ALL RIGHT! Last chizz-apter! I'm thinking of writing a sequel to this. Let me know what you think!
It seemed like time was moving slowly. News of Lily's demise and Voldemort's disappearance spread through the castle like wildfire. Kim found James holding Harry and Lily dead on the floor. They walked to Dumbledore's office to relay the news. Everyone was, of course, shocked and deeply saddened. Everyone was quiet for a long time.
"What are we going to do now?" Sirius asked.
James swallowed back a lump and looked at Dumbledore who was stroking his beard in thought. He sighed, bowed his head, and closed his eyes. "I guess I'm a single father now."
"We'll help." Remus assured him. Guilt seeped through his chest. He swallowed. "James...I told Peter where you were hiding."
James shook his head. "It wasn't your fault."
"How on earth did...did You-Know-Who manage to reach Lily and the boy?" Professor McGonagal asked.
"According to a few witnesses, Voldemort..." McGonagol and Kim flinched at the name. Dumbledore ignored it. "...broke through Gryffindor Tower, cursed all who stood in his way, and..." he sighed. "Well, you know the rest."
"I should've been there." James lamented quietly. "But I chose to chase after Pettigrew."
Sirius put a comforting hand on James' shoulder. "There was nothing you could've done. You could've died, too."
"At least you and Harry are alive." Kim pointed out.
James smiled and nodded. He thought of the thin scar on his son's forehead. "Will he have that scar forever?"
Dumbledore nodded solemnly. "I'm afraid so." He sighed heavily. "Minerva, Kim, Sirius, Remus, may I please speak with James alone?"
They all nodded and left quietly. James turned to Dumbledore. 'This can't be good...'
"James...this is hard for me." Dumbledore admitted. "Harry has been chosen as the one who will bring down Voldemort once and for all."
James stared at Dumbledore. "I think he pretty much did that already."
"Do you really believe Voldemort is gone forever?" Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. James didn't respond. "I don't know when he'll return- whether it's ten years or twenty years- but, hopefully when he does Harry will be ready."
"Why don't you kill him?" James asked. "You're the greatest sorceror in the world! Merlin is taking notes. Seriously!"
Dumbledore smiled. "I appreciate that. But I'm afraid you overestimate me. The prophecy clearly states that Voldemort's equal will be the one to vanquish him. Harry will come out murderer or victim. It can't be any other."
James sighed again and ran both his hands through his hair. There was no loophole to this. Even if he disguises himself as Harry, Voldemort would see right through him. "I guess I'll have to do my damnedest to make sure he's ready for his return."
Dumbledore hesitated slightly before speaking again. "That's...another unfortunate situation I must bring up. Since Lily sacrificed herself to save Harry, a protection spell was cast in him. Protected by blood. Her blood."
James did not like where this was going. "Where are you going with this?"
"Lily's has a sister, correct?" James nodded. "She and Lily share the same blood. Harry would be perfectly safe there."
"The Dursleys?" James asked shocked. "Are you freaking insane? Why don't you save Harry the trouble and sic whatever is left of Voldemort on him now?"
"I understand they are not the most desirable family, but, James, as long as he remains with you, he's in danger." Dumbledore stated.
"He'll be in even more danger with the Dursleys. Trust me." James argued back. "And...Harry's not a fully grown wizard yet. He doesn't know any magic yet."
"Voldemort won't wait until he does." Dumbledore informed him. "He'll get Harry when he's young and helpless."
"Well, what are we going to do?"
"We'll do what's best for the boy."
"You better believe it. You name it, and I'll do it." James said with confidence.
"Good. Then send Harry to the Dursleys."
"Are you out of your mind? I promised I'd take care of him!" James exclaimed. He sobered up. "He's my son. I love him."
"Then think about what's best for Harry and not yourself." Dumbledore advised.
James gave in and sank low in his seat. As hard as it was for him to admit it, Dumbledore was right. He didn't have Lily's blood. If he stayed with him, he'd be exposed. As horrible as the Dursley's are, it really is the safest place for Harry to be.
"Can I at least say good-bye to him before you take him to the Dursleys?" James asked.
Dumbledore nodded. "Of course."
Dumbledore explained the situation to McGonagol and Hagrid. Hagrid agreed to take Harry to the Dursley's, and McGonagol agreed to spy on them. They left James alone with Harry for a last good-bye.
"Hey, Harry." James held his son on his knee. "You have to go away now. Sometimes things change, and maybe they're for the better. I wish I could be there for you...with you, but...you'll understand someday. Until we meet again...I will miss you." James hugged Harry tightly and held him for a few minutes. He sighed and carried him over to Hagrid. "Thanks, Hagrid."
Hagrid took Harry and sniffed. "I wish we didn't have to do this."
"I know." James nodded. He turned so he wouldn't have to see Hagrid walk off. Thunder rumbled outside. As Hagrid's footsteps subsided, James sank to the floor and cried harder than he had in a long time.
A few hours later, James trudged through the pouring rain to Hogsmeade to meet Sirius and Remus. He walked into the pub and took his order at the counter. "Butterbeer. Make it a double."
Sirius noticed James and walked up to him. "James! Where've you been, Mate?"
James took his drink and sighed. "I had to give Harry to the Dursleys."
"What? Why?" Sirius asked in astonishment.
"I can't get into it, right now."
"Well, force yourself. What happened?"
James walked to a table and sat down. "Lily's sacrifice formed a protection spell on Harry...since Lily's sister is his only living relative on her side, it's the safest place for him." James explained everything Dumbledore told him. Needless to say, Sirius and Remus were shocked. James continued. "You don't want me raising Harry, anyway. I lost my wife."
"That shouldn't stop you." Remus piped up. "Couldn't you just raise Harry until he's old enough to start Hogwarts?"
"If I can't even protect my wife, who is- was the most gifted witch in the universe, how can you expect me to protect Harry?" James exploded. "Lily is dead because of me!"
"So, what are you gonna do then? Just live your life as if you never had a family?" Asked Sirius.
James sighed. "I've been thinking about that. People know who I am. If they don't see me raising Harry, they might think I abandoned him. They'll ask questions that I do not want to answer."
"Then don't answer." Remus advised. "Tell them to back off."
"And you don't have to do this alone." Sirius put in. "We're with you every step of the way. Friends stick together to the end."
James smiled at his friends. Loyalty was very important to him, and he was glad he had such loyal friends. They'll get through this. They'll watch Harry grow from afar and meet with him when the time is right.
And...cut! That's the end (unless I write a sequel...)!