--Chapter Three--

Lily lay awake two months later in a hospital bed at St. Mungo's with Harry in her arms. She looked down at her sleeping child and even though he joy was immeasurable, she could not sleep with the thought that the most evil wizard in the world would be looking to kill the baby in her arms. Turning her head, she glanced over at her sleeping husband.

She and James had relocated to Godric's Hollow, which was a safer location than their previous neighborhood, but Dumbledore seemed to feel there was no immediate concern because Voldemort was still searching for the last part of the prophecy. But she couldn't shake the gut feeling that she was not safe. Spies were being discovered everywhere, inside the ministry itself even, and Lily did not trust anyone who knew of their location. She knew St. Mungo's was not exactly secure, and she demanded an extra guard outside her room despite the fact that James refused to leave her side.

She glanced over at her sleeping husband, his glasses askew as he rested his head in his hands, then looked back at Harry. Lily could see the resemblance already; she reached for James' glasses, gently pulled them off his face and placed them on Harry's tiny nose. She smiled and laughed aloud; the glasses were so big that both eyes fit through one frame. She placed the glasses on her bedside table, then leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She held the sleeping Harry close and could sense James' presence. Lily fell asleep, comforted in the love she had for the two men asleep in her room.


Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off..."


James woke with a start after dreams of green flashes and screams in the night. He inhaled sharply, jerking his head away from a small puddle of drool by where his head was, and glanced up at his sleeping wife and his newborn child in her arms. He smiled as he stood and kissed his wife and son on their foreheads, then he stretched, put on his glasses and left the room.

Predictably, Sirius was sitting outside Lily's room, reading the Daily Prophet with his wand in his lap. He jumped when James snapped the door shut, grasping his wand and scrambling to his feet.

"Relax, Sirius," James said, removing his glasses and sleepily rubbing his eyes. He did not respond to Sirius' reaction.

"Sorry, Padfoot," sighed Sirius, placing his wand in his pocket. "I guess I'm a little jumpy. Didn't realize how little sleep I've had until I started to doze off a little bit ago."

"S'okay," James yawned, stretching again and replacing his glasses on his nose.

"How's the family?" asked Sirius, jerking his head in the direction of Lily's room.

"Asleep," answered James. "I don't think Lily's been asleep for long, though. She's been so worried since the birth I wouldn't be surprised if she wakes up soon from a nightmare."

Sirius raised an eyebrow as he looked at his friend. "It doesn't look like you're doing much better," he said. "Still having the dream?"

James hesitated. He stared at the floor not really seeing it; his mind was transfixed on his recurring dream of Voldemort bursting into their home in Godric's Hollow and demanding they give him their son. Every night was the same; James would yell at Lily to run then draw his wand and begin to duel with Lord Voldemort, but it was always in vain. But before Voldemort's curse could hit him, he would wake in a cold sweat and breathing hard.

"Still with me, James?" asked Sirius.

"Huh? Oh, yeah, sorry." James pulled his thoughts away from his dream with difficulty and said, "I'm just tired, that's all."

"Obviously. I guess my original question's been answered then," Sirius replied. "How long have you been having this dream, James?"

"Just a few weeks," answered James. "It was really sporadic at first, but I've dreamt it every night for the last several days." James sat down on the chair previously occupied by Sirius and asked, "Do you think I should tell Dumbledore?"

Sirius shrugged dismissively. "If you feel you should."

James smiled to himself. Lately it had become brutally obvious that Sirius did not believe in fate, premonitions or prophecies, and every time James mentioned something of that sort, Sirius opted to simply shrug rather than argue.

Sirius took the seat next to James and glanced over at his friend, who now how his head in his hands. He clapped James on the back and said in his playful bark-like voice, "So! How does it feel to be a parent? Is your boy going to call you 'dad' or 'Prongs'?"

"That depends," James answered, smirking at Sirius as he lifted his head. "Would you rather he call you Uncle Sirius or Uncle Padfoot? Oh, wait, what did Laurel McTaggert call you in sixth year? She called you 'my Snuffles', right? That's it! Harry can call you Uncle Snuffles."

Sirius howled with laughter. "I don't think the Uncle is necessary, but I'll let him choose when he gets old enough." He leaned back on his chair and folded his hands behind his head, then shifted his eyes to look at James and cleared his throat. "Laurel totally wanted me."

James snorted. "So did every other girl at Hogwarts."

"I wonder what ever happened to her," Sirius pondered, perfectly aware that James was rolling his eyes at his conceit.

"She's dead."

James and Sirius both looked up to see Remus Lupin standing above them.

"What?" Sirius asked irritably.

"Laurel McTaggert. She's dead," Lupin clarified with an emotionless face. "She was killed by Rudolfus Lestrange last year."

"Well, thanks for that bit of information, Remus, but what the hell are you doing here?" Sirius asked angrily, standing up and rounding on Lupin.

James stood up as well and put his hand on Sirius' shoulder. "Take it easy, mate," he said. Sirius retreated to his seat and pouted. "What are you doing here, Remus?" James asked.

"I… couldn't sleep, and I came to see how Lily and the baby were doing," Lupin answered quietly.

"You shouldn't have bothered," Sirius snarled.

Lupin looked up sadly, his eyes meeting James. "Look, I just wanted to say that I want to do whatever it takes to keep you, Lily and the baby safe."

James hesitated. "His name is Harry."

A ghost of a smile crossed Lupin's face, but Sirius looked infuriated. He fired up at once and exploded out of his chair.

"What in bloody hell is this all about, Remus?" Sirius demanded. "How do you expect us to trust you? How do you expect Lily to trust you!"

Lupin simply stared at Sirius, looking as gloomy as ever. "You don't understand, Sirius. I had to leave," he explained quietly.

"Oh, you had to leave!" Sirius yelled sarcastically. "Well, that makes everything better!"

"Sirius, keep your voice down!" James hissed, glancing up and down the hallway. "Remus, what are you talking about? What do you mean you had to leave?"

"I couldn't stay after what happened," Lupin answered.

"Is that what this is about?" James asked. "That was an accident. Lily knows it was…"

"You don't actually believe that do you, James?" Sirius interrupted incredulously. "I know Lily doesn't…"

"What the hell would you know about what Lily thinks?" James asked hotly. Sirius fell silent at once.

"I'm not here to cause any trouble, Sirius," Lupin explained, his wide eyes looking at Sirius for the first time. "I'm here because I have heard some rumors, about Lily and Alice."

"What have you heard?" James asked, holding a hand up to prevent Sirius from interrupting.

"That they are marked for death," answered Lupin, his expression unreadable.

"Not them, Remus," James clarified, shaking his head. "The boys. Alice gave birth yesterday; she's in a guarded room at the other end of the hospital."

"Look, James, I really want to help," Lupin said. "I know it's a lot to ask, but I want you to know that I am willing to help protect Lily. I can even watch her here, if you need to go somewhere while she's here."

James looked passed Lupin to see Sirius rolling his eyes behind Lupin's back. "That's not necessary, Remus. We have all the help we need right now, but I will definitely let you know if I need something. But you need to get yourself out of this gloomy, I'm-feeling-sorry-for-myself mood. We're glad you're back."

"Thanks," Lupin replied, the first real smile crossing his face. "I'm going to go get something to eat. Do you want anything?"

"No; Sirius, are you hungry?" James asked, looking at his friend forcefully.

Sirius ignored him.

Lupin smiled awkwardly, then turned and headed down the hallway to find the cafeteria.

"You have no right to…" Sirius began as soon as Lupin was out of earshot.

"Don't," James interrupted. "I can't deal with this tonight, Sirius. My wife and son need me." With that, he turned and walked back into his wife's room, leaving Sirius in the hall, alone once again.