A/N: Sorry, this is not a new chapter for Cure. As those of you who have checked my author profile lately will know, I suffered a hardware failure of my Hard disk recently. Fortunately (in retrospect) it started just when I was sitting down to write the next chapter of Cure, so nothings was lost. Even the bit that I had written for a future chapter I can get back (the rough draft is in an attachment in my email) But obviously, there's been no progress on Cure while we got this sorted.
To tide you all over, I decided to post this instead. This is a small one shot I wrote for the Fandom4LLS (Fan support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) drive, which raised over $9000 last autumn.
This little ficlet tells the tale of That halloween... from Lily's point of view. Plus her first few thoughts while riding with Harry. Hope you enjoy this brief flashback!
Lily Potter smiled as she watched Harry play on the floor before her. His baby gurgles brought peace to her mind. The Potters had not had much peace of mind for the past year… ever since Voldemort had attacked the ancestral Potter Manor. Even just thinking about that brought pangs of hurt to Lily's heart. She had truly fallen in love with the vast manor, the history that could be felt within it, the elegance and understated style. Though she knew that James had it even worse. Potter Manor was his home, his place of birth. To see his home savaged like that…
And then of course there had been the personal loss. Voldemort and his Death Eater scum had killed most of the staff as they fought back. The Potter's three House Elves had also died, taking hits meant for herself or James. But the biggest loss had been that of James mother, Dorea. A sigh escaped Lily's lips as she thought about the Potter matriarch. Dorea was proof to her that not all the 'Old Guard' – as she thought of them – were corrupt bigots. Dorea Black had not followed her family's line and married Charlus Potter, a known supporter of muggles and muggle-borns, in the late fifties. The only reason she had not been disavowed by the fanatical Black family had been because Charlus was a Potter. Lily had been stunned at the history of the family she had married into when she laid eyes on the library contained within the manor. The Potter family could be traced right back to the early days of the Roman Empire. They had been there throughout history, rubbing shoulders with the kings and queens of old. Even after the magical world drew back and isolated itself from the non-magical one, the Potters had continued to interact with the larger world. Lord Potter was still recognised as a title in the British House of Lords.
A chuckle escaped Lily's mouth. Even in that conservative body, the Potters had always been something of a radical element, striving to improve the lot of everyone, noble and commoner alike. Yet also, at the same time, respecting the traditions and customs of the past. It was a delicate balancing act… one which, so far, the family had pulled off superbly.
The shutting of a door drew her out of her thoughts, and Lily looked up to see James Potter step out of the study. A fresh surge of love pulsed through her as her eyes devoured him. James Potter had come a long way since they had first met, back in their first days at Hogwarts. The gangly boy had matured, becoming a well-proportioned, athletic and built man. Some things hadn't changed – the sensible glasses, the messy locks of hair that never lay flat – but now he was, certainly in Lily's eyes, a very handsome man.
"Hey there Prongslet." James stooped down to kneel by Harry. Little Harry, obviously recognising his father's voice, gurgled happily, his face spilt in a wide baby smile. One chubby hand waving in his father's direction.
"James…" Lily reproached lightly as he kissed their sons crown. "…He has a name you know." The smile on her lips, and in her tone, told her husband that Lily was not actually angry with him.
"I know that." James replied as he stood once more, flashing that self-same grin of his. Oh, that grin! So much like the one he sported often in their first few years at Hogwarts, but at the same time so different. "Just trying to start a new tradition Lily-flower." He continued as he sat down beside her, one arm snaked round her waist to pull her against his side.
Lily rolled her eyes even as she blushed. James was the only one who could get away with calling her that. As she snuggled into his side Lily allowed her thoughts to roam once more, focused more on the man beside her.
While James's physical maturation was impressive, his emotional and mental one was even more so. Throughout their Hogwarts years, James Potter and his best friends, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, had been thick as thieves, setting up pranks playing jokes on others. Something that was almost reprehensible to rule abiding, authority following Lily Evans. Having been on the receiving end of malicious pranks herself, Lily had had trouble seeing the funny side. Oh, she'd found herself almost laughing at a couple, but it still rankled.
Of course, part of the problem might have been that one of their more often chosen targets had been her childhood friend, Severus Snape. He'd been the one to show her the world she was now part of. A place of wonders and powers that before she could only dream off.
But to go with the wonders, there had also been the horrors. And Severus… he'd become one of those horrors.
It still hurt, even after nearly five years, his words when she'd interceded in a prank that James and Sirius had played on Severus after one of their exams.
"I don't need help from a mudblood!"
Mudblood. Dirty-blood. The term used by those of 'pure-blood' for people like her, magicals born from non-magicals, or muggles as they were known. Lily was sure that even the term 'muggle' was an insult, but even with her great intellect she struggled to find another term for non-magicals that could not be taken as an insult.
Her eyes drifted to James once more. While it was a painful memory, that event had also seen the first sea-change in his personality as well. Up till that point, James Potter had been arrogant, prideful. Okay, Lily had to admit, he had reason to be cocky. His family line was certainly one to take pride in, and he was obviously skilled with magic. Combine that with a great deal of personal charisma and charm… he'd had fans throughout the school, despite – or perhaps enhanced by – his rebellious nature. Those four boys had caused all kinds of mayhem to others in the school.
When he'd returned to Hogwarts after the summer break, it had been clear to her that James Potter had changed. Oh he still played pranks, but the old edge was gone. So too had the cocky arrogance from before. He'd become more humble, more laid-back… more likeable. Lily didn't deny it: He'd already become very attractive in their fourth year. The added years only built upon that. And his new found maturity really changed how she saw him.
But one incident from their sixth year really struck her the most. Heading back to the common room after a lesson, Lily had heard ugly voices taunting someone. She arrived to see five older Slytherins, led by Lucius Malfoy, towering over a clearly terrified young Hufflepuff, from her looks a second year. But before she could speak up a shout from another corridor had made the bullies – and her – turn, to see James approaching, flanked by Sirius, Remus and Peter. Gone had been the playful expression on James face. Instead his features had been turned to stone, showing contempt. After an exchange of words – none of which had been civil – the Slytherins had moved off, the air ringing with veiled threats.
But what happened next had really captured Lily's attention. James, once the Slytherins were out of sight, had relaxed before crouching down before the distraught younger witch. She'd heard his words of comfort, and seen how he'd gently hugged her, offering support. When they had parted ways the little witch had clearly felt much better. Later in the common room, Lily had seen the four boys plotting together, serious expressions on their faces. She'd almost gone over to break up their act, but she'd hesitated, when the name 'Lucius' was mentioned.
The next day, almost the whole school was laughing at Lucius as he'd sat down at his house table… only to suddenly turn neon green, with his nose growing out and turning banana yellow. Looking over the others on the table, she'd noted that the other boys involved in the incident the previous day had also been pranked. But the most heart-warming had been when she saw James exchange a wink with the little Hufflepuff who'd been a victim of the bullies before. The way her face had lit up would have melted hearts of stone.
Since then, she'd watched closely… and seen that those James and the others pranked had all been bullies and bigots. Those deserving to be ridiculed.
It had been the start of her looking beyond her image of James… and finding herself falling for him. He'd grown up, becoming a champion for those who needed help, standing up to bullies. And Lily had always hated bullies.
And then she'd decided to finally allow him to take her to Hogsmede. He'd been trying for several years now, but she'd always shot him down. But now she said yes.
The stunned look on his face, even if it had only been for a couple of seconds, had been priceless.
That's when she started learning about the real James Potter, the man behind the prankster.
And when she started to fall for him.
"What's on your mind Lily-flower?" James voice broke her out of her thoughts, and Lily shook her head to clear it before refocusing on her husband's face, hazel eyes looking at her with such warmth and compassion that she sighed happily.
"Just thinking back to our years at Hogwarts."
"Ah." James face fell a little before he sighed. "I was a right berk at first, wasn't I?"
"Yes, you were." Lily gently pressed a finger to his lips to hold his silence. "But you grew up. You matured."
Smiling once more, James leant down and kissed her. A low moan escaped Lily's throat as they deepened the kiss, the love they shared flowing between them. Her heart sped up as she felt his hands caress her body, lighting the fires of passion deep within her.
Drawing back a little, James dragged his lips along her jaw, and Lily tipped her head back eagerly. When he reached her earlobe, James lifted his lips away to whisper in her ear. "Should we try once more?"
Lily grinned lustily. The two of them had been trying for another child for a while now. Of course, with Voldemort and the Death Eaters – 'Hmm, sounds like some bad rock band' she thought idly – after them, they had not been able to really concentrate on it.
Not that the act itself was any less pleasurable.
"Oh, I think so. After all… Dumbledore was sure we're safe now…"
James grinned, but Lily couldn't help but note the flicker of concern in his eyes. It echoed what she felt too. They'd been on the run from the Death Eaters for several months now, constantly having to move on when they were found. Dumbledore had dragged this Fidelius Charm out of his personal library, with assurances that it would keep them, and more importantly Harry, safe. In theory, it was perfect. The Death Eaters would literally be unable to see the house they were in, totally unaware of its existence even.
Still, they had decided to add another layer of protection on top. It was well known to everyone that Sirius and James were brothers in all but blood. And as they all suspected that Voldemort had mole within the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore's paramilitary group fighting against the Death Eaters, it was a sure bet that Voldemort knew about what they had done to escape him. For the Fidelius, someone had to keep the Secret, and Sirius was the obvious choice. So, they had made Peter Petigrew the Secret Keeper, for who would suspect unassuming Peter of holding it? Sirius was off somewhere, hiding himself away. Acting just as one would expect a Secret Keeper would.
Misdirection. Part of the Marauders bag of tricks.
Her thoughts were derailed when James' lips found her own once more. Her eyes closed as their tongues duelled, while her hands slid over his shoulders to link up behind his head. One of his own was slowly running up her flank…
A gurgle-laugh from Harry reminded her that they were not alone. Lily pulled her head back. "James…" Her voice came out as a moan as he kissed her neck. "Harry…"
James stilled for a second, before laying another, softer, kiss on her lips. "I think it's his bed-time." He said softly.
Lily smirked. "Oh, right."
Smiling happily, James climbed off her, allowing Lily to stand. Taking a moment to compose herself, Lily moved over to where Harry was sat on the floor. "Time for bed little one…" She said softly as she crouched down to scoop him up into her arms. "Mummy wants to 'play' with daddy…"
Harry gurgled happily, one of his hand waving in the air as she lifted him up. James, watching from the side, beamed at his son as Lily stepped past. Climbing the stairs, Lily continued to smile and whisper sweet nothings to her son as she carried him to the nursery. The words were not important: what was were the meanings, tone and emotion in her voice. Lifting him up a bit Lily laid a soft kiss against Harry's forehead. "Sleep tight my son…"
Harry laughed as she laid him down in the crib, eyes just like her own looking up at her. With a smile in reply she pressed her hand to the one corner of the crib. After a second the light sommus charm, formed from runes engraved just around the rim of the crib, came into effect, and Harry's eyes closed slowly, his limbs stilling as he feel asleep. Lily normally didn't use the sleeping charm that came as standard with the wizarding crib, but every now and again…
By the time she returned downstairs, James had already dimmed the lights, and was just in the act of pouring a glass of wine. A deep red Chardonnay, unless she missed her guess.
"Smooth." She said as she approached. James just smiled at her, that smile that only she saw. The one which melted her insides and was almost enough for her to forgive all his sins. Looping her arms around his neck, Lily pulled his head down gently to kiss him once more. Vaguely she was aware of James setting the glass down, before both his arms wrapped around her, drawing her closer to him.
Their lips parted, and they stared into each other's eyes, separated by only a few scant inches. They could see the love they had for the other, the love that had carried them both through the terrible years since they had graduated Hogwarts. Whenever they had looked into each other like this, they had felt peace, the outside world fading away to nothing.
That instant though they both felt a tingle… the sign that the ward line James had placed across the front path had been tripped. They had set it to alert them if any one visited. Muttering in annoyance, James stepped up to look out.
His sudden, shocked gasp kicked Lily's heart into high gear. "Lily, it's Him! Take Harry and go!"
"What!" Lily. "How…"
James face was stony. "Peter's standing at the gate." He ground out as he drew his wand. "Now go, get out of here! I'll hold him off."
"No!" Lily whirled to stand with her husband. "We all go, together!"
"There's no time!" James pulled her close. "I'll delay him as long as possible. You get yourself and Harry to safety!"
Lily opened her mouth to argue, but James beat her to it, dropping his mouth onto hers. Every iota of his love and passion for her was pushed into the kiss. When at last he drew back he looked into her eyes. "Go!"
With tears in her eyes Lily turned and ran for the stairs. Behind her she heard James move and start casting… just as the front door slammed open. She couldn't help it: Lily had to look back for a moment.
Framed in the doorways was Voldemort. Robes blacker than night billowing around him, skin paler than death. A chill seemed to emanate from him, cutting right to the bone. But worst of all were the eyes, burning red eyes glaring out of his face, the skin taunt over the skull beneath.
"Potter! We met once more, at last!" Voldemort intoned, before his eyes flickered to Lily. Gasping she turned and rapidly climbed the stairs. "Now… stand aside. We have no business with you tonight."
"You won't touch my son!" James defiant bellow resounded before she heard the first spell being cast.
"Then you will die with him tonight, fool!"
The spell casting continued as Lily reached the top of the stairs. But as she reached for the door of the nursery she heard something that froze her heart.
The dreaded spell… "Avada Kedavra!" … followed by the sound of a body falling to the floor.
"No… James…" Lily gasped, pain lancing through her. The creak of the stairs goaded her to act once more, ripping the door open before racing in, slamming it shut behind her once more. A few quick steps and she was by the crib once more. Taking a moment to stop the flow of tears, Lily reached in for Harry, her motions halting the Sleeping charm. "Come on Harry, we've got to go…"
Holding the still sleepy Harry to her chest, Lily raced to the window. Looking out, she felt her heart fall. There was no way to safely get out and down, not with Harry. Turning back, she moved back to the door. Opening it, she gasped in horror. Voldemort had just finished climbing the stairs. Quickly she slammed the door shut once more, before feeling for her wand. It was then she remembered: it was downstairs, on the side-table.
Tears falling freely now, Lily stepped back to the crib even as she heard the approaching footsteps. Turning around, she once more laid Harry in his crib, before kissing his forehead once more. "Remember this Harry: Mummy loves you so much…"
A bang from behind her prompted her to turn around, to see the door on the floor… and Voldemort stepping within, wand levelled. His eyes locked onto her.
"Step aside mudblood."
"No… Please, not Harry. He's only a baby…"
Voldemort hissed. "I will not allow anyone to threaten me. Now once more, stand aside!"
'Why does he not just kill me? Does he want me alive?' Lily thought. A shiver passed through her frame as she recalled some of the horrors they had discovered in raids against Death Eater hideouts. She would rather die than end up like the poor girls they had found in there…
"Do not make the same mistake as Potter! Now I command you, STEP ASIDE!" Voldemort snarled.
"No… please, spare him… Take my life for his…" Lily focused her magic, praying that her gamble would work. While she'd never been able to cast wandlessly, she understood that with magic, intent was the most important factor.
"I will not ask again! Step aside!"
"No… kill me instead… just let Harry live…" 'Come on, please… please work…'
Voldemort growled. "Fine! Avada Kedavra!"
Even as the infamous, deadly green bolt lanced towards her, Lily felt the magic she was trying to invoke take. 'Yes, got you fool! Harry, forgiv…'
Then the green bolt struck her, and Lily fell.
"… now then… to finish what I came for…"
…Huh? That sounds like Voldemort! But how can I hear…
…Shouldn'a done that…
…That sound… is that Sirius's bike?
…SIRIUS! God please don't go all to pieces on me now… get up here…
…Strange… I can't move… or speak… what is going on?
"Oh god, Lily!"
…At last you're here you big… wait, where are you?
"Merlin… it's all my fault…"
…Sirius, we ALL agreed on the switch! You couldn't have known Peter would betray us! We couldn't… wait. Harry's crying!
"Merlin, Harry! You're alive!"
…Thank god for that! It worked. But… why am I still here? How can I hear this, but not see anything?
"I'm sorry Sirius, but Dumbldore told me to bring 'arry to 'im."
…Hagrid! What the hell is Hagrid doing here?
"…Fine. Take good care of him Hagrid."
…Sirius… what? What's with that tone of voice?
"I promise Sirius."
"Take my bike too. I have a rat to kill…"
…Oh no Sirius… now's not the time to go haring off after Peter! Look after Harry first! Sirius Black you get back here this instant!
…I can see! Where are we Hagrid? Hagrid!
"Oh hey 'arry! Don't you worry none, you're safe with me."
…Hagrid, I am not my son!
…Wait… when did you get so big?
…what is going on here?
"Don't you worry noth'en 'arry. We'll be back down in no'time."
…Hagrid… why are you calling me Harry?
"Albus… are you sure about this?"
…Minerva… wait, what is Dumbledore up to?
"I've been watching them most of the day, and frankly they are the worst sort of muggles around…"
"They are also the only family he has left."
…Dumbledore…muggles… family… oh no… please don't…
"Everyone in our world knows his name. For something he'll never remember. He's better off growing up away from all that… until he is ready."
…and who decides when he's ready Dumbledore, you? Besides, Sirius or Alice would not let Harry get inflated with pride!
"Good luck… Harry Potter."
…Don't you dare Dumbledore! You can't leave Harry with my sister! You witnessed the will! You know we forbade him going to her!
"Albus… I still don't agree with this. This isn't right."
…Come on Minerva, you can stop this…
"It is for the best that Harry grows up away from all the fame of last night. He'll be safe here. None of them will be able to reach him here."
…And he'd be just as safe with Sirius or Alice! Come on… take Harry to where he belongs, anywhere but here!
"I… I suppose you're right Albus. I don't like it, not one bit, but… if he'll be safe…"
"I am certain. Petunia would not turn her nephew away."
…Yes she would! How blind are you?
"Now, we must depart…"
…How could he… how could he just… leave Harry with my SISTER!
…How did I hear all that? I should be dead…
…at least Harry's alive…
…I feel… something…
…Like when I hold Harry…
…I'm… in… Harry…
…There's something behind me…
…YOU WILL NOT CORRUPT MY SON!
A/N: Hope you all liked this little slice of Lily/James, and I hope you follow what Lily did here.
I'll try and get a new chapter of Cure done as soon as possible. Just... have a little faith.