Magic Never Dies ~ Chapter Ten
current location: The window, as usual
current mood: complacent
current song: I Spy - Guster
Title: Magic Never Dies
Word Count: 5,757
Rating:R (future chapters)
Summary: This Fic won Portkeys' Felix Felicis Fiction Competition and garnered over 2,500 positive reviews. This is a completed alternative version of Book 7 for the Determinedly Delusional H/Hr shipper. Action/Adventure/Romance/Humor - a bit of everything.
Ron and Harry apparated Malfoy between them to the kitchen in Grimmauld Place. He looked around him with evident disdain, revealing no sign of ever having seen the place before. Not that a Malfoy would have been likely to spend time in the kitchen, anyway.
“Nice place, Potter,” he said, the break in his nose giving him the sound of a severe head cold. “Suits you. Run down, filthy and tasteless.”
Ron shoved him toward the table and pulled out a chair. “Sit. And shut up. I’m already sorry we didn’t just leave you.”
Hermione appeared through the hall door, eyes widening when she saw their visitor.
“Ah. And I see you found yourself kitchen help,” he sneered.
“I’d punch you again, Malfoy, but I see either Harry or Ron has beaten me to it.” Hermione said coldly, but her eyes had already moved on to both boys, scanning for injuries.
Harry rummaged round the pantry and produced four bottles of butterbeer, setting them down onto the table and dropping into the chair furthest from Malfoy. Hermione moved wordlessly about, collecting a bowl of water and a clean flannel. Ron continued glaring at Malfoy with an intensity that should have produced spontaneous combustion. Harry reckoned Ron thought it too good for him.
“You said you had a… business proposition,” Harry said, taking a swig of butterbeer. “I’m curious. Why’d you think we’d listen?”
“Because you’d be curious, imbecile. Any other stupid questions?”
“Do you want to die? Or do you just want to end up really disfigured?” Ron growled.
“Congratulations, Weasley. Those are, in point of fact, stupid questions.”
Hermione settled down beside Harry with the water and cloth and dabbed at the side of his forehead where he had connected with the tree, trying to wash the drying blood and bits of bark away. It stung and his eyes watered; hardly helping with the intimidation factor. Malfoy seemed ever so slightly nervous but not nearly as panicked as Harry would have thought given his position. Either he was too arrogant to be frightened by his abrupt change of fortune or he hid it really well. Harry’s head was pounding and he was in no mood to puzzle it out. He let his eyes close and submitted to Hermione’s administrations patiently, waiting for something to give.
“I have a broken nose, and he gets his bark washed off. Hardly seems fair.” Malfoy’s eyes were following her every move, and Harry opened his in time to blurrily see them shift to Ron and back again. He doubted Malfoy ever knew about Ginny, or Ron and Hermione. He’d been awfully preoccupied himself the end of last term…. Besides, Harry figured he’d always thought the worst of them anyway; the truth would hardly change anything. If he thought he was going to strike a nerve he’d be sorely disappointed on that front. At least from Harry’s perspective anyway. Ron, on the other hand, was looking as if he could spit bullets instead of slugs; his wand had been fixed a long time now and Malfoy seriously under-estimated his enemy if he was operating off of that episode.
“Life’s got a few surprises in store for you, Malfoy,” Hermione told him, not taking her eyes off Harry. “It will hardly be the first to tell you I’m no Pansy Parkinson.”
“Actually something of a relief at the moment, really,” he drawled. “But on the whole, that’s sadly true.”
Harry literally saw red. True, Hermione was cleaning round his eye, but he could still feel his blood boiling.
“She’s worth a thousand Parkinsons,” he snarled, not even recognizing his own voice. He aimed his wand at Malfoy’s nose and hissed, “Episkey.”
There was a wet, squelching sound and Malfoy cursed sharply.
“Don’t be such a baby,” Ron told him. “It’s back to its usual place above the rest of us. How do you walk without falling over with it in the air like that?”
“It’s a natural thing for purebloods,” Malfoy said, his voice suddenly clear again; but no less annoying. “Wonder what that says for you.” His eyes wandered back to Harry and Hermione, watching as she rung out the cloth over the bowl of now pinkish, bark-flecked water.
“You do know you’re a witch, Granger? Even Potter used a spell.”
“It still has to be cleaned before you heal it,” she defended herself. “And even Madam Pomfrey washes out scrapes like this one. Scourgify isn’t good for an open wound.” Not to say it hurt quite a bit more. She had a disquieting feeling Malfoy sensed her need to physically lay her hands on Harry, to reassure herself as much heal him. She wasn’t sure exactly why his awareness bothered her, but it rankled nonetheless.
“You touch that thing?” Malfoy’s eyes narrowed in disgust as she continued, lifting Harry’s fringe to clean the last of the scrape where it ran up to the jagged lightening bolt scar that so defined him. For everyone but her.
She saw Harry’s eyes flicker, but with interest instead of annoyance, and knew at once what he was thinking.
“Why not? It’s just a scar, isn’t it. Broken skin. The only one this ever hurt was Voldemort,” she said lightly. Lying through her teeth. The image of Harry locked in agony the night before seared her. And then there was Hagrids’ new revelation of baby Harry, crying unconsoled in his cot as Godric’s Hollow.
Malfoy’s pale eyes roamed the room again, restlessly. “What if I told you the Dark Lord disagrees. He thinks that… mark, is something else. I heard him talking to Snape and that little sycophant, Pettigrew.”
“It’s just a scar,” she repeated. “What else could it be?” Hermione could feel Harry’s heart pounding through the veins beneath her finger tips.
“That’s hardly just a scar, is it. He’s figured out something about whatever went wrong when he tried to kill you, Potter, and why you’re still alive. He thinks he knows what it was now.”
Harry let out a small involuntary groan, and Hermione hurriedly pressed the cloth over the scrape to make it appear she had caused it. He winced convincingly.
“It was something to do with your Mother, I think. That’s why the Death Eater’s aren’t allowed to kill you. Well, one of the reasons. He thought he got past it with your blood when his body was reborn but now he thinks it must be the scar itself. He has plans for you. None of them pretty, may I add.”
“Sort of like his plans for you?” Ron interjected. “How do we know you aren’t lying through your teeth?”
“And why do we care? How does it help us to know that?” Harry added. “He’s always wanted to do something with me, by now I hardly care what it is.”
Something seemed to break in Malfoy’s cool façade. “Don’t say that,” he said jerkily. “You don’t know what he can do.”
Harry felt a corresponding break in his own meager self-control.
“Really, Malfoy?” he asked, shaking free of Hermione’s hand and leaning forward against the table. “I don’t? What’s he said he’ll do to you? Take your Mum and Dad? Kill them? Been there, had that done. Kill another kid in front of you? Tie you up and steal your blood and then offer to duel? Prowl around in your head and invade your dreams so that you don’t know anymore where you start and he ends? Send you visions that haunt you until you can’t help but act on them? Shove his slimy mind inside yours and use your own voice to beg someone to kill you? What? What else can he do? ‘Cause that’s what he’s already done to me, so excuse me if the result of your last minute inability to produce an AK doesn’t exactly make me cry for you. Do you know what he said to Pettigrew the night Cedric died? ‘Kill the spare.’ Bet he doesn’t even waste that much energy when he gets a hold of you.”
“He’ll waste it on you, though,” Malfoy told him, stung into fury. “I heard him tell Snape that it was all his fault, that he should never have allowed Snape to talk him into not killing your Mum first, that if he’d just killed her and gotten on with you none of this would ever have happened. Snape told him there was a ritual that would reverse what happened, he’s working it up for him, but he’s got to do it exactly right and if you die first it may kill him as well. What kind of ritual do you think that might be, Potter? Somehow I don’t think it involves trading teacups. Sounds like it might make tying you up to his father’s tombstone and using your blood a little, well, tame, doesn’t it.”
“If it ends this, I say bring it on,” Harry told him tiredly. “Got anything else? So far you’re not impressing me with any reason not to apparate you to Diagon Alley and leave you in front of Borgin and Burkes. I know how you’ve always loved to shop there. Any idea what they’ve done with Ollivander, by the way?”
“Malfoy,” Hermione interjected suddenly, “where have you been since you left Hogwarts that night?”
“I..” he looked uncomfortable again. “I don’t know. Exactly.”
Harry, Ron and Hermione all exchanged glances. Hermione rose and retrieved her wand; Harry watched as she moved behind Malfoy and began murmuring incantations as she traced the air around him.
“That’s a long time not to know where you are.” Ron said skeptically.
“I knew where I was, Weasel, I just didn’t know where that was. The place, I mean.”
“Clear as mud. So where were ‘you,’ then?”
“In a pigsty of a house almost as bad as this. Belonged to someone in Snape’s family at some point.”
“So you were with Snape,” Harry said, the pain of the night Dumbledore died beginning to flare again inside him. So far he had managed to deal with Malfoy as his old Slytherin nemesis who’d teased and taunted him rather than the one he’d been forced to observe threatening the Headmaster while mute and immobile under the invisibility cloak.
“No. Well some of the time. It was boring as hell, I assure you. Middle of nowhere, no one to talk to. Snape had all this work he wanted me to do, potions I was supposed to make and stuff to look up. There was quite a little library, Granger; you would have been in heaven.”
“What sort of potions?” Harry asked. Hermione was still silent and intent behind him, working him over for concealed spells.
“Run of the mill, mostly. Veritaserum. Polyjuice. Garrotting Gas. Antidotes. Something else rather unpleasant I’d never heard of, one of Snape’s own mixtures. Draining Draught, he called it; it’s meant to literally drain the life out of you. Foul smelling stuff ‘til it’s made, then you can’t tell it from water without tasting it. Which you really don’t want to do.”
Harry wondered vaguely if that was what he had had to force Dumbledore to drink in the cave the night he died. In which case, Snape had killed him in more way than one. Of course, then, so had Harry.
“How’d you overhear Voldemort and Snape then, if you were off on your own?” Ron queried.
“He came to the house, to check the progress of Snapes’ potions. And probably to see if he could catch him harboring me, I suppose.”
“Why was he? Hiding you, I mean. Wouldn’t he score extra Dark Wizard points for turning you in?”
Malfoy laughed; a wretched, hollow sound. “There’s the joke. He’s screwed. He swore a binding oath to Mother in front of Bellatrix that he’d keep me from harm and finish my… what I… finish, if I …”
“….couldn’t,” supplied Harry. “You know, chickened out; choked. Caved. That sort of thing. Not that I wasn’t happy when you proved you really were the coward I’d always thought you were.”
Malfoy glared. “You couldn’t have done it!”
“I wouldn’t have tried!” Harry snarled. “I wouldn’t have gotten mixed up in it to begin with. It’s clear on this end, you pathetic little shit. Voldemort’s never been even remotely kind to me, or fair. Never even bloody thought about it. Dumbledore’d never been anything but those things to you, he even offered you a second chance and you still couldn’t quite commit yourself either way. Trust me, if that were me and Voldemort was unarmed and dying on his feet I’d have Avada-ed him in a heart beat.”
“We’ll see, won’t we,” said Malfoy thickly. “You can’t avoid it anymore than I could. Do what you like, he’ll get you in the end.”
“Shut your stinking, slimy gob,” Ron said, rising. “Harry’s got more guts in his …”
“Prick, were you going to say? Because it looks like he’s been shagging your girlfriend to me,” Malfoy unleashed.
‘So he was paying attention last year,’ was Harry’s first thought. Closely followed by ‘holy crap, Ron’s got his wand out.’
“Stop it!” Hermione said furiously. “The three of you. You’re like… you make Grawp seem like the height of civilization. This is ridiculous. Malfoy, you are an unredeemable blot on wizard-kind. Ron, he’s just trying to get a reaction out of you because Harry’s made him angry, and Harry, what can you possibly hope to gain getting into a pissing match with Malfoy, of all people. You’re brave enough to stand up to Voldemort right now. You’re also stupid enough. If you want to live, start acting like it, for heaven’s sake. I’m not going to go through this if you won’t!”
She turned on her heel and stamped from the kitchen and up the stairs. Moments later there was the sound of a door slamming ferociously above them.
Silence descended like a dementor’s chill on the kitchen of number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Ron started twiddling his wand, as if that was all he’d pulled it out for.
Harry exhaled slowly and dropped his head into his hands, rubbing his tired eyes. “Thanks a bleeding heap there, Ferret.”
“Sleeping with the house elves tonight, eh Potter?” Malfoy smiled, his eyes glittering.
“I’m going to go take a bath,” Harry said, pushing away from the table and rising stiffly to his feet. “But if it’s house elves you’re into, I know just the one for you. Keep quiet tonight or I can promise you’ll be getting a visit from one that would make even you happy to go without.”
He made his way from the kitchen but heard Ron’s voice, tight with barely suppressed fury, as he started up the stairs.
“Here’s a news flash for you, Malfoy. Parkinson’s taken up with Zabini like you never even existed. She’s not even wasting time being angry with you. So you can just shut the hell up and sleep on that picture. Problem with all that blood prejudice is your potential date pool’s pretty damn small, isn’t it? You may not be getting any the whole rest of your sad little excuse for a life.”
‘Right. Like life would ever be that fair,’ thought Harry.
Harry emerged from his bath cleaner but fading fast. Ron came in while he was cleaning his teeth and they exchanged their usual platitudes (‘Look like hell warmed over, mate.’ ‘Thanks. And you. Cannons play today?’) It relieved Harry to find Ron looking as tired as he felt; it had seemed an unaccountably long day somehow.
“Malfoy locked up good and tight?” he asked.
“I’m beat enough to sleep like I’ve been stupified,” Ron grinned, “so I thought it only fair he was as well. I put him in the room Lupin used to use and he’s not going anywhere unless he can get there by blinking.”
Harry supposed a night’s stupification couldn’t do Malfoy any harm. Then again, who cared?
“You going…” Ron rolled his eyes down the hall in the general direction of Hermione’s room. Since Harry’s was on the other side of the hall it was fairly easy to catch his drift.
“If she’ll have me,” he said.
“Good luck,” Ron told him feelingly. “It’s times like this I don’t envy you.”
But when Harry knocked tentatively her soft “come in” was welcoming enough, and nothing flew at him when he cautiously opened the door.
She was in bed already, reading, the single bedside lamp illuminating her book and picking out the strands of gold in her freshly brushed hair. There were three stacks of books on the floor beside the bed and another on the bedside table. Her eyes when she raised them to him were shadowed, unreadable, and he remained uncertainly in the doorway. He thought she had never appeared more beautiful, and he had never felt less worthy.
He was about to make some feeble excuse and flee to his own room when she wordlessly extended one slender arm toward him in a gesture of forgiveness so simple and yet profound that he found he had crossed the room in half the necessary number of steps and arrived on his knees beside the bed, head buried in the silky waterfall of all that hair. Her arms encircled his shoulders, steely in their strength but delicate in their touch, and he knew himself to be both safe and lost within them.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and meant it in so many ways it seemed more than two small words could convey.
“I know you are,” she whispered against his ear, and he felt her lips move, then press softly just below his ear, trailing to his neck and the hollow between his collar bones. It felt wonderful; he felt forgiven, loved, accepted. Everything he had ever craved in his unlovely life was there at last within his arms, and she wanted him.
It was almost more than he could take in… what had begun as a discovery he had felt almost driven to make in the dwindling time left to him had revealed itself instead to be everything he had missed all along. His compulsion to end the conflict that had ruled his life was still every bit as strong, but the feeling that he could just … go, that he had lost so much that he was the perfect choice to sacrifice himself to bring Voldemort down was dying fast. If this was what it meant to be alive, Harry very much wanted to live now, thank you.
The battling Voldemort bit he knew, instinctively, he would do, one way or another. The coming through it alive part had always seemed like a lot to ask… but he trusted Hermione; was willing to take the risk in a way he never could have even thought with Ginny, because he knew that if he let Hermione convince him to live she would find a way to help him keep that promise.
She pulled at him and he climbed gratefully up into the bed beside her, gathering her into his arms, warm and soft and so very alive. He very much doubted Nagini could ever seriously compare.
So really, no matter who won the final battle, he sort of already had.
His sense of victory was cut short when Hermione’s exploration of the other side of his neck ended with a muffled, “Harry. We need to talk.”
‘Why?’ just seemed like it was going to get him into trouble. He settled on a noncommittal “Hmmm?”
“About Malfoy. And Snape. It’s important,” she persisted.
Nature’s own birth control, right there. He rolled over, defeated.
She seemed to understand instantly his reaction, and grinned. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise. But I really need you to think about something while it’s fresh in your mind.” She drew back and propped her head up on one arm, considering him. “Have you thought about what you’ll do if Snape shows up tomorrow?”
Harry felt his gut tighten at the prospect, and shook his head. “Not really. I know Dumbledore wanted me to welcome him with open arms, but..”
“You won’t be the only one there who’ll have a hard time with that. Not this time around. He’ll have a lot of explaining to do all around if he does come. But what Malfoy said tonight made me think about something I’ve always wondered,” she said. Her eyes seemed enormous in the dimness of the room, outside the one circle of light. He could feel her watching him almost like a caress, knew that he wasn’t likely to like whatever she had to say.
“I need you to be patient, Harry, and listen to everything I have to say before you… go off.”
Unflattering, but probably warranted.
“Just say it.” He closed his eyes. There was a moments’ silence, as if Hermione were for once unsure where to start.
“He’s always hated you, Harry. You aren’t wrong to feel the way you do. He scared me when we were First Years, and then I started to get used to him and as we got older I kept asking myself, why? Why do you hate an eleven year old boy before you even know him? In the beginning he could get away with acting as if you were going to be spoiled or full of yourself because of the attention, a lot of people must have thought that. No one knew about the Dursleys, or about you, what you were really like. But after first year there wasn’t any excuse. He just hated you, and it was unreasonable. And Dumbledore let him, which seemed… out of place. “
Harry snorted but remained otherwise silent and was rewarded by her hand moving to his chest and absently beginning to trace random patterns there as she thought her way through.
“Voldemort himself gave you one idea why at the end of first year, when he told you Snape and your Dad had been in school together and loathed each other. Snape had to have told him – how else would he know that? Then third year we found out a little bit more, about the Marauders and how he surely wasn’t one of them, about hating Sirius because he teased him into following Lupin to the Shrieking Shack on the full moon, when he could easily have been killed if your Dad hadn’t stopped it. It was easy to see why he resented James and hated being indebted to him for his life, but it still just didn’t seem enough to make a normal person dislike you so.”
“He’s not normal…” Harry broke in. The lovely, distracted hand on his chest ceased moving and withdrew. He sighed. “Sorry.”
“Fifth year, though, it started to make both more and less sense,” she continued. “You saw your father taunting Snape in the pensieve, and you could actually see where the animosity came from. James and Sirius were really quite mean, in their own teasing way. But was that the only reason Snape put those memories away before teaching you Occlumency, Harry? Was that all he was hiding? He was already working out spells of his own then; the Levicorpus your Dad used against him, and that Sectumsempra you tried out from the potion book on Malfoy sounded an awful lot like whatever he used to gash your Dad that day in the pensieve.. He must have already thought of himself as the Half Blood Prince by then; Mudblood was the first insult that came to his mind when Lily tried to defend him. Like as not, all the taunting from Sirius and your Dad, both pure-bloods, fixed the whole blood issue even more firmly in his mind. Despite being at least as clever or cleverer than either one he seemed to always be on the losing end of things.”
Her hand had not returned; Harry had nothing to lose. “Boo hoo. Poor Snapey,” he said. “They never mentioned once whether he was a half blood or not, they just didn’t like him because he was a total git.”
Hermione eyed him levelly. “I think we’re still missing something. Something we’ve just dealt with ourselves that defies logic and drives people to incredibly stupid lengths.”
Harry was drawing a blank, and feeling like it was going to cost him dearly. “I’m sorry, Hermione. I just don’t…”
She sighed. “Love, Harry. They were all ending their fifth year, going into sixth then. Clearly your Dad had already been trying to flirt with your Mum and she was having none of it then. Somehow or other, though, they ended up together. Seventh year according to Sirius, right? One more thing your Dad had that Snape didn’t.”
“One more thing… my Mum? Hermione, no.”
“Think about it. She was head girl, smart, brilliant at potions. Slughorn taught them both and he told you that, Harry. He thought you took after her when you were using Snape’s book. Snape would have admired that about her. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to James over Snape himself that one time you saw them. He would have admired that even more. But then she went and defied logic and fell in love with your Dad, and he would have been furious at the waste of it all. That brilliant mind, and James Potter, whom he’d always despised. Snape would have been perfect fodder for Voldemort then; living a lie as a full blooded wizard, brilliant with potions and dark arts but a social misfit, crying out for recognition and losing the girl… No doubt Voldemort welcomed him with open arms and was happy to have him; why would he even think of the other side when James and Sirius were the poster boys for it? It was probably less about evil or good and more about who would see him the way he wanted to be, as clever and valuable."
Harry remained silent, digesting all this. The idea of Snape admiring his mother… but he’d seen them all at fifteen in the pensieve. And Snape had never said a bad word about Lily to Harry. Ever. It was always James; he’d been accused of strutting about like his arrogant Quidditch-playing father, ignoring the rules like his father…
“When he overheard that prophecy a few years later,” Hermione continued, “he probably recognized his chance to finally free himself from that Wizard’s debt to your Dad. He must have tried to convince Voldemort that it was Neville he should worry about, but you can bet that once Voldemort decided that it was the son of the Muggleborn like himself he was most threatened by, Snape wouldn’t have had a choice. He couldn’t trust Voldemort; he probably knew by then what he was dealing with. Voldemort’s never truly valued anyone but himself, no one’s ever going to get further than his coat tails or dead. So in the end Snape went to Dumbledore and told him what Voldemort knew. Told him so that your Mum, whom he admired, and your Dad, whom he despised, had a chance to go into hiding with you.”
It was more than Harry could take in now; he wanted to argue, to get angry and storm away to his own room, but almost despite himself he could still see the possibility in her words.
“Then Snape hates me…” he started.
“Because ten years later, who walks into his classroom at Hogwarts but the spitting image of James Potter, whose life debt he failed to repay even at the cost of risking his own. If you had just managed to die and James and Lily lived, how different would his life have been? You’re the reason he’s stuck at Hogwarts teaching potions to the rest of us. He’s probably felt like killing you a hundred times Harry, just to make the memories go away, but he can’t. Because it’s like everyone who ever knew her has said. You’ve got your mother’s eyes. He probably sees her there every time he looks at you.
“Why do you think he’s told Voldemort there’s a ritual he can use if he keeps you alive? He must know about the horcruxes, or at least suspect something from Dumbledore. He’s making it up, stalling for time, still trying to save you. The question is, is it because he owes your Dad or because he still can’t meet your mother’s eyes?”
Harry squirmed against the pillow. “I don’t care,” he said. “It’s nothing to do with me, I can’t help what my Dad and Sirius did. They said he grew up later, that Mum took his head down a peg or two by Seventh year. I bet Snape never gave him another chance either. I was sorry for him when I saw him as a little boy with his father and mother fighting as though he wasn’t even there. He never gave me the smallest break for growing up Dursley.”
“Snape did give your Mum a priceless gift, though, Harry. Time. Because of him she knew that Voldemort was aware of the prophecy as well, that he would come for you sooner rather then later, and probably Neville for good measure. She knew what she was dealing with, and that she had run out of time for other answers. When Pettigrew betrayed them to Voldemort and he came to your house that night, Lily was ready.”
It took Harry a moment to catch up with what he had just heard.
“What do you mean, ready?” Harry said, and the outrage did start to flare then. “She was… she screamed… I heard her!”
“As ready as she could be, Harry,” Hermione said gently. “I’ve found myself thinking of it a lot lately, because, well, because of you and me, and everything… She wasn’t your average witch either, she couldn’t have just sat back and waited, even knowing about the Fidelius. She loved James, and she surely loved you. She would have researched everything she could in the time she had left to find some sort of answer. What if she did? She would have looked for his weakness, wouldn’t she? Some sort of magic he didn’t know, or wasn’t particularly strong at.”
“Dumbledore said that Voldemort never expected what she did, that it was ancient magic that he knew and despised and underestimated.” Harry forced out. “But you think she did it on purpose? Actually planned it?”
“Of course she did, Harry. She had to have for it to work that way. If the force of hatred and cruelty strengthens a cruciatus or makes it possible to cast Avada, it follows that the intentional sacrifice of a life for the love of another would strengthen that magic as well. To spontaneously give your life for someone else would be a great gift; to plan to do it purposefully in order to give a life-long protection to your child would be… unspeakably beautiful.”
Unspeakably beautiful. Alarm bells rang in Harry’s mind, but he could not force the connection, could not get past the fact that Hermione had immersed herself in all of this in an effort to save him.
“Tom Riddle’s mother gave up, Harry. She let go, left her child to the mercies of the world. Yours never did. Even though she knew Voldemort wasn’t going to rest until he killed you because of that stupid prophecy, she didn’t stop trying. She and James could have given up, given you up and lived to have more children. You weren’t just a child to them; you were already you, an individual, precious life and a boy who might just one day be able to use the superstition of an evil wizard to stop him from destroying a world they loved. Voldemort told you your father ‘put up a courageous fight’ but that you mother didn’t have to die; he didn’t set out to kill her. He called her a ‘silly girl,’ said, ‘step aside, you silly girl’ when you heard her screaming as the dementors attacked you. He did underestimate her. She probably never had time to puzzle out exactly how it was going to work, just took the plunge and went with what she had. She didn’t know he was going to die and lose his body. Look what happened to Quirrell when Voldemort possessed him and he tried to touch you. If it weren’t for the horcuxes again, Harry, he would have been dead then and there.”
She reached out and touched him once more, laying the palm of one hand flat over his heart.
“Don’t you underestimate it, Harry. She gave you something so wonderful and powerful and wild that they try to keep it in a locked room in the Department of Mysteries. Only, I think if you could go in there it would be empty. You can’t lock up love, can’t buy it or sell it or hold it in your hand. You can’t make it happen, like Merope Gaunt tried to do with Tom Riddle, and you can’t explain it, like how your Mum went from despising James to loving him enough to marry him barely two years later. That’s one reason why you really do have a fighting chance in all of this. The other,” she told him, dropping her eyes for the first time from his “is because I love you, too.”
And Harry knew in that moment a power Voldemort knew not. It really was love, after all.
Somewhere, Lily Evans Potter must have grinned. Ear to ear.