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Old December 14th, 2010, 8:29 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

Here's another chapter to get you into the Christmas/Holiday spirit. If anyone catches the reference to another fanfic in this chapter then you get brownie points, I was going to say that I think that it's unlikely because it's not on this site (that I'm aware of) but as I don't know other people's reading habits that's not entirely fair. And, that's enough of me rambling on, so I hope you enjoy!

PS: Interesting fact of the day - "Christmassy" is an accepted word on Microsoft Word, but apparently not on Google Chrome

PSS: Forgot to celebrate reaching 1000 views! Thank you all and hopefully you'll carry on reading

Chapter 12

Lily continued brewing the Wolfsbane potion for the rest of the week. It was left to stew for two days before Remus had to start taking it, two days before Christmas Day. He confirmed their suspicions about it tasting horrible correct by grimacing as soon as he raised the goblet to his lips, while Lily and Sirius watched nervously.

“The after taste is vile,” he said, the grimace still on his face.

“Something that tastes that bad has got to be good for you, though. Right?” Sirius asked. Remus shrugged.

Lily awoke just as the sun was coming up properly on Christmas Day. Instead of getting up, she chose to lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling (Remus had forcibly refused her offer of keeping the bedroom – at least until after the full moon – so they had reverted back to their previous sleeping arrangements.) Despite the overall merriment of this holiday, Lily had not been looking forward to it much. The presents, the food, the carols, and the bad jokes that came out of crackers… it all seemed like a poor attempt to cheer everyone up during the war. Especially when considering the fact that a number – a larger number than anyone would wish for – of people would be trying to get through their first Christmas without a loved one.

This year, Lily, and Sirius and Remus, would be a part of that number.

That thought hung over Lily as she dressed and, as much as she was dreading the opening of presents and having to feign being jolly, it was the thought of the afternoon that she was not looking forward to more. They had arranged to pay a visit to Godric’s Hollow after lunch and it wasn’t the idea of venturing outside again that caused her hands to shake. For one thing, Dumbledore had agreed to come with them this time just in case they were caught unaware. For another, the trip to Lily’s old village wasn’t just for them to have a walk round; they would be visiting James’ grave. It would be the first time Lily had done so and she didn’t know what to think of it, except that whenever she did think about it she became extremely anxious.

Lily woke Harry up and made her way quietly downstairs with him. There was no need for the caution, however. When she entered the living room, there was a bright flash and Lily had to blink several times to see past the glare. Sirius was already up and dressed, and sat cross-legged by the tree with a camera, looking considerably more like a five year old than a man in his twenties.

“Merry Christmas,” he whispered, gesturing to Remus who was still asleep on the sofa.

“Merry Christmas to you, too. Here take Harry.” Lily placed him in Sirius’ lap. “Don’t let him open any presents without me.”

Lily went into the kitchen to fill a goblet with Wolfsbane potion for Remus; it wouldn’t be the best wake up he’d ever had, but she could count on it not being the worst.

When she went back into the living room, Sirius was having trouble keeping Harry away from the camera and, somehow, Remus was still asleep, despite the noise Harry was making as he reached for the ‘toy’. Lily knelt down beside Remus and shook his shoulder gently.

“Merry Christmas, Remus. You’ve got to get up and see Harry open his presents. Plus, I’ve made this really delicious potion that you need to take.”

Sirius snorted from the other side of the room. Remus groaned, but didn’t open his eyes.

“Oh, all right, it’s not exactly the best tasting thing in the world. It’s still your Christmas present from me and because it’s Christmas Day I think you should get up early to drink it, and then we can all open the rest of our presents.”

He opened one bleary eye, wrinkled his nose in disgust, and then moaned in pain.

“Remus? What’s the matter?” Lily’s joking tone quickly turned to one of worry.

“Nothing,” he muttered and tried to roll over. His face contorted and Lily watched as he held his breath until the pain subsided.

“Remus, you’re in pain!” Lily looked down at the potion she had in her hand and gasped. “You don’t think I made the potion wrong?”

“I seriously doubt that, Lily. You checked the instructions a million times while you were doing it.” Sirius had come over to see what the matter was. “You look terrible, Moony.”

“Always the charmer, Padfoot,” Remus murmured.

“You should spend the day in bed, Remus. And I mean a proper bed, where you can actually get some rest, not just the sofa,” Lily said.

“I’m fine, Lily, really. It’s Christmas, I don’t want to ruin everyone’s day. How would I get upstairs, anyway?”

“If you don’t know that then you really are ill and should go to bed,” Sirius said, pulling out his wand with his spare hand, as he was still holding Harry. He pointed it at Remus and said “Mobilicorpus”.

Sirius levitated Remus upstairs and got him settled in the bed. Lily followed them up with the potion so that Remus could drink it. He screwed his face up as he drank but made no other complaints. Lily and Sirius didn’t stay upstairs for very long, just long enough to make sure that Remus was going to be fine.

When they got back downstairs, the slight Christmassy mood that Lily had had, was gone. She thought that Sirius felt the same, for he ignored the camera that had been discarded on the floor and the pile of presents under the tree. Instead, he sat down in one of the armchairs, absentmindedly bouncing Harry on his knee. Lily settled herself down on the sofa.

“Remus isn’t usually this bad, is he?” she asked after a moment of silence.

“No,” Sirius answered, slowly. “It depends, a lot of the time. Sometimes he had to skip a day of school and catch up, but that was always the day after and before we started transforming with him. I’ve not seen him this bad in years.” He noticed Lily looking guilty and worried, and added, “I’m sure it’s nothing to do with the potion. If you’d done it wrong, he would have dropped dead or it could have forced him to transform before now.”

Lily shuddered at this thought, but decided that Sirius’ logic made some sort of sense and didn’t question it. Reassured, she grabbed the camera from the floor and took a picture of Sirius and Harry, much Sirius’ surprise. This somewhat light-hearted act was all it took to lift the mood and it wasn’t long before the three of them were sat on the floor, taking it in turns to open their presents and take photographs.

“Here,” Lily said, reaching under the tree and passing a present to Sirius, “this one’s from me and Remus.” She watched anxiously as he unwrapped it.

“NO WAY!” Sirius shouted, the broomstick falling out of the remainder of the wrappings. “The new Nimbus? There’s no way you actually got me this! You know I was joking when I said that I wouldn’t talk to you again if you didn’t get it me, right?”

Lily laughed. “We know, Sirius. We were both stuck on what to get you, so I thought we should get you something together, and you’d been saying that you wanted the new broom. Remus thought you’d be expecting it but it was the only thing we could think of.”

“Wow,” he said, admiring the broom; Lily was sure he hadn’t heard a word of what she had just said. Sirius picked up a rectangular shaped present and threw it to her. “Now I feel bad about what I got you. In my defence, I’m not particularly good at shopping for girls and I know you like books.”

Lily carefully tore the wrapping paper. The cover showed a woman with long hair that was moving gently in the wind, standing on the edge of a cliff and staring out to sea. The title beneath was written in gold cursive, ‘Vulpecula’s Vengeance’. She flipped it over to read the blurb on the back, which told her that it was about a witch’s first love coming back into her life after he had broke her heart many years before and her many attempts for revenge. Somehow, Lily got the impression that they would end up married by the end of the book.

“Thanks,” she said. “It sounds… interesting.”

Lily looked up and Sirius was shaking his head glumly.

“You don’t like it, do you? I was really stuck and all the others looked like they were cheesy romances, so I figured you wouldn’t want one of them. It seemed like the best one.”

“It’s great, Sirius, honestly.” Lily got up and went over to hug him. “If it doesn’t turn out to be the best book in the world it might be good for a laugh.”

“Here,” he said, reaching behind him to get another present. “Harry’s is better, I promise.”

Lily let go of Sirius and picked up the present to give it to Harry. “Did you hear that, Harry? Uncle Sirius has got you a – don’t eat the paper!”

She rushed over to where Harry was sat on the floor, happily eating the wrapping paper. Lily pulled it out of his mouth and placed Sirius’ present in front of him.

“Don’t you want to see what Uncle Sirius has got you? Come on, I’ll help you open it.”

Lily sat down beside Harry and ripped off the wrapping paper. It was a small wooden box with a hole in the top and a toy wand lay beside it. Lily stared at it, confused; Harry picked up the wrapping paper again and started chewing it.

“No, it’s brilliant – look.” Sirius reached over to grab the toy wand. “I made it ages ago because I didn’t know if I’d have any time nearer Christmas. If you tap the box near one of the holes…” He did so, and a great black dog’s head appeared out of the hole, accompanied by a loud bark. This grabbed Harry’s attention and the paper fell out of his mouth. Lily snatched it up and put it out of his reach.

They both watched as Sirius tapped the box a few times with the fake wand, each time the dog appeared, barking.

“Hang on, it must be stuck. It’s supposed to come up with me, Remus or James – there was a rat but I got rid of it.”

Sirius pulled out his real wand and started muttering spells at the box. When he had finished, he picked up the toy wand again and, this time, a stag’s head popped out of one of the holes, emitting a long loud grunt.

Harry laughed and clapped his hands. Sirius handed him the wand and soon the room was filled with the sound of barking, grunting and howling, along with Harry’s violent whacking of the wand onto the box.

The rest of the presents lay forgotten, both wrapped and unwrapped, as Lily and Sirius watched Harry. After a while, Lily decided that it was time to finish opening the rest of the presents and Sirius went to make breakfast. None of the other toys kept Harry’s attention like Sirius’ had and Lily ended up trying to feed him while he carried on hitting the box.

They heard the front door open. For the first time in days, Lily didn’t reach for her wand at the noise, but only looked towards the hall to see Dumbledore enter, carrying a present. His face was bemused and Lily guessed that the noises coming from the toy must be confusing to hear from the hallway.

“Merry Christmas. I brought some helpers to make Christmas dinner,” Dumbledore said, stepping aside to reveal two humanoid figures that were about waist height and wearing a tea towel stamped with the Hogwarts crest like a toga. They bowed and then scurried quickly into the kitchen.

“What were they?” Lily asked.

“You’ve never seen a house elf before?” Sirius sounded shocked.

“You know perfectly well I was raised by Muggles, and James’ mum and dad never had one.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot that you were a good prefect and wouldn’t get food from the kitchens for us when you were on duty and we were hungry, like James and Re-” Sirius noticed Dumbledore looking at him and changed what he was going to say. “Not that we did that, or anything. I think a few Slytherin prefects, actually...”

“You might be surprised at how many times you tried to use the Slytherins as scapegoats for your own antics at school, Sirius,” said Dumbeldore, but Lily could see that his eyes were twinkling behind the half moon glasses.

“Yeah, well ... Whose is the present?” asked Sirius, obviously trying to change the subject.

“I believe technically its Harry’s, but as he seems preoccupied at the moment I shall give it to Lily to look after.” Dumbledore handed Lily the package, then he turned to Sirius. “May I have a word? I have err… news.”

Sirius didn’t answer straight away – he watched as Lily opened the present and the silver material flowed out of the wrappings.

“The Cloak! I wondered where that had got to.”

“Yes, James showed it to me a week or so before Halloween and I forgot to give it back. A word, Sirius?”

“Sure, of course.”

Sirius got up and Dumbledore followed him into the dining room. It wasn’t long before they returned and, whatever news Dumbledore had had, Sirius didn’t seem to be fazed by it. Lily glanced up from examining the Cloak with a questioning look but he just shrugged. It was unlike Sirius for him not to share anything with them, Lily decided that she would actually have to speak to get him to answer.

“Is everything OK?”

Sirius shrugged again, however, he answered as well. “My mum died.”

“Oh,” Lily said. She knew that he wouldn’t appreciate any sympathy, having hated his family since he understood their ideologies. For most people, to say that would be an exaggeration, but in Sirius’ case it was probably an understatement. Lily didn’t know what to say, so she continued examining the Cloak.

“Where is Remus?” Dumbledore asked.

“He wasn’t feeling well, so he’s upstairs,” answered Sirius.

“Ah, I take it we are approaching the full moon, then? I must admit that I don’t follow the phases of the moon as closely as I should, for his benefit. Such a shame for him to miss Christmas, though.”

“I think he’s used to it by now.”

“Still… a good man like Remus doesn’t deserve to have such a curse hanging over his head all the time.”

The conversation moved on to more general topics as the house elves in the kitchen cooked away. Dumbledore complained for a good five minutes about receiving books for Christmas when he’d much prefer a pair of thick, woollen socks. Sirius laughed at this and promised that next Christmas he would give the headmaster some socks. There was a lull in the conversation, which was broken by a particularly loud grunt coming from Harry’s toy.

“Did you make that, Sirius?” Dumbledore asked.

“Yeah, it was a bit tricky, but I got it to work eventually.”

“Do you think I could take a look at it?”

“I don’t know about that… Harry might get angry.” Sirius grinned, leaning over to grab it off Harry. “Can I have that back now, Harry?”

Harry looked up at his Godfather and said loudly “Mine.”

“I know it is, but could I borrow it?”

This time, Harry ignored Sirius. He hit the wand on the box and the stag head appeared again with another loud grunt.

“Now, Harry, don’t make me get my wand out on you,” Sirius said, his hand drifting towards his pocket.

“Sirius, don’t!” Lily shouted. “Jeez, just distract him with something else.”

She picked up the Cloak and dangled it in front of Harry, who took the bait and dropped the fake wand so that he could grab the shiny material. Sirius quickly snatched the wand and box, throwing it to Dumbledore who caught it deftly.

Dumbledore examined the wooden box, occasionally tapping it with the wand to make one of the animals appear. Lily continued to distract Harry: she would cover herself with the Cloak and, when Harry wondered where she had disappeared to, take it off again, to which Harry would laugh.

The smell of cooking turkey drifted in from the kitchen, making Lily hungry. She checked the clock to see that it was only twelve o’clock; it would be at least another hour before they could eat. Sirius’ stomach growled loudly. Dumbledore had placed the toy back on the floor, after describing it as “ingenious” (Lily thought that they might have to widen the doors for Sirius’ head to fit through, but didn’t say anything), so that Harry could play with it again, but Harry’s fascination with it had passed and it was left ignored by the sofa.

Footsteps on the stairs announced Remus’ presence before he entered. He looked less pale than he had been earlier and he even smiled slightly as they all looked up at him walking into the room, carrying a handful of presents.

“Merry Christmas, Remus,” Dumbledore said. “It’s good to see you up.”

“Merry Christmas.” He gave the presents to Lily before sitting down on the sofa next to Dumbledore.

Lily didn’t even look at the presents. “What are you doing up?”

“I woke up and felt better. That, and I was hungry and could smell the turkey so I was hoping it would be ready.”

Sirius laughed; Lily rolled her eyes and muttered “men.” Remus heard and smiled.

“Just open the presents, Lily.”

Lily did so, opening the lumpy one first. The wrappings came off easily and Lily pulled out a hat, scarf and glove set for Harry. She picked up the hat first to see it properly. It was crimson, and around the bottom was a number of white deer prancing and fighting each other with their antlers.

“Thanks, for some reason people forget that kids need clothes after they’re born. Especially during winter in England,” Lily said, but she couldn’t help noticing the theme that had arisen with Harry’s Christmas presents. She picked up the other present and felt it first.

“Another book?” Lily asked, half glancing towards Sirius with raised eyebrows. He shrugged and shook his head. Lily tore the wrapping paper to reveal a plain black cover. She flipped it over, seeing if that was the back but both sides were identical, except for a small “J&L” in the bottom right side corner. Lily’s heart jumped to her throat and she opened it.

The photograph on the first page was of her, what felt like a million years ago, covering her face with one hand and trying to shove the camera away with the other. Lily numbly flicked through the rest of the photo album, tears springing into her eyes as she looked back on her wedding day. She could feel the stares of the others on her face as they watched her reaction. Lily reached the end and looked up at Remus.

“I thought I’d lost all of these,” she whispered.

“A few were found in the house, but I had to owl a lot of people to ask for some of their photos.”

“Thank you.” Remus looked uncomfortable but he smiled slightly at Lily’s thanks.

Sirius dragged Remus next to them on the floor after that so he could open his own presents. Halfway through this, Dumbledore found the camera that had been forgotten about under all the rubbish and volunteered to take pictures of the four of them on the floor. Lily laughed as Sirius and Remus joked around, and Harry tried to join in with them. She was surprised that, so far, she hadn’t had to pretend to be enjoying herself, but thought that that would change later on, after the trip to Godric’s Hollow.

Still, Lily thought as she smiled for another picture with Harry, Remus and Sirius, there was no point in worrying about what may or may not happen in the near future, not when she was enjoying herself in the present.

Review if you want more


Images taken from
Do not anger the kitty!Avengers.

Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; January 6th, 2011 at 8:47 pm.
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