It was cold the day Lily Evans came into the world, but it was a happy day for the little ordinary family. Mrs. Evans looked down at the baby girl in her arms with all the love in her heart and then smiled as her husband walked to the bedside cradling sweet little Petunia. Her oldest girl looked like her father but Lily, she glanced back down at her bundle, was the spitting image of her mother. Instinctively Mrs. Evans knew that this child was destined for something great. This little Lily would grow into a fine young woman. This baby would have the power to change the world.
Little Lily let out a sigh in her sleep. Though the world outside was cold and grey, dim after the end of the holidays festivities and not yet touched by the rosy blush of Valentines, Lily's world was warm. It was innocent. And though she hadn't even opened her eyes for the first time, though she hadn't spoken her first word or walked her first step, Lily Evans had already done something very important with her life.
Lily Evans was born with magic in her veins.
Barely an hour old and Lily Evans had already defied the Dark Lord Voldemort.
James Potter was six when he first heard the word mudblood and even then, even without his mother's gasp of disgust or his father's equally foul response, the Potter heir knew it was a bad word. It was ugly and he knew that because when he looked at his pretty Aunt Gurdy she was crying.
His mum told him his Aunt Gurdy was a muggleborn. Her parents were muggles, but Gurdy was born with magic. This confused James, but not some much that he cared, because James still saw the world with childish eyes. He stowed the word away in his head and deemed it something he would never never ever ever say, because he liked it when his Aunt Gurdy smiled. It was no fun when she cried.
James cried at Gurdy's funeral when he was nine, because now she was gone and he was just old enough to know that dead meant gone not gone. He would miss how she always snuck him biscuits and sweets when his mother wasn't looking. He would miss how her lips, a little on the thin side would twitch just a little before curling up and revealing small white teeth flashing him with her joyful laughs. He would miss staying the night at her house, because even though her kids books didn't have pictures in them, they were somehow more interesting than any of the flying dragons or boys on brooms in the books his mom and dad bought for him.
When he was eleven James Potter went to Hogwarts. There he met Lily Evans and he instantly hated her. There was something about her hair that made him angry and, well, she was awfully bossy. He was dismayed when she was sorted into Gryffindor, because he knew that was where he'd end up. But, maybe, in the summer he thought about her too much, maybe the sun addled his brains, because when he returned for second year he had a fondness for that particular shade of auburn and her voice didn't grate so much on his nerves. Sometime during fourth year he fell in love. He thought maybe it was her eyes or that smile that reminded him so much of home. During fifth year he vowed to marry Lily Evans, because he knew then he couldn't live without her.
He didn't care that she was a muggleborn, though society sure seemed to. He quite liked her parents when he forced his way into a conversation with them on Platform 9 ¾ in the spring two years before they were killed. He decided a long time ago, laughing in his Aunt Gurdy's arms as she made fake dragon noises, that muggles held a certain charm that witches and wizards couldn't possess.
When James Potter graduates he marries Lily Evans. They are two people hopelessly in love. They believed in a brighter future than the one that knocked at the door. They didn't care that James is a pureblood or that Lily is a muggleborn.
But Voldemort did and they defied him once more.
It was foolish, they knew, bringing a baby into the world during a war. It had been an accident, but they would never say such a thing. Merely a month old and Harry James Potter was James and Lily's entire world.
Their friends laughed when they saw the newest Potter heir. They wondered silently at the young couple's fortune to have something as perfect and bright as a baby in those times of darkness. It seemed as if that boy, that little bit of happiness should be shared with the world, not cooped up in hiding because James and Lily Potter had painted large bull eyes on their bodies when they fell in love with each other. And the babe look every bit a Potter already with his high, if a bit pudgy, cheek bones and inky, messy, black hair. He would soon open his eyes to reveal his mother's piece of legacy, but for a while the baby was content to mostly sleep, mostly eat, and soak in the affections of the people he already knew as mama and papa.
And then, with bright little Harry in their hands Lily and James could see just how dark the world around them was. They saw a world they did not want their son to grow up in. There were other reasons too, of course. Lily's blood was a factor. James' loyalty was a factor. The deaths of their parents within months of each other hit he couple hard, but when the last adult Potters became Order of the Phoenix members in their heads and in their hearts they did it for Harry's future.
They fought for a half blood.
And so they defied the Dark Lord a third time.
Twenty one years after that cold January day of her birth Lily Potter nee Evans wondered about the price of her defiance. Holding her son, swaying and rocking her body to soundless melodies, she soothed him to sleep in the night.
The nursery was new, painted yellow and cheery despite the fact that she and James had felt little cheer when they'd decorated it only days before. The move to Godric's Hollow was quick, rushed, and frantic and Dumbledore assured them that they would be safe in the little house of his. This house would protect them, he said. This house would keep them invisible. But, Lily wondered, how does a person hide from a prophecy? How does one hide from documented fate? James and Lily, Alice and Frank, they'd both received the worst possible news in a world where bad news was the norm.
"Born as the seventh month dies . . . born to those who thrice defied the Dark Lord . . . Only one can survive . . ." Lily almost wept at the hand her precious little family had been dealt, because she knew, she knew as she looked down at her son's sleeping face that he was the child of prophecy. There was no doubt within her, not even a sliver she could grasp to tell herself a lie, to tell herself that Harry wouldn't suffer for the blood that ran through her veins, because it wasn't his fault. It wasn't even her fault, but she felt the guilt anyway. What were she and James thinking when they decided to keep the life growing within her? What were they thinking bringing a child into this messed up world? How had they been so optimistic?
She wondered in the night if defiance was worth it. She wondered if the exhilarating rush of magic, the satisfaction of a spell cast correctly, the perfect way a potion simmered in a cauldron was all worth it if finding out who she was, what she was, only led to the destruction of the two people she loved most in the world. She wondered if it was true that it was better to have loved and lost. Probably, she cries in her heart. She can't imagine any world without James, without her precious baby. Probably, she thinks, that there was no other choice but this fate in this world. Lily discovered one night watching her babe sleep in his crib that she was a selfish, selfish person.
Lily Potter, aged twenty one, defied the Dark Lord three times, she knew that with certainty. Her blood, her husband, and her baby were all slights to a man who brought hate into the world for things beyond human control. Lily wondered how it would be, the day the prophecy came true. She wondered if she would be childless on that day or if Harry would be motherless. She cursed the world in which she lived. She hoped with all her might, all her soul for the best, but she knew better than most how cruel life could be. She knew how much her blood was hated and she knew Voldemort's fear of death.
Lily cradled Harry to her body. He was asleep but she was unwilling to let go. Who knew how much time she would be able to do this. Who knew how much longer living and breathing would be possible for someone like her. Standing there in Harry's new nursery Lily swayed and rocked her body to a soundless melody and waited.
James Potter didn't think on the prophecy too much. He should have probably, but he had faith in his friends and faith in his fellow Order members. He did his best, even if he knew it was futile, to end the war before the prophecy's curse landed upon his family's doorstep.
He was a Potter, the last true blooded one Potter aside from his son, and he married a muggleborn witch barely a year out of Hogwarts. It was a stupid decision and his family paid dearly for it, but James couldn't feel regret because all the peace he had these days was found in Lily's green eyes and Harry's little baby laugh.
He never thought life would turn out like this. His parents had always sheltered him. Hogwarts had always protected him. War was a notion that was distant, not a reality nipping at his worn dragonhide boots. He never thought he would back down from a fight, allow his friends go in his place, to hide away from the world and its dangers, but there he was in Godric's Hollow under Dumblerdore's protection, under the Order's protection, because he would be a coward a million times over if his wife and son could just stay alive. It stung his pride to hide away, but he'd made the decision to marry the love of his life and he made the decision to protect her at all costs.
Why couldn't they see, the bigots, that his Lily was a light upon the world? Why couldn't they see her kindness and the kindness of the Evans who loved him like a son and accepted him into the family because Lily loved him and he made her happy? Why did the Death Eaters find problems with blood that looked just like any other blood and only had differences on medical documents? Why couldn't they see what he saw even as young as eight years old in his Aunt Gurdy's lap, because now he knows the reason for her death and can feel anger more than sadness for what was lost.
Muggleborns, witches, purebloods, wizards, squibs, muggles. Why did labels even matter? Why did his society base so much on blood instead of just believing in magic? A woman is a woman. A Man is a man. A human is a human. That's what he'd been taught by a gentle mother and prideful, but kind father. Acceptance was the easiest path and the most fulfilling.
Standing there in Godric's Hollow James' wand hand twitched at the thought of his friends out there risking their lives for him. Standing there James looked out at the night. The dark, the house, the rooms in which his small family slumbered were all peaceful, but James Potter stayed awake a little longer.
He fought. He wished. He waited for the future to begin and hoped he and his family would be in it.
But he knew how inevitable death was.
Harry Potter is about to turn thirty two. His birthday ticks closer through the clock resting on the mantle in his office. Ginny went to bed hours ago, the children even sooner, but none of them know of this tradition. He's kept it a secret all these years. It has been almost fourteen years since he defeated Voldemort and fulfilled a prophecy spoken well before his own conception and most of the time, a large majority of the time, he is happy with how his life has turned out. It is only on his birthday, and sometimes the anniversary of the final battle, that he sits alone and wonders if it was worth the price.
The house is silent save the tic, tic, tic of the clock and Harry stands in the middle of the room watching the dark fill up the empty spaces, listening to the things he can almost hear, voices he can almost remember whistling around in his head. Sometimes, Harry marvels, silence is more profound than any noise. He can hardly believe he is here to see this day, even now after so long and he vaguely realizes that he has eclipsed his parents' age at their deaths by nearly eleven years now.
He wonders if their war, the war that took them over, was more horrible than his own. He wonders who his parents truly were on the inside, because everyone only tells him lies anymore. James and Lily Potter were not saints, nobody is, especially during a war, but their lives, their sacrifices have been rewritten so many times that the real James and Lily have been lost to time and ideals just like they were lost to death. He thinks maybe little baby Harry Potter was an accident, a surprise for his parents to find one day like the cabbage patch dolls his daughter so loves to play with. He is reassured that he was a happy accident. Harry was loved, no matter his surprising arrival, because people don't give their lives for people they don't love unless he or she is Severus Snape, but that man always had an overly developed sense of guilt and loyalty so he doesn't really count anyway.
Harry wonders what they thought about when they heard the prophecy. He wonders if they might have thought about destroying Albus Dumbledore's office as he did, if they would be sad or amused that destruction was his first reaction. He wonders most of all these days if they thought it was worth it, because those few seconds with the resurrection stone in his youth probably weren't enough to get a conclusive picture of them as people.
Standing there fifty two years after his mother defied Voldemort with her birth Harry takes comfort in the night, in the walls that have protected his family since he and Ginny bought the place, their home. He wonders if their defiance was worth it and as the clock on the mantle strikes midnight he concludes that, yes, it was and, yes, he is thankful. Harry loves his parents more so now than he ever has. On nights like this one he feels closer to them than he ever does.
And as the day of his birth rolls around for the thirty second time Harry waits for the future to come.
He is more like his parents than he'll ever know.
"Happy Birthday Harry," he says to himself before he leaves the room to join his wife in slumber.
-AN: Okay, so as you might have guessed, this is a fic I wrote in honor of Harry's b-day which as of right now was yesterday. I think it turned out really well, but feedback is always nice and appreciated. I had some major problems with tense in this one, because for some reason it didn't want to be written in past tense. Phooey. That said, if you see any problems don't hesitate to inform me.
Hope you guys like this one. Happy birthday Harry!
Until next time!