Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter; that would be J.K. Rowling.
Diagon Alley had been buzzing with excitement that morning, mostly from the children just returning from their previous term at Hogwarts.
On that beautiful day in May, Lily Potter woke with the sun in an empty bedroom, slightly disappointed. She knew she shouldn't have been. After all, there were many mornings such as these that she'd wake up alone- she'd done the same thing yesterday, as well as a few of the days prior to that. Her husband had just finished his auror training for the Ministry last year, and ever since then, there were more than a few times James had taken on assignments that took excessive amounts of time to complete; that meant he was home less often. She knew all this, but that didn't mean she had to like it. She only put up with it because James had dreamed of being an auror well before she met him.
This time, James had been gone for five days now, and had made sure at least Remus or Peter checked in on her once during those days. Unfortunately, both had busy jobs and weren't able to stay very long after they made sure she didn't go into premature labor or anything.
Meanwhile, Lily would find out about the details of James' assignment after he had completed it, as usual, but she knew it somehow involved Lord Voldemort and his despicable supporters. These days, the dark lord was the focal point of the Ministry. It worried her each day that that was the day he wouldn't return home safe, and the only comfort she got was the fact that Sirius worked alongside James as his partner. Knowing the two all her Hogwarts life, Lily was somewhat confident that those two together would be hard advisories to face.
Not wanting to spend the day couped up in her home again- like she did for the past week- Lily got up and ate breakfast, showered, and fixed herself up. Unless Dumbledore summoned her to an Order meeting, Lily planned on spending her day shopping down at Diagon Alley. The odds of any summon were slim to none, however, as James made it perfectly clear to Dumbledore that he didn't want her in any perilous situation for the time being (nowadays, the Order was keyed in on action rather than strategy, so the option of Lily staying out of dueling fire and keep to the Order was very unlikely). Lily had argued indignantly, but her heart hadn't been in it, for inwardly, she agreed with him; she didn't want to put her baby at risk.
With a smile, Lily looked down at her bulging belly, softly caressing it. Another wave of impatience and anxiety swept through her. She was seven and a half months into her pregnancy, and it was obvious. When the baby came, James had promised to take a leave of absence to spend some well-earned time with them. She couldn't wait.
After she was ready, Lily scribbled a quick note to Remus, and then to Peter, so neither worried about her absence should they show up that day. Then, she grabbed her cloak and put it around her shoulders before apparating away. It was the perfect chance to purchase the remaining items still missing from her son's bedroom.
She ended up spending only half her day out; it was around noon when she tired herself out and decided to head back home. It was a productive trip, in any case. The toys for her son had just ran up a pretty high bill, not to mention the new maternity robes she purchased. Most of the ones in her closet were for the winter, and with James gone so frequently nowadays, those purchases were something of a treat to herself.
Apparating back into the living room, Lily flicked her wand and soon all the bags she had acquired over the past few hours had gone to their proper place. It was only then that she took a good look at her surroundings. Instantly, a chill shot through her.
It was a disaster.
Chairs were knocked over; pictures on the ground with the framework shattered all around; the muggle television set James had eagerly purchased last year was blown to smithereens. There was nothing in the room that had been spared destruction.
Lily's green eyes slowly dragged back and forth, wary and panicked. Her grip on her wand tightened; her knuckles were white. Springing in to action, she set off to write another note to Remus, this time asking him to come over straight away. Something wasn't right. Who would do this?
"Voldemort," she whispered to herself, unconsciously shielding her stomach while scribbling almost illegibly.
"Not quite," an unfamiliar voice snarled behind her. Lily's shoulders tensed, and without hesitation, she flew to the ground, mindful of her protruding belly, just barely dodging a hex. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked up into the cold eyes of a death eater with his wand pointed menacingly down at her.
"Expelliarmus!" she shouted, cursing to herself when the man successfully dodged it. In that moment's time his attention strayed, she had pulled over to hide behind her couch.
"Don't make this any harder than it has to be, Mrs. Potter," the death eater said, banishing the couch with his wand.
"Immobulous!" she cried out quickly.
He blocked it and shouted another curse. Lily moved quickly, but the gold beam still hit her left arm, ripping the fabric of her robes; a huge gash stretched across her forearm. She cried out in pain, but hurriedly called out the jelly-leg jinx, hitting him straight on.
"What do you want!?" she screamed, rushing into the kitchen just as a large piece of the wall blew up behind her, cradling her arm in front of her stomach. "Protego," she whispered, turning her wand to herself, shielding her body.
"I want you, Lily Potter, to die," his deep voice answered in a matter-of-fact tone. In a moment's time, he slowly walked into the kitchen, his legs still wiggling slightly, finding Lily glaring defiantly at him.
"I've heard that since Hogwarts," she snapped. "Good luck with that," she said before the death eater barked out the Cruciatus curse. "PROTEGO!" she screamed out again, her wand still pointed towards her. It protected her significantly, but the pain was still there. Lily let out a strangled gurgle, the hand with her wand gripping the counter top behind her to keep her steady.
She had to stop this. Her baby. This was endangering her baby. No!
"L-Levicorpus," she forced out the first spell that came to mind after pushing herself from the counter and angrily pointing her wand at him.
At once, the death eater's ankles buckled together, and soon his feet were above his head, leaving him to dangle upside down, thrashing wildly about. His wand fell to the floor, just out of his grasp.
Gasping for breath, Lily rushed past him- summoning his wand as she did so- and ran back into her ruined living room. She forced herself to calm down enough to apparate away, going to the one person she felt safest with.
Lily rushed down the familiar vandalized alleyway, her eyes focused solely on the telephone booth located at the end. Quickly, she dialed the five-digit number and soon the voice of a secretary filled the small quarters.
"Lily Potter," she explained at once, paranoia creeping through her tone. "I-I'm here to see James Potter."
"Thank you," the voice stated cordially as a visitor's pass appeared to Lily, "Please stop by the security desk when you've entered the Ministry."
The phone booth lowered to the ground and Lily occupied her time rubbing her hand back and forth across her belly, biting her lip in anxiety. Her arm was throbbing, as well as her head, but she didn't care. She had to see James.
As soon as the phone booth entered the lobby of the Ministry, Lily bolted out, receiving more than a few odd stares at her state of condition. She barely took anything into account as she rushed past the large fountain in the center of the room and over to the security desk where a relatively young-looking wizard sat.
She handed him her wand, her eyes darting around for any sign of a familiar face.
"What's your business here today?" the man asked her. Lily looked back at him, noticing him eying the side of her face with slight concern.
"I need to see James Potter," she quickly explained. But then, she hesitated, "He...do you know if he's in?"
"Mr. Potter?" the man said, frowning. "I'm sorry, ma'am. The Auror Headquarters is restricted today."
Lily was quickly nearing hysteria as tears instantly sprung to her eyes, stunning the man. "P-please, you've got to let me in. It's im-important I see James Potter...right now. I need..." she broke off, quivering and nervously fiddling with the fabric of her robes. She never did feel comfortable being in the Ministry of Magic; their initial response to the appearance of Lord Voldemort lowered her confidence of them.
"I need to see James," she cried, literally as tears began to drop down her cheeks. The man grew even more uncomfortable at the sight of her tears.
"I-I'm sorry, ma'am," he apologized, sounding more frantic as he tried to get her to stop crying. "The Minister was very clear that the Headquarters weren't to have any visitors today."
"You don't understand," Lily gasped out, her arms cradling her stomach as she leaned on the counter. "I need to see him, please." The sound of her heartbeat filled her ears at the thought of what she'd been through not an hour ago.
The man wouldn't relent, but his words barely registered to her.
"Ma'am...ma'am, are you alright?"
"Do you need to sit down, Miss?"
"James," she whispered, squeezing her eyes shut.
Her tensed at the feeling of someone's hands resting on her shoulders. Her eyes snapped open and she whipped around, meeting a familiar, handsome face.
"Is it the baby?" Sirius Black was quick to ask, his face contorted into one of immense worry once spotting her tears. He paused, catching sight of something just to the side of her eyes. "What the...hell?" he whispered to himself, his hand going up to push some of her mussed hair behind her ears. A large, bloody gash was revealed.
Lily choked back a sob and clung to Sirius, "I have to see James, Siri."
Sirius' eyebrows were raised, and slowly his arms settled safely around her.
"Sir," the man behind the counter chimed in hesitantly. "The Minister was very explicit..."
Lily's form shook violently, making up Sirius' mind at once. Since when did he ever listen to rules? He nodded to the security guard and guided Lily back to the lobby. She sniffled, clinging to him tighter.
"I have to see James," she whispered.
"Don't worry, sweetheart," Sirius murmured to her, glancing around at all the people as he guided her to a secluded corner. He looked suspiciously about once more until he was satisfied, then turned back to look at Lily. "I need you to try and stay quiet." Giving her a reassuring smile, he tapped Lily on the top of her head with his wand, casting her form invisible.
"Hold my hand, Lily," he whispered to her. Once she did as requested, Sirius casually walked back to the security desk. He gave the guard his wand. The guy looked curious, but Sirius nor he said anything about Lily.
"Thank you, Mr. Black," he nodded. Sirius took his wand back, giving him his usual grin.
Soon, Sirius had led Lily to an elevator. Once they were completely alone, Sirius squeezed her invisible hand and felt her cling to him again, still shaking and now sobbing soundly again.
"Is Harry alright?" Sirius asked her quietly, gripping her tightly.
"Y-yes, I think so," came her tearful answer.
The only answer was a strangled, "James."
Sirius sighed, but regained composure when an illuminated '2' appeared on the wall and the elevator doors opened. He led her down a corridor of closed doors before opening one to reveal a large room of cubicles.
"This way," he muttered, barely moving his lips, turning a few corners.
They walked clear across the room, towards secluded cubicle against a wall.
It was empty.
"Shit," he swore, looking around. Sighing, he gently pushed her into the small space, tapping her head again with his wand. Lily appeared. He pressed her slowly down into the chair in front of the desk as he reached over and grabbed a large handful of tissues and shoved them into her hands. "Just..." he stood back up, eyes wandering around again, "just stay here...stay."
Lily sniffled into the wand of tissues and glared up at his order; where was she going to go? But he didn't notice, instead disappearing to walk around the room, leaving Lily to her thoughts.
Of course, she'd been attacked by Voldemort before, and sure it had been scary. But she had never reacted so hysterically before. Then again, she hadn't been pregnant at the time of the attack before; her baby had never been in such danger. And the hormones.
Merlin's beard, where the hell is he? Sirius thought to himself, poking his head in every nook and cranny he could find. He checked the corridor, then the bunks (where they'd been sleeping for the past few days), and finally back in the headquarters.
"Alright, Black?" Frank Longbottom asked, walking past with a clipboard in hand. "Loose something?"
"Hullo, Frank," Sirius supplied absently. "See James lately?"
"Yeah. He's in the conference room. Crouch called a meeting bout ten minutes into your lunch break."
Sirius hesitated. "Thanks." Should he really interrupt the meeting?
Walking back, the sound of Lily's choked sobs gradually filled his ears. He sighed for the umpteenth time that day. Again, she made up his mind without speaking a word.
He took a sharp turn and resolutely strode over to the conference room. He knocked and made his way in. Six of them were seated around a long elliptical desk in the middle of the small room- Crouch, Bones, Shelding, Brooks, Alderman, and finally James. All were dressed in black robes and were surrounding a moving map of the city. James was farthest away, sitting casually with one arm draped behind his chair. He, like everyone else, looked up when Sirius entered. His mouth quirked into a smile of greeting.
"Mr. Black," Crouch acknowledged.
"Hi," Sirius greeted shortly. He wasn't comfortable with Lily out there alone when any of his colleagues could peak over the cubicle wall and find her there. "Hey, can I steal Pr-James away for a bit?"
James looked over at Crouch, who looked over at him. "Yeah, go ahead; we're just wrapping up anyways." James nodded and walked out with Sirius.
"Blimey, Crouch is a dullard," James remarked quietly right after they exited. "Anyways, did you bring me back any lunch?" He looked over and frowned at Sirius' empty hands.
Sirius shook his head, his face uncharacteristically grim. "Come on," he said, "Something's wrong."
James' frowned deepened. "Another attack?"
Sirius didn't reply, wondering the same thing himself. "Just come on," he murmured, walking back over to James' desk.
James' heart skipped a beat moments before he reached his cubicle, hearing soft cries. Before he saw her, he knew his wife was sitting in his desk chair.
"Lily!" he exclaimed, shocked at the scene before him. His wife was a wreck, two wounds showing from what he could see. Rushing forward, he embraced her.
Sirius cast a quick charm to seal the noise within the cubicle.
"James," she cried out, relieved.
"Lily," he repeated, softer, running a hand through his hair. "Are you alright? Harry?" His hand lowered to her stomach.
"F-fine," she struggled to answer, significantly calmer.
"Your head...arm...what happened? Sirius?" James quickly looked up to Sirius, who in turn shrugged.
"I dunno, mate. She wouldn't tell me anything; she wanted to see you."
"A-attack," Lily gasped out, taking deep breaths. "James...I-I had t-to see you."
James' grip on her tightened, whispering soothing nonsense in her ear. "Can you fix her cuts, Padfoot?" he asked.
"I dunno, Prongs," Sirius replied uneasily. "You know how I am with healing charms..."
"Get Frank, would you?" James' voice cracked from worry.
Sirius didn't reply, but quickly obliged.
"What happened, love?" James whispered.
Lily cleared her throat, the last of her sobs subsiding, though her eyes were still watery and very swollen. "I went shopping today in Diagon Alley. And when I got back, a-a Death Eater was there." His grip on her was almost painfully tight. "We dueled...I left him dangling upside down in our kitchen."
James half coughed/half laughed, not knowing whether to be more worried about, or proud of, his wife. "Oh Merlin," he whispered into her hair, pressing a kiss up against her head. "I'm sorry, Lily. I-I should have-"
"Lily?" Frank brought their attention to him. Sirius was by his side. "Jeez, those are some nasty wounds."
"Well, can you fix them, Longbottom?" Sirius pressed.
"Yeah, sure," he answered, bringing his wand out and going right to work.
"Death Eaters, Padfoot," James looked up at him, the lights catching wired-frames for a moment. "One of them attacked her at our home."
Sirius swore loudly. "You're sure the baby's alright?"
Frank did more spells and looked over at Sirius. "The baby's alright," he assured them. He looked back at Lily, smiling sympathetically, "So are you."
"Thanks, Frank," James said, running his hand through Lily's hair absently, who still clung to him.
"No problem...just don't let Crouch see her here."
James nodded. "Could you take a team over to my house...there might be a Death Eater around there."
Frank nodded. "Wanna come, Sirius?"
"Yeah," he replied. After giving Lily a kiss on the forehead, Sirius was gone, Frank in tow, leaving the couple alone.
"Are you alright now?" James asked, summoning another chair over to him.
Lily sighed. "I think so." She looked down at the soggy tissues in her hand. "I'm sorry...I've been through worse and wasn't half as bad afterwards." She sighed. "It's just...Harry-"
James silenced her with a passionate kiss, his hands tangled in her wild hair. She gratefully wrapped her arms around him and was on his lap with James' assistance.
"I missed you," he whispered when they finally broke for air.
"I missed you, too," she whispered back, her hand resting on his cheek.
His eyes were brighter than usual. "Lily...I...thinking about what might have happened..." He sighed, shaking his head.
"Can you..." Lily broke off, chewing on her lip.
James gently tilted her chin up to meet her gaze again. "What, Lily?"
"Do you...have to stay?" she asked. "I just really want you at home with me. These last five days have been hell, James."
"No, I don't have to stay," James assured her, beginning to stroke her stomach. "And if I do...well, to hell with the Ministry."
Lily turned and kissed him again. "Thank you, James."
"Mmm," was his reply. Then, after a pause, he said, "It's ironic, isn't it?"
"The same spell I used on Sniv- er, Snape- back in fifth year was the one that saved you today." He smiled wryly, "What's more: Snape was the one who came up with the spell to begin with."
Lily buried her face in the crook of James' neck, kissing the skin there. "Well, maybe we should send him a fruit basket."
A/N: Hey, hope you liked this quick one-shot. And thank you, dark-hearted rose, I can't believe I didn't even think of that; it's been taken care of.
Don't kill me for not updating The Airplane- the next chapter is halfway written.