Warning:Read the prequels, ‘Finding Our Way’ and ‘Brave New World’, first
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. If it belonged to me, I’d be very, very rich…
December 1980, London
“What do we do, James? How do we protect him from this?” Lily Potter whispered as she and her husband stood in the dark in their son’s nursery, watching the infant sleep in his cot.
He shook his head. “I don’t know, Lils,” James murmured. They’d both been caught by surprise when Dumbledore had told them that Voldemort might be after their son. At first, they didn’t want to believe it – why, of all people, would a dark lard see a four-month-old baby as a threat? Why their baby?
Then, the headmaster had explained. It was a prophecy, made over a year ago, that stated that a baby born in the end of the seventh month to parents that had been face-to-face with Voldemort twice would be the one with the power to defeat him. I could either be Harry or Frank and Alice’s boy, Neville.
Lily reached down to pick her son from his cot, feeling a sudden urge to hold him closely. The baby stirred a bit and let out a protesting whimper when he was disturbed in his sleep but quickly settled down, feeling himself in the comfort of his mother’s arms. “It can’t be him, James,” she said, looking up at him watery eyes. “He’s so small…”
“It’s not fair,” he stated. Not fair for Harry or for the Neville, he thought. They were both small, they were both innocent and one them had his fate written in stone already. He felt especially sorry for the other boy – his parents had been caught, Dumbledore had told them. There still wasn’t a sign of Frank or Alice yet but, as it had been Bellatrix Lestrange’s doing, nothing good could come out of it. He felt chills because, just a couple of days before, Lily had mentioned she thought she’d been followed when she’d gone out of the house to visit Sirius and Mia, who lived just half a dozen blocks away.
“It is safer if you all go into hiding,” the headmaster had stated. “To protect yourselves and your son. Professor Flitwick has agreed to teach you how to cast the Fidelius Charm, Lily, to keep your location secured. All you’ll need is a trustworthy secret keeper.”
Part of him wanted to stay behind and fight but he wasn’t about to risk his son’s life for it. Family comes first, pride comes later, his father had always said. “We should go, Lils,” he told his wife. “We’ll be safer hiding, Harry will be safer. We’re his parents – we’ll do whatever we have to in order to protect him or, though I’m hoping we won’t get to that, we’ll die trying. That son of a bitch won’t touch a single hair of my son’s head if I have anything to say about it.”
“I don’t want to lose him, James,” Lily murmured, rocking the baby.
He reached for her face, wiping the tears running down her cheeks. “We won’t,” he promised and, then, made an effort to give her a smile and reassure her. This time, he’d have to be the strong one. “I’ll get one of the guys to be our secret-keeper. We'll be safe.”
She nodded, letting out a still unsteady breath before looking down at her son. So peaceful, sleeping in his Quidditch-themed sleepsuit, his face flushed from the slumber. She reached down to place a kiss on his forehead, a curtain of bright red hair falling around her face as she did it. “We won’t let anyone hurt you, my little angel,” she murmured against the baby’s warm skin.
This time, James did mean it when he smiled again, proud of Lily and himself. They might be young but they were good parents. She looked up at him, her eyes still red but now confident. “It’s a promise,” he told her as his hand touched her arm. “We should pack – I’ll tell Dumbledore we’re leaving tomorrow.”
If five years before some random bloke had told Sirius Black that he would be a family man with Mia Davis by his side, he might have bitterly told him to go mock somebody else. He dreamed of it back then, honestly, he did. But being locked up in Azkaban made one faithless sometimes… most of the time, actually. It made any idea of happiness sound like a distant dream. Yet, things had turned out just that way: he was a family man with three children and another on the way with Mia Davis, now Black, as his wife.
And again, if merely a month ago some random bloke had told him that Harry Potter, who for him was no boy-who-lived but just the kid who was as good as his son, had the destiny of either killing or be killed by Voldemort, he would have certainly told him to piss off or he’d seriously considering using his wand to make them. Yet, it was the world’s cruel truth.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches.…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not.…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.…the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”
The words were more than clear on themselves and he’d not only heard them from Dumbledore’s mouth but also from Sybill Trelawney’s in his pensieve memory. It sounded cruel, cold, and part of Sirius wanted to yell that Trelawney was just full of crap. But he couldn’t because, deep down, he knew it was completely true. Things made so much sense now: why Voldemort had always been after Harry, why there was a connection between them…
“Padfoot, focus,” Remus whispered after elbowing him on the ribs, awakening Sirius from his thoughts. He saw himself back in the main room of the Order’s headquarters in the basement of the house where Lily and James had lived with Harry before they’d needed to go into hiding to Godric’s Hallow, where the headmaster was holding an order meeting, concerning the new strategies that the order was to adapt, now that the ministry had recognized Voldemort’s return and would be helping them fight him. As much as it might interest him, lately talking about the snake-faced bastard tended to make his mind drift back to the most recent burden that had been placed upon his godson’s shoulders: the prophecy.
It had been a week since he and Mia had learned of it and six days since they’d told Harry about it, meaning the whole thing was still fresh. Still, for the sake of his sanity, Sirius had, along with Mia, been following Dumbledore’s advice and tried not to over-think it and just go on with his life.
As for Harry, his initial reaction had been of mixed disbelief and anger, as expected. What young boy who was told he either had to kill and to be killed wouldn’t be angry? However, after Sirius and Mia’s reassurance and the promise by Dumbledore that he’d personally make sure Harry was prepared for when the ultimate time came, had helped the young boy starting to cope – last time Sirius had seen him, just that morning, as scared as he might be by the fate that seemed to have been assigned to him, the kid was holding strong on his feet like the fighter he was.
“Not very focused today, are you, Sirius?” Remus asked him, several minutes later just as the meeting had reached an end.
“Got a lot of stuff in my mind,” Sirius told him. He didn’t specify what, as he and Mia had still not shared the prophecy with anyone but Harry. He knew they’d tell Moony at some point but, for now, they were still trying to digest it themselves.
“You and Mia are not at odds again, are you?” his friend asked, worried.
Sirius frowned immediately. “What? No, of course not. We’re okay, Moony. Great, actually,” Sirius stated. In fact, his relationship with Mia seemed to have been strengthened since their rough patch – he wasn’t sure if it was due to their near-death experiences or to the fact that the fight had reminded them of how miserable they felt when they were apart. Maybe it was both. “I’m just worried about Harry, that’s all. Everything seems to fall on his shoulders,” he said truthfully, not wanting to leave his friend hanging with the doubt.
The werewolf nodded, though he had a feeling that Sirius wasn’t telling him everything. Still, being his friend for such a long time, he trusted Sirius would tell him whatever was going on with time.
Sirius sighed and tried to keep those thoughts about the prophecy out of his head. Better change the subject, then. “So, are you going to see Tonks at St. Mungo’s today?”
“I’m not planning to,” Remus stated, dismissively. Every day, he told himself he wouldn’t go. Dora was fine, she didn’t need him there, even if she certainly wanted him, and going only made things harder for him. Yet, he always ended up doing it, to his own frustration – the woman just wouldn’t leave his head and he couldn’t bring himself to pull back… He knew he was getting himself hooked to her and, at some point, he wouldn’t be able to pull back. It already felt harder to stay away now, scared as he’d been when she’d gotten herself cursed.
“Do you know when they’re letting her go back home?” Sirius asked.
“Tomorrow,” Remus stated. “Her parents were there yesterday – Andromeda says ‘hi’, by the way – and they were trying to convince her to go home with them and spend a couple of weeks there until she had to go back to work. She said she’d be fine in her own flat.” He paused, unsure if he should tell the rest, knowing Sirius should make a big deal out of it. Still, he thought he’d go mad if he didn’t tell it to anyone… “She asked me if I wanted to go to her flat with her after they left. Go to her flat and stay there… for a while.”
Sirius’s face lit up and he grinned. “Interesting. And what did you say?”
“I said I’d think about it.”
“Hum, no immediate refusal, even more interesting. Shall I drop by later to help you pack?” he inquired playfully.
“Cut it out, Padfoot,” the werewolf told him, looking away in embarrassment. “Just because I said I’d think of it, doesn’t mean I’ll go.”
“Yeah and just because you keep saying you won’t visit her at the hospital every day, that doesn’t keep you from always doing it,” Sirius replied. “Just accept that there’s no use fighting it – you got it bad, mate. A little colour in your life would make wonders to your moods.”
“It’s not fair to her.”
“Not fair? She’s the one who wants you to go home with her and, if I recall it well, she’s of-age, doesn’t have any sort of mental illnesses, is aware of your condition and doesn’t give a damn about it. The only thing that’s unfair in the middle of all this is that you won’t trust her judgement, so take my advice and get your head out of your arse. Now, I’m going home to my woman, I’ll kiss her and tell her that I love her.” He patted his friend on the back. “You should do the same, Moony. It’s one hell of a feeling.”
And, as he watched his best friend leave, Remus felt tempted to do what he’d just said. He let out a sigh and leaned against the back of his chair. Why couldn’t things be just a little bit easier?
Sirius peaked through the master bedroom’s door and half-chuckled as he saw Mia sitting up on bed, her dark brown hair falling messily over her shoulders and face, unsuccessfully trying to keep a thick book open with a single hand as her other arm was still secured by the sling Madam Pomfrey and Elizabeth had made her wear until her shoulder was healed, which might still take at least another week. Other than that and a still unsteady knee, she was practically fully healed from all the injuries she’d gotten.
Mia cursed under her breath and just gave up, closing the book and putting it on her bedside table. That was when she noticed her husband there. “I’m bored,” she moaned, making him chuckle some more. “Oh, and this amuses you. That’s nice,” she said sarcastically.
He took a seat on the edge of the bed. “Shame on me,” he said before leaning to her and kissing her lips softly as a way of saying ‘hello’. It was her mouth that deepened it but he didn’t hesitate in following her. There was that newly enlightened passion he’d been thinking about. His hand cupped her cheek, feeling the warmth of it against his palm as his lips moved against hers. He wondered if it would ever end – those little shocks that kissing her tended to cause in his spine, the warmth it brought to his body… They pulled away after a few seconds and he grinned. “Sill bored?”
“Hum… I don’t think so,” she replied.
His hand descended from her face to touch her shoulder softly enough not to make it hurt. “Well, apart from the boredom, how has my wife been feeling since I left?”
“A little achy from being in bed all the time. But other than that and this stupid sling that only gets in the way of everything, I feel fine,” she said. “I got up for a few minutes and the knee feels much better now.”
“Hum, that’s good. And what about my baby?” He placed a hand on her flat stomach, foolishly hoping for his unborn child to give him a sign of being there, despite knowing well enough he or she was still too small to so such a thing.
She smiled warmly. “Your baby must be feeling just great, probably napping all the time in there. I cast the charm to hear the heartbeat earlier and it sounded just normal.” Mia sighed and covered his hand with her own. “It still feels a bit unreal nothing bad happened to him or her after my little adventure in the Department of Mysteries.”
He fought back a shiver at the mention of the place – as far as he was concerned, he didn’t want to hear of it at all for the rest of his life. “Our baby is a strong little one,” he replied, making an effort to not to think of the bad memories. “What do you think we’re having? Boy? Girl? One of each?”
“Well, I can tell you for sure there’s only one in there,” Mia replied. “As for boy or girl, I think I want to be surprised this time around. Don’t you?”
He shrugged. “As long it’s healthy, I wouldn’t mind a surprise. And speaking of kids, Harry and Izzy asked me to say ‘hi’ to you,” he told her.
“You saw them?” Mia asked, surprised.
He nodded. “I dropped by Hogwarts before going to the meeting. Dumbledore had asked me if I could go unseal Umbridge’s office so he could kick her out of the school for good, remember?”
“Ah, and how did it go?” Mia asked in amusement.
He sighed. “Well, we were all shocked to find out that there was a couple of nifflers locked in there with her things all those months – they seemed to have fed on her lovely plants… But seriously, it wasn’t me who put it there – I think it may have been Fred and George before I sealed the office. Anyway, Dolores-dearest is out and we’re back in – Dumbledore asked me to tell you that he will arrange for someone to replace you during your maternity leave, unless you’re planning to keep on going back to work just after the baby is born.”
“Hum, as much as I love teaching, I think my hands will be quite full at the time. But tell me how Harry was. Did he look okay? Did he say anything about the prophecy?”
Sirius nodded. “He sounded fine – the kid has been coping with it. He told Ginny about the prophecy and she’s been there to help him deal with it. He says he’ll tell Ron, Hermione and Izzy about it once he figures things out himself, so I’d say he’s doing as well as someone in his situation can.”
Mia sighed. “Thank Merlin.” She’d been so worried… at this point more worried about his reaction than to his fate. Knowing he was on his way to acceptance, settled her down by a lot – truth was, she’d taken her own conclusions about the matter. “I’ve been thinking about this, you know? About this prophecy. And I realized something.”
“What?” he inquired, curious.
“It’s not completely bad. I mean, yes, it’s terrible that Harry’s condemned to face Voldemort in the end. It’s too much for as a young boy to deal with. Still, he’s been a marked boy for years and we had no idea why before. Now, we do: Voldemort’s afraid of Harry. Deep down, he’d terrified of him, or else he wouldn’t have been so keen to attack him. And now, because of this prophecy, we know Harry has a shot at winning this war. Because he has something Voldemort doesn’t… he has love. He feels it, he understands it and he doesn’t underestimate it. That makes him stronger.”
Her word showed she’d thought about it way father than he had – he supposed it had to do with being stuck in bed with nothing else to do. She’d processed the whole thing and probably managed to find the one thing that could some from that prophecy. “You’re right,” he agreed. “Harry will be fighting for himself and all of us – Voldemort will just be fighting for himself.”
“So, this prophecy… it doesn’t just bring despair. It brings hope,” she stated, positively. “Now we know that if we do things right, if love is enough, one day this will be over and Harry will live through all of it. We know we can all have a future.”
He smiled and leaned closer to her and kissed her lips lightly. Mia had always had a gift to give him peace when he needed it, now more than ever. When he pulled a few inches back, he gave her his hand. “Fancy a visit downstairs, Madam? I think I heard a certain toddler down there raising some hell. He goes by the name of ‘Alex, the destroyer’ and he seems to have a soft spot for his mummy and cookies.”
Her lips curled. “I wonder who that might be,” she replied in amusement. “But actually…” Mia bit her lower lip. “I was thinking of doing something else first.” Her good hand pulled him further to her and her lips touched his again, with such fierce and passion, clearly making an invitation.
Sirius was a little hesitant in accepting it, though. “Wait, are you sure you can… are you sure it won’t… hurt you?”
“Elizabeth said I was good to go as far as she was concerned,” Mia whispered. “As for the rest, I know you’ll be careful not to hurt me… It’s been nearly two weeks and we haven’t made love since before the fight. I need you now. Please.”
Her pleading was enough to convince him and, as his moth captured hers again, they kissed passionately for several seconds without pulling away for air. He helped her taking off the sling just for the moment before she lay back and they resumed kissing in a more horizontal fashion.
“I did miss this,” he confessed against her lips after a few minutes, making her laugh.
And, as they took the passion further, he realized something. He didn’t need a prophecy to give him new hope. He knew that, as long as he had Mia, as long as he had his family, there would always be a chance for a better future.
A/N: Well, with this we jump into another volume, which will pretty much continue straight from where 'Brave New World' left us. It will mostly separate the Before and After the battle of the department of mysteries (not to mention that it will helps me a lot to reorganize my mind). I honestly hope you liked it. Feedback is love :D Review!