Harry giggled at the bursts of lights coming from James' wand.
"Having fun, daddy?" asked a voice in the doorway. James turned and smiled.
"Of course, mummy." He replied with a wink.
Lily laughed. "Time for bed, Harry." She picked up the toddler and tickled his belly. He giggled and squirmed in her arms. The redhead laughed alongside him and began up the stairs.
James smiled at the two before retiring to the couch. At the ripe old age of twenty one, James Potter was retired. And locked in his house, but he tended to push that from his mind.
He swatted absentmindedly at an orange and black paper chain hanging from the ceiling. He used to love Halloween when he was in school. He and Sirius (Remus refused to be a part of their shenanigans and peter was too scared) would run around demanding candy of the teachers and enchanting the statues to hand it out in the halls. But lately he found it hard to get excited about much. Except for when it came to his son and Lily, of course.
He was still amazed that Lily chose to be with him. Him. He'd loved her for years, and it seemed hopeless that she would ever reciprocate his feelings. Seventh year was easily the best in his life. He had his friends, he did well in school, and he had Lily. Of course, having Harry tied right up there with Lily. But still, being locked up was not for James Potter.
He sat, reminiscing on the couch, when he heard the gate in the front squeak. This immediately set him on edge. No one was supposed to be able to get into the house but the marauders and Dumbledore. He pulled out his wand and crept into the entry way in time to see the handle turn silently. Ghostly pale fingers gripped the frame and the door swung open.
This couldn't be happening. Peter was their secret keeper! He wouldn't sell them out; they'd practically grown up together! What could they have done to break his fellow marauders resolve? He silently prayed that peter was unharmed and safe, before bringing his mind back to the situation at hand.
"Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off!" he yelled to the stairs. The door swung open with a thud. Snake-like eyes peered at him from an inhuman face. The thing showed its teeth in a wolfish grin and took a step over the threshold.
"James," he said pleasantly, as if he were simply over for a cup of tea. "Isn't this nice? I haven't seen you in so long." The thing's grin widened, his eyes alighting with bloodlust. "Sadly, I'm here on business. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about." He kept the cordial air about him as he conversed with his enemy.
"Can't say I do, Tom." James said through gritted teeth.
Voldemort let out a bark of laughter, but there was no real humor behind it. "I'm sure you know of the prophesy. Your son poses a threat to me, and we can't have that, can we?" he took a step closer.
"You're not going to touch Harry." James growled. "I won't let you."
Voldemort tisked. "Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that. Crucio."
James collapsed to the floor, writhing in agony. White hot knives penetrated his flesh for what felt like years. Oh, Merlin, just let it stop. He silently begged. The pain finally halted, and James lay on the floor gasping for breath.
"See, Potter? There is nothing you can do to save your family." Voldemort said cruelly. "As much fun as this is, I must be going. Avada Kedavra."
Lily held Harry in the nursery, hearing everything going on down below. At these words she clutched Harry to her chest and let a tear slip out. She couldn't let grief over take her like this, she had to protect Harry. She stood and walked over to the far side of the room, away from the door. Suddenly, the wall blasted into the room and Voldemort stood in the rubble.
Lily backed away and placed harry in his crib. She turned and blocked him with her own body.
"Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!" she begged
"Stand aside, you silly girl...stand aside, now..."
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead–" She was pleading with him now, she would be on her knees if not for her need to shield Harry.
Voldemort's eyes flashed, annoyed. "This is my last warning-"
"Not Harry! Please ... have mercy ... Not Harry! Please – I'll do anything..." Lily cried, tears stinging her eyes.
And everything went dark.
Lily felt herself land with a thump. It was peaceful in the darkness of her eyelids, almost like being asleep, only easier. She felt a hand on her forehead. There must be someone next to her. Silly them, they obviously don't know how nice sleeping is, or they would be like her. The hand began stroking her hair, running their fingers through it just how she liked. She could get used to this. She recalled James doing this to her many times as they dozed under the beech tree at Hogwarts. James… Where was he? She really needed to find him. No matter, she'll worry about it when she wakes up.
Why wouldn't Lily wake up? James Potter was kneeling on the ground at his wife's side, running his fingers through her hair in worry. In the nearly five minutes since he'd woken up to find Lily's prone form on the ground, he'd only grown more worried and confused. He glanced up in desperation, searching the surrounding landscape for help. He was startled to find a crumbling shack not ten meters away from where they lay.
He braced his foot on the ground, sliding his arms gently under his wife's torso and knees, and stood. As he began to take a step, his knees locked and he lurched forward, nearly dropping his precious cargo. He hurriedly stabilized himself, worried that he wouldn't be able to make it all the way to the shack. His entire body ached and he groaned in pain. He set his jaw and forced himself forward slowly, setting one foot carefully in front of the other with a determined pace.
He staggered forward, barely making it to the porch of the shack, before his legs collapsed underneath him. He found himself falling heavily to his knees, his weight causing a loud crack to echo throughout the silent night. He secured Lily in his arms, protecting her from harm as he slouched over in fatigue. His eyesight went blurry as he drifted into unconsciousness.