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Mistake by Miss_Baltimore_Crabs

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 1,997

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence

Genres: Drama, General, AU
Characters: Harry, Lily, James, Voldemort
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 10/19/2008
Last Chapter: 11/26/2008
Last Updated: 11/26/2008


What if, on that fateful Halloween, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named made a mistake? A mistake so basic, and so perfect that it altered the course of history forever?

What if Lily and James survived?

Chapter 1: Mistake
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The italicized section at the beginning is property of J.K. Rowling, and is taken from page 343 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the American version. Enjoy!


The child turned and ran away… Beneath the robe he fingered the handle of his wand… One simple movement and the child would never reach his mother…

“Avada Kedavra,” he whispered, pointing his wand at the child’s back. The boy crumpled to the ground, and he smiled. One less dirty Muggle in the world, one less to kill when it grew up.

He turned away and continued walking across the square towards his destination, ignoring the screams of the mother as he strode purposefully towards his destination. Tonight, he would destroy his only threat. Tonight, Lord Voldemort would cement his power.


James Potter sat on the couch of the living room of his house in Godric’s Hollow, a giggling Harry on his lap. Small puffs of smoke jetted out of his wand, which Harry tried to catch in his pudgy hands, his face shining and laughing. James smiled down at his son, his perfect, beautiful little boy. Tonight, everything was calm and peaceful.

And then a scream rent the air.

James jumped up off the couch, holding Harry in one hand and his wand in the other.

“Lily!” he yelled, and she ran into the living room, her hair tied back in a messy ponytail, and a stained apron around her waist. “Did you hear?”

She nodded, “Yes. What, or who do you think it was?” Her eyes were wide with panic, and she held her wand tightly by her side. “Here, give me Harry.” James handed the baby over and pushed the curtain back, gazing out into their garden. The night looked peaceful, the illusion only broken by the screams coming from the town. Their street was empty, lit only by the circle of light underneath the lampposts.

“I don’t see anything. Maybe someone was hit by a car or something like that. It is Halloween and some of the kids aren’t at all careful.”

Lily pursed her lips. “Maybe.” She said, her voice skeptical, “Do you really think that’s what happened?”

James looked at her. “Really, no. But do I think that’s the most logical explanation? Yes.”

“That makes no sense, James. You do know that, right?”

James sighed, and ran his hand through his hair. “Lily, I know you’re worried. I’m worried. Hell, even Dumbledore’s worried. But seriously, I somehow doubt that it’s him.” Lily held Harry closer, playing absentmindedly with the now quiet baby’s hair.

“James,” she said in a quiet voice, “I just don’t want anything to happen to Harry. Please, just humor me. Why don’t we go stay the night with Sirius or someone? That way, well, we wouldn’t be alone.” Lily looked up at her husband, her face a mixture of emotions, “I know I’m being silly, but…” she sighed, “please?”

James hurried over and placed his arm around her shoulders. “You’re not being silly. You’re Lily Evans, for God’s sake, you’re never silly!” Lily smiled wanly, and James hugged her closer, “All I’m saying is that we’re safer here, remember? That’s the whole point of the Fidelius charm. He can’t find us here. And even if-“

James stopped and put his finger to his lips, listening. A gate creaked somewhere. Lily looked at James, her eyes wide and panic stricken. There were no footsteps, but there was a rustling of leaves, coming closer and closer.

“Lily,” James whispered, his voice surprisingly calm, “Lily, we’ve got to go. Right now. Go.” He grabbed Lily’s elbow, and pulled her towards the kitchen. Lily gripped Harry tighter, and started to run. Into the kitchen, past the stove, past the oven, past the pantry.

The door fell in with a bang, and the wind blew leaves throughout the house.

“Come ON Lily!” James yelled, looking back at the cloaked figure standing in the door. Lily ran faster holding Harry even closer. They ran into the dining room, an extinct fireplace taking up much of the room. He was getting closer, and they ran faster, out into the yard, out into the night. And then they stopped, both at the same time. They tried to run, tried to hide, tried to do anything, but they couldn’t. They were as stone. The cloaked figure came closer, and they saw his pale hand and his wand, pointed at them. It flicked, and they were free.

“James,” Lily grabbed his arm, “what do we do.” She was as pale as a ghost, and her nails bit into James’ skin. He turned to her, his face as pale, yet it was set with the knowledge of what he must do.

“We fight Lily. There is no way we can get away. All we can do is fight.”

“James,” Lily whispered, “I can’t fight. I have Harry.”

“Put him down, Lily. Put Harry on the ground.”

“NO!” Lily shouted pulling Harry away from James, glaring at him with shocked eyes. The Lord Voldemort watched the scene, amused by the petty arguments the soon-to-be deceased were having.

“Lily, just do it. If we don’t fight, we all die. Harry dies. If we fight, maybe we die, but maybe Harry doesn’t. Put him down, Lily!”

Slowly, ever so slowly, Lily placed Harry on the ground, kissing his forehead, before straightening up her wand clenched between white fingers. “Let’s do this for Harry, O.K.?” James nodded and together they stood in front of Harry, their wands outstretched, shielding him with their bodies.

Together they would fight. Together they would die.


“And that,” Lily said, an enthralled Harry listening to her with his mouth open, “is how your father and I destroyed Voldemort.”

“Wow mum, that’s so cool!” Harry looked at her with new respect in his ten year-old eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me before, though?”

Lily smiled at him, and brushed back his messy hair from his eyes. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t think you were old enough.”

“But why did you think that?” Harry asked, “I’m so mature, I bet that in another life I was the one who killed Voldemort!”

Lily laughed as Harry jumped up and started acting out the battle in which he, the 1 year old baby, killed Voldemort.

“And, look mum, here’s where I, the little baby, pick up your wand from the ground, and point it at that Voldy dude and go- ready mum, this is the best part- Uglius Maximus

Lily raised her eyebrow, “That’s an interesting spell, Harry. Whatever does it do?”

Harry grinned, “It’s so cool. It makes him super ugly, I mean really, really ugly. And then, I take your little mirror, the one you always use to put on that weird lip stuff, and give it to him. Voldy takes a look in the mirror, and BAM, he’s on the ground. Do you get it mum? He died because he was sooo ugly!”

Lily laughed, “I most definitely do get it. Very nice job, Harry. You would have definitely got him with that ugly spell.”

“What ugly spell is this?” James walked into the room, his dusty work robes gliding over the floor. Harry ran over to him, and started giving his father the play-by-play account of how he, the little baby, killed Voldemort. James laughed as Harry described in great detail the effects of the Uglius Maximus spell, and kissed Lily on the cheek as he walked over to the couch.

“Harry,” he said as soon as there was a gap in Harry’s monologue, “Why don’t you go over and visit Neville. I’m sure he’d love to hear about your new spell.”

“Dad, his name’s Nev, not Neville. You’re so uncool! Even Aunt Alice and Uncle Frank call him Nev!” Harry shook his head in disbelief at his father’s lameness, and ran out the door and across the road to the Longbottom’s.

James sat down on the sofa beside Lily, and she laid her head against his shoulder. “So, you told him about the fight?”

“Yeah. I was thinking about it, and then he started pestering me to tell him again, so I just did.” Lily looked at James suddenly. “You don’t mind, do you? I mean, you weren’t planning to tell him some special time?”

James shook his head, “Not at all. In fact, I think today’s pretty appropriate. It is Halloween.”

Lily gasped, “Merlin’s Pants! It is Halloween, isn’t it! Oh, shoot. I need to make Harry his costume! He’s trick-or-treating with Neville and that nice boy down the road, what’s his name? I think it’s Draco. His family just moved here two weeks ago.”

James looked at Lily curiously. “Do you know Draco’s last name?”

“Um, yeah. It’s Malfoy.” Lily held up her hand to James stuttered reply, “Don’t say anything! I know his parents are Lucius and Narcissa, but I think their kid is alright.”

James sighed, shaking his head, “I suppose I’ll just have to get used to it. And I can’t…?”

“No, James, you cannot tell Harry to be mean to him. Just because you hate his dad…” Lily let her voice trail off, and James sighed.

“Alright, alright. Sorry. Anyway, I have a question.” Lily looked at him, “Why exactly were you thinking about the fight?”

Lily shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know. I suppose it’s because I knew it was Halloween, I just forgot that I had to make his costume. I was just thinking about how, how, “Lily waved her hand, searching for the word, “how incredible it was that we didn’t, well, die.”

James nodded, “Yeah, I get what you mean. I felt the same way after.”

“Well, why do you think we did survive?”

James yawned, stretching his arms above his head, “You know, I think it’s because it was Halloween. Strange things happen on Halloween.” They were quiet, Lily resting her head on James’ shoulder, and James hugging his arm around Lily’s shoulders.

“I think it was because we heard the scream.” Lily said, pensively, “If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been listening, and he probably would’ve just come in and killed us. No fighting, nothing. Just boom: alive one moment, dead the next.”

“Maybe. It was probably both. If we hadn’t heard the scream, we wouldn’t have been alert, and if it hadn’t been Halloween we probably would’ve been killed in the fight.” James shrugged, “Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. We’re not dead.” They fell silent again, thinking their own thoughts.

“I should probably go make Harry’s costume.” Lily said, after a few minutes, “He’s being a pumpkin this year.”

James gave Lily a quizzical look, “A pumpkin?”

Lily smiled, standing up and stretching, “Yeah, I know. Harry wanted to be a Power Ranger, or something like that, but you know Alice. She wanted them to be something traditional. Obviously, wizards were out of the question.”

James snorted, “Yeah, we don’t want them to go scaring people as wizards. It probably damage their young and impressionable psyche, or something. I swear, that Alice…”

“Anyway, they’re going as pumpkins.” Lily started walking out of the room, before a thought struck her. “Oh, and what do you want for dinner? Pizza or Chinese?”

“Let’s go Chinese. I haven’t had some good Lo Mein in, oh, two days?” Lily stuck out her tongue at James, before heading to the kitchen.

“Just because I’m not a great cook,” Lily said over her shoulder.

“A hopeless cook,” muttered James, rolling his eyes.

“I heard that, and anyway, just because I’m not a great cook, it doesn’t mean you can scorn my wonderful prowess at ordering takeout.”

 James laughed, “Yeah, you’re so good you have a total of three phone numbers memorized: Alice’s, the Chinese guy’s, and the pizza guy’s.”

“Oh, ha ha. Very funny.” Lily said, laughing in spite of herself.

Smiling, James stretched back on the sofa and ran his hand through his hair.

Life was good.