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(October 1977)

“I don’t understand!” she said in frustration as James produced another flawless patronus. His stag galloped away over the lake. “How have you gotten so good at them already?” Lily waved her wand mechanically again, and a whisper of light came out, but nothing permanent.

“It’s all in the wrist, Lil,” he said softly, watching as Lily struggled to find the proper movement. He pulled himself up from the wooden floor and stood next to Lily on the edge of the dock. He placed his arm softly on hers, and Lily looked up at him quickly. She didn’t take her eyes off of him as he moved her arm slowly in a fluid motion.

“You try,” he whispered, stepping back a few inches and letting Lily try the charm on her own. Lily cleared her throat and prepared again.

“Expecto Patronum,” she breathed out. A small doe appeared from her wand. Timid at first, the doe stumbled before taking off in a stride around the boat house. The dock was silent for a moment, the only noise the creaking of boats and scuttling of mice.

Lily turned around angrily to face James, her hands on her hips.
“What, did you charm mine to be a doe?” James was awestruck, his eyebrows softened and he rubbed his glasses furiously into his shirt in an effort to clear them. “Just because you’re bloody obsessed with me doesn’t mean you can fool around with my schoolwork!” she exclaimed, tossing her wand in her satchel and dragging it over her shoulder.

James didn’t respond, but instead watched her head up the steps to the castle. She walked firmly up the hill, skipping every other step to get as far away from James as possible in the shortest possible amount of time.

“I’ll see you in Potions, Evans!” he yelled to her, his face falling into a familiar smirk as she gestured rudely back towards him.










(Monday, January 26th, 1979)


“Merlin!” Marlene exclaimed as Sirius, Dorcas, and Peter all apparated into her kitchen at the same time. They were quite disheveled at a moment’s glance, and Marlene couldn’t ignore the fear they held on their faces. “What’s with you?”

“It’s James’ house. They’re attacking,” Peter said through deep breaths. “Today.” Marlene furrowed her brow.

“Somebody translate,” she said in exhaustion. Dorcas and Sirius shared a glance that made Marlene frown again. Dorcas and Sirius rarely shared such grim glances.

"Well you see we were down in Australia, tailing Lucius and Narcissa, and we overheard something," Dorcas said carefully. Marlene raised an eyebrow as a cue for her to continue.

"We think they're planning an attack on Potter Manor for tonight," Sirius finished gravely, glancing up to see Marlene's reaction. Her fist clenched instinctively.

"What do you mean you think?" Sirius looked to Peter again.

"Well Lucius said he'd see Narcissa on the 26th at Potter Manor," Peter said hurriedly in order to go back to biting his nails.

Marlene nodded her head earnestly. "Oh sure," she said sarcastically, "there's no attack, Mr. Potter invited the newlyweds over for tea!" She shook her head at the three of them.

"Is this what the patronus was supposed to be about?" she asked, grabbing her wand from the table and heading to the back of the flat. They followed her quickly and without question.

"Where are you going, Mar?" Sirius asked, a hint of anger in his voice as well. She turned around to face Sirius on the spot, clearly livid.

"I'm going to floo to Dumbledore, something you should have done before coming to me. What did you think I'd be able to do Sirius?" Sirius clenched his jaw, and stared back at Marlene threateningly.


"Merlin forbid we wanted to inform you," he responded coldly. Her gaze went to the corner to avoid Sirius' eyes.

"Thank you," she said pointedly to Dorcas and Peter. "Now let's go."












"Something wrong, Potter?" Alastor Moody and James Potter were making their way over a field of dewy grass. James shivered in his coat as another chill passed over him.

"It's nothing. Just weird to be back, I think." James hadn't visited his childhood home since he and Lily moved into Godric’s Hollow in last September .

"Alright, well move on. We've got to get you back to London. Something about your wife's birthday," Moody muttered, hiking forward without James.

James' mouth fell open, and he stood still as if he was stuck in quicksand. "So you read my letters, too?" He murmured back, joining Moody as they approached the front gates. Neither acknowledged the other.

"Open it on up, Potter," he said, motioning to the intimidating gate. James stepped forward and performed some spells before pressing the palm of his right hand into the center of his family crest.
The gate slid open, and they walked through without issue. The mansion looked cold and ominous from the outside. James began walking forward, but Moody put out his arm before he could go anywhere.

"When is the last time you just walked into a secure mansion without checking it first?" He asked sharply, pushing James back by the chest and performing a revealing charm.

"No disrespect, Moody, but this is my house. My dad would've let me know if anything was wrong," he said, scoffing at Moody's paranoia.

"Think he'd still let you know if he was dead?"

James swallowed deeply, but kept quiet.

"All clear. Let's get inside. I need you to nab the Invisibility Cloak." James frowned at Moody, who was keeping his gaze straight at the mansion ahead.

“How did you-” James began, cutting himself off when he noticed a lamp turn on in the Upper East Wing of their Manor. He shook his head. Paranoia was getting to him.

"How did you know about the cloak?" James asked. Moody scoffed as the two approached the main doors to the Manor.

“It’s not too difficult to follow a lineage Potter. And how else would you have pulled off all those pranks you're so famous for?”

James began reciting incantations similar to those at the front gate in an effort to open the front doors.

“Red’s filled me in, said you used to be even more reckless. She didn’t understand how it was possible either.”

James blushed slightly, but it was disguised in the sharp wind. Of course Moody and Lily had private conversations about him. Everyone trusted Lily, he pondered, smirking slightly at the thought of Lily berating him as she used to.

“Alright, we’re in,” James said with a tone of finality and a click of the lock.
Moody quieted as the door creaked open slowly. James knew it would look deserted inside, but he wasn’t ready for what came before them.

There were papers strewn all over the place, documents and profiles spread out as if somebody was rifling through them when a tornado blew past. Portraits of Potter family members were hanging precariously off the walls, and they were mostly empty excepting a portrait of a pair of sleeping cats.
James looked up and saw the chandelier they were standing under swaying slightly. Moody glanced up and noticed the same, motioning with his finger for James to join him in the corner.

“What the bloody hell is going on?” James whispered frantically, plucking a mirror out of his knapsack and tapping it furiously.

“Put your damn two way mirror away. We don’t need Black mucking this up with his drunken roar,” Moody said, shoving the mirror back in the bag. James glared at Moody, but his attention was quickly diverted as the crash of what sounded like glass breaking rang from upstairs.

“He might know something,” James said under his breath, stashing the mirror anyway.

“What’s the fastest way to the apparition point?” Moody asked James, peering out from behind the large plant they were stowed behind.

“Are you mad?” James asked incredulously. “My dad is still here.” The silence fell around them for a moment.

“There’s no helping him until we get more members.” James shook his head and clenched his teeth.

“Death eaters are here now. If we leave, who knows what we’ll come back to?” Moody stared at James with his bright blue eyes.

“We leave now, Potter. We’ll come back with back-up.” Moody stood up straight, realizing that no one else was on the first floor.

“I’ll wait here, then,” James said stubbornly, standing up with Moody, but heading towards the staircase.

“Potter,” Moody hissed, glaring at him frighteningly.

“I’m staying,” James said, standing on the first step. “Get back quickly.” James and Moody stared each other down for a minute, both knowing the other would not back down.

“You know I’m right, don’t you?” Moody asked gently, his glare softening.

“Yeah,” James answered non-committally, glancing up the winding staircase.

“Alright then. Good luck, Potter.” Moody slipped out of the doors quietly, and James watched him run as fast as he could back into the woods.

He swallowed deeply and continued up the stairs slowly. the noises got louder as he approached the third floor. He looked down the dark corridor, and spotted flashes of light coming from underneath a door near the end of the hallway.

“Alright. Good luck, Potter,” James said to himself, turning the corner and making his way towards the room.

 










A/N: Hello everyone! It's nice to be back from the dead. I'm sorry to leave you on such a cliffhanger and with such a short chapter, but the climax of this arc is coming soon! 

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