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Until the Very End

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It's strange how much can happen in a second, James pondered as he paced back and forth in the suffocatingly sterilized hallway. One second you could be laughing and the next crying. Life to death, breathing to suffocating, screaming in elation to screaming in horror.

To James, he felt as if he was experiencing one of these moments. One second he was firmly in the soft grasp of Sandman, the next awoken by Lilys desperate pleads, her face full of pain and fear, a hand grasped painfully on her stomach. She wasn't supposed to go into labor for another month, James nervously remembered for the hundredth time. This wasn't supposed to happen.

He was so focused on his thoughts, he didn't notice Sirius, who was unusually quiet, trailing his movements carefully with his eyes. Every few seconds, James glanced in concern at a locked door a few feet away, before glaring with a huff. He knew he shouldn't have yelled at the nurse for not telling him what was wrong. After all, he was just trying to help. Apparently, they couldn't figure out why Lily had gone into labor so early.

However, before reason could betray him, James banished the thoughts of regret, and began to sulk, throwing more concerned and angry glances at the, in his opinion, evil door blocking him from getting through to Lily.

"You know," Sirius began with a growing smirk, "if you keep at that much more you'll wear a hole in the ground." James concerned looks swiftly turned to a vicious glare pointed at the offending friend, although it only seemed to amuse rather than the desired effect. James plonked down in the hard and uncomfortable plastic chair beside Remus, beginning the new task of drumming his fingers on the chair to an unsteady beat. Remus sighed softly and began to rub his temple slowly, the lines of stress etched in his skin seemed more apparent than usual.

The doors at the end of the blindingly, white hall burst open, and Peter ran through, trying to catch his breath but failing miserably.

"Did I make it in time? Is Lily okay? What's going on? Why is she in labor so early? I'm sorry I'm so late but I didn't get your owl until a half an hour ago and couldn't get awa-" Peters ramblings came to an abrupt halt when he realized that no one was listening. He pulled himself over to the nearest chair and stared at James with a curious and concerned expression, slightly alarmed at the gruesome and frankly frightening threats James was muttering under his breath while glaring at the passing nurses.

"Why aren't you with Lily?" he questioned in confusion. James saw Peters' eyebrows raise slightly as he practically hissed, and when he didn't get an answer he turned towards Sirius. When Sirius finished catching him up with all of the news they had acquired, Peter turned towards James again.

"Have you tried blasting open the door?" he asked.

"Of course! Who do you take us for Peter? I'm ashamed of you for thinking we would simply obey with no resistance." Sirius exclaimed dramatically over the top of James annoyed comments.

"Yes yes how silly of me for thinking such things," Peter said dryly, rolling his eyes. "you would never be so idiotic as to do as one said! Can you ever forgive me?".

"Maybe someday I'll find the will, but as for now you will just have to live with the regret of wronging a brother in all but blood my dear Peter.." he said woefully. Peter bowed his head in shame, but James could see the corners of his lips twitch. Against James better judgment and stubbornness, he couldn't help but smile slightly. He didn't notice Peter and Sirius beams, or Remus slight grin at the small sign of happiness. James sighed and closed his eyes, concern etching itself in his futures, laying his head against the worn wall behind him, finally settling himself in for the long wait.

James' eyes flew open, clumsily standing to his feet. Just a second ago, the door, which had been sarcastically dubbed 'a disgrace to all doors everywhere' by Remus himself, had crept open slightly, just enough for a woman donned in shrubs to creep out.

"Is Lily okay? Is Harry? Why did you leav-." James was cut off by a man, who James distantly remembered was named Dr. Felix, laying a hand on the poor flustered nurse's shoulder. Dr. Felix gave her a look, causing her to nod her head slightly. She gave them one last fleeting stare and swiftly walked away. Increasingly more worried by the second, James and the rest of the marauders swung back around to stare Dr. Felix down. However, the weight of their threatening stares did not seem to affect him in the slightest.

"Lily is okay," he reassured them all, much to their great relief. "And so is young Harry. He appears to be very healthy, despite the odds against him. There is a slight murmur in his heart, but that's nothing we can't fix and I assure you it will go away in a couple of da-" he stopped abruptly, finally conscious of James' desperate stare. Dr. Felix smiled. "Maybe it would be better if you could see them for yourself."

He had barely finished his sentence before James barreled past him, a blur of frantic concern, and had slammed the door wide open. He stopped in his steps at the sight that beheld him. Lily, stunningly radiant, had her messy red hair in a half bun. Some of the hair that had slipped out covered her emerald green eyes in a sort of imperfect perfection. In her arms was a tiny bundle, a tuft of raven black hair sticking out the top. James couldn't breathe. Lily looked up at him and gave a soft, tired smile.

"James, look, it's Harry." she sighed softly. "It's our son." James crept over to the bed, slowly sitting next to her, not looking away from the small child cradled in her arms. He glanced back up at Lily, faintly feeling a tear slid down his face, but he couldn't bring himself to care.

"I'm a dad," he said out loud. "you're a mum! Lily, we're parents! We made him! He's here, actually here." A tear slid down the bridge of her nose as she grinned at him.

"I'm a mum." she said contently, and a watery laugh escaped his lips. She readjusted slightly and held out the tiny bundle. James readily excepted it, holding Harry with more gentleness then he'd ever held anything in his life.

"Hi Harry!" he whispered reverently. "Hi! Do you know me? Do you know my voice?" James moved his hand gently to Harry's, softly grasping it and tearily gasped as Harry grasped his thumb.

"You're my son Harry. I'm your dad! I can't wait to teach you everything I know, we can play quidditch and I'll teach you all my tricks and we can get back at Sirius for his pranks all the time! Unless-of-course-you don't like quidditch or pranking, that's okay! I can also give you advise with magic, or help you find all the secret passages in Hogwarts, or how to woo a future partner, or how to make friends! I can't wait to play and talk and help you become the person you want to be. Just wait until you meet Remus, Peter, and Sirius! They're going to love you. They already do! We all do..". James started lovingly down at his face, gently wiping a tear that had dropped onto Harry's cheek.

"I promise I'll protect you and your mum," he whispered only for Harry to hear. "I promise. I'll protect you to the best of my abilities. I'll never stop loving you, no matter what happens, never. Even if it seems like I'm gone, I'll always be there for you. Until the very end."