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Old February 15th, 2011, 10:52 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 15th February 2010
Location: England
Age: 27
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

New chapter I don't have much to say except look at the pretty new star under my post count Yeah, I'm not amused by little things at all

Chapter 19

When Lily awoke the next morning, the first thing she recognised was that her head felt as if it was being attacked by a rampant erumpent. The next thing she felt was panic, as she didn’t recognise her surroundings: the large four poster bed she was in, the green wallpaper and silver chandelier hanging exactly in the centre of the room. It was a moment before Lily’s sense caught up with her senses. She hadn’t spent much time in the room the previous day and when she had come up to go to bed she hadn’t paid much attention to her surroundings, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that she had panicked. Now, with sunlight illuminating the room through the curtains, she could see the sparsely decorated room in detail.

Vague memories of the previous night (or that morning) drifted into Lily’s mind and she groaned. Each one made her head pound harder and she screwed up her eyes against the pain. Lily sat up, groaning as the pain intensified.

Great, she thought bitterly, this was going to be a fun day.

Lily slowly got dressed, doing her best to not make her headache worse. A quick look in the mirror made it clear that there wasn’t any point in trying to make herself look decent: her auburn hair looked as if she had been swung around on one of the Whomping Willow’s branches in her sleep and there were dark circles beneath her eyes. Then she quietly – ever so quietly – made her way downstairs. Someone had already Stunned the portrait of Sirius’ mother at the foot of the stairs and Lily was eternally grateful to whomever it was. She did not need a crazy portrait screeching at her when her head felt as if it might explode and leave bits of brains all over the hallway.

As she made her way down to basement, Lily could hear voices: one was being very noisy and the other seemed to be attempting to quieten the first.

“No breka!”

“Ssh Harry. You don’t have to be this loud. Be a good boy.”

“No breka!”

“You’ve got to have breakfast. Please be quiet, Harry.”

“No breka!”

Lily reached the bottom of the stairs. Remus was sat at the table trying to feed Harry breakfast. He looked up as Lily was making her way towards the table and mouthed “Morning.”

“I feel like my head’s going to explode. I swear, I’m never going to drink again,” whispered Lily, taking a piece of toast off the pile on a plate in the middle of the table. “Thanks for getting Harry up. How long have you been awake?”

“No problem,” Remus said, equally quiet. “About an hour. When I was coming down I heard Harry shouting in his room. I’m surprised you didn’t hear him and wake up.”

“I slept like a rock last night. Apparently it wasn’t enough – I still look like the living dead.”

Remus smiled slightly and went back to trying to make Harry eat some toast.

Lily absentmindedly ripped her slice into pieces. She let Harry’s refusals to eat wash over her and did her best at staying awake. She wasn’t very good at it. Lily’s eyes had fluttered shut so that all she knew was the pain in her head and the blurred together voices of Remus and Harry.

After a few minutes of this, Lily heard Remus give a particularly loud huff and she forced her eyes to open.

The plate of toast was now next to Harry, except that it didn’t have toast on it anymore. It looked as if he had taken each slice, ripped it into pieces and thrown them on the floor. Remus was sat back in his chair, rubbing his eyes and temples, and muttering under his breath. Harry picked up the last slice of toast and was ready to tear it in half.

“Stop it, Harry,” said Lily. There must have been some sort of authority in her voice because Harry stopped and looked up at her. “Mummy and Uncle Remus are tired and have headaches, so please can you behave today? That means eating the food you’re given and not throwing it around.”

Lily picked her wand out of the pocket of her robes and pointed it at the various pieces of toast on the floor. They zoomed across the room and dropped into the bin. Lily moved her chair so that she was closer to Harry, took the slice of toast he held in his hands and ripped it into smaller pieces, giving them to Harry one by one for him to eat, which he did so without making a sound. Under normal circumstances, Lily would have been stunned to see Harry do what he was told, but in her sleep-deprived state, she was concentrating too hard on staying awake and trying not to focus too much on her pounding head.

“Good boy, Harry,” she said when Harry had eaten all the toast.

“I still don’t know how you do it, Lily,” said Remus. He had watched in amazement while Harry had eaten quietly.

“Practice. And luck.” Lily laughed silently. “Sometimes he does what he’s told and sometimes he doesn’t. I think you just happen to try to make him behave when he doesn’t want to. Or he actually listens to me, who knows?”

Remus was about to speak when there was a sudden eruption of noise above them. A combination of nonsense screeching and various swear words shouted as loud as possible reached their ears.

“Oh no,” Lily said, covering her ears with her hands and Remus did the same. It didn’t help much: Lily could still hear the shouting through the ceiling and it had upset Harry, who was now crying. She awkwardly tried to pick Harry up and put him on her knee while keeping both of her ears covered. Lily just about managed it, tilting her head to one side so that her ear was pressed against her shoulder gave her one free hand, which she was able to use to pick Harry up and stop him falling while she bounced him on her knee, trying to calm him down.

The shouting became louder for a second, before the slam of a door told Lily that someone had opened the door at the top of the basement stairs and was making their way down.

Sirius appeared at the bottom of the stone steps, looking much worse for wear than Lily did. His pale face was even whiter, which made the dark circles below his eyes more pronounced and the usually smooth black hair was tangled and knotted. He looked as if he’d had to fight a hundred dementors on his way down to breakfast, as well as his mother’s portrait. Sirius also had his hands covering his ears and was muttering unintelligible curses.

“Rough night?” asked Remus. Sirius flinched like he’d been punched.

“Need water.” Sirius’ voice was hoarse. He made himself a glass of water and sat down at the table, taking sips occasionally.

“Sirius, you look terrible, are you sure you shouldn’t still be in bed?” Lily asked. She tentatively took her hand away from her ear, checking to see if the noise upstairs had died down. It was quieter now, but the portrait could still be heard distantly.

“My bedroom smells of puke,” he said. This was met with silence. Lily didn’t really know what to say that wouldn’t sound inappropriate or heartless. There was some part of her that thought he deserved it after shouting last night, but there was a larger part that was looking at the man in front of her who looked as if he would never be able to smile again.

“Couldn’t you get Kreacher to clean it up?” Remus said.

“Where is Kreacher?” asked Lily, suddenly realising that she hadn’t seen him since the previous day when they had arrived.

“Sulking in the attic – that’s another reason I didn’t sleep well,” Sirius said faintly. “But that is a brilliant idea, Moony. Kreacher!”

A loud crack announced Kreacher’s entrance and it made the three adults flinch slightly. The house elf narrowed its eyes and started mouthing insults that Lily could only guess at. He soon stopped, looked up at Sirius and said “What does Master wish poor Kreacher to do? Ungrateful vermin that he is…”

Sirius ignored Kreacher’s last remark. “I need you to clean my bedroom so that it doesn’t smell disgusting. If I find out that you’ve thrown any of my things away then I’ll … I’ll … I’ll think of some worthy punishment when I’m feeling better.” Sirius turned slightly green and rested his head on the table.

“Yes Master, whatever Master wishes.” Kreacher gave him a low bow and disappeared with another crack.

“Ungh,” Sirius said.

Lily and Remus looked at each other over the top of Sirius’ head.

The rest of that day was spent avoiding loud noises and making sure there was a bucket nearby when Sirius sat up suddenly. Any tidying up of the house that needed to be done was once again ignored as much as possible and the pile of things in the dining room was left to gather dust for another day. They all went to bed early that evening, being too tired and ill to stay up much later than Harry’s usual bedtime.

Lily awoke the next morning without a headache and feeling much more refreshed because of it. Unfortunately, that meant that, despite having started tidying the house, she wasn’t tired enough to sleep that night. Lily tossed and turned, trying to make herself comfortable in the large bed, but to no avail. It didn’t help that nonsense thoughts kept running around her head, things like which robes she should wear tomorrow and how they were going to get down all the things that had been stuck onto the walls of the house with Permanent Sticking Charms. Eventually, Lily gave up. She got out of bed, put on her dressing gown and made her way across the landing to the room where Harry slept.

She quietly opened the door and pressed it shut. There was barely enough light in the room for Lily to see; a strip of moonlight fell on the wall opposite the window where the curtains hadn’t been closed properly. She managed to carefully walk towards the chair beside Harry’s cot and sit down in it.

Lily could just about make out Harry’s outline through the gloom. She reached her arm into the cot to tuck the sheets around him, as they had become loose while he slept. Her hand lingered in the cot, stroking Harry’s hair with the back of it.

His gentle snores punctuated the silence while Lily watched him sleep. Harry’s chest rose and fell with each breath, calming her thoughts. The restlessness was gone now, replaced by a contentedness that Lily doubted she would ever find doing something other than just watching her son sleep. However, it didn’t make her sleepy like she had thought it might. She’d hoped that the presence of someone else and the repetitive breathing might have relaxed her enough for her to fall asleep. It hadn’t, but it didn’t bother Lily so much now.

Footsteps on the stairs outside interrupted Lily’s relaxed mood. She reflexively grabbed her wand that was in her pocket.

It’s just Sirius or Remus. No one else can get in. It’s just Sirius or Remus, Lily chanted in her head. There was really no reason to be paranoid – no one could get in except the three of them and any Order members that had read Sirius’ note. Still, reason didn’t stop Lily from worrying.

She raised her wand and silently crossed the room to the door. Lily opened it a sliver so that she could see who was wandering around the house this late at night. A figure with brown hair had lit its wand (presumably to see where it was going) and was walking down the stairs.

“Remus?”

The figure jumped slightly and turned around, raising its wand above its head.

“Lily? What were you doing in Harry’s room?” Remus whispered, stepping up a few stairs in order to see her better. Lily shrugged.

“I couldn’t sleep. Why are you creeping around?”

“Same.” His voice was casual, but his face hardened in the wand light. Lily started down the staircase with him.

“The change of house hasn’t stopped the nightmares?”

“No. They’re not as detailed now anyway, but still … unpleasant.”

They didn’t speak again until they reached the basement. Lily got them both glasses of water and sat down with Remus.

“You’re still not sleeping then?” Remus said after a while. It wasn’t a question, but the tone of his voice made it sound as if it was.

“I just couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t… James. Not tonight, anyway,” said Lily. It was true: it hadn't been thoughts of him that had stopped her sleeping. Most nights it was, but maybe once or twice in the past week (including tonight), the memories hadn’t plagued her.

“That’s good, in a way, isn’t it?”

Lily nodded and took a sip of her water. Neither of them spoke for a while. Remus was looking around the kitchen and Lily stared into her glass.

“You know, it’s going to be a lot further to take you upstairs when you fall asleep down here,” Remus said, breaking the silence. Lily took a moment to think about what he had said.

“What if you fall asleep first? I’ll have to take you right up to the third floor, you have to be the awkward one, don’t you?” teased Lily.

“You always fall asleep first. And I wasn’t seriously going to take the bedroom on the first floor, you can hear Old Burga!”

“‘Old Burga’” Lily laughed, completely confused.

“Walburga’s portrait. Sirius’ mum,” Remus explained. “It was mine, James’ and Peter’s nickname for her, I don’t think Sirius knows about it, to be honest. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t get more invites to visit Sirius at home,” said Lily, still smiling.

“None of us ever got an invite to come here. His parents were hardly going to allow me, the Potters are the biggest lot of blood traitors there are – probably only seconded by the Weasleys - and Peter, well, he was too socially inept to get an invite. He’d probably have made a fool of himself in some way.”

Peter was very rarely mentioned by name by anyone anymore, but when he was, Lily preferred to think of the awkward but always smiling boy she had met at school than the man who had betrayed her. It wasn’t too hard to do; the two versions of him didn’t fit together at all.

They made meaningless conversation until well past midnight. It was during a lull in the talk when Lily’s eyelids were beginning to droop that she thought of something that she had never asked before in their few weeks’ worth of nights they had spent up together.

“What are the nightmares about?”

“What?”

“Your nightmares. The ones that wake you up all the time. What are they about?”

Remus didn’t answer. He looked down at the table, frowning, and started playing with the sleeves of his pyjamas. Lily stared at him, waiting for an answer.

“You don’t want to know,” he said, finally.

“Well, now I really do.”

Remus took a deep breath, still not looking at her. “Halloween. That’s the most common one. I know I wasn’t there, but I have a vivid imagination. That’s actually why I don’t read as much any more. It’s too real.”

Lily didn’t know whether the last comment was about his imagination in general or the nightmares. Either way, it didn’t matter. Remus had been right when he said that she didn’t want to know because now that was all she could think about. Lily had been lucky that she hadn’t been having nightmares about it, although it wasn’t much of a surprise because she rarely remembered her dreams, and even when she did they had no relevance to her life.

They sat up for a while longer, exchanging the occasional remark but not trying to hold a conversation anymore.

Lily was the first to fall asleep.
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