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Old November 3rd, 2010, 8:30 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 15th February 2010
Location: England
Age: 27
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Well, here's the next chapter - I can't believe I'm up to 7 already Another longer chapter and I think they're only going to get longer, hopefully no one has any complaints about that. Thanks again to the people who have left feedback and enjoy!

Chapter 7

Sirius returned in the late afternoon just as Alice and Neville were leaving. He collapsed into a chair, grumbling about the animagus registering system. Lily was sat on the sofa bouncing Harry on her knee and not really paying attention to his rant, while Remus was only half listening as he was over looking the potatoes that were peeling themselves.

“… And then they wanted to know what markings I have so I told them I didn’t think I had any – it’s not like I wear glasses or anything like McGonagall – and they went ballistic! They pretty much forced me to transform and started prodding me with sticks and examining me. I’ve not had to stop myself attacking anyone so much since we saw the Slytherin crew meeting in the forest in sixth year.” He sighed. “At least one good thing came out of it.”

“What was that?” Remus asked.

“I grassed up Wormtail. Told the Ministry lot that I knew of an unregistered animagus. That way there’s not much he can do now: can’t go out without facing some sort of punishment. Even if he tries to register they know he didn’t bother for a good few years and that’s worth a sentence in Azkaban.”

No one spoke. Wormtail had, undoubtedly, betrayed them, but Lily still had trouble with the fact that he had also been spying on them for over a year. There was some part of her brain that insisted that he must have been coerced into it, and he had no choice but to tell Voldemort where they had lived. This theory was unreasonable, however. If he had been tortured into revealing their whereabouts, why hadn’t he apologised and explained what had happened? Why had he disappeared without a trace? No, Wormtail really had swapped sides and she was going to have to get used to that.

There was a knock on the door, bring Lily back to Earth. Sirius was staring moodily around the room apparently unaware of the unknown guest and Remus’ eyes had a glassy unfocused quality to them telling Lily that his mind was a million miles away. She got up to answer the door, picking Harry up and taking him with her.

“‘Ello Lily, Harry,” Hagrid said as he entered, and Harry responded by shouting “Hagger!” Hagrid was pulling a mass of green behind him. Lily held the door open for him as he struggled to fit what Lily now recognised as a fir tree into the cramped hallway. “I saw Sirius before an' he said the place needed decoratin' so I thought I'd start yeh off.”

Sirius must have heard the commotion because he appeared in the doorway, his glum mood having been replaced by one that Lily would associate with a five-year-old on Christmas day.

“Hagrid! I didn’t think you’d be able to get one so quick, here let me.”

He turned back to the living room and made a sweeping motion with his wand. Then, Sirius pointed it at the tree and levitated it into the other room. Lily and Hagrid followed it (the latter had to duck to avoid banging his head on the doorframe) and saw that it had settled in front of the window.

“Seeing as we are living here I figured we should decorate headquarters up for Christmas,” Sirius explained when he caught sight of Lily and Remus’ bemused looks. He waved his wand and cardboard boxes appeared in the middle of the room.

“Well,” Sirius said, “isn’t anyone going to help?”

Remus said something about being busy making tea, otherwise they’d all end up starving. When Hagrid enthusiastically offered to help him, Remus quickly refused any help.

“No, it’s ok, Hagrid, I can manage. You’d be better helping with the decorations anyway – you’re so tall.”

Lily struggled to refrain from smiling; they had all at one point suffered from Hagrid’s cooking skills.

Remus relocated to the kitchen so he wouldn’t be in the way, and the others divided up jobs: Lily was to decorate the tree, Hagrid was told to hang tinsel around the rooms and Sirius going round all of the rooms putting up festive ornaments.

Lily placed Harry on the sofa and gave him some of the muggle wooden blocks to amuse him that Petunia had sent him for his birthday. She found the box that contained the baubles for the tree and set to work levitating them onto it.

It didn’t take Lily long to decorate the tree, and she was down to the last few baubles when she sensed something floating beside her head. Lily turned her head slightly and saw one of the brightly coloured baubles hovering in mid air.

“Very funny, Sirius - just put it on the tree,” Lily laughed, thinking he had entered the room and was fooling around. When he didn’t reply or move the bauble, Lily looked around the room properly. It was empty except for Harry, who had got bored of the blocks and was staring at the bauble, smiling innocently.

Lily screamed and the bauble fell to the floor with a clatter. She ran over to Harry, avoiding the mess on the floor that Sirius had made when looking for specific ornaments, as Hagrid, Remus and Sirius rushed into the room, wands out – except for Hagrid, who had his pink umbrella out and looked the most threatening despite its colour.

“What is it? What’s happened?” Sirius shouted. When he saw Lily crouched beside Harry, he ran to join her and added, “Is he ok? Lily, what happened?

“Everything’s ok, Harry’s ok,” Lily was breathless; she stared at Harry in shock. “It’s just – I was putting the baubles on the tree and – Harry started levitating one!”

There was silence while everyone registered what Lily had said, which was broken by Harry saying, “Mummy – what wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, baby. We’re just surprised you levitated the bauble. Do you think you can do it again?” Lily’s heart was beating frantically, thinking that she had imagined it. Harry looked at Lily and then at the bauble that had rolled to near Hagrid’s feet. It stayed firmly on the ground, but, with a faint pop, Hagrid’s umbrella turned from pink to blue.

The three men shouted in shock and then rushed over to join Lily and Harry. She moved to sit on the sofa and sat Harry on her knees, smiling down at him. Sirius and Remus sat down on either side of her, watching Harry with beaming smiles on their own faces. Hagrid was crouched down in front of them and they all started talking to Harry at once – the half made meal and decorating forgotten.

Lily didn’t listen to the jumble of voices, her heart swelled with pride at Harry being able to do magic. She had not been worried if he was able to do magic or not; she would love him no matter what. Lily watched as the others showered Harry with praise and her smile faltered slightly at the same time as her eyes began to fill up with water. She wiped them away quickly, hoping that no one had noticed her getting upset. Unfortunately, Sirius had looked up at her at that precise moment and saw her wiping away the tears that threatened to betray her thoughts.

“Lily – what’s up?”

Remus and Hagrid stopped talking and looked up at Lily as well.

“Nothing, I’m fine.” Tears leaked from her eyes, contradicting her lie. Sirius and Remus both put an arm around her.

“Oh, Lily…”

More tears raced each other down Lily’s cheeks. Harry appeared to notice that something was wrong and was straining his neck to look at her. Hagrid realised this and gently prised him from Lily’s arms, taking him into his own and making daft faces to entertain him.

“I am proud of him – and happy – b-b-but James…” Lily tried to keep her voice as steady as she could when she spoke but she trailed off, unable to say anymore. Sirius and Remus understood what she meant, though.

“He would have been bouncing off the walls,” Sirius stated, matter-of-factly. They all knew how James would have reacted to Harry doing magic for the first time: sending urgent messages to the rest of the Marauders to come visit straight away, walking around the house because he wouldn’t be able to sit still, carrying Harry everywhere trying to make him charm and transfigure the household objects…

They stayed silent, wrapped up in their own thoughts. Lily took deep breaths trying to calm herself. She looked up frowning, when the smell of food wafted in from the other room.

“Damn,” Remus muttered and hurried into the kitchen.

After tea (which, thankfully, hadn’t burned) Lily, Sirius, Remus and Hagrid finished decorating the house after which Lily put Harry to bed. This took longer than usual as they all insisted on holding Harry and saying goodnight to him before Lily could take him upstairs.

When she walked back into the living room, the boys had started a game of exploding snap that Hagrid was losing spectacularly. Lily sat and watched, laughing when the cards exploded in Sirius’ face, leaving him with singed eyebrows and a sour face.

After an hour or so of watching the game, Lily got bored and picked up a book from the bookcase, attempting to block out the shouts of annoyance coming from the coffee table as she began to read it. Hagrid left not long after this, which seemed to be the cue for Sirius to get out a bottle of firewhiskey and down glass after glass, not speaking to anyone. Lily put her book down, yawning. She had done much more that day than she had in the past month, and was paying for her days of sitting around. Lily marked the page in her book so that she would know where she was up to and was about to say goodnight to Remus and Sirius when Remus spoke first.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

He was watching Sirius with a frown on his face. Sirius didn’t seem to notice his expression – he was pouring another drink and emptied the glass in one gulp before answering Remus,

“No.”

Lily watched warily for a moment, until she decided that they were unlikely to get into a fight. She stood up and the two men looked up at her.

“Umm … I fancy an early night. I’m a bit tired – goodnight.” She gave a feeble wave and hurried up the stairs. Lily thought she heard the beginning of an argument as she ascended but she didn’t turn around.

Once she was in bed, the only thing Lily could hear was Harry’s gentle snoring so she assumed that the argument that she thought had begun downstairs had not turned into a shouting match, although it was possible that Sirius had just passed out. Lily closed her eyes, waiting for sleep to overcome her. But her mind didn’t stop thinking and her head was full of thoughts that she had attempted to suppress all day. It wasn’t long before she was crying quietly into her pillow as everything that had happened to her that day washed over her: Belby flirting with her innocently, shouting at Sirius, Harry doing magic, seeing Snape at the apothecary…

Lily wondered idly what her life would be like if she had carried on being friends with Severus. Would she have been sucked into the Dark Arts or would he have turned his back on them? Would she still have married James? Probably not, she thought. They had hated each other and she could guarantee that it would have come to her having to choose between them – friendship with Severus or a family with James? That wasn’t right, though, Lily argued with herself. Seventeen-year-old Lily would not have thought that dating James would result in marriage and a son whom she loved. And she had valued her friendship with Sev – all of her friendships – much more highly than her relationship with James when they had started dating. Without a doubt, she would have chosen Severus.

She sobbed harder at this personal insight, knowing how easily she would have thrown away her entire life that she had now a mere five years ago. Then even harder when she realised that she had almost been grieving over the loss of her friendship with a boy who was immersed in everything she was fighting against and that she had long made her peace with, when James had died just over a month ago.

Sitting up in bed, Lily forced herself to take deep calming breaths. She relaxed minutely, however when she stopped concentrating on her breathing, the tears came again and all attempts to sleep failed. She lay in bed, crying for hours, hoping to fall asleep. Eventually, at around midnight, Lily gave up. She got up, slipped on her dressing gown and tiptoed downstairs to get a drink, holding her wand aloft to light the way.

Lily crept through the living room where Remus and Sirius were sleeping so as not to wake them, freezing when Remus moved, not wanting him to think she was an intruder but he just rolled over on the sofa and went back to sleep. She made her way into the kitchen and waved her wand to light the candles that stood in the centre of the small table.

She made herself a drink of water and sat at the table, sipping it every now and again. Her eyes found the moon in the sky and she watched the clouds drift in front of it. Tears travelled down her cheeks without her permission as thoughts of James continued to swim through her mind. Her eyelids drooped…

A scuffling sound in the other room abruptly grabbed her attention. Lily forced her eyes open, pointing her wand into the darkness of the doorway.

“Who’s there? I’m armed!”

A figure moved into the light, allowing Lily to see whom it was.

“It’s me – Remus.” He took one look at her and moved to sit in the seat next to her. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing.” Lily wiped her eyes. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“Me neither.” Remus grinned slightly as he settled into the chair. It quickly faded from his face, his eyes settling on the waning moon outside.

Lily looked up at him, confused, the flickering candles illuminating his face. He had been almost light-hearted during the day, joking with her and Sirius; now it was as if he had aged twenty years. The candlelight emphasised the premature lines on his face that he had gained since leaving Hogwarts and his expression was one that belonged on an aged war veteran, not a person barely five years out of school.

She watched Remus for a long time, wondering about the change in attitude. Had Sirius said something before? Or was it just the progression of the moon’s cycle that had him depressed? And how was such a mood possible when a few hours before he was perfectly cheerful? It couldn’t be his own thoughts of James that had him down, like they had her, Lily thought. He had acted so normal in the day … both of them had…

“How do you do it?” Lily’s voice broke the silence, making Remus jump slightly. He spoke without turning to look at her.

“Do what?”

“How do you cope? Today, with Sirius, you were messing around. Having fun. I couldn’t…”

Remus laughed humourlessly.

“You saw Sirius this evening – well I suppose it was yesterday now – did that look like coping? It’s past midnight and I’m here, not sleeping like everyone else is, because the nightmares wake me up anyway, so what’s the point in trying to sleep?. Does that sound like I’m coping?” Lily was shocked at how harshly he spoke, and he must have realised it because he paused to shake his head. When he continued, it was in a much gentler tone of voice. “We keep ourselves busy. It takes our mind off it. Of course that means there’s nothing to stop the thoughts when there’s nothing to do.”

Remus didn’t speak again, and Lily didn’t push him. They sat in silence as the minutes passed by, counting down the hours until they would have to pretend to have had a full night’s sleep.

Lily’s arms were crossed on the table and she rested her head on them; Remus was still staring at the moon. Her eyelids were becoming heavier by the second and not long later she didn’t have the energy to keep them open. Lily felt herself drifting off to sleep in the fading candlelight.
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Last edited by gelowo93; November 23rd, 2010 at 8:16 pm.
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