A/N: Well, I was re-reading DH, and this kind of popped into my head as I was thinking about how unfazed James, Lily, Sirius and Remus seemed when they got pulled back from wherever they were to walk with Harry to his death. And I started thinking, and well, this is the result. The lines you recognize when they are actually talking to Harry, and in the beginning, are of course JKR's.

Until The Very End

"So the boy… the boy must die?"

"Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter – "


"What the hell?" Sirius Black was on his feet.

James Potter was not far behind him, balling his fists. "If you weren't already dead, Albus Dumbledore, I swear I'd kill you. Kill you, you hear that, wherever you are!"

"Not bloody around watching how it's gonna work out for Harry, that's for sure," Sirius muttered. "Well, now we know why," he added darkly.

Lily Potter had sunk down in a chair, her face drained of colour. Remus Lupin was still pale himself from the shock of finding himself in this place, that was admittedly much calmer, essentially, than being caught up in the middle of the Battle, but yet so much more frustrating since they could do nothing but watch. He and his wife, who was crying silently, her head on his shoulder, were the only ones who paid Lily any attention.
"Lily?" he asked carefully.

But she shook her head, her eyes closed. Nymphadora was hesitantly making her way over to place a comforting arm around the other woman, when they were all interrupted by a deep voice, seemingly emerging from within their own ears.

"Lily Potter, James Potter, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, you will all be required to make a brief visit to Earth. Harry Potter shall be calling you back shortly, using the Resurrection Stone. Be prepared."

The first reaction came from Lily, who burst into tears, hiding her head in her hands. James had frozen, mid-mutter, and was now gaping, speechless at the prospect of actually getting to reunite with his son – after all these years…

"Well, this is perfect, isn't it?" Sirius interrupted the silence. "We'll get to talk him out of this effin' self-sacrificing business."

"I don't think so," Remus protested quietly, as hope had risen in James's eyes.

"Why not?" James asked defensively.

"Yeah, why the hell not? It's not like we owe old man Dumbledore any bloody thing," Sirius agreed, his brow furrowed.

"But we do owe Harry more than that," Remus said. "Don't think I don't agree with you that this is horrible, and that it is going to be awful not to tell him that, but… If he calls us back, now, that's not what he'll need from us. That's not what we're going to come back to do. We'll have to – help him. Even if…" he added with a sigh, seeing the pain shining from James's eyes for a second, before he turned to his wife and, for the first time, noticed her tears. In a couple of steps, James was by Lily's side, his hands on her shoulders. This simple gesture seemed to give her the strength to speak.

"He's right," she said in a low voice.

James closed his eyes briefly, then he nodded too, even if it seemed to be done against every ounce of him screaming with protest.

This stopped Sirius, who had been looking ready to argue, but had awaited James reaction and now muttered at Remus' stern gaze, so low that only he and Nymphadora could hear it. "Fine. Fine. But I don't have to bloody like it. I mean, isn't anyone bothered that all four of us sacrificed our lives for him – no, no. Now we're just expected to go promote his suicide because Dumbledore planned it that way?!"

"No," Remus said simply. "Because Harry needs us."

Sirius sighed, pulling his hand through his hair. (Remus had still not quite gotten used to seeing him this young, this un-damaged by Dementors and self-loathing.) "Okay. But it's not for Dumbledore."

"I am disappointed with him too," Remus confessed, watching his hands for a moment. "I must admit, I don't see how he could've been so..."

"Me neither," Nymphadora whispered softly, her eyes still fixed on Lily, who was now openly sobbing into her husband's chest as he himself bit his lip hard and looked like he was being blinded by a very strong light by the way his face was screwed-up. Remus looked away, swallowing down the knowledge that he was about to go through exactly the same amount of pain that his two old friends had – the one of watching your son grow up, knowing that he would never know you, that you could do nothing to help, to support, to guide…

"I can't believe he'd do this," came Lily's muffled voice, suddenly emerging from her husband's embrace. "He must be so – so scared."

James merely patted her on the back, and even Sirius dropped his anger for a moment.

None of them said what they all knew the others must be thinking too – no matter how horrible the end of Harry's life would be, they would get to see him now, and not just from afar. He would be there, with them, always. But Remus knew neither Lily nor James could allow themselves to be pleased by this. They wanted him to live. Just like it would crush him, truly crush him, to find Teddy here with him already. Teddy was supposed to live and love and – and so was Harry. Remus didn't even want to think about how destroyed they would all be, down on Earth – Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Molly…

Then the voice came again. "It is time."

Pressing his lips against his wife's briefly, promising her with his eyes that he wouldn't be long, wouldn't leave her alone for long (yet she looked so lost, so broken that the thought of letting go of her, even for a few moments, pained him more than he could say), he was swept away.


Arriving, Remus was hit by a strong wave of memories. Hogwarts. The place where he'd found friends, friends who were still with him, now. Whose eyes were all fixed on the trembling boy standing in front of them, gaping open-mouthed at their appearances, particularly of the parents he had never met.
Lily must have dried her tears before they went, because now there was no trace of them on her face, which was split in a radiant smile as she took in her son. The agony was gone, and all that was left was the strong emotion of longing, of affection. "You've been so brave." The words came from her lips so naturally, and Remus caught a glimpse of the awed face of James, who was standing back a little, seemingly hesitating before he spoke too.

"You are nearly there. Very close. We are…" he cleared his throat, swallowing. "… so proud of you."

Harry, looking at the same time more like a frightened child and more like a grown man than Remus had ever seen him, flickered his gaze between them for a second before opening his mouth again. "Does it hurt?"

The genuine fear in him was so powerful that Lily almost gasped, and James seemed speechless. Remus found himself taken aback too, so it was Sirius who stepped up, wearing that casual grin he'd always mastered so well.

"Dying? Not at all. Quicker and easier than falling asleep."

Now Remus found his voice, trying to be reasoning and logical. "And he will want it to be quick. He wants it over."

The guilt in Harry's eyes as he turned to Remus was unbearable. "I didn't want you to die. Any of you." His eyes flickered to Sirius, but seemed not to dare to meet his parents, which perhaps was lucky, as Lily was hastily wiping her eyes and clutching James's hand for support, while he was still looking simply stunned beyond words.

Harry turned back to Remus. "Right after you'd had your son… Remus, I'm sorry…"

He forced himself to smile, to reply in a way that would not increase this boy's already too strong shame. "I am sorry too," he said carefully. "Sorry I will never know him… but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life." Had he been convincing enough? He was not sure, but saved from more attention as Harry turned to his parents again.

"You'll stay with me?" he asked, in the smallest voice yet.

"Until the very end," James assured him, looking relieved at finally having been able to contribute with something as his son's searching eyes remained in his.

"They won't be able to see you?"

"We are part of you. Invisible to anyone else." Sirius fixed Harry with a loving gaze, which he met for a moment, then moved over to his mother, who looked ready to burst with emotions at his next words.

"Stay close to me."

And they did.

A/N: To be honest, I never could see myself writing one of these, but this sort of wrote itself. Let me know what you think, okay?