Disclaimer : Not J. K Rowling. I do not own any of the characters.
" Prongs rode again last night"
There was once a boy, forced to be an adult at 20, because you see it was war time and people die, and nobody cared if he was fucking good at Transfiguration or making Lily Evans laugh when she would rather cry. So when she is walking with Lupin towards him, playing the part of the gorgeous bride in this small moment of euphoria between the pain and terror of war, Lily Evans is going to be Lily Potter and this boy, this man is armed with everything he ever wanted. He thinks himself invincible as they both turn to receive congratulations after being pronounced man and wife.
This man would jump into a burning building to save a friend, jump in front of werewolf to save his enemy (because no matter how much he hated him, no matter how much he was saving his friends here as well, he would have never wanted him dead), he would tell his impoverished best friend Remus Lupin,firmly "You have me" as a way of saying he would have nothing to worry about when they leave Hogwarts. Remus Lupin wondered why those three words were easily able to lift his spirits even when he knew reality wouldn't be quite as rosy.
Reality isn't quite as rosy this man would discover as he would walk down the grim streets of London to confront an abject poverty even he cannot help, and he would stand and stare at these people, warming themselves up by fire in trash cans filled with yellowing newspapers and fallen leaves.
"Padfoot, don't" this man would say as Sirius Black directs a wand against his brother, so Sirius Black merely disarms his brother and takes his wand, hoping, childishly, that taking his wand would mean his brother wouldn't be inclined to join the Death Eaters. This man would sit at the back of Padfoot's bike, laughing with him about the scandal Sirius Black caused by running away and that it totally deserves to be ranked near the legend of Andromeda marrying a Muggleborn. They would laugh at things that would cause them pain if they dwell on it, so they laugh and become invincible reckless youth of the Order of Phoenix, leaving trails of scarlet and golden for the world to see.
Reality isn't so simple, when this man sees a ragged woman being levitated in the air by hooded men jeering as she tries to cover herself. When naked echo of his own actions with his hated enemy slaps him in the face like cold biting wind of winter, he let his fury dictate his actions as he Stuns one of them, and cushions the woman's fall. The ragged woman runs for her life, not even bothering to look back at this man who saved her life, leaving him to fight with Death Eaters, and he would tell himself, that he is nothing like them. From that moment on, he isn't.
He would take a curse for Peter Pettigrew and tell the boy, who is horrified and guilty as this man's hands start mutating into a horrible flesh wound, "Hey,don't look so guilty, Wormtail, you would have done the same thing for me" and Peter Pettigrew would shake his head," I would not jump in front of you, I would have pulled you back or use something to deflect it. I am not as brave as you are, Prongs" and he would run to bring in reinforcements and medical help. You see, no one makes bravery and fierce loyalty look like a fault better than James Potter.
His wife would sit by his side, watch his hand heal and spew vitrol about how he thoughtlessly puts himself in dangerous situations thinking he is invincible when he forgets to have the humility that he is mere human with magical powers.
He is the embodiment of reckless heroism, he is the man who does more, more, because it isn't enough to just understand his friend's condition, he needs to be able to help him. James Potter, merely 12 then,unspoken leader of the then unnamed Marauders, found a way to help, to save this best friend who wouldn't have to hurt himself anymore. James Potter, 15, is a stag, and takes it upon himself to save humans when the werewolf gives them the slip, he would run with Padfoot, and Prongs would stand in front of the terrified human, and Padfoot would bowl the werewolf over and lead him away.
His wife, beautiful, brave and sweet, who understands this better than anyone about him, begs him to understand that he cannot save everyone, that he must think of her, of- and she would put her hand on a small, less defined bump, and James Potter would nod, because he wouldn't make tears cling to those lashes that way. He would, as he had learnt because of her, long, long back when she had called him an arrogant bullying toerag, learn and understand restraint once again, because he was not just James Potter the war hero, he was going to be James Potter the father.
You see, his last thoughts were of the irony that his wife is right, that he couldn't save everyone, he is not on time, he could hear his wife running upstairs and he is running at Voldemort wandless, he knows he is going to die but damn it!, his wife and son are not going to get enough time to run. If he had his wand, he could have done more, more- bought them more time, he could have saved them but he drops lifeless with his biggest regrets.
So when his son, 13 and such a prodigy, he would have been so proud, leaving trails of scarlet and glitters of gold Gryffindor courage, like his wife whose bravery is of different caliber altogether, and like him but those colours would not define him anymore. So when his son shouts, "Expecto Patronum!" and he bursts forth from the wand tip, mere magic and memory, shining brightly because of his son's desire to see him, runs and protects them from hundreds of Dementors and feels relief that he saved them, he saved them. He is on time, and his son raises his trembling fingers to welcome him back.
He is the silver stag of his son's memory because his son saw the true spirit of James Potter beneath the contradictions of pride that could turn into arrogance when left unchecked, an irrepressible energy that could turn into cold cruelty if his own actions aren't slapped back into his face, his kindness and fierce unsympathy for those at The Dark Side, his goodness underneath the bravado and rambunctious exterior, James Potter was more,more.
It was something his friends recognised in him later in life because they knew him in entirety for it to particularly stand out among his other overwhelming quirks, something Lily saw in him before she fell in love with him for his wife is intuitive and has a way of seeing things that others did not.
His son, for whom this man would be only a hazy memory of black hair and glasses somewhere in the back of this child's mind, recognised the man his father was instantly without having known him- Patronus.
my notes : I had two different James Potter fics planned, one my sentimental one with prompt "Prongs rode again last night" [such a beautiful moment in the series, I tell you], and one, in response to the James hate following the Snape's Worst Memory/Prince's Tale. [that drives me mad. absolutely. I love Snape as well, but selective reading does no character justice. Not Snape, (indeed it is a disservice to see him other than the complex character he was, walking thin line)]. My fic was to explore a bit on reverse prejudice, but I included that tidbit here because I'm not sure I'll finish it.
here is a little timeline for you to understand events because I have jumped back and forth for the story to have a flow- 1) Sirius confronting his brother happens in their 6th year. 2)James fighting Death Eaters after saving the woman happens a little time before that. (our boy is on the road for deflating his head a bit) 3) Wormtail vs Death Eater happens when James is 20 and full time member of the Order. Oh and conversation with Remus happens after their Career Advice. I also believe both sets of parents were dead before their wedding, so Lupin gives her away and Sirius is the best man. One day, i would write all this in detail. Hopefully. :D
If you like it, please do review. :) I'd love to know what you think.