Well, Dumbledore certainly gave us a lot to think about, the night that he came over. It took days for Lily, Sirius and I to even wrap our heads around how much Dumbledore had done for Harry, even though he had given him an incredibly difficult task to do, not to mention life-threatening. I wasn’t very happy about that really. I mean, if it works, and Harry does end up defeating Voldy and saving the Wizarding World, then great. But I can’t get rid of the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it is going to be so incredibly dangerous and difficult for him. I don’t know how he could do it.
But then I think about how so many people have been hurt and killed by Voldemort and his followers, myself included, and I know that this nightmare time has to end. Hundreds of people have been killed, and thousands more emotionally and mentally effected. Harry is Exhibit A. His parents, his godfather, his mentor and so many others that he cared for have been killed by this monster of a wizard and now he his putting himself on the line to end it all.
I spend hours a day just thinking about this, my mind going around in circles, and I can never decide whether what Harry is doing is a good thing or not. The only thing that I can decide on in the end is that I have a tremendous headache.
So I have given up on thinking about it. I just try to relax and enjoy everyone and everything around me these days. Of course, that’s easier said then done. More and more people have been arriving here of the past 8 or so months in increasing numbers and it is beginning to scare me. It’s already getting to Lily, she’s worried that we will be seeing some old friends soon and that’s something that no one wants.
Today was Harry’s birthday. Obviously, every year this is a very hard day for Lily and me because it just made it even more clear how we were missing out on so much about Harry and his life. Today was even harder then usual though, because he was turning seventeen. He was of legal age it should be this huge celebration for him.
And we weren’t there to celebrate with him.
Lily had spent the morning crying, like she usually did on this particular date every year, but it was a lot worse today. When she had cried out all the moisture in her body, she obviously wanted to get her mind off things, so she has dragged me to the library. She claimed it was because she wanted “to see if anything new had come in” but I knew the truth, and I went along with her only because I knew how she felt and what she wanted to escape from feeling. Apparently the library is a good place to do that.
To be fair, she does love the library. Merlin knows why. I had to physically drag her out of there last time and she is a bloody lot stronger then she looks.
Then again, seeing as I was going to be there anyway, I decided I would try and look for something about Horcruxes.
However, after about three hours of unsuccessfully looking through everything that had anything to do with Horcruxes, I was feeling frustrated and disappointed.
“This is why I hate libraries.” I grumbled unhappily to myself, slamming the thick book I had been paging through shut with a bang.
“What’s wrong James?” I heard Lily murmur quietly from behind the next row of books.
“I don’t know how you like doing this.” I sighed, “How do you have the patience to keep looking for hours for one particular thing? It’s maddening.”
She laughed, “It’s only maddening for you because you have the patience of a werewolf at full moon. What are you looking for that is so difficult to find? This library has almost everything!”
I got up and walked around the row to where she was sitting on a worn leather chair, a very old looking book with yellow pages in her lap. I went right up to her and leant down, murmuring, “Horcruxes.”
She looked up at me in surprise then sighed, “Me too.” She glanced down at her book again, turning the page, then giving a small shake of her head and shut it. Dust flew out from in between the pages. “But I can’t seem to find anything either. Clearly Horcruxes come under the tiny section of things this library doesn’t have. It must be such evil magic that Above literally can’t have it. At least that’s the only conclusion I can come up with.”
I nodded, knowing that whatever reasoning she came up with would most likely be the right one. She brought my attention back to her by sniffing suddenly, “It just worries me, you know. If it’s so evil that we can’t possibly find it here, it just makes it worst that Harry is down on earth, trying to find several of them in the real world! It’s so horrible!”
“I know.” I couldn’t deny it, “But we have to be strong for him, Lil. If he is anything like you, he will be very determined and stubborn and won’t stop until he has found them and destroyed them all. Besides, I know he can do it. If he can’t, then we will—”
“Sirius?” Lily and I said at the same time, looking up to see Sirius himself rounding the corner quickly, almost knocking over an entire shelf of books.
Nikki’s puffing voice came from behind him. “Sirius, we just have to come and get them, you can destroy the library another day.”
He ignored her, and steadying the shelf quickly, cried, “Moody’s here!”
There was stunned silence with Lily and I until Lily clearly found her voice. “Moody? As in Alastor Moody? He’s here?”
Sirius nodded quickly, grabbing my arm and yanking me to my feet. “He wants to see you. Come on!”
Nikki pulled Lily up and we all ran after Sirius, ignoring the librarian’s yells about disturbance.
When we finally made it to the Diamond Gates, we could see Alastor Moody, sitting comfortably on a bit boulder. He looked a lot less scarred, younger and I noticed that he had both normal his legs and eyes. On his shoulder sat a snowy white owl that fluttered its wings as we approached. He got up with the owl still on his shoulder and shook our hands when we got closer to him.
“Lily, James.” He said in his familiar gruff voice, “It’s been a while.”
“Sure has, Moody.” I grinned, “Missed the days we spent fighting the bad guys together?”
He gave a vague jerk of his shoulders. “Some. Personally, I work better alone.”
I snorted in amusement as Lily said, “It’s so good to see you, Alastor. But it does surprise me that you are here.”
“That’s what I said, Lils.” Sirius added, “I said I thought he would have lasted at least a little while longer.”
Moody laughed dryly, “Most people think that. S’not my fault that scoundrel Mundungus decided he was chicken and leave me to fight away ten Death Eaters.”
“Mundungus?” Sirius growled, “Never trusted that kid. He’s the reason you’re dead?”
Nodding Moody said, “He was disguised as Harry and when the Death Eaters started to close in on us, he got scared and apparated away. Obviously they realised he wasn’t the real Harry and went off to find him. Killed me on the way.”
“That’s just awful!” Nikki cried.
Moody just shrugged again and I went to say something but Sirius cut over me, “Hey Moody, is that Hedwig on your shoulder?”
“Sure is. I came up here and she was just sitting on that rock.” He pointed behind us to the boulder we had found him on, “Shame really. Harry really loved her.”
“That’s Harry’s owl?” Lily asked in quiet amazement, reaching forward to pat her white feathers gently.
“Yep.” Sirius said, “I bet she was waiting for you to get here. I’m sure she wanted to meet you, she’s a smart thing.”
Just then, Hedwig hopped off Mad Eye’s shoulder and flew onto mine. I patted her softly and she cooed. “She’s beautiful.” Nikki sighed, also reaching over to stroke her.
“Who gave him an owl?” I asked, “Dursley’s definitely wouldn’t have.”
Sirius laughed, “Hagrid did. As an eleventh birthday present for Harry. She’s been with him since his first day of school. She was his first friend in the magical world.”
I smiled at the beautiful bird and for a fleeting second, I thought I saw her smile back but then she flew off my shoulder and soared into the sky, turning into a tiny white dot before disappearing completely.
“Why did she fly away?” Lily said sadly.
I sighed, “Above isn’t for animals, Lils. She’s gone to a better home.” She nodded and I turned back to Moody, “So why were you outrunning the Death Eaters?”
“Well, it’s Harry’s seventeenth birthday today—”
“We do know that.” I interrupted, “He’s our son.”
“I know, but if you shut up, I will tell you what we were doing.”
So I did shut up and Moody explained to the four of us what the Order’s plan was for Harry. He told us of the seven Potters, which Sirius and I couldn’t help but laugh at, imagining Harry’s reaction of seeing himself duplicated perfectly six times. He then told us of how they had split up to confuse the Death Eaters and how when Mundungus Disapparated it gave Moody away.
“If Voldemort’s reign continues,” Moody said in his usual, blunt way, “The Wizarding World will be a very dark place; a world where pure blood is the only blood and where the Dark Mark is a symbol of power. Harry is the only hope we have left.”
That wasn’t a very comforting thought for any of us, and I was almost glad I was up here, not down on earth still. But I know deep down that Harry can, and will beat Voldemort. I just hope not many more lives would be lost in the process.
“Merry Christmas,” I murmured to Lily.
She groaned sleepily and I chuckled quietly knowing how she hated being woken up any earlier then 10 o’clock. But it was 9:56 and I knew that Sirius would be here any minute to wish us a happy Christmas. He loved Christmas.
“Liiiiiily…” I said, brushing hair out of her face softly to kiss her forehead, “time to get up my sleeping beauty. It’s Christmas.” She groaned again, though this time it sounded remarkably like “who cares”, and rolled to face away from me. I laughed again, “Sirius will probably be here any minute…”
“Damn it,” she grumbled finally sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
“Don’t be too harsh on him Lilyflower,” I said, “you know how he loves Christmas.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t have to barge in every year and jump on our bed like a four-year old.”
“He may look older on the outside but he really is only four on the inside.” I chuckled, dragging myself back to the present, “You of all people know that.”
“I suppose so,” she sighed, then turned to kiss me, saying, “Merry Christmas.”
I deepened the kiss after a few seconds, and I felt her smile and wrap her arms around my neck, pulling me closer. As it was starting to get more heated, I was just beginning to think that this might be a really good Christmas when, what do you know… “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
Sirius ran into our room and bounced up on the bed, almost jumping on my leg. “Get out of bed, Jamesie and Lilyflower!” he sang. “It’s Christmas! And can you snog somewhere else?”
“Sirius, this is our house!” Lily yelled at him, “And you’re on our bed! Go away!”
He grinned cheekily. “Nope.”
I tried to reason with him, desperately wanting to be alone with my Lily so we could continue what he had so rudely interrupted. “Sirius, please leave. You can come back in an hour or so.” When he shook his head I said, “Shouldn’t you be waking up Nikki?”
“Nah, she just slaps me. You guys are more fun.”
“You can have extra pudding if you leave now.” Lily bargained.
He frowned as he jumped, thinking it over. He thought for so long that I began to get hopeful, but then he said, “No thanks,” and continued bouncing.
Lily glared at him, and I could almost see her burning holes in his shirt, “Get OFF!” she yelled, yanking the blanket up so hard that she pulled it right out from under him and he tumbled off the bed spectacularly, almost doing a complete backflip.
There was a beat of silence, before I burst out laughing. Seeing him falling off my bed like that was possibly the funniest thing I had ever seen Sirius do. Especially since my wife was the one who was strong enough to make him fall. I had never been able to do that. Mainly because I hadn’t thought of it. Man that could have saved me a lot of time.
Sirius groaned on the floor which only made me laugh harder, and after a minute Lily started laughing too. Soon enough we were in near hysterics.
“Fine,” Sirius said, clambering up from the floor, “I get it. Celebrate without me. See if I care. And you can forget about getting your presents.”
I tried to calm my laughter, “Oh c’mon Pads,” I said, “don’t be like that. You have to admit, it was pretty funny.” I tried not to laugh, and was unsuccessful. Lily was still giggling beside me.
“No it wasn’t.” he sulked, “I don’t like being thrown off beds. It’s not fun. I’m leaving.”
He opened the door, and Lily managed to stop laughing long enough to say, “See you at lunch, Siri!” he ignored her and walked out of the room, but we knew that he would be back for lunch. Mainly because my wife makes the best Christmas lunch ever, but also because he can’t cook to save his life.
He was back by 11.
“Well, I think that could have possibly been the best Christmas ever.” I said at about midnight that night as Lily and I started up the stairs to bed.
“Because…” Lily prompted.
“Because I love my present, thank you very much” I said, leaning down to kiss her cheek, “because I think that ham may have been the best I have ever eaten, but especially because you making Sirius fall off the bed this morning was possibly the most hilarious thing I have ever seen.”
She laughed, “That was pretty funny. But I’m not sure the ham was the best I’ve ever made.”
I rolled my eyes, “Of course it was honey, every year it’s better,”
“No its not.” She disagreed, “this year I-“ she broke off suddenly and looked back down the stairs, frowning.
“What?” I said.
“Shh.” She whispered, putting her finger to her lips. She crept back down the stairs and I followed, feeling very confused.
“Lils, it’s probably just Sirius getting more food. Leave him.”
“No, James it’s not Sirius. It was a girl’s voice.” She whispered walking towards the kitchen.
I was about to say, “Then it’s probably Sirius dragging Nikki along,” when I heard it too.
“Harry.” The voice said. Harry? Then it hit me. The speaker. I ignored the super strong urge to sprint to it in excitement, and slowly gestured Lily closer to the little black speaker that was sitting on out kitchen bench. Someone was at our graves.
“Harry they’re here…right here.” The girl’s voice said again. We were silent, staring at the speaker, holding our breaths, waiting for another sound. It sounded like this girl was talking to Harry. Was he visiting our graves?
At that moment, Sirius walked in from his place right next door idly, going straight to the fridge, and began to unwrap a piece of ham covered in foil before he noticed us.
“Oh, hey guys. What are you-“
“Shhh!” Lily and I whispered, beckoning him closer just as we heard another voice.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” a male voice said clearly, though sounding confused.
“THAT’S HARRY!” Sirius yelled in surprise, dropping his ham, and I clapped a hand over his mouth. Harry. Harry is visiting our graves. I was listening to my son. I looked at Lily and she had tears silently rolling down her cheeks. I took her hand and squeezed it as Harry continued speaking, “Isn’t that a Death Eater idea? Why is that there?”
“It doesn’t mean defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it, Harry.” The girl voice said.
Sirius’s eyes widened, and he pointed repeatedly at the speaker before he was able to get words out, “That’s Hermione!” he hissed.
“It means…you know…living beyond death. Living after death.” Hermione continued. Wow, she was smart, and yet she had no idea how right she was. We were living after death, and we were standing here, listening to them, afraid to move, afraid to breathe, afraid we might miss one second of this.
It was quiet from the speaker for a while, and I began to worry that it had somehow broken, but then I heard someone sniff, and take a few shaky, ragged gulps of air, as if trying to calm themselves, and I knew it was Harry. He was crying.
My eyes were full of tears now, there were so many emotions building up inside of me. My throat constricted and I felt like I could hardly breathe. I could hear my son. He was crying at his parent’s grave. The mountain of emotions threatened to crush me.
I felt so close to him, like I could actually reach out and touch him, hold him, tell him that everything was okay. I wanted him to know that we could hear him, that we missed him every minute of the day. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him. I wanted him to know so much, it hurt. But I couldn’t and that realisation hurt even more.
There was a faint swish in the air, and then some rustling, and I could almost see them laying flowers on our graves. At least, that’s what I hope it was. A few hot tears spilled onto my cheeks before I could stop them. It was too quiet. I wanted them to say something else, anything else, just to hear Harry’s voice again. But, there was the sound of footsteps crunching the snow and I knew that they were leaving. No! Stay! I wanted to say. Harry, stay!
It went silent.
We all stood there, motionless, maybe we were waiting for them to come back. Or maybe we were just too sad and shocked to move. Then Lily sniffed quietly, breaking the tension. I put my arm around her and wiped the tears from her cheeks. She smiled up at me sadly. Sirius blew out a big gust of air, as if he had been holding his breath that whole time. Probably had. “Wow,” he said.
“Yeah,” I murmured.
“That was Harry.” Lily said, as if she was only just beginning to realise, “We just heard our son, James!” she looked up at me, her eyes shining with happiness and tears, making them look like glistening emeralds. “Harry was at our graves!” I smiled down at her.
“With Hermione,” Sirius added, then he frowned, “I wonder why they were at Godric’s Hollow? And why wasn’t Ron there? Or maybe he was…”
“Hang on,” I said, interrupting his reverie, “was that thing Harry said about the last enemy to be destroyed is death, is that on our graves?”
Sirius nodded, “I wasn’t too keen on it being there, because Harry is right, it is a Death Eater idea, but then, Dumbledore and Remus convinced me it was a good thing to put there. And they were right as usual. It does make sense, especially the way Hermione explained it.” He grinned, “told you she was smart.”
Lily and I smiled at him, and it was quiet again, until Lily yawned. “I think I will go to bed,” she said, “it’s been a long day. But a great one.”
“Yeah, me too.” Sirius said, “G’night Prongsie, Lilyflower.”
“Night Pads,” I said at the same time as Lily said, “Good night Sirius. And don’t come into our room tomorrow morning. Boxing Day is not as important as Christmas Day.”
He laughed as he opened the front door. “If you say so Lils.”
I went to bed in a daze, all I was really aware of was that Lily was beside me. We didn’t say anything to each other. We didn’t need to. Over the next few days we could talk and think about what had just happened, but for the moment, we both just wanted to absorb and enjoy that fact that we had just heard our son.