No profit was made by this. Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Many, many thanks to Lallybroch for beta-reading and her excellent suggestions.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
- The Song of Solomon
October 31, 1981
Up and down and back and forth, she paced.
"There, there, there," she murmured. "It's all right darling
. . . shh, shh, shh . . ."
"How's he doing?"
Lily turned in mid-pace and looked at James as he walked into the dimly
lit living area holding a thick roll of parchment.
"He's never cried like this before," Lily said, raising her
voice over Harry's wails. She resumed pacing and continued to gently rub
the little back.
James saw that Harry was clinging tightly to Lily's shoulder, so tightly
his tiny knuckles were white. His dark brows drew together in concern
and he placed the parchment on a small marble-topped table.
"Are you sure it's not a stomachache?"
She shook her head, pushing her hair back distractedly before shifting
Harry's position to the other shoulder.
"His tummy's tight as a drum but he's not curling up." Lily's
vivid eyes were strained. "He can't seem to relax. He's a ball of
Her breath caught and she paced faster.
James was close beside her now. He rested his hand against the side of
her face and she leaned into it, closing her eyes briefly. "It's
probably a tooth coming in, or --" "No." Lily broke
away and her voice wavered slightly. "It's not a tooth, he doesn't
want to suck on anything and it's worse if I put him down. It's something
else" - Harry gave another scream that shook her inside. She broke
off and tipped her face up, her eyes bright. "Sweetheart, darling,
what's the matter? Why can't Mummy help you? Oh James, he's trembling
. . ."
"Lil . . ." James' voice shook slightly and he struggled to
steady it. He looked at his son's desperate eyes in the small tear-streaked
face and swallowed.
"I'm sure it's nothing. If he hasn't got a fever he'll be all right.
Let me take him now, honey. You're exhausted, you've been walking him
over an hour --"
James' calm voice did little to soothe Lily's nerves. Harry's cries were
coming from someplace deep inside, it was almost as if -
"He's afraid." Lily looked up into James' face, her own face
pale. "He feels something, senses it."
"There's no reason for him to be afraid. We're safe here, love,
safe . . ." He rested his hands on her stiff shoulders to stop her
movements and eased her around so he could pull both his wife and his
child against his heart. Now it was James' hands that were soothing, stoking,
and gently working the tension from Lily's back. Harry took several shuddering
breaths, whimpered once and leaned his head against his mother's collarbone,
nuzzling closer into her neck. His hitching breaths gave way to hiccups
and he closed his eyes as he was supported between the two bodies, exhausted
from his crying.
"There." James smiled and with one hand gently fingered the
deep red hair at Lily's temple, his other hand falling to rest at the
small of her back. His voice was soft. "Our little guy just needed
both his Mummy and Daddy."
He swayed them slightly as he spoke.
Lily rested her cheek against Harry's soft, unruly black hair and breathed
in that special scent all babies carry: sweet, young skin and an unidentifiable
freshness that was intoxicating.
Her heart settled.
"I'll never forget when he was born, how difficult the labor was
and how much I didn't care once I'd seen his face," she whispered.
"Wrinkly and red little man that he was," James chuckled.
Lily laughed silently, careful not to wake Harry, whose tiny lips were
parted and breathing softly and with the telling regularity of sleep against
"He had a certain charm," she replied. For the moment her face
had lost the strain that had been on it for the last several days. They
gazed into each other's eyes and shared something very rare; the deeply
felt love, respect, and affection two people can feel for one another
after seeing the other grow up, and want with their entire soul to witness
a lifetime of each others' growing. It was not something they spoke about,
for as there was no need to ruminate on the fact that they had five fingers
on each hand, there was no need to speak of their love. It was simply
a part of them and no cause for speculation.
"Well, my Lovely Lady Lily, I daresay I could very well wager where
he acquired that charm." James smiled in a self-satisfied way.
"Oh it's you, is it?" Lily's eyes teased back at him. They
were still whispering.
"Naturally." He feigned a look of shock that she even had to
question it before continuing. "I passed onto Harry my admirable
"-- And modesty --"
"-- And the added bonus of having a hairstyle that is insanely
messy" - Lily laughed again.
"-- Every day, without any effort whatsoever," he finished
Lily's brilliant eyes were soft. "You delight me, you know,"
She watched as a myriad of emotion crossed James' face and reflect out
through his eyes, and her heart swelled as well. I love you too,
With startling abruptness, Harry jerked awake and a split second later
an explosive bang reverberated throughout the house. Both happened in
the space of a moment.
Lily and James jumped reflexively and James instinctively swung Lily
and Harry around behind him, placing himself between them and the front
door, for that is where the noise had come from . . .
A voice spoke from outside the magically guarded door, a voice so cold
it sent the blood from their faces and wrung their hearts in its icy grip.
"Why, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, aren't you going to invite me in?"
James didn't hesitate. His wand swiftly in his hand, he pointed it at
the door and sent a powerful locking spell to secure the door more securely.
His other hand and Lily's found each other and gripped. Lily couldn't
breathe; their nightmare had become reality.
"Lily, you need to run," James whispered, the look on his face
one of terrible pain mingled with iron resolve.
Lily's heart spasmed against this and she made a sound that more closely
resembled a wounded animal than a woman. It was happening too fast, much
too fast, and they weren't ready. She clenched his hand even more
The voice outside spoke again, mockingly. "Well that's not very
polite now is it, Mr. Potter? Barring your door from a . . . visitor.
. . ."
Lily and James moved as one and backed further from the door, Harry clutched
by Lily, his green eyes huge. He made not a sound, but hung onto his mother
like a burr.
Almost immediately, a second explosion rent against the door and shook
the entire house. A framed picture of Lily, James, and Harry toppled from
the fireplace mangle and fell facedown onto the hearth, the glass panel
James suddenly moved. He pulled Lily toward the hallway entrance and
when he spoke his voice was raised in panic. One thought was in his head:
keep them safe, I must keep them safe . . .
"Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him
Their eyes and hands clung desperately. One last tough - one last look.
Lily was suddenly nearly blinded by tears. Their hands pulled apart; she
was grasping his fingertips, and then she let him go.
She turned and blindly stumbled away, her hand rising to grasp the door
jam as she passed. As she moved further into the darkness of the hallway,
she heard the front door burst open . . . she heard the laughter . . .
James' voice spoke hoarsely, "You'll not have my son."
She staggered into the nursery and heard him utter a curse that was deflected
and then she heard the words shriek into the night and lance her soul:
Lily's mouth opened in a silent scream and she thudded back into the
nursery wall, which almost but not quite blocked the sound of the thud
when the body hit the floor . . .
Her mouth silently voiced the name - James - and the tears fell
as she closed her eyes in agony: she was screaming inside.
Gasping, she looked down into Harry's innocent face and saw for what
seemed the millionth time her own eyes looking back at her. They were
now showing horrible fear. My poor baby, she thought. And he was
coming . . .
An overwhelming surge of fierce protectiveness rose within her and she
lifted Harry's tiny hand and kissed the fingers. Then, cradling his face
with one hand she tried desperately to memorize his features, his baby
smell, his soft smooth skin, but then she realized she didn't need to;
she already knew him by heart.
Turning, Lily knelt and set Harry on the floor. He gave a soft cry, his
eyes holding hers as he tried to hang onto any part of her he could. Lily's
control nearly broke and a sob slipped from her throat. She eased her
finger out of his tight fist and stood to turn and face the door, her
wand ready in a shuddering hand.
The floorboards creaked under deceptively lazy steps and the long shadow
of a man slid slowly up the floor of Harry's room. Lily breathed in gasps
and stood as still as she could.
A voice suddenly cried, "Expelliarmus!" and Lily's wand flew
out of her hand before it was caught by the long white hand of the black-cloaked
figure that had appeared in the doorway . . .
"My dear Mrs. Potter," it whispered. "I am so sorry to
inform you that your husband is . . . no longer with us . . ." Soft
mocking laughter filled the room and Lily stood rigidly, her green eyes
enormous, her face chalk-white.
Voldemort moved further into the room and his red eyes pierced her through
the gloom. A small indecipherable noise broke the ringing silence in Lily's
ears and her heart stuttered to a stop as those scarlet eyes moved slowly
down and beyond her . . . they burned in the evil face with a sudden and
intense hunger. The lipless mouth opened and a travesty of a sigh escaped.
Lily shuddered violently and gave a choked gasp. The cords of her control
began to snap. "No," she moaned. "Oh no, please no --"
Hearing the terror in his mother's voice, Harry began to cry.
Lily's silent screams were suddenly tearing from her throat.
"Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!" Her shaking hands
rose in hopeless supplication, Harry's screaming cries rising from the
floor behind her.
Voldemort's eyes glowed more strongly and his mouth curled in an odd
"Stand aside, you silly girl . . . stand aside, now . . . ."
"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead --"
His hideous face twisted in macabre delight and he began to laugh.
"Not Harry! Not Harry!" She cried it; she screamed it.
"Please - I'll do anything--"
Harry's screams rose and fell with hers.
"Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!" His wand rose.
Lily was wild, her control gone entirely. Not my baby too, not my
boy . . .
"Not Harry! Please . . ." her sobs came wrenching from
her body. "Have mercy . . . have mercy . . . ."
Shrill laughter bounced off the walls and with deadly finality Voldemort's
wand steadied and pointed at Lily's chest. She drew a breath, was blinded
by green, and she was gone.
Her body was utterly still for a millisecond before gravity took hold
and she collapsed bonelessly in front of Harry. One loud, gut-wrenching
sound spun from his little body one after the other: "Mummy! Mummy!
Voldemort took a step closer, his face indescribable in its triumph.
He took aim and at that moment Harry looked up -
The curse sped through the air faster than the speed of sound - the speed
of light. It struck Harry in the forehead, sliced a cut, and his cries
were abruptly cut off. Instantaneously he was knocked over beside his
mother's body, curled against her side. Unconscious, he didn't see the
tall skeletal figure disintegrate; he didn't hear the unearthly wails.
The force tore the roof apart and bits and pieces of splinter and plaster
rained down on the two bodies, mixing with the vibrant strands of Lily's
hair spread out on the floor. In the other room James' body was almost
completely covered with debris.
The house continued to collapse upon it-self here and there until finally
it was satisfied no more damage could be done. Other than the occasional
crumbling of various precariously hung remnants, all was still.
Languid, silvery light cast by the moon lightly glazed the wreckage and
the silent inhabitants. The shadows and angles created by the light and
destruction made large angular faces and frozen figures caught in abandoned
dance. However, one such figure was not imaginary, nor was it frozen.
A rat scurried over moonbeams and rubble before quickly and without a
peep scurrying away again.
Time passed . . .
Some time later, Harry stirred. He whimpered and a small fist rubbed
weakly at a dusty eye. The crunching sound of heavy footsteps met his
ears and he was gently lifted up, up, up before being cradled against
a broad expanse of muscle. The dusty particles fell from his face, and
those that remained were gingerly brushed away. He opened his eyes and
blinked at an enormous, hairy, stunned face.
"I don' b'lieve it," Hagrid rasped. "It's a bloody miracle!"
With a last deeply sorrowful look around, he turned and carried Harry
from the ruined house.