So, here it is! The final part of Returning! I'll let you read it, and I'll talk more in the A/N at the end. :)
"JAMES POTTER! I HATE YOU!"
I winced as she yelled this – well, from that, and the fact that she was squeezing all the life out of my hand.
"YOU ARE NEVER COMING NEAR ME AGAIN, UNDERSTAND?"
Well no, not really, but it was my fault she was here in the first place. If I wasn't so unbelievably attractive, she wouldn't be screaming her head off at me in St. Mungo's.
"I WILL KILL YOU WHEN I GET OUT OF HERE!"
All because I got her pregnant.
Well, when I say it like that it sounds like I knocked her up while we were at Hogwarts. Nothing could be further from the truth. We've been married now for almost four years, and this is our first child. And judging by what she's screaming at me, our only child.
"YOU STUPID ARROGANT TOERAG! THIS IS YOUR FAULT, YOU…AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
It is my fault. So, I guess I deserve to be getting my hand crushed into dust by my lovely wife – it's not nearly as painful as what she's going through.
Or what she has gone through.
There are so many times when I regret the fact that I pushed her to her breaking point two and a half years ago. Not just her breaking point – my breaking point, our marriage's breaking point. I could have completely lost her, but instead, we're here in this hospital room while Lily gives birth to my child. My son.
And there are times I still blame myself for the entire thing. If I had just gotten to the alley a few minutes earlier, I could have saved her years of pain and nightmares. I was supposed to protect her, whether she wanted me to or not. And I failed. Because I failed, she had to endure rape, nightmares, therapy, and she had to wonder if I loved her. After all that, she still didn't completely walk away from me. She left, yes, and that nearly killed me – I don't blame her for leaving, though – but she never filed for divorce, she didn't jump into bed with someone else, she didn't do anything that meant she didn't love me. I don't deserve that from her.
So part of what I said that night in the kitchen – and believe me, I remember every word – was true. I did stay with her out of a little bit of guilt. But I also stayed with her because I have loved her for most of my life and I need her.
Lily's too good for me. Anyone could see that – even Sirius knows it. But for some reason she loves me too, and I would do anything to prove myself even the slightest bit worthy of her.
There are also times when I don't understand how she doesn't hate me, how she doesn't blame me, and how she can't still be angry with me after what I said and how badly I scared her that night in the kitchen. I made her think her own husband was going to attack her!
But her view is that this happened two and a half years ago, and the rape itself two years before that. She says it consumed four years of our lives, and a year and a half of our marriage, and that's all it deserves.
And as to why she isn't angry and doesn't hate me – she says it isn't my fault. I don't believe her, but Lily says that I had nothing to do with it. It's his fault, the man who raped her. And hers, she should have been more cautious and more aware. But she's moved so far past all of it, I don't think she thinks about it more than once or twice a day.
I become aware that her screaming has stopped and she is no longer breaking my hand. Instead, a soft cry fills the room, and the Healer hands Harry James Potter – we decided on a name a few weeks after finding out it was a boy – to his mother, who looks utterly exhausted, but unbelievably gorgeous.
She smiles down at him, then looks up at me with tears in her emerald eyes.
"Look," she says softly. "Look at what we did. We made this."
In all honesty, it's all I can do not to start crying like a little girl, especially when she hands me Harry.
I look down at him, and he peers up at me with Lily's eyes and my hair. I pity him somewhat, knowing what it's like to grow up with that unruly mop.
"Yeah," I reply, just as softly. "Look at what we did."
I sit down on the bed next to Lily, still cradling Harry in my arms. As I look from my beautiful wife to my even more beautiful newborn son, I realize that what Lily has been saying is true.
All is forgiven. And it should be forgotten.
Ta-da! The end! It's over! And to be honest, I'm a little - okay, a lot - relieved. I mostly enjoyed writing this story, but I'm not sure how happy I am with the end result. Sometimes it still feels like I didn't make them deal with the real issues behind their fight and their almost-split. Eventually I may go through and re-read and edit and add some more, but that takes time. And time is something I'm very short on right now.
Anyway, while I may not be very proud of this story as a whole, I'm very happy with how the epilogue turned out. I wrote it at 12 in the morning! And, if I may toot my own horn, it's pretty damn awesome!
The epilogue is dedicated to LilyHeartsMarauders, amethyst-dreams27, NJ MacReiley, -Scp-, funsizedpixie22, lovefrog159, and TwiBiteLover06 for their reviews. Thanks guys, I appreciate it. :)
Now, if you would be so kind as to do two things for me. Well, three really. 1) REVIEW! duh. 2) Go to my profile and vote in my poll for what my next story should be. 3) Read my other stories and review those too! If you review, I'll do my best to go and read and review one of your stories! Marauder's Honor!