A Change of Heart
(A LEP/SS story)
By Silvain Raven Marie Star
Rating- PG-13, for Sirius Black's bad mouth and knowledge of swearwords.
Warnings- possible DH Spoilers, AU plot, character death, possible OOCness, swearing
Summary- What if Voldemort had been feeling a tad merciful, and gave James an offer to join him, so that Harry- instead of being killed- could be kept under close watch, made sure he would serve Voldemort instead of being a threat to him- but Lily wasn't included in the offer of protection? And what if Severus hadn't joined the Death Eaters, instead trying to fix his friendship with Lily? James sacrifices himself- for Lily, and for the principles he's always stood for, Voldemort's attempt to kill Lily backfires, and Lily turns to her best friend, Severus, for comfort.
Reckless, As Always
Severus and Lily left the headmaster's office, both deep in thought. They'd decided they both needed a walk before going anywhere, so they headed towards the grounds in silence, until Harry decided a change of pace was in order- and announced this by babbling and reaching out to Severus. Both adults looked up at each other in slight shock and stopped walking a short ways from the main entrance, since both had subconsciously assumed Harry would've fallen asleep by now. After a moment, Lily laughed a little.
"Looks like he wants you to carry him for a bit, Sev," she said with a slight smile- little things like this were enough to get a smile for a moment, even when she was trying very, very hard not to cry. Severus looked at her with something like fear in his eyes- most wouldn't see it, but she could read him better than anyone, save perhaps Dumbledore. She smiled reassuringly as she held Harry out towards him. "Okay, I've told you how to hold him before, Severus- don't act like you don't know what you're doing, for crying out loud….. You babysit the boy, don't pretend you know nothing about how to hold a one-year-old, for Merlin's sake."
"Lily, I do not babysit him, I make sure Black doesn't drop him down the stairs, or mentally corrupt him, or take him on that motorcycle of his. There's a difference, considering I've only had to hold him when Black becomes a hazard to the brat…" Severus objected. "And at that point, how I hold him doesn't matter, as long as he's safe from the antics of that…." Severus sneered, "that madman… How you've ever put up with him is beyond me… I only deal with him when I absolutely have to."
"Look, just…. Let him sit on your hip, one arm around him, and make sure he doesn't slide off," Lily explained. Severus grumbled a little, but did as she said, and they started walking again, both retreating back into their own thoughts. After a while, they stopped walking, right by the edge of the lake. They stood there for awhile, in silence, as they thought out what they would do next.
Severus sighed, sounding a bit unsure of what to do next. "Where to, Lily? What do you want to do now?" he wondered, still sounding uncharacteristically worried. Lily turned to him, a firm determination replacing the sadness in her eyes.
"Move on, like Dumbledore said. First things first, we go get James' body. He needs a proper burial. Then… I'll need to find somewhere to stay, and probably buy a new wand, unless we can find mine, and it wasn't destroyed along with everything else. From there, I'll just… take life one day at a time, you know? Until I can get a proper… I dunno, bearing, a…. hold in the world? I can't explain it, I just know I feel like I'm drifting at sea or something, I just feel really lost… Once I can get past that lost feeling, basically…" Lily shook her head, sighing. "I'm just rambling, aren't I? I'm not entirely sure what I mean, myself…" she mumbled.
"His body. Okay, good place to start from…. As for someplace to stay…. I have an extra room, if you'd like it," Severus offered. Lily smiled warmly at him, a real, proper smile, with barely any hint of the sadness her face had shown since she Apparated into his house.
"Maybe… Thank you for the offer, either way…" she said. "Anyway… Let's go back to the house, we can walk out to Hogsmeade and Apparate from there. I don't want James' body lying there any longer than necessary…."
Severus nodded, frowning slightly as he looked down at Harry. "Perhaps you should take him when we Apparate? I'm sure you'd kill me if something happened because didn't keep my grip, and you Apparated with him when you were in no state to be Apparating to begin with…" he trailed off, looking at Lily almost hopefully. She nodded, smiling.
"You don't have to be so nervous about holding him, Sev," she said, "but yes, I think it would be best if I take him when we Apparate."
They walked in silence from then on, until they reached Hogsmeade a little while later. Severus handed Harry back to Lily, and she held tightly to her son as they Apparated to the ruined house in Godric's Hollow. The first thing they noticed was someone shouting, calling out for Lily and Harry frantically- the voice sounded like a man's, and he seemed to be crying at the same time.
"Sirius…" Lily murmured in recognition. "What's he doing here, he wasn't intending to visit today…?"
"Lily! Harry! Oh, Merlin, don't be dead, oh, hell…." Sirius called, half-sobbing. He spotted two people standing near the edge of the wreckage of the house, in what had once been the kitchen. He walked nervously towards them, afraid to guess at who it was. He was just about to ask who they were when he got a glimse of one of them- it was Lily, and she had Harry with her! "Lily! Oh, thank merlin, you're alive, you're both alive and alright, and shit, but James….. Dead……" Sirius said all of this in one breath, rushing to her and gently pulling Harry from her arms, holding the boy close. He handed the child back after a moment, then sank to the ground, looking like he'd start sobbing if he didn't try to take a moment to think- though thinking probably wouldn't help much either.
"Black," Severus began, looking down at the man with annoyance, "why are you here?"
"I went to check on Peter. He was gone, I think he was the spy…. I think he told Voldemort where you were. I came here as fast as I could, but the place… it was already like this, I'm guessing he got here first…." Sirius said calmly, almost numbly even. "I thought… he'd killed all of you, or that he'd taken Harry, or…. I don't even want to think about it……" He sat in silence for a few moments before a hard, angry look came over his face. "I'm going to fucking kill Peter, the dirty rat. I can't believe he'd do this. I'm going to track him down and fucking kill him."
Lily put her hand on Sirius' shouder, kneeling down in front of him. "No, Sirius. You can't."
"She's right, Black," Severus added. "You can't do the recklessly, stupidly brave thing this time, it'll send you straight to Azkaban. Your godson still needs you too much for you to do something so moronic right now."
"But it's his fault James is dead," Sirius argued, glaring at Severus. Lily shook her head as she stood back up and backed away- she didn't feel like trying to stop them right now, so she sat Harry in his crib- which was amazingly still intact enough to keep him there- and went off in search of James' body.
"Black…. You can't be reckless right now."
Sirius started to try to stand up, but Severus was too quick for him- he'd drawn his wand and summoned ropes to tie him down before Sirius could even get to his knees. Severus sighed and put his wand away. "Reckless, as always, aren't you?" he murmured, walking towards Sirius. "Let me put this as plainly as I possibly can. Harry needs you. He needs someone with a high enough opinion of James to tell him why his father died, and you can do that better than anyone. He needs someone who will teach him things Lily won't approve of, things I personally think he shouldn't know or do, but that his father would have taught him- pranks, Quidditch, asinine things the lot of you tended to do. You are the best one to do this. You cannot do these things from a cell in Azkaban, and revenge will do no good right now. I may not like you, but I realize the boy needs you- you need to realize it too, Black, because I'm not untying you until you swear you won't go after Pettigrew."
"Fine…. You're right, Harry needs me… I won't go after him, I swear," Sirius sighed wearily.
"Good." Severus got rid of the ropes with a flick of his wand, and began to walk over to Lily as Sirius stood up. "We need to move some of the wreckage, if we're going to find his body," he said to Lily, who was looking around where she'd last seen James.
"Over here, actually. I moved him so he wasn't covered in debris and shit…" Sirius said, leading them into the next room.
A/N- yeah, not the best bit to leave it off at, but I intend to time-jump to the funeral next chapter, I think... so I'm not showing them seeing his body here.