Chapter 1 : Little Girl Lost
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She leaned back and rested her head gently against the wall, her wild red hair flattened in the process. Her lovely green eyes, which had earned a compliment from the receptionist and the nurse who had taken her vital signs, closed softly, trying to shut out the anxiety. Married at eighteen, and now pregnant at nineteen—what were you thinking? She had asked herself this question several times, unwilling to settle for the usual answers: we were in love, I was young, the world looked less horrible.
Well, maybe pregnant. She opened her eyes, looking around her at the small room. There was a parade of friendly-looking animals in pastel colors going around the room, giraffes and cows and kangaroos dancing atop the white crown moulding. Across from her small blue chair and its partner stood a wooden table with a sheet of paper on top of it; she could vaguely remember having to sit on the same sort of scratchy paper as a little girl in order to receive her yearly physical exams.
Lily missed being a little girl.
She missed her family, missed being able to pick flowers from her neighbors’ gardens and play guessing games with her sister and eat her mother’s delicious cooking. Magic had brought to her all kinds of glorious things, and yet she often yearned for the simplicity of the brief life she’d lived before encountering magic.
She heard footsteps coming down the hall and instinctively reached for the small container of fluid in her purse. She had tested another sample herself, carefully brewing the appropriate potion and checking several times to make sure the color was right when the test was finished. Yes, dark blue, seemingly so dark as to vanquish any doubt—except her own. Was she really carrying a baby boy?
That question had brought her to a Muggle doctor, one who could test her sample in ways more familiar to her and provide a sound answer. She had already rolled up her sleeve; they would need to take some of her blood in order to truly confirm it. But the footsteps moved on; it was another patient’s turn before hers, apparently.
She looked down at the sample, which the nurse had asked her to provide upon her arrival. It was stupid to be here when she already knew the outcome of her visit. She had never doubted her potion-making abilities before; after all, she had honed her skills under the careful eye of her best friend, who was the best potioneer she knew. He had even taught her how to test the sample of her friend Marlene in fourth year, when the sixteen-year-old feared she had gotten a souvenir from her summer fling.
She put the container down, turning away from it. Even now, if she gave Severus credit for anything, she feared he would demand all of her in return for his help. It didn’t matter that they didn’t talk anymore and hadn’t seen each other since school. The way he flitted through shadows and poked around corners—once endearing, one of many surprises he gave her as children—now caused her to feel overly wary. When he looked at her in those final days, it was painful forcing herself to turn away.
She crossed her legs, letting her hands rest one atop the other on her knee. As she brushed a piece of hair out of her face, she noticed her engagement ring and wedding band, the diamonds in both of them sparkling under the harsh fluorescent lights. She wondered how James had chosen them and if she was lucky to have been given such a lavish gift. He had always reminded her not to worry too much about the details of their wedding, for no flower or stone or magnificent old church could begin to rival her beauty—then why had his mother offered so much money for her to purchase an expensive gown? It was not at all like she’d imagined as a little girl, with open fields and wildflowers and her older sister standing faithfully at her side.
A pretty rock for a pretty girl, she mused, turning her hand back and forth and looking at her glistening engagement ring. She had never thought of herself as a prize to be won, but how could he resist showing her off after all he had to do in order to have her? Perhaps she’d given herself away out of exhaustion, or maybe in search of contentment, of her own place in a world she still didn’t fully understand. She loved him, but she felt suffocated by years of captive affection now released.
It was no one’s fault, thought Lily the peacemaker. They desired her despite her objections, and she kept control by allowing them to feel what she wanted them to. She kissed her husband goodnight and smiled at him in the morning, but if she needed an hour or two alone, she was not shy about letting him know and taking it. She was more cruel to Severus, for he had pushed her boundaries too far in the past; she allowed herself a few fond memories of him but kept no illusions about reconciliation. Thankfully, not seeing her face every day seemed to keep him at bay.
But this had come out of a romantic haze, a moment of weakness, and so she considered it as having been brought upon herself. This baby boy she did not know had already taken over her body in just six short weeks. She got sick so often she barely felt like eating anymore, and her fatigue and aching back prevented her from doing anything with her friends. Then again, the seasons were changing in more ways than one, and the whispers on the wind thought it best that she stay inside.
She placed a hand gingerly on her stomach, not yet feeling the unmistakable curve. Would he be so demanding after he was born, crying out for her attention and encroaching on her precious solitude? How much would be enough to satisfy him?
She leaned back a little in her chair, feeling faint again. She needed something in her stomach but was too afraid of that awful retching sensation creeping back up her throat. She pressed down lightly on her abdomen with trembling hands, as if to try to contain the little boy growing inside of her. Shh, stay quiet, she wanted to say.
There was a knock on the door, and it opened to the friendly face of an elderly man.
“Mrs. Potter, is it?”
She nodded, forcing a smile. She had always been a people pleaser.
“All right, hand me that sample, if you would. I’m sure you’ve tested yourself, but we like to do one in-house, just to make sure everything’s right. If this comes out positive, we’ll do a quick blood test to confirm. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt too much.”
Another nod. It was best to keep quiet, lest she divulge her resident panic.
The doctor took the sample, setting it down on the counter and opening it carefully. He retrieved a plastic eyedropper from the cabinet and filled it from the sample, placing a few droplets of liquid on the exposed end of a pregnancy test stick. Then he stood and waited, offering Lily a little smile that she reluctantly returned.
“Your first one?” he asked.
“Don’t be afraid. It’s exciting. I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful mum.”
She wanted to turn and run right there, but she forced herself to stay put. She felt as if her whole life had been leading to this moment with a entire series of stay-put opportunities—sitting still at her sister’s wedding, holding back her urge to throw up until her Transfiguration N.E.W.T. was over, politely greeting James’s parents.
The doctor looked at the test. “Yes, looks like a winner. We’d best take some blood.”
She let him do it, turning away and pushing her feet hard against the floor in order to avoid passing out. She wasn’t sure if it was due to the needle or just her nerves. When the doctor left to go down to the small, basic phlebotomy lab, she forced herself up and looked at the test, seeing the two telltale blue lines quite clearly.
Lily sank back into her chair. She wondered if the magical test would be right about the gender, too, though she supposed it didn’t matter if she had a baby boy or girl. The child would still run her life from this very moment, right? He or she would control how Lily felt, when she was forced to go to St. Mungo’s in the middle of the night, when she could sleep and eat and worry about her child’s stupid decisions.
As she stared down at the floor, her head still spinning, she considered another possibility. Unlike Severus or James, this child would have to do some things she wanted, too. He or she would have to come home when Lily decided it was an appropriate time to do so, write home from Hogwarts at designated intervals, face the daunting task of introducing his or her partner to Lily to gain her approval.
Maybe my baby will even love me, she thought.
She thought about what it was like when she was a little girl, during those years she’d love to live once again. She’d make crude little drawings for her mother or sing songs to her during long trips, and her mother would beam and hug her. Lily had shared a number of fond moments with Severus and James, and yet nothing had even come close to what she’d once had with her mother. Her mother cared for her, and she liked to think that she cared for her mother each time she offered her love. Lily bit her lip, wishing that she and her mother had not grown up, grown older.
She looked down and realized she was still holding the pregnancy test. She turned it over, mulling over her thoughts simultaneously. Perhaps this was a new opportunity for her. Maybe it was a chance for her to start over and reclaim what she had lost.
Another thought occurred to her; the walls that kept her anxiously waiting in this bright room also protected her, at least momentarily, from the war raging outside. The Muggles didn’t see much of it yet, but she did, and it would be right back on her doorstep the moment she arrived at home. How could she bring an innocent child into that sort of environment? She could spare him, she had a chance right now…
But she couldn’t, and deep down she knew it. Now that she was certain of his existence, this baby felt so much a part of her that she couldn’t fathom not having him. He could be a parasite, perhaps, but he could also be her little selfish hope.
The door opened. “Mrs. Potter?”
Lily looked up at the doctor. There were tears shining in the corners of her eyes.
“It’s positive.” He smiled at her encouragingly. “Congratulations.”
She nodded. I suppose it is.
“The receptionist can arrange your first follow-up appointment, so we can get an ultrasound and see precisely how far along you are.” He turned to go but paused in the doorway. “We can get your husband on the phone if you like. Some young women are just too excited to wait for the drive home to let the father-to-be know.”
Lily shook her head, standing up and exhaling carefully as she picked up her purse. She gave the doctor a smile, lest he think she felt worse than when she’d come in.
“No, thank you. I’d rather do it my way.”
Hello, thanks for stopping by for another one-shot! I know, this is kind of weird and morbid and I don’t really know where it came from. I kept thinking about how people say that Lily wasn’t a prize and they don’t like the way she was treated, like she was a possession. I decided to explore that idea more here, as well as challenge myself to write a darker, more complicated Lily. I’d really love to know what you think—did I stray too far from the canon path?
Thanks again for stopping to read (and hopefully review)!