Title - One, Another
Summary - Lily and James did not die in the attack in Godric's Hollow. Harry has grown up with a family that loves him, as well as the attention of the entire wizarding world. But the Potters are feuding with the Malfoys, and Harry finds himself pulled into that against his will. In his first year at Hogwarts, he meets a Seer who tells him about the love he will have in the future and helps whenever things become overwhelming.
Pairings - Harry x Draco, Lily x James, Lucius x Narcissa and eventual Remus x Tonks and Ron x Hermione.
Notes - This is going to be a slow-moving story following the boys as they go through Hogwarts and a short time after. I plan to update every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In the later chapters the romance will be more prominent and there will be mature scenes. I hope you enjoy the story, and please take the time to review! This is my first Harry Potter fanfiction, and I'd like to know what you liked or what I should be doing differently.
It was a cool day in Godric's Hollow. The warmth of the sun was offset by the gentle breezes that brushed over and past everything they could. As they ran through the leaves of the trees outside, they made a sound that Lily loved.
This time of year it was soft, so much so that you could almost forget that it was there. In winter there would be fierce storms and the sound would be louder, strong enough to make her heart race. In autumn the slightest bit of wind would send leaves fluttering to the ground, and they would lie largely silent until her husband would go out to clear them and she could listen to her young son as he played, his laughter sounding out with the crackling of old leaves.
It took James three times as long to get the job done when Harry went out to help him. He would invariably be distracted by his child, joining in on his games and suggesting some of his own. Hours later they would come inside covered in leaves but with bright smiles on their faces, and James would look apologetically at Lily, silently promising her that he would finish clearing the leaves tomorrow.
This was her home and she loved it. It was a place for family, a place where they could enjoy each other's company without fear of being photographed and appearing in the latest issue of the Daily Prophet. They could be themselves; James could walk around wearing that smile that was completely free of fear or wariness that Lily had never seen him show anywhere but here.
Harry could slouch or misbehave if he wanted to, secure in the knowledge that while his parents may reprimand him he wouldn't receive Howlers from people he had never met, screaming at him that he was a representative of the wizarding world, and if he couldn't sit up straight then how could he be trusted to defeat You-Know-Who? The wards on the house had been adjusted long ago to prevent the red menaces from entrance.
Lily stood in the kitchen making some toast, absently enjoying the sound of the wind in the trees. If she looked through one of the windows she could see it, but she had looked enough today to have practically memorised the sight. Sunlight fell on the deep green leaves, and they cast shadows that moved and shifted on the grass of the lawn.
The flowers that she kept were positioned against the house, trailing around the outside of it and off to one side of the wide lawn. She could see a few ambitious roses, taller than the rest, at the edge of the window. They waved slightly in the breeze. Over to the left, some metres away, there were azaleas and snow peas in view. There were others of course, but they couldn't be seen from the small windows of the kitchen.
For the last hour Sirius had been walking around the yard, his eyes searching the sky. She didn't know where Remus was, but he was certain to be doing the same thing wherever James had positioned him. They weren't in any danger, but this happened to be a very special week at the Potters and the men were taking it particularly seriously.
In a few days her Harry would be turning eleven. He had already shown magical ability, so it wasn't a matter of if he would be accepted into Hogwarts, but when. The owl with his letter could arrive at any moment, and that was what her friends were watching for.
The sound of Harry's boyish laughter spilled into the kitchen. Lily smiled to herself as she buttered one piece of toast. So many years had passed but they were still the Marauders. They had lost a member – Peter, to Azkaban – and one of them had started a family, but they stubbornly held on to that easy humour, that charming immaturity that she could not help but love. With all that had happened she was glad that they could laugh the way they did, and lectured them more for show than genuine disapproval.
She buttered a second piece and placed it back on the plate beside the first. With all the speed and skill of a mother who had done it thousands of times before, she cut both into strips of three and arranged them on the plate. When they were done to her satisfaction, Lily poured a glass of juice and stepped out into the living room.
It was a small room, taller than it was wide. The furniture was all fashionably mismatched and scattered about, with stacks of books and odd-looking trinkets piled on top of it. There was a fireplace against one wall and a couch in front of it, which seemed to move from day to day. It was Sirius' favourite and he all but refused to sit anywhere else.
The walls were white but you couldn't really see enough of them to tell. Photographs of family and friends went all the way up to the ceiling. Not all of them were the moving wizarding photos; some were Muggle from Lily's childhood or holidays that the family had made in Muggle areas. There were a few small portraits of James' family but they were polite and mostly kept to themselves.
Tapestries had found their way in to the home, colourful and old and mixed in with the photos. The windows were wide and bordered in white, matching the frame of the door that led outside. Red curtains fell around them but were rarely used. In the middle of the room there was a dark wooden table, currently pushed up against the back of Sirius' couch. Here her son Harry sat with his father across from him.
Lily walked over and placed the plate and glass in front of him. Harry looked up at her with a smile, his green eyes bright behind his wiry glasses. "Thanks Mum."
She smiled back and touched his head affectionately. "Now, make sure you eat it all and don't let your father distract you," she told him, the slight sternness of her tone clearly directed at her husband. Harry grinned and started eating.
"What? Why, Lily, how could you possibly think I would do such a thing!" James said in mock protest.
She gave him a stern look. "I don't want you making him laugh when he needs to be finishing his lunch."
"Alright, alright. I'll just sit here and keep watch then," he settled back into his seat, looking as though he thought everything was sorted. A few moments later James' head swung comically and his eyes studied one of the windows, and then again as he stared down the unused fireplace and again, looking curiously at one corner of the room as if the long-awaited owl would come flying out of it.
Harry giggled and Lily coughed pointedly. He looked back at her, the picture of false innocence. "Today could be the day," he said, by way of explanation.
Lily rolled her eyes. For the past three days that was all she had been hearing. Whenever she questioned one of the three self-appointed guards, they had said the same thing. James ended his conversations with 'Today could be the day' and Remus with 'It's all for Harry'. Her favourite was Sirius', spoken to her with a ramrod-straight back, an unsmiling face and a twinkle of laughter in his eyes – 'This is serious business'.
"It could just as easily be tomorrow," she pointed out, though she already knew how he would respond.
James' eyes moved to his son, no doubt conveying some silent message only Harry would understand. "It could still be today."
Harry abruptly started laughing and began to choke on a piece of toast he hadn't quite swallowed. He coughed and reached for his juice as Lily rubbed and patted his back. Once his throat was cleared, he began to laugh again.
Sighing, Lily decided to change the subject. "Where is Remus?" she asked, moving her soothing hand from her son's back when he gestured to her that he was fine.
"Up in the attic," James told her. She was certain that if he hadn't been pretending to be Harry's guard, he would have a smug look on his face from having defeated her.
"Why is he up there?"
James gave her an odd look and then went back to watching Harry. "When you're on the lookout for an owl, the top of the house is the best place to be."
"Ah, right." Lily rubbed her forehead, more out of habit than genuine tiredness. Truthfully she enjoyed her husband's antics, but they weren't always harmless and someone had to teach Harry how to be sensible. He was a considerate child and didn't seem to be picking up too much of his father's ways, but if she wasn't careful in a few years she'd have another James to look out for. It wouldn't be so bad, no, but she rather liked the red in her hair.
"You might want to hurry if you want to see him; we're changing positions in..." James checked his watch, a magical device that Lily had never been able to read, "...seven minutes and thirty-two seconds. Then he'll be here, I'll be near that corner of the house where you grow your sunflowers, and Sirius is meant to use a Levitation spell to get himself to the top of the chimney-"
"He'll do no such thing," Lily interrupted.
"He will in seven minutes and seventeen seconds," James replied cheerfully.
The way Harry's shoulders shook a little as he picked up his next piece of toast, he was trying wisely not to laugh. James winked at him and the shoulders shook a little more.
Lily had known her husband long enough to understand that she would be wasting her time if she spent it talking to him. It would be better if she went directly to the others and spoke to them herself. She sighed, realising again that she both loved and was frustrated by James' stubbornness. She bent down to give him a quick kiss on the cheek and went off to find Remus.
When she reached the stairs she heard Harry erupt into laughter behind her. Despite herself, she smiled.
The attic was, oddly enough, far less crowded than the rest of the house. They didn't use the space for storage. Instead it was a place of solitude, for Remus to use in the days before and after a full moon and he started to feel overwhelmed. For Sirius when a memory struck him particularly hard, for James when it became too difficult to just laugh at everything that went wrong.
For Lily herself, when she needed to cry. For Harry, even, when he wanted to get away from a guest he didn't much care for. He'd never gotten on well with Lily's sister Petunia and her family and avoided them as much as he could get away with. Fortunately for him, one visit had been enough for both sides of the family.
The ceiling was heavily slanted, and a long skylight showed the clear sky outside. There were a few boxes in one corner which were covered with an old sheet. A few wooden chairs in various states of ruin sat here and there. A number of cages lined one wall close to the window, where they had planned for any owls to be kept. Then Voldemort had attacked and it had become necessary to prevent even owls from finding the house. It served as a reminder of how he had taken away some of her dreams, however small.
She saw them now and felt that familiar gratitude. It was the gratitude of a mother who could have lost her child and didn't, of a wife who could have lost her husband and didn't, could have lost her friends and her own life and didn't.
If Harry had been scarred and now lived with the attention of the entirety of the wizarding world, then that was better than him not living at all. At least they were all alive and healthy, and together. They were a family. Here in their home in Godric's Hollow, which Lily had refused to leave, with her ten-year-old son laughing downstairs and waiting for his acceptance letter.
She usually avoided the attic. It made her want to cry or hunt down Voldemort herself and hurt him; such was the intensity of her feelings.
Remus stood in front of the window but had turned away from it to greet her. He didn't speak until he saw that she had control of her emotions. Of the Marauders he was the kindest, not as stubborn as James or oblivious as Sirius. His heightened werewolf senses allowed him to read people, and Lily had wondered in the past if he would have become quite so proficient if he hadn't been turned at a young age.
"Lily," he said finally, with a gentle smile.
She smiled back, the only acknowledgment he would get of his patience before she got to business. "James tells me that you're watching for owls up here."
Remus paled slightly, as if he knew what was coming. He nodded.
"And that you're switching around in a few minutes."
"Three and a half," he said quickly. Lily's eyes narrowed and he looked distressed. "Uhh..."
"And that Sirius is, of all things, intending on Levitating himself onto the roof. Would you happen to know anything about that, Remus?"
"Well, yes," he managed to get out, taking a step back when she took one forward. "It wasn't my idea-"
"It wasn't your idea that Sirius Levitate himself onto the roof while my son is downstairs? My ten-year-old son, who I'm sure would like to celebrate his birthday and acceptance into Hogwarts this week rather than his godfather's unfortunate passing?" Lily took another step, her eyes hard.
"It's completely safe, Lily, it's not as if he hasn't done something similar in the past. He won't get hurt," Remus tried to assure her.
"Not by falling off my roof, no," she agreed. The look in her eyes made it clear what she meant, and Remus actually shivered.
He was silent for a few moments, just looking back at her. He appeared to be considering his options, and finally seemed to have found one that didn't result in angering her further when he spoke: "I'll go and talk to him."
"Good," Lily stepped back and smiled at him. Remus watched her warily, as if she had just revealed herself to be a dragon and expected her to set his hair on fire at any moment. He stepped past her and hurried down the stairs, Lily following him at a more collected pace.
Harry had finished his toast and was carrying the plate and glass to the kitchen. He gave Remus a concerned look as he brushed past him on his way out to the yard. Seeing his mother, he smiled at her. "I've finished eating, Mum. Thanks."
"That's good, Harry," she smiled warmly back. He went into the kitchen and she looked to her husband.
James looked stricken, obviously caught between following Remus out and staying to watch Harry. He didn't want his plan to fall apart, but he didn't want to leave Harry on the off-chance that the owl would arrive in the few minutes he would spend talking to the other two.
Lily let herself laugh now, a good-natured laugh that filled up the room.
James' expression softened when he heard it, and he stood still for a time before shaking his head and walking over to hug her. She laughed into his shoulder, and he chuckled in reply into the softness of her hair. "You're worse than me, you know," he murmured.
"I have to be." She drew back slightly to smile up at him before kissing him, slowly and lightly. She could feel him smile into the kiss, and when they separated his eyes were as bright as she thought her own must be. James kissed her again, quickly, and released her.
Harry had come back into the living room, but rather than interrupt his parents he had contented himself with watching Sirius and Remus arguing through one of the windows. Their shows of affection were way too common for him to pay much attention to it, and the men outside were becoming quite animated.
Remus had left the door open as he rushed to get outside, and through it the breeze carried some snatches of what they were saying.
'...just can't do it, really, Siri. She'll hurt me...'
'Come on, you're a grown werewolf. Can't you just...'
'...Lily we're talking about here.'
'...okay, alright, I get it...'
Harry found this very funny. Sirius especially was always telling him how scary his mother was, but he never saw it and thought they were just playing another of their jokes. He loved how they played pretend for him, to make him laugh. They were really nice, Remus, Sirius and his dad. He agreed with Lily that they were a bit silly sometimes, but usually they were just a lot of fun.
As he watched Remus suddenly stopped arguing, and pointed up at something. Both men stood still for a second, staring at whatever it was, and then rushed inside. "James! It's coming!" he heard them shout together as they ran, but an owl beat them through the door.
It was small and tawny, and very polite as it flew over to Harry and dropped an envelope into his hands. He thanked it, rubbing its neck in the way he had found owls liked and smiling as it cooed at him. It flew out through the door, very nearly smacking Sirius in the face when he couldn't get through fast enough.
The others stood watching him expectantly. Sirius and Remus were panting, more out of surprise than the effort of running to the house. James stood with one arm around his wife's waist, and Lily in turn had placed one hand on his chest. They had been pretending to be serious before, but now they were truly solemn as they waited for Harry to open the envelope.
Lily took note of the silence with an appreciative smile.
Not quite sure how to open the envelope, Harry tore it open and read the letter silently for a minute before opening his mouth to speak. He looked around at the adults with wide eyes. "Mr. Potter – that's me, right?" he asked quietly.
"Yes it is, Harry," Remus told him. "Go on, read us the letter."
Harry nodded at him and turned back to the piece of parchment. "'Dear Mr. Potter...'" he read nervously, understanding some of the gravity of the letter from what his father had told him about Hogwarts. "'We are pleased to inform you-'"
At this point Lily felt James suck in a deep breath beside her. She rubbed at his chest affectionately.
"...that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed-" Harry couldn't finish reading, because Remus had rushed forward to pull him into a tight hug. The letter slipped from his hand and he hugged the man back, laughing in excitement. Near them Sirius was whooping, shouting things about 'my godson' that didn't make much sense.
Lily's smile was wider than it had ever been. This was a special week and this was a very special day in her son's life, made all the better by her friends' enthusiasm. James, though...she was surprised that he had not gone to hug their son before Remus could. She glanced at him and was struck by the change in her husband's features.
There was an incredible look of joy and pride on James' face. She thought that she might be able to feel it rolling off him, it was so strong. She also thought that it made him look very handsome. These were thoughts that, for now, she would keep to herself.
He pressed his hand to her back gently, urging her to step forward as he did. They stopped in front of Harry who was promptly released by Remus, who stepped back to quiet Sirius.
Harry was dishevelled, his glasses crooked and his hair mussed from Remus' hug. There was a grin on his face he didn't seem able to get rid of, even with his parents suddenly formal as they stood over him. His eyes were bright and his cheeks were red with childish happiness.
James knelt in front of him, and Lily went with him. She reached out to touch his cheek as she waited for James to speak. When he did, his voice was slightly husky with emotion. "We are so, so proud of you," he told his son simply.
"Yes, we are. And we love you, Harry. So much," Lily said when he fell quiet again.
James stretched out his arms and Harry flew into them, and his father spoke to him quietly and lovingly. "You did well, Harry. You're such a great kid..." Lily heard him say, among other things she couldn't make out. She let them have some time, father and son, and then joined the hug. They pulled her easily into the embrace.
She was momentarily startled to find that Harry was tearing up, but just hugged him more tightly. "I love you, Dad. I love you, Mum. Thank you. Thanks," he said into his father's shoulder, gripping the side of James's shirt in one hand and the back of Lily's, along with some of her hair, in the other. It hurt but this was too special for her to say anything.
Her husband shifted and she saw that he was crying already, his cheeks damp. It was a beautiful sight, and Lily decided she would treasure that memory for the rest of her life. She kissed his shoulder in assurance.
This was her family. This was her home.
This was where James sometimes got caught up in talking to the portrait of his great-uncle Eadric. This was where Harry had taken his first steps, had used his magic for the first time, had gotten his acceptance letter to Hogwarts. This was where Sirius tried to Levitate himself onto the chimney, even though he knew Lily would disapprove. This was where Remus had taught Harry to fly, had told him stories, had always come to first when his transformation was difficult or if he was tired.
Voldemort had attacked them here, but he had not won and he would not take it from them. This was her home, Lily thought fiercely, where she lived with the people that she cared about and the son that she adored, and she knew that she would protect it until the day that she died.