When she was seven years old, Lily Evans swore that she would never, ever be in a fight. Fights were messy and dangerous and not worth it. Fights got people hurt and killed, and she didn't want to hurt anyone.

Tonight, she had broken her word.

Everyone was safe – as safe as they could be – some injured, but that came as a given in this late stage of the war, where you were lucky just to make it through to the end of the fight. Everyone knew their days were as good as numbered. But no-one's injuries were lift threatening, and that was a good thing. That was what was important. In times like these, priorities were crucial.

The heat of the battle had been a terrifying rush of adrenaline and light and heat and sound, and every moment of it had been crystalline and perfect; senses dancing on the edge of madness and insanity, because you knew, you knew, that every damn moment could be your last-

But now, as she sat safely in her tiny kitchen, with her hands wrapped around a (now cold) mug of tea, the battle seemed vague and far away, despite the fact that it had happened less than six hours ago – it had simply become a montage of fractured and ambiguous memories that retold nothing, and meant very little. All that was important was that she was safe. They were all safe.

The baby was safe.

Lily suppressed a smile and pressed a hand to her stomach, which was already beginning to show signs of the child quickening within her.

The pregnancy had been unexpected and more than a little worrying – how were they supposed to raise a child in an atmosphere like this? It was unfair on Lily, unfair on the child... more than once, she had almost allowed herself to consider terminating it, until James had sat her down and quite seriously told her, "I want you to have this baby." And then, simply, she had agreed. '

She smiled indulgently at James, who was sat opposite her – or, more, accurately, sleeping, slumped on the table, glasses askew and his own cup of tea long forgotten. She had never known how to say no to him, which was a significant contribution to the reason why, by the age of nineteen, she was married and five months pregnant. It certainly wasn't what she'd had planned for her life, by a long shot – she had never intended her relationship with James to be more than light relief in her last year of school - but when James had asked her, his hazel eyes blazing with sincerity and love, she suddenly realised that you have to grasp what's in front of you. And somehow, despite all her vivid childhood plans (because once upon a time, she was going to do great and wonderful things, just you wait and see...) she found herself walking down the aisle with her childhood sweetheart, with very little to live on other than promises and a hell of a lot of love. Not that that had ever stopped James.

Their house was tiny, but comfortable and home. It was the place where she came back to James, who always had a smile for her, the place more often than not bustling with one-time 'Marauders', who apparently could not, even now, survive for more than a few days without seeing another.

Of course, they'd have to move when the baby came – the house was barely big enough for two, let alone three, plus the Marauders when they visited... but space and dreams were limited by what was practical, and what they could afford – but her heart was set on the quaint house on the outskirts of Godric's Hollow that James had taken her to once in autumn. "I decided I was going to live here when I grew up," he had bluntly informed her, "So, I'll buy this house for us one day." She had almost asked when he had decided this, but instead the words that came out of her mouth were when did he plan on growing up, anyway? And he had laughed and thrown a handful of leaves at her from the pavement, which had of course started an all-out leaf-throwing-war...

She closed her eyes, a faint crease appearing between her eyebrows, and tried very hard to picture it in her head – Her, James and their son (the baby was always a boy in her dreams, with James' hazel eyes...) living happily and safely in their house in Godric's Hollow, away from danger and fighting, and people who wanted her dead because her parents couldn't do magic. It seemed the most ridiculous thing - she couldn't help who she was born to, any more than she could help being a witch – but was it really worth dying for? It was a worthy cause, certainly, but could she sacrifice herself - James - her baby at the altar of good intentions?

The kitchen clock chimed 6 a.m., and a few moments later, the sunlight spilled over the horizon, and the room was illuminated with crimson and saffron and amber light, which played off of the contours of James' sleeping face; Lily felt the comforting nudge of the child growing in her womb, and sighed. She didn't know what to do.