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Chapter 22: In the Dead of the Night
*the plot and OC's are mine, the rest belongs to J.K.
“Isn’t he adorable?”
Lily was holding a sad-looking Harry. She had dressed him in a light brown bear costume for Halloween.
“Lily, he looks miserable. I think you forgot that he’s a boy,” James commented from the windowsill he was perched upon.
“But it’s so cute. I won’t be able to get him in stuff like this soon. Let me have this one day,” Lily begged and gave Harry a little squeeze.
“You’re not going to take any pictures of him, are you? He’ll get a complex and end up hating us in the future,” James said with a small grin.
Lily pulled a look at James and set Harry down.
“Bad,” Harry yelled and ran over to James.
“The boy has spoken,” James said with a shrug and picked up Harry.
“The woes of being out numbered,” Lily said and folded her arms across her chest.
“We could change that,” James suggested with lust in his eyes.
“Just imagine how perfect our little girl would be. Your brains, my good looks,” James joked and approached Lily.
She couldn’t help but smile.
“You’re too much sometimes.”
“But having a daughter would complete our family. We would be perfect,” James said and brushed a few strands of hair out of her face.
“Far from. We’ve talked about this James. It’s not smart for us to have another child until after the war is over.”
“We had Harry,” James stated the obvious.
“And Harry wasn’t exactly planned.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It’s nothing but a fact, James,” Lily piped with resonating annoyance.
“I don’t know why you’re making me the villain. Wanting another child is not a bad thing,” James defended.
“I’m not vilifying you.”
“I don’t want to argue in front of Harry,” Lily replied, exasperated.
“Then when would we do this, Lily? You never let Harry out of your sight,” James aggressed.
“Can you blame me?”
Lily’s hands were accentuating her every word.
“Yes! Do you see me acting like that?” James projected.
Lily’s jaw clenched and her fists went to her sides.
“Sometimes the worst part of being stuck in this house, is that I can’t properly storm out on you,” Lily hissed and stomped down the hallway towards the bedroom.
James cringed as Lily slammed the door.
“Sorry you had to hear that,” James apologized to Harry, who was lazily resting his head on James’s shoulder.
James put Harry in his room and headed to his own bedroom. He opened the door and found Lily sitting on the edge of the bed, staring out the window.
“I’m sorry,” James said and positioned himself next to his wife.
“For what?” she asked stiffly.
“For being insensitive. It’s always been a problem of mine, you should remember,” James said with a nudge and a small smile.
“James, would you let me know if you had regrets?”
“What do you mean?”
“If you had married someone else, fell in love with someone else, your life would be so much different. It would be so much better,” Lily spoke, her face felt heavy with oncoming tears.
“Yea, my life would be completely different,” James said with a small nod.
Lily looked at him with confusion and hurt.
“I wouldn’t be here. I’d probably be dating some full blood that has no real interest in me except for my name and reputation. I’d most likely be a leech on my friends because we all know that I can’t fully take care of myself,” Lily chuckled at that, “I wouldn’t have Harry, who means the sun and the moon to me. But most of all, I would have never met the love of my life. What a miserable, pathetic existence I would have.”
“You could never be miserable or pathetic. It’s just not a part of your genetic makeup,” Lily said with an impish grin.
“I think you called me both of those things and many more during school. If I think about it, you were a bully to me,” James joked and wrapped an arm around Lily and pulled her close.
“And yet you’ve loved me unconditionally,” Lily whispered and buried herself into his side.
“Since I was eleven.”
“James, I want nothing more than to have another child with you but it’s just not the right time. I don’t feel right about bringing another child into such an uncertain situation.”
“I know you’re right Lily. It’s just hard to take sometimes, knowing that I’m not totally in control of my own life.”
“Everything we do is for Harry. I hope there is a return to normalcy soon but I’m prepared to stay hidden for as long as it takes as long as it keeps our son safe,” Lily quietly stated and James pulled her in tighter.
“Enough of this talk. It’s Halloween! And I believe you promised me that you would make those delicious pumpkin cookies,” James said and stood in front of Lily, holding a hand out for her.
“Only if you cook me an outstanding dinner,” Lily replied and took James’s hand.
He pulled her up, and then gave her a look of mock offense.
“Do I look like a house elf to you?” James questioned, his nose in the air.
“My father made dinner for my mum all the time,” Lily informed him and playfully poked his chest a few times.
“Well that just proves that your father was a better man than me,” James said with a broad smile, knowing Lily would like the kind words about her father.
“Don’t sell yourself short, James Potter. You’re the best man I know.”
I hope your week has gone on grandly. Mine has been testing but it could always be worse. I’m writing you to see if you have heard from Peter lately. Remus and I were reminiscing the other day and realized that neither of us had heard from him in ages. I was wondering if you know that he’s all right. We’re starting to worry about him. Let me know if you hear anything and I can’t wait to see you on Sunday.
Sirius set the letter from Shay down on the counter. He hadn’t heard from Peter and that worried him. The only thing he could think of is that the Death Eaters got to Peter. It chilled Sirius to the bone. He looked at the clock and realized that it wasn’t too late to check on Peter. Sirius grabbed his coat and headed out to his motorcycle.
Sirius landed in the alley behind Peter’s flat and immediately did a warming spell on his face. The wind was so cold it burned his skin. Sirius thought it was so unusual that the entire week was beautiful weather but the climate changed so quickly. Sirius briskly walked down the alley and reached Peter’s sad looking chipped front door and started knocking heavily.
“Wormtail?” Sirius called through the door.
As the seconds ticked by Sirius’s knocking became faster and his calls more frantic. After about three minutes, Sirius stepped back and blew the door open. The flat was void of life. It was bachelor pad messy but there wasn’t any sign of a struggle. Sirius cautiously stepped through the home looking for any clues. There was no reason as to why Peter wouldn’t be home. Sirius knew that Peter wasn’t at headquarters and he hadn’t been visiting his mother just to keep her safe.
Sirius examined the flat more and noticed something startling. There was an empty frame sitting on Peter’s mantle. Sirius remembered that it was Peter’s favorite picture of Alana. Sirius’s stomach dropped. Peter wouldn’t have taken that photo unless he was going somewhere. Sirius couldn’t help but think of the Potters. Sirius couldn’t help but think the worst.
“Ready Harry? Watch this,” James said excitedly and sent sprouts of lights from his wand.
Harry laughed manically and clapped.
“More!” Harry demanded through his laughter.
James, who was lying in the middle of Harry’s room, was laughing at his child’s enchantment with such simple things.
Next, James sent a stream of bubbles circling around Harry’s room. Harry, of course, began to chase them as quickly as his unsure legs would let him.
“James, don’t get him too riled up. He has to go to bed soon,” Lily called from the den, where she was snuggled up with a book.
The boys paid no attention and kept on playing. This time, James sent his stag patronus veering out of his wand. The animal leapt around the room and headed down the hallway towards Lily.
“Sorry Lily. We’ll settle down a bit,” James hollered back.
“No, James. Come out here,” Lily called, her voice sounded tight.
James got up quickly and picked up Harry, who looked intrigued and wandered down the hallway.
“What’s the matter?” he asked casually.
He entered the room to find Lily about a yard away from the front window and she was shaking.
“What?” James asked with concern and stepped next to her.
He nearly dropped Harry from the shock.
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!” James shouted and handed a now crying Harry to his mother.
Lily had tears streaming down her face and looked at James with pure terror in her eyes.
“James…” she tried to get out all the right words but nothing worked.
“Just go!” he yelled and pushed them towards the hall.
“I love you. I love both of you very much. Just go in Harry’s room. Keep him safe,” James said quickly and Lily could hear the quiver in his voice.
She still couldn’t convey words. She nodded her head and held Harry close. She ran into his bedroom and slammed the door behind her.
Before James could even turn around, the front door was blown to bits. James shielded himself from the shrapnel and went for his wand. However, he discovered that he had left it in Harry’s room.
James took a deep breath and stood up as straight as he could. He saw a dark, cloaked figure in front of him. The man dropped his hood and revealed a bald, pale white head and a snake like face. In that very moment James could only think of his wife and son and how he was going to miss them very much.
“James Potter. We finally meet,” the voice slithered out.
It was more chilling than James had expected. However, James stood tall and stoic and showed no fear.
“I’ve been searching for you for such a long time.”
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” Voldemort shouted out.
James got in one last breath and one last thought of the spectacular life he had led before the green light hit his defenseless body.
James Potter was no more.
Lily heard Lord Voldemort spew the unforgivable curse and she felt as if her heart had exploded. James, her James, was dead. Lily didn’t have to see it to believe it. She fell to her knees and sobbed so hard she felt as if her ribs were going to crack. She had never felt pain like that. She picked up James’s wand that was inconveniently on Harry’s floor and held it close to her chest. She was devastated. She could barely move, barely think. Harry was in his crib, howling at the confounding chaos around him.
Lily heard him coming. She pulled herself over to Harry and held him one more time. She squeezed him, kissed him on the head and told him everything was going to be all right. It was the only time she had ever lied to her child.
The door burst open and a horrific chill entered the room. Lily put Harry back in his crib and whipped around, keeping herself in front of Harry at all times.
“Step aside,” Voldemort demanded as he pointed his wand directly at Lily’s chest.
“No! Please…he’s just a baby. Spare him! Kill me!” Lily screamed, her face soaked with warm tears.
“But I promised I wouldn’t,” Voldemort drawled mockingly.
“If you have one ounce of soul you will spare my child,” Lily begged and held on firmly to the edge of Harry’s crib.
“Move aside,” Voldemort said dangerously slow.
Lily Potter, extraordinary mother, wife, sister and friend, had met the same fate as her husband that night.
Sirius saw the Potter’s house in Godric’s Hollow before he even landed his bike. His lungs seemed to stop working and he nearly crashed his motorcycle. The house was in ruins. Nearly half of it was blown to pieces.
Sirius immediately dropped to his knees on the front lawn and took in the sight before him. His friends were in there. Their baby was in there. Sirius had no choice but to be sick.
He shakily got to his feet, tears steadily streaming down his face. He made his way towards the house when Rubeus Hagrid seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
“Sirius. How’d ya find out?” Hagrid asked, surprised to see another living person there.
“They’re all dead,” was all Sirius could croak out.
He could barely see, his eyes were so blurry with tears.
“It’s a damn shame. Such good, kind people,” Hagrid blubbered and Sirius heard him loudly blow his nose in a handkerchief.
“Albus Dumbledore sent me here to pick up the boy,” Hagrid answered Sirius’s question.
Sirius took a minute to process what Hagrid had just said.
“What? There’s no way…”
“Ya didn’t hear ‘bout that part? Harry Potter defeated You-Know-Who,” Hagrid stated with deep pride.
“How? He’s a one year old child,” Sirius said in a state of shock.
His godson was still alive.
“Well, I can’t explain that. I don’t think anyone can.”
“Let me take him,” Sirius said immediately.
“Sorry Sirius. Can’t let ya do that. Dumbledore’s orders.”
“Please Hagrid, he’s my godson,” Sirius plead.
“I’m sorry. I can’t. Dumbledore told me to take ‘em to his aunt’s in Little Whinging, Surrey,” Hagrid answered solemnly.
Sirius swallowed hard. He couldn’t believe that Harry James Potter was still alive. He didn’t want to believe that Lily and James were dead.
“Take my motorcycle,” Sirius said and handed Hagrid the keys.
“No, it’s yours.”
“I want you to make sure Harry is safe. Shay has already put every safety charm there is on the damn thing. Please, it’s the least I can do,” Sirius said and continuously wiped tears off his face.
“A’right,” Hagrid said with a small nod.
Sirius began to walk away.
“I’ll git your bike back as soon as I’m done,” Hagrid hollered after him.
“Don’t worry about it. I won’t be needing it anymore,” Sirius said with a dead stare and kept his forward motion.
Sirius had a rat to deal with.
“Remus,” Shay spoke breathlessly as the duo surveyed the damage that was around them.
“I can’t believe this happened,” he said and tried to inconspicuously wipe a tear away with his sleeve.
Shay was letting hers fall freely.
“I can’t take it. I can’t take the fact that both of them are gone. They’re both dead and we’ll never see them again,” Shay quivered out and wrapped her arms around herself tightly.
“But we still have Harry. He lived. He’s the boy that lived,” Remus said with a somewhat bitter smile.
“No, Harry is with Petunia. Do you really think she’ll let us anywhere near him?” Shay fired with a seeping anger that she had acquired since she arrived at the house.
“But he’s alive. What more could we want?”
“Our friends,” Shay whispered and let out a quiet sob.
“What about Sirius? What’s going to happen with him?” Remus asked cautiously.
“What about Sirius? Sirius is a murderer and he’s going to go to Azka…” Shay breath caught in her throat before she could finish the sentence.
She let out a hard sob and fell back against the wall.
“I thought if anyone could keep Lily and James safe, it would be Sirius. And then what he did to Peter…I thought I knew him,” Remus finished, his skin was a ghastly color.
“I loved him, Remus. I loved him so much,” Shay cried, “But I hate him now. It’s too much for me to handle.”
Remus stood in the middle of the room and wasn’t sure how to console Shay.
“He has taken everything from me.”
“Who has?” Remus asked.
“Sirius. It makes me sick to think about him,” Shay shook.
“You have me, Shay. You’ll always have me,” Remus assured and placed himself next to her.
Shay closed her eyes and rested her head against Remus’s shoulder.
“What happens now? All our friends are gone,” Shay faintly whispered.
Remus wrapped an arm around her and rested his chin on the top of her head.
“We carry on. Lily and James didn’t die in vain. Peter and Niki didn’t die for us to stop now. Your son may be gone, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop living your life.”
“What was it all for, Remus? That’s what I’m having trouble figuring out.”
“We live in a safe world now. That’s what we’ve all wanted for a while.”
“Is it worth it when no one you care about can share it with you?” Shay asked quietly.
“You tell me in ten years when you have a family of our own if it was worth it or not,” Remus said and gave Shay a tight squeeze.
Shay gave him a look to contest his statement.
“You will persevere Shay Calhoun. You always have and you always will.”
“I don’t want to.”
“You may not want to but you will. You’re too strong to just give up,” Remus said knowingly.
Shay and Remus let themselves have a moment of reflective silence.
“I still can’t believe that Harry Potter defeated the Dark Lord,” Remus shook his head in disbelief.
Shay got up, dusted herself off, wiped her tears away and held a hand out for Remus.
“He’s the son of Lily and James Potter. That boy was meant to do great things.”
**Boy, oh boy, was this hard to write. It was embarrassingly emotional for me. I knew this chapter was coming since I started. Not only was it the content that made it so hard to complete, since I have grown so fond of these characters, it was also the fact that I worked damn hard to get to this point. I would like to inform you all that this is not the end. I wouldn't leave you guys hanging like that. I decided about a year ago that I would continue on with the story for a bit. It won't be much, about 10 chapters if everything goes as planned. I can't let go of this story yet and I want to bring it to a rightful end. I'm so thankful for all the support I have received so far and hope that you guys enjoy the final chapters of the story as much as you have enjoyed the rest. As always, thank you so much for reading and don't be afraid to leave me a review and let me know what you think. Thank you SO much!