Chapter 1 : In Which Harry Plays the Hero
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“Hermione! Relax. I just got home. And you have so many recitals now I can’t keep up with whether it’s a dance recital, a cello recital with the Wizarding Harmonic, or whatever else you do to ‘relax’.” I said, climbing up the stairs. Hermione was standing at the top of the stairs, tapping her ballet-shoe clad feet impatiently. She was wearing her costume that she wore for every ballet recital. It was a white, flimsy dress that both accentuated her curves but made her look like an angel as well. Her hair was in a bun with a ribbon wrapped around it.
“The fact that we are engaged, living together, and with each other all the time should be enough to help you keep up with when I have a recital. Now get ready!” She screamed at me, and I received an angry glare from her as I started to protest.
“Alright, alright!” I said, and I traipsed into our bedroom to dress hurriedly. I was tying my bow tie when I heard tiny little footsteps.
I looked into the doorway and saw my three-year old daughter Lily, dressed in a costume similar to Hermione’s.
They do ballet together. Cute, huh?
“Yes, Lily?” I responded, double checking my bow tie in the mirror before scooping my daughter into my arms.
“Do I look pretty, Daddy?” she asked me.
“Of course you, do, baby.” I said, and she grinned.
“Harry James Potter!” Hermione screamed. “You’re going to wrinkle her dress! Put her down.”
“Hermione, love, just because it’s the first performance doesn’t mean you have to go all anal-“
“Anal?!” She said, lowering her eyes as she put a jacket on Lily and pulled on her own. “I’ll show you anal…” she muttered. She tied the sash around her waist and then grabbed Lily’s hand. “Be careful, darling. Don’t muck up your dress.”
“Hermione! It’s not like everyone in the audience is going to notice a wrinkle in a three-year-olds dress. I promise.” I said as I locked the door to our home. We walked down the sidewalk in silence, with Hermione hurrying and pulling Lily along.
“Mummy,” Lily said, trying to jerk her hand away. “Mummy, you’re hurting my arm.”
Hermione stopped and then saw how hard she was pulling. She sighed and picked Lily up.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. Mummy’s a little bit anxious.”
“Ankspit?” Lily asked.
“Anxious – it means nervous.”
“Nervous?” Lily asked, and popped a thumb in her mouth.
“Er…” I said, and stopped Hermione from trying to explain nervous. “Honey,” I said, looking at Lily. “Anxious and nervous mean that Mummy has butterflies in her tummy.”
“Oh,” Lily said, pulling her thumb out of her mouth. “Scared.”
“A little bit, yes.” Hermione said, and then smiled at me. “Drat! Lily, honey, I’m going to mess up your dress. Luckily we’re almost to the theatre…” she said, and walked at a brisker pace.
“Hermione, I can’t keep up!” I said, laughing.
So, finally, we made it to the recital with time to spare, and I got in my seat and waited for Ron, Luna, Ginny, and Malfoy. When they finally made it, Malfoy sat on one side of me, and Ron on the other.
“Explain to us again why we have to go to this,” Ron said, leaning in real close.
“Because my fiancé and daughter are dancing?” I said, although I tried to make it as obvious as possible.
“Right,” Malfoy said, groaning. “Because I want to sit here for three hours and watch this. I’d rather be at home with Scorpius but no, Ginny wanted to let him go to her mothers and go see this.” He was talking about his two year old son.
“Draco!” Ginny said, and then leaned over so Ginny and I were looking at each other. “Harry, it was his idea to be here. He’s just being a puss now.”
Draco snorted. “I begged not to go on the way here.”
“Hush, you.” Ginny said, and then Luna leaned across Ron’s lap.
“I think it’s lovely, Hermione and Lily dancing together.” Luna said. “I’m glad the Nargles didn’t take off with one of Lily’s ballet slippers. I was worried about that.”
“Don’t worry, Luna, I was thinking about being one of those Nargles.” I said. “Hermione gets so keyed up about these recitals. I wish she’d give herself and Lily a break.”
“Hermione’s always been an over-achiever, why would she expect less from her daughter?” Ron asked.
“Dunno, but the lights are fading.” I said. “Hermione’s worried about Lily’s dress being wrinkled.” I whispered when the lights were down.
“I doubt there’s anything wrong with the dress,” Malfoy said quietly.
After the recital, which my daughter and fiancé did wonderfully in, we were filing out when I heard an old woman mutter “What was wrong with the little girls dress? Black, curly hair? Bright green eyes? Yes, the one they introduced as Lily.” I stopped in my tracks. Maybe people did notice wrinkles.
Ron and Malfoy bumped into me after I stopped.
“Come on mate, lets get out of this bloody place!” Ron said, and Ginny swatted him.
“Whatever you guys do, there were no wrinkles. At all.” I said, and Luna smiled.
“Of course there was no wrinkle, Harry.” She said airily. “The Wrinklegarbers only made it an illusion, so we would think there were wrinkles.”
“As wonderfully fantastic that sounds, Luna, I don’t think Hermione would believe that.” Ron said, kissing Luna on the cheek.
I whirled around and saw Hermione in regular clothes holding Lily on her hip.
“That you two did absolutely wonderful!” I took Lily from Hermione and gave Hermione a kiss on the cheek. Hermione beamed and walked with Ron and Luna, while I prayed Luna wouldn’t say anything about Wrinklegarbers.
“Daddy, did you see me?” Lily asked, pulling on a lock of my hair. “Daddy, did you see my plee-ay?”
“I did, baby, I did.” I said, and kissed her on her forehead. “You did good.”
“Thank you, Daddy!” Lily said with a grin and then wriggled around to see Draco.
“Uncle Dray-co. Did you watch it?” She asked, popping her thumb in her mouth. While Draco told her how well she did, I tried removing her thumb from her mouth but the glare she gave me was enough to make me think twice about that.
“Harry,” Hermione said, skipping over to me. Even at twenty years old she still acted seventeen. “Guess what?!”
“What?” I asked.
“Mrs. Giabaldi wants to put Lily in advanced classes and talk about getting her professional lessons. Lily could have a career in ballet!”
“Hermione, you’ve got her in ballet, Junior Quidditch, and the Little Miss Witch pageants. She’s three. She doesn’t need this much stress already.”
“Damn! The LMW! I have to make sure she’s got her dress, I’m going to need Franco to do her hair again, and a new routine for the talent competition!” Hermione said, freaking out. “Why are we dawdling?” she asked.
“Because Lily needs a break.” I said, my lips forming a thin line. Lily sensed the tension and ducked her head into my neck. We got to the house and I fumbled for my keys.
“She needs to practice.” Hermione said, setting her hands on her hips.
“Hermione, she is three years old.” I said, letting Malfoy take Lily so I could get my keys.
“Oh for Merlin’s sake!” She said, got out her wand, and muttered an unlocking charm. We all piled in and Lily ran upstairs. “Harry, just because she is three doesn’t mean a thing. If she’s going to be the best, we have to start early.”
“Hermione! I don’t want her to be the best, I want her to be a toddler!” I said, throwing my hands up. I saw Draco and Ron wave goodbye and Luna and Ginny look at me sympathetically. “I want her to worry about eating her veggies and making it to the potty on time and losing teeth!” I said.
“She needs to be prepared for Hogwarts,” Hermione said, sitting on a chair, and crossing her arms and her legs. She jutted her chin out.
“Hermione, Lily will be dead before she can get to Hogwarts!” I said, and Hermione sat up fast, knocking the chair over.
“Listen here, Harry James Potter. I told you when Lily was born I wanted the perfect daughter, and so far it is so. If we need to leave to ensure that Lily stays perfect, we will do so.”
My retort froze in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. Tears rose rapidly to my eyes and I shuffled backwards.
“Hermione,” I said, and then I stumbled towards her. “Hermione, you wouldn’t leave me… you wouldn’t take my Lily? My precious little Lily?” I said, and I grabbed her arm.
“I will if you don’t get off my back about how many activities I have her in.” Hermione said, her brown eyes almost black.
I hesitated. “She’s just a baby…” I whispered.
“She needs to be perfect.” Hermione said.
“She is perfect.”
“You have the count of three to either give in or get out.” Hermione said. “And you will never see Lily again.”
I backed up. Tears stung my eyes. I would have never thought Hermione would be like this. When she was pregnant with Lily she was so excited. I wiped a tear away. If I stayed… I’d never be able to watch Lily live the way she was living. If I left, I’d never see Lily again. If I stayed, and I protested against the things she were in, Hermione could leave at a moments notice and I’d never see Lily again. If I left, I might fight to get custody of her.
“Can I at least say goodbye to her?” I asked, and Hermione looked like she had been punched in the gut.
“You’re…leaving?” She asked.
“Isn’t that what you wanted?” I asked. “I can’t watch you do this to Lily. If I stay, it would be worse. I can’t let Lily watch us fight.”
“What about me?” Hermione asked, sniffling.
“What about you?” I asked. “I love you, Hermione, but you’re going crazy with the need to be perfect and to perfect our daughter. I’ll always love you. But I can’t watch this. So, can I at least say goodbye?” I repeated.
She settled into a chair. I waited. Finally, I just got up and walked up the stairs and into my daughters room. She was curled into a corner and crying.
“Daddy, don’t go!” She cried, and ran to me. “Don’t go!”
I held myself together. “I won’t be gone for long, baby. I won’t be gone for long.”
I got my things, gave Lily one last hug, and walked to Ron’s.
Twelve Years Later
It had been twelve years since I had last seen Hermione or my daughter. I kept up with them in the newspapers, sure, but never saw them.
Lily turned fifteen three days ago, and since I left had become a professional ballerina, a domination in the Little Miss Witch pageants, then onto Miss Witch London, and then Miss Witch National pageants. She gave up Quidditch, but was on the cover of Witch Weekly, on one of the Sinister Sisters album covers as a model, and even in the Muggle world was a world-renowned model. Oh, lets not mention she’s a Prefect at Hogwarts and have even better grades than Hermione did.
There’s always a downfall to the fame, though. Always.
I heard my door open and then shut quietly. “Harry?” Ron called quietly.
“I’m in here,” I said, putting down a new picture I cut out from the newspaper of my daughter.
“Harry, you need to sit down.” Ron said, and he looked more pale than I had ever seen him.
“What’s wrong, mate? Did Rose get sick again?” I asked, referring to Ron’s eldest child, Rose. She was twelve.
“Harry, it’s about Lily.”
My heart stopped. “Is she here?”
“No, Harry. She’s not.” He said, and then he sighed. “Harry, there’s not an easy way to say this.”
“Say what?” I asked, sweat forming at the top of my hairline.
“She killed herself this morning, Harry. Lily’s dead.”
My world stopped for the next week until the memorial service for her, where I mustered up enough energy to put on a nice suit and walk to the cemetery. I saw Hermione being held by Dean Thomas as she stared at the casket with blank eyes. I stayed at the edge of the funeral sight, but when our eyes met, she removed herself from Dean and stormed to me.
“This is your fault!” She screamed. “She’d still be here today if you didn’t leave!”
“You told me to, Hermione!” I screamed back. “I told you she’d be dead! I warned you! Now, because you pushed her too hard, too fast, she’s poisoned herself! This is not my fault, Hermione! If you want to blame anybody let it be yourself!” I took my glasses off and wiped the tears off with my jacket. I put them back in and Hermione was glaring at me. I opened my mouth to apologize but she reared back and punched me in the nose, and then stormed off.
“Hey, mate.” I heard Ron say, and I turned around, my nose stuffed in my hands.
“I think she just broke my bloody nose,” I muttered. Luna quirked an eyebrow.
“Would you like me to fix it?” Luna asked quietly. “I am a MediWitch, after all.”
“Sure,” I said, and she pointed her wand at me.
It hurt, but it felt good compared to my emotional hurt. I started crying and Luna looked at me sympathetically.
“My baby…” I murmured. “My poor, sweet, innocent little baby…”
Barely three days later I was curled up on my couch drinking my, oh, seventh firewhisky. I had a shrine of pictures of my daughter on my coffee table and I was just staring at them. I heard my door open but didn’t stir.
I moved my head a fraction of an inch but didn’t call back. Ginny knew where I was.
She walked in and she sighed. She sat down next to my feet, wrapped her arms around my shoulders and heaved me up.
“Ginny,” I murmured. “I don’t want to be up.”
“You’ve been down for too long.” Ginny said, removing a firewhisky bottle from my hand. “Harry, I have something for you. But if I give this to you, you have to get off of your arse and do something with it.”
“What is it?” I asked quietly. Ginny performed a sobering spell on me and I felt my mind clear up a lot better. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a tiny hourglass.
“A modified time-turner.” She said, and I stared at her.
“That’s what the Unspeakables, also known as Draco and I, have been working on. Perfecting the time-turners and replenishing the stock of them.” Ginny said. She placed it in my hands. “When one goes back in time, instead of having to hide because there are two of you, you are now the same person, again. You can go back, change your actions, but still remember what happens in the future. This time, if you meddle, you can go back and fix it again and again and it wouldn’t confuse anybody. You’d be the only one who remembered you meddled in time.”
I looked at the hourglass with wide eyes. “What do you want me to do, Ginny?”
She made me look into her brown eyes. “Go back to the day you left. Stay. Tell Hermione you want to push the wedding date even closer. Put you two in marriage counseling. Anything to keep her busy with other things. A night on the town, anything. Just make sure Lily isn’t in so many activities.”
“You want me to try and save her.” I said, and she nodded. I put the time-turner around my neck and she stopped me.
“I can’t be here for your departure. However, do you remember the day you left?”
“Of course I do.”
“In the eight dials, put in the date. First two are month, second two are day, and the last four are year. Okay?”
“Got it.” I said, she got up. “I’ll see you later.” And then she walked out of the house.
I stared at the tiny golden time-turner. It was my last chance to save my daughter.
I felt myself being swept away.
Suddenly I was in the middle of an argument again.
“What about me?” Hermione asked, sniffling.
I remember what I said. So I changed it.
“Hermione, honey,” I said. “I don’t want to leave you. You’re the love of my life. I’m scared though. Scared for you, scared for Lily.” Her eyebrows furrowed.
“What are you saying?”
“Honey,” I said, and I sauntered toward her. “Let’s get married next month instead of July.”
“You’re not leaving?” she asked. I wrapped my arms around her.
“Nah,” I said, and I buried my face in her neck. “I’m too much of a pansy to leave you two.”
She smiled and I heard little feet trod down the stairs.
“Daddy,” Lily whispered quietly. “You’re not leaving, are you?”
I picked her up and kissed her on the cheek. “I could never leave you again.” I felt tears well up in my eyes as I held my daughter close.
“Again?” Hermione asked.
“I had a nightmare,” I said. “A horrible, vivid, awful nightmare.”
This satisfied Hermione and she started making supper.
Twelve years later
Hermione and I were standing in the living room, facing Lily. She was sitting in her Hogwarts uniform, her black, curly hair in a half up, half down style. She was looking down at the floor.
“You ran away from Hogwarts,” Hermione said, breathing in. “Because you got an Exceeds Expectations on your O.W.L.S for Charms.”
Lily’s eyes welled up. “I’ve never gotten anything less than Outstanding.”
“Well, lucky for you we know the real reason you’re here.” I said, kneeling down. Her eyes opened wide and she tried to scoot back into the couch.
“Scorpius?” Hermione asked as she sat down next to Lily on the couch.
“S-Scorpius has nothing to do with this.” Lily said, jutting her chin out.
“Then why did Luna send us a positive pregnancy test?” I asked, holding up a piece of paper. “You’ve been with Scorpius for years.”
“Daddy I didn’t mean to!” She burst into tears. “It was just once. I love him!”
Hermione sighed and wrapped her arms around Lily as she cried. Hermione and I had discussed what we were going to say to Lily once she came home from Hogwarts for the Holidays, but since she came home on her own, it was easier.
“Daddy, are you mad?” she asked, and I frowned.
“No, honey.” I said, and I gathered her up in my lap. “I’m just disappointed.”
She started crying again. “I wish it never happened! I wish I could just go back in time. Maybe I could fix this.”
I had an idea. I couldn’t get up and act right away, but Hermione discussed Lily’s options with her and I slipped away. I went into an empty closet and pulled the time-turner from around my neck.
I was whisked away.
Five years earlier
“Daddy! I got my Hogwarts Acceptance Letter!” Lily said, running in. “Can I go get my wand and robes now? Please?” she begged.
“Actually, honey,” I said, shifting in my seat. “You’re not going to Hogwarts this year.” I said.
“Daddy, that was your dream!” She said. “Where will I go?”
“Beauxbatons.” I murmured. “It’s in France. It’s lovely.”
“Daddy, I’m not Veela!” Lily protested.
“Harry, what are you talking about?” Hermione asked, putting her purse on the table.
“Lily’s not going to Hogwarts this year,” I said quietly. Hermione’s eyebrow quirked and I saw Lily stick her lower lip out.
“Why?” Hermione asked.
“Because, I think Hogwarts… it won’t be the same without Professor Dumbledore as the Headmaster.” I said. “I want to start a new tradition.”
“But Beauxbatons is in France,” Hermione said. “It’s farther away from us.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “I just want to try something new.”
“Daddy,” Lily said, tears welling up in her eyes. “I want to go to Hogwarts, with Scorpius.”
“No.” I said, and the tone of my voice let her know my decision was final. Her eyes widened in surprise but she straightened up, jutted her chin out, and looked at me straight in the eyes.
“You’ll wish you sent me to Hogwarts.” She said, and then looked at Hermione. “May I please go to Diagon Ally and get my things for Beauxbatons?”
She looked at me and sighed.
“Daddy’s got to get the transfer papers done, and then we’ll go. Go write Scorpius.” She said, and Lily stomped up the stairs. Hermione sat down as I filled out the transfer papers. “She was looking forward to going to Hogwarts,” Hermione said. “She might not try at Beauxbatons.”
“She needs to stay away from Scorpius.” I said.
“That’s your best friends child,” Hermione said.
“It’s my ten-year-old daughters boyfriend.” I said. “A boarding school is no place for them to be together.”
“She could meet some nice boy named Jean Claude and still be in boarding school!” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
“In an all-girls school?” I asked.
“It’s not an all-girl school. It’s a predominantly girl school.” Hermione pointed out. “But whatever. Beauxbatons, here we come.”
Five years later
Hermione and I watched the Beauxbatons train pull up at Kings Cross Station for the summer holidays.
“I wonder if she’s changed at all.” Hermione said. “Do you think she’ll talk in a French accent again?”
“She does every year,” I said. “Being in a French school must do that to you.”
The dark blue train stopped and the doors open. Students piled out, carrying their luggage and running to parents. Hermione and I stood at our tiptoes waiting for Lily to step off of the train.
“Harry, look! There she is!” Hermione said with a smile. “Lily! Honey! We’re over here!”
I saw Lily turn towards the direction of Hermione and smile, waving goodbye to her friends. She was holding books close to her stomach.
“Hi, honey.” I said, and I tried to pull her into a hug.
“Not here, Daddy. My friends are watching,” she said, and yes, it was in a French accent.
“Oh, my bad.” I said with a chuckle. Lily smiled tentatively as we walked to the car.
“How was the ride home?” Hermione asked when we got all of her luggage put into the trunk.
“Oh, you know… long… bumpy…” Lily answered as she stared out the window. “It’s like a long car with a lot of kids.”
The ride home was quiet; I felt uneasy. She usually had tons of stories, but when we asked her about them she said she wrote them all in her letters.
When we got back to the house, she walked up the stairs, and said she was changing out of her Beauxbatons robes. We weren’t really sure why she wore them, but we didn’t say anything.
“Hey, Daddy?” she called down.
I never got to hear what she wanted. She tripped down the stairs and tumbled, and by the time I had got to her, she had landed on her head. I scooped her up and checked her pulse…
Hermione walked in, and when she saw the angle of Lily’s neck she ran to her and started performing spells to bring her back, sobbing relentlessly.
I got up and slammed my door, and got the time-turner out. I put it around my neck.
“What about me?” Hermione asked, sniffling.
I sighed and got up.
“Harry, where are you going?”
“I don’t know,” I answered.
“Don’t leave, Harry!” she begged. I turned around.
“I’m not. I’m just taking a walk.” I said, and she relaxed.
“I’ll be back soon.” I said, and I heard Lily run down the stairs.
“Where’s Daddy going, Mummy?” she asked. I didn’t hear the answer because I shut the door and started walking down the sidewalk.
I’ve lived longer than any normal person should. I’ve gone through tragedy after tragedy… Lily’s life is going to end early, whether she be pregnant, killed herself, or an accidental death. She’s not going to have a life past fifteen.
I saw Draco and Ginny walk down the sidewalk hand in hand with their son Scorpius. The father of my daughters past and future child.
I kneeled down on the sidewalk; is there an end to the madness? I was getting so confused. I let out a strangled cry, and Ginny and I met glances. She broke away from Draco and came to me.
“Have you tried the time-turner?” she asked quietly.
I looked at her.
“You remember?” I asked.
“Of course I do. I issued it. It’s all like a strange dream though.” She said, and I nodded.
“I went back several times. I can’t save her.” I admitted.
“I didn’t figure you could,” She admitted. “It was worth a try though.”
“So what do I do?” I asked. “Just let her live her life until she dies at fifteen?”
“That’s up to you.” Ginny said, and then she walked away. I got up and started walking back to Grimwauld place. I knew what I was to do.
“Harry, you’re back!” Hermione said. I could tell she was relieved.
“Yep,” I said. “Where’s Lily?”
“I just drew her a bath.” Hermione said. “She wants to see you.”
“Okay,” I said. I walked up the stairs into the bathroom where Lily was splashing in the water.
“Hi, Daddy!” she said, and she splashed toward me. I smiled at her and sat down on a stool.
“Hi, baby.” I said. I studied my daughters face.
She splashed me again, and I smiled wistfully.
“Time to wash my hair, Daddy!”
I got the shampoo and started washing her hair.
“Hold your breath,” I said, and she plugged her nose as I dunked her in the water.
And held her there.
I saw her eyes pop open as she struggled to get back above the water.
My tears cascaded down my cheeks as I watched the bubbles leave her mouth and as she inhaled the water.
And then she was still.
I pulled my daughters body out of the water and held her as I cried. I don’t know how long I stayed there, soaked to the bone.
Hermione walked up the stairs and asked what was taking so long, but she stopped short when she saw that Lily was in my arms, that I was crying, and that she wasn’t breathing.
“Harry,” she said, and she took a step forward. “What did you do?!” She demanded.
“She was going to die anyways,” I murmured. She stared at me and backed away.
“You killed our daughter,” Hermione said, and ran down the stairs.
I cried some more until the Aurors came and retrieved me.
I was found guilty of the murder of Lillian Luna Potter and put in Azkaban for the rest of my life.
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