Hey, everyone. I know this is a completed story, but I found this in my notebook the other day.
When I get an idea for a story, I usually write the first and last chapter together. Of course, I have no idea how I'll get to where I want it to end, but I do have the end.
For In His Eyes, I had to change the epilogue because James healed more than I thought he would.
This is the original epilogue.
Also, I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to be revamping this story because I've grown a lot as a writer.
Ginny smiled as chaos in the form of loud kids spilled out of the Hogwarts Express.
"Mummy!" Lily said, pointing into the crowd. "There's James." Ginny followed her finger to the best of her ability, searching for her eldest son. Sure enough, he was breaking away from the crowd of his friends.
He bounced, clearly excited, towards his family. Ginny turned to Harry, smiling up at him, lost in memories of herself in the past, meeting her parents after a long term.
He smiled back.
"You realize that we're going to have to do this another nine times," Harry said. "And that's not counting the times for breaks."
Ginny rolled her eyes.
"We'll enjoy it every time, I'm sure. Though I'll certainly miss them. It was torture to have both James and Al gone this year. What will we do when all three of them are in school?"
"Be happy that we have the house to ourselves for the first time in thirteen years?"
Ginny smacked Harry on the shoulder, smiling as she did so.
"We're more likely to miss the noise. Want to have more kids, Harry?" Ginny batted her eyelashes at him, smiling to show she was joking. Harry chuckled.
"I think our little monsters are enough for me."
"Dad!" a voice cut in. "You haven't seen me for months, and you still call me a monster?"
"Ha," Al snorted. "He probably picked the term up from Professor Longbottom. Didn't he call you that when you almost knocked a few people out with Mandrakes?"
Ginny did her best to look scandalized – after all, it was her son that was committing those pranks and jokes. Harry was giving Al and James hugs, and Ginny pulled them into a hug as well. It was great to have them home – though, at the same time, she was pretty sure she couldn't wait to send them back as well.
She couldn't help but think they were the perfect family.
"Well, kids, we better head over to St. Mungo's. We're meeting Neville there. I'm sure he can tell us a lot of interesting stories about your past misadventures, James."
And her picture of the perfect family was shattered.
Perfect families had grandparents like the kids had on their Weasley side. Ginny's parents were great to visit and coddled the kids to no end.
Perfect families didn't have a grandfather held in the long-term wing of the hospital, insane and lost to the world.
Their family did because nothing was perfect.
Harry hadn't been sure if he wanted his kids to meet their grandfather – his whole poise spoke of a darker time that Harry did not wish their kids to know.
In the end, however, he knew that they had to meet their living grandfather.
He couldn't lie to them.
Not when the lies he had been told had hurt him so much.
"Do we have to?" James groaned.
"We're going there?" Al said, only slightly more tactful than his brother.
"Yes," Harry said, irritation beginning to leak into his voice. "I'm sure your grandfather would like to see you again."
"He doesn't know me!" James protested.
"He does, James!" Harry said, his voice getting louder. "He appreciates the visits!"
"He doesn't know my name! He lives in the past. Dad – half the time he doesn't recognize you!"
"James!" Ginny protested, seeing the pan in Harry's eyes. "We're going to see your grandfather – that's final."
He rolled his eyes but didn't protest again. He knew Ginny's tone of voice well. She was not going to stand for arguing.
"We're going now," Ginny said. She led them to the floos set up around the station. Going into one, she proclaimed,
"St. Mungo's Long-Term ward."
She tumbled through the fire place, landing heavily but thankfully on her feet. Taking a few steps forward, Ginny leaned against the waiting room's walls and waited for her family. One by one, her kids began to tumble out.
Harry followed, last. As always, Ginny saw that his eyes were sadder and agonized. He hated visiting James.
But he loved visiting him as well.
Ginny did not know if it was good for him to come so much – seeing James was depressing at best and his words – on his bad days – could cut deeply. She knew that Harry had been on the receiving end of cruel words when James mistook him for a Death Eater.
Yet, he had also held James as he writhed and screamed because he saw enemies that were not there.
James had recognized him as the boy he had met in the Cellar. Harry had gotten hope in his eyes.
But James's tortured mind didn't register the hope, didn't see the pain.
He asked in Harry was dead.
Harry didn't answer.
James asked for death – to join Harry and Ron because he knew the only way out of Malfoy Manor was death.
Sometimes James didn't know where he was. Sometimes he thought he was back at Hogwarts.
Ginny watched as every visit James was different, a different person because his torn soul could no longer hold on to his old personality.
He was much too broken for that.
Ginny sometimes worried that it was getting to Harry – no, she knew it was getting to him; it had always got to him.
Sometimes she worried it was too much for him.
Neville had been a huge help – if anyone knew the pain of visiting a parent in St. Mungo's it was him.
It was still hard. And Harry still hurt. Ginny knew he always would.
Harry walked over and talked to the receptionist, telling her that he was visiting James Potter.
It showed how often Harry was there that the receptionist didn't bat an eye when talking to the famous Harry Potter.
She said that Neville was already visiting his parents. He had told her to say that they could meet for dinner after.
Ginny knew that Neville liked to tell his parents everything that had happened. The talks lasted a long time. Neville was usually self-conscious about them if someone was waiting for him.
Harry led his family through the familiar halls. The kids trailed after him, depressed by the atmosphere. Ginny brought up the rear.
Harry knocked on James's door, opening it softly when there was no answer. Ginny heard her boys groan a little.
They had a point. Ginny would never let them get out of it – it meant too much to Harry. He liked to think that the kids were meeting their grandfather and vice versa. Harry sometimes didn't realize that James scared the kids.
He often yelled or didn't recognize them. One time he had thought they were prisoners and wished them to have a quick death.
Ginny knew that James was a wildcard to the kids, and they were frightened. One day, they would understand – Harry hoped. Ginny hoped the opposite. To understand James would mean to understand hopelessness and torture and fear and pain.
No mother could ever bear her children going through that.
The Potter family trailed inside. James was sitting on the bed – as usual. Harry thought of that as a triumph – when he had first been admitted, James had sat on the floor, thinking of the room as his cell.
Ginny thought the move didn't mean very much in the long run.
"Hello?" Harry asked softly, his voice subdued with pain. Ginny saw Lily flinch – the kids hated hearing this vulnerable side of their father.
James looked up from where his hands had been fiddling on his lap. Hazel eyes met bright green.
"Who are you?" James asked.
"I'm Harry," Harry said, seemingly not fazed by the question.
Ginny knew he was used to it – often this was how their conversations began.
"How did you get in here?" James asked, looking around as a cornered animal would.
He was frightened.
Was he going to think Harry was a death eater today?
"The healers let me in," Harry said, calling up the easy smile he had possessed ever since the public had began to smother him with attention.
Ginny knew it was false.
Their whole family knew it was false.
"Healers?" James questioned. "Did I get hurt on duty?"
Ginny winced. James was in a rare mood. He thought he was still an Auror.
Sometimes, those days were the best – a hint of the old James emerged from the ashes.
Sometimes, they were the worst. James would talk about people he had known, asking where Sirius was – if he'd been hurt as well.
"No, James. You didn't get hurt," Harry said.
"Then why am I here?" James asked, looking at Harry with confusion.
Suddenly, his back stiffened, and he let out a gasp.
"Merlin! Did Lily have the baby!" James stood up and began pacing. "I didn't pass out, did I? I was joking with Lily, and she said she wouldn't let me see my kid–"
James broke off, suddenly looking closer at Harry.
"You're name's Harry?" He said it like a question.
"You have Lily's eyes," he said. He stopped pacing and stepped closer to Harry. He stood at the almost the exact same height.
For a moment, father and son stared at each other. Ginny could see hope flooding Harry's eyes.
He smiled, looking at James. Looking at his father.
"If it's a boy, I want to name him Harry," James said.
"That's – that's a nice name," Harry said, sounding choked.
"Your kind, too. I want my Harry – if it is a boy – to be as kind as Lily is. But hopefully he won't have our tempers." James chuckled.
"Lily's like a fire when she's angry. Do you have a bad temper, Harry?"
"Er – no, not really," Harry said, truly not knowing how to answer.
"That's good," James said, sounding distant.
He turned to Ginny.
"You look like Lily. You have her hair," he said. Ginny knew from pictures that her hair was darker than Lily's had been, but she wouldn't say that, for obvious reasons. She found she couldn't speak.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm Ginny," she said, her voice sounding hoarse.
"Nice to meet you – I'm James. And who are you?" He turned to the children. All three smiled nervously. It was rare to James to even notice them.
"I'm Albus," Al said. He sounded wary but polite. Ginny saw that Harry was crying silently out of the corner of her eye.
"I'm Lily Luna," Lily said with a bright smile.
"My wife's name is Lily," James stated. Lily nodded with a smile.
"I'm James," James stared up at his grandfather, seeming the slightest bit cold and certainly wary. He did not like visiting his grandfather.
Of course, James had never acted like he was today.
"Curious," James said. He turned back to Harry. "You have a beautiful family."
"T – thank you," Harry said, a slight stutter in his voice.
"You know, I hope my son has a family when he's older," James shook his head gently. "Lily keeps reminding me it might be a 'her,' but I think it's going to be a boy.
"I hope he's happy. With the war – I fear we're losing. I hope he ends up with a family as great as yours, Harry. If he does, and if he's happy, then everything will be worth it.
"If my son ends up happy, then no matter what happens to me, I wouldn't change a thing."
And the family knew it was true.
They could see it.
In his eyes.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
By the way, if there are any scenes that I mention but don't show in In His Eyes that anyone wants to see then let me know!