Lily gently pushed aside the soft gossamer curtains so she could peer outside. For once it wasn't because she was afraid. She felt safer than she had in months now that the Fidelius Charm had been performed. She peeked out the windows in hopes of spying the last of the retreating trick-or-treaters. The Muggle children had scampered around Godric's Hollow for the better part of the night, swinging plastic pumpkins, gleefully hopping from house to house. They reminded her of her own childhood.
She turned away and looked into the crackling fire. Their hiding place was slowly coming to look like a home after only a week. Lily found it ironic that their safe house was an upgrade compared to the small flat they had lived in since graduation. Initially moving into the flat off Collater Alley so that James could honor Lily's request to feel like an adult, they had decided to stay after Death Eaters had sacked and burned Potter Manor. But not even all the wards they had put on the flat could protect them forever. With Voldemort out for their blood, they knew the best choice was to relocate secretly and cast the Fidelius Charm.
Lily had decorated the little house with touches from her parents' home and Hogwarts. The mantel displayed several pictures that meant the most to her. First, there was one of her parents. Then there was one from Hogwarts, just after they had graduated. She had felt the loss of her parents very strongly that day as she watched the other students receive hugs and congratulations from their families. Her photo self hid behind James most of the time, ashamed of her puffy red eyes from crying. The second to last photo was taken on her wedding day. Although she had also greatly missed her parents that day, she didn't hide in this picture. Instead her image grinned madly as she gripped James' arm. Behind them, Anne's photographic self winked at Remus, while the rest of the bridesmaids and groomsmen snickered. It was hard for Lily to look at the photo.
A sharp cry pulled Lily away from the memories. She bent over the living room bassinet and scooped up her rapidly growing fifteen-month-old. She bounced him lightly as she patted his back, and his cries subsided as a small burp escaped. She never would have guessed she could love someone more than James until Harry was born. Sirius and James were already grooming him to lead the next generation of Marauders, and Lily didn't doubt he'd wreak plenty of havoc once he reached Hogwarts. And if he continued to look like James, he'd probably break a few hearts as well. She glanced back at the last photograph on the mantle. She and James cuddled a blue, blanketed bundle while Sirius, Remus, and Peter gathered around.
Harry's birth had managed to bring a lot of joy to a world rapidly filling with sorrow and anguish. Lily had seen far more death than she ever thought possible. She and James had barely escaped with their own lives on several occasions. Other members of the Order hadn't been as lucky. Half the members were either dead or missing: Marlene McKinnon, Benjy Fenwick, Dearborn, the Prewett brothers. It seemed the list grew everyday. Anne had been murdered by Voldemort during a mission only days before Lily discovered she was pregnant. She had refused to name a living godmother for Harry, keeping her promise to her best friend. Anne was now better than a godmother, she was a guardian angel.
All the members of the Order had quickly realized how fleeting life could be. So many people were dying that Anne's death wasn't as shocking as it should have been. But it still affected them all deeply, especially Remus. He had been there, and Lily knew he blamed himself for not saving her. She hadn't seen him since they went into hiding. He wasn't being included in the loop anymore. James and Sirius suspected he may have been corrupted by Voldemort, but Lily couldn't bring herself to believe it. She knew he'd cared for Anne too much to join up with her murderer, even if Voldemort offered werewolves rights the Ministry had denied them for centuries. She couldn't bring herself to believe anyone close to them had turned dark, no matter what Dumbledore, James, and Sirius insisted.
Despite all the death and treachery, there was still life, Harry was proof of that. Life could be created even in the midst of terrible war. The Longbottoms had a son Harry's age. Edgar Bones had a young niece. A month before they were killed, Fabian and Gideon Prewett had mentioned their sister was expecting her seventh child, bless her. Lily could barely handle James and Harry sometimes, never mind six others. Although she had never met her, that woman had Lily's undying admiration.
Harry's breathing became rhythmic and steady, alerting Lily that he had fallen back to sleep. She gently laid him back into the crib, allowing her fingers to slide over his perfect forehead and through his feathery black locks. She wished for the war to be over, not for herself, but so that her son would know a life of peace. That's why they kept fighting, so children like Harry and the Prewetts' nieces and nephews wouldn't have to.
Lily sighed lightly as she sank onto the couch next to James, who scanned a Quidditch magazine Sirius had brought over a few days earlier. He immediately put a protective arm around her shoulders, pulling her close to him, all the while his eyes never left the page.
"Glad to know I'm less interesting than the newest model of racing brooms," she teased, resting her head on his shoulder.
"They have these great new brooms for kids…"
"Don't even think about it. Harry doesn't get a broom until he's a least four."
James pouted. "It wouldn't rise high enough for Harry's toes to leave the ground. He can toddle faster than it flies. It would just help him pick up the feel of flying…"
"James, he can't even say Quidditch yet. It's bad enough you have that ridiculous mobile above his crib and he sleeps with that stuffed snitch. He doesn't need a broomstick."
"Fine, but as soon as he turns four…"
"Go back to reading, dear."
James grinned and kissed Lily's forehead as he turned back to the magazine. Lily felt herself starting to drift off to sleep when she was startled back to consciousness by James's sudden movement. As the fog of sleep left her brain she heard the unmistakable sound of the back door squeaking open. James jumped to his feet, gripping his wand tightly. Lily felt the familiar sensation of fear and adrenaline course through her body. As James crept toward the kitchen to see who it was, Lily hovered protectively over Harry's cradle. James' face paled considerably as he shot a protective ward at the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. A second later, it shimmered under the impact of a strong curse. She knew what must have happened even before James shouted his warning. How could Peter have done such a thing?
"Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off-"
She barely bit down a scream as she turned and noticed that the front door, her escape route, had disappeared, leaving only solid wall. She reached for her wand, realizing a second later she had foolishly left it upstairs. She cursed her careless stupidity as James' hasty ward collapsed under another barrage of spells. She had once told James she never ran from dark wizards, but now she had a reason to flee. With one last desperate look at her husband, she grabbed Harry and ran upstairs, determined to protect her son with her life.
The End...of one story, but the beginning of another.