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Chapter 53 : And Then There Was One
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As shocking as this may sound, I wrote this chapter about three months ago. Be that as it may, I definitely recall slaving away over it. It is one of my most edited chapters—one of my most heavily researched. The point is that I tried really hard on this. It is a chapter that I have been looking forward to from day one.
Hold on tight.
ONE WEEK LATER
“I brought candy.” Remus hauled a brown paper sack onto the coffee table in the sitting room. Multiple colored sweets and tarts overflowed from it.
“We figured that since you couldn’t get out for candy on Halloween night,” said Sirius. “...we’d bring the candy to you instead.”
James tried to grin. “Thanks guys. Harry’ll love it!”
A week indoors had not done wonders for James’s mood.
“Have you seen Peter?” asked Lily. “I know he hasn’t been doing well all cooped up.”
“I’m going to stop by later tonight,” said Sirius, popping a watermelon chewy candy in his mouth. “He’ll be fine.”
“All right, good,” said James, also helping himself to a sucker. “He needs company. Maybe we could give him the cat...”
“Oh...no,” said Lily. “Why do you have it in for our cat, James? First you set Harry on it with that god forsaken broomstick, and now—,”
“I had nothing to do with Harry hitting the cat—,” started James with a straight face.
“Oh please. Like I didn’t see you positioning Harry...trying to get the exact right angle.”
James stared at the floor as Sirius and Remus roared with laughter.
Lily was about to say something else, but her eyes fell instead on her son. He had been standing, using the couch to support him.
Then he turned around and took exactly six, unsupported steps before falling into James’s arms.
“Did you see that?” she breathed. “He just took his first steps.”
James picked up Harry and whirled him around the room, laughing all the same. “Indeed he did. And on Halloween no less.”
“Well, everybody knows magical things happen oh Halloween,” remarked Remus.
“Pretty soon he’ll be running,” said Sirius. “And hiding under ladies’ skirts…just like his papa did.”
James threw a chocolate bar at Sirius’s head.
“Okay,” said Remus. “We’d better leave before you get too violent.”
He and Sirius started out the front door.
“We’ll see you tomorrow,” called Sirius. “And if not...the next day.”
“All right,” Lily called back. “Wish Peter well. We’ll see you later...”
The door closed behind the two boys.
Lily picked up a package of gumdrops. “It was really nice of them to stop by and bring all this candy.”
James leaned back in his seat. “Yeah, I kind of wish we could have taken Harry trick-or-treating this year...”
Lily grinned. “There’s always next year. By then...he’ll actually have teeth to rot out.”
James laughed. “Very true. But that’s all part of the fun. He’ll look so cute as a big, fat, pumpkin.”
Now Lily was laughing. “He will.” She picked up the mugs Sirius and Remus had used and carried them into the kitchen. “We’ll have to get Harry to bed soon.”
James stuck his tongue out at Lily’s back as she walked away.
“She’s no fun,” he muttered to Harry. He pulled out his mahogany wand and a ring of teal blue smoke puffed out, followed by crimson red and lime green.
Harry was giggling and trying to capture the smoke in his hands. When he could not, he tried harder.
The tall thin figure watching them just beyond the gate went unnoticed.
James was just releasing a sparkly magenta smoke ring when Lily reappeared.
“Easy on the smoke, James,” she said. “It’s so bad for the baby...”
“All right, all right. But it’s fun.”
“You guys can play tomorrow. You’re both early risers. I’m going to take Harry to bed now...”
James picked up Harry and rounded him to Lily. “G’night son.”
He threw down his wand, stretched, and opened his mouth in a loud yawn. Maybe he would turn in for the night, too. It had been a long day...
His thoughts, which had been upstairs, thinking of getting into bed with Lily, were abruptly interrupted by a stupendous crash from the front door. Lily, who had still been standing there holding Harry, stood frozen, staring at the source of the noise.
James only had to glimpse at the thin, cloaked figure to know that his time had come.
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”
He shouted this as he ran into the hall to meet his match. But what was he going to defend himself with? His wand was back on the couch next to...next to Lily’s. James hoped and prayed that Lily had grabbed her want before leaving. He had to protect her...his wife...his child.
He thought back to his conversation with Sirius nearly three years ago. Did he fear death? James had told Sirius that he would not know until he faced it. And here he was, looking straight into the red eyes of Lord Voldemort.
And yet, even thought he had this great sense that he was about to die, he did not feel afraid. It was a peculiar feeling...something like acceptance...understanding.
So James Potter faced Lord Voldemort full on at the latter laughed his bone-chilling laugh...and suddenly James was engulfed with an emerald green light.
He thought of all the people the green light and rushing noise had consumed before...Sarah...Nathan...Fabian...Gideon...Emma. And now it was his turn.
And as James Potter crumbled to the floor, he thought of how the green light was the same color as Lily’s eyes. The same eyes he had longed for and desired for all those years. He felt as if it were not the killing curse swallowing him...but Lily’s eyes The same eyes he had longed for and desired all those years. He felt as if it were not the killing curse swallowing him…but Lily’s eyes. Then he was gone, never to see the light of day again...leaving everyone behind.
James’s last words were still ringing in her ears as Lily ran up stairs, Harry pressed to her chest.
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”
She had one glimpse of his face before he sprinted out of the room. He had looked determined and terrified at the same time.
She had not even been able to say goodbye. She had not told him that she loved him. She had not told him anything. She said that she was taking her son to bed and that he and Harry could play tomorrow. But would they live to see tomorrow? A loud thud and a cackle of high pitched laughter seemed to answer her question.
James had…had he? Maybe he had merely tripped and was still fighting…but the laugher she heard…it was that of triumph.
She screamed at the thought of her husband dead.
Lily slammed the nursery door, still holding Harry in her arms.
One armed, she began piling things in front of the door, hoping to lock Voldemort out. The rocking chair, changing table, boxes, anything to lock out the man set on tearing apart her family.
She heard him ascending the stairs. The man who had killed her parents…her friends…and now her husband. Was she next? She would not let him take her son. She would let her son have a chance in the world. A chance at freedom and peace, Lily was not going to let this man, Lord Voldemort…Tom Riddle…whoever he was, take away her son.
Lily reached into her pocket for her wand. It was not there.
The door to the nursery flung open, the items she had used as a barricade floating away as if attached to strings.
And there he was; the man who had made it his mission to destroy the Potter family. A black hood was pulled over his skull white face. He seemed to be at the peak of his transformation. Lily remembered when she had first seen Lord Voldemort. He had looked relatively normal then, his features slightly distorted. But now…now he was frightening…even more so than before. His eyes were crimson and his nose like a serpent’s.
Automatically, Lily set Harry down in his crib and spread her arms out side.
She realized that she had to say something. Her voice came out strained and cracked. “Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”
Voldemort pointed his wand at Lily’s chest. She drew a sharp breath.
“Stand aside, you silly girl…stand aside, now.”
Lily’s breath shook, but she refused to drop her arms. She would do anything to save her son. Anything.
“Not Harry, please no…take me, kill me instead —,”
But her protest was cut off.
Voldemort did not lower his wand. He eyes flashed violently. “This is my last warning—,”
“Not Harry! Please…have mercy…have mercy…Not Harry! Not Harry! Please—I’ll do anything—,”
But mercy was one thing Voldemort would not give. He detested it. Mercy was for those who were weak.
“Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!”
But Lily did not move. She only spread her arms out wider. It was Harry, her son. She wanted him to have a chance in this world. Emma, Nathan, and Sarah…all three of them had been given chances. But they had been taken before their time.
And now Lily knew. She knew as she saw Voldemort’s patience run thing, that her time—her era—was over. She could do all within her power to protect her little boy, but in the end…in the end she knew she was defeated. She knew that her life with her family—with James…it was done. They were no longer school kids. She was no longer rejecting the “arrogant Potter” or laughing with her friends in Hogsmeade, using warm cups of butterbeer to hear their hands.
They were in the real world now, with very real dangers. There was a threat to everyone.
And as the green light flashed through the room, Lily no longer felt afraid. This was to protect her son. This was for the greater good. This was what it all came down to.
And with that, Lily Potter dropped to the ground; her eyes still open, but slowly clouding over. Her time was up.
Lord Voldemort did not glace at the body before walking straight over to the crib, where Harry Potter was still standing.
The boy did not cry; only stared on curiously. He had no idea who this man was under the cloak. He did not know that both of his parents now lay dead.
Lord Voldemort positioned his wand with exact precision. There would be not mistakes.
Harry began to cry, realizing that what was happening was not all fun and games.
Voldemort smiled triumphantly as the green light spewed out of his yew wand. But it slipped off his face when the light hit the boy…and then rebounded.
Yes, the curse rebounded and hit Tom Riddle square in the chest.
And both he and the boy cried out.
Voldemort, because he felt his soul tearing in agony. He was everything, and yet he was nothing.
Harry, because he felt the pain of a lightning bolt scar slicing itself into the flesh on his forehead.
Then the former was gone; disappeared, to hide away for years. He had met his match.
And within those few seconds, Harry James Potter became The Boy Who Lived.
I just killed off my two main characters. Three months later and its just now hitting me. I always knew that it was going to happen. It’s weird. It’s weird spending 50+ chapters developing a couple…and then ending their lives. For those of you who have written Lily/James stories before, did you feel the same way? Anyways, the first time sprouting tears throughout writing this entire story was during this chapter. I don’t remember what the line was, but I know that it had to do with James’ death. It wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely something for me.
Okay, I know I’m really behind on my reviews — well, at least answering them. But I have been reading them (and loving them).
So, will you please leave me another? I love quotes and reader’s opinions on my style. Good or bad? Was the death how you expected? Did it reach your standards?
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. =] Believe it or not, the story does not end here. I have one last chapter to give you.
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