Lullaby

Bedtime at Number Four Privet Drive was always the same for four-year-old Harry Potter. Dudley would lock him out of the bathroom and brush his teeth, and then he'd go to the kitchen and beg his mother and father for cookies and milk. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were always happy to oblige, so long as Dudley promised to brush his teeth afterward. After he finished his bedtime snack, he would complain that he couldn't brush his teeth because Harry was in the bathroom. Uncle Vernon would turn purple and order Harry out to wait, warning him not to do anything "funny." Harry would reply with a "Yes, Uncle Vernon," and stand outside waiting. Dudley never brushed his teeth after his sweets, but he enjoyed getting Harry in trouble. It was his favorite pastime.

When Dudley finally came out, he shoved past Harry and went to his room. Harry took his plain red toothbrush and cheap toothpaste and started brushing his teeth. He didn't have a big colorful toothbrush and sparkly blue toothpaste like Dudley. The Dursleys hated him and went to great lengths to show it, from his cheap, secondhand pajamas to his taped-up glasses. It bothered him, but he'd lived with it since he'd been left on their doorstep three years earlier. He'd survive.

He'd just finished his teeth and was about to go down to his cupboard when he heard Aunt Petunia's voice. But she wasn't screaming; she was in Dudley's room sitting next to his bed, singing softly. Harry watched, mesmerized for a few minutes before Dudley saw him and called, "What're you looking at? Your mum never sing you a lullaby?"

"Now, Diddy-kins, you know not to mention her," Aunt Petunia reminded him gently. It was not a scold or a reprimand—she would never scold her dear little Diddy-kins, even if he'd mentioned her dead sister, whom she pretended never existed. But Harry, she did scold, "You, down to your cupboard. Now!"

"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry answered.

"And cover up that scar!"

As he walked downstairs, he tried to flatten his hair over the scar he'd gotten from the car crash that killed his parents. It was yet another thing about him that the Dursleys hated, even though he thought the lightning-bolt shape cut into his forehead looked rather cool. But that wasn't what was bothering him this time. It was Dudley's comment. Harry had no memories of his parents at all. He'd only been a baby when they died, and his only knowledge of them was the little information the Dursleys were willing to divulge. There were no pictures of his parents in the house. No Potter would ever appear in a Dursley family photo album as long as Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had anything to say about it.

Harry got into bed in his cupboard under the stairs, removed his glasses, and closed his eyes. As he dreamed, he tried to picture his mother sitting there beside him, singing him to sleep with a lullaby.


It was another sleepless night for Mrs. James Potter. She'd had them often enough, though more sporadically, during her years at Hogwarts. Back at school, she would lie awake in her bed in the Gryffindor girls' dormitory, worrying of what might happen in the night, afraid that the next morning's Daily Prophet would announce, "You-Know-Who Strikes Again! Muggle Family Killed, Daughter Safe at Hogwarts." Her nightmares were filled with fears of finding the Dark Mark over her house and the bodies of her parents and Petunia lying inside.

Things had changed, and Lily Evans was now Lily Potter, married to the very man that had irritated her to no end for at least five years. Her parents had died, and Petunia had married a man in the drill business named Vernon Dursley, and they had a baby named Dudley. Lily had tried to write her sister about her own son, little Harry, but she'd never gotten a reply. She knew that it was only because their relationship had become so strained after she'd been accepted to Hogwarts, but the fears were still there, and the sleepless nights came more often. But now, her main fear was for her son.

Lily had asked Dumbledore to place concealment charms on the Dursley house so that the Death Eaters wouldn't find them. Petunia didn't know about it now, nor would she appreciate it, but Lily was not about to leave her only sister without any protection. Next to Hogwarts, the Dursley home was probably the best-protected place in the country. Lily had considered sending Harry there… No, Petunia wouldn't stand for that unless it was a last resort, and Lily didn't want to drive yet another wedge between herself and her sister. The Fidelus Charm would definitely be enough; Peter was their Secret Keeper, and he would never let anything happen to them. And if for some reason, something did…well, at least Sirius would take care of his godson. And Remus would be there for him too. She didn't care what the Order suspected; there was no way any of them could be a traitor working for Voldemort.

It was a terrible thing to consider. James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus had been as close as brothers during their years in school, wreaking havoc on the other students and Filch, and causing endless torment for Severus Snape. When Lily married James, they became her brothers-in-law, and when Harry was born, all three were his godfathers—even though Sirius was the one they'd chosen for Harry's christening. To think that one of them might be a traitor—perhaps Remus, as Sirius had suggested—it was unbelievable!

"Lily, you're still awake?" James asked, looking over at her. Even without his glasses, he could see that his wife lay awake next to him.

"So are you," she replied.

"You know what I mean."

"I was just thinking about how much things have changed." He nodded solemnly. "It scares me. What if Voldemort does find us somehow? I don't think Peter would give us away even under torture, but if Voldemort somehow found out…" James nodded once again, not even flinching at the use of the Dark Lord's name. Unlike most of the wizarding world, the Potters didn't hesitate to use his name. Dumbledore always said that fear of a name only increased the fear of the person who wore it, and they didn't need to be any more afraid of Voldemort than they already were.

"There's always a chance," James confessed. "But if it does happen, we won't let him get Harry. There's always Sirius to take care of him, or—" He suddenly looked like he'd sucked on a lemon, and his voice was a tad strained. "—and your sister." He liked Petunia about as much as she liked him, but he agreed that if worst came to worst, the best place to send Harry might just be the Dursleys.

"I know," she answered. "And I shouldn't think like that, but…"

"But Voldemort is still out there, looking for us or the Longbottoms," James finished. "And the fate of the world may rest in either Harry or Neville's hands. Whichever boy it is will have to fulfill the terms of the prophecy—killing Voldemort or being killed."

"I don't want to hear about the prophecy tonight," Lily replied. "What if Trelawney's wrong? Dumbledore himself said that she didn't seem to have the Sight."

"I wish she was," James admitted. "So do Dumbledore, Frank, Alice, and everyone caught up in this. But everything points to this being real, and we have to protect Harry and Neville at all costs."

There was a sudden cry from Harry's room. With instincts honed from being in the Order, James and Lily leapt up, removing their wands from under their pillows, and ran to the nursery. To their horror, a cloaked figure was standing over their son's crib. The figure turned and stared at them with red eyes, all the while keeping a wand trained on the baby.

"A boggart," James recognized suddenly. "It's not Voldemort!"

"Riddikulus!" Lily cried, followed soon by James. It was hard to think of anything funny to fight it. The closest thing Lily could think of was of her son defeating Voldemort while still in diapers, but even that was a sobering thought because of the prophecy.

A few more spells later and the boggart was finally gone. Lily ran over to Harry immediately while James scanned the area. Harry was still crying, so Lily picked him up and rocked him, making soothing noises to try and calm him down.

"Nothing else," James informed. "I don't know where that boggart came from, but it's probably been in here the whole time. The house has been empty for so long…"

"Shh," Lily whispered to Harry as she nodded at her husband. "It's okay, sweetie, it's okay. Mummy and Daddy are here now. It's going to be okay." James looked over at them. Lily was sitting in the rocking chair now, and Harry was calming down from his sudden fright. Even babies had their fears, but it must have been even more terrifying for Harry to see the form the boggart took when confronted by his parents. Lily started humming Brahms' Lullaby to him, easing him back to sleep. Seeing them like that suddenly removed all fears from James' mind. He walked over and held onto his son's hand. Nothing would happen to him as long as they had anything to say about it. No matter what, James and Lily would always protect Harry. Even if they died in the battle that was sure to come, they would find a way to keep protecting their son.

"I was thinking," James commented while his wife kept humming. "Tomorrow's Halloween. Why don't we pick up some pumpkin juice and cauldron cakes and have a small party just like our days at Hogwarts? No worrying about Voldemort or the future, no boggarts. Just the three of us."

"I'd like that," Lily decided. Harry was asleep now, so she placed him back in his crib. "Goodnight, Harry. Sweet dreams."

The standard disclaimer applies: I do not own Harry Potter; everything belongs to J.K. Rowling. I wanted to write a simple family-centric fic taking place before Halloween 1981, and the opening with the Dursleys was too good a lead-in for me to ignore.