A/N: So, here's the final chapter :) For now, at least. Hopefully you'll enjoy this!
Lily couldn't remember exactly how she got back to her room after that, but when she woke up the next morning, the first thing she remembered was Harry. And James. James. Of course, it was beyond sweet that Harry and his wife had named their first son after Harry's father – Lily's husband. At the same time, it made Lily start panicking for no obvious reason.
It had become clear the day before that she would always be reminded of her dead husband. Harry looked so much like him that it would be impossible not to. But now, her grandson would remind her of him as well. James. James. The name kept repeating itself in her head until it became too much. All Lily knew was that she needed to get out of her bed and go outside, breathe in some fresh air.
She knew that people might think she was overreacting – of course, it was fantastic that Harry had named his son after his father – but the thought, the knowledge was suffocating Lily. She wasn't planning on forgetting all about James – far from it; that wouldn't be fair to his memory. But was it too much to ask to be able to forget about him every now and then? She didn't want to be constantly reminded of him. After all, they were a world apart now. With a son who looked too much like his father for his own good, and a grandson who was named after his grandfather, Lily was sure that she would be reminded of James every second of every single day.
She didn't even know whether she was allowed to go out, but she went anyway.
"Lily!" Stepping outside, Lily felt someone grab her arm. "Are you supposed to be here?"
"I – I don't know," Lily whispered, and before she realised what she was doing, she was crying, sobbing. All the things she had heard yesterday – it was overwhelming. She couldn't quite comprehend it all, but here she was, crying her eyes out, with nobody around but Andromeda Tonks.
Andromeda let her cry for as long as she needed; when Lily calmed down after a while, she looked up and smiled weakly at the other woman. "Sorry," she whispered. "I don't know where that came from."
"It's understandable," Andromeda replied. "You probably learned a lot last night. A lot has happened in the past 23 years. Nobody blames you if that's too much to handle at once."
"But – ," Lily started, then realised that she had no idea what she was going to say, "James…"
"He's dead," Andromeda said bluntly. "And you're going to have to learn to cope with that, Lily. Maybe not now, not tomorrow, but eventually, you'll have to. You can't keep hanging on to a memory. It's hard, I know, but you'll have to get through it."
"And now I have a grandson that'll keep reminding me of him every single day," Lily said, laughing humourlessly.
"You'll get used to it," Andromeda said. "After a while you'll also see that however much he is like your husband – he and Harry – , they're all different people, with different personalities and everything. Neither of them is really James and although that means that neither of them will ever be fully able to fill the gap, it will make you able to see them and communicate with them without constantly thinking of your husband."
Lily looked at her with a questioning look in her eyes. It sounded as if Andromeda knew exactly what she was talking about here. Almost as if she was familiar with the situation. "How do you know?" she asked in the end.
Looking away, Andromeda sighed. "I know – " she began, and she closed her eyes, thinking. "I've been through this as well. I'm still going through this. It still hurts, but when time passes – it can heal, if only just a little bit."
"What do you mean?" Lily asked, not fully understanding what she was saying.
"Whom do you think my grandson was named after?" Andromeda asked her, looking straight at Lily now, a mixture of sadness and persistence showing in her eyes.
For a moment, both women were quiet. Then, Lily's head snapped up. "You mean – Ted? What happened to him?" Lily was strangely aware that they were talking as if they were old friends, or something alike. Yet she had never met Ted (or Andromeda before this), only heard of him.
"He was killed while he was fleeing from the Death Eaters," Andromeda said, and Lily remembered Harry telling her that all Muggleborns had been supposed to turn themselves in to the new Ministry that had been completely on Voldemort's side. Obviously, not all of them had done so.
"I'm sorry," she said softly. She suddenly felt horrible for acting as though she was the only person who had ever experienced this strange situation, but she knew now that she wasn't.
"It's not your fault. But I know what you're talking about. It's not easy seeing Teddy grow up, and every time I look at him, I see his parents, or Ted." Andromeda shook her head. "But like I said before – it'll heal in time. A little, not too much. But you shouldn't want it to heal completely."
"That wouldn't be fair to his memory," Lily finished, nodding.
"One thing you shouldn't do, is comparing them in everything. The more you do so, the more you will be disappointed if your grandson doesn't turn out to be like his grandfather at all. And once you realise that, it'll hurt even more. Just – embrace the fact that they are alike in some ways, but they are also different. Accept it."
Accept it. Lily knew that that would take some more time. Apart from this, she had also heard many other things last night, and she was sure to hear even more stuff like it. She couldn't say she was completely looking forward to it. All the things Harry had been through – it was horrifying. She couldn't accept those things just like that.
She nodded slowly. Now that she had been outside for a while, she realised that it was actually quite cold. It was better than the suffocating room she stayed in, but February still wasn't warm.
"Let's go back inside," Andromeda suddenly said. "I told Harry I'd be gone for only a minute."
Lily nodded again. "Yeah," she said, "let's go."
Neither of them spoke while they returned to the maternity ward. Lily still didn't know whether she was even supposed to be out of bed, but she figured that, might the Healers go on a search for her, the maternity ward would be the first place they'd check.
Upon arriving there, Ron, who came walking towards them as they approached, told them that Ginny was asleep again, but Harry was in the family room with Teddy and James. As he said this, Lily felt a sharp pain shoot through her heart, but she pretended not to feel it. She had to get used to this. She had to accept it.
Stepping into the family room, she was met by a sweet sight. Teddy was sitting on a couch, his arms supported by various pillows, holding James. A wide grin was present on his face as he looked down at his little god-brother. Harry was kneeling down next to the couch, most likely making sure that nothing would happen to either of them.
"He's so small," Teddy said with awe, staring at the baby's tiny fingers.
Harry smiled. "You know, Teddy, you were this small too when you were born."
Teddy stared at him disbelievingly. "No, that's impossible! I was never that small! Was I, grandma?"
Harry looked surprised to see them, and Lily, too, hadn't expected Teddy to have noticed them standing there. He seemed so preoccupied by James that she was surprised that he had seen them.
"Well, Teddy," Andromeda answered him, smiling, "I don't quite remember. You know, I think you were even a little smaller than James is now."
Teddy's mouth hung wide open as his grandmother told him this. He shook his head firmly, as if not believing it at all. "No," he protested, "I was always this big."
The adults in the room chuckled at this and Lily had to fight back the urge to express her sympathies for Teddy's mother. Suddenly, the baby started crying and Teddy yelped. Harry leapt up swiftly and took James from him.
"Make it stop!" Teddy shouted. "Harry, can't you turn him off?"
"I'm afraid he can't, dear," Andromeda said. "Come on, we'll go to the hall for a minute."
Teddy nodded frantically and almost ran out of the room. "Well," Harry said, looking amused, "he'll have to get used to it some time…"
"He just needs a little time to adjust to it," Lily said, and she realised what she had said only after the words had left her mouth. Harry smiled, obviously understanding what she was thinking about.
"Do you want to hold him?" he asked; James had calmed down again by now. After hesitating for a second, Lily nodded. The sooner she was used to this, the better.
Although she knew it had been 23 years since she held Harry, to Lily, it seemed like yesterday. And with his eyes closed, she almost saw no difference between Harry and James. She smiled to herself. It would be tough, but she could make it through the pain and the heartache. She was sure of it.
A/N: So, what do you think? :) I'm sorry for the people who were hoping for a meeting between Lily and Ginny, but that's not for now. Perhaps I'll add it some time in the future, but first I would need to be inspired to write such a meeting, I'm afraid. As for a meeting with Petunia - that would be a great idea, if it wasn't for the fact that I would like to keep this story within St Mungo's, and there's no way Petunia would go there ;)
Anyway, let me know what you thought about the chapter/story, please review!