Chapter 6 : February: 1981
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amazing chapter image by locomotive. @ tda!
“Guess who’s here?” a loud voice said at the door. James grinned at his wife and son as he went to answer the door.
He swung the door open and Sirius was leaning against the front door with a grin on his face. “And by the way, the first time we met I called you a scrawny-looking kid who would be my best mate,” he said before James had the chance to ask his question for Sirius.
James laughed. “You know it.” The two hugged for a short time and James invited his best friend inside the house. Lily was sitting at the dining table feeding Harry mashed banana—who by the looks of it—had dribbled it all over himself.
“Hey, Sirius,” she said cheerfully, wiping Harry’s mouth with a towel. “How was the mission?”
Sirius made a face. “Boring. How have you and my godson been?” Even though Harry was nearly seven months old, Sirius still couldn’t stop boasting that he had a godson.
But then again, James couldn’t stop boasting he had a son.
They were far too similar for Lily’s liking.
“We’ve been good,” Lily said. Harry made a loud noise and she said, “When you’ve finished your food you can drool all over Padfoot. Be patient.” She fed him another spoon and he chewed with wide eyes, waiting for the next mouthful.
James laughed and said, “Want a drink?” Sirius accepted and sat opposite Lily and next to Harry as James ducked into the kitchen.
Harry laughed and clapped as Sirius pulled silly faces. Lily was fighting a losing battle as Harry’s attention was focused solely on Sirius. She sighed, “Sirius, can you let me feed him first? Then you can do whatever face you want to do.”
James came back and set a cup of coffee in front of Sirius who gratefully started to drink it. “Why don’t we let Harry choose?” he asked, sliding into a spot next to Lily. He pulled a face much like Sirius’.
Lily rolled her eyes. “If we’re going to do that, I may as well pack up the food then. He’s going to pick you two, and you know it.”
Sirius shot James a cheeky grin. “Ah, you know us so well. But we’ll let him choose anyway, just to prove it.” He set down his coffee away from Harry’s reach and said, “Harry? Do you want to eat or watch me and your dad pull faces?”
Harry put his hands to his mouth, his signature move to tell Lily that he was hungry. He laughed at Sirius and James’ betrayed expressions. Lily grinned and said, “That’s my boy. Now come on, only a few more bites!” she encouraged, scraping a bit of the food into the spoon.
Harry opened his mouth obediently and James and Sirius walked away so they wouldn’t distract Harry. James said, “So what was the mission like?”
Sirius made a face and sat down on the couch. “It sucked. Nothing happened. We think it was a false lead.”
James nodded and sat down opposite him, kicking the cat off of his spot. “I kinda miss missions,” he said. “It’s a hell of a lot more fun than bloody Ministry work. I don’t understand how people like that.”
Sirius snorted. “I’d probably go mad if I was in your position.”
James shrugged. “It isn’t too bad. If we didn’t have Harry, I’d probably still be out there, annoying the Death Eaters. But we do, and I’m going to do anything to keep him as safe as possible. At least this removes me from the firing line.”
Sirius nodded. “No, I completely understand. It’s sometimes sad though, when I’m out there and I don’t have you next to me insulting the Death Eaters. I just do it by myself now. It’s not nearly as fun. Especially when Moody threatens to hit you with his leg.”
James snorted. He ran a hand through his hair and Lily entered with Harry on her hip. “Here you go, Sirius.” Sirius grinned and plucked his godson out of Lily’s arms.
“Hey little man! Did you eat everything?” Harry gurgled happily and Sirius bounced him up in the air.
Lily and James both started protesting. “Sirius! He’s just eaten—he’s going to be sick all over you if you don’t watch out!” Lily said worriedly.
Sirius rolled his eyes and held Harry above his head. “Nah, he’s fine. Look!” He bounced him again and suddenly, Harry coughed up all the food he’d eaten onto Sirius’ face. James laughed loudly and keeled over at Sirius’ expression. His face had turned red as Lily took Harry off of Sirius while fighting the urge to laugh. Harry looked extremely pleased with himself.
“I’m going to clean him up,” she said. “You can have a shower if you’d like. Your clothes are in your room.” Sirius stood up and took the stairs two at a time to “his” room. When James and Lily first moved in, they both knew that Sirius would claim a room for himself and keep a spare change of clothes in there. Before they had Harry, he often slept over.
James stood up and said affectionately, “You’re the best son a father could ask for.” Lily laughed and James ruffled his son’s hair.
Lily grinned at her husband. “I’m going to give him a bath. Can you feed Jasper?” James made a disgruntled noise but Lily had already walked away, talking to Harry, “You’re a cheeky little man, aren’t you?”
Harry’s laugh could be heard from the other side of the house. James grinned as he said to the cat, “Come on. I gotta feed you.”
Jasper meowed loudly and James rolled his eyes and picked the infernal cat up. After he had fed the cat and locked it away in the laundry, he saw Sirius at the stove, making something to eat.
“No longer smell like vomit?” James asked, laughing.
Sirius snorted. “I think he did it on purpose.” He continued stirring at the pot. “I’m making pasta. Want some?”
James nodded and pulled out a frozen batch of sauce from the freezer, plonking it on the bench top. “Lily did warn you though.” He pointed his wand at it to thaw it out.
“Yes, I know. But I didn’t think he would really do it,” he said, turning the stove off and placing the spaghetti in three separate bowls. James pulled out another pot and poured the sauce into it, quickly heating it up with his wand.
By the time they had finished serving out three bowls, Lily came back with Harry wriggling on her hip. She put him down in the high-chair and said, “You guys are too nice. I’m absolutely starving.”
She sat down next to Harry and grabbed one of the bowls. Harry clapped his hands together and Lily sighed, cutting up some of her spaghetti. James grabbed a small plastic bowl and gave it to Lily so she could put some of her spaghetti into it. She grinned at him in thanks and James and Sirius sat down, chatting about missions and other things like that.
The three ate and talked, catching Sirius up on what he’d missed when being away. After they’d finished dinner, James graciously cleared the plates away and Lily cleaned Harry up. She wiped his face and waved her wand over his clothes, clearing the excess spaghetti and drool off of him. She would never know how Muggles had children without magic. It would be extremely tiring if she had to change Harry’s clothes four or five times a day.
And not to mention the ridiculous amount of laundry she would have to go through.
At eight o’clock, there was a knock at the door. James and Sirius both perked up suspiciously, and Lily picked Harry out of the high-chair and held him close to her body. He reached out and played with a lock of her hair.
She jerked her head at the door and Sirius and James walked towards it with their wands out. James peered through the peep hole and noticed their old Headmaster at his front door. James slowly opened the door, still with his wand out and Sirius was behind him, also with his wand pointing at the old professor.
“What is Albus Dumbledore’s favourite flavour of jam?” James asked as soon as he was in full view.
Dumbledore replied promptly, “Raspberry.”
James and Sirius both lowered their wands and allowed Dumbledore to enter the household. “What bring you here, sir?” Lily asked, coming forward now that Harry wasn’t in any danger.
Dumbledore replied, “I have urgent matters to discuss with you. Shall we sit down?” Lily’s heart fluttered and unconsciously, she held Harry a bit tighter. She didn’t like the tone of Dumbledore’s voice. James also felt a bit uneasy.
Sirius, picking up that he shouldn’t be there, said, “I’ll get going then. I’ll see you guys soon—”
“Actually, Sirius, it may be wise if you were here too,” Dumbledore said, looking serious. “It concerns Harry.”
Lily gasped and held Harry protectively. Her eyes filled with tears. James went white and Sirius looked angry and scared at the same time. They slowly went to the dining table where they had been sitting a few minutes previously. Lily wouldn’t let go of Harry and James threw an arm around them.
Sirius sat on the other side of James and Dumbledore sat opposite the three of them. He said solemnly, “Harry is in danger. Lord Voldemort is looking for him.”
Lily bit down on her lip to stop the tears from falling. She wrapped her hands around Harry’s pudgy stomach and kissed the top of his messy head. James went the colour of parchment and squeezed on Lily’s shoulder. She held Harry closer to her and he tugged on her hair. Sirius croaked, “Why?”
Dumbledore looked at Harry sadly. “There has been a prophecy made. He believes it to be about Harry.”
“No,” James whispered. “How can this be? He’s not even seven months old for crying out loud!” His voice started to get louder and Lily pat the top of his thigh to keep them from worrying Harry. He didn’t take any notice of it. His only son, the most important person in his world, had been targeted by Voldemort.
Dumbledore explained, “The prophecy stated that the person of the Dark Lord’s downfall will be born as the seventh month dies and Voldemort wants no chance of being defeated.”
The three were silent as they processed this. Lily sniffled and James felt his heart breaking. He didn’t want this to happen to them, they hadn’t done anything wrong.
Sirius cleared his throat. “How do you know it means Harry? Frank and Alice’s son is born the day before, aren’t they in danger too?”
James felt a sick sense of hope that it wasn’t Harry but it was quickly chased away with guilt. He would never wish for anyone to be in this position. Lily wasn’t looking at anyone except Harry. She could draw his face with her eyes closed. Her whole world revolved around Harry.
She would do anything to protect him, and she knew that James would too.
“Harry is a halfblood, like Voldemort himself. My confidant has told me of this. We need to put you in protection immediately. Frank and Alice will be put under protection, but you will need to take much stronger precautions. Do you understand?” Dumbledore said seriously, peering over his spectacles.
James nodded and pinched his nose between his forefinger and thumb. Lily squeezed her eyes shut and pressed another kiss on Harry’s head. She wished that this wasn’t happening. She hoped that she would wake up from this terrible nightmare and the three of them would be perfectly safe, Voldemort wouldn’t be targeting them and they could carry on with their lives.
Dumbledore looked solemnly at them. “I hate to be the bearer of this news. Harry is only a boy—”
“He’s only a baby!” Lily cried out. “He hasn’t done anything wrong! It’s not fair!”
“Lily,” James said softly. She looked at him with her eyes filled with tears. “Lily, I know it’s hard—”
“Hard?!” she said hysterically. She wiped her cheeks and her nose. “We just found out that the darkest wizard of all time is looking for Harry! Can’t he take me instead?”
“No! He’s not going to take you or Harry,” James said fiercely. “You’re his mum, he’d be better off—”
Sirius cut his best mate off, “No. James, both you and Lily are the most important people in Harry’s life. If anyone was to sacrifice themselves for Harry it should be me. I’m a Pureblood, my whole family is in Slytherin and Harry would be able to live without his godfather. He couldn’t live without his parents.” His jaw was set.
James opened his mouth to argue but Dumbledore spoke over him. “I’m afraid that would not work. Voldemort only wants Harry. I’m truly sorry.”
Lily let out a choked sob. James felt useless. He was a father, he was meant to be able to protect his family. He’d failed Harry and Lily. Sirius whispered, “It’s not your fault, don’t think like that. Okay?”
James looked blankly at Sirius. His best friend always knew what he was thinking. “How can I not?” he said dully. “Voldemort is on the hunt for Harry. My son.”
Sirius didn’t know what to say and James turned back to Harry. His heart swelled with happiness every time he saw Harry grinning at Lily. Harry was tugging on Lily’s hair again and James moved the red strands out of the way. Harry looked at him in annoyance and James felt his eyes well up as he saw Lily’s exact eyes staring up at him.
“What do we do?” James asked, not taking his eyes off Harry.
Dumbledore said, “I think it would be wise to obtain a Secret Keeper. It is essential that this person is someone you can trust.”
“Sirius will do it,” Lily said without a doubt. James agreed, privately thinking how fast Lily had said that.
Dumbledore had an odd expression on his face. Lily was a bit wary of it but Sirius asked, “Really? Me?”
James said, “Of course. You just said before you’d give your life for Harry. You’re my best friend, you’re Harry’s godfather, you were theoretically Lily’s maid of honour! There’s no one else better.”
Sirius cracked half a smile. When they were planning the Potter-Evans wedding, Lily had told people she wasn’t going to have a maid of honour because Sirius would be occupied as best man and also “didn’t suit the colour yellow”.
Dumbledore still looked a bit wary much to Lily and James’ surprise. He said, “I will return in a few days. We will perform the charm as soon as possible. I have a few errands to run.”
James said a bit harshly, “Why don’t we do it now? We’re all here.”
Dumbledore nodded but said, “I am a busy man, James. You know this. I will return in a few days.” His tone left no room for argument.
Lily nodded, shooting her husband a warning glance. She was confused by Dumbledore’s behaviour, but he was an odd man. Brilliant, but odd. Dumbledore stood up. “Circumstances are changing,” he sighed. “It is of essence that you take great care in the future.”
James nodded and also stood up. Lily was still sitting down, trying to entertain Harry without crying. She gave him a watery smile and he grinned toothlessly up at her. She let out half a laugh and James caught himself staring at her.
Sirius pushed his seat back and said, “I’ll get going as well. I’ll see you soon, I guess…” Lily sent him a quick smile before returning her attention back to Harry.
James led the two men outside. Dumbledore said goodbye and disapparated immediately. Sirius stared at his best friend. “It’s going to be okay,” he said to reassure James and himself.
James shook his head. It was never going to be okay. Harry was always going to be targeted by Voldemort. All because of a few bloody words.
“Hopefully,” James said flatly. He felt exhausted. He wanted to run somewhere far away and give Harry and Lily the most protection he could possible give. He knew it wouldn’t be wise to do that though.
Sirius gave James a hug. It felt odd, a few hours previously they’d hugged right at this doorstep. It felt like a million years ago. Only a few hours had passed since Harry had vomited on Sirius, but it felt like an eternity. They’d never been safe but they were a lot safer then.
And it was only a few measly hours ago.
James and Sirius broke out of their hug and Sirius clapped James on the shoulder before disapparating. James closed the door and walked back to the dining table where Lily had tears filling her eyes. She whispered, “I don’t want to let him go. I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
James wrapped Lily in a hug, putting Harry between them. “Nothing’s going to happen, Lily. You hear me?” he said strongly. He had tears in his own eyes but he blinked them away hurriedly. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you two.”
She nodded and looked down at Harry, who was falling asleep on the spot. “I better put him to bed,” she said softly. He stood up and followed them to Harry’s bedroom. Lily placed him down gently on his mattress and she whispered, “I love you so much, Harry. Nothing and no one will ever hurt you.”
She stroked his hair one last time and James came to stand behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Lily, it’s going to be okay,” he said hoarsely.
Lily nodded and leant back into James’ arms, letting him rest his head on her shoulder. “I know, but I’m scared.”
James pushed a bit of her hair back and said softly, “I know. I am too. But nothing will happen to Harry. I’m going to make sure of it.”
She sniffled and Harry made a noise in his sleep. “Come on,” she breathed, “I don’t want to wake him up.”
She led him outside and closed the door quietly. She could feel her heart breaking but managed to stay quiet until she reached her and James’ bedroom. She nearly collapsed and James scooped her up as she sobbed. James didn’t know what to do. He felt completely and utterly useless.
He held her tightly and she sobbed against his shirt, gripping the cotton between her fists. James didn’t say anything but rested his forehead against hers and kept murmuring assurances. He kissed her softly, not saying a word. He knew that she needed to let it all out.
He brought her in closer and she buried her face in his neck. She’d done this a million times but she’d never been this upset.
Harry was the most important person in her whole life. She felt like she failed as a mother. Mums were meant to protect their sons with all their hearts, and she had failed him. Voldemort was looking out for him, all because of some stupid words.
The two parents didn’t sleep much that night. They spent the whole night sick with worry and tears. Lily was in a mess and James tried to be there for her, but he felt hopeless.
Hopeless that he couldn’t even look after his own son. Hopeless that he couldn’t protect his family against a wizard. Yes, the wizard was one of the darkest wizards of all time but a father was meant to be able to be a superhero.
The war is only just beginning, he thought grimly.
I just wanted to say about Sirius being the Secret Keeper: I think James and Lily would have decided it and Sirius would have gone home tossing and turning and then he presents the idea a few days later, so I'm not ignoring canon, I promise! :p
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this chapter! I actually cried while writing it so it is meant to be angsty haha. :p
Hope you enjoyed and let me know your thoughts in a review! :)
Edit: Okay about the Secret Keeper thing - I didn't know/forgot that it was only for a week before Halloween and I said I will change it, and I will, it's just that I have a lot of stuff going on in my life right now and I can't think of anything to do right now. Thanks to those who pointed it out! :)
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