Hello! I bet no one ever thought they'd see this update. Well, don't get too excited because...it's The End, and it's also Not Good. Lol. I started writing this chapter nearly three years ago, which is the last time this story was updated. I posted this story in November, 2004. NINE years ago. I hardly remember who I was then, or what I dreamed of...I would have been 14, and I started writing this story even before then, likely when I was 13 because I originally posted it on Harry Potter Warner Brother messaging boards! Wow, so - Wow haha. Lily and James Potter were the first two fictional characters I ever felt real passion for, and in the years since I started writing this story, I have found other muses and other things to write about. But, you never forget your first, and I never forgot All That Matters. I would receive the rare review in the last couple of years, and I would remember all of the researching, all of the reading, all of the crying over Harry Potter books and movies. I would remember the online relationships I formed via Harry Potter love, and how that's something that never changes, because I still talk to those people, and I've formed friendships with others through love of bands, or television shows. I'm lucky to be the type of person who can heal their loneliness by making connections online with kindred spirits, and I have always been this person.

So, I just wanted to pay respect to this story, and this fandom, and to end All that Matters because seeing "39 chapters" was driving me nuts, especially knowing I had written some of this final one. So, I finished it, it's not great, the tail-end is just a way to tie it up, to put to rest these characters I spent many years with. I don't promise anything grand in this final chapter, but it brings me peace to be able to say goodbye. I still love Harry Potter, but things have a natural way of continuing on, and I do still write, although I'm old enough now that I think I realize I'll never do anything professionally with writing. I've graduated high school and University through all these years, and I just want to thank everyone for their beautiful reviews and words of encouragement. Continue loving whatever you love, feel passionate about whatever story, music, movie, television, etc, that you want to, and never let go of things that are a piece of yourself.

Find happiness wherever you can, for I know it is hard to keep, and your heart hurts and the years change so many things, change us even, and everything is fleeting, so wherever you can, take happiness, pleasure, and peace.

Thank you for being apart of my life, and I will continue to write for Downton Abbey, and I also have tumblrs you can connect with me through.

Take care,

There was a moment in November – and perhaps, literally, only a moment – when things were finally, wonderfully...still. I had not felt still in months – years? – But particularly that tumultuous summer of attacks and death and growing up. The first snowfall was upon us – it did not really stick to the ground but it was still calming to stand there and watch it swirling, circling, and falling down.

The air was just cold enough to redden my nose, nip at my hands and when the wind picked up, my eyes would water but I could not blink, did not dare in case I lost the flood of feelings running through me. It had been awhile since I felt so much at once. I felt like myself, felt like the blood in my veins was pumping and my heart was warm again and I was not just some icy figure fumbling through this game of cat and mouse.

The Order was the mouse.

November was the third time we confronted and defied him. We were on a stake out, the Order scattered around in places we had intel about – attacks were going to happen in wide open view on Muggles but there was more than one place we had heard about. Myself and James, Alice and Frank and five or six others were at this particular spot and it was so sudden, so unexpected that Lord Voldemort would show up, not just Death Eaters, that we slung curses and adrenaline pumped and I was fierce and furious and it was our third time – Frank and Alice's too – and we lived and were angry but full of life.

It was mesmerizing and dazing to watch the flakes fall in a slow-motion dance from the grey sky, down to the frozen earth. I felt six years old, I felt wonderful and light and elated and depressed. All at once, I felt crushed and weightless and confused. My head pounded as my heart beat rapidly and it was a wonder my frozen brain could think this much at all.

There was, in fact, something outside of death and plans and maps and attacks, this proved. A change in seasons – look, the world is going on around us and maybe someday we'll walk out of here alive and get to be a part of it...

I could not stop myself from wanting to cry.

I breathed deeply and I had quit smoking about a week before, just on a whim, because I was bored of it, because it did not calm me anymore and why keep at it if I was getting nothing from it? I did not drink or just sleep the days away – I was very present, very aware of everything going on and it was unsettling, in a way, to be so a part of my own life...That didn't really make sense, but for so long I tried to forget what this whole thing was.

Godric's Hollow looked as beautiful in winter as it did through the summer. Our first winter here was a whirlwind one where I felt young and always as if we were running a race but a year later, to know this was our home and we loved and lived and would build a life here – it made things very still. I could be content, I thought, had murder not been lurking around each shadowy corner and had the loss of Dorcas not been fresh in our minds, had our own run-in with Voldemort not made me sure we would die...

I felt the change before I really knew it, I felt it happening without having confirmed it or realized it or wanted it. It made my cheeks burn to think about it and I could not imagine saying it out loud...oh, what a change it would be.

He followed me out into our front yard and he was here so often you would not think he had a place of his own.

"You should be wearing a hat," he handed me one while tugging on gloves of his own. He wore his brown leather jacket even with freezing temperatures and falling snow – if nothing else could be said for him, Sirius Black was not a man of practicality.

"Talking, you're always talking. Just watch for a minute – it's like everything's finally still, taking a rest,-"

"Dying. Winter is when things die, Lily." He was often outwardly morbid but no one so much as blinked at it anymore.

"It's beautiful, in any case."

He was quiet and then a warm smile, "I never love England more than when it's covered in snow."

I smiled and tilted my head up and it was dizzy to watch what looked like the sky coming down – snowflakes blended in with the grey sky until they were almost upon you and I could not agree more about England's loveliness when covered in snow.

"Are you all right?" He asked and his voice was soft and deep and concerned and Sirius would be a lot of things when he grew up, if he grew up. He would be the kind of good man that everyone needed around.

"Be real, Sirius, are any of us?"

"No, but," He stepped back and looked down at me and drew my gaze away from the snow. "We're all miserable, sure, but there's something aside from that with you..."

I bit my lip and looked down to the brown grass, dusted softly with white and dead leaves still hanging around. I looked back to the house, to the smoke coming out of the chimney, felt the warmth, the comfort it offered me and then I looked up into his grey eyes.

It should not, could not be him to know first.

"It's not bad news, necessarily," I croaked out and my lips were cracked and stuck together as I tried to speak.

"I think I know it," He said in a rush and his cheeks were ruddy with cold and drink.

"Don't say it out loud," I interrupted and I tugged the hat on over my ears and looked down at my red hands. "It would kill me for him not to know first."

"Okay," Sirius's brows knitted together as he frowned and I could tell he was thinking hard. "Okay, well...you quit smoking...I come over for a night cap, Prongs pours you half a bottle of whiskey and doesn't notice that you only take a sip before getting some tea. Therefore, no drinking,-"

"Sirius, all of that is entirely unintentional! I'm just bored of smoking and was never as big of a drinker as the rest of you lot,-"

"You're glowing. Everyone looks like utter, down and out shit but you're glowing and you look at James with these eyes – these big, big, hopeful, heartbreaking eyes and it is scary because it didn't take long to figure out,-"

I felt the tears in my eyes and he clung to this as his final point.

"And you're crying at the drop of a hat."

My features crumpled in a sob and I could not explain why, could not understand the provocation of the tears, just knew I felt an overwhelming something clawing inside at my chest and it was all so close to the brim – I bit my lip, nodded vigorously and took Sirius's hand.

I swallowed down another sob, blinked down a few times with wet eyelashes brushing my cheek and then I looked up into his grey, torturous eyes and they were alight and careful but there was something so alive, so excited within them. He looked clean and young and innocent and it was enough to make me hope James would look the same way.

I was not sure, as much I had begged him not to say it aloud, as much as I hoped we would keep it quiet between us until I could fully accept it, I thought I heard him murmur, softly as the wind through the grass, as he pulled me in for a bone-crushing hug -

"A baby."

The first of December came with a foot of snow and the sun was out to dazzle off of it nearly every day. Winter was starting out nice enough. I forgot how good it felt to be bundled up and how handsome the boys - men - looked wrapped in their scarves, gloved hands shoved into the pockets of their peacoats. There was really nothing more handsome than a well-dressed man in winter. Summer was when they tended to slack off and all look like boring slobs but there was a bit more consideration in winter, a more tailored look. James looked handsome and tall, shoulders broad and he seemed more of a man, more of a husband in winter - maybe because summertime made even a senior citizen of a man look like a child, with short pants and ratty tees. Also, he was more of a man with each passing death.

We went skating in some secluded area Alice knew about - and Frank, me and James, Sirius and Marlene. It was a strange coupley thing that Remus laughed off when invited and Peter looked uncomfortable.

It was a good-sized pond off in the country and it was easy to Apparate to because Alice had grown up near here, or something. The smell of evergreen trees filled the air and there was the faintest, most juvenile flop of excitement in my stomach at the thought of Christmastime - if it were to be normal and peaceful and happy.

Skating in the middle of the woods with the sun high in the sky and icicles sparkling through the trees made it hard to believe there was any such thing as evil out there. All I could be was positive and smiling and weightless when I thought of all of the good to come.

I took my time out when the men got competitive, skating faster than the other, falling down and taking everyone else tumbling with them. Marlene joined in but Alice skated to the side with me, where we sat on a makeshift bench out of a giant log.

She took her hat off as she plopped breathlessly beside me and her smile was wide, her hair shorter than I`d seen it, a pixie cut, and her cheeks rosy and glowing. I had this feeling about her...

"Lily," And her voice was sweet and hopeful and my skin rose as I saw a look in her eye that I recognized so well.

"Yes," She squeezed my hand and my heart leapt for her and no one on the ice could be more oblivious to us but she whispered anyway.

"I have news," I knew before she said it, some kind of same-level realization.

"You're pregnant," I was whispering now and she nodded vigorously and her eyes were shining and wide and bright and she made me believe in everything just then. It was naive of me but hopeful.

"Yes, yes, it's too early...It's too early to be talking about it but I wanted to tell you. I'm so happy, Lily, somehow, in all of this. How'd you guess?,"

I resisted the fleeting urge to share my own news, the same as hers, brushed a hand over my discreet stomach and then smiled at her.

"Womanly instinct," I laughed. "I don't know, you just look like someone who has got what she's been hoping for. You look happy."

"I am," She looked down and I squeezed her hand back and then we rejoined the others on the ice.

A pair of birds flew from a tree up into the sky and there were moments of that day that felt like spring, moments that felt like holiday cheer and even others that made me feel as if this were a normal life, a time of peace and not war...

I did not tell Alice or James or anyone I was pregnant that day.

Instead I just soaked it all in and Sirius and Marlene were something like official now and it was sweet to see, strange to see. When he was with Bridget they rarely left the bedroom but he was like a puppy in love with Marlene - holding her hand and kissing her cheek and he did not seem drunk quite as often but even when he was he was a jolly drunk, not the depressed man he`d been recently. As they skated he held her hand and delicately twirled her around and when she slipped a little, his hand on the small of her back steadied her and she touched his chest - and it made me happy just watching them, made me feel a little more in love just sitting there observnig, not even being them. The newfound love was something contagious and I wonder if he did love her. I remembered it all so well then, how I fell for James.

The little things, the first moments, the wide eyes and lust. Seeing it before my eyes made me warm on the inside. Things could have came together that winter had evil, silent and invisible as it was that day, not been right there with us. Alice was pregnant and Sirius could have settled down and I skated to James, kissed his lips and wrapped my arms around his back and he settled his at my waist and when his hand brushed against my stomach, my heart leapt and my stomach flopped and I sometimes felt it there, inside of me and it was such a strange, surreal time...

I felt eager and dying to know things, to hear about everything he knew and did and wanted and felt, to be with him until the end of time, to have his children and watch them grow and hope for the best for them. It was a sudden, overwhelming feeling and he kissed me and my mind flew with possibilities of the future and what if they were just impossible...

After the skating outing, Frank and Alice went home – Alice wondered aloud as she hugged me in parting if tonight was the time to tell him about the baby and I smiled wide and my cheeks hurt and I wondered the same thing about telling James – while Marlene and Sirius came to Godric's Hollow with us. Remus joined us later, smelling of singed hair with news from the Order, mostly word about new tactics and he explained his burned eyebrows and lashes from practicing new spells. The feel of that day and into the night was stubbornly optimistic.

I sat with a mug of warm apple cider while Remus relayed news to James in boisterous tones, Peter had showed up and was prodding at the wireless set and he was even more withdrawn lately than he had been before. His smile was weak and his complexion grey and I wondered if his mum was sick but did not want to upset him further, so I never thought to bring it up. I swirled the cider around and sipped it and it warmed me to my very soul. I folded a blanket in my lap and my skin was dry, my cheeks burning from the day spent in the cold but also from the crackling, roaring fire in the hearth.

Sirius and Marlene were, to me, the focal point of the room. Remus and James were absorbed in their masculine conversation and it made me smile but also worry because the war was never a far topic anymore – it always would be present, it seemed – and Peter was mutteting away but Sirius and Marlene were just exuding love. I felt as if people surrounding them were invasive and when Peter hit a station on the wireless with a lovely, holiday-esque song playing Sirius asked him to stop. He nuzzled into Marlene's neck and his mouth moved by her ear and he was softly, undetectably to the rest of us, singing the song that was playing and my God, I thought, how utterly romantic it was. She was holding a glass of wine with her knee propped up and her long, thick, shiny dark hair was swept over one shoulder and she laughed prettily as he sang and then pressed a kiss to her collarbone. Just as quickly they snapped out of it and she finished her wine and then offered to get everyone refills, to which I said I'd help.

Marlene was very pretty. Alice was beautiful but in a natural, fresh-faced, innocent way and Bridget had been lovely but also dangerous looking, a sort of fiercenes always hardening her eyes, making her rough around the edges. Marlene, though, was who you would imagine Sirius being with. They looked as if they went together, both of their hair long dark and beautiful and the thought made me laugh. There were freckles across her nose and cheekbones, which were high but she also had full cheeks that made her look infinitely youthful. She was stunning but in a wholesome, down to earth way and her eyes were blue, these dark starry blues that seemed impossible but were warm at the same time. She was tall, not much shorter than Sirius with a narrow waist but wide hips and her legs went on and on and on...

She was just who you would imagine Sirius being with. This easy stunner who did not really try but did not really need to. Much like Sirius, just easily graceful. I could have probably fallen in love with her myself and I laughed again and she smiled at me and I decided to speak.

"Marlene, Sirius is just so...happy with you. It's so rare to see him smile." I refilled my own mug and her wine glass and Sirius's whiskey. She began drinking her refreshed wine even as she stood there.

We had been friends at Hogwarts, although not close ones, but she was someone I spoke to most of the time and we helped one another with homework and tsked the boys and she could have become Head Girl just as easily as I had. She was very smart and talented and confident on top of it all. Marlene McKinnon was who Sirius was going to marry but I refrained from saying that out loud.

"He's wonderful," She was quiet but her lips were in a smile and she held onto the counter as she considered my words and then looked over to me. "He's sort of unravelling, there are days he seems...so far gone but he always comes back and when he's happy it's...so easy to be around him." I got goosebumps for her.

"I'm glad he found you," I said and she grinned fully and hugged me briefly.

"And vice versa," She said, nodding and drinking again. "It's nice to be apart of something in all of this. I feel apart of his whole unit now, you know? My family has been so out of sorts with all of this and it's nice to have some friends to be around." I appreciated her so much then.

"Do you love him?" I asked and her eyes were kind and warm but maybe sad.

"It hasn't been very long but it's the easiest thing right now, to love. It's the only thing to really offer and I love him, really. I haven't said it but he's not the type now is he?" She mused and I was fit to burst with all of the hope stacking inside of me.

James passed out on the chesterfield, Remus and Peter left, Sirius kissed Marlene goodnight and her cheeks were splotchy from the wine and Sirius's eyes were slitted from the whiskey that was well on his breath.

"I'll help you," Whereas Marlene wobbled slightly when she Disapparated, Sirius was steady on his feet if not a little louder when he spoke and a little more forward. He handled his drink, it was not something new anymore.

We gathered the glasses and mugs and straightened the living room, carrying the dishes to the kitchen and I scrubbed them magically while he dried them manually.

"Did you tell him?" He asked and I pursed my lips because we were not supposed to talk about it.

"I haven't. Not the right time." Sirius nodded and did not dwell and I appreciated him and I was happy that I could speak with Marlene about how great he was and identify with that attraction but also acknowledge that it had long passed for me and I felt as a wiser older sister to him now.

"What do you think of Marlene?" He was somehow tan in the wintertime, just the natural colour of his skin, and there was a slight pink to his skin as he mentioned her.

"I've known her since we were 11, Sirius," It was 4 o'clock AM. "But I know what you mean – outside of school, in a relationship with you – I think she's lovely. She's got a lot going for her and you two look bloody made for each other."

We finished the dishes in silence and he collapsed on the couch I awoke James off of and there he spent the night. It was nice, it was as if I was making my own family with these people, these young strays like Sirius.

James kissed me on the way to the bedroom and he touched the bare skin under my shirt once we were beneath the covers and I slapped him away saying I was too cold and tired and he laughed in a drunken stupor and fell asleep after he said he loved me and I wondered when it had become so nice, so easy, so happy.

It was puzzling to know this happiness, this abrupt life with James was so because of the apocalyptic fear we had.

We built a life because we didn't have much time left to do so, it felt like.

We just wanted to feel normal, to enjoy this normalcy for as long as we could but - Unforgivable curses were not. Death of masses and unmarked graves were not normal.

To feel defeated was the easiest thing in the world, to feel lost and useless was the way I would initially turn but I tried not to. I tried to put on a face and remember Dumbledore could call down the thunder if he wanted to. He knew what he was doing. We knew what we were doing.

People were losing weight and going into hiding and scared for their families because Death Eaters outnumbered Order members but Dumbledore was unshakable. He had faith. The only way for peace to be restored in our world was for the end to this evil because murders were public, great affairs and everyone was on edge. There was no end in sight but there had to be because we could not live, survive, thrive in this murderous, evil, segregated world. People were terrified and there was no trust anywhere anymore. People looked to the Ministry as corrupt and the Order was an underground movement and everyone believed it lacked real purpose, real achievement.

The members had blind hope that we were doing something good but it was all we had. Tensions were high and people were angry and we could not get enough numbers, get enough intel on the other side and it was frustrating. Remus was angry, Sirius was drunk, Peter was meek and James was steady.

Remus beat Sirius up at an Order meeting and I was exasperated. Absolutely exasperated and my back hurt as my breasts grew and I had not told James yet I was pregnant. Remus punched Sirius in the face after a confrontation about Sirius being a drunk and Sirius said something along the lines - "well I'm drunk but people trust me, no one trusts a werewolf" - and all bets were off after that. Remus hit him, Sirius swung, missed in his drunkenly way and hit a wooden beam in the basement kitchen, breaking his knuckles to bits and as mature as we acted, as much responsibility as we had – these were still dumb teenage boys with too much testosterone and too little good sense.

James rubbed his eyes and turned to where I stood next to Marlene, keeping a hand on her elbow so as to not go after Remus herself or something. But Marlene was reasonable, she knew Sirius was getting out of control, whereas before he could drink 'til he was rosy-cheeked and bleary-eyed but still spoke as if he were sober. Too much vodka – which made him worse than his usual night cap of whiskey or rum – not enough food or sleep or hope left in him and he was drunk but less violent and more child-like. He was non-functioning of late and it was worrisome.

"God damn it, Sirius," I said as we tried to regain some calm after the chaotic fighting and yelling and other Order members complaining, Dumbledore speaking swiftly to Remus and asking someone to take Sirius away. James stood helplessly, he had held Remus back after he tried to lunge at Sirius again but now he just stood there and I felt worse for him than anyone. Marlene and I hoisted Sirius up off of the floor and draped his arms around us, Disapparating away to St. Mungo's.

"God damn it, Sirius!" I said again as we arrived and we threw him into a chair while we waited for a Healer. "It would just be the stupidest thing in the world if you got yourself killed because you are an alcoholic not because of the war. Could you imagine the obit? Sirius Black, dead because he rode his god damn flying motorcycle drunk. Sirius Black, dead because he pissed his best friend off, again, and this time the blow to the head killed him. Sirius Black, dead because he poisoned his body with alcohol and was a useless prat to the Order of the Phoenix and we don't even have time to worry about him being dead because we have to make up for all of the holes he left in our plans. Sirius Black, dead because he's selfish,-"

"Okay, Lily," Marlene interjected, as I flailed my arms around, red in the face, Sirius looking at me steadily but quietly. "That's enough."

"I'm not a drunk," he shrugged sluggishly, slurring and examining his bloody bruised knuckles. "Remus is too high strung. And you need to calm down, fucking pregnant and going off like that, blood pressure through the roof I'm sure,-"

Marlene looked at me with sudden wide eyes, somewhere between horrified and thrilled.


"If you weren't a drunk you would know to keep confidential information confidential." I muttered and my back hurt, my cheeks stung with colour from my anger.

"I'm going home," And I did, to James who had invited Remus to stay - "gotta show some loyalty to him, love, he truly believes no one trusts him and Padfoot wasn't too far off with that exclamation" - and who were sitting up on the couch pounding firewhiskey.

"Not you two as well," I said, sitting on the floor against a cushion.

"We stop at one drink, he stops at a bottle," Remus assured and he was calmer now.

"Love, love, love," James sighed endearingly, beckoning me over to him and I sat on the arm of the chesterfield before sinking into his lap, laying my head on his shoulder. "Did you go at him?"

"Yelled a bit. Marlene told me to cool it. His hands a mess, pretty little nose looks broken too." I said and Remus grinned.

"My hero," James smiled what could only be described as dazzlingly and Remus went off to bed as we stayed on the sofa, a low lamp casting a warm golden sleepy glow over the room. "My love," He became darker as Remus left, nuzzling into my neck and breathing there slowly, hands tight around me. "Tell me things will work out in the end," More of a breath than a whisper.

"Don't worry, don't worry – we can't worry about the what-ifs yet," Yet. I smoothed his hair and kissed his eyes and felt my own heart thump heavily.

"I'm pregnant," he looked up sharply with the same expression Marlene had offered me. "no, no, no, no, don't worry, I'm so happy...I'm so hopeful about this and this only...please don't worry." I smiled at him and I knew my eyes were dancing with a thousand emotions.

"How far along are you?" James thought to ask the next morning after we awoke to Remus cooking breakfast of bacon and toast, skimped on the eggs.

I bit my lip. I hadn't told him Sirius knew and Marlene too before he himself knew. I could not predict his reaction.

"About six weeks, I think. I haven't been to a doctor so I can't be sure yet but I've only known for a week...I was frightened and didn't know how to tell you because of the way you reacted when Alice had her miscarriage and she's pregnant again, too, James and Sirius noticed I had stopped drinking with the rest of you lot and cut out the cigs, too," I figured honesty was the best policy, what was the sense in hiding anything anymore? We were grown, we were married, we had love. Sirius was some lost moment in time that was just a part of growing up.

"Sirius knows? Sirius knew first?"

"Not because I told him because he – he fathomed or something. Only he would notice I wasn't drinking because he noticed how much he was. It's neither here nor there, James."

"Oh, there's nothing of it, I'm not upset, it's my kid not his – just...funny I suppose that Sirius would be the insightful one out of us. Bloody sensed you were pregnant, he should look into Diviniation the prat."

Remus looked weary when we told him.

"Congratulations," Although his voice died and his throat sounded dry and he looked like a disapproving older brother or something in the moment.

"It wasn't planned, Moony. No one is more shocked and less certain than me," James told him. I guess honesty was the theme of the morning.

"It's not even so much that you're bringing a child into the world during warfare it's that...you're bringing a child into the world at all. Really are growing up, you know? Feeling my age, feeling decades beyond my age. A baby. That's a real thing. Magic and wands and wizened old wizards and angry evil-doers hardly seem real when you talk about a baby. That is life and love and a real tangible little thing that your whole world is going to revolve around."

Remus made me sob over my soggy toast and bacon and I got up to hug him. It had taken us some time but we had gotten there, I had cracked through his bitter shell at least somewhat and he accepted me as an integral part of their lives and we really were grown up when he threw the dish towel over his shoulder, kissed my cheek, hugged me tightly and briefly lifted me off the ground.

"You are seriously stupid, don't get me wrong but the next Marauder generation and all. I'm proud of you, James, waiting til the biggest wizard war in history to get someone knocked up, not during fifth year or something,"

James read the paper. "I don't think it's called knocked up when she's your wife but I dunno. Thanks mate." They shared a smile and Remus let me go, told me I was all right and finished drying the dishes.

Things were calmer and lighter and happier when Sirius wasn't around. I worried that was what Remus was going for, though, to establish a stable ground that morning so if there ever came the time to take sides in their argument...

He looked dark again as he did the dishes and he had way of clenching his jaw that made him look older and angrier and his sandy hair was freshly shorn and he really was the antithesis to Sirius in many ways but they shared the darkness.

Funny, though, because, really, we all shared the darkness.

I could not help in the Order anymore although I attended the meetings and sat close to the live wire tension that was Sirius and Remus. Peter would get me herbal teas with honey and he was attentive when the others could not be and I did miss the caffeine now I was pregnant but it also meant I slept through the nights easier which was a comfort when my mind needed to shut down. Marlene, though, was the most attentive and would stay back from missions with me or spend the night at Godric's Hollow when maybe James couldn't come home.

Her and Sirius were at a bit of an impasse and dealing with their tangled lives became a hobby of mine as I sat with my feet up and my hair frizzy, bags beneath my eyes and wrinkles coming in. Nineteen years old was I, not thirty-nine. A pregnancy should be easy I thought, I had watched Molly Weasley birth four of her own already – well not literally watched but she came and went with the seasons and had a new one on her hip each time and was not that much older than me. It was downtrodding me, though, and likely because I had to sit back while my husband and friends risked their lives and even more so now they were a woman down, now that I was not factored into their missions and I wished I had waited until I started showing to tell anyone. I wished I could still go hunting Death Eaters and wished I could get my first kill in -

When I started thinking about that...about murder, revenge, torture...so casually, I worried for things. I worried for myself and my husband and our child, a child who would have parents that had aimed to kill on more than one occasion. I worried for the people who would surround our baby, my parents out of the picture, my sister estranged, James's Dad dead and Mum considering hiding out...Remus a werewolf, Peter a closed book, Sirius a drunk, Marlene in love with a drunk...What were we thinking, I wondered. We were 19 and at war and that didn't mean we were ready for anything that was about to befall us.

But befall us they did, and Marlene would die in 1981, before the end of the war – her whole family wiped off by Voldemort.

That was the changing point for all of us – That was when we realized this was an uphill battle and we were losing...we were losing the war and we were losing people and we lost Marlene. It hurt...it hurt but we were all so numb to it, we were just thankful it wasn't ourselves or our own families. I remember crying for an entire day when we lost her, but then there was nothing else to be done – There was no real mourning because we had to wage on, we had to battle forward...we couldn't even have a proper funeral or anything. Sirius said goodbye to the only love of his life by toasting a drink to her after the debriefing on her death and pounding the entire thing in one swill.

This would be the dark days of Sirius Black.

Remus and Sirius fell apart even more, and I became Remus's champion, fighting for his rights as the judgements on a werewolf increased. After Marlene was killed, Sirius fell apart for a few days, black out drunk and raging, but then he pulled himself together, sorry that the last months spent with her he was at his angriest, at his most incompetent, but it was too late, the hole was dug and we were down deep in the depths of despair. We didn't know how to win, there was no winning – Dumbledore was the only certain one and it made us no more certain.

A year before, though, before all hope had been lost, before Marlene died a quick death, I gave birth to our first and only child. In July, after being heavily pregnant during the warmest summer we had seen in years, on the very last day, Harry James Potter was born.

A head full of dark hair, and my green eyes...when they flopped him onto my chest, covered in fluids from within my womb, I never felt more shocked or complete than I did then. He was perfect, and tiny, and my heart swelled, and James was gaping at me, tears in his eyes. His son, the boy who would carry on the Potter name...this little piece of us. He looked more like James than James himself looked anymore, a piece of the boy that James had been when we first fell in love it. My terror for the world around us increased tenfold as Harry cried and the nurses cleaned him up, and I never wanted him to be taken away from me.

I would die before I let anything happen to him.

"Lily," James had said, stroking Harry's forehead as he slept in my arms, and he never was more a man to me than then, a father, a partner. "I love you, sweetheart," And he was tender and my heart beat only for him, for them.

"Did I do well?" I asked, smiling at the bundle we never asked for, we never expected, but had become apart of us the second we saw him.

"I never dreamt of one so beautiful. Oh, God, we're cursed and blessed all at once, Lily oh Lily."

"I love you, darling. I can't – I can't imagine living for anything else, than this, than our family." I meant it, and I was earnest, and scared, but determined.

James kissed my lips, then my head, and we were safe, and whole for those few days after we welcomed our son.

And so, that's how it went...a prophecy was told and we were endangered even more, our son a piece of the prophecy...we went into hiding...Sirius was the Godfather and our secret keeper until the last minute, when we chose Peter Pettigrew...The bastard, the betrayer...but I'd never know that in my lifetime...

James cemented himself as the love of my life, saving me from Voldemort himself after I rejoined the Order, once Harry was a few months old. There was nothing to laugh about anymore, hardly anything to smile or even wake in the mornings for...but there was James and there was Harry, and for that sliver of time, I had a perfect family. Even as the battle waged on, even as Sirius and Remus were struggling and alienated, Peter acting more bizarre and detached the more threatening things became.

I was young, younger than most who reflect on their lives, younger than most married with a child...But it was the nature of warfare, to grow up quick and have all you can before...before...

For long, many years, I was a selfish, morose girl who didn't know her future, who agonized over a family she couldn't change, who didn't know who to love or even how to love. But, it all changed when I became pregnant...it was all different and my fear wasn't for myself anymore. No, this wasn't the ideal life, no this wasn't the way I imagined things...and I found myself passionate for very little, not getting the chance to land on my feet after Hogwarts before we were thrust into battle...but I was passionate for James, and I was steady for James, and the only reason we continued was for the chance of a future afterwards. I had never felt more love or strength in my life until I was married to him, until I had this man to look to for guidance and reassurance, and I offered him the same. I loved him, I loved his friends...Remus and Sirius felt practically my own blood and they were my family, they were the ones I loved the most in the world, my men, and my boy.

In my lifetime, in our lifetime, during our war...nothing would get mended, not permanently. Voldemort disappeared, his minions did, many were imprisoned in Azkaban...so was Sirius Black at the doing of Peter Pettigrew...but it would not end until our son, the Boy Who Lived, changed everything. He saved lives, he knew our friends, our family, he struggled and persevered and I died for him, just as James died for us.

There was nothing in my lifetime, in my short life, in my short marriage to James, that made my life complete, or above all else...nothing that gave me revelation or propelled me from being a girl to a woman...but it had happened, and I was different, I was whole, I was fierce. We had lost, and apart of it was peace and acceptance. To cherish the precious time we had left, for we knew it couldn't last, and it didn't.

I would live again through magic, I would see my son again through magic, but it was distantly, from the beyond, from a quiet resting place that I thought nothing of until I ended up there.

We never had the chance to raise him, I never had the chance to be everything I might have been, a woman cut down in her prime, but the world was changed for our sacrifice, and our love, our son – Peace found them all, eventually, our son, and his children...

And that was all that mattered.