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Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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This story was also inspired by Enya's One by One lyrics and by Trisha's Lullaby a lovely piece from the Fullmetal Alchemist OST Vol 1 by Akira Senju.
Dedicated to: Jami (Jchrissy) because she loves Lily, James and all the Marauders with a fiery passion of a thousand suns. However...she might not like me very much after this one shot. Haha
An uneasy sigh escaped Lily Potter’s lips as she tried her best to settle her shaking hands. This was not meant to happen so soon; they had agreed on it without argument. Both she and James had calmly agreed to put their plans on hold until the dust had settled and the war was over. She knew that James would be furious with her for breaking their promise…yet, she couldn’t be the sole bearer of the blame when it came to this. Lily looked at herself in the mirror in hope to find the determination in her green eyes, the courage to tell James the truth behind the sudden depletion of their polyjuice potion. Yet all she managed to see was a mess of a woman who had been crying nonstop for several days.
The news of Fabian and Gideon’s death had hit the two of them in different ways. While Lily cried for the loss of two great wizards and friends, James had taken to being alone and not wishing to talk. The tension and frustration that had been slowly building inside their little home had come to a boiling point when the owl had arrived with the bad news. She had only seen James cry at his mother’s funeral, so seeing him cry yet again but out of pure frustration and anger had done nothing but break her heart. He felt trapped, anxious, and most of all, hated the thought of others dying while he was doing nothing but keeping safe.
Lily had tried to reason with her angry husband, to remind him of the reason they went into hiding, but that had only ended with the two of them sleeping in different rooms and a crying child. She knew that James had been trying his best to hide his feelings of entrapment but she couldn’t help but feel slightly resentful towards him. They were doing this for their son who was in mortal danger. Was she the only one who remembered this?
And now…Now more than ever she needed her husband by her side and to be understanding of their situation.
She hadn’t been able to sleep at all for the last few nights; the bed was rather lonely and cold without James there. So when Lily heard a knock that most likely belong to Bathilda, she hurried downstairs to allow the old woman in. Just before opening the door she looked around hoping to find James but most likely he was outside tending the garden, a hobby he both hated and loved.
“Afternoon, Lily,” Bathilda greeted as she walked into the cottage. “You look like you definitely needed this, my dear.” From her old, ratty satchel Bathilda took a small phial of the Sleeping Draught Lily had asked her to brew for her since she had very little ingredient to make the potion. “Do be careful though, just take a few drops and, as a fair warning, it’ll give you mad dreams.” Lily took note of her warning and thanked the older woman before inviting her for a cup of tea.
“Horrible business, the death of Fabian and Gideon,” Bathilda muttered as she settled herself into a chair. “According to eye-witnesses, it took five bloody Death Eaters to take them down. Brave children, they were, brave indeed.” Lily agreed secretly wishing that the woman would just stop talking about the Death Eaters and the war. “Virginia is of course devastated over her sons’ death-”
“What mother wouldn’t?”
“Ah James, nice to see you. Tending the garden, I take.”
Lily watched as James’s expression went from nonchalant to a much dark and bitter one. “Must unfortunately.” At that precise moment Harry, who had been down for his afternoon nap, began to cry. “I believe that’s my child. Now if you ladies could excuse me… I have to change a dirty nappy.”
Lily watched as James went up the stairs and just as he was out of earshot, she said, “I’m sorry for his attitude, Bathilda; he’s just been rather harsh on himself ever since we learned of the Prewetts’s death.” She sighed and stared at her cup of tea as tears began to well up in her eyes. “There’s a war going on and James just hates the idea of being here, safe and sound, while everyone else is fighting and putting their lives on the line. He doesn’t think it’s fair.”
“Children, that’s what you are,” Bathilda said with an unpleasant tone as she took a sip of her tea.
“You, James, Sirius Black, Alastor Moody…all of you are children fighting wars.” Bathilda explained. “Oh, don’t give me that look, Lily. I’m an old woman, older than Dumbledore for that matter, and all of you are children in my eyes; no matter what age you may be. This war has seen many deaths and I’m afraid that we’re going to see even more until it comes to an end. I just hope the right side wins; otherwise, I’m frightened that if You-Know-Who wins, the deaths will not stop.”
Lily raised her eyes and saw that the old woman was crying. “Oh, Bathilda.”
“Oh don’t mind me,” Bathilda said as she fished through her satchel for a tissue. “It’s just that I see all these young people dying while us old ones just keep on living. It hurts every time I read about a young muggle family that has disappeared or that stupid list on the Daily Prophet of young witches and wizards who have died. I had children, traveled the world, had a fantastic job, grandchildren...I experienced a full life unlike the young people that had passed away just as Fabian and Gideon!” Bathilda wiped her eyes and cheeks with the handkerchief and tried to control herself.
“I may be on the Order but Dumbledore knows I cannot fight anymore; I’m too slow and my sight is not the best anymore. All I’m saying, Lily, is that I understand how James feels so don’t be too harsh on him. That frustration and anger will just fester within him until he comes to the realization that his most important job is here: to protect you and Harry.”
Bathilda patted the back of Lily’s hand and it was the old woman’s gesture of sympathy that made Lily let go of everything she had been holding back. All the fears, emotions and doubts began to pour out. She sobbed quietly as her friend wrapped her arms around Lily and allowed her to cry. “I’m so afraid of what is going on out there,” she whispered, “yet at the same time I feel like I’m going mad in here. We’ve been hiding for over a year now…every time I see my son I see a boy who doesn’t know what it’s like to step on the grass, to see and hear the birds, or play out in the rain. I see a sad little boy who doesn’t know life outside these bloody walls and it breaks my heart.
“I get mad at James for being so selfish, yet I can’t blame him.” Lily paused for a moment to wipe the tears from her face. “There are days that I, too, wish I was out there once more, fighting for my child’s future…Even for Petunia and her family because I know that if You-Know-Who were to win, all muggles would be in mortal danger. There are days that I feel that these bloody walls are going to crush me, or that the floor is going to swallow me whole. My days are all the same, day in and day out and it’s killing me. Yet, I know that this sacrifice of freedom is for Harry. I would do anything for him, Bathilda, even kill if necessary.”
Bathilda smiled at her. “Of course you would, Lily, you’re his mother. When he was born, a lioness was born within you, ready to protect your children when it is necessary.”
Lily looked into the old woman’s eyes and debated on telling her the secret that was eating her alive. In the end, Lily decided to tell Bathilda the one thing that was worrying her the most.
Bathilda was quiet for a few moments after Lily was done. “Well, you will have to tell him of course.”
“I’m just afraid of what he’ll say.”
“He loves you, Lily, he might get frustrated because it would make the situation a bit…more difficult, but I’m sure he’ll be happy in the end.”
“You think so?”
Bathilda smiled at the young woman, “aren’t you?” she asked.
Lily paused for a minute and realized that she was, indeed, happy. Scared about the whole situation, but happy nonetheless. Lily smiled for the first time in the day and agreed with her friend. “Yes…I suppose I am.”
Long after Bathilda had gone, Lily finished doing her daily household chores, spent time with Harry before she began to prepare dinner. That was her usual routine every day, every week, every month. Yet after her talk with Bathilda, Lily felt much better about the whole situation. She was a mother and her main priority was Harry, not the outside world or her freedom.
After tucking Harry in for the day, Lily began to set the table for her and James yet she wondered if she was going to end up having dinner on her own once again. James was nowhere to be seen; most likely he had opted to roam around the tiny village in his stag form, so Lily decided to go ahead and have dinner without him. She was annoyed yet she tried her best to keep Bathilda’s words close to her heart.
She was about to take the first bite of the shepherd’s pie when James walked in through the front door. He looked scruffy, his hair was messier than usual and had bag under his eyes. Yet no matter how miserable or ragged he looked, Lily still found him handsome.
“I’m sorry, darling,” James apologized as he held a small bouquet of roses that looked like it had been summoned by force from one of their neighbor’s garden. “I shouldn’t have acted the way I did. I just-It’s just this bloody entrapment we’re living under that it’s making me feel so bloody frustrated. I can’t stomach the thought of others dying while I’m safe and cozy in our home. However, I understand that our son is in danger and that we have to protect him no matter what. So I’m so sorry for being such a bloody prat towards you. I’ve taken all of my frustration and anger towards the woman that I love the most.”
A small smile formed in Lily’s lips as she took the roses from James. She too had to admit that she hadn’t been very pleasant with him either.
‘Time to tell the truth, Lily,’ the voice, which sounded a lot like Bathilda’s, said inside her head. ‘Tell him what is going on…You two love each other, you two can make it work.’
“James, we need to have a small talk. You see-” Her words, however, were drowned by an ear splitting sound: Harry’s sneakoscope, present from Moody for Harry’s christening, was blaring nonstop. James jumped out of his chair and ran towards the front window to take a look; his wand was drawn, ready to go if necessary. When he ran back towards the kitchen, his face was white and his eyes wide with shock.
“Run” he said as he began to drag her as if she were a doll towards the stairs “Get our son and leave!”
“What? No, James. No, I can’t just leave y-”
“Lils, I love you.” He gave her a quick kiss just as the door was blow away with a powerful spell. “It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”* He ordered her just before James turned his attention to the door, a large smirk appeared on his face as he brandished his wand. “Hello Riddle.”
This was not meant to happen, Lily thought as she ran up the stairs. The sounds of spells bouncing off the walls made her feel scared for James’s life and wanted nothing to go and help him but she kept running, never looking back.
They were supposed to be safe.
To win the war.
Those thoughts and hopes did not matter anymore as she had one priority to concentrate on. When she arrived to the nursery she found Harry safely asleep in his tiny crib; the Quidditch mobile Peter had given Lily and James upon Harry’s birth magically floated as it played a peaceful tune.
Her mind was racing.
She couldn’t dissaparate from the cottage unless she was outside the barrier and the only way out was downstairs where he was. She looked wildly around the room in hopes to find something that would help her against him but she was surrounded by only plush and toys.
With trembling hands she did the only thing that made sense to her: summon her patronus. It took more than one try but eventually Lily managed to summon the silver doe from her wand. She gave her a hasty message to take to Bathilda since she lived a lot closer than anyone else from the Order. She was sure that if her doe managed to get there on time, Bathilda would not only come but also summon everyone in the Order to come help.
As she watched her doe disappeared into the night, the awful altercation from downstairs ended.
A terrible silence had come about the cottage.
James couldn’t be dead; she tried to convince herself in those short seconds after the silence had fallen. He had promised that he would protect her and Harry forever and until the end of time. He had promised her that they would live, that they would have many children who would be McGonagall’s bane for many years to come, and more importantly: that they would grow old and grey together.
Harry woke with a frightened whimper when the second landing’s doors were being burst open by the intruder. Bile rose up her throat out of pure fear but for her son’s sake, she mustered all her courage and aimed her wand at the door to perform a strong colloportus charm. Lily hoped and prayed that it would last long enough until the Order arrived to help.
She hugged Harry tightly and turned her back to the door in a false hope that if she didn’t see him, he wouldn’t see them. “Harry. Mama loves you. Dada loves you. Harry be safe. Be strong.”** she whispered as she rocked back and forth with Harry in her arms. “You have to be brave, just like daddy. I love you so much, my sweet little boy.” Lily swallowed a sob as her son began to cry; he was picking on her wrecked emotions. She shushed him continuously as one of her hands gently rubbed his tiny head and back in hopes to calm him.
Those hopes, however, came crashing down just as the door to his nursery was burst open by a powerful spell making both woman and child cry out in terror. Lily placed Harry gently back into the crib and stood bravely facing her enemy; a sudden rush of emotion began to overwhelm her. She felt angry and just like the lioness Bathilda had mention Lily stood in between Riddle and her son, ready for anything. She pointed her wand at the intruder and began firing spells and curses but all were deflected with ease; he was too much for her to take on alone. And with a simple flick of his wand, Lily was left powerless; her wand was now in his procession.
“Stand aside, you silly girl…stand aside, now…”* He hissed as he waved his wand sideways telling her to move, giving her a chance to live. Lily shook her head as hot tears rolled down her cheeks. She would never abandon her son, not even if it meant that she had a chance to go on living.
Instead she pleaded, begged him to kill her instead since she was more of a threat to him than a mere baby. But Lily did not see any sort of consideration or sympathy in his red eyes. He ordered her to move once more and just as before, she stood firmly on her spot and refused.
Then the fight was lost.
The killing curse struck the young woman on the chest, just below her heart.
Lily Potter collapsed. Her green eyes, once full of life, hopes and beautiful dreams, were vacant while an expression full of fright and worry for her son overwhelmed her young, beautiful face.
Those who attended the Potters’s funeral would forever recall old Bathilda Bagshot crying and lamenting for the loss of the two children had died that horrible Halloween night. But unbeknownst to everyone that had attended the service, Bathilda had been lying due to the promise she had made Lily the last day she had seen the young woman.
That November day had been a dark one for everyone, including Remus Lupin, the werewolf who had seen all his friends die within a few hours of each other thanks to a traitor. He cried alongside Bathilda who kept on crying and lamenting for the two children that had died. Yet deep down, inside her heart she lamented the loss of three children, not two.
That dark November day, Lily Potter had taken to the grave a secret and surprise she meant to tell her husband: a second child to arrive sometime in May.
A little brother or sister to be Harry’s companion and friend.
A child that that the young parents would never get to meet.
A second child that symbolized the love between James Potter and Lily Evans.
And Bathilda Bagshot was to take that secret to the grave as well, for she had made a promise to the young and hopeful woman that fateful Halloween day.
A promise she would keep for many years to come until the end of her days.
*- James: From Page 240, Voldemort: From Page 179 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban By J.K. Rowling. US Edition, 1999.
** Lily Potter's line in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2, 2011
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