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Ficlet: Like Crucio, Only Worse

Title: Like Crucio, Only Worse
Summary: Luckily, Lily's already been through Auror training.
Characters: Peter, Sirius, Remus, James, and Lily
Word count: 1100
Rating and warnings: G, no warnings. Author's notes at end.

"What's going on?" Peter asks as soon as he steps out of the Floo into Sirius' sitting room. "I got the message and came right away."

It's well after midnight, and a wrinkled, unshaven Sirius is stretched out on the couch, peering intently into his two-way mirror, oblivious to Peter's arrival. Remus is sitting cross-legged on the floor with the day's Prophet spread out in front of him. He looks up at Peter over the top of his glasses, his eyes pink with exhaustion. "It's happening," he says simply.

At last, Peter thinks. It's not a surprise, not after all this waiting. He moves a carton of half-eaten take-away so he can sink down into a chair. "Well?"

"Not much news yet, right, Sirius?" Remus prompts, rubbing his temples.

"What?" Sirius asks absently, and then, to the mirror, "It's not really that bad, is it? I mean, it's not torture, not exactly. Even though a Malfoy is in charge. Is it?"

It's pretty bad. That was James' voice coming through the mirror. Peter would recognize it anywhere, subdued though it was. It's like Crucio, only worse.

Peter can hear a long, low moan and several low, murmuring voices.

"Well, she's been through Auror training," Sirius says philosophically. "That ought to help."

Give me Voldemort any day, James says darkly.

And then in the background they can hear Lily's voice, loud and clear. For heaven's sake, James, shut up and come hold my hand. You're not the one in labor.

Peter laughs. All is well; Lily has things under control.


They are all still there two hours later, waiting. Remus is almost done with the crossword. Peter is eating the cold take-away. Sirius' feet are propped up and his eyes are closed.

Peter clears his throat. "Not that I'm trying to rush things or anything, Sirius, but your note said we were almost at the end."

Sirius starts and grabs at the mirror resting on his chest. "Good point. What does Healer Malfoy say, James?" he asks the mirror impatiently. "How long can this possibly last?"

James has just started a long explanation about how labor's a lot like Quidditch, completely unpredictable, when he's interrupted by a piercing scream.

A woman's voice is shouting, This is it! Push, Lily, push!

Oh, god, oh, god, James moans. It's happening. I'm having a baby.

"I want to see," Sirius says, and James' voice drifts in and out of the background for a moment. Darling, what if I put the mirror right here--no?--fine, fine--

The warning tone in Lily's voice comes through clearly, even to Peter's ears. If you don't get rid of the bloody mirror your testicles will be so damaged you'll never have a second child, James.

Peter sniggers.

Er, sorry, no luck, Padfoot, James says quietly. And you don't really want to--really, it's not--dear god, is that--

Lily screams again.

Remus inhales sharply.

"Even worse than the transformation, hm?" Sirius asks, glancing at him.

"I don't have to listen to myself," Remus explains.

Sorry, going to set you down for a bit, James says rather indistinctly. I think it's actually happening now.

Over here, a Healer says, and they can hear the scuffle of footsteps.

Is that the head? James asks stupidly, and in the background they can hear Lily again. Shut up, James, of course it's the head. My hand! Hold my hand! Ohhh! Ohhhhhhh!

Then, suddenly, they can hear half a dozen voices at once. It's a boy! It's a boy, Lily!


Harry's wail, Peter thinks. That's the name Lily and James had picked for a boy, Harry.

"Yes!" Sirius yells triumphantly, pumping a fist in the air. "A boy!"

It's a boy! James repeats unnecessarily. His voice is loud and clear; he's obviously picked up the mirror again. All the right equipment. Look.

Sirius squints at his mirror. "I can't see anything," he says. "Is that blood?"

Well, believe me, it's all there, James says proudly. Potter-made.

Put that thing away, James, Lily says. Now.

"I told you so," Peter says pointedly in Remus' direction.

Remus fumbles in his pockets and passes five Galleons to Peter. "Go ahead, take money from an impoverished werewolf," he says.

"It's a rare blessing, the Sight," Peter says, nodding as solemnly as he can. "I'll spend it on further training."

"Dumb luck," Remus mutters.

"You just wanted to buy dresses," Peter replies, and Remus flips two fingers at him.

Wait, James says urgently. Healer Malfoy, I thought she was--

There is some murmuring at the other end, phrases like afterbirth and nothing to worry about and it'll all be over in a moment.

That's disgusting, James says suddenly. That's really, really--

"I want to see," Sirius says insistently.

You don't really, believe me, James says. That's--look, can you see--oh god--

Then, suddenly, there's a sharp crack, as if the mirror has hit the floor and shattered.

Sirius howls in frustration. "Lily! We can't replace that!"

"For heaven's sake, Sirius," Remus says. "Let the woman have a moment of privacy. I'd have got rid of you a long time ago."

In a moment, though, they can hear Lily's voice, panting and hoarse. Keep your hair on, Sirius, the mirror's fine, it's James who's passed out. The Healers are trying to bring him around.

Peter sniggers. He gets out of his chair and pulls the mirror from Sirius's hand. Lily is there in the reflection, sweaty and pale, her hair sticking to her forehead.

"Congratulations, Lily," he says.

Thanks, Peter, she says. Her voice is very quiet now, fading so quickly Peter can hardly hear her. Tell the others they can come round tomorrow, alright?

"Alright," Peter says. "Goodnight, Mum." Lily smiles wanly and disappears from the mirror.

Remus and Sirius are looking at him. Peter places the mirror on a bookshelf, well out of Sirius' reach.

"Goodnight, all," Peter says, fumbling for the Floo powder, ready for bed himself. "I'm getting some sleep."

"But--" Remus says eagerly.

"But--" Sirius objects.

Peter waits until he's climbed halfway into the Floo before calling out over his shoulder. "Lily says you can start corrupting him in the morning."

He catches a brief glimpse of Sirius beaming before he disappears.


Author's note: This bit of fluff celebrates the first birthday of my journal and, more importantly, the birth of a tiny nephew.


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:43 am (UTC)
salfjasldfj oooooooh, baby Harry makes me feel all warm inside :D
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC)
*smile* Thank you! Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
LOL, lovely, Maggie! Priceless opening. I was ready for death and destruction with Malfoy in charge... you got me!

Very enjoyable read!
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie. Will be back tomorrow with the Chamber of Secrets, unless you want to go ahead. Also, another note, *hugs* M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:55 am (UTC)
Happy blog birthday, and happy new nephew!

And this had me smiling throughout, despite all my worries about Lily. Lovely characterisation, as always - of all the characters, but particularly Lily, James and Peter.
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
*smile* Not that I had anything to do with the nephew, but it's still rather exciting. Thanks for reading! Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 07:42 am (UTC)
Oh, this was absolutely priceless! James is hilarious and Lily wonderful and oh, they all made me laugh.

What a great birthday fic! *gives you cake*
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed! And so glad to see you again. Hope all is well!

Thanks, Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 08:03 am (UTC)
This has set me right up for my day now =D You really had me going at the beginning though, goodness!

Remus fumbles in his pockets and passes five Galleons to Peter. "Go ahead, take money from an impoverished werewolf," he says.

"It's a rare blessing, the Sight," Peter says, nodding as solemnly as he can. "I'll spend it on further training."

"Dumb luck," Remus mutters.

"You just wanted to buy dresses," Peter replies, and Remus flips two fingers at him.

Yay for Peter and Remus getting to do some bantering for a change! That's always good to see. And hee, I love the idea of Peter thinking he has the Sight. Plus, Peter POV in general, excellent.

Oh, and poor James!

Happy journal birthday! (Has it really only been a year?)
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
*smile* Yay, Peter! No dark!fic this time around!

And, no, I *can't* believe it's only been a year. I'm a bit astounded by it all. Thanks for your comments here and always. Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
Oh, but it's a very good piece of fluff: one of your best, IMO.

Congratulations on your nephew! ♥
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (Ah, if I didn't usually just have so much angst waiting to come out....) Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 09:05 am (UTC)
Ooooh this was lovely! And congrats on the new nephew! :)
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 09:51 am (UTC)
happy lj-versary!

i've hardly had time to read any fic at all over the past few weeks, so this was a much-needed fix. your characterisation of all of them is great, but predictably, i'm concentrating on remus all the way through.

Remus is sitting cross-legged on the floor with the day's Prophet spread out in front of him. He looks up at Peter over the top of his glasses, his eyes pink with exhaustion. "It's happening," he says simply.

gorgeous :)
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Hang in there, Berry! *eats fruit while typing to you* So glad you enjoyed! Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 10:08 am (UTC)
Wow! A year! Congratulations!

Also: this is lovely. I adore your Lily, and how she's in complete control even when giving birth.
And the boy's bantering was perfect. I loved Remus and Peter snarking at each other, and Sirius just being, well, Sirius.

Mar. 8th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks as always, sweetie! All my snark I learn from you, you know that. M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
Happy LJ birthday and Happy Nephew! :)
This was adorable and you really pulled my leg in the begining. *loves good fluff to pieces*
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And the icon is fabulous and much appreciated. Maggie
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
*big prideful smile, though I had nothing to do with it* Thanks, S! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 11:54 am (UTC)
Hee! Peter, Remus, Sirius and James passing out, so sweet :-) Congratulations on the two birthdays, and both your icon and the subject of your fic are a lovely way to celebrate International Women's Day, intended or not :-)
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, we can! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC)


especially Sirius and his "I want to see!"!!
Mar. 8th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
especially Sirius and his "I want to see!"!!

*snickers* That *ahem* may have come more or less from RL. Thanks for reading! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, that was really lovely. And big congrats on your lj-versary and the new nephew!
Mar. 8th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *big smile* M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ahaha! Poor Lily, having to deal with those bozos at a time like that. I love the use of the mirror, though! And ohhhhh, Peter is creepy. I mean, he's not; he's fine, and I like how you included him (well, and his POV! yay), but still: CREEPY, because oh man, to watch him at this moment and know what's coming... :((

(Or am I just turning your nice fluff into darkfic for my own gain?) ;)

Congrats on the nephew!
Mar. 8th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
(Or am I just turning your nice fluff into darkfic for my own gain?) *smile* In this version Peter turns traitor accidentally, with misgivings, at the eleventh hour. Think happiness! Think fluff! (I so rarely do I have to grasp it when it's here.) Thanks for reading! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Your characterization of the three in the room was just wonderful. I think I would have shoved the mirror somewhere if I were Lily. ;)
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
*smile* Lily was tempted, I'm sure! Thanks for reading! Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)

Poor Lily, she really has the patience of a saint. I would have kicked one of them in the head long ago.

Congrats on the new addition to the family!
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
I usually hate the boys-will-be-boys dynamic, but then I remembered I have some friends who are just like this, and if you have the patience of a saint or....something, like Lily, they're funny in their hapless way. Thanks for reading! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
Awww :)
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
*smile* Thanks! M.
Mar. 8th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to you, and the tiny nephew's parents!

A lovely, adorable bit of fluff. :)
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! *beams* Maggie
Mar. 8th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
I’m so glad to see your Peter’s pov here. I don’t think that the lack of anything ominous in his thoughts serves only a good piece of fluff. The whole tragic story can be more poignant when Peter had no bad intentions at this point and also behaved pleasantly.

(For some reason I’m now thinking about our first video camera… No, it didn’t break until our first son was six months old and crawled to the stand and made it fall down – only because my husband had obeyed me and stopped using it before the delivery room.)

Thank you for sharing.
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
The whole tragic story can be more poignant when Peter had no bad intentions at this point and also behaved pleasantly. This is such a good point! Especially since Peter doesn't seem the type to be able to mask ulterior motives for very long. (Unlike some other characters we could name.)

The bit about the video camera made me laugh. There's a fine line between being curious and being in the way...and Sirius crossed it a long time ago.

Thanks for your comment! Maggie
Mar. 9th, 2007 06:59 am (UTC)
Another winner! I enjoyed this one--the whole group being together like that without angst and trouble looming overhead is great to read. And I like how you used the mirrors here--lovely. As for your Lily, I only hope I can be cool like her whenever (and if ever) I give birth.

Oh, and happy birthday to your journal! :)
Mar. 9th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
About Lily, so true! I do, too. (Though secretly I'm sure I'll be a basket case.) I hope at least the various jokers in my life give me a bit of peace while I suffer. *smile* Thanks for reading! M.
Mar. 19th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
Again, it took me a lot of time before reading all fanfictions I wanteed to. If only I had known this one would be that brilliant, I wouldn't have waited tha long to read it!

First, the very beginning. Well done. i though it was an awful Deat Eater attack, something horrible, and... Great job. I was totally ensnared. *g*

And the way you describe the Marauders' behaviours and Lily's! oh, Lily's sipmly the best.

I know I can't express myselef properly as for congratulating people, but you wrote something wonderful.
(and belated congratulations for your nephew, too. :))
Mar. 19th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
Hi, sweetie! Glad you enjoyed my little joke (the boys are such wimps at heart, like crucio, only worse, indeed). And thanks! It's the first baby on either side of the family (my partner's younger brother) so we're quite excited about it. As always, thanks for reading! Maggie
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )