A/N: First of all, I'm not a native speaker of English. So I'm sorry for any grammar or spelling mistakes I'll make beforehand. Second, it's my first fic. I confess I'm not an expert in the field. Please be patient with me and help me improve in any way you can. Third, I have no self-confidence. Please word your criticism in a way that doesn't make me give up before I've even started.
Disclaimer: It's obvious I'm not JKR, isn't it? I just gave a short biography of mine above.
Chapter 1: Breaking Point
It was the Halloween of 1986, exactly five years after the night Voldemort attacked the Potters.
Lily and James were in an Order meeting when it happened, leaving their two sons with Lily's best friend, Emmeline. When they came back home, Emmeline's body was lying in the middle of the nursery, Harry's was lying in a corner and Davey, the older of the twins, was shaking Emmeline as if he wanted to wake her.
That scene changed the Potters' life forever.
James, oblivious to his surroundings, hugged Davey and shouted like the proud father he was, "My son did it. He defeated Voldemort."
Lily, on the other hand, checked Emmeline for a pulse. When she didn't find one, she staggered to her younger son, praying all the way that he would be alive. To her relief, Harry was breathing. The scar on his forehead which was bleeding a bit was the only apparent damage. She then scooped the lifeless body in her arms and cried in relief.
After that night, Davey was the apple of his father's eye and Harry, on the other hand, was the cause of every bad happening. At first, James ignored Harry most of the times, but as time passed, he scolded the boy and yelled at him for practically everything he did.
Lily tried to protect her younger son as best as she could, but sometimes she was just hopeless. A few times, while changing Harry, she had found bruises on his small body, bruises in shape of handprints, and the only thing she could do was cry and apologize to her son for not taking care of him better.
What worried her the most was the fact that Harry was afraid of doing magic. She didn't know how it was possible to be unable to do accidental magic in fear of being yelled at while it was fear in the first place which triggered the accidental magic.
And now, after five years of tolerating her husband's cruelty, Lily was clueless what to do. She was cleaning the kitchen without magic, trying not to think of the look on Harry's face when James had shown up with a new broomstick for Davey, 'a present for defeating Voldemort,' he'd claimed.
Gritting her teeth to stop tears, Lily was scrubbing the cabinets when she heard the sound of something colliding with the wall, being followed by shouts. She threw what was in her hands, took off her washing gloves hastily and hurried out of the room to where the angry shouts were coming from. She froze at the scene before her eyes.
James had grabbed Harry by the collar while the boy had a hand on the left side of his head. Lily couldn't see what damage was done to the small boy, but the sight of blood on the nearby wall confirmed her worries.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, could anger a man so much as to strike a defenseless boy, and yet James was yelling at Harry, inconspicuous of the blood coming from between his small fingers.
"What do you think you're doing?" James shouted, shaking the frightened boy. "You're stealing off your brother now after all I've done for you?"
"I-I didn't want to s-steal anything, Dad. I just wanted to see Dave's new b-broom. I'm sorry. P-please, don't hurt me."
Her son's shaking voice pleading for mercy and the hand connecting his beautiful round face crumpled Lily's world altogether.
"You'll be sorry when I'm finished with you," James yelled at him.
It was a miracle Davey hadn't woken up, considering the uproar that was taking place behind the closed door of his bedroom, but then it came to Lily's mind that James, being the perfect father he was, had probably cast Silencing Charms on the room so that no sound could disturb his son's well-deserved sleep.
Having seen enough, Lily leaped to her younger son and pulled him out of James's clutches. She pressed the trembling boy to her chest, trying to protect him with all her strength.
"You're not going to hurt my son. Not anymore," she yelled at her husband, her hand bowled behind Harry's head in a protective manner, pressing the boy's bloody face to her warm chest. "I can't take it anymore, James. Harry's just a child. How can you be so cruel? You're the rich descendant of the Potter line, for God's sake. Couldn't you buy two broomsticks for the two of your sons?"
"He gets what he deserves," James spat, motioning to Harry. "He should've been sent to an orphanage long ago. If only you could see reason…"
"Shut up," Lily interrupted. "Look who's talking about reasoning. You don't deserve having children." She hugged the crying boy harder and stood up. "I've put up with your prejudiced behavior for too long, James Potter. I'm taking my leave and I'm taking my children with me."
"No you won't. Dave's mine." James stood in front of Davey's door, looming over the mother and son. "Touch Dave and you'll lose Harry."
It was the reason she had put off her leaving so long. James knew her weakness and he was going to use it against her. She was afraid of losing either of her sons and James was making her choose between them.
"You'll regret it someday, James, and when you do you'll get no mercy," she said threateningly and left her husband to heal Harry and pack. Using magic, it didn't take long and she was out of the front door soon.
Lily didn't dare to see her older son for the last time, afraid of not being able to leave, although she knew James wouldn't let her in an attempt to change her mind. But she wasn't going to let James torture Harry any longer if it meant she had to bear the pain of losing one of her sons.
Willing to leave before she would give in, Lily looked back at the house with tearful eyes for the last time and Disapparated with Harry in her arms.
They spent the next week in the Leaky Cauldron while Lily tried to find a job and a place to live in. She travelled from shop to shop, coursing all through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade with Harry's small hand in hers, talked to many witches and wizards and asked them if they needed anyone to work for them, but nothing was found.
Desperate as to what to do, Lily, at last, decided to ask the only person she could trust for help – Remus Lupin. Although he was James' best friend, Remus was a reasonable man who listened before making judgments. He was trustworthy and didn't act out of impulse. More importantly, his name was on the short list of the people who loved her Harry.
So, they were now sitting in the living room of Remus' small house, waiting for him to bring tea. Harry was latching to his mother's arm in fear as he had done the past few days when Remus came back with two cups of tea for Lily and himself and a glass of pumpkin juice for little Harry.
"You've heard of what happened, haven't you?" Lily sipped at her tea nervously as she waited for Remus' answer.
"James said some things, but I didn't know what to believe. I was waiting for you."
"What did he say?" she asked.
"That you'd had a fight and then you left with Harry."
Lily nodded simply. She then turned to Harry and whispered in his ear, "Don't you want to take a look around, love?"
Harry shook his head frantically.
"No. I want to stay with you."
"Then have your pumpkin juice," she held the glass for Harry to take. Harry obeyed instantly and grabbed the glass with his small hands. She then grabbed her own cup of tea and pressed on it nervously.
"Yes, we had a fight," she said, looking at Remus who was watching them with something akin to concern. "Did James say what the fight was over?"
"No, he didn't. That's why I was suspicious. That and the fact that you'd never do something without a good reason," he finished, looking at Lily for some explanations.
Lily swallowed another gulp of tea and looked at her quiet son from the corner of her eyes. He was drinking his pumpkin Juice slowly, paying attention not to pour anything on the couch and floor. It was a treat he had gained under James' strict behavior. Every stain he produced meant a smack, or at least a shout if he were lucky.
"I think I know the reason you left James," Remus spoke up as Lily didn't seem able to form the words. "I expected you to act sooner."
Lily looked up at him with wide eyes.
"So you've noticed it too."
"The way James treats Harry? Yes, I have. Partially, at least. Do you want me to talk to him?"
Lily ruffled her son's black messy hair and smiled at him before she turned her attention back to the sandy-haired man.
"I didn't come here to ask you to talk to James. In fact, I have no intention of going back there. I've missed Dave, but I'm sure he's safe with James, though Harry's story is different. I can't put him in danger of being killed by his own father."
Remus looked at Harry for a few seconds and then back at Lily.
"Do you really think he would go that far, Lily? James may be a fool sometimes, but he's not a murderer or he wouldn't have saved Severus, his supposed enemy, from me in our fifth year at Hogwarts."
"Don't make it sound anything other than what it was, Remus. He saved Severus because he didn't want you to be exposed and expelled, or worse, sent to Azkaban. It had nothing to do with Severus or James himself."
She looked at Harry who was putting his glass on the coffee table.
"Thank you, Uncle Remus," Harry mumbled as he carefully put the empty glass of pumpkin juice on the coffee table. He then leaned into his mother's protective embrace again.
"He's talked about sending Harry to an orphanage a few times," Lily resumed, her voice a bit shaking, as Harry cuddled to her for protection. "I've been scared of waking up and finding my son's bedroom empty for a while. James's growing out of control."
"May I ask what he exactly did, Lily?" Remus asked tentatively.
Lily gulped the lump which formed in her throat every time she thought of what James had done to her Harry before she replied.
"He hit Harry so hard that his head impacted the wall and got a fracture, and imagine it didn't stop James from yelling at my son," she put her hand around the boy protectively, "and slapping him. I bet he didn't even notice Harry's blood on his own fingers. And all this savage behavior for what? Because Harry wanted to go into his brother's room and see Dave's new broom. Perhaps I should've come here before I healed Harry, so you could see his bruised and bloody face." She sighed bitterly. "I don't want to talk about the other occasions when James has hurt my innocent child, but do you really think I should go back to live with that monster?"
Remus pushed his fringes back nervously and eyed the scared boy, clinging to his mother as if she would be taken from him if he let go.
"I understand," he said at last. "How may I help you?"
"I was trying to find a job," she explained. "I know it's silly to ask you for help, considering your condition, but you were the only one I could trust. I couldn't even go to Albus. He would make me go back to James for Dave's sake. The only thing they think of is the damn prophecy. I can't let my son's life be ruined for it."
Remus nodded, his eyes still on the scared child. Harry whispered something in his mother's ear that he could not hear, nor did he hear Lily's answer.
"Have you thought of working at the ministry?" Lily looked up at Remus hopefully as he went on, "Arthur was looking for a new member for his office, but being a werewolf wasn't really helpful to me. Perhaps I should talk to him about you."
"But he works on the same floor as James."
"The same floor, but different offices," Remus pointed out. "I'm sure Arthur can keep a secret if you do the precautionary actions."
Lily sighed as she ruffled Harry's hair absent-mindedly.
"I don't know." She shrugged. "Can you talk to Arthur about it?"
"It's the least I can do for you and Harry." Remus smiled at the quiet child. "Anything else?"
"No, thanks. I think we'd better go. Send us word when you talked to Arthur." She put Harry on the floor and stood up, grabbing the boy's hand in hers.
"By the way, where are you staying?"
Lily looked at Remus doubtfully, unsure if she could trust him with that piece of information. What if he told James where they stayed? But then she thought it would make no difference if he uncovered their hiding place. The Leaky Cauldron wasn't that much hidden and James could find them easily if he wished so.
"The Leaky Cauldron," she revealed at last.
"Why don't you come and stay here until you find some place of your own?" Remus offered. "My house is small, but it's enough for the three of us. You and Harry can have my bedroom while I sleep in the living room. You can save some money this way."
Lily seemed to weigh his offer, but Harry pulled at his mother's sleeve with all his might which wasn't much and mumbled, "No, mommy. Please let's go."
"Harry," Remus called the boy before Lily could open her mouth. "Don't you want to stay with me for a while? We can have so much fun together, child."
Harry shook his head to sides, his big eyes shining with unshed tears.
"Dad might find us."
Remus sighed at Harry's answer. How much had James gone that caused such a reaction from a six-year-old boy?
"But your mother is here with you. So am I. I won't let Dad take your mom away or hurt you. I promise."
Harry clung to his mother's leg in fear.
"Thanks for the offer, Remus. But you see," Lily motioned to Harry with her head. "We can't stay here."
Remus knelt before Harry and put a hand on his shoulder. He didn't take it off when Harry flinched.
"Harry, have I ever hurt you?" Harry shook his head in negative. "See, there's no reason to flinch."
"Look at me, Harry." When the frail boy obeyed, Remus added, "I won't tell your father that you're here and if he finds out some way, I promise I won't let him touch you or your mom. You're safer in here than the Leaky Cauldron. What do you say?"
Harry hesitated for a minute, his bright green eyes boring into Remus', and then gave a curt nod.
"Good. You're staying here. Let's go to the Leaky Cauldron and take your things."
Lily and Harry spent the next fortnight in Remus' place. The first few days, Harry was scared by every little sound, thinking that his dad would come out of the fireplace or appear out of thin air at any moment.
Fortunately, their time in Remus' house was only consisted of nights through which Lily locked the door to the bedroom to assure Harry that his father would not catch them. She also put Silencing Charms around the room to not cause Remus any disturbance in case Harry had a nightmare which happened a lot.
After talking to Arthur in person, Lily got a job in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office. She spent her mornings in the ministry or out on raids, but she never let Harry out of her sight and took him with her everywhere she went.
In the evenings, they looked for a dwelling in the Muggle London together with Remus. Although the werewolf assured Lily that they could stay with him as long as they wanted, Lily was insisting to find somewhere as soon as possible, and so Remus accompanied her to be sure they would find some place safe.
Before the end of the two weeks, they found what they were looking for. They bought a small flat in a quiet alley with the money Lily had inherited from her parents and settled in with Remus' help.
It was a good thing they had that money. Lily remembered her last conversation with her sister. It was a few months after their parents' tragic death and Lily had decided to leave her inheritance to Petunia since James had enough money to last them for a lifetime, but her sister had rejected.
"I don't need your money," Petunia had said in disgust as if Lily had an incurable disease before telling her that she had no wish to see her ever again.
Now after almost six years, it had come in handy and the mother and son were out of Remus' house before the full moon, as Lily had planned, to start a new life away from the threat of James and his prejudices.