The whoosh of the wind rustling the trees added a peaceful background noise to the pleasant setting. The fire crackled merrily, each hiss and pop interspersed with the giggles of the infant child. Lily smiled down at the child in its cradle, the deep look of love in her eyes accompanied by the sparkle of happiness caused by her child's laughter.
In the secure grasp of her hand was a slim silver chain, wound around the soft flesh twice. The interlocking links of the chain streamed down, glinting in the fading evening light on one side, but hued a vibrant orange from the reflection of the fire on the other side. At the end of the simple chain hung a pocket watch, similarly plain in all ways.It had belonged to her father, and her grandfather before him, a trusty family heirloom which had always kept time well, regardless of whether it was wound or not. This little facet of the watch's 'personality' had always baffled the Evans family, until Lily Evans went to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in a world where occurrences such as these were explained away with the ease of a simple wave of one's wand.
The watch was perfectly circular, and small enough that it hardly eclipsed the hand of her child as he happily batted at it with his pudgy-fingered hands. The back was silver, engraved simply with concentric circles that shined brighter than the more muted silver of the un-engraved parts. The face, too, was simple ... the background a pure white, with two thin black hands pointing the correct time. The hour marks were made of the same silver, a short rectangular piece indicating each of the twelve hours, and four dots of ink between the rectangular jewels to show the minutes. Upon the white background was a beautifully inked signature, the flawless calligraphy spelling'Leandros'. Below it, in the same flawless calligraphy, was the word "Sparta," wrapped around a tiny purple jewel. The last masterpiece of a Greek watchmaker who had, with his last breath, feverishly pressed the watch into the hand of her Grandfather, then died.
Harry batted at the watch, giggling happily as he made contact, the watch swinging through the air above his head. Laid in his cot and dressed in a set of white pajamas, he bounced about happily, tiring himself to the point of sleeping. Lily smiled, half in happiness at her child's obvious pleasure, and half in relief. Harry had woken up bawling an hour ago, and it had taken until now to get the child back into a resting position. Now she simply sat there, playing with her only child and giggling along with Harry as he amused himself.
Surprisingly, his next swing was a little too successful, for his chubby little fingers wrapped around the top of the watch, the momentum causing it to be tugged away from her. The chain, rather than give way, simply unfurled from its position around her hand, sliding off so smoothly that it felt like cloth, rather than metal, against her skin. Giggling and gurgling happily now that he had claimed his prize, Harry rolled onto his side, tucking the watch under the covers with him. When Lily tried to extricate it from his grasp, he began giggling again, shielding it from her view by rolling on top of it and dancing away from her hand whenever she tried to retrieve it.
She smiled serenely, lifting him out of the cot and holding him in the air. "Harry," she said softly, "you want to give the watch back to Mummy?"
He squealed laughingly, grasping onto it with surprising strength, enough so that it would be a struggle to extricate it from his grasp. She gave up, sighing despite the small smile playing about her lips. "Okay, sweetie," she cooed, "you can keep it. But you keep it safe, you hear me?That's really special, okay?"
Unbeknownst to her, with that simple decision, she had just saved her son's life.
Noticing that she wasn't trying to take it from him anymore, he giggled again, his open mouth revealing pink gums and tiny white teeth in their first stages of growing. She smoothed his hair down, planting a purposely wet kiss on his forehead, and set him back down on the cot. He held the watch closely to his chest, eyes slowly closing shut. She gently pulled the blanket up to his chin, and sat back in her chair as he drifted off to sleep. Within minutes, as he had tired himself out by playing around for an hour, his breath grew even. The look of utter tranquility on his face made her smile wanly, and she gently ran a finger down his face. She debated removing the watch from his grasp, but seeing the expression of peace on his face, she decided against it. A simple wave of her wand would undo any damage to it...and someday, it would belong to him anyway.
A pair of arms wrapped around her waist gently, and she felt a chin on her shoulder. Living under the Fidelius Charm for over a year had long worn away any jumpiness, so the lack of noise in his approach and the sudden touch was not surprising enough to startle her. She smiled, feeling James' cheek against her own, his bristly stubble brushing against the hairless, soft skin on her face.
"He looks so calm," James said, squeezing his arms around her slightly, "did it take a long time?"
She shook her head, placing her hands on top of his, but making no movement to pull them away. "He was pretty energetic today," she whispered, "but he's the most darling little thing I could possibly imagine."
He smiled, and she could feel it as his facial muscles moved against her cheek. Then his right hand slid over her abdomen, pressing gently against her lower belly, and she turned slightly to look at him, an inquisitive look on her face.
He spoke, his voice slightly hoarse, and a glint in his eye that promised happiness. "You know," he said slowly, "we could always have another."
"Anoth- what?!" she squeaked, now turning to face him, her voice unnaturally high. "Another baby, James? You-what... yes!" she gushed excitedly, doing her best to keep her voice down as he baby slept.
He grinned roguishly at her in response, and gathered her into a hug, lifting her off the ground easily. "I knew you wanted another kid, sweetheart." She blushed, making him laugh. "Tomorrow," he promised, "I'll get Sirius to come here and baby sit Harry, he loves 'teachin' yer sprog howta do magic'."
She giggled, and planted a kiss on his lips, making him grin even wider. "I, on the other hand, will get two things tomorrow. First, afertility potion for you and a few energy potions for myself," he said, waggling his eyebrows and making Lily blush, "and second, a hotel reservation at a nice Muggle place, and we'll spend the whole day uh... doing-"
She glared at him, cutting him off, and in a low, dangerous voice, muttered "You had better not say 'doing it', James Nathaniel Potter."Then she winked at him, and in a husky voice, continued, "What we'll be doing, darling, is called 'making love'. Many times." He laughed, and ignoring her muted squeal, reached down and lifted her into the air as if they were newlyweds, then carried her down the stairs, laughing all the way. Miraculously, Harry remained asleep, something they were extremely thankful for.
They sat in the living room for a long time, with James laying his head in Lily's lap, her fingers playing with his hair as they talked about inconsequential things, then moved on to the state of the war. Two empty glasses of wine sat on the short table in front of them.
Lily sighed happily. "It's so calm," she whispered, hearing a grunt of assent from James, "I love it here."
As if those words had been a harbinger of misfortune, the door suddenly shattered inwards, covering the small hallway that led into the house with splinters. They scrambled to their feet in shock, fear etched across their expressions as they drew their wands.
From the haze of dust that had billowed in emerged ahaunting figure with glowing red eyes. A single word fell from James' lips, and it was enough to describe the gravity of their situation.
His laughter echoed strangely in the confines of the room. He stood there, still for a moment, then lifted his wand from its position next to his thigh, his spidery hands grasping the stick of wood gently. Immediately the two Potters sprang into action, Lily sprinting for the stairs as James flung a flurry of curses at Voldemort. The Dark Lord simply waved his wand, sending the curses on a new tangent, where they struck the walls, leaving burn marks. Another wave of his wand caused both parents to be lifted off their feet and flung painfully against another wall, shackles emerging to restrain them. The Dark Lord cocked his head slightly, and the shackles tightened painfully on their wrists, causing them to involuntarily relax their wand arms, and thereby surrender their wands to the gentle embrace of the rug below them.
He laughed, even as the two Potters desperately fought the chains that held them. "So na
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