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Chapter 1: Before the Dawn
From the moment Harry had been born, he had been her world. Gorgeous black hair, perfect little green eyes… and his feet. His tiny, tiny feet. They were more beautiful than anything else Lily had ever seen. All at once, the entire world seemed too dirty for this little boy to live in. Someone so pure and so innocent should not be forced to live in a place with sadness and drugs and sex and anything that wasn’t pure. That was just how she felt when she looked at him, at least. Nothing was good enough for her Harry.
Facing one’s own mortality was bad enough, but understanding the fact that you’re probably going to die very soon with a brand new baby is nearly impossible. Maybe she had brought it upon herself, anyways. She was in the Order of the Phoenix. But still, Harry seemed invincible, and Lily felt the strongest urge to stay with him forever and always and watch him become an actual person. Not just a baby who stuck his fists into his mouth and cooed adorably and smiled like she was the sun and the moon. But a person with problems and more hair and greener eyes. A person who would go to Hogwarts and learn magic and fall in love and have endearingly beautiful flaws, beautiful only because he was Harry. Her Harry.
That’s probably why it was so hard (so, so hard) to just sit there and have that discussion with James. She had her baby boy on her lap and her husband was sitting across from her in their warm, sunny kitchen. For the first time since they left Hogwarts, it actually felt like home. She didn’t want to tarnish home with this. James, on the other hand, was insistent. She almost wanted to laugh, because for once he was being serious while she avoided the tough conversation.
“Lily,” he said urgently, hand clasped around hers in a desperate attempt to get her eyes away from their baby and onto him. “We have to do this. We have to decide.”
“He doesn’t need a godparent,” Lily argued stubbornly, but she knew she was wrong. Her heart wouldn’t be this low in her stomach had she thought otherwise. “James, he doesn’t.”
“He does,” James said gently. “Come on, love. We have so many amazing friends. This shouldn’t be this hard.”
“There’s no point- it’s not like we’re all going to survive the war,” Lily pointed out. “We’ll probably just have to keep changing it over and over again.”
“Well,” James said, smiling now. “That’s why I want to pick Sirius. Bloke’s invulnerable to anything you throw at him.”
“No,” Lily snapped, heart squeezing painfully as she thought of Sirius bringing up her Harry. “James,” she said, “I love Sirius, I really do, but can you imagine him raising a child?”
“He’d be great,” James argued, looking slightly offended that Lily would suggest anything otherwise.
“Instead of giving Harry the sex talk, he’d slip him a Playwizard,” Lily snorted.
“How do you know that?” James asked, still affronted.
“He told me,” Lily yelled, finally getting angry.
They may have been choosing a godparent, but it honestly felt like giving her baby away. Giving up on her life. Normally, Lily was the one that dealt with these things while James made the flippant remarks and put them off. But she was a new mother. This was something she couldn’t deal with. Visions of Sirius corrupting their son, of turning Harry into someone just like him, flashed through her mind. And she loved Sirius, she really did, but she didn’t want Harry to turn into him. Reckless. Careless. Perpetually randy. It was too much for a mum to handle.
“Lily,” James said through gritted teeth. “Sirius and I are practically the same person. Saying you don’t want him raising Harry is like saying that you don’t want me raising Harry.”
“You grew up,” Lily said simply. “You grew up, James. And he didn’t. So he can’t raise my baby boy.”
With that, she leapt up from the table, handed Harry off to James, rushed into the foyer, and walked out of the house, slamming the door behind her. She started walking down the street, feeling a little angrier each time one of her feet slammed against the pavement. She could hear James calling out her name, telling her to come back, that it wasn’t safe, that she needed a coat, but she couldn’t listen to him. She hadn’t been able to see sense ever since she’d given birth three months ago, and she didn’t understand why James thought she’d see sense about this now. Bitter tears streamed from her eyes, because it wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t. And it wasn’t supposed to be like this, either. This wasn’t how she had imagined her life going, but now that it was happening this way, there was simply nothing she could do about it. There was no way to stop the ball from rolling.
After about a half an hour of walking, Lily was suddenly overcome with the intense need to sit down and cry. Noticing a park nearby, she immediately walked over to a bench and sat down on it. Her lower lip twitched incessantly as she watched all of the carefree mothers scold their children or help them walk or hug them tight. She was watching life happen, and knowing that she would never have a life like this did not feel good. All at once, she wanted to go home to James and smack him, then kiss him all over until he understood exactly how she felt. Until he didn’t think she was crazy anymore. That was the only solution, right?
Lily was interrupted from her thoughts as a redheaded child rushed up to her. He stared at her for second, eyes wide, until he reached up a hand and excitedly tugged on a piece of her hair.
“Red!” he said, smile opening wide to show a scattered array of teeth, or lack thereof.
“That’s right,” she said, brushing a tear away from the corner of her eye. “Red. We match.”
The little boy was still beaming brilliantly at her when, suddenly, a woman with matching red hair rushed up to him and swooped down upon him.
“Charlie!” she exclaimed. “Don’t rush away from us like that!”
Lily looked up in astonishment to say an array of redheaded children following behind this mum. There was another boy, older than Charlie, talking angrily at a boy who looked like he was just getting used to being on his feet. A little behind sat three children in a stroller, one younger than the other two, who were identical- twins, Lily realized. The twins were young toddlers, while the baby in the carriage seemed to be about Harry’s age, maybe a little older. He had the most beautiful blue eyes Lily had ever seen- clear, sapphire, and bright with curiosity.
Turning back to Charlie, she saw him being scooped up into his mother’s arms and watched her press a kiss to his forehead. Lily felt a pang in her stomach as she watched him kiss his mum on the cheek. She wondered if she’d ever get to that place with Harry, a place where he could understand what she was saying and how much she loved him and he could reciprocate both. She longed for it more than anything.
“Are you Lily Potter?” came a voice suddenly, and Lily raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“Yes,” she said cautiously. “Who are you?”
“Molly Weasley,” said the other, sitting down on the bench besides Lily with a content look on her face. Her legion of little boys ran off onto the playground, leaving the twins and the baby with the blue eyes in the stroller. The twins kicked and fought to get out, but the baby just lay there contently, looking around. He seemed very at peace with the world. Lily found herself hoping that he would keep this attitude as he grew older. If everyone were like that, this stupid war probably wouldn’t be happening in the first place.
“Oh,” Lily said, because she wasn’t too sure how this woman knew who she was. “Hello.”
“My husband, Arthur, is good friends with Oliver Kent,” she said, noticing Lily’s discomfort. “They work together on certain cases that connect their departments. Poor dear, Oliver isn’t all that high in the ranks yet. He’s shunned to the smaller cases.”
“He’ll get his due,” Lily murmured quietly. The honest truth was that she knew all too well how one got his due in the Auror Department, and she wasn’t looking forward to that day. It was too dangerous. It seemed wrong.
“That he will. He’s a hardworking young man. Well, his wife, Mary, talks about you and your husband quite a lot. It was easy to recognize you. Now then. What’s wrong?”
“Excuse me?” Lily managed to say. She hoped the shock on her face from being asked such a personal question wasn’t as blatant as she thought it must be.
“You’ve been crying, and you look like you need to talk. What’s wrong.”
“We’re strangers,” Lily pointed out.
“Nonsense,” Molly said airily. “We both come from the same world. We’re both redheads. We both love our children passionately. I think we’ll get on quite well, if you ask me.”
Lily gazed at Molly Weasley in absolute shock, wondering how she’d be able to get herself out of this entirely awkward situation. She stared so long that Molly pulled out a pair of knitting needles and started calmly knitting. She stared so long that she realized midway through her staring that she wasn’t actually staring, she was musing. Trying to decide whether she actually wanted to talk to this woman. To trust her. To ask her advice. This mother who so obviously loved her children, which was something that one could see simply from looking into her eyes. As she sat there dithering, the baby in the carriage started to cry.
“Oh, could you get that, dear?” Molly asked, counting stitches carefully on her needle.
“Um… sure,” Lily said automatically, and she got up and lifted the baby out of the carriage. Immediately, he stopped crying.
“Oh, look at that. Ron likes you! You should feel honored, really. He’s an excellent judge of character.”
Lily sat back down on the bench with the baby boy, who stared up at her with so much life in his blue eyes. Then she turned to Molly and said,
“James wants me to pick a Godparent for Harry.”
Molly’s fingers never stilled on her knitting as she said,
“That must be a very difficult thing to think about.”
“It is!” Lily ejected emphatically. “Why does he think that it’s alright with me to think about somebody else raising my baby? My baby. My little boy. He’s mine. I didn’t make him and carry him and give birth to him just to pawn him off to somebody else. I did all those things so that I could impart upon him the things that I have learned and teach him how to be a proper human being. There is nobody in my life that I want taking that away from me! Nobody. How could James expect anything different?”
“How indeed,” Molly said quietly.
“It feels to me like James doesn’t love Harry in the same way that I do. That’s what it feels like,” Lily decided, making a little frowny face at Ron, who giggled up at her.
“You’re right,” Molly said, looping some yarn around the top of the needle. “He does love Harry in a different way that you do. He didn’t carry him. He didn’t give birth to him. It’s a different bond. But the bond between a father and a son is just as strong as the bond between a mother and a son. He looks at Harry and he thinks about how much he loves you. He looks at Harry and sees that person that you and he made. He looks at Harry and sees all that you sacrificed for the both of them. He looks at Harry and, just like you, he sees family. James looks at Harry and loves him so much. That’s why he’s playing the bad cop, dear. He knows that you’re not going to give up what you love so passionately, just because he knows that you would never give him up. He’s doing everything he can to keep your son safe and allowing you to play the part of the mamma bear.”
It was strange that she hadn’t seen it before, because as soon as Molly said it, it seemed absolutely true and totally obvious. Love for James rushed through her as she contemplated what this meant for him, how much he had grown up and how much he loved her. These things would hit her so randomly at times that it would make her breathless- five years ago, she had abhorred him. Now she had a baby with him.
“Well how about that, Ron?” she whispered, laughing lightly. He cooed up at her. “Thank you,” she said, turning to Molly. “Thank you so much.”
“You should go home, dear,” Molly smiled. “I think you have two boys waiting for your return.”
Molly set down her knitting, and Lily carefully placed Ron back into her arms, kissing the top of his soft baby skin because she simply couldn’t resist.
“I hope you meet my Harry one day,” she told him, staring into his mesmerizing eyes. “I think you’d be good for him. With a mum like yours, how could you possibly not turn out well?”
It was nearly dark when she arrived home. The lights were almost all out, and James was nowhere to be seen. She checked around the living room, the kitchen, and the tiny guest bedroom they had downstairs for whenever a drunken Sirius stumbled over to their house because it was closer to the pub. As her wand flicked towards the lamps and the room lit, she found herself smiling at the room. Clothes were strewn all over the floor, as though he was a messy teenager still living at home. A large Gryffindor banner hung over the wall opposite the bed, so that it would be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw before he fell asleep. There was a crumpled up picture of Sirius, James, Lily, Remus, and Peter on the cheap bedside table they’d gotten for him. When she’d first gotten to know Sirius, she had been surprised by how fervently he could love. He had broken the heart of nearly every one of her best friends, playboy that he was. His devilish good looks were their downfall, and she’d heard many a girl exclaim both love and hatred for both James and Sirius, enough to be wary of them. But Sirius had the devotion of a Gryffindor. Not for a woman. He’d never quite gotten there. But his friends? They were his everything. In all honestly, Lily had never seen anything like it as long as she’d lived.
All at once, she could see it. She could see Sirius raising Harry. She could see him teaching Harry how to ride a broom, teaching Harry to love the outdoors, teaching Harry the fine mechanics of being a prankster. She could see Harry growing up having all of the wonderful qualities that both Sirius and James had- a love for fun, a lust for life. Sirius would love Harry as he loved James. He would show that same devotion to his godson. If there was anyone who could give Harry that kind of love, that kind of safety, wasn’t it Sirius? Besides, who did James love more than Sirius? Lily and Harry, and in the end, that was it.
Her footsteps were quiet as she walked quickly upstairs and into the master bedroom. James was lying on the bed, just as she’d suspected, snoring lightly. His hand was on Harry’s stomach, as though he had fallen asleep to the rise and fall of his son’s chest. Quietly, Lily slipped into the bed next to him.
“James,” she whispered in his ear. “Wake up, love.”
She got several seconds of incoherent muttering before the first discernible word came out.
“Sirius is going to be a godfather.”
Both of his eyes opened, and he stared up at her in surprise.
“Really. As you said, it’s just like you raising Harry. We’re keeping him in the family.”
“I want Sirius to raise Harry if we can’t, James,” she said seriously. “I promise.”
“I love you,” he murmured, lifting himself up to kiss her. “I love you so much.”
“I know. I love you too.”
“Obviously,” James grinned. “Who wouldn’t?”
“Alright, Mr. Modesty. I think it’s time you get your ego sleep.”
“Okay,” he yawned. “I get the point. By the way, Dumbledore’s coming over tomorrow. Says he’s got something to tell us that’s important. Something about a prophecy.”
“As odd as that is,” Lily said, “I think right now I just want to sleep.”
Unknowing to the fact that his fate was about to change drastically, little Harry Potter slept on.
A/N: That is the first time since 2010 that I have written something that wasn’t Romione. Honestly, it’s the strangest feeling ever, but I’m also very proud of myself. The idea for this story caught hold of me, and I couldn’t not write it. It was just something I had to do. I hope you enjoyed it and hope that you will tell me what you think about it! ~writergirl8