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Chapter 9 : October: 1981
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absolutely perfect chapter image by anissamalfoy @ tda!
“Are we taking Harry trick or treating?” James asked his wife, his face barely containing his excitement.
Lily bit her lip nervously. “I want to, but I don’t know if it would be wise…” she said with a grimace. She fiddled nervously with her earring while gnawing on her bottom lip.
James pouted and said, “Come on, Lily. It will be fine. We’ll dress him up so you can’t see his face, I’ll wear the Invisibility—” He paused and then swore. “Damn it, Dumbledore has the Cloak.” He rubbed a hand over his face tiredly.
Lily nodded morosely. “I know. That’s why I don’t want to go.” She twisted her hair into a make-shift ponytail but without a hair-tie it just flopped back down the length of her back.
James sighed and flopped down on the lounge. “I hate this,” he said. “I want to be out there; protecting you and Harry.” His legs were jiggling up and down in frustration. His hands tapped an irregular beat on the armrest and he was chewing on the inside of his jaw. He was antsy, he needed to go outside and have a run or something, which was something that Lily could sympathise with him.
Well, not with the running. Lily really didn’t like any form of exercise. But she would like to be able to go outside without Polyjuice Potion or a Cloak surrounding her and she would like to go out and let Harry enjoy the world like a normal kid, but she knew she’d be putting him in so much danger if she did and she wasn’t going to risk that. If she could just go have one walk outside with Harry, that would make her extremely happy. She knew it had to be over soon though, if she was thinking rationally. But she was still so sick of the indoors.
Lily sat down next to him and wrapped her arms around her husband’s thin waist. “I know, but it’s better that you’re here. Then I don’t worry if you never come back.” She kissed his shoulder. She felt like a shrew saying that, but it was the truth. She never had to worry if one day Dumbledore would come over with terrible news. She needed James, more than anyone in the world. He was the only person keeping her sane; if it wasn’t for him she would have cracked a multitude of times already and she knew it was the same for him. They needed each other more than anything at this moment of their lives.
He held her tightly and kissed the top of her head. “I know. But it’s frustrating.” His hands started fiddling with the ends of her hair. She played with the frayed ends of his shirt and rested one hand on his bouncing knee. He was restless, she knew that.
She let out a short laugh but it lacked the usual brightness. “You’re telling me. Why did Dumbledore take the cloak?” she asked curiously. She looked up at him and saw him staring at the picture of the three of them at Harry’s first ‘birthday party’. He had been trying to put his face in the cake when they were taking the picture. So James had put a bit of cake in his hair to please him.
They both had the cheekiest—and identical—grin in the photo. Photo Lily in the background was laughing but avoiding James and Harry’s sticky hands.
He shrugged. Lily dragged her eyes away from the photo and to James, who was looking down at her with half a grin. “Beats me. Dumbledore could ask for a galloping pony to take him to Australia and no one would question him.”
Lily laughed loudly. “How about we have our own little trick or treat?” she suggested.
James pretended to think about it. “If you’re offering—”
She swatted him on the shoulder. He grinned at her. “That wasn’t an innuendo! I mean, we hide sweets around the house and take Harry looking for them!” she said in a rush, a wide grin tugging at her worn face.
This time he really did think about it. “Yeah, that sounds good,” he said, his hazel eyes lighting up as he mulled the idea over in his head.
She grinned and pulled away from him. “Excellent! You go hide the sweets, I got Bathilda to bring some over the other day and I made a Halloween costume!”
James was taken aback. “When did you do all this?” he asked, shocked that she could have pulled this off without him noticing.
She grinned mischievously. “Being James Potter’s wife gave me some tips on sneaking around. Sweets are in the pantry.” She quickly walked up the stairs where Harry should have just been waking up from his nap. She knew she shouldn’t let him have sweets before his dinner, but she didn’t mind too much. He hardly ever got to do anything because of the bloody prophecy.
James found the sweets as soon as he opened the pantry door. He scattered them around the house, making them obvious to find because he knew if he put them in a difficult place Lily would chastise him for being a git.
Even though they were married, and had a gorgeous baby boy together, she still felt the need to insult him often. She told him that it was good for his ego.
He laughed; thinking of the various names Lily had called him before they were together as he sprinkled some of the wrapped lollies over the armrests. He heard footsteps on the stairs so he looked up and saw Lily holding Harry.
Who was dressed in a Gryffindor Chaser’s outfit. James grinned widely. “There’s my little man!” he said proudly. Harry clapped and reached out for James, who plucked him out of Lily’s arms immediately. He bounced him on his hip.
“Ready to look for your treats?” he asked, beaming at his son. Lily’s heart swelled at the sight of the two of them with their heads bent together, giggling and laughing.
Harry nodded and said loudly, “YES!”
James laughed and ruffled up his hair. “Little tyke,” he said affectionately. “Come on then.” He put him down and he started wobbling everywhere, looking for the sweets. Lily pulled out the camera and started taking pictures of the two.
“Hold on!” James said, tearing his eyes away from Harry bouncing. “We have to get his broom!”
Lily sighed. “Fine, let me just put a few things away first. And we’ll let Jasper go on our bed.”
James wrinkled his nose. He never liked the cat. But he knew for Harry to get his broom he had to agree. Lily waved her wand and the fragile items of the house flew towards the cupboard. After Harry had accidentally broken the vase Lily received from Petunia, she was very wary of all the other objects becoming broken.
Harry clapped his hands happily and watched the belongings fly, laughing. Lily let James grab Jasper—who was watching Harry warily—and get the toy broom Sirius got Harry for his birthday.
James picked up the black cat and held him at arm’s length. The cat growled but when he realised he was being put down on the bed, he started to purr. James rolled his eyes and grabbed Harry’s broom, bounding down the stairs and nearly tripping over his own feet in his excitement. He loved seeing Harry ride his broom; it made him so proud as a father.
As soon as Harry saw the broom, his green eyes lit up. “BROOM!” He pointed to it and tried to squirm out of Lily’s grip to get to it.
“That’s right, mate,” James said, setting the broom just above the floor. “You can fly it tonight.”
Lily gently placed Harry on the broom, worry creasing her face. “Don’t worry about it,” James murmured. “He’s a natural.”
“I know,” she snapped. “I just don’t like him flying, it’s dangerous.”
She let go of Harry reluctantly and he shot off, weaving through James’ legs. James roared with laughter and Lily laughed with him. He found some sweets, but when he took his hands off to grab them, he nearly fell. Luckily James caught him just in time, so no harm was done.
Although, Lily looked like she was going to rip James’ head off, so he quickly summoned the sweets towards him and said jokingly, “We’ll give them to him after he’s had a ride.”
Lily glared at him but then smiled when Harry raced past. She took a few more pictures before saying, “Okay then, that’s enough for today. Let’s go have the sweets now!”
James quickly plucked Harry off the broom and flicked his wand so the broom would lock itself away. Lily jabbed her wand at the cupboard with all the fragile stuff to return to their places. Harry started to cry loudly so Lily snatched him off James and started to soothe him. Although James was a wonderful dad, he could never deal with one of Harry’s tantrums.
James often remarked that it was the ‘Mummy’s-boy’ coming out in him at those times. Lily would just say that Harry preferred his mum over his dad.
Lily took Harry away to settle him down as James cleared everything away. He then pulled out some dinner for the three of them and jabbed his wand setting the vegetables to chop themselves up. He made up a smaller and squashier portion for Harry. Thankfully Harry wasn’t a particularly fussy eater, so it usually didn’t matter what they gave him. He generally ate everything, just like James.
Lily came into the kitchen with a much happier looking Harry wriggling on her hip. She placed him in the high chair so he wouldn’t go running around the house without his parents’ watchful eyes and made her way to James.
She kissed his cheek and said, “Sit down, I can do this.”
“Lily, I know how to cook,” he said. “You cook heaps, let me do something,” he said, gesturing for her to sit down but she wasn’t having any of it.
She shook her head. “James, let me cook, please. I want to,” she insisted.
“You sure?” he asked. “I can help a little bit, if you want?”
She ran a hand through his hair and said, “No, go entertain Harry. But thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he said, pulling her in close to give her a kiss. She grinned against his lips but leant backwards to put some distance between the two.
“Not when Harry’s in the room, James,” Lily warned, waggling her finger at him.
He rolled his eyes. “Lily, is he really going to remember anything at this time? He won’t remember anything until he’s about three or four, and you know it.”
She simply shook her head at him and untangled herself from his arms that were currently wrapped around her waist. “Yes, but I’d still feel bad. Anyway, we have all night,” she said lightly.
James perked up and grinned wickedly. “I guess we do,” he said, looking far too pleased.
Lily opened her mouth to say something but Harry said loudly, “Dada!” He clapped his hands to get his father’s attention.
“Our son calls you,” Lily said, turning her back on him. James grinned and sat down next to Harry, ruffling his hair up.
“What’s up little man? You wanna watch some fireworks?” he said, pulling his wand out from his faded blue jeans. “Look!” He made small sparks appear out of his wand and Harry was laughing and giggling, trying to reach for them and frowning whenever they stopped.
Lily was watching her husband and son interact, their black messy heads close together and the same cheeky grin. If she didn’t know better, she would have just thought someone cloned James and handed her the baby. Other than his eyes—which were an exact replica of her own—he looked exactly like James and already at fifteen months old he had a penchant for mischief.
She eventually served the food up so James was forced to put his wand away. Harry scrunched his face up when James wouldn’t make more sparks but was quickly satisfied when Lily started to feed him.
The family of three surrounded the dinner table and told Harry stories about their Halloween experiences at Hogwarts.
“I remember once,” James was saying and laughing at the memory, “that your Uncle Padfoot had disappeared the whole day and ended up scaring the life out of me at about midnight. He ripped open the curtains and threw a whole bunch of joke products at me screaming. Nearly wet myself. I turned green as well, because of the gunk he chucked at me. I still have no idea what that stuff was.”
Lily laughed and wiped Harry’s chin clean. “He once hid in a suit of armour and jumped on top of me when I walked past. I was sore for weeks,” she recalled with a grin.
“Do you remember when we went to Hogsmeade in seventh year, Lily?” James asked, grinning.
She nodded with a loud laugh. “Oh yes. That was our what? Second date?” James shrugged and she said, “The three of them dressed in drag and followed us around, saying their names were ‘Penelope’, ‘Randee’ and ‘Shelley’. And then we found three burly blokes to ‘hit on them’. Their faces were priceless.”
James laughed. “We had a great time at Hogwarts, didn’t we?”
Lily nodded. “We did,” she agreed. “Before you know it, Harry, you’ll be at Hogwarts as well!” He clapped his hands and laughed as his mum tickled his stomach.
“Come on, we need to get you cleaned up,” she said, pulling him out of his high-chair. She held him close and said to James, “Can you please clean all this up? I’ll be back soon.”
James nodded and blew a raspberry at Harry when Lily’s back was turned. Harry laughed and Lily nuzzled his cheek, blowing kisses there.
She walked out of the kitchen and James could hear Harry’s laughter bouncing around the house. He tidied up the plates and flicked his wand at the sink so they would wash themselves. He gave the table a quick wipe down and had just put everything away just as Lily and Harry came back downstairs. Harry was in his favourite blue pyjamas and tugging at Lily’s hair to be let down, shouting various bits of babble. He still struggled with a lot of words and it was something Lily very often fretted about, but James was unconcerned. According to his own mother, he had apparently learnt to talk when he was nearly two years old.
“Thank you, James,” Lily said, setting Harry down so he could have a run around. He immediately ran to the living room so Lily followed him, warning him to be careful.
James chuckled and called out, “Do you want a cuppa? I’m about to put the kettle on!”
“Yes please,” she called back. “No, Harry, don’t touch that!” James heard Harry laugh, a loud crash and then Lily sighing exasperatedly. He laughed and knew that Harry had inherited the mischievous streak from him.
After the tea was ready, he took both mugs into the living room where was playing with some of his blocks and Lily was sitting on the couch tiredly. He passed her a mug and then sat down next to her, putting an arm around her shoulders.
She curled her legs underneath her and scooted closer towards him, sighing in content. She took a sip of the tea and then wrapped both hands around her mug. “I love you, James.”
“I love you too, Lil,” he said after he’d taken a sip of his own tea. The two watched Harry playing with all sorts of blocks and plush toys. He then started copying the noises his toy hippogriff was making and Lily started to laugh so hard that she nearly spilt her tea all over herself and James.
“Watch it,” James said, flinching. “You’re going to burn the both of us!”
Lily rolled her eyes at her husband’s theatrics. “You’re fine, don’t worry.”
James grinned. “I know I’m fine. I’m just teasing you.” Lily let out a sharp breath and shook her head, although she had a hint of a smile tugging at her lips. “So what got you laughing so hard?” James asked.
“Harry trying to copy the hippogriff noise. I’ve never heard him make such a sound,” she said, putting down her tea to make her way to her son. “You sounded silly, didn’t you, Harry?” she cooed, kissing his chubby cheek.
Harry laughed and James set his own tea down to join his wife and son on the floor. Lily said, “James, can you entertain him for a bit? I need to have a shower and then we’ll put him to bed.”
“Yeah, go ahead,” he said, picking up his wand. “I’ll make bubbles for him.”
Lily smiled and pressed a kiss to both of their cheeks before standing up to go clean herself up. She always felt a bit sticky after rolling around on the ground with Harry. It didn’t help that he tended to drool on her and tried to eat her hair.
James was producing multi-coloured bubbles and Harry was trying to catch them with his chubby hands. Harry was laughing, and James couldn’t help but join in. Harry’s laughter was absolutely infectious.
Lily then returned downstairs a few minutes later and said, “It’s way past your bedtime, mister! You stayed up really late tonight!” James stole a look at the clock hanging above her head and saw that it was only nine o’clock. He recalled the times where he and Lily would stay awake all night, just because they could. Now if it was past eight, he would think of going to bed.
Oh how he’d gotten old.
James picked Harry up and pressed a kiss to his son’s head. “Night, Harry.” Harry grabbed his cheek in reply. James chuckled and ruffled his already messy hair up. Lily left to put him to bed and he threw himself back on the couch, throwing his wand to the side and yawning and stretching his legs out, not hearing the gate out the front creak open, or the leaves rustling as a suspicious figure slithered through them.
Little did James know that that was the last night he and Lily would ever spend together.
I just want to thank everyone who has read, reviewed or favourited this story; it really meant a lot to me. This was originally going to be a one-shot but I'm so glad I decided to make it more than that! :p
I have to admit this was so fun (and sad) to write, and it was originally a "side project". :p
Anywho, thank you to everyone who gave this story a chance, and thank you to all the validators! Also, I'd love to thank the amazing artists at tda for making the beautiful chapter images and banner! If you haven't seen them, I'd say go take a look because they're just beautiful! :D
So yeah, I really loved writing this and hopefully you all loved reading this!
- Kayla. ♥
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