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The End Of Something by minniemcmouse

Format: Short story
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 9,194
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Humor, Romance, AU
Characters: Harry, Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, Voldemort
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 05/12/2005
Last Chapter: 07/06/2005
Last Updated: 09/17/2005

Summary:


Thanks to Iced_Cherriez for the banner!
No lives are ever all misery, all happiness or always filled with drama and the lives of Lily and James were no exceptions. This story follows them with one chapter devoted to each genre through the highs and lows of their lives as they came to a premature close. [On Hiatus]


Chapter 1: Crossover
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Thank you to forsakephoenix, my most marvellous beta reader.
The End Of Something

Chapter One



The Daily Observer – Friday 23rd February 1981

The local people of the Kapet Islands received quite a shock this afternoon on their train journey across the ocean when a sighting of The Dog occurred. Such a sighting has not been recorded in almost two days which is record timing for the area. We interviewed many of the people around the scene to hear of their experiences today.

“It was strange…” said a man who calls himself China, one of the passengers aboard the train at the time. “I noticed the snow outside and then there was a roar but no one took much notice of it, I mean they never do anymore. Then the track shook and a moment later the last carriage (which I was in) flew off the rails,” he said, telling just part of the horrific experience.

“It was a tragedy waiting to happen but fortunately only one person was injured today. A young woman in some sort of goo, believed to be saliva, appeared on the platform. She was suffering from shock but was the only casualty from the experience,” Thomas the Tank Engine, the train in question, informed this reporter. When asked about the day’s events, the Fat Controller refused to comment but he is thought to be denying the existence of The Dog despite today’s evidence…





Thomas sped over the tracks, each of them carefully laid across the deep waters of the Kapet Sea on his journey towards Chayre Leg. The journey was one which he had made many times and although there had been some … mishaps … in the past, they were few and far between.

The Fat Controller stood on the station tapping his little black feet and examining his stopwatch as he waited for Thomas the Tank Engine to pull into the station. The time was permanently set to five o’clock on his watch which was, oddly enough, the exact time at which Thomas was due in. Thomas had never been late according to his excellent timekeeping and, true to form, he pulled into the station moments later.

“Five o’clock precisely,” The Fat Controller said triumphantly as he always did when Thomas was on time. He put his pocket watch into his jacket and stood to the side to allow the passengers to step onto the platform.

He took off his top hat to a young woman who stepped off first and she smiled an almost plastic smile at him as she crossed the station to the arms of a young man.

“How was the journey, love?” he asked her as she leant stiffly in his arms.

“It was … interesting,” she concluded and the man she was with gave her a strange look. He enquired as to what she meant and she went on to say, “I was dozing off when I happened to look out of the window and I’m sure my eyes were playing tricks on me but I thought I saw something… it was like a giant dog.” The woman shuddered slightly.

“A giant dog?” the Fat Controller asked, unable to resist joining their conversation. The crowd around them looked slightly nervous at this information but stayed silent and focused on overhearing the rest of their conversation. “Madam, I assure you that there are no giant dogs in these parts.”

“That’s not strictly true,” a young man said, butting into the conversation. “My cousin lives on the edge of Faire Place and there have been multiple sightings of The Dog around there.”

“Nonsense. Everyone knows that those from around that area are almost always delirious from the heat,” the Fat Controller said and accompanied it with an uneasy laugh.

The man who had spoken muttered something darkly about slander before the sound of Thomas’s whistle pierced the air. He turned away from the Fat Controller with so many others and boarded the train.

“Well, I’ll tell you something, I’m not going on that train again,” the young woman said. She stared into the distance but she saw no trace of The Dog as she left the station. There was a flash of green light in the vague direction of Faire Place, accompanied by thunder moments later.



Lily yawned as she dusted over the coffee table and smiled lightly at the vision of her son tugging at his father’s hair as he sat on James’s chest.

“I don’t know why you bother to dust the Muggle way, Lily. Surely there’s a magical way to clean efficiently,” James said, his wand in his hand, and cleaning ideas in his mind.

“Really? Then I’d love to hear about it,” she said coolly. There was a flash of green in the fire and she added, “Hello Sirius.”

“Good afternoon all,” the man identified as Sirius said as he stepped out of the fireplace and promptly fell over the fire guard. It had been there for seven months – since Harry’s birth – but Sirius always managed to walk into it. Harry made a series of happy gurgling noises at the sight of his godfather who grinned in return.

“My kid’s a genius… speaking Gobbledegook at such a young age,” James said and Sirius’s laughter boomed out across the room.

“Don’t laugh so loudly, Sirius, I’ve already got a headache,” Lily said as she put down the duster on the table before sinking into a chair by the fire. “Go get me some tablets, would you?”

“I would but I’ve got to catch up with my godson,” Sirius replied, taking Harry from James and sitting down on the floor with him. “James’ll do it.”

“Oh he will, will he?” James asked dryly but went to the kitchen despite himself, muttering to himself all the way. “—Muggle tablets, don’t work anyway…”

“So how do you feel about the front page of The Prophet?” Sirius asked Harry. “Very entertaining, don’t you think?”

Harry’s only response was a series of indecipherable sounds.

“Yes, I am amazing, aren’t I? But back to The Prophet…” Sirius said and Lily hoped James would return quickly; her very sanity was at sake.



“—sue for slander…Preposterous!” The Fat Controller said as he nodded at Thomas. The train slowly began its journey back towards the isle of Cophey Taibal and a young man with thoughts of slander on his mind glared at the Fat Controller as they began to cross the sea. This was not his day – so far he had been ridiculed at the station and had been attacked by a large fly. Could things get much worse?

“You’ll never get a penny out of him you know,” an old man said to his left and he turned to regard him. “He’s got the best lawyer around. He goes by the name of Ken and he’s the most intelligent guy this side of Living Room.” The man’s accent was thick and rich. It made the younger man think of cowboys, although he didn’t know why. “So, what’s your name, son?”

“Made In China,” he replied, lifting up his foot to show the words printed there in large writing. “And how do you know about Ken?”

“Nice to meet you, China,” the elder of the two replied, using only the man’s last name. “You can call me USA. So you’re from across the pond, then?”

“It’s hardly a pond.” China laughed as he gazed through the window at the sea of blue below them, the thin tracks the only thing which separated their carriage from what would probably be an unfortunate and untimely end. “Besides, you still haven’t told me about Ken.”

“It’s a funny story…” USA began but China wasn’t listening all that much. There was another flash of green and this time no thunder accompanied it.

“Snow?” a young girl asked towards the end of the train and China smiled slightly at the small flakes which settled around them. He pulled a face at the girl he knew vaguely as Shelly before their whole world went upside down and thunder roared around them.



“Hello Peter,” Lily smiled as a man stepped through the fireplace. She was relieved that someone else would join her, someone not intent on criticising her Muggle ways and not attempting to talk about politics with her seven month old son.

“Really? That’s a fascinating opinion but Fudge will never make it as Minister. It’ll be Crouch, you mark my words,” Sirius said to Harry. Peter raised an eyebrow before crossing over to the sofa.

“Have you found the tablets yet?” Lily pleaded as Sirius launched into something akin to an argument with Harry about why Crouch was better than Fudge, although oddly enough he appeared to be losing.

“Yeah, hang on!” James called back to her and he appeared in the doorway a moment later holding tablets and a glass of water. His feet slipped on the lino flooring in the kitchen turning what could previously have been described as an almost-graceful walk into a rather amusing fall. James, water, and two tablets fell towards a small train track below.

Reverto.” Remus said idly as he stepped through the fireplace into the madhouse on the other side. James, the glass of water, and the tablets leapt back to their former positions.

“Good afternoon, Remus.” Lily smiled slightly at him as Remus summoned the water and Lily’s much needed medication to him in order that James would not trip and throw it over Peter. “Thank you.” She smiled and quickly took the tablets.

“I’ve got it,” James said suddenly and Remus looked at him with interest. “Ha… you and your Muggle cleaning, Lils.” Sirius stood up with Harry to get a better view of what was going on. James briefly wondered if he would have the time to cast a summoning charm and then create a minor vacuum milliseconds later but decided to try anyway.

Accio dust!” he said loudly and opened his mouth to speak the second incantation but he never managed to raise his wand.

Silence filled the room, broken a moment later by Harry’s happy ramblings as he crawled across the room to his father. James shook the dust off him and smiled sheepishly as the dust settled on the floor and the train tracks below him.

“You idiot,” Lily said simply and Peter, Remus and Sirius laughed.

“I’m going to go take a shower,” James said dully as he turned to walk away and caught his foot on the enchanted train which had previously been moving along the tracks.



“What’s going on?!” China shouted as he clung onto his seat. The last carriage of the train had been lifted high into the air by some unidentified force and it was his luck that he was on it.

The only replies he got were in the forms of screams as everyone in the carriage suddenly found themselves lying in a heap on the ceiling.

“It’s over,” USA breathed and everyone relaxed for a moment. The next second they were flung against the far wall and a giant eye appeared at the end of the compartment.



“James, what are you doing?” Sirius asked him before he transformed into a giant dog and followed Harry across the room. He found his godson sitting on the floor, looking at the train in confusion as it lay still on its side.

“There are little people in it!” James grinned as he looked down at the small toy people in the carriage he was holding. On the floor, Harry reached out towards one of the people who had got out of the train and happily put its head into his mouth. He pulled a face and spat the small woman onto the train station instantly.

“Plastic not to your taste?” Sirius asked as he turned back into himself.

“It’s probably the dust,” Lily said pointedly and James took the hint. He set the carriage onto the tracks and went upstairs for a shower and a clean set of robes.

“Do you think he plays with that train set when Harry’s not around?” Peter asked as they watched Sirius set the train back onto the tracks and Harry made noises they assumed were of delight as the train began to move again.

“I don’t know but I hope James has learnt his lesson about cleaning,” Lily said as she watched Sirius playing with Harry and the trains.

“What? That you’re better at it?” Peter asked and Lily gave him a surveying look.

“And why would I be better at it than he is?” she asked him lightly.

“Well because you clean more often,” Peter said, “And you’re a wom–”

“Put your spade down and step away from the grave!” Remus said quickly before Peter could finish.



“I’m alive…” China said dimly as the realisation that the train was moving again hit him. “Well, not alive as such,” he added when USA raised an eyebrow.

“It’s all thanks to the gods,” Shelly said at the end of the train and pressed a kiss to the window. China shook his head in disbelief as he glanced out of the window towards the middle of the track where the people had erected a large statue of their gods. Barbie stood on the platform with Action Man at her side; both of them were smiling widely and looking as if they could do great things, such as banish giants and The Dog.

“I can’t believe we saw The Dog!” China said suddenly, once he realised what had happened.

“And we’re still in one piece,” USA added.

“Sadly we’re also going back to the station… we’re going the wrong way,” China noted as they sped back towards the station at Dore Weigh.

“Polly Pocket – reporter for The Daily Observer,” said a woman wearing various rubbery clothes as she threw herself forward to those who hurriedly got off the train. She caught hold of China and began her interview whilst a group of women shook their heads in disgust nearby.

“I remember the days when she was just a little girl, only a centimetre high or so,” said one of the elder figures and tried in vain to fold her arms. She wished that she had elbow joints and perhaps, one day, she would have the ability to fold her arms and put her hands on her hips in irritation.

“Ah, yes, back when she used to have those little houses, you remember?” said a man close by.

“Yes, she used to play in that little shell but now she’s turned into a clothes obsessed reporter!” the woman said and tutted as Polly tried to get an interview from the woman lying in a pool of saliva. She had been half eaten by a giant child and was recovering on the station.



“Why is there a Polly Pocket here?” Lily demanded as she picked the small doll up from the train and looked accusingly at Sirius.

“Hey, don’t look at me like that!” Sirius scowled. “Peter’s the one with the secret…” he trailed off but it was enough so that Peter was blushing furiously and Remus was in hysterics.

Remus tried and failed to speak through tears of laughter. Peter glared at him before Apparating out of the room which only made Remus laugh harder and it was becoming almost painful.



The Fat Controller stood on the station, desperately trying to calm the people down as they ran around in panic. Polly Pocket, the reporter in the area, had just been plucked off the platform by an unidentified giant and there were two more close by. Chaos reigned as people ran around, unable to leave the platform due to a number of charms upon it and not desperate enough to get back into the train in which they had almost been killed earlier on.

“Everyone calm down!” the Fat Controller shouted and suddenly everything was still.



“Put the train away now, would you Sirius?” Lily said and the man dutifully tore his gaze from the miniature people who were running around on the train station.

Finite Incantatem,” he said, waving his wand and the charms were instantly removed from the set. Harry looked disappointed when everything became still and so Sirius quickly transformed into a dog to amuse him.

“How are you going to put it away if you’re a dog, Sirius?” Lily asked him but smiled; it seemed like Sirius had enough trouble to be going on with. Harry had wrapped his little arms around his neck at his first opportunity. Remus grinned as he watched Sirius trying desperately to pull away and get the young infant off him but it didn’t appear to be working. He turned back to Lily.

“So, Peter has a secret collection of dolls…” He grinned. “Did you know about this?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.” She smiled. “Fancy going to take a look?”

“Definitely.”



The station was still and the many people who had been rushing about on it before lay on the ground. The train had stopped moving, the Fat Controller had stopped shouting, but one unfortunate woman was still covered in saliva. In the background, a giant child released The Dog from its clutches and crawled off towards the far off region of Dore Weigh where it settled down to rest. Beside it, The Dog did also.

Thomas the Tank Engine whistled quietly as he raced around the track which was miraculously still intact. There was a flash of green from somewhere in the room and he was still instantly. Laughter could be heard as two giants appeared on the opposite side of the room.

“Barbies… hundreds of them! This has made my year!”

China sighed inwardly as he was picked up from the floor by the giant child moments later when he had escaped the clutches of The Dog. He found his feet were slowly being gummed by the large thing, and although he was not being eaten, he was becoming rather wet. China decided that this definitely was not his day.


Chapter 2: Action
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Chapter Two

…Born to those who have thrice defied him…


James flung himself to the side, the bolt of red missing him by inches. A jolt of pain flared up his arm as he landed hard on the floor, but he was past caring. He stared around the room and took in the scene which met him: himself, Lily, and Sirius against five Death Eaters. They weren’t going to last long. His gaze scanned the room he was in and searched for a way out. He didn’t need to be told that there was only one way out and it was blocked. The idea of escape left his mind as another spell shot out of a wand straight at Sirius.

Sirius’ eyes widened in horror at the spell, knowing that nothing could block that… nothing. The knowledge echoed inside his head even as he took in Peter’s unconscious form on the floor. He hoped to Merlin that Remus would be back soon with Dumbledore, even if it was too late for him. Suddenly he was falling, falling and his mind was beginning to replay the day’s events.


*


“Jam–” Sirius started before Remus clamped his hand over his friend’s mouth and, with Peter’s aid, dragged him in the opposite direction.

“For God’s sake! Just leave them alone!” Remus said to him in disbelief.

“But…” Sirius began and once again Remus cut him off.

“Sirius, I don’t care. James asked for one afternoon alone with Lily and, whether you like it or not, he is going to get one,” Remus told him in harsher tones than he would normally have used.

“I can see what you mean,” Sirius said and Remus and Peter cast him a suspicious look; Sirius hardly ever agreed with anyone especially when the topic was Lily and James. Peter moved a little closer to Sirius in case he decided to run and Remus kept his eyes fixed on him, all the time wondering just what it was he was planning. “However…” The rest of the sentence was drowned out as Sirius sprinted away from them as fast as his legs could carry him.

“Bloody hell,” Remus muttered darkly under his breath as he raced after him, Peter on his heels.

“I thought we were having a day alone?” Lily said lightly as she saw Sirius racing towards them with Remus and Peter not far behind. She had intended it to be a statement but her tone had made it more of a question to her companion.

“I thought that as well,” James said grimly, narrowing his eyes and knowing that what he was seeing probably wasn’t quite what Lily saw. He reasoned that she would see his three friends running to tell him something of meagre importance where as he was watching Remus and Peter try to keep Sirius away from him. Naturally they were failing.

Sirius staggered forward as a wave of energy hit his ankles unexpectedly from in front of him. In that split second, he had almost fallen face first to the floor, something which would certainly have disappointed many of the school’s female population when he returned with a rather smashed in face. What the hell…? Sirius wondered as he regained his footing and found Remus and Peter on him a moment later. James! How could you! He glanced up to see his friend with his arm around Evans and he could even distinguish a grin on his lips even with the distance between them.

Lily allowed herself the slightest of smiles as she slipped her wand back into her pocket and James looked down at her, one eyebrow raised questioningly.

“Shall we continue?” she asked mildly, her eyes laughing as she linked her arm through his. James decided that questions probably weren’t the best of ideas as he allowed himself to be led down the street past Remus, Peter, and Sirius. He briefly hoped that they would not be disturbed anymore that day as his eyes met Sirius’. James sighed inwardly when he saw the determination in them; it was going to be a long day – for Remus and Peter - after all they were the ones who were attempting to keep Sirius at bay. In contrast to what would probably become an awful day for his friends, he would be spending his afternoon with Lily, ignoring Sirius should he cross their path.

“Just let them go!” Lily glanced behind her when she heard Peter’s voice and saw Sirius with his eyes narrowed at his two friends. Upon noticing her looking at them, Sirius waved cheerily and Remus and Peter did the same.

“Seriously, leave them alone,” Remus said when Lily had turned around. Sirius raised an eyebrow.

“And why would I do that?” he asked coolly before staring past them at James and Lily in confusion. “What on earth… Expelliarmus!

Incarcerous.”

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Sirius demanded as he lay on the floor, bound tightly by Remus. Peter lay beside him gasping for breath.

“I could ask you the same question!” Remus retorted. “I told you to leave them alone and you’re going to whether you like it or not.”

“Idiots,” James muttered as they walked further along past the Shrieking Shack, a place which had recently been attracting many tourists to it and had been labelled as ‘the most haunted house in Britain’ by The Daily Prophet a week earlier.

“I wonder what haunts it,” Lily said thoughtfully as they meandered down the street. “I know that some people say they’ve heard it but I don’t know what would haunt a place like that or why…”

“Nor do I,” James said lightly, smiling slightly at the younger students who were taking turns to try and peer through the cracks in the boarded windows, “which is why I think it’s all an act. They just want to get more people into Hogsmeade, and a haunted house is the only way to do it.”

“Seems rather pointless to me then,” Lily replied. “I mean everyone’s seen ghosts before so why they’re making such a big deal out of it, I really don’t know.”

“You fancy a drink in the Three Broomsticks?” James asked, slowing to an eventual halt as the first few droplets of rain began to fall. Lily stared up at the sky which had been clear not long since but had clouded over fast. “I’m buying,” he added when she didn’t respond immediately.

Eventually, it was the beginnings of a torrential downpour which won her over, or at least that was what Lily told herself as she walked into the pub filled with students. They took a small table near the door and James peered out through the small windows as the rain pummelled the windows. The room was filled with cheerful chattering of students and teachers alike; even Dumbledore was sitting with a Zonko’s bag at his side (although Zonko never did enjoy his visits – he always seemed to drive his younger customers away…) and a Butterbeer in his hand.

“You seem distracted,” Lily said quietly as she touched his hand and James jumped slightly.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, “just wondering what happened to those idiots.”

There was a flash of lightening overhead, illuminating the darkened village and James stared, stunned, towards the end of the street. About half a dozen people were standing out in the rain, down towards the Shrieking Shack. James couldn’t see their faces but there was something about them, perhaps about the way they stood, which made him feel nervous, or the way they all gathered around one person…

“I have to go…” he muttered to Lily, almost as an afterthought as he leapt up from the table and ran out into the rain. The weather was getting worse and within moments James was soaked to the skin but he didn’t care. That was Peter down there, he just knew it. As he ran, he stared at the men ahead of him as they got clearer and clearer. He would have thought that their colour would increase also, but it did not; they remained black figures, mere silhouettes. A chill touched him as he realised who they were. He kept running.

Thud … Thud … Thud. James’s heart and his feet pounded together as he sprinted, hoping he was neither too late nor mistaken in his mission. Suddenly someone leapt out in front of him. James had already managed to stop, look horrified and stagger backwards before he realised who it was between him and the Death Eaters.

“Remus!” he gasped. “Peter… Death Eaters… Peter!” He tried to push past him but Remus grabbed hold of him tightly.

“Don’t be a fool! They’ll kill you!” Remus said, trying to hold his gaze and see the madness in his actions, but James stared over his shoulder and strained against him as he stared towards Peter.

“We have to do something!” James yelled at him as he broke free of Remus’s grasp.

“No, James!” Remus shouted after him but he was unheard over the pounding of the rain. “Oh Jesus Christ!”

Lily remained frozen for a moment as she had sat in The Three Broomsticks, her mind comprehending that James was running down the street towards half a dozen Death Eaters surrounding what looked like Peter Pettigrew. The sight which met her eyes caused them to widen considerably and within seconds, she flung herself through the door and out into the rain.

She could barely feel her feet touching the ground as she ran, almost like flying, as she pursued James down the street. Even as she gained ground on him, wild thoughts ran through her mind. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t worn my boots today… she found herself thinking. A slight smile touched her face as she caught up with him but she realised suddenly that he was not James. Her wish for alternate footwear was strengthened as she tripped and fell. She grabbed the figure just ahead of her and they both went crashing to the ground.

Sirius watched as James raced past. For a few moments, there was nothing but slight confusion and relentless rain and then Remus raced past, followed closely by Lily. Sirius raised an eyebrow slightly as he stepped out from the alleyway he had been sheltering in, then the other rose to join it as he saw why they ran.

“Bloody hell, Peter!” he muttered as he set off as fast as he could, only hoping that he could get to James before James reached what could only be his death.

Almost there… James thought as he ran. His feet were aching as they hit the ground beneath him again and again. He could see them now, see their masks and identify that it was in fact Peter who stood in their midst. Behind him, he heard a yell but he didn’t turn around to see what had happened and only ran on.

Sirius leapt over Lily and Remus before spinning round and running back to them.

“One of you go back and get Dumbledore, NOW!” he shouted at them and Lily stared up at him from the ground, stunned. Remus was already back on his feet and moving towards James. “No bloody way, you’re going back there!”

“You don’t tell me what to do!” Remus shouted at him. “I’ve just as much right to be there as you have!”

“You’re faster than me,” Sirius tried, switching tactics.

“So I can get to James and help him before you can!” Remus argued.

“Help him?! They’re Death Eaters!” Sirius bellowed. “You have no idea what they’re capable of! You’re faster so run and get Dumbledore before it’s too late!” By the end of this, Sirius was nearing the end of his tether.

Remus briefly wondered whether it was the desperation in Sirius’ eyes or the cowardice he hid inside himself which had made him turn back first as he found himself running faster, if it were possible, than he had been before. He found himself thinking that he was going entirely the wrong way but he no longer cared as his already weary legs pushed him on towards The Three Broomsticks.

Sirius didn’t stop to regard Lily who was still sitting on the ground before he ran off after James again. She had made no move since he had reached them and he would not waste a precious moment on her; James and Peter’s lives were at stake! He reached the end of the street and stopped. He whirled around frantically as it slowly sank in; they were gone. The group of people were no longer anywhere to be seen. A wave of nausea washed over him, almost bringing him to his knees when a low whistle met his ears. He could have danced with joy at seeing James that moment but wisely, he decided against it.

The moment that Sirius had turned his back, Lily was back on her feet and running after him. She was not as fast as he, nor was she as oblivious to her surroundings in that moment of panic. Her feet flew as before, but Sirius would not hear her. He was deafened by his own beating heart and the fear which stole his sense. In the back of her mind, she wondered why she was running towards danger but she did not slow.

She took in Sirius, spinning in panic at the end of the street and yet he had not seen her. His fear must have been almost blinding she realised as she neared the end of the street. She would be with him within moments. Then he was gone, running up towards the Shrieking Shack. Lily followed them without a moment’s hesitation.

Remus knew what was happening but was powerless to stop it. He flung his arms out in front of him, breaking his fall. His body collided with the road and his breath was knocked out of him, leaving him gasping for breath. He lay there, still as death, and he could almost see the vultures above him. It was a strange moment, a moment of stillness. Nothing moved, least of all him, and all that was to be heard was the hammering of the rain as it beat him mercilessly. He felt dizzy and shaky in his moment of calm, feeling as if the world had stopped after an overload of panic, fear and running… lots and lots of running.

He opened his eyes, only realising that they had been shut when he took in the world around him. In the distance, a dark ghost was running sideways, heels clicking from far away. Lily. He realised suddenly and then more urgently, Peter, James, Sirius… oh God! He was on his feet and running before he realised what was happening. His feet carried him down the road, further than he wanted, only realising that he should have stopped as the sign for The Three Broomsticks passed over him and behind him.

Sweet relief washed over Remus as he pushed open the door. His work was done.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?!” James demanded. A previously unknown mixture of fear, anger, determination and frustration passed through him as he stared at Lily. She was crouched next to him and Sirius, temporarily sheltered from the harsh weather. “Merlin, this is no place for you! Go back!”

“No chance! You can’t turn me back now, it’s too late!” she scowled darkly at him and even as he gave her the darkest look he could, James was forced to admit that he was glad of her presence. At least now there were three of them, but still six Death Eaters. The rain was slowing and voices could be heard from just inside.

“Would you disregard my orders so soon, Malfoy?” a silky voice asked from within. Shivers ran down the spines of those who stood outside, whilst on the other side of the door, a slight smirk touched the face of the tallest of those who stood inside. Lord Voldemort twirled his wand idly between his fingers as he regarded the boy who stood before him, he did not appear scared, or even slightly nervous, and his amusement increased.

“No, my Lord,” a man to Voldemort’s left replied as he bowed low.

“Good,” he said, “but it would appear that we have other things to be thinking of, such as entertaining the guests we appear to have!” He waved his wand and the door opened. “Do come in.”

James tried not to show the horror on his face as his legs forced him into the room, against his will, even as his mind screamed at him to go the other way. Next to him, Sirius and Lily were walking with the same jerky movements as they went before Lord Voldemort.

They said he could kill a man just by looking at him, they said he was so fast in a duel that none but Dumbledore stood a chance against him. They said that he was so amazing, so powerful, and so ruthless that it would be madness to refuse him. They also said that during the recent weeks, he had wiped out the last of three Wizarding families and tortured half a dozen muggles into insanity. Lily felt she had the right to be scared as she stood before him.

“Aren’t we an intriguing party?” Voldemort murmured thoughtfully as his eyes ran along them and rested upon Sirius.

Sirius prayed silently for a painless death and wondered why he had thought this a good idea as his fingers tightened around his wand. He also wondered just how Peter had managed to get himself into such a mess.

Voldemort’s amusement grew as he realised just what they thought was happening. “I am not an unfair man; I think you’ll agree,” he said and noted the way their eyes narrowed ever so slightly in a minor sign of defiance, “so I will give you a choice.”

James had a sinking feeling in his stomach and he already knew what their choice was. He already knew what answer he was going to give.

“You can either join me and become some of the richest and most powerful wizards in the world, or you can die,” he smirked.

“I would rather die than join you,” spat James, his heart racing so fast that he was surprised it had not yet burst out of his chest and made its own bid for freedom.

“As would I,” Sirius stated plainly. Voldemort raised an eyebrow at them slightly but said nothing.

“Master Black, you surprise me,” Voldemort said lightly, although he was clearly not particularly surprised at all as he pointed his wand at his chest. Sirius winced, waiting for a curse which never came and instead, to their immense surprise, Voldemort began to laugh. “Such is the wisdom and the bravery of youth,” his sarcasm was not lost on the three in front of him, “it is a shame that you chose to die,” His eyes laughed and his mouth twitched.

*


Sirius felt a weight collide with his shoulder and he was falling, falling… He landed hard on the floor with Lily against him. His mind reeled at the implications that Evans saving his life would inevitably bring but pushed them aside.

Back on his feet within moments, Sirius dodged three fast hexes from a woman in front of him. He took his opportunity and shot a stunning hex at her.

“Sirius!” The yell was from behind him. He turned to see a red streak heading his way and then everything went black.

Lily wasn’t thinking. She wasn’t wondering of their fate. Her thoughts did not stray to Remus and Dumbledore. They did not go to Sirius and Peter, unconscious on the floor, nor to James who fought besides her. They not even went to herself. Her mind was blank as she shot spell after spell at those around her. Stunned, terrified, and on autopilot.

James grabbed Lily and pulled her backwards as a spell stuck the wall behind her previous location. Another Death Eater went down from a simultaneous hexing from himself and Lily, but where was Remus? Four more Death Eaters to go and then there was Voldemort…

I wonder how they opened the door… James wondered as he flung himself to the side to avoid having his head blown off his shoulders. There was a scream and suddenly his back was drenched in damp warmth. He did not need to turn around and see just who the Reductor curse had hit; he just knew that it had.

They were tiring, Voldemort knew that much as he watched the two weary teenagers fighting for their lives, which he would remove when, and if, the last Death Eater fell. It was a pity that they would not join him, but he knew that they had always been close to Dumbledore.

Reducto!” And another scream pierced the air. Lily fell to her knees, clutching her arm and James was by her side in a flash. There were still four Death Eaters left but Lily could no longer fight and they were encircled.

Lily sobbed quietly as she stared down at her upper arm, even as her robes became sticky and damp. She could feel James beside her, he was still standing, and she could feel the eyes of the Death Eaters upon her – they had surrounded them.

“You have an interesting dilemma, Potter,” Voldemort spoke quietly, stepping forwards. “Do you join me and let the girl walk free, or do you both die in blood and agony?”

Lily’s head shot up at those words and James stared at him levelly. He already knew what he was going to say, indeed, everyone in that room knew it. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth.

But no words ever came. The door was flung open again.

“Dumbledore?!” Voldemort cried, enraged.

“Indeed, and I believe I was just in time…” Dumbledore smiled grimly, but his eyes remained stern and cold. “Let them go, Tom.”

Voldemort laughed and Dumbledore smiled confidently. James didn’t care; he knew who would win as surely as he knew his own name. He looked down at Lily and knelt beside her, putting an arm loosely around her shoulders.

“Is he…?” Lily asked softly, nodding towards Sirius who was lying still on the other side of James. He shook his head and she smiled ever so slightly, resting her head against him.

“Catch,” Dumbledore said and Voldemort looked at him, his eyebrow raised and a slight frown on his face. It was the only time that anyone had ever seen Voldemort confused as James easily caught the small orb thrown at him. He noticed the word ‘Zonko’s’ printed on the dungbomb and he smiled as he took hold of Peter’s arm. With one hand she grabbed hold of Sirius whilst the other reached out to the dungbomb. Lily’s finger touched the Portkey and they disappeared.


A/N: Oh, and just in case you were wondering, this story isn't set in chronological order. In this chapter they're still at school and I'll try to make the different times more clear as I go along :o)

Chapter 3: General
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Chapter Three – General


Lily opened her eyes to the sound of crying. A glance to her bedside told her that it was only half past six; she had had a total of six hours sleep. As she forced herself out of bed she supposed that it was getting better, after all she had been up twice the night before.

“I’m coming sweetheart,” she sighed as she pulled on her dressing gown and left her bedroom with a glance back at James. Sleeping soundly, as usual. Lily sometimes wondered whether he feigned sleep to ensure that he was not the one who had to tend to their son. As the crying became quieter next door, she quickly entered his room. Anxiety always overtook her when Harry was quiet as a thousand terrible things which could have happened ran through her mind. She knew that the men were beginning to mock her for this but she was too tired to care.

“Honestly Lily, you get so worked up about the littlest of things!” Sirius told her as he leaned back into the sofa, putting his feet up just before Remus had chance to sit down.

“Move it,” Remus snapped and shoved Sirius’ legs out of the way as he seated himself in the corner of the large sofa.

“Oooh! What’s got your goat?” Sirius demanded, grinning at his friend who didn’t so much as smile.

“Full moon tomorrow, moron,” James informed him as he sat down on the floor next to Harry. His son was gurgling happily as he played with a set of brightly coloured blocks, which occasionally changed shape or colour. “But I agree with Sirius, you worry way too much, darling.”

“I don’t! You don’t worry enough, James Potter!” she told him as she curled up on her chair, watching her son out of the corner of her eye.

“You do, you’re watching him even now, Lils,” Sirius said lightly as he twirled his wand between his fingers and then dropped it. “You’re forever wondering if he’s got the flu or if he’s going to hurt himself…”

“You’ll be putting sunglasses on him soon for fear that the blocks are too bright,” Remus said as he idly transfigured a candle on the table into a small wolf.

“Oh, shut up,” Lily scowled as she flicked her wand, sending the wolf straight at Remus’ face.


As Lily walked through their darkened landing she wondered if she really did worry too much, now that even Remus had taken to adding in his own light insults to their conversations. Still, it had been just before a full moon, he was always short tempered around then.

When she entered Harry’s small room to the side of theirs, Lily was surprised to find that her son was slowly tottering across the floor on shaky legs. She opened her mouth and let out a cry of delight, only to cause Harry to fall over backwards.

“Oh Harry! You’re walking!” she laughed as she bent down towards her small child who was staring up at her with a mixture of shock at his sudden fall and happiness at her presence. Her tiredness forgotten, she knelt down by his side and assisted him back to his feet. She didn’t wonder how he had got out of his cot or how he had managed to get onto his feet in the first place; the child was a quick learner and had been exploring the house in his own fashion for two weeks now.

Lily smiled as Harry stumbled forwards for a few steps towards the door before falling forwards. She leant out and caught him just before he landed on the floor and scooped him into her arms.

“You amazing child you, just wait until I tell your father about this,” she smiled as she picked him up, “he’ll wish he’d been the one to get up this time.”

Lily put Harry back in his cot and kissed his forehead as she left him to sleep but no sooner had she crossed the room to the door, she turned to see that Harry was already climbing out after her. She sighed as she went back towards him, wondering whether Muggle children developed this quickly.

James opened a sleepy eye as his son crawled across his chest and tugged at his overlong hair. Lily smirked as she slid back into bed beside him.

“Thank you for waking me,” he sighed as he leant back into his pillows, “but just because you’re awake doesn’t mean that everyone else has to be as well.” Lily wondered briefly whether he was speaking to her or Harry as he looked at neither of them. His son came to a halt by his head and curled up beside him.

“He was walking,” Lily said quietly and James’ eyes widened as he looked to her and then to Harry.

“No, he can’t have been!” he said, sounding as shocked as he could. “Are you sure?”

“You think I’m hallucinating now?” she asked, intending it to sound cold but she was still too happy from the sight of Harry tottering around the room to really mean it.

“That’s not what I meant,” he sighed, and turned to Harry. “I can’t believe you were walking!” He grinned and Harry smiled sleepily in return as his eyes shut.

“You know you could have got up,” Lily told him as she snuggled back under the covers, James opened his mouth to respond but she cut him off, “although then I wouldn’t have seen him walking so I don’t mind so much.”

“Perhaps I ought to start getting up during the night then,” he yawned and a slight smile touched his lips.


*


“The kid walks with more skill than you do, Padfoot,” Remus smiled as they watched Harry walking around the room. He seemed to have picked up the skill of turning corners early on and was walking around in circles. Remus, Sirius and Lily sat watching him get dizzier and dizzier as his circle got smaller and smaller until eventually he fell down.

Lily glanced across to Sirius who pulled a face but didn’t comment as he walked over to Harry and helped him back on his feet.

“Where’s Peter today?” Lily asked as she yawned; her lack of sleep was taking its toll on her.

“He’s probably at work,” Remus replied, “although I’ve not heard from him recently.”

“Speaking of work…” Lily began but she didn’t need to continue.

“Not yet,” Remus sighed, “for reasons I’m sure you can fathom.”

“So, can he say anything yet?” Sirius asked Lily as he kept his eyes carefully on Harry who was walking around him in circles.

“No, not so much as a word,” Lily told him. “I hope he says something soon though, if only so that I can teach him to tell James to shut up.”

“Say ‘Sirius’, Harry,” Sirius said to him but Harry merely stared at him and fell over. Sirius reached out to assist him back to his feet again but Harry pushed away his hand and chose to scramble back to his feet by himself.

“I don’t think he likes you, Sirius,” Remus said to him and Sirius looked suitably horrified by the idea.

“I’m sure he does,” Lily told him. “Now one of you come and help me get dinner ready.”


*


“Have you ever considered getting a job, Sirius?” James asked him as he took his cloak off and hung it up in the hallway.

“That’s code for: ‘I don’t like seeing you when I get in’ Sirius,” Remus told him as he made room for his friend on the sofa next to him. They really needed to do more during the day, he decided. Considering the fact that he and Sirius had spent their afternoon watching Harry trying to run before he could walk and attempting to get words from him he was probably right in that more daily activities were necessary.

“Very well deciphered, Moony,” James grinned at him and Sirius pulled a face. “Where is my darling wife?”

“Your darling wife has retired to bed after Sirius drove her ever so slightly insane, leaving us with your son, who is considerably harder to send over the brinks of madness,” Remus informed him. Between the two of them on the sofa, Harry was playing with a wand he had extracted from Sirius’ pocket. He gave it an experimental wave and streams of bubbles erupted from the end.

“No, that’s mine!” Sirius took his wand back from Harry who put up a good fight for the piece of wood even as more bubbles filled the room. It took a joint effort of Remus pulling Harry onto his knees and Sirius pulling his wand away from the child to finally regain possession.

“Look on the bright side,” Remus told James, “it could have been a lot worse.” On his lap, Harry was reaching out for any bubbles which came near him, taking delight in popping them and trying to eat them. He had yet to manage the latter but he was quickly removing the bubbles from their part of the room whilst James tried to get rid of the rest.

“He could have set the whole room alight,” Sirius said lightly as he popped a few of the bubbles himself.

“Just because all your accidental magic involved fire doesn’t mean that everyone else’s does,” James said to him as he gave up and threw himself down into a chair by the fireplace.

“You look exhausted.” Remus noted the shadows under his eyes as the firelight danced across his face.

“He’s peaceful now,” Sirius snorted as James motioned at Harry who had just filled the room with bubbles after stealing his wand, “but he wakes up every single night about three times.” He yawned.

“Lily was saying that he almost slept through the night last night,” Sirius said and James smiled.

“I know,” he answered dully and leant his head against the side of the chair, “but she’s not the one who gets up most of the time.”

They nodded in understanding and glanced towards Harry. The young child who seemed so intent of depriving his parents of sleep was curled up against Remus dozing himself.

“Anyway, it’s late so we’ll be going now,” Remus said and glanced at Sirius. It was a look which said ‘just leave without a fuss and let them sleep’. James smiled at his friends as he took Harry from Remus without waking him.

“I presume you’ll both be here tomorrow when I return home,” James said and they nodded; things never seemed to change around Godric’s Hollow. “Night.”

They echoed his parting as they stepped through the fireplace and to their own homes.

“Come on kiddo, let’s get you to bed.” He dimmed the lights with a flick of his wand and left the room.


*


A wail filled the house of the Potters and in the space of a second, James had opened an eye, cast a silencing charm over the room and resigned himself to another painfully early morning. He swung himself out of bed and glanced back at his wife. Lily was still sleeping like an angel, although James doubted that any angels snored, even lightly.

He pulled on his dressing gown and padded silently out of their room, not bothering to flick on a light in the house he knew in the dark, as he was proving and quite well. Well, he thought that he was until he cracked his foot on the door frame of Harry’s room for the third time that week. Seeing as it was only Monday, that was quite an achievement and he mentally reminded himself to turn on the lights in the future.

A series of gurgles met his ears as he walked into the room and saw Harry staggering round and round. He was clearly trying to get to the door but he appeared to have forgotten how not to walk in circles. James smiled at the sight of his son walking. It was the second night he had walked in to see him happily making his own way around, not that he would ever tell Lily that he had seen him walking first; it would break her heart to know otherwise and she had been so happy the morning before.

“Come on Harry, just go back to sleep, please.” He had tried pleading with his son too many times but it was as if he didn’t understand a word he was saying. James would be very glad when Harry could actually sleep through the night. He tucked him back up in bed but, as Lily had found the previous night, Harry was becoming rather partial to midnight wanderings. James sighed.

Well if I have to be awake then Lily can join me, he finally decided and carried his son back to bed with him. He was less than pleased to discover that the moment he and Harry had returned to bed with Lily, Harry went straight back to sleep. James seriously contemplated prodding Lily in the face to wake her up and then pretending that Harry did it but in the end he decided against it. She had had a long day, just as they all had, and she deserved some sleep, especially since they were both likely to wake when Harry did at the crack of dawn.

James yawned as he curled back up in bed. Another day was beginning but he didn’t fancy facing it just yet, they were all the same anyway… Little did he know that he would have very little time until things got rather more interesting; as much as James craved a more interesting life, he wasn’t aware that he wouldn’t like it when he got what he wanted.



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