Chapter 1 : That Halloween Night
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She was tired of sitting in this house waiting for something to happen. She was tired of hearing about the daily deaths and not being able to do anything to help. She was tired of being scared and jumping at shadows. She was tired of having to pretend that she was stronger than she was and tired of trying to hold everything together for her and her family.
“I’ll never understand these muggles and their celebration of this holiday,” came a deep voice from close behind her. “Dressing up in costumes and going house to house begging for candies and sweets? That just sounds crazy?”
Lily could not help but smile as her husband wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed the top of her head.
“I have explained this to you before, James,” she said with a smile and a sigh. “It hasn’t always been this way. Wearing costumes on the witching, or mischief night, used to be a way to scare away the spirits of the dead. It only evolved into the candy-seeking holiday that we know today as a way to appease tricksters and pranksters and prevent them from vandalizing people’s house.”
“Sounds like it would have been easier to just lock up these pranksters,” James scoffed. “And what is with the warts and big ugly noses on the witches? Why are they so ugly and scary? And why are the only wizards I ever see are ones with long scraggly beards and purple robes with crazy stars? Hmpf. It’s all very insulting.”
“The only witches that muggle children hear about are the evil ones from fairy tales,” Lily explained patiently. “In these fairytales they makes the witches as ugly and mean looking as possible to make them seem even more scary.”
James grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around so that she was facing him. He looked down and stared into her eyes. She felt the familiar weakness in her knees as she marveled at how strongly this man could still affect her.
“Well…If they ever knew just how beautiful some witches truly were, maybe they would realize just how insulting they were being by wearing these ridiculous costumes,” he whispered.
She pushed playfully against his chest and said, “I think you have an unfairly biased opinion.”
“Why because I caught the ultimate snitch when I married you?” he replied with a smirk.
Lily laughed and rolled her eyes. “And there you go bringing Quidditch into this and ruining the moment. Why must everything relate back to that stupid game with you?”
She tried to pull back from her husband and instead felt his arms tighten around her, pulling her close. He lowered his head and captured her lips with his own and for a glorious moment she was lost in his presence. Nothing mattered at that moment except for the two of them and the love that they shared.
A gentle cooing from across the room broke the spell between them. Lily peered around James and saw their son, Harry, crawling across the floor towards them. Clutched in his hand was a melted chocolate frog. His smiling face was almost completely covered with chocolate and he left behind him a trail of melted sugary mess.
“James! I told you that he did not need any chocolate so close to bedtime!” Lily scolded as she rushed to pick up the boy.
“Hey! It wasn’t me this time! Sirius brought those over when he visited last time!” James said defensively. “You must have forgotten to put the frogs up out of his reach.”
A flicker of amused annoyance flashed through Lily as she walked into the kitchen with Harry to clean him up.
“How is it that your father still resorts to blaming everything on Sirius?” she muttered to the small child.
“Pafood?” Harry asked innocently as he wiggled in his mother’s arms to try to find his godfather.
Lily smiled. “No sweetie. Padfoot is not here. He had to go bye bye for a bit.”
With a pout and a quiver of his lower lip he looked up at his mother and said, “Pafood buh bye?”
“He’ll be back soon, hon. But right now we need to get you cleaned up and ready to go to sleepies,” Lilly said soothingly.
After scrubbing his face and hands, she set Harry on the floor and called for James to go get a clean pair of pajamas for Harry. As she scrubbed the chocolatey fingerprints off the floor and the wall, she could not help but smile as she heard Harry’s delighted giggles as her husband struggled to get him dressed.
As she finished cleaning up the mess, and entered the sitting room to join her little family, she felt a shiver down her back as the air in the room became heavier. She looked around the room and although she saw nothing, began to feel a chill as if someone had left a window open. She glanced fearfully at James who had stopped laughing with his son and was staring in the direction of the front door.
“James?” Lily whispered. “What is it?”
James held up his hand to shush her and stood up slowly still not taking his eyes away from the door.
Lily’s heart began to race and she felt frozen in place. She took several deep breaths and tried to reason with herself. There is no way that anyone could have gotten through Dumbledore’s spells. Even if someone did manage to get past the protection spells, the Fidelis charms would keep them concealed.
Yet even as Lily thought these things, she knew that something had failed. She met her husband’s eyes as the front door flew open. He thrust Harry at her and began screaming at her. But she did not hear the words that James was shouting.
For a brief moment as James was shouting, they met each others gaze and held onto that moment for what seemed like forever. Time slowed down and she was consumed by everything that was said in the depths of his eyes that seemed to burrow straight to her heart.
She saw love. Love like she had never known could exist in any one person. Love that had grown so deep and pure over the years that she was nearly overwhelmed by it. Love not only for her but, for the amazing little boy that she now held in her arms. She saw him saying goodbye to the both of them as if he knew that there was no way out for him. As she watched she saw the determination in his eyes to go down fighting and do whatever he needed to do in order to give his family, his world, their best chance. When he broke the connection between them, the message was clear. Run. Get out of here.
Clutching her precious bundle protectively against her, Lily ran the only way that was available to her…up the stairs. She knew that she was running herself into a dead end, but there were no other options. She just knew that she needed to put as much distance between the intruder and Harry as she could.
She ran into Harry’s nursery and placed him in his crib before running to the window to try to find a way down from here. Finding nothing that would be able to help her and Harry get to the ground safely, she changes tactics and shuts the door. She visually searches the room desperately trying to find something…anything that she would be able to use as a barricade.
From the ground floor, Lily heard James still shouting trying to distract Voldemort, but knew he was not having any success as the sound of a high pitched laughter pierced through his shouting. When the brilliant green glow shown under the door Lily froze.
The piercing pain through her heart told her that her love was gone. She fell to her knees clutching her chest trying to breath through the pain. He was her world, her strength and her best friend. He had truly been the missing half of her soul and now for the first time since they have been bonded through marriage she was empty. She felt as if her heart had been carved out from the inside leaving nothing but a smoking crater to remind her of where he had once been.
The sound of the footsteps on the stairs rang out loudly as Lily forced herself to stand and turn to look upon all the she had left in this world. She wanted Harry to know how much he was loved and how proud they both were of him. She knew that he didn’t understand anything that she was saying to him. Somehow, though, being able to have that moment with him to just give him every ounce of love that she could muster gave her the strength to turn and meet her enemy straight on.
The amusement on the face of the man who had just killed her husband only served to further fuel the flames of Lily’s conviction to protect her son. She heard herself pleading for his life to be spared, but felt as though she were watching the scene unfold from someplace far away. She knew that her cries were falling on deaf ears, but she knew that she needed to try.
She vaguely heard him telling her to get out of the way, but Lily could not…no…would not make it that easy for him. She had to hope, to believe that somehow giving up her life would be enough to spare Harry’s. That somewhere inside this purely evil being would be some small ounce of compassion that could be sparked by a mother’s absolute love and devotion to her only son. That somehow the lust for blood and destruction would end with her life, leaving her beloved son to live on and become the great man he was destined to be.
When the bright green light started her way, she was surprised to realize that she did not feel any fear. All she felt was a wash of love for everything that had held most dear in this world. For James, who fought for her for so many years, before she finally agreed to that first date in Hogsmeade. For Harry, the product of such a perfect love and the absolute reason for their existence, however so short it had been, on this Earth.
As the green light consumed her she felt all of that love from her heart explode outward from her now lifeless body. She knew in that moment, that all would be well. Her son would survive and would become a man worthy of the sacrifices made for him on this night. She knew that she and James would be there next to him through it all, even if he couldn’t see them, until it was his turn to be reunited with them many, many years from now.
Authors Note: Coming soon...a spin-off novel that picks up where this stops off and explores my version of the wizarding afterlife! We all have wondered what Lily & James would have thought about the events that occurred to Harry & their friends following their deaths...this will be your chance to find out!!
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