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Chapter 1: The Best Halloween Ever
Their Last Night
The front door was pushed open by the flat of James Potter’s shoe, as he bombarded the hallway with brightly coloured bags of sweets. He was struggling to juggle four in his arms, and he had tried to perch one of the bags in the crook of his neck by pressing his cheek on top to keep it in place. This was the sight that Lily was greeted with as she entered the narrow hallway, carrying a bouncing Harry in her arms who was wiping his saliva covered fingers on her once clean shirt. James’s cheeks were flushed with delight as he proudly moved past her into the kitchen, gleefully yelling at her over his shoulder to, “Get some bowls for the sweets!"
Lily muttered something about not being his slave but then felt bad because, truth be told, she hadn’t really done much for Halloween and James had been so excited about it. She jostled Harry in her arms while he slobbered onto his bright orange t-shirt which Lily had bought in Diagon Alley four days prior. She was beginning to regret the purchase as Harry seemed to resemble a carrot.
The entire hallway was littered with decorations. One could barely see the glittering family pictures that lined the walls due to the explosion of paper bats that seemed to flutter when you touched them and pumpkins that tried to bite your fingers if you got too close. There were cobwebs strung up the steps, a wailing fake ghoul who would occasionally make an appearance when someone wanted to use the lavatory on the landing and a mist that could shroud the whole of the back garden. Needless to say, James Potter had gone slightly over the top with his insistence to make this Halloween unforgettable. He had missed last years after a mission from the Order had cropped up but he was determined to make this Halloween with Harry the most fantastic Halloween ever. Well, until next year…and then it would be even better!
Lily rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help the small smile that had worked its way up into the corner of her mouth. She sighed, gently repositioning Harry who was still dripping from the mouth like a tap and then followed James into the kitchen.
“James. This is ridiculous,” murmured Lily, watching as her husband poured bag after bag into separate bowls that were each decorated with ghosts. “We did not need four bags full of sweets! We won’t get that many trick or treaters.”
James scoffed, unwrapping a chocolate frog and popping it into his mouth before it could even register its freedom. He started talking, a mouthful of chocolate preventing his speech from sounding coherent. Lily raised an eyebrow at him, a clear mark that she was not impressed with his manners and he silently chewed – regretting the fact he had been tempted by its purple wrapper. Once his mouth was a chocolate-free zone, he opened his mouth wide to show her that it was all gone. Lily smiled, wondering how she could have ever married such a child but then again she did think that almost every day.
“My decorations will have the kids around here pushing others out of their way to ring the dingdong first,” James announced, sounding pretty smug.
“You have gone overboard with this, James. And for heaven’s sake, it’s a door bell! Ding dong is the noise it makes!” tutted Lily, placing Harry into his little highchair where he proceeded to thump a fist on top of the small, plastic counter. She placed a bowl of crushed apple in front of him which he delightedly scooped up with his fingers. “I know it’s your first Halloween with Harry, but some of the decorations you’ve put out there are going to give kids nightmares.”
“But they’re meant to be scary! You said-”
“I know I said they were, but not like the headless monk you’ve put out there! The blood on the floor looks hideously real! And the whole deal with the rats?”
“But that was a spell that Wormtail found! I love that spell!” James had begun to look worried and offended; he nervously walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. Lily watched him as he anxiously looked out of the window, only to see various kids boycotting the house that he had tirelessly decorated. His shoulders sagged, and his bottom lip protruded like a small child.
“Fine…” he said rather grumpily, moving towards the front door, but not before Lily stroked along his shoulder blades comfortingly.
“You know what? I’ll give you a special surprise later if we only get a couple of trick or treaters.”
James instantly brightened and kissed his wife’s cheek, smiling rather flirtatiously at her as he opened the front door to go and alter the decorations. The night sky loomed above him as he went outside, cloudless and full of stars. It wasn’t exactly the perfect setting for a night on Halloween - he would have preferred mist or fog - but even so, the night was beautiful.
Lily had walked back into the kitchen to find Harry covered in crushed apple. With a lot of made up words that she used whenever she really wanted to swear and grinding of her teeth, she managed to get him clean with a small cloth. Harry was being particularly difficult today, since he had been woken up during his nap by the sound of the smoke alarm in the kitchen going off, as James had been trying to melt some toffee for his toffee apples and had left it burn.
When James re-entered the kitchen, he had to stop himself from laughing out loud as he saw a red-faced, panting Lily trying with all her might to try and get Harry into his skeleton costume which she had bought along with the orange shirt and it seemed that both purchases weren’t exactly pleasing to mother or child. James leaned against the doorway, biting the inside of his mouth as Harry squawked in defiance.
“I told you we should have bought the Quidditch costume instead,” cut in James and Lily turned to glare at him, giving up on the costume all together.
“Oh ha-bloody-ha,” she spat, handing Harry over to James as she went off to change for about the third time that day. James smiled secretively as his wife disappeared up the stairs, her hair sticking out at the back. He caressed the top of Harry’s head, whispering, “Atta boy.”
Harry gurgled something in response. The light in the kitchen started to flicker warily, and so James pulled out his wand and sent a quick spell to the light bulb and it brightened instantly. It seemed that the Fidelius charm that they had placed around the house had its side effects, especially around the electricity of the house.
The door bell rang loudly and James’s face lit up as he bounced to the front door with a disgruntled Harry in his arms. The door opened up to two little girls in fairy costumes; one had her hair in bunches with little flower clips and a wand in her hand. James had to stop himself from remarking that Faeries were often ugly and didn’t own wands, and instead offered the two cute girls the bowl of sweets which they gladly took from. They cooed over Harry and waved goodbye as they left with their bags bulging from the Potter’s sweets. Harry lifted his tiny hand and shook it at the girls, making James yell for Lily.
“What, James? Did you finally get some trick or treaters?” she strode down the steps, now wearing a navy blue shirt.
"Yep! But also…...Harry waved!” James declared after a dramatic pause. Lily paused on the bottom step, not daring to tell him that Harry had been waving for a couple of weeks now, and instead pretended she was upset for missing it. James’s grin grew and he kissed the top of Harry’s head.
“He looks so much like you,” Lily remarked, her eyes softening at the small boy in her husbands arms. James held the boy closer to his chest possessively. This was the best Halloween ever.
“Well, you know what that means. He’s going to be intelligent, sexy, outrageously handsome-.”
“Not to mention modest,” cut in Lily, raising her eyebrows.
“Yeah, that too.” He winked at Lily, who half-heartedly slapped his arm. His eyes suddenly turned soft, the brown flecks of his irises merging like melting chocolate. “He’s got your eyes. And your freakishly small ears.” James remarked to her. Lily’s hand shot up protectively over her left ear and she gave her husband a betrayed pout. “Oh don’t give me that, Lil, you know I find your ears adorable.”
Lily shook her head, the ghost of a smile playing on around her lips as she tried desperately to look stubborn and strict. James wasn’t really paying attention though; he was too busy staring lovingly at his gurgling baby.
“I bet he’ll love Quidditch,” Lily mused.
“Damn right, he will.” James puffed out his chest in pride, beaming at the precious child within his strong arms. James could already see his son his age, zooming about on his old broom, throwing the Quaffle through one of the hoops. He was already a natural on his toy broom anyway, although Lily begged to differ.
“And manage to get himself into trouble all the time….”
“That’s my boy.”
“…and never getting lucky with girls…”
“Of cour— hey! You wait till tonight, I’ll get you back missy.” James playfully swatted her backside with his free hand and she gave a short giggle but never-the-less shot him a scandalised look. “Do you think we’ll be good parents?”
“We are good parents.” Lily responded, giving her husband a kiss on the cheek. His lips twitched into a grin and he stared lovingly at his family. Harry was blinking up at the two of them, his fists were curled up like a boxer, his tiny head lolling slightly to one side.
“I’m going to go get the camera!” she replied, excitedly skipping off upstairs. James rolled his eyes, knowing that his wife adored pictures but was awful at actually taking them.
With Harry curled in his arms, James took a seat in the living room. He pulled out his wand and started to make small puffs of smoke protrude from the end of his wand. Harry’s mouth opened wide in delight as the puffs turned into creatures which he tried to grab with his hands. The living room had been decorated to look like almost an exact replica of Lily’s childhood living room. The bright red sofa complete with knitted cushions reminded Lily of her childhood Christmases back when Petunia still spoke to her without calling her hurtful names. The fire crackled as James cradled his son to his chest and Lily waltzed into the room, the camera swung at her hip. Harry looked slightly drowsy and began to bury his head into the fabric of his father‘s shirt. Lily leaned over to stroke her son‘s soft head. James took the opportunity to kiss Lily on the cheek and as she straightened up, her cloak of hair no longer shielding his view, he saw a shadow move behind the thin, lacy curtains.
And the front door burst open.
A/N: My first story! Woop!
Beta'd by starryskies55, and written for the October Gryffindor SotM