At twenty one, they're all the same.

None of them are the embodiments of selflessness. None of them are the kind of people who look at someone and think, oh, I'm going to die for them.

No one was that way, not even the best of them.

And Lily Potter, in the end, was human. An ordinary human, capable of an extraordinary love, yes- but human.

A human, with faults.

At twenty one, she's cursed herself for marrying so young, tying herself down to someone so young. She's barely out of her teens, just old enough to begin drinking, for god's sake. She would be lying if she said that her eyes did not wander to other people, other men- an honest curiosity.

It was not that she did not love James. She loved him-more than she had probably loved any one else. She knew, too, how James's eyes wandered too. Twenty one was an age people spent drinking and high on drugs, with strangers, in dingy hotels and bars.

It was not an age where they married, and brought a child into a far too cruel world.

She would be lying if she said she didn't feel a bit of resentment to the young child who lies in the nursery.

There was happiness, of course, when Harry was born. Happiness so profound it had threatened to burst out of her chest, when he'd gripped her hair for the first time with baby fists. Pride and love beyond anything she'd felt when he called her Mamma for the first time.

But there were times, like today, when she felt tired, so fucking tired, and needed a break. She couldn't, couldn't go to him and change him, or feed him, or whatever it is he needs. She lets him cry for a few minutes longer, until she hears James running up the stairs, and murmur some nonsense to Harry, who quietens down. So he was home, then.

After some time, he comes in, dark hair rumpled, the slightest shadow of stubble over his jaw, smelling of night air and whiskey. He pauses at the door, leaning against it, blinking hard.

"Harry was crying." He says, running a hand over his hair.

"What did he want?" She asks, sitting up, letting the sheets fall off.

"Some attention. Something he apparently hasn't been getting since morning." There was an edge to his voice, barely suppressed anger in it.

"Well, some of us don't have the choice of going out and getting drunk with Sirius whenever we want, so you'll excuse me."

"Oh? You stay here all day, and he's our son, Lily. We don't get the choice of just letting him cry, or ignoring him. This was a joint decision, remember?"

"I didn't choose to be a stay at home mum at twenty one! I had hopes and dreams, just like you, James!"

"And you think we run around till dawn, fooling around?"

"Is that not what you do, then?"

"Hate to break it, but I'm running around so people, people like you can sleep safely!"

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" She whispered, standing up. James's face slackened, mouth already open to apologise, but she waved her hand. "I'm just as skilled as you, or Sirius, James. I don't need anyone protecting me, regardless of my birth or bringing up."

"I didn't mean to offend you-"

"Well, you did!"

"You know what, Lily? You're impossible to talk to when you're like this. Harry is our son, our child-"

"You keep saying that, our son, and all that. I just- James, sometimes, it's so...I, everything is, it's too much, too, this is all new to me!"

"And I make children every alternate week, and am an experienced dad?"

"How do I know? I hardly know of what you do when you're outside!"

"Oh, wonderful. You're accusing me of going from carelessness to infidelity, now? Seriously, Lily?"

"I'm not accusing you of anything!"

James pinched the bridge of his nose, taking a deep breath. The air between them was thick with tension. Neither of them made a move to smooth things over, Lily standing near the window, looking out at the leaves scattered by the wind, fingers shaking too bad to light a cigarette.

"Lily, I'm going out. I need some air."

"Of course. You go out, and everything back to normal, yes? What about me?" Lily could feel her voice rising, and tried to control it, both she and James hated screeching, but she couldn't control it.

"Lily, don't fucking shout. Sirius is downstairs."

"Let him hear! Let everyone here that we're not the perfect, match made in heaven-James! Listen to me! Listen to me, you fucking asshole!"

James had slammed the door on his way out. She hears the distant sound of the front door banging shut, utter silence, not even broken by Harry's fretful wails.

Lily throws her cigarette to the carpeted floor, pressing her fists to her mouth to stop herself from screaming.


She watches him, sleeping peacefully, her angelic child, with his midnight curls and baby face, small round wrists clutching at her finger for comfort.

The moonlight streams through, illuminating his innocent face. James had come in a little while ago, alternately mumbling apologies and insults, in his usual manner, and everything had been forgiven and forgotten with a kiss. That was James and Lily, argue till one drops, and then make up until the other dropped from exhaustion.

A surge of love for the tiny human being they created brings her to the nursery, where Harry naps, not knowing his mother's traumatic and troubled thoughts.

She's afraid.

She's so fucking afraid, of what she's done, the sheer arrogance they'd displayed at having brought a child to a world where not even they were safe.

Neither of them are sure if they can see the next day's light, and here lies a proof of their stupid overconfidence, as if they could bring him up like a prince.

She doesn't know if her son is going to see his second birthday, and that is enough for her to bend over him and let out everything in harsh, dry sobs.

She doesn't expect to see past twenty one.

Everyone, including her friends, the man who loved her so long, they remember her as perfect Lily Evans, Kind Lily, Perfect Lily.

Selfless Lily.

They don't remember- or look past the imperfections that made up Lily Evans Potter, her little selfish tendencies, her impatience with anyone who was slower than her ( James could always keep up with her razor sharp mind), the little unkind words she doled out during her short lifetime.

Like everyone else.

She's the painted martyr, the mother of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, someone who died for her child. They blow out of proportion her virtues, her talents- makes her out to be someone Lily Evans Potter wouldn't be, couldn't be, would never be.

She would never be, because the tragedy of Lily Evans Potter was that she would never get the choice of becoming better, a better person, which all of us have.

She will never see past the age of twenty one, after all.