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Old January 3rd, 2011, 2:59 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 15th February 2010
Location: England
Age: 27
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

I feel like I've really churned out the chapters this week Anyway, I figured I'm going back to college tomorrow so other people probably are and you might need something to cheer you up before you go back to school/college/universty/work/whatever so here's the next chapter. Enjoy!

Chapter 15

They played with Harry for the rest of the morning. Around midday, Lily began to worry about how long Sirius had been out, but she didn’t have long to worry. They heard the front door open and seconds later Sirius had sat down with them on the floor. He didn’t say anything, however. Lily and Remus looked at each other, and then at Sirius, curiously.

“How did it go?” asked Remus.

“Well… I’m still alive. Bellatrix was all for killing me there and then, but that would probably have got her arrested. Narcissa didn’t look too pleased either.”

“They were there and you didn’t get arrested?”

“Oh, very funny. I was outnumbered four to one, there was no way I was going to be the first to try something.”

“Who else was there?” Lily said.

“They took their idiot husbands, so Lucius Malfoy and Rodolphus Lestrange.”

Sirius didn’t say anything else. Lily sighed.

“Are we going to have to force what happened out of you, or are you actually going to tell us?”

“Why do you want to know what happened so badly?”

“I’m being nosy; your mum hated you, I want to know why she kept you in her will. And being stuck in this house makes me want to know every little bit of news I can get hold of.”

Sirius laughed and his apathetic mood left as quickly as if it had been Banished.

“Right. Not much happened, actually. I was the last one there and apparently the other four didn’t know I was going to be there so that was quite fun, watching Bellatrix splutter around for a minute. Once she’d finished, the Ministry guy got on with reading the will.”

“What did you get?”

“Give me a chance, Lily. I got the house.”

“What?!” Remus said, taken by surprise. “Your old house, you mean? But your mum hated you, why did she leave you the house?”

“No idea.” Sirius shrugged. “I’m the last Black left now, by name anyway. I suppose tradition is more important than me running away. I was thinking that if the place isn’t rigged with booby traps and we put some more security charms on it we could move out of here. I’m not a big fan of sleeping on chairs and sofas for the rest of my life and they’re plenty of rooms there. What do you think?”

“Are you serious?”

“Sure. Look, there’s no way I’m going to let Bellatrix or one of the others get it if it’s officially mine and I’m not going to live there alone.”

Sirius and Remus looked at Lily.

“Why are you looking at me?”

“It feels like it’s your decision. You’re the one still in hiding at any rate,” said Remus.

Lily thought about it for a minute. She had never properly unpacked and made headquarters her home, not wanting to feel tied to the place. But, no matter how hard she tried to fool herself, it had become a sort of home to her in that it was safe and comforting to be here. Despite that, Lily still thought of it as a temporary arrangement and it would be nice to live somewhere more permanent.

“As long as you don’t mind, Sirius, I think it’s a good idea to move out of here. We should see what Dumbledore says, though, and make sure all the security spells are done right.”

“Great,” Sirius grinned. “Oh, there’s probably something else you should know...”

Sirius raised his voice and said “Kreacher!”

With a loud crack a figure appeared in front of Sirius. Lily immediately grabbed Harry and pulled him close to her.

Lily guessed that it was a house elf, but it looked nothing like the two elves that Dumbledore had brought with him on Christmas day. Its skin looked as if it was several times too big for it and it was wearing nothing except for an old rag that was tied like a loin cloth around its middle. It had small watery grey eyes and tufts of white hair were starting to grow out of its ears.

“Kreacher won’t serve Master, no Kreacher won’t. Kreacher would rather work for Miss Bellatrix, yes, she didn’t besmirch the family name and run away, making friends with blood traitors and werewolves and mudbloods-”

“Oh, my,” Lily gasped.

“SHUT UP, KREACHER!”

The house elf – Kreacher – threw Sirius a disdainful look and promptly stopped talking, though Lily thought she could see it mouthing the insults instead of speaking them out loud.

“Are you still sure you want to move out of here?”

“You two can’t carry on taking turns sleeping on the sofa and I’d quite like to feel as if I have a real home again.”

Sirius raised his eyebrows at the last comment but accepted it. He checked his watch as a loud rumbling sound filled the room and he smirked guiltily, ordering Kreacher to make lunch.

“How come it took you nearly two hours at the Ministry?” Lily asked, finally letting go of Harry and he tottered over to Sirius, who picked him up and sat him on his knee.

“Bellatrix and Narcissa threw a paddy when they found out I got the house - apparently I’m not worthy of it. Never mind that I don’t actually want it, but I suppose it has come in useful now. They insisted on seeing if it was right and I had to summon the thing that’s in the other room.”

“They didn’t take it well then?” Remus asked, grinning.

“That’s one way to put it. They got a bit angrier when they found out that they hadn’t inherited anything. All those years of sucking up to her didn’t pay off.”

“Nothing?” Lily gasped.

“Nope. If you think about it, that’s a good thing. The less dark stuff they get their hands on the better.”

Kreacher came back into the living room then, carrying a platter piled high with sandwiches over his head. He placed it on the floor in front of Sirius, gave a low bow to him and left again, muttering as he walked back into the dining room.

“Where’s he going?” asked Lily.

“Probably to sulk in the kitchen,” said Sirius, picking up a sandwich.

The rest of the day was spent keeping Kreacher away from Harry, as the house elf started a habit of giving him side long glances and Lily didn’t trust Kreacher, and doing their best at cleaning the house ready for the Order meeting that evening. It was mostly Lily doing the cleaning – Sirius didn’t see the point in it and Remus was still tired.

The doorbell rang at half past seven, just as Lily finished putting Harry to bed. She answered the door on her way downstairs.

“Good evening, Lily,” Dedalus said, bouncing over the threshold.

“Evening, Dedalus.” Lily closed the door behind him. “You’re early.”

“Yes, Elphias came early to take over guarding your sister. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Not at all, how is Petunia?”

“She’s fine, I think she was having a bad day – didn’t seem to want to talk much.”

Lily had to bite her tongue to stop herself telling Dedalus that it was probably because he was there that Petunia was having a bad day. They entered the living room, interrupting Sirius and Remus’ conversation.

“I still think the Chudley Cannons made a big mistake letting Brennan Kerr go. He was their best chaser, they’ve got no – hello Dedalus.”

“Good evening all. I hope I find you well?”

Sirius and Remus assured him that they were fine and continued with their Quidditch conversation, which Dedalus joined in with. Lily zoned out. She had very little interest in Quidditch, only enjoying watching it, and she couldn’t understand why boys seemed to want to talk about the details of every transfer and gossiping about which players were supposed to be retiring at the end of the season.

By eight o’clock, the room was full of Order members and they all seemed to be following Sirius and Remus’ lead and talking about Quidditch, except for Dedalus and Emmeline Vance. When Emmeline had entered, she had sat next to Dedalus on the sofa and then engaged him in a private conversation. Lily watched them suspiciously for a while, until Emmeline looked over and saw her watching. Lily smiled slightly and looked away quickly, striking up a conversation with Alice Longbottom.

They all heard the door open again and Dumbledore entered the room with Minerva McGonagall. The room fell silent and the cheerful atmosphere quickly changed to one more business like as they all remembered why they were here.

“Good evening everybody. Shall we begin?” Dumbledore said. One by one, they all stood up and went into the dining room.

Everyone settled into chairs around the long, rectangular table with Dumbledore at the head. He had never insisted on this but everyone else felt it was right and by now it had become habit. Lily settled into a seat between Remus and Alice.

Dumbledore glanced around the table, taking in everyone’s faces over the top of his half-moon glasses.

“Where is Elphias?”

“He’s keeping guard at Arabella’s tonight. He said that he had nothing important to report but that he’d speak to you in the next few days,” said Dedalus.

Dumbledore nodded and then began the meeting properly.

“I think we’re all happy to know that there doesn’t seem to have been many attacks over Christmas. I believe that the Death Eaters targeted a family near Dunster yesterday, but they managed to get away without sustaining any permanent injuries.”

He looked towards Frank and Alice for confirmation.

“Yes, one of the sons received a nasty hex but they took him to St.Mungo’s and he had to stay in overnight,” Frank said.

“How come they didn’t bother attacking anyone over Christmas?” asked Remus, “I was a bit surprised there was no one at Godric’s Hollow, surely they thought we would be there?”

“Maybe they refused to work on Christmas,” Sirius said before Dumbledore could answer. “You know, so they could spend some time with their Death Eater families, celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that. Peace, love, joy... isn’t that what they stand for?”

They all laughed; even Minerva managed a smile.

“I think they didn’t try any attacks because they thought people might be expecting it,” said Dumbledore, returning to his serious manner. “The vast majority believes that Voldemort and the Death Eaters want to do them harm and there is a high likelihood that they would increase the number of security spells at Christmas to stop the Death Eaters getting in until they can get away, which is what happened to the family we have just been talking about. Or, in our case, they might have thought that they had frightened Lily enough to stay inside, with the attack on her sister.”

“Clearly they think that you only let cowards into the Order, then,” said Lily. Dumbledore smiled at her before continuing with the rest of the meeting.

He started going around the table after that, receiving reports off the members who were trailing Death Eaters. Lily shifted guiltily in her chair when he skipped over her, Remus and Sirius, feeling like a burden on them all as they weren’t helping fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He questioned Frank and Alice next, seeing what new information they had come across in the Auror office. From what they said, Dumbledore seemed to gather that there could be somewhere apart from wherever they were using as base that was central to the Death Eaters’ plans.

Finally, Dumbledore turned to Sirius.

“What happened at the Ministry this morning?”

Sirius launched into the story of what had happened, at which point there was a loud clanging sound from the kitchen and Kreacher crept slowly into the room, muttering about not wanting to serve a “nasty brat who broke his mother’s heart”. Sirius paused in the story to tell Kreacher to go back in the kitchen and leave them alone before resuming.

“... So I thought it could be a good idea if the four of us went to live at Grimmauld Place, instead of taking up space here. We thought we’d run it by you first,” finished Sirius.

Dumbledore considered it for a moment.

“I can’t see why not, Sirius. I think you would all probably be a lot more comfortable in a house where each of you could have your own bed. I would like to suggest that I have a look at the current security spells and add my own, if you don’t mind. I also think you should consider using the Fidelius Charm – I know you have had a bad experience with it, but if a trustworthy Secret Keeper is chosen, then – ”

“I’ll do it,” Sirius said. “It’s my house, I’m not likely to tell Voldemort where it is.”

“That’s settled then. Well, unless anyone has anything they would like to bring up...” No one spoke. “I think we’re finished. Goodnight everyone.”

They all said goodnight and stood up to leave. Dumbledore stayed behind, talking to Sirius about when he should have a look at the house. It didn’t take them long and, soon, the front door had closed for the last time.

“Dumbledore thinks he’ll be able to get away from Hogwarts tomorrow afternoon. We can go check out the house then,” said Sirius, collapsing onto the sofa next to Lily. Remus had sat down in an armchair and promptly fallen asleep.

“Bellatrix knows where the house is already though, right? How do you know she isn’t leading more Death Eaters in there now, so they can ambush us?” Lily asked.

“Because if it’s locked, which it is, you can’t get in no matter how hard you try without the key.” Sirius fished a small golden key out of his pocket and showed it to her.

They sat in silence for a while. It had been a busier day than Lily was used to and her eyelids were drooping. She rested her head on Sirius’ shoulder and he put his arm around her.

“Are you okay?”

Lily turned her head so she could just about see Sirius’ face.

“I’m fine. Why?” she said.

“Just checking.”

Lily sat up properly.

“Seriously, why did you want to know?”

“It’s nothing, really.” Lily continued to stare at him and he carried on. “It’s just that since Christmas you’ve been… I don’t know… better. I wondered if you were trying too hard.”

“I can’t keep living in the past,” sighed Lily. “Life goes on, Sirius.”

Lily went to bed not long after that. She knew why Sirius was worried; she hadn’t exactly shown everyone that she was coping before now. But since Lily had visited the grave and she’d finally dealt with James’ death properly, she had been doing her best to move on.

Life still wasn’t right, though. There was still that gaping hole in her heart – it felt slightly smaller now, but definitely there. There were still times when his name would come up in conversation and she would start smiling stupidly, like she always had. Most of all, there were still moments when she looked around, wanting to laugh and joke with James but realising too late that he would never be there again.

When Lily looked in the mirror, she saw only a shadow of the person she used to be. She wondered if she would ever go back to how she used to look, or turn into someone different, or even stay how she was now.

Lily wondered about a lot of things nowadays.

She lay in bed while these thoughts swam around her head. Lily knew there was no point in going downstairs tonight, Remus had been tired all day and probably wouldn’t wake until morning.

Eventually, Lily fell asleep. She dreamt that she was stood at the edge of a forest. A stag that was unmistakably James was making its way slowly into the depths of the forest and, no matter how hard she tried, Lily couldn’t follow it. She was frozen to the spot, watching the stag, and she didn’t scream or shout after it, to make it come back. She stood silently, allowing it to leave her.

When she awoke the next morning, Lily couldn’t remember the dream, but silent tears were running down her cheeks.
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You know what would cheer me up before I have to go back to college? Reviews!


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Last edited by gelowo93; January 6th, 2011 at 9:52 pm.
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