Categories > Books > Harry Potter

keeping vigil

by StormVandal 1 review

James and Lily's first month in heaven feels more like a month in hell.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Fantasy - Characters: Harry,Peter,Sirius,James,Lily - Warnings: [V] [?] - Published: 2015-02-22 - 1178 words - Complete

The Potter's heaven is an almost-exact replica of the cottage in Godric's Hollow. The curtains in the windows are the same, as are the flowers in the garden. James' parents have already stopped by, as have Lily's; they've seen old friends, and even met some new ones. Heaven, it seems, is not all that different from the living world – except that the cupboards restock themselves, and objects appear when they're wished for.
It's almost nice. It's almost good. But the crib in the little nursery on the second floor of the little house is empty, and so Lily Potter is sure that this must be hell.
She knows, of course, that's it is better that Harry is alive – she knows this all too well, in fact, having died for him. She knows, too, that joy will come in time; eventually she will be immeasurably grateful that her son gets to live, to grow.
But now she misses her baby boy.
She sits on the floor of the nursery, the spot where she died, and she stares at the empty crib like it's a dead thing she can't tear her gaze from. She could watch him instead in the pond in the garden, the way James does, but the thought alone feels like poking an open wound. What if he cries for her, and she can't go to him?
James has tried to comfort her, to end her vigil, but he has not succeeded. He'd tried to coax her from the nursery to the pool that morning, but half-heartedly. He comes in for dinner with red eyes, and he doesn't tell her what he saw. She can tell by his silence that Harry isn't with Sirius.
Nothing has gone right. Heaven feels like hell.

Lily is in that spot on the nursery floor in the evening when she hears James scream.
She has never heard James make a sound like that before; she feels it in her very bones. She's on her feet and out the door without thinking. She finds herself beside the pond for the first time since their arrival the day before.
James is still screaming; the sound is raw, and choked by the beginnings of tears. His words are a mixture of "Padfoot" and "Sirius" and "no", over and over, no no no no.
Lily glances into the pond. She sees blood, and smoke, and Aurors, and Sirius laughing. She looks away.
She holds James against her chest as he sobs.

James ceases to hold vigil at the pond after that. He doesn't join Lily in Harry's nursery, either. He retreats into their living room, where Lily sometimes finds him staring blankly at the wall and looking very far away.
The silence in the house is almost palpable. A few times, Lily falls asleep beside the crib, her fingers through the bars as though to hold Harry's hand. A few times, James finds himself absent-mindedly waving his wand, sending colourful puffs of smoke into the air that no one will try to catch.
They have been dead for almost a week.

They both know the vigil must end eventually. They're not accomplishing anything with their pining. The problem is, they have no idea how to stop. They have no idea what to say to each other. They each feel lost.
It's almost inevitable, given the way they are grieving differently and seperately, that there is an argument ner the end of the second week. James and Lily have torn themselves most reluctantly from their posts to eat the dinner that has put itself on their table; this is more out of force of habit than any kind of hunger.
They don't say anything to each other at first; they push their food around on their plates and avoid each other's eyes. What is there to talk about? Nothing new has happened. Nothing has changed.
They sit there uncomfortably for what feels like ages before Lily slams her fork down on the table.
"How did we not see it?" she blurts out. It's an idea that's started haunting her over the past few days. "How? It seems so obvious now! Of course it was Peter, all the signs were right there! He'd been acting strange, I wrote to Sirius about it, even, I thought it was the news about the McKinnons-"
James' jaw is set; a muscle in his neck twitches at the sound of Sirius' name.
"Everyone was acting funny, Lily, it's a war," he says shortly, obviously trying to keep his voice even. "There was no more reason to suspect Peter than anybody else. He's– he was my friend-"
"Oh, come off it, James!" she snaps. "It should have been obvious! To both of us! Of course it was Peter, he literally transforms into a rat! Of course he'd want to be on the winning side, he was always like that, that's why he hung around with you at Hogwarts-"
"He was my friend," James interrupts, his voice still stiff. "Whatever happened afterwards, he was my friend at Hogwarts."
Lily lets out a shriek of mirthless laughter. "He's not your friend! He was never your friend! Hesold us to Voldemort, he's the reason we're dead. Our son is an orphan, James, or did you forget about Harry in all your moping over Sirius-"
James jumps to his feet, sending his chair crashing to the floor. "I – how dare – I haven't forgotten about Harry!" he shouts at his wife. "I don't – how can you say that to me?!"
"You haven't even come into his nursery once, James, you just sit around in the living room all day-"
"Oh, and if I went into his nursery then that would prove that I love him? That I miss him? I can't love him and miss him without going in there and looking at all his toys and his crib and-" James' voice cracks and he turns away.
"You were more upset about Sirius than you were about losing Harry," Lily insists. A bitterness has been swelling inside her since that day by the pond, and the silence between them has grown oppressive; she needs to break it, keep it broken.
"You don't understand."
"Enlighten me."
"Sirius is Harry's godfather for a reason! He's like my brother!" James runs both hands through his hair in frustration. "The whole idea was that if... if something happened to us, he'd be able to take care of Harry and would know what we'd want! And we'd, in a way, we'd still be there for our son! And now- and now-" He lets out a shuddering breath and drops his hands to his sides; he looks utterly defeated. He finishes in a whisper, "I just want him to be safe and loved, and now he won't be either."
Lily understands. Her lip trembles, and she hugs James tightly. They cry together there in the kitchen, arms wrapped tightly around each other.
"He'll be okay," she says, trying to reassure herself as much as him. "He'll be okay."
And James says, "Will we?"
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