Summary: Had Lily known she was conjuring the ancient magic that saved Harry’s life? Could the spell have begun at birth?
Word Count: 2228
Author's Note: A very big thank you to kethlenda for the beta.
Warnings: Character death, child birth and cursing, although under the circumstances I think you could hardly blame Lily for her potty mouth.
Impatiently, she waited for three people she used to know to move away from the bundle of blankets on the front stoop. In silence they walked past her, not seeing, and they left the way they came, with swirling cloaks and magnificent feats of transfiguration. A magical motor bike roared off towards the heavens, unseen by the sleeping Muggles surrounding them.
But they didn’t matter; she only had eyes for the small baby on the stoop. It wasn’t enough that he was here and not there, she had to be sure. Before she could rest, she needed to be sure.
Moving closer, her breeze caused the baby to snuffle in his sleep. He shifted in his blanket so the only thing touching him was a crack of light from the streetlights above. Kneeling in front of the baby, she yearned to touch him and to take him in her arms, to hold him close, to breathe in his scent that marked him hers.
He was alone, and her heart broke.
She wished it did not matter anymore. She wished it did not matter she’d never have a chance to hold him again, to see him walk for the first time, to see if he’d grow to look like…
A silent sob escaped her lips as the baby shifted again and she saw the strands of red and gold wrapped around his fingers. He reached for her in his sleep, his breathing hitched as he searched for any sign of her that lingered. But her hair is all he’ll have left.
She knew her time had come, knew she would see him again one day, but it was so hard to leave when he stretched his arms towards the sky. Never again would she kiss his chubby little fingers. Never again would she run her hand over his soft cheek and marvel as the exquisite shape of his tiny ears.
She leaned forward, dropping a kiss the baby felt in his dreams on the lightning shaped gash on his forehead. “Not alone,” she murmured as she begun to disappear. “Never alone.”
He murdered her husband in front of her, the strength of the curse throwing him backwards, her eyes widening in horror as the light left his.
“Bring me the boy!”
The bottom of her nightgown tangled around her ankles as she swiftly turned, running up the stairs. With a gasp and a sob, she grabbed the baby from his crib and for an all too brief moment she believed she could get around the danger downstairs and get Harry to safety.
Where was her wand? She wasn’t able protect Harry without --
The jet of green light flashed past her bare shoulder. She ducked, guarding the baby tucked tightly in her arms as shards of plaster rained down on her head. Time and space were running out. He was after Harry. How did Voldemort find out where they were?
Every ounce of fear and rage coursed through and out of her and for a moment, her magic was strong and misdirected. The glass in every single upper story window shattered and exploded outwards in a sudden percussion of sound and light.
Below on the lawn, a lone figure crouched and covered his head from the raining shards of glass. In a blink of an eye he transformed from a cloaked human to a tiny, brown rat and unseen, he scurried away.
Harry’s screaming and Lily joined her voice to his, her heart frantically beating the staccato of betrayal against her chest. The smell of fear must have been rolling off of her in waves, because Harry panicked, and he arched backwards from her, seeking freedom. His tiny fingers lashed out and grasped the back of her neck, pulling out a clump of her hair in anger and frustration.
She never felt the pain.
She turned, eyes widening in terror. “Not Harry,” she screamed. “Not Harry, please not Harry!”
"Stand aside, you silly girl...stand aside, now..."
How could he think she would let him murder her baby, her son? That she would hand him over defenseless and allow him to curse him and watch as meekly as he did it? He obviously underestimated Lily Potter. She would sacrifice herself before she ever let him hurt Harry.
But would it be enough? Could it save his life?
This time the jet of green light streamed straight at her jugular vein. White exploded in her vision and deafening screams filled her head. She fell, the baby tight in her arms. “Not Harry,” she whispered, and she would never know she was not heard, but it was enough. With every ounce of strength she had left, she twisted and fell on her back; the screaming and squirming Harry landed safely on top of her.
Her hands rooted around her protruding belly, the muscles contracting tightly under her fingers. She breathed slowly through her mouth, just like the witch midwife taught her. She tried to relax as the cramps she felt in her abdomen began to intensify.
Was it time? Should she get her hopes up? Should she time them? Where was her husband? She gasped as another contraction ripped through her.
Merlin’s beard, these fuckers hurt.
She squeezed her eyes closed and when she caught her breath, she shouted for James again.
Two hours ago he had helped her into the garden, holding tightly to her elbow as she wobbled beside him. As spring progressed into summer and her due date came upon them, it had become their morning ritual.
She enjoyed being outside, listening to the birds chatter above her and watching the dappled sunlight glitter through the heavy green boughs of the willow tree. The baby would occasionally press a foot or a hand against her lazily as she relaxed and softly stroked her belly. She would talk to the baby about everything and anything, memories from her time as a child to how she fell in love with his father; to the very eccentric three uncles he would be inheriting.
This was also the time James normally received messages from the Order and visits from the Marauders, so Lily had an excuse not to hear about Voldemort’s latest atrocities.
She had given up on James until an hour or so later, when she'd begun to notice the twinges were becoming more painful and closer together. Lily glanced around the garden, suddenly feeling the urge to use the loo. She shouted for James again and when she heard no reply sighed in annoyance. Awkwardly she stood, cursing James under her breath for not hearing her call out his name. She took one step towards the house and with a sharp cry of surprise, her water broke all over the flagstones.
She looked up from the wet splash against her feet and into the very surprised eyes of Peter, standing at the back door staring at her. How long had he been watching her? “Peter, get James,” she shouted as she sat back down on the chaise.
Within moments, James, Sirius and Peter were at her side and hovering over her. When she was back on her feet, book ended on either side by James and Sirius, she took a step and another contraction hit. Her knees loosened and if she hadn’t been held up by James and Sirius, she would have fallen.
“Holy fuck,” she muttered through gritted teeth. Was labor supposed to come on this quickly, this hard?
“Breathe, Lily,” James offered as they continued towards the house. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes at him.
“I know how to breathe, James, thank you very much.” The contraction subsided and the pain was gone. “I think I’m okay,” she said, slowly releasing Sirius from her iron grip. “But let’s go back in the house to be on the safe side.”
She had barely made it through the door when her hand flailed out, catching Sirius’s upper arm. Another contraction and this time, she felt something give inside her pelvis. “I think it might be time to floo the midwife.”
James nodded, his glasses sliding down his nose as beads of sweat popped out along his pale brow. “Um, okay. I can do that,” he said as he dropped Lily’s arm and started towards the parlor.
“James, mate,” Sirius called, panicked. “Come take your wife. Pete and I can floo St. Mungo’s. Get her settled, man.”
Lily gave Sirius a gratified look as James returned to her side and Sirius let her go. She pulled James close and held on, this contraction making all the others seem like a walk in the park. “I can’t do it, I can’t make it up the stairs, James, I can’t, please don’t make me,” she whimpered through the pain and blessedly, she realized they were alone.
“It’s okay, baby,” James murmured as he rubbed his fist into her back. She groaned against the counter-pressure and when the contraction subsided, she realized she was pushing through the end of the surge.
“The midwife, James, I can feel the baby coming. We need…”
“I’m here,” a voice said behind her and Lily breathed a sigh of relief as the midwife waved her wand and a large, comfy looking bed piled high with towels and quilts appeared in the parlor.
“Honestly, Mr. Potter. There was no need for me to be man-handled by that beast of a man waiting by the fireplace the moment I stepped into the house. I understand Mrs. Potter is having a baby, but please assure Mr. Black she is not the first and she will not be the last. And she is most definitely not being murdered by a mean-spirited parasite, no matter what it might sound like in here.”
“I guess, now that you're here, I’ll just go out…” James begun, but Lily grabbed a hold of the soft skin under his forearm and pinched with all her strength. “Ow, ouch, Lily!”
“Do not even think of leaving me, Potter,” she hissed as the midwife helped her out of her sundress and into a short cotton shift. “I can’t lie down,” she said through another painful surge, as tears fell down her cheeks.
“Its fine, Lily. What is your body telling you to do?” The midwife asked.
Lily panted through another contraction and the urge to bear down became intense. “I need, I need to kneel and lean.”
The midwife conjured a ladder backed chair with a soft pillow on the seat and Lily dropped in front of it gratefully. She moaned through the next few contractions, rocking back and forth. She begged for a cooling charm and waved away the midwife when she offered a pain-reducing potion. Crying out as the midwife checked her progress, she barely registered the other woman’s whoop of “it won’t be long now, Lily! You’re at 10 centimeters, you can push! Good girl!”
And pushing with the next one, she reached down and felt something that definitely did not belong to her. The pressure and pain were building to a lightning crescendo as her magic wrapped itself around her and gave her the final strength to pushpushpushpushpush. James stayed right alongside her, holding her hand and rubbing her back, his face pale and drawn, obviously frightened out of his mind.
“It’s coming, James,” she gasped and with another long burning and stinging push, felt the head breech. She screamed in triumph as the midwife told her to catch her baby. She let go of the chair and fell against James as her hands reached down and caught the baby under his armpits as he made his slippery entrance into the world.
With a huge gasp she pulled the baby up and out and onto her chest. The baby was bloody and slightly blue, but within seconds he took a large gulp of air and began to cry loudly. Lily clutched the newborn to her chest, both she and James sobbing in relief.
“It’s a boy!” James cried, but Lily didn’t care. She barely noticed when she delivered the placenta and when the cord stopped pulsing and turned white. James clamped and cut it as the midwife checked it over. Lily was too busy counting fingers and toes and rubbing her face against his head of hair. He had thick, black hair just like his daddy.
Instead of hurrying to move Lily and the baby into the bed, the midwife and James piled plump pillows behind her and covered both she and the baby with a sheet. Lily lowered the neck of her shift and offered her breast. To her shock and pleasure, the baby latched on and began to suck like a champion.
In a hot flash of understanding, she knew she loved this baby unconditionally. She realized in her heart that while she loved James, she could live without him if Merlin-forbid she had to. This small baby, this little human being she had made and carried under her heart for the last nine months?
Lily could never live without him.
James bounded out of the room to announce the news to Peter, Sirius and the newly arrived Remus as Lily stared down in wonder at her newborn son. He was blurrily blinking his light colored eyes and looking up at her. “Look at you,” she marveled as she held him to her breast. “You may very well grow to look like your father. But I think you’ll have my eyes.”