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Old October 26th, 2010, 9:40 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 15th February 2010
Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

A bit of a long chapter this one, at least it is compared to my others. I might have another chapter done by the weekend but after that there probably won't be a lot because apparently I have to start revision for January exams now, so enjoy this while you can. For the record, I love Remus/Tonks in canon, but writing this scene made me realise how big their age gap is.

Chapter 6

Lily’s feet hit solid ground and she quickly stumbled out of the fireplace, her head still spinning, in order to make way for Remus.

She spotted Sirius nearby and started dusting the ash off of her robes as she walked over to him. He was talking to an attractive brown-eyed brown haired woman who, lily guessed was a few years older than themselves. The woman was clutching the hand of a young girl whose hair rapidly changed, in the few seconds that it took Lily to reach them, from blue to pink to purple.

“Lily, this is my cousin, Andromeda. She was a few years above us at Hogwarts.”

“Hi,” Lily said rather awkwardly. Then, with her natural friendliness kicking in, she added, “Is this your daughter?”

“Yes – Nymphadora,” Andromeda smiled back warmly. At the sound of her name, the girl stopped looking around the room and said harshly, “Don’t call me Nymphadora.”

“Don’t speak to me like that. What would you rather me call you?”

Nymphadora thought about it for a moment before answering, “Tonks.”

“Stop being silly, I’m not going to call you by your surname.”

At this point, Remus joined them, dusting, like Lily had, the ash off his robes.

“What’s going on? Hello, Andromeda,” he added.

“Nymphadora doesn’t want to be known by her first name anymore,” she explained.

Remus tilted his head to one side, obviously trying to think of alternatives, while Sirius suggested names like “Shorty”, “Hairy” and “Morphy”.

“Morphy?” Remus broke out of his reverie to laugh along with Lily and Andromeda. “I knew there was a reason we didn’t just let you choose our nicknames. What about Dora?”

Andromeda looked down at her currently unnamed child, “Dora?”

“Fine,” she agreed after considering the name for a moment.

“Finally,” smiled Andromeda. “Right, we’ve got to get back. It was good to see you – have fun shopping.”

They waved goodbye as Andromeda and Dora stepped into the fireplace and then disappeared in a flash of green flames.

It took Lily, Remus and Sirius the better part of the morning to complete their Christmas shopping. With their arms laden with packages of all shapes and sizes, the three of them were walking back to the Leaky Cauldron while Lily was complaining that she hadn’t found a present for Remus. They stopped walking when they noticed a small crowd beginning to form outside Flourish and Blotts.

It wasn’t much of a crowd, more like a small number of people stood outside the shop pondering whether to go in or not and other shoppers who were slowing down to read the banner that had been erected above the entrance:

Damocles Belby signing copies of his new book
Potions to Tame the Beasts
today!

Beside Lily, Remus groaned.

“I didn’t realise this was today.”

“Why? What is it?” Lily inquired.

“He’s supposed to have invented some new potions that make creatures less dangerous, like acromantula, chimaeras, vampires and –”

“Werewolves?”

“Well … yes.”

“Do you think it would work?” asked Sirius.

“I don’t know. I don’t think it completely stops the transformations, but …”

Remus trailed off. Lily knew that he had long since resigned himself to the fact that he would be shunned by society and living with the painful transformations once (occasionally twice) a month for the rest of his life, but she couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more eager to try something that – if not a complete cure – could at least make the usual pain he suffered at the full moon bearable.

“Well, why don’t we go in and find out?” Lily didn’t wait for an answer; she turned and walked past the crowd of hesitators, straight into the shop. Behind her, Sirius and Remus raised their eyebrows at each other before hurrying along in her wake.

Inside Flourish and Blotts, it didn’t take them long to spot the author, Belby. He was sat near the back of the shop at a table that was covered with piles of books. Belby seemed to have noticed their entrance, he looked up and smiled at them hopefully, his smile becoming wider once he saw them walking towards him.

“Hello,” he said when Lily, Remus and Sirius had reached the table, “how are you today?”

Even though he was sat down, Lily could tell that he would tower over her if he were to stand. His strong build and steel grey hair that matched his eyes contrasted with his voice, which was gentle and polite. He seemed slightly wary of Remus and Sirius, who were stood on either side of Lily (as they had done all morning) looking round the shop to see whether there was anyone acting suspicious.

“I’ve been better,” Lily answered. The morning’s shopping had, as intended, kept her busy enough so that he thoughts did not stray to unpleasant topics, and she hoped that she could avoid thing about – about … it … while in public.

“That’s a shame, pretty girl like you should have no right to be unhappy.”

Lily sensed both Sirius and Remus stiffen and focus their attention on Belby. She felt nauseated at his comment, even though he was no more than five years older than her and clearly had no idea what had happened, just meaning it to be a bit of harmless flirting. Thinking that it was best to ignore his last comment, but already feeling that she didn’t like his attitude, Lily decided to move the conversation onto the second reason why she had ‘been better’.

“Werewolves aren’t beasts.”

Belby blinked and looked confused at the sudden change of topic.

“Excuse me?”

“Your book’s called Potions to Tame the Beasts and it includes a potion for werewolves, but they aren’t beasts.”

He had regained some of his composure at Lily’s explanation.

“I think you’ll find that the general consensus is that werewolves are dangerous creatures and the Ministry has no problem with classifying them as beasts.”

“One of my best friends is a werewolf and he is the kindest, least dangerous person I know!” At this, she saw Belby’s eyes flicker from Sirius to Remus and then back to Lily quickly. “And it’s neither of them,” she added, to avoid an even more awkward conversation. Similar to that morning in the kitchen, Lily did not know where her anger came from – just that him saying that werewolves were beasts was deeply offensive to her, having known Remus for nearly half of her life and he was the last person who she would label thus.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Remus said, after Lily paid for the book and they exited the shop.

“Of course I did, it’s your early Christmas present.”

“That would imply that I’m getting another present as well. And I didn’t mean that, I meant defending … people like me.”

“You can forget about another present unless you count the potion itself. By the way, yes I did have to defend you. You’re my friend so it’s kind of my right to stick up for you. I’d do it for Sirius if someone started insulting him just because the rest of his family are jerks.”

Sirius grinned and said, “Thanks.”

The three of them walked to the apothecary next so that they could buy the ingredients. Remus flatly refused to let Lily buy them as well, as she had already bought the book and would be brewing the potion, so she gave up insisting that, because it was technically part of the present, she should buy the ingredients. Instead, Lily opened the book, flicked to the right page and began ordering Remus and Sirius to find the various ingredients in the otherwise empty shop.

“Five what?!” Sirius asked in disgust.

“Five rat spleens,” repeated Lily.

“I’m glad you’re drinking this potion and not me,” he told Remus who had returned to give Lily a bottle of armadillo bile she had asked him for.

“Just because the ingredients don’t taste nice on their own doesn’t mean the potion won’t.”

“No, I think Sirius is right, Remus,” Lily said, looking down at the list of ingredients. “There’s a footnote – apparently adding sugar makes it useless. I wouldn’t expect it to taste like butterbeer if I were you.”

Remus made a face at the same time as the bell above the entrance rang, which was almost immediately followed by the sound of wood tapping on the wall and the plump witch behind the counter saying, “No hoods please.” They all glanced around to see who had entered.

Lily’s heart sank.

The chin length greasy black hair was recognisable without the pale sallow face of its owner. Severus Snape lowered his hood and scanned the shop, stopping when he saw Lily, Remus and Sirius stood in a corner.

As soon as he had recognised the figure, Sirius had plunged his hand into his pocket and Lily knew that he was gripping his wand; ready to aim it at Snape if needed. They stared at each other for what seemed like hours. Snape’s eyes bored into Lily’s – she didn’t dare blink or look away in case he took it for a sign of weakness. Eventually, he turned and started browsing the shop.

“Come on, have we got everything?” Remus asked. Sirius was watching Snape, his hand still in his pocket.

“We just need the rat spleens.”

They quickly found them, paid and left the shop, all the while Sirius never took his eyes off Snape.

“I don’t trust him,” he growled, checking over his shoulder as they walked back to the Leaky Cauldron.

They joined the queue to use the fireplace and, soon, the three of them were stood in the kitchen at headquarters.

“Mummy!”

Harry was tottering towards them, his hands reaching towards them. Lily placed all of her parcels on the small table and picked him up.

“Uckle Seerus! Uckle Wemus!”

“Hello Harry, were you a good boy for Auntie Alice?” Lily kissed his forehead.

Alice appeared in the doorway.

“He was fine. You’re just in time – I was about to make dinner. When I told the boys that, Harry ran in here. He must be hungry, or eager to help,” laughed Alice.

Remus and Sirius offered to take all of the parcels to the basement, leaving Lily to talk to Alice while the latter made sandwiches for everyone.

After lunch, Sirius left to go to the Ministry and Alice said she would stay for the afternoon so that Harry and Neville could play together, but Lily had a suspicion that it had more to do with her not being able to stand living with her mother-in-law. Either way, it was good for Harry to have someone his own age around. For a while, the three adults sat in the living room (Remus was cross-legged on the floor, having been bullied into playing by Harry) making small talk. Lily didn’t pay much attention to the conversation, occasionally offering her own opinion. Mostly she watched Harry, smiling sadly and seeing James in almost his every aspect: the colour of his hair, the shape of his nose, even their chins were the same. Every aspect except his eyes.

Lily felt the familiar contracting of her stomach and aching of her heart as she thought of James. Determined not to let it pull her under, Lily stood up. Alice stopped speaking mid-sentence and she and Remus looked up at her.

“Where are you going?” Remus asked innocently enough, but Lily thought she could detect a slight undertone that suggested that he was worried about her going into an empty room and locking herself in as she had been prone to in the past few weeks. She didn’t mention this in her reply, however.

“I thought I’d have a look over the instructions for that potion.”

Lily went down into the basement where Sirius and Remus had taken the things they had bought. She had purposefully avoided going down there since that day and fortunately it was not often necessary. Still, she had to take a deep breath and remind herself that there was nothing wrong with the room before taking the first step downstairs.

It didn’t take Lily long to find the potion book. She conjured a chair and sat down to read it.

She supposed she had been down there for quite a long time rereading the instructions when she heard footsteps on the stairs. Looking up, Lily saw Remus hurrying down the steps. The early signs of panic on his face quickly turned to those of relief when he saw her and then those were replaced by nothing more than an attempt at a friendly smile.

“You’ve been down here a long time,” he said, trying and failing to sound nonchalant.

“I’m not stupid, Remus, you and Sirius have been watching me all day, or did you really think I didn’t notice the sidelong glances?” Lily grinned so he didn’t think she was angry. Remus grimaced but made no other comment. “I’ve just been reading this,” Lily added, indicating the book.

“Well,” Remus moved to stand beside her and put his arm around the back of the chair, “what do you think?”

Lily didn’t reply straight away; she’d had a vivid flashback of lying on the floor crying hysterically and then someone putting their arm around her, pulling her into a sitting position. Quickly forcing it to the back of her mind, she answered.

“It’s one of the most complex potions I’ve ever seen –”

“If you don’t think you’ll be able to make it then you don’t have to bother,” Remus interrupted quickly. “Really. Maybe Sirius will –”

“If you listened then you’d find out that I was going to say I’d give it a go. I did get an Outstanding in my N.E.W.T. after all. It’s just so precise; you have to start making it on the night of the new moon, then it takes a week to make and you take it twice a day for the week before and including the day of the full moon. There’s literally no room for error.” Lily frowned. “When’s the new moon?”

“The fourteenth.”

“I suppose I’ve got just over a week to figure out what I’m doing then.”

“I’ve got every confidence in you.”

Lily stood up and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thanks.”
___________________________________

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Last edited by gelowo93; November 23rd, 2010 at 8:13 pm.
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