Tom Riddle/Voldemort/You-Know-Who/He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named/Lord-Thingy/The Dark Lord

The last person ever to call you a Mudblood is Tom Riddle. Ever since you got Dumbledore to tell you his real name, you've thought of him as Tom Riddle. 'Voldemort' sounds so pretentious, 'You-Know-Who' implies you're afraid of him, and 'the Dark Lord' reminds you too much of Sev.

You wish you could say Tom Riddle is the last person to call you a Mudblood because after that the Wizarding world suddenly comes to its senses and abandons negative, pejorative stereotypes.

It's a day like any other, that Halloween. You spend the morning going over household bills (James hates doing it, maybe because his parents gave him everything he ever wanted), and the afternoon shopping for groceries. Riddle doesn't jump out from behind the breakfast cereals, and James stays with Harry—the two of you never let him out of your sight, ever since you heard the prophecy.

You get home, you make dinner, the three of you eat dinner, you wash the dishes, James takes Harry into the living room and conjures bits of hazy colored smoke for him, you come in to tell them it's Harry's bedtime, and James hands him to you, and you take him upstairs, tuck him into his crib, kiss him goodnight, walk back to the head of the stairs…

The door bursts open, you hear the sound reverberating through the house—and you stiffen, because this can mean only one thing—

"Lily, take Harry and go!" James yells, racing into the hall. You can see him from where you stand at the top of the stairs, but you don't move, you can't, you're paralyzed with fear and a slow, helpless anger—"It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off!" James shouts, and you can move again—

You race back toward Harry, faster than if you'd Apparated there, your one thought to save your infant son—too late, you remember that your wand is downstairs, in the kitchen—

You feel rather than see or hear the Killing Curse Riddle casts at James, and you close your eyes in pain, and then you look down at your son, peaceful and calm and on the verge of sleep, you snatch him into your arms and he wakes, laughs, and reaches for your long red hair, and you can't help but scream—

Once you start, you can't stop, even though a detached part of your brain, the most Slytherin part, is telling you not to be an idiot, and to hide Harry somehow, there must be something you can do—aren't any of the neighbors just walking past, you could throw Harry down to them like you would in case of a fire (if you didn't have your wand) or maybe you could grab Harry and jump out of the window—but without your wand, you have no guarantee either of you would survive the fall, and what if you broke your leg, then you'd be just as trapped—

Various scenarios dash through your mind, and you don't even have time to wish you'd gone with your gut feeling and vetoed Peter as Secret-Keeper, or that you'd vamped Sev into telling you everything he knows about Riddle and his plans, because surely, if you'd pooled your information—that is, if he'd told you Peter was the spy, which he must have known, unless it's really secret, just between Peter and Riddle—and how could Peter do this to James, anyway?

Before you can finish figuring it all out, because there must be a logical pattern somewhere, even if you can't see it, Riddle's suddenly there, and it's too late, just like you knew it would be as soon as James said he'd hold him off, because holding off the Dark Lord is harder than either of you could ever imagine—

—and you should have known the chair and toy box and clothes hamper you shoved in front of the door while you thought about how to escape wouldn't be enough.

Riddle looks at you with those merciless red eyes and you put Harry down again in his crib and try to block him with your body, because it's the only thing you have left—

"Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!" You beg him, tears streaming down your face. You make all sorts of promises to yourself—if Harry is spared, you'll get out of the Order of the Phoenix, never do chores for Dumbledore again—

"Stand aside, you silly girl…stand aside, now," he says, almost laughing at you, and you spare a thought from the detached part of your mind for wondering why on earth he wouldn't kill you.

You're crying now in earnest; you beg him, offering your own life without a second thought—there must be a spark of humanity in him somewhere, after all— "Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead—"

"This is my last warning—" he says, and you could laugh, because why is he warning you, what does he think you care for life if you lose your son?

"Not Harry! Please…have mercy…have mercy…" you beg. You would get down on your knees to him if you thought it would do any good. "Not Harry! Not Harry! Please—I'll do anything—" In that moment, you mean it, you don't care, your principles aren't important—honestly, if he spares Harry you'll be his slave, you truly will—

And, perhaps because you feel this so strongly it shines out of your eyes, when you look into his red ones again, you can suddenly sense what he's thinking. Anything? He thinks, and you pray that this will work, that he'll agree—he doesn't realize how powerful an assistant you could be—you've studied blood magic extensively, you're nearly tied with Sev for the best Potioneer since Dagworth-Granger, and you have a way of persuading people to do what you want—Sirius said once that you were the only person he knew who could do a successful interrogation without torture, or Veritaserum, or any magical aid—

Silly girl, he thinks, and your heart sinks. Silly little Mudblood girl, thinking I wouldn't nullify the prophecy—one baby, and it'll be done, no one will withstand me again, and the world will be all mine—

You shiver, because what you've sensed in his mind scares you—not just for your baby's sake, but also for the world's. He's so alone in his thoughts, and he shrinks from yours, filled as they are with emotion. And you know, with so much certainty that it shocks you, that power won't be enough—Riddle wants love, even if he won't admit it to himself.

"Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!" he says now. You doubt he's even aware of your foray into his mind. How anyone can be so blind—

You set your jaw, and don't move. You want to watch Harry grow up, you want to be a part of his life, and most of all you want to give him a future—he deserves so much more than this—if Riddle kills him before he's even had a chance to fight back—but, you think with determination, if this is the end, you'll make sure the last thing your son sees is you protecting him. You wait, calm at last, for the curse, knowing it will come soon, and then—

This is one thing Riddle will never understand—you're a witch, but, first and last and always, you're a mother.