The Sugar Quill
Author: eca celli  Story: On Angel's Wings  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his past, his present and his future belong to J.K Rowling. I’m only borrowing them. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) is an extremely beautiful, poignant song written by Radney Foster and sung by the Dixie Chicks, which I am also only borrowing. No infringement on any copyrights is intended.

 

Dragon tales and the Water is wide

Pirates sail and lost boys fly

Fish bite moonbeams every night

And I love you

 

The sun was setting on Diagon Alley on a Tuesday night, reflecting gold off the few people who still hobbled up and down the cobbled streets, gazing at the glowing storefronts. A man with perpetually messy black hair and glasses sliding half-way down his long nose was staring, awe-struck at a tiny toy broom in his hands, standing in the shadows just beyond the entrance to Quality Quidditch Supplies.

“It’s the best they’ve got, Lily, closest thing to a real broom. The technology has really come along….”

Lily hefted the baby on her hip and rolled her eyes. She could hear James continuing his rant inside the store rather than actually see him—the setting sun was starting to blind her but she wouldn’t walk back in there for her life. The smell of the broom polish had nearly suffocated her, not to mention the dust. Besides, Harry liked watching the colors and people and things in the street better anyway. Though, she did wish James wouldn’t linger so long. It was getting late.

“I don’t know about getting him a broom period,” she called warningly. She knew James’ face had fallen, despite the shadows camouflaging him. “I don’t know if it’s safe and I don’t want him endangered….”

“Come on, Lil, he’ll have to learn to fly sometime if he’s going to be a big Quidditch star…which he will be, what with my genes and all.” She shot a deprecating look in his direction. “What?! Do you expect him to just jump up and start flying?!” he snorted at the idea.

“Actually there’s a Muggle fairy tale where boys do that. Peter Pan, they call it. It was one of my favorites.”

James wasn’t listening, though. Truly, he was hopeless. She shook her head, smoothing down Harry’s hair as the baby laid his head on her chest and watched the fountain at the end of the street. Fish were jumping in the air, their scaly backs catching the rays of the setting sun and glittering magnificently in the cool and sparkling water. Lily heard a man nearby boasting about his recent battle with a dragon, claiming he had fought it single handedly and saved a damsel in distress to boot. His voice echoed down the nearly empty street easily, entertaining Lily. She could see the reflection of the man’s gaudy orange cloak in Harry’s bright eyes as he watched, mesmerized. Harry was watching all the movements of the people, the signs, the colors—the world shined in his infant eyes. Lily only wished she could see with the wonder he did. Plastered on the side of a dilapidated building across the way, a wanted poster glared at Lily. Out of its somber depths, thirteen sets of eyes stared—the evil, calculating eyes of some of Voldemort’s favorite henchmen. It seemed such a cruel reminder of the war in this peaceful place. Lily shuddered and pulled Harry closer to her.

“This man says they’re as safe as they come, Lily,” James was saying desperately, blissfully unaware of her thoughts, the stout store owner now standing at his side. Lily turned around at his voice and considered the two, who had emerged into the light. “Says he’ll give us a bottom price now too, as it’s closing time and they’re going on clearance tomorrow. Come on, it can’t hurt anything. Come on, Lily…” He gave her his best puppy dog eyes. The sheen of the broom caught Harry’s sight and James seized the opportunity. “Look, Harry loves it. He can’t take his eyes off it!”

Lily looked down at the baby; whose eye lids were slowly drifting shut now, the reflection of the shining broom fading as he slowly slumped against her chest again in drowsiness. “Yes, he’s absolutely thrilled about it, I can tell.”

“Lily!” James begged. He looked like he was about to wet himself from the want of the broom.

“We should get home soon. He needs to be put down to bed,” Lily said.

“Can we buy it? Please? I promise he won’t get hurt. I won’t let anything happen….please?!”

She sighed, “I really shouldn’t have let you come in here. It’s nothing but trouble.” His hazel eyes widened in a silent plea. It was no use. They’d kept the poor owner here too long as it was. “Fine,” she said with a certain resignation. “Buy the broom then.”

James let out a shout of glee that made it sound as if he had just discovered that fairy tales really did come true. Lily smiled slightly, kissed the top of her son’s head tenderly, and gazed at their golden surroundings, alight with magic and wonder--like a fairytale. If only it would stay that way.

 

Godspeed little man

Sweet Dreams little man

Oh, my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings

Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)

 

The sound of the Wireless drifted lazily into the dark bedroom as Lily did up the last buttons of Harry’s pajamas. She leaned down and breathed the smell of him in. Baby powder and cooked carrots, that’s what he smelled like. Lily smiled at the memory--of all things she thought Sirius would do, she had never anticipated that he would actually engage in a food fight with a one year old—but that seemed a long time ago now. Presently, she could hear the low, heated voices of James and Sirius talking about grave, somber matters in the next room. But Harry gurgled happily at her regardless and she hefted him into her arms, walking out into the kitchen where Sirius and Daddy awaited goodnight biddings.

“I don’t know what he’s planning, but whatever it is, I want you to keep safe, right? Don’t do anything reckless and stupid—we need you.” James was saying, as Lily and Harry entered. He was sitting at the table across from Sirius, pinning him with an intense stare.

“Don’t tell me about being reckless and stupid—I can take care of myself. It’s you I worry about, mate. I don’t want you running off and risking your own neck again with that bloody nobility obsession of yours. You have a family now,” Sirius shot back.

“Yeah, I do. And you have a godson now and I’d like to be assured that if anything should happen…and I’m not saying it will,” he added quickly, seeing the look on Sirius’ face. “I want to know you’re still here.”

Lily walked over and clicked off the Wireless, which wasn’t being listened to anyway. Only then did her husband and Sirius notice she had entered the room. She smiled wanly at them. “Harry here wanted to say goodnight.”

“Are you going to sleep then?” James asked conversationally, eager to change the topic.

“It depends on how easily he falls asleep,” she shrugged slightly and added, “I might wait up for you.” Sirius had now plugged his fingers in his ears and started humming loudly. James kicked him hard under the table and smirked innocently back at Lily.

“Okay, I’ll be up in a bit,” he said, rising and kissing Lily and Harry on the cheek.

Sirius got up and shook Harry’s pudgy hand, his fingers now removed from his ears. “It was a good fight you put up today, Harry.” Sirius glanced at the orange collar of his shirt. “But I hear that your dad has bought you a broom so much more mischief lies in our future, my little fellow.” He leaned over and kissed Harry on the cheek too, Harry batting Sirius with his other hand and manufacturing quite an amazing amount of drool. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then. G’night, little man.”

Lily took Harry’s pudgy hand in her own and waved at Sirius and James, walking upstairs to the nursery. She heard them talking after she left:

“So, what can this toy broom do? How high can it go?” Sirius inquired, folding back into his chair at the table.

“Two feet, but I think I can make it go higher with a few simple charms,” James answered confidently, rotating his tea cup in his hands unconsciously.

“Only two feet? I’ll bet we can make it go at least five. Let’s see this bugger…where do you store it?” Sirius muttered, getting up and following James, who was already leading him in the direction of the toy box.

Lily sighed, smiling slightly. What they wouldn’t do to make sure Harry could fly as high as possible, she didn’t know.

 

The rocket racer's all tuckered out

Superman's in pajamas on the couch

Goodnight moon we'll find the mouse

And I love you

 

James lay with Harry on the bed, a tangled mess of bedclothes twisted around them. He bounced Harry on his knee to screams of delight, grinning up into the laughing baby’s radiant face.

“Who’s my big boy? Is that Harry? I think that’s Harry. He’s bouncing and bouncing and bouncing…up in the air…”

Harry clapped his hands and giggled. James lifted him high and brought him down close to his nose, burying his face in Harry’s bare belly and blowing a loud raspberry at which Harry giggled more and patted the top of James’ head with his pudgy hands. “There’s my Harry. There he is.” He threw him up into the air and caught him. Harry laughed louder but his mum, curled on the other side of his dad with a big picture book in her hands, gasped.

“Be careful!”

“I’ve got him,” James reassured Lily and then stretched his arms up high again, holding Harry above his head, “Don’t I, Harry? You’re perfectly safe….” Harry put his pudgy arms up high, saying he wanted to go up again, giggling. “Want to fly? We can make you fly.” James threw Harry into the air again and caught him. “Look at him go, Lily. We’ve got a Quidditch star on our hands. A natural, he is.” James smiled broadly. “I always knew he’d love the air….just like his daddy, isn’t he?”

“Just like his daddy all right: nothing but trouble. Honestly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to read a bedtime story to you two if you won’t stay put!”

“Hear that, Harry? Bedtime story. I figure mummy wants us to land,” he whispered conspiratorially to the baby and then with a whoosh, brought him down between his parents. James rolled over and threw a leg over his wife. He looked at Lily expectantly; his glasses askew, his hair sticking up at odd angles and his son trying to crawl back up onto his chest again. He looked so ridiculous and perfectly endearing that Lily felt that if she kept looking at him, her heart just might burst. She averted her gaze, smiling.

Their bedroom wasn’t exactly neat. Socks were strewn all over the bed, all of theirs. They were different colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. A few were thrown across the headboard. Harry’s pajamas lay abandoned at the foot of the bed, his mum’s slippers left beside them. The baby’s toys were scattered on the floor, where they had left them the other day when James had been playing with him. Harry loved it when his daddy played with him. Beaming at the memory, Lily’s eyes fell on James’ invisibility cloak, obscuring half the bedroom door and his bulky leather Auror boots thrown haphazardly on the rug and her smile dimmed. Next to the portrait of their little family, the heavy black curtains hung on the windows contrasting coldly with the warmth of the rest of the room. The thick, important-looking files on their bedside table looked out of place next to bottles and pacifiers. No, neither James nor she had ever been much for organization; Lily thought sardonically, their life was never meant to be a neat one.

Lily looked down at the big picture book in her hands. Large, shining illustrations glowed back at her, their occupants fidgeting under her gaze, waiting to be admired and enjoyed by infant eyes. One person waved at her and she laughed for some inexplicable reason. Maybe it was just the moment, in all its melancholy peculiarity. “Well, it’s no use now, is it?” she said, nodding at Harry. “Go on, you can play with Daddy more.” Harry clawed at his dad’s chest still, clearly wanting back up. Lily laughed softly, “Mummy’s just a bore, isn’t she?”

James laughed, “No, no, Mummy’s not boring--Mummy’s our favorite playmate!” He leaned over and kissed Lily full on the mouth and though she wanted to scold him for his bad pun, it amazed her how he could still make her melt, even after all the hardships and the stress and a thousand other little things.

“James!” she reprimanded in mock outrage. “There’re children present!” She could feel the corners of her mouth lifting, quite against her will. She glanced down at Harry who had taken a seat between them now and was clapping his hands gleefully, his eyes locked on his mum and dad.

“What? Harry knows how much I love his mum!” James stretched out an arm and gathered Harry up to them, nuzzling his wild black fuzz. He kissed the baby’s cheek loudly, making a theatrical smacking noise. Then, James whispered into Harry’s ear, to the delight of the infant: “I love your mum so very, very much, Harry; and I love you more than you could ever know.”

James felt a hand on the top of his head, trying to smooth his unruly hair. He lifted his eyes and saw Lily’s pure green ones. “You’re such a loveable idiot,” she said.

James kissed her again.

A few moments later they felt the soft padding of a baby crawling up the mattress and then James felt a warm and pudgy hand against his face. He opened his eyes and saw his son giggling, one hand patting each of his parents’ cheeks.

Lily laughed that ringing, beautiful laugh that James would do anything to hear and pulled Harry toward her. “Come here, you silly little munchkin,” she murmured.

James wrapped his arms around the both of them, grinning. “Mummy and Daddy love you sooo much, Harry. You’re our good little man, our big boy,” he crooned but his son didn’t seem to hear the words at all this time. Harry teetered between them and then collapsed against his mother’s chest, fast asleep.

“Our little man is all tired out.” Lily whispered reverently.

James nodded, kissing the top of Harry’s head, “Sweet dreams, Harry. Sleep tight.”

 

Godspeed little man

Sweet Dreams little man

Oh, my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings

Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)

 

She was framed in a shaft of moonlight by the window, rocking slowly back and forth, back and forth, alone in the nursery with Harry pressed to her bosom. It had been a long time since the baby had cried out in the middle of the night; a long time since she had left her warm spot in bed next to James to come rock him back to sleep. Some part of her wanted to go back to that warm place beside her husband, some part of her wanted to return to sleep, to put Harry back in his crib and pretend that everything was normal, but there was another part of her, a stronger part, that kept her here, rocking back and forth in this dark nursery with her infant son clutched to her chest, the soft rise and fall of his sleeping breath calm against the heaving of hers.

Standing in the doorway, James knew that she was aware of his presence. He had tried to enter quietly, but she knew though she never turned away from the window. And somehow James knew that she feared the moment when he would speak, when he would ask her to come back to bed, when he would try to comfort her, to tell her it was all right--somehow he knew she feared the moment when he would ask her what the matter was. But James could never stand it when Lily cried and he felt even worse when he didn’t know what she was crying for, when he didn’t know how he could make things better.

“Lily?” His voice sounded lonely in the room, like he was the only person present, though Lily’s soft sniffles testified otherwise. He took a few cautious steps forward. “Lily, you should really go to bed. Harry’s fine, he’s asleep now. You can come to bed. We’ve a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

She kept staring out of the window, staring at the black night sky and James became a bit unnerved. Harry’s toy broom hung paralyzed in the middle of the air, a consequence of Sirius’ attempted improvements and it lent a preternatural quality to the place that chilled him. The room was bathed in night, making everything look ominous and strange. And Lily kept staring out of the window. The moonlight reflected eerily on her wet cheek and if he didn’t know better, he would’ve thought her an exquisite sculpture, this scene a masterful and mournful painting. But it wasn’t. It was very real and James felt his composure falter, his heart constrict painfully, as he fell into a nearby armchair wearily.

“It’s the middle of the night, Lily. We should catch our sleep while we can, you know,” he tried but she didn’t move.

“Lily, please.” She didn’t say anything. He wished she wouldn’t do this right now. James leaned his head back. “Please, I can’t handle this right now.” She snorted softly and James had the distinct impression that she thought his comment very selfish. Starting to feel defensive, he snapped, “I’m trying, Lil, but I feel like I’m all alone here. I can’t talk to myself forever, you know. You have to tell me what the matter is.” Upon his last statement, James saw a fresh stream of tears fall from her eyes. He felt a pang of guilt.

“You know, I can’t fall asleep without knowing you’re safe beside me. You need to take care of both your babies, Harry can’t have all the fun,” James joked, trying to lighten the situation but not even the slightest flicker of a smile crossed her face. Even humor couldn’t get him out of this one.

He sighed. When it got down to it, James knew what the matter was. He knew why both of them lost hours of sleep every night, why Lily was crying now, why he felt like crying now. James knew but he hated talking about it. He hated talking about it because when they did, it seemed that much more real.

“Don’t leave me here alone, Lily. I can’t handle this alone,” his voice was hoarse, strained, like he was struggling against something that could destroy him if it ever burst out in full intensity. “Talk to me, please. I need you to talk to me.” Again, only silence answered him. “Okay. Okay, that’s fine. But come to bed, Lily. Put Harry in his crib, we should really go to sleep…”

“Do you ever wonder whether he’ll know how much we love him if something should happen to us?” Lily asked. Her voice wavered feebly, it was tear filled and faltering but very few things had hit James with as much force in his life. Was that what she worried about? Was that why she was here, crying? He didn’t know…he didn’t know how to handle this.

“Nothing’s going to happen to us. We’ll…we’ll be fine. I swear we will,” he finally answered but even James didn’t believe himself. He blinked hard.

“I’m not saying anything will happen,” she said, her voice still wet and wavering but steadily growing in strength. “but sometimes I wonder…if something happens to us, will Sirius know to stop and let Harry point at the pictures when he reads him his bedtime story the way we do? And what about the feeding—a baby is a lot to take care of for a bachelor, no matter how good his intentions may be—and sometimes you really can’t tell when Harry’s hungry unless you know what to look for. And will he know to hold Harry a lot? He likes to be held and cuddled with, it calms him and will he know to….to tell him…” Lily looked up at James for the first time that night. He wished she hadn’t.

Lily’s eyes were like pensieves—if only one knew how to read their mysterious depths all her thoughts, feelings and memories were open to them. And James knew how to read them—he had known for many years how to decipher the secrets of those bewitching green pools. And now, James saw in her eyes the absolute terror she felt, the helplessness, the pain, the heartache and the overwhelming love she held for their son, who possessed her very same emerald green eyes. James saw reflected in Lily’s eyes the same emotions that boiled, suppressed, deep inside of him.

“Sirius, Peter and Remus will take care of Harry for us, Lily, if….if anything should happen. They’ll…they’ll tell him…” James choked on his words. He screwed up his face and buried it in his hands. This was so hard. “They’ll….they’ll tell him how much we…love him,” he mumbled, but his forced words were only weak comfort at best. All of them lived a precarious existence—there was no guarantee that any would survive this war, no guarantee that Harry wouldn’t be shuffled off to who knows where or even killed. James shuddered at the mere thought.

Harry. Everything came back to that child—he was James’ whole life, the reason for his existence. Sometimes James found himself pulling himself out of bed in the morning and reporting to Dumbledore solely out of his love for Harry. Sometimes, when he was ducking Death Eaters’ hexes, he found himself sustained by the thought of his infant son. Harry was the reason he kept fighting this war—kept fighting so that someday Harry and other children like him may live in a world where there was no terror and no war, where there was no Voldemort. If there was anything that redeemed James’ life—redeemed him for all his errant youth, his stupidity and recklessness, his foolishness and his bullying—it was Harry and the love that created him. James’ body heaved with a dry sob. There were no words…

“I’m sorry, James,” Lily said and he felt Lily’s hand rest on his shoulder, rubbing his back comfortingly. “I’m sorry that I can’t control these fears but…” she broke off shakily but started again, “but sometimes I’m terrified that I’m going wake up and find Harry gone, that he’ll be lost to us forever and...James, I can’t stand that. I want to hold on to him forever, James. I want to…I want to know him. I want him to know us, James. I don’t want to….I don’t want to leave my baby,” she dissolved.

Blindly, James sought her hand and brought it down to his face, kissing her fingers and shushing her softly. “I know, Lily. I know,” he rasped, screwing up his eyes against the emotions.

“I’m just being silly,” she laughed damply, “Really, you’re right. We should just go to bed. I’ve wasted enough time as it is…” She pulled away, her hand slipping softly out of James’ embrace. He looked up at her departure, watched as she cradled Harry above his crib, gently laying him down under his blanket.

The moonlight gilded her in silver, shined on her skin, reflected off her hair. Its pale glow enveloped her as she bent above her son, her hand caressing his cheek, cherishing every part of him. James heard her whisper lovingly, “I love you, Harry. I love you more than you’ll ever, ever know. I love you more than words can express. I love you more than myself, more than my life, more than the world. I love you, I love you; I love you. I love you, my little Harry, my darling baby boy, my beautiful, beautiful son. I love you…” Tears dropped down, one by one, catching the moonlight in their watery brilliance—like small diamonds raining from her eyes. James felt streams run down his own cheeks, watching his family. He rose up from his chair and walked over to them, slipping his arm around Lily’s waist, holding her close to him while they both gazed down at their still sleeping son.

“I love you, Harry. I love you more than I’ll ever be able to express. I love you so much, so very, very much. I love you, Harry. I love you, my son, my little man, my baby boy. I love you, I love you; I love you. I love you until eternity and back. I love you. You are the reason for my life and when I’m gone, whenever that is, Harry, I want you to know above all else that I love you. Whatever else I may have done, whatever else happens, I love you, I love you, I love you forever,” James whispered as Lily chanted her devotion.

He stroked back Harry’s hair knowing it would never settle down—it was just like his hair. Throughout his life, Harry would look in the mirror and see a spitting image of his father but James wanted the original to be there. James wanted to see Harry mature into an individual, to grow up, he wanted to know him and he wanted his son to know his father, to see him daily. He wanted to hear himself be called dad. But, lacking this, James wanted his son to know that he was a good man, that though he may have made many mistakes in his life, he ultimately fought for what was right, what was true and good.

James wanted Harry to know that he loved him, that he would love him beyond his own life, that he would love him forever.

James felt Lily burrow into his chest, her tears dampening his pajamas. He wrapped his other arm around her and pulled her to him, kissing the top of her head, murmuring softly and gazing through bleary eyes at his baby, still sleeping soundly in his crib.

They never left the nursery that night. When morning’s light touched them, they were curled together in the armchair beside the crib, hair matted and eyes red rimmed. Neither had wanted to leave their son, even for a few hours, instead wanting to be there for him, to see him and touch him while they could—as if they anticipated some imminent tragedy. They didn’t want to leave their baby.

But as long as Harry remembered them, James and Lily would never leave.

 

God bless Mommy and matchbox cars

God bless Dad and thanks for the stars

God hears "amen" wherever we are

And I love you

 

Harry had figured out a long time ago how to unlatch his cupboard door from the inside and he used that knowledge now, wriggling out from his tiny nook under the stairs onto the cold tile floor of the Dursley’s front hall. The whole house was quiet and dark, the peace broken only by Uncle Vernon’s snores and the occasional creaking of bedsprings as he shifted in his sleep. Harry wished he could sleep too but tonight his mind wouldn’t leave him alone. He scrabbled up on his feet and pushed open the living room door, being careful not to make any noise—Aunt Petunia slept lightly.

The plush carpet of the living room made little noise as Harry’s small feet padded across it and his tiny frame sat down beside the cabinet where Aunt Petunia stashed all of Dudley’s toys downstairs. Silently, Harry pulled open the cabinet door and brought out the toys one by one. Dudley got all of the greatest toys. Matchbox cars, video games, action figures—he got everything he wanted and Harry got nothing at all. Harry pushed one of the toy cars around on the carpet, imprinting little tracks on the rug as he rolled it around himself, making quiet “vrooming” noises in the dark.

Harry wished he had toys. He wished he’d be allowed to play, that Dudley would let him share. Harry wished that Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon would give him something besides a tissue or an old pair of socks for each holiday. He wished that they’d be nice to him sometimes or at least stop Dudley from beating him up. Harry never got any attention from his aunt and uncle, never got any sign of love or affection while Dudley was smothered with kisses and hugs and gifts. Harry told himself that he shouldn’t care, that he shouldn’t care about these things; that they didn’t matter because his aunt and uncle were mean people and they were just trying to show him that he didn’t matter. Really, Harry didn’t need a lot of toys, he didn’t need to be smothered in shows of affection, didn’t need a lot of worthless things to make him happy. He just needed to know he was cared for.

On a lot of lonely, bleak nights Harry found himself wondering about his parents: if his parents had lived would he have his own toys too, would he have his own bedroom to sleep in, his own place to play? Would his mum have read him bedtime stories? Would she have tucked him in, kissed him goodnight and left a nightlight on in case he got afraid of the dark? Would his dad have played games with him? Would his parents have hugged him and held him and comforted him? Would they have told him they loved him? If his parents had lived, would Harry be happier? He thought so.

Harry stopped pushing the toy car around in circles and looked out the window. A streetlight illuminated the garden, the moon floating above in a hazy dark blue expanse. Harry wished his mum and dad hadn’t died in that car crash. He wished that he didn’t have to wonder about whether they would have given him this, or done that for him. He wished he didn’t have to wonder what their faces looked like, what their voices sounded like. Harry wished he knew for sure how his parents loved him. But sometimes, in the middle of the night like this, when he was all alone wondering about his parents—sometimes he thought he could hear the barest whisper of a man and a woman saying, “I love you, Harry.” And then his parents didn’t seem that lost to him after all.

 

Godspeed little man Sweet Dreams little man

 Oh, my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings

Godspeed Godspeed

 Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)

 

A/N I remember when I was four or five--my great grandfather had just died and I started wondering for the first time about death. I asked my mom about it when she tucked me in one night—would she die someday? Yes, she would and I would someday too, probably a long time from now. And then I asked if she would die to protect me and she said yes, if she had to, without any hesitation. I’m not a parent but I am a daughter and I hope that I’ve portrayed James and Lily and their trials as parents adequately. Please review, I love feedback.

//
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