Title In This End
Author masterofmercury
Pairing JP/HP, small dose of RL/NT
Rating R
Warning incest, coercion
Summary In the end of things, James had Harry to hold on to
Disclaimer JKR owns all
A/N Written for lj comm "hpsummersmut" Post-HBP.
Thank you, my wonderful beta, Punkheid. Without you, this fic will never be finished.

I

It started with Harry's and Voldemort's wands connecting, Remus had explained to him in small words to allow his foggy brain to digest this information more easily. The wands connected, and, out of the bright light, Voldemort's victims had emerged. James was amongst them. And when the wands disconnected, there was an explosion that knocked everyone unconscious.

There was no explanation of how James had become merged with Tonks' body. Arthur, who was standing nearest to Tonks before the explosion, said that James' spirit was knocked off balance and disappeared in Tonks' direction.

James was just glad that he could control this body.

II

James had known that he wouldn't survive the attack at Godric's Hollow. He couldn't have, with Voldemort personally seeing to it. He hadn't had much hope, but he had prayed for Lily and Harry. His life he could spare, but theirs were too loved to be lost.

True, he was devastated that Lily wasn't so lucky as to have a second chance; however, James was too selfish to refuse the chance to be alive once again.

The point of living was to fully enjoy it, Sirius had once said, and James could deny neither the truth nor the appeal of that statement.

III

Stifling. James wanted to be out of this skin.

When he complained that it wasn't right to be in a woman's body, no one answered. Not even Remus. Remus' eyes were clouded with unreadable emotions, but he smiled when he told James that Tonks was a metamorphmagus and James could easily change his appearance. James was overjoyed, so overjoyed that he didn't care to ask about the pain he saw following each of Remus' steps.

Remus told him afterwards that he looked younger than he should be, but this face was the face James saw in the mirror every morning.

IV

Remus always looked at him in such yearning that it was painful to look back. James had heard the gossip, the hushed conversation behind closed doors when they didn't know he was on the other side. He had heard of the budding relationship between Remus and the owner of this body he had unknowingly possessed.

Was he guilty of doing this to Remus? A part of him said yes, the other mocked his conscience. It was not directly his fault, he told himself. But, sometimes, he wavered.

Then he saw Harry, and James' desire to be alive overpowered everything else.

V

Once in a while, guilt would eat at James, and he would turn into Tonks.

During those times, Remus wouldn't say anything, but his breath hitched up a beat when James looked into his eyes and James knew that there's something about her that Remus regretted letting go. James didn't feel guilty for taking that from him, or for taking this body from Tonks, because he had Harry. Harry, solid and strong and his, all his, the son whom he had thought he would never see again.

Because of Harry, he wanted to be selfish and stay. Tonks would have to remain gone.

VI

Harry had the eyes of his Lily, as beautiful and as easy to fall in love with, but he had James' face.

They were nearly identical in appearance, and replicas of each other in passion.

A small forbidden something that had slowly bloomed, hidden, unobserved, was now on the surface. James let himself fantasise, and encouraged Harry to accept. The progress was slow and agonising, and James felt helpless, unable to stop himself.

Lingering fingers would stay just a second more on his son's waist than they had before, a kiss would move nearer to the mouth, and sometimes Harry would allow him to cuddle closer.

VII

A touch replaced unspoken words, unspoken requests.

James memorised it all.

A fear was ignited inside his heart, for no apparent reason, and it made his greed become tenfold stronger. He couldn't stop touching, couldn't stop himself from reaching out to Harry and making sure that it was him that Harry paid attention to. He wanted to have every minute of Harry's time.

It was sickness, a craving like none he had ever had before. But he didn't hate it.

James made sure that Harry had that also, because he had no other choice.

He made Harry know its poison too.

VIII

It was all fogged up, the mirror, James noted with a sense of detachment. James didn't know why he registered the fact, but he preferred it this way. With the fog clogging up the mirror, it revealed less. Less telling of their similarities, fewer things to see and think about.

He didn't want to see. This way, he could convince himself that the person he was fucking was not his own son, he could lie to himself that he didn't enjoy it, he wouldn't have to face the humiliation of seeing himself in such abandon, such desperation.

The fogged up mirror hid everything.

IX

Even when he had Harry in his arms, when they were nibbling and teasing and worshipping each other, the act that used to energise him and ground him, he could still feel the slow flow of power seeping out of his core, lingering and longing like broken up lovers.

James' soul was unstable and was slowly dispersed, that was Remus' explanation after a through research.

It hurt to know that his time had to come to an end. He felt the Call from beyond the abyss, gentle yet demanding.

Unfathomable remorse moved like a vengeful snake slithering its way to his heart, and gleefully coiled there.

X

The lingering touch of lips on lips and roaming hands mapping his body was pronounced and cemented in his memory. The taste and scent of Harry enveloped him, protecting him from forgetting the more important part – the love they shared, short-lived and bright and overwhelmingly beautiful.

James was never going to forget, even in the deepest nothingness and the numbing solitary of death. James had made sure that Harry would never forget either.

So when the last breath was squeezed out of him and the darkness won over, James let go.

In this end, death didn't look so frightful.

end