Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations owned and created by J.K. Rowling. I am (unfortunatly) making no money from this – I am not richer than the Queen, evidently. No infrigement of copywrite laws is intended.
Lily had always loved the telly. She'd gotton James into somewhat of an evening routine – they'd put Harry down, eat dinner, make huge mugs of tea and lie, curled up on the sofa together, watching the telly. James had never been too fond of it himself. He found the programmes rather dull, but had nevertheless learnt quite a bit about Muggles through watching it. And Lily seemed to enjoy them, so James would pretend that he did so as to keep her happy. He was content, anyway, just wrapping his arms around her, playing with her hair, listening to her steady breathing. Sometimes she'd laugh a little at a joke someone had made, and James wouldn't have quite caught or understood the joke, but her laughter made him smile anyway. Sometimes she'd fall asleep whilst she was watching, and James would carry her up the stairs and put her to bed – sometimes she got grumpy the next morning upon realising she'd missed the end of her favourite soap opera and didn't know who had got off with whom. James would roll his eyes and tell her to shut up, and Lily would scowl playfully and go and ring her mother to find out. Sometimes they'd share a box of chocolates watching one of those film things, and Lily would grin and tell him off for trying to make her fat. Sometimes they forgot about the telly all together, and would do something quite different with their evening on that creaky old sofa. Sometimes they both fell asleep, and would wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of Harry crying, with stiff limbs from where they'd laid funny.
Yes. Lily had always loved the telly.
Lily and James were wrapped up in each other one cold Halloween night, watching Coronation Street. Lily let out an involuntary shiver and James automatically pulled her closer to him, and pressed a kiss to her head. He let his lips linger before pulling her hair behind shoulders and tracing her jaw with his lips, stopping suddenly when he felt dampness.
She looked up at him, her eyes bright with tears and her cheeks coursed with them. James' face immediately became a picture of concern and question; he sat up a little and ran his thumb underneath the eye nearest to him.
"I can't do this anymore."
Those five little words stopped his heart, he actually felt it cease to beat for a second, and he opened his mouth to speak, feeling like he should say something but not having any idea of what to say.
"Wha... what do you mean?"
"I can't do this, James," she repeated, her voice wobbly, squeezing her eyes shut and reaching out to grab his hand. "I'm fed up of living like this. Living in the constant fear that any minute we could be found. Of being afraid to step foot outside the front door in the mornings, of being afraid to let Harry crawl around in the garden, of being constantly paranoid that the wards aren't strong enough, that he'll be able to break the charms with a flick of his wand, looking over my shoulder every five seconds incase – "
Lily broke off, a shuddering sob claiming her ability to speak. Alarmed at the stinging behind his eyes, James blinked furiously and turned Lily around so she was facing him and had her back to the television, and she instinctively buried her head in his chest. As his eyes welled with tears of his own, James was grateful for this. Lily shouldn't see him cry... she couldn't see him cry. He had a duty to protect her and Harry, he had to stay strong for all of their sakes.
"It's okay," he said dully, slowly rocking her small body which heaved with sobs. "It's okay."
There was no point in saying anything else. Of course it wasn't okay, of course it wasn't, but any words of proper reassurance were lost within their doubts nowadays.
Never did James Potter think that, at the age of 21, he would fear for his life. Then again, never did James Potter think that, at the age of 21, he would be married and with a one-year-old son. The thought bought a hint of a smile to his lips, but it didn't spread. It was a rather futile smile, really. There really was nothing to smile about in this situation.
"What if he finds us?"
Lily's voice was muffled in James' chest, and it still shook violently like the day it did when she arrived home, when Dumbledore had spoken to her, and told her everything.
"He won't," James replied firmly, not betraying the fears and doubts that clouded his mind. "We'll be okay. We have to be okay, for Harry's sake."
At the mention of Harry, Lily only seemed to cry harder. Good one, Prongs. He rested his chin on Lily's head, her sobs echoing through him unpleasantly. He hated himself for not being able to make it better, for not being able to protect his family. He'd promised Lily on the day he married her that he was going to look after her forever, that they would die old and happy in their beds, leaving behind more children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren than they could count. Lily had grinned at this, and kissed his forehead the way she did sometimes when he said something particularly silly or sweet. Usually both.
Their wedding day seemed so far away now. Aside from the day Harry had been born, that day was positively the happiest of James' entire life. Lily had looked so beautiful, James had sworn he had been the envy of every male in the room – especially Sirius, who's many crude remarks about 'consummating the marriage' had earned him several dirty looks and many more kicks in the shin from Lily. James grinned at the memory. Sirius had been so drunk that day. He let out a soft snort of laughter – they had all been quite drunk that day.
"What could possibly be funny at the moment?" Lily asked flatly, her head had lifted from James' chest and she was peering up at him, her eyes red-rimmed and her face blotchy. James kissed her nose.
"I was just thinking about our wedding day," he said nostalgically. Lily smiled.
"Remember how drunk Sirius was?"
She grinned, "it wasn't just Sirius. I seem to remember a certain someone spending the entire morning the day after in the bathroom with his head down the toilet."
James beamed, but protested – "excuse me, Miss Don't-Tell-My-Mother-I've-Had-Two-Cases-Of-Champagne!"
Lily laughed and flicked his arm. "It was not two cases."
"No, you're right," James said solemnly. "It was more like three."
She giggled and entwined her fingers in James' hair. "Remember the hair stylists' panic when she just could not get your hair to lie flat?"
James laughed – "how did you know about that?"
"She came running in and asked me if it was always that stubborn."
"I'm offended!" James said in mock-protest. "My hair isn't stubborn! It's stylishly rumpled."
Lily tugged on it a little and rolled her eyes. "I used to hate that thing you did to your hair so much at school."
James gave her a lopsided smile. "I know. You told me often enough."
Lily winced and smile apologetically – "I was such a bitch to you, wasn't I?"
"Yeah." James sighed dramatically and shook his head. "You really were. But hey! I was an arrogant prick."
Lily shrugged. "Yeah," she echoed him, "you really were."
He playfully scowled, not being able to keep up the façade of annoyance for long, his face breaking into a smile once more and his lips kissing her cheek.
"I love you." He told her whilst looking into those startling green eyes, those eyes which their beautiful baby had inherited, all piercing and warmth and love at the same time.
Sometimes the most meaningful exchanges were the simplest ones. James was always telling Lily he loved her. He knew she loved him back, but she didn't say it as much as he did. It was usually a playful whack, and a teasing remark about him being soft or soppy, but a kiss that told him everything he needed to know, to hear. They lay wrapped up in one another, a tangle of limbs, looking into one another's eyes for a very long time. James ran a hand through her hair and she reached up to cup his face, and it was at that second when he decided to bring his lips down to hers that he felt it.
A terrible breeze rushed through the house, and Lily froze, unmoving, those bright green eyes widening.
James' first instinct was him. Within milliseconds his rational had charged it down, saying a window or door had probably blown open. His instinct reminded him that the charms and wards on the house meant even a tornado wouldn't have been able to do such a thing. That was when he panicked.
He untangled himself from Lily, sat up, stood up. He looked down at her. Her entire body was visibly trembling, and he said nothing as he turned and sprinted to the front door.
There he was.
James didn't spare a thought for how the hell Voldemort knew where they were, his only thought was Lily and Harry. Those snake-like slits eyed him beadily, and he willed his mouth to shout, to warn Lily, to do something, but he was mesmerised at the sight of him simply standing there, arms folded, hood up – why isn't he doing anything? James fought desperately against the blanket of fear which ceased his movement and had frozen him to the spot. It seemed like an age that he had been staring, an age before he could open his mouth and shout, an age before Voldemort took his first steps towards him.
"Lily! It's him! Get Harry and go!"
Lily nearly vomited. A surged of nausea made her stumble as she ran desperately for the stairs, not even wasting half a second in hesitating in her decision to run to James' aid or to help Harry. They'd both agreed that if this should happen, they should put Harry as priority. James' was a fully fledged wizard. Baby Harry had no one but them to protect him.
She stumbled up the stairs, her legs threatening to give way at every step, dizzy and sick and frightened. Lily had never felt fear like this. All-consuming fear that made her tremble violently, the entire outer layer of her skin felt numb and she had a strange prickling sensation in her insides. She was hot and realised as she crawled towards Harry's door that she was crying again. Her face was wet. She pushed herself against the door before registering that she had lost the ability to walk, heaving herself up on Harry's cot and somewhere finding the strength to lift him out, hold him to her, her breath coming in short, sharp rasps, each one feeling like a knife twisting in her heart.
This isn't happening, this isn't happening.
Harry dropped his dummy from his mouth as he stirred awake, and Lily moved towards the door, blood pounding in her ears, desperately trying to think of a way for them to escape. That was when she heard it.
That hadn't been James' voice. That hadn't been James' voice. That hadn't been James' voice.
She heard a thump, and then nothing.
Her heart was really racing now. She was unsure as to why she hadn't had a heart attack now, why she hadn't passed out, why she was still living. That wasn't James' voice. James was dead. James is dead. The realisation hit her like a bucket of freezing cold water, exactly like that, she was sure she felt her soul being wrenched from her body – James was dead. Her James. Save Harry, James was easily the person Lily loved most in the world. He was her everything. Words failed her when it came to her love for James, a simple I love you was never enough, it never felt like it quite hit the point. Love was nothing compared to her feelings for James. Love was irrelevant. There wasn't a word for what Lily Potter felt for her husband.
Who is now dead.
It was only when she heard footsteps that she realised she had frozen, that Harry still lay rubbing sleep grumpily out of his eyes, which opened blearily and looked up at her. She gaped at him, as if she expected him to come up with an answer. Snapping further to her senses when she heard the footsteps start to ascend the stairs, Lily shut Harry's bedroom door quietly and took several paces back from it, not knowing exactly how this was going to help them.
She pressed her lips to her baby boy's forehead. "I'm sorry," she whispered to him, as tears fell, dampening his messy black hair. "I'm so sorry."
It didn't take long for Voldemort to find the Mudblood and her spawn. He hadn't bothered with opening doors; he'd simply blasted them off their hinges, which had upset the child. He let out a wail which told Voldemort which room they were in – there had only been three more left to try, anyway. He had walked into what had looked like their bedroom at first, considering the possibility that she might be hiding. It was a lemony yellow colour, and smelled of laundry and cleanness. Photographs littered every surface, he noted with a pleasurable squirm that Pettigrew beamed and waved out of many. Idiots. The child appeared in most of them, his age varying from a newborn baby in the arms of a worn-out looking witch with red hair, who smiled despite her tiredness, her obvious joy sickenly radiating, and the more recent ones showed him crawling, standing on wobbly, unsure legs, playing with his father. His father that Voldemort had just killed. Didn't want to risk him spawning another threat now, did he. If there had been any human whatsoever left in Voldemort, it felt no sympathy for the innocent baby in the photographs, the innocent parents and friends and family. It simply reminded him of the task ahead with an excited anticipation. He had never killed a baby before – it should be interesting.
He hadn't bargained for the Mudbloods protest.
She was bordering on hysterical, clutching the child to her chest, shouting above his wails of anguish such rubbish as 'please, not Harry, have mercy, have mercy, take me instead, please, not Harry...' Foolish idiot. Harry was his prize, he wouldn't sacrifice him for anything, least of all this stupid babbling Muggle-born before him. With an irritated impatience, he cast Avada Kedavra on her, too, watched her face contort in pain and panic before she fell to the floor, the baby landing by her side with a thud, its wails growing louder and even more irritating.
Voldemort lowered his wand so it was aimed at the child's forehead, a surge of irrepressible glee coursing his veins. He would've laughed with pleasure if he hadn't been concentrating on the curse. For the third time in ten minutes, Voldemort uttered the Death Curse. The familiar flash of blinding green light erupted from the end of his wand, and a hot pain immediately enveloped him. He was blind... he couldn't see... he had dropped his wand... a short flash of the damned baby still alive and screaming seared into his mind, hot and vivid, before the entire world went black.