Chapter 34: For the Love of Her Son
Lily and James took Harry home a week after he was born. Safe within the walls of St. Mungo's they had striven to enjoy the only peace they would have for a very long time. But their joy was always overclouded by the knowledge that once they left the protection of the hospital Voldemort would be waiting. Remus and Sirius had spent the week they were in the hospital placing every protection spell they could think of on their home, all in a vain hope that it would some how protect the small boy who was already a marked man. True to his word, James had only told Sirius the full prophecy, and the change this brought over the normally joyful and happy man was astounding to those who knew him. He was not going to let anyone harm those he loved without a fight.
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Lily had barely stepped in the door when a large black dog came bounding up to her, barking madly at the sight of the small bundle in her arms.
"Sirius!" She cried, laughing. "Let me breath!"
He barked once more, than he was once more a man, hugging both her and Harry tightly in greeting.
"Welcome home, Lils. It is good to see you up and about." Then he scooped Harry out of her arms. "And now it is time that we begin indoctrinating him in the art of making mischief."
"Sirius!" But he was already gone, happily chattering away to the boy in his arms.
Lily rolled her eyes at her husband's best friend, then let them be.
There would be far few days that would happy in their lives.
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Dumbledore had absolutely forbidden Lily and James from participating in any Order business, so they were enjoying a large cup of hot cocoa one cold February day when Sirius stumbled in, cuts and bruises covering his arms and face. James was on his feet in an instant.
"Padfoot, what happened!"
Lily was there, looking pleadingly into his face. But Sirius simply shook his head, and she collapsed to the floor, tears running down her face.
"She was gone by the time we got there."
"I… I don't know. Voldemort left him a note. Said it was Moony's fault that Gwen was dead, that if he had simply joined the right side she would still be alive."
James started pacing up and down the room, his wand clenched tightly in his fist.
"We have to find him."
"I tried to."
"Well we'll just have to bloody try harder!"
"Damn it James, I did! I told you she was dead when we got there. I didn't get like this from fighting bloody Death Eaters!"
"He wasn't exactly acting like himself."
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Harry's first birthday was a subdued affair. Remus came for a few minutes, left a crudely wrapped present for Harry, then hastily left. He had been refusing to be in company since Gwen.
Even Peter was acting oddly. Though truth be told he had been odd ever since Harry had been born. And he wasn't around very much. James and Sirius thought he had finally found himself a girl, and just didn't want to tell them about it. But Lily wondered.
They had planned to spend the day with James' parents, but Remus' appearance had made them rather late in setting out, as James had to convince Lily to stop crying before they could leave.
They realized later how lucky this was.
"Mate, why is it taking so long for them to answer the door?"
Sirius, James and Lily had been standing outside the door for a good five minutes, Sirius pounding on the door to let them in.
"Padfoot, stay with Lily and Harry."
"You going to use the…"
And James was gone. Lily rounded on the man standing next to her.
"What is going on Sirius Black!"
"Calm down, Lils. James is just going to get in using this tunnel he and I dug back when we were kids."
"Yeah, for when we wanted to sneak out and didn't fancy getting caught."
"But where are his parents?"
"I'm sure they just slept in or something. Don't worry, Lils. It's a holiday. Nothing bad is going to happen today."
"Sirius, I lost me parents on Christmas, remember?"
Luckily for Sirius, James chose that moment to open the door.
"Finally, mate. Took you…"
But he trailed off, looking at the glint of steel flashing in James' eyes.
"We have to get out of here. Now."
"But Prongs, what about your parents?"
James didn't answer, but as he reached out to wrap his arms around Lily and Harry he looked up at his best friend. And just before James apparated away, Sirius could have sworn he saw a single solitary tear rolling down James' cheek.
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The next month slowly crept past. Lily and James had barricaded themselves in their home, and only the Marauders and Shannyn were allowed in. James hated such precautions, but Dumbledore had recently come to believe that there was a spy in the Order, and thought it best.
Remus still hadn't recovered. No matter what they told him he still blamed himself for Gwen's death. He said that she would still be alive if he wasn't a werewolf, and that he had been right all along. He claimed it wasn't safe for him to be with anyone, and he would never love again. He seemed to think that even his friends were in danger. As the months had passed since he lost her, he came over less and less, as if wanting to distance himself from them.
Lily understood, she knew what it was like to lose someone you love, and so she didn't push him. She never realized that Sirius thought there was a much different reason that Remus was choosing to stay away.
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It was early October, and Lily was sitting in front of the fire, Harry playing happily on the floor while she was buried in a veritable mountain of books. They had decided to use a Fidelius charm to try and protect their son. It was a last resort, as things had been slowly deteriorating over the last year. And Lily didn't want anymore of those she cared about to die trying to protect her. But the charm was extremely difficult, it would take weeks to get everything ready, and she couldn't afford to make a mistake.
Her study was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Her body tense, she cast a disillusionment charm on Harry. They had been hiding him under James' invisibility cloak whenever someone came by, but Dumbledore had asked to borrow it last week and had yet to return it.
Her precautions were unnecessary. When she opened the door it was to see Shannyn on the step, inexplicably beaming. Extremely grateful that it was only Shannyn, Lily pulled her best friend in and gave her a fierce hug.
"Shann, it is so good to see you. Come in and tell me how everyone is." Shannyn's smile faltered.
"Not that good. But what can be expected. Sirius hasn't laughed in weeks, I haven't seen Remus in almost a month, and Peter has seemed awfully anxious about something." She shook her head, as if ridding herself of these painful thoughts. "But that isn't why I came by. I want to give you some good news for a change."
"Yes." She beamed at Lily. "Sirius proposed last night!"
"And what did you say?"
Shannyn didn't answer. Instead, she simply held her hand up so that Lily could see the sparkling new ring.
It was several hysterical minutes before the girls had calmed down enough to make their way to the couch and sit down. Lily quickly removed the spell on her son and scooped him in to her lap, then once more turned to her best friend.
"Tell me everything! How did he ask you? And how come I didn't know about this before?"
"He said that he was so nervous he didn't want anyone to know before in case he chickened out." Lily laughed.
"Sirius, chickening out. Like that would ever happen."
"Lily, there's more." Shannyn looked suddenly nervous. "I'm pregnant."
"Does Sirius know?"
"Are you going to tell him?"
"Not yet. He has been so worried recently, I don't want to give him something else to worry about."
Lily nodded her understanding, but her mind was reeling. They hadn't told Shannyn what spell they intended to cast, and so she didn't know that Sirius had agreed to be their secret keeper. Lily knew that even if he knew he was going to be a father he would still do this for them, but that didn't mean it was right. She didn't know how she could put Sirius in such danger when he had a pregnant fiancé waiting for him. Now she just had to find a way to convince James to use someone else without telling him about Shannyn.
That should be interesting.
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It was several weeks later that Peter and Sirius showed up to perform the charm. Lily had only succeeded in part of her plan. Sirius wasn't going to be their secret keeper, but he had insisted that no one knew they had changed plans. He said if he couldn't help by keeping their secret he would help by protecting the one that was going to instead.
And so that night Lily performed the Fidelius charm, confident that her family would finally be safe.
For Peter would never betray them.
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Unfortunately, he already had
But Lily wouldn't realize this until she heard the rush of oncoming death as she stood between the madman in front of her and her son. She knew it was hopeless, that Voldemort would simply kill Harry after he had disposed of her. But if her son was going to die, then she was going to be there to greet him when he did. She would not live without the two people she loved most in her life. Life without love would be no life at all.
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It took thirteen years for Shannyn to learn that Sirius hadn't betrayed her best friend. When she learned of his apparent betrayal she had fled, thinking never to return. And even after she learned the truth, she hesitated. She didn't know how he could forgive her for not trusting him. For not telling him about their son. Before she had made up her mind to return, she heard that Sirius had died protecting young Harry. And so Shannyn mourned the only man she had ever loved, and told her young son the stories of his brave father.
And when Evan was eighteen years old, he finally asked her to do the impossible. He wanted to go back, to see if there was anyone left from his mother's old life.
It was a stormy day in July when they stood on the steps of a tall and lopsided home. A sign in front called it "The Burrow". Shannyn had heard that since his recent defeat of Voldemort Harry Potter had been living with his best friend's family, and so she had come to finally find her godson. Slowly, she raised her hand and knocked on the door.
A tall man opened the door, and Shannyn stared at him. It took her several long minutes to realize that it wasn't James who was standing in front of her.
"Can I help you?" He finally asked, and it was only then she saw his eyes, Lily's eyes.
"I've come to find you."
It nearly broke her heart when the young man tensed and raised a wand at her. His life had been so broken and miserable that he couldn't fathom anyone coming to find him that didn't mean him harm. Ignoring the wand he had trained on her, she continued.
"By name is Shannyn, and your mother was my best friend."
Slowly the wand came down.
"But then, that means that you're my…"
"Yes, I'm your godmother."
She barely had time to register the shock in his green eyes before he had taken a step forward and wrapped her in a large hug. Tears ran silently down her face.
"I'm so sorry I never came before, but… I couldn't face it. And with Sirius…"
Harry stepped back from her.
"What about Sirius?"
It was then that Harry realized for the first time that she wasn't alone. A man was hiding in the shadows behind her. But he had stirred uneasily at the mention of Sirius' name.
"I couldn't stand to face my fiancé after I had believed that he…"
"You were engaged?" Harry interrupted her.
She nodded, then slowly reached back and drew the man into the light. And Harry drew in a sharp breath. For as much as he was the spitting image of his own father, the boy in front of him looked just like Sirius.
"I'd like you to meet my son, Evan James Black."
Harry let out a strangled cry, and then launched himself at the son of his father's best friend. And there, in the outskirts of Ottery St. Catchpole, a tortured young man finally found the family he thought he had lost, and the sons of James and Sirius embraced each other in memory of their fathers.
And Shannyn never thought of leaving again.
A/N: So I can't find a good way to separate scenes, hopefully it should make sense.
So my story has finally come to an end. I hope you enjoyed it. I'd like to thank all of you who reviewed, as it was very nice and encouraging to hear your feedback. I'll be back when I think of another story to write.