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Old November 28th, 2010, 2:28 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

Well, here's the next chapter. I want to say a big thanks to Maelody who made a banner for this story, that I haven't had a chance to put in my signature yet There's a link to it in the feedback thread and you should all check it out because it's awesome

Chapter 10

The blinding light hurt Lily’s eyes, causing her to look away. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Petunia backing away towards the entrance of the alley. Lily wanted to shout at her to come back – she didn’t know where she was and could easily get lost, which would lead to everyone panicking – but Harry’s cries had intensified and she didn’t think her voice was strong enough to be heard over them.

Lily’s wand arm was shaking as she pointed it into the centre of the light. It would be incredibly easy for the man to attack her; her mind was empty of any spells that she could use to defend herself and the relief of getting away from the other Death Eaters had robbed her of her strength. Lily’s eyes started to adjust to the sudden light and she squinted to see who it was that had Apparated.

She couldn’t see past the bright light, which was coming nearer in the darkness. Lily didn’t realise how close it was until she felt a strong grip on her shoulder and she flinched automatically.

“What are you doing out here? Get up – get up!” The rough voice said, except this time, Lily thought it sounded familiar. “What were you thinking, going out of headquarters in the dark?”

“M-Moody?” Lily asked.

“Well, who else did you think it was?” Alastor Moody pulled Lily to her feet. “What were you doing?” He growled, his small dark eyes quickly scanning the alleyway.

“Dumbledore… he said I could go visit Petunia.” Lily glanced in her direction and was thankful that she had stopped trying to get away.

“That doesn’t explain why you’ve not got any guards with you at night with the boy.”

“Death Eaters attacked the house - we barely got away. Sirius and Remus must have Apparated somewhere else!” The panic rose in Lily as she spoke, causing her voice to crack towards the end of the sentence.

“Come on, let’s get inside headquarters. Then we can find out what happened to the other two.” For once, Moody wasn’t barking orders - he spoke softly so Lily didn’t upset further.

“We can’t - Petunia won’t be able to get in.” Lily was fighting back tears at this point. Her panic and worry for Sirius and Remus was paramount and Petunia was angry at her again; this was the last way she would have expected today to have turned out.

Moody was about to suggest something when Petunia groaned loudly. He turned to her immediately, brandishing his wand threateningly.

“What is it? What’s the matter?” Lily asked, her heart beating loudly – had the Death Eaters hit her with a slow-acting curse? When Petunia answered, though, Lily wanted to throttle her for causing them to panic again.

“It’s nothing, Mrs Figg wanted to me to visit with Dudley today but I –” Petunia faltered under Moody’s gaze. He was glaring at her, presumably for making him panic for no reason, and didn’t lower his wand.

“Mrs Figg?” Lily asked, after a moment. “Arabella Figg?”

“Yes – you don’t – she’s not-?” Petunia looked as if the ground had fallen from under her feet.

“She’s not a witch, but she knows Dumbledore.” Lily turned to Moody, with a sudden idea. “Do you think it would be safe?”

“Can’t see why not,” he grunted, his thoughts on the same line as Lily’s. “Dumbledore makes sure the Death Eaters don’t know about her, otherwise they’d kidnap her and she wouldn’t be able to fight back.”

“What if there are Muggles there?”

“I was under the impression that that was what memory charms are for.” Moody raised an eyebrow, making his heavily scarred face even more grotesque.

“Right,” Lily muttered adjusting her grip on Harry. Moody walked over to Petunia, who looked like a deer caught in headlights. She looked at him warily, but he did nothing to reassure her; his eyes scanned the alley once more to make sure for a final time that no one was spying on them.

He nodded slightly. Lily took that to mean that it was OK to Disapparate and she turned on the spot yet again, feeling herself disappear into darkness.

Lily heard the scream even before her feet had touched the floor. Her eyes snapped open and she barely had time to register the brightly lit room when two very familiar voices shouted her name.

“LILY!”

Harry was crying again. Lily turned around in panic at all of the shouting and saw Sirius and Remus rushing towards her. They both hugged her awkwardly, allowing Lily to see over their shoulders at Vernon. He was sat on the edge of an armchair holding Dudley and staring at her with wide eyes. Lily guessed that it was he who had screamed when she had Apparated into the room.

There was a crack and Moody and Petunia appeared. Vernon got up and walked over to a shaking Petunia, who looked relieved at the sight of her husband and son.

Sirius and Remus released Lily. Sirius took Harry off her and began to pace around the room to calm him down, giving Lily the opportunity to register her surroundings properly.

She had arrived in what Lily assumed was the living room. The curtains were closed so Lily couldn’t see if anything was happening outside. The sofa and armchairs were all facing the television and a small Christmas tree stood on a coffee table. Photographs of cats covered almost every surface and, as Lily looked around, she saw one peering up at her from under one of the chairs. The room had a slight smell of cabbage about it.

Lily spotted a woman stood in the doorway, awkwardly watching everyone in the room. She had brown hair that was streaked liberally with grey. Lily vaguely recognised her as Mrs Figg, who had attended a few Order meetings, when she was able to get to headquarters, and had given Lily their cat. She waved at Lily in greeting and then disappeared into the hallway

Remus put his arm around Lily, leading her over to an armchair where she sat down and he knelt beside her, his elbows on the arm propping him up. At the same time, Moody walked over to the curtains and pulled them apart slightly so he could see outside.

“Are you okay? We were panicking when you didn’t turn up here … thought you’d been caught or something.” Remus didn’t try to hide his concern and his face was still lined with worry.

“I’m fine.” Remus raised his eyebrows at her and Lily realised she was shaking. Petunia and Vernon had moved to sit down on the sofa and they were playing with Dudley. “I’m fine – just a bit shaken up. Moody Apparated into the alley and scared us.”

“Why didn’t you come here? I said that I’d left Dudley here – I thought you’d know where to come!” His voice rose almost to a shout as he spoke.

“I mustn’t have heard you – the banister exploded straight after. Why are you shouting?” Lily kept her voice low.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said, and he looked it, too, at Lily’s reprimand. “I’m just relieved that you and Harry are alright.”

They were silent for a while. Sirius had managed to make Harry stop crying and was sat in the armchair opposite Lily. Mrs Figg had disappeared into the hallway, Vernon and Petunia were talking quietly and Moody hadn’t moved from the window.

“Is there anyone out there, Moody?” Lily asked.

“Nope, no one,” He answered. “Nothing’s happening. Everything looks fine, best not to-”

“Nothing?” Vernon interrupted, his face turning purple quicker than Lily had ever seen. “I saw out there before – my house is on fire and you’re saying that nothing’s happening?”

Moody turned to look at him. The bravado that Vernon had shown faltered and he looked as if he wanted to vanish. This change in attitude didn’t quite satisfy Moody, however.

“Do you know how lucky you are to be alive? If these three hadn’t been there by chance then you’d be burning with your house. When I say that nothing’s happening, I mean that no one is out there dying; do you get that, Dursley? Because I don’t care whether everything you own has been burnt to ashes as long as the scum who attack innocents aren’t killing more people. Do you understand?”

He gave Vernon one last look and turned away from him. Then, he spoke to Lily, Remus and Sirius.

“I’ll have to get back to headquarters. You three stay here. I’ll tell Dumbledore what happened.”

With that, he turned on the spot and Disapparated.

“Did I hear someone Disapparate?” Mrs Figg entered the room, looking round.

“Moody went to headquarters to tell Dumbledore what happened,” Sirius informed her.

“Oh, yes, I forgot there was supposed to be a meeting tonight. Is anyone hungry? I can put something in the oven for everyone.”

At Mrs Figg’s words, Lily realised she was starving. Everyone nodded and, soon, they could smell the sausages cooking from the kitchen.

It didn’t take them long to devour the meal Mrs Figg had provided and Lily was trying to persuade Harry to eat the last of the chips on his plate. The room had been virtually silent while they had been eating; any attempts to make conversation had quickly ended in failure. So when there was a quiet pop to announce someone Apparating, everyone heard it and looked up to see who it was.

Lily saw the distinguishing waist length white hair and beard of Albus Dumbledore. His face was grave and Lily had opened her mouth to ask what was wrong when he shook his head minutely. Dumbledore turned to Mrs Figg first.

“Thank you, Arabella, for allowing everyone to take refuge in your house this evening.”

“It’s no problem, Albus. I don’t have nearly enough company a lot of the time. And it’s good to be of use for the Order.”

He inclined his head to her. Then, looked over to where Lily, Remus and Sirius sat on the floor attempting to force Harry to finish his meal.

“What happened?”

Sirius launched into the story, with input from Lily and Remus whenever he missed something. When he mentioned that Snape was there, his voice turned dark, but Dumbledore didn’t comment. Lily did, however, when Sirius said that the Death Eaters had known there was a chance they would be there.

“What do you mean? We didn’t even know we were going until yesterday?”

“We saw him in Diagon Alley.”

“So?”

“So he knew that you weren’t staying house-bound anymore,” Remus answered first, a look of realization on his face. “Don’t you think he’d know that you’d want to get back in touch with Petunia?”

Lily was dumbstruck. Yes, there was the possibility that he would guess that she’d want to get back in touch with Petunia, but it was a massive coincidence that they happened to turn up on the same day.

“Well, yes, but he couldn’t have known that we’d go today. It was just chance.”

“Chance that we’d be there as well, yeah. They can’t have been expecting us, otherwise they would have just burst in to catch us off-guard. But what if they just wanted information on you? If they thought you might have already been then they would have been able to get as much information as they could. And if you hadn’t, what did it matter?” Sirius spoke matter-of-factly. He was right, of course. Lily had already figured out that it didn’t matter to the Death Eaters if Petunia and her family had been killed.

There was silence while Sirius’ words sank in. Surprisingly, the silence was broken by Petunia.

“When you say Snape…” She directed at Lily. Lily sighed.

“Severus, yes.” Lily didn’t say any more, and Petunia seemed to realise that it was a subject she didn’t want to talk about.

Sirius finished telling Dumbledore what had happened without any more interruptions. When he had stopped talking, Dumbledore nodded slowly as if he had barely registered that Sirius had finished. Then, he turned to Petunia and Vernon.

“I’m sorry that this has happened to you. Through no fault of your own the Death Eaters have targeted you, and now you’ve got to get your lives back in order. To start, you’ll be given protection by the Order so that if they decide to attack again you won’t be on your own, if that is alright with yourselves, of course?”

Petunia’s eyes were wide while Dumbledore spoke and she nodded as if she had no choice.

“Excellent. Now we can’t do anything about your house without the Muggles wondering how it was fixed so easily, so we’ll have to find other living arrangements for you-”

“What about my job? I can’t just move to the other side of the country!” interrupted Vernon.

“Well of course we’ll do our best to keep you in this area.” Dumbledore paused for a moment, before inclining his head towards Mrs Figg. “Do you think it would be possible for Mr and Mrs Dursley to stay here for a while?”

“I have a spare bedroom they can sleep in, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

“That’s settled then. Lily, Sirius, Remus – you should get back to headquarters. I’ll accompany you just in case of trouble-”

“Hang on,” Vernon interrupted again. Lily marvelled at his rudeness, “so you’re not even going to see if it’s okay with us, living here?”

“I was under the impression you wanted to stay nearby in order to be able to continue at your work, Mr Dursley. If that isn’t the case, I’m afraid you didn’t quite make yourself clear. Forgive me; I am getting on in years now,” Dumbledore said politely, but Lily could tell that he was masking his annoyance. Vernon turned puce and leaned back on the sofa, having clearly given up on his argument. “I think we best be going now. Arabella – thank you for your hospitality. It was nice meeting you,” he added to Petunia and Vernon.

Lily, Remus and Sirius stood up stiffly. Lily went over to the sofa to say goodbye to Petunia.

“I’m sorry about today. We didn’t expect anything to happen.”

“Yes, I know.”

Lily smiled at her sister tentatively. “I’ll keep in touch, okay?”

“Okay.” Petunia smiled back.

Lily walked back over to where Dumbledore and the others were stood waiting to Disapparate, thinking that, for the first time that day, she had finally made some progress in patching up the rift between herself and Petunia.
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