A/N: Like the summary said, this was my submission for the Writer's Duel. Something I'd like to know is whether or not the ending was sad enough. Did you feel for Lily at the end? Anyway, I’d also like to point out that there are ongoing themes of ‘saying goodbye’ throughout the story, not just the second to last sentence which shows the obvious ^.^ Other than that, please enjoy and remember to leave a review!
The wind howled furiously around us, its high-pitched shrieking tearing at my ears. It seemed to rip about among the trees, causing a chaotic thrusting of dozens and dozens of branches. The sun had just sunk below the horizon, casting long, looming shadows upon the earthen ground. And although small flecks of gold still lingered to remind us that dusk was only a while off, the Forbidden Forest seemed to grow more eerie and dark with each growing moment.
A harsh wind blew, causing myself to snuggle deeper into the warm folds of my cloak. I pressed myself closer to James’ side to keep warm. I could feel his efforts, which were in vain, to keep himself from shivering. A twig snapped not too far away, and I jumped out of restlessness.
“It’s alright, Lily. It’s just Sirius and Peter.” James spoke cautiously, as Sirius’ and Peter’s faces appeared out of the darkness.
“Are you ready?” I asked Peter, whom for some odd reason was shivering with a wild look in his eyes, and his lips curling up in a quivering fashion. I shrugged it off, believing he was just nervous about the charm I was about to perform.
Peter nodded slightly in response, and I took a deep breath. “Are you absolutely sure about this, Sirius?” I was referring to how, after performing the Fidelius Charm a few weeks prior to tonight, Sirius had suddenly met up with James and I last night and requested us to change Secret-Keepers and make Peter ours instead, replacing him. He nearly pleaded, saying that if Voldemort was going to go looking for us, and if there really was a spy in our midst and he knew we had a Secret-Keeper, then the first person that Voldemort would go to would be him, Sirius. Yesterday night, James and Sirius argued long into the late hours of morning. James had said that Sirius was like a brother to him, and he knew that Sirius would rather die then betray us. Sirius retorted, saying that because James was like a brother to him, he thought it would be safer that Peter become Secret-Keeper, as a bluff to Voldemort.
Despite the fact that James could be extremely stubborn and hard-headed, he was no match for Sirius, who had known him since their first year at Hogwarts together, and had relentlessly argued with his young and swelled up head numerous times. In fact, ever since they could remember. So around late noon, James had finally given in, and Sirius had headed off to bring Peter to the Forbidden Forest so that we could once again perform the charm.
I was brought out of my thoughts as Sirius nodded in response to my question, and I sighed, reluctantly preparing myself to perform the difficult charm.
I took a deep breath. I can do this. We’ve done it once before, we can do this again.
“Ok,” I started, recalling how we had done it a few weeks before. “We have to form a circle.”
Almost immediately, James and Peter turned and spaced themselves so that we together formed a circle. “James- you know what to do. Peter, you just remain quiet and still- after performing the charm you will just know where James, Harry and I are to be hidden.”
He nodded, his eyes flashing eagerly. Eager to help us, I thought.
James once again furrowed his eyebrows in deep concentration, as he had the night we had executed the spell with Sirius. I took another breath and closed my eyes, drawing forth my wand.
“Fidelius,” I voiced in a firm tone. In my mind I repeated over and over the location of our hiding place.
Godric’s Hollow, Godric’s Hollow, Godric’s Hollow…the little cottage by the Gryffindor River…in Godric’s Hollow, Godric’s Hollow…
And then I felt it again- this strange, tingling feeling. As if something was being pulled out of me…and I didn’t want it to be pulled out. Yet, there was also a pleasant feeling - as if I were glad to have been rid of it…as if I felt this terrible weight being lifted off my shoulders…
The spell was complete.
I opened my eyes to find James, Sirius and Peter all staring fixedly at a golden six-sided star within a scarlet circle, barely brushing against our own circle. The star started to spin faster and faster, until it seemed that you could not distinguish any of its lines apart from one another any longer. And then it abruptly stopped like before, and disappeared into the dark, chilling air.
* ~ * ~ *
“We must hurry!” James rushed as we sped through the dark forest, with James in front and Sirius in back, as a sort of guard.
At every turn it would seem that something was about to leap out at us, and we all would instinctively raise our wands a little higher in defense. The woods were getting darker and darker, and the protruding branches ripped at our clothing, as if trying to claw at us. Once, I fell down hard and scraped my knees, but I didn’t seem to feel the pain as I stood up, dazed, and resumed running. “There’s not much time left!” James added, and panting, we all reached a clearing.
There, Apollyon, father of Firenze stood majestically, with little Harry in his strong arms. Although centaurs were usually untrusting of humans, he was deeply indebt of James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter who had saved him when he was a young foal, on one of their many exploits long ago.
“Take Harry - go!” Apollyon voiced, handing precious Harry into my arms.
We nodded, then turned to continue…and turned back around, noticing Sirius staying behind. We gave him a questioning look.
“I mustn’t go with you, because only you and your Secret-Keeper are supposed to go with you to your hideout…and I am no longer holding that position,” said Sirius in a low voice, stepping forward so that even Apollyon could not hear.
“You must go, now, for the forest can be full of his spies.” Apollyon spoke, also in a low voice, his eyes darting around warily. “Go!” He urged us on, in an unwaveringly firm tone, and we continued our escapade through the dark and taunting forest. At times, it felt as if some evil creature had a hold on me, and in fear I would spin around, only to find it was just a jagged branch. However, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that we were being followed…
* * *
We ran hard through the night, taking only short breaks in which we were all huddled together, scrutinizing and eyeing everything suspiciously. Peter, however, seemed to prefer standing apart from us, always staying a few feet away, twitching slightly underneath his cloak, and constantly touching his left arm.
Afterwards, we ran endlessly and at last, when it seemed that neither of us could take another step, nor breathe another haggard breath, we reached the little village of Godric’s Hollow in the early hours of morning.
The dawn had yet to come, and there was a strange stillness all about the village. We made our way quietly through the village’s cobblestone paths, and ended up at the little cottage we would be hiding out in. Smoke was gently curling out of its chimney, a slight spell I had cast weeks ago to make it look inhabited. The Gryffindor River gurgled nearby, its gentle sounds lulling Harry into a deeper sleep. Behind, a cute forest, so unlike the Forbidden Forest, stood prettily behind the cottage, making the entire scene look like a bright greeting card.
James stepped forward and slowly opened the door to the little cottage, careful not to make a sound. We bid Peter goodbye, and then silently crept in. As I went over to the bedroom to place Harry in his cradle, James closed the door gently.
I then sat in the red sofa; leaning against James and watching the fire cackle softly. Now, all we had to do was wait.
“James,” I began, twirling one of my locks of hair in deep thought.
“Yes, Lily?” He prodded, watching me intently with his warm, chocolaty brown eyes.
“I was wondering…Peter is our Secret-Keeper, so he can’t find us, not even if he looked through our own window. But how is that possible?”
“Oh, Professor Dumbledore had talked to me about that,” James said, furrowing his eyebrows together, seemingly trying very hard to remember. “I believe he mentioned something about how since the information is hidden within the Secret-Keeper, it’s almost like we, the subject of the secret, don’t’ exist. We will still move about like normal beings, but no one can see us except for those the Secret-Keeper has chosen to tell directly, for it’s as if the secret is living inside him, and we are part of that secret.”
I had then drifted off to sleep, having been up all day and tired from running through the Forbidden Forest. When I woke up, I found that James had laid me down upon the couch and had covered me with a woolen blanket. I sat up and folded my legs beneath me, and turned towards the windowsill.
The dawn was near approaching, and it tinted the sky a lovely pink hue. I watched as slowly, the sky took on different colors, and golden threads of light made its way across it. The vastness of it all took my breath away, and I sat there, completely still, looking at the wonder before me unfold. I felt weight on the space beside me, and turned to find James watching the dawn with me, his deep pools of brown also shining with wonder and astonishment. It amazed me as I thought of how the same thing had been happening every day, for thousands and hundreds of thousands of years. I finally felt at peace, and was able to stop wrenching my hands in anxiety, a habit I had started to pick up. For the first time in months, I was able to forget my worries of Lord Voldemort, and of all the darkness and despair around me. I could imagine the forest a little less frightening, as if it too wished to be apart of the magic. Not the magic of wands or wizards or witches, but the magic of nature and of the cosmos and of time and life.
I leaned into James, and he brought his hand up to my hair and started to stroke it lovingly. I snuggled in closer, and rested my head in the crevice of his shoulder, and found myself smiling faintly, remembering that these strong hands were once the hands that I had loathed. I did not want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. It felt as if I was falling in love all over again.
* * *
After many, many hours of just sitting there in tranquility and stillness, a sudden change started to show itself as the minutes went ticking by. The sky turned blood red, and then went on to assume the color of the blackest midnight. Shadows started to stretch themselves out spookily, and strange noises could be heard in the distance. I sighed, distraught, remembering that tonight was the night of Halloween.
And then there it was- scores of Death Eaters, roaming around. They slowly went through their procession as if on purpose; I could feel the back of my neck tingle in dread. I moved in closer to James, clutching his hands tightly. I also spotted Dementors, as frightening as death, their heads bent down and their scaly hands reaching forward, and with every breath I could feel happiness drain away from the little village. Their ripped robes drifted eerily about, like lurking shadows.
Once, a Death Eater stopped outside our window and peered in, only their eyes showing through the mask. I had held James hand tighter then before, and held my breath. After what seemed like an eternity, they lifted their face and moved on. Twice, Dementors walked by, and made large sucking noises, as if preparing to perform the Dementor’s Kiss. I felt my body go cold at the sight, and was eternally grateful that they could not affect us.
This was how the entire evening went on. James and I sat in distress and dread, fearing the worse. It seemed like time had frozen over and we were reliving the same nightmare again and again.
And then we heard this wrenching noise that brought us both out of our seats, jumping high into the air. I sucked in breath…what was the noise?
Again, we heard it, and this time we both quickly faced the door. In an instant, the door flew open to reveal a tall, dark and brooding figure.
James whipped out his wand and jumped towards the door. His eyes reminded me of a deer that had been caught in headlights. “Run Lily, run! Take Harry; I’ll try and hold him off!”
I froze. I couldn’t move. My mind raced around, trying to figure out how this could be. It wasn’t Sirius…Sirius would never do such a thing to us…Peter! I thought in anguish. Peter must have gone to Lord Voldemort and given us away.
I felt myself shudder with rage. How could he?!? How could he betray James and I…did Lord Voldemort hunt him down? But then how would he know we had used Peter? Voldemort must have thought it was Sirius…and how would he know we were using the Fidelius Charm? This must have been planned! I could feel my blood boiling…all I could think about was that he had betrayed us, he betrayed us, he was going to betray us all along…
“LILY! GO! RUN! GET- HARRY!” James yelled, and it was as if someone had thrown cold water across my face. I could think clearly again.
“Let me stay - and help you-” I started, but James cut in.
“NO! I can handle him - please, Lily, take Harry and run!!!” yelled James exasperatedly.
“I love you, James.” I said with the whole of my heart, as our eyes interlocked, knowing that we would never see each other again.
And then I turned and ran down the hall, turning the corner into the bedroom. I ran over to Harry’s cradle, just as I heard a deep voice scream and what sounded like thunder. I slowly picked Harry up, holding him close to my chest in a trance-like manner. James just died…the tears started to flow freely down my face, running down my cheeks and mingling into my hair, Harry’s hair, and my clothes. He died…just take me too…let me join him… He was gone…and I no longer felt there was a reason to live.
Yes, there is! I thought fiercely, glancing down at Harry’s head through my blurry eyes, and the tuft of black hair that was sure to be much like his father…my…James.
I miserably sunk down onto my knees, starting to feel numb, the tears still streaming down my face. And then I heard pounding footsteps…and Voldemort appeared, standing in the doorway.
I quickly stood up, numb though I was, and pulled out my wand, my hand twitching. I opened my mouth, but no sound could come out. Hold still, hold still! I thought desperately, trying to steady my hand. But it wouldn’t steady. Why won’t it steady?! Please!...please steady… The tears continued to streak down, and I shivered. My vision blurred…I couldn’t see anything clearly…
Voldemort seemed to be quite amused with my effort, but then he spotted Harry.
“One Potter down, two more to go…” he hissed in an unpleasant voice, his lips curling up…just as Peter’s had. “Step aside…” he added menacingly. “First to go was James…next will be Harry…”
“Please, no don’t kill Harry!” I cried, turning my body so that it was between dear Harry and Voldemort.
“Stand aside…you silly girl, stand aside!” He answered coldly, striding forward.
“No! Take me instead…please, take me instead…” my legs were starting to feel weak again…
“I said, step aside!” He yelled.
“Please…please, have mercy…take me, leave Harry…he’s the only person I have left…” I whispered weakly, all of a sudden feeling as if I should just let go…and let it be over with…
“I’ll tell you only once more, stand aside!” He shouted, glaring at me in disgust.
And then it finally struck me. He really was going to kill Harry. He didn’t care about anyone; he just wanted to get rid of Harry. I hadn’t truly believed it until now. It finally sank in…and when the realization hit me, my body surged with a strange exhilaration that I couldn’t explain…
“Move. Now.” he hissed venomously.
“…NEVER!” I screamed; hate coursing through my veins, replacing all the sadness which he had caused.
He sneered, and pushed me away. I stumbled backwards, and watched in horror as he yelled-
My immediate reaction was to save Harry…darling Harry…I jumped towards the spell, flinging my body to cover him. And then everything started to happen as if in slow motion. I screamed and screamed myself hoarse, and heard his shrill voice laughing, piercing at my ears. There was the flash of blinding green light, the same thunderous roar.
And then it hit me with tremendous force. And although I fought desperately against it, the light was fading and my strength was ebbing away…the darkness was closing in all around me…his shrill voice was becoming distant…and then I heard the wails of a baby…and my last thoughts were…
goodbye, Harry, …goodbye.
And then there was silence and utter darkness, and I could think no more.
The killing scene of Lily was based upon Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, page 179, American paperback edition.