Lily tried to contain her derisive snort of laughter as her dear friend nearly exploded from cursing at her contractions. Harry was draped over one shoulder, sleeping and happily full from being recently fed. Charles was sitting on the other side of Becky, awkwardly patting her shoulder, and James was at home. Becky was panting with the attempts to catch her breath.
"I told you it’s painful," Lily shrugged, rubbing Harry’s tiny back.
A fine string of foul mouthed obscenities lashed back at her, but Lily still found it amusing. It was the middle of August, and Lily had stepped into the hospital to check on her friend, having received an owl notifying her she had gone into labor. The healer had just been in and informed them that it was very nearly time for Becky to begin pushing.
"You really ought to suck it up," Lily said wisely, "You were on the quidditch team for Merlin’s sake."
Becky cast her the most scathing look Lily had ever seen her give someone. She hissed through gritted teeth, "Quidditch… does… not
Lily nodded, understanding completely. Slowly, that round of contractions subsided, and Becky relaxed a bit, allowing Lily enough time to kiss her forehead and wish them luck. She took her own leave just as another moan of pain came, and walked gently down the hall, trying not to shift her shoulder so that Harry wouldn’t wake. He was a pleasant baby, crying ever so softly only when he was hungry or needed changing. She had to sleep especially light in order to hear him in the nursery, down the hall. James loved to just sit around, Harry laying on his knees, playing with his fingers and toes with the most awed look on his face. She felt a slight pinch as his little hand pulled on her hair. Glancing back as Healers went into Becky’s room, Lily smiled, sitting in a chair which had been so recently occupied by their friends, cheering her on.
Amused, Lily listened in silence to the noises from within Becky’s room, the groans and cries and soft voices of the healers. It was a long while until things became much quieter, and then the medi-witches came out, smiling and looking a bit tired but happy nonetheless.
"You should be able to go in and see them in just a bit," said one to her, tickling Harry’s foot fondly.
Charles eventually came to the door and beckoned her to come in. Standing a little awkwardly, switching Harry to her other shoulder, Lily walked in, amused to see Becky looking truly astonished for once in her life.
"Holy crap, Lilis, you didn’t tell me how amazing this is," she breathed, not even looking up at her.
Charles sat on her left, and Lily went round to sit on her right. Their baby was almost the size that Harry was now, as the Wrights hadn’t been early but rather right on time.
"We’re naming her Amelia," Charles explained, ever the calm one. "Amelia Elizabeth."
"That’s a very pretty name," Lily said.
Amelia had bright blue eyes, just like her mum, and barely a hair on her head. She blinked up at them, wrapped in a blanket, making occasional whimpers of discomfort, probably still surprised to find herself in this new world. They all sat there for a while, looking down at the new little girl, and despite the fact that Lily loved Harry more than she could ever have anticipated loving a person, felt a mild pain when she thought of the Wrights. They had their child in August, and she was a girl, two things which protected them completely from the prophecy they knew nothing about.
"It’s strange," Becky mused, prodding Amelia’s hand so that it wrapped over her finger.
"Being a mother. I always figured my own would be here when this happened."
Lily looked down at her friend, and completely understood. "I know."
All three friends were silent for a while, before Harry woke and began to fuss a bit. Lily squeezed her friend’s shoulder comfortingly and excused herself without a word, disapparating from the hallway with a pop. Stepping quickly from her warm back porch into the house, Lily saw that James was reading some magazine in the living room. He glanced up at her, and immediately a slight worry line in his forehead eased, as if he had been thinking of all manner of terrible things which could be happening to her while she was out.
"How is she?" he asked casually.
Lily sat next to him, adjusting Harry as he quieted down a bit, "Well, I think. They had a girl."
"Oh," was all James could manage.
She nodded, understanding his train of thought. They were both quiet for a bit, playing with Harry’s little fingers as he watched them. James couldn’t help but adore that his son looked like him, but was thrilled that he had Lily’s eyes. They were such a unique trait, he was glad that it hadn’t been lost on their one and only chance to pass it on. The afternoon passed in relative silence, each parent thinking of baby Amelia, and how lucky she was that her fate wasn’t pre-destined the way their son’s may be.
Becky smiled over at her sleeping, infant daughter as she continued to charm pictures into the family album. Charles was napping in their room, and baby Amelia was asleep on Becky’s knees, her rosy lips parted slightly. They had just come home from the hospital, and Becky had a strange urge to set things to rights, as she hadn’t completely done so before going into labor. They had quickly gotten their photos developed, by dear Lily, and she was now charming them into an album so that they would last. Flicking through the pictures, she noticed that Amelia seemed to have grown a bit, already, just within the last two days. Looking over pictures from the past, over faces of those who had been lost in the fighting, Becky felt that strange pang she had been feeling ever since they came home.
Snapping the album shut, she tucked it under one arm. Picking up the baby and walking into the room she shared with her husband, she gently lay the sleeping infant in a small cradle they had set up near the bed. He may be napping, but he would wake if Amelia cried, she knew it. Her fingers stroked the soft skin of her daughter’s cheek, not wanting to step away from such a perfect little being.
Becky forced herself to turn, walking through the living room and taking the album with her as she stepped outside their back door long enough to disapparate. Opening her eyes to see the sunny, summer grounds of Hogwarts, just three weeks from once again being full to the brim of students, Becky knew in her heart she had to speak to him. Letting herself in the gate, she swept up the drive, day robes sweeping the grass and pebbles. The shadow of the castle was cool, making her realize she had perspired slightly on her walk up the drive, and the great doors were unlocked when she pushed on them.
No one was about, and she hadn’t expected them to be, as it was still summer. Not a painting nor ghost bothered her as she walked through the taciturn corridors, all the way up to the stone gargoyle. Here, the beast stood aside without requesting of her a password, which internally she was relieved for- she had no idea what it would be. The stairs swept her up to Dumbledore’s office. The door was cracked, and inside she heard shuffling noises, as if he were reading many letters. Heart beating quickly, she reached up and rapped her knuckles on the wood.
"Come in," he mumbled.
Becky poked her head in first, then fully entered; he glanced up, then did a double-take.
"Miss Sm- er- Mrs. Wright," he blinked. "I had not expected you."
She nodded, "I hadn’t expected to visit."
There was an awkward silence. He stared at her, slightly confused, before gesturing to a chair. She sank into it, album still tucked under one arm. Her fingers drummed on it for a moment, before she slowly placed it on the desk before him. He put his spectacles on and flicked through it thoughtfully.
"I thought you looked a little thinner," he joked wryly.
"Albus," she whispered. "They say Hogwarts…. Is the safest place in the world."
His bright blue eyes looked up into hers, one hand still holding a page to turn. "So they say."
Her lips were dry, and she whetted them, "I have a favor to ask of you."
Albus sat straight, steepling his fingers in a way which showed her he was listening but did not promise to help her; he knew that some things were impossible. Becky fidgeted with her hands for a moment, before she spoke again.
"I’ve decided to ask Lily to be Amelia’s godmother."
Dumbledore nodded in a noncommittal kind of way.
"And… I’ve got this feeling. I can’t place it. It’s the way I’ve always felt, scared and like this war could kill me, but now it’s worse."
"Your senses are heightened. Motherhood can cause you to dread-"
Becky shook her head. "It’s more than that. I’m going to ask Lily to be her godmother, but I also need a godfather."
Albus felt a great weight shifting back and forth from his heart to his stomach. "Rebecca, I-"
"Albus, I need to know that no matter what, she’ll be okay. I can’t ask Sirius, he’s already got the responsibility of Harry if something were to happen. And as much as I would like to, I can’t ask Remus, he…"
She couldn’t quite bring herself to say it, but Albus understood that no matter how loving and caring Remus Lupin was, there remained three nights a month that he was a killing machine. He sighed, looking down at the desk.
"Of course," he murmured. "I will care for her should the need arise."
Becky smiled in a shaky sort of way, and nodded. "Thank you."
Standing, she swiftly turned to exit, trying to calm the quivering fear within her.
She turned, to see he was holding the album out for her. She considered it for a while, before shaking her head. "Keep it here. Keep it safe for her."
"Lily, I swear, something is wrong."
She glanced up into the imploring eyes of her best friend, "What in the world are you talking about?"
Becky shrugged, looking lost, herself. "I just… I have this feeling… Something isn’t right."
It was barely September, the leaves hinting that they might start to change color soon. The breezes were a little cooler, the days a bit less hot, and Harry was growing at a great speed, or so the Healer had said at his checkup. Lily was in the kitchen, making dinner, James out in the back yard with Harry, playing with a snitch. Becky had just come over, her three week old daughter at home with her husband.
"What on earth could be wrong?" Lily asked. "You’ve just about every protection charm on your house. You’ve both leave from the ministry while Melia’s still little. You’re hiding out just like James and I."
Becky was shaking her head. "Remember my mum? When she was still alive and she used to get all weird and pretend like she knew things that were gonna happen? It’s like that. I’ve got this feeling in my stomach that something bad is coming towards me."
Lily set her oven mitts down, hating to admit it. Slowly, she turned to look at her dearest friend, the one she met on the Hogwarts Express not long after she learned she was a witch.
"I know the feeling. But it’s these times. It’s all this fighting. We’ve escaped so many fights, so much of it, of course we’d think our turn was coming-"
"It’s more than that!" Becky insisted, her blue eyes wide.
Lily looked down at the floor, unsure what to say to make her feel better. Becky know that Lily was at a loss for what to say, and understood that she was being unfair, but she had to talk to someone.
"Look, just don’t go outside the house, anymore," Lily said softly, glancing into the backyard. James ran by, cradling Harry, laughing, chasing a snitch. "Use the cloak James lent you. Stop sending owls. Disappear more than we have. If worst comes to it, get a Fidelus charm, so that none of us even remember what country you live in."
Becky looked close to tears. Lily wanted to believe that some deep part of it was because of the postpartum hormones, but even she hadn’t become so gloomy after Harry’s birth. Becky slowly sank into a chair at the breakfast table, her hands shaking. It was scary, to see a fully grown woman who was a tough Auror, who had put many Death Eaters behind bars with her husband, before her daughter’s birth, being reduced to tears.
"I can’t let anything happen to her," she whispered.
Lily stepped closer and wrapped her arms around Becky’s neck, as she lay her head against Lily’s stomach, arms around her, trembling. The motherly instinct to protect their children at all costs was not something that was slow in coming, and they both knew it. There was nothing in the world that would prevent them from doing everything in their powers to keep safe those little babies. Lily stroked her friend’s dark hair, feeling a great hole open up within her, something empty that she couldn’t quite fill. Becky sniffed and looked up at Lily.
"Promise me, Lilis, as her godmother, promise me that if anything happens to me, you’ll take care of her."
She was shaking her head vigorously, still hugging her middle, looking up at her like a forlorn child, "Don’t. Just promise me she’ll be safe. As safe as you can make her. I want you to be her godmother- you‘re all I have left."
Knowing she could easily place such a demand on her, or on Sirius, as Harry’s godfather, Lily attempted to swallow the lump in her throat and nodded. "Of course, I promise."