Houses Competition: Year 2, Round 7

House: Hufflepuff

Year: 3

Category: Short

Prompt: [Speech]: "I miss moments like this more than anything."

Word Count: 1413

Beta: Margaret, Aya


Tags: Jily


Desperation


It takes every ounce of energy Lily has left to not pass out from the blinding pain. Her head is resting weakly against James's shoulder and she can feel her grip around his neck loosening.

"Hold on, just a little longer," he murmurs desperately into her ear, and she's trying. She's trying so hard. She finds the energy to nod weakly against his neck, and feels him plant a kiss on her forehead.

As her vision grows fuzzy, the flashes of spells shooting across the dark sky start to look like fireworks. The only thing that keeps her from believing that are the screams echoing through the night.

James is carrying Lily, running as he did so, trying to find a safe spot to disapparate from. The shrieks and explosions don't help his concentration. He is holding his wand in his right hand, which is holding Lily around her knees; keeping his wand steady is difficult but it's something he needs to do if he is to ensure that his wife and he went back home to their son.

After what felt like ages, the yelling fades a little and he comes to a stop under a large birch tree. He holds Lily closer to him and closes his eyes, trying to picture the St. Mungo's bleak building.

He feels breathless for a moment and when he opens his eyes, he's met with the sight of the Dark Mark, glowing emerald green over the hospital. One part of the hospital is collapsing in on itself. From where he stood, he could see the frantic rush within it and the Aurors scouring for survivors, attempting to heal the wounded.

James stills for a second, taking a moment to process the sight before him. He feels Lily's body getting heavier in his arms, and his eyes shoot to her face; he can tell she's trying very hard to keep her eyes open, but if her pale face is any indication, she wouldn't hold out for long.

"Lil," he says, softly, watching her anxiously.

"James," she replies, but her voice comes out in a breathy whisper.

He sinks to the ground, sitting on his knees. The hand holding his wand wraps around her side, holding her to him while the other cradles her face. The heat radiating off of her, he knows, isn't normal.

He wishes he had gone to Madam Pomfrey with Lily when she'd been determined to learn a few basic healing spells.

"What do I need to know them for? You're much better at this kind of stuff. And one of us knowing is good enough, I think."

His gaze falls on his wand and he can only think of one thing. He's never tried it before, but he's seen Dumbledore do it on multiple occasions. But he had to try. He had to.

So he closes his eyes and scours his mind for the happiest memories that he can find. He sees Lily holding Harry in the firelight, cooing at him as he giggled. He sees Sirius, in the form of a giant black dog, playing with Harry under the Christmas tree, and his and Lily's wedding day.

He feels a surge of warmth and opens his eyes to see the familiar silver form of a stag. It stands in front of him, radiating a comforting heat, and watches him with its head tilted to one side. Swallowing nervously, he relays his message to it, feeling slightly foolish as he did so, finishing with a thank you to Madam Pomfrey.

As he watched, the stag disappeared and he prays that the message reaches her. Once again, he closes his eyes and focuses his mind on their little cottage in Godric's Hollow, with its stone walls and white window panes. His mind drifts to their living room, filled with the glow of the fire burning in the fireplace.

When he opens his eyes, James is in the living room of his home and to his utter relief Madam Pomfrey is already waiting by the hearth, and Sirius is pacing the living room restlessly, freezing when he catches sight of James and Lily.

"Prongs!" he says anxiously and hurries over, his lips tightening when he sees Lily.

"Madam Pomfrey told me. I didn't think it was this bad," he mutters.

"Mr. Black, if you would?" says Madam Pomfrey softly, and Sirius steps aside to stand behind James's kneeling form.

With a gentle flourish of her hand, Lily is out of James's arms and floating as she is guided carefully to rest on the sofa. James stands up and follows, pausing behind Madam Pomfrey as she hustles about Lily, mumbling under her breath.

After a few seconds of tense silence and shuffling about, Madam Pomfrey waves her wand over Lily's body. Lily seems to take a deep breath before relaxing completely into the sofa. She sighs softly and her head falls to the side.

"She's asleep," says Madam Pomfrey at last. "She'll be alright."

James heaves a sigh of relief and Sirius pats his back comfortingly.

Madam Pomfrey stands up and turns to face James, waving her wand to conjure a vial of ink blue liquid in her hand. Handing it to him, she tells him to give it to her as soon as she wakes up so she could regain some strength.

"As for you, Mr. Potter, I suggest you get yourself something to eat," she says sternly, before disapparating from the room.

Leaning forward to plant a kiss on Lily's forehead, James turns around and heads to the kitchen and is surprised to find Sirius already there, a plate of sandwiches ready in hand.

"I tried to make you both some dinner after putting Harry to sleep," Sirius mutters. "Turns out babysitting is no fun once the baby is asleep."

"Thanks, Padfoot," James can't help but laugh as he takes a sandwich and bites into it. "Not bad," he says. "But only because I'm starving right now."

"You can say what you want, but I'm sure my sandwich tops everything else's," he says smugly, adding as an afterthought, "Except maybe your mum's."

James shrugs as he reaches for another sandwich. "So, how's Harry doing?"

"He had a giant, loving dog for company," says Sirius with a smirk. "How do you think?"

"You know, if you never show him your human face, he might never recognize Uncle Sirius. Only Padfoot," says James, mouth full of so much food that Sirius could barely just make out what he was saying.

"Eh," says dismissively. "I think the boy's got Evans's brain. He'll figure it out."

James huffs and eats his sandwich, hopping on to the kitchen counter as he does.

"Lily will be pissed when she wakes up," says Sirius, brows raised.

Smirking, James shrugs dismissively.

Sirius sighs. "I miss moments like this more than anything. The days before the war. When your biggest problem was to get Evans to say 'yes' to you. Mine was trying to keep you from doing something too stupid in that attempt…"

"Good old days," chuckles James bitterly.

They both stay quiet for some time, trying to come to terms with the war waging outside; friends losing lives. It was still difficult to wrap that around their heads, living during a war. It used to feel like an adventure, thrilling almost, until Harry was born.

"How bad is it?" Sirius asks suddenly.

Sighing, James mutters, "They got St. Mungo's today."

Sirius purses his lips and nods once.

"And I heard the Lestranges got the McKinnons," adds James after a few seconds.

Sirius inhales sharply and shakes his head. "It won't be long before they—"

"I know," says James slowly. "But the Fidelius Charm's in place."

"Right," mutters Sirius. "Speaking of, where's Wormtail?"

"He said he'd drop by in the evening, didn't he?" asks James, frowning.

"He didn't," says Sirius, shaking his head. "I hope the doofus is alright."

"I'm sure he'll be fine," says James, brushing the bread crumbs off his shirt. Back on his feet, he takes the empty plate and puts it in the washbasin.

Few minutes later, Sirius takes James's leave and the house falls quiet again. James heads upstairs to the nursery after giving Lily another onceover. In the pale yellow room, James pulls up a chair and sits next to the crib, chin propped at the top. He watches the baby boy till he falls asleep, feeling more at ease than he had all week.