Chapter I — The Beginning
11th January, 1980 …
James Potter stepped into the kitchen of Potter Manor, yawning as he rubbed a hand over the rough stubble on his face. He hadn't shaved in three days and it was starting to get annoying and slightly itchy. This seemed to be the way it always happened. He would get too lazy to shave, decide to grow a beard, and shave it off after a few days when it got to be really annoying.
He grinned when he saw the beautiful redhead sitting at the table in the kitchen, chatting absently with one of the Potter's long time house elves, Maddy.
He still couldn't believe that he had actually married Lily Evans! After everything that he had done to try to get a hold of her at school, she was finally his. He loved her more than anything in the world. Her hair was a gorgeous auburn colour that actually had hints of chestnut in it when it hit the light. Lily had told him that he was probably the only person to notice such a silly thing about her hair; but he didn't care. He had spent hours staring at her hair during classes all of the time when they had been in school. But it was her eyes that had done him in … emerald green and almond shaped … the first time that he had looked into those eyes his first impression had been, 'Wow'. Of course, he hadn't been interested in girls at the time, but he had still been in love with those eyes. Then around thirteen, he had taken one look at Lily Evans and fallen head-over-heels. His heart had simply pooled at his feet … not that he would admit to something as foolish and lame as that, of course. But that's exactly what had happened.
His best mates, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew had teased him about it. Especially Sirius, who knew the exact moment that James had fallen for Lily Evans. Lily on the other hand, had found him egotistical, arrogant, self-centered, a bully and … well, a downright prat. If he was completely honest with himself, she had been exactly right. He had been everything that she had accused him of, and more. She hadn't even given him the time of day until the end of their sixth year at Hogwarts. Then, James had seemed to … mellow out enough for her taste. In other words, he had grown up which was exactly what Lily had been waiting for. He shook the memories back from his mind and grinned. Merlin, she looked beautiful. But then again, she had always managed to take his breath away, much to the dismay of his friends.
"Just look at her, Padfoot!" James sighed softly as he watched her step onto the school train at the end of their sixth year. "Another school year gone and I've managed to get no where with Evans, again!"
Sirius scratched his nose and shook his head at his friend. "I don't know what to tell you, mate. She's not interested and she's made that clear more times than I can count! I just don't understand how you can constantly go back only to get beat down. It's enough to give one a headache!"
James nodded. "I know … but there's something there … there's more to her than what meets the eye. I just know it."
Sirius snorted. "Well, you kissed her and got no where … if you can kiss a girl and she doesn't swoon … I'm telling you, Prongs, it's never going to happen!"
James sighed. "I can't help the way I feel. I mean … she's so beautiful and intelligent and sweet and kind-hearted and I love the way she laughs and smiles and writes and eats and learns and –"
"Got it, Prongs!" Sirius interrupted. "You love Evans, I know. I'm just saying … I don't think she's worth all this."
James grinned at his friend. "She's worth so much more than this."
Sirius shook his head sadly at his friend. "I just hope you know what you're doing, mate."
He grinned foolishly. "I do. She's the one, Padfoot. She's the one and I'm going to make her see that. I'm going to marry her someday."
Sirius sighed. "Whatever you say, Prongs."
James shook the memory from his mind and walked over and gently placed his lips on his wife's neck. "I missed you."
Lily laughed, turning her head to smile at him. Her smile made him ache in all of the appropriate places. "Mmm, I missed you too, handsome."
James smiled, scooped her up out of the chair and kissed her softly. "I'm glad. I had a tough day at work."
James shrugged, "Lots of paperwork and stuff. I mean, I'm still technically an Auror in training, but with this awful war going on, they're letting people in like crazy! I mean Alastor basically told me today that I am now a full-time Auror and will be on call twenty-four/seven. However, the first thing that I had to do as a full-time Auror was hours and hours of paperwork! I hate paperwork! It's like being back in school and getting stuck with hours of homework all over again! It was dreadful!"
Lily smirked and ran her fingers through his messy hair as if hoping to tame it. "Oh, you poor, baby," she murmured as she covered his face in kisses. "What a hard life you live."
James nodded and pouted. "I know; hold me."
Lily slapped him playfully. "Prat." Then she kissed him again. "And I know exactly what you mean. Alastor told me this morning that I am also no longer in training. He wasn't too pleased that I took the afternoon off. I think he's going to have me doing double the amount of work tomorrow because of it."
"Why did you take the afternoon off? I didn't get a chance to ask you when you told me that you were leaving," James asked, carrying his wife into the living room and cuddling her down onto his lap, both of them oblivious to Maddy's knowing smile as she watched them leave the kitchen completely entranced in each other.
She grinned, her eyes twinkling in delight. "I had to go to St. Mungo's for an appointment."
"What for? Are you sick?"
Lily laughed, kissing him softly as her eyes twinkled in mischief now. "I have been."
James' hazel eyes instantly filled with worry as he held her hands in his. "Why haven't you said anything? Are you alright? Did something happen? Do you need anything? Can I do anything? I could have gone with you. Is it serious? Are you hurting? Are you-?"
"What?" He asked with a bewildered look on his face.
Lily smiled. "I'm fine. I just wanted to check on something. We've had a tough year and I thought maybe that I was getting a touch of the flu or something."
James nodded. "Yeah we have. And you're not telling me something. Lily, did something happen? Are you alright? Was it the flu?"
"I know that I'm keeping something from you," Lily replied, snuggling herself comfortably in his lap. "I will tell you, I promise. It's nothing to worry about. James, we've been married for how long now?"
"Four months and ten days."
Lily laughed. "Counting love?"
He grinned. "Always." When she smiled, he brought their joined hands up to his lips. "I've wanted you for years, how could I forget? We married on the first of September, 1979, exactly two months after we graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I've loved you every single day for at least the last five to six years. The first time I saw you I was eleven years old and I remember looking into your incredible green eyes and just thinking, 'Wow.' I love you, Lily Rose Potter."
She smiled, cupping his face gently in her hands before she kissed him long, slow, and soft. "I love you too, James Andrew Potter. I remember hating myself in school for being so incredibly attracted to you. I just didn't understand how I could be attracted to someone I despised so much. I think I started falling for you around second year. I cursed myself daily. I remember thinking, 'What is wrong with me? How can I be so attracted to such an irresponsible and immature prat?' Especially one that caused flocks of girls to just fall at his feet at the smallest little smile; I was so jealous of that. Then I just turned you down because the last thing I wanted was to be another one of James Potter's girls. I was afraid that you would use me and toss me aside. But then you smartened up and became the wonderful man that you are now, even though you still have a bit of that prat in you. But I know that it's part of who you are and well, frankly, I've always loved that mischief maker side to you. I love you."
He grinned and kissed her softly. "I always knew that you couldn't resist me."
Lily rolled her eyes, a half-smirk/half-smile on her face. "Ego, James, ego."
James grinned at those words, another flashback coming over him.
"Potter!" Lily exclaimed angrily, her hands on her hips and her emerald green eyes flashing in anger.
James tried to look innocent, slipping his hands into his pockets. "Yes, my dear?"
Lily glared at him. "Don't call me, my dear! How could you do this? I asked one simple task of you for this assignment, Potter, one! You can't even get that right! All you had to do was sketch the plant, that's it! But like usual when girls come calling, the mighty James Potter ignores everything else! If your ego wasn't so damn big maybe you could actually learn to get some work done!"
James grinned at her. "I can't help myself, Evans, sometimes the ego just takes over. It's not my fault that I was born so devilishly handsome, girls can't resist me!"
Lily's face turned red now as she glared at him. "You, Potter, are an insufferable prat!"
She stormed off and James rocked back on his heels, a grin on his face.
"What the hell are you grinning at, Prongs?" Padfoot asked.
Moony nodded. "That was hardly said in affection."
James grinned. "She's in love with me. I mean, come on, she was jealous right?"
Sirius rolled his eyes. "I can't do it, Moony, I've given up."
Remus reached over and cuffed James across the head. "It's sixth year and she just told you that your ego is too big! Downsize it, Prongs, and then maybe …"
James shrugged and grinned at his friends. "She wants me." He walked away whistling.
Sirius and Remus simply looked at each other, shaking their heads in amusement.
He laughed, pulling himself out of the memory. "Yeah, my ego does take over from time to time, but you love me."
Lily smiled at him. "Yes, I love you. We've been through so much, James. Our lives have hardly been easy. We grew up during a time of war and we're still living it. It seems like our happiness is the rainbow during a storm of tragedies. Two weeks after our wedding my parents were murdered by a group of Death Eaters and on Halloween your parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort himself. Ever since my parents were killed, Petunia has distanced herself from me more and more and then she married Vernon and she's not talking to me anymore at all. She wants nothing more to do with me and nothing to do with the magical community," Lily explained as she stood up and began to pace back and forth as she was speaking. "Her husband is …" she shuddered for a moment, a frown coming over her face. "Vernon is a horrid man, but she loves him for some unknown reason! And all of this can be blamed on Voldemort and this stupid war. Her distance from me, her only remaining family, is all because I'm a witch. Our parents never would have been killed otherwise. I know it and she resents me because she knows it too. They were just muggles, ordinary muggles living their day-to-day lives. But now they're gone and through circumstances beyond my control, I've lost Petunia as well," Lily stated as she threw her hands up in the air. She took a deep breath and began pacing again.
"It's not only you and I that are suffering, James. Remus' transformations are getting worse now that he is fully becoming a man and has to suffer the brunt of an adult transformation. If we didn't drag him back to us every once and a while when his transformation gets a little too much out of control I think that he would be lost and that he might even go into a state of depression. He is suffering more than anyone at the moment. With all of the werewolf laws being discussed … his life could get a lot harder. The war is only making things worse. He doesn't let anyone in. If a woman starts to get too close, he runs for the hills, breaking things off before he gives himself a chance. I worry about him and he needs us more then he realizes. Sirius is … well, playing the field, I suppose. He's very wild and I don't think that he has a clue about what he wants to do when he grows up. But I don't worry about Sirius too much. He can take care of himself. Peter's father was killed and now he's struggling to make ends-meet so that he can support his mother. We've both become instant Aurors without all of the proper training, which we only get during our spare time."
Tears began to fall from Lily's eyes and down her cheeks. "We're not the only ones who have been forced into this Auror job faster than normal. Remus and Sirius have, and I know a few others have, as well. Everyone we know is in the Order and none of us are really safe. The war has intensified and people are dying. I feel like we haven't had a shred of happiness in our lives, until now and I feel like happiness will never truly return as long as Voldemort is out there. I know I'm rambling, James, but … how can we be so happy during such terrible times?" Lily sat down next to James as she finished, dropping her hands into her lap.
James nodded, taking her hands in his. "Lily, we have each other. This war has taken a toll on all of us and on those we love, but we have each other and that's important. We can be happy. We're only eighteen, love, and we are happily married. Even with this war going on we're working to be happy, that's all we can really do."
Lily nodded and bit her bottom lip as she slid her fingers into her husband's hair. "I know and I know something that's going to make us even happier."
"What's that?" James asked, grinning at the smile that his wife had on her face.
Lily laughed. "Yup, I'm due at the end of July. And guess what? Alice and Frank just found out that they're having a baby around the same time. Alice was at the hospital today too. Our babies can be playmates together."
James grinned, laughing as he covered his wife's face in kisses. "I'm going to be a Da?"
"That's wonderful! So that's why you went to St. Mungo's! Are you alright? Do you feel okay? Do you want me get you something? My Da always said that my Mum wanted crackers and cheese when she was pregnant with me. And I think I heard something about weird cravings as well. Cravings like peanut butter and shrimp or chocolate covered pickles — you don't want anything like that do you? You need to rest or sleep or something."
Lily grinned. "No, James … I want you."
He smiled, scooping her up into his arms as he kissed her deeply, sliding his hands up into her hair. "I love you, my Lily Rose."
Lily smiled up at him. "I love you too, Jamie."
Then she laughed when he Disapparated, appearing in the master bedroom and dropping her down onto the bed with a wicked grin on his face. "Let me show you how much."
She grinned, sliding her hands up the shirt that he wore and over his lean muscles. "I was hoping that you would say that." Then she crushed her lips to his and surrendered herself willingly to his touch.
James couldn't wait to tell Sirius, Remus, and Peter that he and Lily were having a baby. They would be so surprised. His best friends were all that he had left in the world. Andrew and Gwendolynn Potter's death had left a huge hole in his heart that no one had been able to fix. But he knew that he wasn't the only one who was hurting. His parents had treated Sirius like a son as well. James knew that their death had hurt Sirius just as much as it had hurt him. His friends had been there for him as best as they could, as had Lily. But with so much death going on around them even that small comfort had been hard to accept. The good news that he planned to share would be exactly what all of them needed. He couldn't wait to see their faces.
He was almost bursting with eagerness by the time that the three of them made their way into the kitchen at Potter Manor. Sirius grabbed a chair, flipping it around so that he could straddle it as he ran his fingers through his dark locks, reaching for the slice of peach pie that Maddy and Mickey had made and put on the table for them.
"So, how's it hanging, Prongs?" He asked as he grabbed a fork and took a bite of peach pie, moaning in pleasure at one of his favourite treats.
Maddy and Mickey knew that Sirius loved peach pie and every once and a while they would make it for him when he came over. Especially now that he and Remus were sharing a flat in the city; Maddy knew that they didn't eat proper meals as neither one of them knew how to cook. Maddy seemed to be pleased with Remus though, who was at least trying to learn, unlike Sirius. The house elves always tried to cook especially large meals when the Marauders were present and also because they ate so much. They had been doing this since the first time Sirius and Remus had arrived at Potter Manor when they were twelve years old.
James laughed. "Pretty good, how about you?"
Sirius shrugged. "Same I guess. Alastor told me that I'm a full-time Auror now, but I heard that he told the same thing to you, Lily, and Moony so no BFD there."
Remus nodded. "Yes, Alastor said that training has pretty much stopped for a while. They are in desperate need for Aurors to round up these Death Eaters. No one is really even sure what move Voldemort is going to throw at us next. Everyone is needed and there are no exceptions."
Peter nodded vigorously. "Very true."
James nodded. "Yeah well, the last I heard he planned to unite the purebloods. He wants his immediate circle of Death Eaters to be purebloods only."
Sirius looked disgusted as he helped himself to a second piece of pie. "Don't remind me! It's bad enough that Reggie signed right on up and my dear mother and father think that he is the proper son for doing so, you know, really living up to our pureblood name! You know how crazy they are! Not that it did him any good of course. He chickened out and ended up dead. I don't think Kreacher managed to get the bloodstains out of the bed yet." He sighed as he thought sadly, yet fondly of his younger brother. He had been much too young to die. "Besides, I found out that the whole pureblood thing isn't even an option. Yeah, I mean he prefers purebloods but he'll let in any piece of shit that wants to help him, half-blood or muggle-born. He wants to take over the world or some dumb shite like that."
Remus sighed. "I've never understood that. Taking over the world, I mean, it all just seems like nothing but one big head ache to me."
Peter nodded. "Yeah, a head ache. I'm glad that I decided not to be an Auror. The Department of Magical Transportation is a much safer route. The only thing that I have to worry about is an unauthorized portkey."
James grinned. "Wormtail does have a point."
Remus grinned. "Yeah, he does. So, how goes the dream, Prongs?"
A soft smile spread across James' face. "Couldn't be better. And you three thought it would never happen."
Sirius shrugged. "Can you blame us? It only took you five years!"
James stuck his tongue out at his friend. "Yeah, but every minute counted. She was worth it. This was worth it."
Remus smiled. "I'm glad. So what's this news that you have to share with us?"
"I can't say just yet as Lily needs to be here too." James replied, thinking again of his looming fatherhood.
Lily stepped into the kitchen then. "Hello Marauders, been causing trouble lately?"
Sirius grinned. "Always, Lily-Love, always. Come and give me a kiss."
Lily laughed as she walked around to kiss each of them on the cheek. She laughed when both Sirius and Remus kissed her softly on the mouth. Peter kissed her chastely on the cheek, his face flushing red as he looked over at James as if he was afraid to be yelled at. When she got to James he turned his head so that he could catch her mouth giving her a long, soft kiss, causing Sirius to whistle. Lily grinned as she pulled away. "James and I have some news to tell you."
Remus grinned. "So we heard. Is the news good or bad?"
"Good, Moony, very good." James replied, grinning from ear to ear.
Sirius grinned, slapping his hands together in anticipation. "Well, don't keep us in suspense! What's this good news, Lily-Love? Let me guess! You've finally decided to leave James and marry me?"
James rolled his eyes and kissed the nape of his wife's neck. "Hardly."
Sirius grinned. "Okay I give, what's the news?"
Remus nodded. "Yeah, good news isn't something we hear too often any more so don't keep us waiting."
James slipped his arms around Lily's waist, holding her back against him and placing his hands on her stomach as they smiled at their friends. "Lily and I are having a baby."
Sirius whooped, jumping out of his chair to scoop Lily up into his arms. "Damn, Prongs, you work fast! Haven't even been married a year and you've already knocked her up!"
"I take offence to the term being knocked up." Lily replied, though she couldn't quite suppress the grin from forming on her face as Sirius kissed Lily's cheeks and then her mouth in a loud smacking kiss before passing her onto Remus.
"Give me my wife!" James said, grinning as he watched Remus kiss her and hug her in the same fashion as Sirius had before passing her off to Peter. Peter gave her cheek another small peck before he passed her back to James. He had always been less exuberant around Lily then Sirius and Remus had been.
Remus grinned as he helped himself to a bite of the peach pie that Sirius had already eaten half of. "So when are you due?"
"Around the end of July, beginning of August."
Sirius grinned, helping himself to another piece of pie. "Isn't that about the time that Frank and Alice are having their baby as well?"
Lily nodded. "Yeah, around there."
James grinned. "I'm going to be a Da!"
"Man Lily, an irresponsible prat like that as a father … I think that you should marry me, we'll run away to Tahiti! It will be great!" Sirius replied wiggling his eyebrows suggestively and grinning when Lily laughed and kissed his cheek again.
Remus snorted. "And like you're more responsible than James?"
Sirius looked offended. "Hey! I could be."
Lily grinned. "I know that James is an irresponsible prat but I love him." Lily replied, causing James to frown and go, 'Hey!'
Remus laughed. "You'll both be great parents! Have you thought of any names yet?"
James shrugged. "I haven't actually. Have you, Lily?"
Lily shook her head. "No, not yet, but we've got lots of time. I'm only three months along. James, didn't you want to do something else tonight as well?"
James looked at his wife quizzically for a moment and then he nodded. "Oh yeah, um … Sirius, we were sort of … well, wondering actually … that maybe when this baby is … well, would you like … well, since you're my best mate and all and you see it goes like … I mean, I've known all of you forever but you've been my best mate since we were what eight years old, which is three years longer then I've known Moony or Wormtail … so I was wondering if you … well, it's like this, you see —"
"Oh for heaven's sake, James!" Lily said, rolling her eyes at her husband. "Just spit it out! Sirius, we would like for you to be the godfather of our first baby."
Sirius looked up in surprise, his eyes darting down to the still flat stomach of his friend. He blinked, surprised to find unfamiliar moisture behind his eyes and then he grinned. "I'd be honoured."
James grinned and embraced his friend. "Brilliant! So now that that's taken care of, and now that Padfoot has eaten half of the peach pie, are you guys ready for dinner?"
25th June, 1980 …
James knocked hesitantly on the office door of the Headmaster of Hogwarts as he held Lily's hand tightly in his. That morning he had received an urgent owl from Albus Dumbledore demanding that he and Lily arrive at his office as soon as possible. When he heard him call out for them to come in, he stepped inside, smiling when he saw the familiar old face behind his half-moon spectacles and the twinkling blue eyes.
"Good evening, James, Lily, thank you for coming." Dumbledore said quietly.
James nodded. "We came as soon as we could. What's going on? Your owl said that it was urgent, Professor."
Dumbledore sighed. "I haven't been your professor for many months now, please call me Albus."
Lily nodded as they both took a seat in front of the large desk. "Did something happen to someone from the Order, Prof — I mean Albus?"
Dumbledore shook his head. "No, nothing like that. Something a bit more … alarming I'm afraid."
"Alarming?" James asked. "That concerns the two of us?"
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, alarming. I think that it would be best if I started from the beginning." He paused for a moment to gaze sadly at the young couple in front of him. They were holding hands and Lily was hugely pregnant with their first child. They were both only nineteen years old. He wished deeply that he didn't have to tell them this. He just wanted them to be happy and not have to worry about the war outside. But unfortunately, everyone in the magical community was worried about the war and it was affecting everyone in some way. He closed his eyes as he remembered those members that the Order itself had already lost: Andrew and Gwendolynn Potter, Marlene McKinnon, Benjy Fenwick, Edgar Bones, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, and Dorcas Meadowes. The last thing any of them needed was more bad news.
"Albus, what's going on?" James asked.
Dumbledore sighed. "A few months ago, I was down at the Hogs Head interviewing a woman by the name of Sybil Trelawney. I was looking to fill in the spot for a new Divination teacher at Hogwarts. I myself have never much liked or trusted the subject. But Sybil is the granddaughter of the famous seer, Cassandra Trelawney. So, naturally I thought that she deserved a chance and well, the subject should be offered to those who might be interested in it. I realized almost immediately that she was a fraud. However, just as I was leaving the room her eyes frosted over and she went into this trance-like state that was very frighteningly real. She then proceeded to give a real prophecy. Again, the prophecy alarmed me of course but I didn't know what to do about it or whom it may have applied too, though I did have my suspicions at the time. Anyway, we were interrupted by a Death Eater who was outside of the door, listening in. He was caught before Trelawney finished her prediction but he told Voldemort what he had heard. Voldemort has decided to act immediately and accordingly even though he has not heard the prophecy in its entirety. The part of the prophecy that he did hear scared or worried him enough to have him deciding to act on it. This Death Eater, when informed of Voldemort's plans was not … impressed, I suppose is the word, and he wished to help. He came to me and explained what Voldemort plans to do. He changed sides, quickly and effectively. He has now turned spy for our side and the first thing that he wants to do is prevent Voldemort from doing what he plans to do in regards to the prophecy. It was then that I realized something had to be done about it immediately."
He glanced at them again before speaking. "I think that it is time that you both heard the prophecy." He put his wand to his head, pulling out a thread of silvery substance before he dropped it into the basin before him. A figure with owlish eyes, draped in shawls, rose above it and began to speak:
with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those
who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and
the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the
Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other
for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the
power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month
The Potters stared at Dumbledore for a long-time. Finally, Lily spoke up. "What does this mean, Albus?"
Dumbledore sighed. "It means that a child will be born at the end of July to a couple who have three times defied Lord Voldemort. Lily, James … you twice defied him when he murdered each of your parents, both of you were meant to be with them at both of those times, that's twice defied because you both escaped. Then, two weeks after the death of Andrew and Gwendolynn Potter, Voldemort attacked both of you in a muggle town, asking you to turn against me and to become his followers. You denied him, and he again tried to kill you, but you escaped because members of the Order showed up in time. That means that between the two of you, you have three times defied him and escaped a terrible death. Lily, you are due with your baby at the end of the seventh month. However, what is interesting is that there is another couple who has thrice defied him and are having a baby around the exact same time."
James gulped, "The Longbottoms."
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, James, Frank and Alice Longbottom are having a baby as well. The Death Eater that has turned spy for us however has informed me that Voldemort does not believe that the Longbottoms' child is the one who will defeat him. He plans to instead, go after yours."
Lily let out a sob before she could stop herself, clutching James' hand so tightly that he winced, wondering if it was possible to break every single bone in his hand from a firm grip. "Our baby? He knows we're having a baby and he wants … he wants to kill him?? Why? An innocent baby?!"
James nodded, moving closer so that he could hold his wife in his arms. She was sobbing uncontrollably now, her hand sitting in a protective gesture over her large stomach. He rubbed her back and kissed her cheeks, knowing that her tears were as much from her fear as they were from her hormones.
"Albus, can you explain that prophecy? If he has chosen us … then…"
"You're both thinking the same thing. He believes that it will be your child that will have the power to defeat him. Therefore, he wants to kill him before he has a chance to grow up and obtain such powers. Which is why I am going to insist on doing the Fidelius Charm on both of you."
James stood up now, his hands clutched tightly into fists at his sides. "You want us to hide? I'm not going to hide from that bastard! I'm not going to let him touch my baby or my wife!"
"James! Listen to me! You know how dangerous Voldemort is! He wants your child dead! You know the power that he has and there is no way that your baby will have the power to defeat him so young! He or she must grow into the power! Voldemort doesn't plan to allow that to happen! The Fidelius Charm is not necessarily hiding!"
Lily nodded. "It's when only the few select people who you tell know where and how to find you."
James sat down, anger still flashing in his hazel eyes causing them to turn the colour of smoke. "Where do you want us to go? Potter Manor is safe! My parents and grandparents and my entire family have placed so many protective wards and security around it. No one can get in who isn't allowed."
Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "James, Voldemort is a powerfully dangerous wizard. If he wanted to, he could find it and get in … unplottable or not. I don't think Glasgow Hall is the place for you. I think that you should find some property and move into a house. We will then place the charm on you and put up the proper wards. I will be your Secret Keeper and no one will find you. Voldemort will not get to you or your child."
"We appreciate the offer, but Sirius will be our Secret Keeper, Albus."
Lily nodded. "Yes."
Dumbledore sighed. "James, Lily, you know that I believe that we have a spy in our mist, someone in the Order is passing on our information to Voldemort. I'm not saying that it is Sirius but because we don't know … I don't think that you should use Sirius Black, you —"
James stood up again, his anger evident clearly in his eyes as they had turned the colour of smoke. "Sirius is not that person! I would trust him with my life! I do trust him with my life! He would lay down his life for me, Lily, and our child!"
Lily nodded. "He would, Albus, Sirius is a wonderful person! We trust him completely."
Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "You're sure?"
James nodded. "One hundred and ten percent."
Dumbledore nodded, though the twinkle was gone from his bright blue eyes. "Alright then I suggest that you find a house. I want you both in hiding by the end of the week and I want the charm performed. I also want you both to promise me that you will not tell a single other soul about this prophecy or why you are going into hiding. Just say that Voldemort is coming after you, not your baby."
James and Lily both stood up. "We'll do it, Albus."
Lily smiled. "We would die to protect our baby."
Dumbledore smiled at them then but the smile didn't reach his eyes. He hoped to Merlin that it wouldn't come to that. "Good luck both of you, and Godspeed."
When they arrived back at Potter Manor, James immediately flooed Sirius, Remus and Peter and asked them to come to the Hall. When they arrived, he looked pained as he spoke.
"Lily and I have just come from Dumbledore's office. There has been some kind of … Voldemort wants to kill … us. We can't and we won't get into the details as we promised Dumbledore that we wouldn't, but we need to do the Fidelius Charm." James replied.
Lily nodded. "Sirius, James and I both would like for you to be the Secret Keeper. We trust you with our lives and with our baby's life."
Sirius stood up; he, Remus, and Peter had paled considerably upon hearing this news. "Of course I'll do it. I'll do anything to protect you guys. When will the charm be performed?"
James nodded. "Thank you. I think that I know of a place where we can hide and then do the charm. We'll do it tomorrow night. I'll owl you with the location."
Sirius nodded. "Alright." He pulled James into a hug. "Take care of your family, Prongs. I'd die to save them."
James hugged his friend back, tears in his eyes. "I know, Padfoot, I know."
Lily and Remus slid into the hug as well, tears pouring down their cheeks. None of them noticed when Peter slipped silently out of the house without a word as tears poured down his pale cheeks.
That evening, James lay in the huge featherbed with his wife curled up around him. He couldn't believe that he was going to be leaving Potter Manor. He couldn't believe that his child fell under a prophecy to one day kill Voldemort or be killed by him. He closed his eyes and thought of the power that flowed through his veins. It was strong and he knew it, but why would his child be more powerful or be the one to destroy Voldemort in the end? After all, the blood and the power wouldn't be as strong as it was in James because Lily was muggleborn. Unless Lily had something in her as well that she had never known about? But then again, Lily was an extremely powerful witch herself and he had no idea how it would all affect their baby and the final outcome? He didn't even know what to think anymore. His powers were strong but the powers of his child would obviously be much stronger when the time came. There was no other explanation available.
He turned to look at his wife as she slid a hand over his heart and kneaded softly. "Lily?"
"I'm scared, James."
He nodded, turning on his side so that he could face her. He placed one hand over hers where it was resting on his chest and the other over her large stomach. "I know. I'm scared too. I love you."
She kissed him softly. "What were you just thinking about?"
"The prophecy and the power that I possess. I was wondering why our baby would one day have the power to destroy Voldemort, and why I don't have it. The power that he gets from me can't be any stronger then what I have now, right? I mean, I know that there is still so much for me to learn and to understand before I'm truly at my potential and before I really step into my powers, but still … will he be more powerful? Why our baby?" James asked.
Lily shook her head. "I don't know. I think that means he or she will be even more powerful. I may be muggleborn, but I'm a pretty powerful witch, Jamie."
James nodded. "That is true." He was quiet for a few minutes before he spoke again. "I just hope that all of this is over soon. I'm tired of living in fear."
Lily nodded and snuggled closer. "Me too."
He kissed her softly and held her closely in his arms, keeping one hand in a protective gesture on her stomach. He wasn't going to let anything happen to this baby. Power or no power, Voldemort was evil and extremely powerful and James knew that this prophecy had declared that he couldn't stop him; but it didn't mean that he couldn't try.
The next evening, James and Lily stood nervously in the Potter cottage in Godric's Hollow. The cottage hadn't been used in over fifty years and badly needed some new decorations as well as repair work. It was the only place that James could think of using. No one knew that he owned it so he thought that it was perfect. He turned at the knock on the door and let Sirius in.
"Are you ready?"
Sirius nodded. "This is a good spot, James."
"Thanks. Lily is going to perform the charm. With Charms as her best subject, she's pretty sure that she can manage to put the charm on herself as well." James explained.
"Listen, James, I was doing some serious thinking last night." Sirius replied. "You know that I'm honoured to be your Secret Keeper, but I was thinking about -"
"Backing down?" James asked, anger flashing in his eyes.
Sirius shook his head. "No, not backing down. I was thinking that it's obvious that you would choose me to fill this position. Voldemort will know right away and come after me. We all know it. I won't break, you know that I would never betray you … but I was thinking … what if we don't use me and throw him off the trail?"
Lily looked at Sirius curiously. "Throw him off the trail? Like send him after you, to torture you, to try to kill you for information that you don't even have? Are you bloody insane?"
"No! Lily, think about it. You know that I wouldn't tell him, but by only pretending it to be me I wouldn't break, he could torture me for hours but because I wouldn't actually be the Secret Keeper; I would never tell him where you were."
James looked at Sirius in silence for a few moments before speaking. "That actually makes a lot of sense. But that's an extra, unnecessary danger to put you in, Padfoot."
Sirius nodded. "I know. But it would keep you guys safe, guaranteed. That's the only important thing."
"Who are you suggesting to fill your place?" Lily asked, rubbing her hand in slow circles along her lower back. She was sore from the extra weight that she was carrying around in front of her.
James looked surprised and then he grinned, understanding where his best mate was coming from. "Perfect!"
"Peter?" Lily asked. "Why is he perfect? No offence towards him, but he's not that powerful magically and he … he needs protection! He can barely make decisions for himself. He looks up to you guys; he is not the right person for this job."
Sirius nodded. "Exactly! I would watch out for him, make sure that he's in hiding as well. But think about it, no one would ever suspect him! Why would the two of you pick such a weak pathetic rat like Wormtail to be your Secret Keeper? Do you see the brilliance of it? No one would ever suspect it."
"Peter is not a 'weak pathetic rat', he is your friend." Lily replied, glaring at Sirius.
James shrugged. "He's our friend, Lily, but it's the truth! You said so yourself, he's not that powerful magically and he needs protection. No one would ever suspect Peter! Sirius would be the logical choice and Voldemort would understand that. And after Sirius, Remus would be next in line, not Peter! Sirius, it's a brilliant plan. I completely agree with you! Only the four of us, then, will know that Peter is the Secret Keeper. We must keep this between us and us only. Can you go get Wormtail, Sirius?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I'll be right back." He Disapparated and Lily turned to her husband.
"We're not going to tell Remus?"
James shook his head. "Remus will, of course, know where to find us, but no. You know I trust him, but Dumbledore was right, the fewer people who know, the better. And I don't think that anyone, other than those involved, should know who the Secret Keeper is."
"But you told everyone last night? I mean, you asked Sirius to be our Secret Keeper right in front of Remus and Peter." Lily replied.
James nodded. "I know I did. But still, Lily, the fewer people who know, the better. I trust Remus with my life but Dumbledore was right about that. Besides, the less people that know the better chance we have of Voldemort not finding us. Don't you agree, love?"
Lily sighed. She understood where her husband was going with it but the nerves of what they were doing were still there, floating through her system. "Yes I do."
Sirius and Peter Apparated into the house a moment later. Peter was looking around curiously before he finally said, "Hello James, Lily."
"Hi Peter." Lily said, smiling warmly at him. She had always slightly pitied him in school but now she knew that he was a very nice man, even if he always did seem to need protection and had been acting nervously for a while. But then again, for as long as she had known him he had been the type to constantly be looking over his shoulder and to be a bit of a nervous boy. It was obviously a vital piece of his personality, which probably explained why he looked up to and admired James, Sirius, and Remus so much.
James nodded. "Listen Wormtail, change of plans, would you be our Secret Keeper? Promise to defend us from Voldemort at all cost?"
Peter flinched at the sound of the name, causing James and Sirius to roll their eyes. "Me? You want … oh boy … I … yes I … I would be honoured."
Lily smiled. "Thank you, Peter, our lives are in your hands now."
Sirius nodded. "I'll do the charm now, Lily." When she nodded, he quickly placed the three of them together and performed the charm.
James grinned. "Okay, let's see if this works. Sirius, where do Lily and I live?"
Sirius grinned. "Oh that's easy you guys live at … I know this … I'm standing in your house aren't I?" He asked, almost to himself now as he looked around in confusion.
Lily laughed. "It worked. Peter, tell him where we are."
"And us," James added. "As I don't even seem to know where we are."
Peter nodded. "Number 19 Flower Lane, Godric's Hollow."
James nodded, gulping as he pulled his wife closer. "Yeah, it worked." Now all he had to do was hope that Voldemort never got near his wife and their unborn child.