere. The hallway grew very, very cold, and then extremely warm, and he saw a rosy mist float past him and into the bedroom through a crack under the door. His heart froze. Molly was silent. Then, suddenly, he heard a loud slap, and mingling with Ron's wails from up the stairs, a new noise, the sound of a newborn baby, crying for air. Instinctively, Arthur turned for the door, and was just about to open it when the midwife did so from inside. She was smiling widely. Arthur looked past her towards the bed. Molly was lying there, barely awake, but looking beautiful. In the doctor's arms was a small red and white bundle. He handed it to Arthur, saying, "It's a girl." Arthur looked at the doctor in amazement, "is everything all right?" The doctor smiled in return, "I wouldn't recommend any more Arthur - with your permission and Molly's we can take care of that tonight, but yes, this one and your wife are both in excellent health. I've never seen anything like it - we couldn't figure out what was happening, and then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped again, and, well, I've never seen such a happy newborn before."
Arthur looked down at his daughter - it did indeed seem as if her face was twisted into a grin. Arthur carried her over to Molly, who could barely keep her eyes open. "Well done," he whispered, holding up the baby so that Molly could see, "Ginny, say hello to your mother."
They sat together, the three of them, until Molly and Ginny were both asleep. Arthur surveyed them with pride and pleasure. They were all unaware that a great sacrifice had just taken place - one that would change their lives forever. And as they enjoyed each other's company, none of them knew that miles away, little Harry Potter was crying in the remains of a cottage in Godric's Hollow, his forehead marred with a lightning-bolt shaped scar.