The Boys Who Lived

-June 23, 1981-

"Lils, are you sure about this?" A pretty blonde woman of about twenty glanced at her closest friend, Lily Potter. Lily laughed as she avidly watched two toddlers of about eleven months levitate toy blocks to build a castle. The two boys chattered on in their own little language. Alice couldn't blame her friend for being captivated, she often found herself staring at her son as he played, or laughed, or just smiled. Even with the war around them, it couldn't detract from the simple magic of a baby's smile, laugh, or their own unique language.

"Oh Alice," the redhead turned to talk to her. "Don't be such a pussywillow! This is simply to help them control their powers appropriately. We've researched this for forever! I even asked Severus about the potion. And Flitwick assured me that parents used to do this all the time before the '60s." Lily reassured her friend. "Besides… We don't want another episode like yesterday on our hands, now do we?"

The two bust out into laughter. Yesterday was Lily and James's anniversary and Frank and Alice had gone with them to an elegant restaurant in Muggle London. Babysitting was left up to Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, a mistake that Lily and Alice were sure to never make again. Harry and Neville could be a handful just playing together. Add in the fact that Sirius had let the boys gorge themselves on Chocolate Frogs, and you had a recipe for disaster. While the two toddlers were creating havoc, Sirius somehow managed to drop his wand. Unfortunately Harry happened to pick it up. Between the combined forces of Harry and Neville and Sirius's wand, the whole living room was soon in disarray. It didn't take long for the two toddlers to turn the furniture into stuffed animals. However, even that couldn't keep the two occupied for long. So the animals were soon animated and floating all over the room, except for one Lion that was content to chase Sirius around. The couples came home to find the once proud Sirius Black on his hands and knees begging two toddlers to relinquish his wand. All while a huge purple Lion chased him around the room and Harry gave him a beard to rival Dumbledore's. Of course Harry and Neville would respond with their favorite word every time Sirius would ask for his wand. They had taken to saying "No" every five seconds and giggling like mad every time they said it. Needless to say, it was a good hour before James, Frank, Lily and Alice could compose themselves enough to help their friend's misfortune.

Alice turned to her friend again, after they shared their laughter. "So explain the whole process to me again." Lily rolled her eyes, but started talking animatedly anyways.

"Ok, so we use this potion that I brewed to place a block over Nev's and Harry's power. Don't worry; there is no danger in the potion. The only reason people stopped using it was because of those hippies in the '60s. They thought it was like dude so uncool to like hamper our kid's power, man." Lily gave a poor impression of a 1960's hippie and Alice giggled. It was so easy to be herself around Lily. "The potion will leave a tiny fraction of their magic, so they will still have occasional bouts of normal accidental magic, namely whenever they feel scared, sad or frightened. I will for one love this. Harry has this nasty little habit of levitating himself out of his crib every time we try to put him to bed." Lily explained and Alice nodded.

"Oh, Nev's the same way. He detests baths. He just banishes the bathwater every time we try. It's getting to be a real hassle."

'It's ridiculous." Lily agreed. "So I figure it will be best for Nev and Harry if we just release their power a little at a time. This way they will gain more control over what they have, plus they won't be dependent on it like my darling husband."

"Yeah, I love Frank to death, but he uses magic for every little thing and it just bugs me to death! I refuse to have my son be that lazy… But just one more irrational concern… What if we forget to remove the block?"

"Honestly Alice!" Lily smiled at her friend. "Like you or I would forget about something like this? But," Lily conceded "if it will make you feel better, I put in a foolproof spell into the potion. It will release the rest of their power when the boys are almost 16, or roughly 15 years from today." Alice smiled at her friend.

"Ok Lils, I'll admit it. You've thought of everything." Lily smiled smugly.

"No need to comment on my brilliance, fair Alice, for I have my dear husband James to do that." The two laughed again. Filling two baby bottles with the purple potion, the two exchanged a determined glance. The smiled and clinked the bottles together, as they fed them to their sons.

"Bottoms up." Lily giggled as she said it. Alice just turned an inquiring eyebrow. "It's a muggle expression, Ali." Alice laughed.

"You and your muggle-ness." Alice said.

"You and your pureblooded-ness." Lily laughed, completing their shared joke. They always teased each other about their lack of knowledge. With a burp, Harry and Neville finished their bottles. The women returned the eager toddlers to the floor. Harry and Neville tried in vain to once again levitate the blocks. Lily and Alice exchanged a high five.

"Mission accomplished." Lily giggled again. Alice rolled her eyes.

"Muggle?" she asked, and Lily nodded. Alice rolled her eyes again before joining in with Lily's infectious giggling. The two exchanged a smile and sat down to play blocks with their sons… the muggle way.

-November 14, 1981-

Alice Longbottom looked around in disgust. The world had been rejoicing for the past fifteen days; however, you didn't have to look very hard to see Alice's red-rimmed eyes. The celebrations of the past fifteen days did nothing to dull the pain. She hadn't just lost a dear friend, no she had lost six. James and Lily were lost to that monster as his last victims. She wondered who else mourned for them; it seemed as if there was only celebration… No one remembered the great sacrifice of Lily and James for their baby son. And Harry…had gone to those horrible excuses for human beings, those filthy Muggles. It pained her to see her little Nev wander around the house looking for his best friend, his partner-in-crime. He was starting to withdraw into the little shell that only Harry could bring him out of. Alice felt like crying just at that. But no, it had only gotten worse. Sirius, the betrayer, was gone off to Azkaban. Alice still couldn't bear to think of it… She just couldn't believe that Sirius would do that… But what else could she do? He was gone without a trial. And Peter, not her favorite of the bunch, she had always thought he seemed a little distant, or aloof, especially around the children. Of course, Alice could harbor no ill thoughts against the dead. It was almost too much to think that Sirius would become a murderer. Alice had desperately hoped she was stuck in a dream…But no. Day after day, she kept waking up to find that her worst nightmare had come true. Perhaps the saddest story of the bunch was the walking dead that Remus Lupin had become. He was truly alone, or so he thought. Alice and Frank tried desperately to reach out to him, but he seemed to have lost the will to live. There was no telling what would become of their sweet Moony in the years to come. He seemed as if he would like nothing better to then to waste away into oblivion, which he was well on his way to doing. You hardly ever say him without red-rimmed bloodshot eyes, and a hangover from the night before. He had taken to Ogden's Fire Whiskey, it seemed to dull the pain, or make him forget. Either was better than living in reality. Alice dared not say it, but she would rather have Voldemort back, than face this nightmare.

Alice glanced at her husband. He hadn't slept in days, it was apparent in the bags under her eyes. He had been busy trying to sort through all of the death-eater cases. Unlike her, he wasn't on maternity leave from work. So her dear Frank had chosen to throw himself into his work, rather than face their personal hell. James and Frank had been partners. She knew they had been closer than brothers the past few months. It pained her to hear him cry himself to sleep when he came home after he thought she was asleep. He acted brave and strong, the perfect shoulder for her to cry on and try to sort herself through the nightmare. But she hadn't returned the favor… Some loyal wife she was. He had perhaps lost more than she had. James had been his first friend… The two had been playing together since they were children. They grew distant in Hogwarts, as they were in different years and different houses. But over the past few years, through all the Auror training they had renewed their brotherly bond. The Marauders had welcomed Frank into their circle. A circle that now lay in pieces. Alice turned to face her husband. She was going to be the wife she should've been fifteen days ago… She laid a comforting hand on his arm.

"Frank… I'm sorry." Her lip quivered as he turned to her with compassion in his eyes.

"For what dear? You haven't done anything… I should be the one who is sorry. I've rarely been home, just leaving you by yourself." He looked close to tears.

"No, Frank. You've been great… I haven't been the wife I should be. I promised to always be there for you, and lately I've just been taking and taking, and I haven't given you anything." Alice said softly with tears streaming down her face. A slight rustling in the bushes caused them both to jump. They turned face to face with black hoods and white masks.

"Ah…. Wasn't that sweet? Little Mrs. Longbottom caring for her husband." A woman mocked, as Alice recognized the voice in horror.

"Bellatrix!" She gasped.

"The one and the same…" She said scathingly. "Now what has the Potter brat done with the Dark Lord?"

"Your master, if you can call him that, is gone. He's defeated. Take your vermin and leave." Frank spit on the ground and stepped protectively in front of his wife.

"What? Afraid your wife can't hold her own against a few pathetic death eaters?" Another one ridiculed. Frank narrowed his eyes.

"Leave, you'll find nothing that you want here. Leave my wife alone." Bellatrix smiled maliciously through her mask.

"I don't think we will… You haven't told us where you hid the Dark Lord." Alice shoved her way past her husband.

"He's defeated…. By a one year old! How pathetic!" She spat out at the death eater. Bellatrix narrowed her eyes.

"I think you could use some lessons in manners, Alice, perhaps your husband too? Crucio!" a jet of light shot at Alice. Bellatrix held it for a second before letting Alice fall gracefully into her husband's arms.

"Now Frank, tell us where we will find the Dark Lord, or watch Alice suffer." Frank gazed into his wife's eyes.

"No Frank," she whispered. "Don't her win. Don't show your fear. I'll be fine."

"I'll never tell you… Your threats have no value to me. Do your worst to me." He glared at the death eaters. A determination not often found in Hufflepuffs showed brightly in his eyes. Despite her pain, Alice grinned, they would pay for the pain they had caused. She made an effort and stood up determinedly. Frank leaned over to whisper in her ear.

"Get yourself home, Ali. Protect Neville, I'll hold them off."

"No, Frank, my place is right here. Next to you." She said stubbornly. Despite the situation, Frank rolled his eyes.

"You always were stubborn." The two aurors prepared to duel, as the Death Eaters formed a tight circle around them.

"Awww…. Isn't that sweet?" Bellatrix smiled sweetly. "Don't worry about your kid, Frankie… He'll join you soon." Frank glared at the woman, no one threatened his son.

"You are starting to get on my nerves." With that he fired a curse at the woman, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Alice rapidly fire stunning spells in quick succession. Feeling the first Crutacious Curse hit him, he knew they were out numbered. But no was he going to give them the satisfaction of hearing his screams, little did he know that he would be silent for the rest of his life.

Alice watched in horror as her husband writhed painfully on the ground before her eyes. The split second of hesitation was all the death-eaters needed to get her under their control as well. She steeled herself against the pain. She had to hold out for Neville. She couldn't bear for her Neville and Lils' Harry to grow up without a mother. She was their last hope. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she heard the sounds of fighting as Aurors finally showed up. But as Alice lay trapped in her own mind, she knew they were too late. She would never wake up from this nightmare. The curse had trapped her soul in the depths of her mind, never to wake up and be her cheerful self again. The death-eaters had done what they sought out to do. They had destroyed her, and they had left two little boys motherless in a lonely world.

Author's Note: I got the idea for this today while I was reading this really good story called Becoming Neville by Jedi Rita today. My story won't be like hers… but it made me realize how cool of a character Neville is... But you should go check out her story if you get the chance. And it sure would be snazzy if you'd leave me a comment too!

-Sarak