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The Art of Living by missclaire17
Chapter 1: James Potter
I wasn’t quite sure how to take the news; I had known for a while but actually embracing the idea that my parents really were gone was foreign.
They were old, my parents.
So old that I was fairly sure that Dumbledore must have only been a young adult, under the age of 30, when my parents were born.
I didn’t even want to imagine how on earth my mother managed to conceive me.
I hadn’t even been aware that a woman that old can be that pregnant, though I do suppose the fact that we were magical had something to do with it.
Muggle women as old as my mum when she had me certainly wouldn’t have been able to be pregnant.
Growing up, I had everything I ever wanted.
As the sole heir to the entire Potter inheritance, which included an ungodly amount of gold, various precious family jewels, and the enormous Potter mansion, I grew up being hand fed by a golden spoon.
I had no rules when I was younger, except for the sole don’t go into my father’s study and don’t steal my parents’ wands.
Hell, I had even broke my mother’s favorite (and most prized) vase once, and all she did was give me a disapproving glare, and a short lecture about running in the house before she sent me off outside to play with my toy broomstick.
When I came to Hogwarts and met Sirius, it was no different.
Sirius, like me, was used to lavishness, albeit that was the only good thing about his home life.
Though he didn’t have loving parents like I and he had to suffer through what I considered traumatic events for a kid, Sirius came from money and he came from basically aristocracy.
The two of us, as we were often told by Remus, hadn’t understood what it meant to be normal. We hadn’t ever really understood what it was like to be at the bottom of the ladder.
It wasn’t like Sirius had ever really cared what his parents thought; the only opinion he ever really cared for were those of his Uncle Alphard, his cousin Andromeda, and his brother Regulus.
And I had never experienced anything other than the death of my aunt and uncle, both of whom had been suffering from small pox for as long as I could remember, when I was fairly young.
In essence, I was who I was at age 15 and 16 because of my background.
It wasn’t an excuse at all for my at times atrocious behavior, though I don’t take back what I did to Sniv-Snape.
Not even Remus expected me to take lying down what Snape does to me.
I hadn’t even been bothering him when I passed by him in the hallways with Sirius, Remus, and Peter.
Out of nowhere, a bright flash had appeared and I just barely dodged it as it hit a nearby Ravenclaw, making her start bleeding profusely on her arms.
Snivellus hadn’t even cared that she started bleeding, but instead looked furious that he missed.
This was the type of bloke that Lily Evans was friends with.
If there was one thing about Lily Evans that frustrated me, it was that she was friends with a slimy git-ball like Snape.
She could refuse me as many times as she wanted to, but nothing made my blood boil more than when she was off being a friend to Snape.
Did she not know just what kind of person he was?
Had she been that blind or naively optimistic to think that he was merely misunderstood?
Nothing about Lily Evans frustrated me more than when she started standing up for Snape; it made Snivellus’ verbal attack on her that day after our Defense OWLs even worse.
Her accusations hurt a lot, more than I’d ever care to admit to Sirius, and the fact that she had once again refused me was not something I liked to dwell on, but everything paled in comparison to how Snivellus insulted her.
Snivellus never realized how much Lily Evans sacrificed to continue being his friend, and he repaid her by calling her a Mudblood.
The worst insult known to man-kind, in my opinion.
Never mind the fact that I was in on the secret that Snape was a large part of the reason why Lily and her sister no longer spoke.
Never mind the fact that I was in on the secret of how much Snape wanted to possess Lily, to shelve her like some sort of prize.
If there was one thing that I knew, it was that Lily Evans was not a prize to be won.
But none of it mattered; it no longer mattered what my arrogant fifth year self used to be like.
It no longer mattered whether Snape had really invented that Dark, blood spilling curse so that he could use it on me and Sirius.
It no longer mattered whether I felt slightly guilty whenever I passed by someone in the hallways that I had hexed or pranked because Sirius and I were bored.
Even winning over Lily’s heart didn’t matter in the light of my parents’ death.
My parents were not only a safety net for me, but also for Sirius.
It was in the warm and comfortable confines of my large home that Sirius and I, and Remus and Peter, found our haven.
Our Marauders’ haven.
A place where we didn’t have to put up with Lily constantly acting like I was the scum on the bottom of her shoe.
A place where we didn’t have to put up with Snivellus acting like a git and prat by practicing the Dark Arts against innocent students.
A place we didn’t have to be the funny ones, the ones who were at the center of attention around every single non-Slytherin.
A place where we didn’t have to hide that we were, like everyone else, normal in our own ways.
A place where we could basically be us.
It wasn’t like my home still couldn’t be that haven without my parents.
But in my eyes, my parents had been at the center place of my home.
My mum, who always had fresh cookies or other snacks waiting for me, and my dad, who always had a Daily Prophet out along with his own criticisms for the Ministry.
My home seemed even bigger and even more lonely without them wandering around.
I wasn’t quite sure how I was supposed to return to Hogwarts, and pretend like I was perfectly alright.
I wasn’t quite sure how I was supposed to continue on like this had been a blip in my radar when really, my entire life had just changed.
I supposed it had really started changing when I first found out they were sick; Sirius, who had been living with me ever since he ran away from home the Christmas of our fifth year, and I had been told by my parents after we came home for Summer vacation after our fifth year that they were sick.
And not sick as in the type of cold that Madam Pomfrey could easily rectify.
Sick as in the there probably isn’t much time left type.
The shock had been terrible and that had been, without fail, the worst summer of my life.
I watched emotionlessly, as the snow outside the window fell.
A thick blanket of whiteness now covered the grounds of my home as I sat there, on the porch that overlooked my spacious backyard, letting the coldness consume me.
The scene was oddly beautiful, like a painting from an artist trying to depict what his image of beauty was.
The hills and trees all covered in snow, and the sun shining down from above, casting a glow on everything its rays hit.
The only thing that was missing was the brightly lit house with smoke rising out of its chimneys.
My house used to be like that; that warm house in the middle of basically nowhere that always looked welcoming and bright.
Now, it felt like nothing.
Not even the half a year that I had to prepare myself for this inevitable ending could help ease the fresh pain of what it was to lose my parents.
My parents… the ones who brought me to this world, the ones who loved me more than I could possibly imagine, the ones who never let me feel a hard days’ work because they cared too much for their darling son… my parents.
Gone with the snow after it has inevitably been melted by the sun.
Gone with the fresh rain on the ground after it has been dried up.
My parents were gone with the wind, disappearing and never coming back.
And that it was that thought that stabbed into my heart, cutting open the wounds that I had tried to heal in vain. The wounds that kept pushing the tears I had fought hard to keep at bay down my face.
Of course I wasn’t left alone.
I still had my cousin, Jennifer; I still had Sirius; I still had Remus and Peter.
Hell, if I wanted to get into it, I still had all of my house elves who were inside tending to the house; I still had the vast Potter inheritance that was all either stashed away in Gringotts or somewhere in this house.
I still had Hogwarts, and everything that came with it; the people I occasionally liked to nod acknowledgement at or say hello to; the teachers like McGonagall and Dumbledore that I was fond off; the castle that was my second home…
I wasn’t alone, yet I felt like it.
I wanted to curl up in a ball somewhere, and just pray to Merlin that my life will return to what it used to be.
The times when I cared about what being the “cool guy” in the crowd, the times when I had nothing to worry about except for trying to outdo someone as pathetic as Snape, the times when winning the Quidditch Cup was the top of my priority list, the time when my life was so easy.
But I couldn’t do that.
There were more important things to consider now.
With my parents gone, I’d have to think about the only family I’ve got left; the Marauders and Jennifer.
I’d have to concentrate on Remus’s furry little problem; I’d have to concentrate on helping him find a job when we graduate from Hogwarts in two years; I’d have to concentrate on helping all of us figure out what we’re going to do with our lives in the middle of a war.
I’d have to concentrate on making sure that Pete doesn’t do something stupid to get himself in trouble; I’d have to concentrate on making sure that Sirius isn’t overly reckless to get himself killed; I’d have to make sure that Jennifer was emotionally okay, as this was the second time that she was facing death.
There was much to do and no time to lose.
The funeral was already over, so I couldn’t let myself grieve any longer.
No amount of sitting here and trying not to cry would bring my parents and bring back the safe little bubble that I had been living in up till now.
Grieving wasn’t going to solve anything, I wouldn’t disappoint my parents any further by being as immature as I had been.
I had to make my parents proud.
It was time to step up and be an adult; be the adult that I would be when I turned seventeen in three months. Be the adult that I would need to be because I was the man of the house.
The house that consisted of everyone I loved and everyone that I wouldn’t ever want to lose.
Rising up from the porch, I gazed outwards at the scenery with a newfound determination and a new attitude.
Turning my back to the view that I personally believed to be my depiction of sadness and grief, I went back inside the house.
Almost immediately, I met the piercing eyes and the tall and lean figure of my best friend.
“Sirius,” I muttered, sighing with relief.
The pang of losing my parents had nearly been as hard on Sirius as it had on me.
Besides myself, I had been most worried for Jennifer and Sirius. My parents and Sirius had been remarkably close.
“James, you okay?” Sirius asked softly as he gestured me over to the kitchen counter, where he took a seat and started downing the rest of the Firewhiskey that was there.
He turned his eyes back towards me and regarded me seriously.
To everyone else, the question would have seemed insensitive and stupid.
Who could possibly feel okay after losing their parents?
But being my best friend and basically my other half, I knew what Sirius was getting at.
There was no way that their death would ever be okay, but that hadn’t been what the question was directed at.
The both of us, while we both sat alone, Sirius in front of the cackling fire and me outside on the porch, must have had come to the same conclusion.
No matter how much we grieved or secretly cried, nothing would change.
We had to be brave, we had to be Gryffindors. We had to face this with courage and strength and not let ourselves fall deep into the rabbit hole of grieving, pain, and sadness.
I gazed back at my best friend and saw that indeed, the same determination that clouded my expression was very clearly evident on his.
With that, I let the first half a smile in days peek onto my face. Nodding, I said, “Yes. I’m okay.”
A/N: Hello! I'm back with another One-Shot (I know... I write too many of those.)
I hope you guys enjoyed this! I've always wondered about James' parents death so this struck to me as a good time to write a one-shot about James.
NOTE: About the character, Jennifer aka James's cousin, she IS an OC. I created her; on HP Wiki, it says that Charlus and Dorea Potter had a son and while they might be James' parents, they're most likely NOT. So that son of Charlus and Dorea Potter changed genders in my mind and took the name of Jennifer.
She... actually will appear in later Marauders' writing that I do. But that's for later.
Please leave a review if you have any thoughts, constructive criticism or anything.
Thanks so much!