Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine.
James Potter lay on a cold, hard floor, bloody, beaten, and crying. Though the tears he shed were not for himself, he wished more than anything they could be.
"Let - let her - go," he panted at his captor, one he had come to know quite well after fourteen years.
"Why would we do that? Hmm?" the masked Death Eater hissed in mockery. "She's so much fun to have around."
James glared through cracked and dirty glasses at the disgusting excuse for a wizard before him, his breathing hard as he shook with rage. He had just been forced to endure the scene of his wife being beaten... and worse, and was powerless to do anything, like so many times before. What he wouldn't give to have her back in his arms, safe and secure, happy.
"I'll do anything! Just let her go!" his scratchy voice seethed with fury as his emotions uncontrollably burst through, and James ended up in a fit of coughs that were agony to his chest.
The Death Eater merely sneered and kicked James hard in his groin, not believing what he had said, and leaving James alone in a dark cell for the infinith time.
James's already broken body scrunched up in pain as he let out a cry of anguish. He didn't know how many more wounds he could endure, and not to his body, but to his mind, his heart, hid Lily.
She was suffering more than he, James knew. They both knew of their son's death that fateful Halloween night, but while he at least knew his son's mother lived, she had been told James was dead, and so, with no reason to live, Lily wanted to die... she never put up too great of a fight, she wanted the result to be her end, and it tore James inside, it killed him.
James shifted his aching body and tried to sleep, to escape for only a moment. He closed his tear-filled eyes, trying to focus on something, anything, other than what he had just witnessed. The nightmarish images that flashed before his eyes were never of the pain and curses inflicted on himself, but rather the grotesque images of what happened to his love, when she wasn't locked away.
He'd give anything - anything - to be back there...
Lily had only just put baby Harry to bed, never an easy task, he being the son of a Marauder, and was waiting upstairs for James.
James walked through the house in Godric's Hollow, double-checking all the locks and security charms. Satisfied his family would be safe for the night, he headed up the stairs and into his small son's room.
He peered over the top of a crib to see Harry James trying desperately not to succumb to sleep now that his daddy was in the room. James smiled.
"Good night, son," he said softly. James leaned over and placed a hand on the baby's tummy and a kiss on his forehead.
"I love you." He pulled the light blanket back over the feet that had already kicked it off and ruffled the black mop of hair resembling his own as he looked into tired emerald eyes that mirrored the boy's mother's.
"I love you so much," James whispered, giving Harry another kiss.
James left the room, pausing at the door to turn off the lights and on the night light. He looked back at Harry, his flesh and blood, and his heart swelled with pride that the magnificent child was his own, James would always protect him, he knew he would.
Leaving the door slightly ajar, James silently tip-toed to his own room and slipped inside.
There she was, laying on the bed, his Lily Potter. Her eyes were shut, but James knew better, she wasn't asleep. She never slept until he laid down.
Silently and swiftly, James changed into a pair of pajama bottoms and climbed into bed next to his wife, feeling her body move as his weight shifted the mattress. He removed his glasses and wrapped his arms around her as she turned to face him, arms around his neck.
For a moment, they only looked deep into the other's eyes, saying all they needed to without words.
A soft "I love you" passed from both sets of lips as they came together in a blissful, chaste kiss. The simple gesture meant so much to Lily and James, it was how they ended every night, and began every day. It ended their fights and replenished their love, the pure kiss kept their marriage from crumbling apart during these dark times.
James awoke to a sharp, searing pain in his shoulder. "AH!"
"Get up, scum!"
He felt bulky hands harshly tie his own together and clutch the end of the rope like a leash. James's arms were jerked forward and his entire body smashed headlong into a wall, causing his glasses, kept only to see his wife's torment more vividly, to crack even more. His blurry vision faded in and out as his head spun.
Magically blindfolded, James was yanked unceremoniously out of the cell door and half-dragged down long corridors. Apparently, there was someone behind him as well as in front of, as, occasionally, James would be struck behind his knees or in his back, causing him to collapse. Whenever this happened, a brutal foot would vigorously kick James's stomach and chest until he forced himself to stand. Eventually, James was positive his ribs had done more than just bruise and his blood had spilt in more places than on the outside of his body.
She's in there. James knew she was. Over the years, James had figured out where they kept his precious Lily, and he always knew when he was passing the ever locked door, just as he knew, as he could feel in the pit of his gut, when they were about to hurt her more. It was how he had given her his stockerish impression at school, but he couldn't help it, he loved her and wanted to protect her from any and all harm, so he always came when he could.
James felt himself be shoved into a room and was deposited onto the floor.
"Excellent," a voice hissed, a voice that James knew. "Now leave."
The door shut with a snap, and James was magically suspended as the blindfold disappeared. The face James was eye level with resembled a snake's with catlike red eyes.
"James Potter," spat the mouth of Lord Voldemort.
"Tom Riddle," James seethed, pure loathing pouring out of his eyes at what stood there, at what killed his son.
Voldemort's eyes flared. "You dare call me by that name?!"
"Which one do you prefer? I can think of about twenty, you son of a bitch."
James found himself unable to utter a sound as Voldemort's wand then brandished him into the wall.
Voldemort sat on a throne-like chair, the only object in the room besides a slithering snake, adorned with the Dark Mark as a back.
"I'm not here to play games, Potter."
"I'm very pleased my Death Eaters have kept you alive all these years," he said, eyeing James's confused glance that swiftly turned back to glare.
"You see, Potter, fourteen years ago, on your supposed death, your Mudblood wife's supposed sacrifice did something I overlooked." Voldemort paused here, just to be sure he had James's rapt attention.
He jerked back his wand and James was forced to kneel before Voldemort's chair, the sitter upon which leaned down so James could feel his horrible breath on his face as the snake slithered around him, hungrily.
"Your son survived that night, Potter," he whispered.
The surge of emotion that shot through James's body was indescribable, his son was alive. Nothing else mattered, Harry was still here, living his life.
James was so happy, he wanted to cry, never before had he felt this way, so happy yet so relieved it made him feel almost vulnerable. There was nothing else worth caring for as long as Harry was safe.
"I, however," Voldemort continued his story, snapping James out of his blissful state, "was not so fortunate. My powers were vanquished that night, Potter, and I spent the better part of these past years attempting to regain them. My faithful Death Eaters have kept you alive knowing that I would one day return, and seek revenge." Voldemort's eyes filled with excitement at the thought of vengeance on the wizard before him.
"But I have a better use for you. You want the Mudblood to be turned loose and I want your son dead, your son wants to know his parents. There is a way for us all to get what we want."
James's full attention was focused on Voldemort. What was he saying?
"I will let you go, you will find Harry Potter, and kill him."
A sick feeling overcame James as he heard those words. Kill Harry. He loved Harry.
"You will stain this blade-" he pulled out a silver dagger, blade glinting in the dim light, with a handle shaped like a serpent's head with gleaming, red eyes, "-with his blood, and bring it back to me, as proof. I shall then release your wife, what happens to you will depend on how long you keep me waiting. After all, you did say anything."
James looked in horror at the dagger and the creature who held it, the thought of actually murdering his own flesh and blood still rambling throughout his mind. What kind of sick deal was this?
"I will even personally guara that during the time you are... out, the only time anyone will enter Mrs. Potter's chamber will be to leave food and water, otherwise, no one goes in, and she doesn't come out. What do you say, Potter?"
The silencing charm was lifted, but James was too dumbfounded to speak.
"Will you save the wife you love?" The word 'love' had been spat out like something disgusting. "Or will you spare the son you've never met?"
After a short pause, Voldemort continued. "Oh, and Potter, don't try anything unworthy." Voldemort pushed up the sleeve of his own robe and dragged the blade down his forearm, showing James that it left not the slightest mark.
He altered his hold on the dagger so the snake head handle was facing James, waiting for him to take it.
"What do you say, Potter?" Voldemort repeated in a whisper, face livid with anticipation, waiting for James to make his decision.
A/N: How was that? Thought I'd start off with a nice cliffy at the end.