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In the Shadow of the Heart by raven_child
Chapter 1 : You'll Sleep My Baby, You'll Sleep Softly
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 12


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A/N: This songfic is based on the Welsh song “Mi gygsi di maban” as performed by the group Plethyn.
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns everything except for that which was created by me. The song is traditional.
 



Charlotte Price Rees


It seemed as if winter had robbed summer this year, at least for James and Lily.  When they looked out the window of their cottage in a Welsh village, seeing the frost on the ground reminded them that they had hardly been able to enjoy the sunshine and flowers of not too long before.  Since they first heard about the prophecy and how Voldemort would be after them, they had had little rest.  From the time Harry was born, they had traveled from place to place to keep Voldemort off their trail.  Even though they had now settled in this small little village in Wales as a hiding place in winter, the stress of it all was really sinking into them. 

Harry was not normally a fussy baby.  Lily had found him to be easy and less temperamental than most babies.  Sadly, there was something about the cold, dank November that had baby Harry roused up.  Lily found her hair in a tangled mess as she stayed up all night with a crying baby, who just seemed to never be able to stop.
James was a little worried about it. 

“It’s all right honey,” said Lily. “I can do this just fine.” 

Lily, brave Gryffindor Lily and loyal to the Order of the Phoenix would never give up. 

James and Lily tried whatever they could to calm down their crying baby, giving him toys, reading stories, and clapping hands, but nothing worked.  Though Dumbledore had cautioned them to keep low while hiding out, they thought that outdoor country walks might be the only answer.  James had found himself allured to the beautiful landscape surrounding their home, even when late autumn was striking so quickly it seemed that the cold winter was even more fast approaching.  In the early morning the soil and grass were hard from the frost and made the fields appear silvery.  When the day progressed and became warmer, the ground was damp.  That was when the young parents especially enjoyed walking by the beautiful wetlands and by the peat bogs, which they had noticed their Welsh neighbors seemed to take pride in. 

After walking for several hours in the nice country close to their cottage, baby Harry seemed to have calmed down magnificently. James let Harry use his finger as a pacifier. 

“Yes, you little bloke you,” James baby-talked to him.  He looked over at the white old oak trees that somehow reminded him of the Whomping Willow.  He looked over at the old abandoned mill.  For some mysterious reason it reminded him of… “Oh, you’re going to get into a lot of trouble when you grow up, like the time when Sirius and I….” 

Lily gave the evil eye and James stopped. 

Everything seemed just fine when they headed back to the cottage.  Then they noticed that the already gray sky was darker and heavier. 

“Oh, no,” Lily groaned. They began running, but it was too late. The rain fell and by the time they returned to their little home, they were soaked to the bone and splashing mud.  Harry was wailing again. 

James got the fire in the fireplace going.  Lily took off Harry’s wet clothes and wrapped him in a blanket.  She sat in the rocking chair next to the hearth, rocking gently while the baby still cried. 

“Oh, I just can’t bare to see it,” she said sadly.  “Our poor little boy. What can be troubling him?” 

James sighed and leaned against the wall, not knowing what to do.  To make matters worse, water started to leak through the cottage ceiling.  At least James had had to do this before. 

“Operire,” he said pointing his wand at the leaky part.  The cracks and holes were automatically sealed up and the water stopped flowing through.  It would sustain for the time being. 

“Thank you, honey,” Lily said, but James was sad to see her more stressed eyes as she walked around in a circle, rocking their little crying son. 

There was a light tapping on the door.  James answered the door.  He saw the concerned faces of three of their neighbors: husband and wife Dafydd and Charlotte Rees and Charlotte’s brother Owen Price. 

“Hello,” said Charlotte’s delicate voice, her dark brown eyes sad and worried.  Her eyes went well with her dark auburn hair against the twilight background.  “We saw you out in that downpour and we were worried for you.” 

“Ah, yes, it uh,” James almost laughed, “wasn’t fun to be caught in.” 

“Sorry, Mr. Potter,” Dafydd said in a more business-like tone.  “We don’t mean to intrude on you.” 

“Oh, come on, honey,” Charlotte mildly reproved her husband.  She held up a jar that she held.  “You’ve been here for such a short while and we always welcome newcomers.  This is some jam that my mother made.” 

She handed James the jar.  “Thank you,” he said taking it. 

Lily got off her chair and came to the door with the still crying baby Harry in her arms. 

She smiled timidly.  “Hello, Charlotte.  Hello you all. Thank you for coming.” 

“Oh you poor souls,” Charlotte said, wringing her hands. 

“Is there anything we can do to help?” asked a very stunned Owen. 

“Yes, please,” said Charlotte.  “There’s sure to be some way we can help.” 

“Is the roof leaky?” Dafydd asked.  “Does anything need repair?” 

“Oh, no,” James smiled as he shook his head.  “We’ve been able to take care of that.” 

Their neighbors were muggles and didn’t know that the Potters had magic to help them. 

“If you could do something to calm down a temperamental child,” Lily said almost jokingly, “that would be heavenly.” 

Charlotte held open her arms.  “May I hold him?” Charlotte asked meekly. 

Lily held him up. “Yes, you may.” 

“Come on in,” James offered. 

The three neighbors came in and the door closed. Lily gave Harry to Charlotte.  She held him in a cradle position in her arms and rocked him around. 

“Oh, he looks so beautiful,” said Charlotte. 

“He’s going to look like his father one day,” Dafydd said with a nod. 

“And probably just as strong willed,” Owen grinned. 

James beamed as he and Lily looked at the people who were now admiring and doting on their son. 

Harry still cried.  He clasped his miniature fingers around her finger. 

“I wonder,” said Charlotte, “I wonder if a song would help ease things out for him.” 

Still new to the village, there was little that the Potters knew about their neighbors other than the fact that they were a part of a local music group who specialized in singing in three part Welsh harmony. 

The adults of the cottage fell silent as Charlotte took a breath and let out a graceful soprano voice,

“Mi gygsi di maban, mi gysgi di’n braf.”

She paused for a moment as if she were spell struck.  She continued on with the rest of the verse.

“Dy wyneb mor dawel a diwrnod o haf,
Dy fysedd yn llacio wrth ollwng fy llaw,
Mi gysgi di maban, a’r bore a ddaw.”

Harry’s green eyes gazed up curiously at the people above him.

“I need you two to help me,” she said to her husband and brother.

Once again she sang the first line.  The other two joined her in the next three lines.

“Mi gygsi di maban, mi gysgi di’n braf,
Dy wyneb mor dawel a diwrnod o haf,
Dy fysedd yn llacio wrth ollwng fy llaw,
Mi gysgi di maban, a’r bore a ddaw.”

Baby Harry cries lessened and his little fingers let go of the hand that he had held.  They sang the next verse.

“Mae'r ha' wedi sleifio'n ddi-sylw drwy'r cefn
A chynffon a gaseg sy'n winau drachefn.
Mae'r Pren Gwyn yn wynnach nag y buodd erioed
A heno cyn hyned yw gweddill y coed.”

James’ jaw was dropped.  Lily almost wept at how beautifully the three of them sang in perfect harmony.

“Mae'r pwll mawr yn dduach na dwr corsydd mawn
Bu hwnnw yn gwahodd, do lawer prynhawn.
Wna'r barrug ddim codi wrth 'rhen felin blwm
A'r dagrau o'r derw sy'n dysgyn yn drwm.”

Lily and James clearly saw how not only had Harry quieted down, but also his eyes even became droopy.  He let go of the finger of the woman who held him.

“Dwy gawod dan gysgod yn fy ngyrru o ngho'
Yng nghysgod yr aelwyd y mae ei gysgod o,
Ni welaf ond wal, ond a llygaid ynghau
Nid un sydd yn magu, ond yma mae dau.”


They finished singing their song and now Harry was asleep.  The three of them beamed tearfully as Charlotte rocked the sleeping baby. 

“I think he should be set in the cradle,” Charlotte whispered. 

She gently placed him in the little cradle by the fire. 

"Thank you kindly," Lily whispered to Charlotte. 

Charlotte smiled with charm.  Owen likewise beamed with pride and Dafydd gave a gentle nod. 

"It was nothing at all," whispered Charlotte.  "If that song hadn't brought him to sleep, I would have loved to sing ‘Suo Gan’.” 

"That has been my favorite since I was young," whispered Dafydd, putting his hand on his wife's shoulder. 

"Maybe you can come again some day," Lily whispered.  "Whenever Harry gets fussy, sing him another tune." 

"We could bring a dinner here, some day," Charlotte suggested. 

"Maybe someday," Owen added, "we could give you a taste for the village and shop around for groceries." 

"If you have need of a dreadful accountant," Dafydd said sarcastically, "I do provide financial services if you ever need that." 

"You're too kind," Lily whispered. 

"We'll be there," Owen said with a grin. 

"I wish we could chat," said Dafydd, still whispering, "but I guess we should leave the baby to some sleeping." 

Charlotte gave a reluctant nod. 

"Please come again," said Lily.  "Thank you for all that you've done. You are so kind." 

"Oh, it's nothing," Charlotte said gently.  "Anytime." 

The three of them turned to leave when Lily said, "Charlotte, could you translate that song for me?" 

Charlotte turned to face Lily, a cherry smile across her face.  She walked up to Lily, put her hand on her shoulder, and quietly said, "It goes....


You’ll sleep my baby, you’ll sleep softly
Your face as tranquil as a summer’s day,
Your fingers slacken as you let go my hand,
You’ll sleep my baby, and the morning will come.


The summer slid unnoticed out the back,
And the falls of Cynffon y Gaseg run muddy once more,
The oak of Pren Gwyn is whiter than ever
And the other trees seem just as old.


The big pool is blacker than peat bog water,
It enticed me many an afternoon,
The frost won’t leave the old lead mill,
And heavy tears fall from the oak."

Charlotte put her face closer to Lily and whispered,


"Two showers under shelter will make me mad,
In the shadow of the heart is this shadow too,
I see only the wall, but when I close my eyes,
Not one rocks the cradle, but here there are two."

James, who had been close enough to hear, was still as he absorbed the words. 

Charlotte, her husband, and brother waved good-bye as they left.  James and Lily sat in separate chairs by the warm fire. 

“Nice people,” James whispered.  “I never would have thought that muggles could almost cast a spell with a song.” 

“If everyone in the world could be like them,” Lily whispered, “there’d be no evil in the world.” 

James sighed.  “It would be a pity if we had to leave them, if we had to move somewhere else.” 

Lily folded her arms.  “How long before that snake Lord Voldemort gives up? It’s no wonder the baby has been so fussy, having to be on the go all the time.”  For almost four months they had been out hiding.  How many more years may they have to hide? 

James had an idea.  “Maybe we’ll be able to hide out at Godric’s Hollow, the village of the father of Gryffindor.  It would most likely be the strongest and safest place.” 

“But what if it doesn’t work out?” Lily whispered sadly. 

The heavy rain still beat hardly against the roof, as if the rain had a mind of its own and tried to penetrate through their magic sealing charms.  Lily looked at the wall where her shadow was formed by the dim firelight of the cottage. 

“Oh James,” she whispered, “I hope he never finds us, but I’ll die before he harms our little boy.” 

James pounded his fist against his thigh to silently declare his firm agreement. 

“I hope he gets a better life than this,” Lily murmured.  “I’d rather he stay with my sister than here.” 

“Petunia?” James whispered with disgust.  “And that fat boyfriend that she married?  No, if only one could take care of him it should be Sirius.” 

Lily shook her head.  “Sirius isn’t ready to be a father, and besides,” she looked happily down at the baby in the cradle and began to slowly, gently rock, “he’ll find a home once he goes to Hogwarts.”  Lily smiled.  “And with that Gringotts account, he’ll never fall short of supplies in any school year.” 

There was long pause.  James whispered, “I overheard Dumbledore saying that old Snivellus, I mean Severus was looking for a job at Hogwarts.” 

Lily gave him the eye again. 

“You know what, I um,” James stumbled with his confession, “erm, well, erm, feel sorry for him. I feel bad. I know that I was never, you know, very good to him.” 

Lily smiled at James.  She wouldn’t have married him if he had been the same bloke that he was when he was fifteen.  No longer was he prideful and full of himself, but contrite and humbled. 

“James, you’ve got to make it up to him some day,” Lily said. 

James looked as if he’d just been told that the earth was flat. 

“What? Oh, Lily,” he whispered. 

“James,” she said shaking her head, “if you don’t make it up, he will always be angry.  And he will take it out on our son.  And that will cause troubles for him in his future.” 

James said nothing. 

“Oh, honey,” Lily said softly, but firmly, “what if we were to die tomorrow?  What if you were never able to resolve that with him?” 

James kept silent. Everything was silent except for Lily’s gentle rocking of little Harry’s cradle.  James bent over and lent a hand in rocking. 

“You know what,” James whispered beaming, “his face really is as they said.  How did they say it?” 

“Tranquil as a summer day,” said Lily, who had a very keen memory.  “He really is a child of the summer.” 

“Too bad that summer had to go by so quickly for him,” said James.  “Summer is always my favorite season.” 

“My least favorite,” Lily whispered sadly.  “If he had to spend a summer with Petunia for so many years, he’d also detest it so much he’d wish it’d go by quickly.” 

“Pity,” muttered James. “Too bad that’s when his birthday is.” He studied Harry’s tranquil-as-summer face. “The most wonderful day in the world, that was.” 

Lily sniffed. She almost cried. 

“That song made me think of this place,” James whispered.  “It’s all….”  It was hard to find words to describe the beauty. He imagined himself and the other Marauders in their energetic fifteen-year-old selves exploring the place, climbing the great oak trees, swimming in the dark watered pond, and exploring the old mill. 

Lily read his face.  “But I guess if there isn’t anything better, Godric’s Hollow would be a good second best.” 

Lily looked up and the shadows of both of them on the wall, silhouettes from the dim firelight, the rain still pounding on the roof outside.  Now the words of the last three stanzas of the last verse really sank in.


In the shadow of the heart is this shadow too,
I see only the wall, but when I close my eyes,
Not one rocks the cradle, but here there are two.


A/N: For further credit, this song is a traditional Welsh lullaby (traditional meaning it was written by an anonymous writer more than a hundred years ago and passed down from generation to generation) as performed by the group Plethyn.  It can be heard on the compilation album called Celtic Lullaby.  I should also credit that the translation I provide here came from the linear notes of that CD.  Please R/R. Feedback is appreciated.




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