Pink Green Blue

Three by Hourglass nomineeModPermanent AccountWiki StaffThe Owl Post StaffHourglass winnerChristyCorr

Rating: PG-13. Created: March 29th, 2007. Updated: March 29th, 2007. Read Reviews (10)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

A/N This is the first part of a series of one-shots I'm currently writing. Each of them will have a branch of magic as its underlying theme. This one is about Charms.

Alice has always been the perfect one. You accept it with ease, little though you like being second at anything.

You're actually proud, on some level, of her unassuming ways and remarkable talent. Her big, friendly eyes never betray the strength of her convictions, but everyone can see you coming from miles away. You made sure everyone at work was aware of your intellectual capacity long before you joined the team. It was subtle, but you did it, and now they all expect the world from the oh-so-capable Lily Potter.

You cannot deliver sometimes. You always knew you wouldn't be able to succeed every time; you know you're not that perfect. You can't balance a marriage, a job, and the whole Saving the World business. It's enough to drive anyone mad, and you sometimes wonder whether that's already happened. Looking in the mirror each day, meeting your hallow gaze, you ponder how you did this to yourself. There's no one else to blame, but it's easier to take out your frustration on Death Eaters, garden gnomes and Alice Longbottom. It's simply more comfortable.

.

The damned pests make your life hell, and you almost regret moving to Godric's Hollow. A Muggle-born witch, you were never the best at household charms. The idea of buying a washing machine is entirely foreign and incomprehensible to James' pure-blooded brain, so you're stuck flipping through all sorts of books to find a way to remove Butterbeer stains.

You're a shitty wife—even though James doesn't know it, delusional man that he is—, and that kills you. You adore him, and you expected domestic skills to come naturally to you after the wedding (a magical anointing of sorts, enabling you to look gracious in an apron and to cook magnificent meals in minutes). They didn't, far from it; you don't understand why your mother never taught you how to manage a home.

It's not like you have time to figure it out, either. You're usually off trying to thwart Death Eaters during the day, and often on night shift as well. The few evenings you can dedicate to your cosy two-story house in Godric's Hollow are the ones when the Marauders are off Doing Their Thing and you're left behind. You often promise to get back in touch with Hogwarts acquaintances, but there's so much to hide from them that it's just not worth the hassle.

All your friends are Order members. Out of the twenty original members of the Order of the Phoenix—three of whom are already dead—, you and Alice are the only married ones. Comparisons are inevitable. Frank and James, two of the best, cockiest and most popular Order members, always joke about marriage. Nobody says it, but you know everyone is aware of how much better Alice is at it.

One, you can't cook. Two, your house is in a perpetual state of disarray, despite your infrequent and weak attempts—you figured out there was no point in trying months ago, when Sirius' apartment burnt down and his presence became a nightly occurrence. Three, you'll be a lousy mother. 

Alice is glorious already with her gorgeous, five-month, perfectly round belly. Your three-month tummy is shy, a tad lopsided, and barely noticeable.

Why do you even bother to make the comparison? You're irritable, hormonal, and you've been surviving on a toast-only diet for the past three months. Of course Alice didn't have morning sickness, or bizarre mood swings. You're prone to those even without the little bugger growing inside you; poor James has had to walk on eggshells constantly around you these days.

You are technical, strict, down-to-earth. She is all heart and instinct and feelings. You were never too good with those. You're the clumsy one, the one who couldn't acknowledge the love of your life as such for years on end. You like books—books you understand; you're good at studying, but not at this being-swept-off-your-feet thing. It was hard enough to lay down your bloody armour and let James invade your life, but a baby? How on earth are you supposed to deal with that?

But here you are, dealing with it, telling people the good news. Oh, you are happy, obviously, but you've never been this scared in your life. James, on the other hand, is positively exhilarated. Sirius calls godfather the moment he finds out. Remus complains, but settles for the right to baptise the next one. Peter caringly fetches another pillow to prop up your feet. You wonder why the Marauders think you'd be crazy enough to bear another child.

You turn to look at James—you haven't seen him this happy in a long time—, and you just know he'll be effortlessly brilliant at fatherhood. You realise that you would never deny him the satisfaction of having another kid if he wanted one. You berate yourself for it, because lovesick is something you will never get used to being, and yet you lean over to kiss him as though you haven't a care in the world.

Having a child nowadays is a daunting task. Sirius knows you well enough to figure out what's making you sombre and sits by your side, promising to take better care of himself, just in case. He is probably half-joking, but the statement comes out completely grave. You wish you could be light-hearted and mess around, but not even Sirius can be flippant about this; you haven't got a shot. The problem is, of course, that you never had anything against having a child; you simply cannot be a parent.

You're going to die. You're confronted with that reality on a daily basis, and you can't ignore it, especially not now. Someone else depends on you, and you can't go on foolhardy missions. You looked into the face of Lord Voldemort himself a few months ago, and you survived at the expense of Marlene McKinnon, a fine girl and a fellow Order member. You feel a pang of guilt, dismiss it for the umpteenth time; this is a war, and there are casualties.

.

As your pregnant belly grows, James starts insisting that you take off work and stay home. You're comforted by how protective he is of you and of his still-unnamed son, and you agree to quit your job for the time being. The fact that you spend most of your afternoons battling gnomes is, in your opinion, the biggest proof of love you could possibly offer.

You live vicariously through his tales of evildoings and dangerous missions. You miss field work, but you grow oddly attached to Godric's Hollow. You've actually studied household charms, and you're becoming rather proficient in wizard cuisine—at least according to Sirius, who comes over for dinner all the time and is known for liking good food. He may be trying to humour you, of course. He does that a lot.

You eventually decide that you like this. You enjoy being a housewife, even though it doesn't suit your character in the least and you're dying to get back to Order work. Catching Death Eaters is what you were born for, and little excitements of everyday life can hardly compare to that.

You do cry, however, the first time your son responds to a soft Tickling Charm James throws in his direction. You hug your husband tightly and realise that maybe motherhood isn't that bad an idea. You could certainly get used to it, and in time you do.

.

Your second trimester ends, quite literally, with a bang. You're out having dinner with James at the Leaky Cauldron (it's the anniversary of your first date, and you still celebrate every year) and several Death Eaters storm the place, along with Voldemort himself. James tries to protect you, but you feel a rush of the old energy as you duel two, three dark wizards at once. You hate them, but you love this more than almost anything.

Voldemort himself casts a curse on your baby; you dodge it, but barely. James furiously attempts to use Cruciatus on the Dark Lord, who as good as laughs it off. It is the first time your husband uses an Unforgivable Curse—he, one of the fiercest opponents of Crouch's latest legislation.

The duels continue for long minutes, until reinforcements arrive; most Death Eaters manage to escape the Aurors' custody.

He takes you to St. Mungo's, worried out of his mind that something may have happened to the baby. Everything seems to be fine, thankfully, and he vows never to let you out of the house again. You promise not to put yourself in that dangerous a situation ever again, as if you have a choice.

You comfort him—he is more shaken than you. You're just glad that things are all right for the time being, but he cannot stop thinking of the possibilities. He starts panicking now, hours after the situation, and that is just so typically James that you smile.

He will never shake off the fear of losing you, he says. Never before was he so terrified of an attack scenario. He says, over and over again, that he loves you and the baby. You let him cry on your shoulder, dry sobs that very nearly break your heart.

You don't want to lose him, either. You want to tell him to be safe, not to risk his life so frequently, but you know that it would be unfair of you to ask him that.

It suddenly strikes you that he would stop fighting and stay at home if you asked—which is why you never will.

.

The last Order meeting you attend is on July 30, 1980. You will never forget that day, and you become aware of this fact as soon as Dumbledore starts speaking. You stare at his pained blue eyes, and realise you haven't seen the Headmaster smile in years.

There are only a few of you there: Frank, Alice, Gideon, Dorcas and James. It is far too dangerous for many members to meet in the same place; it looks suspicious if several former students Apparate to Hogsmeade on the same day.

You refuse to believe what Albus has just told the Order: the son of perfect, flawless Alice is destined to vanquish the Dark Lord, according to a prophecy made by a true Seer. You never took Divination, but no one in the group questions information Dumbledore offers. The situation is far too surreal, but you are a bit relieved: your son has escaped that terrible fate by two months.

Frank puts his arm around his wife's sobbing body (her swollen abdomen hangs low; she is due any day now). You instinctively reach for James' reassuring hand, and press it against your belly. The baby (Harry, you're thinking of calling him) kicks appreciatively.

Yes, Harry is a reassuringly common name—he will not be singled out, like Alice's Neville. He will be ordinary, and live in a simple world. He will grow up to be a Marauder like his father, and a Prefect and goody-two-shoes like his mother—he will manage, somehow; you're sure of it.

You pity the Longbottoms. You're selfishly glad that your son isn't the one on the line, but you feel immensely sorry for poor Frank and Alice. No expecting parents deserve this sort of news—especially not them, with their smiles, friendliness and fragility.

They are not frail, you remind yourself. They're bloody Aurors, and they can take this. If there is any couple prepared to raise a magnificently capable child in such difficult conditions, they are it.

It's destroying them. You can see their smiles shattering, their hopes being torn apart by cruel reality: not only will their son take upon himself a nearly impossible task, but Voldemort himself already knows that. The boy won't even have a shot.

You picture yourself hearing that statement regarding your child, and you can imagine how they must be feeling. You suddenly want to go out and kill Voldemort yourself (what a brilliant idea! You wonder why no one's ever thought of that). You hug Frank and say goodbye; they're going into hiding.

Alice collapses in your arms, and you cry with her. A strange bond of camaraderie is formed right then between you two, and it occurs to you that she would have been a spiffing godmother for Harry (yes, definitely Harry—you like the sound of the name, and that settles the matter). But it doesn't matter now, does it? You may never see her again.

It makes you sick to your stomach. No matter how well Dumbledore hides her, she will probably be hunted and found. It isn't fair. It just—bloody—isn't.

.

It's early morning, and you still haven't slept. Albus has invited you and James to spend the night in the Hogwarts castle, but not even the familiar surroundings calm you down. The haunted look in Alice's face is overwhelming; you had never seen her frightened until the meeting yesterday.

You cornered Dumbledore a few hours ago and asked him to tell you the Prophecy word for word, and he complied.

Neither can live while the other survives. Poor, poor Neville...

He told you, visibly worn out, that Alice collapsed halfway through the Fidelius Charm the previous evening. Her physical conditions were far too unstable, and mediwizards provoked the birth of baby Neville shortly before midnight.

Dumbledore was worried that the Longbottoms would be ambushed in St. Mungo's. Most Order members are standing guard over the couple. You can barely imagine the stress and exertion of the situation.

You toss and turn on the bed as much as your now huge belly allows you (not much; most positions leave you gasping for air). At some point in the night, James grows exasperated and goes to sleep on the floor. You don't resent him; even you are having a hard time living with yourself at the moment.

You feel suffocated, and you crave fresh air. You wait until the clock strikes seven-thirty, and decide that it is late enough to wake James . He attempts not to look too pissed—you don't know why he bothers, really, you know him like the back of your hand—, but agrees to go downstairs and have breakfast.

You cannot convince yourself to eat. You're probably going to choke, anyway. James notices and realises something is indeed very wrong—not even he dares to come between you and your meals these days, unless you plainly state that you're open to suggestions of activities that involve him.

He invites you to go for a walk in Hogsmeade. You agree that maybe that will cheer you up a bit. You walk slowly out of the castle grounds, and he attempts to make small talk. You are unable to ignore the previous day's events, and the two of you discuss the Prophecy and the Longbottoms until you are far enough from the gates to Apparate to Hogsmeade.

.

The village is always empty these days, but it's even worse at eight o'clock in the morning. You don't mind it much. You, James and Hogsmeade have a long history together, and reliving those memories is enough to bring a smile to your face.

You stop at the entrance of the Hog's Head. James, then a wonderfully inept, seventeen-year-old closet romantic, brought you to the pub for your first date. It was fun—you avoided all the gossipmongers in the Three Broomsticks—and, seeing the wall against which you two had your first true snog, you laugh.

He quotes some of the most horrendously cheesy and awkward lines from that awful first day, and you reminisce, pondering how foolish you were at the age of seventeen. You thought you knew all about life back then, of course, and you could not have been more wrong. He kisses you softly, and you grudgingly put aside all thoughts of the Longbottoms and their predicament.

It does not do anyone good to dwell on the tragedies of this war. As Dumbledore often says, you have to put on a brave face and focus on surviving, and living.

Entirely oblivious, you do not notice their arrival. When James steps back and you look around, the village is overrun by Death Eaters. How did they get here, so close to Hogwarts? You clutch James' arm for support; you are not strong enough for this. You feel dizzy, and in a brief moment of panic believe that all three of you will die today.

James has that old resolute look on his face, and he does not spare you a reassuring glance. He quickly examines the possible exit routs, and finds that you are both surrounded. Death Eaters are attacking nearby houses, and you see a Dark Mark floating above the corner of the street.

He tells you to enter the pub and wait for him inside. You do not wish to leave James, but you know that it is the sensible thing to do. He casts a Patronus Charm to send word to Dumbledore.

A sneer attracts your attention to a hooded figure a few feet away. You recognise him instantly—Rabastan Lestrange, a Slytherin a few years above you who always begrudged your talent in Potions, has just spotted James—, and your fingers tighten their grasp on your husband's arm.

Once more, he orders you to enter the pub. You obediently back off, without turning your back to Lestrange, and take a few hesitant steps towards the entrance.

A cold voice commands you to stay where you are. As if under Imperio, you freeze. You know that voice; you've heard it twice before. It fills you with dread.

Voldemort faces James, and in an almost soft tone asks him when you are due. You see James' jaw tighten as he points his wand towards the Dark Lord.

Your resolve suddenly builds up, and you are no longer afraid. If you are to be killed, so be it; you will not shy away from this last challenge. You spare your unborn child a thought, reasoning that Voldemort's Killing Curse may not affect the baby if someone arrives fast enough to rescue him. It would be preferable to the long, slow torture to which you would undoubtedly be subjected if you were captured. Sirius will take good care of Harry.

You stand proudly beside your husband, and defiantly draw your wand. Voldemort once more asks when you are due, and you reply. He seems almost disappointed.

Voldemort then inquires as to the Longbottoms' whereabouts. It appears that he is well-informed of the Order's composition, and you idly wonder how he obtained that knowledge. This time, neither you nor James dignifies him with an answer.

He drawls the Cruciatus curse, and you feel every muscle in your body convulse in spasms. You were once able to withstand the curse without displaying pain, but not anymore. Tears moisten your eyes, and the one overbearing thought in your mind is an apology to Harry. This was not what you had intended... You are so, so sorry...

The pain causes you to double over and shake violently, desperately clutching your belly. The baby can feel it too; you can sense his body stretch what little the space around him allows it to. His convulsing tiny feet hammer on your insides and his head applies an absurd amount of pressure on your limbs. Your uterus contracts violently, and you suddenly understand what is about to happen.

James—James—you need to get his attention, you need him to fetch someone, but he, too, is being tortured. He duels with Voldemort, the Cruciatus curse notwithstanding. You can see the lines in his face, his determined frown and the effort he's making not to give away what he is feeling. He gasps a string of hexes, staggering away from you; he is trying to distract Voldemort and lead the Dark Lord as far as possible.

A Death Eater runs towards the group, announcing that Frank and Alice have been spotted at the Hogsmeade Station. That's a lie, you know, but you say nothing. Voldemort immediately lifts the curse on James, Stuns him and Disapparates. Your husband is on the ground, limp and unmoving, but not dead. You have no time to feel relieved: Lestrange, you notice, is disappointed.

When he is about to finish what the Dark Lord has started, wand pointed at you, another hooded figure approaches, and harshly orders Rabastan to go to the Station. That voice is familiar—you waste a good two seconds wondering who it belongs to—and then he looks at you.

Those dark eyes are unmistakeable, even though they have changed significantly since you last saw them. You were friends once, years ago. You never knew he had become a Death Eater, even though everyone's always suspected it.

"Severus," you mumble, almost pleading. Your jaw is trembling, your vocal cords refuse to obey you, and you are not sure whether he heard you. Perhaps he, out of pity, will not murder you if you remind him—if you beg—

The glare he throws at you is filled with disgust: he never did forgive you for giving in to James' advances. Oh, he remembers you well, and you do not misinterpret the way he glowers at your abdomen. You clutch your belly instinctively, as if Snape's loathing stare could harm the baby.

In Severus' eyes, the fact that you are carrying James' child is more repelling and repulsive than your blood status could ever be.

"I need—hospital," you gasp, nearly howling in pain, only to realise a moment later what a monumentally stupid thing that was to say to a Death Eater. Realisation dawns on his face at the same time as it does yours. You wonder if he, too, has heard about the Prophecy. Yes. Oh, yes, he has; there is something else in his eyes now. He calculates the enormity of what you just revealed, and your mind follows his trail of thought with difficulty.

Born to those who have thrice defied him...

Born as the seventh month dies...

You have just encountered Voldemort for the third time.

It is you. It is your son, not Alice's. Your baby, your Harry, is the child meant to defeat Lord Voldemort. You are at a Death Eater's mercy. Your husband is unconscious. Your son... You will die. Die. You are dead.

Severus points his wand at you. You are already dead: you watch the scene in slow motion, hardly believing that he will be the last person you will see before you die. You turn to look at James' body beside you. Will Snape spare him? It isn't likely. The opportunity for revenge is too good to pass up.

Will Harry be spared? You choke on your own tears. You try to turn around, so that the spell will hit you sideways and not straight on your belly, but your treacherous legs fail to cooperate. Your arms are shaking too badly to allow you to use the ground for support.

Your nails scrap the stone pavement repeatedly, rebelling against the unresponsiveness of the rest of your body; you feel frustrated, helpless, lost. This is it. The end. You can't—Harry—Merlin, Harry...

"Rennervate," Severus says, casting the spell on James instead of you, and your eyes widen. He gives you a look that speaks volumes, but you are too numb to understand. You stare at him for a full second, shocked and grateful and befuddled, before he Disapparates, and you black out.

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