Chapter 1 : Never Again
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A James and Harry One-Shot
Written for Staff Challenge #7, The Harry Potter Quote Challenge
A/N: Since this challenge requires using quotes directly from the book, here are my references and citations of those quotes:
"As suddenly as it all started, everything stopped." Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, pg 217 (US Edition) from Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion
"But it was as though the curtain fell on a lit stage: all his excitement, all his hope and happiness were extinguished at a stroke, and he stood alone in the darkness, and the glorious spell was broken." Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pg 431 (US Edition) from Chapter 22, The Deathly Hallows
I own none of this; it all belongs to J.K. Rowling.
As suddenly as it all started, everything stopped.
One moment, there she was, laughing and joking and breathing. She was his. The next, it was over. She had disappeared to a place he could not follow. She had left him alone, to raise a son.
He had been out for the Order, she home with Harry. They had agreed someone would always be with Harry, they would never fight together. He had come home to the door wide open, loud bangs resounding from the second floor, the front room a disaster. He'd raced through the house, his heart thundering. A man clothed in black robes had stood in Harry's room, brandishing a wand. Harry was in his crib, Lily standing in front of him.
"James," she'd whispered. He had known what was about to happen, knew he could not stop it, and he nodded. There was a flash of green light and the man, Voldemort, disappeared. Harry cried and James had rushed to him, wrapping him in a hug as tears streamed. It had happened in less than five seconds.
James wished every day since that he and Lily had listened to Albus about going into hiding. But Lily had just given birth and she wasn't physically strong enough to handle it. They had figured they had a few months before it was necessary. But they had been wrong.
Harry was all he had left, and he would die protecting him.
James rubbed his eyes and sat up. He looked around the living room, his hand clasped in front of him. It had been nine months since Lily had been taken from him, from him and Harry, but it seemed like years. Harry was nearing a year old and Sirius was helping take care of him, having moved in.
James stood up, stretching the muscles in his back. He yawned and moved forward, picking up a few socks from the floor.
He heard Harry giggle and smiled vaguely, grateful his only son would grow up in a world without horror. Sirius laughed next, a full laugh that made Harry giggle louder.
James dragged himself to kitchen, noting the terrible mess strewn around the countertops. Lily would be so unhappy.
His life had become listless without Lily. He had spent the majority of his life watching Lily, loving Lily. Suddenly, he could only watch her in memories, love her only remainder. Harry.
Their relationship hadn't been easy; getting her to accept his marriage proposal had been difficult enough. But he loved her, and she loved him. Harry had come at a terrible time in terms of the war, but that hadn't mattered to Lily. She had wanted to be a mother when they talked about the wedding; she wanted three kids. She would never get those children. James would never have those children with her.
He heaved a sigh and leaned back against the counter, scanning the room. He suddenly expected Lily to walk in the door and exclaim in disgust at the state of the house.
"James!" she'd yell. "What have you been doing?!"
Tears poured steadily out of his eyes as he realized Lily would never do that again.
He stares out the back window, his eyes desperately searching for her red hair against the green backdrop. He knew it was fruitless, but he couldn't seem to stop himself. He looked for her every time he left the house.
"Augh, Prongs!" Sirius yelled. "Harry spit up again!"
James didn't reply. Sirius would assume he was still sleeping and James couldn't handle the thought of being with Sirius right now. His friend was supportive and always there, but he didn't understand the complete emptiness enshrouding the home. He didn't know how James felt, and for that James resented his best friend.
He haphazardly piled a few of the dishes from the counter into the sink, hoping it did something for the room. He couldn't stand the image of Lily shrieking at him like a banshee as she cleaned the house top to bottom. It was all he seemed to see in his head, even after nine months. Lily saying or doing something, anything.
James found himself watching the photographs on the wall above the stairs. Lily held Harry up and waved his little fist, mouthing, "Say 'hi' to Daddy," five times before James remembered he wasn't in that time anymore. Life had changed, had moved on. Harry could wave his own fist and say, "Hah," when he walked in the room.
He leans against Harry's doorframe. Sirius had his back to him, singing a silly song to Harry.
"And then we'll get some chocolate frogs to watch them bounce around the room, and that line didn't rhyme," Sirius sang, buttoning Harry's onesie.
Harry chewed on his fist, his mother's green eyes studying Sirius' face. James smiled gently, watching those green eyes. This would be the only place he would ever see them again.
James loved his son, more than he loved life itself. He had loved Lily more than he loved life. But he had loved each of the two as equally as he could. To be without Harry would be as difficult as life without Lily. He knew that, but that didn't change how depressed he was now. Lily was dead.
No matter how many times he said it, thought it, came up with variations on it, the truth cut deeply. The wound was raw and chaffing, dripping the blood of his soul. It would heal; with Harry, he could move on.
Harry spotted him and gurgled. James waved and forced a smile.
"Hi, buddy," James said. "I think it's almost bedtime."
Sirius pouted. "Does he have to? I was making up a new song."
"I heard it. I definitely think Harry needs to go to bed, to escape your singing."
Sirius laughed, but James' heart wasn't in it. He kissed Harry on the forehead and said, "Here, Dad. You can tuck him in." He left the room.
James bounced Harry a few times as he walked toward the crib. Harry yawned as he was laid down and James smiled at him. He whispered gently, "It'll be okay. We'll make it, you'll see."
James flipped the light off and thought for just a moment, Lily was behind him. A surge of hope exploded in his chest against his will. Maybe it had been a joke, a dream, a hallucination. Anything, anything at all. James turned around slowly, believing that just maybe she would be there.
But it was as though the curtain fell on a lit stage: all his excitement, all his hope and happiness were extinguished at a stroke, and he stood alone in the darkness, and the glorious spell was broken.
Lily was never coming back. He would have to learn to live without her, raising Harry with Sirius and Remus. This would be a life without Lily, but it would have to be a life anyway. For Harry. For the boy whose mother gave her life to save. For the boy who saved the Wizarding World.
A/N: This is an AU story, written as though Voldemort had come before Halloween. Since it was AU, I took a few liberties and I'm going to briefly explain those liberties. Lily's love saved Harry, destroyed Voldemort (as much as it did the first time), but the house didn't get destroyed; the Fidelius Charm was never performed, Peter never Secret Keeper, Sirius never blamed. James and Harry and Sirius are living in the house in Godric's Hollow.
Thank you for reading; please review.