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Old November 12th, 2010, 4:45 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

Here's the next chapter. Things are starting to happen now, but I'm not telling what

Enjoy

Chapter 8

Over the next few days, Lily watched Remus and Sirius closely and realised that what Remus had said was true: while they kept themselves busy, it was possible to be almost happy. But whenever they stopped doing something, the smile slipped off their faces and they resorted to sitting on the sofa and staring blankly across the room. Lily found herself joining them in keeping busy and their depressive moments that became more and more numerous, for it was much harder to find work to do when there were three people willingly doing every chore there was.

Nights didn’t get much better for Lily, either. She would go up to her bedroom after saying goodnight to Remus and Sirius, and that’s when she would allow her still raw grief to overcome her and prevent her from sleeping. The tears came easily and she didn’t stop them, only controlling them enough to keep quiet so Harry did not wake. Once the tears stopped, Lily would tread softly down the stairs and sit in the kitchen, meeting Remus there or waiting for him to join her.

They sat there, more often than not, in silence, only speaking to ask the time or make small talk. Lily did not mind and it seemed that Remus didn’t either. Occasionally one of them would start crying and the other would comfort them – it was times like those that Lily would be glad that she wasn’t sitting there alone. Eventually one or the other would fall asleep, although it was most often Lily, and then the other would take them to where they were supposed to sleep. Neither Lily nor Remus talked about their midnight rendezvous’ during the day.

And so Lily fit into her new routine rather well.

A few days before Lily was to start making the Wolfsbane potion for Remus, she was sat beside a cabinet in the bedroom she had been sleeping in. She had adamantly refused Remus and Sirius’ offers of help and now she was tidying the mess that had accumulated since she hadn’t bothered to put things away properly. Lily picked up a pile of parchment that was on the floor (some things just felt wrong if they were done with magic, and Lily thought that sorting out a mess was one of them) and was carrying it to a desk when a small scrap fell from the pile, fluttering to the floor.

Lily sighed, dropped the pile of parchment on the desk and went back to pick up whatever had fallen. She flipped it over to see what had been written on it.

Lily stared. It was not an old piece of parchment, as she had thought it was, but an old Muggle photograph. Two young girls smiled up at her, frozen in time. The older girl had her arm around the shoulder of the younger. The elder’s blonde hair was tied up in a ponytail and the dark red hair of the younger girl was half covering her face because she had ignored her parents’ warning that it would be windy at the beach, Lily remembered. They had gone the summer before Lily started Hogwarts – the last summer that she and Petunia had been friends…

She stared at the photo for a long time, not looking for any hidden meaning in it, but wondering how two sisters, who had been best friends growing up, had now barely spoken in years. They still sent each other birthday and Christmas presents, and she had invited Petunia to Harry’s Christening. Petunia had declined and Lily had not seen her since.

It seemed to have taken the discovery of the photograph for Lily to realise that she had started to slowly lose the people who were close to her since finding out that she was a witch: Petunia, Severus, her parents, Wormtail, James and more and more names that she recognised from school were appearing in the Prophet with announcements of their deaths, not to mention her friends in the Order who died. It was about time she attempted to extend an olive branch to those whom she thought she could reconnect with.

Gripping the photograph in her hand, Lily hurried down the stairs, nearly running into Sirius. She didn’t stop to answer his questions of why she was in such a rush and soon she was rummaging in the pile of presents she had bought in Diagon Alley. Lily pulled the small package from underneath a much larger one and unwrapped the brown paper.

Lily hadn’t put much thought into buying Petunia’s present, merely looking for something that wasn’t obviously magical. She had found the photo frame decorated with gems, which changed colour in an old shop full of second hand objects. She supposed that it could look like it was using electricity to make the gems change colour so she had bought it. Now that she had found a photo to put in it, it seemed like a much more thoughtful gift.

“What’s going on?”

Sirius had followed Lily downstairs. He looked over her shoulder and saw the photograph in the frame.

“Is that you? Where did you find it?” Sirius sounded surprised.

“Yes… It was in a pile of stuff upstairs. I found it when I was tidying up. It was taken the year before I started Hogwarts.”

Neither of them spoke for a while. Lily was wondering what Petunia would say if she just turned up on her doorstep; she didn’t think she would be allowed to go alone – there would have to be some sort of bodyguard with her. Lily smiled at the thought of Petunia’s face if she turned up with Moody.

“You want to see Petunia, don’t you?”

Now it was Lily’s turn to be surprised. Sirius was one of her best friends but she didn’t think of him as someone who could tell what you were thinking and could have meaningful conversations with.

“I haven’t seen her since I got married – she didn’t even invite me to her wedding! I feel like I’m losing a lot of people at the moment. It can’t hurt to try, can it?”

“We’ll have to see what Dumbledore says.”

Lily frowned. “Since when did we have to have Dumbledore’s approval to visit my sister?”

“Since Voldemort still hasn’t decided if he wants to kill Neville or Harry and you more.”

Fortunately, Lily didn’t have to wait long to see Dumbledore. He visited headquarters that evening to pick up a report that Elphias Doge had left on the Death Eater he had been trailing. Lily broached the subject tentatively, but he didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it.

“Where does Petunia live?”

“Little Whinging.”

“Does she live near Arabella Figg?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll send Arabella a message tonight and find out. I am rather busy at the moment, though, so if I don’t manage to get back to you here then you should go ahead. When are you planning on going?”

“I’m not sure. It’ll have to be before Monday because that’s when I start making Remus’ potion.”

“We can go tomorrow,” Sirius said from behind a book he had been attempting to read for the past few days whenever they had nothing to do. “We’re not doing anything, ever. The sooner I get out of this house the better.”

“You do realise that I’m keeping you here for your safety? If any of you are seen out and about too much then you’re a target and we don’t need you in more danger than you already are.” Dumbledore looked at Sirius sternly, then turned back to Lily. “Tomorrow should be fine. You should see your sister again – family is important, sometimes it just takes this time of year to understand that.” He had a far off look in his eyes as he spoke but shrugged it off, smiling.

The next day, Lily, Remus, Sirius and Harry were dressed in their Muggle finest, as they would be using the Muggle public transport to get to Little Whinging. Lily had had to help Sirius pick out clothes so he wouldn’t be conspicuous on the train after he had entered the kitchen wearing dungarees and a flowered shirt. Remus had burst out laughing and couldn’t eat the rest of his breakfast.

It took them little over an hour to get from the train station near headquarters to the one in the town centre of Little Whinging. After which, they had to travel a further twenty minutes on a bus. Towards the end of the journey, Harry had turned an old woman’s hair purple, causing mass panic until Lily surreptitiously turned it back to its original colour.

Luckily, they got off at the next stop. Once the bus had driven away, Sirius let out his bark-like laugh and Lily and Remus joined in. It took them a while to stop; getting out of the house had lifted their spirits and they were gasping for breath when they did stop laughing.

Lily pulled out a map of the area and quickly found where they were. She began pushing the buggy she had put Harry in for the day to save her from having to carry him, and Remus and Sirius followed.

“Tell me why we didn’t Apparate again?” Sirius asked when they had been walking for nearly fifteen minutes.

“Because it’s a heavily populated area, so they’d notice if we appeared out of nowhere. And Harry doesn’t like it,” Lily said through gritted teeth. She had added the comment about Harry at the last minute, knowing that it would shut Sirius up: he had been complaining almost constantly about not being able to use magic and it was finally getting on her nerves. “Besides, we’re nearly there now.”

Lily thought she heard Sirius mutter “about time” but ignored it. They turned a corner and saw a row of identical houses that looked as if it stretched on for miles. The nearest street sign told them that they were on Privet Drive.

“We’re here,” Lily announced. “So number four should be…there.”

She looked round at the other two nervously; they grimaced identically at her. Lily took a deep breath and walked down the drive of number four.

Lily didn’t press the doorbell straight away. She walked round to the front of the buggy so that she could see Harry and knelt down.

“Harry, I need you to be very good now and not use magic when we go inside. Do you think you can do that?”

Harry nodded, “Yes, mummy.”

“Good boy.” Lily straightened up and pressed the doorbell once.

They were stood outside for a while before the door opened. When it did, Petunia was stood in the doorway. Her face paled as she observed the three people in front of her.

“Hi,” Lily said, smiling slightly.

“What are you doing here?” Petunia said, stiffly.

“I thought I’d come and visit. It’s been a while.” Lily was taken aback by Petunia’s hostility and spoke quietly.

Her eyes were fixed on Sirius and Remus behind Lily. “You need bodyguards to visit?”

“Actually… yes. Can we come in?”

Petunia didn’t say anything. She glared at them for a moment, pursing her lips. Then she moved aside to allow them into the house.

Lily lifted the buggy over the threshold and said a mumbled thanks to Petunia, who stared back in return. Remus and Sirius followed her inside and Petunia closed the door loudly behind them; Lily felt as if she was being trapped inside but shrugged off the feeling – it was a silly thought, there was no way Petunia could keep them in the house.

Harry looked around the hallway curiously when Lily picked him up. He spotted Petunia and tried to reach over to her.

“That’s Auntie Petunia, Harry. Are you going to say hello?”

Petunia frowned but didn’t say anything. As she ushered them into the kitchen at the back of the house, Harry said loudly “Eh-wo.”

They settled in chairs at the table in the kitchen, Lily sat with Harry on her knee. Remus took his hesitantly and raised his eyebrows at Lily. Petunia noticed.

“What’s the matter?”

“We’re a bit paranoid about security,” Lily said, before Remus could answer. “Being at the back of the house… Anyone could be coming from the front and we wouldn’t know until they burst through the door.”

“You want to sit in the lounge?” Lily thought Petunia sounded nervous about this idea.

“Actually, I’d prefer if one of us was upstairs keeping a watch on the street.” Sirius answered before Lily could open her mouth. She closed her eyes – this was already not going how she would have planned.

“I’m not having you rummaging round my house, snooping into things that are non of your business!” Petunia said angrily.

“Petunia, you remember Sirius? And Remus?” Lily opened her eyes to see Petunia glaring at her.

“They were James’ friends, weren’t they?” Lily’s stomach contracted – she didn’t know.

“Yes.” Her voice sounded off. Apparently Petunia didn’t notice because when no one said anything further she started asking after him.

“Where is James? Last time you wrote you said he wouldn’t leave your son alone, always playing with him. Did he finally get a job?”

Her questions were innocent, although they had a sense of forced curiosity to them. Lily looked down at the table when she answered, willing her tears to stay back and her voice to keep steady.

“James… he-he died.” A tear betrayed her, making its way silently down her cheek. Lily didn’t raise her eyes, not wanting to look into Petunia’s face. After a moment of silence, she couldn’t take it any more and glanced up.

Petunia’s previous anger had faded and was replaced by shock.

“When?”

“Halloween,” Sirius answered for Lily. More tears followed the first. Lily listened while Sirius told Petunia the basics of what had happened.

“So that’s why you’ve come? Well, you’re not dragging me and my family into your freak world. I’ve actually managed to be happy with my life and now you’re here to mess it up again, just because yours hasn’t turned out quite as perfect as you thought it would be.”

Lily was shocked – was that really what she thought this was about? That she was bitter that her life wasn’t perfect so she wanted someone else to be the same?

“How dare you?” Lily asked, angry now. “You stopped talking to me because you were jealous, and now you think I want to make a mess of your life when really I’m just trying to make an effort to be friends again? I shouldn’t even be doing this – you should be the one trying to get me back! Merry Christmas.”

Lily pulled out the wrapped photo frame from a pocket in her jacket, threw it onto the table and stood up, ready to leave. She was at the door when Petunia spoke.

“Where did you get this?” she demanded.

Lily stopped but didn’t turn around. “I found it in a pile of rubbish. I suppose it would have been better if it had stayed there.”

There was silence for a minute, then -

“I fought you over this photo, remember? We both wanted to put it in our rooms. I won but mum and dad made me give it you when you went… away.” Petunia’s voice was softer now. Lily turned around.

Petunia was holding the frame in her hands, staring at the picture behind the glass. Finally, she looked up. Petunia was biting her lip as if there was something she was going to say but didn’t really want to say it.

“I’m sorry. About – about James.” Lily was surprised at the amount of sincerity in her voice, but had the distinct impression that that wasn’t what Petunia had planned to say.

Lily nodded and sat back down in her seat. Petunia was still biting her lip, her eyes flickering up to Sirius and Remus frequently. The former was looking around the kitchen with an amused expression on his face, while the latter was watching Lily closely. Lily frowned at him, curious as to why he was watching her, but he just shook his head.

“Would you like a drink?” Petunia asked, nervously.

Soon, they all had drinks in front of them, occasionally taking a sip while they sat in awkward silence. It wasn’t great, Lily thought, but at least Petunia hadn’t thrown them out yet. She hadn’t expected them to get along straight away, and this was a start. Lily looked down at her glass and was hopeful that she could make things up with her sister.
_____________________________________

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