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Learning to Live Again



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Old February 27th, 2011, 9:48 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Once again, thank you to people who are leaving reviews. Enjoy the new chapter

Chapter 21

Tap, tap, tap.

Lily was staring at nothing in particular while biting her lip. She let the noise in the room wash over her, not concentrating on anything around her.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

It felt weird not to have Harry with her. Obviously it wasn’t safe for him to come with them, but that didn’t stop it being weird. In the end, the only person who had been available to baby-sit was Augusta Longbottom and Sirius had had to tell her where the house was. She had come over just after lunch with Neville, who had started playing with Harry immediately. Lily thought Harry had been barely paying attention when she said goodbye. Although, she had been thinking too much about what she was going out to do to notice much herself.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

What if he didn’t come? Would he look like their mum? What would they talk about? Lily hadn’t been this nervous when Dumbledore had told her, so why was she now? Nothing had changed in the past day, only that Lily had had time to think about it. What was she supposed to say? Hi, I’m the child our mother decided to keep? There was no way that was going to be one of the first things she said to him.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

Someone placed a warm hand over Lily’s own and she jumped slightly in her chair. She looked around wildly, but it was just Remus. He was watching her, his eyebrows raised and brown eyes traced with worry.

“Will you stop doing that? It’s going to be fine. No one would dare attack you in public. Relax. Take deep breaths.”

Lily hadn’t even noticed that she had been tapping her fingernails on the table. She stopped and started breathing deeply, but looked away from Remus, still biting her lip.

“I hadn’t even been thinking about that, actually. But thank you for adding to my list of worries.”

“You weren’t worrying about possibly being attacked?” Lily could hear the scepticism in his voice.

“Well, no. I can deal with Death Eater attacks; I’ve done it before and will probably have to do it again at some point. Believe it or not, I’ve never had a random stranger claim to be my half-brother before.”

“Okay, I see your point. What are you worried about, then?”

“You really want to know?”

Remus pretended to think about it for a moment. “Err… Yes.”

All of the questions that had built up over the past twenty-four hours and Lily had been asking herself, spilled out of her.

“What are we going to talk about? Will he look like mum? How much should I tell him about what’s going on? What if he’s a creep? Does he even know that there’s a war going on? Should I trust what he says? What if he’s not really my half-brother but a crazy stalker? What am I going to tell Petunia?”

Lily could have carried on, but stopped with one look at Remus’ stunned face. He blinked several times before speaking.

“Let’s just… let’s just take it one step at a time. He isn’t even here yet, we don’t have to worry about what to tell Petunia until later.”

“Right.”

Lily continued biting her lip, now looking around the room to see if he had arrived. After a few minutes of this, she gave up, lowering her head to stare at the grains in the wood of the table. With one hand, Remus was fiddling with the wrappings on one of the packages (they had quickly gone to Diagon Alley first to get the Doxycide and ingredients for the Wolfsbane potion.) His other was still placed over Lily’s. She was secretly grateful for this, as if having skin contact with calm, collected Remus was making herself calmer, but that might have just been the deep breaths she had been taking since she had suggested it.

A shadow fell over them.

“Excuse me, are you Lily Evans?” An American accent said.

Lily’s jerked her head upwards. A man stood across the table from her, towering over herself and Remus. Shining green eyes contrasted with his pale face and strawberry blonde hair, which was barely long enough to cover the tops of his ears. Even though he was just standing there, Lily could tell that he had that sort of self-confidence that didn’t result in him being cocky and arrogant. Instead, he stood calmly with a smile on his face as if he was meeting an old friend.

“Potter,” Lily said reflexively, “Lily Potter. Are you Seth Gibson?”

“I apologise. And yes, I am.” Despite the friendly appearance, he spoke formally. He turned to Remus. “I take it you’re Mr. Potter?”

“We’re not married,” Remus said quickly. “I’m just a friend. Remus Lupin.”

He extended the hand that had been covering Lily’s so that Seth could shake it.

“I’m afraid I’ve not made a very good first impression, have I?” Seth said, taking Remus’ hand and shaking it. “Two mistakes in the space of ten seconds, it must be some sort of record.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Lily, attempting a smile as Seth sat down on a chair opposite her and Remus.

“Will your husband be joining us, then?” Seth asked.

Lily felt her face go cold and the smile slide off it.

“I’ve just said something terrible haven’t I? Seth’s eyes flickered from Lily to Remus. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to-”

“He was murdered.” Lily’s throat constricted, making it hard for her to speak, but she did so anyway. Seth opened his mouth to say something but Lily cut across him, “You didn’t know, don’t apologise.”

“I’m still sorry. Is that why you’re in hiding?”

“Dumbledore said he’d told you the situation,” said Remus, a crease appearing between his eyebrows. Lily thought she could detect a trace of hostility in his voice, though whether Seth did as well and simply chose to ignore it she didn’t know.

“It was a very quick meeting, there wasn’t much time to go into details. He said he was busy.”

He looked at Lily expectantly, waiting for an answer to his question. She hadn’t expected the issue of not trusting him to come up so early, she had hoped for more time to decide whether he was telling the truth. She could tell him straight that they suspected him of being a Death Eater and, if he wasn’t, hope that he’d understand. Or she could just tell him. It wasn’t exactly a secret that Voldemort was after Harry, and she couldn’t think of a way it would harm them if Voldemort found out they were staying hidden because he probably could have worked that out for himself by now.

Still, it was better to be safe than sorry.

“How do we know we can trust you?” Lily said the words as politely as possible, but they still came out sounding accusatory. “I don’t even know you, you just came here claiming to be related to me.”

Lily was shocked to see that Seth was smiling. She certainly wouldn’t have been if someone had spoke to her like that.

“It’s a good thing I came prepared for this, isn’t it?” He reached down into a bag he had brought with him and pulled out a handful of official looking papers. Seth passed them across the table to Lily who picked them up.

The paper on top was a birth certificate. Lily flicked through them, with Remus leaning over to look as well. There were adoption papers, a new Muggle American passport, and even an acceptance letter for W.I.G..

“Wig?” said Remus.

“Wizarding Institute of Georgia. In America they have an institute of magic in every state, the country is so big it wouldn’t make sense to have one main one like you do.”

Lily looked through the rest of the papers. Her mother’s maiden name, Sylvia Prichard, was written in small slanted handwriting on the birth certificate. There was no father’s name. Lily stared at it, still not really believing it to be true. Yet, all the evidence proved that it was true. The documents all looked genuine enough, but Lily supposed that if they hadn’t been then Dumbledore would have known straight away that he wasn’t for real. It was simple enough to forge them with magic, though – Lily had said it herself in the basement of Grimmauld Place. The real issue was determining whether everything fit together.

It did, of a sort.

Her mother was born in the late nineteen-twenties. It had been socially unacceptable to have a baby out of wedlock in the forties when she would have been a teenager, so if it had happened then, giving the child up for adoption would have been the only option. If she had wanted to keep it a secret then it also explained why Lily didn’t know about it.

What Lily really wanted was to be able to get Remus’ opinion. There was no way she could do that with Seth right in front of them; she was just going to have to decide on her own.

“Does anyone want a drink?” Remus asked out of the blue.

“Yes, okay,” said Seth, while Lily nodded.

“Great, is butterbeer alright for you? Come on, Lily, I’ll need your help carrying the drinks over here.”

It was as if Remus had read her mind because he certainly wouldn’t have needed help carrying three drinks. Lily got up and walked over to the bar with him.

Once they were out of earshot, Remus spoke.

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know… everything looks real enough, and it makes sense.”

“He could still be a Death Eater, though – three butterbeers, please, Tom.”

The old barman shuffled away to get the bottles.

“Should I tell him? That Voldemort’s after Harry?”

“Can’t see why not, you’re not telling him where we’re hiding. I think even Voldemort might have worked out that we know he’s after Harry.”

“That’s fifteen sickles.”

Remus frowned and put his hand in his pocket to get the money.

“That’s expensive for three bottles, Tom,” said Lily.

“I’m losing customers at an hourly rate. The prices need to go up so I can stay in business.”

Remus was still searching for the right amount of money.

“It’s alright, Remus, I’ve got it.”

She put a hand into her pocket and pulled out a Galleon and gave it to Tom. Lily thought she heard Remus mutter “thanks” as Tom gave her the change and she grabbed two of the bottles.

“You reckon I should just tell him?” asked Lily, as they made their way back to the table.

“It’d be rude not to now.”

“Not really, I’ve just bought him a drink. That sort of evens it out.”

“So every time someone doesn’t answer a question they have to buy everyone else a drink?”

“Sure, why not?” Lily joked.

“It sounds like a bad drinking game.” Remus grinned. “One that Sirius would come up with.”

They had reached the table now. Lily placed one of the bottles in front of Seth and sat back down in her chair.

“Thank you,” he said, taking a swig. “Have you finished deciding whether I’m trustworthy or not?” Seth laughed.

Silence descended upon them while they drank. Lily took a few sips and then, making her mind up, set the bottle firmly back on the table.

“Do you know who Voldemort is?” she asked Seth. He flinched slightly at the name and looked surprised at the sudden turn of the conversation.

“I-I think so. He’s the guy who’s trying to get rid of Muggle-borns over here, right?”

“Yes, we’re in hiding from him. He’s the one who murdered my husband and is determined to kill my son.”

“That seems a bit… extreme. How old is your son?”

“Nearly sixteen months.”

Seth frowned.

“Why does he want to kill him then? Your son’s not Muggle-born, and I can’t see how a baby could offend him.”

“No idea,” said Lily. That wasn’t strictly true: they knew about the prophecy, just not the reason why Voldemort chose Harry over Neville. Lily had decided to trust Seth for now, but even that didn’t mean she would tell him about the prophecy – Dumbledore had told people on a need-to-know basis and Seth did not need to know. Most members of the Order didn’t even know.

“So this… madman… is after your son, who can barely talk, for no reason? I don’t blame you for going into hiding. I suppose it’s too much to ask where you’re hiding?” Seth laughed, but Lily didn’t find it funny. She smiled tightly.

“Yes, it would. And we couldn’t tell you if we wanted.” Lily decided that is time to try to find out more about Seth, before he started asking more questions that she couldn’t answer. “So, how did you find me?”

Seth explained how he’d always known that he was adopted, but had never felt the need to try to find out about his biological parents until his adoptive ones had died. He had his birth certificate with his mother’s name on, so had come to England to find out whether she was still alive. It had taken him a few months of constant searching, but eventually he had come across the marriage certificate of Sylvia Prichard and Kenneth Evans. After that, he found their death certificates, but also their names as parents on two birth certificates.

“I thought that if my mother had managed to have one magical child, it was possible that one of the daughters was as well. I probably wouldn’t have gotten in contact if you’d both been Muggles, what with the Statute of Secrecy. But I went through some Ministry records and found you as Head Girl at Hogwarts. There wasn’t anything else, and it seemed that I might be able to find out some more information from the headmaster, so I did. I think you know the rest,” Seth finished.

“Wow, it must have been hard work looking through all the old records,” said Lily.

“Yes, it got quite tedious after a while, doing the same thing day after day. I’m glad it’s over. I do have questions, actually, that you might have the answers to. Your – our – sister, Petunia, is she –?”

“She’s not a witch.”

“Oh right. I suppose having three muggle-borns children would be against the odds. Did you tell her about me?”

“I didn’t think it would be a good idea to tell her before I met you first. She can be quite… jealous. Having one magical sibling sent her nearly to the edge, having another might just push her over.”

“She’s suicidal?” Seth looked shocked.

“Oh, no, I didn’t mean it like that. She stopped speaking to me when I got my Hogwarts letter and has only just started again.”

“Ah, I probably wouldn’t get a welcome reception if I visited her then?”

“Probably not.”

“Are you going to tell her?”

“I – I don’t know… Yes, I should. Even if she might not want to see you, she should know.”

Lily took a sip of her butterbeer. The story had made sense – there had been no obvious contradictions, but they would only have uncovered an amateur liar. A Death Eater would be under Voldemort’s orders and would have a proper story to tell that wouldn’t be found to be false just by waiting for it to contradict itself. She glanced at Remus, who gave her a non-committal jerk of his head. Seth appeared to have noticed this.

“You still don’t think you can trust me, do you? I know you’re in the middle of a war, and anyone could be a spy, but you go to an extreme with not trusting people.” He wasn’t judging them for doing it, just stating a fact.

“It was one of my husband’s best friends who betrayed us and told Voldemort where we were hiding.”

Lily’s words stunned Seth into silence.

“That… that’s a very good reason not to trust people.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

The conversation turned to more pleasant topics after that and Seth’s friendly nature came out in abundance. He asked about their mother, what she had looked like and how she had been as a mum. He asked much more about Lily, which she found odd, as she would have wanted to know as much about her mother, had she been in his shoes. She shook it off, thinking that he probably didn’t want to live in the past too much and was more concerned with the present, and any living family he had rather than those that were dead. Lily grew more comfortable in Seth’s presence the longer they talked and happily answered his questions.

At one point, Seth started inquiring about Remus’ life. Remus didn’t seem comfortable with this and Lily didn’t blame him. He quickly diverted the conversation back to something more general and Seth seemed to get the hint, as he didn’t try to find out more about Remus again.

It was nearly six o’clock when Lily checked her watch and realised that they should be going soon. She pointed this out to Remus and he agreed; Sirius always complained when dinner wasn’t ready for him when he got home – in some ways it was like having two children to look after.

“It’s been nice meeting you,” Lily said, shaking Seth’s hand.

“Thank you for meeting with me. It was good to meet you too, Remus.”

“No problem,” said Remus. They shook hands.

Lily was just going to say “goodbye” and then leave, but changed her mind. During their talk, she had warmed to Seth and, on the spur of the moment, decided that she could trust him.

“You can owl me. I’m sure the owl could get through the Fidelius Charm. We could meet up again, if you’d like.”

“That would be great. Goodbye.”

“‘Bye.”

Lily and Remus headed over to the fireplace where they could Floo back to Grimmauld Place. Seth had a point, that they were too unwilling to trust new people. Not everyone was a Death Eater trying to kill her and Harry. Sometimes, Lily was just going to have to go with her instincts on who was trustworthy and who was not.

It was just unfortunate that there were some people, like Severus and Peter, that her instinct had been wrong about in the past.
_____________________________________

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Last edited by gelowo93; February 28th, 2011 at 5:02 pm.
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  #22  
Old March 5th, 2011, 9:01 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

*Celebrates having over 2000 views* You guys are awesome, although the people who leave reviews are extra-awesome

I didn't think I'd finish this chapter until tomorrow, but my parents decided that I'm going out tomorrow so I decided to try to get it done tonight, and I have done

Chapter 22

An owl from Seth arrived four days after Lily had met with him. In it, he thanked her, once again, for meeting with him and had gone on to ask how everyone was. Sirius eyed the letter suspiciously when Lily brought it down to read at breakfast and refused to let her reply to it until he had read it.

“Let me see it.” Sirius reached across the table for the letter but Lily held it out of his reach.

“Why do you want it so badly? There’s nothing to read.”

“Yes there is, there’s words on it.”

“Okay, there’s nothing important to read.”

“I haven’t met this guy, I want to know if he’s what he says he is.”

“And he’s likely to write, “by the way, I’m a Death Eater in disguise” in a letter to me?”

“Death Eater’s don’t think the same way we do.” Sirius grinned.

“It’s addressed to me, making it a private letter that shouldn’t be read by annoying Godfathers if they don’t want their Godfather status revoked.”

Sirius’ face fell. The conversation had moved on from being serious to a joke, but the sight of Sirius after Lily had made the mock threat made it clear that, even though he had been joking as well, he was taking it seriously now.

“You wouldn’t do that, would you?” Sirius stared at Lily, and she had to work hard to keep a straight face. His grey eyes had widened and his mouth opened in horror. It looked like he was silently begging her to reassure him that she wouldn’t change her mind on who should be Harry’s Godfather.

“Hmm, well, I might let you off this time…” Lily said, putting on an act of having to think about it. Lily waited, watching Sirius’ face as he grew more and more desperate. Finally, he looked as if he was likely to break down in tears. “Fine, you’re forgiven. You might not be so lucky next time.”

Sirius relaxed and a grin spread across his face.

“Did you hear that, Harry? I’m still allowed to be your Godfather, even when I annoy mummy.”

Harry giggled in his high chair, although that might have had less to do with what Sirius had said and more to do with what looked like tribal designs painted on his face in yoghurt with bits of fruit in it. Lily sighed and rolled her eyes.

Evanesco,” she muttered, pointing her wand at Harry’s face. The mess immediately disappeared. Lily picked up one of the pieces of fruit that hadn’t been eaten yet and dipped it in the yoghurt. “You have to eat it like this, not spread it all over your face. Open up.”

Lily started feeding Harry the rest of his breakfast. She had almost finished when Sirius made a sudden move across the table from her. Or, rather, she had thought he was across the table from her. Apparently, Sirius had been slowly shuffling his chair around the table while she had been distracted. Lily reacted just in time, grabbing Seth’s letter before Sirius could. Sirius swore.

“Sirius! Not in front of Harry!”

“Why won’t you let me read the letter?” He almost shouted, exasperated.

“What’s going on?”

Remus was halfway down the stairs, looking into the kitchen.

“Seth sent a letter,” said Lily. She waved it in the air so he could see it. “Do you want to read it?”

“Hey!” Sirius actually did shout this time. “How come he gets to read it?”

“Because Remus didn’t make a big deal about wanting to read it.” Lily stuck her tongue out at Sirius and passed the letter to Remus when he sat down. He read it quickly and gave it back to Lily.

“Why do you want to read it?” Remus asked Sirius.

“She wouldn’t let me, so I-” Sirius started.

“Lily didn’t let you, so that made you want to read it more?” said Remus, shrewdly. “Merlin’s beard…”

“Oh, shut up, I knew you wouldn’t understand,” Sirius grumbled, more annoyed that he still hadn’t read the letter than because Remus had called him out on why he wanted to. “I’ve got to go anyway. See you later.”

He stood up and went up the stairs. He must have been making quite a lot of noise, because his mother’s portrait started shouting. It didn’t stop; Lily assumed that Sirius had chosen to ignore it before going out.

“Oops,” Lily said, “I think I put him in a bad mood.”

“It won’t last, he’ll get so fed up at Petunia’s that he’ll be grateful to come back here.”

“Right.” Lily still felt guilty. She grabbed the quill, ink and parchment that Sirius had been keeping from her and started writing a reply to Seth’s letter, with the shouts of Walburga Black in the background. She answered his query about her well-being and then stopped, quill posed to carry on writing but not sure what to write.

“What’s the matter?” asked Remus, his mouth full of egg.

“Should I tell him what Petunia said?”

As she had promised, Lily had told Petunia about Seth, or rather, Lily had told Sirius to tell Petunia. She would have preferred to go herself, however Remus and Sirius had convinced her not to, as it wouldn’t be a good idea to be seen in public twice in a week. Thinking back, it probably would have been wiser to write it in a letter than to get Sirius to tell her, but the damage was done now. Lily didn’t know exactly what Sirius had told Petunia; all she knew was that Petunia’s reply had not been pleasant and Lily was sure that if Petunia had been able to send a Howler, then she would have done.

“I’d put it a bit more politely than how Sirius conveyed the message, whether that was what Petunia really said or not.”

Lily put quill to parchment again. She wasn’t sure that she did a good job of rewording “I don’t want anything to do with him so tell him to stay away from my family – we’ve had enough trouble with one of you lot in the family and we don’t need another” to make it more polite. She did her best, rereading the letter once she had finished. It read okay – Petunia’s reaction was squashed in between the paragraphs telling him how they all were and asking him if he was enjoying his stay in England. Lily had just sealed it with her wand when a beeping noise started behind her.

“What’s that?” asked Remus, searching the room with his eyes for the source.

“Just your potion. I set an Alarm charm so I knew when to add the rest of the ingredients.” Lily waved her wand at the cauldron that was simmering in the fireplace and the beeping stopped. She went over to inspect the cauldron.

“An Alarm Charm?”

“Hmm.” Lily felt her face going red. It wasn’t particularly embarrassing, just that she tended to avoid talking to anyone about her friendship with Severus. She added a few drops of hellebore to the Wolfsbane potion, which caused it to change colour from purple to blood red.

“Where did you find that?”

More hellebore was added. “Severus discovered it.”

Remus laughed. “That’s why you’ve gone bright red. I did know that you used to be friends with him, you don’t have to pretend you weren’t.”

Lily shrugged, not taking her eyes off the potion. “I feel awkward talking about him to you and Sirius, you hated each other.”

“Well… he was a nosy git, trying to find out what I was up to so he could get me in trouble. I wouldn’t say I hated him, though.”

Lily Summoned a chair and set to stirring the potion. Remus watched her for a while, and then started entertaining Harry by shooting different coloured sparks out of his wand. Lily was slightly surprised by this: Remus and Sirius had taken to immediately hurrying out of the room whenever she started to work on the Wolfsbane potion and they refused to tell her what they were doing. She supposed that she shouldn’t be too surprised that Remus stayed now, though – it was only when him and Sirius were in the house that they sneaked off to talk about things that Lily could only take wild guesses at.

It wasn’t hard working stirring the potion, so Lily let her mind wander for ten minutes. A thought that she had meant to ask Remus floated to the forefront of her mind.

“I’ve been thinking…” Lily started. Remus glanced at her quickly to show that he was paying attention before turning back to Harry.

“Yes?”

“You said the potion makes you keep your mind at the full moon?”

“Yes,” said Remus, slowly. Lily could tell he had no idea where she was going with this.

“I just thought, maybe – I mean, this place is so big, and it’s not really safe out there – you’d be able to –”

Remus turned to look at Lily properly. His face had paled and his eyes were bulging, making him look quite mad.

“Absolutely not! No - no way - you don’t understand – I don’t –” Remus took a deep breath, but he still looked tense afterwards. He had raised his left hand to cover his face, preventing Lily from seeing him properly. When he spoke again his voice was less panicked. “I was fine last time, I was on my own. I don’t know – if I could smell you – I might be less… fine.”

Remus lowered his hand, revealing his face. He looked terrified at the notion of what he thought would happen. Lily quickly backtracked.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean – it was just a thought. I didn’t mean –” Lily stopped speaking at the sight of Remus shaking his head mutely. “I’m sorry,” she said simply.

After that, Lily concentrated on making the potion. It didn’t take much longer to finish the morning’s preparation, and she did so in silence. When it was done for the time being, she put away the ingredients and looked towards Remus nervously. He had gone back to playing with Harry and showed no signs of still being angry about what Lily had said, but she still felt a bit awkward. Maybe it had something to do with making both him and Sirius angry in the space of about half an hour.

She was still standing when Remus glanced her way and saw her shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

“Have you finished for now?” He asked.

“Yes. Do you want to start cleaning?”

“Not really,” said Remus, grimacing. “I never planned to have learnt how to do this amount of household spells before I was thirty, never mind twenty-two.”

“It might come in useful, what if you marry someone who can’t do household spells to save her life?” Lily joked. Remus’ lips twitched in an almost smile and Lily knew what he was thinking. All of them, at some point, had had many arguments with him whenever he had said that he’d never find anyone willing to stay with him after they found out he was a werewolf. This had often been met with outcries that they had all stayed friends with him and there was no reason why nobody else would as well. In fact, Remus had usually lost those arguments and had learnt not to speak his thoughts when it came up, but that didn’t stop them showing on his face. However, this time he decided to humour Lily.

“Okay, so this imaginary wife of mine can’t do basic household spells, is there anything else you know about her?”

“Yes,” Lily said, thinking quickly, “she has pink hair and is an Auror.”

“Pink hair?” snorted Remus. “Right, if you say so. Let’s start some more cleaning, then. I don’t think I could sit here and listen to you describing my make-believe wife in more detail.”

They had managed to finish the drawing room the previous day, so Lily and Remus began cleaning the first floor bedroom. There wasn’t much in it, dangerous or normal, and they managed to completely empty it of Black family heirlooms by the time Sirius came home.

Remus had predicted correctly that Sirius’ bad mood wouldn’t be aimed at Lily. Sirius complained about having to guard Petunia the entire time Remus was preparing dinner, though as this happened most evenings, Lily had had plenty of practice ignoring what he was saying and only looking like she was listening.

“Lily. Lily? Hello?” Sirius waved a hand in front of her face. Lily blinked several times and looked at him.

“Yes?”

“You weren’t listening to me.” Sirius sounded genuinely upset.

“I’m sorry, I zoned out. What were you saying?”

“If you’re not going to listen in the first place I won’t bother repeating myself,” he said in a near-perfect imitation of Minerva McGonagall.

“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again. Tell me what you said.”

“I asked if you wanted us to make notes on the meeting tonight so you’d know what went on.”

“Sure, I – hang on, why is it me who’s not going?”

“You have to make the Wolfsbane tonight.”

“Oh, yeah. Okay, notes would be nice. I’ll have something to read before I go to bed.”

“You don’t think anything important will have happened?” Remus asked from the counter.

“If there was anything that important then Dumbledore would have called an emergency meeting. It’ll just be people giving reports.”

Remus served the food then, and the conversation was cut off by the scraping of knives and forks. After the plates had been emptied, they were sent to the sink to wash themselves and Remus and Sirius left to go to the meeting.

Lily was left with Harry. She played with him for a while until it was time for him to go to bed. It didn’t take her long to do what was needed to be done to the Wolfsbane potion, which meant Lily had nothing to do but to wait for Remus and Sirius to come home.

She checked the clock in the parlour. The meetings usually finished after nine o’clock, maybe half past if a lot of people had things to say. It was quarter to ten now. Lily waited for them to return, shifting through her thoughts to find one that would interest her. Eventually, she landed on why Remus and Sirius kept sneaking off to talk in another room while Lily made the potion.

It was unlike them to not include her in some sort of plan, and what exactly could they be up to? There wasn’t much you could do when you were stuck inside for the majority of the time. Lily’s heart sank – what if they were planning to do something reckless, possibly involving an attack on some Death Eaters? Remus didn’t typically go along with Sirius’ plans so it couldn’t be too dangerous, unless Sirius had managed to persuade him that whatever it was, it was necessary.

Lily sat up, waiting, for another hour. In that time, her guesses on what the two of them were planning together grew more and more unlikely, and they still hadn’t come back when Lily finally gave up and went to bed.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #23  
Old March 13th, 2011, 6:12 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

This chapter really didn't want to get wrote, but I got there in the end

Chapter 23

Remus and Sirius refused to tell Lily why they had been so late getting back when she asked them the next morning, only giving her a vague answer of “we got talking and lost track of time.” Naturally, this gave Lily the opportunity to tease them about how they always complained when she was talking and that it was rubbing off on them. When she asked what they had been talking about for nearly three hours, they shrugged their shoulders and didn’t answer any more questions on the subject.

Their suspicious behaviour continued for the rest of the week that Lily was brewing the Wolfsbane potion, and after that it stopped. Remus and Sirius didn’t try to carry on sneaking off when Lily wasn’t preoccupied with the potion, which made Lily hope that, whatever they had been planning, they had given up on it.

As it turned out, they hadn’t given up.

She woke up, a few days after the full moon, to hear voices whispering outside her bedroom door.

“Have you got – ssh, Harry – have you got everything?”

“Yes, there wasn’t really much for me to forget.”

“Okay, so once we go in there –”

“Sirius, we’ve been over this a million times, and it’s not the most complicated plan in the world.”

“Right, well we need to set everything up quickly before she wakes up.”

“What if she’s already awake?”

“She’s never up this early.”

“We’ve been standing out here for about five minutes now, we could have woken her up.”

The bedroom door creaked as it opened, and Sirius’ head appeared. Lily waved at him.

“Damn. Hi, Lily.”

“Morning, Sirius. Is there something you wanted me for?”

“No, we just – oh, forget it. Happy birthday.”

Sirius traipsed into the room carrying Harry, followed by Remus, who was carrying a small pile of parcels.

“Happy birthday.”

“Thanks.” Lily sat up, looking closer at the parcels Remus was carrying. “Are those fireworks supposed to be presents as well?”

“We were going to set them off so the room was full of stars when you woke up.”

The bedsprings groaned as Remus and Sirius sat down on the edge of the bed. Harry strained to get out of Sirius’ grip, so Sirius let him go and he crawled over to Lily. She picked him up and sat him on her lap.

“Are you going to wish me a happy birthday too?”

“Ha ber-ay.”

“Close enough.” Lily kissed him on the top of his head.

Sirius set off the fireworks anyway and Lily opened her presents with the stars showering down on them. There were no terrible romance novels from Sirius this time (Lily had only read the first chapter of Vulpecula’s Vengeance before giving up on it and hiding it under the bed), instead he had got her some new dress robes and Remus gave her an earrings and necklace set. A small parcel from Petunia turned out to be a compact mirror. Lily opened it and grimaced.

“Ugh, my hair’s a mess,” she said, combing it with her fingers.

“I never understand why girls say that, it happens every morning and yet you never seem to get used to it.”

“Shut up, Sirius.”

“Shutting.” He grinned.

Lily turned her attention to the small pile of envelopes that she had ignored before opening her presents. There were only five: one from Harry, Remus, Sirius, Petunia and one that Lily hadn’t been expecting, but she recognised the cramped handwriting as being Seth’s. She was confused as to how he knew it was her birthday, seeing as she had never told him, until she read what was written inside the card:

To Lily

Happy Birthday

Seth

(You’re probably wondering how I knew it was your birthday, but I found it when I was going through the old records trying to find out more about you.)


“Is that one off Seth?” Remus asked, nodding at the birthday card in Lily’s hand.

“Yes, he says he found out my birthday when he was searching through the old records.”

Sirius raised his hand as if he was at school and was going to answer a question; something that Lily had no memory of him ever doing at school.

“Sirius?”

He put his hand down. “Can I say I still don’t trust this guy?”

Lily sighed. Every time she had received a letter off Seth in the past two weeks, Sirius had started muttering that he wasn’t trustworthy. At first it had just been mildly irritating, but now it had got to the point where Lily had to grit her teeth to stop herself from shouting at him.

“You’ve never even met him, Sirius,” Lily said through clenched teeth. “You only don’t trust him because you don’t know him.”

“And you do? You’ve known him less than a month.”

“You don’t have to know everything about someone in order to trust them.”

Sirius was about to argue back when Remus interrupted him.

“Sirius, for once in your life, just drop it.”

“You’re not actually sticking up for him?” Sirius turned to look at Remus, slightly shocked at the interruption.

“No, I’m saying stop arguing. If you want to meet him so badly then you can arrange something with him, instead of complaining. Plus, it’s Lily’s birthday, you’re supposed to do what she says.”

“We were eleven when we made that rule – I only did it so I could boss the rest of you around all day.”

“And we only went along with it because we thought you’d get the rest of your family on us. That doesn’t stop it being one of those things that we do know, sort of like how you always used to try to prank me when I was revising.”

“You’d have died of boredom if you’d actually been concentrating on those books and not trying to guess what was going to turn into some sort of animal each time.”

“That’s very true, who could forget the time my quill turned into a jarvey and started swearing at McGonagall when she came into the common room to speak to you about a mysterious shampoo bottle that was following Snape around. How many weeks detention was that again?”

“It was revision classes with her three times a week until the exam. No wonder I got an O in that O.W.L.”

“You did try your best to fail it, though.”

Lily amused herself, listening to Remus and Sirius’ banter. They really did sound like bickering siblings a lot of the time, the way they constantly made fun of each other as if it was as natural as breathing. It was times like this when Lily felt the most distant from them; even though she had been constantly around them since she was eleven, by the time she had actually started to get to know them during seventh year, they had so many in-jokes and had done so much together that it was impossible to replicate the camaraderie they had together. Even now, when Lily was the closest to the two of them than she had ever been, all she could do was listen to what they were saying with a smile on her face, having no place in their memory.

Lily continued listening whilst holding onto Harry, who was attempting to grab at the discarded wrapping paper still lying on the bed. It was only when her stomach started growling that she decided it was time to get out of bed. She pushed away the duvet with a groan.

“What are you doing?”

Remus and Sirius had stopped their conversation and turned to look at Lily, both looking confused.

“I’m hungry, I’m going downstairs to get breakfast. I am allowed to, right?”

“Oh, we already made breakfast,” Sirius said. “Kreacher!”

There was a crack and the aging house elf appeared, carrying a large breakfast tray over his head and mouthing obscenities. Kreacher placed it on the bed and vanished with another loud crack.

“How long did you take you to make all of this?” Lily asked, shocked. The tray was piled high with every sort of breakfast food they had: stacks of toast, boxes of cereal, plates filled with bacon and sausages. It almost rivalled the breakfasts at Hogwarts in variety.

“It didn’t take too long, there were three of us making it,” said Sirius, picking up a fork and stabbing a sausage with it.

“Three?”

“Kreacher helped. Didn’t help much, but he did some stuff, I think.”

“You let him slice the bread, because you said you hoped he would slice his fingers off with it, remember?” Remus said, helping himself to a slice of toast.

Surprisingly, between the four of them they managed to eat the majority of the food. Sirius had to leave after that, and Lily went to have a bath that he and Remus had already prepared for her. She took her time, relaxing in the warm water (it had had a warming charm put on it) until her skin started to look prune-like and, deciding that it was going to be a lazy day, put on an old pair of jeans and t-shirt. She left her hair to dry on its own and went downstairs to the parlour where Remus was trying to make Harry sit still long enough for him to read him a book.

The day was a quiet one. It was a given that no cleaning of the house would be done and none was. Instead, Lily and Remus spent the day lounging on the chairs in the parlour, charming small objects to run around on the floor so Harry could chase them. This carried on after dinner when Sirius came home, who joined in enthusiastically, charming glasses in between mouthfuls of food that had been saved for him. In fact, they were all having so much fun doing it that Lily had to be reminded when it was Harry’s bedtime.

When Lily went back downstairs, the house was eerily quiet. Someone had Stunned Walberga Black’s portrait, even though Lily hadn’t heard her start shouting.

“Remus? Sirius?” she called, nervously. There was no sign of anyone, and no voices coming from the parlour where she had left Remus and Sirius barely half an hour ago. She pushed open the door, not sure what she was expecting to see – dead bodies on the floor, the room packed with Death Eaters…

“SURPRISE!”

The loud shouts made Lily jump in shock. The room was packed, not with Death Eaters but Order members, even Dumbledore and Minerva were there. Sirius stood at the front of the crowd, with a massive grin on his face and looking immensely proud of himself.

“Happy birthday,” he said, waving.

“Sirius! You could have told me! I’m just wearing jeans, and my hair’s a mess.”

“If I’d told you it wouldn’t have been a surprise party, would it?”

The crowd descended on her, then, and Lily didn’t have time to argue with Sirius. “Happy birthdays” were coming at her from all sides, forcing presents into her arms and Lily barely had time to recognise each of the faces. Once the initial welcome was over, she rushed upstairs to change into the robes and put on the jewellery that Sirius and Remus had bought her. Lily had thought them odd presents at first, but now understood why they had got them for her.

She hurried back downstairs and when she entered the parlour for the second time she saw that someone had got drinks out and put the radio on. Remus saw her come in and passed her a glass of wine, which she accepted gratefully; the shock of having everyone there and rushing around had made Lily tense and she instantly calmed down when she took a sip. Lily fixed her face into a smile and walked over to Frank and Alice who were stood by the window.

“Happy birthday,” Alice said as Lily neared them. “I like your robes.”

“Thanks, Sirius got them for me. Who’s looking after Neville?”

“My mother,” answered Frank. “Poor boy, all she ever goes on about is how there must be something wrong with him because he’s not doing magic yet. She won’t be feeding him just to see if he’ll Summon his food. Harry’s been doing magic for a while now, hasn’t he?”

“Yes, don’t remind me,” Lily laughed. “He managed to make the cutlery tap dance across the table yesterday. It took us forever to get them all back.”

After a couple of minutes talking to Frank and Alice, Lily moved on and she slowly made her way round the room, stopping to talk to everyone. It took her over an hour to finish talking to everyone and she spotted Remus sat on the sofa. Lily went to join him.

“Have you seen Sirius?” Lily asked.

“You haven’t?” Remus said, sounding shocked. “He’s in the corner.”

Lily looked over to the corner, and she didn’t know how she had missed Sirius stood there. Although, she supposed that she had been looking for Sirius as she knew him, for now he had a curly ginger moustache and a goatee to match. Lily wasn’t surprised to see an empty glass of wine in his hand.

“Have you taken a picture?”

“No,” said Remus.

“Why not?” Lily grabbed a camera that someone had left on the coffee table, pointed it at Sirius in the corner and took the photograph. “He’s going to regret that in the morning.”

“I don’t know, it is Sirius. He’d probably frame it”

Lily sat and watched Sirius for a while. She wasn’t the only one; the majority of people had now stopped their conversations and turned to watch him as he did more and more bizarre things to his appearance. Lily made it her job to take a photograph of each one so they had a record of it to show him in the morning, or any prospective girlfriend of his in the future.

Sirius continued to make a fool of himself for the rest of the night, not just changing his appearance but flirting with everyone (even the men) and trying to make people dance with him, which was one of the most dangerous things anyone could ever do. Despite this, no one left until well past midnight. The first to leave were the Hogwarts lot: Dumbledore, Minerva and Hagrid, who had to go back to the school.

Everybody else stayed for a long time after, happy for the chance to enjoy themselves and momentarily forget that there was someone out there who would quite cheerfully kill them all.

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; July 29th, 2011 at 2:11 pm.
  #24  
Old April 1st, 2011, 10:51 am
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Warning: This isn't the next chapter. I wrote it as an April fools but I thought I might as well keep it up here in case people do want to read it. So if you want a bit of a laugh then read it if you wish, but if you don't then you can ignore it and move onto the real Chapter 24 when I get around to posting it.

April Fools Chapter

“Huh,” said Lily, scanning the article again. “Who’d have thought it would end like this?”

“Not me,” Sirius said. He was sat opposite her, watching the photograph on the front page. “I didn’t even get a proper shot at him. At least you did.”

“Oh yes, everyone wanted to be attacked by Voldemort. I should count myself lucky.”

Lily placed the newspaper on the table. It seemed to attract all of their gazes, as Lily wasn’t the only one who couldn’t take her eyes off it. When she did, her eyes kept flickering to it, drawn to the unexpected article like a magnet, and it wasn’t long before she was staring again.

“What’s the matter, Moony?” asked Sirius after a moment of silence. Remus looked up from the newspaper.

“I don’t know. Nothing,” he said, numbly. Lily and Sirius waited, expecting him to elaborate. He didn’t.

“Well, that’s cleared that up. It’s good to know that when you’re sat looking all pensive you’re actually just not thinking at all. Another of life’s mysteries solved.”

“Another?” Lily smiled, raising her eyebrows at Sirius. Before he could make a retort, Remus spoke.

“No, it’s just… We’ve gone through all this – spent years fighting – and now it’s over, just like that.”

“Remus has a point,” Lily pointed out. “It’s a little anticlimactic.”

“And what did you want exactly?” said Sirius, eyes roving around the room, and Lily knew he was searching for some sort of inspiration for a daft idea. His eyes landed on the toddler next to him. “An epic duel that culminated in Harry blasting him apart and then all evil would be sucked into the black hole he would surely become, and we’d all start singing and dancing until the rest of the Death Eaters surrendered because they’ve never been so tortured in their lives?”

“Stop being daft, I wouldn’t let Harry anywhere near him. I don’t need all the theatrics, just something… more.” Lily could tell she was getting nowhere trying to explain herself to Sirius. She changed her tactic. “A blood clot! That’s all it was – a blood clot! Do you know how small those things are? The biggest ones are the size of a fingernail. How could that kill him but we couldn’t?”

“We never tried to block his coronary arteries,” Remus said simply.

“Maybe one day they’ll be able to do that; shrink people so they can get inside bodies,” Sirius wondered out loud, causing the room to fall silent once again.

Lily thought she’d be happy – ecstatic – when this day finally arrived. Instead, she felt confused, as if things had been left incomplete.

“We should go to headquarters,” said Lily, deciding as she spoke that it was probably the best thing to do. “See what everyone else has to say about it.”

Remus and Sirius agreed, and soon the four of them had left Grimmauld Place, leaving that morning’s Daily Prophet still lying on the table in the basement:

He-Who-Was-Not-Resuscitated

The wizard commonly known throughout the country as You-Know-Who was found dead in a Muggle street late last night.

It is thought that he was targeting Emmeline Vance, member of the Order of the Phoenix, who lives in Yewhorn, before he collapsed in the street outside her home. Muggle paramedics arrived at the scene first and allegedly attempted to resuscitate him, before announcing his death at 23:07.

“I was just inside when I heard a commotion outside and thought I’d find out what was happening,” said Miss Vance, 27. “I recognised him straight away – who wouldn’t? – and I got in touch with the Ministry.”

Aurors arrived soon after Miss Vance notified the Ministry with a team of Obliviators who modified the memories of the paramedics and Muggles who had gathered around the street. It is believed that the body was taken to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for a post-mortem, to be performed some time today. However, it is thought that the cause of death was a heart attack.

Dedalus Diggle, who was with Miss Vance when the events unfolded last night, told us, “We hadn’t even noticed anything was wrong until the ambulance arrived with its sirens going off. We thought maybe a Muggle had been found dead in their home, didn’t think it would be anything of this sort.”

When asked what she thought He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was doing in the quiet village of Yewhorn, Miss Vance answered, “He was obviously after me, wasn’t he? I’m the only witch in the area, and an Order member to boot. It’s a bit of an odd place to just go Muggle-hunting, nothing really happens here.”

This is, of course, no longer an adequate description of the small Lancashire village. From now on, Yewhorn will forever be known as the place where the darkest wizard of all time met his unexpected downfall.

(Full report and detailed timeline of last night’s events on page 3, a full description of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s rise to power on pages 4-5, One hundred ways to celebrate the Dark Lord’s downfall by Betty Braithwaite page 6)


***

When they arrived at headquarters, it was crowded with everyone talking over each other, making it almost impossible to hear all of what was being said. Lily held Harry closer to her, so he didn’t get jostled by the crowd.

“Do you know if the Death Eaters –”

“What’s going to happen –”

“Where’s –”

“Lily, I take it you heard?” Alice Longbottom asked, shouting over the rest of the voices and making her way towards her. Despite that, Lily still had to strain to hear her.

“I think everyone in the country has by now. I thought it would be a good idea to come here see what was going on.”

“There’s not much. No one knows what to do, Dumbledore isn’t here.”

“He isn’t?” Lily was shocked. “Doesn’t anyone know where he is?”

“Nope, no news. Minerva didn’t reply to our message, he should be at Hogwarts with her.”

At Alice’s words, the front door opened to reveal Minerva McGonagall. The crowd of Order members went quiet for a fraction of a second before showering her with questions.

“Have you seen –”

“What can we –”

“What’s happening?”

“Everyone quiet!” Minerva shouted, her voice magically amplified.

Everyone fell silent at once. Minerva looked round at everyone first, and then spoke:

“I haven’t seen Albus since yesterday evening, no doubt he’s very busy with everything that’s gone on. He’ll get in touch when he gets a chance. While we don’t know exactly what’s happening, I suggest we stay here so we’re ready to act when we get more information. I don’t know what’s happening any more than you do.”

Minerva had barely stopped speaking when the front door opened again; this time it was Emmeline and Dedalus who entered. They both looked shaken and grim. Alarm bells started ringing in Lily’s mind – anything that could make two members of the Order look that bad the day after Voldemort died could not be good. A chorus of voices immediately started asking them questions. Instead of answering, they mutely pushed through the crowd and walked into the meeting room.

The rest of the crowd, including Lily, Remus and Sirius, stared at each other for a moment, before following Emmeline and Dedalus.

“What’s going on?” Someone asked as soon as everyone had sat down at the table.

Emmeline and Dedalus glanced at each other briefly.

“Something’s… happened,” Dedalus started, his voice shaky. “We only know because we were talking to some of the Aurors when they got the message. Apparently, they were doing the post-mortem at St. Mungo’s… and Appearance charms started to wear off on the body.”

Lily felt her mouth drop open.

“So – what? Someone decided to pretend to be Voldemort?” asked Sirius. “Even I know that’s not funny.”

“No… It would seem that he’s been Voldemort all along.”

“Who is it?”

“Dumbledore.”

Lily’s mouth wasn’t the only one open in shock now.

“W-w-what?” Minerva was white as a ghost. “That’s not possible.”

“You said you hadn’t seen him since last night. Did he say where he was going?” Frank Longbottom asked her, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“He – he said he needed to speak to Emmeline.” Recognition dawned on Minerva’s face. “Oh, Merlin.”

This is so messed up, Lily thought. Her mind was spinning, wondering how it was even possible. It wasn’t possible - how could one person lead two very busy, very different lives? Surely someone would have noticed? There was no way this was real – Lily was sure she’d wake up any time now and realise that it was a dream. But she didn’t wake up, and this was real. It just didn’t make sense to any of them.

If Lily thought she would get a chance for the news to sink in, then she was wrong indeed. Her brain had only just started working through all the implications of Dumbledore and Voldemort being the same person, when the front door crashed open.

Footsteps thundered through the hall and living room before the man appeared in the doorway.

“Seth!” Lily exclaimed. “What are you –? Hang on, how did you get in?”

“Lily! I need – oh, erm… I err – through the front door?” Seth faltered, and Lily realised that his voice had changed; he no longer had an American accent.

“Who told you where headquarters was?” asked Lily. She tried to push the part of her mind that had turned to mush in all the confusion to the back of her brain and concentrate on what was happening now. The rest she could try to discern later.

“Dumbledore. Or Voldemort, whatever you want to call him. I suppose you know about that now. It’s all a bit confusing…” Seth carried on babbling. Lily wasn’t sure if he knew exactly what he was saying because it wasn’t making any sense. Instead of trying to figure out he was attempting to tell her, Lily concentrated on his voice. Now that he didn’t have an accent, his voice sounded familiar but Lily couldn’t work out where she knew it from. All she knew was that she thought she hadn’t heard it in a long time.

Part way through his waffling, when Lily thought she recognised his voice from someone at Hogwarts, Seth swore loudly. He grabbed at his face with his hands and, muttering, turned his back towards everyone sat at the table.

Panicked, Lily turned around to look at Remus and Sirius, both of whom looked puzzled.

“You recognise his voice too?” Lily whispered to Remus.

“Yes, but… that’s not right.”

Remus didn’t say anything else, so Lily went back to watching Seth. As she watched, Appearance charms seemed to be wearing off; his blonde hair was turning black and he shrank several inches.

Lily tried to scream, but no sound came out. However, several other people couldn’t contain their gasps of shock.

He turned back around to face them. He was exactly as Lily remembered; the hazel eyes, black hair and thin face. Maybe the hair was a bit longer, as if he’d been a few months without cutting it. Lily stared, not controlling her expression, so didn’t completely understand why he looked worried. Tears crept into the corners of her eyes.

“This isn’t real.” She spoke loudly, hoping that the more confident she was, the more that what she said would be true. “I’m going to wake up in a minute, and this is just going to have been some sort of nightmare. All of it.”

“Lily…” he started. Lily cut him off.

“No. You died. I saw your body, I cried over it. I didn’t do anything for over a month because of you. You can’t just turn up here and expect everything to go back to normal. Do you even have the slightest idea of how I feel?”

“I’m sorry, Lily! But I had no choice, I – where are you going?”

Lily had stood up; she was shaking and didn’t want to hear what James had to say. Holding onto Harry, Lily stalked out of the room, not even bothering to look behind her. She hadn’t got very far when she felt a hand on her arm. She reflexively jerked it away.

“Please hear me out.”

Lily looked over her shoulder at James. He looked absolutely desperate, and she knew what it meant. It meant that he wouldn’t stop trying to make her forgive him, and, despite everything, Lily still loved him and couldn’t bear to watch him look like his world had fallen apart.

She sat down on the sofa, pointedly looking away from James. He took this to mean that he should start explaining everything and he did.

“I ducked the curse Voldemort sent at me. I was expecting it so it wasn’t too hard to dodge. He got a bit angry and started flailing his arms everywhere and I saw something fall out of his pocket.” James put his hand into the pocket of his own robes and pulled out Dumbledore’s Deluminator. “I grabbed it and Disapparated. There wasn’t anything else I could do. I Apparated to one of the alleyways near here and waited to make sure you’d escaped. Of course, Dumbledore came first and then you. I didn’t understand at first how Voldemort had managed to get Dumbledore’s Deluminator but then it clicked – they were the same person. I knew I couldn’t go into headquarters because of Dumbledore and I figured my best bet was to have pretended to die.

“I went back to the house and Conjured a body. After that, I went into hiding. I lived in the forest as a stag. It was terrible without you but it was the only thing I could do. That was when I realised that I would be able to see you right under Dumbledore’s nose if he just didn’t recognise me. So I made up some daft story about being your half-brother, faked a few official documents, used a few Appearance charms and I was done.

“You know what happened after that. I woke up this morning and heard that Voldemort had died so that meant Dumbledore had too. I knew it was safe for me to come here then and I did and…” James trailed off.

Lily stayed silent for a long time, processing everything that had happened in the past hour. James simply stood in front of her, silently begging for her to understand.

“I missed you,” Lily finally managed to choke out.

“I missed you, too,” said James. He sat down next to her on the sofa and put his arm around her. Lily leaned into him, her shaking becoming worse. James started stroking her hair, but after a minute, stopped.

“While I’m on the subject of truth telling, should I say that it must have been… um… deer mating season around now so erm-”

Lily didn’t even give him a chance to finish the sentence; she stood up and walked out of the room.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; April 3rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm.
  #25  
Old April 7th, 2011, 5:33 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Right, well I suppose I better get the bad news out of the way. This is going to have to go on hiatus for a few months because real life is getting in the way College is piling on the work now it's coming up to exam season and I'm getting very little time to do anything else. Really, all I'm saying is that I'll still try to write when I can, but I'm not promising any regular updates. So in the mean time, enjoy this chapter but don't expect any more any time soon

Chapter 24

The next few days passed quickly, with nothing more exciting happening than Lily going down to breakfast one day to find Sirius hurriedly scribbling on a piece of parchment and an owl perched on the edge of the empty cauldron in the fireplace.

“Morning, Sirius.” Lily said, walking over to the owl and placing Harry in his high chair on the way.

Sirius barely looked up at her.

“Morning. What are you doing?”

“It’s Seth’s owl, it‘ll have a letter for me.”

“Oh, your letter’s here.” Sirius waved a piece of parchment at her and went back to writing. Lily froze, frowning.

“I know you don’t like him, but there’s no need to read my letters for me,” Lily said, struggling to keep her voice steady. It wouldn’t be a good idea to start shouting this early in the morning. Sirius looked up at her properly, obviously sensing her anger anyway.

“I haven’t read it, but it’s nice to know you always think the best of me. I thought I’d be nice and get it for you when I was getting my letter so the stupid bird wouldn’t attack you.”

From the other side of the kitchen, the owl hooted angrily. Sirius snarled at it in response.

“Why has Seth written to you?” Lily’s surprise banishing her anger, and she pulled out a chair to sit down on. “And Quince never attacks me.”

“It probably just doesn’t like me. You know the other day when Moony suggested I should actually meet him if I want to complain? Well, I thought it was a good idea so when I took your letter to the post office I added one I wrote.”

“And you’re going to meet him?”

“Yeah, Friday evening once I’m finished at Petunia’s.”

“No.”

“Excuse me?” Sirius raised his eyebrows. “I’m a big boy now, I don’t need your permission.”

“You’re not going on your own, you’ll –”

“I’m not going to curse him at the first chance I get and force-feed him Veritaserum, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“It’s worrying that you didn’t even have to think about that.”

“And you worry too much. On your birthday, when you came downstairs and it was completely silent, what did you think had happened?”

Lily felt her face grow hot, knowing that the truth proved Sirius’ point. He noticed.

“Go on, what was it? Me and Moony had been kidnapped, had we? Or had the Death Eaters managed to get in and subdue us without you hearing? You know that it wouldn’t be easy for them to do that, for quite a number of reasons.”

Still feeling her face burning, Lily mumbled, “ Death Eaters were going to ambush me.”

Sirius laughed. It wasn’t a cruel laugh; just one that told Lily that Sirius thought she worried for no reason.

“How can you laugh at me for worrying when you won’t even trust him?” Lily asked, affronted.

“There’s a difference between unnecessary worrying and not trusting someone.”

“Yes, but you not trusting him leads to you unnecessarily worrying about what will happen, when Remus and I know he’s perfectly trustable.”

“Is trustable a word? It doesn’t sound right.”

“I don’t know, I think I just made it up.”

“Maybe we should ask Moony.”

“Ask Moony what?” A voice said from the stairs, and a moment later Remus appeared. “What are you going to ask me?”

“Is trustable a word?” said Sirius. Remus looked baffled.

“How am I supposed to know that? I’m not a walking dictionary.”

“You always know stuff like that.”

You always make me sound more boring than I actually am. I don’t read dictionaries for fun.”

“I tried to do that once,” Lily confessed. Remus and Sirius stared at her. “Petunia dared me to, but it got boring so I skipped to ‘Z’ and told her I’d finished.”

Remus and Sirius didn’t say anything in reply to this. Instead, Sirius twisted round to speak to Remus who had sat down.

“Do you think there’s anything wrong with me going to see this Seth guy on my own?”

“No, of course not,” Remus started slowly. Lily was about to argue her point but Remus carried on, “Especially if Lily wants him dead.”

Lily laughed; Sirius scowled.

“Fine! Come if you want, just know that you’ll be leaving Harry with Remus and he’s the worst babysitter ever.”

And that was why Lily could be found, two days later, sat in The Leaky Cauldron with Sirius. Despite Sirius’ teasing that Remus was a terrible babysitter, she had left Harry with him. Lily was remarkably more relaxed than she had been the first time she had been waiting for Seth; she was looking around the room mostly out of curiosity, with only a part of her on the look out for Death Eaters. Sirius, on the other hand, was sat straight up, tense, with his eyes flickering between the door to the Muggle street and the fireplace.

“What would you do,” Lily began, “if he came in from Diagon Alley?”

Sirius immediately spun his head round so he could see the back door.

“You’re just as bad as me,” Lily said, picking at her fingernails. Sirius glared at her out of the corner of his eye as he slowly turned back to look at the fireplace.

“No I’m not, I’m just being on my guard. Something you don’t seem to have grasped.”

“We’re in the middle of a pub, Death Eaters aren’t likely to attack here. I understand the need for us to be cautious but no one’s going to try and attack us when there’s plenty of witnesses and a good chance they’ll be outnumbered.”

He didn’t answer, slowly scanning the room with narrowed eyes. A gust of cold wind blew through the room making them both shiver and Lily looked up in time to see the door swing close. A large group had entered and were making their way to the bar. On their way, a tall blonde man walking behind them waved and started walking towards the table Lily and Sirius were sat at.

“Hello, Lily,” Seth said when he reached the table. He held out his hand to Sirius. “You must be Sirius.”

Lily watched with baited breath as Sirius shook Seth’s hand, expecting him to turn hostile any second now.

“Yeah, it’s good to finally meet you.”

“And the same to you. I must admit, I was glad when you contacted me asking to meet. Lily’s told me a lot about you.” Seth pulled out a chair and sat down.

“She has?” Sirius turned to look at Lily with one eyebrow raised.

“Oh, yes. Nothing too terrible.” Seth flashed them a quick grin. “Although I’m intrigued as to why you wanted to meet me.”

“You didn’t say?” Lily asked Sirius, not altogether surprised by this. “This should be fun. Go on, Sirius. Why did you want to meet Seth?”

Sirius shot her an annoyed look, but spoke without hesitation.

“I don’t trust you. You come out of nowhere from some distant country and expect me to believe anything you tell me. I’m not buying it.”

It wasn’t accusatory, just Sirius stating his opinion. He stared straight into Seth’s eyes as he spoke.

“You think I’m a Death Eater.” Seth’s cheerful mood had abruptly disappeared and had been replaced by a professional one.

“I think Voldemort’s been surprisingly quiet recently. Very few disappearances and deaths compared to a few months ago. He isn’t the type of person who just gives up on something if he fails the first time so it makes sense if he’s focusing his efforts on some other plan.”

Seth had winced at Voldemort’s name, but apart from that he kept calm.

“Of course, if you aren’t a Death Eater then he’s keeping quiet and concentrating on something else anyway, which gives us reason to be on our guard anyway. Either way, there’s reason for us not to trust every person who claims to be a relative.”

“Sirius,” Lily warned, stopping him before he said something that she wouldn’t forgive him for.

“It’s okay, Lily,” said Seth. He didn’t take his eyes off Sirius. “There’s nothing I can do or say that will make you instantly trust me, is there? Because there will always be a way for you to turn it against me.”

“I’m glad you worked that out so quickly.”

“And without anything that will change your mind you have to go with your instinct. So I have to ask, with your instinct set so firmly against me, what were you hoping to get from meeting me today?”

Sirius paused before answering. Lily could almost hear his brain working as he decided what to say. Before he spoke, Sirius leaned forwards, resting his elbows on the table between him and Seth

“I want to be able to trust you. Lily trusts you, and Remus and Dumbledore can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be trustworthy. It’s a lot easier to get the measure of someone when you’re face to face. People can hide in letters.”

“I see. You hope that going against your instincts will prove them wrong.”

“Something like that.”

“Well, then I hope I’ll be able to change your mind.” Seth smiled and the tension disappeared; Lily felt as if she could breath properly again. “Would you like me to get us all drinks?”

Lily and Sirius agreed to this and Seth went to the bar.

“I’m surprised, “ Lily said once she was certain that Seth was out of earshot, “are you sure he won’t spike the drinks?”

“I didn’t hex him, did I?” said Sirius. He wasn’t looking at her but watching Seth get the drinks. Lily watched too.

“No, I’m surprised at that as well. You nearly murdered him with words, though I shouldn’t have expected you to be any less hostile.”

“Why are you so offended?” Sirius sounded genuinely shocked that she was.

“He’s my brother! He’s Harry’s uncle –”

“Half-uncle,” muttered Sirius.

“Oh, so all blood relatives are worthless are they?”

“No, I like Andromeda. She’s always been my favourite cousin.”

“And the rest?”

“They’re not worthless because I’m related to them, they’re worthless because they’re Death Eater scum. Which brings us back to Seth.”

“For crying out loud…”

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’m doing my best to like him.”

Nevertheless, Sirius’ eyes still followed Seth as he came back with the drinks, passing the group he had followed inside.

“Here we go,” said Seth. He put the bottles on the table.

“Cheers,” said Sirius, raising one of the bottles to his lips.

There was silence while the three of them drank. Lily’s thoughts couldn’t help drifting back to what Sirius had said earlier. He was right that Voldemort seemed to have been lying low for the last couple of months – there had been the occasional attacks but they seemed more as if he was reminding everyone that he was still out there, rather than outwardly threatening everyone and creating mass panic. The only possible explanation was that he was planning something big, something that involved all of the Death Eaters; otherwise they would still be able to go out and attack innocent people. Though what he could be planning, Lily didn’t know.

She stared off into the distance, allowing her thoughts to the forefront of her mind. It was only when Seth started talking to her that Lily remembered where she was.

“How’ve you been, Lily? Did you have a good birthday?”

“Oh, yes. It was good, nothing too special.”

Sirius snorted.

Nothing too special, it only took me and Moony weeks of planning so it’d be a surprise.”

“Moony?” inquired Seth.

“Remus, “ Sirius clarified. “It’s an old nickname.”

“It’s an odd nickname. Why Moony?”

Lily and Sirius exchanged glances. Seth was only being curious, but they both knew that Remus wouldn’t thank them for telling him.

“It’s a bit private,” Lily said eventually.

“Only a bit?”

“A very big bit,” said Sirius, and Seth dropped the subject.

“So, Seth,” Sirius began, following a rather more awkward silence than the previous, “what did you do while you were over in America?”

“I worked in the American Ministry - Department of International Magical Co-operation. I still actually work for them – when I said I was coming over here they offered me a position keeping track of the situation.”

“You work with our Ministry then? Like an ambassador?” asked Lily.

“Sort of. I mostly stay out of the way and sit in on meetings so I can write reports to send back to our Minister.”

“Do our lot take advice from you, if you had a better idea than what they were doing?” Sirius said, suddenly very interested in the conversation.

“I suppose so, if I had an idea. Why?”

“Tell them from me they’re useless.”

Seth laughed. “I’m sure they aren’t doing that bad of a job. You-Know-Who’s not taken over the Ministry yet.”

“I still think Dumbledore should be Minister.”

“Dumbledore doesn’t want to be Minister, Sirius. How many times has he said?” Lily said, rolling her eyes.

“Why doesn’t Dumbledore want to be Minister? Everyone seems to like him,” asked Seth.

“No one knows, he just refused to take it when they offered it him. I think he advises Bagnold though.”

“That’s got to be better than him not doing anything at all, then.”

Lily saw Sirius’ lip twitch.

“Yes, I don’t know what we’d do if Dumbledore wasn’t advising the Minister.”

“He’d probably just set up an underground society to help beat Voldemort,” said Lily, trying not to laugh.

“It’s a good thing that’s not needed then, isn’t it?”

Seth looked truly confused at what Lily and Sirius were saying. Lily thought it would be a good idea to change the topic so she directed the conversation back to safer topics before Seth could start asking more questions and they ended up revealing top-secret information about the Order.

They stayed in The Leaky Cauldron for over an hour, during which time Lily noticed Sirius relax and gradually became less hostile towards Seth. By the time Lily realised how late it had gotten, they were able to have a conversation without her having to stop Sirius mid-sentence.

“I told you he was okay,” Lily said to Sirius as they joined the queue for the fireplace, after saying goodbye to Seth.

“You don’t have to sound so smug about it, though.”

Lily froze in surprise.

“That wasn’t a denial, are you actually agreeing with me?”

“Very funny. Just because I think he’s alright doesn’t mean I trust him.”

Lily sighed and shook her head morosely at Sirius before stepping into the fireplace. The flames engulfed her and , after the familiar sensation of spinning and flames licking her sides, she stepped out into the kitchen at Grimmauld Place to the smell of freshly cooked dinner.
___________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #26  
Old June 6th, 2011, 4:31 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3698 days
Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

*Sneaks in to post a chapter* I know it's been a while, but I realised I got to 3000 views at the weekend and that gave me motivation to get this chapter done that's been sitting around on my laptop not being written in the slightest. My exams still aren't over, so there's still no regular updates for the time being, but enjoy!

Chapter 25

The chilly February wind whipped Lily’s robes around her as she stepped out into the darkness. Remus followed her onto the front step and Lily saw him unconsciously glance up at the sliver of moon that illuminated Grimmauld Place, along with the occasional flickering streetlight. Sirius stayed inside the house, keeping warm.

“Night, night, Harry,” Lily said kissing Harry on the head, who was being carried by Sirius. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Mummy,” said Harry. He twisted round in Sirius’ arms, extending his own to try to reach her.

“Nope, you stay with me.” Sirius adjusted his grip on him. “We’ll have lots more fun here than those two will at the meeting.”

“I’m sure you will,” agreed Lily. “Don’t do anything too stupid.”

Sirius gave her a scandalised look, making both Lily and Remus laugh before they said goodbye and closed the front door. Lily linked arms with Remus, and together they Disapparated, reappearing in the small alleyway near headquarters.

“I wish this place was better lit,” Lily complained, scanning around them in the darkness. “You never know if anyone’s going to jump out at you.”

“I think the Muggles might start to notice if people keep appearing out of thin air. They’d need a team of Obliviators just to uphold the Statute of Secrecy,” said Remus, stepping out into the street and they started the short walk to headquarters.

“I don’t care. I’d rather be alive with the Muggles knowing about us than dead just so the Ministry can be happy.”

Before long, the two of them had reached headquarters. Lily pushed the door open and they entered the deserted hallway. Lily had only visited once for the previous meeting since her, Remus and Sirius had stopped living here and she still felt that the house was too empty without their clutter lying in odd corners. This feeling wasn’t helped by the low, serious voices coming from the next room instead of the pleasant atmosphere that usually preceded meetings.

No one paused the conversation to greet Lily and Remus as they walked into the living room. Lily thought that nearly every member of the Order must be there as her and Remus struggled to find a spot to stand so they wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. Remus nodded in the direction of the window and Lily followed him to stand next to Sturgis Podmore, someone Lily didn’t know personally but always seemed pleasant enough.

“… if he’s trying to build an army, we’ve got to –”

“He’s always been trying to build an army. These attacks aren’t his style…”

“What’s going on?” Lily whispered to Sturgis. He turned to look at her with a shocked expression.

“You haven’t been keeping up with the Prophet?”

“No,” said Lily, embarrassed slightly. “We only get it if Sirius decides to stop off in Diagon Alley on his way home. And it’s never the best source for news; I don’t pay that much attention to it.”

“There were a lot of werewolf attacks last full moon-” Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw Remus stiffen. “-and they all seem to be in one area. Of course, the Prophet didn’t pick up on that but it isn’t hard if you’ve got a map.”

“Why would they all be in one area?”

“Well, that’s the question. It could be a coincidence, or they could be gathering.”

A thought crossed Lily’s mind and she felt herself grow cold.

“Whereabouts were the attacks? What if-”

“Full moon was two weeks ago,” Remus said reassuringly. “Sirius would have told us if Petunia or someone had been hurt, and they know better than to wander around at night by now.”

“Right,” murmured Lily, barely audible.

“There was no need for you to worry anyway. They were all around the Essex and Hertfordshire area.”

“That’s still a bit too close for comfort,” said Remus.

“I know, but as long as we’re all on our guard there’s no reason to panic.”

Sturgis turned back to listen to the main conversation then, giving Lily the chance to think about this development. A lot of attacks happening in one area did give the impression that the werewolves were gathering, but why would they have a reason to? Greyback’s approach had always been to try to infect as many people as possible, and to do that it made sense to spread out. Having his followers spread out across the country would make it hard to maintain control over them all, so he could be congregating them in order to keep his power over them. This idea seemed unlikely to Lily, as Greyback had never struck her as the type to think things through to that extent.

The sound of the front door opening from the hallway interrupted Lily’s thoughts and she looked up in time to see Dumbledore enter.

He looked older than Lily had ever seen him. The twinkle that was always present in his blue eyes was gone and this appeared to have taken with it the air of youth that usually surrounded him. Lily rarely ever thought of Dumbledore as an old man, even though he was at least nearing one hundred years of age, but at this moment he looked as if he had lived for a thousand years.

The room fell silent as they all took in Dumbledore’s appearance. Lily could guess at what everyone was thinking for she was sure that she was thinking the same: the war must have taken a turn for the worse in ways they did not yet understand.

Lily’s mind went into overdrive, thinking of possible events that could have happened for Dumbledore to look so hopeless: Voldemort had taken over the Ministry; a spy had been discovered and killed; Voldemort had discovered where headquarters was; the bad scenarios were endless. Lily briefly considered the werewolf attacks, but quickly dismissed it – it was serious, yes, but much more serious things had happened before and he had never looked this grave.

“Welcome, everyone. It’s good to see you all well,” Dumbledore said, attempting a small smile. “Shall we get started?”

No one spoke as they made their way into the dining room, and the silence continued when everyone had sat down. It was almost as if no one wanted to be the one to ask what had happened and bring the bad news to everyone. They were all waiting for Dumbledore to say it first.

To Lily’s surprise, Dumbledore didn’t start the meeting with the bad news and nobody asked. In fact, it wasn’t mentioned throughout the entire meeting.

However, he did start with the werewolf attacks.

“Doubtless, you have all heard about the unfortunate attacks that occurred last full moon,” said Dumbledore. “I believe there were seventeen attacks in total?” He looked towards Moody for confirmation, who nodded.

“Minister ordered a hush-up on the actual number. The Prophet was allowed to report that there had been eleven people bitten, but not that six were killed.”

Shocked glances were exchanged around the table. Lily had not known the alleged number, so had no opinion on the change in figures. This didn’t stop her being shocked at how many attacks there had been. When Sturgis had said that there had been a lot, she’d thought he had meant around seven or eight – it was rare for there to be more than two or three attacks a month. But for there to have been eleven who weren’t killed? It was no wonder to Lily why the Minister had stopped the Prophet publishing the full details of the attacks.

“Yes, Millicent wishes to try to keep public morale as high as possible,” Dumbledore said just as people were beginning to murmur between themselves, effectively stopping this, “though it’s proving difficult with the sheer number of attacks happening at the moment. There’s also the issue that it could lure people into a false sense of security, which is not helpful at all.”

“Why were there so many attacks, Albus?” Elphias Doge asked. “Greyback isn’t actually planning an attack is he?”

“My sources tell me that it is not Greyback that is planning the attack, but rather Lord Voldemort. We’ve known for some time that Voldemort had recruited the werewolves, but we were uncertain as to how he was going to use them, as was he, I believe. Now it seems he has found a use for them and is attempting to build up the army.”

Dumbledore’s words were met with silence. The implications of Voldemort having control over an army of werewolves were terrible, and it was clear that everyone in the room understood this. Lily glanced sideways at Remus; he was staring blankly forwards and his face was drained of all colour. Before she could do or say anything to comfort him, someone at the other end of the table had started speaking.

“That’s what they’re using the – second base, or whatever it is - for, isn’t it?” said Alice Longbottom. Lily was momentarily confused – what base? Then she remembered Dumbledore mentioning that the Death Eaters had somewhere apart from their headquarters that was involved in their plans at the meeting just after Christmas. “As somewhere to keep the werewolves, because they don’t want to keep them in their headquarters.”

Dumbledore inclined his head towards her. “Those were my thoughts exactly. And, given the locations of the werewolf attacks, I think we can narrow down the location of this second base to near the border of East Anglia, which makes it worryingly close to London and to us.”

“What do you think Voldemort’s going to use them for?” asked Remus. Lily was surprised at how calm he sounded, given that he looked anything but. Dumbledore fixed him with a concerned look before answering him.

“As to that, I don’t know. I have a number of theories, each as worrying as the next. Though I do not wish to jump to any conclusions until I have heard from all of my spies, and gathered all the information available at this time.”

Lily listened intently throughout the rest of the meeting, hoping that someone would reveal a piece of information that was possibly linked to the werewolf army that Voldemort was building. Unfortunately, there was nothing more than what was quickly becoming the usual: arriving too late at a murder scene while trailing a Death Eater, almost cornering a Death Eater but they got away at the last minute, getting discovered while spying on a group of Death Eaters and only just getting away… Any successful missions were of little importance and were not happening often enough for any of their liking.

By the end of the meeting, Lily could tell that she was not the only one who was feeling incompetent and as if they were not making a great impact in the war. This was made worse in Lily’s case as she actually wasn’t doing anything. When Dumbledore started redistributing missions, Lily shifted guiltily in her seat. She knew no one was holding it against her, but she couldn’t help wondering whether things would be slightly different if her, Remus and Sirius were helping the cause instead of sitting around Grimmauld Place all day, or in Sirius’ case, protecting Petunia, despite the fact that there hadn’t even been a whisper of another attack on her family.

Apparently Dumbledore had realised this too. When he reached Lily and Remus on his way around the table, he sighed.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to assign one of you a regular mission, unless you think Sirius will take it and either of you can take over keeping a watch on Petunia?”

“I’ll do it,” Remus said immediately. He looked at Lily. “You should stay with Harry and I’m not a very good bodyguard once a month.”
Lily nodded absentmindedly. She had no reason to object if Remus wanted to take the mission, and he was right that she should stay and look after Harry, after all, she didn’t trust Sirius to look after him full time and Remus still wasn’t confident in looking after him.

“Very well,” said Dumbledore. “In that case, I’d like you to start searching for where Greyback’s werewolves are being contained. Start along the Essex and Hertfordshire border and spread out from there. It’s unlikely that the base is close to where the attacks were but it can’t be too far away.”

Remus nodded. His face was still pale, but now he looked determined. Dumbledore gave him another concerned look over the top of his half-moon glasses before moving on.

The meeting wrapped up shortly afterwards. As the room was filled with the sound of chairs being scraped back, Lily heard Dumbledore’s voice,

“Remus. A word, please.”

Lily saw Remus look up, surprised to see Dumbledore making his way towards him. Lily dawdled in getting up; she was curious as to what Dumbledore could want to talk to Remus about that had to be done so in private. She was lingering around the doorway into the living room when Dumbledore spotted her,

“You may stay, Lily. I merely wish to ask whether Remus is feeling well. You were looking a bit off colour during the meeting.”

“I’m fine, honestly, Dumbledore.”

“Are you sure? Lily, you have been making the potion correctly, haven’t you?”

“I’m due to start making it on Thursday.”

“I’m sure, Dumbledore. It’s probably just the new moon, it gets to me sometimes.”

“If you’re sure, Remus.” Dumbledore paused, giving him one last look. “Well, I must be going. Goodnight.”

They watched as Dumbledore left, leaving only the two of them in the house.

“You’re not fine,” Lily said. “You went pale as soon as they started talking about the werewolf attacks. You know no one thinks of you like they do the others, you’re –”

“Lucky,” interrupted Remus. “The only thing that separates me from them is luck. I was lucky to get into Hogwarts, lucky to make brilliant friends, lucky to have someone that will brew me the Wolfsbane potion. If I didn’t have all that then I’d probably be out there with them.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to feel responsible for whatever they’re doing.”

Remus shook his head morosely. “You don’t understand.”

“No, I don’t think I do. Even if it is just luck that made you different you aren’t the one out there infecting innocent people.”

“But they’re like me. I could do that. It’s like… like…” He stared around the room wildly. “It’s like how Sirius acts, whenever Bellatrix or someone he’s related to has murdered a family or something. It’s not his fault but he still takes it personally.”

“But you aren’t related to any of them. You’ve never even met any of them! The only time you’ve ever seen another werewolf was when you were bitten.”

Remus was shaking his head before Lily had even finished speaking.

“Forget it. Come on, let’s just go home. I think I need a drink.”

Lily sighed. She could tell that there was no use in arguing with Remus, when they got back to Grimmauld Place Sirius would probably already have a bottle of something out. He’d been using the excuse that there were cupboards full and they might as well drink it, but Lily knew that he was still having trouble with James’ death and was drinking to numb the pain. Sometimes, Lily wished that she could do that too, but thoughts of Harry stopped her. She knew that she had to get through this on her own, otherwise it wouldn’t be fair on him if she reached for the bottle every time life got hard. Especially in this war, when it was a matter of when – not if – any more of their friends were lost.

Staying silent, Lily followed Remus out of headquarters. They linked arms on the front step, and the last things Lily saw before they Disapparated were the stars.
________________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #27  
Old July 9th, 2011, 10:30 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3698 days
Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Aaaand I'm back. Seriously. No more exams, ever (Until I get into Uni) so I can update regularly again. I'm not promising weekly updates like it was before because I have no idea how I managed to do that. But more free time and nearly every chapter planned means I should hopefully finish this. Yeah, I'm not saying when, just that I'll finish eventually Anyway enjoy

Chapter 26

Before a week had passed, Lily was already fed up of spending her days alone while Sirius was out in Little Whinging and Remus was scouting various towns for Greyback’s werewolf pack. She had Harry, but a nearly eighteen month old baby was not a great conversationalist and Lily spent the majority of the day keeping him away from Kreacher, who had developed a deep hatred for her son. This hatred seemed to be mutual, as much of Harry’s accidental magic was now aimed at the house-elf and when Lily found Kreacher strung up by his loin cloth on a chandelier in the parlour she decided that this had to stop before either caused the other serious harm. Lily had therefore sent her Patronus to Frank and Alice asking them if they wanted to bring Neville over on their next day off. This would pre-occupy Harry enough so he wouldn’t resort to attacking Kreacher and keep Lily company, so she was pleased when Alice’s Patronus came back saying that she wasn’t in work the next day and would bring Neville to Grimmauld Place.

The toddlers had happily played together on the kitchen floor with some of Harry’s toys for most of the day, meaning that Lily and Alice had nothing to do except talk, which suited them perfectly. They were sat on two chairs by the fireplace so that Lily could check on, and occasionally stir, the Wolfsbane potion that she had started to make again for Remus.

During a lull in the conversation, Lily started to watch Harry and Neville.

“They grow up fast, don’t they?” Alice sighed. Lily turned to look at Alice and saw that she was watching them too. Lily laughed.

“Don’t say that, they’re not even two. You’re making it sound like they’re twenty.”

“I don’t even want to think about them getting that old. Nev’s never going to grow up, he’ll stay two forever.”

“I think I’d die if Harry stayed two forever. He’s a rascal now as it is.”

Alice grinned. “I haven’t seen Kreacher today.”

“Sirius shouted at him last night to stay away from Harry and do something useful instead of antagonising him. I think he’s in the attic.”

“Sirius takes his godfather duties seriously.”

“Don’t you mean Siriusly?”

Alice shook her head. Lily laughed at her disappointed expression.

“I never would have thought you’d stoop that low. I’m disappointed in you, Lily.”

“I’ve been spending too much time with him. He’s starting to rub off on me.”

“What time’s he due home?” asked Alice.

Lily checked her watch. “In about half an hour. Why, you don’t want to leave just because of that do you? It’s not my fault; I’m surrounded by crazy people twenty-four hours a day. I need more sane people in my life.”

“No, I should go soon anyway. Nev needs to eat.”

“You’re no saner than Sirius. I’m not forcing you to go back to Frank’s mum’s just because Nev needs to eat, you can eat here.”

“Are you sure?”

“Definitely. Remus loves cooking, which is great because I’m no good at it.”

“You’re certain?”

“A hundred per cent.”

“You’re a lifesaver.” Alice breathed a sigh of relief.

“Still not getting on with Frank’s mum then?”

“Not a chance,” said Alice, shaking her head. “She’s so demanding. Whenever she comes back after going out she asks if Nev’s done magic yet.”

“Really?”

“Yes, Frank shouted at her the other day. We couldn’t care less if he was a squib, he’s still our son.”

“It’s not as if it changes who he is.”

“Exactly. I don’t think she means to be so annoying, she just wants him to be a wizard.”

Lily wondered whether she would care if Harry was a squib. There was no doubt that she would still love him, but would she be disappointed? She supposed some part of her would be, but for a much larger part it wouldn’t even matter if Harry had three heads, never mind if he was a squib.

“I think all the old pure-blood families are a bit like that. It’s not Death Eater stuff, it’s just expected. You should have seen James a month after Harry was born, constantly trying to make him Summon things,” Lily said, smiling at the memory. That was, until she noticed Alice smiling back at her a little too understandingly.

“How are you?” asked Alice softly.

“I miss him. It’s always at the back of my mind. It’s not as bad anymore but it’s still there. It won’t ever go away.”

“As long as it doesn’t stop you doing anything.”

“No. Not like Sirius.”

“He always seems alright,” Alice sounded surprised. “What does he do?”

“He drinks most nights. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough.”

“That’s weird. He’s never taken it that bad when anyone else – you know.”

“I know, he used to just get angrier. But they were like brothers, and, well, it was his idea to use Peter as the Secret Keeper.”

“You know, no one’s seen Peter since. He’s completely disappeared.”

“He must know everyone’s after him. Especially Sirius.”

“Especially Sirius what?”

Lily looked around at the voice and saw Sirius coming down the stairs.

She hesitated. Lily knew that if she told Sirius what they had been talking about then it would most likely put him in a bad mood for the rest of the evening, but if they didn’t tell him then he’d be asking about it constantly until they eventually did tell him, and that would be just as annoying as having him in a bad mood.

Unfortunately, Alice didn’t know Sirius as well as Lily did.

“We think Peter’s gone into hiding because he knows everyone’s after him,” said Alice.

“Probably, the cowardly rat,” Sirius said, flopping into a chair at the table. “He’s not doing Voldemort any good like that though. I’m sure they’re both not happy with it. I swear, if I see Wormtail again – ”

“Uckle Seerus!”

Harry had noticed Sirius’ entrance. He crawled over as quickly as he could to where Sirius was sitting.

“Hiya Harry.” Sirius picked him up and sat him down on his knee. Then, he turned to Lily, “Anyway, I was thinking Moony’s birthday is coming up. We should do something.”

Lily felt as if her heart had skipped a beat. She had forgotten that Remus’ birthday was in a few weeks, but it wasn’t that that had suddenly made her chest feel heavier than normal. For previous years, the run-up to Remus’ birthday had also meant that it was time to start thinking about planning James’. That would never happen again.

Lily could feel Sirius’ eyes on her, though she refused to meet them, preferring to look down at the cauldron she was now suddenly interested in and blink rapidly, trying to dislodge the wetness in her eyes. She hadn’t been lying when she had told Alice she was better now, but too much talk or thinking about James still upset her, especially when she wasn’t expecting it.

“I don’t know if he’ll want us to do something,” she said, keeping her eyes looking down and trying to keep her voice steady. “It’s not as if he likes people making a fuss over him.”

“Well, what if we say it’s not a party for his birthday, but just happens to be on his birthday and that means people will bring him presents?”

Lily couldn’t resist rolling her eyes and looking up at Sirius, a faint smile on her face.

“I think he might see through that. Why do you want a party so badly anyway?”

Sirius looked at Lily as if she’d gone mad.

“Why wouldn’t anyone want a party? We’re in the middle of a war; we don’t get enough opportunities to relax and celebrate anything.”

“It’s Remus’ birthday, we should do what he wants.”

“But he won’t want to do anything!”

“You mean he won’t want to do anything you want to do.”

“No, he actually won’t want to do anything.”

“Maybe we should ask him first?”

“But then it won’t be a surprise.”

“Not everything has to be a surprise.”

“It’s boring when it’s not a surprise.”

“You know, Sirius, some people don’t like surprises. Or parties, for that matter.”

“Remus does. He just doesn’t know that he does.”

Lily couldn’t help it; she burst out laughing at this.

“Give it a rest. We’ll ask him what he wants to do when he gets home and that’ll be the end of it.”

“I think Lily’s right, Sirius. You should do what Remus wants,” said Alice, who had watched the two of them banter with a bemused expression on her face.

Sirius slumped back in his chair and Lily saw his bottom lip protrude slightly as it was clear he had lost the argument. Lily caught Alice’s eye and she grinned.

Silence descended upon them. Lily turned back to the potion now that it was almost time to start the evening’s lot of ingredients and began to concentrate on weighing the correct amounts of ingredients; Sirius adjusted Harry on his lap and started playing with him, pulling faces at Harry and lifting him into the air; and Alice got up off her chair to sit beside Neville on the floor.

Lily lost track of time while she focused on the potion, this was only her third month making it and she was still nervous about brewing it wrong and harming Remus in some way. By the time she had finished, her stomach was rumbling. Lily checked her watch and looked around in panic. It was much later than usual and Remus wasn’t back yet. Sirius looked up from entertaining Harry, saw Lily’s face and appeared to understand her worry straight away.

“Remus is normally back by now,” said Lily. “Do you think something’s happened?”

“We’d have heard if there was anything wrong. He’d have sent a message or something.” Despite his calming words, Sirius sounded just as worried as Lily.

“He’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Alice said. “It’s Remus, he’s probably got caught up in it and lost track of time.”

“Yeah…”

Lily couldn’t concentrate on anything from then on. Her mind kept imagining various scenarios in which Remus could have been harmed or prevented from returning back to Grimmauld Place. However, she didn’t voice these concerns – Lily knew that Sirius and Alice would only tell her that she worried too much. That left her sitting silently and trying to think of anything else that might distract her while the other two played with the toddlers.

It felt like at least an hour later, but was probably closer to fifteen minutes, when Lily heard the screams start upstairs and then quickly cut off. She hadn’t realised that she had been holding her breath until she released it in relief as she saw Remus’ feet descending the stone staircase into the kitchen.

“What happened?” Lily asked almost as soon as Remus’ face came into view. “You’re normally back earlier than this.”

Remus frowned and looked at Lily for a moment before replying.

“Were you worrying?” He said with a slight smile.

“Of course she was,” Sirius answered for Lily. “But seriously, where were you? I’m starving.”

“I thought I’d found a lead but it turned out to be nothing,” said Remus, shaking his head. “Thank you for the concern, by the way.”
“No problem.”

Remus sat down in a seat at the table, causing Sirius to look at him in disbelief.

“Aren’t you going to make dinner?”

“Didn’t anyone else think to cook? It’s not that difficult.” Remus looked dumbfounded that nobody had bothered to attempt to feed themselves in his absence. “Oh, hello Alice, I didn’t see you sat down there,” he added.

“Hi Remus.”

“Clearly we were thinking of Harry and Neville. Their tiny baby stomachs might not be able to cope with the dreadful cooking that me or Lily might be able to produce.”

“I know that’s just an excuse, but you have a point. I’ve tasted your tagliatelle, it tasted as if you’d thrown in a bunch of things you’d found under a log.”

With that, Remus got up and headed into the pantry.

“I’ll help,” Lily said, getting up and following Remus, “Sirius has stolen my son. What are we having?”

“I – er – don’t know.”

The pantry door closed behind Lily as she entered, making her suddenly feel claustrophobic in the large pantry. They lit their wands to see and Remus started to look around for something that could be made into a meal. Lily felt remarkably out of place standing there and not doing anything, especially when Remus kept bumping into her in the half-light as he poked around the shelves. After a minute or so, he seemed to have decided on something.

“How about a risotto? Pass me that block of cheese from behind you.”

They collected all the ingredients quickly and soon set about cooking them. Lily had to be told exactly what to do by Remus and even then he would interrupt her, telling her that she was doing it wrong. Whenever this happened, Lily expected him to get fed up and tell her to sit down, but he never did.

It was quite late when they finally finished cooking the meal and Harry and Neville had begun to get grouchy. Dinner was eaten hastily so that the toddlers wouldn’t have to put to bed as soon as they had finished eating and Alice left with Neville not long after they had finished. The goodbyes were extended due to many thank-yous on Alice’s part and Neville not wanting to part with some of Harry’s toys, which turned Harry and Neville from the best of friends into mortal enemies for a few minutes. Neville was eventually prised away from the toys and Alice left with him.

After seeing Alice and Neville to the front door, Lily went back down to the kitchen to relax before she would have to get Harry ready for bed.

“You never said Alice was coming round,” Remus said as he pointed his wand at the sink and the dishes began to wash themselves.

“Didn’t I? I must have forgotten last night. I asked her yesterday to bring Neville over. It doesn’t matter does it? It gets boring sat around here all day not doing anything except keeping Harry and Kreacher away from each other.”

“You never told us that,” said Sirius.

“What difference does it make? Neither of you can just stay here when you feel like it.”

“We could have sorted something out.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. I’ll have a think.”

“I didn’t know you could do that.”

“Oh, ha ha.”

Lily leaned back in her chair, settling herself in for a peaceful evening, or as peaceful an evening as she could have with Sirius there. He would probably complain a bit, but for the most part Lily enjoyed her evenings with him and Remus, teasing each other. The only bad evenings were those when she couldn’t sleep, but when that happened she would come back down to the kitchen and more often than not Remus would join her, making those nights bearable. In fact, Lily had got into the habit of following Remus down if she heard him descending the stairs even when her thoughts weren’t plaguing her; she knew that she would have gone many sleepless nights had he not been there for her and Lily felt that she owed him nothing less than to do the same for him. If friends couldn’t be there for each other when they needed them most, then they were poor friends indeed.
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Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:36 pm.
  #28  
Old July 18th, 2011, 7:47 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Phew, I'd forgotten how much effort it was doing weekly updates I meant to post this earlier today but I ended up having to visit relatives in hospital, but it's done now And big hugs to everyone who keeps reviewing, and anyone else who needs them after DH2

Chapter 27

Nearly two weeks had passed since Sirius had promised to think about some way for Lily to not be on her own in number 12 Grimmauld Place all day. Lily had secretly not expected him to do anything about it; there was next to nothing they could do that would either put Harry in danger or mean Sirius or Remus were neglecting their jobs. So she had forgotten about it. In any case, Lily was perfectly content with Alice or Frank visiting with Neville on their days off, despite that not happening very often.

Lily was feeling anxious that morning anyway. The full moon had been the night before and, as always, she was worried about Remus being out on his own. Lily wasn’t quite as bad as she had been the previous months, especially last month when she had realised that he wouldn’t just be in the woods near the house (as there weren’t any) and would have to Apparate to them, but it was enough to put her on edge until Remus got home. This meant that, when Lily went down to the kitchen with Harry, and Sirius wasn’t there as he normally was, her anxiety grew to downright worry.

It wasn’t that Sirius hadn’t been there: Lily had been woken up by the sound of him stomping down the stairs and there were unmistakable signs of his presence (half eaten slices of toast and unwashed dishes in the sink). It was the fact that he had already left, and in a hurry – hence the half eaten toast – that worried Lily.

However, his leaving in a hurry also meant that he had left a letter that it was obvious he had only received that morning. Lily placed Harry in his high chair and grabbed the letter across the table.

Sirius,

I apologise for not replying before now, I’ve been rather busy. I’ll be glad to meet you this morning.

Regards,

Seth


This left Lily with more questions than it had answered. With her head buzzing full of them, she went about making breakfast for herself, Harry and Remus, who would no doubt be thankful for not having to cook even if the food didn’t taste the best.

Lily didn’t have to wait long before she heard the unmistakable screams of Walburga’s portrait announcing that someone had entered the hallway. They were quickly silenced and followed by the sound of footsteps on the stone stairs down to the kitchen.

“You’re back early, Remus. I was just making breakfast,” Lily said from the counter.

“It’s not Remus, it’s me,” came Sirius’ voice and a second later he had entered the kitchen properly. “And he probably wouldn’t feel better if he ate your breakfast. I brought a guest.”

Lily was about to fire a witty comeback at Sirius but stopped. A second figure was coming down the stairs, looking around curiously.

“Seth? You brought Seth here?”

“It’s good to see you too, Lily,” said Seth, a smile playing on his lips.

“But you don’t trust Seth. At all. No offense.” Lily turned to Sirius, completely shocked, while Seth waved off the insult. Sirius shrugged.

“I didn’t. But after we met we carried on exchanging letters and I can’t find a reason not to trust him.”

Lily stared at him blankly. It took her a moment to regain her ability to speak.

“But why have you told him about Grimmauld Place?”

Sirius rolled his eyes.

“You said the other week that you didn’t like being here on your own. Now you have someone else who can visit.” He spoke as if to a ten-year-old. Lily was mildly insulted; she wasn’t that slow in the mornings.

“Oh… thanks.” Lily went back to attempting to make breakfast. “Have a seat, Seth. Do you want anything to eat?”

Seth declined the offer and took a seat next to Harry.

“So this is Harry,” Seth said, peering at him. “Hello.”

Lily looked around in time to see Harry move away from Seth and raise his arms towards Sirius, who had sat down on the other side of him. Sirius picked him up out of his high chair.

“What’s the matter, Harry? Don’t you like Seth?” asked Sirius.

“Hung-nery.”

“I think Harry’s hungry, Lily.”

“Yes, I caught that, Sirius.”

A few minutes later, Lily placed a plate of burnt scrambled eggs and toast in front of Harry. Sirius looked at Lily, his eyes wide.

“You expect him to eat that?”

“If he’s too hungry to wait for Remus to get home then he’ll have to get used to my cooking. It’s not as if it’s inedible, and I’ve got to eat it too.”

Sirius shook his head and started to feed Harry the burnt breakfast.

“Where’s Remus?” Seth asked.

Lily briefly glanced up at Sirius from her own plate. He looked surprisingly laid-back.

“Working the night-shift. Security at St. Mungo’s,” said Sirius, not even looking away from the slice of toast he was cutting up.

“I didn’t know he worked at the hospital.”

“With Voldemort around they started hiring more security guards to protect all of the extra patients they were getting.”

Lily went back to eating her breakfast, thankful that Sirius had obviously thought this through properly. It occurred to Lily that they might not be able to maintain Remus’ secret if Seth started spending more time here, but they might end up telling him anyway if they decided to trust him fully, and it seemed that Sirius had.

Nobody spoke while Lily was eating. Harry was voluntarily eating his food, which was unusual for him, thereby keeping Sirius busy as he couldn’t cut up the food fast enough. This left Seth to stare around the room curiously, as if he was taking in every detail.

“You’re not needed in the Ministry today then, Seth?” asked Lily once she had finished and sent her empty plate over to the sink with a wave of her wand.

“No. I think they think I’d just get in the way today. Day after the full moon, it’s bound to be busy if last month was anything to go off. I’ll record the damage tomorrow to send back home.”

“I don’t understand why your Ministry doesn’t send over help if they’re taking such a big interest in Voldemort.”

“It’s simple: they don’t want him to attack them next. If it’s known that America is sending over Aurors then they might as well wave a sign around telling him that there’s plenty of muggle-borns over there that he can kill.”

“But if they send over enough Aurors then it would help us get rid of Voldemort before he gets a chance to move onto any other country. He’s not going to stop if he takes over our Ministry.” Without her permission, Lily’s eyes fell on Harry as she said this. He was laughing, his mouth wide open, while Sirius pretended the fork was a broomstick and was zooming it around Harry’s head.

“He won’t stop until the entire world is Pure-blood and wizards have taken over the muggles,” Sirius said, putting the fork down onto the empty plate. “Stupid hypocrite.”

“What?” Seth looked from Sirius to Lily.

“Voldemort’s half-blood. His father was a muggle.”

“I thought he was supposed to be Slytherin’s heir and all that.”

“How do you know that?” asked Sirius.

“Just what I’ve heard. Rumours.”

“Could be, he’s certainly evil enough. Doesn’t stop his dear old dad being a muggle.” Sirius shrugged. “What time is it?”

“Nearly nine. Shouldn’t you be going to Mrs Figg’s?” said Lily.

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.” Sirius put Harry back in his high chair and stood up. “See you later.”

“Bye.”

As Sirius walking up the stairs, shouts started coming from the hallway. Sirius paused for a moment, looking down back at Lily.

“That’ll be Remus,” he said, before making his way up the remaining stairs faster than he had been previously.

The shouts stopped as soon as Sirius’ feet disappeared from Lily’s view. She could hear his muffled voice from the hallway, though not what he was saying.

“That’s Sirius’ mother, isn’t it? The portrait?” Seth asked.

“Yes. She’s lovely to have around.”

“Did you ever meet her?”

“Merlin, no, from what Sirius says she never would have let me in the house. Plus, I didn’t start talking to him until seventh year and by that time he’d left home.”

“Sirius ran away from home?”

“He hated his family, so he left. I think that’s about as much thought –”

Lily was cut off by footsteps on the stairs.

“Remus!”

His face was deathly white except for the openly bleeding claw marks down one side of his face and neck that looked as if they continued down his chest. Sirius was on one side of Remus with an arm around him, supporting him as they came down the stairs. Remus’ free hand was gripping the banister so tightly his knuckles were white. Lily all but ran up the stairs to help him down.

“What happened?”

Neither Remus nor Sirius answered Lily’s question, but Remus gave a grunt of pain when she put her arm around the other side of him to help Sirius support him. Together, Lily and Sirius gently led him down the stairs and to the nearest chair. When he was sat down he let out a sigh of relief and closed his eyes.

Lily looked at Sirius, her expression one of horror. Sirius shook his head.

“I don’t know what happened; I couldn’t get anything out of him.” His eyes drifted over to where Remus was sat. “I need to go. Take care of him, and tell me what happened when you find out.”

Lily nodded, and Sirius left. She hurried to Remus’ side.

“What happened?” Lily asked again, this time more urgently.

Remus’ mouth moved but no sound came out. Lily thought she could lip read the word “werewolf”.

She felt her face go cold. Brewing the Wolfsbane potion had many advantages: since he’d been taking it Remus hadn’t been feeling the effects of the moon in the week preceding the full moon as much as he used to and he said it made the transformations easier by allowing him to keep his mind, but if there was a situation where keeping his mind would be a disadvantage then it would be if he came into contact with another werewolf.

Lily moved a chair so Remus could put his feet up on it and hurried to the cupboard where she kept the potion ingredients, hoping that there was something that would help heal the cuts on his face. After fumbling around in the cupboard for a moment, Lily pulled out a nearly empty bottle of Essence of Dittany. She rushed back to Remus’ side, her hands shaking slightly, and poured a few drops onto the cuts.

Remus hissed in pain as the Dittany was applied and green smoke rose out of the wounds. By the time it cleared, what Lily could see of the cuts had scabbed over. She leaned back, relaxing slightly.

“I think you missed a bit,” Seth said.

Lily looked to where he was pointing and felt as if her heart had fallen to somewhere around her stomach.

Blood was seeping through his robes at all possible places: his arms, legs and chest. Lily pulled them back off one of his arms to reveal multiple gashes and a number of bite marks.

“It looks like it was some sort of animal,” Seth said, staring at the marks that covered Remus’ arm. “Are you sure it wasn’t a werewolf?”

Remus opened his eyes. It seemed to take him a minute to recognise Seth, when he did, he shook his head minutely.

“After… dawn.” Remus’ voice was barely audible, it looked as if each word was costing him great effort.

“There’s not enough Dittany for all of these,” moaned Lily. In her panic she could feel tears building up in her eyes.

“I’ll go get some.”

Lily looked around.

Seth had stood up and was looking down at Lily and Remus with a concerned expression.

“I won’t be long. I can Apparate to Diagon Alley, go to the apothecary and be back in half an hour,” he said, and without waiting for an answer from Lily, he left too.

“Why… Seth?” came Remus’ faint voice from beside Lily.

“Sirius let him in. We told him that you were working a night-shift as a security guard at St. Mungo’s to explain where you were, so you were attacked on the way home, ok?”

Remus nodded slightly to show he understood, and then leaned back in his chair.

“Remus, what happened?” asked Lily. She knew it was probably wisest to heal the cuts and let him rest before making him tell her how he had ended up like this, but it would be impossible for him to tell her the truth when Seth was here without him knowing too.

“Werewolf… surprised me… woods near headquarters.”

“But headquarters is nowhere near where the attacks were last month!”

He nodded again and closed his eyes. Lily started applying the Dittany sparingly to his arms. As she made her way further and further up them, the cuts and bites became more frequent and, by the time Lily had reached his shoulders, the Dittany had ran out.

While she worked, Lily couldn’t help thinking about what had happened. It could have been a coincidence that a werewolf just happened to be near headquarters, but it was completely out of the way from where the attacks had been the previous month. This worried Lily; if the Death Eaters and werewolves knew where headquarters was – even if they couldn’t see it or get in – they could start attacking the Order members more efficiently. The other option was that Greyback’s werewolf army had got large enough for them to spread further away from where Dumbledore thought they were being kept. Not surprisingly, Lily didn’t like either of these options.

Lily glanced up at Remus’ face. He wasn’t as pale as he had been when he first came in, though his jaw was clenched in pain. Without any more Dittany, Lily wasn’t sure what to do to help him; she wasn’t a Healer, she was last person anyone would go to if they were injured. In the end, she settled on cleaning the wounds that she had already treated. Pointing her wand at Remus’ face, Lily muttered “Tergeo” and the drying blood was siphoned off. She repeated this with his arms and, once she had finished, his face and arms didn’t look too bad. Now Lily only had to dread what the rest of him looked like.

It wasn’t long until Lily heard the front door open and the screams start from Walburga’s portrait once more. Seth appeared on the stairs holding a small vial, when he reached the bottom he passed it to Lily.

“Thank you,” said Lily before quickly turning back to Remus.

She started now on his legs. They weren’t as bad as his arms had been, but Lily couldn’t help cringing as she worked her way up. When she reached his knees, Lily paused.

“Remus, we’re going to have to take your robes off.”

He grunted, which Lily took to mean that they could. She glanced towards Seth, who had been watching apprehensively. He appeared to know immediately what she wanted him to do as he moved closer and helped her pull Remus’ robes over his head so that he was lying in only his underwear. Lily gasped.

Remus’ entire upper body was covered in blood and claw and bite marks. Lily had to take several calming breaths to stop her hands shaking before she was able to unstopper the vial of Dittany and begin applying it to Remus’ wounds.

It took Lily almost an hour to heal all the cuts on Remus’ front and back, and siphon off the blood. Instead of making him look like the bloodied piece of meat he had previously, the cuts were now scabbing over and looked a few weeks old. Lily Summoned a clean set of robes and, with Seth’s help, managed to redress Remus. He hadn’t said anything while they worked, but Lily had heard him grunt in pain or exhale louder than was normal more than a few times and Lily had started shaking whenever he did.

Now they had finished, Remus opened his eyes.

“How are you feeling?” Lily asked.

“Tired,” said Remus, his voice slightly stronger than before, “and hungry.”

Lily had forgotten the extra breakfast she had put a Warming Charm on for Remus earlier. She pointed her wand at it and it zoomed over to her. Lily caught it, and out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Remus move as if to sit up properly.

“You’re staying there,” said Lily. Something in her voice made Remus relax again without hesitation. He didn’t move or speak while Lily fed him breakfast. It was only after she had finished and his face had regained most of its usual colour that Lily allowed Remus to sit up in his chair.

“Thanks,” he said. Then, he crossed his arms in front of him on the table and rested his head on them. Within moments, Lily could hear him breathing deeply, asleep.
__________________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:38 pm.
  #29  
Old July 24th, 2011, 9:12 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3698 days
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Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

New Chapter. I can't even remember how many times this one made me want to scream, but hopefully you'll all enjoy it.

Chapter 28

“Don’t you think we should move him?”

Seth’s whispered question interrupted Lily’s thoughts. She hadn’t been thinking about anything in particular, merely replaying the previous two hours in her mind. Seeing Remus covered in blood had unsettled her. Despite their rising numbers, Remus had never encountered another werewolf at the full moon before and Lily had to strain to think if she had ever seen him injured that badly; she hadn’t, not even after he had returned from missions for the Order.

“Where to? The parlour?” asked Lily. She looked away from Remus’ sleeping form towards Seth.

“He doesn’t have a bedroom?”

“We wouldn’t hear him if he woke up and needed something.”

Seth stared at Lily for a moment. Finally, he said, “Sirius is right, you do worry a lot. Parlour it is then.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Lily was brought up short by Seth’s comment.

“Nothing. Just an observation.” Seth smiled. “Sirius mentioned it once.”

This reminded Lily of a question she had meant to ask Sirius. She decided that asking Seth would be just as good.

“What did you and Sirius talk about when you wrote to each other?”

Seth shrugged. “Anything. Mostly me, actually,” Seth said, after thinking for a second. “He has serious trust issues. Why are you suspicious all of a sudden? I’ve finally got Sirius on my side and now you’ve stopped believing me.” Seth laughed.

“I’m not suspicious,” Lily said, shaking her head. “I’m more surprised that Sirius has suddenly decided to trust you, you haven’t cursed him or something, have you?”

“No, I haven’t cursed Sirius.” Seth grinned. “Are you going to help me move Remus or not?”

“I’ll do it; you can hold open the doors for me.”

Lily picked Harry up out of his high chair to take him up with them and pointed her wand at Remus. He started levitating slightly a few inches above the chair he had been sat on. Being careful so as to not bang him against anything, Lily levitated him up the stairs. Seth went ahead of them to hold the doors open for Lily and Stun the portrait of Walburga Black. Somehow, they made it to the parlour without waking Remus, and Lily lowered him onto the sofa.

“Have a seat,” Lily whispered, taking one herself and setting Harry on her knee.

“What do you do all day here?” Seth asked. “Just…”

“I keep Kreacher away from Harry. It gets boring, but I don’t actually mind that much. Plenty of people would do anything to be able to spend all day with their son, and with Voldemort around you never know how long you’ve got.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about that, he’s never going to be able to get in here.”

“Something might happen when we go out, though.”

“Do you go out a lot? I assumed you stayed in with Harry.”

Lily mentally cursed herself for saying anything. The only time she went out was to go to the Order meetings, which Seth wasn’t to know about.

“Someone’s always here with Harry, but I’d go crazy if I didn’t leave the house. Occasionally I go to Diagon Alley with Remus or Sirius,” Lily made up on the spot. Seth appeared to believe her because he didn’t question it any further.

Neither of them spoke and they fell into an uncomfortable silence. Lily didn’t know what to talk about to Seth; the topic that was on everyone’s mind – the war – would not be wise as Lily could accidently reveal too much information and she wasn’t that knowledgeable about anything else that was happening outside of Grimmauld Place. Fortunately, Harry broke the silence.

“Mummy.”

He tried to stand up on Lily’s knee to get her full attention.

“Shh, Harry. You’ve got to be quiet, Uncle Remus is sleeping. See?”

Lily turned him around so that Harry could see Remus asleep on the sofa. It didn’t make much of an impression on Harry.

“Mummy!” He said, louder than before.

“Quiet, Harry. What’s the matter?”

“Play.”

“I can’t play with you, we’ve got to be quiet.”

At this, Lily could see Harry’s bottom lip start trembling and she knew that she had moments before he would start crying.

“Okay, okay,” she said quickly to stop him before he started screaming. “You can have some quiet toys.”

Lily placed Harry on the floor and got up. She went to one of the cabinets that they used to store some of Harry’s toys.

“I didn’t know they did quiet toys for babies,” said Seth.

“They don’t do many,” Lily said, rummaging around. She spotted the toy Sirius had made Harry for Christmas and quickly moved it to the back before Harry could have a chance to see it and demand that he play with it. In the end, Lily pulled out an armful of cuddly toys that could walk and wave their arms about, but definitely could not make any noise.

Harry set about playing with them, and chasing them on all fours when they walked out of his reach. At one point, a stuffed dragon started making its way towards Seth, bumping into the legs of the coffee table as it went. Harry made to go after it, but he stopped abruptly when he saw who it was going towards.

“Here you go,” Seth said, picking up the toy and turned it around so it would walk back to Harry. It was too late, as Harry had already started crawling back towards Lily.

“Don’t you like Seth, Harry?” Lily picked him up and he buried himself in her arms. “He’s not used to strangers,” she said to Seth.

“It’s fine.”

He didn’t look fine – he was frowning slightly while staring at Harry; a slight crease had appeared between his eyebrows.

“Seth?”

Seth blinked and looked up. The crease disappeared and his frown was replaced by a small smile.

“Are you okay? Do you want a drink or anything?”

“No thanks, I’m good. It’s nothing, I’m not used to babies running away from me.”

“He doesn’t meet that many people who he doesn’t already know.”

Lily spent the next few minutes trying to coax Harry out of her arms. Every time she put him back on the floor so he could play with his toys he’d crawl back behind Lily’s legs and refuse to move until she picked him back up. Finally, she gave up and left him on her lap.

“Kids,” laughed Seth.

“Yeah, who’d have them?”

“He doesn’t look like you much,” mused Seth.

“I know. He’s the double of his dad. He has my eyes, though.”

Seth opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a sound coming from the sofa.

“Naugh.”

Lily looked over to see that Remus was stirring. He yawned and looked around the room.

“I thought I fell asleep downstairs,” croaked Remus.

“You did, but you looked uncomfortable so we moved you.”

“Why the sofa?”

On the other side of her, Lily heard Seth snicker.

“Lily didn’t want you to be upstairs in case you woke up and needed something and we wouldn’t be able to hear you.”

Remus rolled his eyes, but was smiling slightly.

“How are you feeling? You haven’t been asleep very long.” Lily tried to divert the attention from herself before they started teasing her.

“Better.” He touched the marks on his face and grimaced. “Ouch.”

“They shouldn’t scar, I think we got to them in time,” said Lily.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve got plenty to match.”

“What happened?” Seth asked.

Lily held her breath, hoping that Remus hadn’t been too out of it before to remember their cover story.

“I don’t really know,” he said. “I was coming back and a great big pack of wild dogs must have decided that I looked like food. I only just managed to get away from them.”

Seth nodded and Lily released her breath. It would be a miracle if they got through the day without him becoming suspicious about why Remus had turned up looking like he’d offended a hippogriff.

“Do you want anything?” said Lily, attempting to steer the conversation towards safer waters.

“I could do with something to eat.”

“Right.” Lily checked her watch. It was past noon. “I’ll make us all lunch.”

“I’ll help,” said Seth while Lily was getting up.

“That means you get to look after Harry.” Lily walked over to Remus, who sat up quickly, and put Harry in his lap.

“You’re eager to get rid of him.”

“He’s not been behaving.”

“Then why are you giving him to me?” Remus looked warily at the toddler.

“You’ll be fine – we won’t be long.”

Lily and Seth left the room with Remus looking alarmed at the prospect of being alone with Harry.

Once they were in the kitchen, both Lily and Seth stopped, and then looked at each other.

“So what are we making?”

“Err,” Lily said. “Well, I’ve already burnt one meal today so I don’t fancy repeating that experience. Sandwiches will be fine.”

Lily led the way into the pantry. It took the two of them a while to find everything they needed as Lily spent very little time in there normally. They had everything apart from the bread and were staring around looking for it when Seth spotted it on a higher shelf.

He reached up to grab it and the sleeves of his robes slipped down, revealing his forearms. Lily glanced at his left arm before she even had a chance to understand why she did so. His pale skin was bare.

“What’s the matter?” Seth asked. He must have caught Lily’s quick glance.

“Nothing.”

“You were looking at my arms. Is there anything on them?”

“No,” said Lily, and then, deciding that the truth wasn’t too bad, “I was just checking to see –”

“I don’t have a Dark Mark. And I’ve not left your sight or had a drink for over an hour, so I haven’t been taking Polyjuice potion either.”

Lily blushed, embarrassed that Seth had caught her out. She took a deep breath and when she spoke it was in an overly business-like voice, “Right. Just making sure.”

Seth was smiling again. “Are there any more tests I have to pass?”

“Not right now. I’ll have a think.”

They went back into the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to make everyone’s lunch, which also didn’t involve any injuries on Lily’s part. Everything was finished and Lily was about to take the plates back upstairs when Seth spoke.

“Hey, Lily, can I ask you something?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

“Why was Remus lying before?”

Lily felt her face grow cold.

“What are you talking about?”

“When he was telling us what happened he said he’d been attacked by wild dogs but when he came in his robes were fine, it was only him that was messed up.”

Lily mentally cursed, repeatedly. She didn’t say anything.

“Is he a werewolf?”

Lily continued cursing. Seth took her silence as a yes.

“I thought so. He’s always seemed as if he had something to hide and today you’ve all been thinking before saying anything about him. Also, Moony?”

“They were really unimaginative fifteen-year olds,” Lily managed to say. “We couldn’t even go a day with you here without you finding out. That’s awful.”

“Not really, it was a bad day for you to try.

“You don’t care?” Lily asked. “Most people start running when they hear the word ‘werewolf’.”

“Most werewolves run around in packs trying to infect others. I get the impression Remus doesn’t do that.”

“You’re really ok with it?” Lily raised her eyebrows.

“If I wasn’t I don’t think I’d still be stood here. Come on, I think they’ll be getting hungry up there,” said Seth, and without another word he passed Lily on his way upstairs, taking the plates out of her hands as he went.

Lily didn’t regain control of her legs straight away. She was completely dumbstruck by Seth’s reaction; she hadn’t known anyone to just accept that someone they barely knew was a werewolf – even she hadn’t at first and she’d known Remus for years before finding out.

She eventually followed Seth up the stone steps. He had waited for her at the top of them, and laughed at the expression on her face as she came up.

“Is it really that unusual for people to be that accepting?” he asked.

“Yes, don’t you Americans care?”

“Not that I’ve noticed.”

They entered the parlour. Remus looked up from making faces at Harry as they did so; his expression faltered at the sight of Lily’s face. She had no idea what she must look like for Seth to laugh and Remus to hesitate when they saw her. Lily quickly rearranged her features.

“What’s the matter?” asked Remus, accepting a plate from Seth.

Lily sat down, glancing at Remus before speaking to her plate, “Seth knows.”

“Knows what?”

“About your moon-time activities.”

There was silence; it stretched on for what felt like hours. When she couldn’t handle it anymore, Lily looked up.

Remus had gone pale, but was watching Seth intently. Seth was looking straight back at Remus, not blinking.

“Well?” Remus said. His voice had gone hard, Lily inwardly cringed at it.

“What do you want me to say? I can make a song and dance about it if you want, but I get the feeling you wouldn’t appreciate it if I did.”

“No. How do you know? Lily wouldn’t have told you.”

“No, I guessed. When you came in this morning your robes weren’t torn even though you were bleeding everywhere. Didn’t fit with your story of being attacked by dogs. So you were attacked by a werewolf last night?”

“Yes.”

“You know, you could report it.”

Remus actually snorted.

“Yeah, because the Ministry cares when werewolves are attacked by other werewolves. It’s their top priority.”

“It was still a werewolf attack.”

Remus didn’t reply. Instead he took a bite out of his sandwich. Seth got the message; he gave up trying to convince Remus to report the attack and started eating his own lunch.

The tension in the room hadn’t disappeared by the time they had finished eating. Lily, getting fed up of the many awkward silences, went to sit next to Remus on the sofa.

“Lily – what are you doing?” Remus asked, bewildered, when she started peering at his face. He started to move away, but Lily clasped her hands on either side of his face, being careful to avoid the claw marks.

“Checking your cuts.”

“But you’re not a Healer.”

“I know that, but even I know that if green goo is coming out then something’s not right.”

“Is there green goo?”

“No,” Lily said, and let go of Remus’ face.

“So I’m not going to die.”

Remus looked relieved that Lily had let him go and shifted away from her slightly. Lily frowned at him while he was looking in another direction.

“Not today.”
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:40 pm.
  #30  
Old July 28th, 2011, 8:11 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

I figured I'd get this chapter done early instead of leaving it until Sunday like I normally do, because I like writing the drinking chapters, oh, and I'll probably be busy with Pottermore on Sunday This chapter is dedicated to FutureAuthor13, mainly because it's filled with SBP references Although you can blame her for distracting me with awesome songs when I'm trying to write

Chapter 29

Remus didn’t die the next day, or the day after. In fact, he managed to survive the two weeks until his birthday with nothing worse happening than Kreacher muttering insults under his breath when they happened to be in the same room. His cuts and bite marks faded with only the deepest ones leaving faint white scars behind.

Lily had eventually discouraged Sirius from throwing a surprise party of some sort for Remus and had involved Remus in the plans for his birthday. At first, he had been unwilling to do anything for his birthday, claiming that twenty-two wasn’t an important age, but Sirius’ argument that no one knew if they’d make it to their next birthday quickly quietened him and Remus agreed to do something.

In the end, it was decided that they would invite a few friends from the Order to visit in the evening. This caused enough trouble by itself: there were too many members of the Order to invite them all to the small gathering, but not many that they actually talked to. Remus finally allowed them to invite Hagrid, Frank and Alice, as well as Seth, who he had avoided slightly since Seth had found out that he was a werewolf. However, Remus was warming up to him again now that it was obvious that he wasn’t treating Remus any differently.

Everything had been decided upon and arranged, until Remus let slip that he still planned to go out during the day to search for the werewolf base.

“Are you crazy?” Sirius had demanded.

“No. If it was a paid job I wouldn’t be able to take the day off, I don’t see the difference,” Remus had explained.

Sirius had shook his head, and then turned to Lily, “Back me up, Lily.”

“It’s his birthday. He can do what he wants.”

“That’s rubbish, though. It’ll just be like any other day when people come round.”

“We never have people come round in the evening for drinks.”

“That’s not the point. We should be doing something different.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, until you do know, we’ll stick with what we’ve got.”

When Remus’ birthday came, Sirius hadn’t thought up any brilliant ideas. He complained about the lack of festivities the entire time he and Lily were making breakfast for Remus (it was cereal, as that was the only thing Lily was sure she couldn’t burn) and Lily had to do the only thing that she knew would keep him quiet; she gave him Harry to look after. Harry himself wasn’t cooperating after being woken earlier than usual so that they could make Remus breakfast in bed, which kept Sirius suitably busy to stop him moaning.

They took Remus’ breakfast up to him, along with his presents. It had become tradition over the past few years to buy Remus things that he actually needed as presents, but now they were all living under the same roof this had become harder, and there were only so many times you could buy someone new robes to replace their tattered ones. This had left Lily and Sirius with next to no ideas as to what to get him and they had ended up buying the obligatory robes and a few books.

Remus was still asleep when Lily and Sirius crept into his bedroom. However, he soon woke up when Sirius put Harry down on his bed and the toddler started crawling over Remus and pulling at his hair.

“Gah,” said Remus.

He recovered quickly and sat up so that he could eat his breakfast and open the presents. After he had done so, Lily and Sirius took Harry and left so that Remus could get dressed. Remus and Sirius had to leave soon after, on their way out Lily heard Sirius warn Remus not to be late coming home, or else.

Lily spent the day sorting out the house, ready for that evening. The parlour and kitchen were cleaned, as those were the only rooms Lily could see them using. She also put up the birthday banners and balloons that Sirius had bought, annoying some of the old portraits in the hallway. Their grumbles became background noise as the balloons went floating past their faces.

Remus came home earlier than usual, claiming that he didn’t want to be killed by Sirius on his birthday, and Sirius returned not long after. They ate and had an hour or so to relax before Harry had to be put to bed in time for the guests to arrive.

Lily had just stepped onto the bottom step of the stairs from taking Harry upstairs when the doorbell rang. She reflexively pointed her wand at the portrait of Mrs Black and Stunned it on the way to open the front door.

“Hi, Lily,” Alice said as Lily opened the door. She was stood beside Frank, with Hagrid’s enormous shadow cast over them.

“Hi,” said Lily, stepping to one side to allow them to enter. She had to move altogether for Hagrid to squeeze his way inside.

“’Ello.”

“Hi, Hagrid.”

“How’s Remus?”

“He’s fine. I think they’re in the parlour.”

Lily walked in, followed by Frank, Alice and Hagrid.

“Happy birthday, Remus,” Alice said, handing him a parcel. “We weren’t sure what to get you, so we kind of went with the easy option, sorry.”

“Thank you, you didn’t have to get me anything,” said Remus, starting to unwrap the present. It turned out to be a book; Remus immediately flipped it over and started reading the blurb.

“You should have got him socks. He loves socks. Insists on rolling them up and everything.” Everyone turned to look at Sirius on his armchair in the corner.

Alice leaned closer to Lily and whispered in her ear, “Has he started drinking yet?”

Lily tried her best to hold in her laughter.

“No.”

“Sirius, do me a favour?” Remus said loudly, not looking up from the book.

“I suppose I’ve got to, it’s your birthday.”

“Shut up.”

Hagrid gave Remus his present too, which Remus unwrapped to find what looked like a deformed hand.

“Uh, Hagrid – what is this?” Remus asked, his voice slightly higher than usual and holding onto the thing through the wrapping paper.

“’S a clabbert’s paw. Supposed to bring luck ter the owner.”

“Oh,” said Remus. The paw was webbed and a mottled green colour. Its skin was perfectly smooth. “Thanks, Hagrid.”

Not long after that, Seth arrived, which meant that Lily had to spend a few minutes introducing him to everyone. They all accepted him without hesitation, something Lily had been worrying about, and before long they were all asking about his life in America. It turned out that Alice and Frank had seen him around at the Ministry and they started talking to him about work.

With all the guests there, Sirius brought out a bottle of elf-made wine and glasses for everyone. They toasted Remus and sang ‘Happy birthday’ to him, while he sat on an armchair looking awkward.

They sat in the parlour, talking and joking, for hours. After a few rounds of drinks, Lily could hear people’s voices becoming slurred, her own included. Remus seemed to be the worst, as every time he drained his glass, someone would fill it up again. Most of the time, this was Sirius, who was equally – if not more – drunk.

At one point, Sirius grabbed the clabbert’s paw that Remus had placed on the coffee table on his way back to his chair from getting a new bottle of Firewhiskey.

“So this gives people good luck?” Sirius asked sitting down again.

“Yeh, dunno if it works. Though’ it migh’ be worth summat with the war an’ all,” said Hagrid.

“Hey, Moony, you might be able to get a girlfriend with this.” Sirius waved the paw in the air.

“It’s not luck that stops me getting a girlfriend –”

“No, you’re right, it’s not, is it, Mr Remus “Victorian constitution” Lupin? When was the last time - ?”

“Shut up.”

“Hey! Don’t interrupt me.”

“I can do what I want, it’s my birthday.” Remus grinned stupidly when he said the last three words. “And you have to do what I say, get me another drink.”

“Yes, your highness.”

They carried on in a similar fashion until midnight, when Frank and Alice had to leave as they were both at work in the morning. Not long after that, Hagrid left, leaving just Lily, Remus, Sirius and Seth.

Lily had no idea how many bottles of alcohol they had got through at this point, but it was enough for her mind to go foggy. By the time it got to two o’clock, they had slowed down their drinking and everyone was calmer and slightly sleepy.

Around this time, Seth announced that he had to leave as well. He said goodbye to Lily and Remus, but then struggled to get away from Sirius who had become very friendly and wouldn’t let go of Seth after he had hugged him. Lily had to prise Sirius off Seth, and she saw Seth to the front door.

When she returned, Remus and Sirius weren’t talking; Remus was playing with the glass in his hands while smiling drunkenly and Sirius was staring at the opposite wall, his eyelids half closed.

“Lily, what time is it?” came Sirius’ drunken slur as Lily took her spot on the sofa.

Lily looked at her watch, trying to decipher what the numbers and hands meant. In that pause, she heard a loud snore come from Sirius’ direction and in glancing at him she saw that he had fallen asleep with his mouth open.

“He’s a charmer,” said Lily, and then to Remus, “Is it just us left?”

“I think so, unless Hagrid’s hiding in a cupboard.”

In her drunken state, Lily found this comment hilarious. She laughed until she could barely breathe and Remus joined in. Lily had almost calmed down when the hiccups started; this brought on a new round of laughter from the pair of them, although it was now painful for Lily who was laughing through the hiccups.

“Ow, ow. Ouch.”

“Are you okay?” Remus choked out between laughs.

“No,” said Lily, clutching her sides, but she was grinning and couldn’t stop another laugh escaping from her mouth.

“You need to go to bed.”

“What? I’m fine. Fine. You’ve had twice as much to drink as me and you’re fine. And going to bed requires moving.”

“I’ve got a good metamba – memeba – metabolisslele – something. Very good point about the moving, by the way. I don’t think I can.”

Lily squinted her eyes so that she could concentrate on Remus better; he was sat sideways on the armchair, his legs over one arm and his head resting on the other, with both of his hands protectively grasping a glass of Firewhiskey. That he didn’t think he could move didn’t seem to bother Remus, as he was grinning at the wall opposite, seemingly without a care in the world. Lily thought that Remus’ metabolism wasn’t as good as he thought it was.

“I don’t think we have to move. We could stay here forever.”

“What about when we need the toilet?”

“Oh.”

Remus downed the rest of the drink in his glass, then looked around the room.

“There’s no point in opening another bottle is there?”

“I don’t think so,” Lily said, reaching down the side of the sofa with one arm, “not when there’s a half empty one here.” She raised the bottle into the air for Remus to see and waved it at him, hearing the sloshing of liquid as she did.

“Pass it here.”

Lily got to her feet hesitantly, she could have thrown the bottle to Remus, but it was very likely that she would miss or he wouldn’t catch it. Getting up didn’t turn out to be a good choice either, as Lily almost tripped up in surprise when Sirius started mumbling in his sleep.

“…We live… ‘neath… waves… yellow… ‘marine…”

“Is he singing The Beatles?” Lily froze and turned to stare at Sirius’ sleeping form. He carried on mumbling but it was too quiet for Lily to understand what he was saying. “How has he even heard of them?”

“I don’t know.”

Lily shook her head.

“I don’t understand Sirius,” she said, passing the bottle to Remus and collapsing back onto the sofa. Remus filled his glass with more Firewhiskey and peered at the bottle.

“Who does? There isn’t much left in this, do you want the rest?”

“Yeah, go on. It’ll save you having any more.”

“That’s the worst excuse ever, you can just say you want more.”

“It’s not an excuse, I’m a responsible adult. I put others’ safety before my own.”

“If you say so. Aren’t you going to get this then?”

“You’re milking this birthday thing for all it’s worth. And it’s past midnight, I don’t have to do everything for you now.” Despite her words, Lily got to her feet again.

“I’m a responsible adult – if I get up I’ll end up falling over and breaking something.”

Lily took the bottle and emptied it into her own glass. She sat back down, taking sips from her glass as she did so. Her eyelids were starting to droop and, now it was silent, she began to notice a banging in her head that grew worse with each swallow of the Firewhiskey. Halfway through the drink, Lily put her glass down on the coffee table and held her head in her hands, closing her eyes.

“Are you ok?” Remus asked, sounding as concerned as he could in his current state.

“I can’t drink anymore,” mumbled Lily.

She heard a scuffling sound, the sound of something heavy falling on the floor, accompanied by a loud curse, and more scuffling. When she let her hands fall and opened her eyes, Remus’ face was unexpectedly close to her own, so close that she could see the individual hairs growing on his chin. His dilated pupils stared straight into her own. They stayed like that for a minute, not moving, just looking at each other.

“Come on,” Remus said finally, his voice slightly hoarse. “You should get to bed.”

Lily shook her head. “We should clear some of this up first. I don’t think we’ll be doing it in the morning.”

Remus drew away, giving Lily room to stand up. She did so, holding onto him for support; he was surprisingly steady on his feet for someone who had drank so much and couldn’t talk without slurring his words. Lily held onto his arm until she felt steady on her own feet and then started going around the room picking up the empty glasses and bottles.

Remus helped her, though as he collected the glasses that still had some drink in them, he emptied them most efficiently – by drinking whatever was left.

The parlour looked relatively tidy once the glasses and bottles that had been strewn around the room had been picked up. Lily and Remus took them down to the kitchen, tip-toeing past the portrait of Sirius’ mother (who was sleeping) and slowly descending the stone staircase into the basement kitchen.

Lily was about to congratulate herself on making it there without dropping anything or falling over, when her foot got caught on a chair leg that hadn’t been pushed under the table properly. She shouted out pointlessly as she fell, watching as if in slow-motion the glasses in her arms fall out and smash on the floor. Lily landed amongst the broken shards of glass.

“Lily!” Remus shouted. She watched the lower half of his body as he dumped the glasses and bottles he had been holding into the sink and then knelt down beside her. “Are you ok?”

“I – I think so,” she said. She had managed to close her eyes before the impact so had avoided getting glass in them; however, she had felt the pain as the glass pierced the skin on her face and hands.

“You’ve cut your face,” said Remus. He gently touched Lily’s cheek with his thumb, wiping away blood, she guessed. “Here.” He stood up and extended a hand towards her. She took it and Remus pulled her up.

He must have pulled too hard because Lily ended up staggering into his chest. Remus put his arms around her and it helped her steady herself.

“Whoops, sorry.”

“It’s alright,” said Lily. She looked up at his face as she said it. His face really was remarkably close to her own.

Lily made to take a step backwards, but Remus’ arms were too strong for her.

Then it happened.

Remus hadn’t broken eye contact with Lily, hadn’t done anything that could have warned Lily what was about to happen. One second, they were looking at each other, admittedly with Lily in Remus’ arms.

The next, Remus had pressed his lips against Lily’s.

Lily gasped, and Remus immediately drew away from her, releasing her from his grasp as a result. She stared at him for a moment, in shock, and watched him blink several times. In the seconds it took him to do this, his expression turned from one of drunken serenity to one of complete and utter horror. He grabbed at his hair with both hands.

“Merlin, I’m sorry, I –” Remus started but he didn’t finish, as he promptly turned around and as good as ran up the stairs to the hallway.

Lily stood, frozen to the spot, her mouth slightly open.

It was nothing, she decided after a few long minutes. Remus must have been drunker than either of them had thought; no doubt he wouldn’t even remember it in the morning. It didn’t mean anything.

Lily stayed frozen for a few more minutes before the tiredness crept up on her again. She found her wand in her pocket and pointed it at the broken glass on the floor. It repaired itself and flew over to the sink to join the others.

She checked the wounds on her arms and hands, and did the same with those on her face after spotting a spoon left on the side that she used to see her reflection. They didn’t look as if they had glass stuck in them, and they weren’t bleeding too much, Lily thought that they would have probably stopped by the time she got into bed.

For some reason, Lily couldn’t bring herself to go upstairs straight away. She stayed in the kitchen, washing the glasses and throwing away the empty wine bottles until she couldn’t fight her tired eyes and brain anymore.

Lily stumbled up the stairs, trying her best to simply concentrate on getting to her bedroom instead of allowing her thoughts to wander. She determinedly didn’t think of what had happened in the kitchen.

That night, Lily dreamt of James.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:43 pm.
  #31  
Old July 31st, 2011, 10:35 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

I well and truly spoil you guys Big thanks to people who are reviewing.

Chapter 30

In the dream, James just stood there – not speaking, not moving – while Lily went about her dream-business. No matter what happened, he was always there in her peripheral vision, watching her.

Lily awoke with her heart pounding and wetness in her eyes. She lay in bed for a few minutes, taking deep breaths and allowing her heart rate to return to normal, as well as the tears to leave her eyes. While Lily lay there, she heard the unmistakable sounds of someone moving around the house. Through the curtains, Lily could tell that it was still dark outside and she had to wonder why Sirius or Remus – or both – were up this early. They had both been ridiculously drunk last night and Lily hadn’t thought that either would be up before midday.

Last night. Lily only had vague recollections of what had happened and she was sure that she must have got some of them mixed up with what she had dreamt; such as Remus kissing her. Why would he have done that? It was absurd.

However, Lily frowned – she was almost certain that it had actually happened, but it made no sense. They were friends, they always had been. Even when Lily hadn’t been able to stand the sight of James, Sirius and Peter, she had been on speaking terms with Remus. Sure, they had grown closer over the years, and especially over the past few months, but they were still just friends.

Part way through her thoughts, Lily became aware that her throat felt like sandpaper. Unable to lie there now that she had realised this, Lily sat up and swung her legs round to the side of her bed so that she could get up and go downstairs to get a glass of water. This bought on a severe round of dizziness that caused Lily to sit and breathe deeply for a while longer. Lily decided that going to the bathroom to get a drink would be a better idea, instead of traipsing down to the kitchen.

Lily managed to stand up and get to the bathroom without becoming dizzy again. On her way back to her bedroom, her eyes half closed and focusing on where she was putting her feet more than anything else, Lily bumped into something large on the landing. Whatever it was, it grabbed her shoulders to prevent her from falling on the floor but quickly withdrew them.

“Sorry,” Lily yawned. She rubbed at one eye and looked at who she had walked into. “Morning Remus.”

Even in her barely conscious state Lily could tell that Remus was distracted. He wasn’t looking directly at her but his eyes kept flickering to her and away again. When she spoke, Remus flinched.

“Sorry, headache?” said Lily, lowering her voice. “Mine hasn’t kicked in yet.”

“Yeah, look, Lily, I’m a bit busy at the moment. I’ve got to –”

“Why are you busy at this time?”

“I –” Lily saw Remus swallow. His eyes still wouldn’t settle on her. “I’m packing. Dumbledore came round before, he said something had come up and asked if I could go today. I’m sorry, he told me not to tell anyone what it was.”

“I didn’t hear the doorbell ring.”

“You generally don’t when you’re asleep,” Remus said, letting a small smile colour his face.

“I know, I thought it would have woke me.” Lily’s brain was starting to work through the fog that the alcohol and sleep had left on her. “What do you want me to do about the Wolfsbane potion? I’m due to start it tomorrow – or the day after – I think.”

Remus hesitated before answering. “Don’t bother. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I’ll be fine without it.”

Lily could tell that he had added the last comment as an afterthought, correctly predicting Lily’s next question.

Lily didn’t know what else to say, and Remus took her silence to mean that he was excused. He started to hurry up the stairs to the third floor. It was only now that Lily noticed that Remus had an arm looped through a handle of an old rucksack, obviously what he was packing his things in.

“Remus?” Lily called up the stairs after him.

“Yes?” He turned to look at her, but only met her eyes briefly before he looked away.

“You’re not being funny with me because of last night, are you? I mean, you’d had so much to drink, and we’ve friends for ages. It’s not that unusual.”

Remus did meet her eyes now.

“No, I know. I just want to get this thing for Dumbledore done as soon as possible.”

“Ok,” said Lily, nodding absent-mindedly “Be careful.”

“You know I will be. Look after yourself, and Harry and Sirius.”

Lily watched as Remus finished making his way up the stairs. She went back to bed, hoping for an extra hour or two of sleep before she had to get Harry up, or he’d start screaming.

It felt like Lily had only closed her eyes for a second when she woke up again. This time, the room was bathed in the sunlight that managed to penetrate the curtains. Lily groaned and sat up, feeling the banging of her head start as she did so. She really would have liked to spend the day in bed, but, as that wasn’t an option, Lily dragged herself out of bed.

Harry was, unsurprisingly, already awake when Lily went into his room. She took him downstairs, trying to make him be quiet, and she was greeted by Sirius when she entered the kitchen.

“Mfaugh,” he said.

Sirius was hunched over the table with one arm propping his head up and a fork in his other hand, pushing around the food on the plate that was in front of him.

“You haven’t made that by yourself, have you?” asked Lily, nodding at the plate as she put Harry in his high-chair and took a seat opposite Sirius.

“No, I came down and found three plates along with this on the counter.” He dropped the fork with a clatter and waved a piece of parchment in the air. “Remus has gone off to do some job for Dumbledore.”

“I know. I got up to get a drink and ran into him while he was packing.”

“I don’t suppose he told you what he was up to? Anyway, he made us the breakfast.”

Lily Summoned the plates from the counter. She knew that, with Remus gone for an indefinite amount of time, this would likely be the last decent meal she’d be having for a while and she tried to make the most of it. This was made difficult by the fact that her stomach didn’t seem to want to accept food. Sirius had given up altogether and was helping Harry eat.

When they had finished, Sirius leaned forwards on the table, arms spread wide, and rested his head on it.

“I’m never drinking again,” he mumbled.

“You might have said that last time and yet you still do it. At least you’re not throwing up this time.”

“Yeah,” Sirius said slowly. “Thanks for leaving me in the parlour last night, by the way. I couldn’t move when I woke up.”

“You’d have felt worse if we’d tried to take you up to your bedroom and dropped you on the way.”

“There’s plenty of bedrooms, you didn’t have to take me to mine.”

Lily shook her head. “We forgot. We came down here to put the glasses and empty bottles away, and then – then we got too tired and called it a night.”

Lily decided against telling Sirius that Remus had kissed her last night, especially with Remus not there. Sirius was likely to jump to conclusions and get angry about it, which wasn’t a good idea when Remus wasn’t there to explain himself.

“Fine,” said Sirius, only pretending to be offended. “Fine. I’ll remember that when you’re passed out drunk.”

“I don’t get drunk enough to pass out.”

“Right.” Sirius stood up. “Do you reckon Petunia will kill me for turning up hungover?”

“Probably. Does anything actually happen when you’re there?”

“Nope, unless you count her brat eating the house. He eats constantly, it’s ridiculous. Anything you want me to tell her?”

“I don’t think so; just tell her I said hi.”

Sirius left. Lily didn’t think she had the energy to move out of her seat and was quite content to sit there all day. Harry had other ideas; he was beginning to get frustrated at sitting in his high-chair and had started calling her.

“Mummy. Mummy.”

“I know, Harry,” Lily said. She forced herself to get up to go look in some of the cupboards. Harry’s toys were scattered around the house, put into various drawers and cupboards when they were getting in the way. Lily found some in a cupboard containing pots and pans and dumped them unceremoniously on the floor. Then, she picked Harry up out of his high-chair and put him next to his toys. He immediately picked one up and tried to put it in his mouth.

Lily sighed. She sat back down and made sure that Harry was in sight while she rested her head on her arms on the table.

She spent the morning like that, occasionally drifting off to sleep but jerking back awake, while watching Harry in case he tried to get into any mischief. At one point, Kreacher sneaked down the stairs, and Lily saw Harry’s eyes light up before she ordered Kreacher out. He grudgingly obeyed; Sirius had ordered him to obey herself and Remus not long after they had started living there.

Lunchtime came, and Lily felt less like moving than she had when she first woke up. She was debating whether she would be able to make something to eat, put everything away and wash up purely by magic and without leaving her seat when the doorbell rang. This forced Lily to get up and answer the door.

Upon reaching the hallway, Lily reflexively flicked her wand at the screaming portrait of Walburga Black. They really were going to have to do something more permanent about it, Lily thought. She wondered if setting fire to it would destroy it or just leave a screaming charred mess in its place.

It was Seth on the other side of the door when Lily opened it.

“Err… Good morning?” he said, stepping into the house.

“Do I look that bad?”

Seth considered Lily’s question for a moment before answering.

“I’ve seen worse.”

Seth followed Lily back down to the kitchen where she resumed her previous position.

“You’re suffering from last night then?”

“Yes,” Lily groaned. “I didn’t think I was that bad, I could think straight.”

“Are Sirius and Remus still in bed?”

“No, they’ve been up and gone out. I have no idea how they did it.”

“I’m surprised that they could, they were both pretty far gone.”

“I think Sirius passed out just after you left so he had longer to sleep it off. Remus… should have to still be in bed.”

“How come he’s gone out so early?”

“Oh, he’s doing a favour for – um – a friend.”

Seth raised his eyebrows.

“Come on, Lily, you can tell me. I’m not going to shout about it in the Leaky Cauldron later.”

There was a possibility that, if it had been anything else, Lily would have told him. As it was, Order business was strictly confidential, it was an underground society that only those in it were supposed to know about (as well as Voldemort and the Death Eaters), and there was little Lily could tell Seth about what Remus was doing anyway.

“I’m sorry,” said Lily as she shook her head. “I really can’t. It’s not my business to tell and I barely know anything about it.”

“You told me about Remus.”

“No, you guessed and I didn’t deny it. There’s a difference.”

“Right,” laughed Seth.

A loud rumbling noise filled the kitchen. Lily looked longingly at the pantry.

“Was that you?” asked Seth.

“It was my stomach. I’m hungry but I don’t want to move.”

“What a dilemma.” Seth stood up and started walking to the other side of the kitchen, towards the pantry door.

“What are you doing?”

“Going to the pantry. I’ll make us lunch.”

“You don’t have to,” Lily said, half making the effort to get up.

“I get the feeling that if I don’t then we’re not going to get to eat anything.”

“Thank you.” Lily put her head back on the table.

Not too long later, the sound of Seth putting plates on the table made Lily look up. A plate of sandwiches stood a few inches from her face and Seth was now attempting to pick Harry up. Harry was having none of this and whenever Seth took a step towards him, Harry would crawl away from him.

“Oh, Harry, behave,” said Lily, and, with a great effort, she pushed her chair away from the table and got up. She picked Harry up (rather more roughly than she perhaps should have) and placed him in his high-chair. Lily sat back down, catching sight of Harry’s face as she did so.

He was staring at her, his eyes wide and the corners of his mouth drooping slightly. He looked ready to burst into tears. Lily sighed, her annoyance with him swiftly disappearing.

“Alright, if you eat up I’ll get Sirius’ nuisance toy out for you.”

This must have been an acceptable apology because Harry picked up a fistful of food from his plate and stuffed it in his mouth.

Lily looked at her own plate, not even moving to touch it.

“I haven’t poisoned it, you know,” said Seth.

Lily grimaced. “You’re never going to let me live the suspiciousness down, are you? It’s not that, I just don’t feel well.”

“No. Is it the hangover?”

“I’m pretty sure it is. How come you’re ok?”

“Obviously you don’t remember, but I didn’t drink as much as the rest of you did. I prefer not to waste the next day feeling as if I want to vomit, and I thought I was going to be working today.”

“How come you’re not?”

“I went in but they sent me home. Nothing of importance was happening apparently.”

Lily pulled the plate closer towards her. “You didn’t have to come round.”

“I saw you last night. I thought you’d need looking after.”

“I’m not that bad,” scoffed Lily.

“I just had to make your lunch," Seth said with a smile.

Lily didn’t reply but started eating the food Seth had prepared.
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Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:44 pm. Reason: typos galore
  #32  
Old August 5th, 2011, 10:22 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Another chapter Thank you to the people who leave feedback.

Chapter 31

A few days later, and Lily and Sirius hadn’t heard from Remus. Lily had thought - maybe hoped was more appropriate – that he would send his patronus occasionally to say that he was alright. In any case, he hadn’t, and Lily’s habit of worrying about everything and everyone presented itself yet again. This time was different, however. Sirius did not start teasing her about it for the most part; he knew just as well as her how dangerous the war was getting, especially since Remus was attacked at the last full moon. Doing missions for Dumbledore always constituted taking a risk that you wouldn’t return, or at least not in one piece.

Lily was finding it difficult to adjust to Remus not being there, even though he had only been at Grimmauld Place during the evenings for the past month. A pressing silence often fell over her and Sirius without Remus there, leaving them with their thoughts for company, which only led to Sirius bringing out a bottle of Firewhiskey or wine earlier than he used to. He hadn’t started drinking before Lily took Harry to bed yet, so she hadn’t tried to stop him, but some days he had already half-emptied a glass when she came back downstairs. The depressing atmosphere during the evening wasn’t helped by Sirius turning on the radio to listen to the newsreader name those who had disappeared or died each day. Lily knew he was only doing it to make sure that Remus’ name wasn’t on the list, and she always felt relieved when it wasn’t, but hearing the names of people whose families were grieving for them didn’t make her feel better.

Lily was suffering in other ways too: she now had various cuts on her hands from making the meals and no one was particularly enjoying the food that she prepared. But that was the least of Lily’s trouble; while before she had been able to sleep most nights with the occasional nightmares or sleepless nights, now her subconscious appeared to think it prudent to replace some of the peaceful nights with dreams of Remus being attacked or ones involving James and Remus, which were infinitely worse. Lily often awoke from these confused and upset and unable to fall asleep again. When this happened, she had hoped that going down to the kitchen would help her sleep, as it had previously, but to no avail. This resulted in Lily being in a horrible mood most days.

It was on these days that Lily was most thankful for the various visitors that visited them at Grimmauld Place. Of these, Seth was the most frequent, as Frank and Alice were too busy a lot of the time, and more than once they had had to go into the office on their days off due to an emergency.

Seth had visited that day, arriving shortly after Sirius had left, but his visits were becoming monotonous. They frequently fell into silences between making small talk, which was when Lily’s thoughts would take control of her once more.

“Lily. Lily? You know it’s nearly six o’clock, right? I’m going to have to leave soon.”

Lily looked up. She had zoned out and wasn’t entirely aware of what was going on around her. She was sat on one of the big armchairs in the parlour with Harry playing on the floor beside her and Seth on the other armchair opposite. He was staring at her, slightly worried.

“Sorry, I zoned out. What was that?”

“It’s nearly six, you need to make dinner and I should be going.”

“Oh,” said Lily. She shook her head to put her brain back into focus.

“Aren’t you feeling well?”

“I’m tired,” Lily admitted. “I didn’t sleep last night.”

The previous night had been a bad one, even worse than usual if that was possible. After a few hours of her mind’s constant thinking about less than pleasant topics, she had managed to sleep until she had been woken by the oldest nightmare of all – a flashback to that Halloween evening.

“Are you going to be ok?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine.” Then, Lily had an idea; something that might make that evening sat in silence with Sirius slightly more bearable. “You know, you don’t have to leave. You could stay for dinner.”

“You don’t just want help cooking do you?” asked Seth, his eyes narrow but a smile on his face.

“No, but now you mention it.” Lily grinned. “And it’ll be nice to have another person here.”

“Don’t you get on with Sirius?”

“If I didn’t I would have killed him before now, living here with him. We don’t seem to talk much in the evenings and then he starts drinking.”

“You don’t think he should?”

“Of course not. He never used to, it’s only since James…” Lily’s voice trailed off. She did her best to avoid thinking of him now, in case her mind merged those thoughts with her worries for Remus at night. “So you’re staying then?”

“I suppose so. To the kitchen?”

“To the kitchen,” Lily said, and got up, heading towards the door.

“What about Harry?”

Lily glanced at Harry, still playing on the floor. He didn’t look as if he’d miss them, being too absorbed in what he was playing.

“He’ll be fine. I’ll come up and get him when dinner’s nearly finished, he’ll probably start crying if I take him away from his toys now.”

They went down to the kitchen. Lily was grateful that Seth was helping her make dinner; it made the process much faster and safer, not to mention that things were less likely to be overcooked when there were two people looking after them.

Halfway through cooking, the usual screams started coming from Walburga’s portrait upstairs. They were quickly silenced and not long after, Sirius descended into the kitchen carrying Harry.

“Hey,” he said. “How come you left Harry on his own upstairs? Hi, Seth.”

“He was fine on his own,” said Lily, poking at the potatoes with a fork to see if they were cooked yet.

“Until he gets bored and sets the room on fire.”

“Harry’s never set anything on fire, and I was going up in a minute to get him. Nothing happened, Sirius, it’s ok. Stop worrying.”

Sirius snorted. “Right, says the one.”

“I think I know my son better than I know any Death Eaters that are out there.”

Sirius sat down, not even offering to help make the meal. Lily might have thought he was being rude, but they both knew that he was worse than she was at cooking, as had been proved when he had tried to make dinner the other day. It had taken Lily a long time to get rid of the taste of burnt beans on toast in her mouth.

“Have you heard anything from Moony?” asked Sirius.

“No. But no news is good news, right?” Even to herself Lily didn’t sound convinced that what she said was true.

“Something like that,” Sirius muttered. “At least we know he hasn’t been found dead in a field –”

“Sirius!”

“Sorry. I was just saying.”

“How do you know that means he hasn’t been killed?” Seth enquired.

“The Death Eaters don’t have a habit of killing people and hiding the bodies away somewhere, they prefer to show off how many people they’re killing.”

“Oh, I get it. So you think if Remus was caught by them they’d kill him and leave you to find the body somewhere. But what if they didn’t want to kill him?”

“Why are we having this conversation?” Lily muttered, more to herself than anything.

“Then he’d be held hostage somewhere and we’d have the chance to find him. As long as we haven’t heard that he’s been killed then everything’s alright.”

“Not this meal, though,” said Lily with a grimace. “Can we stop talking about whether Remus is ok or not? I’m going to sleep less than I already do.”

“Sorry, Lily. Do you need some help there?”

“You can get the plates out of the cupboard,” Lily said, pointing her wand at a cupboard that opened.

They were too busy to talk then; each of them was concentrating on making sure they didn’t ruin dinner at the last minute. The silence continued throughout dinner and Lily was starting to think that inviting Seth to stay wasn’t going to help change the mood no matter how hard he tried. She was already regretting forcing him to suffer through the evening by the time their plates were cleared and was trying to think of some way she could get him alone to tell him he could leave if he wanted when Sirius started talking.

“How come you’re still here, Seth? You’re usually gone by now.”

“Lily asked me to stay a bit longer.”

“She did?” Sirius looked towards Lily for confirmation with his eyebrows raised. Lily nodded and started collecting the plates.

“Yes, shouldn’t I have?”

“No, it’s ok.

Sirius leaned back in his chair and looked as if he was thinking about something important. After a few minutes of him remaining silent, in which time Lily had collected the plates and set them to washing themselves in the sink, she decided that if he was going to share any gems of wisdom he would have, and it was ok to interrupt his thoughts.

“How’s Petunia?”

Sirius looked up at the question.

“She’s fine. Did I tell you that their house has almost been fixed back up?”

“I didn’t even know they’d started it!” Lily was shocked at how Sirius had failed to mention something that important.

“I thought I’d told you. They’re moving back in in a few weeks I think.”

“Who are we talking about?” Seth asked, looking from Lily to Sirius.

“Petunia, my sister – our sister,” Lily corrected herself.

“Right, she was attacked by Death Eaters before Christmas, wasn’t she? I think you said that.”

“Yes, you’d think it would make her a bit more grateful to have someone around that can protect her,” said Sirius.

“She’s never liked wizards, she’s not going to change now. What are you going to do when they’ve moved back? Stay at hers during the day?”

“I think so, just because they’re moving house doesn’t mean they’re not on a hit list. I don’t know why I’m still going round, Death Eaters must have other plans as they’ve not made a move on them again.”

“You don’t know that, and you complained when you had nothing to do all day.”

“But I’m not doing anything there! I sit around and try not to annoy anyone.”

“That’s why you’re so annoying when you get back here, then? you’ve had to bottle it up all day so you release it where it’s safe.”

Seth laughed, Sirius didn’t.

“Very funny. It wouldn’t hurt you to be nice to me once in a while.”

“Let’s call it payback.” Lily stood up. “Come on, I’m not sitting down here all evening.”

Lily picked Harry up and Seth got to his feet. However, Sirius didn’t move.

“Payback? What do you mean, payback?”

“For all the times I caught you sneaking out of the Common Room at Hogwarts and then you spent the next day insulting me behind my back.”

“How do you even know about that?” asked Sirius, getting to his feet.

“You sat behind me in most of our classes.”

“Oh.” Sirius stayed quiet as they ascended the stairs, finally whispering, “Sorry about that,” when they reached the hallway.

“It’s alright,” replied Lily once they were in the parlour and out of hearing of Sirius’ mother’s portrait, “I heard when you were complimenting me as well.”

“I don’t remember ever doing that.”

They sat down, with Lily and Sirius continuing their conversation.

“You did. It might have been mixed in with an insult, that’s probably why you don’t remember it.”

Lily happened to glance at Seth, and she laughed at the bemused expression on his face.

“What?” He asked, defensively.

“Nothing, you look a bit confused.”

“I’m just listening to you two.”

“Well, I’m glad our arguments amuse someone,” said Sirius, and he changed the subject.

Despite her earlier thoughts, Lily thought that inviting Seth to stay longer had helped to get rid of the miserable atmosphere that she had become accustomed to over the past few days. Sirius didn’t bring out the Firewhiskey and Lily was thinking maybe the evening wouldn’t be so bad, until he turned on the radio at ten o’clock to listen to the news, which always ended with the list of the disappeared or dead.

No one had to tell anyone to be silent while it was read out. Lily held her breath until the list was over, and she released it in a sigh of relief when it was.Seth chose to leave then, and Lily showed him to the door, thanking him for staying.

When she went back into the parlour to re-join Sirius, he was already pouring liquid into a glass from a bottle clearly labelled as Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey.
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  #33  
Old August 8th, 2011, 2:52 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Who likes angst chapters? No one... oookay

Chapter 32

Matters in Number 12 Grimmauld Place didn’t improve. Sirius grew more sullen as the week progressed, which had a negative effect on Lily’s mood. If it hadn’t been for Harry, who revelled in childish pursuits like any ordinary one-year-old, Lily thought she might have gone crazy. It didn’t help to reduce her fear for Remus and she still couldn’t bear to listen to the news report (even though she forced herself to anyway) but taking care of him helped keep her adequately busy and cheered her up enough so that she didn’t resort to joining Sirius in the evening and drowning her sorrows.

With Lily’s anxiety paramount anyway, when Dumbledore called an emergency meeting she thought she was going to faint.

As it was, she only paled and felt her face go deathly cold when the phoenix patronus arrived halfway through dinner, causing them to abandon the less than satisfying meal. After quickly arguing over who would stay at Grimmauld Place to look after Harry, Lily and Sirius agreed to take him with them as neither one wanted to miss the meeting and Harry hadn’t been outside since they had moved in back in December.

They were one of the first to arrive at headquarters. It wasn’t long until everyone else came, though, the living room went from nearly empty to overcrowded in ten minutes. It was full of people murmuring – apparently no one was quite sure as to what had happened to qualify for the need of a meeting.

“I thought one of you would have stayed at home with Harry.”

Lily was startled by the voice coming from behind her. She looked and saw Frank and Alice standing there. They must have entered without Lily noticing and made their way around everyone to get next to Lily and Sirius.

“Neither of us wanted to miss the meeting, so he had to come with us. Do you know what this is about? There hasn’t been an emergency in months.”

“I know. We’ve no idea.”

“Aw, come on,” Sirius interrupted, “you’re Aurors. You’ve got to know something about what’s going on.”

“Nope. Sorry, Sirius.” Alice shook her head.

The words had barely left Alice’s mouth when the door opened, allowing the last three people to enter: McGonagall, Hagrid and Dumbledore. They were all wearing looks of utmost solemnity.

Dumbledore briefly glanced around the room, acknowledging everyone’s presence. Then, he led the way into the dining room and took the seat at the head of the table. Everyone followed and quickly settled into their seats.

Dumbledore didn’t bother with frivolities such as his usual welcome or inquiring as to why anyone was absent.

“We’ve known for a while now that Voldemort had plans involving the werewolves, but we haven’t been able to gain information on what they were. One of my spies contacted me this afternoon.” Dumbledore gave a small sigh before carrying on. “Lord Voldemort intends to use the werewolves to attack the Ministry at the next full moon, which I believe is next week.”

There was a stunned silence following this statement, one that was quickly broken by numerous voices asking questions that were indistinguishable from each other. Dumbledore had to raise his hand to gain silence again.

“Now, we will have to work fast in order to prevent this. Alastor, you can alert the Ministry?”

“Yes, they’re not likely to listen, though,” Moody growled.

“Do your best to make them,” Dumbledore said, grimly. Then, he looked around the table expectantly but didn’t appear to find who he was looking for. Instead he turned to Lily and Sirius, his eyes making note of Harry in Lily’s arms. “Why isn’t Remus here?”

Lily frowned.

“What do you mean? He left last week. He said you’d visited and something had come up that you wanted him to – to do.”

Lily knew long before she had finished that this had not happened. The confused expression on Dumbledore’s face told her all she needed to know; he needn’t have said what he did next:

“I certainly never said that to Remus, nor did I visit Grimmauld Place last week.”

Lily’s mind went into overdrive. Why? Why would Remus lie to her? Lie to them? Why would he even want to go away?

These were, however, ridiculous questions.

Because Lily already knew their answer.

But it made no sense; it wasn’t that big a deal. Not big enough to warrant him running away because of it. It was an overreaction, it had to be. All she would have to do was send him her patronus to talk to him, to help him realise that it didn’t matter, that she didn’t think badly of him. They had been ridiculously drunk, many people did much worse than kiss their friend when they were that drunk. It was in the past, it didn’t matter to Lily, and it shouldn’t matter to Remus.

“Why would he lie to us?” asked Sirius “Are you sure he didn’t say anything else when you spoke to him? Lily – Lily? Are you ok?”

Lily didn’t know what her face looked like in order for Sirius to ask how she was. All she knew was that Remus had ran away from her.

“Remus ran away.” Lily felt her lips form the words but wasn’t aware of telling them to. She had completely forgotten that the room was full of curious Order members; nothing else mattered except that Remus was putting himself into danger just to get away from her. “It’s my fault.”

“That doesn’t make sense. How is it your fault?”

“I – ” Lily was more likely to hand Harry over to Voldemort than tell Sirius what had happened after he’d passed out on Remus’ birthday. “I should have known something was up. I was the last to see him, I could have –”

“Lily, this is not your fault,” Dumbledore said. He looked as if he was trying to figure out the situation, but was missing one crucial piece. Because no one apart from Lily and Remus knew what the missing piece was. A moment later, Dumbledore took control of the situation, “Alastor, get a missing person report filed for Remus at the Auror office, if you mention that he’s a werewolf then they’ll put more of an effort to find him before the full moon. Elphias and Dedalus, I want you to continue alternating nights at Petunia Dursley’s, when you’re not there I need you to continue Remus’ search for the werewolf base – I’ll let you see the reports he made for me. Emmeline, you can help track down this base as well. Mundungus, talk to your associates, see if they’ve seen or heard of where Remus might have been, although he probably won’t be staying in one place or where he’s likely to be seen. Sturgis, can you start tracking Rookwood? He works at the Ministry and we know he’s a Death Eater, even if no one else does. He might be helping plan the werewolf attack.”

Everyone that Dumbledore asked to help nodded, while Lily sat frozen, unable to move, or even think past the fact that Remus wasn’t on a top-secret mission for Dumbledore. Sirius seemed to be having the same sort of reaction that she had, except he was frowning; most likely trying to work out why Remus had left.

Dumbledore had carried on speaking; Lily had to force herself to listen to what he was saying.

“- on their guard, any suspicious behaviour at all should be made a note of. I don’t want this to get to us waiting to ambush the werewolves on their way in. We’ve got just over a week to stop this happening.”

When he finished talking, Dumbledore looked around the table. Lily didn’t dare breathe, and she felt, not for the first time, as if she was not doing her bit to help the Order. She knew it was impossible for her to help – Harry had to be looked after by someone – but sitting there, listening how the others were going to have to put their lives in danger to prevent this made her feel useless. And now they had to split resources to help find Remus, when if she’d actually talked to him properly the morning after then he might not have left.

Lily realised that her thoughts were going off on a tangent again just as Emmeline spoke up,

“But, Dumbledore – why has he decided to do this now? He hasn’t really gained enough strength to take over the Ministry has he?”

“I think he thinks he’s gained enough to start an attack. He’s been gathering support for nearly twelve years now and it’s possible that it’s reached a peak. If he doesn’t start moving onto something bigger then the support might decline,” answered Dumbledore. “Attacking Harry didn’t work, and his other possible options would be to target the Ministry… or me.” He smiled tightly. “I can assure you that targeting myself would not be a simple task, Lord Voldemort would find it easier to take over the Ministry than to defeat me.”

“Is using the werewolves going to work though? Sunset is getting later now, won’t the Ministry have closed by the time the werewolves have transformed?”

Dumbledore looked towards the members who worked at the Ministry for an answer.

“Everyone’s working overtime with the state we’re in, I left at nine the other day,” said Frank. “Sunset’s at about six, I think. The Ministry will be as full as midday.”

Frank’s words left the room in silence. What would happen if they failed to prevent the werewolves passed through Lily’s mind, and there were no words to describe the carnage she imagined. It would give Voldemort a huge advantage by killing and infecting hundreds of people, making it easier for him to take over a later date, if he didn’t manage it next week.

Lily felt herself start shaking, but no one was paying attention to anyone else – they were all too wrapped up in their own thoughts. She thought she heard Dumbledore carry on the meeting as normal, but she wasn’t paying attention and she didn’t attempt to. Lily’s mind was too busy for her to process any new information.

At last, everyone started getting up from their chairs and Lily realised that the meeting was over. She followed suit without thinking about it, until she heard someone call her name.

Lily looked up. Dumbledore was stood by the chair he had vacated. Elphias, Dedalus and Emmeline were stood near him looking awkward. Emmeline kept shifting her weight from one leg to the other, and occasionally glancing at Dedalus.

“Yes?”

Dumbledore took a step towards her and Lily realised that he had called Sirius’ name as well, as he had stopped just behind her.

“Do you have any idea why Remus would have left?” he asked softly.

Lily swallowed. She knew that she should tell Dumbledore, any information could help to find Remus, but Lily couldn’t bring herself to tell him. It was a stupid reason to leave, any sane person would have just talked to her about it, but no, not Remus. Even if Lily did tell Dumbledore, she had a feeling that he wouldn’t believe her that it was the real reason.

Beside her, Sirius was shaking his head.

“No,” Lily said finally. “Sorry.”

Dumbledore nodded. “Try not to worry, I’m sure we’ll find him soon. I’ll get in touch if I find out anything.”

“Thanks,” said Sirius, his voice rough.

They left, not speaking until they were back in Grimmauld Place and Lily was closing the front door behind them.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Sirius said. He didn’t have to say anything else; Lily knew what he was talking about. This didn’t mean that she wanted to talk about it.

She made a non-committal noise in the back of her throat. “I’m going to put Harry to bed.”

Lily took her time getting Harry ready, deciding that he needed a bath when he’d had one the day before, and insisting on reading him a bedtime story. When she went back downstairs, Lily expected Sirius to be drinking, but he wasn’t. Instead, he was sat in one of the armchairs staring blankly forwards. At first glance, Lily thought that she would have preferred it if he had been drinking.

“I thought it was him, you know,” he said as Lily sat down on the sofa. “Before… I thought Remus was the traitor. Afterwards, I knew that he couldn’t have been, it was stupid to think he was. But now… Why else would he have gone?”

Lily was alarmed that Sirius was actually considering this. She supposed it was a possible explanation, even if it was as far away from the truth as it could be.

“He isn’t. Remus isn’t a Death Eater.”

“How do you know? He could be under the Imperius Curse, or he got fed up, it’s not like the Ministry treats werewolves any better than Voldemort would. And he didn’t just leave, he lied to us. He doesn’t do that unless he’s got something to hide.”

Lily took a deep breath. “This is Remus we’re talking about, I don’t believe it. Why would he join the people who killed his best friend?”

Sirius, who had sat up and appeared more intimidating in anger, deflated, staring at his feet.

“I know, and he wouldn’t have. I just don’t know why he’d do this to us.” Sirius paused and looked up at Lily. “It’s James’ birthday next week.”

“I know.” Lily didn’t know what else to say. She had known it was coming for weeks, though nothing had been planned and she had avoided thinking about it too much. Lily had assumed that they would be visiting Godric’s Hollow and hadn’t felt it necessary to ask.

“We are going, aren’t we?”

“Of course.”

Silence stretched between them with neither of them attempting to break it. They were content with their thoughts for company, despite their thoughts not being the nicest place to be at the moment.

Not long after, Sirius left without saying a word. Lily followed him shortly afterwards, not wanting to stay downstairs on her own. Before going into her own bedroom, Lily went to check on Harry.

She didn’t normally do this, but tonight was different. Lily knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep and she didn’t see the point in lying awake in bed for hours, she was emotionally drained, but Lily had ample experience to know that that wasn’t enough to help her sleep.

Lily needed to return to normality, even if it wasn’t for long.

Lily sat on the chair next to Harry’s cot and watched him sleep. She didn’t know how long she watched him for, however, it had it’s desired effect. Lily’s thoughts became hazy until they were barely making sense to her, and, eventually, she fell asleep.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:46 pm.
  #34  
Old August 11th, 2011, 5:12 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Thank you to everyone who keeps reviewing, I really do appreciate it Just a short chapter now to get us to more important stuff happening later

Chapter 33

The week passed with no word of Remus or any more information about the werewolf attack on the Ministry. They still didn’t know where the werewolf base was and had no idea of Voldemort’s plan, except that he was using the werewolves to attack the Ministry. It truly was a dire situation they were in, and Lily could see it coming to the Order having to guard the Ministry entrance on the Sunday evening. But even that was not guaranteed to work: the Order might be massively outnumbered, or the werewolves could have Death Eaters with them to attack anyone who tried to stop them.

If that wasn’t enough, Lily knew that Sirius would quite literally beg Dumbledore to allow him to be there. She knew he had a point – he had dealt with Remus at the full moon while at school – but Lily didn’t know what she’d do if something happened to him. She couldn’t lose anyone else.

However, all of that took a back seat for Lily when she awoke on the Saturday morning. Sirius had persuaded Elphias to stay at Mrs Figg’s house with Petunia longer so that he could go with Lily and Harry to visit Godric’s Hollow in the morning. They had decided that it would be best to keep this visit as low-key as possible, so it would just be the two of them and Harry going. They had promised Dumbledore and the rest of the Order that they wouldn’t stay long in order for there to be less chance that any Death Eaters would be able to start an attack on them. They didn’t think there would be – Voldemort’s plan to attack the Ministry seemed to be a pretty clear sign that he’d given up on Harry for the time being – but it was better to be safe than sorry.

In the days beforehand, Lily hadn’t known how she felt about visiting Godric’s Hollow, she just knew that she had to do it. Now, however, she realised that she wanted to go. It was something she knew that she needed to do it and, while it would not be pleasant, she wanted to be there to put flowers on James’ grave on what would have been his twenty-second birthday.

There was no strict schedule for that morning, but Lily felt as if she was rushing trying to get ready. She couldn’t find any clothes of Harry’s that weren’t dirty or ripped for him to wear and after more than half an hour searching for some, Lily eventually gave up in frustration, knowing that if James could see her he’d be laughing. For all she knew, he was.

When they went downstairs, Lily could immediately tell that Sirius was in a glum mood. He grunted a “good morning” to her and went back to playing with the bowl of cereal he had in front of him. Fortunately, he cheered up slightly while they had breakfast and was helping Lily get Harry ready to leave before long. Lily was greatly thankful for his change in mood; she didn’t think she’d be able to cope with him if he was going to be sullen all morning.

On their way out, Lily had to be reminded to pick up the flowers they’d got to put on the grave. She rushed down to the kitchen to get them, double-checking that she had her wand while she was there. She did, and Sirius had her cloak out for her in one arm and Harry in the other when she re-entered the hallway.

“Are we ready?” asked Lily, awkwardly putting her cloak on with one hand.

“I think so.”

Sirius opened the front door and a gust of wind entered the hall, blowing Lily’s hair about her face. She held onto the bouquet of flowers tightly and followed Sirius onto the front step of the house. He locked the door behind him, Lily grabbed his arm, and they Disapparated.

Lily’s feet hit solid ground in a short alleyway surrounded on both sides by tall trees. The alleyway was somewhat winding, so that they couldn’t see the street that it led onto. Quickly, they exited the alley, Sirius checking behind them as they did with his hand in his pocket, obviously gripped around his wand just in case of an emergency.

When they came onto the street, Lily recognised it straight away. She was surprised she hadn’t recognised the alleyway – she had used it often enough. They turned left, but Lily knew that if she had looked to the right, she would have seen the ruin that used to be her home. She purposefully didn’t look behind her as they made their way up the street to the little church that sat in centre of the village.

The day was a relatively nice one for March. It was cloudy, but every now and then the clouds would part and Lily would step into a patch of sunlight that instantly warmed her. The gardens that they passed were full of flowers in bloom, and the trees were losing their nakedness that came with winter and were starting to become adorned with blossom petals. Walking through the village, Lily remembered why she had fallen in love with it, but that didn’t erase the fact that it was haunted for her now.

They reached the village square in no time at all. It looked the same as always, though was busier than usual today due to the good weather. People sat on benches around the square, talking to their neighbours, showing each other what they had bought, while some were just relaxing. Lily and Sirius kept their heads down and made a beeline for the kissing-gate that marked the entrance to the churchyard in case anyone recognised them.

“Do you think Remus will have been?” Lily asked as they walked through the maze of gravestones.

Sirius didn’t reply. Lily knew that she was being very optimistic by thinking that Remus would have been, as far as she knew he hadn’t been keeping track of the days and he probably wouldn’t want to run into her here of all places. It didn’t stop her hoping that he had finally decided that he was overreacting and would come back.

They walked until they reached a yew tree in blossom near the back of the graveyard. Some of the petals had fallen around the few gravestones that stood nearby, but there were no other flowers or mementos beside the one that was closest to it that could be evidence of anyone else visiting.

“It’s still early, he might want to come later…” said Lily. She looked down at the grave as she spoke, fumbling with the flowers in her hand as she spoke.

“Why do want him to visit so much?” Sirius asked softly.

Lily looked up at him.

“I don’t – know. I suppose I thought we might see him here.” Lily glanced around the small graveyard. It was empty, with only the trees that blocked the view of the square moving in the slight breeze. Occasionally, someone would walk past the gate that led into the graveyard, passing by on their way to the pub, or one of the small shops that made up the village square.

She turned back to the marble gravestone with its inscription. The last time they had visited, it had been difficult to distinguish it from the snowy background, now the white contrasted with the grass and wildflowers that were starting to grow around each of the graves.

Lily knelt down to place the red roses she was carrying on James’ grave and stood back up. She couldn’t take her eyes off the white marble, not even turning when Sirius put his arm around her.

Soon, Lily felt herself start shaking and, not long after, the tears came. She leaned into Sirius to support her.

Twenty-two; James hadn’t even made it to twenty-two. It was all Lily could think about. Four years out of school and already lost. It was too young, they were all too young to be doing this. They shouldn’t have to be fighting this war, watching everyone around them die while all the time wondering when their time would be up. It wasn’t fair.

Lily felt something tugging on her hair, and she turned slightly to see Harry reaching towards her. She couldn’t look at him for long before it wasn’t Harry she was seeing, but James in miniature. Lily looked away quickly, trying to stop herself becoming hysterical.
“Mummy,” came Harry’s small voice. At the sound of it, Lily’s resolve almost broke; even though he was barely a toddler, she could hear the pain in his voice as he watched her crying.

She reached for Harry, and Sirius gave him over to her, making sure that she had hold of him properly before letting go. Lily held her son close to her, the only true reminder of what James had meant to her. The photographs were fine, but they only captured the moment, and even then, usually only the happy ones. But James had meant more to her than that, he had been with her through the happy and sad. He had been her rock – unmoveable, unbreakable – when the rest of their lives had been falling apart around them. It hadn’t mattered what else was happening outside, because she had known that he was there for her, that he would do what he could to protect her.

And he had. He had made the ultimate sacrifice so that she and Harry were safe.

It took Lily a long time to cry herself out; as if she was making up for all the times she had avoided thinking about him in order to carry on with her life. When she did, Lily took a deep breath and squeezed Harry tightly.

Sirius seemed to notice that she’d had enough. He took his arm from around her and moved so that he could look her in the eye.

“Are you ok?”

Lily nodded, ignoring the new tears that sprung into her eyes as she did so. It was a stupid question, and they both knew it. Of course she wasn’t ok, but she had been much worse and didn’t think she could stay there much longer.

They walked back through the graveyard. When they reached the gate, Lily looked back. She couldn’t see the yew tree that indicated the site of James’ grave. With the flowers in bloom, it was a rather beautiful place, for a graveyard.

Lily noticed Sirius watching her expectantly. She turned around and hurried down the side street that they had walked down to reach the square. Lily kept her eyes down until they reached the little alleyway that they had Apparated into. They waited to make sure that there was no one around before they Disapparated.

They arrived back in the dank and dismal Grimmauld Place, on the front step of number 12. Sirius unlocked the front door and went in ahead of Lily, Stunning the portrait of his mother before she could start screaming.

Lily followed Sirius into the parlour. She stopped abruptly when she saw him rooting in a cabinet that she knew contained only alcohol.

“Sirius,” she said, fighting to keep her voice steady.

He looked up, and Lily could see a wine bottle in one hand and two glasses in the other. Sirius poured the wine into both of the glasses and passed one to Lily, who took it in her free hand.

“James,” said Sirius, holding his glass up.

Lily raised her glass as well. “James,” she repeated, and drank.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; August 28th, 2011 at 3:57 pm.
  #35  
Old August 14th, 2011, 4:03 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Next chapter here...

Chapter 34

Sirius didn’t go to Mrs Figg’s straight away. Instead, he hung around Grimmauld Place with Lily until it seemed as if he had forgotten he had to go. They made quiet conversation that mostly centred on reminiscing about daft things James had done, and this turned the atmosphere in the house from a grief-stricken one to laughter filled. Soon, it was tears of laughter that filled Lily’s eyes and while sadness did creep over her from time to time, when it did Lily made an effort to not let it take her over and she would think about the time when James had tried to convince her, during one of his many attempts to impress her, that he could fit a Fanged Frisbee in his mouth. He had spent the entire next day in the hospital wing.

They’d been doing this for an hour or so when the doorbell rang. Lily went to answer, and it was Seth. He had known that they were visiting James’ grave that morning and when he saw Lily he asked how she was feeling.

“I’m ok,” Lily said.

“It wasn’t too bad this morning, then?”

“No, it felt right being there, to be honest. Come on, Sirius is still here. I don’t think he wants to go.”

“He never wants to go,” said Seth as Lily went back into the parlour.

“Well, there is that.” Lily sat back down, picking up Harry on her way back to her seat as he was in serious danger of crawling headfirst into something while he played on the floor. Sirius groaned when he saw Seth enter.

“That’s welcoming to hear,” Seth said, sitting down.

“No, now you’ve come it means I really should be going. I don’t want to.” Sirius pouted.

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to, Sirius. I mean, I have to stay here with nothing to do except look after Harry.” Lily grinned wickedly. In reply, Sirius gave her a look that should have caused her to drop dead, but she only laughed.

“Fine,” grumbled Sirius as he stood up and stretched. He had just said goodbye to them all when the doorbell rang again. They looked at each other in confusion for perhaps half a second – no one else had said that they would visit today – until Lily caught Sirius’ eye and she knew who would be at the door and what it meant.

Lily stood up too and without speaking, followed Sirius into the hallway. Her laughter had gone and had been replaced with anxiety; had they found Remus and persuaded him to come back? Or was it bad news, had he been killed? Lily’s stomach squirmed at this thought and she banished it from her mind.

Time seemed to have slowed down, it took them an age to reach the front door and for Sirius to open it. Lily could feel her heart pounding in her chest. They ignored the screaming portrait of Sirius’ mum.

Dumbledore stepped over the threshold, and any hope that Lily might have had immediately disappeared at the sight of the expression on his face. He wasn’t alone, and he didn’t speak until Emmeline Vance had also entered and the front door had closed. By this time, Seth had come into the hallway, curious as to what was happening. He stopped, wide-eyed, at the sight of the guests. No one acknowledged his entrance, Dumbledore spoke directly to Lily and Sirius:

“There’s been a development in the situation. We think we know where Remus is.” Lily breathed inwards sharply, but Dumbledore had already carried on with what he was saying. “Emmeline thinks she’s found the werewolf base and while she was scouting it she heard some Death Eater guards talking about a werewolf they’d taken prisoner.”

Lily felt faint and a mixture of emotions overwhelmed her; relieved that they had found the werewolf base and could prevent the catastrophe tomorrow, glad that they’d found Remus, scared at the thought of what the Death Eaters could have done to him. She almost hoped that it wasn’t Remus that the Death Eaters had captured, but if it was then it meant that they could rescue him, which was only a good thing.

“How do you know it’s him?” asked Sirius, his voice sounded as if it had lost all emotion, but Lily knew him well enough to know that it was his way of reacting to these things; inside he would be heaving with emotion.

“There are very few werewolves who do not already support Lord Voldemort, but Emmeline, you said –”

“They were talking about getting information on Harry out of him. It could only have been Remus,” said Emmeline.

“Where is he?” Lily asked, her mind kicking into gear. There was no time to waste.

“In what looks like an old warehouse, just to the south of the town of Yewhorn. I’m calling a –”

“Sirius, where’s the Invisibility Cloak?” Lily asked, talking over Dumbledore after meeting Sirius’ eyes and he nodded slightly.

“In the kitchen on one of the hooks near the pantry,” said Sirius. “I’ll get it.”

Sirius turned on the spot and ran down the hallway, still ignoring his mother’s wails, but not before Dumbledore had started to reprimand them.

“Lily, you can’t do this. The Death Eaters will have the tightest security there and you’ll need a plan to even get in, if you do this on your own –”

“Sorry, Dumbledore. We’ve got to do this.” Lily pushed Harry into Dumbledore’s arms and turned around at the sound of Sirius’ footsteps coming back up. In one hand he held the bundled up silvery cloth and in the other the broomstick Lily recognised as the one that she had Remus had got him for Christmas. Sirius’ eyes flashed with a fierce determination.

“I understand that you want to help and I won’t stop you, but at least wait until after I’ve called a meeting and thought of a plan. It’s a suicide mission otherwise. Think of Harry.”

Dumbledore had said the only thing that would stop her from going to rescue Remus. She stared at Harry for what felt like a long time, watching him pull at Dumbledore’s beard. It broke her heart to even think about leaving him. She knew that there was a good possibility that she wouldn’t come back, and if something happened to Sirius and Remus as well she didn’t know what would happen to her son. But going after Remus wasn’t a rational decision, it was something she had to do and she’d forever hate herself if she didn’t go. It was selfish, yet Lily still felt partly responsible for Remus leaving, and she had to fix that.

“Look after him until I get back.” Lily took one last look at Harry before pushing past the two of them stood in the doorway. She didn’t have to look to know that Sirius was right behind her.

Lily pulled open the front door with many protests from Dumbledore, Emmeline and even Seth; she ignored them, as did Sirius. Once they were stood on the front step of the house, Sirius threw the Invisibility Cloak over them. Lily grabbed his arm and they Disapparated.

Lily had never been to Yewhorn before and didn’t know what to expect. When her feet felt solid ground again, Lily saw that they had arrived in a grimy suburban street that not even the sunshine could make look as if it was a pleasant place to live. The terraced houses didn’t have gardens but opened straight onto the pavement that cars were half parked on. A constant thump, thump, thump came from the other end of the street to where Lily and Sirius were stood, and Lily saw a group of young boys kicking a football around; the only sign of life on the otherwise deserted street.

Sirius was looking up at the sky, squinting his eyes.

“Do you know which way is south?” he muttered.

Lily looked up at the sun too. It was just after noon, and the sun was almost directly above them, which did not help them figure out which way to go.

“I think,” said Lily, rotating on the spot, “it’s that way.” She pointed down the street, away from the boys with the football and towards a busy looking road.

Sirius mounted the broom and Lily got on behind him, doing her best to keep the Cloak covering the two of them. Sirius kicked off from the ground.

The Cloak flapped around Lily’s ankles and she had to grab onto it with one hand to make sure it didn’t blow away, her other hand around Sirius’ waist so she didn’t fall. He was bent low over the broom, urging it to go faster.

Lily’s heart pounded louder than ever while they flew miles above the ground. She kept thinking about Remus, and what they could possibly be doing to him right now. Torture, almost certainly. The Death Eaters already had a good idea of who was in the Order and Wormtail would have told them for sure. They could be trying to get any amount of information from him: Order secrets, Harry’s whereabouts… They would be torturing him to within an inch of his life to get what they wanted to know, and every second they wasted by not getting there faster meant him slipping further out of their grasp.

Her eyes were fixed on the ground below her, constantly scanning it for any sign of a warehouse. They had been flying for nearly half an hour, when she spotted a large grey rooftop with a small road leading to it.

“There!” Lily shouted over the noise of the wind.

Sirius must have already spotted it because he didn’t need her to point to know where it was. He started to descend into a large green area behind the warehouse and within seconds they had crashed through the canopy of the woods and landed on the mossy earth.

They dismounted the broom quickly and hurried to the edge of the trees. They had landed on the wrong side of a tall metal fence that surrounded the grey building. Through it, Lily could see the old abandoned warehouse that the Death Eaters and werewolves had taken over. There was no doubt that this was the right one, Lily could sense the magic coming from inside that was almost like a vibration in the air.

Just as Lily was about to ask Sirius how they were going to get inside, two Death Eaters rounded a corner and came into view. Lily panicked, until she remembered that she was invisible.

The Death Eaters were talking loud enough for their voices to carry to where Lily and Sirius were stood.

“… Be glad when we don’t have to guard this lot. It’s a waste of time anyway, no one can get past the alarms.”

“There’ll still be Lupin, though I doubt he’ll be around much longer if he doesn’t start talking.”

“We’ll see what the Dark Lord makes of him…”

They passed out of hearing range. Lily turned to look at Sirius, feeling her face lose all colour. He didn’t look much better; his jaw was set and he stared ahead as if he wanted to blast the fence out of their way.

“What do we do?” Lily asked.

“Fly over the top?”

“He said there were alarms, I don’t think they’re that stupid.”

Sirius thought for a moment.

“Well there’s got to be a spot where they can get in and out. Let’s find the entrance.”

Lily and Sirius started walking around the perimeter of the warehouse trying to make as little noise as possible in case anyone heard them. Lily felt as if they were wasting time; Dumbledore had been right that they needed a plan but they had not wanted to sit around to figure one out. She wondered if they would be better off going back and telling Dumbledore the sort of defences the Death Eaters had up so he could think of an idea on how to get around them. It was going to be next to impossible to get in.

Lily was about to voice her thoughts when Sirius put an arm out to make her stop. Without her noticing, they had reached the road that Lily had seen leading towards the warehouse.

Another two Death Eaters guarded a gate. Sirius grabbed Lily’s arm and they crept closer.

These two weren’t talking. They didn’t have masks on and from a distance, Lily thought she recognised them as Rosier and Nott.

They looked bored, scanning the grounds around them to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary was happening, or about to happen. Apart from the two of them, the immediate vicinity was deserted.

There was no way Lily and Sirius were going to get past them.

Nonetheless, they crouched beside the fence some yards away from the guards, waiting. Lily tried to think of some way to distract them so that she and Sirius could enter but she came up with nothing. Even if they did manage to get the Death Eaters to abandon their positions, Lily had a feeling that the alarms would still be on the gate, and they would have to be removed in order for people to enter and leave.

Lily looked at Sirius, hoping that he had some sort of idea on what to do. His eyes were narrowed and staring, not at the two guards, but behind them. Lily followed his gaze and saw the same two Death Eaters they had spotted before walking towards the gate.

Without warning, Sirius stood up, pulling Lily with him. He hid the broomstick he had carried with him in a nearby bush and started walking closer to the gate. Lily tried to grab Sirius’ attention, to ask him silently what he was doing, but his attention was focused straight ahead of him and he didn’t bother to look at her.

Lily understood the plan mere moments before Sirius squeezed her arm tighter and pulled her along quicker, still trying to keep their footsteps silent. Rosier made a complicated movement with his wand just as Nott opened the gate to allow the other two Death Eaters to pass through it. By this time, Lily and Sirius were close enough to slip inside just before the Death Eaters reached the gate.

They quickly stepped to the side to allow the Death Eaters to exit and then walked as quickly as they dared away from the gate.

Lily waited until they were definitely out of earshot of the Death Eaters before she hissed at Sirius, “We could have been caught. At least tell me next time.”

“But we weren’t,” Sirius muttered and he half-grinned at her. It didn’t reach his eyes and a second later he looked as grim as he had done previously.

Lily checked behind her, and saw that the Death Eaters had swapped positions. Once Rosier and Nott were inside, one of the Death Eaters outside repeated the wand movement and Lily guessed that the alarms and other protective enchantments had been put back up.

She was immensely relieved that they had managed to get inside safely, but now they had the problem of finding Remus and getting him back out. That would surely not be as simple as getting in had turned out to be.

Sirius started walking randomly towards the huge building in front of them; Lily stopped him, pointing towards Rosier and Nott, who were heading in another direction. She thought they would be better off following them rather than trying to find another way in, and Sirius seemed to agree as he changed direction mid-step.

They followed the Death Eaters through a small side door (after waiting so that they wouldn’t notice the door opening by itself) and into a long narrow corridor. The walls were bare, but Lily hadn’t expected there to be signs pointing them in the right direction. There were many doors leading off from the corridor and as they passed each one, Lily couldn’t help looking through the small glass panels to see if Remus was in any of the rooms beyond.

The first time Lily did this, she nearly gasped out loud.

The room on the other side of the door must have been the main room in the building it was so large. It was filled with people, most of them, Lily could see, were men wearing ripped clothes and had long matted hair, but there were some women who were no better groomed. The werewolves.

Lily stood transfixed. There were so many of them, at least a hundred and Lily thought that the number was probably closer to two hundred. How they had managed to build up such numbers Lily didn’t know. Looking closer, the majority of them didn’t seem to have wands; either they were Muggles or had been infected before they were school age and raised by Greyback. Lily shuddered at this thought.

Every door on that side of the hallway looked into the same room, and the ones on the other side had their windows covered. Lily had the dreadful feeling that they had passed where Remus was being held, and they might have been able to get him and get out without being seen if he was in one of the rooms they were now walking past.

Ahead of them, Rosier and Nott reached a junction and turned right. When Lily and Sirius reached it, they paused. Lily peered down the corridor to their left; it looked no different to the one on their right. Sirius tapped her on the shoulder, signalling with his head that he thought they should carry on following the Death Eaters. Lily thought he had a point, they could be going to where Remus was, or might talk to any passing Death Eaters who could mention it Remus’ location.

Lily and Sirius hadn’t been going along this new corridor for long when Rosier and Nott looked to their left and stopped. Another Death Eater appeared and paused at the sight of the other two.

“No luck with it?” Rosier asked the newly arrived Death Eater.

“No.”

“Might as well summon the Dark Lord, then. He said to if it wouldn’t talk,”

“I already have done, I don’t know how much of a difference it will make. We’re better off killing it and giving the body back.”

“The Dark Lord will be able to make it co-operate.”

With that, Rosier and Nott continued walking to the end of the corridor and they turned at the end. The other Death Eater walked towards where Lily and Sirius were stood and passed so close that Lily thought he was going to walk into them. As it was, she had to hold her breath so he didn’t hear her and suck in her stomach to give him room to pass.

Lily had had trouble controlling her anger while the Death Eaters talked. She stood there with her fists clenched, fuming. Looking up at Sirius’ face, she saw her own anger reflected there. They had no right to talk about Remus as if he wasn’t a person when they were the ones planning to ruin innocent lives tomorrow evening.

They had stood there for a minute or so when Lily remembered where they were, and that the Death Eater had said that he had summoned Voldemort. They had to get Remus and get out - quickly.

Lily pulled Sirius forwards. This brought him back to the present and he followed Lily’s lead. They reached the spot where the Death Eaters had been stood. To their left was a staircase leading downwards.

Without hesitating, Lily started down the stairs to the door at the bottom.
_____________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:48 pm.
  #36  
Old August 16th, 2011, 10:34 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Fair warning for all: A few people mentioned they were a bit anxious reading the last chapter, so I apologise in advance for any heart attacks people may suffer when reading this one

Also, I don't know when the next chapter is going to be up because I have no time for writing it tomorrow or Thursday or possibly Friday Mainly because I get my exam results on Thursday Anyway, you probably didn't want to know that, so enjoy the chapter.

Chapter 35

Lily and Sirius quickly and silently slid into the basement, and pushed the door closed behind them. Sirius whipped the Invisibility Cloak off them in one swift motion and they both lit their wands to illuminate the pitch-black room.

The basement was large, about the same size as the main hall upstairs and Lily guessed that they were directly beneath it. It had bare brick walls and a cement floor. The room was completely empty apart from a figure curled on the floor not far from them

“Remus,” Lily murmured, running forward to kneel beside him. He lay in a pool of blood, some of it dried and some still wet. His robes were torn and Lily could see deep gashes through the rips, those that looked the most recent were still bleeding. Remus’ face didn’t look much better, he was covered in bruises and more cuts covered his face and neck. His wrists were tied together by a length of rope and Lily saw another piece of rope around his ankles.

“Is he - ?” Sirius croaked, stepping forward.

Lily placed her hand on Remus’ chest where she could feel the rapid rise and fall of it, and the steady beating of his heart; Remus flinched slightly at the pain this simple action caused him and she withdrew her hand quickly.

“He’s alive.” Lily had to swallow to try to keep her voice steady and her hands were shaking. Remus couldn’t have been here for that long, he’d only left Grimmauld Place two weeks ago – what had they done to him? “I don’t know how we’re going to get him out,” Lily told Sirius, and then spoke to Remus, “Remus, Remus, it’s me, it’s Lily. Look we’re going to get you out of here, don’t worry.”

Lily continued to speak words of comfort while she tried to untie the ropes. He didn’t show any signs of recognition, which unnerved Lily but she carried on, not wasting any time. She did not dare use magic to cut the ropes as she thought that her shaking hand might accidentally add a few more cuts to Remus’ list of injuries. Sirius stayed near the door, listening to hear if anyone was approaching.

Lily had managed to untie the rope around his wrists when she glanced up and saw him open one bleary eye at her.

“Lily,” he breathed, and Lily was relieved at the sound of his voice. This relief was quickly replaced by dread when she heard Sirius saying her name sharply.

“There’s someone coming, Lily. Get under the Cloak now!”

Standing up, Lily apologised to Remus and grabbed her wand that she had dropped on the floor beside him. She retreated to near the door where Sirius was waiting with the Cloak. He threw it over the both of them and they extinguished their wands just in time, as the door burst open seconds after the room had been plunged into darkness.

Candles were conjured and they floated in the air near the doorway, allowing Lily to see who had entered. There were two men: one was tall, wearing long billowing black robes and had his wand out, the other was rather shorter, plump and had a nervous look about him – Wormtail.

Voldemort stepped forward so that Lily could only see the back of him, and Wormtail followed behind closely.

“Well, well, Lupin… I am not accustomed to being summoned because a prisoner refuses to co-operate,” Voldemort’s high-pitched voice was calm and, Lily thought, slightly amused. Despite not sounding overly threatening or dangerous, she got goosebumps as he spoke. “I’ll give you one chance to speak willingly before I use force – where is the boy hidden?”

It seemed to take Remus a great amount of strength to raise his head and look straight into Voldemort’s face.

“I’d die before I told you.” Remus’ voice was weak but Lily had never heard him speak with such a cold edge to his voice before, spitting the words at Voldemort. Voldemort laughed – a cold, humourless laugh.

“Oh, there are always ways to make people talk. Look at Wormtail here – didn’t you consider him a friend mere months ago? All I had to do was offer him something he couldn’t resist, and wouldn’t cost me too much effort, of course, and he readily turned against his friends.”At this, Wormtail slowly moved so that Voldemort was blocking him from Remus’ view. Lily felt Sirius beside her raising his wand to aim it at him. She didn’t turn to see for certain; her eyes were fixed on the sliver of Remus’ face that she could see and his were on Voldemort’s. When he spoke again, his voice had lost it’s calm attitude.

“I’ll get Potter whether you tell me where he is or not. You’re not saving him by refusing to tell me, you’re just putting yourself in danger. If you tell me where he is then I’ll let you free.”

Remus stayed silent.

“I gave you your chance, werewolf. Crucio.”

Remus screamed a heart-wrenching scream that seemed to cause Lily physical pain just hearing it. She watched in despair as Remus tensed in agony, curling up even more into a ball.

Voldemort lowered his wand and Remus’ body went limp. His eyes were closed and he was breathing hard. Voldemort tilted his head to one side and considered Remus for a moment.

“I don’t need you, werewolf. Your kind are no better than the mudbloods; I wouldn’t allow you to clean the dirt off my robes. You filthy creatures should be locked up and left to die, which is what will happen to you if you don’t tell me where Potter is. Answer me!”

“Is that how you talk to Greyback? You persuaded him to join your cause by calling him a filthy creature?” Remus’ eyes stayed closed when he spoke and his voice was getting weaker by the second – it sounded like he was using all his energy when he was speaking.

“If I told you where they were then I’d deserve to be left for dead.”

“What is it you really want, werewolf?” Voldemort whispered menacingly, ignoring Remus’ accusations. He was silent for a minute, in which time the only sound was Remus’ heavy breathing and Wormtail fidgeting behind his master. Then, Voldemort laughed again. “I can promise not to kill her when I kill the boy, but that’s not what you really want, is it? You want to play happy families with your dead friend’s wife and son.” He laughed once more “And they say my Death Eaters are sly.”

Lily thought she saw Sirius turn to look at her out of the corner of her eye but she didn’t acknowledge it. Voldemort had turned his wand back onto Remus and he was screaming louder than before – this time Lily couldn’t handle it.

She felt Sirius attempt to grab her arm to keep her in place but Lily had already ran out from under the Cloak. She stopped in front of Remus, spreading her arms out as if to block him from view.

Voldemort blinked once as Lily stared into his face unflinchingly. He had lowered his wand and the room was silent.

“Well, well. I should have known that you would come for your, ah, friend.” Voldemort grimaced as if he was reliving a bad memory. “But maybe this way is better – he’ll tell me where your son is, or I’ll kill you.”

He said this with absolute certainty that his plan would work, and Lily thought it might have done if only Sirius had not also been hidden in the room. Not wanting to alert Voldemort to this fact, she decided to play along. Lily took half a step backwards, away from Voldemort, and quickly looked behind her; Remus had closed his eyes and his chest was barely moving. They had to get him out of here fast. However, no plans formed themselves in her mind. Instead, she decided that keeping Voldemort talking had to be the safest option as it might distract him for long enough for either her or Sirius to think of a plan.

“Not all of my friends are traitors,” Lily said, much more bravely than she felt. “Remus wouldn’t tell you a thing.”

“Really?” Voldemort asked, sounding greatly amused. Before Lily could raise her wand, he had pointed his at her and a great force pulled her towards him. He grabbed her by the throat, turned her to face Remus and pressed his wand tip to her neck.

“Wormtail, take her wand,” he ordered. Wormtail shuffled around so that Lily could see him. He kept his eyes downwards so he didn’t have to look at her and she tried to fight him off. Voldemort dug his overgrown fingernails into her neck and Lily relinquished her grasp on her wand. It fell to the floor and Wormtail stooped down to pick it up. Lily had a sudden urge to kick him; she knew that this would only result in more pain for her or Remus so she decided against attacking him.

Apparently Sirius did not.

A jet of light hit Wormtail in the face, causing him to stumble backwards and slowed his movement. Voldemort threw Lily to the ground as he spun round to see where the spell had come from, his upper lip curling in rage when he saw Sirius standing with his wand in one hand and the Invisibility Cloak in the other.

“Of course – the mudblood would never have managed to get here by herself. She would need someone raised with the Dark Arts.”

Sirius didn’t say anything; he sent a spell at Voldemort who deflected it easily and then started duelling ferociously.

The jinx that Sirius had sent at Wormtail was beginning to wear off. Lily could see his eyes darting from the door to Sirius and back again. Lily crawled to where her wand had fallen and snatched it up. She looked back up to find Wormtail stood up and hurrying to the door.

Colloportus!” Lily shouted, waving her wand wildly in the general direction of the door. A dull thud told her that she had performed the charm just in time as Wormtail ran head first into it. She quickly sent a Stunning Spell after it that struck Wormtail squarely in the back and he fell to the floor.

Sirius and Voldemort were still duelling, illuminating the room with brightly coloured flashes of light. Occasionally, one would be deflected and hit the floor or walls and a great chunk would be blown off, leaving the basement littered with bits of brick and cement.

Lily scrambled on all fours to where Wormtail was and searched his robes until she found his wand. She grabbed it before hurrying to Remus’ side and pressed Wormtail’s wand into his hand, just in case. Lily started untying the rope around Remus’ ankles, her hands steadied by the adrenaline coursing through her veins. She managed to untie it eventually and tried to drag Remus further away from where Voldemort and Sirius were duelling in case one of the deflected spells came in their direction.

While she pulled Remus, Lily had her wand in her hand and sent the occasional spell in Voldemort’s direction, trying to distract him from Sirius for a moment. She knew Sirius was a good dueller, but it was nothing compared to Voldemort’s years of experience, and Voldemort was slowly but steadily advancing towards Sirius.

Once they were a sufficient distance away from Voldemort and Sirius, Lily stopped and knelt beside Remus briefly, one hand on his chest to make sure he was still breathing. When she was sure he was ok, Lily stood up in between Remus and Voldemort, and joined in the duel.

Voldemort snarled now that Lily was firing spells at him too, but Lily and Sirius still weren’t making him duel at his full potential. At some point, he was going to get fed up and blow them to the side as if they were nothing more than smoke. All Lily could hope for was that Voldemort would make a mistake that would give them time to escape, somehow.

He didn’t make any mistakes, he was too experienced a dueller to, and nothing that even resembled an escape plan entered Lily’s mind while she duelled, ducking and dodging to all sides to avoid the spells cast at her. The best she could do was keep duelling and see if any opportunities presented themselves.

Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw something move. She glanced to the floor briefly after blocking a jet of violet light that had been sent her way. Remus was trying to move, to aim the wand Lily had given him at Voldemort so that he could fire a spell at him. Lily wanted to shout at him to save his energy, but that would have meant wasting precious moments, and Lily didn’t have any to waste.

Instead, she stepped slightly out of Remus’ way so he had a clear shot. Unfortunately, Voldemort spotted this and moved aside to avoid the spell that went his way a moment later. Lily had to act quickly in order to block a returning spell shot at Remus.

This seemed to anger Voldemort because he started swiping his wand through the air with renewed force and speed. He was pushing Lily and Sirius to their limit now and he knew it, a small smile growing on his face. Lily had to almost throw herself to the floor in order to avoid a series of spells aimed at her.

Lily looked up in time to see Sirius being blasted across the room, hit the stone wall and slide to the floor, unconscious.

Voldemort didn’t bother to see if Sirius was unable to carry on duelling, he took slow deliberate steps towards Lily. She got to her feet quickly, gripping her wand tightly. Trying her best not to look scared, Lily looked Voldemort in the eyes. There was silence and she could tell what was coming. It was inevitable.

Lily stood her ground, only moving to raise her wand when Voldemort raised his.

Behind Voldemort, the door burst open revealing a small group of Death Eaters. Voldemort spun round in surprise, managing to keep his wand aimed on Lily. Voldemort quickly regained his composure.

“What are you doing here? I ordered you to not interrupt!” He hissed.

“You seemed to be taking a long time with the prisoner, my Lord. We wondered –” said one of the Death Eaters.

“There were intruders, the situation is under control.”

There was barely a heartbeat of silence before the Death Eater who had spoken drew his wand and started firing spells at Voldemort. Two of the Death Eaters ran over to Remus on the floor and the other to Sirius, leaving Lily to watch what was happening, completely bewildered.

Lily watched as the two Death Eaters near to her bent over Remus and started murmuring spells. One of them glanced up at her and Lily’s heart skipped a beat when she saw that it was Rosier.

“Don’t just stand there, help us,” he growled.

Lily had no idea what was happening. Eventually, her brain began to work faster and she realised that these weren’t real Death Eaters.

“What - ?” Lily started, kneeling beside the non-Death Eaters, but the one who had taken on Rosier’s appearance interrupted her.

“Polyjuice Potion,” he growled. “We need to hurry up – it’s nearly been an hour and we’ve got to get back out!”

“Come on, Lily,” said a new voice from above and Lily saw the non-Death Eater who had gone to see to Sirius walking towards them. He was supporting Sirius, who was conscious again but looked unsteady on his feet.

The two Death Eaters either side of Lily hauled Remus to his feet. Lily thought his awareness had gone again because he wasn’t making any effort to resist what looked like two Death Eaters picking him up. However, she didn’t comment and went to help the non-Death Eater supporting Sirius by putting her arm around his other side.

They slowly made their way towards the door, avoiding the duel happening on the other side of the basement. That was, until Sirius started talking.

“The Cloak,” he said. “I dropped it…”

Lily ducked out from under Sirius’ shoulder and quickly looked around the room. The Cloak was just behind the door where she and Sirius had been stood. Lily ran over to pick it up - dodging spells as she went - stuffed it into an inside pocket of her robes, and then returned to help support Sirius.

The six of them managed to exit the basement and had got halfway up the stairs when the non-Death Eaters suddenly stopped walking. Lily wondered why this was until she spotted the skin of the one who was also supporting Sirius; it was bubbling and she understood that the Polyjuice potion was wearing off.

While they stood waiting for all of the potion’s effects to fade, Lily heard the sound of loud bangs and shouts from above them. She craned her neck hoping to see what was going on, but nobody and nothing passed the small section of the corridor that she could see.

Lily was still trying to discern what was happening above them when she felt Sirius move, which indicated that they were moving again. She looked to her side and, with a shock, saw that Seth was the other person helping Sirius make his way up the stairs. Looking behind her, Lily saw Moody and Emmeline supporting the barely conscious Remus.

“Hurry up,” Moody growled, pulling Remus up a step.

“What about – whoever it is still down there?” said Lily.

“Dumbledore will be fine. Now move!”
__________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; August 25th, 2011 at 1:48 pm.
  #37  
Old August 24th, 2011, 10:49 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3698 days
Location: England
Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Sorry about taking a bit longer to write this, I turned out to be rather busy last weekend and I didn't feel like writing when I finally got time to rest.

For anyone who cares and doesn't already know, I did get good exam results, so that 3 month hiatus paid off Only now I have to write 2 chapters a week so that this will be finished before I start Uni, which I was doing before anyway so it should be alright.

That's enough of me rambling, enjoy the chapter

Chapter 36

The noises above them grew louder as they made their slow way up the stairs. Lily gripped her wand tightly, ready if she needed to use it. She still couldn’t see exactly what was going on, but now the occasional jets of light were being shot past the entrance to the stairwell and Lily assumed that the rest of the Order was working its way through the building.

Lily and Seth pulled Sirius up to the top step but immediately tried to step back down so that they were out of sight. Lily almost fell over Moody when she stepped back and it took her a moment to steady herself and Sirius.

Both ends of the corridor were filled with Death Eaters duelling people Lily couldn’t see. She thought she could spot the unmistakable purple uniform of the Aurors and wondered what they were doing here until she remembered the planned werewolf attack on the Ministry and she understood that they had come to get help rid of the threat. Lily was grateful for this, as the Order had nowhere near enough members to cope with the number of werewolves that were here.

“How are we going to get out?” Lily asked Moody, looking behind her. There was no need to keep her voice down; Lily could barely hear herself speak with the sounds of shouts and spells in the corridor.

“Where are they duelling?”

“Both ends of the corridor.”

“There’s a door opposite and to the left. Go through there.”

“But, Moody, doesn’t that - ?”

“Do you want to try to get these two through the corridors that are packed with people firing curses at each other?”

Lily didn’t reply; Moody was right. It would be impossible to get through the narrow corridors without them being hit but she didn’t think it was a good idea to try to go through the main hall in order to get out. Most of the werewolves might not be particularly proficient with magic but some would be and they were highly outnumbered. However, it was their only chance.

Steeling herself, Lily glanced at Seth, who she now noticed was looking rather pale. He must have seen her looking as he smiled slightly at her. Between them, Sirius was attempting to push them away.

“What are you doing?”

“I can walk on my own, I don’t need help.”

“You were just blasted halfway across the room, if you’re fine then I’m a man,” said Lily, gritting her teeth.

Sirius didn’t stop struggling, and he carried on arguing with Lily until Moody interrupted them.

“Let him walk if he thinks he can manage. We’re wasting time.”

Sirius and Lily abruptly stopped at this. They looked over to where Remus was; he was growing steadily paler at the effort he was exerting trying to stand up, even with help from Emmeline and Moody.

Lily let Sirius go and Seth did the same. It took Sirius a second to steady himself but, when he did, he looked fine, if not slightly pale.

“Can’t you three wear the Cloak?” Sirius asked Moody. “You’d be able to get through without the Death Eaters trying to attack you.”

“I don’t think it’ll cover them all,” said Lily. “Their feet will show.”

Lily pulled the Cloak out of her pocket anyway and threw it over Moody, Emmeline and Remus. As she had thought, their feet and part of their legs were still visible. Half of a person was likely to attract more attention than if they were walking through normally.

Lily stuffed the Cloak back in her pocket while Moody gave instructions on how they were going to get across the hallway, and, hopefully, out safely. Lily and Seth switched with Moody and Emmeline so that they were supporting Remus, allowing the more experienced duellers to provide cover for them.

Sirius and Emmeline stepped out of the stairwell first, heading towards the door that led into the hall and shooting jets of light at the Death Eaters on either side; they were too preoccupied to be able to tell where all of the spells were coming from. Sirius and Emmeline were halfway to the door when Lily and Seth started to make their way across half carrying Remus, and Moody brought up the rear seconds later.

The situation in the corridor was worse than Lily had thought when she had briefly seen it before. Bodies of Death Eaters and Aurors alike lined the corridor and Lily couldn’t tell if they were dead or merely unconscious. Littering the floor were bits of wall, floor and ceiling that had broken off when a powerful spell had hit it. Lily sent more spells into the battle that was raging as they hurried across to the door as quickly as they could. She didn’t know if any of them hit their targets and didn’t stop to check before she entered the hall.

It was marginally better in here than out in the corridor, but only because it was a larger space. Most of the werewolves without wands were huddled in a corner, trying to stay out of the way and avoid being hit, while some were tied up and left on the floor, the spell caster having been distracted. Lily guessed that the Aurors had been the first to get in the hall as so many of the werewolves had been tied up but the Death Eaters had quickly followed. Order members fought alongside the Aurors, against the Death Eaters and werewolves with wands. This made it hard to move without being hit, but the six of them did their best, edging their way along the wall so they wouldn’t be noticed while Sirius, Moody and Emmeline did their best to block spells coming their way.

They hadn’t got very far when new shouts could be heard from Death Eaters, pointing at the six of them trying to get out. Sirius immediately jumped into the battle, flashes of light coming from his wand, aimed at the Death Eaters in all directions. Moody and Emmeline joined him, leaving only Lily and Seth to deflect any stray jets of light that neared them.

Lily and Seth continued supporting Remus as they walked along the walls, doing their best to avoid or block stray curses. It was getting harder; the more they walked the less strength Remus had and he could barely keep himself upright. Lily and Seth kept moving, trying to go faster as Remus grew fainter.

It was hard work, even with the two of them, and before long they had to gently put Remus down so that they could rest. But even resting from carrying him didn’t give Lily and Seth time to relax; Lily was constantly scanning the area for spells aimed at them and had to block more than a few. The longer they stood there, the more Death Eaters and werewolves noticed them and started sending jets of light towards them in between their own duels.

Nearby, a Death Eater won his duel and his opponent (an Auror Lily didn’t recognise) went down with a scream. He turned towards where Lily and Seth were stood, panting, and Remus was sat against the wall.

Snape stood without moving staring at the three of them by the wall, and Lily wondered why he didn’t attack them straight away. A moment later, Lily guessed that he had been catching his breath as there was a flash of blue light and Snape started duelling Seth.

Seth took a few steps away from where Lily and Remus were, but Lily tried to join the duel to help Seth.

“Get back to Remus, Lily. Get him out of here!” shouted Seth in between blocking an attack from Snape and sending a retaliatory spell back.

Lily hesitated. She knew that it would be best to do as Seth said and get Remus out, but she knew how good a dueller Snape was and Seth was likely to need help.

In her moment of hesitation, Lily stood watching Snape and Seth duel. As she did so, she noticed cracks in the floor starting to appear. Lily frowned. They were duelling hard, yes, but everyone in the room was and it was nowhere near intense enough for the floor to start cracking.

Then Lily remembered the duel happening below them in the basement. It looked like Lily had been right earlier when she had thought that the basement was beneath the main hall, and Dumbledore’s and Voldemort’s duel must have been growing fiercer by the second for the floor to start giving in.

“Seth, the floor!” Lily shouted. Both Seth and Snape looked down at the cracks beginning to create great furrows in the cement. As she looked, Lily saw more and more appear around the room and she wasn’t the only one to have noticed them now.

No one had to be told to get out; a mad rush for the doors began. Even though she had been standing no more than five yards away from Remus, she had to push people out of the way in order to get to him.

He was almost being trodden on in the horde of people trying to get out quickly. Lily hauled Remus onto his feet unceremoniously and began to try to make her way to the nearest door.

Lily struggled with Remus’ weight and the people pushing and shoving past gave no consideration to them. Lily stumbled forwards, refusing to give up, until she felt Remus become lighter and she looked around.

Sirius had found them among the mass of bodies. He propped Remus up with his shoulder and helped Lily get him to the door. It was difficult, as the three of them took up so much space and moved so slow while everyone else wanted to be the first to get out, but eventually they managed it.

When they reached the door, screams from inside the hall suddenly grew louder and Lily couldn’t help but look over the heads of people running out of the room.

The furrows in the floor had started to join up and, as Lily watched, a chunk of the floor, not far from a group of werewolves who had been tied up, disappeared from view. The tied up werewolves shouted for someone to help them, trying to stand so they could escape, but no one did. They were all too busy saving themselves.

There was nothing Lily could do. She had to get Remus out, and - in any case – she wouldn’t have been able to push against the crowd of people pouring out of the doors. Sirius gave Remus a sharp tug forwards and Lily was pulled with him.

More bodies littered this corridor and Lily did her best to avoid stepping on them, or looking close enough to be able to recognise them. She was one of the few that did, as most people let nothing stop them from getting out of the collapsing warehouse as quickly as possible and didn’t pay any attention to whatever obstacles were in their way.

Lily and Sirius made it to the door with Remus and exited into the fresh air. They stepped to the side allowing others to exit and them to catch their breath for a moment, when a jet of green light came their way and they had to duck to avoid it. It left a hole in the wall behind them.

The scene outside much resembled how the one inside had been. Duels that had been interrupted recommenced, but now a number of Death Eaters were trying to flee. They were prevented by the line of Ministry workers stood by the fence who were incapacitating anyone who looked like they were going to make a run for it.

What looked like another group of Aurors Apparated beyond the fence and started running in through the gate when they had barely landed. The charms preventing anyone from getting in or out must have been disabled when the Aurors and Order members broke through, but it looked as if anit-Apparition charms were still in place.

They started walking again, doing their best to support Remus on their way to the gate. As they walked, Sirius started stumbling; his injury must have been worse than they thought because by the time they were nearly to the gate, Sirius was leaning on Remus as much as Remus was leaning on him.

“Come on, Sirius,” Lily said desperately. “It’s not far now.”

They took a few more steps but Sirius had had enough. He stayed standing, swaying dangerously on the spot. Fortunately, someone saw them and starting running in their direction.

The person drew closer and Lily recognised it as being Dedalus Diggle. When he reached them, he forced his way in between Sirius and Remus and helped Lily get them through the gate where it was finally safe to sit down and rest.

“Where are the others?” asked Dedalus. “Dumbledore, Moody and Emmeline?”

“I don’t know,” Lily panted. “Dumbledore’s in the basement duelling Voldemort –” Dedalus looked shocked at this, but Lily carried on. “- The others went off to duel some Death Eaters. I don’t know where they’ve got to.”

Lily looked through the fence to the yard around the warehouse anxiously. Had the others got out okay? She hadn’t seen Moody or Emmeline since they had entered the hall and she had lost Seth in the scramble to get out. What if they had been injured and left in the hall? There was no way they could make it back in to get anyone out and Lily was concerned that any rescue team would get trapped in there too.

She carried on searching for faces she recognised through the fence. People kept moving around, making it hard for Lily to spot anyone.

“Shouldn’t those two be going to St. Mungo’s?” Dedalus said, making Lily jump slightly; she had forgotten he was there. He was searching the crowd of duellers too, his face showing his anxiety.

“I couldn’t Apparate with both of them. I don’t – I don’t know if they’d be okay Apparating.” Lily looked down at where both Sirius and Remus were lying on the floor, worry swelling inside her. She pushed it back; they were going to be alright, she would get them to St. Mungo’s as soon as she knew the others had got out…

This thought had only just entered Lily’s mind when there was an earth-shattering crash and the sound of renewed screams filled the air. She looked up in horror.

One side of the warehouse had collapsed. People were running away from the building as fast as they could in case it completely fell down. Duels were still taking place and people ran straight into the flashes of light as they escaped from the warehouse. The whole situation was descending into chaos and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. Lily sat and watched; she had to fight her instincts so that she didn’t run straight back in there to help, but she was exhausted and was unwilling to leave Remus and Sirius.

In the confusion, Lily didn’t notice the figure walking towards them until it was right in front of her.

“Seth!” Lily jumped to her feet and hugged him. “I didn’t know where you’d got to, are you okay? Have you seen the others?”

“I’m fine,” he said, gently releasing Lily. “I saw Emmeline and Moody get out, they’re duelling over there somewhere.” Seth pointed vaguely to the right of the collapsing building and Lily briefly saw a flash of Emmeline’s black hair and Moody’s distinctive frame.

Lily looked back to the warehouse. There was no sign of Dumbledore or Voldemort. Obviously she didn’t care whether Voldemort got out dead or alive, but if something had happened to Dumbledore, if he’d been caught in any falling debris, it didn’t bear thinking about.

“I thought the point of rescuing Remus was so that he was alright, aren’t you going to take him to the hospital?” Seth asked.

“I won’t be able to manage both of them. Sirius can barely stand.”

“The three of us would manage, wouldn’t we?” Seth indicated himself, Lily and Dedalus. “We should get Remus there as soon as possible.”

Dedalus looked as if he didn’t want to leave without knowing for certain that the others were okay, but he agreed anyway. He helped Lily and Seth pull Remus and Sirius to their feet and they made sure someone was on both sides of both of them.

Just as they were about to Disapparate, Lily glanced back at the warehouse and froze.

A lone figure was emerging from the rubble of the warehouse. A tall lone figure. With waist length silver hair and beard.

“Dumbledore!” Lily said to the others, pointing to the aged wizard who was calmly emerging from the half-collapsed building.

They turned to look, and the sight of Dumbledore seemed to convince them that the situation here was under control. After a moment, the three of them standing looked at each other, making sure they were all ready. There was no reason to stay now, it was best for them to get Remus and Sirius to St. Mungo’s, as long as Dumbledore was there things would be fine. It was a rather naïve belief, but it was one that had never been proved false before.

After Seth had counted to “three”, they Disapparated.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; August 25th, 2011 at 4:59 pm.
  #38  
Old August 27th, 2011, 10:20 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3698 days
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Age: 26
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

New chapter I've just realised that the paragraph-formatting is pretty terrible in the last few chapters because I got Word 2007 when I got my laptop that you only press enter once on to make a new paragraph and I keep missing some when I have to re-do the paragraphs on here Oh well, hopefully I did it ok this time. Enjoy!

Chapter 37

The next hour was a blur of noise and colour. Lily vaguely remembered a group of Healers converging on the five of them as soon as they stepped foot in the reception area, and then whisking Remus and Sirius away. Dedalus and Seth stayed long enough for them to be sure that Remus and Sirius would be alright and then they left to return to the warehouse and help sort things out. This left Lily to collapse into one of the rickety wooden chairs in the waiting area.

Lily watched, without really paying attention, as more people started steadily pouring in through the door. The old welcome witch behind the desk looked shocked at the sudden increase in patients and began to direct them to the seats where they could wait until a Healer could see them. Lily recognised a few faces, only waving when she made eye contact with them and not going over to talk to them. At one point she saw Moody enter with one hand covering his nose and blood freely flowing from between his fingers, but he was quickly ushered up the staircase.

Around Lily, the little waiting room filled up and slowly began to empty again. It was only when someone sat down in the seat next to her did Lily break out of her reverie and look around herself properly.

Albus Dumbledore was looking at her over the top of his glasses.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

Lily hadn’t thought about how she was feeling, more just sitting and watching and allowing everything to wash over her. It took her a while to answer.

“Shaken,” answered Lily. “Just… seeing Remus like that, and then Voldemort was there and I thought he was going to kill us and then we had to get out, I don’t think I knew what I was doing.” Lily took a deep breath. “What happened?”

“I was about to ask you the same question.”

Lily told him how she and Sirius had managed to get into the warehouse and found out where Remus was. She gave him a brief summary of what had occurred in the basement before he had entered and then how they had got out.

When she finished, Dumbledore proceeded to tell her what had happened outside after she had Disapparated. The Death Eaters and werewolves that had managed to escape the building were being arrested, though some of them had been able to flee in the confusion. They were waiting for the Ministry to dispatch a team of magical building surveyors to ensure that it was safe to enter before they could rescue anyone had had been trapped inside, if they were still alive.

“What about Voldemort?” Lily asked, causing people nearby to wince.

“He fled,” said Dumbledore simply. Lily felt her jaw drop.

“How? Wasn’t there an anti-Disapparition jinx on the place?”

“He lifted it. It isn’t a particularly hard jinx to remove, the method just isn’t very well known. There’s no reason why it should be well known when most people accept that the jinx is usually there for a reason.”

“But you were duelling him. How did he have time to lift the jinx?”

Dumbledore smiled. “It’s rather unfortunate that the ceiling was collapsing in on us by that point, giving me as many distractions as he.”

The conversation dropped, then. Dumbledore sat with Lily for a while, neither of them speaking. It took Lily a few minutes to realise why she wasn’t reassured by Dumbledore’s presence.

“Where’s Harry?” said Lily, suddenly remembering that she had left him with Dumbledore. He raised a hand to prevent Lily from panicking.

“He is fine. I left him with Augusta Longbottom, who was babysitting Neville too, as Frank and Alice were needed by the Aurors.”

Lily nodded. Dumbledore stayed for a few more minutes before excusing himself, saying that he had important business to attend to.

Lily wasn’t alone in the waiting room for long after Dumbledore had left. She barely had time to glance around the room when she saw Sirius descend the steps that led up to the wards, looking round for her.

She almost ran to where Sirius was stood. Lily hugged him.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“’Course I am.” Lily pulled back to see that he was smiling. “Heard anything about Remus?”

“No.” Lily glanced over her shoulder to where the welcome witch was sat, hoping that she’d choose that moment to tell them whether Remus was going to be okay or not.

“I need to talk to you.” Sirius grabbed Lily’s hand and pulled her into a deserted corridor.

“What’s the matter?” Lily allowed herself to be dragged halfway down the corridor where no one would be able to hear them.

“What Voldemort said to Remus, it was something about you. What’s going on?”

Lily felt as if her intestines had been filled with lead.

“Nothing’s going on. I don’t know what Voldemort was talking about.”

Sirius considered this for a minute.

“He said –”

“Are you actually believing what Voldemort said? Have you got any reason to think he was telling the truth? He could have been lying just to make Remus feel terrible.”

Somewhere inside her, Lily knew this was utter nonsense but she would prefer to talk to Remus before Sirius started asking questions that she half knew the answers to. Things were starting to fall into place about the whole situation: if what Voldemort had said was partly true, then Remus running away hadn’t been an overreaction to kissing her…

“He was using Legilimency. He wouldn’t have just come up with that if there hadn’t been anything to make him think it.” Sirius paused. “Was there anything? Just tell me whatever I’ve missed, it’ll be a lot easier.”

Lily knew that there was no point lying to Sirius now. “He kissed me, after you’d passed out on his birthday.”

Sirius didn’t speak. He seemed to be processing what Lily had told him.

Suddenly, he started off down the corridor back towards the waiting room and where the stairs were that led to the upper floors.

“Sirius, come back!” Lily tried to grab at his arm but he waved her off. She followed him and eventually managed to grab hold of him when he reached the stairs.

“What the hell was he thinking?” Sirius snarled at her when she stopped him from rampaging up the staircase. “He was one of James’ best friends – you married – you don’t do that, you don’t just start getting it on with someone as soon as their husband dies – Lily, let me go!”

“No,” Lily said standing her ground. “Calm down. You don’t know what was going through his head, he was drunk, which happens to be partly your fault because you kept filling his glass even if he didn’t want any more. And how many people have you kissed when you were drunk? At least give him the chance to explain himself before you go attacking him.”

“What’s he got to explain? I never tried to kiss you, or any of Remus’ girlfriends, or Peter’s, even if I was drunk. It’s something you don’t do.”

Lily didn’t have a counter argument for that and Sirius sensed it. He tried to pull away from her but Lily tightened her fingers around his arm.

“They’ll never let you up there if you look ready for a fight, and they might still be working on him.”

Sirius looked as if he would have liked to punch her, but he didn’t. Instead, he stormed over to the desk where the welcome witch sat and Lily followed him.

“Do you know when we’ll be able to visit Remus Lupin? He was brought in this afternoon,” Sirius asked. The woman ignored his angry tone and calmly started flicking through some papers on the desk.

“Visiting hours for the ward he’s in are two ‘til four and then six ‘til seven, but there’s a note on his file requesting no visitors today. Sorry.” Lily thought she didn’t sound particularly sorry, but that might have been because Sirius looked ready to throttle someone. “You’ll have to come back tomorrow and see if they’re allowing visitors.”

As the welcome witch suggested, Lily and Sirius returned the next day, to find out that they still weren’t allowed to see Remus. Sirius insisted on going the day after too, even though Lily told him that they’d probably want him to rest the day after the full moon, and she was proved right. It was on the third day of Lily and Sirius, this time taking Harry with them as there was no one who could babysit, going to see if they were allowing Remus any visitors that they were successful.

Not much had happened in the two intermittent days. The werewolf attack on the Ministry had not taken place, as a large number of the werewolves had been arrested. More Death Eaters had managed to get away, but the Aurors had been able to make a few arrests. They were still working on pulling bodies out of the warehouse, having to do it slowly because it appeared that there had been many magical additions to the building, such as secret passageways, that may have become unstable during the attack.

A Healer showed them up to the fourth floor, explaining that Remus was in a very delicate state and that they would only let them stay if they didn’t cause him any stress. Lily felt like turning around right then and forcing Sirius to leave, but she gave him the benefit of the doubt – after a few days of thinking about it she hoped that he wouldn’t start shouting at Remus.

They reached a corridor that had many doors leading off it. A few doors along, the Healer that Lily and Sirius had been following stopped and knocked lightly on the nearest one before opening it and sticking her head through.

“Mr Lupin? You’ve got some visitors.”

If Remus replied then Lily didn’t hear it. The Healer opened the door wider to allow Lily and Sirius to pass through and then shut it, giving them some privacy.

Remus was lying in the hospital bed with his back to the door so no one could see his face. Lily could, however, see one of his hands that lay on top of the duvet, which was pulled right up to his eyes. This hand had three long claw marks along it that disappeared beneath the sleeve of the pale green hospital pyjamas.

Lily sat down in the chair on the side of the bed that Remus wasn’t facing towards; it was obvious to her that he didn’t want them to see his injuries as much as possible. Sirius stayed standing near the door with his arms folded.

“How are you feeling, Remus?” Lily asked quietly. Remus stirred somewhat but didn’t turn to look at them.

“Terrible,” he grumbled, his voice barely audible. A snort came from by the door and Lily threw Sirius a dark look while holding onto Harry as he tried to climb onto Remus’ bed.

“Is that Sirius?” said Remus.

Lily waited for Sirius to answer. He didn’t, so Lily spoke for him.

“Yes, it is. I brought Harry as well.”

“How did you get Sirius to stop talking? It would have been useful to know it was possible.” Lily smiled slightly; if he was making jokes then he musn’t be too badly injured, or was putting on a brave face for them.

“I was shocked into silence when I found out that this guy I know thought it would be a good idea to kiss his best friend’s widow,” Sirius said.

“Sirius!”

“What? You told me to give him a chance to explain himself so I’m giving it to him.”

“He’s just spent who knows how long being tortured, he can barely talk.”

“Yet he manages to get it on with you when he’s too drunk to speak properly.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be at least glad that he’s still alive? You were as worried as me last week.”

“Yeah, well… that was then.” Sirius looked around the small room, a murderous look on his face. “And I am glad he’s alive, otherwise I’d have no one to be angry at.”

“For Merlin’s sake, Sirius! What’s your problem?”

“My problem? I’m not the one –”

“You sound like a broken record. If you’re just going to shout, why didn’t you go home when the Healer said we weren’t supposed to stress Remus out?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know why I even bothered coming.” Sirius spoke with a strange sort of finality in his voice, and – after glaring at Remus – walked out.

Lily sat seething for a few minutes. She really had no idea why Sirius was reacting the way he was; yes, Remus had kissed her while he was drunk, and from what Voldemort had said it seemed as if Remus’ feelings towards her weren’t entirely platonic, but that wasn’t Sirius’ business.

Remus, who hadn’t spoken the entire time Lily and Sirius had been arguing, said quietly, “You told him.”

Lily sighed.

“I had to. After what Voldemort said, he guessed that something was up.”

Remus was silent for a while. He was still facing the opposite wall and didn’t look as if he was about to move.

“What did Voldemort say?”

“You don’t remember?”

“I don’t remember much before waking up and seeing a bunch of Healers with their wands out and pouring potions down my throat.”

“Voldemort was trying to make you tell him where Harry was. He thought you’d tell him if he said he’d give you whatever you wanted, when you didn’t say he used Legilimency… He said something about wanting to be a family with me and Harry,” Lily finished quietly.

“I don’t – well, I never thought that far ahead.”

“I thought not. I thought Voldemort might have stretched the truth,” Lily said, then added, “You know, it’s really annoying talking to the back of your head.”

“I don’t want to scare Harry.”

“He’ll manage. You can’t look that bad.”

Remus didn’t move at first, and when he did roll over so he was facing Lily, she had to suppress a gasp.

Most of the dark purple bruises on his face had faded to yellow, which, although it meant that they were healing, made him look worse than he was. One eye was swollen shut and his nose, despite being healed, looked like it had been broken. Newer cuts had joined the red ones on his face that had dulled while he had been in the hospital.

Lily was shocked, again, at how bad he looked. She tried to remember if he’d looked this rough when they had rescued him, but she could only pull up a vague memory – she had obviously not registered the full extent of his injuries in their hurry to get him out. The more recent wounds must have been acquired at the full moon.

“You said you were going to be careful.”

Remus winced. “I know. I’m sorry.”

“How long were you there for?” asked Lily, still struck by the state of Remus’ injuries.

“I don’t know. Too long.” His one open eye was starting to droop.

“You’re tired, I should go before the Healers try to strangle me.”

“I’m fine, you can stay,” Remus mumbled into the pillow. Lily smiled at this, until she remembered who it reminded her of, and the smile fell from her face.

“I’ll visit again sometime,” Lily said, standing up. “And I’ll try to talk to Sirius.” She squeezed Remus’ hand that lay on top of the duvet and he whispered something incoherent as she left.
___________________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; August 28th, 2011 at 1:25 pm.
  #39  
Old August 31st, 2011, 4:00 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Another new chapter Massive thank yous to the people who are still leaving feedback

Chapter 38

Confusion coloured Lily’s thoughts while she walked back through the hospital and used the fireplace to get back to Grimmauld Place. All the time fiddling with the wedding ring she still wore out of habit.

Remus was her friend; that much Lily knew for certain. Granted, it wasn’t much - she had been friends with Remus for coming up to ten years - but it was a start. Lily also now knew that Remus hadn’t just kissed her because he was drunk and they were close friends, he actually did have romantic feelings towards her. She supposed she should have guessed that as soon as they had found out he had left of his own accord; running away over a drunken kiss was quite a bit of an overreaction even for Remus. Another thing Lily knew, or thought she knew, was that Sirius thought they had betrayed James’ memory and that was why he was angry.

That was where the certainty ended for Lily. She had no idea how she felt about the whole situation, or how she should deal with it, or whether she should just try to pretend that everything was normal and hope it would sort itself out. No, that last one wasn’t really an option. If she did that then Sirius would probably end up killing either her or Remus and, even though doing that might solve the situation, Lily didn’t think it was the best solution.

It was true that she and Remus had grown closer in the past few months, and Lily wouldn’t hesitate to say that she was closer to Remus than Sirius. But that had always been true: Sirius was good for joking around with, but it was Remus who Lily could sit down and have a proper conversation with.

Lily tried to remember how she had felt when Remus hadn’t been there. She had worried about him, which would possibly mean something if she didn’t worry about everyone nowadays, and was likely to worry about someone whether she was friends with them or felt something more. Her dreams that had started to include Remus hadn’t seemed like anything more than her subconscious catching onto her conscious worrying, though she had often dwelt on them for a long while after waking, especially those that had involved Remus and James.

Then there was James. Lily had cried over his grave not a week ago, but she wondered if she’d still be doing that fifteen years from now when she had moved on with her life in every other way. She had a feeling she would be, and it didn’t help her figure things out. In her normal day to day life, Lily didn’t feel haunted by James’ memory, so did that mean she was ready to move on? She didn’t know.

When Lily stepped out of the fireplace into the kitchen at Grimmauld Place, the first thing she saw was that Sirius was sat at the kitchen table with Seth. They both looked up; Sirius immediately looked back down, Seth waved.

“Hi, Lily. How’s Remus?”

“He’s going to live. I wasn’t expecting you to be here.” Lily deliberately sat down in a chair as far away from Sirius as she could.

“Neither was I, but…” Seth trailed off.

“What’s the matter?” asked Lily. Because Seth had often been doing very little in official meetings, and the Ministry had been busy the past couple of days, they had sent Seth to help the clean-up at the warehouse.

“They found Peter Pettigrrew’s body in the warehouse.”

This stunned Lily into silence. It was a while before could speak again.

“He’s dead?”

Seth nodded. Sirius didn’t say anything, Lily assumed he had already been told.

“Good,” Lily said eventually.

“Is it?” asked Seth, his eyes wide at Lily’s response.

“Yeah, I – I think so. He betrayed us, he’d have seen us die when he was supposed to be our friend.” Lily felt a bit lost at this news, even now she wasn’t sure that that was what she wanted to have happened to Peter; she had known the small quiet boy for too long, and that made it difficult to reconcile the two completely different images of him into one person. “Are you staying long, Seth?”

“No, I really need to be going now, actually.” He stood up. “I’ll come visit when I can. See you.”

Seth left. Lily didn’t speak to Sirius, she wanted him to apologise for what he had said at St. Mungo’s first. She knew that was unlikely, but she still hoped.

Sirius didn’t speak for the rest of the afternoon, he just sat at the table, sulking. He didn’t offer to help when Lily started making dinner and barely grunted thanks when she placed a plate of (slightly burnt) pasta in front of him. His silence carried on throughout dinner and the evening.

By the time Lily had come back downstairs from putting Harry to bed, she had had enough.

“When are you going to apologise?” Lily asked, standing at the bottom of the stairs into the kitchen, where Sirius was still sat at the table, having not moved in hours.

“Apologise? What for?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Talking about Remus as if he wasn’t there before, barely speaking a word to him, not talking to me ever since I got home.”

“I’ve not done anything wrong.”

“You’re acting like a five-year-old.”

“Am not.”

“Yes, you are. Just – just talk to Remus. He’s your friend, it’s getting hard enough to keep them without you pushing them away at the same time.”

Sirius turned around in his seat to look at Lily, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Finally she might be able to force some sense into him.

“Fine. I’ll go tomorrow evening, after I’ve been to Petunia’s. I can’t believe I’ve got to carry on going there.”

Lily went to sit down with Sirius, and they managed to hold a conversation, if not an overly friendly one, for the rest of the night.

When Sirius returned just after seven o’clock the next day, Lily was waiting for him. However, he didn’t seem to be in the mood to answer her questions on how Remus was and what they had talked about and if he was actually talking to her and Remus again. He shrugged them off and as good as refused to talk about Remus.

It was a few days later before Lily got the chance to visit Remus again. Sirius had been going on his way back from Petunia’s, but had continued to refuse to say much about how Remus was or what they had said, making Lily think that Sirius was spending the time standing in a corner silently before leaving.

Lily had persuaded Sirius to come home early so that he could look after Harry while she went to St. Mungo’s. He had agreed, as she knew he would – Sirius couldn’t resist any opportunity to spend time with Harry.

Lily found her way through the hospital to Remus’ room. She hesitated before knocking on the door and opening it slightly.

Remus was sat up in bed reading a newspaper. The bruises on his face had faded until it was almost impossible to see that they were there and the cuts were now gone, though some had been replaced by pale white scars. He looked up from the paper and smiled.

“Hi.” Remus folded the newspaper and put it on the bedside cabinet.

“How did you get better so quickly?” Lily shut the door and sat down next to the bed. She was shocked at the dramatic transformation in his appearance and well-being. A few days ago he had barely been able to speak.

“Magic.” Remus’ smile grew wider. “They’re talking about discharging me tomorrow, except I think they want someone to take me home. You’ll come won’t you?”

“Sure.” Lily couldn’t help smiling too; Remus’ grin was infectious. She looked down so that she could try to rearrange her facial expression. “Look, we need to talk.”

Lily heard Remus sigh. She looked back up and saw that Remus wasn’t looking at her anymore; he was staring at his hands.

“I’m sorry,” said Lily. “I just… need to know some things.”

“I know. I knew this was coming.”

“You could have avoided it if you hadn’t left.”

“Maybe, but I couldn’t have stayed.”

This confused Lily. “Why not?”

“Because I needed some time alone to sort my head out.”

“You could have done that at Grimmauld Place.”

Remus shook his head. “No I couldn’t. You were always there, and I needed to get away from you to realise how I felt. I didn’t know I felt anything before that night.”

“You didn’t know?”

“No, well, we were friends. I enjoyed being with you, but friends do that. There wasn’t really one moment where I thought ‘oh, yes, that’.”

“So you don’t know how long –”

“This time? No, maybe a month, or two. After Christmas, definitely. It crept up on me.”

Lily could feel her heart sinking with every word Remus spoke. “This time?”

“I-” Remus blushed. “At school, it must have been third year. You were the pretty girl who helped me in Charms.” Lily didn’t think it was possible for him to turn any redder. “But then James, you know, was obsessively in love with you so I let it go.”

Neither of them spoke for a minute: Lily used the time to process everything Remus had said. It could have been worse, he could have been in love with her from the first time they met and kept it a secret until now. Hearing Remus’ side of the story didn’t help Lily sort out her own thoughts, so she decided it was time to change the subject.

“What were you doing when you were away?”

Remus explained how he had been camping and carrying on searching for the werewolf hideout. He had managed to locate it, and that was when the Death Eaters had found him and captured him, torturing him for information on everything possible: who was in the Order, what the Order was planning, where Harry was being kept, what he was doing for the Order, had the Order found out about the attack on the Ministry… any information at all. Lily was almost sick when Remus told her that the Death Eaters hadn’t been planning on killing him, but making him take part in the werewolf attack. Remus must have noticed this because he quickly changed the topic.

“No Harry today?” he asked.

“I left him at home with Sirius.”

“Sirius is talking to you? I didn’t think he would be, after the other day.”

“He isn’t talking to me much. What’s he been saying when he’s here? He won’t tell me.”

Remus paused before answering. “Sirius hasn’t been here. Not since you came with him and he stormed out.”

“He said he’d been coming every evening since then.”

“I’ve not seen him.”

Lily stared hard at Remus. He had no reason to lie to her, and he wasn’t smiling or showing any other signs that he was. He was looking at her, with a concerned expression on his face.

Without her realising it, Lily had stood up. She could feel herself shaking in anger.

“Lily…”

“I’m going to murder him.”

“Don’t do something you’re going to regret.”

“I won’t regret killing him. He said he was going to talk to you, he’s acting like such a -” Lily’s words were cut off by her own anger; it was making it hard for her to think clearly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Lily stormed through the door, ignoring Remus calling her to come back, and carried on through the hospital, not paying attention to whether she was running into anyone, or getting in the way. All she cared about was getting back to Grimmauld Place and making Sirius explain himself, and possibly killing him in the process.

There was a small queue at the fireplace to use the Floo. Lily waited impatiently, fuming to herself. People passing gave her questioning looks but she ignored them.

When it was her turn, Lily took the Floo powder from the small container by the side of the fireplace. Throwing it into the flames, Lily said, “Twelve Grimmauld Place” and felt herself become immersed in flames and enter the dizzying network of fireplaces.

Lily almost fell out of the fireplace. At first she thought the kitchen was empty, until she saw Sirius crouched down, rooting in a cupboard. Lily’s anger was momentarily replaced by something more instinctive.

“Where’s Harry?”

“He was tired so I put him to bed early. Is that ok?” Sirius said, standing up to face Lily.

“I suppose so.” It took less than a second for Lily’s anger to return in full force, flaring up like a fire inside her. “Why did you say you were going to visit Remus if you weren’t?”

“I thought about it, but then I realised it wasn’t right to pretend to be friends with someone when you’re not.” Sirius shrugged.

“Why aren’t you friends with him?” Lily said through gritted teeth. She knew what was coming but she wanted to make him say it anyway.

“Why do you even have to ask that? He was James’ best friend, or have you forgotten about him?”

Lily exploded.

“How dare you? Of course I haven’t forgotten about James, but he’s dead, Sirius! We’ve got to move on. We’re not all stuck in the past like you!”

“I’m not –”

“The hell you’re not, Sirius! If you’re not drinking to try to cope with James’ death then why do you bring out a bottle every other night? That isn’t coping Sirius, that’s drowning your sorrows.”

“So what? Have you ever thought that that might be my way of coping? You forget they ever existed, Remus tried to get it on with the grieving widow and I drink. To be honest, my way is probably the best out of the three.”

“That’s not even what’s happened! And it’s not healthy to turn to Firewhiskey every time life gets difficult.”

“You’re not Head Girl now, Lily. You can’t expect me to just do what you say.”

“I’ve not told you to do anything. I’m saying why it’s not a good idea to start drinking – ”

“What do you know about anything? It’s not as if you’ve had a hard life.”

“My husband’s dead! Voldemort’s been after my son since before he was born, I’m constantly ostracised for being Muggle-born and my sister barely talks to me because I’m a witch! And now I’m losing one of my best friends because he’s the world’s biggest prat. That sounds easy to you, does it?”

“I’ve lost people too! You didn’t have to grow up here, listening to them all drone on about how being Pure-blood practically makes you royal. Pathetic, useless SCUMBAGS!”

Sirius aimed a kick at a chair and it flew halfway across the room. Something clicked in Lily’s head.

“Are you drunk?”

“What?”

“You heard me. Have you been drinking?”

“No, why would I –”

“Tell the truth, Sirius.”

“I am doing. You just have to jump to conclusions, don’t you?”

“Stop lying to me.”

“What’s it to you if I have been drinking or not?”

“You have! When you were supposed to be looking after Harry as well!” Lily swallowed. “That’s it, I’m leaving.”

“Wha – no. You can’t leave.”

“I can. And I’m taking Harry so you can drink and trash the house in peace.”

Lily walked to the stairs and started climbing them as fast as she could. Behind her, she could hear Sirius following her.

“No – Lily – I’m sorry.”

“You should be more than sorry.”

“I am, really.”

“It’s not enough.”

“What do you want me to do? I’ll do it.”

Lily turned and looked him in the eyes. She knew that in his current state he’d probably jump off the Astronomy tower while declaring his allegiance to Voldemort if she told him to.

“I want you to leave me alone so I can get Harry and go somewhere else.”

Lily watched as Sirius’ expression turned to one of complete hopelessness and he slid down the wall he had been supporting himself with.

She didn’t stay to listen to him beg her forgiveness, or to see his desperate eyes look back up at her from the floor. Lily ran up the stairs to her bedroom where she found an old rucksack and started throwing clothes and other bits and bats into it that she might need. Then, Lily went into Harry’s room and filled the rest of the bag with anything he’d need.

Lily didn’t want to wake Harry, unfortunately it was a necessity. Lily picked him up out of his cot and he woke immediately, putting his arms around her neck. He yawned.

“Come on, Harry,” Lily murmured. She put the rucksack over one shoulder and made her way back onto the landing, with Harry safely in her arms.

Sirius was stumbling up the flight of stairs that led to the second floor. Ignoring this, Lily went down the stairs, stopping when she reached him.

“Let me past,” Lily said calmly.

“Listen to me –”

“Get out of my way.”

“I’ll stop, I promise, just stay –”

“Say that when you’re sober and I might believe you.” Lily drew her wand. “Move.”

Sirius took one look at the wand pointed between his eyes and Lily could tell he knew he had lost. He stepped to the side giving Lily and Harry enough room to pass, and they did.

As she descended, Lily took a risk and glanced behind her.

Sirius was sat on the stairs, his head in his hands. It was one of the most pathetic sights Lily had seen and she wondered if he would stay there all night.

Lily didn’t go back. She didn’t stop until she reached the front step of Grimmauld Place.

It was fine saying that she was going to leave, but where could she go? She had to go somewhere safe for Harry, so that ruled out staying at the Leaky Cauldron for the night. There was always headquarters, though it would probably be empty and Lily didn’t want to have to be alone. She thought about calling on Seth, quickly realising that he might not have anywhere for them to sleep and she dismissed the idea. There had to be somewhere…

Lily looked down at Harry. He was beginning to fall asleep against her and Lily knew she needed to go somewhere soon – somewhere Harry would be safe and she would have someone to talk to.

That was when Lily realised that she did know of someone who would be more than willing to let them stay the night. They wouldn’t be expecting her, but no one she decided to call on would be.

Gripping Harry tightly, Lily turned on the spot and Disapparated.

They arrived in a wooded lane that was fortunately empty. Lily had barely caught her bearings before she started walking.

Lily spotted the correct house as soon as it came into view. At first glance it looked no different to any of the other houses that were dotted along the lane, but it bore the unmistakable signs that wizards lived there: a pile of cauldrons stood outside the front door, plants in the garden swayed despite the lack of a breeze, and as she drew closer Lily spotted an owl in one of the trees in the front garden.

Lily hurried up the little path that led to the house and knocked.

It took a minute for Lily to hear the sounds of people moving on the other side of the door, and she looked around nervously while she waited. The door opened and the man looked shocked to see Lily and Harry on his doorstep.

“What are you doing here?” Frank Longbottom asked.

“It’s a long story, can we come in?”

“Of course.” Frank stepped away from the door so that Lily could enter the warmth of the hallway.
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Last edited by gelowo93; August 31st, 2011 at 4:59 pm.
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Old September 4th, 2011, 3:14 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

We're definitely nearing the end now, only a few chapters left after this one. Enjoy!

Chapter39

Lily had been welcomed into the Longbottom’s home as if it was a long-standing arrangement that she was to spend the night there. A cot had been Conjured for Harry to sleep in, Frank’s mother, Augusta Longbottom, had made Lily a cup of tea, and then they had sat down to allow Lily to explain what had happened.

Frank, Alice and Augusta were suitably shocked and appalled when Lily told them about Sirius’ behaviour and Augusta had had to be restrained to stop her going to Grimmauld Place and shouting at him. There hadn’t been a question of whether Lily could stay there or not, it had been where she was going to be able to sleep.

Now, as she lay on the sofa watching the sky lighten though the curtains, Lily wondered what she was going to do.

Chances were, Lily was going to have to return to Grimmauld Place, if only to pack the rest of hers and Harry’s things so that she could take them – somewhere. There wasn’t enough room for them to stay here as it was, and with Remus coming out of St. Mungo’s today he was going to need somewhere to live if Sirius still wasn’t talking to him. Lily could see them having to move back into headquarters.

That would make Sirius happy; Lily, Harry and Remus living together. He was likely to come and murder them in their sleep.

Of course, this was only if Sirius carried on as he had been the past few days. Maybe – just maybe – Lily could get him to rethink his actions and he’d be their friend again. Lily knew that this was probably wistful thinking; Sirius was one of the most stubborn people she knew, but it was at least worth a shot before she had to resort to drastic measures.

Lily didn’t start to get up until she heard movement from upstairs and she guessed that Frank and Alice were getting ready for work. When she was dressed, Lily entered the kitchen where she found Frank and Alice making breakfast. Alice looked up as Lily entered.

“Morning. Did you sleep alright?”

“I was fine, thanks.” Lily took a seat at the small kitchen table.

“What do you want to eat? We’ve got cereal, or toast or – ” Frank asked, looking like he would cook a full English breakfast if Lily asked for one.

“You don’t have to hang around to make me anything, you need to be getting to work.”

“You’re our guest.”

“I’m your uninvited guest,” Lily reasoned. “I’ll sort myself out.”

After much insisting on Lily’s part, Frank gave up trying to make her breakfast. They sat and made small talk for a while, until Lily could hear the distinctive sounds of Harry waking up in the next room; she had wanted Harry to sleep downstairs with her rather than in Neville’s room.

By the time Lily had got Harry up and returned to the kitchen, Augusta and Neville had joined them, and Frank and Alice were about to leave. They said goodbye to Lily as they passed her in the doorway, and Lily was left with the two toddlers and Frank’s mother for company.

Lily had never spent much time with Augusta Longbottom, but had heard enough from Alice to know that she wasn’t the easiest woman to get along well with. At the moment, she was feeding Neville his breakfast and it wasn’t necessary for Lily to start a conversation.

Instead, she started making her own and Harry’s breakfast. She buttered a slice of toast and turned away for a moment. When she turned back, the toast had gone. Lily didn’t have to look far to find the culprit; Harry was trying to feed himself a piece of toast that she hadn’t given to him.

Lily sighed and Augusta looked up. She spotted Harry with the toast and smiled.

“He Summoned it?”

“Yes,” Lily said, picking up her own plate and going to sit down. “I wish there was some way to tell when he was going to do magic, it always catches me off guard.”

“At least you know he is magic. Neville hasn’t as much as turned a button a different colour.”

“Neville will be fine. Isn’t it seven when when kids have normally shown some magic? He’s got plenty of time.”

“Yes, well…” Augusta looked at her grandson sternly. Neville didn’t seem to be paying attention as he was too busy smearing his food all over his face. “Silly boy, come on, I’ve got to clean you up now.”

They moved into the living room once they had finished breakfast. Harry and Neville started playing with some toys on the floor and Lily and Augusta struck up a conversation.

Lily should have known that it was going to be one of days when Harry had started doing magic at breakfast. It felt like every five minutes something was changing colour, or flying across the room. Each time this happened Lily apologised profusely, fixed whatever it was Harry had done, and Augusta started saying how Neville hadn’t performed any magic yet. It got tiresome very quickly.

At lunchtime, Lily decided that it was best for her to go back to Grimmauld Place and pack before Sirius got home, that was if he had gone to Petunia’s.; Lily didn’t know whether he would have done or not. Augusta offered to look after Harry for her, but Lily had the feeling that she might spend the afternoon trying to force him to do magic and Neville to copy him. She said that she would take Harry with her, as he rarely caused trouble, and she would come back in the evening after she had spoken to Sirius to tell them what was happening.

When Lily arrived with Harry at Grimmauld Place, it was silent and looked exactly as it had when she had left last night. Lily remembered to Stun Walburga’s portrait before calling Sirius’ name. There was no reply, and still none after Lily had shouted him for the third time. It seemed he had gone out, though where to she didn’t know.

Just to make sure, Lily looked into the parlour to see if Sirius was in there. She opened the door and gasped at the mess.

The small coffee table had been turned on its side, as well as the two armchairs. All of the cupboard doors had been left wide open, and their contents lay strewn across the floor; goblets, plates, glasses, cutlery were left, and amid them lay the shattered remains of glass bottles.

Lily stepped around the bits of glass and upturned furniture on the wet carpet to pick up one of the largest bits of glass she could see. She turned it over and saw the label for Firewhiskey. Lily picked up another to see that the bottle it had come from used to hold elf-made wine.

Dropping the pieces of glass, Lily drew her wand. With a wave of it, the furniture returned to its original positions and the contents of the cupboards went back into them. Another wave, and the carpet dried beneath her feet. Finally, the shards of broken glass disappeared. Lily sighed and went back into the hallway, having a feeling that that wasn’t the only room that had been trashed.

Lily was right. She entered the kitchen and found it in a similar state as the parlour had been in. She repeated her actions, and soon the spilt alcohol, broken glass, and anything else that had been taken out of its proper place, had vanished, as well as the furniture being put back where it belonged.

Lily wasn’t sure why, but after that she went around the house to see if any of the other rooms had been messed up. They hadn’t, and Lily couldn’t figure out what Sirius had been thinking after she had left. It was probably fair to say that he hadn’t been thinking, but still, there must have been some thought process in his actions.

What stuck in Lily’s mind was that those had been the two only rooms that held any alcohol, and he had got rid of it all quite efficiently. Whether that had been done in a fit of anger and Sirius had regretted it when he woke up this morning, or if he had done it because of their argument last night, Lily didn’t know. She wanted it to be the latter, but she didn’t know how likely that was.

Putting it to the back of her mind, Lily went up into the attic to find any old trunks that she could put their things in. She thought she saw Kreacher scurrying around while she was looking, but as he didn’t pay any attention to her she ignored him.

Lily found a few trunks and levitated them downstairs into the kitchen. She found a few toys and headed back upstairs, taking them with her so that Harry was preoccupied when she was looking for things to pack and he wouldn’t get in Lily’s way. She didn’t want to leave him on the other side of the house on his own.

She went into her own bedroom first and started sorting through the wardrobe for robes and anything of importance to pack.

The doorbell rang. Lily scooped up Harry with one arm and the pile of robes she had been sorting out with the other and went downstairs. She had just reached the bottom of the stairs when the doorbell rang again.

“I’m coming!” Lily shouted, wondering if whoever it was would be able to hear her from outside.

She struggled to open the door and found herself face to face with Seth.

“Are you going somewhere?” asked Seth. Lily saw his eyes travel from the robes over one of her arms to her harried expression.

“Maybe,” Lily said grimly. “Come in, you can help.”

“Help what?”

Lily closed the door behind him and started down the hallway to the kitchen.

“I’m packing in case I can’t get Sirius to see sense, which is going to be the hardest thing in the world.”

“Why?”

“He’s not talking to me, not talking to Remus and drinking while he was babysitting Harry.” Having reached the kitchen, Lily put Harry in his high-chair and packed the robes into one of the trunks. She hesitated before carrying on. “I came back here this afternoon and found all the Firewhiskey and wine bottles smashed. I don’t know whether he was angry or actually meant to get rid of it.”

“You came back this afternoon?”

“Me and Harry stayed at some friends’ last night. I couldn’t put up with Sirius.”

Seth nodded.

“How do you want me to help?”

Seth helped Lily pack most of hers, Harry’s and, after some deliberation, Remus’ things. They thought it over and decided that they were better off getting out of Sirius’ way as quickly as possible if he refused to be reasonable, and they could always explain to Remus what had been planned if Sirius did stop acting like an idiot. It took them the rest of the afternoon, and by half five the trunks were placed in the hallway, ready if they were needed.

They went to sit in the kitchen for the remaining half an hour they had to wait until they could go to St. Mungo’s. As Lily hadn’t stayed long enough to ask, she wasn’t sure if they would be able to go in outside of visiting hours to take Remus home and she decided that it was safest to go during visiting hours.

“Do you want anything to drink?” asked Lily.

“Yes, please. What have you got?”

“No idea.” Lily stood up and started looking in some of the cupboards. “How about tea? We’ve got a while.”

“That’s very English of you.”

“And it’s very American of you to say that. Is that a yes?”

“Sure.”

Lily made their drinks, and stirred them with her wand. She put her wand down on the counter and carried the mugs over to the table.

“Where are you going to go if Sirius kicks you out?” Seth asked.

“Err, I’m not sure. I think a friend might have a spare room or two.” Truthfully, Lily thought that headquarters was looking like the best option, but she couldn’t tell Seth that.

“You know, you could stay with me for a bit, my flat has a spare room. Remus might have to sleep on the couch.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, definitely. I don’t really like living on my own.”

“Is that why you come round here so often?”

“I don’t come round that much.”

“You’re here practically whenever you’re not at the Ministry.”

“Oh yeah.”

They drank and talked about nothing in particular until it got closer to six o’clock. When it came, Lily drained her mug and put both hers and Seth’s in the sink. She picked Harry up from the floor where he had been playing and walked up the stairs with Seth.

“I think I’ve forgotten something,” Lily said when they reached the top of the stairs. She searched her pockets with her one free hand and they felt strangely empty. It took Lily a moment to remember what she’d left behind. “I left my wand in the kitchen. Here, take Harry.”

Lily passed Harry to Seth and hurried down the stairs. Spotting her wand on the counter at the far side of the room, Lily made her way towards it.

As she neared it, shoulder high flames flared up around her.

Lily spun round. Seth was stood at the bottom of the stone staircase, his wand in one hand pointed straight at Lily and carrying Harry in the other.

In the split second that it took for Lily to register what had happened, she knew that she had been made a fool of. She had been wrong to trust Seth; they all had. This must have shown on her face because he laughed.

“Finally figured it out then?” He smirked. “It’s a little too late now though. I’ve got the boy, and there’s nothing you can do.”

He was right. Lily looked around the kitchen desperately, but the ring of fire surrounding her prevented Lily from reaching for her wand. She was trapped amid the flames.

“He’s just a baby. He’s not done anything,” Lily pleaded.

“The Dark Lord wants him dead and I was appointed to retrieve him. It’s nothing personal.”

Lily thought she could see the flames growing taller around her, and with them, the smoke they emitted grew thicker. Seth carried on talking; he seemed to revel in the opportunity to at last reveal his motives.

“I’ll be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. You see, the Dark Lord is very eager to expand internationally. Create a base of followers in the major countries that will eventually take over their Ministry. I was the leader of those followers back home; it was an honour for the Dark Lord to recognise me. All I had to do was one task, and then I’d be welcomed into his inner circle of Death Eaters.

“I was disappointed, at first, that he didn’t trust me, but then it came in useful. One of the first things you looked for was a Dark Mark, at that point I was glad I didn’t have one.”

Seth’s wand was still pointed at Lily. She had the feeling that while it was, the flames were under some kind of control. As soon as he lowered his wand, they were likely to rip through the kitchen leaving nothing but ashes behind. Lily tried her hardest not to think about that.

“Why now?” Lily asked, hoping that she could keep him talking long enough for Sirius to come home. He used to be back around this time, Lily only wished that he wouldn’t take any detours on the way back. He hadn’t been talking to her, but he wouldn’t want her or Harry dead, she was sure of that.

“I’ve been trying all year, to gain your trust, or catch you off guard. After you Order lot messed up the plans to attack the Ministry, the Dark Lord became impatient with me. He said I was to do whatever I could to get the boy, but it turned out I didn’t have to do a thing. You willingly gave him to me.”

Lily wasn’t looking at Seth anymore; her eyes were fixed on Harry. He was shying away from the heat of the flames, holding tighter onto the man who would see him die. He didn’t know what was happening around him, didn’t know that in a few hours – if that – he’d be facing the most evil dark wizard of the century, someone who had already tried to kill him once, and this time there wouldn’t be anyone to save him.

Seth looked at Lily, and there was no remorse or compassion in his expression. He turned his back on her and started up the stairs.

“I won’t be seeing you.”

As soon as he had lowered his wand, the flames had roared and doubled in height. Through them, Lily watched Seth calmly walk away, taking Harry with him, and not looking back.

She could feel herself shaking, and tears evaporated from her face with the heat from the fire. There was nothing Lily could do except stand there and know that is was her fault. She had been wrong and it had cost her everything.

Lily coughed; she had been breathing in the smoke without thinking about it. She vaguely remembered an old fire safety message that had been shown at primary school; in fires, it was the smoke that killed you first, not the flames. At least she wouldn’t have to be burnt alive.

The coughing became worse and her legs gave way. The air was slightly cleaner on the floor but the room was filled with smoke – Lily could barely see the staircase and it wouldn’t take long for her to be unable to see her own hand in front of her face.

She was going to die. There was no uncertainty about it; Lily couldn’t hear anything above the noise of the flames, but she could tell that no one was coming. Remus would probably still be in St. Mungo’s, wondering why she hadn’t come, and Sirius could be anywhere. She had thought he would have gone to Petunia’s as usual but she had nothing to base that on. For all she knew he’d left the country.

Lily was beginning to grow lightheaded; she didn’t know how long she lay on the floor, watching the flames draw closer and wishing that it would just end now.

Her imagination ran wild, seeing images in the fire, people. She thought she saw herself running away from a crowd of people she guessed were supposed to be Death Eaters; in a wedding dress; holding a baby; the images were endless. In them with her, there was a man. He would stand near her and never leave her side.

Lily thought of James.

She had betrayed him. He had died so that she and Harry would be safe, and she had thrown that away. It didn’t matter, Lily thought, they were going to be together again soon.

That was the last thought Lily had before she lost consciousness.
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Last edited by gelowo93; September 24th, 2011 at 1:52 pm.
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