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Old December 24th, 2010, 11:48 am
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Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 15th February 2010
Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Here is everyone's Christmas present from me It's actually the shortest chapter I've wrote in a while but as the previous one was super long it sort of makes up for it. Enjoy the chapter and I hope everyone has a happy Christmas/whatever holiday you're celebrating

Chapter 13

Lily stood by the window, staring out at the snow that was falling lazily from the sky. As she watched, a small group of children played in the street, throwing snowballs at each other while a snowman stood abandoned nearby. It looked more like a snow-blob with a carrot stuck in it to Lily, but she guessed at what it was supposed to be and supposed that the poor quality was why the children had given up on it. Parents were stood in the doorway of their homes, laughing as they watched their children play. Husbands had their arms around their wives, one or two of which were holding a smaller, blanket-wrapped bundle. Lily sighed and turned away from the scene.

The two house elves that had prepared lunch had been sent back to Hogwarts soon after they had eaten. Lily thought this was a shame because they probably could have done with some extra help at the moment, as Harry was simply refusing to cooperate.

Aside from the fact that he had preferred spreading his Christmas lunch around the plate and making a mess of the table as well as his face, Harry was now refusing to part with his new toys to put on some warmer clothing to go outside in. Sirius and Remus were sat on the floor trying to tempt him away from the toys, which was proving difficult, as they couldn’t just take them away without Harry doing an excellent impression of a banshee.

Lily’s lips twitched into an almost smile at the sight of the two grown men who looked well and truly stumped at how to persuade the toddler to give up his toys without using force. They all watched Harry for a minute. Sirius must have decided he wanted to hear his Godson scream again, because he slowly reached out to take the stuffed animal that Harry was playing with off him. No sooner had Sirius grabbed the toy hippogriff than Harry was crying, again. Sirius threw up his arms in frustration.

“Your turn,” he said to Remus.

“You two would make terrible parents. I’d have thought you’d at least get better being around him all the time.” Lily stepped forward and they watched as she knelt down to pick up Harry. He started to cry but soon stopped after Lily had picked up the toy in her other hand and handed it to him. He happily played with the hippogriff in mid air, making it fly, while Lily dressed him in the new hat, scarf, and gloves that Remus had bought.

“You’re a genius, Lily,” said Sirius as he and Remus watched, mesmerized, while she fastened Harry’s cloak one handed. Lily rolled her eyes.

“No, I’m serious. I know Dumbledore’s a genius and all that, but I’ve never seen him do anything like that. He’d be as stuck as we were if he had to baby-sit.”

“Right. Are you two ready to go?”

They weren’t. Lily shook her head as Sirius and Remus struggled to get to their feet.

Ten minutes later, Lily - still carrying Harry - Sirius and Remus were finally stood by the door, ready to go. It had been a hectic ten minutes, during which the two men had rushed around the house layering on jumpers and trying to find trainers. At one point, they nearly collided on the stairs when Sirius had started walking up backwards, talking to Lily, and Remus had been coming down with a jumper half on, covering his face. Lily had managed to cast a Shield Charm between them just in time to prevent any serious injury.

Dumbledore had already gone ahead to Godric’s Hollow to scout the village for Death Eaters, something that they had neglected to do when they had visited Little Whinging and, this time, they wanted to be sure nothing would happen. Lily was to Apparate to the village first, with Harry, in order to draw out any Death Eaters that Dumbledore might have missed. Remus and Sirius were to follow a few minutes later so that Lily wouldn’t be unprotected for long.

“I still don’t like this plan,” said Lily, opening the front door and letting in a cold breeze.

“Dumbledore seemed to think it was the best,” Remus said, grimly.

“That doesn’t mean we have to like it,” grumbled Sirius. “Come on, then. We’ll be right behind you.”

Lily stepped out onto the doorstep, where she was still under the protection of the Fidelius Charm that had been put upon the house, but outside the spell that prevented Disapparition. She turned on the spot and entered the compressing darkness that accompanies Disapparition.

The wind raced down the quiet side street that they Apparated into. It was snowing here too; small specks of snow drifted downwards, settling in their hair and on their clothes. Lily drew her cloak further around herself and Harry and glanced around the street to make sure that it was empty.

The old village looked as picturesque as it always had, with the snow covered cottages and Victorian streetlights. But in Lily’s eyes it had become darker – like the soul that made the village bright and happy had been sucked out. The snow seemed dirtier, the decorations adorning the houses looked duller and the singing coming from the Church sounded sombre. Lily knew that she must be imagining these changes, but wondered anyway if the others would see them too.

She heard the two faint ‘pop’s that announced Sirius and Remus’ arrival at the same time as Dumbledore turned a corner into the street ahead of them. He gave a slight nod as the all clear and the three of them set off down the street.

The snow stopped as they joined Dumbledore, and, together, they walked into the centre of the village in silence. The small square hadn’t changed, either. Lily could hear talking and laughing coming from the pub, though none of the joy reached the small group as they made their way to the graveyard in the snow. The light heartedness they had felt in the morning had slowly faded throughout lunch and the afternoon. By the time they reached the large stone war memorial in the centre of the square it had gone all together.

Lily could feel Harry shivering against her. She adjusted her grip on him so she could pull his woolly hat further down over his ears and make sure the scarf was wrapped tightly around him. Sirius noticed Lily struggling with Harry.

“I’ll carry him if you want.”

“I’m fine – he’s just a bit cold, I think.” At this, Remus frowned.

“The hat and stuff is supposed to be charmed to warm up when it’s colder.”

Lily felt the scarf with her free hand. It did seem to be slightly warm, as if it had been lying in the sun all day.

“I think it’s working, it must just take some time.”

Remus nodded absentmindedly and his eyes fell on the graveyard on the other side of the hedge. Everyone’s eyes seemed to follow his gaze and they stood without speaking, staring at rows upon rows of graves beside the little Church. Lily could feel her heart beating in her chest and she wondered if she was going to be sick. She took deep breaths, drinking in the cold air. Just as Lily thought she couldn’t go through with this, Dumbledore took the lead and began walking towards the kissing gate that stood at the entrance of the graveyard.

They followed Dumbledore along the winding pathway through the graves. Lily lagged behind the others with her heart in her throat. It was thumping louder now and she was sure that Sirius, who was closest to her, would be able to hear it. If he did, he didn’t say anything as they walked silently to the far side of the graveyard.

Dumbledore stopped walking beside an old yew tree. Stood in the shadow of it, was a white marble headstone that was covered in snow. Lily pushed her way past Remus and Sirius and stared down at it.

She felt someone’s hand on her shoulder and she turned to look. Dumbledore had squeezed her shoulder, then walked away to give them privacy. Lily watched him as he meandered through the gravestones and eventually stopped not far away. She pushed Harry into Sirius or Remus’ arms - not turning properly to see who – and knelt beside James’ headstone.

Lily wiped off the snow that had stuck to it with her sleeve so that she could read what was engraved on the marble.

James Potter, born 27th March 1960, died 31st October 1981
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death


Lily guessed that Dumbledore had chosen the epitaph, as neither Sirius nor Remus were religious and she certainly hadn’t. Tears crept into her eyes as she carried on staring at the grave and, before she knew it, she was sobbing quietly at the graveside.

The thoughts that Lily had managed to keep under control for the past few weeks were unleashed and they weren’t to be stopped. Thoughts of how James would never see his son grow up, how she saw his face every time Harry looked at her and, most of all, how she had been left with a gaping hole in her heart that felt as if it would never heal.

Lily let the tears flow, not bothering to wipe them away, and feeling them fall into her lap. What was the use in hiding her grief? So the tears continued to fall, as Lily knelt by her dead husband’s gravestone, and no one stepped forward to comfort her. She was thankful for this, because Lily didn’t want to be comforted, she didn’t want people telling her that everything would be alright, that James had died a hero’s death, and he’d be happy that she and Harry were alive and well. For there was no point in being a hero if it killed you, no one knew what James would be thinking, and saying that everything would be ok was just making empty promises.

At one point, Sirius had knelt down and propped up a set of Muggle children’s reindeer antlers against the grave and Lily managed to choke out a small chuckle. She didn’t know how long she had been crying for, but, by the time she stood up, it had started snowing again. Remus was holding Harry; both he and Sirius had tear tracks running down their cheeks.

They walked back through the graveyard and down an empty side street soon after that, not talking to each other. As they did so, Lily felt as if a great weight had lifted slightly from her chest. She realised then, that forcing the grief to the back of her mind had not really been helping her – it had merely been postponing the moment when she would have to deal with it. Finally seeing the grave had made her confront her grief head on, but had also finally made Lily realise that life carried on, whether or not the people they loved were still in it.

Sure, Lily thought, that idea didn’t make anything easier now, but it was one tiny step towards being able to carry on with her own life and being happy for the time she had been allowed to spend with James.

Taking a deep breath, Lily turned on the spot and Disapparated to where she knew the rest of the Order would be waiting to spend Christmas night together.
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