Disclaimer:Anything that is in any way affiliated with Harry Potter (I'm talking characters, setting etc.) belongs to JKR. I just like to play with her ideas.

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If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks,

Then I'll follow you into the dark

– I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie

The Gate Keeper

1 November, 1981

James woke up suddenly. He was lying, spread eagled, on his back. The ground was cold and hard beneath him, and possibly a little bit dewy. All he could see was green: a blinding green flash of light that burnt into his corneas, as if he had been staring at the sun for too long. He attempted to sit up, feeling dizzy. Remembering the words of his wife, medi-witch extraordinaire, he sat with his head between his knees, breathing slowly.

James blinked for a few minutes and slowly, his sight returned. He felt nauseous in the pit of his stomach. He looked about, pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose in an attempt to see further, but all he could see was fog and the damp, wet grass beneath him.

Someone moaned, and he stood, moving blindly toward the noise on unsteady feet, hands stretched out in front of him.

"James?" a familiar voice cried through the dense white clouds, shrill with fear. "James!"

He moved swiftly towards the voice, and moments he later collided with a petite figure. Without hesitation, he scooped her up and wrapped her in his embrace, full of relief and love.

"Lily," he breathed. "Lily, you're here…"

His heart swelled with a great heavy sadness. He felt guilty to be glad that she was here with him during this: and terrible. The terrible knowledge hit him like a bludger to the heart… he had not saved her

"Peter," she croaked, sounding heart broken. "How could he, James? Our friend-" she sobbed. "Our friend…"

A lump formed in his throat, and anger welled at the thought of that – that man, that traitor. James was numb with disbelief – as if in a dream, he was lost, and his only instinct was to keep as tight a hold of her as possible. Kissing her hair, he suddenly realised someone was missing.

"Lily," he murmured, setting her down and gripping her shoulders urgently, bending forward so that they were eye to eye. "Lily, where's Harry?"

Lily sniffed, and shook her head hopelessly. "I don't know," she wailed, peering anxiously into the enveloping white mist. James felt his heart break all over again. Harry – his Harry, his son… how could he grow up now?

"I can't hear him! James – do you think we're really- gone?"

Hopefully, their son had survived, although James knew this hope was irrational beyond all others. Was it too much to ask, that at least, they could all be together through this?

But Harry did not seem to have followed them.

Small mercies, James' mind registered blankly. At least our son can live.

For now.

"Shhh," he silenced her soft crying with a gentle finger to her mouth. "Can you hear that?"

Surely enough the sound of footsteps echoed through the fog.

"Hello there!" a voice called, and a lantern appeared from out of the closest thick white cloud, followed immediately by a hand and some feet. A man emerged, in what seemed to be fishing gear, smiling encouragingly – and looking, in James' opinion, disgustingly cheerful considering the circumstances.

"Oh thank goodness!" he sighed in relief. "We heard you arrive, you see, but you appear to have missed the terminal – come along, then!"

Lily and James exchanged apprehensive looks. "Who are you?" Lily asked, her voice wary.

The man with the lantern gave them an encouraging look. "Me? Why, I am the Gate Keeper, Miss-"

"Mrs," James corrected firmly.

The Gate Keeper's smile didn't falter. "I do apologise! I'll explain everything on the way," he told them reassuringly. "I don't know about you, but I wouldn't wish to remain out in this dreaded mist longer than I needed to! Horrible weather we're having…"

He disappeared again. James cocked an eyebrow at Lily, questioningly, and took her hand firmly.

"Well, I say we follow him," he murmured.

Lily bit her lip, her eyes filled with uncertainty and a deep aching sadness that made James want to cry. "But what about-?"

But he couldn't cry. Not yet. Not until he knew they would both be safe. Until then, he'd never let her go. James kissed her forehead reassuringly. "Lily, Harry will be fine. I know it – Sirius will take care of him."

Lily scoffed. "Well that's comforting," she muttered sarcastically.

James struggled not to smile. That's my girl, he thought affectionately.

Somewhere in the distance, they could still hear the Gate Keeper talking to himself.

Lily sighed. "I suppose you're right," she murmured fondly, tweaking his nose. "Let's go, before we lose him."

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A/N: Welcome to Memento Mori! I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads and reviews this story. The response has been absolutely overwhelming - I've even picked up the 2007 Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Alternative Concept, the April 2008 Gold TML Eagle Award for a Lily/James story, and a 2008 Hourglass Award nomination for Best Drama (we'll see how that goes) - and it's all thanks to you guys!!

I hope you enjoy the story, and please remember- reviews (appreciations, constructive criticism and/or flames) are always welcome!